Some Gleanings of Manners and Customs of the Chinese People as revealed in Historical Narratives and Novels. พิมพ์
เขียนโดย Phya Indra Montri ( F. H. Giles ).   

 

INDRA MONTRI, PHYA (F.H. GILES). SOME GLEANINGS OF MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE AS REVEALED IN HISTONICAL NARRATIVES AND NOVELS. JSS. VOL.20 (pt.3) 1926. p.187-239.

 

 

                                                          ( 187 )

 

                      Some Gleanings of Manners and Customs of the
                            Chinese People as revealed in Historical
                                              Narratives and Novels.

                                                               By

                                      Phya Indra Montri ( F. H. Giles ).

                                     -------------------------------------------

 

            The  writer  of  this  paper  lays  no  claim  to an  intimate  know-
ledge of China and its people,—their customs,manners and language.
True, it  is,  that  he  has  visited   Korea   and  Manchuria, as  well   as
Peking,  Nanking   and   some   other   large   cities   of China. It   may,
therefore, be  considered an  impertinence  to write about a subject of
which  one  is  confessedly  ignorant, but  when it  is remembered that
one writes  with  the  pen  of  a  recorder, not  an  author, it  is  felt  that
forgiveness  will  be  forthcoming  for an y offences committed against
the tenets of sinology. The  notes  on customs and manners  recorded
here   are  gleaned  from  historical  narratives  and  novels. The writer
has been fascinated by some of the noble characteristics of this great
people, such  as   their  unwavering  loyalty  to  ideals, their  reverence
for their forebears, the nobility  of  the  men  and  virtue  of  the women.
On  the  other   hand   he   is  repelled   by  certain  traits, such  as,  the
fostering  of  the  desire  for  revenge, and  the  callous  outlook  on life
which    seem    to    be   inherent   qualities   of   the   Chinese  people.

The   Chinese   novel   is  a   lengthy  document  and  may  be  divided
into  three  classes, the purely  historical, the  semi-historical   and  the
domestic. The  two latter  are  the  most  interesting  from the  point  of
view of manners and customs.The  periods  dealt  with  in   the  novels
which  the  writer  has  read  are those  of  the  Kin, or  Chin, the  Tang,
the  Sung  and  the  Ming  dynasties.  These   dynasties   ruled   China
from the year A.D. 245 to  the  year  A.D. 1644. It  is  well  known   that
after the disappearance of the Han dynasty,the empire was broken up
into three states and it is probable that most Europeans in Siam  have
heard of the " Sam Kok," an historical work dealing  with  the  pisodes
of   the   time.  The  work   can   be  found   in  most   Siamese   homes
and is a source of  intellectual pleasure  to  most Siamese, into  which

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  ( 188 )

 

language it has been translated. These   three   states  were  merged
into   two  somewhere  about  A. D.  265, and  from  that  date  on, the
Yangtse river was the  dividing  line  between  northern  and  southern
China, the   northern   empire  being  ruled  over  by  the  Kin, or  Chin
dynasty, and the southern empire by  the  Sung  dynasty, followed  by
the Ming.

            This period was a golden era of  literature and  art, but   in   my
wanderings   through   Chinese   noveldom   I    find   no   reference  to
anything of an artistic nature. None  the  less  it   is  clear  that   culture
held a high place in  the  esteem  of  the   people. That   such  matters
are not mentioned is therefore somewhat curious,as the Chinese had
developed   a   high  degree  of   art   and   craftsmanship  in  painting,
ceramics, sericulture and silk weaving, bronze  and   brass  work,  etc.
A   people  who  were  capable  of  obtaining  spiritual  pleasure  from
looking at waterfalls must  have  developed  an  understanding  of  the
spirituality of  art. A waterfall  to  them, and  in  fact   to  most   Asiatics,
is not merely  a  mass  of  water  falling   over  rocks, but   is  symbolic
of  everlasting  life  and  its  infinite  manifestations. The   water  falling
appears  to  be  without  beginning  and  without  end, expressing  the
eternal   nature  of   things. The  movement, the   rushing, the  placidity,
the    form, the  colour, the  scintillations, the   roaring, the   murmuring,
the babbling sounds, all represent those manifestations.

            The novels are divided into  a  series  of  pictures, or  tableaux,
each  one  a  complete  picture  in itself, which  when  joined  together
present a panorama of  the  episodes  portrayed. Human actions  are
the   main   themes  described;  the  figures  and  actors stand  out  in
strong   relief   and   are,  evidently,  drawn   by   the   pencils  of those
conversant with  the  modes  and  manners of  life  of  those depicted.
The literati of China were men  mostly  holding  official  positions and
had   every   opportunity   of   studying  the  court  life, as  well as  that
of  officials  and   people. It  must  be  remembered  that  in  the  East,
although on ceremonial occasions an abyss divides those having rank
from  the  people, it  is  somewhat  difficult   to  find   the  dividing   line.
The noble and the retainer  live  together  in  a daily  contact  of  under-
standing and sympathy  unknown  in  most  western  countries   where
the  class  line  is  very  definite. It  is  for  this  reason that the Oriental

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   ( 189 )

 

author is  able  to  describe  the  motives  and  actions  of   his  actors
with such complete confidence and accuracy;it is because  he  knows
them all personally. In the Chinese  novel  there  is  a   complete   lack
of that framework of  scenery,  sunset, moon  effects   and   such   like
which is such a prominent feature of western novels.

            During the early reigns of the present dynasty  many  Chinese
historical   narratives   were   translated  into  Siamese   under Royal
Patronage. These translations  are  remarkably  good, and  many  of
them   were  printed  at  Dr. Bradley's  Press. Following   this  period
came one of quiescence; no new translations were forthcoming until
some eight years ago when the Siamese  newspapers  took  up  the
translating of Chinese stories  for  the  reading   of  their subscribers.
The effort has been a  successful  one; the  people  buy   the  papers
more for the Chinese stories  than  the  news, and   every  household
eagerly   awaits   the   next   instalment  of  the  story. About   sixty  of
these narratives have been published in the  last  eight   years  which
period may be deemed to be the renaissance of the Chinese story in
a Siamese garb. These translations, although not scholarly, are quite
good.

                                           THE EMPEROR.

           The title of the "Son  of  Heaven" as  applied  to the Emperors
of China has  been  the  subject  of much  misunderstanding, and  in
many cases ridicule, amongst Europeans.The narratives and novels
which   I   have   read   provide   the  clue. The  authors are  mostly in-
tellectuals and from their training and education  are  deeply  imbued
with the philosophical science of   metaphysics,  which   was studied
and understood  in  China thousands of  years  ago. The  Holy   rinity
is the principle  on  which the position of  the  Emperor  is immutably
fixed.  Heaven   is  not   a  territory, but  the  Primal  Cause, or Divine
Mind, the source of all good. The  Son  of  Heaven  is  the  idea  evol-
ved in this  Mind  and  is  known  in  this  aspect  as  Tien-ti; and   the
Emperor  is   the   morphous   manifestation   of    this   idea, and   is
known   amongst   the   Chinese  as   Hong-te, the   great   ruler.  The
Emperor is known as  Tien-ti, but   seen   as  Hong-te. The  Emperor
was, therefore,the vicegerent of God and  was  not absolute; he  was
only absolute in good, he was not  absolute  in  wrong. The  Emperor

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  ( 190 )

 

in his  divine  position  could  only do good  to  his  people, and  their
welfare was his one  thought. When  the  Emperor  descended  from
the throne of his high estate and acted  evilly, he  was  no longer  the
Son of Heaven and, therefore, made himself the target  for the d arts
of enmity and revenge, and thereby brought  disaster  on his  people
and   destruction   on   himself. The  sages, Confucius  and  Mencius,
who were  essentially  constructive  statesmen, recognised  that   the
Emperor was appointed as the  agent  of  Heaven  to  rule and, there-
fore, a  state  to  be  ruled  had  to  be  formed ; the  people  were the
state. The  sages  were  synthetic  builders. They  raised  the  edifice
of  government  from  the  foundation ; the  people  were  that  founda-
tion. The   people   were  the  first, to  be  followed  by  the  gods, who
were   those   mortals   who   had    attained    immortality    owing   to
their   emancipation   from   the   bonds   of  ignorance,and  lastly,  by
the   Emperor,  who   was   their   protector   in   his   status   as   Son
of   Heaven.  In   this,  we   have   the  idea   of    the  Triune     in    the
descending, as well as the ascending scale, the Emperor  being  the
centre. In  order  that   the  Emperor  should  conform    to   the   princi-
ples on which his high office was based,he was continually reminded
of the rules of conduct as expressed by the Emperors Yau and  Shun
who were deemed to be the  perfect  models, or, norms.The  intense
loyalty, reverence and adoration paid to the Emperor  are  due to the
causes explained above; in fact, the worship of the Emperor was the
religion of China. The  teaching  of  Lao-tzu, Confucius, Mencius and
Buddha only helped to accentuate this feeling,as the ethical teaching
of these  sages   was : ' revere  good, abhor  evil; The  divinity of  the
Emperor, which had taken such a strong  hold  on  the  minds  of  the
people, was strengthened  by the ceremonial  rites  and  propitiatory
sacrifice made annually on the  Altar  of  Heaven,on which  occasion
he was the supplicant at the feet of  his Father, begging  forgiveness
for any transgression and praying that  he might  be purified  in order
that the blessings  of  good  might  be with  his  people. This  idea is
somewhat analogous  to  the ceremony  of  lustration  performed  by
Siamese and Mohns on the occasion of the  national  new  year. The
Emperor's position as Son of Heaven necessitated  the  building  up
round him a rampart of ceremonial etiquette.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 191 )

 

            In   spiritual   matters   the   Emperor   did  not   fall   within  the
jurisdiction of  the  Prince  of  Destiny  like  ordinary  mortals, as  was
quite  natural. He  being   the   Son  of   Heaven  came  within  the  jur-
isdiction  of  his  Father, the  Prince  of  Heaven. The decisions of the
Emperor  were  irrevocable;  being  considered  to  be  the  words of
Heaven, they   could  not   be   retracted. Illustration  of   the   difficulty
of  the  position  of  the  Emperor  when  he  has  hastily  or  in  anger
given orders are numerous; it  was  only  by  strategy on  the  part  of
other persons  that  he  could  be  extricated. On   one   occasion, an
Emperor  had  ordained  the execution of a high officer of state on  a
false charge. When the Emperor  realised  his  mistake,it could  only
be rectified on the representations of one of his advisers,the difficulty
being got over by using the occasion of  the amnesty usually granted
to   prisoners  on   the  occasion  of   the  Emperor's  accession. The
Emperor  could   not   change  the  laws  of  the  country, these  were
permanent. When an officer of state committed  an  offence, the  law
automatically acted, the  Emperor  could  not  intervene  on  his  own
initiative. Outside   pressure   in   the   form  of   supplication   in   the
interests of justice had to be made, and  in  many  cases  led  to  the
death of the supplicant as having acted against the law.

            Instances  of  the  issue  of  Imperial Rescripts apologising to
the officials and people for improper acts and promising reformation
are frequent. The peculiarity of  these  acts  is  explained  when  it  is
understood that the Emperor realised that his acts as  Hong-te were
not in conformity with his position as the Son of Heaven.

            I  cannot  find  any references to the performance of  religious
ceremonies by the Emperor, or  even  his  taking  part  in  such. This
is,  probably,  due   to   his   being   the   embodiment  of   good. The
activities of good being the base of all religion, he was the one to be
worshipped, not to worship.

            Insurrections by the people are somewhat frequent, but  these
are mostly directed against particular officers of state or a party, and
not   against   the   Emperor.  High  officials, who  have  abused  their
position   or   who   have   improperly   counselled  the  Emperor  and
induced him to promulgate unjust edicts, are  the  objective  of  these
risings, and   when  their  purpose  had  been  gained, the people, or

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 192 )

 

rather,  their   leaders, presenting   themselves   before   the Emperor,
admit   their   fault, and  that  the  punishments  of  death  is   their due.
But   they   crave   the   Imperial   pardon, which   is   granted  and  the
leaders  are  given, or  re-instated  in,the  official  positions  they have
held   before. The   Emperor   thanks   these   men   for having  saved
him  from  continuing  in  the  path  of  error, and passes  judgment  in
the case of the offending officers.

           The Emperors who have  sat  on  the  throne  have   not  always
been   Chinese. Foreigners   such   as   the   Tartars, Mongolians and
Manchus usurped the reins of government and  ruled  the  country, but
these aliens invariably conformed  to  Chinese  etiquette so  that  it  is
practically impossible to distinguish between a national  and  an alien
Emperor. On the accession of an Emperor, an amnesty  was granted
to   all   prisoners   under  sentence  by  reducing  the  punishment; for
instance,officials under sentence of death would be exiled to a distant
province. A remission of revenue was  granted  to  the  people  from 1
to 3  years  and  it  is,  therefore, difficult  to  say  where  the  funds  for
carrying on the business of the state, as well as to  provide  the  sums
necessary for the expenditure  of  the  palace  came  from, unless  the
Imperial rescript applied only to  certain  classes  of  taxation  such as
the land  tax. Furthermore, all  officials  were  promoted  three  grades
in rank,except those holding the  highest  positions  for  whom   further
advancement   was   impossible. The   palace  and   city  would  be  ill-
uminated and the officers of state would each present a poem framed
in   congratulatory   language  extolling  the  Emperor's  virtues,   these
addresses containing a design symbolical of  the  official's   birth  year
and rank. The Emperor who was versed  in  poetry  would  select   the
best and  reward  the  authors. This  custom  exists  in   Siam  and   is,
probably, an adaptation from the Chinese.

            I  can  find  few  traces of  the  Emperor  or the  Imperial  prince
having been educated in the military  science, or  trained   in  arms  or
war-like   exercises. They   were   educated   in    the   polite  arts. The
Imperial house had to depend on  its military  leaders  for  its  defence
and   preservation.  Although   the   Emperor  did  on  occassion   take
the  field  and  lead  his  armies  and  sometimes  take  a  part   in  the
actual fighting, this was only done after grave remonstrances

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   ( 193 )

 

on  the  part  of   his   highest   councillors.  It    was   deemed   impro-
per   for   the  Son  of  Heaven  to  demean  himself  by  fighting   with
ordinary  mortals. The  Emperor   delegated   his   power   in  military
matters   by  giving  the  Sword  of  Authority   to  the  commander  in
chief of the army  when  war-like  operations  had  to  be  carried  out.
This sword conferred on  its  holders  the  powers  of  life   and  death
and, also, the title of Bwan-tse  which  was  a  title  pertaining   to  the
Emperor. In civil matters he  delivered  to  his  delegate  a  Flag  with
the  Imperial  initials  which  conferred  on  the  possessor all powers,
except that of death, over officials ; and  in  affairs  of  the  palace  he
similiarly used a  flag  as  a  symbol  of  delegation  of  power. A jade
seal in the case of absolutely trusted officers was  sometimes   given
to hold permanently as a symbol of this power.

            The  Emperor  was  prohibited  from  taking  any  widow,  mar-
ried woman, or, affianced maid to wife.

            The Emperor would seem to live entirely  within   the  walls  of
the palace. Imperial progresses through the country  were  occasion-
ally  undertaken, but  then  only  with  some  specific  object   in  view.

 The   Emperor  did  not  ride, but  travelled  in  a  carriage. I can find
only  one  instance  of  an Emperor having bestowed the high honour
of a personal visit on an officer of state.

            Although    it   would   appear  that   the   edicts, rescripts  and
letters of the Emperor were sacred and could  not  be opened before
the performance of  ceremonial  rites,  yet   frequent   references are
made   to  high  officers   of  state  having  forged   the  Imperial  sign
manual  in  order  to   attain  the  consummation   of   some   unlawful
design. The Imperial  seal was made  of  the most  perfect  jade  and
no reference is made to the Emperor using vermilion as a sign of the
Imperial   prerogative; this   may  have  been   introduced  during  the
Manchu period.

            It  was  not  opposed  to  custom for the Emperor to  abdicate
in favour of his son  or  some  other  successor;  but  this  could  only
be done with the assent of the high officers of state.

            The Emperor held daily audiences, which  were  attended  by
all officials in the  capital, high  and  low. It  was  a  familiar  scene  to
the people to see the sedan chairs wending their way  in direction of
the palace about daybreak,as the Emperors mostly gave audience in

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 194 )

 

the    early  morning. On   arrival   at    the   audience   hall,  the   officials
would  take   their  prescribed  positions  according to  rank, and  await
the appearance of the Emperor whose coming would be announced by
the   ringing   of   a   bell. The  Emperor  on  entering  the  audience  hall
was  supported   by  two  eunuchs, and  having  taken  his  seat  on   the
throne, the  platform  of  which  was  of  gold, the  officials  would   make
the  ceremonial   prostration  and  the  audience  was  opened. Officials
would   present   reports   on   provincial   and   other  affairs. This    was
done  by  the  official  leaving  his  place, moving  forward  to a  position
before   the   throne,  prostrating   himself, presenting   his   report,   and
then retiring to  his  place. In  some  cases  the  report  would  be  made
by   words  of  mouth. The  Emperor  would, as  frequently  as  not, read
the  reports  himself, and  turning  to  the  officials  in  attendance  would
invite   discussion; opinions   would   be   freely   given   and,  eventually,
the   Emperor, agreeing   with   the  views   of  the  majority, would  com-
mand   that   orders   be   issued. The   Emperor   would  bring   matters
concerning   his   domestic  life   for  discussion  before  the  Council  in
audience, including such affairs as the  selection  of  the  Empress, and,
sometimes his relations with her, when  he  desired  to put  her  on  one
side  or  punish  her. Acrimonious  disputation  occasionally  took place
between   the   two  parties  in  the  state  before  the  throne, and  when
carried   to   an  extreme  would   lead   to   punishment. The  life  of   an
official was an uncertain  one, for  at  any  moment  a   false  accusation
might be  brought  against  him. There  was  practically  no  inquiry,  little
defence was possible, and in many cases the accused officer would be
led to execution from the  audience  hall. Executioners  were  always  in
attendance. Cases   of  officials  being  sentenced  to  suffer  a  number
of stripes, and to be degraded  for  a  period  of  months or  years, after
which they were re-instated in  their  former  positions, were  somewhat
common.

            The  Emperors  whom  I  have had the honour, in company  with
my authors, of seeing in audience are  mostly  those  of  the Tang, Tsin,
Sung  and  Ming   dynasties   They   were   not   men   possessing   any
great   force   of   character, or   outstanding   ability. They   were  easily
moved   or   swayed   by   the   counsels   of   their  officers, very   rarely
expressing   an   opinion   of   their  own.  In   fact,  they   were   ordinary

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 195 )

 

mortals, and   far   distant  from  one's  conception  of  what  a   Son  of
Heaven   should   be.  In  many  cases, they  were  kindly, tolerant   and
very   human, but  the  immutability  of   the  law  prevented   them  from
giving expression  to  their  natural  feelings. I  have  met  one Emperor
who  had  a  grip  on  national  affairs  and  he  would  rarely  assent  or
dissent   with   the   views   of  his  councillors. He  was  bound   by  the
law, but  gained  his  ends  by  the  use  of subtle means and artifice in
the interests of justice.

              Apar t from  the  daily  audiences  when  ordinary   matters   of
state were discussed, it was possible to obtain a special audience by
the   sounding   of   a   gong  in  the  palace  court-yard.  The  Emperor
hearing the sound of the gong was bound by etiquette  immediately to
proceed to  the  audience  hall  whatever  he  might  be  doing; even if
asleep  he  was  awakened. This  method of obtaining  audience was
only resorted to in matters of great urgency.

             The  palace  was  a   town  in  itself, complete and replete with
all    the    requirements   of    those    living   within.  The     apartments
of    the    Emperor,  Empress,  First   Concubine   and   other    ladies
of    the   court   were   in   buildings   separated   one  from  the   other.
Both   male   and   female   servants   were   in   attendance  on    their
Imperial   masters. The   males   were  eunuchs  which    would   seem
to have  been  a  profession  in  China.Male  children  were  subjected
at   an  early  age  to  a  surgical  operation which  may  be  described
as   phallectomy, and    in    some    cases   they    were   emasculated.
These   eunuchs, having   grown   up, were   subject    to   examination
in   order   to   ascertain   whether   a  second  surgical  operation was
necessary. The   number   in   the  palace  was  very  great, exceeding
two  thousand. The  Emperor  and  the  ladies  of  the court  employed
them   in   their   apartments   and,  also,  on    business   outside    the
precincts   of   the   palace. Sometimes  an  eunuch  would  gain great
favour with his master or mistress,and in many cases exercised great
influence   in   affairs   of   state;  occasionally, even  attaining  princely
rank. In the  earlier  dynasties  the  eunuch  corps  was  recruited  from
men convicted of offences against women and who were punished by
having   to  undergo  the  operation  of  phallectomy.  However, as this
body  of  men  gained  influence  and  intrigued  against  the  Emperor

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       ( 196 )

 

and others, the  system  was  changed, and  young  children  who   had
been operated on were  brought  up  in  the  palace  with  the idea  that
they  would  develop  into  loya l and  faithful  servants  of  the I  mperial
house. This hope was not always realised.

            Ornamental  gardens  formed a part of the Imperial  pleasaunce
and   were  frequented  by  the  Emperor  and  the  ladies. Parties  and
picnics were held  in  these  gardens,  and,  occasionally the  Emperor
would   resort   thereto   for   the   purpose   of  making  supplication  to
Heaven   asking   for   direction   in   affairs  which  were  troubling  him.
Soldiers  guarded   the   entrance  to  the  palace. When  the  Emperor
invited an intimate official such  as  the  father  of  the  Empress, or  his
First Concubine, to the palace for the purpose  of  enjoying  a game of
chess  or  other  relaxation, their   servants   and   retainers   were   not
allowed to enter  the  palace  as  advantage  had  been  taken of these
invitations in earlier dynasties to smuggle in assassins.

            The Imperial house descended to the13th generation  before  it
was absorbed in  the  mass  of  the  ordinary  people  of  which  it  then
formed a part and did not enjoy any special prerogatives.The Emperor
would promote a  person  to  princely  rank,  conditioning  such  promo-
tion  by  the  rule  that  it  should  remain  in  being  to  the  fifth or some
other generation.

             A  Chinese   version  of   the  ills  arising  from   the   calling   of
"wolf"   without   cause   is    found   in   the  "Liad Kok",  or  Five  State
period, that is, before the many states  of  China  had  merged  into an
empire.  The  story  is  as   follows:  A   prince   had   the  good  fortune
to possess the most beautiful of women as a  wife, but  she  had  been
unknown   to   smile.  The   prince,  her  husband, felt  that  if   he  could
but  make  her  smile  he  would  obtain  a  vision  of  heaven. He  tried
by  every  means  in  his  power  but  failed, consulted  the wise men of
the state without success, nothing that could  be  done  could  produce
the  smile  desired. Having  exhausted   all    means,  the    prince    be-
thought himself of  a   way  to  obtain  his  desire; he  felt  that  perhaps
the manner in  which  human  beings  express  anger,  disappointment,
etc., might appeal to her. He, thereof, against  the  advice  of  his minis-
ters, took her to a chamber near  the  summit  of  the  Beacon Tower in
the palace and proceeded to set alight   the  fuel, the  flames rose high

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 197 )

 

and were seen by the sentries on the walls of the surrounding  cities.
The signal that the Royal city  was in  danger  was  carried   far  and
wide. Troops in their thousands  came  marching  to the  succour  of
the city, the country folk  came  pouring  in. When  these  masses  of
people, gathered in the streets, public squares and places, became
aware of the fact that they  had  been  tricked  by  an artifice of  their
prince   simply   to  cause  his  wife  to  laugh, they  expressed   their
feelings   in   a   variety  of  ways. Their  antics  were  so natural and
amazing that the beloved one at last smiled. The prince had gained
his    end,  but   at    the   cost  of  his  life. The  soldiers  and  people
finding that  they  had  been  summoned  without  cause returned  to
their   stations   and  homes. A  year  or  two  afterwards  the palace
was   attacked  by  a  marauding   chief, help  was  urgently needed,
the beacon fires were set alight but no response was made and the
prince   lost   his   life. The   beautiful   one  became  the  wife  of the
marauding chief for a short  time  only, for  he  was  driven out of the
city,and the most beautiful of women committed suicide,forestalling
death which would certainly  have  been  the  fate  meted  out to  her
by the relations of her husband, the prince.

 

                  THE EMPRESS AND LADIES OF THE PALACE.

 

            The  Empress, known  to   the   Chinese   as   Hong-how, was
usually the daughter of an  official, or  commoner. She  was selected
for her beauty, grace,virtue and  talent. She  was deemed  to  be  the
Mother of the People and,therefore,she had to be an embodiment of
the highest quality. The title Hong-how  was  in  the  earlier dynasties
held by the Emperor, probably, resulting from the Chinese  people in
their   earlier  history   having  emerged  from  a  state  of  matriarchy,
which fell into  disuse  on  the  introduction  of  marriage   after  which
lineage was traced from the male. The  Emperors, probably, did  not
realise  that  they  were   using  a   female   title, a  relic  of   the  past.
When they awoke to the fact, they changed the title  of   the  Emperor
from Hong-how to Hong-te, this being done on the  establishment  of
of the Tsin  dynasty  A. D. 265.  Before   the  Emperor  could  elevate
any lady to the rank  of  Empress, he  had  to  obtain   the   assent  of
the   dignitaries   of   state. The  Empress  took   no  part   directly  in

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 198 )

 

the affairs of state, but was able to exert some influence, as her father
or brother always held one of the highest positions in the empire.

            The  title  of  Sin  Hwi  was  held  by  a  lady   second   only   in
importance to the Empress. She held a position  between  that of the
Empress  and   First  Concubine. The  apartments  reserved   for  the
lady of this rank were, however, rarely occupied, as I have only  come
across one  instance  of  a  lady  holding  this  position  in  the palace,
and this was due to fortuitous circumstances rather than to obligatory
custom.

            The First Concubine, known to the Chinese, as Kwi Hwi,  was
a   very  important  personage. She  was  the  daughter  of  an official
or  of  the  people. She  was  selected  by  the  Emperor  from among
a   large   number  of   ladies, as  it  would  appear  to  have  been the
custom at one time for  the  Emperor  when  in  search  of  a  wife   for
himself, or the Imperial prince, to despatch  a   special commissioner
to a certain town or district  renowned  for  the  beauty  of   its  women,
where a large number would be collected and brought  to  the  palace
for inspection by the Emperor, or  his  son. Those  who  found   favour
in the Imperial eyes were retained  and  given  position  and  rank, the
remainder returning to their homes. Sometimes, however, an   official
would present his daughter or  niece  to  the  Emperor. No   reference
whatsoever is made in the stories I have read  to  the other  ladies  of
the   palace,  although, it   is   known   that  the  Emperor  could   have
according to custom as many as seventy concubines. It would,   there-
fore, appear that their position was very inferior.

           Intrigues between the Empress and First Concubine  were  of
frequent occurence, usually, originating from  the  latter  lady  attemp-
ting to oust the Empress, or, to secure the  succession  for   her  son.
These intrigues were the cause of  much  trouble, frequently, leading
to fighting, and sometimes  resulting  in  the  Emperor, the  Empress
and the First Concubine losing their lives.

            The  Emperor's  mother  held  the  dignity   of   Hong-thai-how
and owing to the respect which children had to pay to   their  parents,
this lady had great power over the Emperor,as he dared not disobey
her  injunctions.  She  did   not,  however, interfere  in    public  affairs
to any extent, reserving her authority for the  settlement   of   disputes

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 199 )

 

in the palace. The Empress for example would appeal to  her  if  her
Imperial Consort was displaying a tendency to fall under the  control
of a  lady  subordinate  to  her. These  ladies, although approaching
the Emperor with formal ceremonial, would not  seem  to  have  had
any great respect for him as the Son of Heaven, for, when he  acted
in a  manner  contrary  to  their  wishes  or  which  was  opposed   to
custom, they would scold, and even go to the length of abusing  him.
They showed  no  fear  of  him, although  he  had  the power to inflict
death, which he sometimes did.

            It can be well imagined that during  the  course  of  years, the
palace became overcrowded with women, the relics of  former  Em-
perors, maids   of   honour  and  servants. It  became  necessary  to
grant these women the privilege of returning  to their  homes,and  in
the case of those unmarried  the  right  to  marry.This  privilege was
generally  taken  advantage  of, which would  seem to imply that life
in the palace amongst this class was not very happy  and as  many
as one thousand five hundred at one time left the palace under  this
act of grace. In order to fill the vacancy  caused  by  this  exodus  of
serving maids,an Imperial commissioner would be deputed to go to
some  populous  city  and province  to commandeer young  women
between the ages of sixteen and nineteen.

 

                                             OFFICIALS.

 

            The civil service was  recruited  from  amongst   scholars   and
students who presented themselves for the competitive examinations,
which were  held  throughout  the  country  according  to   my   authors
every   third   year, but   according   to   some  authorities  every   year.
These   examinations  were   held  in  some  of  the  provincial   towns,
the   provincial   capital   town   and   the   metropolis. The   examiners
appointed for  the  provinces  were commissioners delegated  by  the
Board    of    Ancient   Custom,  but    those   sitting   in    the   Imperial
capital were selected by the Emperor  from  amongst  officers   of  six
departments of state, and  this  was  the  minimum   number   constitu-
ting  a   Board  of  Examiners. Students  were  selected  after  a   preli-
minary    examination,  and   enjoyed   certain   privileges. Thus    they
could not be prosecuted for a criminal  offence  in  an   ordinary  court

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 200 )

 

of law ; charges against them were  judged  by  the  Board  of Ancient
Custom;  and,  if    found    guilty,  they   could   not   be   punished   be-
fore  being  degraded  from  the  position  of  student. Great  care was
exercised in protecting these young men  from  the  evils  of  the world
in   order  that  they  might  be  pure  both  in  mind  and  body, as  they
were destined to  hold  high  office. The   examinations  in   the capital
city   were   attended  by  several  hundred  of  the  best  students,  the
three  prizes  to  be  gained  being  the  dignity  of  T'chaw-nguan,Tam-
hwe   and   Pa-ngan. After  the  completion  of  the  examination, those
who   had  attained  the  first  ten  places, had  to  present  themselves
before the  Emperor  for  the  final. The  Emperor  examined  them  for
their   skill   in   poetical   composition   and  prosody, as  well  as  their
knowledge   of  the  six  rules  of  conduct. The  first   three   successful
candidates were granted  the  dignity  mentioned  above and  the  Em-
peror would fix  a  golden  pin  in  the  form  of  a  flower  to  their head
dress as a symbol of their success.The Emperor also gave a banquet
in honour of these  ten  aspirants, and  would  with  his  Imperial   hand
give a cup of wine to those  three  who  had  successfully passed   the
examination. When the banquet was over, these three were  escorted
to  their  homes  each  riding  a  horse  from  the  Imperial  stable. It  is
stated  by  all  the  authors whose book  I have read, that  these   three
students were carried through the streets of the city  in  a   procession
formed of soldiers and officers, civil and military, and  that  they   were
required to make the  ceremonial  act  of  obeisance before  the  high
dignitaries of  state. The  Chinese s cholars  whom I   have  consulted
do not admit that any procession took place, but I  can  only   say  that
my authors are very consistent about this, and one can also see  it  at
any Chinese theatrical play which is  a  mirror  of  the  custom   of   the
country. The  student  who  received  the  title   of   T'chaw-nguan  was
appointed   governor   of  a  small  province  and  the  other  two  were
absorbed into the departments  of  state. Students  failing  to pass the
fourth standard, were not eligible for future examinations.

         As  much  respect  was  paid  to  those  holding  military rank as
those in  the  civil  service. It  was  an  honour  to  be  a  soldier, and it
seems as though  there  had  existed  in  China, prior  to  the  Manchu
period, a  military  caste. The  sons  and  daughters of military officers

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  ( 201 )

 

were trained in the use of arms  and  the  science  of  war. It   was  by
this means that the ranks of the officers  of  the  army  were  repleted.
During   the   Manchu   period   military   office  was  reserved  for the
Tartars,  probably, with  the  object  of  preventing  the  Chinese  from
rebelling, and as  a result  of  this  policy  the  Chinese  gradually  lost
their former skill in warfare  and  the  lot  of  a  soldier  became  to  be
regarded as one of degradation.

           Official   rank, both   civil  and  military, was  divided  into   num-
berless  grades. No  benefit   would  be  gained  by  my  enumerating
these  titles  and  offices. The  wives  of  officials  were  granted  rank
by   the   Emperor,  in   consonance   with    their    husbands'   dignity,
and   in   the   case  of  lower  officials  a  courtesy  title  was  used  in
addressing them.

            It was the custom during an audience  or  when  talking  to  the
great ladies of  the palace  for officials  to  hold  a  screen  in  front  of
their faces in order to  prevent  their  looking  on the  Imperial  person.
These   screens, the  Chinese  say, were  made  of  ivory  but  this  is,
probably,  not   true   as   ivory   was   difficult   to  obtain. They    were
slightly  curved  and  about  eighteen  inches  long  by  about  three  to
four inches broad. They  were  carried  by officials  and  were  placed
in   a   perpendicular   position   before    the   bent   head   during  the
ceremonial act of prostration.

            The country was governed from the  capital  in  so  far   as   the
governors and sub-governors were appointed by the  Emperor, but  it
would appear that the provinces possessed  a  great  degree  of auto-
nomy   or  self-government, especially, as  regards  taxation. I  cannot
find any traces  of  the  existence  of  ministries  and  departments  as
we understand them. There  were, undoubtedly, high  officers approxi-
mating to  a  minister  who  had  certain  portions   of   public affairs in
charge and, furthermore, it  seems  that  the  two  greatest  dignitaries
of   state  were  the  Emperor's  councillors  of  the  right and   left, one
being  of  civil  and  the   other   of   military   rank,  but  it  is difficult  to
understand the descending sequence of officialdom,as at an audience
all   those   present,  apparently, had   the   right   of  approaching   and
addressing  the  Throne. The   governors  were  invested  with   judicial
powers, but it was not uncommon for the Emperor  to  appoint   judicial

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   ( 202 )

 

commissioners to enquire into cases,as well as to appoint  Imperial
commissioners to travel throughout the provinces  to  ascertain   the
condition   of   the   people,  the  conduct  of  the  officials, the   state
of   crime   and,  also,  for  the   purpose  of   collecting   arrears    of
revenue,  and  in  times  of   famine  and  distress  to  distribute   the
Imperial   bounty   given   in   money  and  kind.  All    these   officers
when so deputed had great power which  they  frequently  used   for
their own benefit, but when their misconduct  came  to  the  ears   of
the Emperor their punishment was speedy and drastic.

            All officials were paid a certain sum of  money annually, and
it is related of  some  that  they  received  salaries, but   I doubt  the
truth  of   this.  Officers   who   had   rendered   notable  service,  on
retirement, retained the full amount of their emoluments as when in
active   service. No  official  could   retire   without    the  Emperor's
sanction.

            The officers of state were  divided  into   two  parties,namely,
the Tong-t'chin and the Kang-t'chin. These words have  the meaning
of honest and dishonest, but I am  inclined  to  think  that   they  were
really terms used to designate the two  parties  in  the  state ; it  was
not uncommon for one official to refer to another as belonging to this
or that party. Those forming the Honorable  Party  were  men  of  the
deepest loyalty to  the  Imperial  house  and  always  worked  for  the
best interests  of  their  country  and  people, holding  the  banner  of
justice   high, whereas  those  of  the  Dishonorable  Party,  although
loyal to the Imperial house, were   opportunists, holding  self-interest
before the welfare of  the  state. They  tried  to  mould   the  Emperor
in their views with the object of more easily furthering  their   designs
and occasionally , the head of this party having  drawn  all  power  in
his hands would depose  the  Emperor. His  success, however, was
generally  short  lived  as  the  people   did   not   love  usurpers. The
members of the Honorable Party who had to go  into  hiding  through-
out  the  country  would  collect  forces  and  lead  them  against   the
capital   for   the   purpose  of  re-instating  the  rightful  scion  of   the
Imperial house on the Throne. When this effort was  successful,   the
members  of  the  Kang-t'chin  Party  were tried for high treason and
they, their families and retainers were executed.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 203 )

 

            Many centuries ago, the system of issuing  patents  of  rank  to
office holders was  introduced  but  only  for  the  high  dignitaries. The
patent took the  form  of  an  iron  tablet  on  which  was  inscribed  the
name, rank,  services  and  virtues  of  the  grantee. I am told that  only
three such patents were issued.

            Posthumous honours were frequently conferred  on   men  and
women  who  had  performed  signal  acts of a service to the state, or,
who  had  given  their  lives  for  their  masters  or  preferred  death  to
dishonour. In some cases tablets describing  the  deeds were fixed to
the   house  previously  occupied  by  the  deceased, and  sometimes
shrines were built in their honour and placed in  charge of  a guardian
spirit. Such shrines may be met with all over China.

 

                                                  WOMEN.

 

            Children   in   China  are  brought  up  on  the  principle  of filial
duty, but   this  by  no  means  implies  that  they  were   the   slaves of
their   parents.  Confucius   laid   down   the   axiom    that    perfection
emanates from the  perfect  example, and  that  each  class  of  being
must  be  perfect  in  order  to  be  the  model  for  those  lower  in  the
scale. This demands  self-discipline  in  each. For  instance, the  ruler
must be the ruler ; the ruled must be  the  ruled ;  the  father   must   be
the father ; the son and daughter, the  son  and  daughter, and  so   on.
It   is   owing  to  the  acceptance  of  this  principle  by  the  people  of
China that the parent demands  filial  duty  and  the  children  demand
parental   duty,  there  is  no  over-lapping. Owing  to  the  acceptance
of this precept the daughters of a house are brought up and disposed
of   in   marriage   at   the  will  of  the  parent. They  are  protected    in
their girl-hood, being kept in the inner  apartments  of  the  house  and
only   mixing   with  their immediate  relations, and  it  is  perhaps    the
care given to her  up-bringing  that  makes  the  Chinese   woman,  the
noble and virtous woman she is. When she herself   is  a   mother, she
devotes  herself   to   her   children. The  women   of   China  occupy  a
strong  position   in   the  family, they  are  the   guide  of  their  children
and  the  companion  and  help  of  their  husbands, being consulted in
family   matters. After   marriage   they   appear   in   public   and   take
almost as prominent a part in every day affairs as the men.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 204 )

 

 

            The standard of beauty is a perfect piece of jade and the most
beautiful are compared with this stone. Jewellery  would  not seem  to
have been much worn by women. I have  not  met  any  references   to
ornaments made up of gems or precious stones except in the case of
a  daughter  of  a  barbarian  prince. She  wore a jewelled hair pin,but
she was not Chinese. Gold  and  silver  are  mentioned, but  the  main
ornaments worn by the people of all ranks were made of jade.

            In   ancient  times   the   women  of   China   were,   apparently,
veiled and this practice would seem to have fallen  into  disuse some
twelve   hundred years  ago. Although  a  woman  is  now  allowed  to
expose her face, she  must  not  expose  her  body, and  it  is  for this
reason that we find the national female dress possesses high collars,
voluminous sleeves, trousers covering the ankles and   bandages  on
the  feet. The  binding  of  the  feet  would  seem  to  have  come  into
fashion  about  the  year  589  during  the  reign  of the Usurper, Tang-
how-chu.  His  wife  was  the  most  beautiful   of   Women.  She   was
perfect in form but her husband wished to  make  her  more  beautiful
and   conceived   the   idea   of   binding  her  feet  in  wonderful  silks
adorned   with   the   golden   lotus   flowers; and  had  her  apartment
carpeted with the finest materials bearing  similar  designs. This was
the  origin  of   the   binding  of   the   feet, but  it  certainly  was  not  a
common   practice. There  is  ample  evidence  in  the  stories  I have
read that the crushing  of  the  feet  was  unknown  during  the  period
up to the 16th century, because it was a very common practice   prior
to that date for women  to  disguise  themselves  as men  and   travel
about  the  country  and, also, for  many  to  adopt  the  profession   of
arms, and take a  prominent  part  in  the  wars. In  one  story  only   is
mention made  of  a  woman  with  crippled  feet. I  am  told  by  those
conversant with Chinese customs,that the binding  of  the feet  as  we
know it, did not become a general practice  until  the  Manchu  period,
although Manchu  women  allowed  their  feet  to  retain  their   natural
form.

            The  prevalence  of  female  infanticide  in China has  become
a wide-spread belief amongst Western people, but  I  am  inclined  to
doubt   whether   there   is   any  foundation    for    this   belief.  In   my
reading, I have not met with a  single  reference  to  such   a   practice

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  ( 205 )

 

and as my authors  are  quite  outspoken  about  the  customs  of  their
country  there   seems   to  be  no  reason  for  believing  that  they  are
hiding   it.  On   the   contrary,  the   Chinese   are   very   fond   of  their
children  and, although   a   son   is  a   necessity   for  the  purpose  of
performing  the  ancestral  rites, a  daughter  is  usually  the  darling of
the  father's  heart. A  married  girl  has  no  connection  with  her  own
family as she is absorbed into the family of her husband and becomes
an  integral  part  of  it.  I  find  that the view expressed by me about the
falsity   of   the   charge   of   infanticide   is  upheld  by  Professor  H.A.
Giles, the great sinologist.

            As mentioned above, many instances are recorded of  women
disguising themselves as men in order  to  be  able  to  wander about
the   country   without   fear  of   molestation.  The   motives   impelling
women to do  this  varied. Sometimes  they left  the  parental  roof   in
order to escape from a father's  wrath  due  to  a  love  affair. In  other
cases the woman was fleeing from death commanded to be  inflicted
on her family ; frequently she went  to  search  for  a  beloved   relative
and, occasionally, in search of adventure. These disguises frequently
led  to  amusing  incidents,such  as  being  given  the  daughter of the
house, in which she was temporarily  residing, as  a  wife. When   this
happened the disguised woman would  either  find  some excuse  for
not consummating the marriage and  flee  from  the  house, or  would
in the secrecy of the nuptial chamber confess her sex and, as  a  rule,
the two women would make the blood bond  of  sistership and agree
to become when the time arrived the wives of the same husband.

            In  the  course  of   my   reading,  I   have   become   intimately
acquainted with thousands of Chinese families  in every  part of   the
empire from the Imperial house down to the  peasant, and a  remark-
able feature is the small number   of  children  in  each   family.Famil-
ies with five children were very uncommon, and on one occasion  an
ancient  dame  of  great  family  boasted  to  the  Emperor of  having
given ten children of both  sexes  to  the  state  of  whom   eight   had
been killed  in  the  Emperor's  service. If  there  is  any  truth   in   the
picture drawn  by  those  writing  the  stories  I  have  read   of  family
life, it  is  difficult  to  account  for the vast population of China  at  the
present time unless there has been an extraordinary increase   in  th

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 206 )

 

last  four or  five  hundred  years. The  Emperor's  family  was  invari-
ably small in number.

 

                                                     WAR.

 

            China was always  at  war  with  her  neighbours, the  Tartars,
the   Mongolians,  the  Turks  and  the Thibetans, and  in  the  earlier
dynasties,  prior  to  the  conquest  of  Yunnan, with  the   Yunnanese.
There  would   appear  to  have  been  very  short  periods  of peace.
These wars are  the  theme  on  which  my  authors  built  their  plots.
It is curious that no mention is made  of  the  Great  Wall, which was
commenced about 200 B.C. and continually  repaired and rebuilt till
as  late  as  the  16th  century.  The  names  of  certain fortresses or
fortified   cities   which  were  undoubtedly  connected  with or in the
vicinity of the Great Wall recur  again  and  again  in connection with
these wars. They  probably  protected  the  main  passes into China.
The  two   most   important  were  Shanhaikwan  and Samkwan,and
nearly   all   the  fighting  took  place  round  these  two  forts;several
other   fortresses   are  mentioned  but  it  is  difficult  to identify then.
Shanhaikwan lies east of Peking and is situated at the sea terminus
of  the  Great  Wall. This  place  was, recently, the scene  of  fighting
between Wu-Pei-Fu and T'chang-Tsao-Lin,and most of the invaders
of   China   have   entered   after   seizing   this   fort. The  fortress  of
Samkwan, I believe, protected China  in  the  west  from  the inroads
of   the   Mongolians   and   Turks, and   I,  therefore,  think   that   this
fortress was situated near the pass  which  gives  ingress  to  Kansu
known  as  the  Yenmun. This  fortress  must  have  been   practically
impregnable against ordinary attack and the place would only seem
to   have   fallen   to  treachery. China  from  its  earliest  days  would
seem to have possessed a standing army, for frequent reference  is
made to large bodies of troops quartered in the capital as well  as in
these   fortresses. As   many   as   200,000  men  were stationed   in
Samkwan, in war time. The Chinese army was composed of regular
troops, as well as  of  men  hastily  conscripted  in   the  country  side,
and as  many  as  700,000  men  have  taken  the  field  at  one  time.
The   brunt   of   the  fighting   fell   on    the   officers,  the   men   them-
selves   being   spectators   until   the   defeat    or    victory   of    their
leaders. If  defeated, the  army  would  flee  to  the  protection   of   its

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 207 )

 

fortified camp or fortress closely pursued by  the   troops  of   the vic-
torious    side.  In   these   retreats   which   always  became  a   rout,
thousands  of  men were slaughtered. The army, as such, would  not
fight  when   its  leader  had  been  killed; it  invariably  fled   from the
field  like  a driven  flock of  sheep. It  is  quite  clear  that  there were
established rules for  the formation  of   an   army, the  movement  of
troops, and   so   on. An  army  generally  marched   in  the  following
formation—a vanguard supported on each  flank  by large bodies of
troops, followed by  the  reserves  which were  generally  led  by  the
chief commander, and were composed of a large  number  of   men.
For   instance, a  vanguard  of   20,000, the  flanking  corps  each  of
20,000, and the reserves of 50,000  men. The  great  importance  of
the commissariat was fully recognised, and no army moved  without
its food transport. The movements of troops when  leaving  a   camp,
and in attacks on  fortified  places, were  regulated  by  the  firing  of
signal crackers. It thus seems that for many  centuries  prior   to   the
introduction of gun-powder into Europe the Chinese understood  the
manufacture of  this  explosive, but  no  reference  is  made   by   my
authors to the use of fire-arms down to as late a period as  the  16th
century. No clue is given as to how the common soldier  was armed,
but it is apparent  that  certain  bodies  of  troops  were  trained,and
that there were corps of crossbow men. The bow  was  used  in am-
buscades, and for repelling attacks  on  fortified  places. The heads
were sometimes poisoned. The officers were all trained in  the  use
of arms and were selected after competitive  combats  which  often
took  place  before  the  Emperor. The training of the scions  of  mili-
tary families was placed in hands of skilled fighters, and  they  were
trained from an early age ; a boy or girl of  the  age  of  sixteen  was
generally proficient  and  able  to  take  the  field. That  women took
a part in military operations is certain, for  all  my  authors  are  very
consistant on this point. Women were  so  highly  trained  that   they
were given the  command of  corps  and  fought  in   single  combat
against men. The chief officers  wore  armour  and  were   mounted.
The principal weapons used by them were the lance, the  iron   club,
and battle-axe. They were mostly  skilled  in  the  use  of   the  lance>
and it would seem that the iron club and battle-axe were  only  used

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 208 )

 

by men possessed of great  strength, and  they generally  overcame
their  adversaries. The  sword, of   which  there  was a  great  variety,
was used for cutting  off  the  fallen  soldier's  head,  although  I  have
read descriptions of fighting on  horse-back  with  swords, the fighter
sometimes holding a  sword  in  each  hand,but  this  required  great
skill.  All   such   fights   were   to   the   death. A   familiar  picture   of
armies operating in the  field is given  below. An army  would  march
to within some 10 li (3 miles) of  the  point  of  the  attack, and   camp
here, making   the   camp   a   fortified  one. From  this  position  they
despatched bodies of troops to advance to the place to be attacked
No fighting would seem to be possible before  one side had goaded
the other into action by the use of volleys  of  vituperation and  abuse.
The guards at the gate of a fortress  or city  would  send  and  inform
the commander that the enemy was at the gates, and his  men  were
making   the   usual   abusive  challenge. This  information  was  suffi-
cient for the commander to  make  retaliatory  dispositions; he would
either in person or  by  deputy  lead  a  body  of  men  to confront  the
enemy. The leaders on both sides would belittle  each  other's valour
and besmirch each other's family  and,  invariably,  before rushing to
the  attack  would  demand  each  other's  name. The  combat would
then commence and when  one  side  found  that  the  other excelled
him   in   the   use   of  arms, he  would  flee  followed  by  the  enemy
who   would    attempt   to,  and    generally    succeeded   in    taking
his    life.  But    more    frequently      they     would     fight      to     the
death   on   the  field.Chinese fighting  was  undoubtedly  performed
as a series of exercises,there being a  recognised  movement of de-
fence against one of attack and vice versa, and such fights between
men  equal  in  skill  might  last  the  whole  day. But  on  the slightest
sign  of  weakening,  or  on  opportunity being  given,advantage was
taken and the death blow  inflicted. The  main  bodies of troops com-
posed of common soldiers would sometimes engage in hand to hand
fighting   at   the   same   time  as  their  leaders  were  engaged.The
slaughter in such battles was great, numbers of  dead  amounting  to
forty or fifty thousand men  being  recorded.The  wounded  were  not
taken  care  of, but  were  left  to  their  fate.No  mention  is  made  of
their being  killed  as  they  lay.  A  curious  thing  is  that  no  mention

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 209 )

 

is made of the burial  of  common  soldiers  killed  in  battle, although
it is well known that a  proper  burial  of  a  body  in  a  coffin  is  abso-
lutely necessary for the  well  being  of  the  spirit  in  the  spirit  world.
In fact, as evidence of this, T'chang-Tsao-Lin in  his  recent  advance
into China was  obliged  to  bring  coffins  with  him  for  the  burial of
soldiers  who  might  be  killed. All   officers  who   died   were  given
proper burial.

            When an army intended to invest a fortress it would   advance
to within 3 li (1 mile) of  its  objectives  and  camp  there,  escalading
ladders would be provided and attempts made to climb the walls and
enter within. Such assaults  were  vigorously  repelled   by   the cross-
bow men, as well as by men casting stones and   sand, and  pouring
boiling   oil  and  water  on  the  attackers. The  slaughter  was  great;
the attack rarely succeeded, and  treachery  had  to  be   resorted  to.
A commander of an investing army found himself  in   a  very  difficult
position—when he could  not  goad  the  enemy  into  fighting  by  the
use   of   the  usual  methods, or  could  not  take   the   place   by   as-
sault.  Life    would    seem   to   have   lost   all   its   salt   for  him ; he
was   completely   nonplussed,  he     saw    his   supplies    of     food
diminishing,  and   ignominious   retreat  the  only  course   open.   Im-
mediately he broke up  his  camp  and  commenced  his  retreat   the
enemy   would   fall   on  him  and  generally  inflict  defeat.  Instances
are mentioned of commanders of fortresses who were too  proud  to
fight—knowing the strength  of  the position  they  were holding,  and
being well supplied — gaining pyrrhonic victories over their enemies,
the enemy being beaten by hunger and forced to raise the siege.

            As a result  of  the  machinations  of  the  officials  of  the  Dis-
honorable Party, men and women were frequently driven  into  hiding
in the mountains, where they  would  gather  together  their  retainers
and gladly welcome all other  fighting  men  and  women  who  would
join   them. Bands  of  such  people  were  to  be  found  all  over  the
country. They spent their time  in  war-like  exercises  waiting  for  an
opportunity for revenge. They would not  oppress  the  poor, but  had
no compunction in pillaging the  wealthy  who  had  become  rich   by
misdeeds.  Adventurers  would  follow  this  example, and  gather  to
their standard large numbers of the poor who were driven to brigan d-

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 210 )

 

age by oppression ;  these  men  also  occupied  mountains, but    they
robbed    indiscriminately.  All   such  companies  of   people,and   they
sometime aggregated  twenty  and  even  thirty  thousand, engaged  in
agriculture   for   their   supply   of   food.  The    government   regarded
this   with   great   tolerance,  but  would  sometimes  send expeditions
against   them.  The  members  of   the  dispossessed  families  would
accept the brigands as an auxiliary  force  for  the  purpose of carrying
out the schemes of vengeance. These camps  were  sometimes  com-
manded  by   women. At  the  present  day  similar  bands  of brigands
are found all over  the  country, and  there  would  seem  to  be nothing
abnormal in this state of affairs.

 

                        APPOINTMENT OF COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

 

            In  an  historical  narrative  of  the  Han  dynasty, an   interesting
account is given of the  ceremonial  connected  with  the  appointment
of a commander in chief of a Chinese  army. As  this  narrative  states
the ceremonial, which will be described hereafter,to have been based
on custom established in the previous dynasty, it must  have  been  of
great   antiquity.  An  edifice  taking  the  form  of  a  series   of  raised
platforms   somewhat   akin   to  the  Altar  of  Heaven  in  Peking, was
erected. The  dimensions   are   very    precisely   given.  There   were
three  platforms  each  6  cubits  in  height. The  lowest  platform   was
130  cubits   square;  the   rest   being   reduced   proportionately. The
highest was octogonal in shape and 25 persons were stationed  there-
on dressed in yellow and holding  yellow  banners. On  the  next   there
were a similar number of persons on each face of  the  square. Those
on the eastern side wore  blue  and  held  blue  flags. On  the  western,
the costumes were white with white  banners ; red  on  the  south,  and
black  on  the  north. Three  hundred  and  sixty-five  persons  dressed
in, and holding flags of  various  colours  surrounded  the  base  of  the
edifice.  Ceremonial   tables   with   the   paraphernalia  necessary  for
making offerings to the gods were placed on each platform.

            A  body  of  72  giant  soldiery  guarded  the approaches to  the
edifice.  The  civil  officials  were  placed  on  the  left  and  the  military
on the right of an  approaching  road  made  of  yellow  earth  in  conso-
nance with the Imperial colours.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 211)

 

            Bodies of troops were employed to arrest and  execute on the
spot trespassers in the area of the ceremonies.

            The edifice was always  erected  about  2½  miles outside the
western gate.

            The officer selected for the honour of being made commander
in   chief   was   conveyed  to  the  edifice  seated  at  the back  of  the
Imperial carriage.

            The astrologer having selected a propitious day for the cerem-
ony, it was incumbent  on  the  Emperor  and  the  selected  officer  to
refrain   from   mundane  affairs. They  were  prohibited  from  settling
cases, taking   life, or   drinking   liquor  for  three  days.The road was
beautifully decorated with scented tassels.

            On the day appointed, the Emperor would drive  to  the  edifice
with the commander in chief at the back  of  the  carriage  followed  by
civil officials in their robes of  office  and  the  military  in  their  armour.
On   the  arrival  of  the  procession  at  the  edifice, the  Emperor   pro-
ceeded   to  the  highest  platform. The  commander  in  chief   accom-
panied    by    the  court   astrologer   remained    at   the   lowest.  The
astrologer faced east and the commander in chief, north.

             The Imperial  Herald  read  the  Edict  which  set   forth  that  in
the previous reigns, owing to the Emperors having   given  themselves
over   to   evil   ways,  great   disaster  had  fallen  on  the   country   but
owing   to  the  benevolent  rule  of  the  present  Emperor, the   people
were now able to  go  about  their  pursuits  in  peace. But  in  order  to
make such peace permanent,it is necessary to appoint a commander
of  250,000  men ;  therefore,  the  selected  officer, who  was  named,
was elevated to this appointment.

            The  Emperor  then  caused  arrows  to  be  presented   to  the
commander   in  chief  who,  after  acceptance,  handed  them  to  the
military officers on his  right  and  left. The  commander  in  chief  then
ascended to the next platform  where  he  still  faced  north  whilst  the
astrologer   faced   west.  A  Herald  then  made  supplications  to the
sun, moon, stars and spirits of the  ancestors  of  the  dynasty  to give
protection to the  dynasty  and  power  to the  commander  in chief  in
order to crush the national enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   ( 212 )

 

            Iron flags were presented  to  the  commander  in  chief  by  the
elder statesmen as an insignia of his office.

            The  commander  in  chief  then  ascended  to the  highest  plat-
form where he faced  north  and  the  Emperor  west. The  Herald  then
read a proclamation calling on  the  Prince of Heaven  to  grant  power
to  the  commander  in  chief  to  crush  the  national  enemy  who  had
desecrated the Imperial tombs.

            This ceremony was accompanied by music, and, when  it  was
over, the Emperor  presented  the  new  commander  in  chief  with   a
vermillion paper with  his  name  and  style  inscribed  on  it, gave  him
a golden seal of office, a piece of white jade, and  a  sword  of honour
as well as complete authority over  the  military  forces  of  the  empire.

 

                                                  SUICIDE.

 

            The laws of China did not punish attempts  at  suicide, nor  did
any social disgrace attach to it. Indeed  under  certain  circumstances
it was held to be  an  honourable  act. Suicide  was  very  common.  A
soldier defeated in combat rather than  suffer  death  at  the  hands  of
his enemy, would take  his  own  life  on  the  field  of  battle,  generally,
by slitting his throat  with  his  sword. Officials  would  commit   suicide
on being unjustly reprimanded by the Emperor,and  women  on  being
scolded   by   their   husbands. In   fact, suicide  was  the  last   line  of
defence and in some cases the opening chapter in an offensive, for a
woman in particular would commit suicide  so  that  members  of   her
clan might be able to open a vendetta  against  her  husband's  family.
Retainers and servants imbued with a deep sense of love and  loyalty
for their masters would  frequently  commit  suicide  to   protect   them
from danger, the  intention  being  that  their  dead  bodies should  be
mistaken   for   those  for  whom  they  had  died. Similarly   men   and
women  would  gladly  go  to  execution  with  the  same  motive. The
most common methods of committing suicide were by  hanging  and
drowning,  but  many  other   forms  were  adopted, such  as   poison,
stabbing, cutting and  butting  the  head  with  great  force  against  a
stone pillar. A peculiar method of committing the act  is  recorded  in
four cases, one being that of an  Emperor ;  this  was  by  bitting   the
tongue in conjunction with  an  act  of  volition  causing   suffocation. I

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 213 )

 

understand that it is possible to cause contraction of the muscles  at
the   root   of   the  tongue  by  an  act  of  the  will  on   which   follows
suffocation, and I am told that  this  form  of  suicide  is  practised  in
India   and    Africa,  and   is   known   to   the   medical     profession.

            To be put to death at the hands of the public executioner,was
considered to be the apogee of dishonour, and  the  Emperor would
command this to be done in cases where the crime committed was very
grave. Therefore another form of  execution  in  the  case  of  officers
of high rank or of those who had rendered meritorious service  to the
Throne,  was  adopted. This  was  by  the  offender   being   required
by Imperial rescript  to  commit  suicide, and  the  three   instruments
by which  this  might  be  effected  were  sent  to  him ; they   were  a
sword, a rope and a bottle of poisoned wine  and  the  choice of the
means by which he would leave this world was left to him.

 

                                                    LAW.

 

            That China has possessed civil and  criminal  laws for some
thousands of years is amply proved  by  her  historical  records and
continual reference is made to the laws of the country  in  the books
I  have  read. Each  dynasty  would  either  sanction  the  use of  the
codes instituted by its predecessor or  promulgate new ones.Each
dynastic code was an advance in the interest  of  mercy on  its fore-
runner, but each such code could not be  changed during  the exist-
ence of  that  dynasty. The  administrative  officers  were the magis-
trates. The Emperor would frequently appoint commissioners to be
special   courts   and   to try  cases  as  well  as  to  inquire  into  the
dispensation of justice. The judges would sit on  the  seat  of justice
with the insignia of their power and office in front of them, and those
who had been invested with  powers  of  life  and  death  placed the
sword of authority in the place of honour  that  it  might  be  seen  by
all. There were no such persons as  public  prosecutors,   barristers,
solicitors, advocates, proctors or pleaders. There had to be  a com-
plainant in each case who made the charge. The magistrate  would
hear  statements   of   evidence, and  would  cross-examine.  When
he  suspected  that  the  truth  was  not  being  told, he  would   warn
the   person   giving  evidence  whether  complainant, defendant  or

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   ( 214 )

 

ordinary   witness   and, if   such  person  continued  to  be  obstinate,
flogging   was   resorted   to   and  eventually  torture  applied. In   the
first instance torture took  the  form  of  a  severe  beating   as  many
as   two  hundred  strokes  being  given, and  if  this  was  not   found
to be efficacious, certain  implements  of  torture  would  be  brought
into use, the most general being one which  squeezed  the shinbone.
The pain was  so  great  that  it  almost  invariably  forced  the  victim
to confess. If   this   form   of   torture  did  not  prove  sufficient  other
devices   were   applied,  particularly  one   by  which  a  sharp instru-
ment   was   driven   under   the   nails   of    the   fingers   and    toes.
These   punishments   were   inflicted  in  public  and  on women  as
well as men. The aim of the judges, when they  were men of  upright
character, was to give justice and  not  law  to  those  who appeared
before them.China would not appear to have developed  its adminis-
tration of the law to vindicate the law, but rather  to  dispense  justice.
It was an unheard of thing for a case  to  be  fought  out  on  its  legal
aspect, which seems to be a failing in  many  modern  states. China
knew that the law  was  but  the  path  to  justice  and  would  not   be
diverted by legal arguments  from  the  goal. This  system  of  judica-
ture  which  left  everything  in  the  hands  of  the  judge  opened  an
avenue for much  injustice, especially, when  the  magistrates  were
not upright. False charges could be brought against  a person  who
on examination denied all knowledge of the circumstances alleged
against him, but would  be  forced  into  confession  by beating and
torture. Many such cases are related in the works I have read.

            There were four kinds of  punishments : fines, beating, impri-
sonment and death. The death penalty was inflicted  in  many  ways.
The ordinary method  was  decapitation  by  a  sword, but  in cases
where great cruelty had been shown or of aggrevated  high treason,
the offender would be cut or sliced slowly to death and  the remains
cast into a river, in some cases the victim would  be  quartered and
in all  serious  cases  carried  in  mutilated  condition in procession
through the streets of the town for three days in  succession  before
his final despatch.Clubbing to death was another method employed
for  imposing   the  death  penalty, the  object  being  to  prolong  the
agony of the victim as long as possible. The bones of his body were

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 215 )

 

broken ; and it took about thirteen  blows  to  kill  a  man. In   ancient
days political offenders were sometimes killed in the  most  savage
manner. The offender's members would be tied to five carts, that  is,
a noose round the neck, a rope tied to each arm and  also  to  each
leg, the carts would then be driven  in  opposite  directions  and  the
body torn asunder. A case  of  a  political  offender  being  pounded
to death in  a  rice  hulls  has  also  been  met   with. The   execution
ground would appear to have been the central square  of  a  city  or
the courtyard of the palace. Those to be  punished  were  tied  to  a
stake in the same manner as is done in  Siam. When   the  Imperial
anger was directed against any offender, this meant  not  his execu-
tion only but that of every member of his family, men,  women,   and
children  including  all  servants  of  the  family  name. As  many   as
four or  five  hundred  persons  have  been  taken  to  the  execution
ground in a day. Cases are recorded where  a  wife  would  cry  out
against the justice of  the  judgment  against  her  and  perhaps  her
daughter, saying that she had tried to pursuade  her  husband  from
his evil courses as she was a member of the Honorable Party,  and
that her family had always been  loyal. This  sometimes  led  to   the
stay of the execution; enquiries would  be  instituted  and, if  proved,
the lady would be  acquitted  and  subsequently  given  rank  as  an
example for others to follow. Feelings of sympathy and  pity   would
seem to be absent from the  Chinese  mentality.  Such   executions
would not move either  him  who had  ordered  them, although    the
victim might have been his intimate and trusted friend of  yesterday,
nor those who carried them out, nor the public who looked on.  One
of the most upright men in China always held up as an example for
others would in his judicial capacity send hundreds  of  persons  to
death. These executions were carried out in the most  callous  and
cold-blooded manner, and it  must  be  admitted  that  those  under
sentence went to their death in a most  stoical  and  brave  manner.
Death had  no  fears for them, as they knew that there  is  no   such
thing as death.

             I   find  a  note  of  astonishment   in   an  article  by  a  modern
writer commenting on the murders,executions and atrocities recorded
by   Confucius   in   his     Annals    of    Lu, based  on  the  belief   that

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 216 )

 

Confucius    was    a     man    of    great     probity    of    character    and
merciful   disposition,  and  doubting   whether  such  things  could  have
happened.  After   having   read   a   large   number   of  Chinese stories
I   can   see   no   reason   for   any  feeling  of  astonishment.  Confucius
recorded what took place, to him  it  was  the  normal  and  he  recorded
these happenings unmoved.

            The self infliction of  death, or,  rather  compulsory  suicide  was
frequently ordained by the  Emperor  as  a  punishment  for  officials  of
high standing, as well  as  those  who  had  rendered  great  service  to
the state (see remarks under suicide).

 

                   THE ART OF HEALING, MEDICINE AND DRUGS.

 

            The employment of doctors for the cure  of  disease  has  been
in   vogue   in   China  for  many  centuries, The   curative   qualities   of
herbs and  minerals  were  well  understood,  and  the  practice  of  the
art  of  medicine  had  attained  a  high  degree   of  efficiency. Doctors
were to be found in all towns and cities  and  these  men  were  looked
up to and held in high esteem by the  people  as  being  members of  a
learned profession. Physicians  of  high  repute  were  attached  to  the
palace. The first act in  the  diagnosis  of  disease  was  the  feeling  of
the pulse of the patient, and the pulse  would  seem  to  have  been   re-
garded by the physicians of China  as the dial of  disease,its  beatings
and movements were the evidence on  which the docto r prepared  his
nostrums for the cure  of  his  patient. Surgery  except   for   the  setting
of bones and the opening of abcesses was not understood.

            Poison was used, but it is not stated what the poison was.

            Opiates and drugs would seem to  have  been  kept  at  all inns
and  hotels  for  the  purpose  of  drugging  the  travellers  enjoying  the
hospitality  of   its  roof.  It  was  a  common  act  for  an  inn-keeper  to
mix  a  soporific  with  the  wine  of  his  guests  which  would  produce
stupour   in   order   to   facilitate   the  commission  of  crime; many  of
these men were easily moved by the passion of greed,and sometimes
were   employed  by  high  officers  of  state  to  drug  and  remove   an
enemy. No   mention  is  made  of  what  these  drugs  were  made   of.
Opium is  not  referred  to  by  any  of  my  authors,  but  it  is  probable
that   opium   was   employed,  as   I  find  that  opium  was  introduced
into China in the 13th century by Arabs, and was used as a

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 217 )

 

medicine only  till   as   late   as   the  17th   century   when   the   habit
of  smoking   commenced. The   period   dealt   with    in    the  books
I     have    studied    was   anterior   to   this  date. The    smoking    of
opium   increased   rapidly   and    possibly   took   the   place,  to    a
large   extent,  of   the  use   of    wine.  It   assumed   such   large  pro-
portions that prohibition was decreed by  the  Emperor  Yung  Cheng
in 1729, but the taste for the use of this drug  was  kept  alive  by  the
efforts of foreign smugglers and its use was legalized as late  as  the
year 1858. These facts may  perhaps  throw  some  light  on  the   ap-
parent objections on the part of the Chinese to  enter  whole-hearted-
ly into any scheme for the suppression of the use of opium.

            It is noteworthy that no mention is made of  the  use  of   birds-
nests as a tonic. This would  seem  to  imply  that  the  use  of   birds-
nests   was   unknown   to   the  Chinese  prior  to  the  16th    century.
Ginseng, however, is referred to in the books I  have  read  and  was
at that time as much, or even more esteemed than it is to-day.

            From the most ancient times we find references in  the   religi-
ous and mystical  literature  of  all  peoples  to   the   therapeutic  and
magical value of spittle. Spittle was used  not  only   for   the  cure  of
disease, but also to bring luck, and to seal  the  terms of  a  bond, as
well as in its magical  power   to   expel  evil  spirits.  In  Egyptian  my-
thology  it   is   stated   that  when  the  eye  of  Ra   was   blinded   by
Set, Thoth  spat   in   it  to  restore  vision. In  the  Bible  there  are  at
least three references to Jesus' having  cured  disease by the use of
the spittle, they are as follows :—

             St. Mark, chapter VII., verses 32., 33., 34, 35.,
                              A deaf and dumb man healed.
                              " and he put his fingers into
                              " his ears, and he spit, and

                              " touched his tongue "

                              " and straightway his ears were
                              " opened, and the string of his
                              " tongue was loosed, and he
                              " spake plain."

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 218 )

 

St., Mark, chapter VIII, verses 22., 23., 24.,25.

 

                  A blind man healed.
                  " and when he had spit on his
                  " eyes, and put his hands upon
                  " him, he asked him if he saw
                  " aught.

                  " and he look up and said, I see
                  " men and trees walking.
                  " after that he put his hands
                  " again upon his eyes, and made
                  " him look up : and he was restored
                  " and saw everything clearly."

 

St. John, chapter XI, verses 1., 6., 7.

 

                A blind man healed.

                " he spit upon the ground, and

                " made clay of the spittle, and

                " he anointed the eyes of the

                " blind man with the clay."

 

            In China the people had  a  strong  belief  in  the  curative  and
protective  power  of   spittle. It  was  recorded  in  an  historical  work
that an  Empress  was  separated  from  her  infant  son, owing  to   a
palace intrigue. The Empress  fled  to  the  country  and  fell  on   poor
circumstances.  She  yearned  for  her  child  crying  every   day   until
at last her tears  became  of  blood,  and  blindness  followed.  Some
twenty years later when her son had  ascended  the   throne, he   was
apprised of  his  mother's  whereabouts  and  condition.  He  went  to
her, prepared and made propitiatory offerings to heaven, prayed  for
help and then licked his mother's eyes;her sight was instantaneously
restored. It is well  known  that  the  Chinese  are  much  addicted  to
the habit of spitting, this  is  done  to  protect  the  spitter against  the
power of evil spirits and in some  cases  to  cast  them  out. What  is
believed  to  be  the  spit  of  contempt,  in  reality  is  not  so ; it is  a
protective   measure   against   mental  malpractice  on  the   part of
another person who might try to injure by the use of a cure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 219 )

 

                           CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PEOPLE.

            It is quite evident that the Chinese even  in  the  earliest  times
had   attained   a   high   degree   of   sociality. The   entertainment of
friends, and  the  gathering  together  of  members  of  a  family were
constant   events   in   the   family   life;  hospitality   was  natural  and
profuse. Wine  figured   largely   at   all   those   social  functions;  pro-
hibitions certainly did not  form  any  part  of  the  Chinese  social sys-
tem. Notwithstanding  the   kindliness  of   thought  and  act exhibited
everywhere, such kindliness was more due to the effects of ceremon-
ialism than  sympathy. Chinese   love  was  cold, not  emotional,  and
was, therefore, easily converted into revenge when  it  was felt  that a
wrong had been  inflicted. Revenge, the  desire  for  revenge,and the
fixed   intention  to  have  revenge  is  the  main  characteristic of  the
Chinese people. The necessity for revenge, to  uphold  the individual
as well as the family honour, is inculcated in every  Chinese  child  by
its parents, and the  one  theme  on  which  my  authors  all  agree  in
basing their plots is  the  expression of  this  terrible  sentiment.Child-
ren on whom the greatest love and consideration had been showered
by a step-parent and to whom such children had  rendered  filial duty
will immediately turn against  such  a  loving  step-parent  on hearing
that he or she has inflicted some wrong on the family and take steps
for   revenge.  Murder,  assassination  and  every  form  of evil doing
arise from this inherent quality  and, naturally, it  leads  to  a vendetta.
One cannot read a page of Chinese history or novel  without  finding
some   reference   to   it. Secret   Societies, however,  whose  found-
ations are laid on the necessity for revenge  and  are  the  means by
which revenge  is  taken  in  modern  life, are  not  referred  to  in the
works  I   have   read. The   necessity   for   their   formation had, pro-
bably, not   come  into  being  at  that  time  when  it  was possible to
obtain   revenge   more   openly. The   most   brilliant men  would  be
sacrificed on the altar of revenge,  although  such  men  might   have
been the only means  of  salvation  of  the  country. This means  that
Chinese would even sacrifice their  country  to  satisfy  their revenge.
Family has always stood before country and does  so  to-day. It was
the strength of the family bond  which  necessitated  the  removal  of
every member when any heinous  offence  had  been  committed  or

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 220 )

 

even contemplated against the Emperor, for if any  member  remained
alive   he   was  obliged  to  take  revenge. It  was  for  this  reason, that
the law laid down  the  necessity  for  destroying  the  root  and  branch
of a family so disloyal.

             The family is  the  unit  on  which  Chinese  society  it  built.  The
word family must be understood in its widest sense, all persons  of  the
same family or clan name are considered to  be  related,  although,  for
the   purpose  of   strictly   domestic   affairs, this d oes  not  hold  good
except as regards marriage. Marriage between persons  of   the  same
clan name is strictly prohibited, even extending to  those  who  may  be
deemed to be of different race, for instance, a Chihli  man  of  the  clan
name of Tang cannot marry a Cantonese girl of the  same  name,  and
this restriction owing to  the  limited  number  of  surnames  is  causing
some  anxiety   at  the  present  time. As  a  family  grows  in  numbers,
and  the  growth  is   rapid  in   China   owing   to   the  prolificacy of the
nation, certain families possess great influence through their  numbers.
As there  is  nothing  higher  than  the  family  in  China  at  the  present
moment owing to  the  removal  of  the  Emperor, these  families  natur-
ally become  centralised  in  themselves, and  it  is  owing  to  this  that
we   find  the  country  divided  against  itself. The  central  government,
not representing Heaven, has no  authority  and it  is  much more likely
that China  will  break  up  into  a  number  of  republics  than  that  she
will   gather   together   her   families   and   form  one  great  state. The
family,  the  respect  for  the  family, the  reverence  paid  to  the  family
ancestors   are  factors  of  such  primary  importance  in   that  country
that  every  question  affecting  the  people must  be viewed  from  this
standpoint.

            The drinking of wine  was  habitual  amongst  all  classes.  Wine
formed a necessary part  of  all  entertainment, whether  ceremonial  or
domestic. It was also  used  as  the  symbol   of   honour,  the    highest
being    the     Emperor's    presenting    a    cup    to    a    subject.  The
people both men and women from an early age  were addicted  to  the
habit of drinking and many of them to excess, even to a state  of coma.
When this occurred emetics were employed to restore the normality of
the drunkard.

            These emetics were a kind of vinegar or acid and the effect was

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       ( 221 )

 

rapid, the drunken man  quickly  regaining  consciousness  and being
capable of doing his  ordinary  work. The Chinese  had strong  heads,
for the after effects of a debauch were unknown.Drunkenness was so
common that it  became  necessary  to  curtail  the  use  of  wine  and
spirit, and tea  which  was  well  known  in  China,  gradually, took  the
place of wine at ceremonies  and  family  gatherings. I  am told, howe-
ever, that the drinking of spirit is still common in the country.

 

                                                     BELIEFS.

 

             It   is   very   difficult   to   arrive   at   an   understanding  of  the
religion  of  the  people  of  China.  Writers  refer  to  a   form  of   mon-
otheism  as  having  been  prevalent  in  the  earlier  days  of  Chinese
history ; others refer to the existence of  Taoism, which  was  followed
by   Buddhism. These   three  beliefs  were  undoubtedly  practised in
China, and in  addition  many  other  forms  of  religion  made attempt
to penetrate the country, such as Mazdaism, the religion of  Zoroaster,
Manichaeism, the cult  of  Chaldaea, Judaism,  Nestorianism,Mahom-
medanism and  Christianity. The  two  last  named  alone  have made
a permanent impression on the  people. The  teachings  of Confucius,
which are not generally accepted  by  European  writers  as a religion
owing to  the  absence  of  any  reference  to  deity, have  had a great
influence throughout the land.  Confucius  began  his  teachings some
500   years   before   the   Christian   era, that  is, at  a  time  when the
monotheistic idea had not been contaminated  by any other growth. If
one compares the teachings of  Confucius  with monotheism, both of
them  broadly speaking enunciate the principle  that  virtue—and  the
practice of virtue alone  is  power—requires necessarily the corollary
that one should do unto one's neighbour as one's wishes to be done to,
and both enunciate filial  duty, this  latter  already  existing, it  being  the
very basis of ancestor worship.  Whatever  one's  conception  of  deity
may   be, if   virtue  in  its  widest  and  highest  sense  is  power,  then
virtue  is  Deity, and  Confucius  was  doing  no  more  than  preaching
the  tenets  of  the  one  God  principle; and  it  is  for  this  reason, that
his  teachings  received  the  support  of  the  Throne, the  Emperor  in
his spiritual position forming a  very  important  part  of  the conception.
The Chinese works which I have  read  give  one  the  impression  that

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 222 )

 

religion   in   the  ordinary  acceptance  of  the  word  does  not  exist  in
China ; the people would seem to have passed from phase to phase of
human  beliefs, to  have  accepted  a  little of this and a little of  that, the
aggregation   presenting  a  curious  medley   through   which  animistic
and    spirit    worship   is  very  prominent. There  is  distinct   evidence
that   the  Chinese  are  fatalists  and  predestinarians. They  believe  in
the existence of spirits  and  the  power  of  such t o  help  them ; these
spirits   are  mostly  those  of  noble  and  virtuous  persons  who  have
passed   away;  evil  spirits  exist  in  the  mind  of  the  people  but  are
not   much   feared. Reference  is  frequently  made  to  the  belief  that
animals pass through  a  period  of  penance  and  peregrination  for  a
thousand years  before  being  reborn  in  human  form, and  those   so
reborn if they  offend   by  committing  acts  of  demerit  are  sent  back
to  pass  through  a  further  period  of  penance   in  animal  form.  The
period of penance is usually one thousand years.

            The   monotheism   of   the  Chinese  is  built  up  on  the   belief
that Heaven is the  regent  of  harmony  and  bliss  and  the   source  of
all   intelligence   and   life ; that  all  emanates  from  Heaven  and  that
Heaven is the abode of all who have become emancipated  from ignor-
ance  of   the   Truth  brought  about  by  the  exercise  of  Virtue.  There
is a Supreme Being  who  governs  all  things, and  sends  spiritual am-
bassadors in the form  of  good  thoughts  to  mortals  on  earth ;  these
ambassadors are those who have not yet attained supreme knowledge
and   are,  therefore,  below  the  Godhead  himself. Earth  and   the  in-
habitants   of   the   earth   are  the  material  objectification  of Heaven,
or  rather, the  earth  and  mortals  are  deemed  to  be  the  counterfeit
of Heaven and merely a mental conception  arising  from  ignorance of
the Truth of Being. This is the  illusion  from  which  mortals   must   find
the   way   of  escape. Between  the  blissful  and   harmonious  mental
state   in   which  the  Truth  alone  can  be  found, and   the  counterfeit
conception known as the  Earth, stands  the  Emperor  as the agent or
vicegerent of Godhead ; he is the Son of Heaven.The  people worship
him as one deriving  all  power  from  the  Divine  Mind, and he  should
always   be   an   example   of   the   highest   virtue  for  the  people  to
emulate. It is clear  from  what  I  have  read  that  the  Chinese  people
inwardly recognise Heaven and  Earth  as  spiritual  ideas.The  fromer

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 223 )

 

as I have already said is the abode of those who have become cogni-
zant of  their  immortality  through  knowledge ; the  latter, the abode
of those who are still ignorant  of  their  immortality ; and  those  who
have passed away still believing in death  as  a  power, remain very
close to earth. An example of  this  belief  was  met  with. A  man of
great virtue desired to know something  of  the  spirit-world  and his
wish was granted;he met those he knew, the scenery and  buildings
were much like those which  were  familiar  to  him  in  this  life. And
this was necessarily the case as he carries his beliefs with him. On
his return he expressed  his  astonishment  that  the  spirit-world  of
mortals was so close to the earth. What he saw was  a  walled  city
with gates, and soldiers at the gates ; over  the  gates  were  written
the words "Imtoh" ; the soldiers were  in  human  form  but  had  the
heads of buffaloes  and  horses. He  demanded  admittance,which
was granted. He  was  conducted  to  the  presence  of  the  Prince
of   Destiny   who   inquired   why   he  had  come  into  the  city,  he
replied that he had come in  accord  with  his  destiny.  The  Prince
asked his name, and on its being given, the Prince turned over  the
pages of the Book of Destiny and  said  that  a  mistake  had   been
made as the man's destiny had not been fulfilled and he  could  not
live in the city. This mortal  craved  that  he  be  allowed  to  wander
about in the city that he might see what it wa s like ; this  wish  was
granted, soldiers acted as his guides. He was taken to the summit
of a hill on which stood a large building, the doors and  windows of
which were all closed. He approached the building, and asked that
the window  facing  the  east  be  opened. On  this  being  done he
looked in and saw a vast  assembly  of  sages, religious  men and
priests   all   enjoying   the   state   of   blissful   harmony.  The  next
window   opened   was   on   the   west   side   of   the  building. He
looked in  and  saw  a  place  full  of  smoke, it   was   the  place of
punishment  for  those  who  had  committed  evil  deeds. He  saw
many persons whom he had  known on  earth   undergoing  torture,
some were being crucified,others were stretched on frames of red-
hot iron and many were being  boiled  in  oil, in  fact, every  form of
torture was being undergone. He turned from this and  went  to  the
northern window which was opened for him. He looked in and  saw

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  ( 224 )

 

the realm of Heaven  and  recognised  amongst  its  inhabitants  all
those whom he had known on earth who  had  lived  lives  of  virtue,
probity and self-sacrifice. These people smiled when they saw him
at the window ; he tried to speak  to  them  but  those  he  spoke  to
apparently could not hear  his  voice, for  they  remained   silent  not
replying   to  him.  He   then  proceeded  to  the  southern   wall  and
asked that the window be opened. The guides said  that  this  could
not be done as the Prince of Destiny had prohibited the opening  of
this window. The man insisted on its being  opened as  he  had  per-
mission from the Prince, and the  guides  opened  the  window.  On
looking   within   he   saw   the   whole   world   before  his  eyes.  He
recognised those countries and cities which  he  had  visited  in  his
life time ; he also saw the hill on which he  had  been  living  prior  to
his journey to spirit  land  and  every  member  of  the Imperial  party
with   whom   he   had   been   living   on  that  hill. After  leaving   this
building  the  visitor  was  conducted  back  to  the  presence  of  the
Prince, who invited him to a banquet  which  consisted  of  food and
wine.  Everything   seemed   to   be   as   on  earth, the  Prince   was
surrounded by the ministers and officials.

            The people holding these beliefs make frequent  supplication
and prayer to Heaven and Earth when in trouble, to Heaven  for  help
from the Supreme Being and to Earth for help from   their  ancestors.
When   this   is   done   in   simple   faith  knowing  that  help  will   be
forthcoming, help  comes. This  is  in  accord  with  the  teaching   of
Jesus who said:"What things soever ye desire when ye pray,believe
that ye receive them, and ye  shall  have  them." A  bridegroom  and
bride always make supplication to  Heaven  and  Earth  in  the open
air asking for prosperity and happiness  before  entering   the house
in  which the actual marriage ceremony takes places.

            This was the  religion  of  China, but  now  that   the  Emperor
has been removed the people have gone adrift, there being no sym-
bol   to  which  they  can  give  and  express  loyalty,  reverence  and
adoration. The  link  between  Heaven  and  Earth has disappeared.

            As far  as  one  can  gather,  Buddhism,  which   has  spread
throughout   the   country, has   arrayed   itself  in  a   robe peculiarly
Chinese. The grand metaphysical conception of Buddha  has  been

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  ( 225 )

 

sadly corrupted, and many forms of false beliefs have  arisen, and a
pantheon   of   deities   has  been  created.Underlying  this structure
are found the  remnants  of  all  beliefs  formally  held  by the people.
As   the  Chinese  conception  of  Buddhism  is  so  distant from the
Truth as preached by Buddha, Buddhism in China has lost its moral
force,  it   has   decayed   into   a   form   of   dogmatic   ritualism.My
authors tell me  that  monastries  and  nunneries  existed throughout
the country, prior to the 17th century and, probably, they  exist to-day.
These authors do not speak  with  any  great  respect  of  the priests
who  officiate  in  these  monastries. They were  certainly  not mendi-
cants   as   we  understand  them. Buddhist  priests  in  China  freely
accepted  money  presents, indulged  in  the  arts  of  divination and
frequently    lived    lives    utterly    opposed    to    the   principles  of
chastity as required by Buddha. The nunneries would seem  to have
been   better   regulated, but   were  apparently  much more retreats
from the world than places in which the  nuns  occupied  themselves
in searching for freedom from the fetters of  ignorance. One  curious
fact has been brought to  light, namely, that  if  a  woman  became a
nun and had her head shaved as a sign of her self-sacrifice,she was
debarred   from  all  possibility  of  re-entering  worldly activities. She
was   a  nun  for  life. However, if  a member  of  the  Imperial   family
became a nun, she could put off the white robes  of   the  Holy Order
provided    that   a   substitute   could   be   found  to   take  her place-
Young  Chinese  women  who  for  thousands  of   years  have  been
brought up in the idea of  the  necessity  for  marriage  owing   to the
belief that marriage, that is, the union of the same man  and  woman
is   continuous   through  all  existences, showed  no  desire  for   the
convent life. Those females who made vows as  nuns   were   mostly
old women and those whom experience of life had made  bitter  and
sour.

            Taoism  was  preached   by  Lao  Tzu some 50 years  before
Confucius stated  his rules of conduct  and  other  ethical   principles.
The word  Tao  means  the  Path, the  Path  of  Virtue. Virtue  in  this
sense implies much  more  than  the  word  in  the  western   mind, it
really means Absolute Knowledge.Lao Tzu recognised that absolute
knowledge was a state of passivity and inaction because when  one

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 226 )

 

had attained to such a state, human action was  impossible, and this
state of supreme knowledge could only be reached by  the cessation
of human action, striving, ambitions and so on, for when these cease
Tao is revealed. It is for  this  reason, that  Taoism  is  known  as the
religion of quietism. Lao Tzu enunciated  principles  that  the idea of
good pervaded immutably  all  things, and  held  that  it  was  only by
cognising the ever-presence of good  that  Tao   would  help  man.In
fact,he taught in very similar language the beautitudes  preached by
Jesus in his  sermon  on  the  Mount. Lao  Tzu  understood  that Tao
being the the Supreme Power governs  the  Universe  by  fixed laws,
that   Tao   was   all-pervasive   and   all-embracing. This conception
naturally demanded an explanation  of  why man  and  other created
things  do  not  fully  and  completely  express Tao, that  is, why  they
are liable to decay  and  death. Lao Tzu  believed  that although Tao
the Supreme Creator pervaded  all  things, yet  Tao was   absolutely
unconscious of evil and the results arising from a belief in its  power.
He   therefore   came  to  the  conclusion  that  man  still  retains   an
apparently   unrestricted   freedom   of   will. The Bible explains  this
awkward    question    in   another    way.  Chuang   Tzu,   the   great
expositor of Taoism, developing  this  idea of the apparent free  will
enjoyed by  human  beings, based  his  knowledge  of the fixity  and
eternality of Tao by stating that it is due to  man's  ignorance  of Tao,
and the impossibility of Tao cognising or perceiving the speculations
and conjectures  which  form  the  very  foundation  of  human  know-
ledge. Man   living  in  this  sea  of  doubt  and  being ignorant of the
ever-presence of the immutable principle of  Tao  naturally began to
conceive of the contraries of things and thus  developed  the idea or
theory  of  relativity, that   is, the  relativity  of  good   and evil, heaven
and earth, space and time and so on. This conception  is analogous
to the theory of the Tree of  Knowledge  of  Good  and  Evil as being
the   counterfeit   of   the Tree of  Life. This  belief  in  the relativity  of
humanly,of materially perceived objects,arose owing to the necessity
for the creation of some standard, and thus began the  perception of
contraries as pertaining to all  things. As  long  as  man  lives   in this
conditioned state he cannot know of Tao and in order   to   attain this
knowledge he must cease from worldly activities, that  is, the  use of
this power of free will and subordinate himself to Tao  who  will  then

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 227 )

 

be revealed and the goal of absolute knowledge  reached. This  is  the
doctrine  of   the   inaction  of   free  will,  leading   to  deliverance   from
sense-thought and the illusion  arising  therefrom. This   conception   is
somewhat  akin  to  the  doctrines  preached  by  some  of    the   great
Indian sages and Jesus, but pre-dated them by   many   years. Taoism
is   an   absolutely  metaphysical  conception   and, therefore, Lao  Tzu
required  that  his  disciples  should  eliminate  all   worldly  knowledge
and    experience    from   the   mind,  exercise   virtue    and    rely    on
Tao  the  ever-present  creator  for  support  and    sustenance.  These
principles    were    far    beyond     the    capacity    of     the    people's
understanding,  for   at    that     time    the     country      was     passing
through   a   phase   of   great   turmoil,  each    man's      hand     being
at   his   neighbour's  throat,  the   various   states   waging   war    with
each   other,  and  militarism   rather   than   virtue  was   rampant. Lao
Tzu lost heart at finding  that  the  people  would  not  accept  Tao  Lao,
and as an old man left China and was never  heard of  again. Lao  Tzu
left very little in  the  way  of  writings  except  the  Tao  Te  Ching,  and
we know what we do about him  from  the  work  of   the  commentator
Lieh Tzu, and  the  expositor  Chuang  Tzu. Taoism  as   stated  above
was so transcendental  in  its  inception  that  it   was  not  received  by
the people and,eventually, became so corrupted by  many  mysticisms
and  charlatanisms  to  bring  it down  to  the  level  of   the  understand-
ing  of   the  people, that  nothing  more  than   the  word   Tao  remains.
Taoism  to-day  is  the  exact opposite of what was enunciated  by Lao
Tzu.

            It  is  well known that the Chinese people  have  a  strong  belief
in   the  efficacy   of   sacrificial  offerings, and  at  the  present  day  the
ceremonial  table  with  its  offerings  is  a  common  sight   in  Chinese
shrines and temples and can even be seen in many Siamese Buddhist
temples   at    which  the  Chinese  worship. These   ceremonial  tables
exist in practically every  house,they  are  made  of   all  materials  from
jade, ebony, rose wood, down to the  commonest  wood. These  tables
which originally were used  for  sacrificial  services  are now  used  for
making   propitiatory  offering, and    five   utensils   are   necessary   to
complete the act : these are two flower  vases, two  candle sticks,  and
one bowl  for  burning  incense. Instances  of  human  sacrifice   to  pro-
pitiate evil spirits and  to  obtain  the  blessings  of Heaven are  record-

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 228 )

 

ed  in  the  works I   have  read. In one  case  an  evil  spirit  had  taken
possession of a shrine  at  which  members  of  the  clan  Heng  made
their   offerings. This  evil  spirit  was  cannibalistic  in   his  desire and
it became necessary for this family to offer up a young  male  member
of   the   family   annually   to   appease   the   wrath  of  this  ogre. This
spirit   was   overcome   and   driven   from   the   shine   by   a   young
barbarian   prince   who   knew   that   spirits   were   not    real   things.
When this spirit fled from the  shrine, it  left  behind a  sword  possess-
ed of magical power, the  Excalibur  of  China. There  are  many  refer-
ences   to   swords   of   this   character. Records  of  the  sacrifice  of
prisoners   of   war   to   bring   victory  in  arms  are  frequent. Heaven
would  be  propitiated  by  offerings  on  the  ceremonial  table  and its
help  asked   for  by  the  commander  of  the  army;  the  victim  to  be
sacrificed would be present  at  the  ceremony  and  after supplication
to Heaven had been made,his head would be struck off and his blood
be   smeared   on   the  pole  of  the  banner  of  victory  carried  by  all
Chinese   armies. It   is, also, recorded   that   the  Emperor, when  vic-
torious and having taken a prince captive, would  sacrifice  him  in the
same manner and bathe his  feet  in  his  victim's  blood. Instances  of
similar sacrifice are  known  in  other  countries  of  Asia. In   the  early
days of Chinese  history  when  the  various  states were  engaged  in
interminable internecine warfare, a  case  of an official  sacrificing his
first   born   male   child  in  order  to  obtain favour  with  his  prince  is
recorded. In  this case  the  prince had  expressed  a  desire  to  taste
human flesh, which wish was gratified in this manner.

             Witchcraft  in  its  true  sense  would  not  seem  to  have   been
understood or practised in China, but many forms  of  geomancy  were
in common use amongst  the  people. Divination was  readily resorted
to for the purpose  of  obtaining  a  solution  of  obscure  problems,and
for   the   purpose  of  unfolding  the  future. The   most   common   form
of geomancy practised  was, and  in  fact  still  is, that  of  selecting  by
chance from amongst a large number a small piece of wood  on which
is written a stanza, a passage  from  a  work  of  one   of  the  sages, a
line of poetry and so on. The person  desiring  a  solution  of  a   matter
troubling   him, will  proceed  to  one of  the  shrines,  make  obeisance
before the spirit altar, present the customary offerings of  incense  and

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ( 229 )

 

candles and crave for guidance. He  will   then    pick   up   a    vase
containing a number of bits of wood on  which   have  been   written
stanzas,etc., as described above; he will  select one at hazard  and
that one will give  him  the  answer  to   his  question. The   exercise
of this belief may be seen at any shrine  or temple  in  Siam   where
Chinese congregate.

            The Chinese were aware of the efficacy of the use of images
like unto a person to  whom  they  desired  to  bring  death  or  harm.
These images would be moulded into a form as near as possible of
the person to be dealt with. Pins or  other  sharp  instruments  would
be thrust into parts of the image, and a fervent prayer be offered  up
that the enemy might suffer pain  in  such  parts. Many  people  have
been put to death by this  means  unless  a  doctor  of  great  skill  in
combating such influences could be found.

            Cases of necromancy have been met with, but  are  not  com-
mon. Many cases of resurrection from death are, however recorded,
in fact, many Chinese but necessarily only men of the highest  virtue
would seem to have possessed  this  power  which  depends  on  a
knowledge of the Truth of things. Persons who had  been  dead  for
long periods could be brought to life.

            Spirits  of  persons  who  had  been  unjustly  put to death, or
who had been maltreated  during  life, would  call  for  revenge  and
would in furtherance of their desire bring their case  by  mental  pro-
cesses to the notice of a person possessing virtue. Such a  person
would have foreknowledge of the approach  of   the  unhappy  spirit,
by mental fermentation, and the arising of a  peculiar  form  of  cold
wind. When these phenomena appeared the person of virtue would
retire to a secluded and quiet spot, put himself in a trance when  he
would be in a state to receive the communication  of  the  disturbed
spirit. Many crimes have been traced to  their  authors  by   persons
possessing this power. There  are  references  in  the  Bible  to  the
arising of wind on the approach of  spirits, and  those  interested  in
psychological research are well aware of this apparent atmospheric
disturbance. It is also  common  for  those  in  the  hypnotic  state  to
complain of feeling bitterly cold, due to a cold wind.

            Levitation was understood and practised by those  who  had

 

 

 

 

 

                                                 ( 230 )

 

passed beyond belief in the materiality of things, that is, by those
who understood the allness of mind.

 

                                              MARRIAGE.

            Marriage is a necessity for the  Chinese  people  in  order   to
uphold the social structure, and to provide the means for carrying  on
ancestor  worship. Marriage   was   instituted   some   four    hundred
years ago, and the people firmly believe that the union  of  the   same
man and women is a continuous state of being, the same  man   and
woman being joined  in  marriage  throughout  all  births. Celibacy  is
not esteemed, although it may be  predestined for a short  span,  the
link of marriage being  taken  up  later  on. Divorce  is  not   common
and not favoured owing to  the  belief  in  the  continuity  of   marriage.
A widow who does not enter  the marriage  state  a  second  time  is
held in high esteem. In fact, it  may  be   accepted   as   certain    that
Chinese widows in ancient times were prohibited re-marriage, in the
same manner as their Hindu sisters. Marriage between  a  man  and
woman of the same clan name is absolutely prohibited, although  the
couple may belong  to  different  nationalities. The  parents  in  nearly
all cases arrange the marriages of  their  children, this  being  settled
frequently in infancy, and  sometimes  before  the  children  are  born.
The  average age for  both  sexes was sixteen. A go-between, gener-
ally a woman, would at the request of the parents  of  the  young  man
approach those of the girl, and in the event of  agreement  the  young
couple would be treated as married people and referred  to  as  such,
although the marriage had   not  been consummated. Throughout  the
works  I  have  read  there  are  distinct   traces  of   the  survival  of  a
system  under   which   women  arranged  their  own  marriages; girls
frequently   intrigue   to   obtain  as  a  husband  the  man  they  favour,
and in many cases would approach the man and ask  him  to  accept
the   marital  guardianship. The   following  is  a  short  description  of
the marriage ceremony in olden days  in  China. The  parents  of  the
couple   having  agreed   to  the  marriage  of  their  children, the  first
thing to be done is for an exchange of presents  to  be  made  by  the
families concerned, and when this has  been  satisfactorily  arranged
the next thing  is  to  ascertain  through  an  astrologer  the  propitious
day for  the  wedding. Such  a  date  can  only  be  found  by  knowing

 

 

 

 

 

                                                 ( 231 )

 

the birthdays, months and years of the young  couple ; when  this   is
known a day is fixed. Before daybreak on the  day  of  the   wedding,
the young woman performs the act of  lustration, dresses  herself   in
white and takes her seat in a tray made of bamboos something  like
a winnowing tray, proceeds to comb and brush her  hair, makes   up
her headdress, and supplies cosmetic  to  her  face  and  body.  The
various instruments, powder, scents are placed in this tray  with   the
young woman. During the process of dressing a band  in   the  court-
yard  plays  soft  music,  the  flute  and  string  instruments   taking  a
prominent part. When the young woman is  dressed, she   proceeds
to the  place  reserved  for  making  supplication  to   the   protecting
spirit of the family,makes obeisance and offers candles and incense
and then performs the same act before the  tablet  of  her  ancestors.
Shortly after this, people bringing presents from  the  house  of    the
bridegroom begin to arrive. These presents consist of  a  bowl   con-
taining   betel-nut, betel-leaf, rice, etc., as  well   as  pots   in    which
are planted pomegranate and orange trees which must be  in   bear-
ing : the fruit is covered with  gold  paper, there  must   be   pairs  of
each kind  of  tree  which  are  of  a  dwarf  variety, and   in  addition
to these things cakes,sweets and sugar made to represent animals
and other object of nature as  well  as  pork, fowls, ducks. All   these
articles are placed by the parents of the girl before the spirit  of   the
house before whom they make obeisance and offer candles and  in-
cense. The pairs of  fruit  trees  referred  to  must  remain  for   three
days on the altar of the family's spirit, and are then  returned  to   the
bridegroom. These trees which must be in bearing  are  symbolical
of the wishes of the parents of the young man for the  prosperity   of
the   bride's   house. While    the    bride   is   engaged  in   the  acts
described  above, the  bridegroom  is  performing  the  same  cere-
monies   in   his   house. In   the   forenoon  hospitality   is  extended
to   the   relations  of   the  gir l in  her  parents'  house. In   the   after-
noon sedan chairs are sent  from  the  young  man's  house  to  that
of the girl and she is brought away from her home accompanied by
several female servants ; the girl is  veiled  and  is  robed  in  a  red
coat and skirt worn over her white clothes.Having entered the sedan
chair, the   red   curtains   of   which  are  closed, she  is  carried  to
the  house  of  her  future  husband, where  she  is  received  by  an

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   ( 232 )

 

elderly woman who has been sent by the bridegroom  to  escort  his
bride. This  woman  taking   the  hand  of  the  girl  leads  her  to  the
bridegroom who unveils her ; the couple standing  in   the  door-way
turn to face the Heaven and make thrice the ceremonial  obeisance
to the spirits  of  Heaven  and  Earth  holding   three  incense  sticks
in   their  hands; the  candles  having  been  lit   are  placed  in  their
appointed place. This act over, the young couple  enter  the   house
and having lit  the  candles  and   placed  them  on  the  altar  of  the
protecting spirits who are the spirits of departed  persons  of  great
virtue, they   make  the  triple  obeisance  before  the  altar   holding
three incense sticks in their hands. They   then   move  to  the   altar
of the bridegroom's  ancestors  where  they  place  lighted  candles
and holding four incense sticks in their hands make obeisance four
times  to  the  tablet  of  the ancestors. These  acts  completed,  the
couple go to the parents of the young man,make obeisance three times
to these elders but neither candles are lit nor  incense  sticks   held.
It  will  be  noticed  that  there  is  a  difference  in   the   number   of
incense sticks held, and acts of obeisance made to the  spirits   of
Heaven and Earth, guardian spirits and the spirit of  the  ancestors.
The two former who are esteemed to be spirits who have attained to
a knowledge of virtue  require  that  these  acts  be   performed  an
uneven number of times, but the spirits of the  ancestors   who  are
still  in  the  bonds  of  ignorance  and  still  retain  material   beliefs
require that these acts be performed an even number.The  reason
for  this  diffence  is  lost  in  the  obscurity  of   the  ages, but   it  is
probable  that  the  idea  of  the  Trinity  which  is  revered  through-
out the east, accounts for this number  being  used  in  connection
with heavenly spirits as distinguished from earthly ones. It will also
be noticed that incense sticks are not used when making the act of
reverence to the parents of the young man; this is due to Chinese
acceptance of etiquette that incense sticks shall only be  used  in
connection with the spirit world.

            In the evening a dinner accompanied  by  music  and  some-
times a theatrical performance is given by the parents of the young
man to their relations and friends : at this feast the bridegroom, but
not  the  bride, is   present. When  the  guests  have  departed,  the

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    ( 233 )

 

bridegroom is taken to a room where a meal has been prepared and
where the bride  awaits  him; the y oung  man  and  woman  take  this
meal in private together, promises of devotion and fidelity are  sworn
to  by  the  drinking  of  wine. The   young   couple  then  enter  the  ad-
joining   room   which   is   their   bed-room. Next  morning  the  young
married pair go to the parents of the husband  and  make  obeisance
asking for  their  blessings;  this  ceremony  is  performed  every  day
during  the  life  of  the  elders. The  white  wedding  garments  of  the
couple worn on  the  day  of  their  marriage  are  carefully  kept,  and
only worn again on the day of their death.

            There is another method employed by young women for select-
ing their husbands in China and representation of this  ceremony  can
be seen at any Chinese " Ngiu ". This  ceremony  known  as " Siu-Kiu "
is  only  allowed  to  daughters  of  good  and rich families. Before the
day appointed for the ceremony, a notice is posted in the town inform-
ing the young unmarried men that the daughter of such  a  person  will
at a certain time on a  certain  day  perform  the  act  of  selecting  her
husband. A platform  is  erected  in  an  open  space, and  on  the  ap-
pointed day the young woman  accompanied  by  her  maid  servants
proceeds to and ascends this platform, offers a prayer  to  the  spirits
asking them to direct her in the  selection  of  her  husband. She  then
rises, and   throws  a  small  golden  ball  much  like  the  wicker-work

balls  used  by  Siamese  men  in  one  of  their games (ตะกร้อ). Who-
ever the golden ball strikes becomes  immediately  the  betrothed  of
the young woman, and in making  his  claim  for  her  hand  must  pre-
sent the golden ball to her  parents. When  the  date  of  the  wedding
is fixed, the wedding takes place in the house  of  the  young  woman
and the young couple live in  the  house  of  the  bride  and, not  as  in
ordinary marriages, in  the  house  of  the  parents  of  the  young  hus-
band. The  introduction  of  this  ceremony  is  undoubtedly  due  to  a
desire on the part of noble and rich families to guard their  daughters
from many of the hardships  and  unpleasantnesses  which  surround
the life of a  young  bride  in  her  mother-in-law's  house. It  might  be
argued that this method of selection might  give  rise  to  many  unde-
sirable consequences, such as, the bridegroom being a drunkard, a
bad character and so on, but the strength  of  the  faith  of  the  young

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 234 )

 

woman in the immutable purposes of God and the certainty that she
can only marry the man who was her husband in  her  previous  exis-
tence is sufficient to assure the girl that she will  be  rightly  directed
when throwing the ball.

            A reference to the existence of this  custom  in  India  will   be
found in the  old  classic "Sang-Thong" (the  golden  conch-shell).  In
this story there are seven sisters, daughter of  the King  of  "Samala".
Their father arranges for them  to  select  husbands  by  throwing   a
wreath of flowers, the man struck by this garland would become  the
husband of the thrower. All the young men in  the  kingdom  were  in-
formed of the king's intention,and on the appointed day the six elder
sisters throwing the garland selected their husbands ; the  youngest
daughter, the princess "Rochana", refused to throw the garland as she
did not see amongst the young men assembled, one she could love.
Her father was much annoyed and after consultation with  his  minis-
ters arranged for a second gathering of the young  men  of  the  cap-
ital city, but again the young princess  refused  to  throw  the  wreath.
The ministers finding that the princess  did  not  approve  of  any  of
the young marriageable men of the kingdom set  enquiries  on  foot
and discovered that there was a  young  negrito  living  just  beyond
the confines of the kingdom. They  told  the  king  who  commanded
that the young negrito be brought to  the  palace. On  his  arrival   he
prayed and wished that the princess might see him as he really was,
that is, as the expression of the highest good  shining like gold, and
the young princess on her part prayed that   if  the  young  man  was
her affinity that a sign might be given. She  immediately saw him as
the embodiment of virtue shining pure as gold, whereupon she threw
the garland of flowers, and in  due  course  they  were  wedded. The
history of the young man then became known : it  is  related  that  he
was born in a conch-shell and some years afterwards when this shell
was broken he was seen  to  be  an  ordinary  child, the  conch-shell
having been produced by witchcraft. Many  intrigues  encompassed
the child's life, he was driven  from  the  palace  by  his  father, taken
care of by  a  female  ogre, and   while  in  her  care  disobeyed  her
commands which eventuated in his being turned into gold and wear-
ing the disguise of a negrito which enabled him to fly. The  princess

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   ( 235 )

 

"Rochana", owing to the power of her and the young man's   virtue,
was able to pierce the black disguise and see her future  husband
as the embodiment of good shining as gold, born as a conch-shell
prince.

            We find in Siam the use of the winnowing tray in connection
with   newly   born   children. When   a   child   is  born, it  is  placed
on a cushion in a winnowing tray, which in  the  case  of  people  of
high rank is covered  with  white  cloth. When  the  child  is  a  male,
the various articles and implements in miniature  which   pertain  to
his  pursuits  when  grown  up, such  as, a  sword, gun, slate,  book,
pencil, abacus, etc., are placed in the  tray, and  if   the  child   is   a
female, a needle, sewing-cotton, scissors, a book, pencil and such
things as pertain to the position of a house wife.

 

                                            CONCLUSION.


            The  idea  of  the  divinity of kings has been universal, but  I
doubt whether any peoples have had  such  a  clear  alignment   of
thought regarding the position of kings as   standing  between   the
spiritual and temporal as the Chinese. The Chinese conception  of
the position of their Emperor as the vicegerent of Heaven and their
title" Son of Heaven " (as explained in the section " The Emperor ")
amply proves this. Since the removal of the  Emperor, the  Chinese
people have been drifting in a sea of discord, buffeted here and there,
and I am inclined to think that this is due to their having  no symbol
to which they can offer their adoration, for it is  quite  clear  that the
Chinese worshipped their Emperor. He was their god, the heart of
their   religion. Without   him   they   are  like  a   ship   rolling   in   a
turbulent sea without a rudder, and there can be no doubt  that  the
strong hold which the clan system, and ancestor worship  have  on
their imagination does not tend to lessen their difficulties. Reverence
for the  clan  and  its  ancestors, always  strong, has  now   become
abnormal,and in some degree has taken the place of reverence for
the Emperor ; and it is for this reason, that   the  country  is   broken
into so many parties which can only hold power  by  force  of   arms.
Such power is transient owing to the people seceding  from   these
parties,and gathering together when opportunity occurs under  their
several  clan  banners, thus  forming  new  parties. The  situation  is

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      ( 236 )

 

kaleidoscopic. No army can   be   trusted   to   continue   loyal   in    its
allegiance to any leader because such leader may be of another  clan
and a clan with which other clan  members  of  the  army  are  at   feud.
All   Chinese   leaders   are  aware  of   this  potent  instrument  of   dis-
integration and use it freely. We have seen numberless  instances   of
this in the last few years as exemplified  by  the  continual   defections
from   one   party   to   another. Personally,  I    think   that   the    social
organisation of the Chinese people will be an insuperable obstacle to
the  realisation  of  the  idea  of  the  country  being  governed  as  one
republic. If   they   are   to   emerge   from  their  present  troubles  and
become a strong administrative unit able to show  a  unified  front, the
Chinese   must  re-establish  the  Imperial  house, for  to  the  Chinese
mind the idea of  being  governed  by  a  mere  man  is  inconceivable,
they   must   be   governed   by   Heaven   and    the   Son   of  Heaven.

Another    characteristic    of    the   people,  that   is, the   evil    power
engendered by holding  thoughts  of  revenge, which  has  become  a
normal   and   natural   mental  attitute, must  ever  be  borne  in  mind
when trying to come to some  understanding   of   Chinese   activities.
This motive power  runs  through  every  grade  of   life, and  it  is  cer-
tain that the present resentment being exhibited  towards   foreigners,
as well as towards  some  Chinese, arises  from  this  trait. A    nation
that bases its  policy  on  such  foundations  must  suffer  from   its  re-
action.

            The writer believes that unless  this  great  people recognise
that no thing of permanent good can be erected on a  foundation of
evil, there can be no hope for a great  China  in  the  future. In  Siam
the   spirit  of   charity, love, kindness, and   tolerance  pervades  all
thought, is the impulse of action, and it is for this reason, that  Siam
has come through her trials and difficulties unscathed. The Chinese
might well learn a lesson on the principle of right  government  from
this country.

            It would appear that the various  races  forming  the  Chinese
people have almost without cessation  been  engaged in war, either
amongst themselves or with  their neighbours, the barbarians. They
gradually extended their  frontiers, until  they  had  absorbed  all  the
countries lying west, north and south of China, thus creating a great

 

 

 

 

 

                                                 ( 237 )

 

empire. Their   victorious   arms  pushed  even  further  west, to  the
Caspian sea, and on two occasions marched into the very heart of
Europe. During  the  Manchu  period  the  number  of  Chinese  em-
ployed as fighting men in the armies was not great, as these Manchu
rulers feared any revival of the  war-like  spirit  amongst  those  they
had conquered. Many Europeans have deemed the Chinese people to
be lacking in war-like qualities, arriving at this  conclusion  from  the
fact that the Chinese had not been employed as soldiers for over two
centuries and are apt to view the  fighting  which  has  been  continu-
ous since 1911 as mere child's play. The writer holds the  view  that
whether the fighting be intensive or not, one  fact rises  clear  above
the horizon, and that is, that the Chinese are now being schooled in
war-like operations. Their Generals and Commanders  are learning
the habit of handling large bodies of men, as well as  their  transport
and concentration on given points, the lessons concerning commissariat
and the use of all the modern mechanical processes of war including
heavy guns, machine guns and aeroplanes.What will be the outcome
of this schooling in the grim  realities  of  war, no  one  can  prophesy.
If  one  is  to  judge  of  the  possible  trend  of  events  based  on  the
historical evidence  of  other  countries, one  must view  the  situation
with some  misgiving, for  it  is  axiomatic  that  when  a  nation  gives
itself  up  to military pursuits, such  generally  causes  troubles  to  her
neighbours. It  might, therefore, be  advisable  for  those  responsible
for the government of other countries to watch more closely, and  pay
greater heed to military events in China, in the interests  of  universal
peace.

            The attitude adopted by the Chinese towards  the  question of
the   suppression   of  opium  smoking  may  seem  inexplicable. It  is,
however, necessary to study the history of opium  in  China  to  come
to a sane conclusion. Opium smoking was unknown and unpractised
in China until 1729. The government issued drastic laws in its
attempts to suppress the smoking of this drug, but their  efforts  were
unavailing, owing to the large  amount  of  opium  smuggled  into  the
country   by   foreign  merchants. The  struggle  between  the  govern-
ment and the smugglers became more  intense, large   quantities  of
contraband opium were seized and burnt. This action on the part   of

 

 

 

 

 

                                                ( 238 )

 

the government led up to what is known as the "Opium War".
The result was the defeat of China which was forced to allow the
importation of opium, the smoking of which became legalised in
1858. Seventy years have hardly elapsed before the Chinese are
invited by European and other nations to suppress the cultivation of
opium and eliminate from the people the habit of smoking the drug.
Naturally, the Chinese feel some surprise at this change of attitude,
and perhaps feel some resentment at being called on to suppress
that which a few years before, they had been forced to accept. It
can hardly be expected under the circumstances that the Chinese
will whole-heartedly enter any arrangement for the suppression of
the cultivation of opium, which question figures so prominently at
the present time on the agenda of the League of Nations.

In reading Chinese historical narratives one comes across
many traces of the beliefs held by the Vedas and carried by them
into India as expressed in Vedic literature. I notice that some
writers consider these beliefs to be of Brahmin origin. True, it is
that Brahmanism is a development of Vedaism, but I am inclined to
think that a section of the Veda people migrated east and carried
their customs with them. From very early ages Chinese people were
divided for economic and other purposes into four classes, namely,
the military and governing, commercial, arts and crafts and agri-
cultural ; the pariah or untouchable class, the outcast of India, is
unknown in China but it is probable that this class was created in
India to suit the purposes of Brahmanism. The four castes mention-
ed as having existed in China from ancient times carried on their
traditions hereditarily. The sons of the governing and military
class were trained as their fathers, and the same was done as regards
the other three ; the weaving of silk was carried on in a family from
father to son for all time because the Chinese firmly believe that
perfection in the performance and production of a thing could only
be arrived at after a long period of hereditary occupation.

            The short translations of the description of the ceremony
prescribed for the appointment of a commander of the forces of the
country is taken from the "Sai Hom." This ceremony which was
carried out on such occasions is probably at least three thousand

 

 

 

 

 

                                               ( 239 )

 

years old, as it was prescribed in the books of ceremonial etiquette
long before the advent of the Han  dynasty, which  dates  from  B. E.
202. It is, therefore certain that  the  use  of  the  five  colours, yellow,
white, blue, red and  black, which  eventually  became  those  of the
national flag, does not date from 1911 with the establishment of the
Republic, but is of great antiquity.

            Although  China  lies  contiguous  to  Siam, it  is  only   within
the last hundred and fifty years that the Chinese  have  migrated   to
this country. In the early years  of  the  present  dynasty  the  flow   of
migration  was  weak,  but   gradually  strengthened  arriving  at   its
maximum  force  in  the  last  ten  years. The  number of Chinese  in
this country is considerable, and it might have been  expected   that
they would have exerted a strong influence on the manners,customs,
and culture of the Siamese, but  in  the  main  essentials  of  life, the
Siamese have not been  affected, they  still  retaining  in  a  marked
degree their own customs as well as their culture which is of  Indian
origin. In fact, the Siamese have absorbed  the  Chinese  but  there
are signs that the Chinese in the future will remain  a  distinct  entity
within the body politic of this country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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