Travels in China, Containing Descriptions, Observations, and Comparisons, Made and Collected in the Course of a Short Residence at the Imperial Palace of Yuen-Min-Yuen, and on a Subsequent Journey thr
by John Barrow
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I have been thus particular, in order to set in its true light a subject that has been much agitated and generally disbelieved. The sum total of three hundred and thirty-three millions is so enormous, that in its aggregate form it astonishes the mind and staggers credibility; yet we find no difficulty in conceiving that a single square mile in China may contain two hundred and fifty-six persons, especially when we call to our recollection the United Provinces of Holland, which have been calculated to contain two hundred and seventy inhabitants on a square mile. And the United Provinces have enjoyed few of the advantages favourable to population, of which China, for ages past, has been in the uninterrupted possession.

The materials for the statement given by Father Amiot of the population of China appear to have been collected with care. The number of souls in 1760, according to this statement

was 196,837,977 In 1761 198,214,553 —————- Annual increase 1,376,576

This statement must however be incorrect, from the circumstance of some millions of people being excluded who have no fixed habitation, but are constantly changing their position on the inland navigations of the empire, as well as all the islanders of the Archipelago of Chu-san and of Formosa. Without, however, taking these into consideration, and by supposing the number of souls in 1761, to amount to 198,214,553, there ought to have been, in the year 1793, by allowing a progressive increase, according to a moderate calculation in political arithmetic, at least 280,000,000 souls.

Whether this great empire, the first in rank both in extent and population, may or may not actually contain 333 millions of souls, is a point that Europeans are not likely ever to ascertain. That it is capable of subsisting this and a much greater population has, I think, been sufficiently proved. I know it is a common argument with those who are not willing to admit the fact, that although cities and towns and shipping may be crowded together in an astonishing manner, on and near the grand route between the capital and Canton, yet that the interior parts of the country are almost deserted. By some of our party going to Chu-san, we had occasion to see parts of the country remote from the common road, and such parts happened to be by far the most populous in the whole journey. But independent of the small portion of country seen by us, the western provinces, which are most distant from the grand navigation, are considered as the granaries of the empire; and the cultivation of much grain, where few cattle and less machinery are used, necessarily implies a corresponding population. Thus we see from the above table, that the surplus produce of the land remitted to Pekin from the provinces of

Oz. silver. Honan } remote from the grand { 3,213,000 Shan-see } navigation, were { 3,722,000 Shen-see } { 2,040,000

Whilst those of

Pe-tche-lee } on the grand navigation, { 3,036,000 Shan-tung } were { 3,600,000 Tche-kiang } { 3,810,000

chiefly in rice, wheat, and millet. There are no grounds therefore for supposing that the interior parts of China are deserts.

There are others again who are persuaded of the population being so enormous, that the country is wholly inadequate to supply the means of subsistence; and that famines are absolutely necessary to keep down the former to the level of the latter. The loose and general way in which the accounts of the missionaries are drawn up certainly leave such an impression; but as I have endeavoured to shew that such is far from being the case, it may be expected I should also attempt to explain the frequency of those disastrous famines which occasionally commit such terrible havock in this country. I am of opinion then, that three principal reasons may be assigned for them. First, the equal division of the land: Secondly, the mode of cultivation: and Thirdly, the nature of the products.

If, in the first place, every man has it in his option to rent as much land as will support his family with food and clothing, he will have no occasion to go to market for the first necessities; and such being generally the case in China, those first necessities find no market, except in the large cities. When the peasant has brought under tillage of grain as much land as may be sufficient for the consumption of his own family, and the necessary surplus for the landlord, he looks no further; and all his neighbours having done the same, the first necessities are, in fact, unsaleable articles, except in so far as regards the demands of large cities, which are by no means so close upon one another as has been imagined. A surplus of grain is likewise less calculated to exchange for superfluities or luxuries than many other articles of produce. This being the case, if, by any accident, a failure of the crops should be general in a province, it has no relief to expect from the neighbouring provinces, nor any supplies from foreign countries. In China there are no great farmers who store their grain to throw into the market in seasons of scarcity. In such seasons the only resource is that of the government opening its magazines, and restoring to the people that portion of their crop which it had demanded from them as the price of its protection. And this being originally only a tenth part, out of which the monthly subsistence of every officer and soldier had already been deduced, the remainder is seldom adequate to the wants of the people. Insurrection and rebellion ensue, and those who may escape the devouring scourge of famine, in all probability, fall by the sword. In such seasons a whole province is sometimes half depopulated; wretched parents are reduced, by imperious want, to sell or destroy their offspring, and children to put an end, by violence, to the sufferings of their aged and infirm parents. Thus, the equal division of land, so favourable to population in seasons of plenty, is just the reverse when the calamity of a famine falls upon the people.

In the second place, a scarcity may be owing to the mode of cultivation. When I mention that two-thirds of the small quantity of land under tillage is cultivated with the spade or the hoe, or otherwise by manual labour, without the aid of draught-cattle or skilful machinery, it will readily be conceived how very small a portion each family will be likely to employ every year; certainly not one-third part of his average allowance.

The third cause of famines may be owing to the nature of the products, particularly to that of rice. This grain, the staff of life in China, though it yields abundant returns in favourable seasons, is more liable to fail than most others. A drought in its early stages withers it on the ground; and an inundation, when nearly ripe, is equally destructive. The birds and the locusts, more numerous in this country than an European can well conceive, infest it more than any other kind of grain. In the northern provinces, where wheat, millet and pulse are cultivated, famines more rarely happen; and I am persuaded that if potatoes and Guinea corn (Zea-Mays) were once adopted as the common vegetable food of the people, those direful famines that produce such general misery would entirely cease, and the encrease of population be as rapid as that of Ireland. This root in the northern provinces, and this grain in the middle and southern ones, would never fail them. An acre of potatoes would yield more food than an acre of rice, and twice the nourishment. Rice is the poorest of all grain, if we may judge from the slender and delicate forms of all the people who use it as the chief article of their sustenance; and potatoes are just the contrary[67].

[67] The great advantage of a potatoe crop, as I before observed, is the certainty of its success. Were a general failure of this root to take place, as sometimes happens to crops of rice, Ireland, in its present state, would experience all the horrors that attend a famine in some of the provinces of China.

As Dr. Adam Smith observes, "The chairmen, porters, and coal-heavers in London, and those unfortunate women who live by prostitution, the strongest men and the most beautiful women perhaps in the British dominions, are said to be, the greater part of them, from the lowest rank of the people in Ireland, who are generally fed with this root; no food can afford a more decisive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution." The Guinea corn requires little or no attention after the seed is dropped into the ground; and its leaves and juicy stems are not more nourishing for cattle than its prolific heads are for the sustenance of man.

Various causes have contributed to the populousness of China. Since the Tartar conquest it may be said to have enjoyed a profound peace; for in the different wars and skirmishes that have taken place with the neighbouring nations on the side of India, and with the Russians on the confines of Siberia, a few Tartar soldiers only have been employed. The Chinese army is parcelled out as guards for the towns, cities, and villages; and stationed at the numberless posts on the roads and canals. Being seldom relieved from the several guards, they all marry and have families. A certain portion of land is allotted for their use, which they have sufficient time to cultivate. As the nation has little foreign commerce there are few seamen; such as belong to the inland navigations are mostly married. Although there be no direct penalty levied against such as remain batchelors, as was the case among the Romans when they wished to repair the desolation that their civil wars had occasioned, yet public opinion considers celibacy as disgraceful, and a sort of infamy is attached to a man who continues unmarried beyond a certain time of life. And although in China the public law be not established of the Jus trium liberorum, by which every Roman citizen having three children was entitled to certain privileges and immunities, yet every male child may be provided for, and receive a stipend from the moment of his birth, by his name being enrolled on the military list. By the equal division of the country into small farms, every peasant has the means of bringing up his family, if drought and inundation do not frustrate his labour; and the pursuits of agriculture are more favourable to health, and consequently to population, than mechanical employments in crowded cities, and large manufactories, where those who are doomed to toil are more liable to become the victims of disease and debauchery, than such as are exposed to the free and open air, and to active and wholesome labour. In China there are few of such manufacturing cities. No great capitals are here employed in any one branch of the arts. In general each labours for himself in his own profession. From the general poverty that prevails among the lower orders of people, the vice of drunkenness is little practised among them. The multitude, from necessity, are temperate in their diet to the last degree. The climate is moderate and, except in the northern provinces where the cold is severe, remarkably uniform, not liable to those sudden and great changes in temperature, which the human constitution is less able to resist, than the extremes of heat or cold when steady and invariable, and from which the inconveniences are perhaps nowhere so severely felt as on our own island. Except the small-pox and contagious diseases that occasionally break out in their confined and crowded cities, they are liable to few epidemical disorders. The still and inanimate kind of life which is led by the women, at the same time that it is supposed to render them prolific, preserves them from accidents that might cause untimely births. Every woman suckles and nurses her own child.

The operation of these and other favourable causes that might be assigned, in a country that has existed under the same form of government, and preserved the same laws and customs for so many ages, must necessarily have created an excess of population unknown in most other parts of the world, where the ravages of war, several times repeated in the course of a century, or internal commotions, or pestilential disease, or the effects of overgrown wealth, sometimes sweep away one half of a nation within the usual period allotted to the life of man.

"What a grand and curious spectacle," as Sir George Staunton observes, "is here exhibited to the mind of so large a proportion of the whole human race, connected together in one great system of polity, submitting quietly and through so considerable an extent of country to one great sovereign; and uniform in their laws, their manners, and their language; but differing essentially in each of these respects from every other portion of mankind; and neither desirous of communicating with, nor forming any designs against, the rest of the world." How strong an instance does China afford of the truth of the observation, that men are more easily governed by opinion than by power.


Journey through the Province of Canton.—Situation of Foreigners trading to this Port.—Conclusion.

Visible change in the Character of the People.—Rugged Mountains.—Collieries.—Temple in a Cavern.—Stone Quarries—Various Plants for Use and Ornament.—Arrive at Canton—Expence of the Embassy to the Chinese Government.—To the British Nation—Nature and Inconveniences of the Trade to Canton—The Armenian and his Pearl.—Impression of the Officers of Government instanced.—Principal Cause of them is the Ignorance of the Language.—Case of Chinese trading to London.—A Chinese killed by a Seaman of His Majesty's Ship Madras.—Delinquent saved from an ignominious Death, by a proper Mode of Communication with the Government—Conclusion.

We had no sooner passed the summit of the high mountain Me-lin, and entered the province of Quan-tung, or Canton, than a very sensible difference was perceived in the conduct of the inhabitants. Hitherto the Embassy had met with the greatest respect and civility from all classes of the natives, but now even the peasantry ran out of their houses, as we passed, and bawled after us Queitze-fan-quei, which, in their language, are opprobrious and contemptuous expressions, signifying foreign devils, imps; epithets that are bestowed by the enlightened Chinese on all foreigners. It was obvious, that the haughty and insolent manner in which all Europeans residing at, or trading to, the port of Canton are treated, had extended itself to the northern frontier of the province, but it had not crossed the mountain Me-lin; the natives of Kiang-see being a quiet, civil, and inoffensive people. In Quan-tung the farther we advanced, the more rude and insolent they became. A timely rebuke, however, given to the governor of Nau-sheun-foo by Van-ta-gin, for applying the above mentioned opprobrious epithets to the British Embassy, had a good effect on the Canton officers, who were now to be our conductors through their province.

This contempt of foreigners is not confined to the upper ranks, or men in office, but pervades the very lowest class who, whilst they make no scruple of entering into the service of foreign merchants residing in the country, and accepting the most menial employments under them, performing the duties of their several offices with diligence, punctuality, and fidelity, affect, at the same time, to despise their employers, and to consider them as placed, in the scale of human beings, many degrees below them. Having one day observed my Chinese servant busily employed in drying a quantity of tea-leaves, that had already been used for breakfast, and of which he had collected several pounds, I inquired what he meant to do with them: he replied, to mix them with other tea and sell them. "And is that the way," said I, "in which you cheat your own countrymen?" "No," replied he, "my own countrymen are too wise to be so easily cheated, but your's are stupid enough to let serve you such like tricks; and indeed," continued he, with the greatest sang froid imaginable, "anything you get from us is quite good enough for you." Affecting to be angry with him, he said, "he meant for the second sort of Englishmen," which is a distinction they give to the Americans[68].

[68] In the Canton jargon, second chop Englishmen; and even this distinction the Americans, I understand, have nearly forfeited in the minds of the Chinese.

The city of Nan-sheun-foo was pleasantly situated on the high bank of the river Pei-kiang-ho. The houses appeared to be very old, the streets narrow, large tracts of ground within the walls unbuilt, others covered with ruins. While the barges were preparing to receive on board the baggage, we took up our lodgings in the public temple, that was dedicated to the memory of Confucius, being, at the same time, the college where the students are examined for their different degrees. It consisted of a long dark room, divided by two rows of red pillars into a middle and two side aisles, without furniture, paintings, statues, or ornaments of any kind, except a few paper lanterns suspended between the pillars; the floor was of earth, and entirely broken up: to us it had more the appearance of a large passage or gang-way to some manufactory, as a brewhouse or iron foundery, than of the hall of Confucius. On each side, and at the farther extremity, were several small apartments, in which we contrived to pass the night.

The barges in which we now embarked were very small, owning to the shallowness of the river. The officers, assembled here from different parts of the country, detained us a whole day in order to have an opportunity of laying their several complaints before our physician, at the recommendation of Van-ta-gin, who had felt the good effects of his practice. Here, for once, we had an instance of Chinese pride giving way to self-interest, and usurped superiority condescending to ask advice of barbarians. We sailed for two days in our little barges, through one of the most wild, mountainous, and barren tracts of country that I ever beheld, abounding more in the sublime and horrible, than in the picturesque or the beautiful. The lofty summits of the mountains seemed to touch each other across the river and, at a distance, it appeared as if we had to sail through an arched cavern. The massy fragments that had fallen down from time to time, and impeded the navigation, were indications that the passage was not altogether free from danger. Five remarkable points of sand-stone rock, rising in succession above each other with perpendicular faces, seemed as if they had been hewn out of one solid mountain: they were called ou-ma-too, or the five horses' heads. The mountains at a distance on each side of the river were covered with pines, the nearer hills with coppice wood, in which the Camellia prevailed; and in the little glens were clusters of fishermen's huts, surrounded by small plantations of tobacco.

Within the defile of these wild mountains, we observed several extensive collieries, which were advantageously worked by driving levels from the river into their sides. The coals brought out of the horizontal adits were immediately lowered from a pier into vessels that were ready to receive and transport them to the potteries of this province, and of Kiang-see. Coal is little used in its raw state, but is first charred in large pits that are dug in the ground. Coal dust, mixed with earth, and formed into square blocks, is frequently used to heat their little stoves, on which they boil their rice.

At the city of Tchao-tchoo-foo, where we arrived on the 13th, we exchanged our flat-bottomed boats for large and commodious yachts, the river being here much increased by the confluence of another stream. The boats before this city were mostly managed by young girls, whose dress consisted of a neat white jacket and petticoat and a gipsey straw hat. Having for so great a length of time scarcely ever set our eyes upon a female, except the heads of some at a distance, peeping from behind the mud walls that surround the houses, or labouring in the grounds of Kiang-see, the ferry girls, though in reality very plain and coarse-featured, were considered as the most beautiful objects that had occurred in the whole journey. To the occupation of ferrying passengers over the river it seemed they added another, not quite so honourable, for which, however, they had not only the consent and approbation of their parents, but also the sanction of the government, or perhaps, to speak more correctly, of the governing magistrates, given in consideration of their receiving a portion of the wages of prostitution.

In this mountainous district a few fishermen's huts and those of the colliers were the only habitations that occurred; but the defect of population was abundantly supplied by the number of wooden dwellings that were floating on the river. Small huts, to the number of thirty or forty, were sometimes erected upon a single floating raft of fir baulks, lashed together by the ends and the sides. On these rafts the people carry on their trade or occupation, particularly such as work in wood.

Our conductors directed the yachts to halt before a detached rock, rising with a perpendicular front from the margin of the river to the height of seven hundred feet. In this front we observed a cavern, before which was a terrace that had been cut out of the rock, accessible by a flight of steps from the river. Proceeding from the terrace into the cavity of the rock, we ascended another flight of stairs, also cut out of solid stone, which led into a very spacious apartment. In the centre of this apartment sat the goddess Poo-sa upon a kind of altar, constituting a part of the rock, and hewn into the shape of the Lien-wha or Nelumbium. A small opening, next the river, admitted a "dim religious light," suitable to the solemnity of the place, which we were told was a temple consecrated to Poo-sa, and a monastery for the residence of a few superannuated priests. On the smooth sides of the apartment was inscribed a multitude of Chinese verses, some cut into the rock, and others painted upon it. The lodgings of the priests were small caves branching out of the large temple. A third flight of steps led from this to a second story, which was also lighted by a small aperture in front, that was nearly choaked up by an immense mass of stalectite that had been formed, and was still increasing, by the constant oozing of water holding in solution calcareous matter, and suspended from a projection of the upper part of the rock. But the light was sufficient to discover a gigantic image with a Saracen face, who "grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile." On his head was a sort of crown; in one hand he held a naked scymeter, and a firebrand in the other; but the history of this colossal divinity seemed to be imperfectly known, even to the votaries of Poo-sa themselves. He had in all probability been a warrior in his day, the Theseus or the Hercules of China. The cave of the Cuman Sibyl could not be better suited for dealing out the mysterious decrees of fate to the superstitious multitude, than that of the Quan-gin-shan, from whence the oracle of future destiny, in like manner,

"Horrendas canit ambages, antroque remugit, Obscuris vera involvens."

"The wond'rous truths, involv'd in riddles, gave, And furious bellow'd round the gloomy cave."

Lord Macartney observed that this singular temple brought to his recollection a Franciscan monastery he had seen in Portugal, near Cape Roxent, usually called the Cork Convent, "which is an excavation of considerable extent under a hill, divided into a great number of cells, and fitted up with a church, sacristy, refectory, and every requisite apartment for the accommodation of the miserable Cordeliers who burrow in it. The inside is entirely lined with cork: the walls, the roofs, the floors, are covered with cork; the tables, seats, chairs, beds, couches, the furniture of the chapel, the crucifixes, and every other implement, are all made of cork. The place was certainly dismal and comfortless to a great degree, but it wanted the gigantic form, the grim features, the terrific aspect which distinguish the temple of Poo-sa, in the rock of Quan-gin-shan." Dismal as this gloomy den appeared to be, where a few miserable beings had voluntarily chained themselves to a rock, to be gnawed by the vultures of superstition and fanaticism, it is still less so than an apartment of the Franciscan convent in Madeira, the walls of which are entirely covered with human skulls, and the bones of legs and arms, placed alternately in horizontal rows. A dirty lamp suspended from the ceiling, and constantly attended by an old bald-headed friar of the order, to keep the feeble light just glimmering in the socket, serves to shew indistinctly to strangers this disgusting memento mori. It would be difficult to determine which of the three were the most useless members of society, the monks of Poo-sa, the monks of the Cork convent, or the monks of Golgotha.

In several places among the wild and romantic mountains through which we were carried on this river, we noticed quarries of great extent, out of which huge stones had been cut for sepulchral monuments, for the arches of bridges, for architraves, for paving the streets, and for various other uses. To obtain these large masses, the saw is applied at the upper surface, and they work down vertically to the length required. Each stone is shaped and fashioned to the size that may be wanted, before it is removed from the parent rock, by which much difficulty is avoided and less power required in conveying it to its destination. Rude misshapen blocks, requiring additional labour for their removal, are never detached from the rock in such a state. In this respect they are more provident than the late Empress of Russia who, at an immense expense and with the aid of complicated machinery, caused a block of stone to be brought to her capital, to serve as a pedestal for the statue of the Czar Peter, where it was found expedient to reduce it to two-thirds of its original dimensions.

Between the city of Canton and the first pagoda on the bank of the river, there is a continued series of similar quarries, which appear not to have been worked for many years. The regular and formal manner in which the stones have been cut away, exhibiting lengthened streets of houses with quadrangular chambers, in the sides of which are square holes at equal distances, as if intended for the reception of beams; the smoothness and perfect perpendicularity of the sides, and the number of detached pillars that are scattered over the plain, would justify a similar mistake to that of Mr. Addison's Doctor of one of the German universities, whom he found at Chateau d'Un in France, carefully measuring the free-stone quarries at that place, which he had conceived to be the venerable remains of vast subterranean palaces of great antiquity.

Almost all the mountains that occurred in our passage through China were of primval granite, some few of sand-stone, and the inferior hills were generally of lime-stone, or coarse grey marble. Except the Ladrone islands on the south, and some of the Chu-san islands on the east, we observed no appearances in the whole country of volcanic productions. The high mountains, indeed, that form great continental chains are seldom, if ever, of volcanic formation. The presence of a vast volume of water seems to be indispensably necessary to carry on this operation of nature and, accordingly, we find that volcanic mountains are generally close to the sea coast, or entirely insulated. Thus, although a great part of the islands on the coast of China are volcanic, we met with no trace of subterranean heat, either in volcanic products or thermal springs, on the whole continent. Yet earthquakes are said to have been frequently felt in all the provinces, but slight and of short duration.

About seven miles to the southward of the temple in the rock, the mountains abruptly ceased, and we entered on a wide extended plain which, to the southward and on each side, was terminated only by the horizon. This sudden transition from barrenness to fertility, from the sublime to the beautiful, from irregularity to uniformity, could not fail to please, as all strong contrasts usually do. The country was now in a high state of tillage; the chief products were rice, sugar-canes, and tobacco; and the river was so much augmented by the tributary streams of the mountains, which we had just left behind, that it was nearly half a mile in width. Canals branched from its two banks in every direction. At the city of San-shwee shien, we observed the current of the river receding, being driven back by the flux of the tide.

On the 10th, we halted before a village which was just within sight of the suburbs of Canton. Here the Embassador was met by the Commissioners of the East India Company, whom the Chinese had allowed to proceed thus far from the factory, and to which place the servants of the Company are occasionally permitted to make their parties of pleasure. In the neighbourhood of this village are extensive gardens for the supply of the city with vegetables. In some we observed nurseries for propagating the rare, the beautiful, the curious, or the useful plants of the country; which are sent to Canton for sale. On this account we were not sorry to be obliged to spend the remainder of the day at this place. Among the choice plants we noticed the large Peonia before mentioned, white, red, and variegated; the elegant Limodorum Tankervilli, and that singular plant the Epidendrum flos aeris so called from its vegetating without the assistance of earth or water; the Hybiscus mutabilis, the Abelmoschus, and other species of this genus; the double variegated Camellia Japonica; the great holly-hock; the scarlet amaranthus and another species of the same genus, and a very elegant Celosia or cock's comb; the Nerium Oleander, sometimes called the Ceylon rose, and the Yu-lan, a species of magnolia, the flowers of which appear before the leaves burst from the buds. Of the scented plants the plumeria and a double flowering jasmine were the most esteemed. We observed also in pots the Ocymum or sweet Basil, Cloranthus inconspicuous, called Chu-lan, whose leaves are sometimes mixed with those of tea to give them a peculiar flavour; the Olea fragrans, or sweet scented olive, said also to be used for the same purpose; a species of myrtle; the much esteemed Rosa Sinica; the Tuberose; the strong scented Gardenia florida, improperly called the Cape Jasmine; the China pink and several others, to enumerate which would exceed the limits of this work.

Of fruits we noticed a variety of figs, and three species of mulberries; peaches and almonds; the Annona or custard-apple; the Eugenia Jambos, or rose-apple; the much-esteemed Lee-tchee or Sapindus-edulis; and the Koelreuteria, another species of the same genus; the Averhoa Carambola, an excellent fruit for tarts; and the Ou-long-shoo, the Sterculia platanifolia. Besides these were abundance of oranges and bananas.

As vegetables for the table, was a great variety of beans and calavances, among which was the Dolichos Soja or soy plant, and the polystachios, with its large clusters of beautiful scarlet flowers; the Cytisus Cadjan, whole seed yields the famous bean-milk, which it is the custom of the Emperor to offer to Embassadors on their presentation; large mild radishes, onions, garlic, Capsicum or Cayenne-pepper; convolvulus batatas, or sweet potatoes; two species of tobacco; Amomum, or ginger, in great quantities, the root of which they preserve in syrup; Sinapis, or mustard, and the Brassica orientalis, from which an oil is expressed for the table.

Of plants that were useful in the arts, we observed the Rhus vernix, or varnish-tree, and two other species of the same genus; Curcuma, or turmeric; Carthamus used as a dye, and the polygonum Chinense for the same purpose; the Rhapis flabelliformis, the dried leaves of which are used for fans among the common people, and particularly by those who live in vessels; Corchorus whose bark, in India, is used as flax; but not, I believe, to any extent in China, the white nettle being here preferred. The only medicinal plants were the Rheum palmatum, Artemisia, and the Smilax or China root.

To make our entr into Canton the more splendid, a number of superb barges were sent to meet us, carrying flags and streamers and umbrellas and other insignia of office; and in some were bands of music. About the middle of the day we arrived before the factories, which constitute a line of buildings in the European style, extending along the left bank of the river, where the Embassador was received by the Song-too, or Viceroy, the Governor, the Ho-poo, or collector of the customs, and all the principal officers of the government. From hence we were conducted to the opposite side of the river, where a temporary building of poles and mats had been prepared for the occasion; within which was a screen of yellow silk bearing the name of the Emperor in gilt characters. Before this screen the Viceroy and other officers performed the usual prostrations, in token of gratitude to his imperial Majesty, for his having vouchsafed us a prosperous journey.

It is but doing justice to the Chinese government and to the individuals in its employ who had any concern in the affairs of the embassy, to observe, that as far as regarded ourselves, their conduct was uniformly marked by liberality, attention, and an earnest desire to please. Nor is there any vanity in saying that, after observing us closely in the course of a long journey and daily intercourse, the officers of government gradually dismissed the prejudices imbibed against us, as foreigners, from their earliest youth. Gained by our frank and open manners, and by little attentions, they seemed to fly with pleasure to our society as a relief from the tedious formalities they were obliged to assume in their official capacity. Van and Chou constantly passed the evenings in some of our yachts. It is impossible to speak of those two worthy men in terms equal to their desert. Kind, condescending, unremitting in their attentions, they never betrayed one moment of ill-humour from the time we entered China till they took their final leave at Canton. These two men were capable of real attachments. They insisted on accompanying the Embassador on board the Lion, where they took their last farewell. At parting they burst into tears and shewed the strongest marks of sensibility and concern. Their feelings quite overcame them, and they left the Lion sorrowful and dejected. Early the following morning they sent on board twenty baskets of fruit and vegetables, as a farewell token of their remembrance. We had the satisfaction to hear, that immediately on their arrival at Pekin they both were promoted. Chou is at present in a high situation at court, but Van, the cheerful good-humoured Van, has paid the debt of nature, having fallen honourably in the service of his country. On the conduct of Lee, our Chinese interpreter, any praise that I could bestow would be far inadequate to his merit. Fully sensible of his perilous situation, he never at any one time shrank from his duty. At Macao he took an affectionate leave of his English friends, with whom, though placed in one of the remotest provinces of the empire, he still contrives to correspond. The Embassador, Lord Macartney, has had several letters from him; the last of which is of so late a date as March 1802; so that his sensibility has not been diminished either by time or distance.

It is the custom of China to consider all Embassadors as guests of the Emperor, from the moment they enter any part of his dominions, until they are again entirely out of them. The inconvenience of this custom was severely felt by us, as it prevented us from purchasing, in an open manner, many trifling articles that would have been acceptable. The very considerable expence, incurred by the court on this account, may be one reason for prescribing the limited time of forty days for all embassadors to remain at the capital. To meet the expences of the present Embassy, Van-ta-gin assured me, that they were furnished with an order to draw on the public treasuries of the different provinces through which we had to pass, to the amount of five thousand ounces of silver a-day, or about one thousand six hundred pounds sterling: and that fifteen hundred ounces a-day had been issued out of the treasury at Pekin for the support of the Embassy during its continuance there. Supposing then these data to be correct, and I see no reason for calling their authenticity in question, we may form an estimate of the whole expence of this Embassy to the Chinese government.

From the 6th of August (the day we entered the Pei-ho) to the 21st (when we arrived in Oz. Pekin) inclusive 16 days, 80,000

From the 22d August to the 6th October (in Pekin and in Gehol) 46 days, 69,000

From the 7th October to the 19th December (when we arrived at Canton) 74 days, 370,000 ————- Total ounces of silver 519,000

Or one hundred and seventy-three thousand pounds sterling; three Chinese ounces being equal to one pound sterling.

It is hardly possible that this enormous sum of money could have been expended on account of the Embassy, though I have no doubt of its having been issued out of the Imperial treasury for that purpose. One of the missionaries informed me, in Pekin, that the Gazette of that capital contained an article stating the liberality of the Emperor towards the English Embassador, in his having directed no less a sum than fifteen hundred ounces of silver to be applied for the daily expences of the Embassy, while stationary in the capital and at Gehol. The same gentleman made an observation, that the great officers of government, as well as those who had the good luck to be appointed to manage the concerns of a foreign embassy, considered it as one of the best wind-falls in the Emperor's gift, the difference between the allowances and the actual expenditure being equivalent to a little fortune.

Van-ta-gin, indeed, explained to us, that although the Imperial warrant was signed for those sums, yet that having a number of offices to pass through, in all of which it diminished a little, the whole of it was not actually expended on the Embassy. He gave to the Embassador an excellent illustration of the manner in which the Imperial bounty was sometimes applied. An inundation had swept away, the preceding winter, a whole village in the province of Shan-tung, so suddenly, that the inhabitants could save nothing but their lives. The Emperor having once lodged at the place immediately ordered 100,000 ounces of silver for their relief, out of which the first officer of the treasury took 20,000, the second 10,000, the third 5,000, and so on, till at last there remained only 20,000 for the poor sufferers. So that the boasted morality of China is pretty much the same, when reduced to practice, as that of other countries.

The real expence, however, of the British Embassy, could not have been a trifle, when we consider what a vast multitude of men, horses, and vessels were constantly employed on the occasion. Van-ta-gin assured me, that there were seldom fewer than one thousand men, and frequently many more, employed one way or other in its service; and I am persuaded he did not intend to exaggerate. In the first place, from the mouth of the Pei-ho to Tong-tchoo, we had forty-one yachts or barges, each on an average, including boatmen, trackers, and soldiers, having on board fifteen men; this gives six hundred and fifteen men to the boats only. Caterers running about the country to collect provisions, boatmen to bring them to the several barges, the conducting officers, and their numerous retinue, are not included in this estimate. From Tong-tchoo near three thousand men were employed to carry the presents and baggage, first to Hung-ya-yuen, beyond Pekin, and then back again to the capital, which took them three days. In our return from Tong-tchoo to Hang-tchoo-foo, we had a fleet of thirty-vessels, with ten men at least and, for the greatest part of the journey, twenty additional trackers to each vessel; this gives nine hundred people for the yachts alone.

From Hang-tchoo-foo to Eu-shan-shien and from Hang-tchoo-foo to Chu-san, there might probably be employed about forty vessels, with twelve men to each, or four hundred and eighty in the whole. And, besides the people employed by the officers of government to purchase provisions, numbers were stationed in different parts of the rivers to contract the stream, by raking together the pebbles where, otherwise, the water would have been too shallow for the boats to pass; and others to attend at all the fluices on the canals to assist the vessels in getting through the same.

From Tchang-shan-shien to Eu-shan-shien, overland, we had about forty horses, and three or four hundred men to carry the baggage.

From the Po-yang lake to Canton, we had generally about twenty-six vessels with twenty men to each, including boatmen, soldiers, and trackers, which gives five hundred and twenty men for these alone.

The Embassy consisted of near one hundred persons, but as for the several officers and their numerous retinue of guards, attendants, and runners, I have not the least idea to what their numbers might amount; all of whom, being on extraordinary service, were supported at the public expence.

The whole expence of the Embassy to this country, including the presents, did not exceed eighty thousand pounds; an inconsiderable sum for such a nation as Great Britain on such an occasion, and not more than a fourth part of what has been generally imagined.

Although the British factory was in every sense more comfortable than the most splendid palace that the country afforded, yet it was so repugnant to the principles of the government for an Embassador to take up his abode in the same dwelling with merchants, that it was thought expedient to indulge their notions in this respect, and to accept a large house in the midst of a garden, on the opposite side of the river, which was fitted up and furnished with beds in the European manner, with glazed sash windows, and with fire grates suitable for burning coals. On our arrival here we found a company of comedians hard at work, in the middle of a piece, which it seemed had begun at sun-rise; but their squalling and their shrill and harsh music were so dreadful, that they were prevailed upon, with difficulty, to break off during dinner, which was served up in a viranda directly opposite the theatre.

Next morning, however, about sun-rise, they set to work afresh, but at the particular request of the Embassador, in which he was joined by the whole suite, they were discharged, to the no small astonishment of our Chinese conductors, who concluded, from this circumstance, that the English had very little taste for elegant amusements. Players, it seems, are here hired by the day and the more incessantly they labour, the more they are applauded. They are always ready to begin any one piece out of a list of twenty or thirty, that is presented for the principal visitor to make his choice.

The nature of the trade carried on by foreign nations at the port of Canton is so well known, that it would be superfluous for me to dwell on that subject. The complaints of all nations against the extortions practised there have been loudly and frequently heard in Europe, but the steps that have hitherto been taken have proved unavailing. The common answer is, "Why do you come here? We take in exchange your articles of produce and manufacture, which we really have no occasion for, and give you in return our precious tea, which nature has denied to your country, and yet you are not satisfied. Why do you so often visit a country whose customs you dislike? We do not invite you to come among us, but when you do come, and behave well, we treat you accordingly. Respect then our hospitality, but don't pretend to regulate or reform it." Such is the language held to Europeans by all the petty officers of government with whom they have to deal.

With such sentiments one cannot be surprized that foreign merchants should be received with indifference, if not handled with rudeness, and that the fair trader should be liable to extortions. This is still more likely to happen from the complete monopoly of all foreign trade being consigned to a limited number of merchants, seldom, I believe, exceeding eight, who are sanctioned by government. The cargoes of tin, lead, cotton, opium, and large sums of Spanish dollars, sent to Canton from Europe, India, and America, all pass through the hands of these Hong merchants, who also furnish the return cargoes. As the capital employed is far beyond any thing of the kind we can conceive in Europe by so few individuals, their profits must be proportionally great, or they could not be able to bear the expence of the numerous and magnificent presents which they are expected to make to the superior officers of government at Canton, who, in their turn, find it expedient to divide these with the Emperor and his ministers in the capital. The various toys, automatons, moving and musical figures from Coxe's museum, the mathematical and astronomical instruments, clocks, watches, machinery, jewellery, all made in London, and now in the different palaces of the Emperor of China, are said to be valued at no less a sum than two millions sterling, all presents from Canton. The principal officers of this government are invariably sent down from Pekin; they arrive poor and, in the course of three years, return with immense riches. How much of the enormous wealth of Ho-tchung-tang came from the same quarter it is difficult to say, but the great influence he possessed over the Emperor, and his intimacy with the viceroy of Canton, who was superseded in 1793, leave no doubt, that a very considerable part of it was drawn from this port. The large pearl, which forms one of the charges preferred against him, was a present from Canton, of which I have been told a curious history by a gentleman who was on the spot at the time it happened. An Armenian merchant brought this pearl to Canton, in the expectation of making his fortune. Its size and beauty soon became known and attracted the attention of the officers and the merchants, who paid their daily visits to the Armenian, offering him prices far inadequate to its value. At length, however, after minute and repeated examinations, a price was agreed upon and a deposit made, but the Armenian was to keep possession of the pearl till the remaining part of the purchase-money should be ready; and in order to obviate any possibility of trick, the box in which it was kept was sealed with the purchaser's seal. Several days elapsed without his hearing any thing further from the Chinese; and, at length, the time approached when all foreign merchants are ordered down to Macao. The Armenian, in vain, endeavoured to find out the people who had purchased his pearl, but he contented himself with the reflection that, although he had been disappointed in the main object of his journey, he still had his property, and that the deposit was more than sufficient to defray his expences. On reaching his home, he had no longer any scruple in breaking open the seal; but his mortification may easily be supposed, on discovering that his real pearl had been exchanged for an artificial one, so very like as not to be detected but by the most critical examination. The daily visits of these people, it seems, were for no other purpose than to enable them to forge an accurate imitation, which they had dexterously substituted for the real one, when they proposed the cunning expedient of sealing the box in which it was inclosed. The Armenians, however, were determined not to be outdone by the Chinese. A noted character, of the name of Baboom, equally well known in Bengal and Madras as in Canton, just before his failure in about half a million sterling, deposited a valuable casket of pearls, as he represented them, in the hands of one of the Hong merchants, as a pledge for a large sum of money, which, when opened, instead of pearls was found to be a casket of peas.

It has always been considered that a foreigner has little chance of obtaining justice at Canton. The import and export duties, which by the law of the country ought to be levied ad valorem, are arbitrarily fixed according to the fancy of the collector. And although the court is at all times ready to punish, by confiscation of their property, such as have been guilty of corruption and oppression, yet by accepting their presents, it seems to lend them its encouragement. Besides, the distance from Canton to the metropolis is so great, the temptations so strong, and the chances of impunity so much in their favour, that to be honest, when power and opportunity lend their aid to roguery, is a virtue not within the pale of Chinese morality. A striking instance of their peculation appeared in a circumstance that was connected with the British Embassy. In consideration of the Hindostan having carried presents for the Emperor, an order was issued from Court that she should be exempt from duties at any of the ports where she might take in a cargo. It happened that the Hong merchants had already paid the Hindostan's duties with those of the other ships, of which her particular share was 30,000 ounces of silver. The Hoo-poo or collector was therefore requested to return this sum agreeably to the order from court, but he refunded only into Mr. Browne's hands 14,000 dollars, which can be reckoned as little more than 11,000 ounces, observing, that so much was the exact amount of the Emperor's duties. As in this instance of a public nature the collector could not be supposed to act without circumspection, we may conclude how very small a proportion of the duties, extorted from foreigners trading to Canton, finds its way into the Imperial treasury.

Thus the taxes, which, if we may judge of them from those paid by their own countrymen, are extremely moderate, by the abuses of the administration become serious grievances to the foreign merchant who, however, has never hitherto employed the only probable mean of obtaining redress—that of making himself acquainted with the language of the country, so as to be able to remonstrate to the high officers of state, against the oppressions and impositions of those who act in inferior capacities; for, however rapacious and corrupt the first in authority may be, his timid nature would shrink immediately from a bold, clamorous, and able complainant, who possessed the means of making his delinquency notorious. This observation has been verified by a recent occurrence. A fraudulent suppression of a bankruptcy, for which the government stood responsible, and by which the interests of the East India Company, as well as of several individuals in India and Canton, would materially have suffered, was completely frustrated by the simple circumstance of Mr. Drummond, the chief of the factory, rushing into the city of Canton, and repeating aloud a few words which he had got by heart whilst, at the same time, he held up a written memorial; the consequence of which was, that the memorial was immediately carried to the viceroy, and the grievance complained of therein redressed. It would have been in vain to convey it through any of the inferior officers or the Hong merchants, as they were all interested in keeping it from the knowledge of government.

The supposed difficulty of acquiring the Chinese language has hitherto intimidated the residents in Canton from making the attempt. Satisfied in transacting the Company's concerns through the medium of a jargon of broken English, which all the Hong merchants and even the inferior tradesmen and mechanics find it worth their while to acquire, they have totally neglected the language, as well as every other branch of information respecting the most interesting and extraordinary empire on the face of the globe. The attainment in fact of four or five thousand characters, which are sufficient to write clearly and copiously on any subject, is much less difficult than usually has been imagined, but it would require great attention and unremitting perseverance, such perhaps as few are willing to bestow, who are placed in situations which enable them to calculate, almost to a certainly, on realizing a fixed sum in a given number of years. The climate may also be adverse to intense application, but if the foundation was laid in England, much of the difficulty would thus be obviated. The French, aware of the solid advantages that result from the knowledge of languages, are at this moment holding out every encouragement to the study of Chinese literature; obviously not without design. They know that the Chinese character is understood from the Gulph of Siam to the Tartarian Sea, and over a very considerable part of the great Eastern Archipelago; that the Cochin Chinese, with whom they have already firmly rooted themselves, use no other writing than the pure Chinese character, which is also the case with the Japanese. It is to be hoped therefore that the British nation will not neglect the means of being able to meet the French, if necessary, even on this ground. The method of accomplishing this desirable object appears to be extremely simple. If the Directors of the East India Company were to make it a rule that no writer should be appointed to China until he had made himself acquainted with five hundred or a thousand characters of the language[69], I will be bold to say that, where the number sent out is so few (the establishment not exceeding twenty) and the emoluments so very liberal, there would be as little danger as at present, by such a regulation, of the appointments being made out of their own families. The noble Marquis at the head of their affairs in India has established an institution, which seems to bid fair for producing a mutual benefit to the parent state and the native Indians. The exertions of Sir William Jones and a few others had, indeed, long before this, been productive of the happiest effects; and great numbers, both on the civil and military establishments of the Company, made themselves acquainted, in a certain degree, with the different languages spoken in the country. In fact, it became a matter of necessity, in order to remove prejudices imbibed against us and to meet those of the natives. The Portuguese and the Dutch adopted a different policy; and, like our residents at Canton, communicated only with the natives in a jargon of their own languages. Mr. Thunberg tells a story of a Dutch gentleman, who had resided as chief of their factory in Japan for fourteen years, during which period he had been four times in the capacity of Embassador to the court, yet, on being asked the name of the Emperor of Japan, freely avowed that it had never occurred to him to ask it. In fact, his grand object was the accumulation of so many millions of florins in a given time; in the pursuit of which he had completely lost sight of the Emperor of Japan and his millions of subjects.

[69] There are several good manuscript Chinese dictionaries in England; one of which is under publication by Doctor Montucci; who, I understand from good authority, by many years of indefatigable application, had succeeded in writing the characters with great neatness and accuracy; and is well qualified in other respects for the undertaking, in which, it is to be hoped, he may meet with suitable encouragement.

If then, by neglecting to study the language of the Chinese, we are silly enough to place ourselves and concerns so completely in their power, we are highly deserving of the extortions and impositions so loudly complained of. If the trade of London was exclusively vested in the hands of eight merchants, and if the foreigners who visited its port could neither speak nor write one single word of the language of England, but communicated solely on every subject with those eight merchants, through a broken jargon somewhat resembling the languages of the several foreigners, it might fairly be questioned, without any disparagement to the merchants of London, if those foreigners would have less reason of complaint than the Europeans have who now trade to China? Even as things are, would a Chinese arriving in England find no subject of complaint, no grievances nor vexations at the custom-house, which, for want of knowing our language, he might be apt to consider as extortions and impositions? Two years ago two Chinese missionaries landed in England, in their way to the college de propaganda Fide at Naples. Each had a small bundle of clothes under his arm and, according to the custom of their country, a fan in his hand. Being observed by one of those voracious sharks who, under the pretext of preventing frauds on the revenue, plunder unprotected foreigners and convert the booty to their own advantage, the poor fellows were stripped by him of the little property they carried in their hands, and were not, without difficulty, allowed to escape with the clothes on their backs. Can we blame these people for representing us as a barbarous, unfeeling, and inhospitable nation, however undeserving we may be of such a character?

Our case at Canton is pretty nearly the same as that of the two Chinese missionaries. Every petty officer of the government knows he can practise impositions on our trade with impunity, because we have not the means of bringing his villainy to the knowledge of his superiors. For, how great soever may be the propensity of the Chinese people to fraud and extortion, I have little doubt of the justice and moderation of the Chinese government, when the case is properly represented. A recent circumstance may be mentioned in support of this opinion. In the year 1801, a sailor on board his Majesty's ship the Madras fired upon and mortally wounded a Chinese who was passing in a boat. A discussion, as usual, took place with the Chinese government; but it was conducted in a very different manner from what had hitherto been usual on similar occasions. Instead of entering into any explanation or defence through the medium of the Hong merchants, who tremble at the lowest officer of government, a memorial was addressed to the Viceroy, drawn up in a proper and becoming manner by the present Sir George Staunton, the only Englishman in the Company's service who was skilled in the Chinese language. Several conversations were also held on the subject with the officers of justice, from which the Hong merchants were excluded. Captain Dilkes setting up a plea of recrimination on the ground of some Chinese having cut his cable with an intent to steal it, the government assented to have the matter tried in the supreme court of justice in the city of Canton. By the law of China, if the wounded person survive forty days, the sentence of death is commuted for that of banishment into the wilds of Tartary; yet so favourably did the court incline to the side of the accused in this instance, that although the time was not expired, and there was little hope of the wounded man recovering, they allowed Captain Dilkes to take the seaman into his own custody, requiring only that he should leave in court a written promise to produce him in case the wounded should not survive the time prescribed by law. The man lingered near fifty days and then died, upon which a message was sent by the court, intimating to the Captain, that the court saw no impropriety, in this instance, in leaving it to him to punish the delinquent according to the laws of his own country; thus, for the first time, assenting to set aside a positive law in favour of foreigners. By this proper mode of interference an English subject was saved from an unjust and ignominious death, which would otherwise inevitably have happened, as on all former occasions of a similar kind, had the affair been left in the hands of men whose interest it is to represent us as barbarians, and who, however well they might be disposed, have not the courage to plead our cause. Hitherto the Chinese have invariably made a point of executing immediately, and without a regular trial, any foreigner who should kill a Chinese, or some substitute in the place of the actual criminal, as I have already instanced in the seventh chapter. One of the most intelligent of the East India Company's servants at Canton, speaking on this subject, in answer to certain queries proposed to him about the time of the Embassy, remarks, "I cannot help observing, that the situation of the Company's servants and the trade in general is, in this respect, very dangerous and disgraceful. It is such that it will be impossible for them to extricate themselves from the cruel dilemma a very probable accident may place them in, I will not say with honour, but without infamy, or exposing the whole trade to ruin." Yet we have just now seen, on the recurrence of such an accident, that by the circumstance of a direct and immediate communication with the government, the affair was terminated, not only without disgrace or infamy, but in a that was honourable to both parties.


I have now gone over most of the points relative to which I have been able to recollect the remarks and observations which arose in my mind during my attendance on this memorable Embassy. The comparisons I have made were given with a view of assisting the reader to form in his own mind some idea what rank the Chinese may be considered to hold, when measured by the scale of European nations; but this part is very defective. To have made it complete would require more time and more reading, than at present I could command. The consideration of other objects, those of a political nature, which are of the most serious importance to our interests in China, is more particularly the province of those in a different sphere, and would, therefore, be improper for me to anticipate or prejudge, by any conjectures of my own. It belongs to other persons, and perhaps to other times[70]; but it is to be hoped that the information, reflections, and opinions of the Embassador himself, may one day be fully communicated to the public, when the present objections to it shall cease, and the moment arrive (which is probably not very distant) that will enable us to act upon the ideas of that nobleman's capacious and enlightened mind, and to prove to the world that the late Embassy, by shewing the character and dignity of the British nation in a new and splendid light, to a court and people in a great measure ignorant of them before, however misrepresented by the jealousy and envy of rivals, or impeded by the counteraction of enemies, has laid an excellent foundation for great future advantages, and done honour to the wisdom and foresight of the statesman[71] who planned the measure, and directed its execution.

[70] This was written at the close of the year 1803.

[71] The Lord Viscount Melville.



Abaris, the flying arrow of, 40

Africa, coast of, known to the Phenicians, 48

Agriculture, an honourable profession, 397 of Pe-tche-lee, 554 of Shan-tung, 554 of Kiang-nan, 561 terrace system of, 568

Air sung by Chinese boatmen, 81

Almanack, national, 284

Almeyda, a Portuguese Jesuit, malignant spirit of, 19

Alphabet of the Mantchoo language, 272

American Indians resemble the Chinese, 44 traders, how considered at Canton, 593

Amplification, Chinese example of, 36

Ancients unacquainted with China, 435

Anniversary of the Emperor of China's birth-day, 196

Anson's voyage, character of Chinese in the account of, 27

Antiquary, curious mistake of one, 258

Appeal, none in civil causes, 277

Arbitrary power, instance of, 85

Arch, very ancient in Chinese architecture, 339 those called triumphal, 95

Archipelago of Chu-san, violent currents in, 54

Architecture of the palace of Yuen-min-yuen, 124 style of, in landscape gardening, 135 general observations on, 330 monumental, 339

Arithmetic, 196

Armenian and his pearl, 611

Army establishment, 405 how employed, 408

Astronomy, 284 ignorance of the Chinese in, 290

Authority, parental, basis of Chinese government, 359


Baboom, an Armenian, trick played by him at Canton, 612

Bamboo, the practice of flogging with, instanced, 161 general utility of this plant, 309 reflexions on the punishment of, 380 compared with that of the knout in Russia, 383

Bedford, Duke of, his portrait in China, 115

Beverage of life, 464

Bishop of Pekin, his visit to Yuen-min-yuen, 110

Books, ancient ones of China, 276

Breakfast, Chinese, 89

Briareus of China, 471

Bridges, 337 one of ninety-one arches, 520

Budha, compared with Fo, 468

Burying-ground, 497


Calendar, national, an engine of government, 391

Camellia Sesanqua, 536

Camelopardalis, noticed by Marco Polo, 46

Canal, Imperial, 335 observations on, 506-512

Cannon, 299

Canton, reasons for the Embassy avoiding it, 33 situation of foreigners trading to it, 610

Carriages of the Chinese described, 90 those made by Hatchett puzzle them, 113

Cavalry, Tartar, 410

Censorate, 363

Ceremony of the Court, 21

Chain-pump, 311

Character, physical, as given by Linnus not correct, 184 moral, of Chinese and Tartars, 186

Characters of the Chinese language, 248 keys or roots of, 251 examples of the composition of, 255

Chastity, palace of, 235

Chemical Arts, 298

Checks to the absolute power of the Emperor, 362

Children still-born exposed in the streets, 176

Chou-ta-gin, 70

Chou-ta-gin, kind attentions of, 604

Christian Religion might once have been introduced, 449

Churchmen, intrigues of, not easily obviated, 18

Cingalese, of Chinese origin, 53

Cities of China, walls, towers, and gates of, 91 observations on, 500

Cleanliness no part of the Chinese character, 77

Cock-fighting, 159

Coffins, splendid appearance of, 95

Collieries, 594

Commerce of the Yellow Sea, how carried on, 60

Comedy described, 201 extraordinary scene in one, 221

Comparison of China and Europe, 29 of a Chinese and a Hottentot, 49

Compass, an original invention of Chinese, 39 observations on, 61 explanation of the circles on, 62

Conclusion, 621

Conduct of Chinese prepossessing, 80

Confucius, religion of, 451 no statues to the memory of, 458 hall of, 459

Cork Convent, 597

Corvorant, the fishing, 506

Cottons, manufactures of, 307 cultivation of the plant, 556

Court of China, forms of, immutable, 21 manners and amusements of, 191

Crimes and punishments, 367

Criminal offences, mode of trial for, 370

Crowd of persons at Ting-hai, 57 at Tien-sing, 78 at Tong-tchoo, 86 in Pekin, 96

Cruelty, instance of, 161

Crystal lenses, 341

Cuckoo-clocks, 181

Currents, violence of, in Chu-san Archipelago, 54

Custom respecting Embassadors, 22

Customs and dress not subjects of ridicule, 74

Cycle of sixty years, 293


Daughters always sold, 145

Day of rest, policy of observing one, 154

Decimal Arithmetic, 297

Deity not personified in China, 457

Deluge, universal tradition of, 432

Deodato, an Italian missionary, 107

Departments, public, 365

Descartes, his idea of prolonging life, 466

Dignities, personal, 385

Dispositions, natural, altered by influence of laws, 160

Distillation of Seau-tchoo, 303

Drama, state of the, 218 extraordinary subject of one, 222 obscenities of, compared to those of Theodora, 223 absurdities of, similar to those of the amphitheatres, 224

Dress of the Chinese, 71

Dutch Embassadors, humiliating conduct of, 9 their missions not calculated to make terms, 13

Duties levied at Canton, 613


Ebriety, not a Chinese vice, 152

Eclipse of the moon, observance of, 216 ceremony on occasion of, 285

Egpytian mythology in China explained, 424 deities compared with Chinese, 477

Embassador, English, proceeds to Gehol, 104 refuses to submit to the ceremony, 117 his introduction at court, 196 his hotel in Pekin, 332

Embassadors, Dutch, treatment of, at Canton, 9 lodged in a stable at Pekin, 11 reception of, at court, 208 visit Yuen-min-yuen, 215

Embassies, Dutch and English, different treatment of, explained, 17 from Europe in the last century, 23

Embassy, English, a necessary measure, 22 attention of the Chinese to, 604 expence of, to the Chinese government, 605 expence of, to the British government, 608

Emperor of China laughs at Van Braam's aukwardness, 13 considers Embassadors as his guests, 22 an observation of, 104 obeisance to, on his birth-day, 116 inspects the presents, 119 life and character of, 226 causes the death of his Empress and son, 226 conceives the deity to be incarnate in him, 228 his ode in praise of tea, 280 observations of, on the mechanical powers, 312 maxims on which he acts, 360 checks to the absolute power of, 362 patronizes agriculture, 399 instances of gratitude in, 482

Encyclopedists, French, their testimony of the Chinese character, 26

Espirit des Loix, false conclusions drawn in, 148

Etymological deductions fallacious, 241

Eunuchs, bad character of, 230

Expence of the Embassy, to the English and Chinese governments, 605

Eye of the Chinese remarkable, 49


Face of the country near the Pei-ho, 70

Failure of the Embassy, supposed reason of, stated, 8

Famines attempted to be explained, 584

Feet distorted of Chinese women, 73 not noticed by early travellers, 75 difficult to account for, 76

Feasts, 155

Ferry-girls, 595

Fevers, contagious, not frequent, 349

Filial duty, a precept rather than a sentiment, 143

Fire-works described, 206

Fishing, various modes of, 533

Fishermen, condition of, 558

Fo religion of, 468

Formosa, strait of, 34

Four seas, an ancient expression, 14

Fo-shee, the lines of, 277

Franciscan convent in Madeira, 598

Fruit-trees, how propagated, 569

Funerals, 483


Games of Chance, 157

Ganesa compared with Janus and Men-shin, 469

Ganga compared with Egyptian and Chinese deities, 472

Gardening, general account of, by Lord Macartney, 131

Gardens of Yuen-min-yuen, some account of, 122

Gates of Chinese cities, 92

Gehol, appointed for the celebration of the birth day, 104 park of, described by Lord Macartney, 126

Geological observations, 429

Geometry and geography little understood, 295

Gill's sword-blades, acceptable presents, 113

Giraffe, or Camelopardalis, noticed by Marco Polo, 46

Glass, 305

Government, the pride of, 20 stability of, accounted for, 359

Governor of Chu-san, arbitrary proceeding of, 49

Grammar of Chinese language, 267

Grammont, Monsieur, his letter to the Dutch, 7

Great Britain and China, compared as to their extent and population, 576

Gunpowder, 300


Hager, Doctor, remarks on the publication of, 239 mistake of, 253

Hang-tchoo-foo, alarm created in, by three Englishmen, 526

Hatchett's carriages puzzle the Chinese, 113

Herodotus approves the custom of selling women, 140

Hieroglyphical writing, Chinese characters different from, 237

Hills of Pe-tche-lee, character of, 64

Hindoo and Chinese features totally different, 427

History of China, why so little known, 357

Homer degrades women, 140

Homicide punished with death, 368

Honour, high notions of, incompatible with despotism, 179

Ho-tchung-tang, the minister, anecdote of, 183 trial and condemnation of, 387

Hottentots, resemblance of, to the Chinese, 48 portrait of one, compared with Chinese, 50

Humiliation of the Dutch Embassadors, 9


Ice, a luxury enjoyed by the poor near Pekin, 109

Idolatry, one cause of, 485

Jewish law punishing children for their fathers, 375

Jews might have carried the silk worm to China, 437 remarks on these people, 438

Immortals, sons of, a sect in China, 463

Imprisonment not known as a punishment, 378

Incense burnt before the Chinese compass, 42

Infanticide, remarks on, 168 extent of, in China, 169 common among the ancients, 171 probable causes of, 173

Inns, none in China, 421

Inscription on the flags of the yachts, 69 those on monuments, 326

Inundation, 515

Jones, Sir William, his opinion of the Chinese, 27 of their arts, sciences, &c., 356

Ireland, peasantry of, compared with those of China, 578

Iron-ware, 298

Italian opera, Chinese drama a burlesque on, 219

Ivory, cutting of, 308


Kamskatka, known to the Chinese, 14

King of Holland, Emperor's letter addressed to, 43


Lake of Hang-tchoo-foo, 523

Lama, religion of, in China, 464

Language, Chinese written character of, 236 method of studying, 259 colloquial, 264 number of words in, 265 grammar of, 267 Mantchoo Tartar, 270 sooner lost than religious opinions, 405 inconvenience attending our ignorance of, at Canton, 615

Lanterns, feast of, 484

Law, one of an extraordinary nature, 165 effects of this law, 166 a curious case of, 373

Laws, code of, 366

Lens of Mr Parker, 342

Leibnitz, binary arithmetic of, 277

Letter of M. Grammot to the Dutch factory, 7 of the Emperor of China to the King of Holland, 14

Literature, 274

Lowang, one of the Chu-san islands, 36

Lowther-hall, grounds of, compared to the park of Gehol, 134


Macao, surmise with regard to, 20

Macartney, Lord, his account of Chinese gardening, 126 of the birth-day ceremonies, 196 his observations on the Tartars and Chinese, 415

Madagascar, a people on, resembling the Chinese, 45

Madrid, strange notion of the inhabitants of, 99

Mahomedans visit China in the ninth century, 47 get into the interior in the thirteenth century, 442

Malays of Scythian origin, 51

Man-midwives, none in China, 353

Manners of domestic life, 142 a concern of the legislature, 178 and amusements of the court, 191

Mansfield, Lord, his observation on early risers, 229

Mantchoo Tartars, probably a mixed race, 185 a language of, 270 policy of, 412

Manure, an article of commerce, 84

Marco Polo, supposed to have brought the compass from China, 40

Match-locks, why preferred to firelocks, 411

Mechanical powers, 311

Medicine, state of, 344

Meetings of the people rare, 396

Merchants, how considered in China, 180

Micare digitis, a Roman game, 158

Michael de Murano, chart in the church of, 47

Military, establishment of, &c., 405 curious manoeuvre of, 504

Minister of State, miserable lodgings of, 10

Missionaries, remarks on the communications of, 3-28-31 accompanied by spies when they visited the English, 105 story of an infant saved by one, 174 condition of those in the capital, 445 cause their own persecutions, 446 unjustly accuse the Chinese of superstitions, 462

Mollusca-medusa, an article of food, 55

Mongul Tartars, benefit derived by their conquest of China, 43

Monuments, inscriptions on, 329 erected over the dead, 340

Mountains ascended for religious purposes, 451 nature of those of China, 599

Music, 314 specimens of, 318

Musical instruments, plate of, 315


Nations, who had early intercourse with China, 440

Navigation of the Yellow Sea unknown, 33 of the Chinese unskillful, 38 inland, improved by the Tartars, 43

Nautical Almanack, a valuable present to the missionaries in Pekin, 112

Nelumbium, or water lilly, 473

New-year's-day, the only holiday in China, 155

Noah, supposed by the Jesuits to have travelled into China, 433 ark of, where it probably rested, 432


Oar song of the Chinese, 81

Oath, form of, among the Chinese and Sumatrans, 52 never administered in a Chinese court of law, ib.

Objects that occur in China, 4

Occurrences in the Yellow Sea, 25

Office obtained only by learning, 386 of government, civil, 404 military, 406

Officers of Canton, conduct of, towards the Dutch, 10

Opium much used in China, 153

Opthalmia, 351

Ornamental buildings in landscape gardening, 129

Orphan of China, remarks on, 220


Pagodas, observations on, 503

Paine, Tom, his doctrines too sublime for the Chinese language, 396

Painting, 323

Palaces of China worse than Saint James's, 194

Pantomime described, 203

Paper, manufacture of, 310

Park of Gehol described by Lord Macartney, 129

Pauw, his opinion of the Chinese, 27

Peasantry, condition of, 310

Pearl, story of one belonging to an Armenian, 611

Pei-ho, entrance of, 68 second embarkation on, 488

Pekin, approach to, 91 some account of, 93 uncommon bustle in the great streets of, 96 populace of, compared with that of London, 97 police of, 100 uniformity of, 101 hotel of the British Embassador in, 103 appearance of, from Hai-tien, ib. hue and cry raised in, 120 gazette of, 391 contrasted with London, 420 prices of provisions in, 549 buildings and population of, compared with those of London, 581

Perouse de la, his account of a people resembling Chinese, 44

Pilots, difficulty of procuring them at Chu-san, 58

Plants, in Pe-tche-lee, 493 near Hang-tchoo-foo, 525 near Canton, 601

Plough, ceremony of, compared with the Isia, 487

Poetry, 280

Polarity of the magnet known to the Scythians, 41

Police of Pekin, 100

Polo Marco, valuable testimony of, 35

Polygamy an evil of small extent, 147

Population of floating craft, 84 and extent of China, 575 compared with those of Great Britain, 576 as given by Father Amiot, 582

Populousness of China, causes of, 587

Poor laws, none, 401

Porcelain, 304

Portraits of a Chinese and Hottentot, 50 among the presents, difficulty respecting, 114

Portuguese missionary, intrigues of, 18

Posture-masters, feats of, 204

Potatoes a certain crop, 585

Poverty of the Chinese, 495

Predestination, 454

Present of the governor of Ten-tchoo-foo, 65

Present of the officers deputed from court, 67

Press, liberty of, in China, 392

Prince of the blood, anecdote of, 182

Printing, 311

Procession from Tong-tchoo to Pekin, 85 of, 146

Property not secured by law, 177 laws respecting, 379

Prophecy, folly of being guided by, 456

Pulse, 345

Punishments, capital, not frequent, 378

Puppet-shew described, 201


Quacks, tricks of, 347 great pests in England, 465

Quarries of stone, 598


Red-book, Chinese, 405

Religion, primitive, of China, 450 no longer exists, 486

Religious opinions, difficult sometimes to explain, 423

Revenues, 403 application of them, 407 vessels to collect them, 534

Rice erroneously supposed to cause opthalmia, 351 the staff of life in China, 547 mill for cleaning, 565 a precarious crop, 586

Road from Tong-tchoo to Pekin, 91

Roads neglected in China, 513

Romans, amphitheatres of, 224

Russia and China compared, 324


Sabbatical institution, none in China, 154

Sacrifices, 509

Salt, stacks of, near Tien-sing, 78 remarks on the use of, 510

Salutation, mode of, 108 expressions of, mark a national character, 189

Sameness throughout China, 5

Savages, custom of maiming the human body among, 73

Scenic representations of the Romans, 224

Scythians probably acquainted with the polarity of the magnet, 40

Scorpion, remarkable circumstance concerning one, 114

Scott, Doctor, saves a man from being buried alive, 165

Sculpture, 328

Seres not the same as Chinese, 436

Shing-moo, or holy mother, 473

Ships of the Chinese, 37

Silk, probably known to the ancients, 437 cultivation of, 571

Simplicity the leading feature of the Chinese, 312

Skating, amusement of, 211

Small-pox, when introduced, 450

Snake, bite of, how cured, 348

Society, state of, 138 domestic, 151

Soffala, Chinese found at, 45

Song of Moo-lee-wha, 316

Streets of Pekin, 94

Steam, effects of, known to the Chinese, 298

Sugar-mills, 539

Suicide seemingly encouraged, 178

Surgery, state of, 353

Sumatrans of Chinese origin, 51

Sword-blades of Gill much admired, 113

Swan-pan, 296


Tan, or Chinese altar, 452

Tao-tze, or immortals, sect of, 466

Tapers burnt on altars, 481

Tartar women, dress of, 97 Mantchoo, scarcely distinguishable from Chinese, 184

Tartary, heights of, remarks on, 438

Taste, 331

Taxes, moderate, 400 fixed, 402

Tcho-ka, an island in the Tartarian sea, 44

Tea a supposed preventive of certain disorders, 350

Tea-plant, trick played by the Chinese concerning, 538 observations on the culture of, 572

Temple, Embassy lodged in a, 421 in a cavernous rock, 596

Terrace system of agriculture, 530

Ten-tchoo-foo, present of the governor of, 65

Tien-sing, approach to the city of, 71

Ting-hai, visit to the city of, 57

Ting-nan-tchin, name of the Chinese compass, 40

Titsingh Dutch Embassador to Pekin, 9

Towers of the walls of Pekin, 91

Trackers of the yachts pressed into this service, 162

Trade discouraged, 399 how conducted at Canton, 610

Tranquillity, internal, 395

Travellers see objects differently, 3

Treason punishable in the 9th generation, 372

Trial of an English seaman for killing a Chinese, 618

Tribunal of Mathematics, 110 some account of, 111

Ty-phoon, what, 34 strength of one, 41

Tyrus, commerce of, described by Ezekiel, 48


Van Braam, application of, to Batavia, 8 happy turn of mind of, 13 his account of an Imperial banquet, 210

Vanity, national, of the Chinese, 189

Van-ta-gin, 70 kind attentions of, 604

Varuna compared with Neptune and Hai-vang, 470

Venereal disease not common, 352

Viceroy of Canton, haughty conduct of, 10 swallows his snuff-box, 179

Villa belonging to the Emperor, 102

Virgin Mary and Shing-moo compared, 472

Vishnu compared with Jupiter and Lui-shin, 470

Visiting Tickets very ancient in China, 190

Visitors at Yuen-min-yuen, 110

Vocabulary, brief one of Chinese words, 243

Volcanic products not found in China, 600

Vossius, Isaac, his opinion of the Chinese, 26


Wall of China, 333 of Pekin, 91

Watch made by a Chinese, 306

Wealth expended to pamper the appetite, 552

Weather, stormy in the Streight of Formosa, 34

Wheel to raise water, 540

Women, dress and appearance of, at Tien-sing, 72 Tartar commonly seen in the capital, 97 reflexions on the condition of, 138 condition of in China, 140 employments of, 143 on the Imperial establishment, 234 not prohibited from frequenting temples, 480 of Sau-tchoo-foo, appearance of, 517 articles of sale, 518 course features of those of Kiang-see, 541

Words, number of, in the Chinese language, 265


Yachts, trackers of, 501

Yellow Sea, observations on, 25 commerce of, 60 river, ceremonies used in crossing, 509

Yuen-min-yuen, miserable apartments at, 108 gardens and buildings of, 122


Printed by A. Strahan, Printers-Street.

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