Peking, Or Pekin (Chinese, Pe-ching, northern capital), the capital of the Chinese empire and of the province of Chihli, near the river Tunghui, a small tributary of the Pei-ho, in lat. 39° 56' K, Ion. 116° 27' E., about 12 m. from the Pei-ho, about 35 m. from the nearest part of the great wall, and 85 m. N. W. of the gulf of Pechili; pop. estimated at 1,500,000. It stands on an extensive sandy plain, and consists of Kin-ching, the prohibited city, containing only the palaces of the emperor and the dwellings of his immediate retainers; Hwang-ching, the imperial city, with a large number of court officials; Nui-ching, the Tartar city, area 12 sq. m.; and Wai-ching, the Chinese city, area 15 sq. m. The Tartar city is surrounded by a wall 60 ft. high, about 50 ft. thick at the base and 40 ft. at the top; and the Chinese city by one 30 ft. high, 25 ft. thick at the base, and 12 ft. at the top. They are built of earth or rubble, faced with stone or brick, laid in cement, with sloping embankments at intervals to enable horsemen to ascend to the top, and square buttresses at distances of about 60 yards. Outside the walls the suburbs include with the cities an area nearly 25 m. in circumference.
The cities are entered by 13 external gates; and there are three from the Tartar city into the Chinese, which are closed from sunset to sunrise. - The inner area, Kin-ching, or prohibited city, has a circumference of about 2 m. It is entered by four gates, each surmounted by a tower. The interior is divided into three parts by walls running from N. to S., and the whole is occupied by a suite of courtyards and apartments superior to any other buildings of the kind in China. The Meridian gate leads to the imperial buildings, and is reserved for the use of the emperor. When his troops return in triumph, the prisoners they bring are here presented to him; and here the presents he confers on vassals and ambassadors are bestowed with great pomp. Passing through this gate into a larger court, over a small creek spanned by five marble bridges ornamented with sculptures, a second court is entered, paved with marble and terminated on the sides by gates, porticoes, and pillared corridors. At the head of this court is a marble structure 110 ft. high, called the "gate of extensive peace." Here the emperor, on New Year's day, his birthday, and other occasions, receives the homage of his courtiers assembled in the court below; five flights of stairs decorated with balustrades and sculptures lead up to it, and five gates open through it into the next courtyard.
Beyond it are two halls, one where his majesty examines the implements used in the annual ploughing, and the other where he feasts guests and other distinguished persons on New Year's day. After ascending a stairway and passing another gate, the Kien-tsing-kung, or the " tranquil palace " of heaven, is reached, into which no one can enter without special permission. In it is the council chamber, and here candidates for office are presented to the sovereign. It is the most magnificent of all the palaces. Beyond it stands the " palace of earth's repose," where the empress rules her miniature court in the imperial harem; and between this and the N. wall is the imperial garden, adorned with elegant pavilions, temples, and groves, and interspersed with canals, fountains, artificial lakes, and flower beds. In the E. division are the offices of the cabinet and the treasury. North of these is the "hall of intense thought," where sacrifices are offered to Confucius and other sages; and near this is the library. At the N. end of the E. division are numerous palaces and buildings occupied by princes of the blood and their connections; and in this quarter is situated the Fung-sien-tien, a small temple where the emperor comes to bless his ancestors.
The W. division contains a great variety of edifices devoted to public and private purposes, among which may be mentioned the hall of distinguished sovereigns, statesmen, and literati, the printing office, the court of comptrollers for regulating the receipts and disbursements of the court, and the Ching-hwang-mian, or guardian temple of the city. The number of people within the prohibited city is not very great, and most of them are Mantchoos. - The second enclosure, Hwang-ching or imperial city, which surrounds the prohibited city, is about 6 m. in circuit. It is enclosed by a wall about 20 ft. high, entered by four gates, through which none may pass without special permission. From the "gate of heavenly rest" a broad avenue leads up to the prohibited city; in front of it, outside the wall, is an extensive enclosure having an entrance from the south through which no one is permitted to pass except on foot. On the right of the avenue is a large collection of buildings surrounded by a wall, where offerings are presented before the tablets of deceased emperors and empresses, and worship is performed by the members of the imperial family and clan to their forefathers.
Upon the opposite side of the avenue is the altar of the gods of the land and grain, where in spring and autumn the emperor alone makes offerings to these divinities, who are supposed to have been originally men. On the E. side is a depository of military stores, with workshops for their manufacture. The establishment of the Russian college lies N. of this gate; and in the N. E. part of this side are the residences of the lamas, with numerous temples, monasteries, and other religious edifices. Much of this quarter is occupied by dwelling houses and by temples dedicated to various inferior gods in Chinese mythology. On the N. side, surrounded by a wall, is the King-shan, or artificial mountain, about 150 ft. high, with five summits, each of which is crowned by a pavilion. Various kinds of trees border its base and line the paths leading to the tops, and the enclosure contains numerous animals and birds. The W. part is chiefly occupied by a park, with an artificial lake, more than a mile long and with an average breadth of 220 yards, in the centre, which is crossed by a marble bridge of nine arches, and its banks are shaded by groves of trees under which are well paved walks. There are many artificial hills of rockwork, groves, gardens, and parterres.
On the S. E. side of the lake is a large summer house consisting of several edifices, partly in or over the water. On the W. side is the hall for the examination of military candidates, where the emperor in person witnesses their exhibitions of equestrian archery. At the N. end of the lake is a bridge leading to an islet, the centre of which presents the aspect of a hill of gentle ascent covered with groves, temples, and summer houses, and surmounted with a tower from which an extensive view of the metropolis is obtained. Near the N. E. end of the park is a temple dedicated to Yuen-fi, the reputed discoverer of the silkworm, near which a plantation of mulberry trees and a cocoonery are maintained. In the neighborhood of the " temple of great happiness," on the borders of the lake, is a gilded copper statue of Buddha, 60 ft. high, with 100 arms. - The third or outer enclosure surrounding the imperial city is the Tartar city, and consists of several wide streets crossing each other at right angles. The principal government offices are situated along the avenue leading S. from the imperial city to the Chinese city.
The board of punishments, with its subordinate departments, the censorate, the astronomical board, the medical college, the national academv, and the colonial office are also on this avenue. Near the colonial office is the temple where the nearest ancestors of the reigning family are worshipped by his majesty and the princes of his family on the first day of every month. The observatory, or "hall of science," erected in 1680, is in the S. E. portion, partly upon the wall. It was originally superintended by the Roman Catholic missionaries, but is now under the care of Chinese astronomers, and is entirely neglected. Close to it is the hall of literary examinations. The Russian church of the Assumption is in the N. E. corner, and near it is the splendid "temple of eternal peace" belonging to the lamas who teach Chinese and Mantchoo pupils the Thibetan language; and there is a similar college for the Chinese and Mantchoo languages. The Tartar city is under the control of the general of the nine gates, who is responsible for the peace and good order within its limits; the post is conferred only on Man-tchoos. Near his headquarters is a high tower containing an immense bell and drum which announce the hours of the night.
A large number of Mohammedans, whose ancestors were from Turkistan, reside near the S. W. corner of the imperial city, where they have a mosque. South of this stands the " church of heaven's Lord," with a convent attached to it, which the Jesuits and Portuguese built during the time of their influence, but which is now going to decay. There are thus religious edifices in the Chinese metropolis appropriated to the Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant churches, Islamism, Buddhism in its principal forms, rationalism, ancestral worship, and state worship, and temples dedicated to Confucius and other deified mortals, besides a great number in which the popular idols of the country are adored. Among them is the temple where the tablets of the kings and emperors of former dynasties are collectively worshipped, with the exception of a few who have been excluded on account of their wickedness. Near this is the white pagoda temple, so called from a costly obelisk near it erected by Kublai Khan in the 13th century, and rebuilt and exquisitely ornamented in 1819. Around the edifice are 108 small pillars on which lamps are burned in honor of Buddha. Outside of the city, on the east, is the " temple of heaven," which covers a large area and is surrounded with many spacious buildings; on the west is a corresponding structure called the "temple of earth;" both of these are connected with the state religion.
The total number of the Christian population is estimated at 30,000. The Roman Catholic church has here a vicar apostolic. In 1870 there were 38 American and English Protestant missionaries, who were conducting Sunday and day schools and a hospital. - The Chinese city is more populous than the Tartar, but it contains few edifices of importance, is not so well built, and the walls are not so solid. The principal streets are more than 100 ft. wide, and extend between gates at opposite sides of the city; but those which branch off from the chief thoroughfares are mere lanes. They are generally unpaved, and according to the state of the weather are either knee-deep with mud or covered with dust. The houses are of brick, and seldom exceed one story. They are roofed with tiles; and most of the private residences have a parapet wall in front, upon which pots containing flowers and shrubs are placed. In the back streets the edifices are miserable, but in the principal thoroughfares many of them, particularly the shops, are highly ornamented with painting and gilding. The shops are open in front, and the goods are exposed in heaps outside the doors.
At each side of the establishment there is generally a wooden pillar or'signboard, higher than the housetop, bearing inscriptions in gilt letters setting forth the superior qualities of the wares and the probity of the dealer. Flags and streamers are hung out from these posts, and lanterns of different material and form are arranged with great ingenuity and taste. Notwithstanding the breadth of the main streets, they are much obstructed by the wares exposed outside the shops, and the number of occupations that are carried on in tents and in the open air in movable workshops. Where the main streets intersect, very curious monuments bearing some resemblance to triumphal arches are erected in honor of distinguished individuals. On the E. side of the avenue which leads from the S. gate of the Tartar city, and adjoining the outer gate, stands the altar to heaven, consisting of three stages, each 10 ft. high, and respectively 120, 90, and 60 ft. in diameter, paved with marble and protected with balustrades. "Within the enclosure is also the " palace of abstinence," where the emperor fasts three days preparatory to offering the annual sacrifice at the winter solstice.
On the opposite side of the avenue is the altar to earth, dedicated to the supposed inventor of agriculture; it stands in an enclosure about 2 m. in' circumference, and in reality consists of four separate altars: to the spirits of the heavens, those of the earth, the planet Jupiter, and Shin-nung, the inventor of agriculture. The worship at this altar is performed at the vernal equinox, at which time the ceremony of ploughing a part of the enclosure is performed by the emperor, assisted by members of the board of rites. A little "W. of this .enclosure is the pool dedicated to the spirits of the waters, where his majesty performs special supplications whenever the country suffers from drought or deluge. The southern city is not subject to the same strict military rule as the northern, and is in consequence resorted to by many persons in quest of relaxation and dissipation. During the night the great thoroughfares are usually quiet, and are dimly lighted by lanterns which hang from the doors of the houses. The air is polluted by the stench arising from private vessels and public reservoirs for urine and all kinds of offal, which is carefully collected and carried out of the gates in the same boxed carts in which the vegetables are brought to market.
Covered carts without springs drawn by mules, saddle horses, and donkeys are used, and can be hired at numerous stands throughout the city; but sedans are not permitted to be used so near the emperor except by privileged persons. The Mantchoo women ride astride, and their number in the streets, both riding and walking, imparts a peculiarity to the crowd which is not seen in cities further south. The various tribes of central Asia have representatives among the throng, and their different costumes add to the liveliness of the scene. - The climate of Peking is very cold in winter. The thermometer then ranges from 25° to 10°, and in summer it sometimes rises to 105°, but is generally between 75° and 90°. Water is frozen from December to March, and violent storms and whirlwinds occur in spring. But upon the whole the climate is healthy, and epidemics are rare. - The manufactures of Peking are trifling, and the trade of the place is contined to supplying the wants of the inhabitants. The principal part of the provisions consumed comes from the S. provinces, or from the N. part of Chibli, the plain adjoining the city producing but little.
The taxes of China are for the most part paid in kind, and large quantities of grain are stored in Peking. Coal is brought from the south and southwest on the backs of camels and mules; and the houses are heated by stoves, the fuel being a compound of coal dust and earth. All the necessaries of life are exceedingly dear, and many of the inhabitants are miserably poor. - The government differs from that of other cities in the empire; it is separated from the affairs of the department, and administered by officers residing in the four circuits into which it is divided. A minister of one of the boards is appointed superintendent of the city, and subordinate to him is a mayor. These functionaries are quite independent of the provincial governor, carrying any affairs which they cannot determine directly to the emperor. The police is materially assisted in its duties by the gates which are placed at the heads of the streets and closed at night, and watchmen patrol the city. There is frequently much trouble in keeping the populace quiet, for in times of unusual scarcity they rise in mobs and pillage the public granaries. There is a government journal, the "Peking Gazette," published daily in the form of a pamphlet of from 60 to 70 pages.
Everything printed in it is first examined by a political or literary committee, and the official part emanates from the emperor's cabinet. It notices all public affairs, and gives a succinct account of the principal events. It contains the petitions and memorials presented to the emperor, together with his replies and his orders and instructions to the mandarins. Records of judicial events conclude the official part, which the editors cannot alter in any respect, without subjecting themselves to the penalty of death. Examples of this punishment, occurring from time to time, maintain among the public an almost religious respeet for all that appears in the " Gazette." The journal is regarded as an expression of the emperor's will, which every one obeys, and before which every one bows. - The environs of Peking are occupied with groves, private mansions, hamlets, and cultivated fields, in or near which are trees, so that the city viewed from a distance appears as if situated in a forest. The park of Yuen-ming-yuen, or "round and splendid gardens," lies about 8 m. N. W. of the city, and is estimated to contain 12 sq. m.
The country becomes hilly in this direction, and advantage has been taken of the natural surface in the arrangement of the different parts of the ground, so that the whole presents every variety of hill and dale, woodlands and lawns, interspersed with canals, pools, rivulets, and lakes, the banks of which have been thrown up or diversified in imitation of nature. Some parts are cultivated, groves and tangled thickets occur here and there, and places are purposely left wild in order to contrast the better with the highly cultivated precincts of a palace, or to form a rural pathway to a retired summer house. The number of residences for the emperor or his ministers within this park is estimated at 30, each of which is surrounded by many houses occupied by eunuchs and servants. The summer palace and principal hall of audience, the most extensive and by far the most splendid of these residences, was plundered by the French and English forces in their advance upon Peking, in October, 1860. The entrance or reception hall was 110 ft. long, 42 ft. wide, and 20 ft. high. It was paved with marble, painted with gold, azure, and scarlet, in the most gorgeous style, and was elaborately furnished. Among the plunder were silks, china, jewels, and valuable presents to the emperors.
The English treaty of Tientsin was also discovered, and an immense quantity of spoils of all kinds made it difficult to decide what to take away. In the treasury there was about $61,000 in gold and silver. The total value of the property carried off and destroyed amounted to several millions. Some valuable books and papers were secured for the British museum. In revenge for the cruelty with which some French and English prisoners had been massacred, this palace was burned to the ground. - Though Peking (originally Yehking) is regarded by the Chinese as one of their most ancient cities, it was not made the capital of the country until the conquest by the Mongols, when Kublai Khan (1279-'94) established his court here, then called Shuntien Foo. He afterward removed it to Hangchow. The native emperors'of the Ming dynasty, who succeeded the Mongols in 1368, held their court at Nanking, until the third of them transferred the seat of government to Peking about 1410, where it has ever since remained. Under the Mongols the city was called Khan-palik, or city of the khan, and on the Chinese maps it is usually called King-sze, or capital of the court. It was at first surrounded by a single wall pierced by nine gates, whence it is sometimes called the city of nine gates.
The N. portion was taken possession of by the Mantchoos in 1644 for barracks and residences. The government purchased the buildings from the Chinese and gave them to their officers; but necessity soon obliged these men, less frugal and thrifty than the natives, to sell them and content themselves with humbler abodes; consequently a great part of the Tartar city is now tenanted by Chinese. The Portuguese sent an embassy to Peking in 1517, but the emperor refused to receive it, and the ambassadors were sent to Canton. They were imprisoned there till 1523, when they were put to death. Subsequent Portuguese and Spanish embassies ended less disastrously, but without important results. A Dutch embassy in 1667 reached Peking, and concluded a commercial treaty; but a second, sent in 1794, was treated with contempt. The Eussians have sent several embassies to Peking, and from their frontier being in contact with China have compelled the Chinese to treat them as equals. Their first recorded visit was in 1619. In 1689 the boundary line of the two empires was fixed by treaty, and the following year the ratification was exchanged at Peking. Another mission was sent by Peter the Great in 1719. In 1728 another embassy succeeded in establishing intercourse between the two nations; and a mission was established at Peking, consisting of six ecclesiastical and four lay members, to study the Chinese and Man-tchoo languages.
The intercourse of the English began later than that of most of the other maritime nations of Europe. In 1792 Lord Macartney was despatched with a large suite, and presents for the emperor. A second embassy was sent in 1816, but was summarily dismissed without an audience, because the ambassador would not perform the humiliating prostrations designated Icotow, or appear before his majesty the day he arrived. The intercourse of foreigners was for many years after this in a very unsatisfactory condition. On June 14, 1858, Count Putiatin, the Eussian ambassador, signed a treaty in which the chief points conceded by the Chinese were the right of correspondence upon an equal footing between the Eussian minister of foreign affairs and the first minister of state at Peking; permission to send diplomatic agents to that city upon special occasions; liberty of circulation throughout the empire for missionaries under a system of passports; and the right to trade at ports then open, and in addition at Swa-tow, at a port in Formosa, and at another in Hainan. On the 18th of the same month the American treaty was signed by Mr. Eeed, in which the same privileges Were accorded to the government of the United States, and a clause was added conferring all privileges that might in future be granted to " the most favored nation." A few days afterward the English and French treaties were signed at Tientsin. In due course the ratified copies of the American and Russian treaties were exchanged at Peking; but a dispute arising between the ambassadors of other powers and the Chinese with regard to the route by which they should proceed to the capital, they were forced to retire.
Early in October, 1860, an English and French force of 25,000 men, after destroying the summer palace and devastating several cities, encamped within the earthwork about a mile outside of the N. wall of Peking. The emperor had escaped to an ancient palace beyond the great wall, and had left his brother, Prince Kung, who was authorized to treat as plenipotentiary with the invaders. The prince showed great reluctance in complying with some of the demands made by Lord Elgin and Baron Gros, but finally yielded to the threat of destroying the city. One of the gates was placed in the hands of the French and another in those of the English; and everything was done that appeared likely to humble the minister and mortify the pride of the Chinese emperor. On Oct. 24 the ratifications of the treaty of Tientsin were signed. The substance of the treaty was as follows: 1, the emperor of China expressed regret at the misunderstanding occasioned by the affair at the Taku forts; 2, the right of the queen of Great Britain to keep a resident minister at Peking was acknowledged; 3, £3,100,000 was to be paid by the Chinese government as indemnity; 4, Tientsin was opened to trade; 5, the interdict upon the emigration of Chinese to the British colonies was removed; 6, a portion of the mainland opposite Hong Kong, called Kowloon, was ceded to the British; 7, the immediate operation of the treaty and convention was provided for.
The French also received a large indemnity, and Tientsin was to be occupied by the allies till their claims were satisfied. Since March, 1861, Peking has been the residence of all foreign ministers.
The Western Gate.
Temple of Heaven.