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life in England, after the reversal of his attainder. He insisted on being a farmer; and to prove himself so, hired a painter to fill the walls of his parlour with rude pictures of the implements of husbandry. The poet describes him between two haycocks, watching the clouds with all the apparent anxiety of a husbandman; but to us it seems, that his mind was at that time no more in the skies than when he quoted Anaxagoras, and declared heaven to be the wise man's home. His heart clung to earth, and to earthly strife ; and his uneasiness must at last have become deplorably wretched, since he could consent to pick up stale arguments against Christianity, and leave a piece of patchwork, made up of the shreds of other men's scepticism, as his especial legacy to posterity, in proof of the masterly independence of his mind.
Thus we have endeavoured to explain the nature of that apathy which is worse than positive pain, and which impels to greater madness than the fiercest passions,—which kings and sages have not been able to resist, nor wealth nor pleasures to subdue. We have described ennui as a power for evil rather than for good ; and we infer, that it was an absurd philosophy which classed it among the causes of human superiority, and the means of human improvement. It is the curse pronounced upon voluptuous indolence and on excessive passion ; on those who decline active exertion, and thus throw away the privileges of existence; and on those who live a feverish life, in the constant frenzy of stimulated desires. There is but one cure for it: and that is found in moderation; the exercise of the human faculties in their natural and healthful state; the quiet performance of duty, in meek submission to the controlling Providence, which has set bounds to our achievements in setting limits to our power. Briefly: our ability is limited by Heaven-our desires are unlimited, except by ourselves—ennui can be avoided only by conforming the passions of the human breast to the conditions of human existence.
In pursuing this investigation, which we now bring to a close, we have not attempted to exhaust the subject; we refer it rather to the calm meditations of others, who will find materials enough within themselves. And lest the impatient should throw aside our essay with the disgust of satiety, or the persevering should by our prolixity be vexed with the very spirit which we would rather teach them to exorcise, we here take a respectful leave, with our sincerest wishes, that life may be to the reader a succession of pleasant emotions, and death a resting place neither coveted nor feared.
ART. III.- Travels in Kamtchatka and Siberia; with a Nar
rative of a Residence in China. By Peter DOBELL. 2 vols. 12mo. 1830.
MR. DOBELL, the author of these volumes, is an American gentleman, who formerly resided in the city of Philadelphia, where he was known as an enterprising and intelligent merchant. Commercial business led him to make several voyages, beyond the Cape of Good Hope; and circumstances at length induced him to prolong his residence in Asia. He established himself at Canton, where he lived for some years, and undertook, from time to time, trading expeditions to various ports on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. In the course of these, frequent opportunities were afforded of noticing the manners, country, and state of society in China, superior to such as occur to ordinary travellers; and much too of the remote people of Eastern Russia, who are very little known to those inhabiting the civilized portions of the world. These voyages were succeeded by more than one journey across the country to St. Petersburg, in which he observed, with an attentive eye and inquisitive disposition, the extensive regions forming the penetralia of that vast empire. His intelligence and exertions were noticed and rewarded by the confidence of the government, who conferred on him the office of Consul at some Eastern port, and he was subsequently raised to the post of “Counsellor of the court” of his Imperial Majesty, a rank which he still retains, having probably relinquished the intention of returning to his own country.
The account of China, which, in the natural order, would form the first portion of his narrative, is comprised in a sort of supplement to the travels in Siberia, and contains in a more compendious form, a good sketch of the manners and state of society in that singular country. The means of observation, and of obtaining information, are indeed greatly diminished, by the well known jealousy of the Chinese towards strangers, and the extreme vanity and exaggeration with which they speak of themselves and their country; but the pursuits of Mr. Dobell, together with the recurrence of the opportunities by which he profited, give to his account a considerable degree of novelty, and certainly entitle it to more than ordinary confidence.
On his first arrival at Canton, he was struck with the new and interesting scene that presented itself. Islands, hills, canals, and rivers, were scattered around. The verdure was lively, the population excessive, the vegetation and general appearance of the country totally different from those he had elsewhere beheld, and the waters glittered with innumerable fleets of boats of various sizes and descriptions. The boatmen and pilots address
ed him in a language which he afterwards found to prevail extensively at Canton, and which was called English ; it is, in truth, a bad dialect of that language, the composition and pronunciation of which are so curious and difficult, that a residence of a year or two is necessary for its acquisition. None of the Chinese, rich or poor, understand those who speak plain English. The first intercourse of a foreigner with the natives, displays that imposition and venality which are more strongly exhibited, during every month of his residence among them. He is at once surrounded by persons, called compradors, who offer their assistance in supplying him with provisions of every description; they serve him without wages, although they are obliged to pay the Mandarins for the privilege of affording their generous aid to strangers; the consequence is, they take especial care to remunerate themselves handsomely at the expense of those to whom they extend their kindness. Besides this, as they bribe the custom-house officers, they are able to offer many facilities, and to carry on an extensive contraband commerce. Those officers are sent to a vessel immediately on her arrival, and their boats, called hoppoo-boats are constantly attached to her stern while she remains in port; their consciences, however, are easily satisfied by the liberality of the comprador, and they pass their time in smoking, sleeping, and playing at cards ; indeed, if any extraordinary smuggling is desired to be accomplished, they protect the offender against the officious interference of other officers : they keep shops on board of their boats, where they exercise their expertness in cheating, and, as every thing is sold by weight, it is necessary to weigh for yourself what you buy, to avoid the tricks which they always endeavour to play.
Undoubtedly, the venality of the Chinese has been increased by the introduction of commerce from beyond the Cape of Good Hope ; but there is no doubt also, that its existence is of very old date, and that it is owing to the nature and conduct of the government, more than to the character of the people. There are so many prohibitions and enormous duties to tempt their prevailing passion, avarice, that vast numbers engage in the contraband trade, as being the most profitable ; moderate duties, and freedom of importation, would destroy the temptation, and render smuggling dangerous and unprofitable; at present it has become an organized system of plunder, protected by the Mandarins themselves.
“The opium trade," says Mr. Dobell, “ with the exception of ten chests of that pernicious drug, that are allowed to be imported into Macao, for medicinal purposes, is entirely conducted by smugglers." In defiance of an annual edict from the Emperor, making it death to smuggle opium, the enormous quantity of nearly four thousand chests is imported every year to Macao and Whampoa ; the greater part, however, goes to the former place. When I inform my readers
that each chest weighs a pecul, that is to say, 1334 English pounds, and that it sells for twelve to fifteen hundred, and sometimes two thousand Spanish dollars a chest, they may form some judgment of the value and extent of smuggling in China. It is a business that all the inferior Mandarins, and some of the higher ones, their protectors, are engaged in; so that opium is carried through the streets of Macao, in the most bare-faced manner, in the open day: The opium dealers at Whampoa, formerly took it away by night, but latterly I have seen them go to the ship, with the linguist of the Whampoa custom-house officer, and take it out in the day time. Sixty Spanish dollars is the bribe paid for each chest of opium sold at Macao ; and if it goes to Canton, it pays sixty more on its arrival there. Large boats armed, and having from thirty to forty men, called opium boats, ply between Macao and Canton, when that market offers an advantage in price. These boats carry this drug, and are sanctioned by the custom-house officers, who, of course, receive for this business likewise, a good bribe.”
The only attempts made to suppress this practice, are on the initiation into office of new foo-yunes, or governors, who have not yet perfectly learned the established usages, or who have not been propitiated by the necessary gratuities. In these cases, a terrible revolution occurs in the peaceful and quiet frauds of the smugglers; their shops are broken up, their property confiscated and all the terrors of the law invoked
the persons of such, who indeed are few, as have not alertness and foresight enough to keep out of the way. This excess of virtue does not endure long however; and the liberal generosity of the traders generally contrives, in a month, to overcome the scruples of the most resolute.
“ During my residence, however,” says Mr. Dobell, “a foo-yune arrived, who proved incorruptible, and he almost destroyed the smugglers, as well as the profits of his colleagues; which latter, becoming tired of his persecutions, united together, and by their intrigues had him advanced to a much higher station. Being a man of talent, he got another step again in a short time, and at length came back to Canton as Tsan-tuk or viceroy. The opium dealers and smugglers were greatly alarmed, shut up their shops, and secreted themselves for some time. It appeared their fears were groundless. This artful man, who formerly persecuted them from political motives, to insure his advancement, was now as mild and propitious as possible. Having arrived at an elevated station, with the certainty of rising still higher, he sought to enrich himself, in order to be more sure of gratifying his ambition. Accordingly, he proved kind to his colleagues, and polite to Europeans; and by his affability of deportment, contrived to amass the largest fortune that ever fell to the share of a viceroy of Canton. He was afterwards made a member of the emperor's council at Pekin.”
The robbery of the government, if conducted with sufficient skill and boldness, seems to be as successful as smuggling-indeed, it is a maxim with those in power, never to risk a defeat, and that it is best to accomplish their ends, by a crafty and cautious delay until a favourable moment for executing them arrives. The salt trade is one of the most lucrative, important, and extensive, and is conducted entirely under special licenses from Mandarins, appointed by the crown. Some years since, the pirates on the coast intercepted the salt-junks, and compelled the monopolists to negotiate with them, and pay a certain
sum for the safe
of every vessel. After a while, this intercourse led to a regular trade, by which the captains of the salt-junks supplied the pirates with arms and ammunition, and the government discovering it, an entire stop was put to the salt trade. The pirates, however, were not to be so easily frightened or defeated; their admiral, Apo-Tsy, forthwith commenced an offensive warfare ; assembled an immense fleet of junks and a force of upwards of twenty thousand men, invaded the country near Macao, cut all the ripe rice, and carried it off, as well as a great number of women, whom he presented to his followers. În vain did the viceroy attack the piratical fleet,
he was defeated in every engagement, and the affair was only terminated by making Apo-Tsy governor of the province of Fokien, and pardoning all his followers! Matters however did not stop here; in some of his battles, Apo-Tsy had taken prisoner an admiral nearly related to the heir to the crown, and cut off his head; as soon as the relative ascended the throne, he despatched a polite message to the governor of Fokien, to say, that the laws of the empire required blood for blood, and that his excellency's head was therefore required instead of the admiral's. There was no excuse to be made, and the twenty thousand pirates were no longer at hand, so that Apo-Tsy's head was conveyed to Pekin.
This salt trade is very extensive; no less than twenty thousand tons of shipping being occupied in it alone. Indeed the great commerce of the Chinese appears to be that carried on by their own junks to the Indo-Chinese islands. One of these vessels will carry a cargo of from three to five thousand dollars value, in earthenware, silks, nankeens, ironmongery, tea, and other productions and manufactures of the Chinese. They have settlements on all these islands, and are certainly invaluable colonists, as they have sufficiently proved wherever they are established. They work the mines, plant cotton, make indigo and sugar, and acquire large fortunes among the slothful and careless Malays. Though they intermarry with these people, they never adopt their habits or religion, but remain, as well as their descendants, a distinct race; and wherever found, their settlements present a complete miniature picture of China. It is indeed a gross error to consider China a country wholly agricultural and manufacturing; on the contrary, the Chinese are one of the most commercial nations of the globe. It is true, they affect themselves to hold the trade which they carry on with distant nations, as comparatively unimportant, and assert that with the contiguous islands to be infinitely more lucrative; yet this is to be ascribed to their habit of decrying other countries; and it is not to be doubted that the revenue derived from the commerce they thus contemn, is very great. The importations into Canton from England, America, Holland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Manilla, and India, in Eu