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Friday, October 10th. I was informed by Captain Sylvester that the Chenamus, in which we expected to take passage to the United States, would not be ready to sail under two or three months, and there being several vessels ready to sail for the States by the way of China, I resolved, if possible, to obtain a passage in one of them. Applying to Mr. Finlay, the supercargo of the ship Leland, which had just arrived at Honolulu from Callao, and was designing in a day or two to continue her voyage to China, and thence direct to New York, I was at first informed that all the staterooms but one were occupied, and there being four of us he could not make us comfortable in that. At first we relinquished the idea of sailing in that ship, but ascertaining that a young gentleman had taken the room adjoining the spare one who expected to have the vessel at Hong Kong, I concluded that, if Mr. Finley would allow me the privilege[page 256] of sleeping on the sofa or floor of the cabin, Mrs. H. and the two girls could, for the short space of thirty days, get along with the one room, and after that, the disembarkation of the young gentleman would give us the privilege of the occupancy of both. This I suggested to Mr. Finlay, and readily obtained a proposal from him to take us to New York by the way of Canton for eight hundred dollars. As it would have cost me one hundred dollars per month to have remained at the islands, and five hundred and twenty for passage on the Chenamus, I concluded that the expense of the latter course would be nearly, if not quite, equal to the passage by the way of China. This, connected with other reasons which involve the character of the Chenamus, both as it regards her accommodations, and the morals which prevailed on board, had the influence to bring one to the conclusion to accept the proposal of Mr. Finlay, and return to my native land by the way of the Celestial Empire.
Accordingly, on Wednesday, the 15th of October, at two o'clock, p.m., we embarked on board the Leland, and as the wind was fair, had a prospect of going to sea before night.
Twenty-two vessels had been waiting for the southern gales to subside, and the northern breeze to come to enable them to put to sea, and by good luck ours was the fourth on the pilot's list. A little accident came will nigh detaining us in the harbor over night. As our anchor was raised our vessel was driven by the strong trade wind directly down to another ship, stern first, doing but little damage however, but rendering it necessary for us to warp up against the wind for some distance, before we could get clear of the ships that lay in our track. Extricating ourselves from this difficulty, just as the sable curtains of the evening began to render it difficult for us to discern the outlines of the interesting island of Oahu, our pilot, Captain Penhallow, who had conducted us out of the inner harbor through the narrow winding channel that opens a passage through the coral reef with which the island is environed, wishing us a happy and prosperous voyage, returned towards the glimmering[page 257] lights of the city of Honolulu, while to the command, "square away the yards," our ship's prow was pointed to the westward, and before the silent hour of twelve, the fast receding island had disappeared amidst the gloom of surrounding darkness. On leaving this delightful Oasis of the ocean, where we had spent so many hours of unmingled enjoyment, we could but feel those sensations which moved the heart of the post to sing as he left his island home,
A gale had long been blowing from the south, and consequently the sea was very high, and for two or three of the first days the passengers were nearly all confined to their births with sea sickness, but the 20th found us on a comparatively smooth sea, gliding along before a gentle breeze from the north-east, in the enjoyment of health, and consequently qualified to take observations in regard to the ship, officers, crew and passengers, with whom we were to be so intimately connected, and with the interests of whom our own were to be so closely blended, during a voyage encompassing three-quarters of the globe.
Our fellow passengers consisted of Rev. A. B. Smith, wife, and three orphan children, the daughters of the late Mr. Lock, of Oahu, Mrs. Hooper, the wife of Wm. Hooper, Esq., acting Consul at Oahu, two children, and Mr. Sheliber, the young gentleman mentioned above. Besides these, Mr. Finlay, the supercargo, occupied a state room in the cabin, and this constituted our cabin society, as the Captain stopped principally in the round house, on deck. Our first impressions regarding our associates in the cabin, were quite favorable, but the Captain we found to be a surly jack tar, well acquainted [page 258] with Billingate vocabulary, and ready to draw upon its resources on all occasions. Indeed, it appeared from the amazing facility with which he could call to his aid the most vulgar kind of swearing, that he must have taken his regular gradations in the high school of his Satanic majesty himself. Mr. Finlay, who had control of the business of the vessel, showed at the outset, a desire to render his passengers comfortable, in the abundant provisions, consisting of vegetables, pigs, poultry, &c., with which he caused the ship to be supplied.
As the Leland was built in packet style, we found the cabin fine, and the state-rooms quite commodious; and after a few days'experience we were obliged to admit that the table of the Leland was better finished than that of any other vessel in which we had sailed.
We were favored with gentle breezes from the north-east and east which carried us along from five to seven knots an hour, without anything in particular to break the monotony of the voyage until the 6th of November, when at three, p.m., we made Grigan, the northernmost of the Ladrone Islands. The appearance of this island, as we passed along it about by about six miles off, was exceedingly interesting, perhaps more so to us in consequence of our not having been for many days entertained with the sight of any object but the sky over our heads, the boundless expanse of waters, around us, and the little world in which we were floating. The island is very high, nearly round, and rising gradually from its margin, it hides its summit above the clouds. It appeared remarkably green as if covered with timber, or with other vegetation of a luxuriant growth.
The island was visited two years ago by Mr. Dwight from the United States, and some twenty or thirty persons, some of whom were white men, and some natives were found upon it. The white men appeared to be of the sailor class, but could not give a very good account of themselves.
The Ladrone Islands are numerous, and the entire group belongs to the once famous, but now crumbling kingdom of Spain. The two southernmost are now[page 259] principally occupied by Spaniards, and are used by Spain as a kind of Botany Bay, or place of banishment for state prisoners. Though their climate is delightful and some of them are fine fertile islands, yet they are of but little consequence to the world; and this is doubtless owing to the weakness and indolence of their possessors. Since they were first discovered by Magellanni, 1521, and they have been inhabited by a set of thieves and pirates, and hence they are called "Ladrone (pirate) Islands."
West of the Ladrones are a number of dangerous reefs, which have been seen by several navigators; and it was our fortune to get directly among them. However, Providence smiled upon us, and we passed them all in safety, though while exposed to them, we were visited by a tremendous gale from the south, which not only prostrated us with seasickness, but threatened to drive us into the caverns of the deep. The waves rolled in mountains, and dashing around us in frightful pyramids, and commingling their deafening roar with the howling of the fitful blasts, struck terror into the brave hearts of the fitful blasts, struck terror into the brave hearts of the sons of the ocean, and admonished all to fear and tremble before Him who rideth upon the wings of the wind. After four days of incessant gales from every point of the compass, the wind subsided, a calm succeeded, a breeze followed from the north and brought with it the blessings of health to the sick, and prosperity on our voyage.
On the 14th of November the appearance of strange birds, and now and then an object floating upon the surface of the water, gave signs that we were approaching land. On the evening of the 15th, we passed through between the north Bashee Islands, and the Tobal, Tobago, and Hima. The Bushee Islands all belong to Spain. Many of them are thickly settled, and are said to be very fertile. All the Spanish islands in this part of the Pacific Ocean are governed by a captain general, whose residence is at Manilla, on the island of Luconia. His government is exceedingly despotic, and he is only responsible to the ministry in Spain.[page 260]
Luconia, or Luzon, as it is laid down on some maps, is said to be a splendid island, vieing in natural resources with the far famed island of Java; but from the despotic nature of its government, and the indolence and jealousy of the Spaniards, it is of but little consequence to the crown of Spain.
On Sunday morning, the 16th, the island of Formosa was descried from the quarter deck. This island, with the Bushees and Luconia, form a chain which separates the Chinese Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Formosa was the firs land we saw over which the Emperor of China sways his sceptre. It is a large island, with many fertile valleys, but the highlands from our vessel appeared exceedingly barren. It contains a number of large cities, and the population is exceedingly numerous. There is no direct business carried on betwixt them and foreigners, as this is a part of the Celestial Empire which barbarians are not allowed to visit.
On the day before we entered upon the Chinese Sea, it was exceedingly dark and gloomy, but we had no sooner passed the islands above mentioned, than the clouds disappeared, the sun arose in indescribable splendor, a fresh and invigorating breeze sprang up from the north, and we were wafted most delightfully over the sea of China, at the rate of nine miles an hour, towards our destination. Early in the morning we discovered a vessel fifteen miles astern of us, and at evening she passed us about three miles to the leeward, and proved to be the American ship Montreal, which left the harbor of Honolulu four hours before us. She formerly belonged to a line of London packets, is reputed a fast sailor, and should have beaten us at least six days to China.
On the morning of the 17th, the water changed from a deep blue to a light green, which indicated that we were already on soundings, though two hundred and sixty miles from port.
The Chinese Sea is regarded as the most dangerous waters to navigate in this part of the world, owing to the numerous shoals and currents, and to the winds[page 261] called "ty phongs," which prevail in this region. The name rendered into English is literally great-winds, ty, signifying great, and phong, wind. They often come without giving any warning of their approach, and woe to the luckless vessel on which their fury is poured. Sails, spars, and rigging fly in fragments before the blast, and happy is that ship whose dismasted hull still floats upon the surface of the agitated deep after the storm has expended its violence. Many vessels, with their entire crews, have foundered in these storms, and not a vestige of them have ever been seen afterwards.
On the morning of the 18th, we passed the rock called "Pedro Brunco," and at sunrise Chinese fishing boats appeared on every side, and the rough outlines of the coast of China presented themselves before us. Presently two boats bearing the pilot's flag, approached us, and an amusing strife took place betwixt them to see which should get on board of us first. They both came along side at once, and the two pilots sprung on to the side of our ship at the same time; but one of them in his effort to jump, stumbled, and fell into the sea. We were passing through the water with great rapidity, and the unlucky pilot, struggling in the water for life, and frightened us so that his eyes stood out of his head like those of a craw fish, shot astern of us with the velocity of an arrow. But, accustomed to such adventures, his comrades in the boat immediately cast off a couple of long Bamboo sticks, which the unfortunate man seized, and with the assistance of them kept himself above the water. A few hours afterwards he was picked up by a small boat which was sent out for his relief.
On approaching the coast, fishing and other boats are seen in every direction, even far out of sight of land, and one is impressed with the idea of the vast population of the Chinese Empire, long before he mingles with the countless throngs on "terra firma" As the land, with the light of morning, burst upon our view, there was disclosed a succession of barren mountains, exceedingly irregular in their outlines, and with the numerous islands of rocks; and the bays and gulfs which abound[page 262] along the shore, present the most formidable barriers to the vast interior. The striking dissimilarity of the coast to all others, as well as the treacherous and piratical character of the inhabitants, may explain in part the reason why maritime nations have been so tardy in gaining access among the Chinese. But this coast is getting now to be well understood. Since the war with England, two vessels have been constantly employed in surveying its numerous islands, intricate channels, and deep indentations.
At ten o'clock, a.m., of the 18th of November, we rounded the west point of the island of Hong Kong, and came to anchor in the beautiful bay, which reflects, as from a liquid mirror, the flourishing city of Victoria. We were immediately invited on shore by the Rev. S. R. Brown, who is in the employment of the Morrison Education Society, as conductor of a school for the benefit of Chinese boys, and to whom we had letters of introduction, and with whom we spent an agreeable week. On the following Sabbath evening I was invited to preach in a chapel recently built, and known as the "Union Chapel," though it is principally under the control of the missionaries of the London Missionary Society. The congregation consisted of English residents, soldiers, Americans, and native Chinese, and numbered about one hundred persons.
We arrived at Hong Kong, just in time it witness the arrival and subsequent public entertainment of the celebrated Chinese statesman, Keying, who is the governor general of the province of Canton, and imperial commissioner to transact the business of the government relating to the intercourse of China with other nations. His visit had been long expected, and from the great popularity of the statesman, both in China and among the British, it was contemplated with a great degree of interest. Splendid preparations had been made for his reception, and to render his visit not only interesting to himself, but conducive to the extension of British influence in China.
He was conducted from Whampo to Hong Kong in a[page 263] British steamboat, and recollecting the immense destruction of Chinese occasioned by a similar vessel in the lat e war, he closely examined every part of her on his passage down; and while passing around among the men, he scattered his gold and silver with the most princely liberality. The boat arrived before the town of Victoria on Thursday evening, and his excellency received a salute from the guns of the batteries and from the ships of war in the harbor, which was returned after the Chinese custom. His excellency landed amidst the roaring of cannon and the strains of martial music, and was conveyed in a splendid palanquin to the house which had been fitted up with great care, for his reception; and where, during the remainder of the evening, all the public functionaries and grandees of Hong Kong paid their respects to their illustrious visitor.
On Friday evening Keying and his suite, Lord Cochran, Lord Seymour, with all the grandees of the place, dined at the house of Sir John Francis Davies, the governor of Hong Kong, and from the representations of an eye witness, the evening wound up with a bacchanalian revel. Towards the close of the following day, a review of the British troops on the island, was to take place, and Keying was to appear in public, and give an opportunity for those to see him who were not allowed to mingle in the gay saloons of lords, knights, and barons.
They were not disappointed in their expectations; for as the high mountains of Hong Kong began to cast a coding shade upon the city of Victoria, Keying and his suite were carried in sedan chairs to the house of Sir John Francis Davies, and soon after both their excellencies, with their attendants, accompanied by the Rev. Charles Gutslaff, as Chinese interpreter, repaired to a high bank beside the road, and located themselves upon it for the purpose of reviewing the troops as they were marched before them. We had the good fortune to place ourselves within a few feet of the bank, where we had a fine view of this titled group, as also of the soldiers. The latter consisted of two regiments, one of[page 264] Irish, and one of Sepoys, from India, numbering about two thousand in all. They were marched after two splendid bands of music, and from the strict discipline manifest in their manœuvres, as well as from the wonderful display of gunnery with which the review terminated, doubtless Keying was impressed with a sense of the superiority of the tactics of British soldiers over those of his imperial master.
At seven o'clock in the evening their excellencies, with their suites, the officers of the army, and others entitled to the distinguished privilege, repaired on board the line of battle ship Agincourt, to dine with the admiral, Lord Seymour. Dinner, as usual among the English, on such occasions, was followed with music and dancing, but it was said that an English lady refused to dance with Keying, which so chagrined his excellency that it was thought proper to break up the party at an early hour.
On the Sabbath, Gov. Davies, Keying, and their suite, accompanied by the Rev. Charles Gutslaff, performed on a small English steamboat, a voyage of pleasure around the island of Hong Kong. Perhaps Gov. Davies was influenced, thus to desecrate the Holy Sabbath by the examples set him by some of the lords and dukes of England, who have been in the habit of using the Lord's day for their public dinners; but, be this as it may, such a course of conduct by the authorities of a colony professedly Christian, in such a country as China, is not only a public outrage upon Christianity itself, but is directly calculated to destroy the good effects of years of missionary labor. While the servants of God in China are endeavoring to impress the people with a sense of the sacredness of the Holy Sabbath, the public authorities, sanctioned by the presence of Rev. Charles Gutslaff, by thus openly desecrating the day, do much to nullify all that missionaries can possibly do. If the above were a solitary instance of a violation of the day in this public manner the evil influence resulting from it, would perhaps soon die away. But the Sabbath is scarcely known in Hong Kong, judging from external appearances. All [page 265] ranks, from the governor downwards, habitually profane the holy day; while the public works, such as the erection of government buildings and fortifications, are prosecuted on the Sabbath the same as on other days. This is a source of great grief to the missionaries in this part of China, and may be regarded as one of the greatest obstacles in the way of success, with which every missionary to this country must come in contact. True, English service, in a most sickly manner, is performed twice on the Sabbath, but there are but few who attend regularly, while the vast majority of English and other foreigners at Hong Kong, use the Lord's day as a day of business or recreation.
December.10th. Dined at eight o'clock in the evening with the Rev. Charles Gutslaff, who is now a resident of Hong Kong, having recently received an appointment from the Colonial Government as Chinese Secretary. Perhaps there are few men in the world who have excited more interest in a missionary point of view, than this reverend gentleman. He is a Prussian by birth, is about fifty-five years of age, and has been in China thirty ears, most of which have been employed in missionary labors in various parts of the empire. Though he has lost much of his influence as a Christian minister, both among the natives and foreigners, yet he is laboring to sustain himself as a missionary in the country, as well as a civilian.
He informed me that twenty-five native preachers who belonged to a society which he had organized for the propagation of the gospel in China, came to him for counsel and direction in their work; and that thee were circulating through every part of. the Chinese Empire, and were preaching from ten to fifteen sermons each per day. After the death of John Morrison, Jr., who filled the office of Chinese Secretary for a few years, Gutslaff, from his thorough knowledge of the different dialects of the Chinese language, was appointed to this lucrative station. His salary is , 1500 sterling per annum, considerably more than that of the Vice President of the United States, while the salary of the Governor of the [page 266] little pony colony of Hong Kong, amounts to three times as much as that of the President of our Union. Gutslaff appears to have made it one object of his residence in China, to accumulate wealth, and it is said that his efforts in this respect, have been successful. Report affirms that he has , 15,000 deposited in the bank of Australia which he has accumulated while employed as a missionary, and probably some of the prejudice existing against him, arises from this circumstance, but it would be doing him great injustice not to admit that his unwearied labors for the benefit of China have been productive of good. In addition to his other labors he has recently published a Chinese Dictionary, which, with those previously published, will afford missionaries great facilities for the acquisition of the language. To form a correct estimate of this original character doubtless requires a most intimate acquaintance, while a short interview with him cannot fail to leave the impression upon the mind of the stranger, that the most singular compound of the gentleman and the clown, the divine and the civilian, the scholar and the novice, the sage and the humorist, the christian and the wordling, enters into, and forms the character of the Rev. Charles Gustlaff.
The island of Hong Kong, as the fruits of an unjust war, was ceded by China to Great Britain at the close of the late unhappy contest, and now constitutes a part of that empire upon which it has become the boast of her statesmen that the sun never sets. It is very irregular in its outlines, both as it regards its coast and its surface. It is not far from eight miles long, and varying in its width from one to four miles. On approaching it in a vessel, it presents a very forbidding aspect. It rises abruptly from the water, and its most elevated points area bout three thousand feet above the level of the sea. Originally it was one huge mountain of granite, with a small portion of decomposed vegetable matter. There are several vallies in the island through which meander small brooks, [page 267] and being green and fertile, give the name to the island Hong Kong signifying an island of green and fertile vallies.
The city of Victoria, embracing both the Chinese and English portions, stretches along the eastern side of the island nearly three miles. Its greatest depth is not more than one-fourth of a mile, and the abruptness of the mountains behind the city, will not admit of extending the buildings far in that direction. Though it is but about five years since the city was commenced, yet it has grown up so rapidly, and contains so many magnificent buildings, that one of the learned Chinese Mandarins who accompanied Keying, on leaving the place, composed a poem in honor of the city, in which he entitled "the city of splendid palaces." The city, however, is in a very unfinished state, and the sound of the hammer and trowel is heard in every part of it during seven days in a week, and it is therefore rapidly improving; and doubtless, from its favorable location, and by the assistance of British wealth and influence, it is destined to become a place of great commercial importance.
The population of Hong Kong amounts to about thirty thousand persons, most of whom are Chinese. There are about four hundred English residents on the island, besides the soldiers, and not more than ten Americans. These, with the regiment of Irish soldiers already referred to, constitute all the white people embraced in this colony. The Chinese population, numbering more than twenty-five thousand, are exceedingly industrious in their habits, and accomplish a great share of the retailing business of the city. In consequence of the unhealthiness of the climate the English residents have fixed themselves here but temporarily, and design, after having amassed a fortune, to return to old England and to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Many of them, however, fall victims to the malignant fevers which here prevail, and their dreams of worldly aggrandizement vanish their lives.
The schools of Hong Kong require to be noticed. Here are no public schools for the benefit of white [page 268] children, consequently they are growing up, as in other new colonies, in comparative ignorance. The school which is supported by the Morrison Education Society is one of great importance to the interests of China, as the influence it exerts at present, and the objects it con. templates, sufficiently prove. The circumstances which led to the formation of the Morrison Education Society, was the death of the Rev. Robert Morrison, D. D., who, in connection with his unwearied labors as a missionary, officiated many years as translator in the, service of the Hon. East India Company in China. The friends of this great and good man in China, having been deeply interested in the success of his labors while living, and wishing to cherish a grateful remembrance of him when dead, resolved to erect a monument worthy to perpetuate his memory, and calculated to assist in carrying forward that work, in the promotion of which he ha fallen a sacrifice. Dr. Morrison died on the 2d of August, 1834, and on the 9th of November, 1836, the society which took his name, was organized at Canton, having a fund of six thousand dollars.
The objects of the society, as expressed in its constitution, are, "to improve and promote education in China, by schools and other means." Chinese youth were to be taught to read and write the English language, in connection with their own; and by these, means the society designed "to bring within their reach all the instruction requisite for their becoming wise, industrious, sober and virtuous members of society, fitted in their respective stations in life, to discharge well the duties which they owe to themselves, their kindred, and their God." The trustees of the society designed to employ two teachers, one from England, and one from the United States, and made application accordingly. From England they received no reply, but a favorable one from the States, and on the 23d of February, 1839, Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Brown, from Massachusetts, arrived in China, but the war immediately breaking out, rendered it necessary for them to take up their residence at Macao. Here, by the advice of the trustees, Mr. Brown [page 269] commenced operations, but the Chinese were so slow in appreciating the effort that in September, 1841, the school numbered but thirteen scholars.
Catholic influence and Chinese exclusiveness rendered Macao almost as undesirable a location for the school, as Canton; and as Hong Kong had fallen into the hands of the British, application was made to Sir Henry Pottinger, her British Majesty's plenipotentiary, for the privilege of locating the school on that island.
This application resulted in the appropriation of a which overlooks the city of Victoria, as the location for the buildings, and which from that time has been known as "Morrison Hill." Extensive buildings were immediately erected, the number of the pupils increased, an assistant teacher employed, and from that time the school has been progressing in every way correspondent to the expectations of its warmest friends. At present the school numbers thirty students, all boys, and many of them have made great improvement. A circumstance which was related to me by Mr. Brown, shows in what light the Chinese first viewed the school, and the influence it is beginning to exert. An aged Chinese, who had finally consented to send three of his boys to the school, observed one day to Mr. Brown, "we could not at first understand why a foreigner should wish to feed and instruct our children for nothing. We thought there must be some sinister motive at the bottom of it. Perhaps it was to entice them away from their parents and country, and transport them to some foreign land. At all events, it was a mystery. But I understand it now. I have had my three sons in your school steadily since they entered it, and no harm has happened to them. The oldest has been qualified for the public service as interpreter. The other two have learned nothing bad. The religion you have taught them and of which I was so much afraid, has made them better. I myself believe its truth, though the customs of my country forbid my embracing it. I have no longer any fears--you labor for other's good, not your own."
Preparations have recently been made for the [page 270] enlargement of the school; as many more had applied for admission during the last year, than could possibly be accommodated. A fortunate appropriation of fourteen thousand dollars to the institution, with a recent subscription of several thousand dollars more, will enable the trustees suitably to enlarge it, and to place it upon a firm basis. The above appropriation was made by the persons who had the settlement of the estate of the lamented J. R. Morrison, son of the late Dr. Robert Morrison.
That gentleman, while living, was deeply interested in the welfare of the school, and it was thought proper, by those upon whom it devolved to dispose of his property, to associate his name with that of his father, by bestowing fourteen thousand dollars of his estate upon the institution as a permanent fund, and thus to raise a noble monument to perpetuate the memory of both of these benefactors of the Chinese nation.
The conductor of this school, the Rev. S. R. Brown, is every way entitled to the confidence of the community which employs him, and of the Chinese, for whose benefit he is devoting his life. His interests are blended with those of this institution, and his whole soul is enlisted to promote its advancement. And, in the rapid improvement of the students in the arts and sciences, in the correctness of their moral deportment, and in the satisfactory evidence which some of them give of genuine conversion and a qualification for future usefulness, he already witnesses the happy results of his labors. As this institution was established upon a broad basis, and is conducted according to the most enlarged views of benevolence, its supporters and directors are among the benefactors of mankind.
There are two churches in Hong Kong which have been erected for the accommodation of foreigners; one of which is the "Union Chapel," and the other is an Episcopalian church. In the former, the missionaries officiate alternately, and the latter is supplied by the chaplains from the army and navy. Some of these latter divines, after spending Saturday evening in card [page 271] playing and wine drinking, will enter the sacred desk on Sunday, and preach, not as messengers of God, but as "one that playeth skilfully on an instrument"--and their hearers, as destitute of religion as themselves, will flatter their vanity by informing them that they have preached an admirable sermon. I few of these chaplains, however, are evangelical men, and when they preach, they hesitate not to declare the "whole counsel of God." It fell to the lot of one of these to preach an a Sabbath when a number of the great men of the island were present; and knowing. the viciousness of their characters, like a man of God he enforced upon them the important truth, that, "without holiness, no man shall see the Lord." At the close of his sermon he was informed by the general of the army that his "preaching was not acceptable that they came to church to be comforted not to be condemned to hell."
After the island of Hong Kong had been wrested from the Chinese by the English, the missionaries in this part of China, generally collected at this place. Formerly, Macao was the only place where foreigners with their families could reside. But as Macao was under papal influence, and Canton was yet inaccessible, Hong Kong was judged to be the most proper place for the establishment of the missions. Accordingly, missionaries of the London Missionary Society, and also of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and the Baptist Foreign Board, fixed their residences in this place. They built their dwelling houses, churches, and school-houses for the Chinese, with the design of constituting this place the center of their operations.
Some of these buildings were quite expensive, especially the mission-house of the American Board.
At the conclusion of the war, Hong Kong becoming English ground, and Canton accessible to missionaries and their families, all the American missionaries resolved at once to abandon the former, and establish themselves in the latter place. This subjected them to a great [page 272] pecuniary loss in the buildings and other property, which they were obliged to sacrifice at Hong Kong. But they considered it to be their duty to enter the opening which British cannon had made into China, believing that the advantages, in a missionary point of view, of a location in Canton, would more than counterbalance all the pecuniary losses to which such a course would subject them.
Consequently, Dr. Bridgeman, Dr. Parker, and Dr. Ball, of the A. B. C. F. M., and Dr. Devan, of the Baptist Board, have retired from Hong Kong, and have taken up their residence in the Provincial city. Whether they have acted wisely, remains to be decided; but be this as it may, the three or four Chinese houses of worship which they erected at Hong Kong, are nearly deserted, and the fruits of their labors are rapidly disappearing.
Dr. Legg and Mr. Gallaspie, of the London Missionary Society, are establishing themselves permanently in Hong Kong. Dr. Legg, however, is now on a visit to England, bug designs to return and resume his labors in this place. They have recently erected a large and splendid mission house, which appears from a distance more like the palace of a prince, than the house of the humble missionary. They have here collected a school of boys, whom they are endeavoring to instruct, and though the fruits of their labors are tardy in exhibiting themselves, yet, by various means, such as the printing of books in Chinese, and preaching by their Chinese assistants, they are casting their bread upon the waters, and are expecting to be able to gather it after many days.
It is difficult to tell what amount of good has been accomplished by missionary labor in Hong Kong, doubtless much more than the enemies of missions are willing to admit. But it is evident the work at this point, as well as in some other portions of the mission field, has been greatly injured by the publication of reports furnished by missionaries of too flaming a character. Missionary reports always return to the places they are designed to [page 273] represent, and if they are not strictly true, they always create prejudice against the cause they are designed to promote.
The climate of Hong Kong is very unsalubrious, particularly during the prevalence of the south-west monsoons.
The monsoons are winds which blow one-half of the year from the south-west, and the other half from the north-east. The north-east monsoon prevails during our fall and winter months, and while it continues, the island is considered a comparatively healthy location; but after the winds set in from the south-west, the atmosphere becomes exceedingly oppressive. The heat of the sun becomes almost unendurable, and both natives and foreigners enter into every possible precaution to guard against the deleterious effects of the sun's burning rays.
Notwithstanding the extreme dare exercised by foreigners to preserve health, this climate proves fatal to many of them. It is peculiarly debilitating to the female constitution, and a number of the wives of missionaries, have here fallen as martyrs in their work. The Hong Kong fever has become notorious wherever the name of the place is known; and while all who come to this country are more or less exposed to this most malignant of all fevers, perhaps the soldiers quartered here are the greatest sufferers. Such is the astonishing mortality that reigns among them, that it is necessary to reinforce them annually with a fresh regiment from home, in order to keep ready for effective service one thousand men. Indeed, in view of the unhealthiness of its climate, Hong Kon-a is no desirable place of residence for foreigners, and there are but two motives sufficiently powerful to induce either Europeans or Americans to continue here a great length of time: These are the love of money and the love of souls.
Having heard much concerning the soldiers'burying ground, on the 14th of December, curiosity led us to take a walk over this depository of the dead. About one mile and a half from the town, the old barracks [page 274] were situated, where the soldiers were quartered immediately after the conclusion of the China war, and during the unhealthy part of the season.
But a few score of them had fallen before the prowess Of their-Chinese enemies, but while quietly lying in their barracks, and recounting the victories they had won, they were attacked by an enemy before whom kings turn pale, and the valor of the bravest soldier falters.
The Hong Kong fever brought death into the warriors camp, and during the short period of six weeks, more than five hundred men were laid in the dust by this fearful scourge.
Walking in company with our friend Rev. Rowland Reese, we came to the ground where these half a thousand, together with several hundred, who had died previously, were buried, and the first thing that attracted our attention was the coffin of a small child, which lay partly embedded in the ground, its lid broken off, and .disclosing some of the bones of the infant which the hungry dogs of the Chinese, in robbing the coffin, had allowed to remain. In viewing this, we recollected that British soldiers were sometimes allowed to take their wives and children with them, and they are consequently liable to share the fate of the soldier. Going a I little farther, we found ourselves surrounded with coffins on every side, some of them partly covered, others entirely above ground, and many of them robbed of their contents by hungry dogs and swine, while ghastly skulls and other bones lay bleaching far and near. Our hearts sickened while we looked around upon this modern Golgotha, and we fancied we heard from the numerous skeletons which whitened the ground around us, the bitterest imprecations uttered against that cruet war system, which was relentless in its claims upon them while living, and in death cast them beyond the common sympathies of humanity.
We left this scene of desolation, indulging the reflection that those great ones of the earth, who, from motives of ambition and cupidity, entail so much misery upon their fellow men as results from the practice of [page 275] war, will have a fearful account to render at the bar of God. Surely, thought we, this is the glory which multitudes who enter the field of strife, secure to themselves; they die like the brute, and are denied the rights of sepulture, but an eternal weight of glory awaits every Christian warrior.
During our stay at Hong Kong we became acquainted with several Wesleyan Methodists from England. Some of them are soldiers in the army, and when there has been a. sufficient number of them, they have formed themselves into classes, and as far as their circumstances would permit, they have in other respects enjoyed the institutions of Methodism. The Rev. Rowland Reese, who resides at Hong Kong, and has been for several years in the employ of the government, as a civil engineer, is a local preacher from England, and takes a very decided stand in the place where he lives in favor of that form of Christianity called Methodism, which he considers to be not only the purest in the world, but the most efficient in its "modus operandi."
Under this conviction, he has frequently addressed the British Conference on the subject of sending Missionaries to China, proposing to give towards the support of one, one hundred dollars per year, though his income is quite limited. He has at length gained an assurance from the president of the conference, that measures have be taken to grant his request, and he is now looking for the arrival of the missionaries. He appears to be an excellent brother, and is certainly entitled to the blessing of those who entertain strangers.
Our continuance at Hong Kong was four weeks, three of which we spent at the house of Mr. Reese. Though the expense of living at Hong Kong is great, yet this truly benevolent man furnished us with all the comforts his house afforded, without money and without price.
On the 15th of December we took leave of our newly formed acquaintance at Hong Kong, and taking what the Chinese call a "fast boat," proceeded through a perfect labyrinth of islands, across the mouth of Pearl river to the city of Macao, the distance of thirty miles. [page 276]
It was late in a very dark evening when we arrived in the inner harbor, and as our baggage must all pass through the Custom House on landing, we must necessarily leave it in the care of the Chinese on the boat, during the night, as there were no conveniences for our continuing on board. This arranged, we committed ourselves to the guidance of the captain of the boat having given him the name of the individual whom we wished to find, and by the way of a narrow avenue, on each side of which the towering walls of the buildings were rendered scarcely visible by the glimmerings of a Chinese lantern, we entered the den populated city of Macao. Winding along the crooked lanes, and traveling as fast as we could for thirty minutes or more, we at length entered a gloomy mansion, situated near the centre of the city, where our guide told us our friend lived.
Here we were cordially welcomed by the Rev. Dr. Happer, a missionary of the Presbyterian Board, who had kindly invited us to make his house our home while we desired to remain in the city.
Dr. Happer has been in China but little more than one year, and consequently has not made a great impression. He has established a school of twenty-five Chinese boys, and is teaching them the English language, while a person employed for that purpose is instructing him in the Chinese. He feels encouraged to prosecute his work, though the prospect of accomplishing much, is dark before him.
Macao is a Portuguese town, containing forty thou. Of the latter there are but a few hundred native Portuguese, they being mostly of the half-caste population. The Portuguese pay an annual tribute to China for the privilege of remaining here, and indeed Macao is under the control of the Chinese, though for purposes of mutual advantage, the Portuguese have been allowed to continue in possession.
The Portuguese first established themselves here more [page 277] than three hundred years ago, and during the first hundred years, Popish missionaries front this point, ha( penetrated into every part of the Chinese Empire, even into the very palace of the Emperor himself. But, inter-meddling with the affairs of government, the priests were banished from Pekin. This checked the prosperity of the Papists, and though unwearied efforts have been made ever since that time to establish Popery permanently in the Empire, yet they have resulted in giving it but a doubtful footing.
Macao, however, being under the domination of Portugal, is papistical in its character, and contains several splendid cathedrals and convents; and the priests, from the snowy-headed "padre" down to the boy of ten years, may be seen perambulating the streets in every part of the city, almost without number. Here Catholicism exists in its grandeur and magnificence, as well as in its disgusting forms and nameless mummeries. But it may be remarked, in favor of the Catholics of Macao, that they are more tolerant in their principle and practice than any other Catholics in the world. During the celebration of high mass on Christmas eve, we took the opportunity of visiting three of the most splendid churches in the city, and in neither of them were we obliged to kneel, even at the elevation of the Sacred Host.
During the short but sanguinary contest betwixt the English and Chinese, Macao, as a. matter of course, remained neutral; and as a consequence of the war, and during the. short period of six years, she made more rapid improvements than ever before : but when the articles of peace were signed under her walls, the death blow was given to her prosperity.
English capital and English influence have already placed her rival, Hong Kong, or Victoria, far above er in point of wealth and commercial importance, though it is but five years since the latter sprang into being; whereas Macao boasts of an antiquity of more than three hundred years. The houses of some parts of Macao are built after the European style, though the [page 278] streets are very narrow and dirty, while in some places, as you pass along, the buildings present the appearance of dismal prisons. Other parts of the city are peculiarly Chinese, and these are, by far the most extensive, and give one a very correct idea of the large cities of the Chinese Empire.
There are a number of places of interest in and about the city of Macao, which, from the satisfaction a visit to them is calculated to afford, are well worthy the attention of travelers. The first in order is that of the Grand Prior.
The portion of the city around the Grand Prior, on landing from the outer harbor, is the most interesting part of the Portuguese division of the town. It is built round the borders of the beautiful bay which constitutes the harbor in the form of a semi-circle, and the Prior forms an elegant promenade, not only for all the fashion and elite of the town, but for all such as desire to enjoy the invigorating breeze which comes in from the bosom of the Chinese Sea. Here may be seen almost every day, Portuguese, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Americans, Germans, Chinese, Indians, Parsecs, Hawaiians, &c., mingling in one common troop along this beautiful Prior, and all apparently delighted with the surrounding scenery.
Passing from the Prior to the north, partly through the town, you come to a second place of interest, which is the Bazaar, or market, of the city. This is situated in the Chinese portion of the town, and contains all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and provisions peculiar to the country Among the fruits, oranges and bannanas are the most prominent kinds; the former being more abundant than apples in New York, and four large fresh oranges can be procured for one cent. One is astonished in passing through the Bazaar to see the immense variety of meats, fish and fowl, with which it abounds. In addition to the common kinds, such as beef, pigs, mutton, capons, geese and ducks, may be found an astonishing variety, among which dogs, cats, rats and frogs, are the most prominent. These may be had either alive, [page 279] dressed, or cooked, so that the most fastidious can easily be accommodated.
The Chinese Heathen Temple, situated within the precincts, and at the east end of the city, is another object of curiosity to all strangers who visit this part of China. This temple was principally hewn out of the solid rock, and its appearance reminds one of the Bible accounts of the idolatrous practices of the nations of antiquity; several majestic banyan trees extending over it their huge branches, cast a sombre shade upon its different departments, while its walls of blackened granite, and the hideous images which appear on every hand, as the gloomy nature of the worship there paid to heathen gods, are calculated to make impressions upon the mind of the beholder at once solemn and affecting. Here we witnessed, for the first time, the priests of Budha in humble prostration before their idols, and while witnessing their devotions, our fervent ejaculations were ascending to heaven that the long night of death which has reigned over them, unbroken, may soon pass away, and the devotees of this cruel system of idolatry, become the true worshipers of the living God.
There are several beautiful gardens within the walls of the city, among which the Casser Garden, at the western end of the city, is the most popular as a place of resort.
This is celebrated on account of the beauty of its shaded walks, the variety of the plants and shrubbery by which it is adorned, the enchanting nature of its scenery, but principally from its containing within its enclosure the celebrated grotto known by the name of Camoen's Cave.
This cave procured its cognomen from the following circumstance: Camoen was appointed by the crown of Portugal to an important office in the colony of Macao, and while residing in this place, he spent a great share of his time in the solitude of this cave. It was here that this most celebrated of all Portuguese poets composed his "Lusiad" a poem which has rendered his name immortal. The cave is interesting as a natural [page 280] curiosity, but it has been materially injured by an attempt to adorn and beautify it by artificial works. it contains a bust of the celebrated man who has given it a name that it will probably bear to the end of time. In connection with this it might be proper to observe that after he left Macao, Camoen and his manuscript poems were both singularly and providentially preserved from unmerited oblivion. The vessel in which he sailed from Macao, was wrecked in the Chinese Sea ; fortunately, however, not a great distance from the shore. When it appeared evident that the vessel was lost, and there being no other means of saving himself, forgetting every thing else as comparatively worthless he seized his manuscript in one hand, and cast himself into the sea. Presently, the few who had gained the shore before him, discovered Camoen struggling in the briny element, and bearing in one hand above the surface of the agitated waters, the poem that was destined to give him an earthly immortality. At length a fortunate wave came to his assistance, and he was borne in triumph to the shore, happy that, with the loss of his wealth, he had saved what he esteemed of infinitely more value, the instrument which was destined to attach to his memory an enviable and enduring fame.
There are also a number of eminences in and about the place, which overlook the entire town and harbor, and which are very strongly fortified. Some of the guns by which the battlements are mounted, are of astonishing calibre, and bear date as ancient as 1625.
From the hill on which the "Central Fort" is built, the view of the city, harbor, roads, and the adjacent islands, is sufficiently interesting to pay one for the labor of climbing to its summit. From this spot was pointed out to us the precise place where the English and Chinese ambassadors signed the preliminaries of peace at the conclusion of the late war. On the ramparts of the A Central Fort A I counted fifty of the engines of death ready to pour ruin upon invading foes.
Having visited every thing of interest in and around the city of Macao, we prepared to take our leave; [page 281] desiring to spend as many days in Canton before embarking for the United States, as we possibly could. We had received a pressing invitation from Dr. Devan, a missionary of the Baptist Board, resident in Canton, to make his house our home so long as we desired to remain in the place. Accordingly, on Wednesday, the 7th of January, accompanied by Mrs. Hooper, one of our follow passengers on the Leland, we embarked on a "fast boat," and with a fresh breeze proceeded up the Canton river.
These "fast boats" are always manned by Chinese, and, though differing from any other water craft which I have seen in any other part of the world, are quite comfortable for the conveyance of passengers; and as they are propelled by oars when the wind does not serve, they usually perform their passages with considerable dispatch; passengers always furnishing themselves with bed and board.
It was near sundown when we left the Grand Prior, and before we had proceeded far, darkness had shut from our view all surrounding objects, and reposing on the beds we had spread for our temporary use, we fell asleep, and the next morning found ourselves above the Bogue, or Bocca Tigris, and gliding along past the villages, paddy fields, and Pagodas, by which the banks of passing Whampoa, we the river are adorned. Before stopped a few moments along side the Leland, which had already commenced receiving her cargo, and leaving some of our baggage on board, we proceeded on through the multitude of boats which thronged the river, and which seemed to multiply in a ten-fold proportion as we approximated the "Provincial City." It was nearly dark when we arrived off the place of landing, and we found the wharf so thronged with boats that it was impossible for us to approach it nearer than fifty yards. He began to fear that we should be under the necessity of spending the night on the boat; no very comfortable prospect in view of the piratical propensities of the thousands by which we were surrounded. And as for confusion, Babel itself could not have presented a worse [page 282] state. However, I hastened to dispatch a short note to Dr. Devan, by one of the officers of the boat, and fortunately the note found him. At eight o'clock he and his most amiable wife gave us a hearty welcome at their house, which is situated in one of the densest portions of the suburbs of the great city of Canton, and on one of the principal avenues leading to one of the gates of the city proper.
Here we are then, brought by a succession of favorable providences, and placed in the midst of the great and wonderful city of Canton. Every thing surrounded us is new and striking. The people, the costume, the buildings, the streets, and every thing the eye beholds, present an aspect totally different from any thing existing in any other portion of the world; and to give a minute and intelligible description of the almost infinite variety which this one city presents to the view of the stranger, if it were possible to accomplish it, would require volumes, and cannot therefore be expected in this journal. It will be impossible even to carry out the design of the traveler to Rome, who observed that he should A give a description of the Rome which he saw;@ but it must suffice the reader to be introduced to a few subjects important to be understood, and interesting to contemplate relating to the celebrated city of Canton.
The Chinese write the name of their city, Kwangtung Sang Ching, A Chief city of the province of Kwangtung,@ but in conversation they ususally call it A Sang Ching,@ the A Provincial City.@ doubtless Canton is a corruption of Kwangtung. This city is situated on the north side of the Choo Keang, or Pearl river, and about sixty miles from the great sea. It is in the twenty-third degree of north latitude, and one hundred and thirteenth east longitude from Greenwich.
The scenery around the city, though beautiful, and to some extent diversified, presents nothing bold or romantic. On the north and north-east sides, distant a few miles, may be seen a range of hills or mountains, but in every other direction the prospect is unobscured. The rivers, channels and canals, are very numerous, [page 283] and are covered with a vast variety of boats, which are continually passing to and from the neighboring towns and villages. Southward the water covers nearly one- fourth of the whole surface. Paddy fields and gardens occupy the low lands, and occasionally may be seen little hills and groves of trees rising here and there, to diversify the scene.
Canton is one of the most ancient cities in the world, at least among those that have survived the revolutions of time. We have pretty satisfactory evidence that it existed several hundred years before the Christian era, and, according to Chinese classics, one of the ancient emperors, four thousand years a-yo, commanded one of his ministers to repair to the southern country, and govern the city, which was then called the Splendid Capital, and the country surrounding it. If this be true, a large city occupied the site of the present city of Canton more than one hundred and fifty years before the time of Abraham.
The city of Canton may be considered as divided into two parts; the city proper, or that portion within the walls, and the portion without the walls, or the suburbs, which differs in its buildings, streets and extent of population, very little from that within the walls. That part of the city enclosed by a wall is built nearly in the form of a square, and is divided into two parts by a wall running from east to west.
The northern, which is the largest part, is called the old city, and the southern, the new city. The entire circuit of the wall, including both divisions of the city within, is variously estimated at from six to eight English miles. The walls rise nearly perpendicularly, and vary in height from twenty-five to forty feet. They are about twenty feet thick, and are composed of stone and brick. A line of battlements is raised on the top of the walls at intervals of a few feet around the whole city. Leading through the outside wall are twelve gates bearing different names, some of which are very significant: Wooseen Mun is "the gate of the five genii." Yungtsing Mun is "the gate o eternal purity." This [page 273] is the gate that leads to the place where criminals are publicly decapitated. Yungan Mun is "the gate of eternal rest." At each of the gates a few soldiers are stationed to watch them by day, and close, and guard them by night.
The principal part of the suburbs are situated on the South and west sides of the city. They are much less extensive on the east than on the west; and on the north there are very few buildings owing probably to the fact that the, city proper in that direction extends on to the sides of a range of hills. This fact is poetically expressed by a Chinese writer, who observes that, on the north "the city rests on the brow of a hill."
It is said by good authority that there are from six hundred to a thousand streets in the city of Canton. Some of them are long, but most of them are short and crooked. The broadest street in Canton is sixteen feet wide, and there are hundreds not more than two feet. These are all flagged with stones, mostly large granite slabs.
It will be impossible to give any idea of the immense motley crowd that daily throngs these narrow lanes, The stout, half-naked, vociferating coolies, bearing every description of merchandise on their backs, the noisy sedan-bearers, together with the numerous travelers, retailers, pedlars, barbers, tinkers, beggars, &c., presents a scene before the spectator which puts all his powers of description at defiance.
In the suburbs, near the south-west corner of the city, are situated the foreign factories, of which there are thirteen. They occupy a plot of ground extending sixty rods from east to west, and forty from north to south. The factories present a very firm and substantial appearance, being but two stories high, and with the exception of two narrow streets, forming one solid block, each factory extending in length, the whole breadth of the block. They are owned by the Chinese Hong merchants, and are occupied by the Dutch, English, Swedes, Americans, French and Danes. The different factories may be distinguished by the flags of [page 285] their respective nations, which constantly wave over them.
In the afternoon of Friday, the 9th, Dr. Devan proposed to conduct Mrs. H. and myself to those parts of the city where it was safe for ladies to go, with which we readily acquiesced, as we desired to learn as much as we possibly could concerning one of the great cities of the Celestial Empire. It is but a short time since foreign females have been allowed to approach nearer to the city of Canton than Macao. The ladies are indebted to the bloody gallantry of British soldiers, for the privilege of walking the crowded streets of this wonderful city. But even now, though the recent treaties with other nations provide for such a privilege, yet a very large portion of the wealthy Chinese population are violently opposed to foreigners penetrating far into the city, especially to pass through the gates. Notwithstanding this, according to arrangement, we set off on our tour, first taking the hongs and the factories, where the foreign merchants, and the missionaries of the A, B. C. F. M. reside. After calling on some of the latter, we continued on some half mile or more direct towards one of the gates opening, into that part of the city, yet too sacred to be polluted by the feet of barbarians. As we penetrated farther and farther into the city, beyond the common walks of foreigners, it was astonishing to us to observe the great curiosity that was excited among the countless multitudes of Chinese through which we passed, by the appearance of a foreign lady walking by the side of a gentleman, in the thronged avenue, where never a Chinese lady is allowed to go except as carried by her servants, inclosed in her palanquin. We could not stop for a single moment for fear of being so thronged as not to be able to extricate ourselves, but found it necessary to urge ourselves onward as fast as we possibly could walk, while the excited mass poured after us in wild confusion, and every now and then a stalwart form rushing through the crowd, would thrust himself before us for the purpose of getting one fair [page 286] peep into the face of a foreign lady before she had passed beyond their reach.
At length we came to what Dr. Devan told us was the gate of the city proper, but we did not dare to enter it, nor even to stop near it, such was the excitement that prevailed wherever we appeared; but casting a passing look within the walls, we continued walking for an hour, until we had explored a number of the principal streets, and at almost every step we were saluted by the name of "Fan-qui," (barbarian), and some times Dr. Devan told us they would call us "evil spirits."
Before closing our perambulations, we visited the Ningpoo Exchange, which is a famous building, so far up in the city that strangers seldom visit it. It contains almost countless apartments, and at every turn and corner is placed a brazen idol before which the smoke of burning incense is continually rising. In this Exchange a vast amount of business is performed by commercial men from all parts of China. Impressed with the novelty of every thing we had witnessed, we returned to Dr. Devan's in safety, and on Saturday, the 10th, found ourselves prepared to visit the celebrated Temple of Honan.
This most popular heathen temple in the Province of Kwangtung, is situated on the opposite side of the Choo-keang river from Canton. Accompanied by our friends, Dr. and Mrs. Devan, and a Chinese interpreter, we engaged a boatman to row us across the river to this splendid "Jos-house" of the Chinese. On entering the temple and casting an eye around upon the objects within, here, said I, idolatry must appear in its most magnificent aspects. As we entered the gateway leading to the inner court, there were two colossal figures, images of deified warriors, stationed, one on the right and the other on the left, to guard the entrance to the sacred palaces. Further on we came to the palace of the "four great celestial kings," images of ancient heroes. Still further on we were conducted along a broad pathway to the great powerful palace." Entering [page 287] this we found ourselves in the presence of "the three precious Budhas," three stately and magnificent images representing the past, the present, and the future Budha. The hall or palace where these images are placed, is one hundred feet square, and contains numerous other images of deified heroes, real or imaginary, before which altars are erected and incense is kept constantly burning. The temple is vast, and the building embraced within the sacred enclosures are numerous, and contain large numbers of Chinese gods. Some of the idols are truly splendid specimens of the works of art, and as they are arranged in perfect order around the walls of their respective and spacious balls, all of bronze work, and measuring from eight to twenty feet in height, they present a very imposing appearance. In addition to these shining images, there were several rough stones pointed out to us as being numbered with Chinese gods.
We were led by our conductor to the apartments containing the sacred hogs and geese, and were assured that it was an uncommon privilege for strangers to be allowed to behold these squalling and grunting divinities.
In "the great and powerful palace," which contains "the three precious Budhas," is hung a very large brass bell which is used by the priests at the hour of worship to wake up the slumbering deities and to call their attention to the ablations of their devotees. One of the party, taking hold of the huge tongue of the bell, drew it up at one side and let it fall back against the other with such force as to cause the whole temple to ring with its vibrations. Some of the priests started back as with fear, but so soon as the sound had died away they came forward and reproached us for such a gross violation of the sanctity of the place. In addition to this we were guilty of another sacrilegious act in taking some of the incense which was smoking before the idols, and bringing it away with us; much, however, to the diversion of our Chinese-attendants. As it was not the hour of worship we did not witness the devotions of the priests, but ascertained that at five o'clock, p.m., every day, [page 288] they celebrate their vespers in the palace of the precious Budhas.
Parallel with each other on the right and left, are long lines of apartments, one of which is a printing office, and others are used as cells for priests, stalls for pigs and fowls, a retreat for "the king of hades," the chief priest's room, a dining hall, a kitchen, &c., and beyond these is a spacious garden, at the extremity of which there is a mausoleum wherein the ashes of burnt priests once a year. are deposited. Here also was pointed out to us a furnace wherein the bodies of dead priests are burned, and a little cell where the jars; containing their ashes are kept until the time for depositing them in the mausoleum arrives.
We ascertained that there were connected with this one heathen temple nearly two hundred priests ; and judging, from the immense expense of sustaining this establishment, we could but come to the conclusion that it costs China more to support idolatry than all Christendom pays to propagate the Gospel of the Son of God.
In connection with this it may be proper to subjoin a brief history of the temple of Honan as given by the Chinese, and which has been furnished in English by Dr, Bridgeman of Canton: A It was originally a private garden; but afterwards, several hundred years ago, a priest named Cheyue, built up an establishment which he called "the temple of ten thousand autumns," and dedicated it to Budha. It remained an obscure place, however, until about A. D. 1600, when a priest of eminent devotion, with his pupil Ahtsze, together with a concurrence of extraordinary circumstances, raised it to its resent magnificence. In the reign of Kanghe, and as late as a.d. 1700, the province of Canton was not fully subjugated; and a son-in-law of the emperor was sent hither to bring the whole country under his father's sway. This he accomplished, received the title of 'Pingnan-wang, king of the subjugated South,' and took up his head quarters in the temple of Honan. There were then thirteen villages on the island, which he had orders to exterminate for their opposition to the imperial [page 289] forces. Just before carrying into effect this order, the king, Pingnan, a blood-thirsty man, cast his eyes on Ahtsze, a fat happy priest, and remarked that if he lived on vegetable diet he could not be so fat; he must be a hypocrite, and should be punished with death. He drew his sword to execute with his own hand the sentence; but his arm suddenly stiffened, and he was stopped from his purpose. That night a divine person appeared to him in a dream, and assured him that Ahtsze was a holy man, adding 'you must not unjustly kill him.' Next morning the king presented himself before Ahtsze, confessed his crime, and his arm was immediately restored. He then did obeisance to the priest, and took him of his tutor and guide; and morning and evening the king waited on the priest as his servant.
A The inhabitants of the thirteen villages now heard of this miracle, and solicited the priest to intercede in their behalf, that they might be rescued from the sentence of extermination. The priest interceded, and the king listened, answering thus: 'I have received an imperial order to exterminate these rebels, but since you, my master, say they now submit, be it so; I must, however, send the troops round to the several villages, before I can report to the emperor; I will do this, and then beg that they may be spared.' The king fulfilled his promise, and the villages were saved. Their gratitude to the priest was unbounded; and estates, and incense, and money, were poured in upon him. The king, also, persuaded his officers to make donations to the temple, and it became affluent from that day.
A The temple had then no hall for celestial kings, and at the outer gate there was a pool belonging to a rich man who refused to sell it, although Ahtsze offered him a large compensation. The king, conversing with the priest one day, said, "this temple is deficient, for it has no hall for the celestial kings. 'The priest replied,' a terrestrial king, please your highness, is the proper person to rear a pavilion to the celestial kings.' The king took a hint, and seized on the pool of the rich man, who was now very glad to present it without [page 290] compensation; and he gave command, moreover, that a pavilion should be completed in fifteen days ; but at the priest's intercession, the workmen were allowed one month to finish it; and by laboring diligently night and day, they accomplished it in that time."
Such is the history of the temple of Honan, which is said to be the largest and best endowed establishment of the kind in this part of China.
The reader can form some idea of the extent of this temple when he is informed that its buildings, and gardens occupy from eight to ten English acres of ground. We left this gloomy scene not without indulging the hope that the time would come when a church of the living God would supplant this temple of Budha, and the great bell be used to call devout worshipers to the house of prayer.
Sunday, 11th. Attended worship at the house of Rev. Dr. Parker, in the morning, and heard a good sermon by the Rev. Mr. Wood, of the Episcopal church. This gentleman recently came from the United States as a missionary to the Chinese, but, for reasons doubtless satisfactory to himself, he returns home after a residence of two months.
Dr. Parker, in addition to his missionary work, superintends the English service, which is conducted at his own house every Sabbath day.
At two o'clock, p. m., attended Chinese service at Dr. Parker's hospital, and heard a celebrated Chinese preacher deliver a discourse in the native language.
This man has officiated as a kind of evangelist-among the Chinese for several years, and from his ardent zeal, and continued sufferings in his work, has given evidence of great sincerity. He has been violently persecuted by his countrymen at different times, and once was under the necessity of flying his country to save his life. However, at the present time, he travels wherever he pleases, and preaches without molestation. At three o'clock, attended Chinese service with Dr. Devan, in one of the densest portions of the city. The place where the Doctor preaches he calls the "Dispensatory." [page 291] It is about twelve feet square ; opens at one side to the street, which is constantly thronged with passers by, Occasionally one is attracted by the voice of the preacher, and either stops in the street, or walks into the dispensatory, and listens a short time. Very few, however, give their attention to a whole discourse. The utmost confusion prevailed in front of the dispensatory, or preaching-place, while, but from six to ten occupied the -re mostly in the benches during service, and these we pay of the missionary, as assistant preachers, teachers, or servants. Though an ardent friend of the missionary cause, I could but think that, if the labors bestowed here were productive of much good, it would certainly be against all human probability. Dr. Devan, and all other missionaries here, are in the habit of distributing testaments and other religious books, at the conclusion of divine service.
The missionaries themselves, from the difficulty of acquiring the language, preach but little, but are in the habit of employing Chinese assistants. Doubtless some credit is to be. given for the genuineness of the conversion, and the sincerity of some of these Chinese assistants; but from the best information I have been able to obtain, I am led to the conclusion that, in China, as well as in some other heathen countries, in nine cases out of ten, the converts, in identifying themselves with the missionaries, are governed mainly by motives of self interest. And, indeed, nearly all of them receive pay from the different churches to which they belong. They are generally hired as preachers, teachers, tract distributors, or servants, and generally relapse into their former habits on being dismissed from their employment. In view of these things, it is not strange that visitors, and the merchants that reside at Canton, generally, express it as their opinion that the missionary labor performed among the Chinese, is entirely useless. But persons forming such an opinion, are generally ignorant of that principle which stimulates the servant or God to sow his seed in the morning, and in the evening not to withhold his hand, namely, that faith which believes, even against hope. [page 292]
Monday, 12th. We resumed our exploration of the city of Canton. Strangers have not the freedom of , the city, though there is much more liberty now than formerly. However, up to the present time, foreigners venturing too far up into the city, are frequently robbed, and ratanned through the streets. The recent treaties which other nations have made with China since the late war, provided that the city gates should be thrown open to foreigners, but as yet the people of Canton are violently opposed to such a desecration of their ancient customs. Keying, the imperial commissioner and governor general of the province of Kwangtung, caused a proclamation to be posted up in the city, on the night of the 12th, informing the people that the tune had come when the conditions of the treaty in reference to the freedom of the city, must be fulfilled, and cautioning the people against molesting any foreigners that were disposed to enter within the walls. But the populace, supported b a large majority of the wealthy inhabitants of the city, on discovering the proclamation on the morning of the 13th, tore it down with great violence, rent it in pieces, and stamped it in the mud. Another proclamation, purporting to be from the wealthy and virtuous citizens of Canton, was put up in its place, which threatened death to any foreigner who should dare to enter within the gates. Notwithstanding the excitement which these opposing proclamations produced, we resolved to improve the short time we had to stay, in seeing whatever was interesting, within the undisputed range of the barbarians.
Tuesday, 13th. Visited the "Fatee," or flower-garden, on the opposite side of the river, and above the temple of Honan. This is a most magnificent garden, and the plants are all grown in earthern pots. Here are almost an infinite variety of flowers, and several kinds of oranges, which are also grown in pots, and which line the different alleys, and tempt the visitor to violate the rules of the garden, by disburdening the loaded plants of some of- their golden fruit. The Chinese, better than any other nation, perhaps, understand [page 293] the art of dwarfing trees and plants, and causing them to grow in any shape they choose. Here may be seen orange trees from one foot to three feet high, standing in large earthern pots, and so filled with fruit that every expedient possible is entered into to prevent them from breaking down. Here, also, is a shrub in appearance similar to the hawthorn, which the Chinese cause to grow in the exact shape of a pagoda, a junk, an elephant, a bird, or any thing else, according as their fancy leads them. Nothing can exceed the regularity and beauty of the Fatee or flower-garden and it was some hours after we entered, before we were able to break away from the charm which the multiflorous productions of this delightful garden cast around us. Leaving this garden, which the ingenuity of the Chinese has rendered so interesting, we re-crossed the Chookeang, and visited the palace of Houqua, situated about two miles above the city of Canton. The house is splendid, purely Chinese, the furniture magnificent, and the walls of the roofs adorned with fine Chinese paintings. It was in this house where all the recent treaties with other nations were signed.
Wednesday, 14th. Called on Drs. Bridgeman and Parker, who are missionaries of the American Board. The latter has accepted an appointment under the United States government, as Chinese interpreter, with a salary of three thousand dollars per annum. He has been in China twelve years; has established a hospital for the benefit of the Chinese, and from almost innumerable and successful surgical operations, has earned an enviable reputation in his adopted country. With the former I had considerable conversation concerning the success of missionary operations in China, and found him to be anything but sanguine in his expectations, but hoping to see the results of his labors after many days. He is not one of those fiery spirits, who, from the excitement of the moment, are in the habit of blazing forth their high wrought accounts of the work of God in heathen lands, ,which frequently recoil back upon their authors, and the cause they are designed to represent, much to the injury [page 294] of both, but he appears to take a sober, candid view of the great work in which he is engaged, and realizes the fearful responsibility that rests upon him. He has obtained considerable celebrity by publishing several important Chinese works. In the evening called on Dr. Ball, who is likewise a missionary of the American Board, and appears to be much devoted to his work.
Thursday, 15th. Explored various parts of the city and found the Chinese very much excited on account of the proclamation of Keying, in which he ordered that the gates of Canton, which had been closed for ages, should, for the first time, be opened to the barbarians of Europe and America.
There seemed to be a great commotion among the populace, and it was anticipated by the foreigners that the night would not pass away without some outrage. Those who are opposed to the order of the governor call themselves "patriots," and declare that the barbarians shall not enter their city gates, but the man that dares to attempt to pass the sacred enclosure, shall lose his head. At midnight a portion of the old city was illuminated by the burning of the house of the mayor. A mob of more than two thousand gathered around the house of this functionary with the design of consuming him and his. property together. Leaving the house through a private passage, he escaped their fur and in a short time all that remained of his princely mansion was a heap of smouldering ruins.
Friday, 16th. The excitement continued to rise, and early in the morning the foreign factories, particularly those occupied by the English, were invested by vast throngs of the angry Chinese, and the English were hourly expecting an attack. What contributed to in- crease the excitement was, the expelled arrival of an English steamboat from Hong Kong, to receive the last payment of the indemnity. The whole amount of the indemnity was twenty millions of dollars, and this last payment was two millions. The patriots declare that it shall not be paid, and that if the authorities attempt to convey it out of the city, they will seize upon the money [page 295] and burn down the English factories. I was in the factories a number of times during the day, and found the people preparing for a vigorous defence, expecting that they would be attacked the following night, and more so in consequence of the approach of the Chinese new-year, when the people, are exceedingly desirous to obtain money, and always become greatly excited. About noon we received a letter from the gentlemen to whom the Leland was consigned, (Wetmore & Co.), advising us, as our vessel would be ready for sea Saturday evening, to join her without delay, for fear an immediate outbreak would greatly endanger, if not entirely close the communication between Canton and Whampoa, where our vessel lay. With much effort, in the midst of great excitement, we succeeded in getting ready to leave at sundown, and consequently we had the pleasure of a night-excursion on the Chookeang from Canton to Whampoa, the distance of twelve miles.
Though there is considerable danger in navigating these waters in the night time from thieves and pirates, which here abound in vast numbers, yet, at ten o'clock we arrived along side the Leland without ancient, an , though we were literally thrust out of the city, yet we were glad to find ourselves once more on board the vessel destined to convey us to our native land.
Sunday, 18th. Had an engagement to preach on board the Rainbow that had just arrived from New York; but was prevented from going on account of the rain. When vessels are ready for sea, the captains never wait for Monday; consequently in the afternoon our ship weighed anchor, and dropped down the river a few miles; but at dark, again came to anchor to await the arrival of Mr. Finlay from Canton. About midnight Mr. Finlay arrived, and reported that the excitement still continued at Canton, and that the foreigners were hourly expecting a furious outbreak; but we congratulated ourselves, that before it took place we should be "far away on the billows."
Monday, 19th. Before a fine breeze we sailed down [page 296] the Canton river, passing the United States frigate Vincennes, and the line-of-battle ship Columbus. These vessels have recently arrived in China, and the commanding officer, Commodore Biddle, is authorized, on the part of the United States, to act as minister to the Chinese government. These vessels are both moving up the river for the purpose of being ready to act in defence of any American interests which may be involved in the insurrectional movements at Canton. It is also said that Gov. Davies, in case of any outbreak, will send the soldiers who are quartered at Hong Kong, up the river, to assist the Chinese authorities against the insurgents.
Captain Skillington, of the Leland, having discharged his steward and cook, we found it necessary to return to Hong Kong, for the purpose of supplying their places. Accordingly, at six o'clock, p. m., we cast anchor again in the bay of Hong Kong about four miles from shore. It was impossible for t e captain to accomplish his objects here without spending the whole of Tuesday, and this gave us an opportunity to take a more formal leave of our newly made friends in this place.
Before taking our final departure from the coast of the Celestial Empire, it will be proper to make some observations concerning a few things which have not yet been exhibited, but which cannot fail to strike the foreigner with considerable interest.
The first I shall mention is the antiquated appearance of every thing that presents itself. While the nations of Europe and America are moving onward from one improvement to another, with unexplained celerity, and attracting universal admiration as well as conferring incalculable good upon the world, the Chinese seldom advance a step beyond the customs, habits and fashions which characterized their remotest ancestors; and they have been equally slow in adopting any of the usages and improvements, of "distant foreigners." Architecture, Agriculture, costume, and all the arts and sciences, remain in China, as the lawyers say, "in statu quo;" [page 297] and this inertia of everything is not only a prominent characteristic of the Chinese, but constitutes a subject in which they glory.
Another thing which strikes the foreigner is the astonishing contrariety to what he has been taught as proper, which appears in the habits and occupations of the Chinese. We have considered the right, as the place of honor, but the Chinese give precedence to the left. Black is considered by the nations of the west as the appropriate badge of mourning, but in the estimation of the Chinese, there is nothing so proper as white.
The Chinese do not number the cardinal points in our order, but always mention the south before the north, and the west before the east; thus,--south, north, west and east. And instead of saying north-west, south-west, as we do, a west-north, west-south, &c. The compass of. the Chinese, instead of pointing to the north, is so constructed as to point to the south. This contrariety appears in many other particulars, and the fact of its existence brings one to the conclusion that we are not to estimate the Chinese by the criterion of European taste and usage.
A third subject of interest to foreigners on entering the cities of China, is the numerous manufactories and trades in operation, wherever he goes. Properly speaking, there is no machinery in the country; consequently no such extensive manufacturing establishments as in Europe and America. In consequence of the absence of all kinds of machinery calculated to lessen the amount of manual labor, the number of hands employed in carrying forward the different trades is truly immense. A great proportion of the manufacturing business required to supply the commercial houses of Canton, is performed at Fushan, a large town situated a few miles westward. Still, the amount accomplished in Canton, is by no means inconsiderable. There are from fifteen to twenty thousand persons engaged in Canton in weaving silk; fifty thousand in manufacturing cloth of different kinds; five thousand shoemakers; from seven thousand [page 298] to ten thousand barbers, besides an unnumbered multitude who work in wood, brass, iron, stope, and various other materials, too numerous to mention.
Those who engage in each of these respective occupations, form a separate community,--each community having its own laws and regulations to control their business.
On ascending the Chookeang river from Macao to Canton, nothing interests the foreigner so much as the vast number and almost endless variety of boats by which he is constantly surrounded; every boat forming a habitation for one family, or more, according to its dimensions and the wealth of the occupants. There are officers appointed by the government to regulate and control this portion of the inhabitants; consequently all the boats, of the various sizes and descriptions which are seen here, are registered. The number adjacent and belonging to the city of Canton is eighty-four thousand. A large proportion of these are what the Chinese call Tankea (egg-house) boats. These are very small, varying from ten to fifteen-feet long, and from four to six feet broad. In large coops lashed to the outside of these boats, are reared large broods of ducks and chickens, designed for the city markets, while within them whole families live and die. These, together with the passage boats, ferry boats, canal boats, pleasure boats, cruisers, &c., complete the list of these floating habitations, and constitute a permanent dwelling place for a population of three hundred thousand souls!
Another subject of interest to the stranger visiting China, is found in the piratical character of many of the Chinese inhabiting the numerous islands, which constitute an extensive archipelago along coast of the Chinese sea. Among these islands, piracies and robberies are of frequent occurrence. During our stay at Canton, an English vessel was attacked, almost within hailing distance of Macao. The pirates boarded her, after having cleared the decks of her crew, by killing one and causing the others to take refuge in the hold [page 299] and rifling her of all that would be valuable to them, made their escape. These pirates often combine in large numbers, and attack large commercial houses; nor are they discriminating, but fall alike upon those belonging both to Chinese and foreigners. The school-house belonging to the Morrison Education Society, situated on Morrison Hill, and occupied by Rev. S. R. Brown and family, was, a short time ago, captured by a band of them in the night, the family escaping from one side, while the robbers were entering on the other. They were in possession of the house for several hours, and finale escaped with their booty to their island by fastnesses. Soon after this occurrence they made an attempt upon an English house situated at the west end of the city of Victoria. Prepared with their scaling ladders, as their habit was, they mounted the building in large numbers, and while in the act of removing the tiling so that they could descend into the building, a charge of grape from a six pounder mounted on a neighboring eminence, was poured into them, and two of their number rolled like logs from the roof to the ground, and the remainder took to flight. [page 300]