THURSDAY, December 5.

We reached Shanghai Thursday morning, and found excellent accommodations at the Astor House, in the American settlement. The Chinese Government has set apart for the accommodation of foreigners a strip of land, about six miles long and one mile wide, fronting the river. This is divided among the English, French, and Americans. During the Taeping rebellion a few years ago, thousands of natives flocked into this territory and found a refuge under the foreign flags, and today it contains more than seventy thousand Chinese, who do most of the retail business of the city. The foreign population does not exceed two thousand. The streets are broad, and as well cared for as in an English town, and it is lighted with gas, has a fine steam fire organization, and is thoroughly drained. It is here the natives of this district are learning their first lesson of Western civilization, and at length some impression has been made upon this hitherto immovable mass and it begins to move. Mandarins come from the country to enjoy a drive in the streets, for, let it not be forgotten, there is not a street or road in the region, outside of the reservation, in which a horse can travel; only footpaths, where a wheelbarrow pushed by a man is the only possible vehicle. Now several wealthy Chinese have set up their carriages, and may frequently be seen driving; and I learn from many that when any are compelled to visit their former residences elsewhere, they return to Shanghai declaring that they could not live any longer in the old style. But think of one-third of the race living at this late day without a mile of railroad or of telegraph, or even of macadamized roads! Communication in China is solely by means of the rivers, canals, and small branches which have been led from the main channels to every acre of ground for irrigating purposes, and by narrow footpaths between the fields. But some of us will live to see this changed. I saw in a newspaper an official notice permitting the first telegraph line to be built. True, it is to be only a few miles in length, extending from the sea to the port of Peking (Tien-Tsin), but this is of course only a beginning. The question of railroads is more serious, and what think you is the one obstacle to their introduction? Graves - the "tombs of our ancestors." China is one vast cemetery. Go where you will, in any direction, the mounds of the dead intrude themselves upon you at every step. There are no cemeteries or places set apart for burial purposes; on the contrary, the Chinaman seems to prefer having his dead buried on his own land, and as near to him as practicable. In this neighborhood their mode of sepulture is revolting. The coffins are not put into a grave at all, but are laid directly on the surface of the ground and covered with but a few inches of earth; and it is not at all uncommon for them to be wholly exposed, simply laid out in the fields, and so close to the roadside - I mean to the main roads built by Europeans near their settlements - that you can almost touch them with the end of your walking-stick as you pass. The stench from such coffins became so offensive last year at the rifle range that the European authorities had to enter complaint to the Chinese Mandarin. I was, like all others, at first much shocked at the sight of these evidences of mortality. One day I stood and counted a hundred and thirty-four different mounds and exposed coffins within sight. I am glad to say that in other parts of China this custom does not prevail, the dead being buried in graves, and walls built above them in the shape of a horseshoe. As is well known, the Chinese worship their ancestors, and believe that much of their happiness depends upon the respect shown to those to whom they owe their lives. Cases have been known where successive afflictions have been attributed to some defect in the resting-places of the dead; their ancestors, "after life's fitful fever," were not sleeping well, and at great expense the bones have been removed to another place; but it is an extreme case when they venture to disturb the dead. Every true son of the Empire of the Sun echoes the anathema of Shakespeare,

  "And curst be he who moves my bones."

One special feature of the Flowery Land is, I think, the repugnance of the people to debt, or to credits in any form. As I have remarked, they have no banks of issue; no promises to pay for the Celestials; they deal only in the coin itself. All debts must be paid at the beginning of each year. The Chinaman who does not settle every account and enter upon the new year without an obligation is accounted either very unfortunate or very regardless of the duties of life. This aversion to debt, perhaps, accounts for the fact that these four hundred millions of people had not a penny of national debt until four years ago. But they have just made a loan of $12,000,000, I believe, the first ever made by China in all its thousands of years' history. This may be taken, perhaps, as another proof that the empire is influenced by Western ideas, but one cannot help regretting that her long reign of freedom from debt should at last be stained, even for so paltry an amount. If I were a Chinese statesman, I would never rest until the last farthing of this debt was paid off. The fashion nowadays in America is to urge that it is paying off its debt much too fast. I am sorry for this. What an example to all lands we shall give when the last bond of the nation is cancelled at Washington amid public rejoicings! A republic's part is to give less advanced nations, still under the influence of feudal institutions, such lessons as this will be. Do not let us, however, underrate England's part in. such a work. She has reduced her public debt wonderfully, and the next twenty years is to see seventy millions sterling more extinguished, unless legislation now existing for this end is interfered with.

The general government of China is a very economical one, its total revenue being only about $125,000,000 (L25,000,000). Of this $15,000,000 is spent upon the army, a sum which for 400,000,000 people compares very favorably with that expended by other nations. China has outgrown the so-called heroic age, in which England still dwells, and has little need of armies. A government not worth thirty cents (fifteen pence) per year for each inhabitant, which is the cost in China, is not worth having.

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