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abandoned by their parents, or are wild upon the streets, and in the certain path to become criminals, if not already so. Both provisions may be desirable; they, however, involve novel principles which the country has scarcely yet made up its mind to adopt; and to discuss them would involve space which at present we have not at our disposal.
Art. V.-1. L'Empire Chinois ; faisant suite à l'ouvrage
intitulé « Souvenirs d'un Voyage dans la Tartarie et le Thibet.' Par M. Hrc, Ancien Missionnaire Apostolique en Chine.
Deuxième Edition. Paris: 1854. 2. The Chinese Empire ; forming a Sequel to the Work entitled
Recollections of a Journey through Tartary and Thibet.' By M. Huc, formerly Missionary Apostolic in China. In 2 vols.
2 London : 1855. M. Huc is already. well known to this country by his enter
taining travels in Thibet and Tartary. These volumes on China will in no way detract from his reputation. Though the subject is widely different, — different as the vast solitudes and rude manners of the Nomads of the Land of • Grass, from the crowded cities and over-ripe refinement of the · Celestial Empire,'— the writer is the same, and seems equally at his ease in both, like a true cosmopolite as he is. There is the same vivacity of feeling and graphic style; the same strong sense of the ludicrous, expressed in a very peculiar vein of humour; the same quick eye for salient points, whether of natural scenery or human character. If we do not often meet with set disquisitions, moral or political, — description and incident are interspersed with abundance of reflection, generally just, often original, sometimes profound. The whole style is imbued with a certain quiet felicity and elegance, which
а render this traveller's books among the most interesting we know. Nor is it possible to read them without a kindly feeling for the Author. The self-denial with which he devoted himself to the great objects of his life, and endured so long a voluntary exile from his country, entitle him to our unfeigned respect and sympathy. But, besides that, his perpetual goodhumour and bonhommie, - bis constant cheerfulness, almost hilarity, in all circumstances, - his sympathy with every thing human, -his disposition to look on the bright side of all events, make him a pleasant companion. We may note, too, with approbation, his freedom from prejudice - if we except, of course, one subject; and that is, where the honour and glory of his
• Church' and her · Orders' are concerned. Of the achievements of the Romish missionaries in China, he forms an exalted estimate; and if his statements are correct, there must be a very large body of native Christians belonging to his communion in the Celestial Empire. But it must, perhaps, be added that, by a Protestant standard, many of them would be regarded as a very imperfect sort of converts;—a little too like those wholesale neophytes, made by the Japanese missionaries, who, in Southey's phrase, might as well have been baptized by a steam-engine, for any real knowledge which accompanied the rite. Many of the Chinese converts may be suspected of too strong a resemblance to those Buddhists between whom and the Romanists the good Lazarist, in his former work, ingenuously acknowledged so close an affinity. Yet it must be admitted that religious discussion in the present volumes is not often obtruded; nor is the statement of opinion accompanied with bitterness or any traces of animosity towards other and rival communions. Indeed, it is not so much positively as negatively, that the shade of prejudice to which we referred is manifested by M. Huc. His pardonable partiality for his own communion is simply evinced by an exaggerated tone in speaking of the Romish Church and its doings, not by invectives against heretics; as regards Protestants, his prejudice is shown by nearly ignoring them altogether. The labours of English and American missionaries, – their noble, self-denying efforts, - even the frightful toil of him who gave his life to the compilation of the Chinese Dictionary, and the translation of the Scriptures into Chinese, — find no mention here. The exclusive spirit of the Romish Church, — its lofty oblivion of the claims of any and of every form of Christian philanthropy except its own,—is as complete in the pages this benevolent Lazarist as in those of the most narrow-minded of his order. But when the claims of the Church' come in competition with those of charity,' it is rare that charity does not get the worst of it in any Church in Christendom; and not least in that which arrogates the title of the only one.
This oblivion, however, of everything respectable in Christianity except Romanism, is not unattended with advantage to us reviewers at the present moment, for it relieves us from the necessity of dwelling on the subject, or contesting opposite views. As the history of the Jesuits in China has often been more fully detailed to the world than in this amusing work, where it is only incidentally treated, we shall, though with as little malice as we trust our Author felt when so silent on the efforts of Protestantism, repay M. Huc in his own coin. We shall be as impenetrably unconscious, for the present, of the
activity of the Propaganda, as he is of the activity of Protestantism. Nor, we imagine, will this be without some counterbalancing advantage to the worthy author; for, as we are writing to Protestants, it might be necessary, and it would not be impossible, to extract passages which would signally illustrate the somewhat lax system of Romish Propagandism, and leave no cause for wonder at the degree of resemblance which the Jesuit missionaries so readily recognised between Buddhism and Romanism.
We have said that the subject of Religion forms a very scanty element in the present work. In justice to M. Huc, however, and lest readers should uncharitably surmise that he has forgotten the great objects of his life-long missionary labours amidst the lively matters which fill these volumes, it must be added, that he designs to submit the more professional and sacred details of his experience to a more befitting, though it may be a more restricted audience. It is our purpose,' says he, 'to address * readers of all opinions, and to make China known to all; not
merely to preserve the memory of facts connected with our ' mission. These interesting particulars must be sought in the "“ Annals of the Propagation of the Faith ;"- those veritable .bulletins of the Church Militant, in which are recorded the ' acts of apostles, the virtues of neophytes, and the struggles . and sufferings of martyrs.' (Vol. i. Pref. p. xxvii.) We think the partition judicious, and shall not complain of it. The present work will be more generally acceptable for the omissions. We profess that, in this case, we like the play of Hamlet better with the part of Hamlet left out. The few who wish for the other information will know where to find it.
Meantime the present work is incomparably interesting as what it is, and professes to be,-a picture of Chinese everyday life; a description, perhaps, more accurate than any other that has yet appeared, of what this strange nation is at home, that is in the heart of the empire. Not that we have not had many accounts of China which have been the result of as much ingenuous love of truth and patient observation, as M. Huc and his colleague could bring to bear on the task. But such opportunities for accurate observation have seldom or never been enjoyed by any other persons. As M. Huc truly observes, the generality of travellers have been, by the exclusive spirit of the Chinese, restricted for the most part to the few points at which they are permitted to come into contact with the empire ; thus, though they may describe matters as they find them, the various phases of Chinese life
are inadequately represented: and, what is worse, it is often no longer the genuine thing at all. It is in part Europeanised — in some respects better, in some worse,-at all events altered. The Chinese character and manners cannot but be modified, at any of the five ports, by contact with foreigners. One must go into the interior to see Chinese manners in full bloom - in unadulterated purity!—There is doubtless much truth in all this; one might as well expect to know what all English life is, by spending our days at Portsmouth or Wapping, or, rather, what all Russian life is, by paying a visit to Odessa, as give an account of China by a stay at Macao or Canton, or by a visit of form to Pekin. In the last case the visitor is studiously kept as much as possible in the dark, and might as well make the journey in a hamper. M. Huc's remarks on this point are worth citing. He says, -The situation of travellers in China
, is not usually an enviable one. At their departure from • Canton, they are imprisoned in closed boats; they are guarded carefully from sight all along the great canal; they are what
we may call put under arrest immediately on their arrival at · Pekin; and, after two or three official receptions and interro'gatories, they are hastily sent back again. . : . The history of • the whole affair has been given by one of these travellers with * as much naïveté as precision. He says, “ They entered Pekin
, "“like beggars, staid in it like prisoners, and were driven from 66 " 6« it like thieves." (Pref. p. xxvi.) *** It is the extensive opportunities of familiarly observing Chinese life behind the scenes that give to these volumes their chief value. Not only was the author, during his missionary life, à resident for more than ten years in various parts of China, but on his return from Thibet, having had the good fortune to incur the suspicions of the Chinese government, he was conveyed at a very leisurely pace through the very heart of some of the most populous provinces of the empire. Certainly a Christian missionary has seldom been so luxuriously persecuted; and if his tale be all true--and we cannot doubt the good faith and integrity of the writer - one would imagine that the happiest thing that could befall a missionary in China would be to come under the suspicions of the Chinese authorities. Both before trial and after acquittal (for we can see no difference), the progress of MM. Huc and Gabet is more like a perpetual ovation than that of prisoners proceeding to judgment, or even of unwelcome, though honourably acquitted, foreigners being civilly bowed out of the country. They were to travel as high government functionaries, surrounded by mandarins, and escorted by military all the way from the frontiers of Thibet to Canton; that
is, as the reader will see, if he look at the map, through some of the most densely-peopled, fertile, busy, and civilised parts of the empire. All their expenses were to be defrayed, and that most liberally, from the imperial treasury; they were privileged to be lodged everywhere in pomp and splendour at the com
munal palaces,' at which only the grandees of the empire and envoys of government are entitled to receive entertainment; and though at various points and in infinite ways, on their route, • Master Ting' and other knavish persons of their escort were willing to do a little business on their own account, à la Chinoise, by peculation in the commissariat and victualling department, by abridging their accommodations, by giving them inferior palanquins, by sending them to the hotel of the 'Accom‘plished Wishes,' or some other equally inferior hostelry with an equally lying name, instead of leading them straight to their imperial quarters in communal palaces,' yet MM. Huc and Gabet everywhere asserted their curious immunities as state prisoners, or as state protégés; and with such uniform success, that the Chinese authorities, under pressure of hints of reporting their delinquencies, were everywhere ignominiously put to flight by our ecclesiastical chevaliers. In brief, the missionaries, instead of being all things to all men,' seem to have made all
men all things to them, by sheer audacity and immobility, and power of face to back these qualities. The various encounters of this kind with governors of provinces and magistrates of towns, with mandarins of all the balls,' of all the colours, and the utter rout of the whole Chinese empire before the two missionaries, form one of the most amusing features of the book. Sooth to tell, the narrative of the achievements here and there draws largely on our faith, and requires us to remember our author's parting citation, in the Preface, from the pages of Marco Polo :-"" And we will put down the things we have 6“ seen as seen, and the things we have heard as heard, in order • “ that our book may be honest and true without any lie, and "" that every one that may read or hear this book may believe ""it; for all the things it contains are true.”' (Vol. i. Pref. p. xxviii.)
As an instance of the successful vis inertiæ' offered by the missionaries, we may adduce the following brief passage from the account of the trial. MM. Huc and Gabet had been requested to kneel in token of respect to the head of the celestial empire. Nothing, it seems, could bring the refractory priests, supple as priestly joints are generally considered, and practised as they are in genuflection, to this humiliating posture:
A great door was then su idenly opened, and we beheld at a glance