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law, that, according to my weak judgment, we ought to seek the cause of the lorg duration of this ration, the only one excepting the Japanese (subject also to the strict observance of the same precept) which has preserved itself the same from a period which is lost in the most remote antiquity.'
A common plaything for children, which is to be found in every European fair, was shewn to M. Van B. by a gentleman of rank; who much admired it, and spoke in such terms as' shewed that he thought himself the possessor of a wonder, From this circumstance, the author thinks it not at all improbable that such trides would find a good market in China, and that they would perhaps amuse the Emperor himself as much as the most ingenious pieces of mechanism.
The police of the Chinese metropolis, though strict to excess, is far from being well regulated. Our traveller relates that the Chinese servants of the Embassy, having one day obtained permission to go into the city for the purpose of buying some necessaries, were discovered to be strangers at Pekin, and were lodged in a guard-house. In vain did they plead their being part of the retinue of the Dutch Embassy : the soldier accused them of selling opium, and began to search them. The servants would have been sent to prison in chains, but for the bribe of a few dollars, which, being prepared for their intended purchases, were now willingly sacrificed to procure their liberty. Thus even a Chinese is not perfectly safe in his own country, when found beyond the limits of his native province.
It was with much difficulty that the Embassy were permitted to have any communication with the European Mis. sionaries resident at Pekin. From this jealousy, the author infers that the Mandarins, from the highest to the lowest, must be conscious of great culpability, or they would not have thought it necessary to carry distrust to such a length. • The manner in which the Chinese warm their apartments is more clearly described by M. Van B., than we recollect to have seen it in other accounts :
• In all China,' says he, 'the houses are built upon the ground ; i. e. without any cellar under them. The apartments are paved with Hat, square bricks; a thing very agreeable in warm weather ; but very little suitable to the severe season of the year.
i to defend them from the piercing cold which they experience in the northern parts of the Empire, the Chinese have devised subrerraneous furnaces in every direction, under the bricks of the floors, and under a kind of platforms on which the Chinese sleep. They even pass through the walls, which divide the different rooms, so that the heat diffused by the tubes produces in the apartments the temperature desired. The fire is kept up night and day in the outer
stove or furnace, without the smallest danger to the buildings, because a coat of bricks closely confines that destructive element, and opposes its disastrous effects. If the apartments be spacious and Lumerous, an increased number of stoves and tubes always insure the same result.
5. It cannot be denied, that this is an invention honourable to Chinese industry; and certainly it is no small advantage in a severe climate, to enjoy in the midst of winter's cold an agreeable heat diffused through all the apartments. It is in those places especially, where these outer stoves are wanting, and where there is a necessity of having recourse to the brasiers of charcoal, of which I have spoken elsewhere, that the value of this invention is the most sensibly felt.'
Those of our readers who are acquainted with India will recollect the extraordinary ingenuity displayed by Hindu artisans, in executing the various branches of their business, and producing even the finest workmanship, by means of a few tools; which, to all appearance, are the most deficient and tomanageable. In China, the same observation may be made.
- During our stay this morning,' says M. Van B. in the village of Fan-koun, I had an opportunity of seeing a tinker execute what I believe is unknown in Europe. He mended and soldered fryingpans of ca:t iron that were cracked and full of holes, and restored them to their primitive state, so that they became as serviceable as erer. Fie even took so little pains to effect this, and succeeded so speedily, as to excite my astonishment. It must indeed appear impossible to any one who has not been witness to the process.
• All the apparatus of the workman consists in a little box sisteen inches long, and six wide, and eighteen inches in depth, divided into two parts. The upper contains three drawers with the necessary ingredients; in the lower is a bellows, which, when a fire is wanted, is adapted to a furnace eight inches long and four inches wide. The crucibles for melting the small pieces of iron intended to serve as solder are a little larger than the bowl of a common to. bacco pipe, and of the same carth of which they are made in Europe ; thus the whole business of soldering is executed.
• The workman receives the melicd matter out of the crucible upon a piece of wet parer, approaches it to one of the holes or cracks in thic frying pan, and applies it there, while his assistant smooths it over by scraping the surface, and afterwards rubs it with a bit of wes linen. The number of crucibles which have been deemed necessary are this successively emptied in order to stop up all the holes with the melted iron, which consolidates and incorporates itself with the broken utensil, and which becomes as good as new.
The furnace which I saw was calculated to contain eight crucibles at a tine; and while the fusion was going on was covered with a stone by way of increasing the intensity of the lieat.'
The Chinese sowing-machine partakes of the simplicity of their other instruments :
1. It consists of two sticks or pieces of wood about 'four feet long, the lower extremities of which are stod with a kind of iron wedge that serves to open the furrow. A little above is a square box placed between the two sticks, and tàpering downwards in the shape of a fummel. Behind this is a plank put across for the purpose of covering up the furrow after the seed has fallen in. This instrument is put i motion by means of two wheels. Two Chiese draw it, while a third who guides with his two hands, first sows one and then the other furrow. I had already conceived from the regularity with which I observed every thing growing in the fields, that some machine was employed for sowing, and I was not a little pleased ať having an opportunity of seeing both the instrument and the manner in which it is used.'
It is a favourite custom among the Chinese of elevated rank to keep by them coffins, containing the dead bodies of persons who had been dear to them. At Ping-yuen-chen, in the temporary lodgings of the Embassy, one of the halls was appropriated to several coffans inclosing dead bodies. Some of them bore marks of great antiquity. The author was also once in a pagoda at Honan, opposite to Canton, in which coffins are likewise deposited in little rows or separate spaces; and he was assured that some of them were more than a century old.
• There is a particular species of wood in China considered as unperishable; of this they make coífins, some of which cost more than a hundred and fifty louis d'ors. The Chinese, let his pecuniary means be ever so small, procures while living, cither for himself or for his family, the best wood he can buy, and keeps it with great, care at the entrance of his house, till wanted for the last abode of a being who is no more, but whose pride has survived him.'
In the province of Chantong, the sailing wheel-barrows, of which we have already taken notice in our former article, were again seen by M. Van Braam.
As the very existence of a considerable part of Holland depends on the firmness of its dykes, we might imagine that in this particular it stood unrivalled; yet the author mentions a Chinese embankment at least as handsome as those in HolLand. The side towards the water descended with a great inclination, like the dykes made in the United Provinces within the last forty years; for it should seem that it had not been observed, till then, that the water has less action on a surface much inclined, than on a plane nearly perpendicular. The Chinese, however, proceeded on this principle froin the first formation of their dams; -and the inundation of their rivers, it must be owned, rendered strong embankments a matter of the utmost consequence. The formidable Yellow rircr, one of the post celebrated on the Asiatic continent, on account of its
extent and rapidity, causes so much mischief when overflowing its banks, that double dams have been thrown up on each side, an inner and an outer one ; the care of which is entrusted to three Viceroys or Governors of Provinces; who are each obliged to reside in a city adjacent to the portion of the river which they superintend.
Many of our readers, we are persuaded, will be pleased with the following observations :
« The stuff called Nam-king, or Nan-keen, which is manufactured at a great distance from the place of that name, in the district of Fong-kiang-fou situated in the south-east of the province of Kiang
lipon the sea-shore, is made of a brown kind of cotton, which it seeins can only be grown in that quarter. The colour of nan-keen is natural, and not subject to fade. As the greater part of the inhabitants of Europe and other countries are in the persuasion that the colour of the stuff in question is given it by a dye, I am happy to have it in my power to rectify their error. The opinion that I combat was the cause of an order being sent from Europe a few years ago to dye the pieces of nan-keen of a deeper colour, because of late they were grown paler. The true reason of that change is not known; it was as follows:
• Shortly after the Americans began to trade with China, the demand increased to nearly double the quantity it was possible to furnish. To supply this dicticiency, the manufacturers mixed common white cotton with the brown; this gave it a pale cast, which was immediately remarked, and for this lighter kind no purchaser could be found, till the other was exhausted. As the consumption is grown less during the last three years, the mixture of cotton is no longer necessary, and nankeen is become what it was before. By keeping them iwo or three years, it even appears that they have the property of growing darker. This kind of stuff must be acknowledged to be the strongest yet known. Many persons have found that clothes made of it will last three or four years, although for ever in the wasli, This it is that makes them the favourite wear for breeches and waistcoats both in Europe and America. The white 'nankron is of the same quality, and is made of white cotton as good as the brown, and which also grows in Kiang.nam.'
The quantity of rice annually imported into Pekin is truly astonishing. M. Van Braam was assured that the Emperor kept for that purpose nine thousand nine hundred and ninetynine vessels, each capable of carrying somewhat short of one hundred thousand weight of rice. By these meavs, more than seven hundred and fifty millions of pounds (French) of that grain are brought to Pekin. The majority of those who scive in the army, as well as those who belong to the court, are paid with this rice ;-and, enormous as this quantity is, it does not exceed what is usually wanted. Yet rice, it should seem, is not so general an article of food in China as many have asserted :
for most of the inhabitants of Chantong, Tcheli, and the more western provinces, subsist only en millet *, pease, &c.
All the rice-provinces, with the exception of Quangtong, are bound to deliver their assessed quota in the vicinity of Kiang-nam, where it is shipped on board the Imperial vessels before menrioned. The bones of animals are burnt, and used as manure for the rice fields, which renders them very fertile.
Though the bloom of our fair countrywomen be so luxuriant and unfading as not to require the aid of rouge, it will at least gratify their curiosity, and perhaps not be unpleasing to our graver readers, to be informed by M. Van Braam of a cosmetic which is perfectly innocent in its effects :
• The rouge used in China is in general better than that of Europe. A woman whose skin is tolerably fair and smooth, and who is not in the habit of laying on white, might with this rouge imitate the fresh colour of youth, without its being possible for the action of heat or cold to discover the artifice, even to the most penetrating eye ; nor would the habitual use of it in this moderate way have any bad effect upon the skin. It is in this manner that all cosmetics ought to be used, in order that these secret arts, intended to make women appear more agreeable and fascinating in the eyes of their admirers, may not be betrayed by a ridiculous affectation; and that this practice may not destroy the advantages of a smooth and soft skin. We might then consent to forgive the fair an artifice which would be no longer pernicious, and which would find its excuse in the desire of increasing the passion of a lover, or of moving the indifferent heart."
The Chinese chicf conductor of the Embassy had, from a singular impulse of jealousy, prohibited the women of Soutcheou-fou, who are accounted the handsomest of the empire, from appearing in those places through which the strangers would pass ; though he did not fail to purchase and carry away with him two pretty concubines for his own amusement. Here the author observes :
• This trade in women is a principal branch of the commerce of the city of Sou-tchco-fou, and the best resource of many of its inhabitants, as well as those of Hong-chevu fou, in the province of Tché-kiang. Sou-tcheou-fou, however, bears away the palm from its rival. A great number of individuals have no other means of existence, ar.d, with a view to this traffic, make excursions about the country, in order to buy of the poor inhabitants such of their children as promise to be beautiful.
• They bring up these young girls with the greatest care, dress them elegantly, teach them all sorts of needlework and to play upon dif
* We suppose this to be the Holcus Sorghum, or Barbadoes millet, which gir G. Staunton (vol. ii. p. 205. 8vo. edit.) mentions as growing plentifully in Chili. It is distinguished by the Chinese under the name of Kow.leang or lofty corn,