Primary sources: North China Campaign of 1860

Chapter 13

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Letter of Lord Elgin to Prince Kung — Preparations for attacking Pekin — Approach of Chinese Rebels — Reconnaissance round the Walls — Signing the Convention — Tung-chow — Curious Mode of Fishing — Description of Pekin — The “Altar of Heaven and Earth ” — Llamaseries — “Prayer-Machines” — Chinese Religions — Pekinese Vehicles — Chinese Dromedaries — Falconry — Resources and Produce — Cultivation — Poverty of the inhabitants — Neglect of Education

The foul deeds committed on the prisoners had now, to a certain extent, been expiated by the retribution on the fair pleasure-grounds of the Emperor; but no terms had been agreed to as regarded the payment of the compensation demanded from the Chinese on behalf of the surviving sufferers, and the friends of the murdered ones. Lord Elgin therefore gave Prince Kung to understand that unless before 10 a.m. on the 20th, the Prince informs the undersigned in writing that the sum demanded as compensation for [p. 338] the British subjects who have been maltreated or murdered will be ready for payment on the 22nd, and that he will be prepared to sign the convention, and to exchange the ratifications of the Treaty of Tientsin on the 23rd, the undersigned will again call on the Commander-in-Chief to seize the Imperial Palace in Pekin, and to take such other measures to compel the Chinese Government to accede to the demands of that of Great Britain as may seem to him to be fitting. It is proper, however, that he should inform the Prince that, should the contumacy of the Chinese force him to adopt this course, he will address himself to the Commander-in-Chief of her Majesty’s naval forces, as well as to the Commander-in-Chief of her Majesty’s land forces. He begs to remind the Prince that the customs revenue of Canton is being collected for the profit of the Imperial Government of China, although the city is in the military occupation of the Allies; that it is the military force of the Allies which has for some time prevented Shanghai from falling into the hands of the rebels; and that the junks carrying rice and tribute to Pekin have been allowed to pass and repass unmolested, though the fleets of the Allies command both the seas and rivers. “If peace be not at once concluded, this state of things will cease, and the undersigned will concert with her Majesty’s naval Commander-in- [p. 339] Chief, with the view of obtaining from them and other sources, indemnification for the expense which her Majesty’s Government is compelled to incur by the bad faith of that of China.”

Knowing the possibility of the Chinese again, at the eleventh hour, quibbling and throwing objections in the way, the General made all preparation to carry out the threat on the Palace inside Pekin. Guns were to be dragged from the gate we held to the next gate — the Tih-shing (or Victory), whence they were to open fire on the city. The troops were already detailed for the attack, when a countermanding order was issued. Lord Elgin’s threat had wrung the necessary reply. At 7 a.m. on the 20th, a communication was received from Prince Kung ceding everything demanded. It is said that the Russian Ambassador had had some hand in bringing about the concession, having pointed out to the Chinese the folly of holding out any longer against such powerful enemies. The two Roman Catholic priests within the capital were also said to have had their services solicited, and in return, shortly after, the Emperor honoured them with the white official button of a low sixth-class mandarin, which they wisely refused.

Before Prince Kung’s answer had been received to the last ultimatum, we had heard from the Russians [p. 340] that the rebels were pushing on for the capital, and were now only at 100 miles distance. We took them to be at first the Taiping rebels, and wondered how they had managed to march up so expeditiously all the way from Nankin, and to be here, too, just at the nick of time; for, had the Chinese held out, the affair must, almost inevitably, have resulted in the overthrow of the dynasty. As it turned out, the rebels were only some Shenso insurrectionists, who had availed themselves of the present crisis to extend their depredations. Their proximity had, however, no doubt incited the Chinese to precipitate the settlement of their difficulties with us, in order better to turn their attention to the quelling of what promised to assume an equally formidable trouble; and now San-kolinsin was reported to be making preparations to stop their further advance on the capital.

Had the Chinese held out, an unforeseen difficulty appeared on our side, which would have tended considerably to have baulked the keeping of our word as to the attack on the Palace in default of the concession to the demands being made. It appears the French had fixed the period of their ultimatum for the 23rd, and they gave out that they could not cooperate in any attack on the city until the expiry of that term. Fortunately, however, the concession was made and all further difficulty obviated. [p. 341]

Winter was fast drawing on, and the sylvan scenery day by day throwing off its livery of already-seared foliage; each morning was ushered in by a hard frosty with its coverlet of snow daintily spread on the tops of the semicircular range of hills; and though the sun continued to rise and walk his course each day through a clear, unsullied sky, yet his beams brought little glow of warmth in their rays, and the chilling air began to affect the health of the natives from the sunny south and of that of the Indian horses. It was, therefore, with no small delight that we hailed the prospect of peace and a speedy termination to the privations of a camp life.

Though the concessions had unconditionally been made, confidence had by no means been restored in our camp in favour of the honest intentions of the Chinese. The Russians had warned us to be careful that no further tricks were played on us, as they suspected treachery; and, in proof of this, we were informed that San-kolinsin was at no great distance from our camp to aid in the confusion, if the attempt were successful. With all our inquiries we had not succeeded in discovering where the Tartars had fled to, and their reported proximity, therefore, the more astonished us. They were said to be near the west wall of the city. Accordingly, on the 22nd, Probyn and Fane with their troopers were despatched along [p. 342] the face of that wall, to try and ascertain more particulars about their encampment. The Sikhs turned the west angle of the wall, and passed the first gate, when they came upon a Tartar picket, who scampered away; and as our troopers advanced two and two through a long lane, they suddenly found themselves in the Tartar camp. The Tartars all rushed together and formed line, but did not attempt any violence, as our irregulars, somewhat startled at the suddenness of the rencontre, produced a white flag. The Tartar officer came forward and asked them what they wanted; he said that these were merely the garrison of the city, who had lately received orders to encamp outside the wall, and that Sankolinsin was not in the camp. The encampment covered a good space of ground, and seemed to contain a very large force. The officer was desired to accompany the Sikhs back to the British camp, which he did without much reluctance, a body of Tartar cavalry also following for some part of the road back. Prince Kung, it appears, was close to this camp on his return to the city; but, on hearing of the approach of the enemy’s cavalry, he fled to a spot five miles farther off. This unexpected discovery of the enemy’s force so near our own took us all by surprise, and led us to suspect the sincerity of the desire for peace professed in Prince Kungs [p. 343] letter; but, as it was generally understood that matters were approaching a satisfactory issue, it would not have become the Allies to resume the quarrel on a mere suspicion. It had, however, the effect of making the General more circumspect, and prompted him to take every precaution within the compass of his thought to elude the possibility of success in any attempt at treachery on the enemy’s part.

With regard to the indemnity, the Prince was true to his word. The whole amount demanded was paid on the appointed 23rd. The French had fixed on that date for the signature of their treaty, but, some of the requisite papers not being quite prepared, they postponed the event.

The ratification of the British treaty and signature of the convention were appointed for the 24th, and the hall selected for the ceremony was that pertaining to the Board of Ceremonies, one of the six Imperial Boards. Messrs. Parkes and Wade were entrusted with the arrangement of the room for the reception of the commissioners, and with the settlement of points of etiquette thereanent; and, as some whispers passed round of the probability of the place being mined. Colonel Wolseley and some other officers accompanied the civilians to have a careful look round at the precincts of the chosen spot. [p. 344]

At 3 P.M. on the appointed day, the procession attending Lord Elgin to the Hall of Ceremonies entered the An-ting gate. A detachment of cavalry led the way, followed by detachments of the various infantry regiments, with two regimental hands, who continued playing alternately the whole way. Then came sundry officers on foot, and then the mounted officers (those being chosen in preference who could muster full uniforms); then the General and Staff; Lord Elgin in his green sedan-chair, carried by sixteen coolies in scarlet livery, his Staff on horseback on either side, and the rear brought up by more infantry and cavalry. As the procession entered the gate, the French guard on the left side turned out and saluted, striking up “God Save the Queen.” The main street on either side was lined with British infantry, amounting to 2,000 men, who followed up the procession as it passed, forming altogether a force of 8,000 men marching through the capital. A raised mud causeway, about twenty feet broad, runs through the centre of the road. On either side of this the Chinese had mustered in large numbers, and in the crowd near the gate we saw some of the members of the Russian Mission, mounted on their small ponies. The road was full of ruts, and only in parts watered from the drinking-troughs that occurred here and there; consequently large clouds [p. 345] of dust darkened the air and confined the prospect to within a few yards of the person. We followed this road almost due south for some three miles, till we approached the south or Chinese wall, when a sharp turn was made to the right, and, passing close along the yellow-topped wall that girts the Emperor’s palace, another turn brought us before the dilapidated gate that commands the entrance to the Hall of Ceremonies. Over this gate was written, in conspicuous letters, “Board of Ceremonies.” This gate led into a large courtyard, where the procession filed off to the right and left, leaving an avenue for the passage of Lord Elgin’s chair. The left side of the courtyard was occupied by Chinese menials and animals, and the right side by those of the British. Prince Kung and numberless mandarins were already in waiting in the open hall which stood at the other end of the courtyard. As his lordship advanced up the avenue, the troops presented arms and the band saluted him with the national air. The Earl walked to the farther end of the hall and took the seat of honour prepared for him, at the same time motioning the Prince to take the lower seat on the right, about fifteen feet off. A table, covered with tawdry red cloth, stood before each. Sir Hope Grant sat on Lord Elgin’s left; and ranged behind a row of tables down the hall, on the left, sat and stood [p. 346] the other officers that were present at the ceremony. Behind similar tables on the right were ranged native princes and mandarins of every button. The attaches and interpreters of the Embassy stood between the High Commissioners, at a central table, whereon were placed despatch-boxes, paper, and other official apparatus; and the Prince had standing by him Hangke and two other mandarins.

After the exhibition of the respective full powers of the Commissioners, the convention was signed. Two articles had been admitted which was not proposed in the previous convention drawn out at Tientsin; the one legalizing coolie emigration, and the other ceding to her Majesty’s Government the peninsula of Kowloon, opposite Hong Kong, which had previously been rented from the Governor-General of Canton, as alluded to in the first chapter. After the signature of the convention followed the exchange of the ratifications of the Treaty of Tien-tsin. A minute, recording the proceedings which had taken place in connection with the exchange of ratifications, was then drawn up in duplicate, and, being signed and sealed by the Plenipotentiaries, one copy was given to Lord Elgin and the other to Prince Kung.

The scene was interesting, but there was little appearance of that Oriental magnificence which one would be led to expect on such an occasion in the [p. 347] capital of a vast Eastern empire, in an assembly of her princes and nobles. The old hall bore the stamp of neglect and decay of the thousand and one other public buildings in Pekin, and the tapestry that hung from the uncoiled roof was of cheap stuff and faded; the Chinese grandees themselves were dirty and badly dressed. These last, however, probably looked worse than they actually were, as the overwhelming dust of the roads through which they had passed may have diminished the gloss of their multi-coloured apparel. It certainly had not tended to improve the appearance of our people. The Prince, a cadaverous-looking young man of twenty-three, with a long, pale, smooth-shaven face, bore a timid, sulky demeanour throughout the ceremony, and answered snappishly to the questions put by the interpreters. He was dressed in a long, purple, damasked silk, with a round, dragon-flowered patch on each shoulder, breast, and back; and on his head he wore the winter official cap, but with a button of twisted red silk instead of the various mineral buttons that decorate mandarins. A necklace of carved beads hung round his neck. His nether garments were yellow and his boots embroidered. An attempt to photograph the scene, on the part of Signer Beato, was a signal failure. The Prince had proposed to give a banquet after the ceremony but this was declined, as it was still feared [p. 348] that the treachery of the Chinese might find vent in poisoning the food. So soon as the business was concluded, Lord Elgin took his leave, accompanied by the procession, as before, and the guns on the An-ting gate announced to the world that peace had been concluded between Great Britain and China.

The French exchanged ratifications on the following day, on which occasion Prince Kung was reported to have been in much better spirits. The French accepted a banquet after the ceremony, and their day passed more pleasantly than had ours.

On the day after the signing of our treaty. Lord Elgin took up his quarters inside the Tartar town in the large walled-in collection of small houses, known as the Palace of Prince E, not far from the northeast gate, the Royal Regiment accompanying him as body-guard.

That same day, I was ordered to proceed to Tungchow to assist Captain Dew in engaging boats for the conveyance of the heavy baggage to Tien-tsin; and I availed myself of the company of M. Zill and a French officer who were also bound for the same place. The beaten track by which the baggagers travelled to and fro was about fourteen miles. The dep6t was established near half way, and afibrded a goad resting-place. It was a well-chosen spot, surrounded and sheltered by luxuriant groves of [p. 349] fine timber. The French bad a small atation or “poste” near Tung-chow, at the Pa-le bridge.

Tung-chow is a large walled town comprising the old and new cities, one thick wall some thirty-five feet in height encircling the whole. A narrow stream from the Feiho runs through the town, and is bridged over in several places; but there is nothing in the town inviting a second visit: the houses are small, dirty, and squalid, and the temples second-rate. The marines were quartered in the suburb beyond its north wall^ on the banks of the narrow stream that branches from the Feiho. The banks of this stream presented a busy and interesting scene. Hundreds of large flat barges were ranged side by side in the water, all numbered and marked; some were being laden with heavy baggage from the front, which was fast arriving in military train waggons, while others were discharging to reload the waggons. The blue-jackets were in charge of this water transport, under Captain Dew, and very ably they performed it. A well-supplied market was also established on this strand. Behind the suburb lay the canal in calm repose between its rush-fringed banks, its waters winding past the north wall, on which stood the finest sight at Tung-chow — a lofty minaret of twelve stories, some 150 feet high. The great nuisance of this suburb were the beggars, who, covered with all [p. 350] manner of loathsome diseases, swarmed the lanes, and lay about the doorsteps half naked. Colonel Travers showed me much kindness while a guest at the hospitable board of the marines, and I was happy, by the use of my tongue, in some measure to requite his kind attentions. The magistrate of the city brought a complaint against certain soldiers unknown, who had entered the town by a southern gate, and broken into a house for plunder, killing one man and wounding several others. The Colonel knew this could be none of his men, as they were well looked after, and on inquiry, the Chinese aflSrmed them to be soldiers with red trousers and caps. The matter was therefore carried before the French commandant in charge of the station, and the marauders proved to be some of the French troops on their way from Ho-see-woo to the poste at Pa-le-cheaou.

Before returning to the capital, I took a ride with Captain Dew over the small bridge above Tung-chow, and along the opposite bank of the river to the junction canal some two miles up. In one part of the shallow river some fishermen were engaged drawing the stream for fish, and as the operation ^seemed an ingenious one, I will briefly describe it. A wicker barrier was stretched across the river in a zigzag line, converging into two angles with open vortices, to each of which was applied a large basket, with mouths [p. 351] shaped like those of baskets used at home for catching lobsters. The fishermen then stripped, and stretching a large weighted sieve-net across the river some distance higher up, dragged the river with the net towards the barrier; the men holding the two ends of the net meeting as they approached the wicker angles. Several of the larger fish leapt over the net, but the majority that escaped its meshes took refuge in the baskets at the angles.

Below Tung-chow a double ferry was established across the two branches of the river, and the concourse of people that went to and fro showed a large traffic with the town. As we approached they seemed much alarmed, scuttling away with cattle, horses, and goats, as if afraid that we should take forcible possession of them. After a few words exchanged to establish good feeling, we returned, and shortly after 5 o’clock I accompanied Captain Dew to the camp at Pekin.

Colonel Wolseley and Lieutenant Harrison were ordered down to Tung-chow to superintend the transmittal of baggage, unfortunately before they had completed their survey of the capital; so our department was broken up.

The city was now open, and officers were allowed to stroll wherever they had a fancy within its walls, except in the precincts of the imperial grounds. As a precaution, however, at first, orders were issued [p. 353] by the browning hand of time, and moss-grown. The artificial hill in the imperial gardens, constructed by Kublai, still stands conspicuous, with the pagoda on its top, and at once attracts the eye of the stranger who casts a glance over the flat row of houses in the city. As you ride along the broad road from the East Gate, on the east side, past Prince E’s palace (the temporary residence of Lord Elgin), and through the eight triumphal arches, towards the main road from the An-ting Gate, your eye rests with pleasure on this round wood-covered hill rising picturesquely from the midst of the glittering roof and umbrageous trees within the palace walls. Hear Marco speak of this hill:”Towards the north, about a bow-shot from the palace, Kublai has constructed a mound, full a hundred paces high, and a mile in circuit, all covered with evergreen trees, which never shed their leaves. When he hears of a beautiful tree, he causes it to be dug up, with all the roots and the earth around it, and to be conveyed to him on the backs of elephants, whence the eminence has been made verdant all over, and is called the Green Mountain. On the top is a palace, also covered with verdure; it and the trees are so lovely that all who look upon them feel delight and joy.”

Pekin, as all are aware, consists mainly of two [p. 354] portions: the northern, or Tartar city, girt in by a lofty and massive rectangular wall, with immense imposing square comer towers and nine double gates; and a large southern suburb, tacked on at later date by an extension of* the surrounding wall, and known as the Chinese City. The southern wall of the old city, with its three gates, still divides the two portions. The suburbs outside the walls are small and confined chiefly to the immediate neighbourhood of the gates, and the country round about is sparsely populated. The main street of the two divisions are broad, and run, for the most part, either directly north and south, or east and west; but the intermediate streets are narrow and often very tortuous. All are uneven, full of ruts, in dry weather unpleasantly dusty, and in wet weather fearfully muddy. In the heart of the Tartar city, a rectangular space is walled in, and apportioned to the residences of nobles and grandees, and within this another wall encloses the grounds of the imperial master. The Tartar city in olden times was appropriated by the Tartars alone, but now little distinction is made between the races. It is divided into quarters, or parishes, assigned to the Mongolians, Manchurians, Chinese, or Mohammedans; each division having its police, who are responsible for the order of their several parishes, and, on occasions of mandarins [p. 355] passing on duty, have to appear with whips to command order among the populace. Most of the houses in the Tartar quarter are private residency hut the main streets are lined with shops. The busy portion of the city, however, is the Chinese part, and to that the officers crowded for the purchase of curiosities. On the right of the central gate leading to the Chinese city, in a small street, several fine curiosity-shops occurred, and the crowds that thronged that street made it insufferable. All the army was desirous to purchase some memento of the great city of Cathay, and the six or seven shops which were well supplied with every kind of article de Itixe that the great empire produces, drove a flourishing trade during the period of our stay. The Chinese were very well-disposed towards us, and often said that they much regretted ^^ our majesties ” were so soon about to leave; they had hoped that now we were masters of the city we would hold possession of it. In front of the central southern gate was the grand entrance to the imperial palace, from which a paved road ran under the gate and down the broad Central road that divides the Chinese city. Both sides of this road were lined with shops and stalls, and crowds of natives pressed backwards and forwards, engaged on their various errands. As we rode south about a mile and a half from the — gate, no more houses or shops occurred, and the busy throng of men were with them left behind. The road still continued, but on either hand was waste land, and we passed on in comparative solitude, with the few ragged boys at our heels who followed to hold our horses for a trifling gratuity. The central south gate of the Chinese wall now appeared in sight, with a large walled-in enclosure on either side of the road, the left enclosing the Altar of Heaven, or Tien-tan, the right the Altar of Earth, or Te-tan. These sacred spots are never trodden by aught save the Emperor and his high mandarins; to all others the right of entrance is denied. Even the victorious allies found some difficulty at first in gaining admittance; but a firm insistence on the right soon overruled, and thenceforth all that presented themselves were admitted. We entered through a side door into the large waste park in the first enclosure of Heaven’s Altar. The grass was all dried up and the trees, for the most part, leafless, so the place presented a barren appearance. The gateway and the walls were roofed with glistening green tiles. The roadway led under some cedar-trees to a small enclosure, in which were several buildings — the refreshment-hall among others — and in the centre a somewhat conicaJly-shaped structural covered with purple tiles, and surmounted by a golden knob. This turret was situated on a [p. 357] broad circular terrace of marble, which dropped to two other narrower terraces, and then to the ground, bv means of steps. The central series of stepe facing the south had each flight divided by a large tablet, carved either with dragons or phoenixes on its fance. Up this the Spirit of Heaven ascends into the temple. The series of steps on the right is consecrated to the Emperor*s celestial footsteps alone, and the series on the left to the mandarins that ascend with him. In like manner there were three entrances to the temple — one large central portal for the Spirit to enter, and two side ones for the Emperor and his mandarins. The floor of the temple was paved with black marble, and facing the central doorway a raised platform of white marble, with steps leading down. At the back of this was placed a black throne, whereon the Spirit of Heaven is supposed to sit in majesty. A table, with an incense-burner, stood in front of it, and a large offering-stand in front of that again. On the right side, within the temple, were four thrones, and on the left four, all with incense-burners before them. These were dedicated to the eight canonized monarchs of the ruling dynasty. On New Year’s Day, his Imperial Majesty, seated in his yellow sedan, with sixteen bearers, a select cortege following, proceeds in great pomp along the paved road leading from his palace to this temple. i [p. 358] , the people, while the procession passes, meekly falling on their knees, with eyes cast down. His Majesty enters the temple by the right flight of steps through the right door. The two other doors are thrown open for the admission of Heaven and the favoured sons of earth. Incense rises in clouds from each altar; a slaughtered bullock is placed on the stand as the pledge offering; and the Son of Heaven, retiring backwards from the incense he has placed on the altar, descends the steps, prostrates himself on the floor, and, with nine kow-tows, acknowledges, for once throughout the rolling year, that there is a being superior to himself. The thanksgiving over, the bullock is taken outside and burnt over an irongrated dry well, which receives the ashes. The choice assembly then retire to the banquet-hall, where refreshments are laid out ready to satiate the imperial appetite and cheer the imperial heart. The banquet over, the procession returns with all the pomp it came. We found the place much neglected; weeds covered the marbled terraces, and dust the heavenly temple; but our guide took the trouble to assure us that all things were put into order before the advent of each new year. We then crossed the road, and by another side-door entered the enclosure of the Altar of Earth. [p. 359] Here there was again a large waste park, speckled with trees, and on the left a smaller walled enclosure with buildings, many of which were in sad disrepair. About the centre of the place stood a square terrace of marble, raised some Atc feet aboTe the level of the ground, with steps on each side. In front of this was the land turned year after year by the imperial plough. On the right, among some trees, was raised another marble terrace, with incense-burners; and in the rear the halls of refreshment. It is during the feast of Tsing-ming, in the third moon, that the Emperor favours this spot with his august presence. Incense is burnt on the altar, and he proceeds with his imperial hand ^^ to guide the well-used plough, to lend his shoulder, and commence the toil.** This feat is proclaimed to the world by the blowing of trumpets and great cheering. He is said to break the soil for the third of a “mow” (Chinese acre); he then ascends the central terrace, and, on a throne brought there for the purpose, contemplates the attempts of his princes, as they work each one his ” mow*s ” breadth. At the conclusion of this rustic farce, the banquet hall is cheered by the celestial smile, and leave taken as before. ” Then through the field the sower stalks, and liberal throws the grain into the faithful bosom of the soil. The harrow follows harsh and shuts the scene.” Wheat [p. 360] and Indian com are usually sown on these occasions, and the produce of the small plots stored in the imperial gamer. The Temple of Confucius is worthy of mention as a fine two-storied building, but in style it resembles all others dedicated to the tablet-worshiping fraternity found in southern cities. We must not pass over the old Roman Catholic cathedral of the Jesuits, near the third gate of the Chinese wall. This building had long been deserted, as the celebration of Catholic services was forbidden within its walls, and the cross had disappeared off its top. The two priests residing, disguised in Chinese garb in the capital, gained the influence of the French in reinstating the establishment, and erecting a fresh cross on its summit. When the place was put into thorough repair, the officers of the allied army were invited to attend the first service, and once more the Te Deum was chanted within its long-neglected walls, in grateful homage to the Almighty Maker. The population of Pekin has been rated at 3,000,000, but, judging from the broad streets, the scattered houses, and large waste places within both Tartar and Chinese towns, we should venture the statement that the actual population does certainly not exceed one million. [p. 361] The Russian Mission is established in a small house in the Tartar city, near the wall which divides the two cities; and a Cossack sentry, in his long grey coat and fur cap, stands posted at the entrance. About two miles beyond the north and east walls, a long mound, thirty feet high, runs parallel with the wall, with occasional breaks to let the main roads run through. This earthwork is now grass-grown, and looks, at first sight, like a freak of nature, but tradition marks it as the boundary of an encampment held centuries ago by a conqueress of the Chinese race against the Mongol Tartars. The north road from the city is said to lead to the Great Wall, which is put down about forty miles distant, but none of us proceeded sufficiently far to get a view of it. Outside the city wall on the north face between the two gates is the grand Tartar parade-ground, occupying about two square miles of irregular space. Beyond this are arranged side by side a row of splendid llama monasteries, their yellow-tiled roofs glittering conspicuously between and almost hidden by the large-limbed trees among which they are ensconced. One of these San-kolinsin had lately occupied, but it now had the honour of being the head-quarters of the French Embassy. The temple adjoining was the largest and most beautifully got [p. 362] up, with large gaudily painted images, and shrines covered with old specimens of porcelain jars and beautiful ornaments of inlaid enamel. On our first arrival the General thought proper to place a guard over this temple to save its costly treasures from being plundered, but afterwards, when it was assigned as quarters to the Military Train, the guard was removed and every article worth the taking carried away. This temple was built under the patronage of the Emperor for the Teshu Llama, the spiritual ruler of Greater Tibet; and in one of the court-yards a splendid monument of pure white marble some thirty feet high, with a gilt top, and highly wrought all over with bas-relief carvings, is dedicated to this spiritual chief under the name of the Ea-tang, or Pan-ching-fay. It is truly a splendid piece of workmanship, and much credit is due to the Commander-in-Chief for having maintained throughout a guard at its base to save it from the fate that all else in its neighbourhood shared. In a gallery above this court-yard was a row of blue and green coloured images, the male figures with hideous hydra heads, celebrating the loves of the great male and female principles of nature. These unooiith and indelicate josses found their votariM aaMvng the barren women who came periodically to beseech these deities to grant them issue. In another part of the temple were the private [p. 363] rooms set apart for the accommodation of the envoy delegated by the Teshu Llama to the court of his imperial master. The next temple was smaller, and consecrated to the reception of the legate of the Dalai Llama, the spiritual chief of Little Tibet; and in this all the priests were still remaining. Most of them were Tibetans, and could scarce speak a word of Chinese. Their costume was a yellow robe, with a red girdle, and their head-dress a cap with a furcovered rim, yellow on the crown, with a red knob of twisted silk. Their polls were shaven, and they possessed a strong, unpleasant odour, not unlike that of sJieep^ which the Chinese attributed to the quantity of mutton they daily consumed. This second temple was also ornamented with huge ugly josses, and painted cloths hanging from the roofs covered with bad representations of skulls and skins of flayed human victims. But what struck us most was the large prayer-boxes placed about the room, called by them Ma-me, filled with scrolls of Tibetan writings, carefully rolled and put inside, the box spinning round on a pivot. We had read before of these boxes in the travels of the Abbe Hue through Tartary. The votary gives the box a spin, repeating an incantation to each turn, and at each revolution is supposed to have offered all the prayers that the box contains. Small boxes similarly crammed. with llamas’ [p. 364] prayers, and made to revolve on pivots lengthened into handles, are served out to the helievers. The hox is written round with the incantation, and from its side, attached hy a piece of string, depends a weight, which gives a measured force to the revolutions. The incantation, as given me hy the priests, may he thus syllabled: ” Oom-ma-nay-put-mear-hoom,** or, ” Oongpang-sara-pa-nay-hoom-put,** which is intended for an invocation to the deities that preside over “heaven, earth, man, wounds, fire, and misery.” I was told that all the images had similar prayers inserted in their composition, and we found such to be the case in certain small josses which we examined. Within the metal plate on which they stood were inserted small rolled up slips of pith written over with Tibetan characters; each slip being rolled separately by itself and tied round with red silk, and the whole carefully covered with a scented piece of yellow silk. The majority of the llama temples were situated outside the wall, and most of them were on a magnificent scale, indeed much finer than any of those dedicated to China’s three adopted religions. It seems to have been the policy of the Chinese emperors to have extended a most munificent patronage to the religion of the llamas, and to have allowed them to build large and splendid temples in the neighbourhood of the capital, in order to exercise the better [p. 365] hold over the countries of Tihet, where this sect of Bhuddha incarnate finds its nursery. Mohammedanism has also a firm root in the capital, and the numher of its votaries is no despicable one. Their mosques occur, though not so numerously as the Uamaseries, and there are a few of them even within the city walls. I mentioned before the fellowship that existed between the celestial followers of the Prophet and the Mussulman Seikhs. By way of recognition between them, it was a common practice to thrust forward the right hand, and as speedily to close it, leaving the thumb standing up conspicuous. But a similar sign was made by any native who wished to show the sincerity of his heart. He would point to the sky and to the earth, then to his heart, and would finish the demonstration by holding up his thumb; thus meaning that he called upon heaven and earth to witness the integrity of his heart. The officers declared that these signs of mutual trust and sincerity were proof positive that freemasonry had long been known and established in China. The mass of loyal subjects of the empire who feel in duty bound to acknowledge one of the three established religions in China — to wit, Confucianism, Taouism, and Buddhism — may all get suited in the numerous temples dedicated to each of these within [p. 366] and without the metropolitan walls; but, as far as my experience leads me to infer, a very confused idea is entertained by the material Chinese masses of the relative differences of the three. The majority pay like homage to all. You will often see a literary character who feels bound to be a staunch upholder of Confucian doctrines, bum incense and bow before the dull images of wood and stone worshiped by Buddhists; and again, a farmer or sailor who daily and nightly chants prayers to the presiding deity of his class bodied in hideous material form and bedaubed with gaudy hues, will turn with reverence to a Confucian tablet, thinking it must bear a sacred character, because wiser and more lettered heads than his pay to it homage. Sedan chairs are of rare occurrence in Pekin, the chief conveyance being the small spring-less cart we have before described. In these the highest classes of mandarins ride, jolting over the uneven roads. The private turn-outs are cushioned inside, and curtained in front, and Prince Kung himself paid visits in one of his own. We often met mandarins dressed in full costume riding past, sitting cross-legged within, and peering out through a convenient hole cut in the curtain. No retinue with gongs and bellowing executioners attend them on these occasions, as in the south. The imperial despot is alone to receive [p. 367] honour within his chief city, and the highest functionary goes ahout, in consequence, attended by the driver of the cart and a follower or two on horseback. The poorest classes, however, patronise the wheelbarrow. This is guided by the two hands of a man, as in ordinary barrows in use at home, but the load is more thrown on the wheel by the latter being larger and removed into a central position. The wheel is higher than the sides, and being caged over forms a convenient back to the seats on either side. This ingenious contrivance is well adapted either to convey passengers seated back to back, or to carry packages. The Pekinese are more addicted to riding than their more timid southern fellow-countrymen, and you often meet men mounted on fine strapping mules; but their horses are small, and not much to boast of. A stranger cannot help being struck by the long strings of dromedaries he meets, especially in the Chinese town, stalking along, jingling the bells attached to their necks. They all carry pack-saddles fitting round their double hump, and held on by a double girth, and are led by ropes fastened to a ring through the nose. The foremost beast is led by a man, and the file that follows are tacked each by a string to the tail of the one in advance. They are very docile, and seldom show themselves unruly, though it was not considered safe for a [p. 368] stranger to go too near their heads. When alarmed, or in a’ passion, the hrutes emit a cry somewhat between a loud shriek and a sneeze. They are wonderfully hardy animals, bearing equally well the violent heat of the Pekin summer and the cramping cold of its winter; in the former season their skins becoming almost bare, and at the latter acquiring a thick rough coat. The Chinese prize them much for the small quantity of food they consume as compared with the heavy burdens they carry with ease; and I should say that they would form an acceptable addition to the beasts of burden at home, where in flat portions of the country they might be usefully and economically employed. Falconry, mentioned by Marco Polo as one of the pastimes of the great monarch Kublai Khan, still continues to have its votaries among the Pekinese; but it is now chiefly confined to the poorer classes as a means of support, the eflete nobility and gentry generally preferring the luxurious life of indoor indolence and ease to the health-giving sports of the field. Men were frequently seen with hooded falcons on their hands. The red-legged falcon and the merlin are the species chiefly employed in hawking, but a large species of buzzard is also trained for hares and the larger feathered game; the small falcons being mostly flown after quail, which abound in tbe large tracts of [p. 369] autumnal stubble. The birds are reclaimed with a tufted hood of much the same form as those used in Holland, and are at first flown with a long string attached to the wrist of the master after quail, who timidly cower when the hawk hovers over to pounce on them. The hawk seizes the bird, and is hauled up to the master’s wrist again, where he is rewarded with a piece of the captured quarry. This teaches him to return to the wrist so soon as he has pounced on the bird; and after continued training the string is removed, and he is cast at much longer flights. The buzzard is, I suspect, what Marco talks of as Kublai’s trained eagles. Hares are especially abundant and tame, and therefore offer an easy quarry for this larger hawk. So tame are they that in winter, when they come down from the hills in large numbers, they are easily knocked over with sticks, and supplied at cheap prices in the market. The excessive cold benumbs all kinds of game to comparative tameness, and the fowlers, by means of their matchlocks and nets, have therefore little trouble in keeping the market constantly supplied with large quantities of wild-fowl and palatable birds. The country produces articles of food in great abundance. Flesh is more largely consumed here than in the south, and you see fine healthy-looking mutton hanging up in the butcher’s shops, and sold [p. 370] a pound. An old tradition prohibits the slaughter of the ox, which toils for man, within the prefecture of Shun-teen, but no such law obtains in the neighbouring districts, and therefore the poor beast is led into the adjacent country to be butchered, and its flesh brought to Pekin for sale, where the price of beef rules at 2d. the pound. Water in the capital is mostly procured from wells along^the roads,’ near which drinking troughs are provided for passengers’ cattle; and for every animal that drinks at the trough, the owner throws in one cash (tenth of a halfpenny) into the water, by way of remuneration to the man who stands by to draw from the well and feed the troughs. Coal is procured in the San-kia-teen hills, some thirty miles distant to the west, and brought to the capital on the backs of dromedaries. It is of the description known as anthracite, and realises 16^. per ton. It is ground to dust and rolled with clay into round balls, which are used for heating stoves, and have the advantage of yielding a glowing heat with but little smoke. Bricks used for building, tiling, and flooring, are made in large quantities in the neighbouring kilns. They are fashioned out of the clay of the pits and arranged round the inside of the kiln, where they are burnt for three days. The fire is then extinguished [p. 371] by application of water, and the bricks removed as they cool. Blown glass for windows, and glass-ware generally, is imported from Canton. The use of this material for ¥nndows is commoner than in southern cities, but it is chiefly confined to the residences of the wealthier classes. Fine-woed or deal is the timber mostly used in house-building, and is procured from the forests at no great distance, where charcoal is also manufactured in large quantities. The finer woods for furniture are imported vi^ Tien-tsin from south China and the Straits. The land is laid out in open fields, marked occasionally with boundary ditches surrounding particular plots of ground; and as the alluvial soil is very rich and productive, it is seldom allowed to lie fallow long. The chief produce of the country is the KaoiUeangj or Barbadoes millet {Sorghum)^ which, besides being largely used in the distilleries for making spirits, gives food to man and beast Its seed-time is March, when the rigoufs of the winter have scarce abated. The ground is then covered with ashes as manure, which is ploughed into the soil preparatory to sowing; and the harvest is looked for in September. The stalks, some eight or ten feet high, are then cut down, leaving from two to three [p. 372] feet of stem still standing, which dry and harden into stiff pegs all over the face of the country. Cotton and small beans are frequently sown in April between the rows of millet, and not coming to maturity till later in the year, yield a crop ‘after the millet has been cleared away. Three other descriptions of millet are also grown for food. Yellow maize is sown in March, white maize in May, both yielding a harvest in September. Jute of large growth is sown in March and gathered in October; its berries are ground into flour, and its bark twisted into cordage. Coxcomb has the same periods as the last; its seeds are used for cakes. Tobacco is planted in March, and attaining a moderate height by June, the large leaves as they show symptoms of decay are plucked, rolled up, and strung on strings to dry. When thoroughly dry, they are considered ready for use. The castor-oil (Ricinus officinalis) is planted in March; the berries begin to ripen in July. An oil is extracted from them, and used for lubricating purposes; its medicinal properties being unknown. Wheat, a bearded variety, is cultivated in spring in fields of low level, and irrigated in the manner of rice. Another variety is sown in Octoberi under [p. 373] goes the frostbites of the severe winter, and yields a crop in May or June. But very little wheat is comparatively grown, large quantities being imported from Shan-tuug and elsewhere. Sweet potatoes (Batatas edtUis)^ brinjalls, groundnuts, and buckwheat, are other crops which engage the attention of the husbandman, as well as other plants used for oil, or forming into besoms, whose Chinese names I am alone acquainted with. Human manure is used for the cultivation of vegetables, but in the field-crops ashes supersede it. Much care is bestowed on the cultivation of vegetables, and many kinds, together with apples, pears, and grapes, are preserved the winter through in covered pits, the air in fine weather being admitted through loopholes, which are carefully closed in very cold or damp weather. The people are comparatively poorer and dress more shabbily than those in the south. The villages and towns are less densely populated, and the inhabitants, notwithstanding their antipathy to water, seem to enjoy fair health from the salubrity of the climate. The diseases most prevalent are fevers and bowel complaints, which our military doctors asserted to be of an obstinate and persistent character in regard to the British troops. Occasional cases of cholera and small-pox occur. [p. 374] Education is much neglected; and I think I may safely aflBxm that scarce one man in twenty, of the countiy people at least, is capable of writing more than his own name and the name of his village. [p. 375]