7 OCTOBER 1882, Page 3

A writer in the Times gives some figures which, in

his judg- ment, indicate the rapid decline of the Chinese Empire, often mentioned by travellers of late years. The Pekin Govern- ment took the census of the Empire in 1812, and stated the population at 360 millions. No general census has been taken since, but one was published recently of the province of Chekiang, and the population was found to have declined from 26,256,000 to 11,570,000. This is a decline of 60 per cent„ and is shown to be accurate by the decline of the land-tax from 5,856,000 taels to 2,120,000 taels. There is nothing to prove that the ease of Chekiang is excep- tional, and there is, therefore, much probability that the foreign idea of the decline of the whole Empire is correct. All the Viceroys in reporting upon finance make the same statements. Chinese figures are nearly worthless, and the interest of the Governors in under-estimating revenue is strong ; but the appearance of decline is reported from too many sides, to be passed over as imaginary-. The causes are reported to be re- bellions and famines, but the numbers of the people may be at last pressing too heavily on the means of subsistence.