Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

lation is computed to amount to sive hundred millions. The foil is rich, and it produces corn in the greatest abundance, the most delicious fruits, plants, drugs, and gums, and in its mines are found diamonds, gold, silver, copper, and iron. The difference of climate, manners, and productions, is so strongly marked, that they cannot be included under one description. No objects which it presents are more interesting to us than the Chinese Empire, and the British territories in Hindoostan.

China. This country, exclusive of Chinese Tartary, is about 2000 miles in length, and 1600 in breadth. It is divided into 16 Provinces, the total population of which is said to be 333 millions of fouls. This amount was delivered to Lord Macartney, at his particular request, by Chow ta Zhin, a Chinese Mandarin, and is founded on authentic documents, taken from one of the public offices at Pekin. Pekin, the metropolis, contains three millions of inhabitants. China is bounded on the north by Chinese Tartary; on the south, by the sea of China; on the east, by the Pacisic Ocean; and on the west, by great Thibet, and Tonkin. The Chinese are remarkable for the early period at which they were civilized, and had made some progress in the arts and sciences. But they appear to have been stationary for a considerable time; and from their having made no improvements, they seem to be incapable of doing so; and it may therefore he presumed, that they received their arts from some other people, probably the Hindoos of Indipi. Their language seems to exclude the possibility of improvement in speculative researches, from the difficulty of expressing abstract ideas in it. Of astronomy they know little, and cannot calculate eclipses. Their knowledge of medicine is flight, and is Wended with superstition. They are said to have been acquainted with gunpowder from an early period, but they never employed it in artillery or sire arms, till instructed by the Europeans. They claim the invention of printing at a remote age; yet they are ignorant of the use of moveable types, and print from blocks of wood. Their mode of painting is a mere mechanical imitation, without grace or expression. They have no idea of the rules of perspective; and in sculpture, the sigures of their idols show the pleasure they take in deformity and disproportion.

Yet we must allow, that in some arts they have reached a great degree of excellence. Every spot in China js highly cultivated; the Emperor glories in being the sirst husbandman in his dominions, and annually directs the plough with his own hands. The whole surface of the country presents the appearance of a garden, and is appropriated to the production of food for man. Their husbandry is singularly neat, and in their sields, whatever is the produce, scarcely a weed is to be seen. The great attention to agriculture, which extended to the whole empire, may account for the sustenance of so large a population as that of the Chinese. Their embellishments of rural nature have never been done justice to by the imitations of Europeans.

s 3 The,

The manufacture of porcelain is an original inven. tion of their own; and although we surpass therq in the ornamental parts of china, we cannot reach the excellence of their material. * Their canals are the largest and sinest in the world, extending sometimes more than 1000 miles, and deep enough to float large vessels. Their greatest rnonu-! ment of antiquity is the wall of China, built by Tsin Chi-Hoang, 221 years before Christ, to feparate China from Tartary, and defend it from a more warlike people. It is carried across mountains and vallies for 1500 miles, is from 20 to 25 feet high, and is strengthened by various forts. The top, which is wide enough for six horfemen to travel abreast, is terrassed, and cased with brick.

To the Chinese we are indebted for a species of beverage the most agreeable and salubrious. The tea shrub is distinguished into four sorts, Song-lo-tcha, Vou-y-tcha, Pou-eul-tcha, and a species which grows wild. The manner of cultivating the tea shrubs is this ;—the Chinefe plant them in rows, after which they are pruned, to prevent their growing too high; the natural height of the sirst being ten feet; in four or sive years they are replanted, which prevents the leaf from grow-r ing thick, hard, and tpugh. The flowers are white, composed of sive petals, and shaped like a rose; they are succeeded by berries, in the form .of a nut, partaking of the taste of the leaf. The leaves of the fecond sort are short, and round at the top. Of this shrub the inhabitants make three pickings j sirst, the tender leaf when it appears;—this is seldom exposed to sale, but is sent as a present to the Emperor, and other great persons;—secondly, when the leaves are of a middling size; and thirdly, when they are Ml grown. The third species differs from the two former, being a bushy shrub; the decoction made from its leaves is esteemed exceedingly salutary by the inhabitants. The fourth fort is little inferior to the other three, though produced without culture; but the Chinese, from interested motives, always condemn it.

i

The Chinese are indefatigable in -the culture of ,rice, with which they are chiefly fed ^ and of cotton, with which they are clothed. The cotton shrub rises about two feet in height, and bears a yellow Æower, sometimes tinged with red; this is succeeded •by a pod, which, when opened, contains three or four bags in the form of a silk-worm's covering, idled with very white cotton".

Before the conquest of China by the Tartars, ■their government was patriarchal Duty to the father of each family was enforced, under the most rigorous penalties; and the Emperor was considered as the father of his people. The Mandarins, or great officers of state, were acknowledged as his substitutes. Degrees of submission from an inferior to a superior, are observed with the greatest formality; at present they are governed by their antient laws, and others imposed upon

n yyse's Geography, p. 357, &c.

s 4 them them by the Tartars. They have no establishes religion; t'.e Emperor is of one, the mandarins of another, and the common people of a third, which is that of the God Fo. They are very superstitious, crafty, and dishonest; and the fact seems to be too well established to admit of a doubt, that they destroy great "numbers of their infant children. They have no pretensions to the very high antiquity to which they lay claim, yet still if we consider their immense numbers, their industry, their early promotion of the arts, and their systematic and well regulated government, they must be allowed to be a very extraordinary people,

Hindoostan, or the Empire of the Great M igul. in» eludes the peninsula within the Ganges; it is bounded by Persia and the Arabian sea on the west, by West Tartaryand Great Tibet on the north and north-east, by the kingdom of Ava and the bay os Bengal on the east, and by the great Indian ocean on the south. The length of this country, from Cape Comorin on the south, to the frontiers of West Tartary on the north, is nearly 2000 miles; and its breadth, in its widest extent, fron> Persia to the kingdom of Ava, is near 1500 miles. Hindoostan is at present divided into a great number of states; the chief of them are tributary to the British nation, which possesses the whole province of Bengal, Bahar, part of Orissa, and the district of Benares in Oude; Madras, on the coast of Coromandel, the Circar$, a Jong tract on the tame coast; on the western coasts, the. Jflands of Bombay and Salsette, and in the Mysore

country.

« ElőzőTovább »