It is now conceded by shrewd observers of current events, that the Chinese element is destined to become in the future an important part of our population, and to exercise a great influence on the destiny of this continent.. It is not therefore to be wondered at that the period -ieals of the time should find the discussion of anything which pertains to this remarkable people acceptable to their readers. So little have China and Chinese customs been understood, that now when the public mind is awakened to the importance of better information in regard to that ancient empire, it is surprised at the very erroneous ideas it hashitherto entertained. This surprise arises not only from the differences between our customs and those of the Chinese, but also from the fact that the Chinese have made very much greater advances in civilization than has been generally supposed by other civilized nations. Some of these facts have been put in a very acceptable dress by a writer in the AtlantiG Monthly, for September, from which we extract a portion: China is the type of permanence in the world. To say that it is older than any other existing nation, is saying very little. Herodotus, who has been called the Father of history, traveled in Egypt about 460 B. C. He studied its monuments, bearing' the names of kings who were as distant from his time as he is from ours—monuments which even then belonged to a gray antiquity. But the kings who erected those monuments were posterior to the founders of the Chinese Empire. Porcelain vessels, with Chinese mottoes on them, have been found in those ancient tombs, in shape, material, and appearance precisely like those which are made in China to-day ; and Ros-elini believes them to have been imported from China by kings cotamporary with Moses, or before him. This nation and its institutions have outlasted everything. The ancient Bactrian and Assyriankingdoms, the Persian monarchy, Greece and Rome, have all risen, flourished, and fallen —and China continues still the same. The dynasty has been occasionally changed; but the laws, customs, institutions, all that makes national life, have continued. The authentic history of China commences some three thousand years before Christ, and a thousand years in this history is like a century in that of any other people. The oral language of China has continued the same that it is now for thirty centuries. The great wall bounding the Empire on the north, which is twelve hundred and forty miles long, and twenty feet high, with towers every few hundred yards—which crosses mountain ridges, descends into valleys, and is carried over rivers on arches—was built two hundred years before Christ, probably to repel those fierce tribes who, after ineffectual attempts to conquer China, traveled westward till they appeared on the borders of Europe five hundred years later, and, under the name of Huns, assisted in the downfall of the Roman Empire. All China was intersected with canals at a period when none existed in Europe. The great canal, like the great wall, is unrivaled by any similar existing work. It is twice the length of the Erie Canal, is from two hundred to a thousand feet wide, and has enormous banks built of solid granite along a great part of its course. One of the important mechanical inventions of modern Europe is the Artesian well. That sunk at Grenoble was long supposed to be the deepest in the world, going down eighteen hundred feet. One at St. Louis in the United States, has since been drilled to a depth, as has recently been stated, of more than four thousand feet. But in China these wells are found in tens of thousands, sunk at very remote periods, to obtain salt water. The method used used by the Chinese from immemorial time has recently been adopted instead of our own, as beings 178 mucli more simple and economical. The Chinese have been long acquainted with the circnlation of the blood ; they inoculated for small pox in the tenth centary; and about the same time they invented printing. Their bronze money was made as early as 1,100 B. C, and its form has not been changed since the beginning of the Christian era. The mariner's compass, gunpowder, and the art of printing were made known to Europe through stories told by missionaries returning from Asia. These irdssionaries, coasting the shores of the Celestial Empire in Chinese junks, saw a little box containing a mcignetized needle, called Ting-nan-Tchen, or ''needle which points to the south." They also noticed terrible machines used by the armies in China, called Ho-pao, or fire-guns, into which was put an inllanimable powder, which produced a noise like thunder, and projected stones and pieces of iron with irresistible force. The first aspect of China produces that impression on the mind which we call the grotesque. This is merely because the customs of this singular nation are so opposite to our own. They seem morally, no less than physically our antipodes. Their habits are as opposite to ours as the direction of their bodies. We stand feet to feet in everything. In boxing the compass they say " westnorth " instead of northwest," " east-south " instead of southeast, and their compass-needle points soutn instead of north. Their soldiers wear quilted petticoats, satin boots, and bead necklaces, carry umbreUas and ans, and go to a night attask with lanterns in their hands, being more afraid of the dark than of exposing themselves to the enemy. The people are very lond of fireworks, but prefer to have them in the daytime. Ladies ride in wheelbarrows, and cows are driven in carriages. While in Europe the feet are put in the stocks, in China the stocks are hung round the neck. In China the family name comes first, and the personal name afterward. Instead of saying Benjamin Franklin or Walter Scott, they would say li'ranklin Benjamin, Scott Walter. Thus the Chinese name of Confucius, Kung-fu-tsee, the Holy Master Kung; Kung is the family name. Li the recent wars with the English, the mandarins or soldiers Vvould sometimes run away, and then commit suicide to avoid punishment. In getting on a horse, the Oiiinese mount on the right side. Their old men fly kites, while the little boys look on. The left hand is the seat of honor, and to keep on your hat is a sign of respect. Visiting cards are painted red, and are four feet long. In the opinion of the Chinese, the seat of the understanding is the stomach. They have villages which contain a million of inhabitants. Their boats are drawn by men, but their carriages are moved by sails. A married woman while young and pretty is a slave, but when she becomes old and withered is the most powerful, respected, and beloved person in the family. The emperor is regarded with the most profound reverence, but the empress mother is a greater person than he. When a imn f ami slice his house, instead of laying stress, as we do, on rosewood pianos and carved mahogany, his first ambition is for a handsome camphor-wood coffin, which he keeps in the best place in his room. The interest of money is thirty-six per cent, which, to be sure, we also give in hard times to stave ofl' a stoppage, while with them it is the legal rate. We once heard a bad dinner described thus : " The meat was cold, the wine was hot, and everything was sour but the vinegar." This would not so much displease the Chinese, who carefully warm their wine, while we ice ours. They understand good living, however, very well, are great epicures, and somewhat gourmands, for, after dining un thirty dishes, they will sometimes eat a duck by way of a finish. They toss their meat into their mouths to a tune, every man keeping time with his chop-sticks, while we, on the contrary, make anything but harmony with the clatter of our knives and forks. A Chinaman will not drink a drop of milk, but he will devour bird's nest, snails, and the fins of sharks, with a great relish. Our mourning color is black, and theirs is white ; they mourn for their parents three years, we a much shorter time. The principal room in their houses is called " the hall of ancestors," the pictures or tablets of whom, set up against the wall, are worshiped by them ; we, %n the other hand, are very apt to send our grandfather's portrait to the garret. Such are a few of the external differences between their customs and ours. But the most essential XDeculiarity of the Chinese is the high value which they attribute to knowledge, and the distinctions and rewards which they bestow on scholarship. All the civil offices in the Empire are given as rewards of literary merit. The government, indeed, is called a complete despotism, and theemporer is said to have absolute authoiity. lie is not bound by any written constitution indeed ; but the public opinion of the land holds him, nevertheless, to a strict responsibility. He, no less than his people, is bound by a law higher than that of any private will—the authority of custom. In China, more than anywhere else, what is gray with age becomes religion." The authority of the emperor is simply authority to govern according tc the ancient usages of the country, and whenever these are persistently violated, a revolution takes places and the dynasty is changed. But a revolution in China changes nothing but the person of the monarch ; the unwritten con stitution of old usages remains in full force. Setting Mineral Teeth. Surgeon Duchesne, of Paris, has invented a method of fixing mineral teeth to the dental piece. Each tooth is furnishec with a hollow of a size exceeding that of the orifice, bj which orifice the rubber in its plastic state enters into the tooth, assuming inside the internal configuration, and, as i1 were, the shape of a nail-head of a pyramidal form, or of the form of a flattened cone, and the rubber being properly vulcanized, the tooth becomes firmly attached to the dental piece. The hole being obtained by placing on the rear side of the mold of the tooth, which is molded of materials well known to tooth manufacturers, the base of a piece of wood, or of any other suitable material, cut into the shape of a cone, and which can be consumed or melted at a lesser degree of heat than that required for the baking of the tooth ; this piece of wood or other material being destroyed during the process of biscuiting, there remains in the center of the tooth a hollow, corresponding in size and shape with the material vhich has been burnt out. The principle of strength which : is claimed for this tooth consists in the fact, that the rubber, a portion of the dental piece to which it is to be attached, entering into the tooth itself, the tooth actually forms part and parcel, so to speak, of the dental piece ; and the principle of the invention consists in the hollow in the center of the tooth of a larger size than the orifice by which the rubber, or other plastic material is introduced, of whatever form this hollow may be, whether produced by the consuming, melting, or annihilating of any animal, vegetable, or mineral matter, that can be annihilated by a less heat than that required for the baking of the tooth.
This article was originally published with the title "China and the Chinese"