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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Politics and History

Brief History of China

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -

A Brief History of China.…. A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHINA. – China is the most populous and ancient empire in the world; it is 1,390 miles long, and 1,030 wide. Population from 300,000,000 to 360,000,000. The capital is Pekin, with 100,000,000 inhabitants; next Nankin, 100,000,000 and Canton 100,000,000. China produces tea, 50,000,000 Ibs. of which are annually exported from Canton, the only place which foreigners are allowed to visit. Silk, cotton, rice, gold, silver, and all the necessaries of life, are found in China. The arts and manufacturers in many branches are in high perfection, but stationary, as improvements are now prohibited. The Government is a despotic monarchy. Revenue, $200,000,000; army, 800,000 men. The religion is similar to Buddhism, the chief god being Foh. The Chinese inculcate the morality of Confucius, their great philosopher, who was born 550 B.C. The great wall and canal of China are among the mightiest works ever achieved by man. The foreign commerce of China amounts to $35,000,000 or $40,000,000 annually, the whole of which is transacted with appointed agents, called “Hong merchants.” Foreigners are allowed to live at certain stations, or “factories” below Canton. The chief trade is with England. The first American ship reached China in 1784; now the annual average of United States’ ships visiting Canton is thirty-two. The revenue derived from foreign commerce by the Emperor varies from $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. According to Mr. Dunn, the opium smuggler into China, to the injury of the people, amounted to £20,000,000 annually for several years past, much of which was paid in specie, which found its way to London. The Chinese language has nearly 40,000 characters or letters.