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you. These falls are more beautiful, though not so terrific as the great one. The first beyond the island is a stream of seventy or eighty feet wide; the second, from which this is separated by a ragged pile of rocks, is five or six hundred, and both of the same height as the great fall, but appear much higher, as they do not, like that, pour over in a vast arch, but are precipitated so perpendicularly and broken, as to appear an entire sheet of foam, from the top to the bottom. Seen from the table rock, the tumbling green waves of the rapids which persuade you that an ocean is approaching, the brilliant colour of the water, the frightful gulf and headlong torrent at your feet, the white column rising from its centre and often reaching to the clouds, the black wall of rock frowning from the opposite island, and the long curtain of foam descending from the other shore, interrupted only by one dark shaft, form altogether one of the most beautiful, as well as awful scenes in nature. The effect of all these objects is much heightened by being seen from a dizzy and fearful pinnacle, upon which you seem suspended over a fathomless abyss of vapour, whence ascends the deafening uproar of the greatest cataract in the world; and by reflecting, that this powerful torrent has been rushing down, and this grand scene of stormy magnificence been in the same dreadful tumult, for ages, and will continue so for ages to come.
THREE quarters of a mile north of the table rock, we descended with a guide, by means of a perpendicular ladder of forty-five feet, upon which we stepped from the edge of the preci. pice, and thence down the broken rocks at its foot to the margin of the river. This was not accomplished without much fatigue, and some danger, owing to the fallen masses, among which we were obliged to explore our way, and to those impending from above. We traced the stream quite up to the cataract, passed into the cavern, formed by the overhanging wall, upon which the table rock now appeared suspended, one hun. dred and fifty-five feet above our heads, and so diminished, as
to seem hardiy suiliciently large to afford footing for a bird: From this place we could see far under the sheet of water. The scene, if one could contemplate it with the least degree of ease, would certainly be sublime beyond all power to conceive, or describe.
But the inconveniencies you suffer from the dreadful whirlwind caused by this contention of winds and waters, the extreme difficulty of breathing, the pains you are obliged to take to avoid being blown off your unsure and slippery footing, and to shield your eyes from the pelting shower which from its violence in every direction, assails and almost blinds you, takes from you the power of noticing any part of the grandeur with which you are surrounded, except that which arises from the distracting noise and tumult in which you are involved. The sense of suffocation was so insupportable, owing to the exhausted state of the air in the cavern, produced by the rushing of the water by it, that we were frequently obliged to retreat, though still more exposed without, to the deluging rain which fell incessantly from the spray. But curiosity would soon induce us to return to it again, believing that we had now collected sufficient courage to bear the operation of this great natural air pump; we were however quickly undeceived and driven back. It would require brazen lungs indeed to support such a situation many minutes. Our guide informed us that it was always painful to go under the table rock, and even a few steps under the sheet of water as we were, but that it was not always equally so. A violent north-west wind blowing this day directly against the fall, and into the cavern, rendered the situation much more disagreeable than common. He told us that in calm weather one might, with expedition and hardiness, go a few rods under the sheet of water, which I can very well believe, for he proceeded this day two or three yards, but I could not follow him even one.
FOR THE PORTFOLIO.
ON THE GENIUS OF THE CHINESE.
ESSAY II. PART I.
The progress and advancement of a people, in the sciences and arts, it is very obvious, inust either be languid and imperfect, or rapid and efficient, in proportion to the genius which inspirits their faculties to exertion, and retards or accelerates the attainment to perfection. Hence, as mind is the spring of all power, genius is the impulse which direcis it to the end; and whatever object judgment may fix upon, or accident poisit out, for the exercise of its faculties, the perfect completion of the object will attend the energy of genius, and the failure oi success, by repeated efforts, will as infallibiy indicare its absence. It is by this general maxim, which is as applicable to a whole people, as to individual life, that the genius of a nation should be determined, and we shall judge of that of China, from a review of the general result of her long continued efforts, to arrive at the portals of science, and to possess a knowledge of the arts.
That the human mind is much affected by a variety of physical events and circumstances, not within the possible control of the human will, is rendered too apparent by every day's occurrences, to allow of a denial; but that in every relation and aspect of life, moral and political, the energy of mind is always scen rising upon the depression of physical impediments, and triumphing by the deoppilation of inveterate opposition, must be admitted by all who regard experience more than hypothesis, and who have attended to the progressive advancement of the mind, from the earliest to the last stages of the process. Though the habitudes, modifications and affections of the minds of different nations, may vary according to variety of climate, soil, and local situation, yet if they are endued with genius, its supremacy will be forcibly exhibited in some manner, and though local peculiarities may be blended with its effects, they will not obscure its lustre, or lessen its renown. Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and Rome will be immortal for their genius
in science, and venerated to the end of time, notwithstanding the peculiarities which severally distinguished them in learning, and the many shocking enormities, which sunk them in vice. Their vices, however, are not less instructive than their erudition, as they better our morals, by salutary example, whilst their erudition improves our knowledge, by profound investigation..
No people have a better right to originality than those of China: the identical singular characteristic which so remarkably stamps all their measures and actions, pervades their sciences and arts.
The hinges on which the minds of this people wholly turn, are the prudential principles of experience and custom; which regulates the nature and extent of the philosopher's cognition, with precision equal to that, which binds the lowly méchanic to persevere in the accustomed mode of work, though a better and less laborious one, is within the reach of his own invention. It is this absurd devotion to established rules, and fixed order, in every department of life; a great dread of innovation; and an absolute rejection of every thing foreign, which perhaps gives this peculiarity to the nation; a peculiarity which though it cannot enhance the merit or value of their possessions, except in their own estimation, serves at least to prove the want of perspicacity and genius in them; and to prevent the imputation of what exclusively belongs to their own weakness, to any other people.
The mode of education prevalent now in China, and which in probability has been the same for two thousand years past, with, perhaps, some trivial additions and modifications, and for which they are rather indebted to the encroaching hand of time, than the suggestions of reason, or expediency, will be found by its features, to be the offspring of a mind, totally destitute of genius, and of a like complexion to every sister science and art. To consider this, here, may be proper before we proceed further into the subject, as it will tend to unfold the nature of various phenomenæ, and account for numerous anomalies, in their literary history. Education commences, in general, through the empire, at the ages of five and six years, in attempting to teach a knowledge of the letters, and the clementary parts of
the language,* which may be considered the chief study of the literati as well as the people; and to obtain a perfect comprehension of which, a whole life devoted to it, would not be more than sufficient. It can scarcely be imagined that much progress can be made by children of that age in so formidable a task, and as these difficulties are augmented by factitious obstructions, the possibility of their soon surmounting them vanishes. To the prodigious number of the characters, amounting to eighty thousand,t combined with the complexness, incidental to a language wanting simplification and method, by the rules of grammatical arrangement, may be attributed in part, the difficulty of obtaining a complete comprehension of it, to which may be superadded, the extreme labour and avidity of getting by rote, so many thousand characters, and a volume of Confucius, without the least accession of knowledge or ideas. The first stage of education terminates, when the student, having learned by rote the four books of the doctrines of Confucius, is allowed to proceed to learn the formation of the characters, by tracing the printed
* See Du Halde and Barrow, p. 174. + Barrow, Staunton. vol. 3.
# Staunton, v. 2. p. 245. Sir George Staunton seems here to have been led into a curious error, in our apprehension, as inconsistent with his usual sagacity, and quick perception, as it is repugnant to philosophy and experience. In page 245, vol. 2. he says, “ The learner of the Chinese is besides not puzzled with many minute rules of grammar, conjugation, or declension. There is no necessity of distinguishing substances, adjectives, or verbs, nor any accordance of gender, number, and case in a Chinese sentence.” Hence he infers, that the attainment of the language is rendered more facile, by being destitute of grammar. Para ical opinions may be founded in truth, or may proceed from an affectation of superior discernment; but when they are unsustained by adequate proof, and in direct opposition to long experience, it must be allowed reasonable to withhold our assent to them. Rules of granımar may at first puzzle a learner, as the rules of any other science or art are not immediately comprehended for their utility, to a beginner, nor perhaps do they much aid his first efforts. But in every stage of his progress after the first, their great use cannot be denied: without such rules the capricious fancy of every man, would supply the place of principles founded in reason; and confusion would necessarily succeed to order; language might be taught in a shorter
space of time, but would never be susceptible of the same perfi-ction; as is evinced in that of the Chinese, which is not adapted for philosophicat. and precise disquisition. Independent of which, however, does not the labour of storing the memory with all their characters, and a huge volume of the works of Confucius, far overbalance the supposed impediments of grammar?