Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
MANDARINS, magistrates and functionaries of the Chinese empire. This title was invented by the Portuguese established in the Indies, and derived from the Hindoo mandri (councilor). The true title is khan (chief); it was introduced by the Mantchu Tartars.
—There are nearly 100,000 mandarins, classed in eighteen orders. They are councilors of the emperor, ministers, governors of provinces, military commanders, judges, inspectors of letters, etc.; they form various graduated, administrative and judicial tribunals which check each other, and the highest of which controls the acts of the emperor.
—The mandarins acquire their hierarchic degrees only after having passed very difficult examinations. The candidates are confined in cells, and there are few examinations which do not last three days; it is not rare, on opening the cells to see the written examination, to find the candidates dead of brain fever. The Chinese profess that places should only be granted to merit. The intention is excellent; but how it is realized is not certain.
J DE B.
Return to top