William and Robert Chambers,
Text on page A-49
jilted. There are but two within the city. One, called Kwa-ta, or adorned pagoda, has nine stories, and is feet high, octagonal. The other, called Kwang-ta, Ar unadorned pagoda, is 160 feet high. The first was huilt about 1300 years ago ; the latter during the Tang dynasty, which closed a.d. 906. I believe they are not ^sorted to for devotional purposes, at least not commonly. As crosses are planted in some countries to mark the right of possession, so these huge and durable Monuments seem only to mark a country swayed by him who claims "the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them." How artfully, in ten thousand forms, does he, in every pagan land, confirm and perpetuate his rule ! But his time is short.
The Chinese are divided into three sects, namely, those of Ju-kea-su, Taou, and Boodh.
The Jukeasuists are the followers of Kong-foo-tze, or, as the Jesuits Latinize it, Confucius, who flourished about 560 years before Christ, and was therefore contemporary with Pythagoras. He was of royal descent, and a mandareen, but early resigned official life, and devoted himself to literature, morals, and political economy. Reducing the maxims of former sages to order, he added valuable extracts from current works, and Prudent sayings of his own, and produced a digest ^hich continues to be the ultima thule of Chinese piety. Travelling extensively as a popular lecturer, and sustained, not less by his high birth and eloquent address, than by the excellence of his doctrines, he soon founded a sect which became virtually the state religion. It is, however, much less intolerantly maintained than either Popery or Protestantism, where united with the state. The other religions are allowed, and sometimes fostered. Great officers, and even the emperor himself, build and endow Boodhist and Taouist temples.
The system of Confucius is highly extolled by European writers, and most extravagantly by Chinese. As accounts of it are accessible to all readers, I need not stop to describe it. He seems to have regarded religion less than politics, and the burden of his works relates to social virtues, civil government, and adherence to ancestral habits.
The sect of Taou (literally reason) was founded by Laou-Keum, a contemporary and rival of Confucius. His followers may be called the mystics of China. They Profess alchemy, assume mysterious airs, read destinies on the palms, and make great pretensions to deep research and superior light. Their practical works contain, in general, the same laudable precepts which distinguish the system of the Jukeasu.
The Chinese Boodh.
The third sect follow Fo-e, sometimes spelled Fohi. is said to be the old orthography of Fuh, which is the Chinese abbreviation of Fuh-ta, or Boodha. The boodhism of China is the same as that of Burmah, which has been sufficiently described. The system is cArtainly far older than either of the others. It is gene-1
rally supposed to have been introduced about a.d. 70. Kempfer dates the introduction about a.d. 518, when " Darma, a great saint, came from the west, and laid the foundation," and c. Chinese historians agree that the worship of Fohi was originally brought from India. Sir William Jones says confidently, " Boodh was unquestionably the Fo-e of China."
This sect probably embraces one-third of the entire population. The government acts with indecision towards it, at one time denouncing it as dangerous, and at another contributing to its support. Mr Gutzlaff saw at Pooto some placards calling on the people, in the name of the emperor, to repair to the Boodhist temple of that place, in order to propitiate Heaven for a fruitful spring. The priests are numerous, but not greatly respected. I saw some of them in the streets daily. A few were exceedingly well dressed, but generally they were both shabby and dirty, sometimes quite ragged.
The idol differs somewhat from that of the Burmans and Siamese. The above is an exact delineation of a large image, or Jos, which I obtained from Mr Roberts at Macao, and is now in the Baptist Missionary Rooms, Boston.
The state of morals among the English and other foreigners here, is delightfully superior to that of other places I have seen in the east. A particular vice, so notorious elsewhere, is indeed effectually prevented by the Chinese police. But in other respects the superiority is manifest. The Sabbath is well observed ; and sobriety, temperance, and industry, distinguish a society which, but for the exclusion of females, would be excellent. Of course, the total absence of mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters, prevents any man from feeling at home in Canton ; and few stay longer than they can help.
The British and American gentlemen, besides supporting the hospital, have formed two societies for the good of China, namely, the " Morrison Education Society," and the " Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge." Both are yet in incipient stages. Their designs are fully described in the Chinese Repository. Another measure is gradually ripening for execution, namely, the establishment of a Medical Missionary Society, which promises effectually to try an experiment on which the hearts of many friends of China are strongly set. The object of this society will be to encourage medical gentlemen to come and practise gratuitously among the Chinese.*
The great blot on foreigners at Canton, though not on all, is the opium trade. That men of correct moral sensibilities and enlightened minds should be so blinded by custom or desire of gain as to engage in this business, is amazing. A smuggler in Canton is no more honourable than a smuggler on any other coast; in some respects less so. There is less chivalry, hardihood, fatigue, exposure, and inducement, than in the case of a poor man who braves both the war of elements and legal penalty, to obtain subsistence for his family. Here, among a peaceable, and perhaps timid people, they incur no personal hazards, and set at defiance edicts and officers. No other smuggling introduces an article so deadly and demoralising. The victims of it daily meet the smuggler's eyes, and are among the patients resorting to the hospital he helps to support.
* A Medical Missionary Society, with the above object, was formed in Canton early in 1830. It does not purpose to pay the i-alary of medical men, but to receive such as may be sent by missionary boards, or come at their own cost, and to furnish them with hospitals, medicines, attendants, and c. It will establish libraries and museums, and take every proper measure to spread the benefits of rational medicine and surgery among the Chinese ; in the hope of thus paving the way for the relaxation of those laws, customs, and prejudices, which now exclude the Christian missionary. Of this society, T. R. Colledge, Esq., is president. The society has already received cash subscriptions to the amount of 9036 dollars, chiefly from the English and American gentle-men on the spot.* A Medical Missionary Society, with the above object, was formed in Canton early in 1830. It does not purpose to pay the i-alary of medical men, but to receive such as may be sent by missionary boards, or come at their own cost, and to furnish them with hospitals, medicines, attendants, and c. It will establish libraries and museums, and take every proper measure to spread the benefits of rational medicine and surgery among the Chinese ; in the hope of thus paving the way for the relaxation of those laws, customs, and prejudices, which now exclude the Christian missionary. Of this society, T. R. Colledge, Esq., is president. The society has already received cash subscriptions to the amount of 9036 dollars, chiefly from the English and American gentle-men on the spot.