7 JANUARY 1843, Page 16


IT is nothing uncommon to see one who has suddenly fallen heir to an estate playing all sorts of pranks to make his new neighbours stare. John Bull's recent acquisition of Hong-kong appears to have infected him with this spirit. He is all agog to enter into posses- sion of his new estate, and to show the natives that he can do things in style. John Chinaman will be puzzled with the self-con- tradiction of the new-comers. He will see ships " sailed on the tea-total principle " anchoring alongside opium-clippers; and the same fleet that brings the Missionaries from Malacca, to denounce gambling among other vices, will most likely carry out the " first- rate billiard-table," which has already been ordered for the use of the Ninety-eighth Regiment at Hong-kong. The billiard-table cannot fail to increase the Chinese estimate of the warlike dispositions of the British : " These men," it will be said, " make balls their playthings when they are no longer engaged in shooting them at us." The table in question, we learn from the Times, is "a fac-simile of that made for her Majesty and fixed at Wind- sor Castle "; and it has been " shipped on board the armed ship Possidone, which carries despatches to her Majesty's Go- vernment. Here are fresh themes of wonderment for the Celes- tials. The playthings of her Majesty's soldiers are as tine as her Majesty's own : her Majesty, too, though young and a woman, has as manly a taste for playing with balls as her warriors. The African chief on the Niger, who requested Captain Bscaorr to bring him a couple of brass guns and a strong box for his money, evinced by the request the beautiful simplicity of his theory of government. Perhaps the Chinese, recalling their own experience, may imagine the Royal game, implements of which are sent out along with the despatches, a playful allegory of the British consti- tution, as chess is said to be of the art of war, and infer that the theory of our government is as uncomplicated as that of the African prince. " The Queen of Great Britain," they will say, " canons and pockets in her hours of leisure, and thus learns how to extend her empire and till her treasury."