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Great Plain of China, which is now so large and important

a part of the empire. It fills an area of about 200,000 Physical Geography.—Important additions to our know- square miles, and is still growing. Denudation has thus ledge of the physical geography of China were made been the principal agency in giving to Chinese scenery its within the period 1875-1900. Chief among these is characteristic features. In Hunan and in Szechuen, the work of Baron F. von Richthofen, published at Berlin where a soft red sandstone abounds, it has converted in 1882, including his geological maps of the northerly what at one time was probably a uniform plateau into part of the empire. The hitherto unknown tracks of a thoroughly hilly country. western and south-western China have attracted numerous Although large masses of eruptive granite and other travellers, and the trade routes and markets of Szechuen igneous rocks are to be found in various parts, it does not and Yunnan have been explored and described by officers appear that volcanic energy has for many ages had any of the British consular service, And within the last part in determining the configuration of the country. year or two of the 19th century private enterprise under- There is no trace anywhere of recent active volcanoes. took a survey of the whole route from the Burma frontier Intrusive dykes of granite, porphyry, &c., are frequent, to the Yangtse at Chungking, with a view to the con more especially in the northerly provinces and Shantung, struction of a through line of railway. Several eminent and in a few places metamorphic action has altered the French explorers have traversed the same region with character of the rocks, but on the whole the sedimentary the like object of finding a feasible route from Tongking deposits have not been greatly disturbed by subterraneous into Szechuen. For details reference should be made to activity. In the province of Shansi a plateau stands out the works cited at the close of this article, but the follow- above the plain where the several strata can be traced in ing general remarks on the country as a whole are a nearly horizontal position over a superficial area of submitted.

30,000 square miles. Looking from the plain westwards The ancient stratified rocks of China form beds of there is seen to be, first, a rugged barrier made up of very stupendous thickness. Of these the most widely diffused ancient formations ; second, a general substructure of limeis a characteristic limestone to which von Richthofen gives stone of 2000 feet in thickness; third, a series of coalthe name “Sinian,” its prevalence being so universal that bearing strata of 500 feet; fourth, the post-Carboniferous it deserves to take its name from the whole country. In strata of 3000 feet; and, lastly, a general cover of loess. the provinces bordering on the lower Yangtse this lime- This is the largest coal field in China, and probably in the stone belt occupies the centre of a group of formations, world, but a similar sequence of strata is found prevailing the lower being quartzose sandstone and argillite schists, generally. Though no recent volcanic agency has been and the upper again argillaceous sandstone often locally traced, there have been, subsequent to the limestone and altered into quartzite. In Szechuen the limestone attains carboniferous periods, very considerable upheavals, due a thickness of upwards of 11,000 feet in some parts. either to subterranean forces or to the puckering consequent Extending, as the formations do, over nearly the whole on lateral compression. The ridges thus thrown up have of China, they vary indefinitely in their relations to one taken generally a north-east and south-west trend. They another, but the whole points to a long period of quiescence do not rise to any great height, seldom reaching 5000 feet, when the central and northern parts of China were sub nor does any one ridge stand out as the predominant merged under deep water. The period corresponds to the mountain chain, but the result is to give a general Silurian and Devonian epochs in the geology of Europe. mountainous character to large areas of the country. One Outflows of granitic rock and other violent disturbances such belt of hills runs through all the south-eastern probrought the period of quiescence to a close. Over the vinces from Tongking to Hangchow Bay, terminating in the limestone formations there is next found a series of rocky islands of the Chusan Archipelago. Another runs Carboniferous strata almost equally widely diffused. This through Szechuen, and is cut transversely by the Yangtse also varies greatly in various parts of the country. In river, which there flows between limestone cliffs forming some parts, as in Shansi

, the seams of pure coal are of the picturesque scenery of the Yangtse gorges. A third great thickness, as much as 30 feet or more, in others the series starts from the Mongolian plateau and runs through beds are thin, and separated by layers of limestone and Chihli and Shansi, forcing the Yellow river to take a long argillaceous strata. These conditions point to a general sweep southwards until it finds its way through a similar elevation of the ocean bed alternating with periods of series of gorges at Lungmen. In the provinces of Kweisubsequent depression. The Coal Measures are in turn

The Coal Measures are in turn chow and Yunnan the north-east and south-west system overlain by sedimentary deposits of sandstone, shales, and meets the outlying spurs of the central Asian system, which conglomerates, to a depth of many thousand feet. A run nearly at right angles to the former, thus causing a general elevation then took place probably soon after the confused mass of lofty mountain peaks which defies declose of the Carboniferous epoch, and there is no evidence scription. Along such ridges the limestone strata are tilted to point to any subsequent depression beneath the level of up and exposed to view, and in a few cases the still deeper the sea. The Jurassic and Cretaceous series of rocks do strata of ancient plutonic rocks, granitic gneiss, and schists not appear to be represented in China. The dominant are also exposed. At one of the gorges in the Yangtse, feature in the geography of China is the existence of the where the river has cut its way across the ridge, the formaenormous mountain masses on which her western frontier tion is well seen. There is, first, a central core of granite, abuts. From these main ranges, spurs or outliers run into then a thin bed of metamorphic schist, then the limestone China, having generally an east or west trend, and these inclined at a high angle on each side, then carboniferous have determined the courses of the great rivers. Having strata, and, lastly

, the superincumbent layer of sandstone their sources at a great height, and draining very extensive and other recent deposits,—the latter, however, being often basins, these rivers have for ages been bringing down eaten away by erosion down to the limestone. This northquantities of silt which have been deposited on the beds of east south-west system, however, is on the whole subancient lakes, and on the sea bottom, thus forming the ordinate to the dominant east and west ranges, stretching



from the highlands of central Asia, which have determined gorges—some of which on the upper Yangtse, and also on the main watersheds. The general course of the rivers is the west or Canton river, are 2000 feet in depth—points thus from west to east, and whenever they meet these to immense antiquity, and probably was preceded by a subordinate ranges they ultimately break across, though series of inland lakes. The extensive areas now filled with occasionally diverted for a time. Their course is thus red sandstone such as exist in Hunan and Szechuen were sometimes a series of zigzags, now flowing parallel with doubtless the beds of such lakes. the trend, and now breaking through at right angles, A specially characteristic feature of north China is the flowing in a deep rocky gorge. The formation of these deposit termed loess, which not merely imparts to the

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Formosa Str






Red River










Si Kiang


Lei choren

Pen tong





Lei chow Pen


20 Tongking

Hunan Sor


120 Engl. Miles

Oxford 190r 100




100 B.V. Darbishiric 0.J.R.Howarlı.


country the physical character of the scenery, but also | It is not stratified, and has a tendency to vertical cleavage. determines the agricultural products, the transport, and It is full of fossil land shells, and contains bones of general economic life of the people. It is peculiar to north quadrupeds, but has no remains of either marine or freshChina, and is not found south of the Yangtse. The loess water shells. From its porous nature water never lies on is a solid, but friable earth of brownish yellow colour, and the surface. The rainfall is at once absorbed as by a when triturated with water is not unlike loam, but differs sponge. On the other hand, moisture is retained in the from the latter by its highly porous and tubular structure. lower portions for long periods. The drainage is conseAmong its constituents, next to the argillaceous basis, fine quently not carried on the top. Whatever streams or sand and carbonate of line predominate. It spreads alike rivulets there are, at once cut their way through the friable over hills and valleys, smoothing over the irregularities, | earth to the subsoil

, carrying down the débris to be deand has a depth, in many places, of over 1000 feet. posited as alluvium on the plains. As the cleavage is

vertical the banks fall in, in perpendicular slabs, leaving a observations. The absolute maximum and minimum vertical wall on each side, often hundreds of feet in height. | temperatures during the period were 102° and 12-2° reThis is always the case in the newly-formed small affluents spectively. of the larger streams, and even in the older rivers the Climate.—The climate of Shanghai, which is that of valley never slopes gradually down to the river bed, but the lower Yangtse valley generally, is on the whole approaches by a series of terraces, each backed by a vertical favourable. The three months from July to September wall separating it from the next above. The consequence of are somewhat trying to Europeans. The temperature is this is that communication in a loess-covered country is ex high and the air is often laden with moisture. The pretremely difficult. Seen from a distance, the valley may pre- vailing winds during this season are south-easterly, caused sent a gentle undulating appearance, but as it is approached by heat and the ascending current of air over the sandy it shows a perfect labyrinth of deep cuts with perpendicu- deserts of central Asia, thus drawing in a current from lar walls, among which the traveller without a guide may the Pacific Ocean. In the winter the converse takes place, wander indefinitely, vainly seeking an exit. The loess soil and the prevailing winds are north and north-west, which is extremely favourable to agriculture. It bears excellent are cold and dry. During the eight or nine months from crops, and not merely on the lower grounds, but at altitudes October to May the climate is bracing and enjoyable. of 6000 and 8000 feet. Wherever loess is found the The rainfall is moderate and regular, and a failure of the peasant can live and thrive. Only one thing is essential, crops owing to prolonged droughts is very rare. Farther and that is the annual rainfall. As no artificial irrigation north, however, this is not the case. The provinces of is possible, if the rain fails the crops must necessarily fail. Shantung and Shansi are peculiarly liable to prolonged Thus seasons of great famine alternate with seasons of periods of drought, with consequent severe famines such as great plenty. It appears, also, that the soil needs little or that of 1877-78, when many millions died for sheer want no manuring, and very little tillage. From its extremely of food. In these regions the air is generally extremely friable nature the soil is easily broken up, and thus a less dry, and the daily variations of temperature consequent amount of labour is required than in other parts. The on excessive radiation are much greater than farther extreme porosity of the soil probably also accounts for the south. Dust storms are also prevalent during the spring length of time it will go on bearing crops without becoming months. In the southern and south-western provinces, exhausted. The rainfall penetrating deeply into the soil in especially Szechuen, the rainfall is much greater than that the absence of stratification, comes into contact with the above recorded, and the summer heat, though not higher moisture retained below, which holds in solution whatever as a maximum than that of Shanghai, is naturally more inorganic salts the soil may contain, and thus the vegeta- prolonged and more enervating. But as a whole the tion has an indefinite store to draw upon. Another climate of China compares favourably with that of any peculiarity of loess in China is that it lends itself readily other part of the world lying between the same parallels to the excavation of dwellings for the people. In many of latitude. The greater part of it is what may be called places whole villages live in cave dwellings dug out in the a White Man's land, and in no part is it specially trying vertical wall of loess. They construct spiral staircases, for Europeans. Certain areas of the province of Yunnan selecting places where the ground is firm, and excavate have a reputation among Chinese for unhealthiness, being endless chambers and recesses which are said to be very mostly those lying at the bottom of deep valleys of the comfortable and salubrious dwellings.

Mekong and Salween rivers, where malarial fever abounds, With respect to its origin, Baron von Richthofen is of and it may be mentioned that certain areas in this proopinion that loess is a subaërial formation. The entire vince are the home of the bubonic plague, an epidemic absence of stratification, except in what he calls regener- which has recently been attracting so much attention. ated loess, i.e., original loess washed down and deposited On the other hand, the plateaus of Yunnan, and notably in lake bottoms, and the entire absence of marine or fresh- the plain of Talifu, have the reputation of an excellent water shells, forbid the supposition that it is an aqueous climate, the latter, according to Indian travellers, compardeposit. The only other agency that can be suggested is ing favourably with Kashmir. air currents combined with rainfall. The latter carries Area and Population. The only change in arca since down certain débris, while the former carries the fine 1875 is the annexation to Japan of the island of Fordust and sand from the steppes among the herbaceous mosa, with a population of about 2,000,000. In regard vegetation, where it is retained and mixed with the de to population no accurate statistics are yet forthcoming. caying leaves and roots. No stratification can take place, The Chinese Government continues from time to time to and any approach to it will be completely effaced by the print in the Peking Gazette returns of the population made roots which descend vertically, and are probably the chief by one or other of the various provincial authorities, bụt, agents in producing the vertical cleavage.

so far as is known, no systematic attempt has been made Meteorology.The figures in the Table are taken from to take a general census on European principles. The the observations recorded at the French mission station method of numeration is to count the households, and at Shanghai. They give the average of eight years from that to make a return of the total inhabitants of

each province.

As every province is divided for adminis-

Temperature Temperature

trative purposes into so many hsien or districts, and every Fahr.

district into so many hundreds, there would be no great

difficulty, as the population is nearly all rural and taxJanuary

178 57.2 2:27 February

paying, in obtaining fairly accurate returns if sufficient 24:3 61.0

2.88 March


care were taken. It does not appear, however, that much April 36.7 84.2


care is taken. The standing orders are that the returns May


are to be made every three years, but as no allowance is
577 92.8

7.86 July

made to meet the expenses, it is probable that in the 678



majority of cases the last return is taken, and a round September 55.8


sum is added or subtracted to meet the supposed facts of October


Mr E. H. Parker published in the number November


1.96 December

of the Statistical Society's Journal for March 1899 a 21.2 65.3

series of tables translated from Chinese records, giving






the case.







the population from year to year between 1651 and 1860. | his facts on such information as the courtiers and high These tables show a gradual rise, though with many officers of state permit to reach him, and he is further fluctuations, up till 1851, when the total population is dependent for the execution of his decrees on such means stated to be 432 millions. From that point it decreases as these same officers supply him with. Though in theory till 1860, when it is put down at only 261 millions. The he can command the services and money of his subjects to following table gives as nearly as can be ascertained the an unlimited extent, yet the crown as such has no revenues actual population at the present time :

peculiarly its own. It is dependent for the pay of the

troops, as well as for the ordinary expenses of the imperial

Population household, on contributions levied through the high Square Population. per Square

officials on the several provinces, and without their conAnlwei

The currence and co-operation nothing can be done. 53,000 20,600,000 388 Chekiang 34,700 11,600,000 334

of the

purse and the power of the sword are thus Chihli. 57,800 17,900,000 30

exercised mediately through the instruments recognized by Fuhkien 41,300 23,500,000 568

the constitution, and it thus comes about that the autoHonan 61,300 22,100,000 360

cratic power is in practice transferred to the general body Hunan

74,400 21,000,000 295 Hupeh 65,900 33,500,000 508

of high functionaries, or to that clique of them who for the Kansuh 131,000 9,400,000

time being have the ear of the Emperor, and who are Kiangsi 67,500 24,000,000 355

united enough and powerful enough to impose their will Kiangsu

36,900 25,000,000 568 Kwangsi

on the others. The high functionaries of state who thus 80,100 5,100,000 63 Kwangtung 79,300 30,000,000 378

really wield the supreme power are almost without excepKweichow 58,800 4,800,000 80

tion civil officials who have risen from the ranks of the Shansi 66,700 11,800,000 177

people. There is no hereditary aristocracy in the European Shantung 55,500 36,000,000


sense of the term. Hereditary rank is indeed bestowed on Shensi

74,000 8,300,000 112 Szechuen 160,000 67,100,000 418

a few public servants usually for a limited number of lives, Yunnan 155,000 6,200,000 40

and there are among the descendants of the Manchu chief

tains, who helped to found the dynasty, a few who hold Total for eighteen

titles of nobility, but in either case the rank per se gives provinces. 1,353,200 377,900,000 Manchuria.

them no status in the constitution. Among the princes of 362,310 12,500,000 31

the blood there are a small number who hold high office 1,715,510 390,400,000

and take an important part in the Government, such as

the late Prince Kung and Prince Ching, the former and Constitution and Government. — The Government of the present head of the Tsung-Li-Yamen, but their right to China is in theory an absolute monarchy. The Emperor have a voice in public affairs is in virtue of their holding is the sole and supreme head of the state. His will is office, not in virtue of their nobility. Practically all the absolute alike in the highest affairs of state and in the high officials who now constitute the Government of China humblest details of private life. The highest form of have risen through the junior ranks of the civil service, legislation is an imperial decree, whether promulgated in and obtained their high position as the reward—so it must general terms or to meet a special case. In either form it be presumed—of long and distinguished public service. is the law of the land, and no privilege or prescriptive right The functions of Government are divided between (a) can be pleaded against it. All officers of state, all judges the central administration and (b) the provincial adminand magistrates, hold their offices entirely at the imperial istration. The empire proper is divided into eighteen propleasure. They can be dismissed, degraded, punished with vincial governments, each of which has a complete adminout reason assigned, and without form of trial even with- istrative machinery of its own, and possesses a quasiout knowing by whom or of what they are accused. There independence in financial and military affairs. In some are no constitutional checks upon the arbitrary acts of the cases two or three are grouped together under a governormonarch. He is provided with an advisory council

, but he general, often called a viceroy, without, however, affecting is not bound by their advice, nor need he pretend that he their independent status. At the head of each province is is acting by and with their advice and concurrence. In a governor, whose main functions are to keep the peace practice, however, this arbitrary power is tempered in and preserve order, to collect the taxes, to raise and pay his several ways. Firstly, although the constitution confers own troops, pay the salaries of the civil service, remit the this absolute and unchecked power on the Emperor, it is regulation quota of the taxes in money and in kind, as the not for his gratification but that he may exercise it for the case may be, to Peking, and to find and remit the extra good of his people. He rules by divine authority, and “squeezes” which the needs of the central Government may as the vice-regent of Heaven upon earth. If he rules demand. If he does all that and things go smoothly, the corruptly or unjustly Heaven will send disasters and central Government does not interfere with him. He calamity on the people as a reproof; if the rule becomes renders pro formâ accounts to the Board of Rovenue at tyrannical Heaven may withdraw its favour entirely, and Peking, but no effective scrutiny is maintained. He is then rebellion may be justified. Though treason and re not responsible for disorder beyond his own border, nor bellion are ordinarily the most heinous of crimes, yet bound to send military aid to his neighbours even against history applauds a successful revolt as evidence of the foreign invasion. The functions of the central Governiniquities of the fallen dynasty. The Manchu dynasty ment, on the other hand, are mostly confined to checking came to the throne as foreign conquerors, nevertheless they and registering the acts of the provincial governments, and have adopted this theory, and base their right to rule, not seeing that things are done in conformity with precedent

power of the sword, but on divine approval. On and with established rules. If the central authorities this moral ground they claim the obedience of their sub- take the initiative, and issue orders, as they occasionally are jects, and submit themselves to the corresponding obliga- forced to do, under foreign pressure

, it by no means follows tions. A more effective check upon the caprice of the that they will be carried out. The orders, if unwelcome, Emperor, however, is the second which we will notice, are not directly disobeyed, but rather ignored, or specious namely, that the constitution prescribes that the Emperor pleas are put forward, showing the difficulty or impossishall live in seclusion. He is consequently dependent for bility of carrying them out at that particular juncture.

on the

The central Government always wields the power of Grand Council, several of the most prominent men being removing or degrading a recalcitrant governor, and no members of both. At the same time that the Tsung-Licase has been known where such an order was not promptly Yamen was created two important offices were established obeyed. But the central Government being composed of in the provinces for dealing with foreign commercial quesofficials, stand by their order, and are extremely reluctant tions, viz., the Superintendencies of Trade for the northern to issue such a command, especially at the bidding of a and southern ports, the former being given to the foreign Power. Generally the opinion of the governors governor-general of Chihli, and the latter to the governorand viceroys has great weight with the central Govern- general at Nanking. Li Hung-Chang held the former for ment, and probably no great measure of policy would be a number of years, and this position, combined with his entered upon without their advice and concurrence. The personal talents and his influence at court, made him Boxer troubles and the flight of the court from Peking on practically minister for foreign affairs over the heads of the approach of the foreign expeditionary force (Aug. the Tsung-Li-Yamen. 1900) shook the whole governmental fabric of the Chinese 4. The six Boards (Liu Pu). The administrative Empire. This and the following sections must therefore work of the Chinese Government is divided between six be taken as representing the normal condition of things departments termed boards, viz., the Board of Civil before the outbreak of disturbances in 1900.

Office, the Board of Revenue, the Board of Ceremonies, Central Administration.—The following are the principal the Board of War, the Board of Punishment, and the departments of the central Government :

Board of Works. Each board has two presidents and four 1. The Grand Secretariat Neiko), consisting of four vice-presidents, half being Manchu and half Chinese. The grand secretaries and two assistant grand secretaries, official constitution of each is practically the same. They half of whom, according to a general rule applicable to control each in its own sphere, the nature of which is nearly all the high offices in Peking, must be Manchu and sufficiently indicated by the names, the execution of that half Chinese. This was originally the Supreme Council system of minute regulation for the conduct of public. of the empire, but under the present dynasty it has ceased business which is the special function of the central Governto be of active importance. It constitutes the Imperial ment. The presidents and vice-presidents of the boards,

, Chancery or Court of Archives, and admission to its ranks together with the heads of the censorate and the Hanlin confers the highest distinction attainable by Chinese college, may be said to constitute the central Government. officials, though with functions that are almost purely They have not all an equal voice in the decisions of questions nominal. Members of the Grand Secretariat are distin- of state, but they are all qualified to tender advice to the guished by the honorary title of Chung-tang. The most sovereign, and it is from their number that the smaller distinguished viceroys are usually advanced to the dignity executive councils above mentioned, viz., the Chun Chi of grand secretary while continuing to occupy their posts Chu and the Tsung-Li-Yamen, are selected. in the provinces.

5. The Censorate (Tu Cha Yuen).—This is an institution 2. Grand Council (Chun Chi Chu).—This department, peculiar to China. As the Emperor is condemned to live the actual Privy Council of the sovereign, in whose in seclusion, and has no means of learning what may

be presence its members daily transact the business of the going on in the various parts of his dominions, the constitustate, is composed of a small knot of men holding various tion endeavours to supply a remedy by providing a paid high offices in the Government boards at Peking. The body of men whose duty it is to keep him informed of all number is undetermined, but at present it is five. The facts affecting the welfare of the people and the conduct literal meaning of the Chinese name Chun Chi Chu is of Government, and in particular to keep an eye on the "place of plans for the army,” and the institution de- malfeasance of his officers. These men are termed Yu shih, rives its name from the practice established by the early generally translated censors. There are fifty-six of them, emperors of the dynasty of treating public affairs on the divided into fifteen divisions, each division taking a partifooting of a military council. The usual time of trans- cular province or area, so as to embrace the whole eighteen acting business is, in accordance with Chinese custom, from provinces, besides one metropolitan division. With the 4 to 6 A.M.

growth of a native press this institution loses its raison 3. Tsung-Li-Yamen.—This, the best known of all the d’être, and will probably fall into desuetude. It seems at Chinese departments, was created after the Anglo-Chinese the present moment to be more powerful for mischief than war in 1860 as a Board for Foreign Affairs. Previously to for good. that war, which established the right of foreign Powers to 6. The Hanlin College (Hanlin Yuen).—The only other have their representatives in Peking, all foreign business institution of the metropolitan administration that need be was transacted by one of the provincial viceroys, chiefly noticed is the Hanlin College, and this chiefly because the the viceroy of Canton. The only department at Peking heads of the college, who are presumably the most eminent which dealt specially with foreign affairs was the Li Fan scholars of the empire, have the right of advising the Yuen, or Board of Control for the dependencies, which throne on all public affairs, and are eligible as members of regulated the affairs of Mongolia, Tibet, and the tribu- | the Grand Council, or of the Tsung-Li-Yamen. In other tary states generally. With the advent of formally respects its functions are purely literary. The Chinese accredited ambassadors from the European Powers some set fire to it during the fighting in Peking in June 1900 thing more than this was required, and a special board was in the hope of burning out the adjoining British Legation. appointed to discuss and if possible settle all questions The whole of the valuable library, containing some of the with the foreign envoys. The number was originally four, most ancient manuscripts in the world, was destroyed. with Prince Kung, a brother of the late Emperor Hsien Provincial Administration.—No change has been made Feng at their head. It has since been raised to ten, in the provincial administration since the article in the another prince of the blood, Prince Ching, being now ninth edition of this work was written, where its organizapresident. The members are spoken of collectively as the tion is briefly described (Ency. Brit. v. 668). prince and ministers. For a long time the board had no tension of the telegraph system and the growth of native real power, and was looked on rather as a buffer between newspapers enable the central Government to take a more the foreign envoys and the real Government. The im- active supervision in provincial affairs than it has hitherto portance of foreign affairs, however, especially since the been wont to do. Japanese war, has identified the Yamen more with the Civil Service : how recruited.—The bureaucratic element.

The ex

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