An Account of the Empire of China

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An Account of the Empire of China
An Account of the Empire of China; historical, political, moral and religious
Domingo Fernández Navarrete (1689)
London: H. Lintot, J. Osborn
Translation of Tratados históricos, políticos, éticos y religiosos de la monarquia de China (Madrid, 1676) (Missing from our catalogue)
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The Method the Mandarines use to be able to justify themselves in the
discharge of their Duties, is very regular. It is a clear cafe, they
never go out of their Houses, unless it be to pay Visits, to Invitations
from Persons of Note, and about the execution of their Office; they
don’t use, as we do, to go abroad a walking to take the Air, or for
Pleasure. All their Diversions consist in some Treats, and Plays acted
whilst they eat and drink; upon which Occasions the Custom is thus. When
the Guests are all come together, the principal Actor delivers a Book of
several Plays to the Master of the House, who gives it to his chief
Guest, to chuse the Play he likes best. He names it, and it is acted,
which shows no small skill in the Actors. When the Play is ended, he
that chose pays for it, and gives some Silver to the Waiters and Cooks.
To say the truth, they pay dear for their Dinner. Men of great Note will
lay out 50 Ducats, others less, and some only Ten, or Twelve. The
Chineses are great lovers of Plays, but the mischiefs they cause fall
heavy on them. Scipio Nascia, mention’d by the Author of Fasciculus
Temporum, fol. 31. order’d, That they should not by any means erect a
Theater in the City, because, he said, it was a pernicious thing to a
Warlike People, as breeding Sloth, and encouraging Lewdness. In our
Parts we mind nothing.