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We agree with the governor : it is most probable they will not. But there is a trifle to add :
* Forty-seven have also been visited by a three-inch bamboo upon the soles of their feet, during a few hours at a time ; and it is thought they will remember their instructions. You also must strictly attend to our chops and edicts, whereat all nations tremble excessively.'
After this very palpable threat, whereat if the Dictator did not * tremble excessively,' he must at least have felt very peculiarly situated, Loo becomes rather sarcastic.
• No doubt your Barbarian Eyeship finds yourself very comfortable here in Canton: you take your fill at a cheap rate, of our finest tea, and feast luxuriantly every day upon our curried mice, conserve of locusts, and stewed moles with worm sauce ; preserving an excellent state of health throughout by frequent potations of our incomparable rhubarb. But you must go.
be a sad thing for you ; but I say again, Duck Will-in-town, there is no longer any room for you here! Macao is your
fate! Here you must eat and drink and gad about no more. Tempt not the Celestial chops!'
Luxurious governor! with what jealous gusto he talks of the rich national dishes of insects and vermin! Who would not be an epicuræan à la Chinois ? Well might Lord Napier, or the dictatorial duke, (according to Loo's opinion,) wish to remain in Canton, where, no doubt, the cookery was so much better than at the common maritime Macao! But the irony of the governor quickly ceases, and he addresses himself to the · Barbarian Eye,' seriously remonstrating with its incorrigible obliquity :
• Your people cannot surely be without some laws; they must have some degree of reason; and some sort of spirit. Since the emblem of your nation is reported to be a bull, why should you dare to show disrespect to the Celestial White Elephant ? If you, Barbarian Bull's-eye, were to conduct yourself in this dictatorial manner in your own country, what would the laws do to you? Would they not immediately order you to be visited by the bamboo? You must feel the force of this reasoning. Would not your King, moreover, who must have some power, put you down from your high horse, or bull, or whatever else you ride, and strike off your cocked-hat and feather with your own sword ?'
Everybody'must feel the force' of the above reasoning, though not with the same personal or nervous reference as that in which the barbarian optic must have understood it. The governor meant this for nothing more than a calm dispassionate appeal to his auditor's common sense, trusting that a parity of reasoning would bring the argument home to him in a convincing manner; but to us, these cool queries have all the effect of Swift's searching caustic. Mark also the following concluding address. Loo simply intended every sentence to be an innocuous marginal arrow, merely pointing out the texts of truth and justice: with an English reformer's application, every arrow seems thrice barbed, and thrust into the sore-placed arcana of our diseased government.
• All these things, reasoning from cause to effect, are as plain as the stars in the sea. It is no use to persist in being a devil thus
prematurely. We will not allow it here. You cannot fail of understanding me; for you must assuredly be a man of conspicuous wisdom, elected expressly from your tribe, or you would never have been placed in so important a situation! Your mission must also be attended with considerable expense to your people. Act, therefore, according to reason. Go down to Macao with all becoming speed. Treat us with the respect which is due from a barbarian nation seeking commerce with the Celestial Empire, and we will trade as usual with your honourable merchants. But do not come to us with peacock's feather, sword, and trumpet, saying, “ Your Twankay, or your life !" !
Governor of Canton, we come over to your side! Barbarians though you call us, we forgive you for your cause. Despotic as is your government, we know that it is not your fault; and if it were, we must pronounce fairly in this question. You have the best of the argument. You have the best of it by far; it is we, English, who are the despots at heart. We will come up to Canton; we will outrage and deride your laws; we will trade with you, whether
your twankay, souchong, hyson, or your lives! But, are we not about to prove ourselves the very barbarians they term us? The original official documents of the Chinese authorities upon the recent occasion, certainly reminded one very strongly of Gulliver's Travels. The emperor of Lilliput to the emperor of Blefuscu, &c. Fiction, founded upon elementary principles of nature, is the best and truest matter-of-fact history. The version of Loo's mandates and other chops,' was rather high-wrought in the
Examiner,' though not quite so much embellished as the present Speech: both, however, are nothing more than fair deductions and paraphrases from the original papers. Granting, then, that the Chinese appear to us a singular, almost a ludicrous nation, does this justify us in acting upon the old barbaric axiom, that “ might makes right ?' Is it thus we would convince them of our civilization ?
In the eyes of the millions of the Celestial Empire, excepting only a mere handful of merchants, we are outside barbarians and intruders. They do not wish to have anything to do with us. How would a man's justified pride prompt him to behave, if he knew this feeling existed among the inmates of any private house he had been in the habit of visiting? Why, of course, he would go there no more. But we, “proud English,' seem disposed to act differently abroad, where our interest is at stake; and the sense of individual meanness is carried off in the generalized idea. If the Chinese wish to have nothing to do with us, we have something to do with them. We want their twankay! The Chinese
reason with us, and we say, “Will you fight?' Truly we are in a nice condition to fit out an armament for such a distance! We had better look at home: there is quite enough to do for a long time, without making war upon the most peaceful nation of the earth. It would be most unchristian-like and abominable, even though Lord Napier provoked them by practical hostilities, to “ visit him with the bamboo." The Chinese offend nobody: why should they be offended ? Since they wish for no acquaintances, why cannot other nations retire upon their own dignity? They ought to do this, or else behave themselves with proper decorum, consistent with the laws of a foreign country; knowing as they do, the nature of those laws before they leave their own.
There have been frequent fracas of a temporary nature with the Chinese. But the East India Company knew better how to manage them. They will not have a dictator for a Barbarian Eye. We trust that a few months will bring us news of a permanently amicable adjustment, and that there will be no slaughterous attacks made upon these inoffensive tea-pot people. Meantime, while upon the turn of a chance,' in Lord Napier's mood, hangs the fatal signal for laying certain ships of war alongside the walls, and opening a raking fire through every inlet; while we see, in fancy, thousands of Chinese come marching down with feathers, trumpets, drums and spears, to be knocked over just like toy soldiers taken out of a box, but to be replaced by other thousands who would be swept off with the same ease; while Lord Napier foams and vows annihilation, and all England is in a state of excitement; France performing antics, Russia looking sinister, and America watching Russia; the Celestial Emperor sits cross-legged under an umbrella up at Pekin, a long pipe in one hand, a cup of green tea in the other, knowing nothing at all about the matter!
We had proceeded thus far when news arrived of the commencement of actual hostilities; though the list of killed and wounded does not appear to be at all serious, that is, on the part of the English, a few score of Chinamen being of no consequence; and shortly after, the death of Lord Napier was announced ;evidently occasioned by great irritation of the mind, acting upon the nervous system, and rendered fatal by the influence of the climate. Painful as it may be to contemplate the premature dissolution of one who represented our nation in a distant empire, and who may have been a very excellent private character, however mistaken or misdirected in his public proceedings ;-it is nevertheless somewhat amusing to observe the puzzled state of nearly all the newspapers as to any definite opinions on the subject. They want their cue. Some of them threw out “ feelers” in favour of great indignation at the impertinent squibs and crackers let off within the hearing of the sick man; but the public did not respond, so we heard no more from the papers.
The Times has characteristically remained quiet; merely acting as a newsmonger
-its proper vocation-partly because no popular excitement was manifested, and partly because Lord Napier was sent out by its exfriends the Whigs. The justice of the question is plain enough; our authorities are in the wrong; the Chinese authorities in the right.
Let us now refer to some of the original documents, which are very curious and amusing, yet full of equity and sedate reason. Governor Loo, in his official address to the Hong merchants, alludes to the dissolution of the old establised Company, and says that no proper taepan (supercargo) having been appointed, “ a Barbarian Eye came to Canton, saying that he came for the purpose of examining into the affairs of trade."
'I, the governor, commanded the merchants to inquire and investigate. The said Barbarian Eye did not obey the old regulations, but was throughout perverse and obstinate. Now, the assistant foo-magistrate of Macao has reported that Lord Napier has, at Macao, expired in consequence of illness.' Loo then commands the Hong merchants" to examine and deliberate” who they shall choose, and what person ought to be made the responsible agent for our barbarian nation. He reprehends the disorder induced by men, each coming to trade for himself independent of all authority and rule; for that vessels “presume of themselves to sail in and out, not submitting to investigation,” &c., and asks, no doubt with wonder-lifted brows, “What state of things is this !" Loo sarcastically adds, that these disorders may be all very well for the English, but that “we of the central flowery nation” must have proper order and responsible individuals. He ridicules indignantly our talking of these matters only as bearing reference to buying and selling, instead of viewing it with serious relation to the orderly transaction of public affairs. This, indeed," continues he, " is a great misunderstanding. Let them again consult and deliberate with their whole minds, &c. Specially, do not let them (the English nation) again cause a Barbarian Eye to come liither to control affairs, thereby occasioning, as Lord Napier did, the creation of disturbance in rain. All nations trading at Canton do so in consequence of the good favour of the Celestial Empire towards men from afar. It is altogether necessary that they should obey and act according to the old established rules; then may there be mutual tranquillity."
The meaning of all this is simply that we have said to the Chinese, "We want to trade with you'.—the Chinese have answered
Very well, so you shall— but you must behave yourselves ; '-to which our conduct has very plainly answered, We will do no such thing!' We are not much more justified in such proceedings than a man would be who insisted upon having the toys of a child in exchange for something else, on pain of breaking them before its face.
For the virtuoso in these matters, the richest specimen of Chinese official documents is the memorial of the Canton Government to the Celestial Emperor.f It thus commences :
* See the Times newspaper, March 13th. # Inserted at full length in the Morning Herald of March 17th.
Loo, governor of the provinces of Kwang-tung and Kwang-se, &c.; Ha, general commandant of the city of Canton ; Lun, lieutenant-general of the Mantcheou garrison; Tso, lieut.-general of the Chinese Tartar garrison ; and Chung, commissioner of customs at Canton, &c.'
After this pompous parade of porcelain aristocracy and military kettles, we are shortly informed that the whole of them are religiously “ looking upward” towards the Great Emperor, and awaiting the vermilion-coloured reply!”
This beautiful answer in the Emperor's own hand-writing we have not yet had the delight of reading. Loo proceeds to detail the conduct of Lord Napier from the commencement, and does not appear to extenuate or set down aught in malice, notwithstanding his indignation and astonishment. On the face of the envelope' proceeds Loo, in allusion to Lord Napier's letter to him, • the forms and style of equality were used and there were absurdly written the characters Ta ying kwo!–Great British Nation! Loo then informs the Emperor that he gave orders “to Han-shaou-king, the foo-tseang in command of the military forces of Kwang-chow-foo!' to remonstrate with the Barbarian Eye on his presumptuous superscription and unprecedented attempt at literary correspondence with himself the governor !'
Should Lilliput and Laputa ever be discovered, it would then be seen how accurately historical and matter-of-fact were Swift's descriptions of them. Can anything be more like a fairy tale than the preceding specimen ? It is a characteristic of the consciousness of power not to be in the least angered at the idle vaunts of self-complacent inferiors; and this is why the English nation are no otherwise moved than by excess of laughter at these peacock vanities, nor can a few weak and ignorant nationality folks, induce any other excitement on the occasion.
We scarcely know how to leave this memorial ; it is so full of exquisite character.
· Again' proceeds Loo, (as leader of the memorial chorus,) in allusion to the Barbarian Eye, considering that he was stupid and unpolished, having come from without the bounds of civilization, and that, it being his first entrance into the central flowery land, he was yet unacquainted with the rules,' &c. •I, Loo, selected and made an arrangement of the rules and orders ;' and this was done for his especial guidance. Loo repeats that the said Eye has continually been perverse, stubborn, and, indeed, extremely obstinate; but having considered that the said nation's King has heretofore been always reverently submissive,' and the merchants also, it is a pity that for the misconduct of one man, said Eye, all the nation should be injured ; ' for thus they cannot but be overcome with grief.' 'I, your Majesty's minister, Loo, therefore looked upward to embody my august sovereign's liberality-extensive as heaven and earth, which beholds with the same benevolence the central and the outside people, and stoops to treat with compassion !—and accordingly replied clearly and perspicuously to the said merchants,' &c. * But the said Barbarian Eye, when the merchants enjoined orders on him, remained as if he heard not! and