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THE JESUIT MISSIONS.
perseverance and great prudence. He conciliated the Emperor by teaching astronomy and Western sciences. In teaching Christianity he tried to make things pleasant all round. “The Emperor found in him," says a French writer, “a man full of complaisance; the pagans, a minister who accommodated himself to their superstitions; the mandarins, a polite courtier, skilled in all the trickery of courts; and the devil, a faithful servant, who, far from destroy
ing, established his reign among the heathen, and even extended it to the Christians. He preached in China the religion of Christ according to his own fancy, adopting the sacrifices offered to Confucius and his ancestors, and teaching the Christians to assist at the worship of idols, provided they only addressed their devotions to a cross covered with flowers, or secretly attached to one of the candles which were lighted in the temples of the false gods.” This style of teaching was much reprobated by European Catholics, and great controversies arose; but the Chinese Emperors decreed that Christianity as taught by the Jesuits should be taught there.
For over a century the Jesuit missions flourished. Numerous bishoprics were established era, and probably long before. In 1111 A.D., Wan-wang, of the Chan dynasty, made his brother Prince of Yen. This prince built himself a city, which he called Yen-king, on a site now partly occupied by the western portion of the Chinese city. But in 1200 A.D. the great chief of the Mongol Tartars, Genghis Khan, swept down upon China, and carried all before him. His grandson, Kublai Khan, destroyed Yen-king, and built instead the city of King-ching, known to mediæval geographers as Cambalu, the capital of Cathay. This was the city which Marco Polo saw in its youthful prime, and of which he gave such wonderful descriptions to his incredulous fellow-citizens. The Mongol dynasty reigned here till 1368 A.D., when its power was crushed by the Chinese, led on to revolt and victory by the son of a labourer, Choo Yuen Chang, who, under the name of Hung-woo, became the first Emperor of the Ming dynasty. Pekin for awhile sank to the rank of a provincial town, until the third Ming Emperor, Yung-lo, having extended his dominion over Cochin-China, Tonquin, and Tartary, made this city the seat of his Court and the capital of his vast empire. In 1544 the Emperor Kia-tsing walled in the extensive Chinese suburb which had sprung up to the south of the Tartar city, and since that day the cities which (as we shall presently explain) make up Pekin bave retained their present dimensions without change. The ornamental marble-work that once formed part of the ancient capital of the Princes of Yen is seen mingled amongst the foundation-stones of the existing walls.
During the reign of the last Ming Emperor, Tsung-Ching, in the year 1612, Pekin was surrendered by treachery to the victorious rebel, Le Tsze Ching. The Emperor committed suicide. The Chinese general commanding on the adjacent frontier invited the Manchoo Tartars to aid him in ejecting the rebels from the Imperial city. The Manchoos readily agreed, defeated the rebel army sent to meet them, and marched on Pekin. At the news of their approach, Le set fire to the Imperial Palace and evacuated the city, but was overtaken, and his forces completely routed. While the Chinese were still rejoicing at the suppression of the rebellion they found that a fresh difficulty bad arisen. The victorious Tartars did not see any necessity for going back to Manchooria. Though informed that their services were no longer required, and invited to retire, they refused to leave Pekin, and proceeded to elect Shun-che, a son of their own sovereign, Emperor of China. Shunche was the first monarch of the Ta-tsing dynasty, that still rules the land. For a time the adherents of the Ming dynasty made strenuous efforts to eject the invaders, but the new-comers gradually subdued the whole empire, and the shaven head with the pigtail, the symbol of Tartar sovereignty, became universally adopted. Shun-che divided the northern city of Pekin amongst his Tartar chieftains, and caused all Chinese to remove to the southern city; but in process of time this exclusiveness became less rigorously insisted on, and now in both cities, Chinese, Manchoos, and descendants of the Mongols are all found.
Pekin is situated in the midst of a vast alluvial plain, formed by deposits of the Yellow River, and is eighty-five miles north-west of the Gulf of Pechili, and nearly forty miles from the nearest point of the Great Wall, originally built to keep out of China the Tartars, who now form the ruling caste in the empire. There are two distinct cities, each with its own walls and fortifications. The southern, or Chinese City, called Wai-ching, is
, of an oblong shape, covering fifteen square miles. Immediat ly north of it, and counected
rows of embrasures, with the muzzles of cannon ; but as these cannon are in many cases wooden dummies, they are not so formidable as they appear to be.
The governor of the city bears the title of General of the Nine Gates. The captaincy of each gate is held by one of the imperial princes, who largely increase their income by obtaining something for themselves above the regular tariff from all persons entering the city with goods. Chinese officials make the most of their opportunities, and the deputies who watch the gates, by taking eggs from baskets and lumps of coal from the backs of camels, manage to make their posts very profitable. The gates are all locked at curfew; but a bribe to the Manchoorian guard will procure a ready passage.
As regards military defence, the walls and gates are practically useless. For a long period nothing has been spent on them, and a crowd of wretched structures are reared against the ramparts in the extramural suburbs. The garrison of the city consists of the bannermen, descendants of the followers of the various Manchoo chiefs who took part in the conquest of China in 1614. These chiefs built the numerous Fuhs, many of them still handsome, but generally in a ruinous condition. The bannermen are only responsible to their own officers, and not amenable to the civil jurisdiction.
The city is divided by the broad streets that cross it at right angles, as well as by an infinitude of narrow lanes. In the great streets are many shops, with peculiar carved and gilded fronts; a broad pathway runs along in front of the houses; the centre of the street is elevated about two feet, to form a carriage-way, and between this and the footpath, in the busy streets, the thoroughfare is obstructed by a long line of mean-looking huts and shops. The streets are not, in general, paved; in dry weather the dust lies in heaps, and in wet weather the immense quantities of mud make locomotion very difficult. Carts wrecked in two or three feet of mud are in some streets common occurrences.
Proceeding now to describe some of the more prominent edifices and monuments and characteristic scenes of the Chinese capital, we will begin with the Observatory that towers so conspicuously above the south-eastern ramparts to which it is annexed. Seen from the centre of the city, its massive astronomical instruments stand out against the sky like some colossal insect. The present edifice, built under the Ming dynasty, is a square tower about sixty-five feet in height, which replaced an earlier Mongol observatory on the same site. Some large bronze astronomical instruments in the lower courtyard are said to date from the Mongol era. When Kanghi, the second Emperor of the present dynasty, was reigning at Pekin (A.D. 1662—1723), the Jesuits were at intervals in high favour with him. They engraved for him a large map of China from a survey executed by his orders, and under their superintendence larger and more complicated instruments were fabricated for the Observatory. When the Jesuits were expelled, and their property confiscated, this establishment was spared, and everything has remained for over a century as Father Verbiest left it. The old guardian, who dwells at the foot of the tower, is scrupulously forbidden to clean or polish anything for fear of damage. In the courtyard is an ancient water-clock-an arrangement of metal basins, in which the dropping of the water from one to another marked every quarter of an hour on an indicator, in accordance with which the time of day was announced by drum-beat from the adjacent city wall. On the platform of the tower stand eight large instruments for estimating the distances, movements,