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PRESENT EMPEROR.

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the British dominion in India : and the Mongol race were driven out by the Chinese after a much shorter possession than the Manchows have already enjoyed. These have had the prudence and wisdom to leave the Chinese in possession of their own forms and institutions in most instances, and to mould chose of the Tartars to them; but distinctions sufficiently broad are still maintained to prevent the amalgamation of the original people with their masters. A symptom of weakness in the Government is its extreme dread of numerous associations among the people; one of which, the Triad Society, has for its known object the expulsion of the Manchows.

An insurrection broke out in the island of Formosa towards the close of 1832, accompanied by the death of a large portion of the troops, and of the greater number of mandarins on the spot, and the origin of it was attributed to the oppression of the Emperor's government. A Tartar General, after the lapse of a few months, was despatched in all haste from Peking, with power to take troops from the different provinces at his need, and in a short time it was heard that the insurrection was over, and the troops countermanded. This sudden restoration of tranquillity was hardly less surprising, after violence had proceeded to such lengths, than the speedy submission of the mountaineers; but it was never clearly ascertained whether it was effected by force, or by the divisions of the inhabitants; or whether money had been used, as in the case of the mountaineers, to supply the place of arms.

The last Emperor, Kea-king, showed a very determined aversion and hostility to the Roman Catholic religion, and numerous persecutions took place in his reign. The present monarch, by all appearances, inherited the same disposition from his father. Не had not succeeded many weeks to the throne, when one of his high officers evinced his zeal by an ac

cusation against certain Chinese who had been detected in the practice of what is called the “religion of the western ocean.” A still more unequivocal proof exists in the expulsion from Peking of the very last of those European missionaries, who for their astronomical knowledge had been attached in succession, for about 200 years, to that Tribunal or Board, whose business it is to observe the motions of the heavenly bodies, and to construct the Imperial Calendar. It is probable that the present Chinese astronomers have acquired sufficient practical knowledge for the rough calculation of eclipses, and other routine matters of the same kind: but in the course of time another generation may perhaps require a fresh inoculation of science from Europe, and it will then befit Protestant missionaries to imitate the learning and enterprise of their Catholic predecessors,- but to avoid their want of moderation, and their disputes with each other about trifles.

GOVERNMENT AND LEGISLATION.

185

CHAPTER VI.

GOVERNMENT AND LEGISLATION.

Paternal Authority, the principle of Chinese Rule-Malversations at Canton,

in some degree an exception to the Empire at large-Despotism tempered by influence of Public Opinion-Motives to Education-Reverence for Age-Wealth has Influence, but is little respected-Real Aristocracy official, and not hereditary-The Emperor-is High Priest-MinistersMachinery of Government-Checks on Magistrates-Civil Officers superior to Military-Low art of War-Guns cast by Missionaries—Penal Code of China-Merits and Defects-Arrangement-PunishmentsPrivileges and Exemptions-Crimes-Character of Code–Testimonies, foreign and domestic, in favour of its practical results Chinese recognize sanctions superior to absolute will of Emperor.

MONTESQUIEU has somewhere the following remark: Heureux le peuple dont l'histoire est ennuyeuse ;" and if this be the characteristic of Chinese history; if we find the even current of its annals for a long time past less troubled by disorder and anarchy than can be stated of most other countries, we must look for this causes in the fundamental principles of its government, and in the maxims by which this is administered. It is well known that parental authority is the model or type of political rule in China--that natural restraint to which almost every man finds himself subject at the earliest dawn of his perceptions. Influenced, perhaps, by a consideration of the lasting force of early impressions on the human mind, the legislators of the country have thought that they should best provide for the stability of their fabric, by basing it on that principle which is the most natural and familiar to every one from infancy, and the least likely ever to be called in question.

Whether or not this was the design with which

the patriarchal form has been so long perpetuated in China, it seems certain that, being at once the most obvious and the simplest, it has for that reason been the first that has existed among the various societies of mankind. The North American tribes call all rulers “ fathers.” However well calculated to promote the union and welfare of small tribes or nations, the example of China, perhaps, in some respects demonstrates that in large empires, where the supreme authority must be exercised almost entirely by distant delegation, it is liable to degenerate into a mere fiction, excellently calculated to strengthen and perpetuate the hand of despotism, but retaining little of the paternal character beyond its absolute authority. It is the policy of the Chinese Government to grant to fathers over their children the patria potestas in full force, as the example, and the sanction of its own power.

There is nothing more remarkable in their ritual, and in their criminal code, than the exact parallel which is studiously kept up between the relations in which every person stands to his own parents, and to the Emperor. For similar offences against both he suffers similar punishments; at the death of both he mourns the same time, and goes the same period unshaven; and both possess nearly the same power over his person. Thus he is bred up to civil obedience,

tenero ab ungui," with every chance of proving a quiet subject at least. Such institutions certainly do not denote the existence of much liberty; but if peaceful obedience and universal order be the sole objects in view, they argue, on the part of the governors, some knowledge of human nature, and an adaptation of the means to the end.

In the book of Sacred Instructions, addressed to the people, founded on their ancient writings, and read publicly by the principal magistrates on the days that correspond to the new and full moon, the sixteen

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