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of the elements, and of the earth, the physical properties of plants, trees, and shrubs, the uses of old garments and utensils;** the nature and condition of all kinds of animals; and lastly, it treats of the human system.t Like the ancient, and some of the modern philosophers, in investigating the human mind, and natural phenomenæ, who supplied the want of knowledge, by learned unmeaning words, expressive of no determinate and intelligible idea, the Chinese conceal their ignorance of the qualities and nature of their medicinal plants, by the use of generic terms, equally applicable to fifty different kinds; thus in the above natural history it is said, “that one hundred and twenty-five sorts, partake of the nature of the earth, and have all great malignity.” In what sense the term malignity should be taken is left to the fancy of the reader; this however appears to be the utmost knowledge they have of the qualities of the medicines they most frequently use. Than the 16 secret of the pulse,” as they denominate it, nothing can be more fallacious, and there is nothing in which they more exult. They fancy that every part of the body has a distinct peculiar pulse, which points out in what part of the system the disease lies, and that the pulse always corresponding to the actual state of animal life, they can by this criterea, ascertain the seat and cause of the disease, without any exact knowledge of the constitution, habits, or circumstances of the patient.S Sir George Staunton gives a curious statement of a Chinese consultation, on a malady with which the Colao was afflicted, and it fully evinces their proud ignorance, and formal presumption.

but after a full examination of the Colao's pulses, they had early decided “hat the whole of his complaints, were owing to a malignant 6 vapour or spirit, which had infused itself into or was generated “ in his flesh, which shifted from place to place, always excit“ing pain in the part in which it fixed itself. In consequence

* This must at first appear very ludicrous to the reader, bat his muscles will assume a sedate aspect, when he is told, the very philosophical reason for explaining the nature and uses of old garments, &c. It is, because “the matter of which is taken out of the preceding kinds,” or in other words, because the materials from wliich the said old garments and utensils were fabricated, were produced from the plants and trees antecedently mentioned. + Dullalde, rol. 3 p. 467. 1b. 469. Sta!ınton. Ś Staunton, 2 rol. p.:.

He says,

“ of this opinion of the nature and cause of the disease, the
“ method of cure was to expel the vapour or spirit immediately;
« and this was to be effected by opening passages for its escape,
“ directly through the parts affected. The operation had been
“frequently performed, and many deep punctures made with
“gold and silver needles, (which two metals only are admissible
“for the purpose,) with exquisite pain to the patient. Still,
« however, the disease continued its usual course; but this,
“from the authority and information of his pulses, was entirely
“ owing to the obstinacy of the vapour, which either remained
“ in part in the body, in spite of every effort to dislodge it, or

was generated in fresh quantities in other parts, after having
“ been expelled from the seat it had at first occupied. In their
" treatment of this disorder, the physicians had exhausted all,
6 their skill to no purpose. The original complaints still con-
« tinued to recur, and were now more violent than at any former
“period.” In fine, the physician attached to the embassy, hav-
ing examined the Colao's malady, in the manner which reason
and European practice has established, discovered, that the m'a-
lignant vapour and spirit, was nothing greater than the rheuma-
tism, and a completely formed hernia! That dissection is not
prevalent in China, is sufficient to account for their not under-
standing the nature of the disease, or the proper remedy.

How far the excellence or imperfection of music, should influence our judgments, in a just appreciation, of the refinement, or barbarity of nations, cannot perhaps be precisely determined; as we find many people extolled for their proficiency in the art, who are little above barbarism; and many who are perfectly civilized and rational. Poets, who are amenable to no authority, have in the raptures of ecstasy, denominated music divine, and philosophers, in the sedateness of reason, have thought it little proof of energy of intellect, or sensibility of feeling: both may be right; for though their opinions appear repugnant, yet they are not irreconcilable: The poet judges from the brilliancy of fancy, and its effects on the soul; the phílosopher, from the sternness of investigating reason, and its tendency to melt the soul to imbecility. Not, however, acquainted with its nature, nor being susceptible of its impressions,

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we cannot decide upon its relative merits. The Chinese, however, are less perfect in music than in poetry: and in poetry they are very distant from celebrity.* Music being neither fashionable as an accomplishment, nor practised as an amuseinent, is little cultivated of course, and has not risen to the dignity of a science among the Chinese.f That to educe harmony from chaotic materials, a degree of perspicacity and invention as likewise of taste, is needful, seems to be the case; but harmony is not, per se, music; but is a distinct quality independant of, and yet essential to it. We perceive harmony in an arrangement of words, in the architecture of a building, and in a variety of things in which there is no music. If harmony, as only a .rinstituent part of music, requires a degree of intellectual energy to produce it, as a corrollary, it follows, that to compose music, or invent it, a higher degree of mind is necessary; as a complex notion is more difficult to apprehend, than a simple one. But this degree of mind the Chinese appear not to be endowed with!

Having thus cursorily remarked the progress of the Chinese in the sciences which more immediately are connected with the active powers of the mind, il and which by their condition of excellence, infallibly indicate its inherent vigour and capacity. It may likewise conduce to develop their genius, just to take a slight review of the arts, manufactures, and trades in China.

Navigation is by the Chinese, as might with reason be expected, from their ignorance of astronomy, as little known as practised, the pilots on the coasts being the only navigators. For finding the latitude, they have neither instruments, nor charts, their experience in their business, and a knowledge of the coast, is the only guide to security.S The notion prevalent of the earth, being a horizontal superficies, combined with the want of enterprising foreign trade, and the solit:ry poiicy of the government, and disposition of the people, may account for their ignorance in it. The art of ship-building from the same causes, is very imperfect." Their husbandry, however, is not much in


* Du Halde, 3 vol. p. 110.

† Barrow, 209. # For a specimen of their music, see Barrow and Du Halde.

The jurisprudence and polity of China, will be the object of the 2d part ferior, in the practical parts, and its effects, to that of other countries; though they exhibit the absence of those improvements, which it is the peculiar province of philosophy to make in every gradation of life. Manual labour is mostly used for every purpose, though the buffalo, and ox, and horse, are employed in labour too great for man. The vernal ceremony of ploughing, in which the emperor, with rustic humility, condescends to follow it, is calculated to incite the people to perséverance in labour; but is rather to be esteemed a political expedient, than a moral lesson. In the southern provinces of the empire, the fecundity of the soil, yields annually two crops; but to the north, the coldness of the climate, and the proportionate sterility, allows but one crop.*

of this essay.

Staunton, vol. 1. p. 217.

of Th. 247

To admit as true, the history and pretensions of the Chinese, in every respect, would indeed make them greater in perfection, than any nation of modern Europe. It is a supposition springing from the peculiar character and circumstances of this people, that they must be totally unacquainted with those military instruments, which nothing but the necessity of their aid, and the valour of the people could possibly suggest the invention. Vaiour we do not find to be the principal ingredient in the dull character of the Chinese; and of war they have had less than

any other nation subsisting; and in those in which they were opposed by the Tartars, there could be little occasion for such kinds of arms. In diametrical opposition, however, to this natural inference, the Chinese lay claim to a very ancient knowledge of cannon; but they cannot adduce as proof, one of native manufacture, nor is the manner of using such engines known to them: of muskets they were totally ignorant, either of the manufacture or use, till the Europeans introduced them, and they are without the later improvements.t Gun-powder seems to have been known to them antecedent to the christian erat.

The porcelain of the Chinese has obtained so great celebrity that its excellence is universally known. The art of manufacturing glass was introduced into China in the seventeenth century, before which period they were uninstructed in it. Not better acquainted were they with clocks, until the Europeans

* Barrow, p. 200.

+ Ib. 204.

# Ib. 200.


$ Ib. 204.

gave them models, from which they soon acquired the art of making them.* And so grossly deficient are they in the genius of invention, that to publicly announce the hour of the day in their capitol of Pekin, a large bell is struck with a mallet a number of strokes equal to the hour; for which purpose a man is appointed to observe the process of time, as indicated by the waste of a burning taper.t The silk manufacture is probably an invention of their own, as no trace can be found of its being exotic; no perceptible improvement, however, has been made in this, or any other art, custom forbidding those alterations, which expediency might suggest.

To detail with minute precision, each particular trade, manufacture, and art, of the Chinese, would be extraneous to the object of this essay, which only details individual facts, to deduce general consequences; and more exclusively to record those intimately connected with the mind, and which depend more on energetic intellect, for their original and improvement, than on manual dexterity. The genius of a people from the latter, can be but indistinctly perceived, if at all; it is a mere display of animal ingenuity, and if there subsist no corroborative evidence, which show symptoms of strength and capacity of understanding, there can be little or no ground for concluding such a nation, one jot above barbarity. This I apprehend, is an indubitable test of the mind of a people. The aborigines of Anerica, had many manual arts which exhibited much dexterity; and in those parts of Africa the least humanized, it is known, there prevails no inconsiderable degree of expertness, in providing for convenient living. But who, from these circumstances, would infer that the Africans were in a state of civili, sation, or the Americans of refinement? Such dexterity in subordinate arts, may subsist independent of great pneumatic pow. ers; but perfection in all the arts, is the natural, unavoidable ef. fect of repletion of mind, applying its energies to promote the comfort, and add to the felicity of life. Hence in investigating facts, to establish conclusions, regarding the genius of a peo, ple, attention should be had chiefly to their science, which im. mediately regulates, and on which hangs the excellence of the Barrow, 205.

+ Staunton, vol. 2. p. 241. 3 T


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