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varieties have been produced. The inquiry is one of great extent, and demands, as it will repay, all the attention it can receive; but there is a study clothed with a higher interest, and requiring attainments more profound—we mean the psychological varieties of the human character, What influences have produced such strange departures from the original type ? what are the circumstances in which minds once associated have parted asunder? how have their modes of thinking become so varied, so that mental and moral varieties are exhibited quite as marked as those of colour, and structure, and cerebral conformation, in physical man? These are questions naturally suggested by the unique modification of humanity the Chinese present; and for much information on these points we can refer to the volumes before us. We do not mean, however, that from either of them any thing like continued and authentic history is to be obtained. To say nothing of the extravagant stories, which many of the Chinese themselves acknowledge to be fabulous, that portion of their records which appears to synchronize with our account of the post-diluvian era is so distorted as to deserve no higher title than the caricature of sober history.
· Histories, which in all countries form an attractive subject, are rendered readable in China chiefly by the fictions with which they are interspersed; which, on the other hand, as they divest such writings of all authenticity, render them unworthy of the name they bear."-Kidd, p. 345.
Indeed, the narrator of the “plain unvarnished tale" would meet but little encouragement from the enormous vanity and self-complacency of the Chinese.
One of the characteristics of the Chinese is their indifference, or rather opposition, to improvement. It is true, indeed, that in this respect their case is not altogether without parallel in some other nations, but they certainly stand at the head of the class to which they belong. Their ancestors started at an early period in the race of improvement; but centuries have passed away since they came to a dead stand. Other people have advanced, but they remain behind, as if to show the rest of the world how cordially they embrace their own maxim, that “it is better to stand than to walk.” They have never had a Bacon or a Locke to teach them the inductive system, nor the docility necessary to its cultivation. The perfect satisfaction with which they contemplate “the celebrated wisdom of China, resplendent in the cultivation of virtue that diffuses its regenerating influences throughout society, while it reposes on the undisturbed heights of perfect tranquillity," (Kidd, p. 192.) renders them intolerant of free inquiry, if it does not also unfit them for acknowledging its results.
To borrow an illustration from the photographic art, they have employed the fixing process before the picture was completed, and thus rendered themselves insensible to all the subsequent illuminations imparted by the sun of science. In the language of Dr. Cooke Taylor, “the evidences of former progress are abundant, but no traces of a tendency to further and future improvement can be discovered. Every thing in the physical and moral condition of society seems to have assumed a stereotype character,— from the model of the meanest domestic utensil to the highest social institution, there is a permanent uniformity. Such is the great empire of China, where thought and action are equally forced to accommodate themselves to an unchanging system devised in remote ages.”
In China, the result of this sudden arrest of improvement is evident in every direction. We see it in their method of education.
“The mode of teaching boys in the common schools is, to begin with a small work called the Classic of Three Characters,' which they commit to memory; and having gone through it two or three times for the sake of perfecting themselves in the sounds of the characters, they then proceed to the Four Books' with a comment, the text of which they, in like manner, learn memoriter. It is only books on moral subjects that are taught in the seats of learning; and these not only have nothing in them tending, in the slightest degree, to corrupt the minds and morals of youth, bat, on the contrary, as will be seen by reference to the philosophy of Confucius, insist on every thing which human authority can command to evince filial reverence, fraternal affection, submission to superiors, and obedience to the laws. Beyond, however, the unvarying and uninteresting course prescribed by Confucius, and two or three of his most distinguished disciples in their sententious ethics, there is nothing calculated to expand the mind, or attract the finer feelings of the heart; and yet learning is defined to be a new perception,' the awakening of the mind to comprehend new objects." — p. 337.
“The national district schools, intended for graduates of the lowest rank, are so ill conducted, that, until the period of public examination arrives, they are seldom or never attended. Public examinations, preparatory to the attainment of degrees, were instituted during the dynasty Tang, for the purpose of selecting persons to fill the offices of government, the principle of which, with slight modification, continues to the present day.
“ It is not the object of the government to create classes of learned men, who shall enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge, and consequently extend the empire of mind; but only to impart the few general principles and maxims already possessed to talented men, who will faithfully employ them in ruling the mass of the people, according to the favourite adage, The man who seeks extensive learning must stady ancient principles.' To this end, the government prescribes what books are to be studied, which consist only of those friendly to despotic principles; forbids the reading and writing of all others supposed to be adverse to its rights; and disallows all innovations but such as originate with itself, which being of imperceptible progress, and confined to the modification of a few elementary moral truths propagated by the ancients, discoveries in science and increase of useful knowledge are forcibly obstructed; and hence an entire stagnation of mental power, otherwise sufficient to have created incalculable resources of improvement, must continue to curse the largest and fairest portion of the globe, until either a revolution takes place in the government, or, despite its opposition, Christian principles in their primitive purity, and the latest improvements in science and literature, are introduced from without."Kidd, p. 340.
The same fixation of mind is evident in the state of natural science, of which the following is a delectable specimen. They have
“A work especially designed for youth, entitled, “ Drawings and Descriptions of Trees of the Bamboo Species.' The contents are distributed into eight classes :drawings in pencil; flowers in ink; fruit families ; peacocks' feathers; the epidendrium family of the class gynandria ; the reed family; the plum family; and the stone family, that is, minerals. These several topics are sufficiently miscellaneous to raise a question on the propriety of their order, and the singularity of the arrangement of minerals with botany; but this is common with the Chinese."-Kidd, p. 349.
Again, let us look at their logic and metaphysics. “ The logic of the Chinese is chiefly confined to that part which we call method, or the art of arranging our thoughts for memory or instruction. The native, like a true lover of hypothesis, constrains every class of phenomena to come within the limits of his system. He is a despot, and makes laws for nature, instead of taking his laws from her: yet he acts under the shadow of what looks like authority. He has remarked, for example, that the number 5 often occurs in the works of creation, and has received from tradition and philosophy a regard for the number 8; he conceives, therefore, that many of the features of the moral as well as the physical world may be grouped under one of these numbers. In every work of science a logical diagram or two meet the eye of the reader, and, if he is an Englishman, remind him of what he sees in Moore's Almanack, where certain mystic circles are drawn round each other to unravel the secrets of fate. The Chinaman describes several circles round a common centre, divides the circumference into five or eight different arcs, and designates them by the terms wood, water, metal, earth, fire, or with the eight kwa, or symbols of the divining-board.* Corresponding with these, upon the cir. cumference of larger or lesser circles, are set the names of the different phenomena which belong to the department of science under consideration.”—Lay, p. 160.
"In the metaphysics of China, the soul is not contemplated apart from the body, and therefore no distinct attributes are assigned to it. It is supposed to be of a fine and subtle nature, and to ascend to heaven at death; but in what capacity or with what endowments, is not stated."-p. 161.
"The whole economy of thinking and feeling is comprised within the trunk; the head, as I have remarked, does not act any principal part at least. It seems to be a fundamental principle, that each of the different members within the body performs an office in the intellectual sphere precisely, analogous to what it does in the animal system,”—p. 161.
"The heart is compared to the court of the monarch, whence the light of instruction issues, while the other important organs within the trunk have their several courts. The lungs are regarded as the office for receiving reports and deciding upon them. The liver is the war-office, whence are issued orders in reference to discipline, military tactics, stratagems, and so on. The liability of the liver to sympathise with the mind, when intensely occupied in arranging its thoughts, or in devising measures for the accomplishment of any object, may have suggested the idea of giving it a place where contrivance and courage are officially required. The gall, from its relation to the liver, and its importance in the economy, is the seat or office whence are issued peremptory decisions. The bile is prepared by the liver, so decisive measures are matured by councils of war, plots, and so on. The horse has no decision, no constancy, because, say the Chinese, he lacks this important organ, the gall bladder."p. 162.
* Our friends may understand this paragraph the better by observing one of the divining-boards, containing the diagram referred to, in the museum of the London Missionary Society.
We could give more, but we judge that an homeopathic dose will suffice.
The subjects introduced into these volumes are more than we have space to discuss. There are two or three, however, which cannot be passed over without a slight notice.
The question discussed by Professor Kidd in his first section, and by Mr. Lay, in his 18th chapter, is one of great interest to the philologist. The learned professor maintains that the characters of the Chinese language are ideographic (representative of ideas) and not phonetie (representative of sounds,) while Mr. Lay maintains, that they are phonetic and not ideographic. We consider that in this discussion, to a certain extent, we may say to the disputants, with the chameleon
. “Ye both are right, and both are wrong." Evidently, as the professor ably maintains, the written language is ideographic, and we think phonetic also, which is Mr. Lay's position. The professor maintains that because the characters are ideographic, therefore they are not phonetic, and Mr. Lay, that because phonetic, therefore they are not ideographic. In each case, we think the inference destitute of sequence, and unnecessary. Why may not these characters indicate both sense and sound.
We deferentially suggest this inquiry to each party ; but the nature of this work forbids our following the subject into its minute details.
On the subject of our armament against China, and its probable results, we find our authors perfectly agreed. In Mr. Lay's first chapter, on the “causes and probable results of the war," he says
“As to the motives which induced the Tarter government to throw down the gauntlet with Britain, and hurl defiance in her teeth, I will take upon me to say, that it was not from any concern at the demoralizing effects which the use of opinn had upon the population. I am not bound to make so great a compliment of my under standing, as to give men credit for any feelings so honourable, who, from the highest to the lowest, are liars and extortioners by a kind of official patent. The state of their currency, as Spanish dollars were, and are still, running out at the rate of Send ral millions a year, and the natives make but a limited use of the mineral stores of the country, was indeed calculated to make them serious, and to put thein upon seeking for a remedy. So far, opium may be reckoned among the real causes of our expulsion from China. But this cause is weakened, and dwindles almost to nothing when we consider that these very Tartar authorities have been the chief promoters this traffic, and have derived large profit from it. Their profits appeared under the for mality of fees, bribes, mulcts, forfeitures, but were substantially a duty upon the drug; which duty, like water in the hydraulic spiral of Archimedes, did wind its way till it flowed into the imperial coffers, though of course greatly diminished by frequent attrition in its route. The real causes of the part they have taken with us, I bebere were, 1, The fear of truth and discovery; 2, A secret, though ill-defined abhorence of our religion ; and 3, A dread of our arms."—p 4.
"As to the results of this dispute, we might say, that we know not what a day may bring forth to ourselves, and, therefore, are but poorly qualified to foretel what may bappen to a moiety of the world ; there is, however, a pleasure in speculating, espe
cially when we feel deeply interested in the issue. Dissatisfactions exist in China, as it appears from the records of many rebellions; and an industrious and thriving people, as are many of her inhabitants, seem fitted for inhaling a few draughts of freedom. If the discontented spirit of the country and the foreigner should come to an understanding, emancipation from the Tartar yoke, and the setting up of some native prince, are events within the calculations of likelihood. Such a prince would feel it to be a matter of duty, or of policy at least, to cultivate the friendship of his patrons; and the smallest proof he could show of his gratitude would be, to lay open his vast territories to all the fair appulses of commerce, religion, and science.”—p. 7.
The sentiments and hopes of Professor Kidd on this important subject, are thus expressed :
“Without inquiring into the origin of the present war, all our anxieties should be directed to its results; on the nature of which, under Divine providence, future Christian and literary efforts depend for their sphere of operation. It is difficult to conceive how the conflict can be terminated to the satisfaction of the British nation, except by procuring a settlement, either on the confines or within the limits of the Chinese territory; where such persons as aim to promote peace and goodwill among the Chinese by moral means, will be allowed permanently to reside, and to carry on their measures without interruption. And if this be the effect of the present misunderstanding between the two empires, though it would have been thought most extravagant even to anticipate it a few years ago, still it will only be in accordance with the previous operations of Divine providence, who by similar instrumentality transferred the territory of the East Indies, then under the dominion of the native princes, to the sovereignty of Great Britain ; not as the immediate actors in those scenes supposed, for the sole purpose of extending British dominion, creating sources of official rank, and augmenting individual wealth and influence, but with the gracious design of making these acquisitions subserve the diffusion of the imperishable principles of truth and holiness."
" This benevolent object has been for some time developing itself during a series of events that have occurred in the Indian empire ; and therefore inspires the hope that, from the present unhappy circumstances in China, the same omnipotent power is about to educe the highest possible good, by elevating the Chinese character to an eminence hitherto unattained, and giving to it a stability and grandeur which the great principles of revelation alone can impart."-p. 408.
We candidly confess our accordance with the views thus expressed ; though we fear that their realization must be preceded by a dreadful struggle. The day seems now rapidly to draw nigh, when the wall which pride and superstition have erected around the soi disant Celestial Empire shall fall down to the ground, and the haughty mandarins consent to learn the religion of the fan kwei, who shall be honoured to teach them plainly of the sacred Trinity, and the great substitution, of which even now they have some shadowy apprehensions. The first fruits of Christian enterprise have already been reaped in China, and the time of the great ingathering may not be far distant. We are delighted to hear, and we trust that the report is true, that the enterprising Gutzlaff is “aided in his apostolic labours by seventeen Chinese, (to whom six others were shortly about to be added,) who having learned Christianity from him, and embraced its tenets, were serving their novitiate as missionaries. Two of his pupils, of Japan origin,