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better sort of merchants, and where there is still a population of several thousands of that peculiar race. There, a Chinese College has been established by the English, in which Mr. Kidd for a time acted as principal, and until he returned to England on account of ill-health, where he has been appointed to the chair mentioned ; and being considered not merely the first Chinese scholar in this country, but having at his command the noble library of about 10,000 Chinese volumes now possessed by his College, which belonged to Dr. Morrison, he has the advantage over almost every other European with regard to the performance of such an undertaking as the title of the present works indicates.
Professor Kidd vigorously opposes the theory of Ponceau, who contends that the Chinese language is alphabetical. Our author, on the other hand, upholds the symbolical or ideagraphic doctrine. He also compares the symbols of the Chinese with the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, and discovers between them some remarkable relations, coincidences, and analogies; just as there are in respect of customs. Take an instance of the latter with regard to the lessons sought to be enforced by having the image of death always before the eyes :
“ The constant anticipation of death would seem to be present with the Chinese in the practice adopted at Malacca, of always having a coffin placed outside the door to receive the adult inhabitant who may first require it. There is, however, but little if any additional seriousness on the great moral question. I have seen an aged individual seated on a coffin which he would perhaps soon occupy, reading not one of their ethical or religious works, but a popular novel, highly esteemed, indeed, for the ability with which it is written, though its immediate influence on the heart must be to increase its disinclination for the solemn ordeal of the judgment-sdat. The appearance to a Christian stranger of so many peculiarly formed receptacles for the dead, consentaneously placed at the doors of human dwellings, is calculated to awaken his sympathies, and create a tender interest on behalf of their owners. The motive for this singular act is ascribed to the requirements of filial piety, which cannot be satisfied without coffins of prescribed thickness, sufficiently seasoned to resist premature decay.”
In fulfilment of Mr. Kidd's design, and of the scope of his subject, he places before us the early ages of China, as given by its fabulous historians, and according to the successive dynasties ; also the great steps made in the arts of civilization and in science, together with the supposed inventors. For example, one is named as the inventor of nets, another of grain, &c. In the reign of Yaou, a tortoise was brought to court bearing historical records from the creation. The Chinese sects are next noticed; as are also a variety of superstitious observances. Ancestral worship is common; and formerly it had amongst its solemnities the immolation of human victims. So attached are the Chinese to funeral rites, and so highly do they prize the sympathies supposed to exist between the inhabitants of the grave and the breathing relatives who tread the earth, that the grave
is preferred to utter separation in life, as our author had personal means of ascertaining. While he resided at Malacca, he says,
“A Chinese, convicted of a cruel murder, had been sentenced to transportation for life. His friends, who sought to procure a mitigation of his punishment, solicited my supposed influence as an Englishman with the Governor on their behalf. I urged the aggravated nature of the offence as a reason why I could not even conscientiously ask such a thing, if I were sure of success; and suggested that it ought to be a matter of thankfulness he was not hanged. He immediately replied, that he considered this a much severer punishment than death; for in that case his parents, who were living, might have performed his funeral rites, and the usual offices at the tomb of which he was now deprived, while they would also be totally cut off from all intercourse with their son after death as well as
The philosophical principles of Chinese morals-their civil, educational, as well as military systems, as illustrated in the institution and workings of the numerous official boards—their belief in, and use of, amulets, &c.— their laws, &c.—are subjects which, each in its due turn, engages the Professor; so that the work cannot be worthy of careful study at the present hour but at all times. Its grand feature is this—distinguishing it from all the numerous publications that a temporary quarrel with the Celestials have drawn forth—that it describes them as their mind and manners are read in their own language and literature, and not asobserved and depicted by mere visitors.
Art. XVII.— Regulus the Noblest Roman of them all. A Tragedy, in
Five Acts. By Jacob Jones, Esq. London: Miller. Mr. Jones is the most persevering tragedy writer of the age, considering the disappointments and neglects he has encountered. The proposed and, we believe, resolved phalanx of dramatists, whose creations have been rejected, or have not found audience, at the patent theatres, to have their works brought to an independent test at the English Opera House, will, we presume, afford to Mr. Jones a welcome and desired opportunity of representation.
Art. XVIII.— The Visitor's Guide to the Sights of London.
London : Strange. A COMPACT, useful, lively, little volume ; the most sensible guide we have yet seen to London and the environs.
Art. XIX.- The Powers of the Greek Tenses, and other Papers. By
F. W. Harper, M.A. London: Bell. SCHOLARLY and philosophic ; intelligible and practically applicable.
Art. 1.-1. Letter from Sir Frederick Trench to the Viscount Duncannon,
First Commissioner of Woods and Forests. London : Olivier. 2. Report from the Select Committee on Fine Arts ; together with the Mi
nutes of Evidence, &c. ordered by the House of Commons to be printed. Sir Frederick Trench's Letter to the late First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, propounds a plan that is likely to find favour, at least in the City. The various objects contemplated by that plan will, in the course of our pages, be particularly mentioned. In the meanwhile it may be stated, that healthful recreation, facilities offered for travelling and trade, and a profitable investment of capital, are all held out as certain results, in the document before us. We do not for a moment despair of seeing the banks of the Thames thrown open, at least for a footpath; believing that such an alteration might not only beneficially affect the river itself, but be conducted in a way that would not be injurious to private interests. That beauty might be attained, and that deformity would be removed, by some such embankment, need not be urged.
By all the great openings and clearances that have been judiciously made in the heart of the crowded precincts of the City of London, or by all the new alterations of the kind which have been skilfully planned, and are now the subject of very considerable discussion and anxiety, both within and beyond the walls of Parliament, health, beauty, and profit, may be conjointly contemplated and secured. Take, for example, the scheme of the Royal Victoria Park, in the Tower Hamlets,—that important and popular improvement, which is to be thrown open to the public of the eastern quarters of the metropolis,-and think what amount of innocent enjoyment will result, and also how the lungs of the millions in the vicinity of this ornamented lawn, hitherto crowded into narrow dirty lanes, and everyway cruelly girt round, will be affected! The Park will contain somewhere about 200 acres ; and of course the planting, the laying out into tasteful walks, and the adornment of such a stretch of land, not to speak of the purchase of the soil, must
VOL. III. (1841.) NO. III.
require a very large sum of money. But without at all considering the £160,000 of that money which is to be raised by the sale of York House, or the sums that may be obtained by the appropriation of one-fourth part to sites for villas and ornamental buildings, we contend that the improvement will be advantageous, not merely as regards health and innocent recreation, but even in any secular view that may be contemplated. Wealth and dignity, as well as body and mind, come under the influence of such a measure as that of which we now particularly speak.
Why, how can we disunite the promotion of bodily health and the fresh moral feelings that must more or less be nurtured and cherished, by frequent exercise in a splendid park, from profit in a pecuniary sense,-profit far and wide beyond the sphere of those who may daily traverse and enjoy the rural and sylvan scene? Is it not a fact attested by medical authorities, and by the experience of multitudes in the Spitalfields and other densely inhabited districts of the metropolis, where the poor and the labouring branches of the community are huddled together in miserable houses, and where the bright sun and pure air scarcely reach, that typhus fever is never completely eradicated, and that these dens of poverty and filth are the constant nurseries of a variety of dreadful diseases which frequently seek for and find victims beyond the locality where they had their birth? In a sanatory point of view the entire people of the metropolis, not particular districts alone, have a deep interest in the bodily health, not to name the social enjoyments and the moral recreation of the poorest of the inhabitants.
Any one great metropolitan improvement concerns not only the immediate district where it takes place, and also every street and locality of the entire capital and the suburbs, but the kingdom and the empire at large. Patriotism and a generous national pride are inseparable from the beauty and the embellishments, still more from the comforts and the prosperity that may be witnessed in the capital. Examples are given out, homage and imitation are returned, a variety of enviable and valuable reciprocities find exercise amid the relations to which we refer. Elevation of sentiment and the pleasures of refined taste can no more be disjoined, than can bodily health from national prowess and enrichment. What Scotchman is not boastful of his Edinburgh; and has that city not transmitted throughout the admiring land her tone and her characteristic tastes? While, in return, has she not received an ample recompense in the spirits, that yearly and continually replenish her with new life and awakened impulses, bred in the valleys and among the mountains of the provinces ?
In the history of metropolitan, just as of national improvements, and of the numerous influences that may salutarily affect civilization, few means are of such mighty import and service as the facilities of
communication, social and mercantile. In a great city, especially in the mighty capital of the British empire, the commercial metropolis of the world, covering as it does a province, there can be no over estimate of the value of easy, safe, and rapid interchange of office and correspondence, no profitable dispensing with the most perfect system of travelling and trafficking that is attainable. Throughout the length and breadth of the Babylon of modern times, there ought to be many straight, spacious, and far-reaching streets, leading to every main point,-intersecting and intercommunicating like the wonderfully ramified arteries of the human frame; acting as avenues to the country all around, and absorbing, as do the lungs, the health and the wealth which heaven has so plenteously showered down upon the land and the wide world. Wealth and health in the case of the improvements of London must go hand in hand; for it is perfectly clear that the drainage of the metropolis can never economically or completely be achieved unless that imperative and pressing improvement be conducted simultaneously with the openings of new and grand thoroughfares, and the erection of the substantial houses and rebuildings that will line both sides of every great stretch of street that is with judgment planned and carried out within the circuit of London.
There is reason, however, to fear that the plans which have been recommended by a number of parliamentary committees, and also that those which appear to have been finally adopted by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, are defective in several respects. Unfortunately, but naturally enough, there are two sorts of obstacles which greatly interfere with anything like a progressive and complete system of metropolitan improvement. The one arises from timidity with regard to pecuniary means, and from a limited comprehension as to the benefits economical and positive that would result; the other, from the selfishness of individuals, the preposterous demands of private or incorporated interests, and the partizanship commercial and political that thence arises, reaching on all occasions hitherto the members of parliamentary committees, so that their reports either end in paltry recommendations, or incompatible and impracticable views.
With respect to pecuniary means for the completion of a grand, extensive, and systematic plan of metropolitan improvement in the case of London, the duties upon coal and wine, amounting annually to about £100,000, have been hitherto regarded as almost exclusively available; so that when some of the estimates of large alterations have presented to the eyes of committees and commissioners a long array of figures, they have become alarmed, and have not unfrequently proposed some modification by which a third or fourth might, as they fancied, be saved. Now, the following are some of the consequences of such timid and short-sighted measures :--the dis