Imagens das páginas

The Leisure Hlour.

founded guard, and marched into Paris / brings forth a "ridiculous mouse.” It under the monarch's guidance.

is made

пр in book-form, the pages measBy this time Gneisenau had gone uring nine by four inches, of which each through his training as a hero, and issue contains from fifteen to twenty, henceforth trained heroes. How he did some of them occasionally six inches 80, we hope to be able to tell when broad; the paper being of thin bamboo another volume of this charming biog. manufacture, not much thicker than tisraphy appears.

sue paper, but tougher, of a dingy yellow tint, and printed on one side, as is usual in all Chinese publications, with the

leaves cut at the back instead of at the THE PEKING GAZETTE.

edge, as in our books. The cover is

printed in red or blue ink. In the centre In most books upon China, and news is a literary mandarin dressed in the anpaper accounts about the events that cient garb of learned men, dating as far transpire in that country, we frequently back as the days of Confucius, who lived find The Peking Gazette mentioned as B.C. five hundred and fifty years. He an authority for any remarkable occur- holds in his hands a scroll from the works rences, or political and social events con- of that great Chinese moralist and lawnected with the State, which may be giver; froin which he is supposed to be quoted or referred to in the text. Be. discoursing, as indicated by the characyond these casual notices, generally taken ter within the circle above his head, sig. at second-hand from local journals pub- nifying." said,” from the verb "to say." lished at Shanghai and Hongkong, the To his right and left on the border are two English public know very little concern- representations of the Imperial Dragon, ing that curious example of newspaper the emblem of celestial power given to publication. Moreover, we question the emperor from on high, according to whether many British journalists or lit- Chinese theology; while below is a jumerary men have seen a copy of this “Gov- ble of figures supposed to represent the ernment Organ” of an empire containing earth, and an equally confused design at a population of four hundred and four- the top, representing the heavens. In teen millions; inasinuch as even the Li- the heading of the newspaper are two brary of the British Museum possessed large characters, pronounced KING Paou; no copy until a gentleman from China the first signifying“ metropolis,” and the recently presented a file of three months' second the verb to report;" so that, if issue to it. Under these circumstances, freely translated into the idiom of our some account of this extraordinary Chi- language, we should name it The Metro. nese newspaper, by one* who has official- politan Reporter. However, for all purly pored over its strange characters in poses its ordinary English title at the the country where it circulates, will not head of this article is the most appropribe unacceptable to our numerous readers. ate. Following these two large charac

Those who have seen the London Ga-ters are a number of smaller ones, which zette may possibly imagine that its Peking read from top to bottom of the page, becontemporary is of similar dimensions, in ginning on the right hand, which anproportion to the population and the nounce the name of the emperor, TUNG immense empire to which its contents re- Chee, signifying " Union in the cause late; while others may probably suppose of Law and Order;" the year of his reign, The Peking Gazette to be a daily broad and the date of issue, being the 1st moon, sheet like The Times, measuring twelve 4th and 5th days-February 2d and 3d by sixteen feet superficies, or large enough of our calendar. to paper a small bed-room. If so, their About twenty years ago The Peking conceptions are as wide of the mark as a Gazette was named King Chaou, meanmole-hill is to a mountain, where that ing “ Transcript from the Metropolis," as mountain, in its literary upheavings, daily at that time it was a collection of ex

tracts, copied by hand from the decrees We are indebted for this cominunication

issued at Peking and posted on the walls to the late editor of the North China Herald, of the great court for the information of Shanghai.

the public. These were officially circu.

lated among the provinces, and cost so | pence each. So much for the outward much that none but the wealthy could form of the paper ; let us now glance at purchase them. Sometimes they were the character of its contents. printed by an ingenious method of stere In the first place, these are obtained by otype, formed by a coating of wax upon permission of government from a board a block of wood, upon which the charac- in the imperial palace at Peking, as beters were scratched with a point, and fore mentioned, where they are placarded then the wax was scraped away, leaving for the information of the mandarins and their forms raised sufficiently to take an the scribes who copy them for publicaimpression from them in Chinese ink, by tion daily. The matter contained in these gently rubbing the thin paper, through placards is a report of the deliberations which they appear like a press-copy of a of the Supreme Council of the empire, letter. This is the reason why all Chi- including the ministers of state. The nese publications are printed on one side proceedings are analogous to those of only, as the characters are not cut the her Majesty's Privy Council, only the reverse way. At the period above men- emperor is not present. This council tioned the demand for the Gazette in- meets early every morning, when they creased so much that enough copies could decide upon questions brought before not be written or printed by the slow them chiefly in the name of the emperor, process described; so that those who had who has examined them the evening becopies lent them out to read, especially fore. Extracts from the report of these in the provinces far distant from the cap- meetings not only form the material of ital, whence it took from sixty to ninety The Peking Gazette, but it is from their days to reach Canton. This demand en-contents that the annals of the governcouraged some enterprising booksellers ment are recorded, and materials for the at Peking to have sets of movable wooden history of the empire are drawn, which types to publish the daily news, which the Court of Records preserves in its the government officials introduced into archives. Thus, although there is a great their copying department; and since then disparity between the appearance of the this exponent of the court is set up in a Chinese and English Gazettes, yet a resimilar manner for printing to that in use markable similarity is apparent in the in Europe since the days of Caxton. nature of their contents. And as these That the Chinese are the earliest invent- consist almost wholly of what transpires ors of printing from stereotyped wooden in the innermost circles of this purely aublocks is an undeniable fact; but how far tocratic government, it is not the less retheir claims go to the use of movable markable than it is true, that through the types anterior to Western nations we are medium of this unique journal the subnot prepared to say. The general opin- jects of the emperor obtain a knowledge ion is in favor of Europe; and that this not only of the events that transpire at improvement was introduced by the court and the deliberations of the SuJesuit Fathers into China.

preme Council, but the opinions and feelIn whatever manner The Peking Ga- ings of the emperor himself on the topics zette has been transcribed or printed, of the day. As an exponent, therefore, there have been, from time immemorial, of the regal power of this mighty realm, always two editions of it: one issued daily it is far more explicit than any Court for the sole use of high officials, and con- Journal or London Gazette. Indeed, so taining edicts of a secret character, or minute and circumstantial are the details such information as would be considered given of the views entertained on politiin Europe private and confidential dis- cal and social questions by his Imperial patches, and the other published every Majesty, the monarch of one third of the two days, from which these are expunged. human race, that they frequently partake For obvious reasons, the issue which more of the character given by the Presiforms the subject of this article is the dent of America to his annual explanatory latter edition, containing the metropoli- message, than the curt generalization, tan reports of two days; and, as they do without assigning reasons, of an Order not count by weeks, or have any days of in Council, or a Queen's Speech in Parliarest in China, there are sometimes four ment. a week issued at about the price of two A still more remarkable feature in

Chinese policy, disclosed by the edicts fled from Peking when it was captured and laws promulgated in The Peking by the English and French allied armies Gazette, is the existence of a class of -a Council of Regency was appointed learned men, denominated Yü-sze in the to govern, as the successor was a youth classic dialect, and who are called “public eleven years old. This council was comcensors” by foreigners, in lieu of a more posed of inveterate enemies to the allies, appropriate name for paid officers of the and they contemplated fresh intrigues State, who have no counterpart in any and wars against them. Immediately, a other nation. Their duty is not merely censor named Tung-yuan-shun memorialto point out to the emperor the existence ized the empress dowager, stating that, of any evil amongst the people that re- in consequence of the success of the quires suppression or punishment of the allies, a new order of things had taken offenders, but they expose the errors and place in the annals of the empire, and misgovernment of ministers, and dare that, for the future, “Practice should be even to reprove his Majesty, “the Sa- guided by circumstances - an innovacred One from Heaven,” when he revels tion of doctrine unparalleled in the conin the sensuality and debauchery that servative policy of China. However, the Asiatic monarchs are prone to indulge views of this reformer had such weight in. In fact, they use a language so bold with the empress and the deceased emand unmistakable in its terms, on some peror's brother, Prince Kung, that they occasions, that, if used in England, they seized the reins of government, and in would be tried for treason to the throne, a month after deposed, strangled, and in France incarcerated, and perhaps guil- decapitated every member of the antilotined, and in the United States sent to reform council. So that, by the arguFort Lafayette without benefit of clergy. ments and representations of this bold These sages act also as imperial histori- censor, a complete revolution occurred ographers, their functions being defined in the government of the State, favorable by the State many centuries ago; so that to British and other nations, which hapthey are a body of venerable function- pily exists to the present day. A minute aries appointed for the purpose of ad account of how this coup d'état came dressing the monarch by direct commu to pass, not omitting the most trifling nication, either verbally or in writing. details, was published in The Peking Even in this free and enlightened mon- Gazette of the time; which is more archy, the self-constituted censors of the authentic in relating the true history of public press do not attempt such liberties that important event than all that has in their strictures on the queen and transpired concerning the coup d'état court at Windsor as the Yü-sze on the of 1848 in France, which established emperor and court at Peking; as they the present imperial rule on the ruins of cautiously write at the monarch, where- republicanism. Our limited space preas these censors talk or write to his cludes us from furnishing the reader with Celestial Majesty. During the reign of the decrees upon that occasion ; but a a late emperor, one of these rigid sages recent extract from an ordinance against lectured him upon his vices and the ex- the use of opium will serve to show the travagance of his court, while at the character of the articles in the Gazette: same time he offered his life as a sacri. “Wang-ching-yun, a censor, has prayfice for daring to speak faithfully. The ed us that we should enforce restrictions consequences were anything but revenge on officers of all ranks, soldiers, and ful; on the contrary, the censor was scholars using opium. He painfully applauded for his courage and fidelity, opens out the growth of the vice of and the emperor subsequently mended opium-smoking among the above classes, bis ways.

and makes an earnest appeal for some A remarkable instance of the effect of effective injunction being enforced to the memorials submitted by these cen secure the limit of its use among them. sors to the sovereign, or, as in the case What he has laid before us is certainly about to be related, the regency, in alter- a point of vast importance. As to the ing the destiny of the nation, may be drug itself, though the prohibitions on cited. On the death of the late Emperor it have been relaxed, yet the prevalence, Hien-Feng—a wretched debauchee, who and the growth of its irregular use to so

very large an extent, must have no little of European governments, and issued in bearing and influence upon the customs the name of the emperor, as ours are in and tone of society. Our civil and mili- the name of the queen. But while in tary officers respectively have their posts this country this is only a fiction of the to till; but if night be turned into day, law, in China, when a talented emperor and every duty be performed with irreg. occupies the throne, many of these edicts ularity, what probability is there that are the bonâ fide production of the monthe attairs of State can be conducted as arch, who frequently gives vent, through they should be, with vigor and prompt. the pages of The Peking Gazette, to his ness ? Our literati have to put forward hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows, every effort in colleges and classes, grad respecting the social as well as the poually rising until they appear on the roll litical state of his subjects. Notwithof men competent to occupy official posts. standing a vast deal of grandiloquism But if the educational elements are al- and insincerity which clothes these prolowed to grow recklessly and wildly, ductions of the “ vermilion pencil,"as where is the hope of converting such into they are characterized from other writgood material ? Our soldiers, to be men ings, there is something grand in the of pluck in the army, ought to be thor- patriarchal meaning they bear that the oughly expert in warfare; but if their

emperor is the father of his people." energy flags and becomes feeble, and At one time he mourns with some tribes their skill in arms falls into disuse, will in the far west of his dominions near it be possible for them to keep their Thibet who have suffered by a landslip places in battle array and overpower a which has buried their flocks and many strong enemy? Now, just as we are of their people, and relieves the survivors instructing our officers to be vigilant in from all taxes during their lives ; at their respective duties and in reforming another time he rejoices with the husour soldiery, why should they be allow- bandmen in the rice provinces that there ed to tyrannize over themselves, or to bas been an abundant harvest, enjoining abandon themselves to ruin, for want of them to return thanks in the temples for further and distinct prohibitions as to the mercies showered upon them; again, the indulgence complained of ? Accord- he issues bis maledictions against the ingly, we prescribe henceforth (without Taiping rebels, who have devastated the interfering with the commonalty availing most fertile provinces of his dominions, themselves of the altered code on this reducing their industrious inhabitants to score) that our officers, scholars, and want and misery, and rescinds all taxes troops shall continue under the same to be levied on them, until prosperity prohibition heretofore existing as to shall again bless the land ; and, lastly, opium-smoking; and we require that the he rewards his brave soldiers who have heads of the civil, military, and educa- overcome the insurrectionists that laid tional departments do keep strict watch waste the country, as in the following on this head. Any offenders must be translation of a recent extract from The immediately punished with severity and Peking Gazette, issued after the capture reported for degradation; and, in hope of the ancient city of Nanking: that by strenuous efforts we may revive “ The San Méng Mongolian Cavalry, the declining morals of the day, no in- from the time they were first led against dulgence shall be granted to connivance the insurgents by San-ko-lin-sin to the in any shape; and thus we shall main- present day, have constantly been in actain our dignity and majesty. Respect tion, and their efforts have in all cases this !” We may remark, en passant, been crowned with success. that the great Napoleon issued a similar many years the exploits of these troops decree relative to the excessive tobacco- have been very noble, and thus honor smoking among the civil and military was acquired in several provinces. In departments of the State.

the broiling heat of summer and the From the foregoing it will be observed chilling cold of winter they alike exerted that, excepting the reference to the cen- themselves : yet the above-mentioned sor as the source of information, the high officer has recommended extremely general tenor of a Chinese imperial edict few of the men and officers under his is similar to the decrees and ordinances command for posts of importance. This,

For very

the sum of ten thousand taels is grante P that the best men should be appointed

doubtless, resulted from the extreme deaths from this cause among the foreign care he took to avoid the slightest mis- community at Shanghai, where he was representation. Now that Nanking has resident, filled many a heart with feelbeen taken, we are anxious to bestow ings of dread and sorrow : our marks of approbation on every pri “ We have come to the throne of this vate soldier. They are most certainly, great empire, and have received authortherefore, entitled to the highest reward, ity over it. We respectfully receive the and to have the cup of favor filled to assistance of the gracious empresses overflowing. Moreover, as to the man- dowager, who attend the deliberation on darins employed in San-ko-lin-sin's camp, public affairs. We have diligently sought we request him carefully to pick out the the proper mode of rule, and have been most distinguished and recommend them assisted by the great princes of the court. for promotion, waiting for our orders as The present times and affairs are full of to the marks of distinction to be be- difficulty, and all officials are anxious . To , to fill es in the State,

are arduto be distributed by the commissariat ously exerting themselves to govern officers, in order to show our approba- rightly, and bring down Heaven's favor. tion and sympathy. To sum up, when Now, on the 15th day of the 7th moon, the empire is completely pacified, we at night, there were seen many stars shall be at a loss to find adequate re- darting towards the south west, and on wards to shower on our devoted follow- the 25th there was seen a comet in the ers. Respect this !”

north west. These appearances in the The reigning emperor, Tung Chee, heavens did not come for nothing, and being a minor, as already stated, and for two months the city has been overnow in his thirteenth year only, attend- run by cholera. Though we are still ing to his studies under the wisest tu- youthful, we are deeply afraid, and have tors of the realm, the decrees quoted are received from the dowagers their united not the production of his juvenile ver- opinions, that these frightful occurrences milion pencil

. They emanate from the in the heavens and amongst the people Court of Regency, consisting of Prince must be caused by some defect in our Kung, his uncle, the empress, his mother, government. All the officials are alike and the empress dowager, the first wife in fear, and examine their conduct in of his father without issue. The prince order to rectify their faults. Since our is a man of high attainments and liberal accession we have ever sought good adprinciples, as may be perceived by the vice, and have taken care to extract tone of the edicts; still, he is bound to good advice from other officials of the interpret the “signs of the times,” ac- empire when they have had occasion to cording to the superstitious antecedents memorialize us. But we fear that, in the of Chinese history. We finish our ex- multitude of our affairs, and the great tracts of The Peking Gazette with a extent of our empire, there may be some characteristic decree illustrative of the defect that has escaped our notice, and whole fabric of Chinese ethics, framed, of which the court has not heard, that no doubt, under the supervision of the the officers, in memorializing, have been ladies and some sage censor, which main- deterred from speaking their mind from tains the superstitions of the darkest fear of giving offence, and have not told ages in Europe, and reads like a literary the facts of the case. Therefore we on production of the remotest antiquity sud- purpose issue an edict ordering that all denly vivified in the middle of this mat- officials, great and small, should with ter-of-fact scientific nineteenth century. their whole heart consider whether there The appearance of the comet, and the be any shortcomings in the great and prevalence of cholera, referred to, oc- important affairs of our government; curred during the residence of the writer should honestly expose them, and not in China, when the awful devastation hide them; should not keep back any. caused by the latter scourge was well thing as unimportant or trivial, and qualified to give the mysterious edict all should obey Heaven in reality and not the effect intended among the native in name only. At present we are in population; and the number of sudden painful anxiety as to the many troubles.

« AnteriorContinuar »