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Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China, and on the Chinese Language

Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China, and on the Chinese Language
Illustrated with a Sketch of the Province of Kwang-Tung, Shewing its Division into Departments and Districts


Part of Cambridge Library Collection - East and South-East Asian History

  • Date Published: September 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108080484

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About the Authors
  • Inspired by the lectures in Munich of the German orientalist Karl Friedrich Neumann, Thomas Taylor Meadows (1815–68) devoted himself to the study of Chinese in 1841, with the aim of entering British service. He arrived in China early in 1843 and rose quickly to the post of consular interpreter at the key treaty port of Canton (Guangzhou), where he remained for several years. During this time, he developed a keen understanding of Chinese affairs, shrewdly cultivating an intelligence network of amenable informants. First published in 1847, this work addresses diverse topics, ranging from the difficulties in learning written and spoken Chinese, through to the nature of bureaucracy and corruption in Canton province. The book sheds light on the period and the tensions in southern China prior to the Taiping Rebellion, a subject later covered by Meadows in The Chinese and their Rebellions (1856), which is also reissued in this series.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108080484
    • dimensions: 217 x 140 x 18 mm
    • weight: 3.2kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 4 colour illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. On the false notions extant in England regarding China and the Chinese
    2. On the business style of the Chinese written language
    3. On the difficulty of learning the Chinese language
    4. On the colloquial Chinese as spoken by the Manchoos
    5. A new orthography adapted to the Pekin pronunciation of the colloquial Chinese
    6. On the intonations or tones, called Sheng by the Chinese
    7. Sketch of Kwang-tung
    8. On the rank, duties, and salaries of the mandarins
    9. On the Yamun and the various inhabitants
    10. On the Ti pau and the Tai shu
    11. On the cause of the long duration of the Chinese empire
    12. On the principal defects of the Chinese government
    13. On personating criminals
    14. On the extortions and oppressions of the mandarins
    15. On the internal stability of the Chinese empire
    16. On some of the more prominent features in the character and manners of the Chinese
    17. On the Chinese ignorance of foreign countries
    18. On the best means of putting an end to the general use of opium in China
    19. Application of the conclusion arrived in at note 11, to the policy and prospects of our own country.

  • Author

    Thomas Taylor Meadows

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