Real Life in China (1858)


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Real Life in China (1858)


Title: Real Life in China
Author: WC Milne
Publisher: George Routledge & Co, 1858. Very rare.
Condition: Hardcover, cloth. DIscolouration and fading to boards. Prelims, frontis, contents pages missing, along with 4 maps. However, all plates and illustrations are present, all text intact and present.

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SKU: life-china-milne Categories: , , ,

An incredibly scarce resource on life in China from the mid-19th century. Even has old folk songs transcribed! No longer available in any form since the 1860s.

From the preface:

Pledged to the cause of Protestant missious in China by the earliest associations, the Writer embarked for that country in the summer of 1839; and, with the exception of an absence of two years, continued to labour there till near the beginning of 1854, under the auspices of the London Missionary Society.

In prosecuting his mission, it was his lot to visit various places in China, e. g. Macao, Hong-Kong, Canton, Choosan, Ningpo, Shanghai, and to travel through the heart of three of her provinces, Chih kiang, Kiangse, and Canton. A partial result of the observations during this long-timed period made upon the Chinese as they are, is given in the following pages, arranged under four parts.

The first part discusses the common notions current in Europe and America about China and the Chinese, some of them really untrue and very unjust to the inhabitants of that empire; and in the other parts there is presented a variety of positive information regarding Chinese life and habits, which had been collected during a long residence at Ningpo and Shanghai, as also in a journey of 1,300 miles across the interior. The sources of information were chiefly personal inquiry on the spot and examination of native writers; and, except the short scraps acknowledged in the body of the work, and a few fragments in the second part now entirely rewritten, but which originally were inserted by him many years ago in the pages of the “Chinese Repository” since defunct – nothing of what follows has appeared in print from the Author.

The four maps which accompany the work are, on the whole, the most accurate hitherto published, being prepared by the Writer himself after a very careful collation; while that of the inland tour is the only one of the same route issued from the press so minute and correct; and as it is to be hoped that our relations with China, about to be materially improved, will likewise afford foreigners access into the interior* of the empire, he trusts that this map, with his jottings en route, may form in future a valuable itinerary to Western travellers and adventurers.

The names of places arc given after ^Morrison’s system of orthography, save such as have become part and parcel of tlie Engliali Oazcttocr Vocabulary, though mutilated imitations of Chinese sounds; eg Amoy, Cliinchew, Canton, Macao, “c. In the map of China Proper, only the provincial capitals and departmental cities are inserted, also some important places known commonly to foreign readers ; eg. Shanghai, Swatow, etc.

The appearance of this little work has been delayed by circumstances over which the Writer had no control : though, perhaps fortunately, it is issued at a time when public interest in matters bearing upon China is more intense and eager than ever.

In concluding this prefatory note on the plan and design of the book, the humble hope may be expressed :

firsty that it may do its part in diffusing in this country a more faithful and a juster knowledge of the Chinese people, and help to rid us of those false, as well as ridiculous, impressions so long encouraged regarding that nation and its social state, &c. ; and, secondly, that this attempt may likewise aid a little in increasing or awakening the desire among the true philanthropists of the age to promote the cause of Christian civilization and pure Christianity in China.

Should this manual in any manner forward these objects, the Author will deem himself singularly happy.

Willia C. Milne.

Sloane-street, Chelsea, June, 1857.