Imatges de pàgina
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VOL. I.
Map or China.

Major-general Charles G. Gordon, R.E., C.B.
H.E. The Earl Of Macartney, K.B. .

Frontispiece page 722

VOL. II.
Sir Halliday Macartney, K.C.M.G.
The Earl Amherst .
Sir Henry Pottincer, Bart., G.C.B.
The Earl Of Elgin And Kincardine

Frontispiece page 26

., "4 » *76

THE HISTORY OF CHINA.

CHAPTER I.

THE EARLY AGES.

The origin of all great peoples and empires is to be discovered amid the mists of a more or less remote antiquity, made tangible alone for us by the preservation of myths and legends, which afford in their similarity a proof of the affinity of all the races on the earth. The Chinese, like the Jews and the ancient Egyptians alone, claim to trace back their national existence to a period centuries before Solomon erected his Temple, or Homer collected the ballads relating to the Trojan War, and turned them into his immortal epic From a date anterior to that accepted for the occurrence of the Flood of Noah, the people of China possess a history which preserves the names of kings and conquerors, and describes remarkable events with an appearance of exactitude that would almost compel credence. In comparison with their institutions those of Ancient Egypt and Assyria have only moderate claims to antiquity, and the states of Greece and Rome were but the creation of yesterday. The observer might well stand aghast if he were called upon to follow the exact details in the history of a people and an empire, which were great and definite in form nearly five thousand years ago. It would be not less weak than impossible to demand of the human faculty so severe a strain. The subject would soon become monotonous, as each succeeding cycle of prosperity and military vigour or of depression and decay, following the other with unvarying regularity, was described. But the extreme age of the institutions is one key to the history of the Empire, and the •J! Vol. I. B

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