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Mr. Kingsley's Religious Teaching.
emancipation in America lies with the Americans themselves, and at present it is impossible to do more than teach the negroeshere and there, as we find opportunity. The supposed curse resting on the descendants of Ham is not to be laid, as Mr. Kingsley supposes, to the charge of Calvinism, but to that determination on the part even of professedly religious Americans to keep their slaves. The purpose being fixed, they are glad to hunt up a text to justify it. So the controversy concerning transubstantiation can never really rest on the words, This is my body; because the doctrine did not proceed from a misinterpretation of that text, but the text, on the contrary, was misinterpreted to justify the doctrine..
But to return to the objection to Evangelicism, that it isolates and individualizes-is not national, universal. Puritanism did make itself national, and set up a Commonwealth. Would Mr. Kingsley prefer such a state of things? Does he wish to see religion brought, as in the Middle Age, under the control of the civil magistrate? Is he quite sure that the religion enforced by the sword of the governor would be his? And if it were, we are sure he cannot suppose that legislation would awaken, or persecution profitably direct, that inward light which does exist in men. What, then, would he suggest? If the English Church cannot or will not make itself, in his sense, truly national, what other party has any prospect of so doing? What is left, if we would not fall into endless anomalies and perplexities, but that we should rest satisfied with an invisible Church-with that communion of saints in all lands and times, wherein he believes as well as we? Meanwhile, each section of that church can but do its best to teach and enlighten men, as
far as it has the power. If so to do be an undue isolating and individualizing of men, what else, we ask, did the Apostles, in their first preaching of the Gospel, and settlement of a church here and a church there? Might not the same fault be found with them for not effecting a similar impossibility? Mr. Kingsley is too well acquainted with history not to know that the imperial patronage afforded to Christianity by Constantine ripened with fearful rapidity all the elements of corruption within it. Dante, who understood the Middle Age at least as well as any of its modern idolaters, bitterly regretted the consequences of that alliance. We should like to see Mr. Kingsley explain himself deliberately and at length on this matter.
There occur, in the course of the story, some excellent remarks on the study of nature, on description, and on the use and abuse of illustration. When Mr. Kingsley contends that he who would
describe a landscape must really take pains, first of all, to see it -must not abandon it to hunt after analogies, or distort and coax the reality before him into an unnatural harmony with them, we think him quite right. But sometimes he goes too far, and would seem unduly afraid of what Mr. Ruskin has condemned as the 'pathetic fallacy.' It is true, that we must first see the object; but it is also true that the poet should see into it -should not be blind to what it suggests, any more than to what it is. If the mere externals of nature are to be set down by themselves, without any indication of the communion between the soul of man and the hidden life of nature-without any colouring derived from that which is behind the eye-without any hint of those affinities between the worlds of matter and of mind which Platonist and poet alike have always loved to trace, then we must cancel the finest descriptive passages in Wordsworth, and nearly all those of Mr. Dickens.
ART. VI.-The Kingdom and People of Siam; with a Narrative of the Mission to that Country in 1855. By SIR JOHN BOWRING, F.R.S., Her Majesty's Plenipotentiary in China. In 2 vols. London: J. W. Parker and Son. 1857.
THE name of Sir John Bowring, well known to readers of newspapers and reviews, for thirty, or probably five-and-thirty years, has been for the last month placed in undue prominence before the public. Lord Derby, for some reason best known to the Protectionist leader, has chosen to treat a public question in a personal manner, and, with his well-known powers of wounding, has slashed and scarified his victim, the Chief Superintendent of Trade at Canton, in a manner as unusual as unjust. There was no epithet too strong, or too severe or stinging, to apply to an absent public servant. The Protectionist chief, the leader of the opposition in the House of Lords, did not disdain to apply the epithets of vain, shallow, and pedantic monomaniac to one who was not present to defend himself. Taking up the key-note, other noble lords followed in the same strain. Lord Ellenborough, who, of all modern Eastern governors, has been the most warlike, complained of the bellicose Doctor at Canton, laying peculiar emphasis on the last word, as though it conveyed some ludicrous or criminal idea; and Lord Malmesbury, who
Lords Malmesbury and Grey-Messrs. Bright & Gladstone. 421
committed more mistakes at the Foreign Office in his short incumbency of seven or eight months, than any Principal Secretary of State before or since, spoke of Sir John Bowring as though he were a man without the slightest discretion, or the least particle of judgment or common sense. Lord Carnarvon followed suit to this strange and random lead; and Lord Grey, as usual, from some peculiar crotchet, joined the Protectionist Peers.
A very similar scene was enacted in the Commons on Mr. Cobden's motion. The member for the West Riding attacked his absent friend unfairly and mercilessly. Sir James Graham, to use the expressive language of Sir R. Bethell, stabbed him in the back; and Mr. Gladstone, with more elaborate preparation and a more artistic refinement of malice, under the guise of candour, exposed every sore place to the public view. Other and better men, from honest but mistaken motives, joined in the attack; but from the commencement of the Parliamentary battle the public has seen the question in its simple and true light. The British people have felt that any Governor or Superintendent, no matter what his party or principles, would have acted very much as Sir John Bowring has acted, would have felt the intended insult inflicted on our flag, and have taken simultaneously the occasion to insist on an observance of solemn Treaties. It may be that Sir John Bowring is a vain, self-sufficient man, without a sound judgment; but, be this as it may, in his intercourse with the Chinese, the Tartars-in name and in nature-not he, were the aggressors, and no sufficient reparation having been made, it surely is no great marvel that the occurrence of a recent insult should have been the occasion chosen to seek redress for ancient wrongs in the continued and continuing evasions and infractions of the Treaty of 1842, and the subsequent Supplemental Treaty of 1843.
Sir John Bowring had been in China some four or five years in a subordinate capacity before he became Chief Superintendent at Hong-kong, and it is not pretended that his conduct had on any former occasion been rash or headstrong. He had also made a journey in 1855 to the country of a neighbouring people the people of Siam-had been on the best terms with the King and public servants of that country, and had negotiated a Treaty with them which was brought over to this country by Mr. Consul Parkes in 1855. The volume before us, indeed, is dedicated to Maha Mongkut, the First King of Siam, in rather turgid, but it may be perfectly true language, as a Prince who affords in his person an illustrious example of a successful devotion of the time and talent of a great Oriental Sovereign to the cultivation of the literature and the study of the
philosophy of Western Nations, in the hope that the extension of commercial and social relations will associate the growing advancement of Siam with the prosperity and cordial friendship of the civilized world. The dedication, somewhat after the fashion of Mr. Macaulay's famous letter to the Electors of Edinburgh, which was dated from Windsor Castle (to compare great things with small), is dated from Government House, Hongkong in the month of August in the past year.
We cite the tone and tenor of the dedication as a circumstance characteristic of and creditable to the author, proving, as it does, his laudable desire to extend the alliances and augment the trade of Great Britain. Such a plenipotentiary, whatever parliamentary speakers may say, affords internal evidence by this act, that he is not the man to pick a quarrel with a trading nation unnecessarily, or to seek imaginary pretexts for breaking the peace. In the commencement of hostilities, Dr. Bowring, when in this country, was known to be as much an advocate for a Peace policy, as Mr. Cobden himself was known to have been a member of, and a disciple of the Peace Society, as he was at that time the Secretary of the great disciple of Peace, and of modern utilitarian philosophy, Jeremy Bentham, and for many years the Editor of a publication founded by that philosopher, and called the Westminster Review. Such a man was not likely, in the days of his hot youth, when George IV. was king,' to have forced a quarrel on the Chinese, or on any other nation; and in his sixty-sixth year it is almost incredible to think he would be guilty of a rashness and inconsiderateness of which any one who knows or has known his character and opinions, would have acquitted him in 1825, when he numbered only half the winters which he counts now. There may be, doubtless, in one instance out of myriads, rash and bellicose men at sixty-six, who were prudent and peaceful at thirty-three. But, on this extreme and almost impossible case, we would ask how it happens that Sir John Bowring, who, it is all at once discovered, is so unjust and sanguinary to the Chinese, has, till the outbreak of these hostilities, been accused by our merchants of an undue partiality towards the natives of the flowery land?' From 1850 to 1853, or the beginning of 1854, when Consul at Canton, the complaint was that our official unduly leaned to the Chinese. When appointed Superintendent at Hong-kong, in 1854, the cry was still the same, and it is only Mr. Cobden, Mr. Gladstone, and the Earl of Derby, who have by some means, and all at once, discovered that Sir John Bowring has nurtured for seven long years a deep and well-disguised design to lay Canton in ashes, with
Mr. Consul Parkes-King of Siam's Letter.
the settled purpose of haranguing the military Mandarins in their own difficult tongue, on the perfidiousness of breaking treaties. Unfortunately for the theory of these gentlemen, Sir John Bowring could not at any time, and cannot now, speak half-a-dozen sentences off-hand in Chinese; and, strange as it may seem, we assert, on our own knowledge, he could not speak half the number of sentences in intelligible French, if Chinese failed him, as it was sure to do. In Siam, where our Plenipotentiary conducted himself, as is his wont everywhere, in the most peaceful and conciliatory fashion, the King, fortunately for Sir John Bowring, spoke and wrote very tolerable English; and when it was necessary to have recourse to officials, Mr. Consul Parkes, an excellent Chinese scholar, was at Sir John's elbow to act as interpreter.
Mr. Consul Parkes it was who carried to this country the Treaty concluded with the King of Siam, and who, if we be not misinformed, was, for his general services in China and his particular services in Siam, raised from the position of interpreter to the position of consul. One of the most characteristic things in the volume before us, is the facsimile of the letter of welcome addressed by the King of Siam to Sir John Bowring. It is written in a plain bold hand, on excellent paper, with a deep gold border, and is stamped in red ink with several seals, to which it appears the Siamese attach more importance than to signatures. This curious document is in the following words :
My gracious friend,
'Raj Mondirn House, Grand Palace,
27th March, 1855.
It give me to-day most rejoyful pleasure to learn your Excellency's arrival here, as certainedly as your Excellency remained now on board the steamer 'Rattler,' which accompanied with a brig of war. I can not hesitate to send my gladful cordil more than an hour. I beg to send my private Minester, Mr. Nai Kham Nai Puong, and Mr. Nai Bhoo, with some Siamese fruits for showing of my first respect and expressing of my greatest joy that I will have now personal entertainment with your Excelley in both publickly & privily as well as very intimate friend during your Excellency's staying here, when our Officers of State have communicated with your Excellency, according to Siamese custom.
'Please enter to Park nam as soon as I have ordered the High Supreme Officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs to get down to-day to Parknam, where your Excellency will meet at the hall newly built for your Excellency's receptance.
'After consultation with the High Officer thereon, your Excellency will be leaded or called to this city with as much respect as your