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A Soldier with his Matchlock

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The military of China differs, as every thing else differs, from that of all other nations, in the nature of its establishment, its occupation, and its dress. They have two distinct armies, if they may be so called; the one composed entirely of Tartars, who are stationed in the several provinces on the Tartar frontier, and occupy all the garrison towns of the empire; the other composed of Chinese, who are parcelled out in the smaller towns and hamlets to keep the peace, by acting as constables, subordinate collectors of the taxes, guards to the granaries, and assisting in various ways the civil magistrate. Along the public roads, canals and rivers, are placed, at certain intervals, small square guard-houses, at which are stationed from six to twelve men, who are employed in settling disputes upon the rivers or roads, and also in conveying the public dispatches.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the Chinese, by William Alexander Published 1814