CANTON, Friday, December 20.

We have just returned from our first stroll through the narrow, crowded alleys of Canton. Pictures and descriptions had prepared us for what we were to see, but, as is usual in the East, we knew nothing until we had seen for ourselves. In most cases the more one reads or hears about a certain locality the more confused he is when he visits it. He was a traveller who first said, "The eye and the ear are close together, but what a distance between hearing and seeing!" This recurs to me constantly. But to revert to Canton. We decided to walk instead of following the custom of Europeans, who generally take sedan chairs and dash through, seeing nothing in detail. We cross the river by one of the innumerable boats rowed by women, and are in the city. For five hours we are guided through streets varying from six to ten feet in width through one continuous mass of Chinamen. As for Chinawomen, they are rarely or never seen. A few men are in silks; numbers of coolies, with loads, are almost naked, but more, of a slightly higher order, are in rags; for the Chinese, unlike their scrupulously clean brethren of Japan, appear to pile on one tattered, greasy cloth rag over another until they are a bundle of filth, against which you fear at every step lest you may be pushed. The shops or booths on each side of the narrow streets are resplendent just now, preparatory to the New-Year celebrations, and those which make temple decorations a specialty are brilliant in the extreme. As every shop, house or boat contains an altar, which, as well as those in the public temples, must be freshly decorated at the beginning of every year, the extent of this trade is surprising, and all that tinsel can do with the most gorgeous coloring imaginable is seen in this branch to perfection. One thing appears very strange: even in the principal streets various manufactures are carried on, the workmen being so close that you can touch them from the pavement with your cane. We saw to-day glass-making in a space not more than fifteen feet square, iron- forging and shaping, cloth-weaving, the making of coffins (such massive affairs these are, too, in China!), of Joss-sticks and Joss-money, firecrackers, and many other articles. The front part of the building is usually occupied by the shop for the sale of the product, the ornamental shrine serving as a kind of screen to shut off the manufacturing department; but by stepping behind you see crowds of almost nude workmen, hard at work, making by hand with the aid of the rudest appliances almost every article known. The wages of a tradesman - a carpenter, for instance - is fifteen cents per day; in addition the master has to give him three times per day his rice, etc., estimated to cost six to eight cents more. The workmen are fed by the employer, and allowed to sleep in and about the premises somewhere or somehow. We saw freely exposed for sale dogs, rats, and mice, all nicely dressed and hanging upon spits to tempt the hungry passers-by, while above a large pot from which the steam was issuing was a card, which, being translated by our guide, read, "A big black cat within; ready soon." The dogs which are eaten are fed especially for the purpose, and are hung up in state with labels setting forth their superior merits. As far as I should have known, they might have passed for delicious young roasting pigs, delicate enough in flavor to have satisfied gentle Elia himself.

Our guide, in answer to numerous questions upon the subject, informed us that some of his countrymen had acquired a taste for dogs, while others had succumbed to the sweeter attractions of cats; others again found rats their favorite morsel, but in all cases these penchants are indulged in on the sly. Upon no account would a Chinaman think of taking either of these peculiar delicacies home, for it appears that mesdames, much to their credit, have serious objections to their use. They draw the line here, and the husband must confine the indulgence of his uncanny longings to restaurants, and say nothing about it, or his lady friends might mark him as one of whom "'twas said he ate strange flesh." Contrary to the statement of travellers, I find this food is not confined to the poorer classes. The price of it is about the same as that of pork, and far beyond that of hare or deer. How strange these people are! The price of a black dog or cat is fully double that of a white one, the superstition being that the former makes blood much faster than the other, while rats are supposed to make the hair grow.

We returned to our hotel in time for luncheon, and in the afternoon called upon Captain Lincoln, the United States Consul, to whom General Bailey had given us letters which secured us a cordial reception. The European settlement at Canton is very pretty, with its broad, well-shaded avenues, exquisite flower-garden, and lawn-tennis and croquet grounds. Its club-house is a gem, comprising a small theatre, billiard-room and bowling-alley - everything complete. The colonel took us for a stroll about the settlement, and pressed us to join a party he was just about taking over the river to visit the best flower-gardens of the city. We could not decline such a treat, and this gave us the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Lincoln, who is so well known in China as to be regarded somewhat in the light of an historical character. Her collection of teapots promises to render her famous. She boasts already of more than two hundred, no two alike in form, and the record grows day by day; and the melancholy feature is that there is no end for the passion save in death, a mania for "a bit of the blue" ranking first in the list of diseases for which materia medico, boasts no antidote.

Almost everything seems to have been tried in China during its thousands of years of national life. We read for instance that in A.D. 841 the emperor, seeing the evils of monasteries and nunneries, suddenly closed them all and sent the inmates back to their families. So far, perhaps, so good; but he also shut up all the temples and told the priests to turn their faces in the direction from which they came. He was far too "thorough," and when the next emperor was so favored by heaven as to become the discoverer of a veritable bone of Buddha and brought it to the capital with many solemn ceremonies, the people were quite ready for the inevitable reaction, and Buddhism was again restored. This is a comparatively modern instance. Away back two hundred and more years B.C., we find the famous builder of the Great Wall attempting an impossible task with no better result. He was a great reformer - indeed the first universal emperor of all existing China, which was consolidated by his genius. The privileged classes, of course, opposed his reforms and gave him much trouble by holding up to the admiration of the people the feudal times of the past, and extolling the heroes of those days to the disadvantage of those of the present. At last the emperor resolved to break with the past altogether, and ordered that all books should be burned except such as referred to his own reign, that all who even spoke of other books should be put to death; that those who spoke of the past as superior to the present should be put to death, and their relatives as well. Soon after this order, more than four hundred who had disobeyed it were ordered to be executed. Even the books of Confucius were not exempt; indeed these were chief offenders, for the sage was remarkable for such worship of the past as has scarcely a precedent in history.

Of course such an order could not be carried out. The condemned books were secreted and all the more venerated from the dangers which surrounded their possession. To-day we are thankful that so many books exist telling truthfully of the past - those good old times which were very bad times indeed. The history of the past should be studied carefully that we may learn not what to copy, but what to avoid. Let all the records be preserved.

I take it that to many blessings for which we have to thank the Heathen Chinee may be added our axiom: "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." The Emperor of China is in theory the most absolute of rulers, and holds in his hands the power of life and death - "whom he wills he slays, and whom he wills he keeps alive." So runs the edict. It is the duty of the subject to render implicit obedience. But here follows another duty no less imperative: He is bound to resist the emperor's authority if he "ceases to be a minister of God for the good of his people." Confucius distinctly teaches "the sacred right of rebellion," and the next highest authority, Mencius, puts it in even stronger terms. This seems a striking anomaly, for the whole theory of government to-day, as thousands of years ago, is the patriarchal one: as the emperor is the Son of Heaven, so his people are the sons of the emperor, and he alone can intercede between his children and heaven. It is his prayers and sacrifices to which supreme importance is attached. Notwithstanding all this, as we have seen, the Chinaman believes it to be his duty to dethrone a bad emperor and even to put him to death. You see, my friends, a Chinese emperor can do wrong, which follows from his having power direct from heaven to do anything; therefore the right to decapitate him upon occasion must be reserved to the people. It is only in England that the doctrine that the king can do no wrong can safely be accepted. It is quite true there, for these Islanders have so managed matters as not to allow that ornamental appendage to do anything beyond opening fancy bazaars or laying foundation stones, where even an hereditary monarch cannot go very far astray.

On the 8th day of the 12th month, in the reign of Man-Ti, A.D. 593, occurred one of the most remarkable events in the history of our race. An edict was issued that the various texts then in circulation should be collected and engraved on wood, to be printed and published. Here began the art of printing, but it was not till a blacksmith named Pe-Ching, three or four hundred years later, invented movable types that the astounding possibilities of the invention were seen. Off hats to the memory of that learned blacksmith! Tall oaks from little acorns grow; but surely never before nor since has the world seen such stupendous results from so small a change as that of substituting little pieces of wood, each with one character upon it, for larger pieces which contained many. That blacksmith has revolutionized the world. I shall never pass one of the craft again without honoring him as distantly related to Pe-Ching by virtue of his calling. Vulcan has done much in the past in his smithy, forging the thunderbolts of war, but put all such weapons together and I will back the movable types of Pe-Ching for victory.

China carries the principle of home rule to a greater extent even than the United States do, for each province not only manages its own local affairs and levies its own taxes, but also supports its only army and navy. This would seem fatal to the organization of solid, vital forces; but as the Chinese have passed farther beyond the barbarous thirst for so-called "glory" (disgrace, rather) than western nations, it is not essential that either army or navy should be efficient. Indeed, the less so the better.

I trust, however, the Chinese cannot rob the Republic of the credit of having the poorest navy and smallest army among the nations, for this I consider perhaps the foremost evidence that America gives to the world that she is worthy to lead our race to nobler issues than those which have so largely occupied it in the past.

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