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Satrapy; a mandarin is regarded as holding a similar relation to the city which he governs; and even a military commander is the father of his soldiers. This idea, and the sentiments corresponding to it, are sedulously instilled into every subject of the Empire, from the earliest dawn of the intellect till its powers are extinguished by death. The book of Sacred Instructions, whose sixteen discourses are read to the people twice every moon, inculcates the doctrine again and again. “In our general conduct,” it says, “not to be orderly is to fail in filial duty; in serving our sovereign, not to be faithful is to fail in filial duty; in acting as a magistrate, not to be careful is to fail in filial duty; in the intercourse of friends, not to be sincere is to fail in filial duty; in arms and in war, not to be brave is to fail in filial duty.” In the early, steady, earnest, and universal inculcation of this precept, doubtless, we may discover the seminal principles of the idiosyncrasy, the repose, the stability, the incurable conservatism of the Celestial Empire. The two cases opposite the one whose contents have been just described, together with the next in a range with them, contain numerous rare and beautiful specimens of shells and corals from the Chinese waters.
X. The second Wall Case.
The second case, on the north side of the saloon, contains two mandarins of the inferior grades, a secretary, and a common soldier, together with specimens of most of the national military implements. The costume of these mandarins—one being of the fourth, the other of the sixth class—is far inferior to that of the two in the first case. Their long silk petticoats are fastened round the waist by means of belts, one of which is united in front by a clasp, and the other is tied in a knot behind. The visiter will notice a variety of accoutrements attached to these belts, rather military in their appearance, but not at all so in reality. In fact, a Chinese never goes armed, as the jealousy of the government has denied the privilege of wearing arms to all except the soldiers on parade. The appendages referred to are, therefore, altogether peaceful, such as a silk fan-sheath, embroidered tobaccopouches, &c. The caps are of bamboo, cone-shaped, but not turned up at the edges; one of them having crimson silk, the other horse-hair dyed red, pendent from the crowning ball. These are summer caps. The secretary is standing behind his superior, and reaching out to him a red-covered official document. He is attired in a gown and spencer of dark nankeen, the common material of the dresses of the lower orders. The soldier in this case is a dark-visaged, hard-favoured son of Mars, solemn as an owl, but, we fear, without his wisdom. He flourishes in a huge pair of coarse blue nankeen trowsers, and a red tunic of the same, with white facings. The cap, in the present instance, is of quilted silk, with the edge turned up, and a red knot at the top. More commonly, it is either of rattan or bamboo painted, being in a conical shape, and well suited to ward off a blow. The warrior is armed with a rude matchlock, the only kind of hand fire-arms known among the Chinese. There is hung up on the wall a shield, constructed of rattan turned spirally round a centre, very similar in shape and appearance to our circular basket lids, Besides the matchlock and shield, a variety of weapons, offensive and defensive, are in use in China; such as helmets, bows and arrows, cross-bows, spears, javelins, pikes, halberds, double and single swords, daggers, maces, a species of quilted armour of cloth studded with metal buttons, &c. The standing army of the Celestial Empire numbers about 700,000 men, of whom 80,000 are Tartars, the rest native Chinese. The military power of “Heaven's Son” appears formidable in figures, but has little claim to be so considered in reality. If the universal testimony of eye-witnesses may be taken as proof, the army is little better than a rabble rout, mere men of straw, destitute of discipline, bravery, science, skill, and every other soldier-like quality. Of artillery they know nothing. They have no gun-carriages, their cannon being fixed immoveably in one position. When the Sylph and Amherst, British men-of-war, sailed up the coast, the Chinese soldiers threw up numerous mounds of earth, and whitewashed them, to give them the appearance of tents' In the absence of all truly martial qualities, they have abundance of cunning and trickery; and Chinese military faith is, at the present day, what Punica fides was in the olden times. The costumes of the Chinese, as displayed in the figures of Mr. Dunn's Collection, form an interesting subject of observation. The dress of every grade of society in China, is, to a certain extent, fixed by usage; that is, there are certain limits which it is not allowable by custom to overstep. Persons in the lower classes wear coarse and dark-coloured fabrics; while those who have been more favoured in the accidents of birth and fortune, seek the gratification of their taste in rich and costly silks, satins, furs, broadcloths, and embroidery. There is a great variety in the dresses, yet, as Mr. Wood observes, “the general model is not departed from, the usual articles being a shirt, drawers, a long gown or pelisse buttoning in front over them, stockings and shoes.” The shoes are singular enough. The uppers are generally of embroidered cloth, sometimes one colour, sometimes another, the lower stratum of the soles is leather made of hogs’ skins, while the intermediate space, commonly about an inch in thickness, is filled up with bamboo paper, with the edge painted white. They are quite light, notwithstanding their clumsy appearance, The Chinese seem to have a great partiality for blue in their dresses. Frequently the whole garment is of this colour, and even when this is not the case, the collar, cuffs, and lower edges of the drawers, are, for the most part, of the favourite hue. The wealthier Chinese are extravagantly fond of showy dresses, and a well-provided wardrobe is an object of great pride, Handsome garments often descend, as an heir-loom, from generation to generation, and constitute the chief riches of a family. A deficiency of clean bodylinen is not regarded as a calamity by a Chinaman. A fair outside is what he mainly covets, being little heedful of either the quality or condition of what is underneath. The change from a summer to a winter costume, and vice versa, is made simultaneously throughout an entire province, the viceroy setting the example by assuming the cap appropriate to the season.
XI. Third JWall Case.
This case contains a group of three literati, in summer costume. Their dresses, which are light and free, contrast advantageously with those tight and high-collared garments with which fashion obliges us to encumber ourselves. The visiter will observe, in the hand of one of these philosophers, what he would naturally take for a smelling-bottle, but what is really a receptacle for snuff. Tobacco, in all the forms of its preparation, is extensively used. Transmuted into snuff, it is carried, not in boxes, but in small bottles, with stoppers, to which there is attached a little spoon or shovel. With this they take out the pungent dust, and place it upon the back of the left hand, near the lower thumb joint, whence it is snuffed up to the olfactories, there to perform its titillating office. There is placed here, very appropriately, a Chinese book-case, beautifully carved and highly polished. The books are kept in the lower section, where they are protected from dust by doors in front; the upper section is an open cabinet, divided into five unequal compartments, set off by divers ornamental articles. The books are placed in a horizontal position, and the titles are put on the end instead of the back. We regret that our restricted limits forbid our entering at any length into the consideration of the education and literature of China. This is, beyond comparison, the most interesting and instructive point of view in which the Chinese can be contemplated. We cannot, indeed, praise the kind of education practised in China. The studies are confined to one unvaried routine, and to deviate in the smallest degree from the prescribed track, would be regarded as something worse than mere eccentricity. Science, therefore, properly speaking, is not cultivated at all. There is no advancement, no thirsting after fresh achievements of knowledge, no bold and prying investigations into the mysteries of nature. Chemistry, physiology, astronomy, and natural philosophy, are therefore at a low ebb. The instruction given in their schools is almost wholly of a moral and political complexion, being designed solely to teach the subjects of the Empire their duties. Within the allotted circle all