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CIVIL OFFICERS SUPERIOR TO MILITARY. 211
they can never come in competition with each other. The value which they attach to personal strength and dexterity in a commander, and the rank which the bow and arrow hold in their estimation, seem to prove clearly that the military art is not beyond its infancy among the Chinese.
Mandarin seated in a Sedan.-From Stault.n. All the military of the empire are under the management of their proper tribunal or board at Peking, the power of which, however, is jealously checked by a dependence on some of the others; as the Board of Revenue must supply the funds, and the Board of Public Works the matériel of the army. The trusty Tartar troops are ranged under the eight standards,
viz., the yellow, white, red, and blue, together with each of these colours bordered by one of the others. The green flag distinguishes the Chinese troops. Each of the Tartar standards is said to consist of 10,000 men, making a standing army of 80,000. There is, besides, the local militia spread through the provinces ; but this, from all that has been observed of it, is such a ragged and undisciplined rout, as to be fit for little more than the purposes of a police.
Including this militia, the whole number receiving pay throughout the empire has been estimated at 700,000, of which by far the largest portion are fixed to their native districts, cultivating the land, or following some other private pursuit. This circumstance in a peaceful country makes the profession of a militia-man an object of solicitation, as it provides something over and above a man's ordinary means. How ill-calculated it must be to produce efficient soldiers need scarcely be argued. The reasons adduced by Adam Smith, in his third volume, to prove the superiority of the militia of a barbarous nation over that of a civilized one, are quite conclusive on the subject, and best illustrated by the conquest of this very country by the Manchows, a mere maniple of a nation.
The missionaries themselves, quoted by Du Halde, who were much more accustomed to magnify than diminish the merit of anything Chinese, seemed to be aware of the inferiority of these troops as soldiers. “They are not comparable,” it is observed, “ to our troops in Europe for either courage or discipline, and they are easily disordered and put to the rout. Besides that the Chinese are naturally effeminate, and the Tartars are almost become Chinese, the profound peace they have enjoyed does not give them occasion to become warlike.” Several circumstances
INFERIORITY OF TROOPS,
conduce to prevent China from deriving such advantage as she might, to her military power, from the actual amount of her opulence and population. First, that pride and conceit, which is a bar to all improvement in the arts, and among the rest, the art of war. Secondly, that jealousy of the Chinese population, which prevents the Tartar Government from making of it such efficient troops as it might. Thirdly, that overwhelming superiority which the empire possesses over the petty and barbarous states on its frontiers; and which, in having prevented aggressions on it, has precluded the practice and experience so necessary to make good soldiers.
The long and successful resistance of the Meaoutse, a race of barbarians in the mountainous parts of the interior of China itself, and their independence at the present time, attest the weakness of Chinese military resources, and the very moderate efficiency of troops, which are seldom employed in any thing more formidable than the suppression of a revolt in some starving province, and thus engaged, as it were, in fighting with shadows. The Canton troops in 1832 were defeated by the mountaineers on the borders, and in fact proved utterly worthless from the general use of opium, and the absence of practice and discipline. This on land: but their navy is even
The long and successful career of the Ladrones, or pirates, in the vicinity of Canton, who were, after all, subdued only by the honours conferred on their Chief as the price of his submission, is sufficient evidence on this point.
The abuses and malversation on the part of military officers intrusted with funds for the provision of soldiers, appear to be frequent; and there is reason to suppose that some of the assumed militia of China are little better than men of straw, whose allotted funds are misapplied, if not after the example, yet in
the manner of that eminent commander Sir John Falstaff. It must have been to some such system that our embassy in 1816 was indebted for the ludicrous scenes exhibited in its progress. The Emperor's edicts ordained that the troops should wear
an imposing aspect;" but, on approaching a town or station, numbers of fellows might be seen scouring along the banks of the river, laden with jackets and accoutrements, which were clapped on the backs of those who had been pressed for the occasion, and who betrayed, from under their assumed habiliments, the primitive dirt and rags of their condition.
Very few mounted soldiers were seen by either of our embassies, and whatever may be their actual amount, they are said to be nearly all Tartars. A great difference seems to exist between the pay of Tartars and Chinese. One of the former, being a foot-soldier, is allowed two taëls per month, or about five-pence a day, with an allowance of rice; one of the latter, only one taël and six-tenths, without the rice. The reasons for this difference may be the following: - First, that the Tartar in China belongs to a standing army, at a distance from his home, and dependent solely on his profession; while the other is commonly, if not always, a militia-man, carrying on his own occupations when off duty. Secondly, some allowance may be made for the national partiality of the governing power, and the necessity of attaching its confidential servants by liberality.
The most common uniform of the military is a jacket of blue turned up with red, or red bordered with white, over a long petticoat of blue. The cap is either of rattan or strips of bamboo painted, being in a conical shape, and well suited to ward off a blow; though on some occasions they wear a cap of cloth and silk, similar to that of the mandarins, without the ball or button at the top. Some few are defended by
LOW ART OF WAR.
a clumsyslooking quilted armour, of cloth studded with metal buttons, which descends in a long petticoat, and gives the wearer the appearance of one who could neither fight nor fly. The helmet is of iron, in the shape of an inverted funnel, having a point at the top, to which is attached a bunch of silk or horse-hair.
The principal arms of the cavalry are bows and arrows, the bow being of elastic wood and horn combined, with a string of silk stronglytwisted and wrought. The strength of their bows is estimated by the weight required to bend them, varying from about eighty pounds to a hundred weight. The string, in shooting, is held behind an agate or stone ring on the right thumb, the first joint of which is bent forward
Chinese Shield.-From an original drawing in the India House,