« ПредишнаНапред »
never be the founders of a national press. The Chinese missions themselves have been so alternately vilified and overpraised, that a word anent them from a perfectly unprejudiced observer may not be amiss in this place. The Romanist missionaries have, as is wellknown, had greatly more success in China than those of Protestant churches; apart from the undeniably greater personal devotion of the Roman missionaries as a body, there is one satisfactory reason for this-a Chinese may become a Roman Catholic and yet remain an Oriental in all except technical points of belief, while to be a Protestant, he must first understand somewhat of the free thought of the west, and be, so to say, occidentalised; this, I think, will in great part explain the inferior success of our missionaries. But I have not been able to forin a very favourable opinion of native converts on the whole ; I fear the new religion taught them is often inore narrow and less humanity-embracing than that they have learned froin Confucius ; only broad, enlightened and liberal christianity can wean men from the catholicism of Buddhistical views or the lofty public spirit of the Confucians, and unfortunately this is just what the modern missions are least capable of imparting. With oné excéption, (whom for peace sake I will not name) missionary apostles to the Gentile of this century represent sects rather than the higher fundamental christianity; this is, perhaps, inevitable at present, but great as this drawback is, there is surely hope for a people like the Chinese, whose sacred books contain in more than one shape the ruling precept of christian conduct, “Do as you would be done
Hong-Kong is not without its délassemens. Besides the club of which I have spoken, there are others, Portuguese, French, &c., and book clubs and library societies besides. Indeed, the circumstance of a majority of the foreign residents being Scotchmen, almost implies a considerable amount of literary culture. Yet there is not one bookseller's shop in the island (except native Chinese), and this has a significance of its own. In the large general stores will often be found an “assortment” of catchpenny books and shilling novels, which are sold at the usual enormous profit. It is well said that with regard to what it can purchase, a shilling in England is equal to a rupee in India (2s. Id.) and a dollar (4s. 3d.) in Hong-Kong. “Cargoes” of books are occasionally sold in lots in the public auction marts; but, as I said before, bookseller proper there is none. It is curious also that the Scotch residents have as yet no branch or presbytery of their National Kirk in China, and it almost seems to afford a little countenance to a remark I have heard not altogether with satisfaction, that Scotchmen becoine Episcopalian as they become rich. The Church of England Establishment and Missions are supported by the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel, and the more effective Indepen
* See Confucian Analects, Book 5, Chapter II, and Book 15, Chapter XXIII, in Rev: Dr. Legge's edition of the Chinese Classics.”
dent Institutions, under the management of the Rev. Dr. Legge, by the London Mission Society; a Free Kirk mission to the Europeans in Hong Kong might perhaps have as noble a field in the re-vivifying with the torch of Faith the lapsed worldling as any the “conversion of the heathen” could afford.
But to our tale. At the corner of the parade ground (where the abominably dressed British soldier maneuvres just as "squarely," but with a paler face, poor fellow, than at home), stands a huge ugly building of bamboo and matting ;-this is the theatre, where strollers from Australia and other places meet, amateur actors squabble furiously, and occasional pleasant musical entertainments take place-admission to body of theatre generally one dollar (4s. 3d.) and so in proportion for stalls and boxes! By a singular want of reflection this huge mat house is situated quite close to the North Barracks, the whole front of which is made up of open jalousie work, dry as tinder and porous from effects of climate and white ants-a stray spark of fire would wrap the theatre in flames in five minutes, if this occurred the North Barracks could scarcely be saved, and the Murray Barracks, at the other side of the road, would most likely be consumed also! Fires are frequent, and often very destructive in Hong-Kong-on two occasions I have seen several streets completely burnt down. Still we trust to mere luck for the safety of those barracks: I would not of course propound
Upon any pretence,
Such a heretic damnable error ! as that the health, comfort and well-being of the soldiers are of as much importance as that of other Hong-Kong folks, but if a drunken rowdy (there are such things there at odd times) did put his match to one of the dry leaves of which the theatre is built, and that a regiment, a battery of Artillery, a company of Engineers, &c., were left houseless in two or three hours, as miglt most easily happen -- and especially if the conflagration spread further, as it most likely would in such case — why, we might not look on the picture from behind with the same equanimity as we do now from before,—to say so much at least is no treason!
One more scandal of Hong-Kong is unfortunately connected with one of the United Services. It is a practice with the men-ofwar stationed there to give liberty to large bodies of their crews periodically. Those who know the unfortunate proclivities of poor Jack will have no difficulty in estimating the result, the streets full of noisy drunkards, and all inevitable concomitants. I have seen a dozen sailors lying helplessly drunk in a corner of the Parade ground while the band was playing a few yards off to the assembled “rank, beauty and fashion" of the town — and I have seen worse, for I have seen the melancholy sight of hundreds of vaval boys sent ashore on liberty in the same way with no control or direction, and a sad sight it was. No doubt the wretched police arrangements are primarly responsible for such scandals; but it will be hard to acquit of all blame the naval officers, or the Colonial government which does not peremptorily stop such duings, even if tlie "revenue” and the grog-sellers et hoc genus omne did suffer by it.
I have dwelt at some length on the many social faults of this microscomical colony, but I have done so as the beneficent surgeon uses the cautery for the eradication of disease, and because Bluebooks and formal travel-lore seldom touch on such subjects, which are yet of more moment to the well-being of our race than mere statistics or geography. And when I walk out to the “ Happy Valley" and see that crowded graveyard full of the ashes of my poor comrades, that tall obelisk which tells the fate of half a regiment, that towering pillar which commemorates the "inute, inglorious dead” of another, that Celtic cross of granite that tells where so many of the savant artillery lie, that massive, gloomy pyramid to those who were once the génie, the constructive intelligence of an army-when I notice that the military monuments are not only the most prominent but the most numerous in this Aceldama (to which so painfully applies the simple, heart-stricken words of poor Tom Hood's “ Lady's Dream.”
And then she shuddered : “ I never saw
A ground so full of graves") - I cannot help thinking, that my poor brothers-in-arms have not received in this remote spot the advantages and care to which they have an indefeasible right in their double capacity of Britons and soldiers; and I have, perliaps, a lingering hope that even these rough and hurried, but truthful, pages, may have their small influence in the improvement of the soldier's life in China, the development of his faculties, the abolition of senseless routine and martinet ideas, the removal of the wholly mischievous and to hiin unfortuHately irresistible temptations which are allowed to dog his steps, like robbers, for the sake of the few pence he pockets froin his daily pittance; or may even perhaps lead some man of influence in the councils of the colony to induce his fellows to inaugurate a new era in its military records, and in their future conduct towards the men sent so far from home to defend their interests, to bear in mind that man's life is more valuable than gold, and not to deem the soldier a prey, an enemy, or an imcumbrance, but to cherish and honour him, and to take to heart, fraternally and loyally, the words of the true-hearted poet of their own old land:
“The brave poor sodger ne'er despise,
Nor count him as a stranger;
In day and hour of danger."
Page 104, line 14; instead of the Futai, read the Viceroy Tsang.
While it is anfortunately necessary that our gallant soldiers must return home as invalids, it is satisfactory to know that everything is done to provide for their comfort during the voyage, and to enable them to recover as speedily as possible after their arrival in England. The establishment of the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley was a great step in advance in this direction, and much benefit has already been the result. As, however, the ships bringing home the sick from India and the Colories call at Spithead, on their way to London or other port of final discharge, and do not proceed to Southampton Water, the men have to be transferred to a steam tender, and considerable inconvenience has been experienced by many who have been thus taken from Spithead to Netley, especially during the winter months. We are glad to find that this has now been remedied, by the construction of a tow-boat, with the appropriate name of “Florence Nightingale," built expressly for the purpose, at the suggestion of the Director of Transports, and we were pleased to learn from some of those recently returned from abroad that they were conveyed in the new craft with much comfort, and were landed at Netley with great expedition, and without exposure to wind or weather.
It is impossible to read the account of the foundering of the London, emigrant ship, in the Bay of Biscay, without feeling some uncomfortable doubts as to whether we have not been too hasty in substituting iron for wood in our ship-building, we seem to pay too dearly for our whistle. Whilst everything goes well, your iron ship may be likened to an express train with the line in perfect order, but a very slight matter indeed is sufficient to bring down utter destruction on both. A single length of rail displaced caused the Staplehurst accident, a wave of no unusual height put out the fires on board the London, and, heavily laden as she was, it could not but come to pass that she must go to the bottom. Whether she really had on board some 1,200 tons of railway iron, whether she had tons on tons of coals loose on her decks which stopped up her scuppers, whether her build was in all respects as strong as it ought to be, are points that must be made the subject of a searching inquiry. This inquiry, too, ooght to extend to what supply of barometers she bad, whether they' were of good construction, and if they were, what induced, or coinpelled, thie captain to put to sea with storm signals so plainly against him. A paper in our present Number, by Mr. Glaisher, will show how commonly, we had almost said how generally, the warnings of science are neglected, and we can conceive nothing more urgently requiring legislative interference, in the interest of all “who go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in the great waters.”
The Proposed Army Reductions. Some time ago politicians and other speculators were gratified by the announcement of alleged reductions in their army, contemplated by the French Government. Subsequent official explanations, however, very materially modified, the expectations of the former, and demonstrated the cautious wisdom of the latter. But even had the contemplated reductions of the French Arioy been ten times as great as those officially announced, all who are acquainted with the subject would have deemed such reduction of very little account in the great European question of disarmament or the reduction of Standing Armies. France, according to her admirable military system, might grant congé to half of her magnificent army, and yet have it back under her eagles within a month or two.
The Emperor, in his recent speech to the Senate, expressly states that, " by suppressing the cadres of 220 companies, 46 squadrons, and 40 batteries, but at the same time drafting the soldiers into the remaining companies and squadrons, he rather strengthened than weakened his regiments. As the natural guardian of the interest of the army," he emphatically adds, “I should not have consented to these reductions had they affected our military organization, or tended to ruin the prospects of men whose services and devotion I can appreciate."
We need not say that we manage matters very differently in England. Any reduction in England must necessarily be what it pretends to be, a reality and no sham. The men and the cost of their training are irrevocably sacrificed. In addition to this, their numbers add to the competitors in the labour-market of the community, which is already over-stocked.