Abbildungen der Seite

cxtortions of the Canton merchants, that their minds being discontented, they thereupon craftily thought to carry themselves with a high hand." (See edici in our last number, page 393.)

This imperial declaration is supported by imperial facts. During the late disturbances, it was advanced again and again, that the doties arising from the foreign trade, affect the revenue not the value of a feather's down. So said Governor Loo. But in a document befure us, which has just come down from Peking, His Majesty Taoukwang says: “The duties paid into the treasuries of the custom-house do affect the revenue of the nation.” And“ how can it be suffered," he exclajins, “ that the least fraction of debt should be incurred!" He further says, that the whole amount of duties unpaid by the several hong-merchants is above one million three hundred thousapd taels; and that 420,000 taels of this are due from one individual, and 310,000 from another : and he therefore orders, that both of them (having held official rank) be degraded. And moreover, His Majesty requires that the whole sum (1,300,000 taels) be paid within three months. Well, therefore, does it become these nien “to have a tender regard to their face.” Farther, and on the same subject, the emperor remarks: “'The commercial intercourse of outside barbarians with ibis inner land, is indeed owing to the compassion exercised by the celestial empire If all the duties which are required to be paid, can indeed be levied according to the fired tarif, then the said barbariua merchants must certainly pay thein gladly, and must continually remain tranquil.” Consequently, and most logically, if there is no fixed tariff, and if the duties are not indeed levied according to it, then certainly the said barbarians must not pay them gladly, and must, not contipually remain tranquil. Now, there is no fized tariff; and we suppose that every merchant, native as well as foreign, will admit this; and so long as the present system of intercourse exists, we see no reason to expect that this object ever will be obtained What will be the final result of this unfixed state, we will not venture to predict.

The Commercial Guide, noticed in our last number, and quoted above, contains some important remarks and statements on this subject. "The impossibility of obtaining from the government any fixed tariff of duties has been for many years one of the inost prominent evils in the commercial system of Canton,-it being the policy of all parties, government, hong-merchants, and linguists, to keep foreigners in a state of perfect ignorance of the mode and rate of duties levied on foreign trade." In most instanees, the illegal and irregular charges more than quadruple the real imperial duties; and in one very important article (cotton,) are apparently increased tenfold.'

To the 'Guide,' we must refer those who wish to examine this subject in its details; we have room for only one more short extract, concerning the famous consoo charge, for the use of the co-hong. “It is, however, difficult to come 10 any correct conclusion respecting the mode of levying and appropriating this (the Cansou] fund. li is an object of mystery, even to those who contri

bute towards it, none of whom, excepting two or three of the seniors, are allowed access to its records. À fund under such a system of management is naturally liable to much misappropriation; but it is improbable that any remedy will be found for the evil, so long as a co-hong like the present continues.

Notwithstanding the above remarks, there is reason to suppose that the profits derived from the cousco fund are not large, the cohong having to expend a considerable sum amually in presents and contributions to the revenue. The following, we are iuformed, are the principal items of annual contribution, in round numbers :Tribute to the emperor,

Taels 55,000
For repairs on the Yellow River,

Expenses of an agent at Peking,

21,600 Birth-day presents to the emperor,

130,000 Similar presents to the hoppo,

20,000 Presents to the hoppo's mother or wise,

Annual presents to various officers,

Expenditure for compulsory purchases of
native giuseng,


-T's. 456,600 “ Some of these charges are not paid by the co-hong, but by individual merchants from their arrears of couson fund.-- They are also liable to other calls for various objects. In 1832, they subscribed for the purpose of quelling the Leënchow insurrection, about 100,000 taels, and last year for the relief of the sufferers from the inundation, they paid compulsory subscriptions to the amount of 120,000 laels. These things are not, however, mentioned in their defense, as they can have no right to yield to every imposition, in confidence of being able easily to repay themselves by a tax on the foreiga trade."

Let us look at the present state of intercourse in another point of view as it operates to the destruction of justice, in a legal sense. Here the evil is deep-rooted. It is but a poor relief to the outside barbarians to be told, You fare as well as the natives then selves, and if you do not like your situation, you may quit the country as quick as you please;" nor is there any justice in this retort. The truth is, natives and foreigners are both in bondage-neither possessing the rights and privileges which God evidently desigued they should enjoy. The method of dealing with foreigners in cases where evidence is required, is very extraordinary. There is an instance of recent occurrence, the particulars of which we have on the best authority. It is briefly as follows:-One of the most respectable foreigners in this country was assaulted by soldiers; he complained to the authorities, desiring that redress might be given and the soldiers punished. The government immediately called on the soldiers, and asked them (the accused persons) if they did commit violence. “ No, not the least,” they answered. The magistrate inquired again, “Are you sure?"—“Quite sure,” they replied. “Oh! very well,” ejacu


[ocr errors]

lated the officer, in a tone of mingled triumph and indignity; " very well;" and then dismissed the soldiers, rejected the complainant,

and sorthwith issued a proclamation to the public, stating that a foreigner had accused certain persons, but that those persons have denied the whole. Therefore the “said barbarian" appears in his true character of a liar and false accuser.

Precisely the same principle obtains with the official merchants, who are authorized to deal with foreigners. If a foreiguer complains that they injure him in any way, the government asks these said official inerchants whether it be true or not. It is altogether false, they reply. Very well, is the rejoinder, and the complaint is of course rejected, and the accuser is left to draw his own inference-an act of mercy and consolation with a vengeance. For, ‘if a man falsely accuses another of any crime, himself shall suffer the punishment due to that crime.' But by what right, or law of evidence, is the simple denial of the accused person assumed to be the truth? Yet the Chinese government always assumes this, when its own subjects are accused by barbarians. In this way foreigners are belied, and the authorities deceived,—always to the injury of the former, and sometimes of the latter. A notable instance of this kind occurred in the late dispute. So incensed was the governor on receiving his degradation, and while expecting further censure with punishment, he declared in his wrath, that, in the same hour he received the sentence to go to the cold country, their heads (those of the two merchants who had misled him,) should be taken off.

It is true that the government does sometimes in cases of complaint, give judgment in favor of the foreigners; but he has no guaranty for this. The case of natives who come in contact with foreigners, is still more hopeless. It may be urged that the native has the right of appeal; but the system of appeal here, like the administration of justice to foreigners, is mockery, perfect mockery. What was the trial of Terranova ? Whether guilty or not, by fraud and deception he was made to sign his own death-warrant, at the very time he was promised and was expecting liberation. Often do the innocent suffer, and the guilty go free. In consequence of the late collision with the Englishı authorities, more than thirty individuals to our knowledge (how many others there

II,) were imprisoned. Oihers fled from the country, and of others the government is still in pursuit. And why all this? We can not tell. Yet so far as we do know, we are sure that, under a liberal and enlightened government, not one of the individuals in question would have been molested. But however innocent these persons were, soine of them have suffered severely. In one case a servant, for an alleged illegality of his master, was thrown into prison, beaten, his property confiscated, and his family rendered houseless and pennyless. He is now dead. The particulars relative to Sunshing or Hingtae, as well as the outside merchants and linguists, are already generally known, and need not be recounted here.

Such are some of the commercial and (if the reader will excuse

re W

can not

the paradox,) legal evils, which are inseparable from the present state of intercourse with this country. We have said nothing of the facts that the trade is limited to a single port in a remote corner of the empire, and confined to a small number of men, and some of them quite incompetent for the management of an extensive trade. Nor have we mentioned the disqualifications of the linguists for governmental interpreters. The narrow limits allowed to foreigners in Canton, their separation from their families, &c., we have passed over in silence. But enough has been said to show that the present system of intercourse is replete with evils Its effects on everythingcommercial, political, social, moral, and religious—are like the mildew and blight, working death. Out of it, as one of its legitimate results, has grown the smuggling trade, which, unless some effectual remedy is applied to check or avert the evil, must, for aught we can see, lead on to consequences the most alarming and tremendous, breaking up the foundations of the government, and overturning the throne itself.

Concerning the duty and interest of western nations with regard to China, and the course which the British and others ought to pursue in this country, our remarks shall be brief. After all that has been said on this subject, it is evident that the advantages which will accrue to foreigners from a well regulated intercourse with the Chinese empire, will be both numerous and important. In a commercial point of view, in mere matters of gain, they may be doubled, trebled, and quadrupled. It is equally evident also, that there are duties to be performed in this case-duties most imperative, though long neglected. These duties are manifold. The character of foreigners has been misrepresented in the sight of the Chinese; it should be vindicated.' The number, power, and resources of foreign nations have been erroneously estimated by this people and government; this error should be corrected. The authorities of China have treated with scorn and contempt the governments and rulers of the West; these should be properly represented to the einperor and his ministers, and their independence, and their perfect equality with the government and rulers of this country should be duly acknowledged and respected. In the performance of all these duties, foreigners would promote directly and effectually their own interests. A double motive, therefore, urges their performance. But we stop not here, if we would perform our whole duty. Arts, sciences, literature, and religión, must be brought into the account. In the healing art, for instance, we have seen in China how much may be effected by single individuals. The arts and sciences have stood stationary for centuries in this country. In the meantime, the nations of the West have made numerous and great improvements, which if communicated to this people would be to them of inestimable value. The Chinese need exceedingly a new literature, enriched by all the advances of modern times This, as they have opportunity, foreigners should put within their reach, and scatter liberally among them the treasures of useful knowledge. Aad, last though not least, Chris

tians, whose very name reininds them of their duty, should proffer to this nation the life-giving oracles of the true God. The magnitude of this duty, and the weight of obligation to discharge it, are great beyond computation, because the good to be conferred is boundless in extent, and eternal in duration.

To point out the proper course to be pursued in order fitly and fully to discharge all these dnties, is not an easy task. To prevent our being misunderstood, we say first, negatively, that the nations of Christendom ought not to commence hostilities against the Chinese. The British Aag has been insulted, and British blood has been spilt. These hostile acts should be complained of, and reparation demanded and obtained. Hitherto there has been a marked care by the court of St. James to avoid hostilities and conquest; and every measure of the government has been most pacific. So we hope they will continue to be. But the time has come when it seems absolutely necessary to adopt strong and determined measures, in order to obtain reparation for the past, the removal of present evils, and security for the future. The measures, so far as they regard the two latter objects should be adopted jointly by all the nations interested. But as redress for past injuries must be the first object with the British government, it must consequently move first in this case ; and it seems desirable that it should immediately communicate with the other governments of the West, not only that jealousy and rivalry may be prevented, but that the several nations interested may move in conceri. England, and France, and America, by united and judicious measures can easily, and without delay, open and establish a free, honorable, and well regulated intercourse with China. And in our opinion they are bound in duty, and called upon by Divine Providence to accomplish this work. They should meet this government as its equal; and point out to the emperor and his ministers the advantages of pacific negotiations and friendly intercourse, demanding at the same time, and in a manner that can not be resisted, the reciprocity of all those rights which ought to charac. terize the intercourse of great and independent nations.

Art. IV. Promulgation of the Gospel in China: I. Obstacles tn

it :- 1. laws against foreigners ; 2. against forrign religions : 3. system of education ; 4. the language: II. Facilities ;-1. limited intercourse practicable ; 2. knowledge of reading ; 3. no ruling priesthood; 4. disposition of the people; 5. foreign interest felt

for China. The present article is designed to present a practical view of the prominent points both of difficulty and faciliey, relative to the dissemination of the gospel in China. In this propagation of Divine truth,

« ZurückWeiter »