now saw themselves displaced by the merely rich. The general dissatisfaction of the most influential class of the Chinese community, at being thus defrauded of their ancient rights, became a source of danger to the Tartar rule. Two antagonistic parties now existed,—the advocates of the new financial system, most of them Manchus, and the members of the old Chinese school, with a long tale of their ill-treatment and their grievances.

On the 25th of February, 1850, the Emperor Taou-kwang died, after a reign of nearly thirty years. He was succeeded by a son under the age of twenty. The immature age of the new emperor was not a favourable circumstance at the present juncture, as a change in the succession to an oriental despotism, while the country is in an unsettled state, requires experience and age, rather than the opposite qualifications. It was moreover unfortunate that the young sovereign showed little wisdom in dismissing from his councils such men as Keying and others, who were the long chosen ministers and friends of his father.

It is certain that the insurrectionary movements in the south advanced, both in extent and activity, after the demise of the old emperor. From August, 1850, every month's advices have brought intelligence of their progress, with the avowed object of expelling the Tartar government.

The Chinese insurgents have at length, after a course of uninterrupted success, naturally made for Nankin, the ancient seat of native Chinese rule, the possession of which would to a certain extent make them masters of the southern half of the Empire.

A very curious proclamation on the part of the Chinese army has appeared by a late mail, wherein the new Emperor is styled Tien-tih (celestial virtue), and the style assumed for his reign is Tae-ping, “universal peace,' or rather “subjugation.' From some of the expressions, it may be inferred that the long tails and tonsure of the head, imposed by the Tartars, on the Chinese, are in some jeopardy, and likely to be superseded by the old Chinese coiffure (as still represented on their stage), a full head of hair, tied up.. · These roamers of the barren desert' (says the proclamation) have entered our palaces, and these in

habitants of bare mountains have taken possession of our halls. • They have not followed the regulations of Yaon and Shun, but

have made human beings assume the appearance of irrational animals.'

A confirmation of the preceding remarks on the mal-administration of the Tartars appears in this : — Those who

· diligently study the works of Confucius and Mencius seldom * succeed in attaining official dignity; while those who make use of pecuniary means frequently reach the highest rank.'


The weak system pursued by the Tartar government against us in the war seems alluded to in the subjoined passage :

"You • Tartars, being destitute of brave generals and good soldiers, . have encouraged the gentry and elders to collect and drill their neighbours, and have urged the village braves to turn out in your defence.

The ancients employed a standing army to • protect the people ; but you drove the people to become soldiers.'

Every circumstance confirms the position already stated, that this great revolution among a population which constitutes a large proportion of the human race, had its origin in the events of the war with England.

To prognosticate the course or result of this rebellion, is a matter which perhaps those of our nation most immediately in intercourse with the Chinese would find impossible. From our own information of the political and social state of China, the nature of its Government and the character of its people we are, however, inclined to think that these consequences will not be so serious as the newspaper press has of late represented as approaching. The municipal state of China has for ages been in a most disjointed state, - it would be difficult to account for its

continuance at all under such conditions, except for the contented and easy-going disposition of the great mass of the people, their industrious habits, the slender list of their wants, their being a good deal busied about local politics, and chief of all, the fact that from the mode of appointment to public office, and in spite of all its abuses and corruptions, scarcely a family can be found which has not some of its members in the occupation of an office of more or less importance; and, speaking generally, it may be added that hardly any of these officers but can, at least in theory, by zeal and ability rise to be prefects of districts, governors of provinces, or even members of the Imperial Council

. The consequence of these elements is seen in every-day Chinese life. People by no means ignorant of the principles of justice or unobservant of their breach, by no means wanting in appreciation of law and order or willing to countenance their violation, systematically submit to an amount of oppression and extortion and suffer, in many districts, from an amount of rapine and disorder such as if described would display one of the most curious chapters of the history of mankind ever written, with a laissez-faire so astounding as almost to excite our admiration. True, they often remonstrate, they often complain, they often take the law into their own hand, and contrive an émeute or even set on foot a rebellion; but their remonstrances and disturbances are met


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successfully either by concession or force, and they return to their daily occupations the same light-hearted, or rather easygoing, comfortable, self-satisfied people that they were before.

Now what is this rebellion that is to revolutionise so anomalous and impassive an empire? In its origin a foray of a band of robbers, invoking on its first successes, as we have seen, the assistance of legitimacy, and the spirit of Chinese nationality, it has succeeded in attracting the attention of the world in its progress. It now appears to enlist in the west something of that sympathy which its leaders, no doubt, calculate to secure in those Chinese provinces from which our latest information on the subject has come, by putting on a religious character, which while to the very numerous Roman Catholic inhabitants of those provinces it appears to identify the rebels with the followers of Christ, is perfectly explicable to the Buddhist populace there and in other parts of China, by reference to the traditions of their own faith. It has, moreover, enlisted the co-operation of the very extensive brotherhood of the Triad Societies ;' but, notwithstanding all these elements of success and sources of influence, notwithstanding its actual success in one sense,--that is its actual progress over half the latitude of the empire, up to the very walls of Nankin,—we cannot but think that really it has not made so much progress, as might at first sight seem, towards the permanent revolutionising of the Chinese Empire.

When we look to its track, we find its course amongst such a people, with such a government as we have described, very much that of a ship through the waters. Everything has, it is true, given way before it; the corruption of the Government everywhere, the laziness of the populace, the cowardice of the unpaid troops, has constantly smoothed the path of a numerous band of active, ambitious, and ferocious rebels. Town after town, province after province, has fallen into their hands; but it does not appear, so far as we have learned, that any permanent authority has been established to any great extent on their part; no considerable mass of the people have followed the standard of the Pretender. On the other hand, as the rebel army has come into each district, so it has in most cases gone out, and the whole staff of mandarins (except such as have been executed) have returned to their plundered mansions, and have proceeded to administer the law, to collect the taxes, and fulfil their ordinary duties as if nothing whatever had happened.

It is true that authentic information of these facts is scanty, and the undoubted success of the rebels seems to augur its continuance; but although they have scoured some of the principal tea districts, and are now in the immediate neighbourhood of Shanghae, so little does there appear to be any extended alarm as to the future, that the tea markets in China were, by the last accounts, perfectly steady as to prices; although from the immediate proximity of the rebel army trade was at the northern emporium suspended.

While it appears that no great amount of permanent success is actually gained, the rebels are every day approaching more nearly those districts which are defended, not by a set of lazy, indifferent Chinese mercenaries, but by bodies of Tartar troops not more brave than loyal, not more fierce than steadfast. Our own troops, supported by all the discipline and resources of a great kingdom, and animated with the courage of an English army, will remember what warm work they met with in the two or three affairs north of the Yangtszekiang. It is more than can be supposed that the rebel army will be able to encounter with success the Tartar retainers of the great Manchu monarch, or if this is overrating the chances of the existing Government, at least we are inclined to believe that the chances of the insurgents have been as much overrated.*

When we recommend, as it is one of the objects of this Article to do, the taking advantage of the existing state of things in China for diplomatic objects, it is by no means that we desire to see any military intervention on our part in the struggle between the reigning and usurping powers. It may perhaps be that as events progress, it will be found difficult to avoid such intervention, however much to be deprecated, which the protection of our own commerce may naturally lead to. At the same time we are satisfied that the course at present adopted by our Government of refusing to interfere in the matter is the proper and wiser course; but while we thus refuse to make ourselves parties to a struggle not our own, we may well make use of the opportunity to influence the Chinese Government to permit our closer intercourse, and to extend our commercial privileges.

That our relations, in common with those of all European races, with the Chinese Empire have always been and still are on a most anomalous and unsatisfactory footing, is a matter which is daily becoming more and more widely appreciated; and the regret which cannot but accompany this feeling is considerably aggravated by a sense of our ignorance of the social and political state of China. Such ignorance entails serious difficulty in arriving at, or carrying out with reasonable cer

* The latest news received since the above was in type has confirmed the views here expressed by informing us of the repulse of the rebels before Nankin and Chin-kiang-foo.

tainty and consistency, any course calculated to effectuate the great object--for a very great and desirable object to the whole world it undoubtedly is — of opening that vast empire to the commerce, the arts, the civilisation, and the religion of Europe.

At first sight it appears very remarkable- and this singularity is only partially removed on consideration of the classes of men who for the most part are our informants upon Chinese subjects, the difficulties of the language, and the impediments to intercourse, arising from the jealousy of the Government and the people - that in the very numerous works which have within the last twenty years issued from the British press upon China, the works of men of science, politicians, lawyers, merchants, missionaries, soldiers, and sailors, it is only very rarely that we discover, even in such of them as from their professions or their authors have raised our expectations, anything tending to throw light upon the philosophy of the state of China. We do not lack narratives sufficiently interesting and amusing, even when hardly sufficiently authentic, of singularities in religion, in manners and in government, dissertations on character and details of events; but any consideration of facts as causes and effects, as parts of a singular but explicable and homogeneous system, we have usually searched for in vain. No book published of late years about China has, in our opinion, thrown so much light upon its actual state and prospects as the late work of Sir John Davis, which often lets us behind the scenes which have secluded the Celestial Kingdom, with its social and political system, its strifes, its parties, its machinery of progress or its causes of retrogression, from our view. China seen with the eyes of Sir J. Davis cannot fail to amuse and interest the observer, while it affords matter abundant for the gravest consideration of our duties, our prospects, and our dangers in relation to the Chinese empire.

The ignorance, however, in which we as yet are of the state of the Chinese is a very serious impediment to an answer to the questions, Why is it that the effects of the late war with China, which ought to have given the world complete access to a community constituting one-third part of the human race, have been so miserably small as they are? and, What is that policy best adapted to improve our relations with China ?

We propose now summarily to consider the extent of our commercial intercourse with China, as it existed prior to the Nankin treaty but after the opening of the trade, and as it has been since the peace of 1842. Our figures will be very few as our present object is only preliminary; and those who are anxious to consider statistics more at full may be amply

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