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the less known provinces of Shen-si and Kan-su in the NorthWest.

It is pardonable that press-men and others in this country should have difficulty in appreciating the full advantage of adding a twentieth to the nineteen treaty ports already open in China. No one who has not visited them on the spot, and travelled in the interior as well, can know what the full meaning of the magic words 'open port' really is. The open ports are oases of light and activity, in a waste of darkness and stagnation. The dark ages of Europe seem to be reproduced in many of the remoter regions of China. All our modern ideas of progress and the possibility of improving their lot, seem non-existent in the official as well as in the popular mind. A literary mandarin, who has worn out his eyesight in studying for the inany examinations he has passed through, will ask you calmly if the same sun shines in your country, and whether it is true that your men-at-arms are only invincible as long as they maintain their upright position. Even the wise Li HungChang, generally and rightly considered to be the most enlightened statesman that China possesses, once alleged in our hearing, that it was useless for us to attempt to navigate the Upper Yangtse, for the reason that the great Yü, when opening out the channel of the gorges, neglected to remove the rocks. This great Chinese artificer, who was kept so hard at his engineering labours, draining the marshes and embanking the rivers, that for years he never returned home, and during that time on three occasions he passed by the door of his house without going in, retired from his labours B.C. 2278. His Excellency implied that the great Yü had evidently intended no steamers should run there. Doubtless, there is a leaven at work in our presence in China, which will in time leaven the mass, and the more points of contact, in the shape of treaty ports are created, the quicker will be the advance, but to the outward eye only a small radius round each port has been so far affected. It is true that the electric wire now unites in its bonds all the chief cities of the eighteen provinces, but its use, except always at the treaty ports, is almost always entirely confined to the carriage of official despatches. As usual in all officially conducted enterprises in China (and the Chinese Government acknowledges no union of capitalists for large enterprises apart from official management), little encouragement is given to the general public. In the case of the telegraph, the charges are high, averaging about one shilling a word, more or less, according to distance. This tariff is, with a thrifty people like the Chinese, quite prohibitive as far as

social messages are concerned; and for business purposes its use is confined to the few wealthy merchants in the larger towns, and by them it is used very sparingly. In the less important places it is not open to the public at all, although the needful stations and operators are to be found there. At one such station, in the town of Shin-tan in Hupeh, we once tried to send a message. After much inquiry we at last found our way to the Tienpao chü, or 'lightning despatch office,' and were shown to an old out-of-the-way two-storied Chinese dwelling-house. Climbing up an inconveniently steep ladder we reached the upper story, which consisted of a roomy loft, with a rickety loose plank floor and no ceiling beneath the uncemented tile roof. The apartment had every appearance of not having been swept or garnished since the day it was constructed. As our eyes gradually grew accustomed to the dim light admitted through the small paper windows, we perceived in one corner a curtained trestle bedstead illuminated by a diminutive opium-smoker's lamp, in another corncr a telegraphic signalling instrument with a silk cover to protect it from the dirt, and a couple of the usual stiff-backed wooden Chinese chairs. A few clothes-trunks and a tumble-down wardrobe completed the furniture. As we entered, a man of thirty, handsomely dressed in silk, arose from the bed and welcomed us to a seat. He received us with great effusion and, to our surprise, seemed really pleased to see his haunt invaded by a barbarian. A lad of eighteen or less, also gaily dressed in silks, produced the hospitable tea, and conversation commenced. The manager could not accept my message without a card from the Taotai, or Governor, who resided forty miles distant and with which he advised me to provide myself on a future occasion. The lad, who turned out to be an operator trained in Shanghai, had merely to report on the condition of the wires, which he did daily by telegraphing to the next station the English words all right.' The rest of the English he once knew he appeared to have forgotten. As to the elder man, the manager, a sociable Soochow man, he talked of himself as an exile among savages with no society, no occupation, and no amusements: he thoroughly enjoyed a visit from one who came from the civilization of Shanghai, and seemed deeply to regret our departure. He particularly lamented his hard lot, in that having bought two thousand English words of a native teacher of English in Shanghai, at a cost of two dollars per hundred (so he expressed himself), he had now only use for two words, and had almost entirely forgotten the remaining nineteen hundred and ninety-eight. This amount of English, so

expensively

expensively acquired, should have been the means of his securing a better appointment than forty pounds a year in a remote inland town. We have given prominence to this incident as it is characteristic of the enormous gulf that separates China at the treaty ports, from China uncontaminated. by our presence, in all that makes up the movement, intellectual and material, of our modern progressive civilization. The Electric Telegraph was forced upon the Chinese by the acutely felt need of the Government in the North to communicate with their troops who were fighting the French in the South, two thousand miles away in Tonquin. A Danish Company, the Great Northern Telegraph Company of Copenhagen, were the fortunate contractors, and the network of wires, embracing all the eighteen provinces, was erected by them with marvellous despatch, and handed over to native operators, some trained by themselves, some trained in America-to work.

Thus China moves, and so far wars have been her chief instigators in the path of that material progress which it is now generally conceded must accompany, if not precede, moral progress; and that there is room for and sharp need of progress in China, the perusal of every work of travel in that country cannot fail to convince the most conservative. Even those who take Ruskin literally, and sympathise with the old Chinese statesman's ideal of every man on his plot of ground, growing the food for his family and the raw material for his clothing, which is spun and woven by the women of the house, must admit the failure of the present system. The inequalities of fortune, and the inequitable distribution of the necessities and comforts of life, are all too glaring in our European cities and in our country villages; but the poorest workman or work woman here looks well fed in comparison with the crowds of shrivelled, half-starved wretches by which one is surrounded nearly everywhere in inland China. The ravages of the most horrible diseases, which medical science has practically stamped out of Europe, are patent on all sides, and on fêtedays and festivals we have seen the country roads thronged with, literally, thousands of the most cruelly repulsive specimens of rotting humanity. In the environs of the larger treaty ports we find the labourers' wages tripled, and the value of the farmers' produce quadrupled. The people are better fed, and large numbers of the sick are treated in our hospitals, so that scenes like the above are seldom seen there. Under existing conditions large regions in China, and notably the rich and fertile province of Szechuen, which has formed the main theme

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of our present review, are vastly over-populated, and large numbers exist there in a condition of permanent semi-starvation in consequence. But resources capable of maintaining in comparative comfort a far larger population exist here as elsewhere in China. The mineral wealth, notably coal, only requires the application of Western methods, to become a large source of revenue to the State, and of employment to the surplus inhabitants. Above all, however, means of communication are the first necessity. With no roads but narrow mountain footpaths, every impediment stands in the way of migration from the congested districts of Szechuen to the sparsely peopled valleys of Yunnan and Kweichow; and even when once there the immigrant farmer, owing to the difficulties of intercommunication, finds no outlet for his surplus produce, which, on the other hand, is so sadly wanted for the masses in the great cities. A 'treaty port' established in this region means a new centre of activity, higher wages, and vastly increased employment for the labouring classes: to the surrounding country it means an increased outlet for their productions, and a steady rise in values. To the officials and gentry' it means a concrete example of the gains to be derived from Western methods of progress as opposed to the stagnation involved in fixing their ideals in the past. To the missionary it means a fair field and no favour, and to the medical missionary an additional sphere of work amongst the indigent sick. To the people generally our settlements yield a specimen of order and cleanliness in a wilderness of dirt and discomfort, which they do nothing to alleviate until stimulated by our contact. As Mr. F. H. Balfour, an old resident in China, in his article in the Asiatic Quarterly Review,' in January, speaking of the Model Missionary, most truly tells us, 'He lives in some dirty, crowded town, far away in the interior, where his modest Chinese house, running round a well-kept garden, and presided over by a notable English or American housewife, is not only an oasis of cleanliness in a desert of dirt and stench, but a reproach and an example to the sordid dwellings of his neighbours.' Chinese cities boast no municipalities and practically no police: each man does what is right in his own eyes, and it is open to one and all to befoul the roadways at their own sweet will, while the greed of the shopkeepers is for ever narrowing the crowded alley-ways that, with the one exception of the capital (and this has its own peculiar amenities), do duty for streets. Our 'settlements,' with their broad tree-lined avenues, magnificent quays, and garden-encircled houses, are greatly admired by the natives. At Hankow, 600 miles up the Yangtse, the common term in use among the Chinese for

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the British settlement, which is built on the site of an old swamp which has been filled up and raised by the enterprise of the residents, until its level is now higher than that of the Chinese town adjoining, is Hwa-lo,' or 'Flowery Pavilions.' Such oases are not without their influence and examples, and in the native cities at the treaty ports a marked, though very slow, advance in the direction of order and cleanliness is distinctly noticeable. Streets have been repaved, and the black slush underlying the broad stone slabs, which has a peculiarity of squirting up under the trousers of the unwary European as he treads on what the Chinese elegantly term, 'swimming stones,' has in many cases been dug out and removed. In Hanyang, the prefectural city adjoining Hankow, from which it is separated by the deep but narrow Han' river, a treelined 'bund,' solidly built up with blocks of red sandstone has been laid out. At some of the more recently opened ports, such as Wuhu and Ichang, which were thrown open to British trade by the Chefoo Convention of 1876, the privilege of a separate area for foreigners' to reside in appears not to have been insisted upon. In the case of Ichang, the unwise abandonment, under Sir Thomas Wade, of the concession originally marked out for a foreign settlement, has undoubtedly been the cause of much sickness, and some deaths, among the few Europeans who have as yet resorted to that port, and, owing to the difficulty of obtaining a decent site to reside in, has deterred more than one would-be settler from adventuring there. Let us hope, that in the newly-opened port of Chungking, in Szechuen, wiser counsels may prevail, and that the right of British residents there will not be construed merely into the right of renting (at an exorbitant rent) a Chinese house with its pestilential surroundings. At the time the older 'treaty ports' were opened, it was looked upon as a sine quâ non that British subjects should be encouraged to resort to them by having every possible facility for settlement offered them. Such facilities include the power to live under the conditions that health, under a sub-tropical sun and damp, rainy climate, demands: these are not obtainable in ports where the foreign residents are scattered about amidst Chinese surroundings. The foreign settlements are regarded with no friendly eye by the Chinese official; and, apparently, it is in the vain endeavour to please this class that our Ministers in China have ceased to insist upon what was, till quite lately, regarded as the necessary concomitant of a treaty port.' The climate per se undoubtedly is healthy, as Pliny describes it-'coeli jucunda salubrisque temperies leniumque ventorum commodissimus flatus'; but, as

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