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This paltry boon was refused him. The American flag afforded that accommodation which his own denied him, and after having landed on these shores, he passed some years unnoticed and unknown. But the literary acorn which he had planted in secret, was now thro' the strength of his native talent and unwearied industry, fast shooting into a lofty oak; the East India Company who had formerly spurned him, now condescended to consider him as worthy of their notice, and under their patronage he equalled the Herculean labours of a Johnson, and left behind him a workof which England or any country may indeed feel proud! that man was Morrison ;—the father of Anglo-Chinese Literature : a name to be held in reverence by all those who wish to approach the threshold of this interdicted language ! Such is the history of the first Englishman who devoted his unwearied care and attention to the study of Chinese! Since his dayby the labours of his highly-gifted son-of Gutzlaff-of Medhurst—of Milne-of Marshman-of Staunton-of Davis—of Bridgman,-the path leading to the secrets of this language has been cleared of a good many of the obstacles that formerly beset it, but tho' much we admit has been done, a great deal still remains to be done, ere we possess the same facilities for acquiring Chinese, that we possess for acquiring most of the languages of Europe.”

Yes, such have been the services of a few missionaries, champions of a generally despised order ; but after all the pioneers, it would seem, in the most arduous field of human learning.

Mr. Thom then proceeds to state that he has endeavoured to follow in the path of these distinguished men in the culture of the Chinese, that the present work has been compiled with “ some little care and attention,” in order that he might in some measure contribute to the advancement of a study which he appears to regard with enthusiasm.

The Fables were selected indiscriminately from Æsop, Phædrus, &c., but all published, for the sake of briefness, under one name. They were delivered by him orally at different times, in Mandarin Chinese to his native teacher; who, being a good penman, with ease wrote them off in the simple style in which they are composed, -the “ lowest and easiest style of Chinese composition.” But he observes that, by making himself master of this style, the student will find little difficulty in understanding the popular novels of the day, while it may serve as a stepping-stone to much higher literary attainments. We now quote some interesting particulars with regard to the work before us, and also some impressive sentiments with regard to our relations with China :

“When first published in Canton 1837-38, their reception by the Chinese was extremely flattering. They had their run of the public courts and offices—until the Mandarins-taking offence at seeing some of their evil customs so freely canvassed-ordered the work to be suppressed. It is not the first time that we have elucidated a disputed point-by referring to

VOL. III. (1841.) NO. III.

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one of these fables having analogy to the question in hand-nay, we remember once stopping the mouths of a party of Mandarins-who insisted that England desired to quarrel with China, by reciting the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs. The application was at once perceived- -and the justice of the remark admitted immediately. No man can help feeling an interest in the progeny of his brain as well as in the posterity of his body—and we plead guilty to a certain feeling of pride and satisfaction in relating this anecdote of our Chinese offspring ;--for tho' certainly not the principal party to whom it owes it's being—we may nevertheless justly lay claim to a share in the ushering of this Græco-Sinico compound into the world. The good-natured reader may thus even feel disposed to admit --that, it is quite possible for so paltry a publication to be useful in it's way.

« Our relations with this vast Empire have been hitherto purely commercial. The scene however is about to change—and we are now on the eve of a crisis, of which the wisest among men cannot foresee the results. The din of war is already heard in the distance-and perhaps ere this little work shall have seen the light, the powers of the east and the west may have come into collision--and a shock may have been given causing all Asia to vibrate to it's centre! Heretofore we have known the Chinese merely as a semi-civilized nation- to whom we sell broadcloth—and from whom we buy tea. Hereafter we shall know them as a great and mighty people—forming a third part of the family of man ;-a nation, whose territory occupies nearly a half of the immense continent of Asia ;- whose influence prevails with—and whose written character is understood bymany of the surrounding nations of the far east ;-a people, whose country opens up an unbounded field to commercial enterprize-and Missionary zeal,—whose ancient laws and maxims may form a subject of interest for the sage—and whose lighter literature may delight and instruct the general reader ;—and a people—who altho' perhaps inferior in that daring energy of character-the peculiar attribute of the Caucasian race alone-mare yet in mildness of demeanor-submissiveness to the laws-industry in their vocations-honour to their parents—and respect for the aged, -capable of setting a bright example to the most polished countries of Europe! Yet a gulf exists between them and us-a gulf to cross which long time and unwearied application are requisite,-and that gulf is their impracticable language!"

Mr. Thom agrees with Dr. Morrison that, though a smattering of Chinese may be easily acquired, yet that to attain to a competent knowledge of the language is very difficult, and that a perfect acquaintance with it is “ an object yet afar off.” But he adds,

“Tho' we admit the perfect acquirement of the Chinese language to be a matter of extreme difficulty—and further--that no efforts of our's or of any man's can ever render it easy,--yet much may be done to clear away those superfluous difficulties which continually beset our path-and to make the outset of his career, less discouraging to the young student than it has hitherto been.

" It is partly to fulfil this object—and partly from having observed during our residence in this country—that a knowledge of their language is a ready introduction to the confidence of the natives—that we have resolved to publish a series of elementary works (of which this is the first), comprising the various styles in which the Chinese language is written. Looking upon it as a work that may perhaps be of service to our country, - we shall not stop to consider the relative chances of gain and loss, but shall willingly submit to give up a very considerable portion of our time and slender fortune, towards the accomplishment of so desirable an object. When it is considered that scarce a dozen Englishmen in the world care a straw about the Chinese, their history, or their language-we shall readily be exempted from the charge of having undertaken such works with any motive towards pecuniary emolument.”

Again,

"The Chinese language is not only difficult of acquirement, but it's study is likewise expensive. Besides the time that must be devoted to it-a considerable sum is necessary for the purchasing of books, salaries of native teachers, &c. &c. These are great drawbacks to the poorʻstudent, and forasmuch, the study of this language stands more in need of patronage than that of any other. Poverty is no crime ;-and we feel not the slightest shame in acknowledging-that, but for the well-timed kindness and liberality of those gentlemen whose names adorn our Dedication page-from want of the necessary means to continue them--our own Chinese studies had been nipped in the very

bud! “ The time that these sheets were being put thro’ the press was a period of great alarm and uncertainty,—which is the reason that we have not been able (altho' most kindly seconded by our publisher) to give that degree of attention to the sightliness of the work which we could have wished. This is the first time, we believe, that any work has been printed on Chinese wooden blocks, and European metal types-placed side by side. The experiment having succeeded-numerous works will now most probably be printed in the same way. We regret that so many of the Chinese block's are badly cut;-but at a season when every man and every thing bearing the name of English was proscribed-we did not think it worth while being too particular in this respect,-more especially as the work itself was under the ban of the Government. It therefore goes before the public with many imperfections--which, in happier times—might have been easily avoided.”

With regard to the difficulty of acquiring even a smattering knowledge of the Chinese, we think it requires only a cursory glance over Mr. Thom's Introduction upon the different modes and kinds of composition, or the different styles in which the language is written, to repel almost the hardiest student, and the most zealous and persevering. Even the simple and easy Mandarin, as here exhibited, is so formidable that we could never expect to master a sentence of it, were it but the distinguishing one character from another, or the copying, without a knowledge of the meaning of the sign, the intricate limbs, the bushy forms of the figures.

The divisions and subdivisions in regard to the styles of the Chinese language appear to be so multifarious that scholars in it are not even agreed upon the number and kind. First, we are told that there is a written language which is not intended to be spoken. This is subdivided into two great branches, while these said branches are again subdivided into many more. There is the pure classical style ; poetry, either actually ancient, or composed in the ancient style, in contradistinction to the poetry of the present day; modern literature, which includes fine writing. In this last mentioned style are written themes founded upon the texts from the classics, and drawn up according to very strict rules of composition. Other five kinds are enumerated. This much in our hasty abridgment of what is said about the written and not spoken language. But, not to weary our readers with the divisions and varieties of the latter, we shall merely mention that the Mandarin is of two sorts, the first being the language of Peking city. “This idiom," we are told, “abounds with low slang; and when the court was formerly held at Nanking, was considered as much a vulgar patois, as the language of Canton city is at this present day. But the emperors of the present dynasty having always resided at Peking, and they all speaking with the northern accent, the young men who wish to get themselves forward, now-a-days endeavour to speak as much à la Peking as possible ; for, say they, 'It is thus that the Imperial mouth itself speaks; and is it possible that the holy Emperor can be wrong?"

The second Mandarin style is called the “true pronunciation, and is the language of universal circulation. It is, properly speaking, that of Nanking city. It serves as a medium of communication to all educated people in China, as French does in Europe ; so that any young man who might wish to travel, whether for the purposes of business or of pleasure, or would enter a public office, or who would even set up a shop in a large city, must learn to speak the Mandarin fluently.” Æsop in Mandarin may therefore be of the greatest service to any Englishman who may expect to have intercourse with the people of China, or who may be ambitious to obtain some knowledge of a language spoken throughout the Celestial Empire. From

From “ a slender knowledge” of the Mandarin, Mr. Thom says, that during a residence of five years at Canton he had had intercourse with people from every province of China, excepting one on the borders of Thibet. Before quitting the subject of styles, we quote a remark that is clear and explanatory :

" It has been frequently observed, that, the Chinese write very differently from what they speak.' So much is this the case, that supposing a Peking man, a Nanking man, and a Canton man to be all arguing or quarrelling in their respective dialects, and supposing a fourth party were thus abruptly to address them,“ hold there my friends! let each individual

of you write down the last sentence he spoke, exactly as he uttered it!' the great probability is, that not one of them could comply! They would all be able enough to give the substance of what they had been saying in the written language, but to write the language exactly as it was spoken, is entirely a different thing ;- it is a study in which few engage, and in which still fewer excel. Of the three imaginary persons above the Nanking man would find least difficulty-his language being much more polished and cultivated than that of either of the others. Mun Mooy the writer of these Fablesout of a very numerous range of acquaintance—is the only native we have met, who can write fluently in the vulgar Canton idiom; and yet when we first became acquainted (some 4 years ago), he was as backward as his neighbours at this sort of exercise,-and it was only thro' repeated urging on our part, that we could induce him to go on with it. But altho' more proficient in writing Canton than most others, he yet finds it easier to write in the Nanking dialect than in his own. The reason is given above,-it is a much more polished idiom, and Mun Mooy has perhaps read a hundred books in Nanking, for one that he has read in Canton. Our fellow-countrymen from the Lowlands of Scotland will easily enough understand us, when a case nearly parallel is brought home to themselves.

We find no difficulty in understanding Lowland Scotch when spoken to us,-yet when a volume of Scotch poems is put into our hands, we find them infinitely more difficult to read than English ones ;—and on the other hand, while it costs us no effort whatever to write an English letter,—were we told to compose a letter in broad Scotch, (unless we had been for some time before giving our attention to the subject), we should find the task quite insuperable.” Several

pages of Mr. Thom's primitive looking folio are devoted to a consideration of the “Euphonic Particles used in Chinese Composition,” which, in one respect, are the equivalent of our comma, colon, &c. But they serve other purposes than those of points with us, regulating not only the voice as the eye is guided by them, but sometimes forming perfect parts of speech, or at other times being thrown in to fill up a sentence, or to round a period. “ With the Chinese, the using of these euphonic particles is a matter of immense importance. Their finer writings swarm with them ad nauseam, at least so it would appear to a foreigner : the Chinese, on the other hand, seem to think the more of these that can be introduced, the higher is the style of writing, provided always that they offend neither the eye nor the ear. This is a great secret in the art of Chinese composition.” They have a proverb that he who can properly distinguish and apply the seven particles is truly a Bachelor of Arts.

By this time, we think, our readers will be of opinion that the Chinese language is not easily to be acquired. Seeing, however, that Mr. Thom and others have mastered many of its anomalies, does not the necessity of instituting means of teaching it, with every possible facility, become the more apparent and pressing ? But we have not yet done with the difficulties. Every country in

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