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native meanness have been shewn. “If you add to prudence,' says Hobbes, the use of unjust or dishonest means, (such as usually are prompted to men by fear or want,) you have that crooked wisdom which is called craft, which is a sign of pusillaniinity. For maguanimity is contempt of unjust or dishonest helps.' Least of all men therefore is Buonaparte entitled to be called magnanimous, his policy having ever been one continued course of the vilest artifices and foulest falsehoods. But having gone on for a time, 'secured by the prosperity of his crimes,' he calls himself great, and has found people to think him so,-men whose weak understand ings are dazzled by success, or whose judgement is warped by party feelings (to which in England every thing is sacrificed)—or whose pernicious principles bave perverted their moral as well as their intellectual nature. "If,' says South, "a man succeeds in any atteinpt, though undertook with never so much folly and rashness, his success shall vouch him a politician, and good luck shall pass for deep contrivance: for, give any one fortune, and he shall be thought a wise man in spite of his heart; nay, and of his head too. This is the foundation of his reputed greatness; and his reputed wisdom is built upon the same sands. That knowledge of human nature for which he has been extolled is of the same kind as that upon which another great man formed bis system of action-a great man, the history of whose greatness and final exaltation has been related by Fielding: it is such a knowledge of human nature as the Jonathan Wilds and the Dr. Solomons possess,-a knowledge of the vices and follies of their contemporaries,--of the scum which floats upon the surface. He understands enough of mankind to dazzle the weak, to dupe the vain, to overawe the timid, and to make the wicked his instruments. But of all beyond this Buonaparte is grossly and brutally ignorant. Of the strength of patriotism, the enthusiasm of virtue, the fortitude of duty, he knows nothing, and can comprehend nothing. Patriotism and virtue and duty are words to which he has never felt any correspondent emotion in his soul, which he never thinks of but in contempt, which he never utters but in profanation. Therefore in his political calculations they have always been overlooked; and Portugal and Spain and Řassia, and Germany-long-suffering, but redeemed Germany—bear witness to the consequences of such error and such ignorance. « Ce n'est rien que d'aller, il faut pouvoir revenir; ce n'est rien que de prendre, il faut savoir garder:' thus Kleber said of the expedition to Egypt, --so would he have said of the usurpation of Portugal and Spain,-so would he have said of the march to Mosco,-so would he say of the return from Elba and the reassumption of the throne.
Art. II. Dictionnaire Chinois, Français et Latin, publié d'après
l'Ordre de sa Majesté l'Empereur et Roi Napoléon le Grand. Par M. de Guignes, Résident de France à la Chine, attaché au Ministère des Relations extérieures, Correspondant de la pre
mière et de la troisième Classe de l'Institut. A Paris. 1813. THE honour of giving to Europe the first printed dictionary of
the Chinese language has been reserved for M. de Guignes. Under the auspices of Napoléon le Grand,' and the more effectual aid of a grant of money from the imperial treasury, he has produced a very splendid volunie, which will be handed down to posterity among the number of those false and fallacious memorials of his patron's love of literature and the fine arts. Though he cares nothing for either, he judged, wisely enough, that the public money was not ill bestowed when it afforded food for the vanity of the chemists, mathematicians and other savans of Paris, and, at the same time, purchased their adulation in prefaces and dedications, which he knew how to receive with decorous contempt for the authors of them.
Nol mostra gia, benchè in suo cor ne rida.' The savans, however, as credulous as the rest of the Parisians, who believe that Buonaparte built the Louvre, thought him in earnest; and, in his disgrace, took no pains to conceal their affection for their patron. Next indeed to the perjured and rapacious soldiery, the Jacobins of the Institute were avowedly the most dissatisfied with the restoration of the ancient dynasty, and among the first to greet the tyrant's return.
• At the voice of one man,' says M. de Guignes, ' learning resumes its ordinary course, the schools are crowded, talents and the fine arts dazzle with new splendour-palaces rear up their heads---bridges cover the rivers-canals and roads reunite the provinces-activity and emulation prevail on all sides.-In short, France, but recently borne down by the weight of factions, now raises majestically her head, and calmly casts her regards upon her peaceful provinces.'
In this golden age of France, when, as M. de Guignes tells us, nothing was neglected that could give to the nation new splendour and éclat, it was impossible that the want of a Chinese dictionary should be overlooked: the deficiency was no sooner hinted at than the imperial mandate issued-Let there be a Chinese dictionary !A foreigner was immediately engaged to repair from London to Paris to conduct the undertaking, who, after four years' residence, took a sudden departure without having even commenced it. This foreigner, we presume, was a German of the name of Hager, whose quackeries we have had frequent occasion to notice. In 1808 another foreigner was proposed to M. Cretet; but this minister, says M. de
Guignes, Guignes, 'deeming it fit that a Frenchman only should have the credit of bringing out a work for which the nation had already paid the cost of engraving the characters, refused to engage him.' M.de Guignes had the happiness of being that Frenchman, and, by a decree of Napoleon, was appointed to the superintendence of this national work; he received, at the same time, an order to complete it within three years. No inquiry was made as to the practicability of executing it within the prescribed tinie; with Buonaparte all things were possible. The limitation in point of time had the good effect, however, of stimulating those concerned in the undertaking; and it speaks not lightly in favour of the assiduity of M. de Guignes, that a work of so novel and difficult a nature, occupying more than one thousand pages of imperial folio, and consisting of nearly fourteen thousand characters, with explanations in French and Latin, should be accomplished within five years.
The dies or stamps for the characters, it is true, were ready cut; but they were to be examined, numbered, and properly arranged, so that the numerous references from the table of keys or indices to the page, from the verbal index at the end of the book to the characters, and from one character to another, should be made correctly; and we can venture to say that, after taking the trouble of making some thousand references, we have not discovered a single
It is now just one century since Fourmont commenced, by order of the French government, the cutting of those dies for the characters in question: as specimens of neat workmanship they are entitled to no praise ; but they are, we believe, with very few exceptions, correctly made; in the copy, which the author has presented to the Royal Society of London, we perceive he has amended several of them with a pencil, and has added, in a MS. note at the end of the book, that the copy is free from errors.
We noticed in a former article, the different hands through which the dies of these characters had passed with a view to their being compiled and classified into the shape of a regular Chinese dictionary. It is singular that the son of one of these persons, with little reputation as a learned man, and without pretensions to that character, should accomplish a task, in the execution of which the father, who was unquestionably one of the most learned and ingenious men in Europe, totally failed. M. de Guignes thus modestly speaks of himself.
It only remains for me to solicit the indulgence of my readers, and I fatter myself I shall obtain it when they consider that the Chinese dictionary, which should long ago have been published by MM. Fourmont and De Guignes, both of them distinguished in all Europe as well for their erudition
ive works, is now brought out by one who would not presume to pretend to the title of being
learned, but whose only claim is that of the honour of having been selected by His Majesty, and of being connected with a distinguished office in the state, many of whose members are highly estimable for their talents and knowledge.'
M.de Guignes's preface exhibits the same inconsistency in his estimation of the literary and moral character of the Chinese, which, in the early part of our labours, we pointed out in his · Voyage de Pékin,' where the frequent encomiums lavished upon this people were as frequently contradicted by the occurrences stated to have happened to himself. His narrative, indeed, coupled with the two goodly quartos of Van Braam, corroborated almost all the strictures contained in the shrewd and ingenious conclusions of the author of Recherches sur les Chinois.'--Yet here again M. Pauw is attacked by our author, who seems to entertain an hostility towards him, which can scarcely have arisen from a mere difference of opinion. The late M. de Guignes wrote several elaborate essays to prove that the Chinese not only derived their origin from the Egyptians, but that their ancient records had been brought from Egypt; and that these records contained in fact the history of that country, and not of China. This favourite hypothesis was maintained by many ingenious arguments, grounded on fanciful data; and supported by a skilful endeavour to prove a close analogy between the language, the religion, the arts, the metaphysics and the manners of the ancient Egyptians and modern Chinese.* But the philosopher of Berlin at once overturned this ingenious theory, by shewing that no two nations on earth could possibly disagree more in their moral and physical character, in their language, learning, arts, and institutions, than the Chinese and Egyptians:-perhaps--hinc illæ lachryma.
M. de Guignes sets out, in his preface, with the very common error of considering the Chinese as a nation of sages, at a period when all the rest of mankind were mere savages; though in the course of a few pages he proves, from their own records, that they were scarcely advanced beyond the rudest state of society, when religion and literature appear, from the Inspired Writings, to have already shed their benign influence on other nations of the eastern world. the Chinese,' says M. de Guignes,' from the moment that a man is learned, (lettré,) he ceases to be classed among simple citizens; and, if he makes himself remarkable for erudition or talent, he may
obtain a high consideration, and even arrive at the first offices in the state.' Now if this were as true as we believe it to be the reverse, is China, we would ask, the only country in the world where the influence of learning and talents is felt and encouraged? When we look at the exalted characters which in all times have filled, and continue to fill
* Histoire de l'Académie des Inscrip. Art. Mém. de Littérature.--Tom. xxix. xxxiv.
* the first situations' in our own government, we, at least, see no occasion to envy the good fortune of the learned men of China, millions of whom enjoy neither consideration nor office, while, on the other hand, thousands are employed who can boast of neither learning nor talent. The late Emperor Kien-lung made a common soldier, with whose appearance he was struck while standing sentinel at the palace gate, his prime minister. This man soon found the means of governing his master and all China; and such was the influence which he had acquired, by filling all the higher offices in the state with his friends and relations, whether learned or unlearned, that the present emperor, ou succeeding to the throne, did not think it safe to suffer him to live. The Tartars, when they conquered China, were unacquainted with its language and literature, yet all the high offices were immediately filled with Tartars; and still continue to
We might go still farther back, and adduce the celebrated barbarian Gengis-khan, who could neither read nor write any language; yet he and his posterity contrived to govern China for nearly a century, by filling the subordinate offices with Chinese, who merely knew how to handle a pencil, and transact the most ordinary details of business.
But though M. de Guignes overrates the learning and virtues of this ingenious people, for ingenious they certainly are, we must do him the justice to observe that he is by no means carried away with the absurd and exaggerated accounts of the early jesuit missionaries, as we find them in Père du Halde and the Abbé Grozier: though he thinks them lettered, he neither mistakes them for men of science, nor believes in the reports of their profound knowledge in astronomy, mathematics, &c. of which, he assures us, not one word is to be found in the only records of the country that can be called ancient. We must analyse the singular and picturesque language in which these are shut up, if we would know the truth, and not confide in the periphrastic translations, interpolations and alterations of the missionaries. Without meaning to level a general censure against these devout men, it
may be safely averred that if we absolve them of wilful inisrepresentation they cannot be acquitted of weakness; since they appear to be led away, by every idle tale that the artful Chinese imposed on their credulity.
The readers of the Asiatic Researches will recollect how successfully the crafty pundits of Benares supplied the zealous Wilford with the whole genealogy of Noah; how accurately they furnished him with the identical names of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, all of them legitimately registered in the Devanagari character. Père Gaubil, however, was the dupe of his own forgeries: having assented to the discovery of Noah in the person of Fo-she, the supposed founder of the Chinese empire, it became necessary, in the next