Page images
PDF
EPUB

harbour of which were several Japanese vessels. The mandarins spoke the Chinese language fluently; and they were as friendly and courteous as Captain Basil Hall found them—but crafty, deceitful, and lying—which that clever person did not discover them to be; though the late Sir Murray Maxwell, as appears by his Journal, did. The honest missionary says, They were generally so very complimentary, and so excessive in their professions of friendship, that we were at a loss how to answer all their polite observations. Neither are they such simple, innocent, and inoffensive beings as to be utterly ignorant of the use of money and of arms—a piece of intelligence that utterly confounded two great men, the one a financier, and the other a general. No money!' exclaimed Vansittart--No arms!' whispered Buonaparte.

Their corporal punishinents, too, are said to be as severe as those of Corea, which exceed even the example of China ; and their jealousy of foreigners is fully equal to that of either. The Amherst's people were most politely treated, and closely watched, to prevent their holding communication, as far as could be done, with the natives. Mr. Gutzlaff had plenty of applications for his physic, but he could only distribute his little books by stealih. On the whole, be says, ' with all their deceit, we will freely acknowledge tiiat they are the most friendly and hospitable people which we have met during all our voyage.

About a twelvemonth after the return of the Amherst, another vessel, called the Sylph, well manned and armed, set out from Macao on a smuggling and free-trade expedition along the eastern coast of China, as far up as the Gulf of Leau-tung; and Mr. Gutzlaff

, true to his predetermined purpose, rather to perish in the attempt of carrying the Gospel to China, than to wait quietly on the frontiers,' embarked in her on his third voyage to circulate among the heathen the book of life.' He found, that at every place where the Amherst had been, a great change had been effected in the conduct of the mandarins: they were less officious, apparently less frightened, and more indifferent—so that the intercourse of the visiters with the people now met with little interruption. The return of Mr. Gutzlaff was hailed with joy by all his old acquaintances, and he circulated tracts and plıysic to his heart's

Furious gales and a tremendous sea drove the little vessel along the coast. Only one Lascar was swept away; we heard his dying groan, but could lend no assistance.

It was a dark, dismal night ; we were thoroughly drenched with water; horror hovered around us. Many a wave swept over our deck, but those which dashed against our poop were really terrible.'

On the 15th November they entered the Gulf of Leau-tung, and encountered a large fleet of junks, laden with Mantchou

content.

produce.

produce. The people, who were frank and open-hearted, advised them not to proceed farther to the northward, as they would soon meet with ice. The Mantchou people on shore were civil and intelligent; they appeared less idolatrous than the Chinese ; but there was one temple dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, of which we are artlessly told that ' a few blind men were the overseers.' This puts us in mind of poor little Holman, ihe blind traveller, being sent out of Russia as a spy. They proceeded to the Bay of Kinchow, into which the great wall descends, and grounded on a sandbank. Their situation is described in a manuscript journal kept by a son of Captain Jauncey, of the Navy) as horrible; a tierce northerly wind from the ice-fields of Kamtschatka blew down the bay; the depth of water decreased; the ship fell over on her beamends; the cold was so piercing that the Lascars were useless and helpless, and their lamentable cries were truly distressing; every spray of the sea froze into a sheet of ice. The land was twenty miles distant, but a party volunteered to go in the boat to seek assistance at the town of Kai-chow, among whom were thirteen helpless Lascars. When arrived within three miles of the shore, the boat grounded in two-and-a-half feet water, and it was some time before they got her off. Entirely covered with ice, we arrived,' says Gutzlaff, at a headland, and were received most humanely by some fishermen and a priest, but found no mercy among the mandarins.' All the hills were covered with snow; the Lascars were not able to walk, and it was found necessary to bathe their feet with rum to prevent them from being frost-bitten.

A puor Mant. chou fisherman carried them into his hut, and placed the Lascars in beds spread on a bench of brick-work, with flues underneath to warm them. One of these poor seamen died, and others went into fits.

The city of Kai-chow was ten miles off, whither Gutzlaff and a party went on foot, to claim assistance from the mandarins to get the ship afloat; but these uvfeeling animals would neither give any themselves nor suffer others to do so: a strong southerly wind, however, set into the gulf, and the water rose to such a height that she floated off. The conduct of the people in general, both on the coast and in the interior, made ample amends for the brutality of the mandarins. • In their habits and behaviour,' says Gutzlaff, they appeared very much like our peasantry; some of their farms were in excellent order, and plenty reigns everywhere." Seeing a large building on a hill, Gutzlaff and his party made towards it. It proved to be a temple of Budha. The Padré (a true father Paul), with about a dozen priests, came out and addressed them in a gruff and ivhospitable strain, but Gutzlaff reminded them of the precepts of Confucius concerning benevo2 K 2

lence

lence and hospitality, and, having made them acquainted with their true situation, they now became all civility; the padré invited them in; a sumptuous dinner was served up, consisting of thirty or forty different dishes; among the delicacies were biche-da-mar and bird-nests' soups—such is the luxurious way in which mendicant monks and friars would seem to indulge in whatever part of the world they may be rooted.

Arrived at Kai-chow, the party was received by the mandarins, not merely with coolness, but great insolence; and though they were ultimately prevailed on to promise assistance, they secretly did everything that was unfriendly. The ship, however, as Mr. GutzJaff inforins us, 'got off by the interposition of God, who had ordered the south wind to blow, thus driving up more water upon the bank.' Too happy to avail themselves of the fortunate release, they forth with stood to the southward.

The description of the island of Poo-to, one of the Chusan groupe, is so curious, and furnishes so strong an instance of the great extent to which the impostors of Budhism are still enabled to practise on the credulity of the public, that we shall close our brief account of these voyages with a short nctice of it. The visiters, passing among large rocks covered with inscriptions, and among numerous temples, came suddenly on one of the latter, of an immense size, covered with yellow tiles. It was filled within with all the tinsel of idolatry,' together with various specimens of Chinese art, and many gigantic statues of Budha :

• These colossal images were made of clay, and tolerably well gilt. There were great drums and large bells in the temple. We were present at the vespers of the priests, which they chanted in the Pali language, not unlike the Latin service of the Roman church. They held their rosaries in their hands, which rested folded upon their breasts; one of them had a small bell, by the tinkling of which their service was regulated ; and they occasionally beat the drum and large bell to rouse Budha to attend to their prayers. The same words were a hundred times repeated.'—pp. 441, 442.

Mr. Gutzlaff says there are two large and sixty small temples, on a spot not exceeding twelve square miles, which is the area of the island, and on which two thousand priests were residing; that no females are allowed to live on the island, nor any laymen, except those in the service of the priests ; but he observed a number of young fine-looking children, who had been purchased for the purpose of being initiated in the mysteries of Budhism. This numerous train of idlers have lands assigned for their support, and make up the rest by begging:

• To every person who visits this island, it appears at first like a fairy land, so romantic is everything which meets the eye. Those

large large inscriptions hewn in solid granite, the many temples which appear in every direction, the highly picturesque scenery itself, with its many-peaked, riven, and detached rocks, and above all a stately mausoleum, the largest which I have ever seen, containing the bones and ashes of thousands of priests, quite bewilder the imagination.' P. 444.

We cordially wish every success to the praiseworthy labours of this pious missionary, and that his most sanguine expectations may

be realized. He should recollect, however, should disappointment cross his path and damp bis ardour, that, although it is now three hundred years since the Catholic missionaries of the different orders entered China, with the view of making proselytes to the tenets of their respective creeds, there probably is not, at this hour, throughout the whole of that extensive empire, a single native Chinese-with the exception of some ten or a dozen educated at the Propaganda of Naples—that has the least knowledge of the Christian religion, or of the language, the civil institutions, or the moral condition, of any one nation of Europe : so little have their continued labours succeeded. His plan, however, of circulating not religious works only, but others calculated to excite and gratify curiosity on more worldly topics, appears to us a great improvement on the system of his Romish predecessors; and this may pave the way for better things.

[ocr errors]

Art. X.-1. Helen; a Tale. By Maria Edgeworth. 3 vols.

London, 1894. 2. Ayesha, the Maid of Kars. By the Author of Zohrab,'

Hajji Baba,' &c. 3 vols. London, 1834. THIS season has been as prolific in novels as any of its prede

cessors ; and, as usual, it has been but a melancholy business to contemplate the rapid succession of these ephemeral productions. One after another is avnounced with a tourish penny trumpets :--the words 'vivid portraiture'-keen satire '

-high imagination '-'intense passion '—and above all, 'genius' and ‘power,' are kept standing in the booksellers' types, and put into unfailing requisition. A week more, and the wonder has been examined and talked of-another, and it is as completely forgotten as any of the nothings of the days of George III. These books are ruining the proprietors of circulating libraries, who alone buy them; and we are greatly mistaken if they be not injuring deeply their publishers. By encouraging the cacoëthes scribendi of inferior pens, they may now and then realize an immediate profit to themselves ; but they, in the long run, accuinulate no valuable

copyrights

copyrights-without which no bookselling-house can prove the source of ultimate gain on any considerable scale. Are they not aware that at this moment, after all the innumerable editions that have appeared of such a work as • Ivanhoe' or Old Mortality,' its copyright would fetch at least three times more money in the market than the copyrights of all the novels that were published in London between 1810 and 1830? Well may Sir Egerton Brydges say. Let us dismiss the frivolous embarrassments and disappointments of fashion, or the insane hobgoblins of a factitious enthusiasm. It is time to get rid of these epigrammatic, stilted, bandaged, glittering, foaming, lashed-up, frothy, high-seasoned productions of mercenary artists, exciting the appetites of the mob for the purpose of filling their own pockets. But even these stimulant ingredients would not be sufficient without the aid of the puff,—quite as gross and as multiplied as those of the quack-doctors, or the proprietors of Warren's blacking. It is strange that such obviously paid applauses should have any influence on the public favour; but it is clear that they have great influence, for the experience of booksellers would teach them not to throw away so much money in vain. They have so contrary an effect on me, that the moment I read one of those advertisements I take for granted that the book so announced is bad.' - Autobiography, vol. ii. p. 358.

Sir Egerton's rule is a pretty safe one; it is to us unintelligible how any writer of common sense or delicacy can suffer his work and his name to be dealt with in the fashion here stigmatised; but still there is no denying that indications of real talent have been observable in several of the most disgustingly bepuffed and placarded productions of the present year. We have no doubt that the authors of more than one of them might, if contented with narrower limits, and modest enough to bestow more labour, have turned out works of fiction deserving of lasting favour. It is impossible not to adınire, for example, the happily-sketched character of an Irish farmer's wife in Lady Blessington's • Repealers, and the variety of shrewd common-sense observations which occur every now and then in the midst of that flimsy book. Had her Ladyship cut down her three volumes to one, her novel might have had a fair chance of life. And we may say the same thing of Lady Stepney's • New Road to Ruin,' for that performance, though still flimsier than the other, has flashes of delicate sentiment, and really feminine perception of the minutiæ of characters and manners, such as might well have arrested attention, had they not been squandered on an absurd plot, and that wiredrawn to extremity. The author of Rookwood,' again, has shown talents which no doubt might, and, as he is said to be a very young gentleman, will yet, we hope, produce a strong and fervid

« PreviousContinue »