« AnteriorContinuar »
to thank the emperor for having graciously condescended to permit: them to appear before him with a letter and tribute ; and, before their return, they were brought on their knees and bowed their heads to the ground ninety-nine times at least,— pour faire le salut d'honneur,' as Van Braam, with true Batavian composure, calls this humiliating ceremony ;
-but, after all this compliance on the part of the Dutch, when they found themselves, in the capital, thrust into a stable where some cart horses were standing, poor Van's phlegin began to move a little, and he ventures to exclaim, Nous serions-nous attendus à une pareille avanture ! This was not all; for they were passed through the country literally like so many vagrants; lodged in wretched hovels neither wind nor water tight; left sometimes by their bearers, perched in chairs in the midst of heaths, or on the summits of mountains; frequently without any provisions for whole days; and, in short, went through so many hardships, that Van Braam, who was a large man, says that he had lost on his return a full foot in circunference! whereas, in the case of Lord Macartney, far from manifesting any petulance or ill-humour, which might have been expected from mortified pride, the Chinese shewed every attention to the ambassador and his suite during the whole of their progress through the country.
But why object, we have heard it asked, to a ceremony which is the established usage of the country? Lord Macartney, we think, has satisfactorily answered that question in urging the propriety of distinguishing between the hoinage of tributary princes, and the ceremony used on the part of a great and independent sovereign;' and that it could not be expected that an ambassador of an independent sovereign should pay a greater homage to a foreign prince than to his own master, unless, the compliment was inade reciprocal,' It is not true that the Chinese think little op nothing of their humiliating ceremony; had that been the case, the court of ceremonies would not have objected to Lord Macartney's proposal of a person of equal rank to his own performing the samne ceremony before the King's portrait that be should be required to perform before the Emperor. We know not, of course, whether, Lord Amherst was prepared to propose this reciprocity of compliment, but if he did, and it was not accepted, he was perfectly right in yefusing as Lord Macartney had done. We cannot concewe a case, where the representative of the sovereign of Great Britain should submit to a degradation which the representative of the Emperor Alexander had peremptorily resisted. The disappointment in not succeeding could not be more mortifying, nor the refusal less excusable, for Lord Amherst than for Count Goloffkin; the latter, after a long and fatiguing journey across the woods and deserts of Siberia, was stopped short just as he came in view of the promised land, and turned back, because he would neither bow the knee to the yellow skreen, nor promise to do so to the Baal himself, on his presentation at Pekin.
We have heard it asserted, that the Chinese protested against the case of Lord Macartney being drawn into a precedent, and tha Lord Amherst was instructed to comply with the customary ceremonies: the first we know to be false ; and the other we have every reason to believe to be so; it is not likely he should be instructed either to comply or to refuse, but to act according to his own discretion and to circumstances. If it be asked, Why send an embassy at all? the Directors of the East India Company can best answer such a question. They only, and their servants, know the comparative situation of their affairs at Canton, before and after the mission of Lord Macartney: since that mission, a new generation has sprung up; old grievances were revived; all manner of vexatious impediments and insulting conduct were daily directed against our trade, and those who conducted it; the native şeryants were forbidden to engage themselves to Europeans; and the latter were prohibited froin addressing the local authorities in the Chinese language, which is the only language they understand ; supplies of provisions were stopped to his Majesty's ships, and cargoes withheld from those of ihe Company; the magistrates entered the factory without permission or previous notice; and many other offensive proceedings were instituted, which seemed too plamly to indicate a disposition to return to a system of oppression and insult, which, though it might have been submitted to in the early stage of our intercourse, could scarcely now be endured. In this state of things, the gentlemen of the factory, two years ago, came to the spirited resolution of withdrawing the whole of the ships of the season (with their cargoes yet unloaded) from the river, and of appealing at once to the court of Pekin: and Sir George Staunton, who conducted the difficult and delicate discussions, was under the necessity of actually removing the British flag from the factory, and proceeding down the river to carry their intentions into effect, when the natural timidity of the Chinese got the better of their insolence; and a deputation was sent after him to entreat his return and continue the
negociations. It might, therefore, and probably was, deemed advisable to remind these corrupt provincial authorities, by another embassy, that the gentlemen of the English factory at Canton were not a set of unprotected adventurers, as they were inclined to consider them. Beyond the wish of obtaining justice and protection for our trade, the East India Company could have nothing to ask; and when we con sider the magnitude and importance of that trade which employs from England more than 20,000 tons of shipping, and from India
nearly the same amount which takes from us broad cloths to the amount of one million sterling, and cottons from Bombay to double that value-which enables, by its profits, the East India Company to pay their dividends, and brings annually into the Exchequer from three to four millions sterling---finally, which supplies an article, not inerely of luxury, but now almost become one of the first necessity, and which no other part of the world can supply—the preservation of such a trade from capricious obstructious, and vexatious impositions and delays, is' well worth the risk even of offending his Imperial Majesty, who is generally contented with visiting his anger upon his own subjects. If an embassy produced no other effect, as one of the Directors justly observed, "one hundred thousand pounds would be well expended every ten or twelve to save our people from insult and our trade from interruption.
Little mischief as we apprehend from the failure of the embassy, we are not quite at ease with regard to the affair of the Alceste engaging with the Chinese forts. The Chinese have at all times been jealous of our men of war entering the river, and we believe complaints on this score have been made by the Company's servants of the factory, who of course can exercise no control over officers of the navy : but the Alceste was placed under extraordinary circumstances; she had carried out an ambassador on a pacific mission; she was ordered to Canton to refit and prepare for the reception of that ambassador; her captain had a letter from the viceroy of Pe-the-lee, ordering the authorities to supply her wants wherever she' might touch. It would appear, therefore, that the Chinese admiral and the commanders of the forts, in wantonly firing at the Alceste, had exceeded their orders; and this may explain why no riotice whatever had been taken of the affair at Canton, where Captain Maxwell had been four days, when the last letters came away, at which time neither the preparations for the reception of Lord Amherst, nor the loading of the Company's ships, had suffered the least interruption. We understand, indeed, that our long forbearance has had no other effect than that of encouraging the Chinese war-junks and forts to fire on our ships of commerce and their boats, on every frivolous pretext, which, though generally harmless, is a wanton and reprehensible aggression. This forbearance'must have its bounds; it is not every man who can carry it to that 'pitch of endurance exercised by the late Adiniral O'Brien Druty. On the memorable expedition against Macao, this gallant officer found the river near Canton blocked up by armed junks, having thousands of Chinese on board. Apprehending' (he obo serves in a letter to his friend) that they might fire their little petards, I advanced in my barge to explain to their admiral my VOL. XVI. NO. XXXII.
peaceable intentions. When within about a hundred yards, they fired a shot which passed over the barge; I still advanced; tuo or three more shot passed over us: I came within forty yards; but in endeavouring to make myself heard, through my Chinese interpreter, all their juoks opened their fire on my boat, with stones and God knows what, until one of the marines was struck. The seamen, in the other boats, seeing me fired at so furiously, were no longer under control, but pulled close up, when I saw the necessity of giving the positive orders to keep back, well knowing that the total annihilation of their poor junks, and of the city of Canton, must have been the inevitable consequence, had I permitted a single musket to be fired, which was impatiently looked for by every one. I told the chief of the supercargoes, continues the brave Admiral, 'that I never would conseut to the slaughter of these defenceless multitudes; but that if their commerce required to be supported by hostilities, and that if a single seaman of wine was killed, I would level Canton to the
the ground.11.10 Whatever
be the issue of the untoward circumstances connected with the Embassy to China, by what particular pomt of exaction on the one side, and of resistance on the other, the failure may have been occasioned, in the absence of all information but that which his Chinese Majesty has been pleased to give, we can merely form conjectures : but, in the well known character of Lord Amherst, particularly distinguished as it is by a suavity of manners, an equal temper and a mild and conciliating disposition, joined to the able support of Sir George Staunton, who, with a perfect know. ledge of the language and the people, possesses that calm and steady determination which is best suited to deal with this subtle nation, we have the best pledges that the honour and the interests of the nation will not be compromised, but remain safe in their hands. If the Nepaul business should be found, which however' we think not likely, to have influenced the conduct of the Chinese, they are the veriest bunglers in politics that ever existed, since they might have obtained something by a conciliatory negociation; whereas, if their army should, unfortunately for it, come in contact with our Sepoys, their iniserable soldiers with their paper helmets, wadded gowns, quilted petticoats, and stuffed boots, will be too happy to compound for their lives by a surrender at discretion.
Aet. VII. Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape
Gardening, including some remarks on Grecian and Gothic Architecture, collected from various MSS. in the possession of the different Noblemen and Gentlemen for whose use they were originally designed. The whole tending to establish fixed prin
ciples in the respective Arts. By H. Repton, Esq. assisted by his Son, J. Adey Repton, F.A.S. Imperial 4to. pp. 238. 1816. THE subject of this volume is entirely English--and the very
name, the English Garden, suggests ideas of cheerfulness and comfort unknown in every other country. Indeed, the heartenlivening prospect, over the pleasure ground, the park, the woods, and the well tenanted farms surrounding the country residence of an English gentleman, gives a favourable impression of the spirit of freedom and independence of its possessoras
purest or human pleasures; it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man, without which buildings and palaces are but gross handy works; and a man shall ever see, that when ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately, sooner than to garden finely, as if gardening were the greater perfection.'
Long after this great man wrote, an English garden was an inclosure, where all view of the surrounding country was excluded from without, and all traces of nature obliterated within. The only svariety was a tedious repetition of the same objects; straight walks and canals, square grass plats, and formal terraces, leaden statues and fountains, shell-work grottoes, embroidered parterres, mazes and wildernesses, and all the absurdities of topiary work, and trees disfigured and distorted into statues and pyramids, giants and dragons. Even Lord Bacon's own ideas on the subject of gardening were narrow and confined. He observes, it is true, that in the • Royal ordering of gardens, there should be gardens for every month in the year:' but in describing such an imaginary scene, he only provides for a continual succession of flowers and fruits, and for the avowedly artificial arrangement of objects within the inclosure. Could be have extended into the regions of taste, the
prophetic glance with which he viewed the future progress of science; could he have traced the art of English gardening to the period when · Kent leaped the fence, and found that all nature was a garden,' to the practical application of general principles, under which the endless variety of nature's works is displayed in the volume before us, with what truly English feelings might he have anticipated the exclamation of Horace Walpole
"We have given the true model of Gardening to the world; let other countries mimic or corrupt our taste; but let it reign here on its verdant throne, original in its elegant simplicity, and proud of no other Art than that of softening Nature's harshnesses, and copying her grace: ful touch.'
Among the earliest specimens of gardening in England, we find in Leland's Itinerary, that at Wresehil Castelle the gardeins withyn DD 2