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Brahminical law. For the laity he promulgated ten commandments which interdicted murder, theft, adultery, lying, intoxication, voluptuousness, and extravagance, whilst to the priests were enjoined total abstinence from the use of intoxicating drinks, mendicancy, and fasting of the severest description.

On entering his noviciate the young Buddhist priest vows, "I will observe the precept or ordinance that forbids the use of intoxicating drinks, that lead to indifference towards religion;" and he also renounces every other human enjoyment, along with most of the necessaries of life. His dress was of the meanest, if a few tatters can be called dress; his food was barely sufficient to keep body and soul together, such as a small portion of rice; he was a professed mendicant, going from place to place with an almsbowl. His day was employed in religious observances, meditation, penance, and self-mortification; in short, he became an ascetic of the strictest order, and it was his duty to teach virtue and morality to the multitude. It is ever the rule of the Buddhas to proclaim first the reward to be received for the giving of alms, and then to enforce the precepts. The four great virtues are almsgiving, affability, promoting the prosperity of others, and loving others as ourselves." "But there is no reward to him who gives intoxicating liquors, . . . or gives to those who only dance and sing, or exhibit indecencies, or make obscene paintings on some public place."2 These ordinances and dogmas give us at once a vivid picture of the morality of the age, and show us the means that were taken to reform its vices. The Buddhist religion,

1 Hardy's Eastern Monachism, p. 24. Partridge & Oakey.
2 Ibid., pp. 80-82.



than which none has been more abused and less understood, spread rapidly throughout China, and there can be no doubt that such a code, supported by the example of its administrators, and operating as it has done for more than two thousand years, must have exercised a very beneficial influence on the national character.

There are, indeed, many who will unhesitatingly say that drunkenness is a sin almost unknown in China at the present day, but that is undoubtedly an exaggeration; and before closing this chapter we will endeavour to form as correct an estimate as possible of the condition of the modern Chinese in that respect. In doing so, it must however be remembered that the temporary oblivion which seems to possess such a charm for vast numbers of people, and which is induced in other countries by means of intoxicants, is attained in China. through opium, supplied from India, to our shame be it said, by Englishmen who are protected by the laws of their country. It would be unwise to place too much reliance upon the statements of travellers in China, but it may safely be concluded from their narratives that between the tenth and sixteenth centuries of our era, the distillation of alcoholic drinks was known and practised there; and that in the early part of the present century not only spirits but native wines were drunk by all classes of the people. The chief natural productions which have been and are still employed for the manufacture of such drinks are rice and millet, from which a spirit called in Europe arrack or raki is distilled, and some idea may be formed of the extent to which these cereals were cultivated in past times from the fact that in 1696 the

quantity of rice and corn brought into the emperor's stores as tribute was 43,328,834 sacks, along with 38,550 lbs. of dried fruits of various kinds. Besides the native liquors, China has imported beer, wines, and spirits from other countries. Between the years 1810 and 1820 beer to the value of £14,309, and wine in bottles and packages valued at £7383, were sent to China by the East India Company, and in the year ending January 5, 1819, the Americans sent 1000 gallons of gin into Canton. The importation of all these liquors and of European wines of other descriptions has since then been constantly increasing.1

Morewood mentions that numbers of carts loaded with raki entered Pekin daily in his time, and that the liquor was distributed over 1000 taverns; but it should be stated that this proportion of public-houses to the total number of inhabitants is very small compared with those of England, and in China there is no restriction whatever on the sale of intoxicating drink. The Chinese public-houses are, moreover, not mere drinking-shops, but wherever a number of guests are assembled, they usually partake of solid food as well as drink, and during their meals they are entertained with comedies or musical performances. Private drinking parties, called wine clubs, are, however, not uncommon, especially amongst young men, who assemble at each other's houses or at such places as may be selected, the expenses being defrayed by the members in rotation. On such occasions the day is spent in feasting, winedrinking, card-playing, and such other amusements as

1 Morewood, p. 231, and elsewhere. This author gives interesting details of the distilling processes in China.


may be suggested by the host for the time being.1 The liquors drunk are distilled from red and white rice (which impart to them their colours), and sometimes from potatoes, beans, or sugar-cane. The juice of the grape is not used, and the Chinese native wine is in reality whisky, which is drunk hot from cups of small dimensions.2 The latter fact does not, however, necessarily limit the quantity of liquor consumed, for in some cases thirty or forty rounds are drunk.

The older people have similar feasts in connection with their trade guilds, of which interesting descriptions have been given both by travellers and residents. One of the latter, Mr. Giles, who was long connected with the British Consular service, has published a graphic account of modern China, in which he gives minute details of these social gatherings. On one occasion he was present at a Chinese dinner-party of six native gentlemen, who occupied seats at what he calls a four-legged "eight fairy" table. Before each guest there was a pair of chopsticks, a wine-cup, a small saucer of soy, a two-pronged fork, a spoon, a tiny plate divided into two separate compartments for melon seeds and almonds, and a pile of small pieces of paper for cleaning these various articles as required. On the table was a kind of dessert consisting of dried fruits as with us, and in the centre there were slices of ham, sardines, &c., as is the custom in Sweden, Norway, and Russia. "Wine," he says, "is produced the first thing, and poured into small porcelain cups by the giver


1 Social Life of the Chinese, by the Rev. Justus Doolittle, p. 500. Sampson Low & Co. 2 Ibid., pp. 510-512.

3 Chinese Sketches, by H. A. Giles, of H.B.M. Consular Service, p. 154. Trübner & Co.

of the feast himself. It is polite to make a bow and place one hand at the side of the cup while this operation is being performed. The host then gives the signal to drink, and the cups are emptied instantaneously, being often turned bottom upward as a proof that there are no heel-taps. Many Chinamen, however, cannot stand even a small quantity of wine, and it is no uncommon thing, when the feast is at an eating-house, to hire one. of the theatrical singing-boys to perform vicariously such heavy drinking as may be required by custom or exacted by forfeit."1 We will not pursue the description further, adding only that amongst the dishes provided at this particular dinner-party were sharks' fins with crab sauce, pigeon's eggs stewed with mushrooms, sliced sea-slugs in chicken-broth with ham, stewed lily roots, and lumps of parboiled mutton fried in pork fat.

The same author's observations concerning the moral condition of the lower classes are equally interesting. He seems disposed to make light of opium-smoking, and does not consider it nearly such a pernicious custom as gin-drinking in England. He considers the working classes remarkably sober, a drunken husband being the exception; and during eight years' residence in China, he says he never saw a drunken man in the streets. "Opium-smokers we have seen in all stages of intoxication, but no drunken brawls, no bruised and bleeding wives." One thing is, however, certain; the inability to procure intoxicating liquor has as much to do with the sobriety of the poor Chinaman as the absence of a taste for drink; for, as Mr. Giles says, it is as much as he can

1 This is explained by Mr. Doolittle, who says that many games are played, in the course of which the loser is compelled repeatedly to empty his cup of wine.

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