Preforming tricks with Jars
This engraving exhibits a posture-master balancing two large China vases, and throwing himself into most extraordinary attitudes.
It is, perhaps, more proper to call the annexed figure, the representation of a person in the character of a female comedian, than “a female comedian,” as women have been prohibited from appearing publicly on the stage since the late Emperor, Kien Lung, took an actress for one of his inferior wives. Female characters are now therefore performed either by boys or eunuchs. The whole dress is supposed to be that of the ancient Chinese, and indeed is not very different from that of the present day. The young ladies of China display considerable taste and fancy in their head-dresses which are much decorated with feathers, flowers, and beads as well as metallic ornaments in great variety of form. Their outer garments are richly embroidered, and are generally the work of their own hands, a great part of their time being employed in this way. If it was not a rigid custom of the country, to confine to their apartments the better class of females, the unnatural cramping of their feet, while infants, is quite sufficient to prevent them from stirring much abroad, as it is with some difficulty they are able to hobble along; yet such is the force of fashion, that a lady with her feet of the natural size would be despised, and at once classed among the vulgar.
This is one of the most common of sedan chairs, used by the peasantry; though there are others still meaner, and without any covering over head. The wages of labour are so low, and the price of provisions so cheap, that any man above a common labourer can afford to be carried in his chair.
In so arbitrary a government as that of China, it would scarcely be supposed that the press should be free; that is to say, that every one who chooses it may follow the profession of a printer or a bookseller without any previous licence, or without submitting the works he may print or expose for sale to any censor appointed by government; but then he must take his chance to suffer in his person all the consequences that may result from the impression that may be made on the minds of the civil officers as to the tendency of the work. A libel against the government, an immoral or indecent book, would subject both printer and publisher to certain punishment both in his person and purse.
On all the rivers and canals of China a vast number of families live entirely in their boats, and the women are generally quite as efficient navigators as the men, particularly in rowing and steering. Their dress differs very little from that of the men, except about the head, on which the hair is suffered to grow freely, and is sometimes plaited behind like that of the men, as in this figure, but more frequently tied up in a knot upon the crown of the head. Among persons of this description the feet are allowed to grow to their full size, and they are almost invariably without shoes or other cover. They smoke tobacco and chew the betel and areca nut with as much avidity as the men.
The Leu-tzé, or fishing cormorant of China, is the pelicanus sinensis, and resembles very much the common cormorant of England, which, we are told by naturalists, was once trained up to catch fish, pretty much in the same manner as those of China are. They are exceedingly expert in taking fish, and pursue them under water with great eagerness. They are taken out, on the rivers and lakes, in boats or bamboo rafts; and though sent on the chace after long fasting, they are so well trained that they rarely swallow any of the fish they take until they are permitted to do so by their masters. Many thousand families in China earn their subsistence by means of these birds.
Throughout all the East, in India as well as in China, the luxury of champooing is enjoyed by all ranks of men; it consists of pulling the joints until they crack, and of thumping the muscles until they are sore; it is generally an operation performed by the barbers, who at the same time cleanse the ears, tickle the nose, and play a thousand tricks to please and amuse their customers, to whom and the surrounding audience they tell their gossiping stories. Of their merit in this respect we have abundant information in the Arabian Nights Entertainments.
The figure kneeling before the deities mounted on pedestals is a priest of the sect of Fo. He is burning incense, or rather paper that is covered over with some liquid that resembles gold. Sometimes, in lieu of this, tin foil is burnt before the altars of China, and this is the principal use to which the large quantities of tin sent from this country is applied. On the four-legged stool is the pot containing the sticks of fate, and other paraphernalia belonging to the temple, and behind it is the tripod in which incense is sometimes burned. These superstitious rites are performed several times by the priests every day, but there is no kind of congregational worship in China. The people pay the priests for taking care of their present and future fate.
The Chinese have full as great a variety of musical instruments as most other nations, but they are all of them indifferent, and the music, if it may be so called, produced out of them, execrable.
Some millions of Chinese live entirely on the water, in boats and barges of various kinds, some occupied in carrying articles of provisions and merchandize, others in conveying passengers, some in feeding and rearing ducks, and others in fishing. Some of these vessels have masts and sails, others are forced forwards with large sculls or pushed on with poles, some are dragged along by men, and others, but very rarely, by horses. Near the head of each vessel is suspended in some convenient place, one of those noisy instruments well known in this country by the name of gong, which is used to regulate the motions of the trackers, and to give notice to other vessels of the approach and intentions of the one that beats the signal.
The police is so well regulated in all the large cities of China, that disturbances rarely, if ever, happen during the night. The watch is set at nine, and continues till five in the morning. A gate is placed at each end of the cross streets, which are all streight, and at right angles with the main streets; from each gate a watchman proceeds till he meets his brother watchman about the middle; at every half hour he beats the hollow bamboo tube, in his left hand, with the mallet in the right, striking the same number of blows as there may be half hours elapsed from nine o’clock: the blow gives a dead, dull sound, sufficiently audible, and to a stranger sufficiently disagreeable. Each watchman is also furnished with a paper lantern. At the great gates of cities, and at certain distances in the main streets are guard-houses, at which a party of soldiers are stationed to aid the police, if necessary; but this is rarely the case, as, in addition to the common watch, every tenth housekeeper in every street is made responsible for the orderly good conduct of his nine neighbours. In the day time there is plenty of noise, and quarrelling and scuffling among the lower orders of the Chinese.
There is no nation so fond of illuminations and fire-works as the Chinese, and no nation has exerted its skill so effectually in the multitude of contrivances to exhibit light. Their lanterns are as various in shape as in materials. The most common are of painted paper. The most beautiful and ornamental of silk gauze, finely painted and stretched on frames that are not deficient in carving and curious workmanship, and decorated with tassels of silk of various colours. Other lanterns are round and cylindrical, and of one single piece of thin transparent horn, sometimes of an immense size.
It is a peculiar feature in all the Oriental nations, that the most beautiful specimens of workmanship in the various arts are made with the most simple and at the same time most clumsy tools. The artificers moreover are rarely fixed, or settled in a workshop convenient for their purposes, but generally travel about the country carrying their shop and apparatus with them. The annexed figure represents an itinerant smith, who has more tools than almost any other artificer of China, and yet performs his work the worst. Their cast iron is light and good, but their manufactures of wrought iron are very indifferent: they can neither make a hinge, nor a lock, nor even a nail that can be called good. The bellows of the smith is a box with a valvular piston, which, when not in use, serves as a seat, and also to contain his tools. The barber also makes a seat of his basket; the joiner uses his rule as a walking-stick, and the same chest that holds his tools serves him as a bench to work upon: such are the expedients which thousands resort to, both in India and China.
The Chinese merchants and tradesmen are most expert and ready reckoners; but they perform all arithmetical operations mechanically, by means of a table divided into two compartments, through which pass iron wires; and on these wires are strung in one compartment five, and in the other two, moveable balls. The principle is something of the same kind as that of the abacus of the Romans, and is with some little variation still made use of in Russia. It has been observed, that in weighing several thousand chests of tea, or bales of goods, at Canton, the Chinese accountant can invariably name the sum total long before the European can cast up his account.
Almost every necessary of life, and many articles that are not of that description, are carried about the streets for sale, and the invariable mode of bearing burthens of this kind is in baskets or boxes suspended from the two extremities of a bamboo lath, swung across the back part of the shoulder. If a Chinese should only have one basket to carry, he is sure to get a log of wood, or a large stone to counterpoise it at the opposite end, thus preferring to carry a double weight rather than place it on the head, or the shoulder, or across the arm. The Chinese are in appearance far from exhibiting any signs of great muscular powers, but in lifting, or carrying a load, they are probably not excelled by the porters even of Ireland.
Whenever the Emperor of China goes in state to transact public business, to receive ambassadors, or to hold a court, he is carried in the same kind of a sedan chair as are commonly used in Europe, and which, as well as umbrellas, have obviously been first introduced from China. The soft luxury of an Indian palanquin is unknown to the Chinese. By means of poles attached to each other the Emperor’s chair, on grand occasions, is carried by eight pair of bearers, sometimes by four pair, but on ordinary occasions he has no more than two pair. They are generally the stoutest and tallest men that can be found, and are dressed in a long yellow vest, which is the colour assumed by the imperial family.
There is every reason to believe, that Punch and his wife were originally natives of China; and that all our puppet-shows were brought from that country. The little theatre, above the head of a man concealed behind a curtain, is precisely Chinese. Les ombres Chinoises still bear the name of their inventors; but the annexed representation of a puppet-showman is somewhat different from both, and is the simple origin of the Fantoccini, which consists in giving motion to the puppets, by means of springs attached to particular parts of the figures. These little dancing puppets are not merely exhibited for the amusement of children; they furnish entertainment for the Emperor and his court, and more especially for the ladies who, from their recluse mode of life, are easily diverted with any kind of amusement, however childish. We find from Mr. Barrow, that a puppet-show was one species of entertainment given to Lord Macartney and his suite at the Emperor’s palace of Gehol in Tartary.
A Porter carrying goods
The annexed are portraits of a female servant, and of a male and female child, which will give a tolerably correct idea of the dresses worn by them respectively. That of the maid servant differs in nothing from her mistress, but in the materials; the latter generally wearing silk, and the one in question cotton. A Chinese woman of the meanest condition would feel herself degraded if not allowed to mutilate her feet.
The annexed is a portrait of a true Tartar horse, which seems to be pretty much of the same breed as those of the Cossacks. The Chinese horses are precisely of the same kind. In fact, no pains whatever appear to be taken either for improving the breed, or by attention to their food, cleanliness, or regular exercise, to increase the size, strength, or spirit of the animal. A currycomb, or any substitute for it, is unknown in China. Indeed horses are not much in use. Wherever the nature of the country admits of canals or navigable rivers, travelling and conveyance of every kind are principally performed on the water.
The Picture shows the page or body servant of a mandarin, to carry his papers, his writing apparatus, the cushion on which he sits, or lays his head; he takes care of his areca-box and his tobacco pipe, attends him on all occasions, fans him while asleep; and, if report speaks truth, serves him for other unworthy purposes. Every mandarin has one or more of these kind of boys whom, even in public, they treat with a familiarity which is not quite decorous. The upper vest, worn by the person in the annexed figure, is of fur, which in all the northern provinces is found to be absolutely necessary in the severe cold of the winter months.
This gentleman is a sort of appendage to a man in power. Some half-dozen of them generally precede a mandarin of `rank` when he goes in procession, but more especially when he attends a tribunal of justice. Their peculiar province seems to be that of keeping off the crowd. The feathers they wear in their tall conical hats are from three to six feet in length, and are apparently the tail feathers of a peculiar species of pheasant, which is represented as very scarce. Some of them wear the tail feathers of the argus pheasant.
All officers of state, whether civil or military, from the highest to the lowest, have been named by the early Portuguese writers mandarins, from a word in their own language, mandar, to command; and this name, improper as it is, has preserved its ground ever since. The figure of a bird on the embroidered breast-plate of the annexed figure points him out as a civilian. A military officer wears the figure of an animal resembling the tiger. The degree of `rank`, whether civil or military, is marked by a small globe on the top of the cap, opake red coral distinguishing the highest, and brass the lowest `rank`: the intermediate colours are transparent red, opake and transparent blue, opake and transparent white. As a mark of imperial favour, one, two, or three feathers from the tail of the peacock are appended to the back part of the bonnet. All officers, whether civil or military, invariably wear thick-quilted boots, and, when in their court-dresses, embroidered petticoats. Most of them wear chains of coral, or agate, or coloured glass round the neck, as in the annexed figure.
The official habits in which all the mandarins are compelled to appear in public being made of the thickest silk, are exceedingly cumbersome, and not well adapted for the summer months, which are excessively hot even in the most northerly provinces; they therefore in private take every opportunity of throwing off their ceremonial garb, and assume a thin loose gown, tied with a belt round the waist. Their summer-hat is also made of light rice straw. The head is not encumbered with hair, which all ranks and ages shave close off, leaving only a small lock hanging down behind. The use of fans is universal. Even the military, when drawn out on parade-duty, make use of fans. It will be observed in this figure, that the spectacles worn by the Chinese are considerably larger than ours: they are made of cristal, glass being a species of manufacture unknown in China.
The very general use of tobacco throughout the whole extensive empire of China, and the still more extensive regions of Tartary, would seem to contradict the commonly received opinion, that this herb is indigenous only in America. One can hardly suppose that the Chinese, who are so remarkably averse from the introduction of any thing novel, would, in the course of three centuries, have brought the custom of smoking into universal use; yet so it is; men of all ranks and all ages; women, whatever their condition in life may be, and children even of both sexes of eight or ten years of age, are furnished with the necessary apparatus for smoking tobacco. In walking the streets, in almost all the occupations of life, the tobacco pipe is seldom out of the mouth.
His dress is pretty nearly that of the class of people to which he belongs. The Chinese are excellent domestic servants and they are invaluable.
The practice of smoking tobacco is not more common, at least in the southern provinces of China, than that of chewing the areca nut, mixed with chunam, or lime made of shells, and wrapped up in a leaf of the betel pepper. Indeed this compound masticatory is in universal use throughout all India, the Oriental Islands, Cochin-china, and Tonquin. In addition to the little purse which every Chinese wears suspended from his belt as an appendage to his tobacco pipe and to hold the ingredients for smoking, whether tobacco, or opium, or both, he generally carries another to contain areca nuts broken into small fragments: the other materials, the betel leaf, and chunam are to be met with in every little eating shop, and on almost every stall in the bazar, or market, and are among the most common articles carried about the streets for sale.
Making lime from oyster shells in a kiln, about 1625. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Blowing glass at Jamestown in 1608. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
Making “trialls” Of iron. Evidences of an earth oven or small furnace were discovered at Jamestown during archeological explorations. Small amounts of iron may have been smelted in the furnace during the early years of the settlement. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
The Jamestown cooper was a busy craftsman. Many barrels, hogsheads, and casks were needed in the colony, and large quantities of barrel staves were made for shipping to England. (Painting by Sidney E. King.)
Making lime from oyster shells in a kiln, about 1625. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
A physician bleeding a patient. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
One of the members of the first colony was a surgeon, William Wilkinson by name. As the colony grew, other surgeons, physicians, and apothecaries, emigrated to Virginia. Their lot was not easy, for it appears that they were seldom idle in an island community having more than its share of “cruell diseases, Swellings, Flixes, Burning Fevers, warres and meere famine.”
During archeological explorations, drug jars, ointment pots, bleeding bowls, mortars and pestles, small bottles and vials, and parts of surgical instruments were recovered. These, undoubtedly, were used countless times at Jamestown by unknown “chirurgions,” doctors of “physickes,” and apothecaries—men who tried to keep the colonists well with their limited medical equipment and scant supply of drugs.
The Parliament of Paris--or Great French Parliament, as it was called by Philip V. and Charles V., in edicts of the 17th of November, 1318, and of the 8th of October, 1371--was divided into four principal chambers: the Grand Chamber, the Chamber of Inquiry, the Criminal Chamber, and the Chamber of Appeal. It was composed of ordinary councillors, both clerical and lay; of honorary councillors, some of whom were ecclesiastics, and others members of the nobility; of masters of inquiry; and of a considerable number of officers of all ranks
Notary and Sbirro (policeman)--From two Engravings in the Bonnart Collection.
(Fourteenth Century).--From a Miniature in the "Chroniques de Saint-Denis" (Imperial Library of Paris).
Chief of Sbirri
Chief of Sbirri
The executioner did not hold the same position in all countries. For whereas in France, Italy, and Spain, a certain amount of odium was attached to this terrible craft, in Germany, on the contrary, successfully carrying out a certain number of capital sentences was rewarded by titles and the privileges of nobility
Fac-simile of Engravings on Wood, designed and engraved by J. Amman, in the Sixteenth Century.
Robert E. Lee, Lieut. of Engineers.
n 1829, when twenty-two years old, Robert entered the Engineer Corps of the United States, and thus became Lieutenant Lee.
It is the duty of these engineers in time of peace, to plan forts, to change the course of rivers which make sand-banks at wrong places, and to do other work of the same kind.
Jack Black - Her Majesty's Rat Catcher
In the sporting world, and among his regular customers, the Queen’s ratcatcher is better known by the name of Jack Black. He enjoys the reputation of being the most fearless handler of rats of any man living, playing with them—as one man expressed it to me—“as if they were so many blind kittens.”
Street Telescope Exhibitor
“It must be about eight years since I first exhibited the telescope. I have three telescopes now, and their powers vary from about 36 to 300. The instruments of the higher power are seldom used in the streets, because the velocity of the planets is so great that they almost escape the eye before it can fix it. The opening is so very small, that though I can pass my eye on a star in a minute, an ordinary observer would have the orb pass away before he could accustom his eye to the instrument. High power is all very well for separating stars, and so forth; but I’m like Dr. Kitchener, I prefer a low power for street purposes. A street-passer likes to see plenty of margin round a star. If it fills up the opening he don’t like it.
Street Performers on Stilts
Street Conjurer Performing
Flushing the Sewers
The next step in our inquiry—and that which at present concerns us more than any other—is the mode of removing the solid deposits from the sewers, as well as the condition of the workmen connected with that particular branch of labour. The sewers are the means by which a larger proportion of the wet refuse of the metropolis is removed from our houses, and we have now to consider the means by which the more solid part of this refuse is removed from the sewers themselves. The latter operation is quite as essential to health and cleanliness as the former; for to allow the filth to collect in the channels which are intended to remove it, and there to remain decomposing and vitiating the atmosphere of the metropolis, is manifestly as bad as not to remove it at all; and since the more solid portions of the sewage will collect and form hard deposits at the bottom of each duct, it becomes necessary that some means should be devised for the periodical purgation of the sewers themselves.
The London Sweep
Or, to check the estimate another way, there are 350 master sweepers throughout London. A master sweeper in a “large way of business” collects, I am informed, one day with another, from 30 to 40 bushels of soot; on the other hand, a small master, or “single-handed” chimney-sweeper is able to gather only about 5 bushels, and scarcely that. One master sweeper said that about 10 bushels a day would, he thought, be a fair average quantity for all the masters, reckoning one day with another; so that at this rate we should have 1,095,500 bushels for the gross quantity of soot annually collected throughout the metropolis.
The Crossing sweeper that has been a maid servant
She is to be found any day between eight in the morning and seven in the evening, sweeping away in a convulsive, jerky sort of manner, close to —— square, near the Foundling. She may be known by her pinched-up straw bonnet, with a broad, faded, almost colourless ribbon. She has weak eyes, and wears over them a brownish shade. Her face is tied up, because of a gathering which she has on her head. She wears a small, old plaid cloak, a clean checked apron, and a tidy printed gown.
The Boy Crossing Sweepers
The Bearded Crossing sweeper at the Exchange
That portion of the London street-folk who earn a scanty living by sweeping crossings constitute a large class of the Metropolitan poor. We can scarcely walk along a street of any extent, or pass through a square of the least pretensions to “gentility,” without meeting one or more of these private scavengers. Crossing-sweeping seems to be one of those occupations which are resorted to as an excuse for begging; and, indeed, as many expressed it to me, “it was the last chance left of obtaining an honest crust.”
The advantages of crossing-sweeping as a means of livelihood seem to be:
1st, the smallness of the capital required in order to commence the business;
2ndly, the excuse the apparent occupation it affords for soliciting gratuities without being considered in the light of a street-beggar;
And 3rdly, the benefits arising from being constantly seen in the same place, and thus exciting the sympathy of the neighbouring householders, till small weekly allowances or “pensions” are obtained.
One of the few remaining climbing sweeps
Nightmen, or those who remove the contents of the cesspools.
The One-legged sweeper at Chancery Lane
Young man standing with his porter basket.
The payments of ticket-porters were settled in 1799.
To or from any of the quays, wharfs, stairs, lanes, or alleys at the waterside, between the Tower and London Bridge to any part of Lower Thames-street, Beer-lane, Water-lane, Harp-lane, St. Dunstan’s-hill, St. Mary-hill, Love-lane, Botolph-lane, Pudding-lane, and Fish-street-hill:
For any load or parcel by knot or hand—
Not exceeding ½ cwt. 0s. 4d.
Not exceeding 1 „ 0 6
Not exceeding 1½ „ 0 9
Not exceeding 2 „ 1 0
Convicts who have been sentenced to prison, but are released early under the ticket-to-leave experimental scheme.
The sewer-hunters are again distinct, and a far more intelligent and adventurous class; but they work in gangs. They must be familiar with the course of the tides, or they might be drowned at high water. They must have quick eyes too, not merely to descry the objects of their search, but to mark the points and bearings of the subterraneous roads they traverse; in a word, “to know their way underground.” There is, moreover, some spirit of daring in venturing into a dark, solitary sewer, the chart being only in the memory, and in braving the possibility of noxious vapours, and the by no means insignificant dangers of the rats infesting these places.