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place of destination, where he finds himself acting immediately under our old acquaintance, the inspector general Yang, who now reäppears in his former capacity as the villain of the plot.
As soon as Yang perceives the extraordinary merit of our hero, he pitches upon him for his son-in-law; and when the latter declines the proposal on the score of his previous engagement to Red-Jasper, Yang circulates a false report of her death. Sa, however, is two much distressed at this event, to think of another marriage ; and Yang thus failing entirely in his purpose, begins to persecute the young judge in such a way, that he resigns his place in disgusi, and sets off to refresh himself upon an excursion to the Western Lake. Here he falls in with Pa, and makes acquaintance with him ; but as both had assumed feigned names and characters in order to travel with more freedom, they meet as perfect strangers. After talking literature and making poetry together for a few days over their cups, they gradually get upon a confidential footing, and let each other into the secret of their respective family affairs. It soon appears that Mademoiselle Pa is not dead, that Dream-of-a-Peartree is residing with her at the old gentleman's, that the latter is as anxious for the marriage as any of the parties, and that there is now nothing to prevent it. In the mean time, the intrigue at the capital by which Sa lost his regular promotion is discovered, and he is permitted to mount the Golden Horse without any further delay. Everything being thus arranged to the general satisfaction, the marriage takes place, and as usual, closes the novel.
Such is the outline of the fable of this very curious work. We have omitted, of course, all the secondary and episodical parts, in particular, the whole machinery of divination, which is used with a good deal of freedom, and exercises considerable influence in the knitting up and unravelling of the plot. From this abstract, however imperfect, of the contents of the novel, the intelligent reader will see at once how much light it must necessarily throw upon the domestic and political economy
of the vast empire in which the scene is laid, and may conjecture what stores of information will probably result from future researches into the same mine that has furnished this specimen. We are prevented, by want of room, from entering at much length into a commentary upon the state of civilization in China, as indicated by the work before us; and must reserve most of the remarks which occur to us upon the subject, for some other occasion.
We may observe, in general, that the condition of society in this remote quarter of the globe seems to resemble that, which exists among ourselves, more nearly than has hitherto been supposed ; and that the points of difference (which are nevertheless considerable) are not, in all respects, (though they certainly are in some very important ones) to our advantage. As regards the leading principles of domestic economy and the intercourse between the sexes, the Chinese are doubly unfortunate in the allowance of polygamy on the one hand, and the unnecessary restrictions imposed upon ordinary and harmless conversation on the other. The system that prevails on this subject in all the Christian countries, though strictly conformable to nature, and apparently the one that would suggest itself most readily to every correct mind, has never been adopted in any
other part of the world, and is doubtless one of the circumstances that have contributed most powerfully to the progress of civilization in Europe ; as it was itself, on the other hand, the effect of the general influence, upon all classes of the community, of our pure and sublime religion. In some other principal features in the aspect of domestic life, the deep veneration of children for their parents, the warmth and tenderness of all the family relations, and the universal polish and softness of manners, we might perhaps with advantage take some lessons from the natives of the Celestial Empire.
Their political institutions, which have been hitherto but little examined, are, as we hinted above, well worth the attention and study of philosophers; and might perhaps furnish useful suggestions for the improvement of governments founded in the main on other principles. The constitution of the Chinese empire, instead of being, as is commonly supposed, an absolute and unmitigated despotism, in which the only element of power is the cudgel, is evidently one of the most popular forms of government that has ever existed ; and although the mode of bringing the will of the people into action be different from the one in use with us, we are not compelled to conclude without examination, that it is therefore necessarily bad. The difference of form renders each system, on the contrary, a more interesting and useful object of study, to those who are familiar with the other.
As intellectual accomplishments are apparently much more important and valuable to their possessor, and as civilization is also of much older date, in China than in Europe, it appears singular that the Chinese should not have carried the sciences to a higher degree of perfection, and should be in this
respect decidedly inferior, as there is reason to suppose they are, especially in the mathematical and physical departments, to the western world. With our present scanty information respecting their institutions, situation, and manners, it would be idle to attempt to assign any precise reason for this inferiority. We may venture perhaps to conjecture, that the vast political importance attached to learning, may have turned the current of zeal and industry almost wholly into the channel of moral and political studies, which are those immediately required as preparatory for the public service, and have led to the comparative neglect of all other branches of learning. Civil polity, we know, is habitually spoken of by the Chinese as the great science, or, in their own phrase, the highway; and as it seems, at any rate, to be the one which leads to the possession of wealth, rank, and beauty, it is not very surprising that the majority should regularly follow it. But on this, as on all other points connected with the subject, we must wait for the fruits of further researches before we can speculate with much satisfaction, or draw conclusions with any great degree of probability. QUARTERLY LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
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