George Macartney Quotes
4 Sourced Quotes
Yet it cannot be concealed that the nation in general is far from being contented. The frequent insurrections in the distant provinces are ambiguous oracles of the real sentiments of the people. The predominance of the Tartars and the Emperors's partiality for them are the common subjects of conversation among the Chinese whenever they meet together in private. There are certain mysterious societies in every province, who, though narrowly watched by the Government, find means to elude its vigilance, and often hold secret assemblies, where they revive the memory of ancient independence, brood over recent injuries, and meditate revenge
The Empire of China is an old, crazy, first-rate Man of War, which a fortunate succession of able and vigilant officers have contrived to keep afloat for these hundred and fifty years past, and to overawe their neighbours merely by her bulk and appearance. But whenever an insufficient man happens to have the command on deck, adieu to the discipline and safety of the ship. She may, perhaps, not sink outright; she may drift some time as a wreck, and will then be dashed to pieces on the shore; but she can never be rebuilt on the old bottom.
For it would now seem that the policy and vanity of the Court equally concurred in endeavouring to keep out of sight whatever can manifest our pre-eminence, which they undoubtedly feel, but have not yet learned to make the proper use of. It is, however, in vain to attempt arresting the progress of human knowledge. I am, indeed, very much mistaken if all the authority and address of the Tartar Government will be able much longer to stifle the energies of their Chinese subjects. Scarcely a year now passes without an insurrection in some of their provinces. it is true they are soon suppressed, but their frequency is a strong symptom of the fever within. The paroxysm is repelled, but the disease is not cured.