Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

James Legge, Missionary and Scholar
Chapter XIII. A Tour in North China

IN 1873 Dr Legge bade a final farewell to Hong Kong. On his departure he contrasted its aspect with that in 1843, the year of his arrival. 'In Hong Kong harbour on a moonless night you seem to be in the midst of a fairy scene. All the bay is bright with lights on hundreds of ships and boats; and every dip of oars into the water is followed by splendid phosphorescence. For about three miles along the shore rise lamps that in the distance seem to form one circling line of brilliant light, and rows of other lamps rise in tiers one above another till they gleam faintly out of the cloud of mist that hangs down on the city from the Peak. You turn in for the night, but are on deck again with the early dawn, and gaze on a large city, built on ground recovered from the sea, on terraces of fine-looking houses, gradually rising to a height of above 500 feet above the level of the water. When I first looked on the space it was mostly empty, and covered with rocks much more difficult and unmanageable than Scotch hills. What will not the will and force of man, aided by wealth and science, accomplish?'

But before leaving China itself he had set his heart on going north and seeing at least five great sights—the Tomb of Confucius, the Altar of Heaven, the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, and T'ae Shan, the sacred mountain of China. This last, indeed, stands above any other mountain in the world in its abundance of historical associations extending through well-nigh 4000 years. The traveller sent a detailed account of his journey in a diary-letter to Mrs Legge, which bears testimony to his minute and vivid powers of description.

During the first month the journey was accomplished in a mule cart. He never forgot the tortures of the ride from Tientsin and onwards, squeezed into a bare wooden cart four feet long by two and a third feet wide, without springs or cushions: bumped and jolted, now along an unmade sandy road where you might travel miles and not come upon a stone, now over a once splendid highway left unmended for centuries, so that the slabs of granite and marble lie about with hideous yawning furrows between them.' But so it is in China, stupendous works are accomplished, but no pains are taken to maintain the fight from year to year with the dilapidations that are unavoidable in all works of men. Roads, canals, palaces, all were once on a grand scale and in splendid order, but filth has been allowed to accumulate over them till all is decay and ruin. Lack of public spirit and want of municipal arrangement of affairs are responsible for this. The people look to the government to do everything for them and when that has become weak and without a generous ambition, it is like failure of the heart in the human system.'

So wrote Dr Legge on this journey. One day, speaking to the governor of a province about the Yellow River, which for thousands of years has been called 'China's Sorrow' Dr Legge said, 'The government ought to clear out the channel and keep the embankments in order.' Said the governor: 'It is the sand which it brings down which chokes the bed and causes the disastrous floods, and if it were cleared out this year the same evil would recur next year.' 'Just so,' said Dr Legge,' but why do you not clear it out regularly every year?'

The idea of such systematic labour was beyond the official's grasp. China has no idea of carrying on the struggle with the natural progress of things to obstruction or dilapidation. She can make an effort on an occasion, but does not maintain the upper hand which she has gained.

The inns were filthy and poverty-stricken. The bedroom contained usually a 'kang' or sleeping-place, extending the whole width of the room and about five feet wide. Being hollow and built of brick, so that it can be heated, it forms for the Chinese a luxurious resting-place in winter to those who spread their mats on it and go to sleep wrapped in their sheepskins. But once or twice the only hostelry available had neither door nor window to a single apartment, neither kang nor bedstead, and Dr Legge, after appropriating half a door and some broken rafters which were lying about, was fain to set up a bedstead made out of them on the earthen floor. Such were the conditions of his journey in North China in 1873.

He approached the great city of Peking with its towers and pagodas and its immense wall, forty feet high and nearly as thick, with buttresses, gates, and towers rising over the gates. On seeing them he could understand how travellers entering the city on horseback, have been known to dismount and shake hands, congratulating one another on having reached a city of so noble an appearance.

To Dr Legge the most impressive sight was the Altar of Heaven. Built of white marble, with blue wall surrounding to resemble the sky, the vast circular Altar rises in three terraces, the lowest 210 feet across, the second 150, the third 90. He mounted to the top and stood by the circular slab in the centre, where every year, at the winter solstice, the Emperor kneels, facing the north, and, bowing his head to the marble does homage to the Supreme God. 'Not always in the same spot, for there were other capitals of the Empire before Peking, but on similar structures and with the same observances, the rulers of China, as the high priests of their people have—say— for three thousand years, at the same season of the year, knelt in worship of the ruler of Heaven and Earth, under no roof and with no image of the Divine Being.'

Up the grand and desolate pass from the village of Nan-K'ow, which led to the Great Wall, Dr Legge and his two friends rode. Through this pass the great traffic between Peking and Mongolia flows. The pass, about thirteen miles long, rises gradually to the Wall which is at an elevation of about 2000 feet above the plain below.

The traveller writes:—'Arrived at the Wall a thrilling consciousness possessed me. East and west the hills rose up and the Wall seemed to dash up and along their ridges like a mettled racer, a wild stallion of the desert dashing along. Strong granite foundations and large bricks above, and formidable looking towers at short intervals, gave the Wall the appearance of great strength; its height was over twenty feet and the width on the top also twenty. It crosses 21 degrees of longitude from the coast of the Pacific to the desert borders of Thibet—a distance in ail of more than 1200 miles. When the late American statesman, Mr Seward, was on the Wall, he made a calculation, and found that to construct one of equal dimensions in the United States to-day would exceed the entire cost of all the railroads in that country; and yet this stupendous work was executed in China 2000 years ago.

1. Altar of Heaven, Peking. 2. Sshrine in Temple of Confucius.

Dr Legge next visited the Ming Tombs, east of Nank'ow, in which are buried the emperors of the Ming dynasty—all but the last, who hanged himself in Peking and was buried elsewhere without pomp by his conqueror. From the splendid marble gateway of five arches they passed along a ruined marble road about three miles long leading to the range of tombs. This is the famous Avenue of Animals— huge creatures carved out of one block, four lions (two sitting and two standing), four camels, four horses, four other animals fabulous. Then come colossal images of warriors and statesmen. There is a wantonness of barbaric grandeur about the avenue, fit prelude to the gateways, courts, halls, terraces, altars and staircases of the buildings surrounding each mound, some of which are half a mile in circumference and covered with cypresses, oaks and pines. To Dr Legge the whole scene was as fine an exhibition of the greatness and littleness of man in his highest state, as the world can show.

The following extracts from his diary-letter to Mrs Legge throughout this journey testify to his vivid powers of description.

Teh Chow, Shan-Tung Province, May 8, 1873.

'Here we are out of Chih-le province, and into Shan-tung. In four days we have accomplished only 460 li, or about 153 miles—little enough according to some ideas of travelling; but there are four creatures in the world, which, if they could speak, would say that we have made more dispatch than was good. I mean our four mules, the two in each cart, and if you could see our vehicles and the roads, and how the animals toil along from between five and six in the morning to seven at night or later, I am sure you would agree with them. Our only halt is for about an hour—generally from two to three when they get a feed and we ourselves take our tiffin. The name of this place Edie or Jamie may be able to find out upon the map which I left in my study. We hope to get to Tse-nan, the capital of Shan-tung province on Saturday night, and to halt there for the Sunday.

'Our route has lain very much along the course of the Grand Canal. We came upon it on Monday afternoon and pursued our way for hours along its banks; and during the last three days, we have never been far from it. It is quite navigable from farther south than this on to Tien-tsin, and seemed to me about as large as the Forth at Stirling—a fine stream of water with boats going up and down upon it. It was one of the greatest conceptions which a government ever formed, and though now dilapidated in various parts it might be repaired and deepened without much trouble.

The country has been all the way nearly as flat as a table. Not a hill has been in sight, not even a hillock, and nearly all the land is under cultivation. The first wheat crop is in the ear, and will be ready to be cut in about six weeks. Other grains are being sown, and the high millet is just showing itself above the ground. I said in a former letter that its stalks were as thick as your finger. I have since seen many much thicker, nearly an inch and a half in circumference and 14 or 15 feet long. Yesterday, outside Tung Kwang I was pleased to see many nice vegetable gardens all neatly fenced with those millet stalks, and not a weed in them. Indeed, it is a peculiarity of Chinese agriculture, especially in these vast plains, that the weeds seem to have been nearly extirpated from the ground. And there are no fences marking off farm from farm, and field from field—no hedgerows, and no stone dykes. You may travel miles indeed, and not come upon a stone. There are not the ditches and water channels that are so abundant in the south—only paths, and dykes of earth between which the roads lie. Later on in the season these dykes may be well covered with vegetation. At present they are not without flowers; —violets, large gowans, yellow and red, dandelions, etc., and many bushes of what, from the cart, has seemed to me a fine species of broom.

'There are, of course, no fields of grass, and there is a want of trees, though there are to be seen pines, cypresses, acacias, and some others. What makes another striking difference between the aspect of the country and what you see in England or Scotland, is that it is not diversified by farm houses. The country is not dotted by the dwelling-houses, each with its offices and farm-yard and garden perhaps, around it and a clump of trees. These give life and picturesqueness to a landscape; but here the cultivators of the ground all live in villages, on one of which you come at intervals of every mile or two. They are squalid-looking places, however, and I have not seen one good house since we left Peking. In the first place, there are not anywhere in the north here, not even in Peking, houses of more than one storey. Then in the country villages the houses are nearly all of mud—the floor (if I could call it so) of mud, and the roof of millet stalks coated over with mud. Multitudes are also in a state of dilapidation. If you see a house of good-looking bricks and with some show of architecture, you may be sure it is a temple. Is it a good sign or a bad that in China there is not one who can reproach himself like David that he is living in a ceiled house while the place of his god is merely a tent or a hut

'This morning, about eight o'clock, we passed a considerable village, Leeu Chin, which has a melancholy history. A body of the Tai-pings, some 2000 of them, were enclosed in it by the Mongol prince Sang Ko-lin-sin, who surrounded it by a mound on each side of the grand canal. They had no boats to escape by the water, and they would not force the wall within which they were enclosed. They were kept there for nine months, till all supplies of food failed them, and they ate one another; and at last the emaciated wretches who remained were all slaughtered—not one escaped.

'Let me try to give you some idea of how we get on as to our way of living, and some other matters. I have a mattress which just fits into the bottom of the cart; but at the back of the vehicle is a box of stores, my travelling-bag, and a bundle of wraps, a canister of tea, and other odds and ends; against these leans the mattress, which thus supports my back. On the front part of it, moreover, is my double blanket, folded so as to cover up on both sides as a buffer between my knees and the hard sides of the cart. On it I sit, and have my rug by me besides, which I find useful as a protection from the sharp air of the morning, and from the sun later on in the day as his rays blaze on my protruding legs. My portmanteau is strapped on the cart behind, outside. When we come to a halt for the night, all the baggage is carried inside, and my first business is to lay my rug on the kang or bedstead ; over it the mattress, and then my blanket That has never yet been too warm. Well, we are stirring always about five o'clock, and the landlord brings in a kettle of boiling water. I make some milk from a tin of the condensed article, and we have a cup of tea and a biscuit, and start. On we go, till about two o'clock, for the most part with nothing to eat unless we buy something by the way, which we generally do; sometimes it is a sweet potato or two, but more often some bread, and very good wheaten bread can be bought.

'About two we halt for an hour to rest and feed the mules; to have our own breakfast, or tiffin or dinner, whichever you like to call it. First tea is made as in the morning, and then my tins of preserved meat, butter, and biscuits are overhauled. It is a rough and ready way of living certainly, but I was never in better health.

'We are halting at Tse-nan, capital of Shan-tung, for the Sunday. I like the aspect of Shan-tung. The soil is stiffer and not so finely pulverised as Chih-le. Then the country undulates a good deal, and we have been gradually rising ever since we entered the province yesterday between three and four. Not long after we had crossed the Hwang Ho I was delighted, looking east, to see some fine ranges of mountains. Mount T'ae, which is our next point of direction, belongs to them. As we came on, the character of the land changed more and more and became stony; and a happy consequence of this was that the miserable mud-bricks of Chih-le gave place to stone for the foundations and walls of houses. The country too is much better wooded, and sometimes the road is lined with trees for miles together, some of them with large trunks and wide shade— evidently the growth of centuries. The fields of wheat are assuming a yellow tint, and harvest will be general here in the course of a month. There needs only the interspersion of pasture-lands to make the scenery as lovely as that of an English county.

'The variety of animals used in field labour and on the roads has struck me since I came north. The carts of which I have constantly spoken are drawn by one or two animals, which may be two mules, two horses, a mule and a horse, a mule and an ass, or an ass and a horse. There are also larger vehicles, corresponding to our waggons or caravans, which go slowly along, bearing passengers and goods, and drawn by still more various teams of from three to seven animals. In one waggon I have seen the team made up of three oxen, two mules, an ass, and a horse. A fine mule is more esteemed in Peking than a horse, and it is more honourable to be mounted on one. A gentleman will ride out on his mule, and his retainers ride before and behind him on horses. In the country, however, among farmers and others, much of the riding is done on asses. Many women also have passed us on them, sitting stride-legs, with their little feet upon the creatures, and always attended by a servant behind. In the fields the plough is generally drawn by two diverse animals, while the harrow and roller are drawn each by a single ass.

'But in speaking of beasts of burden I must not forget to place man himself at the head of the class. I omitted, when writing from and of Shanghai, to refer to an institution which has come into existence there since you were in it in 1865. You did see a barrow, with a priest sitting in it, on the way to Sikawei, but barrows are now more common in the streets than chairs are in Hong Kong. Upwards of 7000 of them ply for passengers all day long, and I was a regular patron during the three days of my stay. In Chih-le and Shan-tung barrows for the conveyance of goods as well as men are as common as carts. The thing seems to begin at Tien-tsin, where the streets are often blocked by trains of them; and all the way down to this we have met not a few almost every hour. On Friday morning a stream of about twenty came along right in front of us, each one with its matsail rising above the wheel and swelling out so as greatly to help the propulsion. These conveyances, however, as you know, are not the "cany waggons light" which Milton pictured to himself as guided or driven by Chineses but strong affairs, with a flat framework, well compact on each side of the large wheel, and on each great, heavy loads may be attached, hardly smaller than could be taken in a cart. The barrow-man is often assisted by another yoked in front, or by an ass, and so he pushes on at the rate of 20 or 25 miles a day.

'It had long been one object with me to see the Hwang-ho, and I was a little disappointed when I first looked down on the muddy stream. Not a small stream by any. means, but for my high-raised expectations. There it was, about half a mile wide, sweeping on with a rapid current, and a depth of fully twenty feet, to the sea. It took us, having! a favourable wind, only ten minutes to cross it. Should this channel be permanently established and open from Ts'e-ho city to the river's mouth for steamers, the city will by-and-by become a great mart, a distributing centre for Chih-le and Shan-tung and more than a successful competitor with Tien-tsin.

'From the river to Tse-nan was only 13 miles, and by 6.30 we had passed through its western gate. It is a large city, and cleaner and sweeter than most places in China holding the same position. The abundance of stone in the neighbourhood gives the houses, moreover, a more solid appearance. But its sweetness is owing mainly to its abundant supply of water. Near the western gate are four fountains from which the water gushes up, rather than bubbles, in large volume, day and night, all the year round. This flows away, and forms a large lake in the city on which boats ply, and islands with pleasure houses on them have been constructed. More than this, all through the city are streams or runlets of pure water, flowing with a gentle current.

We paid a visit in Tse-nan to the governor of the province. Hearing that he was there and that his surname was Ting, I jumped to the conclusion that he was formerly in office in Canton, and that I had seen him in Hong Kong. I sent our cards to him accordingly, and he received us, but it turned out that I was mistaken in the man. However, we had a long talk with him on general subjects. He is a stout man, with a strong voice, and has, I should think, considerable force of character. Speaking of the Yellow River, he said it was the sand which it brought with it that was the principal cause of the injury it did, and that if you put it all to rights this year the same thing would have to be done next. It was a good illustration of what I have said, that China has no idea of carrying on the struggle with the natural progress of things to decay and dilapidation. She can make an effort on occasion, but cannot maintain the upper hand which she has gained.

'It is time I should have done with Tse-nan. At seven o'clock this morning we were once more outside its gates, and on our way south to the prefectural city of Tae-gan, en route for Mount T'ae. We have not come quite 30 miles, for our course has lain among the mountains, and the road has been even more difficult than that from Tien-tsin to Peking. Bumping over stones and rocks is harder work than dragging through holes and deep ruts. There is not a cabman in London who would not have held up his hands, and held in his breath many times to see the daring of our two Jehus. Often the road was through a deep cutting, and so narrow that when we met barrows and carts, there seemed no possibility of our getting past them, or they past us. However, we came along without accident of any kind.

'We left Changhai by six o'clock in the morning. There had been a little rain during the night, and the sky was cloudy, but the only result was a few more drops about noon. We came along to Tae-gan with less dust and sun than usual, and reached it late in the afternoon. The road was no better than that of yesterday, being for most part over the dry bed of a river. The stream must at times be a quarter of a mile or more wide. One time I walked along where the ground was higher for a couple of miles before the carts, and passed many people in the fields and on the road. No one had an angry look or an angry word. From some points I had a good view all round, and seemed to be in the centre of a large basin, with the mountains encompassing me. The flowers were much the same as at home; forget-me-nots, violets, thistles in bloom, daisies, and many others which I could not tell. How often I have occasion to look back on the lost opportunities of youth! What would I not give now to know botany and several other sciences, as well as to be able to use easily the French and German languages. This is a word for the children.

'T'ae-gan is a small place for its rank as a prefectural city. We are at a good inn, and have concluded an agreement with chair-bearers to be here at four in the morning to take us up to Mount T'ae. They are to have half a dollar a man.

'Here I am, safe back from a very considerable achievement. If you had only seen me in the toils of the ascent, and in the perils of the descent, your thanksgiving to God to-night would have a peculiar fervency. I am sure mine has, though I do not think I was for a moment in any real danger. But the experience of the possibilities of travelling have been something quite new. You must understand that T'ae is the highest mountain in Shan-tung. Its height has not been determined by any scientific process, but the Chinese writers say it is over 4000 feet. In my opinion it is under that, but nearer 4000 than 3000. The distance of the summit from this city is given as 13 miles, but this also is an exaggeration—it is certainly not more than 10 miles. It took us nearly six hours to get up to it, but we came back in two.

'Being historically the most famous hill in China, and a regular place of pilgrimage, there is a paved and wide road all the way up to it—flights of limestone steps, mostly in good condition, being placed where the ascent is very steep. From the bottom to the top I should think there must be nearly a thousand flights of such steps, these in each varying from two or three to over fifty, the number altogether amounting to several thousands. To ascend and descend the hill in one day may be accomplished by a young and strong and active man. I never could have done it unassisted. But there were the chairs, and to carry mine I had four men, though only two could yoke into it at once.

'These chairs were of a pattern I have never seen before, but admirably adapted for the purpose. They are in fact hand-barrows, the handles of equal length behind and before, and rising with a curve in the centre instead of being flat, being short withal, and very strong, though light. One of them may be represented thus. Conceive the top of my old study chair without the feet, and much lighter, fixed firmly between those composite poles, with a bottom of rope-work instead of wood, and you have a sufficient idea of a Mount T'ae chair. The bearers carry it by leather straps, encasing rope or rattan. The one behind gets his strap on his shoulders, and raises the chair up, resting on the points of the shafts in front. You get into your seat, when the front bearer, assisted or unassisted according to your weight, takes up his shafts, and manages to get his strap over his shoulders, and there you are, aloft between them, your feet resting on a small piece of wood suspended from the shafts, and feeling quite comfortable.

'The bearers then move on up the hill and up the steps, not straight forward, but side-wise, the strap first on one shoulder, and then for relief on the other, and you, never looking forward, but first to the one side then to the other. So with a crab-like movement, so far as you are concerned, you go up and down. The advantage of the arrangement is that the feet of both the bearers are always on the same level, or the same step, and the weight which they have to carry does not vary. The method is admirable and safe, but I confess that when so borne up a flight of 40 or 50 steps, with 500 steps behind, and as many in front, the flights separated only by small landings, and deep precipices on the right and left, I wished the thing were at an end, and was glad you were not near. But no strap nor shaft gave way; the men moved on bravely and with assured step; coming back, they literally ran down the steps. I felt my best plan was to leave them to themselves, and I paid them their wage thinking that never was money better earned.

'Time would fail me if I were to try to enumerate the objects of attraction which the Chinese guide books call attention to: this cave and that grotto; where Confucius ascended ; where such and such an Emperor turned his horse, unable to proceed further; the temple of this idol and of that. Nearly a hundred such places are pointed out. Celebrated in Chinese history from the earliest times, and closely associated with Confucius, and with the heroes and great men both before and after him, we might expect to find here, if anywhere, the recognition of his principles, and the old religion of the country.

'But it is not so, and for at least the last six hundred years, the mountain has been one of the principal seats of the Taoist superstition. This most debased system has got a temple of one of its principal deities on the very summit, and a little way below it to the east is the temple of the "Great goddess of Peih-hea, the Sacred Mother." To her the highest attributes are ascribed in the maintenance of universal nature, and especially in the generation of human beings. And childless women go up continually to ask her help in granting them their heart's desire.

'There is another temple, indeed not quite a third of the way up the hill dedicated to the goddess of the Great Bear, which is resorted to much for the same purpose, and not in vain, if one may judge from the hundreds of votive tablets with which the walls and roof are covered, tablets from ladies, or, it may be, from their husbands, whose wishes have been satisfied. On the day I went up, there were many women ascending—small-footed women nimbly going up the flights of steps assisted by a long stick. Most of them might be hoping to have a child, but not all. Near the top I met a bright old lady coming down, with whom I entered into a little conversation. She was 74, and had been to the summit, perhaps interceding for a daughter, or a daughter-in-law.

'But this is merely, it may be thought, popular superstition, yet the Emperor every year, at the full moon of the 4th month, sends the highest officer of the province, or some other high officer deputed by the governor, to perform an act of solemn worship at the temple of the Sacred Mother. At three o'clock on the morning of the day we ascended, the treasurer of the province performed this act. It was full moon, and we might have gone up by moonlight and got in in time to see the ceremony. I am sorry we did not do so. The thing was proposed to us by the man from whom we hired the chairs, and their bearers; but I thought of you, and was chary of attempting such an ascent without daylight

'All about the temple were pillars or tablets, commemorating the repairs of the buildings by emperors of different dynasties. Great repairs are now going on, and by-and-by will be another tablet recording this virtuous deed of the present young emperor in the first year that he took the reins of government into his own hands.

'But it is time I should be coming down from the top of Mount T'ae. All about upon it are memorial tablets by different emperors, some of them of brass, but mostly of marble. And there are astonishing inscriptions, extending over more than a thousand years, on the rocks. I bought a copy of one, that is, a rubbing of it taken on paper from the rock, perhaps 50 feet by 30. Where is the room in Dollar, [Mrs Legge was then resident in Dollar.] or even in Edinburgh, where it could be exhibited? Confucius can hardly be said to be in the second place on the top of Mount T'ae. There is a small temple to him in a state of dilapidation, and it is below both that of the Sovereign and that of the Sacred Mother. Yet Mencius has recorded that Confucius once ascended to the summit, and there counted all under heaven small. It is sad to see him so discrowned on his own green ground.

1. Colossal figures! approach to the ming tombs. 2. Quotations from the Classics, Hang Chow.

'Crowds of beggars infest the hill, levying their contributions on the pilgrims and travellers. They are mostly women, young and old, and nearly everyone has two or three naked children with her, who are taught to re-echo her howls and prayers, and to be constantly prostrating themselves. A few live in huts by the wayside, but more in holes and crevices among the rocks. Humanity has seldom appeared to me more utterly lost and degraded. One man crawling about in rags, with long matted hair and miserably emaciated, was to me the most hideous object I have ever beheld.

'K'uh-fow, May 17, 1873. — Here we are at the city of Confucius. The only thing on the day's journey worthy of note was our coming in the afternoon upon a field of poppies near a village. Thus the people are getting everywhere to cultivate the opium plant for themselves. Some old people on the wayside expressed their regret, saying the next generation was sure to grow up in the habit of opium-smoking. It is sad to think that we have not only forced our drug upon China, but that we have thus led the people to cultivate it for themselves. There will yet be a heavy retribution for our policy and course in this respect.

'We reached this place, the great object of our journey, to-day about noon. On the north-west of it we crossed the river Sze, famous in old books, at times a broad river, but now only a small shallow stream; and about a mile on from it, or rather less, we come to some ruins on our right, with a tablet telling that here was the College of the Sze and Shoo. We dismounted, and found several tablets of the Yuen, Ming, and present dynasties testifying that here in his old age Confucius had lived and taught his disciples, and accomplished the great literary tasks for which he is to be held in everlasting remembrance; that the celebrity of the adjoining cemetery has cast the place into the shade, but now the deserved honour was done to it. Perhaps it was so, and on this spot the sage lived and taught; but the effort made to revive the place and make a temple or literary hall of it has failed. All was ruin, only the foundations of the buildings remaining.

'About half a mile farther on we saw the wall encompassing the "forest of K'ung," or the cemeteries of the sage and his descendants. Entering a small enclosure, separate from the other, we found that it contained the tombs of the two daughters of Confucius. I was not aware before that he had more than one; the other, it was said, died young and unmarried. From this to the gate of the Sage's own cemetery was not very far. Entering it, there stretched before us a grand avenue, some thirty feet wide or more and a li in length, lined with fine cypress trees. Arrived at the end of the avenue, we entered a large park, and, turning to the left, came to a bridge over the river Choo, which finds its way through the grounds, now a mere thread of water, though at times a roaring torrent. Across the bridge there opened to us the entrance to the tomb, through another avenue, lined with cypress trees, acacias, stone panthers, and unicorns, after the model of the Ming tombs, but on a smaller scale.

'I stood on the top of the mound over the Sage's grave, and my thoughts went back to the open grave from which the remains of Napoleon had been conveyed to France out of St Helena not long before the time I was in that island. Which of the two was the greater man? I should be inclined to give the palm to the Chinese worthy. Before the tomb of Confucius on either side of it were the tombs of his son and of his grandson, the famous Tsze-sze, author of The Doctrine of the Mean.

'Soon after 4 o'clock the next day we were stirring, and went out of the city about a mile to see the temple of the Duke of Chow, one of the sages and legislators of old China. He was a brother of the first king of the dynasty of Chow, in which Confucius lived, and the sage was never weary of talking of the Duke's virtues, though in process of time he has himself taken the other's place in the estimation of the rulers and people.

'When we returned from the grave of Shaou Haou, we found that our carters had driven away. For this I was not prepared and called a council to consider what was now to be done. We had got to the limit of that part of China where carts could be hired. What were we to do? Should we go on horseback, muleback, or assback? Even if we got the animals what would become of our luggage? We could not entertain the plan, and the only thing to be attempted was recourse to the wheel-barrow. Men were sent for, and after an immense palaver, for they knew we were in their power, a contract was made for two wheel-barrows to convey us and our luggage to Tsing-KeAng p'oo, a distance of 800 li in 8 days.

'When our carts were gone, we had been obliged to give up the plan of visiting the grave of Mencius, and seeking an interview with the present representative of the family, the 70th in descent from the philosopher, as the Confucian Duke is the 75th from the Sage. I was very loath to give this up, but everything must be sacrificed now to getting on in our barrows as fast as possible to Tsing-Ke&ng p'oo. However, our road passed through the city of Mencius.

'Starting early, we got between 10 and 11 to the place where Mencius buried his mother with great pomp in his day, though the grave is now sadly neglected. Close by was the village where Mencius lived, still the home of many of his descendants.

About noon we reached the district city of Tsow of which one of his descendants, the head one, is always a magistrate, and went to see his temple, which is in an enclosed grove outside the city. It is a fine place, but far inferior to the temple of Confucius. We saw that, however, at an advantage when some 10,000 had been expended on it in painting and gilding at the expense of the Imperial treasury. Repairs were also beginning at Mencius1 temple. I suppose the young Emperor's reign is being inaugurated by a general refurbishing of all the principal temples through the Empire, and there will then be expended millions of dollars, while next to nothing is being done for the benefit of the people. I looked over all the temple, took a drink from Mencius' Well in it, and went on my way.

'We have got through another day, having passed about noon through the district city of T'ang, and reached a village about six o'clock. Our inn is the most miserable we have yet been at, without door or window to a single apartment, without bedstead, without what you would consider a single appurtenance of civilisation. I bestirred myself immediately on our arrival, and appropriating some broken rafters and half a door, which were lying about, I built a place with them on the earthen floor for my mattress. Edkins is to try and sleep in the cart. I think we shall both have a good night's rest.

'We have made a wonderful march to-day of 43 miles. I wonder the chairmen have been able to do it For three hours indeed in the forenoon they engaged the help of an additional man for each chair, but that hardly lightened their own labour, though it enabled them to get on for a time with greater speed. Everybody seemed to be glad to be away from the miserable place at Ch'en-ho, and by 4.30 under the moonlight we were walking out from the inn gate. The idea was, if we could get on to this place to-night, we should find a good inn, and be able to regulate our progress for the next four days, so as always to rest where there was at least a bedstead. Still there are here two bedsteads, such as they are, in a room with a door, but the place is otherwise as filthy and poverty-stricken as any we have seen. If cleanliness be indeed next to godliness, not even the Esquimaux are farther from the two things than the Chinese are.

Yesterday I ascertained that two of our chairmen —the wheelers, so to speak, in each chair, are K'ungs, descendants of Confucius. One of them is 54, and ought to have lighter work to do, but he is hale and hearty. The other is under 30, a fine active man. They are both naturally of superior qualities to the others, but they have been entirely uninstructed.

'It is something to think of that we barbarians should be wheeled along through the country by descendants of the Sage. Multitudes of the clan are allowed to grow up as ignorant as any other Chinese. We were told that there is no free school in the city of K'euh-fow. The duke himself has a large annual income from government, an income say of 8000 or 4000 acres of land, and other members of the clan are provided for, but the mass are left to the tender mercies of their superiors. And what they can do for themselves? So it has always been. Aaron and his descendants had the priesthood and its honours, but the mass of the Levites had to do menial offices.

'This morning I turned aside into several fields where men were collecting the juice which forms the opium. An incision is made the evening before in the seed-bulb, and in the morning men go round and scrape the juice which has exuded and gathered round the slit. This process is continued so long as the plant throws out any juice. The temptation to the cultivation is very great. Some have said to us that by growing poppies they make five times as much out of the same ground as by growing wheat. Others have given the advantage as smaller. One man reduced it to twice as much, but even that must be an overwhelming temptation. The people will become more and more demoralised.

'To our great surprise, at six o'clock this afternoon, we came after many days of separation, on the Grand Canal, and were ferried over to its west bank. It was a fine stream of about 70 feet wide, flowing southwards with a gentle current They told us that

1. a poppy field. 2. Gorge in the upper Yaxgtse.

above the point (the Chang farm lock), some four or five hundred grain junks were lying in the mud for want of water, but that if we went with our chairs down the stream for 15 miles, we should come to a place where we could get a boat to take us to Tsing-KeAng p'oo. I was strongly tempted to take up the idea, but finally determined to stick to the chair, as a sure, though slow and humbling way of getting on.

'We have passed out of Shan-tung province, and have got into Keang-soo, so called from the river Keang and from Soo-Chow, which are both in it. At what time of the day the thing was accomplished I do not know, but accomplished it was. The hills have gradually got smaller, and I think they subsided to-day entirely into the plain. We shall have nothing similar to them now, I suppose, till we get to Japan.

'It was five o'clock when we reached Peen Fang, and soon after there came into our inn-yard all the population of the place to see the savages. I could not but groan at our thus being made a gazing stock. We have but a small room where two imperfect bedsteads have been rigged up. Over my head is a swallow's nest where the old pair are rejoicing in the twittering of a numerous brood to whose wants they keep ministering. The only comfort is, that our half of the journey to Tsing-KeAng p'oo has been accomplished.

'The great sight of yesterday was when we came on the old channel of the Yellow River. We struck it at a point about 200 miles east of the place where it turned from flowing to the east and south and went off to the east and north. From bank to bank where we lighted on it the river must have been a mile wide, but where was the water? Here and there a pool might be seen, but in general the great channel was a bed of waving grain, with many fields of opium, I was sorry to see interspersed. I daresay 400,000 square miles of fertile territory have thus come into existence. We walked for two or three miles along the bank, or rather embankment, by which it had been attempted to keep the river in general within its channel, a great erection originally perhaps nearly 40 feet high, and 10 feet wide at the top. The ground in the old channel, however, was higher than the level of the fields outside the embankment, showing that the tendency of the stream had been to elevate its bed, as must be the tendency of all rivers which bring down with them much sand or soil in their waters. Our friend the Governor of Shan-tung whom we saw at Tse-nan is for bringing the river back to its old channel. I think it had better be allowed to continue in the new courses which it has struck out for itself. All along the thousands of years of the nation's history this great river has been called "China's Sorrow." Now perhaps, had the Government sufficient intelligence and public spirit, something might be done by calling in the science of the West to cope with the great difficulties that present themselves in regulating the stream. The embankment where we walked was all planted with fruit trees, especially the peach. There were tens of thousands of the fruit, but what was very tantalising, not one was ripe.

The tablet presented by the Chinese community.

May 26.—On the Grand Canal. I must ask you to congratulate me on having got rid of the confinement of the wheel-barrow, and sailing on a tolerably comfortable boat. We landed on the 30th at Shang-hai, just a month after leaving Peking.' From Shanghai Dr Legge sailed to Japan, and thence across the Pacific to America. Landing at San Francisco, he visited the Yosemite Valley, Salt Lake City, and Chicago, going on to New York whence he sailed for England and joined his wife and children in Scotland in August.

Translation of the Circular issued by the Chinese Community in reference to the presentation of a Tablet to Dr Legge on leaving Hong Kong.

The Rev. James Legge of Great Britain was first at Malacca, in charge of the Anglo-Chinese College, his diligent and efficient conduct of which made his name distinguished. Afterwards, he removed with that Institution to this place, where he has resided for more than twenty years—from first to last earnest and diligent, explaining the sacred Books and preaching the Gospel, so that the number of Chinese who have received his instructions cannot be calculated.

On his first arrival here, he established a school and instructed disciples, teaching them both in Chinese and English; and the result appeared in the distinguished attainments of many. Most of the interpreters who are now in different places came forth from his gate. His success may be pronounced complete.

Let us consider what manner of man he is. Not only is he endowed with extraordinary powers, investigating things to the root, pushing his researches into the classical writings and ancient monuments of our literature, and then translating them for the benefit of the world; but he is also humble, cordial to scholars, loving all creatures, and benevolent to the people. His services have been freely given to the utmost extent of his strength, on every application, whether it was from the Government of the Colony, or from any scholar, merchant or common individual. Hardships have been redressed by him; perplexities resolved; doubts removed; and evils that had long festered dispersed.

The kindness and compassion of his heart, and the harmony and generosity of his deportment have made men admiringly look up to him. All the residents of Hong Kong, both Chinese and others, with different tongues, but a common sentiment, speak his praise to each other. This all know, and we need not enlarge upon it. Now he has just returned to his native country, and the foreigners of the whole island are joyously contributing to send him an expression of their respect; and their example should be followed by us, the Chinese, that, by our united contributions, a piece of plate may be prepared, with every man's name upon it, and sent to England, to be kept by Dr Legge as a remembrance of us.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus