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Increased Facilities for Trade.
with the exception of the ruffianly population of Canton, there is everywhere manifested great good-will; and it is remarkable, that wherever we had occasion, during the war, to make any prolonged stay, we invariably left a good impression behind. Those who had once enjoyed the advantage of British rule, looked forward with horror to the prospect of returning under the yoke of the mandarins. This is the testimony, not of persons who write under the eye of the Foreign Office, but of all who have had an opportunity of forming an opinion on the subject, and who express themselves with the freedom of confidential interWe lay no stress on the floating rumours to be picked up at Hong-kong, or Macao, or Canton, basing our conclusions entirely on the accounts of actual eye-witnesses. The immense rush of colonists to the first-named place, and the sudden rise into importance of Victoria city, speak volumes for the light in which we are regarded by the Chinese. As to their willingness to trade, it is beyond question. Before the free ports could be opened, a mart was established at Chusan, where a certain amount of business, in spite of the difficulties we have alluded to, was done; and twelve months prior to the actual formal opening of the trade at Ningpo, a foreign goods warehouse,' was set up in the city.
With respect to the increased facilities afforded by the treaty, much might be said; but it is self-evident, that so vast an empire could not be properly supplied with goods by one channel, obstructed by a vexatious monopoly. The principal demand for our fine goods has always existed in the province of Keang-soo, where stands that abode of luxury, that palace of pleasure, that focus of wealth, fashion, and dissipation, the city of Sú-chau-fú. By our admission into the port of Shang-hai, we can approach by sea within seventy miles of this important market for our goods. Formerly every thing came via Canton, by the route whose difficulties are described so graphically by the quaint and ingenious Navarette, and that admirably naïve writer, Father Ripa. A more modern traveller, the Rev. William C. Milne, who has not yet appeared before the public,* observes in a document which he has placed in our hands :
"I was peculiarly struck, in my inland journey, with the amazing difficulties which the merchants of China have had to encounter, in the carriage of goods into the interior from the port, of Canton,-across lofty gaps or passes, along rapid and, in the summer season, shallow
* A work from his pen will, however, very shortly appear, and we are sure from his ability, and the almost unexampled opportunities he has enjoyed, it will meet with great success. He travelled for more than a thousand miles in the interior, disguised as a Chinese, which his perfect knowledge of the language enabled him to do with the greater profit.
rivers, often on the shoulders of both men and women,—and against wind and current. I have seen more than half-a-dozen boats stuck fast in the centre of a river (all laden with European goods bought up at Canton), in consequence of the deficiency of water. This enormous expenditure of time, labour, patience, and money, the merchants deeply feel; and now that they will be saved a great deal of all this labour and toil, by direct communication with our merchants and shipping at the free ports, the run for our trade will be, I believe, in a few years almost overwhelming."
Another traveller, who travelled along the coast from Nankin to Canton, describes the ridges of mountains, occurring at intervals, as almost impassable, so that the impediments to trade in that direction must have been enormous. A single instance may suffice to show how effectually our manufacturers were prevented from percolating through the whole empire; glass bottles were looked upon as objects of wonder in the neighbourhood of Nankin when exhibited by our troops!
"I remember," continues Mr. Milne, "during the same journey, asking a barber, on the borders of Canton province, what the tea-merchants were doing? He replied: Why, many of them are holding back. They hear that the foreigners are going to trade at Shang-hai and other ports; and, as they will have less trouble in the carriage of the teas, as they themselves are to be permitted to trade, and as the profits will go into their own pockets, instead of the purse of the Cohong, they are reluctant to send their goods to Canton, and prefer trying Shang-hai or Fuh-chau-fu.'”
From what has just been said, it will, among other things, appear that the Chinese, though they wish to trade, desire to give their tea and other productions, as silk, rice, &c., in exchange for our manufactures. But our merchants insist upon receiving a good portion of their payment in dollars, because in England there is only a certain demand for Chinese articles. This arises, not from unwillingness in us to consume more than we now do, but from the enormous duty levied by our custom-house-two shillings and two pence a pound, amounting on tea, even of a very fair quality, to as much as two hundred and fifty per cent. If the duty were lowered to one shilling, there is no doubt that the revenue would be little if at all the loser by it. The exchequer is always benefited by a reduction of heavy imposts on those articles, the consumption of which is limited only by the means of the community. It may be added that, if cheap tea were within the reach of our manufacturing classes, not only would a vast additional amount of sugar be imported, but the cost of production of every article would be diminished and our power to compete with foreigners, in all the markets of the world, materially augmented.
Protestant Mission in China.
The reason which we have thus assigned for the slowness with which our merchandise finds its way into the Flowery Land, in spite of all the advantages afforded, is so simple and plain that it requires no development. If we will not take, in payment for what we have to sell, that which the Chinese offer, it is our own fault, and if they, in consequence, prefer carrying on commerce with other nations, and receiving civilisation from them, we alone are to blame. Let it be remembered, that it is not merely the pecuniary interests of the two empires that are under discussion. We have other things to offer besides clothing to the Chinese. They are immersed in moral and intellectual darkness-we have the light let us communicate it to them. They grovel in ignorance—we have knowledge—let us impart it. They profess various rival systems of degrading superstition-we have a pure faith-let us not withhold it. We are under a sacred obligation to carry the gospel over the earth. But the same obstructions which we throw in the way of commerce act also to prevent the efficacious introduction of Christianity among the Chinese. Complete exclusion, however, of the true faith can even now no longer be maintained. Already can the benighted population behold the wall, which has so long kept out the light that has shone over most other portions of the globe, totter and give way. many long years a few scattered Protestant missionaries have roamed along the outside, looking up at the battlements with envy, and listening to catch even the imperfect and dying echoes of Christian doctrine, which had been aroused in former times by the self-devoted Catholic priests. But in that vast solitude, peopled by a nation that all but denied the existence of God, the voice of truth had well-nigh been stifled, or was heard only amid rocks and caves or in the most sacred family sanctuaries. The din of scholastic morality, poured forth by those hollow, but sounding instruments, the Chinese philosophers, fell upon the ear on every side; but the true Christian could hear nothing that warranted him in believing that his work had been commenced with any effect.
We have suggested the vastness of the field to be cultivated. The labourers at present engaged in the work of conversion are as follows:
TABLE of Protestant Missionaries now in China Proper.
It is not necessary, on this part of the subject, to say more than that the disproportion appearing between the number of heathens to be converted, and that of the missionaries sent to begin the work, arises from the fact, that there is, as yet, no national sympathy excited on behalf of the Chinese. To create this, we must multiply our commercial relations with them. The private relations of debtor and creditor are often not the most satisfactory, not the most productive of friendly feelings; but states mutually indebted, which preserve the intention of acting with good faith towards each other, have exchanged pledges of friendship and reciprocal esteem. The Chinese are a people prone to imitate;let them continually see us exercising the virtues of honesty and good faith, and they will quickly feel the necessity and advantage of exercising them likewise, and be thus led insensibly to the source whence we ourselves have derived whatever morality we possess.
It is a truth, however, which all experience teaches us, that the accomplishment of no great and good work is, in this world, permitted without obstacles created by the envy of man being to be surmounted. This indeed it is that gives its value to our exertions. In the present instance we shall have, firstly, the jealousy of the Tartar rulers to encounter; but this may be soothed or disregarded, according to the course of policy we adopt. Secondly, we shall be impeded, in a certain degree, by the somewhat unscrupulous rivalry of the Americans. We do not wish to be harsh upon Brother Jonathan,-but we may assert, without of fence, that during the war, they took care, to the utmost of their power, to foster the enmity of the Chinese towards us. Many of their merchants had, from time to time, secret interviews with the authorities of Canton, and gave, it is supposed, their advice as to the best means of thwarting the Britishers. Since the conclusion of the treaty, they have distinguished themselves by an affected contempt of the imperial officers, breaking through the bounds prescribed, and paying visits, in spite of all remonstrances, to cities, the approach to which had been forbidden. Thirdly, the French have played a similar part. Whilst the war continued, they sent a sort of demonstration squadron to the coast of China, in order, if possible, to convince the inhabitants of their national existence. In many places, however, they only succeeded in assisting to swell our apparent force. The body of the people, especially in the interior, has no knowledge of them. Very few even of the officials ever mention the name of the French. It is on Britain,' says a letter before us, that their hopes and fears, respect, veneration, and terror, are expended.'
Nevertheless, the French were determined, if possible, that this
French Doings at Chusan.
state of things should not continue. It was galling to them that their flag, only elevated after a long interval, at Canton, since the accession of Louis Philippe, should have no commerce to protect, -that scarcely a French ship ever made its appearance in port. They accordingly determined, that if they had no real connexion with China, they would, at least, have a seeming one, and they could think of no better way of accomplishing their wishes, than to send out a few ships to ape our manoeuvres and follow our movements along the coast. Their maritime vanity was satisfied with this puerile imitation. They were quite content to be insignificant rather than nothing, and coveted the glory which a dwarf can acquire by comparison with a giant. Nor did they care if they excited merriment. A child, when he mimics the marching of a grenadier, is quite as pleased with the smile as with the applause of the bystanders. All that France wanted was a recognition, accompanied with no matter what signs of contempt, that her navy absolutely existed.
And here again, as at Tahiti, and in so many other parts of the world, was exhibited the alliance of Jesuitism with infidelity. When Louis Philippe's government saw a probability that Protestantism might be made a great instrument of healing the differences between ourselves and China, he condescended to bend his regal person to blow the dying embers of the Catholic faith in China. A gang of priests was raked together in a hurry, and despatched on the errand of mercy, namely, to excite, by all manner of means, the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire against us, to sow discord, to promote disunion, to recommend insurrection and massacre. On some future occasion we may develop more at length the machinations of the propagand in China. For the present, the following short extracts from the journal of a gentleman, whose name we shall not mention, but who had the best opportunities of knowing what was passing, will give some idea of their doings:
"TINGHAI, CAPITAL OF CHUSAN, MAY 7, 1842.-Seven Catholic missionaries (I believe French, Spanish, and Italian, with one Chinese,) arrived and located themselves in the city and its suburbs.
"MAY 13.-Two more missionaries (said to be versed in the language) arrived on board the French frigate Erigone, Captain Cecile, accompanied by L'Artemise. Shortly after, a placard appeared upon the city walls, in various quarters, in Chinese, calling upon the people to keep up heart, for the French had come to assist them against the English, and, with a combined effort, the English would be exterminated. Allusion was also made to the French missionaries in the city. The British authorities, of course, saw it their duty to take the matter up. The Frenchmen all denied any lot or part in the matter, staked their honour and so forth, and thus the matter ended."