of art. But the gift is rare-much more so than may be generally imagined. We should almost go the length of saying, that professional artists should not be selected. If they were, it would be but a transfer of lectures from the Academy to the University. A professor of this class would not be sufficiently free from his own academical connexion and bias. The University would require one who could point out existing errors, and deviations from the true principles of taste, and more particularly, one versed in general criticism and literature of the most poetical class. He should have had the advantages of an academical education, and be a Master of Arts of one of the Universities. It may be said that still a practical knowledge would be desirable. Certainly it would, to a certain extent; but we by no means think it necessary. Take away all the technicality of the art from the discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and they would still contain principles of taste which would improve the general scholar, though he never contemplated the handling a pencil. It is a great thing to learn to see and to feel the beauties of nature, taking nature here in its largest signification. Without any technical knowledge whatever, the otherwise well-educated man is already half an artist. And we will venture to affirm, that an artist who aims at rising in his profession by studies confined to the technical and practical part of it, is greatly mistaken-it is the mind that should direct the hand. It is the mind that should be cultivated, enlarged, and purified-schooled to discard all that is low, mean, and trifling, and to be above all vulgar enticements. Practice may then be well directed, and the mechanical labour will be, comparatively speaking, of easy acquirement, comparatively easy still, nulla dies sine lineâ." There are few artists that in their practice have not as much to unlearn as to

learn. Most practise too much, before they have acquired any sure principles-before they have qualified the imagination and the judgment to direct the hand. Hence the mere imitation of more obvious nature, or flashy unmeaning effects, is in our own school too often substituted for design and poetical conception. Professorships once established, there would be no lack of teachers of the practical part of the art, to initiate the students in the craft and mystery of mixing colours, and of using the pencil; though we do not see why it should be taken for granted that a professor such as we have described should not likewise have sufficient knowledge to give much practical instruction. We have known many unprofessional gentlemen perfectly qualified-many, as the term is, amateurs, who, by scholarship and knowledge of and devotion to the arts, are competent to lecture, and indeed fulfil all the duties that may be reasonably required, and whose fitness, we verily believe, would be acknowledged by the best professional artists. leave the subject, being unwilling to go to greater length than may serve the purpose, to the best of our power, of directing the public attention to the subject-more particularly the attention of the patrons of art in general —as we think a field is open to them, both of raising art to its proper station and dignity, and of elevating the minds of our academical students-of supplying a worthy pursuit where one is most needed, and of rescuing them from idleness, dissipation, and the woeful consequences too often felt through life. If this opportunity be not seized in any other quarter, we earnestly entreat the influential memhers of the Universities to take themselves such measures as may publicly bring forward the advantages to be attained by the endowment of professorships of painting and sculpture in those ancient seats of learning.


2 A



"WHAT great events from little causes spring," was never exemplified in a broader light, or on a grander scale, in the history of the world, than at this moment. The mightiest as the most ancient of empires, has yoked its destinies with a fiscal question and a pretence of morals, and the fate or fortunes of three hundred millions of people, concentrated under one and the same rule, have become vitally entangled with an issue of money damage, of which somewhere about three hundred millions sterling is the amount recited in the declaration, apart the costs of judgment, execution, and example. The grandeur of the sum may seem of itself almost a stake large enough to warrant the strife of empires; but magnificent as the scale in which conceived, never was public robbery perpetrated under circumstances attendant of fraud, falsehood, cowardice, and treachery, more revolting. For China, therefore, the die is cast-for external war develops internal revolution. The seeds of revolution, once sown, may germinate but too rapidly; and the fabric of an empire, of proportions so unwieldy and almost unmanageable already, may stagger under the first shock from without, until finally, in years not far distant, after a succession of external assaults and convulsions within, which must surely follow upon the first patent exhibition of the overgrown weakness by which they are invited, it dissolves into a thousand detached portions, parceled out among ravenous competitors for the spoil, attracted from afar, like vultures by the instinct of prey, to the carrion carcass of the once mighty, but fallen. During the progress of ages, numberless are the nations which have appeared, which have flamed out their meteor course, and then have been effaced so fully as not to "leave a wreck behind" of all their greatness, save as a dream of history. Invincible conquerors have swept over the earth, and the revolutions of empires have almost kept pace with those on its own axis; once in each thousand years the great map of the world has had to be refaced, and geography reconstructed with names, and nations, and demarcations before


unknown and undreamt of, whilst the old nomenclature is consigned to the musty records of the things that were; but in all this "wreck of matter and crash of worlds," the Chinese empire alone has stood firm, immovable, permanent, for thousands of years-scarcely ruffled by dynastic changes, giving the law even to its Mantchew Emperors, who wisely merged the claims of conquest in those of adoption, and sank their own nationality in that of the vast country, pure, homogeneous, unmixed, and uncontaminated alone of all the earth in its people and lineage. us take classic Asia, as delineated by D'Anville or any other geographer; and we shall find, on comparison with the more recent maps of that quarter of the globe by other geographers, that scarcely has a single place or territory retained its denomination excepting China: and not of Asia alone may this be said. Where are the powerful red tribes, which once figured with local habitation and a name on the maps of North America? Where the gallant Saracens, who sustained the renown of the Caliphate of Haroun el Rashid, who carried conquest, chivalry, and civilisation from Asia to Africa, and from Africa to Spain? In the modern atlas we search for them in vain 1; whilst China alone remains the stereotyped impression of every map, and the enduring monument of every age. She alone substantially connects all the varicus and ever-varying phases of the past with the present, from all time unchanging, as still unchanged herself, amidst change and revolution all around her. But the day may come when the empire boasting its thousands of years shall reach the term of its immortality-when, invulnerable on all points but one, like the Grecian, on that point a formidable and outraged power shall press and inflict the first wound-a wound which, once open, will become the standing sore for future mark by one or other foe or rival, until a final break-up of the system be accomplished. The cackling of geese once saved an empire; the incident, almost as trivial, of opium-smoking or eating, instead of

tobacco- -a mere matter of taste-may chance to ruin one. The doom of China is staked, and may come to be determined by a cause so really insignificant, if the real cause, as the intemperance of opium-eaters or opiumsmokers. High Commissioner Lin may congratulate himself on the immortality achieved for his name ; but it maybe,like the melancholy immortality of the last of the Romans, founded on the expiring glories and the liberty of his country; or like the notoriety, not less immortal, of him who daringly fired that temple of wondrous proportions, which to create was equally beyond the range of his genius, as the elevation of his soul to feel all its grandeur. In one evil hour the rule, hitherto almost unvarying, of Chinese policy, has been violently overset by Imperial Commissioner Lin; and insolence, before confined chiefly to external forms, and petty vexations, and therefore repulsive and annoying more than deeply hurtful, has been exchanged for overt aggression, with circumstantial aggravation of injuries so atrocious, as no longer to leave open one avenue by which peace can be preserved even for the sake of profit, and by the sacrifice, too long submitted to, of national honour.

tively that of hucksters rather than of merchants. The consummation and climax of all have been reached at length, in the wholesale spoliation of British merchants-the imprisonment of British subjects like the vilest of felons-the unheard of violation of all international rights, in the forcible detention of the person, and threats against the life, of the British representative-and, finally, in overt acts of hostility against British shipping, and the murder of British seamen. Such is the final catastrophe which prolonged perseverance, in one uniform course of conduct, as mean as mercenary, has not succeeded in averting. It was long foreseen by every man of common sagacity, and would have been effectively provided against, and remedied on the instant, by any government of the slightest pretensions to ability and patriotism. After a course of wanton aggression, continued unremittingly by the Chinese, and ending, as described, in the persecution, the loss of liberty, the robbery, and, lastly, in the bloodshed of British subjects, one British ship of war was found by chance in the Chinese waters, as the ineffectual messenger of protection and vengeance, disgracefully chased off by a few war-junks, and thus inflaming the arrogance which was meant to be chastised or overawed. At the eleventh hour, indeed, we are told that the sleeping thunders of Great Britain are arousing, and the bolts of vengeance in preparation; that Lord Minto is refurbishing old ships long in ordinary-starving other stations by recalling ships in service extraordinary, and, in striving to patch up one hole in the far East, leaving and making other gaps in the West or the South. For six months bygone the ports have resounded with the busy hum of warlike armament; but as yet we know of two or three men of war only, as indicated by a flourish of trumpets which of yore would have been held to signal thirty or forty at the least. So poor and impoverished have we become, that not only are we forced to borrow ships

In our trading relations with China -for political we have had none-we have been content to crouch to tyranny in its pettiest and most degrading shapes to invite oppression by slavish submission in every conceivable form. And we have found that submission the most patient, and endurance the most passive, under insult and insolence accumulated for centuries, have not sufficed either to purchase friendship or to conciliate for bearance. The Celestial Empire, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, remains unchanged and unchangeable ever; and the barbarians of the evil eye," in return for prostration the most abject, to caprice and exactions the most outrageous and despotic, reflected with concomitant circumstances of offensive exaggeration from the precincts of the Imperial Court by subordinate provincial delegation, are spurned with the same apparent contempt, and trampled on with as little ceremony, as when Great Britain was no otherwise known in China than by a few straggling traders, whose traffic in detail and an ount was compara- origin as commonly believed; although

from one service for another, but even a corps of a few hundreds of marines cannot be furnished for China without first dismantling Passages.

The opium trade between the East Indies and China, is not so recent of

its increase of late years may be said to have kept pace to a certain extent with that of the consumption of tobacco, gin, and other spirits or narcotics in this country, to which, in its effects, it may be most nearly likened. Before the year 1767, says an Indian journalist, quoted in the Chinese Repository, the import into China rarely exceeded 200 chests; in that year it reached 1000, and so continued for several years, the traffic being wholly in the hands of the Portuguese. It was in 1773 that the East India Company first made a small adventure in opium to China, and in 1780 a depot of the article was established in Lark's Bay, south of Macao. The trade does not then appear to have been carried on to any advantage, although it was still continued. The following is a portion of the returns of the produce of Bengal, so far as verified by the sales of the India Company at Calcutta, commencing with 1798-99 to 1836-37; the return, year by year, would take up too much space, nor is it necessary.

Chests. Value in Sicca Rupees.

[blocks in formation]

whole quantity produced in Bengal in 1830, about one-third was thus shipped to ports in the Eastern Archipelago.

În the opium districts of Bengal, the plant is cultivated by the Ryots on account of the India Government, and equitably paid at a certain rate of reAt muneration. Bombay, it is taxed in a duty of 125 rupees per chest. It is sufficient for the present to say, that the total revenue derived from it, which, in 1832, was equal to £1,000,000, exceeded £2,000,000 in 1837, and in the year following may be taken to have reached to nearly £3,000,000.

With these preliminary remarks, we may now proceed to a concise his. torical sketch of the arbitrary proceedings of the past year, and down to the present time, which the Chinese Government have had recourse to for putting a final stop to the introduction of opium, if not to its consumption ; with the causes ostensibly alleged, or the pretexts fraudulently advanced in vindication; with the real but less notorious grounds which lie at the bottom of all. On the 10th of March, the Imperial Commissioner Lin made his appearance at Canton, and on the 17th issued an edict to the Hoppo, to the effect that, "pending the stay of the High Commissioner in Canton, and while the consequences of his investigations, both to foreigners and natives, were yet uncertain, all foreign merchants were forbidden to go down to Macao;" that is, they were On detained prisoners at Canton. the following day, the 18th, Lin addressed a proclamation to " "Foreigners," of which, as the basis of all subsequent measures, the more important points are extracted as follow:—

Proclamation to Foreigners, from the Imperial Commissioner, H. E. Lin, (dated 18th March 1839.)

"Lin, a high officer of the Chinese empire, now specially appointed an imperial envoy, a president of the board of war, and viceroy of Hoo Kwang, hereby proclaims to the foreigners of every nation, that they may thoroughly know and understand. Whereas ye, the said foreigners, coming to Canton to trade, have usually reaped immense profits: therefore it is that your ships, which in former years amounted annually to no more than several tens, now exceed a hundred and several tens, which arrive here every year.

"Your import goods, no matter what they be, with us find a consumption: and respecting the cargo which you may wish to purchase in return, there is nothing in which you may not adventure.

"I would like to ask you, if, in the wide earth under heaven, you can find such another profit-yielding market as this is?


"Our great Chinese Emperor views all mankind with equal benevolence; and therefore it is that he has thus graciously permitted you to trade, and become, as it were, steeped to the lips in gain. this port of Canton, however, were to be shut against you, how could you scheme to reap profit more? Moreover, our tea and rhubarb are articles which ye foreigners from afar cannot preserve your lives without yet year by year we allow you to export both beyond seas, without the slightest feeling of grudge on our part. Never was imperial goodness greater than this!


Formerly the prohibitions of our empire might still be considered indulgent, and therefore it was that from all our ports the sycee leaked out as the opium rushed in: now, however, the great Emperor, on hearing of it, actually quivers with indignation, and before he will stay his hand, the evil must be completely and entirely done away with.

66 Respecting our own subjects, he who opens an opium-shop, or who sells opium, is immediately put to death; and it is also in agitation whether or not the mere smoker may not be accorded the extreme penalty of the law; and ye foreigners who come to our central land to reside, ought in reason to submit to our statutes, as do the natives of China themselves.

"I find that ye have now anchored at Lintin and other places many store-ships, in which are several tens of thousands of chests of opium.

"Your intention is to dispose of them clandestinely; but ye remember not how strict we are in making captures at this port: how, then will ye find people who will convey it for you any more? And, seizures being made with equal severity through every province of the empire, what other place have ye where ye dare to sell it off? This time opium is indeed prohibited, and cannot circulate; every man knows that it is a deadly poison; why, then, should ye heap it up in your foreign store-ships, and keep them there long anchored on the great sea; not only thereby wasting much money by their heavy expenses, but exposing them to the chance of storms, of fire, and other accidents which no man can foresee?

"I, therefore, uniting all these circumstances, now issue this my edict, and, when it reaches the said foreigners, let them immediately, and with due respect, in conformity thereto, take all the opium in these said store-ships and deliver it up to the officers of Government, and allow the Hong merchants to examine clearly which man by name gives up so many chests; the total weight, so many catties and taels; and let (the Hong merchants) make out a distinct list to that effect, and hand it up to the officers to be checked, that these officers may openly take possession of the whole, and have it burned and destroyed, so as to cut off its power of doing mischief; a single atom must not be hidden or concealed; and, at one and the same time, let a duly prepared bond be drawn up, written in the Chinese and foreign character, stating clearly that the ships afterwards to arrive here shall never, to all eternity, dare to bring any opium. Should any ship after this bring it, then her whole cargo on board is to be confiscated, and her people put to death; and that they will willingly undergo it as the penalty of their crimes: all this to be stated clearly in the said bond.


"Upon this occasion, I, the Imperial Commissioner, being at Peking, in my own person received the Emperor's commands: the law, when once uttered, must be put in force moreover, having brought with me these orders, and this great irresponsible authority for prevention, they must be executed to the benefit of public business, and may not be compared with that careless examination and mode of acting that belong to ordinary matters. If the stream of opium cannot be cut off, I cannot return from this. I am sworn to have the same beginning and end (Anglice, to stand or fall) by the opium question There is no such thing as suspending my labours in the middle. Moreover, I find that the indignation of the people of the inner land is almost to a man roused against you; and if ye foreigners will not reform and repent-if profit continues to be your sole objectthen it is not only with the majesty of our troops, and the abundance of our forces by land and water, that we may sweep you off, but we have merely to call upon the common people of the land to rise, and these would be more than sufficient utterly to annihilate you. Further, we should, as a temporary expedient, close the ships' holds, and as a final one, shut up the port; and what difficulty would there be in cutting off your commerce for ever? Our Chinese empire covers many tens of thousands of miles in extent; every sort of produce is there heaped up and running

« ElőzőTovább »