William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By Olive Risley Seward; William Henry Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII.
RESIDENCE IN PEKING.

Aspect of Peking.--Walk on the Wall.--The Foreign Population of Peking.--Two American Chinese.--Native Wares.--The Foreign Ministers.--The Russian Minister.-- The British Legation.--Influence of the United States.--The Hall of Science.--Mr. Seward's Audience with the Imperial Cabinet.--A Ladies' Day.--Chinese Ladies.-- A Chinese Mansion.

Peking, November 4th.--The legation is the spacious and comfortable dwelling which was built by the eminent Dr. Williams, so long secretary and interpreter, and not unfrequently chargé. It was occupied by Mr. Burlingame, and Mr. Seward now agrees that it would have been wise, when it was practicable, to have purchased it for the United States Government. There neither is in Peking, nor any other place, a building so suitable, nor could one be more economically built.

After the relation of our experience in entering the city, we need say little of the general aspect of Peking. The population is about one million. Differing from other Chinese cities, its streets are broad enough, but dilapidation and ruin mar the scenes of highest activity, while the roadways are everywhere full of obstructions, always ill-looking, and sometimes nauseous and disgusting. There are no sidewalks--seldom a pavement. With the exception of an occasional private lantern, there are no lights. Many of the narrow streets are rendered impassable by upright stone posts, set irregularly in the street for the very purpose of preventing intrusion or passage. Except in the imperial grounds,

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