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After having employed near 40 pages on these objects, the Author proposes and answers the two following questions : What is the present legal interest of money in China ? The answer is, 30 per cent. annually, which is paid by the lunar or civil month (the fixth and twelfth excepted), and consequently comes to 3 per cent. per month. But this gives rise to a fecond question: What is the end of the Chinese government in fixing the interest of money so high? Our Missionary has derived little affistance from the Chinese in answering this question. After all his researches, he could not find a single work where the question was professedly treated and thoroughly examined. Some incidental reflections that he met with in different authors have, however, given him fome insight into the subject : but we think them long, obscure, and unsatisfactory. The part of this discussion that is the most exempt from perplexity comes to this, that the great object and end of the Chinese government is to render luxury and vice ruinous to those who pursue them ; that the government never borrows, but always accumulates, and to prevent borrowing among individuals, which is considered as a mark of dissipation and prodigality, this high interest has been authorized for above 450 years. A great minister of China has observed, that the facility of obtaining gratuitous loans bas ruined more poor families than the paying an interest of 30 per cent,
Thus, according to this doctrine, a law, rigorous in appearance, is become, by its effects, a law of economy to the multitude, and has proved a remedy to the greatest abuses. • With this law (says our Author, quoting a Chinese writer) to restrain them, luxury and vice cannot stand their ground long : two years are sufficient, at present, to ruin entirely the heir of a mandarin or a rich merchant, who might formerly have enjoyed the fruits of his prodigality during many years, and corrupted a whole city by his expenfive entertainments and debaucheries.' All this is neither clear nor conclusive, .
The remaining Memoirs of this volume, though less ample than the preceding, present to us interesting objects, and points of view, that may be turned to public utility. The third, which treats concerning the Small-pox, a disease known for more than 3000 years in China, contains the ancient history of that distemper, and also an analysis of a work published on that subject fome years ago by the Imperial College of Phyfic. We fee here that the Chinese reckon forty-two different kinds of fmall-pox, whose malignity is terrible in that country. In a few months of the year 1767 it carried off, in the city of Peking, near 100,000 children, and refifted all the remedies and efforts employed to oppose its progress, and prevent its fatal effects. Inoculation is an ancient practice in China: it was introduced, if not invented there, in the tenth century, and has
thus above 700 years antiquity. We cannot say that the manner and circumstances of inoculation in China are adapted to open points of view that may contribute to the improvement of that practice in Europe. This, therefore, is not one of the Memoirs from which much utility can be drawn: the difference between the climate, the feed, and the manner of living in China and ours, and the dependence of the medical system of that people on the combined authority of astrology, superstition, and idolatry, must render, in general, the methods of cure, and the rules of inoculation observed in China, disgusting to a judicious practitioner among us. However, amidst all the marks of stupidity and superstition, which deformn the medical proceedings of the Chinese, there are some observations, facts, and practices, that are not unworthy the attention of an European.
An Account of the Chinese Book called Sı-Yen is given in the fourth Memoir. This book treats of the different signs and indications by which the Chinese pretend to diftinguith the kind of death, by the inspection of the corpse, and, in case of a violent death, the causes that have produced it. The tribunals of justice, seconded by the medical tribe, have carried these observations to a great length ;--they will tell you, on the inspection of a person who has been strangled, whether he suffered the violent act standing, on his knees, or lying at full length, what kind of noose was employed, and so on, to the minutest particulars. This book has been fent to all the tribunals of justice in China ; and though its authors have carried too far their confidence in certain figns, yet surgeons and apothecaries, and even fome physicians, may derive materials from these observations for improving their acumen in diagnostics. We were not a little surprized at an incidental discovery we made in reading this Article, viz. the prodigious number of secret crimes that are committed in China, where public acts of violence and injustice are said to be rare.
The most ridiculous object imaginable is exhibited to us in the fifth Article, viz. an Account of the Cong-fou, or Poftures of the Bonzas of Tao-fee. These idle priests are extravagant enough to imagine that they have found out a remedy for the greatest part of diseases, by subjecting the bodies of the patients to the molt absurd, forced, and whimsical postures, which surpass in number and inflexion the complicated and diversified attitudes of comedians, rope-dancers, and academical models. Twenty of these postures are engraven in the volume before us, and they are whimsical beyond expression.
The fixth Article happily draws our attention from these opinions and customs that degrade reason, and afflict the humanity of the reader, to fix it on the observations made in natu
ral philosophy and natural history by the Emperor Kang-bi. We have formerly observed, in our extracts from this work, that the Emperor Kang-hi was one of the greatest Princes that ever reigned in China : literature, philosophy, politics, jurispru. dence, eloquence, history, and poetry, all united their treasures in this eminent man, who became the disciple of a Misionary, in order to learn astronomy, and availed himself of every circumstance and occasion that could administer instruction. The observations before us are those only which are to be found in the fourth part of his works, of which the whole collection amounts to above an hundred volumes. They are no more than short reflections on different subjects; such as Petrifications, - Rock-falt,-a certain fort of Pine-tree, whose leaves all fall in Autumn, and whose fap is poisonous,--on the flying Fox, - Earthquakes, – Varnish, — the Compass, — preserved Snow-water,--Sounds and Tones,--Nitre, Climates,-Bears of the Mountains,-long Days,-Thermal or bathing Waters, and other objects of Natural History, which are all treated su: perficially; pretty well, however, for an Emperor, and, above all, for an Emperor of China. What he says about sounds and tones is excellent, sentimental, and not unphilosophical; it is much for him, though not new for us. We are tempted to think that the Missionary has sometimes given a touch of his pen to the Imperial sentences. Be that as it may, we like prodigiously this good Emperor Kang-bi: he says foolish and wise things, vulgar and acute things, tells old wife's tales and curious stories, all with the same simplicity,
These observations of the Emperor are followed by some compositions and receipts used in China, which our Author thinks are unknown, and may be useful in Europe.
. After this we meet with an account of the Che-hiang, the name given by the Chinese to the famous animal from which the mujk is taken. This animal is timid and folitary. His swiftness is prodigious: he climbs the steepest mountains, and descends the most dreadful precipices, with the same ease and rapidity that a stay crosses a plain. His hearing is exquisitely acute, and he disappears at the smallest noise. His food is wild herbs, and more especially the tender branches of the cedar, to which latter the greatest part of the Naturalists attribute his perfume. Our Authors give a pretty circumstantial account of this animal. They observe, among other particularities, that when it is caught, it lies on its back, in order, as the hunters say, to be thus in the best posture of defence: these hunters, however, acknowledge, that it tears the bag or tumour under the belly, in which the musk is contained, when it is warmly pursued or caught in a snare. Our Authors conjecture that the musk was given by nature to this animal for its defence. As the wolves
and tygers are very fond of his Aesh, he stops their pursuit by tearing the bag of his musk, and thus filling the air with an odour which they cannot bear. Besides this, and the other means of self-preservation given to this animal, it is led by a particular instinct to conceal whatever may discover its traces ; thus it makes a hole in the earth to hide its excrements, and licks the place that has been moistened with its urine.
The fnare, the net and the gun, are the three different mea thods of hunting this animal. Its acuteness of hearing and swiftness would render this last method difficult, nay ineffectual were it not for a circumstance, which our Authors relate, after having (say they) used all precautions to ascertain the fact, and particularly a careful examination of ocular witnesses. The fact is, that one of the hunters plays gay and cheerful airs on the Aute, and that the Che-hiang, who is delighted with this music, gradually approaches the place from whence the sounds come, until he is within shot. It is added, that the notes of a child are still more alluring and agreeable to this animals than those of the Aute,
Our Authors observe, that the musk differs in goodness, ac cording to the season of the year, the age of the animal, and the manner of killing it. It is better in the old than in the young, in Autumn than in Spring'; it is often adulterated by the peos ple of the country, but if it burns to the end (we fuppose by burning, our Authors mean emitting flame) when it is boiled and melted, this is a sign of its purity. Musk is the bafis of a perá fumé, which the Chinese call the eternal, which corrects the noxious qualities of the air, and is useful in epidemical disorders. The description of a Chinese mushroom yet unknown among the European botanifts, and an account of iwo vegetables used in the Emperor's kitchen, terminate this volume, which we think, with all its defects, one of the beft that has yet apo peared.
A R T. XII.
pagne, &C.--An Introduction to the Natural History and Physical
this valuable work, with a variety of extracts, and we shall now proceed to a conclusion of the Article.
Among the more popular parts of this performance, we meet with a description of the ancient fimplicity and contentment
• Vide our latt Appendix. APP. Rev. Vol. Ixi
that reign among the inhabitants of Biscay, of the beauty of their country, and the innocence of their manners: this is a digrefion from the main design of Mr. Bowles's work ;-it is allo of the poetic cast, like certain pictures of the golden age ; we shall therefore confine our attention at present to some points of natural history and philosophy, which are our Author's principal objects' in this work.
One of the objects that most deserves the attention of Naturalists, is the famous mine of Sal Gemma in Andalusia, in the neighbourbood of Cordova. The fingularity of this mine consists in its differing totally, by its fituation, from the other great salt-mines, especially thofe of Poland, which run a vast depth under ground. This mine, on the contrary, is a towering rock, an enormous mass of solid falt, which rises about four or five hundred feet from the ground, without crevices, openings or strata. It is a league in circumference, according to the estimate of our Author; and its height is equal to that of the neighbouring mountains. As its depth under ground is not known, it is not possible to say on what foundations it rests. This
prodigious mountain of salt, unmixed with any other substance, is, according to Mr. Bowles, the only one of its kind in Europe. This is speaking modestly: for we never heard of any thing like it in any part of the world. The wonder it excites will still increase, if it be true, as Mr. BowLES affirms, that neither the rains that have fallen upon it since its formation, nor a river which walhes its base, and whofe waters are strongly impregnated with it, have diminished its fize in any degree. This Jatter fact would require more proofs, than a simple affirmation; as it does not appear that our Author has taken the exact dimenfions of this mountain in different periods of its existence. As to the reason of the fact, Mr. Bowles attributes it to the agency of nature, and its reproducing power, under the direction of the Creator, which forms anew as many falts as man consumes or it destroys. This solution will not please those Naturalists, who are not only desirous of learning what nature does, but are also curious to know how she does it.
Mr. Bowles tells us farther, that the waters of the river which washes the borders of this mountain are falt, and become more so the more it rains; and that the filh die in it: but he also informs us, that this inconvenience does not extend above three leagues from the mountain, beyond which these waters are absolutely deprived both of the saline taste and faline particles. Our Author employed all the efforts of the alembic to see if he could find the smallest grain of falt in the water at this distance, but to no purpose : from hence he concludes, that the salts are decompounded intirely by the motion, and are resolved into earth and water. This conclusion is somewhat too hasty. All that re