Story of China - R. Van Bergen

General Description

When Columbus began his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, it was his purpose to find a new and shorter route to India and Cathay, or China. The word Cathay is no longer used by us, but the Russians and the people of Central Asia, still call the Chinese Ki Tai (kee-tye).

It is not definitely known how the name China came into use. A great many people who have lived in China, and who have studied the language, have tried to investigate the matter. Some think that it came from the Tsin family, who owned a large territory in the western part of the empire, when the first people from Europe came overland to China to trade. One of the members of this family became Emperor of China. His country was known among the people of Arabia, Persia, and India as fin, Chin, or Sin. It seems likely that the old Israelites had also heard of the Chinese, for the prophet Isaiah says in one place: "Behold, these shall come from far: and lo, these from the north, and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim." But there are others who believe that the word China comes from the old Chinese word Tsan, meaning silk. They say that the word China means the Land of Silk, just as Brazil means the Land of a (crimson) Dyewood. We can not tell who is right, but we know that if we speak of China to a Chinese, he does not know what we mean, unless he has learned that word from us.

[Illustration] from The Story of China by R. Van Bergen


The Chinese have no special name for their country. When they speak or write of it, they call it sometimes Chung kwoh (choong-kwoh), that is, the Middle Kingdom, because they believe that their land is the center of the world. They also think that China is the most civilized and refined country on earth, and they call it Chung Hwa Kwoh, which means the Middle Flowery Kingdom. When they think of China as a powerful empire, they call it Shih pah seng, that is, the Eighteen Provinces, just as we speak of our country as the United States.

The Chinese often calls himself Hanjin or Han-tsz', meaning the son of Han. Sometimes he speaks of himself as a Tang-jin, or man of Tang, because at one time China was called Tang shan, or Land of Tang. They have other names, but these are the most common.

The Chinese Empire is larger than the United States, but it has territories which do not belong to China Proper, just as we have the outlying territories of Porto Rico and the Philippine Islands. These territories are: Manchuria, Mongolia, Sin-Kiang, Koko-Nor, and Thibet. They cover two-thirds of the area of the Empire, but together contain only about one-thirtieth of the entire population.

China Proper, that is, the Eighteen Provinces, has an area of 1,500,000 square miles. It is about as large as the United States between the Atlantic Coast, and a line drawn down the eastern boundary of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, but not including Texas. Or it has the same area as our western territory beginning at the Pacific Coast and ex-tending eastward to Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.

Within these eighteen provinces of China Proper, in area about one-half of the United States without Alaska, live four hundred and twenty million people. The population of the United States is about seventy-six million, or twenty-one to every square mile; but in China Proper, there are two hundred and twenty-five to every square mile.

China Proper is bounded on the north by Mongolia; on the east by Manchuria, the Gulf of Pe-chih-li (pay-chee-lee; pe = north), the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, the Formosa Strait or Piscadores Channel, and the South China Sea; on the south by the Gulf of Tong-King, Tong-King, and Burmah; and on the west by Burmah, Thibet, Koko-Nor, and Sin-Kiang.

The coast line is not unlike that of our Atlantic Coast. China is almost in the same latitude as the United States, and has the same variety of climate and productions. Owing to the trade winds, the heat and cold are greater than in our country along the coast. Ningpo is in about the same latitude as New Orleans, but in the winter the snow is often six inches deep, and the people there can cut ice for use in summer. The Pei-ho (pay-hoh) River, not far from Peking, is frozen during three months in the year; but the heat is so great in summer that fine peaches, grapes, and sweet potatoes are grown. The climate in the north is generally dry and healthful; but in the south it is damp, especially in May, June, and July. In the interior of China, as in that of the United States, the climate varies with the altitude or height from the level of the sea, and with the direction of the winds.

The general slope of the country is from west to east. From the high Himalaya (he-mah-lie-ah) Mountains in Thibet, four mountain ranges extend. Furthest north are the Tien shan (teen shahn) or Heavenly Mountains, some peaks rising to a great height. Within this range is the Pi shan (pee shahn), the only volcano known in China. South of it, and extending in the same direction, is the Nan shan or Kuen-lun (kwen-loon) range. It divides into two branches; one of these lies toward the southeast under the name of Siueh ling (see-oo-ay ling) or Snow Mountains (like our Sierra Nevada), and joins the Yun ling (yoon ling) or Cloud Mountains. The other branch is known as the Nan shan or Ala shan (ah-lah shahn). It is probable that great mineral wealth may be found in these mountains, since many precious stones come from them. But as the superstitious Chinese believe that they conceal a number of monsters, as well as fairies and genii, they are not explored. There are two other mountain ranges in China Proper, but they do not rise to any great height and are not important.

The great desert in Mongolia is named the Gobi (go-bee), that is, Sandy Sea, or Shamoh, which means Sandy Floats. It is 1,800 miles long, and between 350 and 400 miles wide. It covers an area of 1,200,000 square miles, equal to nearly one-third of the United States. While the whole of this tract of land is not a desert, the fertile parts are rare.

Boat on the Yang tsze


The Chinese love and are proud of their rivers, because they are navigable to a great extent, and they use them as the highways for trade and travel. The principal river is the Yang tsz', or Son of the Ocean, named Yang tsze Kiang (yahng tsz' kee-ahng). Kiang means river. This river has different names in its course, but is generally known as the Ta (tab) Kiang, or Great River; the name of Yang tsz' is used only when it approaches the ocean. It rises in Thibet, but little is known of it until it appears in the southwest province of China, named Yun-nan (yoon-nahn), when it is called Kin sha Kiang (kin shah kee-ahng) or River of the Golden Sand, because much gold dust is found in its bed. It is navigable at Chung King, 1,400 miles from its mouth, although it passes through a gorge, where navigation is difficult. But stern-wheel steamers of great power, built after the model so often seen upon our rivers, have gone up and down the rapids through that gorge. This river runs through the richest and most fertile part of China. It is thought that one hundred and fifty million people live in the valley drained by the Yang tsz' and its tributaries. This is twice the entire population of the United States. We know that in some parts of this valley there are 800 people to the square mile.

The Hoang-ho (hwahng-hoh) is known as "China's Sorrow." In a direct line from source to mouth, it would be 1,200 miles long, but it has so many curves and bends that it runs to nearly twice that distance. The Chinese say that this Yellow River has changed its bed six times, and it is well known that, before 1853, it had an entirely different bed from the present one.

Gen. J. H. Wilson, an American Engineer who examined part of this river, says of it: "Generally, the river resembles the Missouri at and above Bismarck, in width, color, and volume of water, and even in the character and appearance of its fore-shores; but, after it enters the delta, unlike the Missouri, it has no river valley, with hillsides nearby, rising to the higher level of the rolling prairies. On the contrary, its shores are never higher than ten or twelve feet, and at places not more than five feet, even in the driest season. The plains are almost perfectly level, and stretch away in either direction from the river's margin hundreds of miles, without the slightest rise or depression that can be detected by the most practiced eye. They are absolutely as level as flowing water." This is the reason why we read of so many floods in the basin of this river. Thousands of people have been drowned, but the government does not try to prevent future disasters.

The Chu-Kiang (choo kee-ahng), or West River, is another important waterway. It is really formed by three branches, called the East, North, and West Rivers, but the last-named is by far the largest. Together they drain a region of at least two hundred thousand square miles.

The Pei-ho, or North River, is unimportant, except for the fact that it comes within about thirty-five miles of Peking, and is navigable beyond Tientsin (teen-tsin), a large city at the head of the Grand Canal. At the mouth of the Pei-ho, are the Taku (tah-koo) forts, and a bar which prevents the entrance of ships except those of very light draught.

Shih Pah Seng, or the Eighteen Provinces

We have seen that China Proper is divided into eighteen provinces. The most important of these provinces is Chih-li (chee-lee), because it contains the capital, Peking, the seat of the government. It has an area of about 57,000 square miles, the same as Illinois, and a population of about 36,000,000, which is more than eight times that of Illinois. The principal city it Tientsin, on the Pei-ho, which is also a treaty port, that is, a city where foreigners may live and engage in business. There is a large trade with Mongolia, Manchuria, and Russia, most of which is carried on by caravans. Camels are frequently seen at Peking. The principal exports are hides and furs.

Shan-si (shahn-see) has an area of 66,000 square miles, that is, it is nearly as large as Missouri. Its population is said to be 17,000,000, or more than five times that of Missouri. The southern part of this province, or about 30,000 square miles, is a plateau from 5,000 to 6,000 feet above the level of the sea, and is one vast coal field. The people are poor, because there are no means of transportation, and they can not carry their produce to market. It happens very often that the harvest fails, and people die from starvation. The province contains eight large cities, besides the capital Tai yuen Fu (tie yooen foo).

Trade Caravan at rest


Shan-tung (shahn-toong) has an area of 53,000 square miles and a population of probably 30,000,000; that is, it is a little larger than Alabama and has seventeen times its population. It is very fertile, and its land tax produces more revenue than that of any other province. Its mineral wealth is very great. There are four great coal fields, and the finest iron ore comes from Shan-tung. The natives are among the strongest and best in China. The Chinese government prefers them as sailors for the navy.

The important port of Kiao-chao (kee-ah-oh-chah-oh), once held by the Germans, is in this province. At the close of the World War it was awarded to Japan by whom it had been taken from Germany. Che-foo (chee-foo), on the north coast, is an open port. Twenty-seven miles east of it, is Wei-hai-wei (way-hie-way), where the Chinese fleet was captured or sunk by the Japanese (1895). It was leased to Great Britain in 1898. Within this territory Great Britain has sole jurisdiction.



The province of Ho-nan (ho-nahn) contains a portion of the Great Plain, has an area of 67,000 square miles and a population of 29,000,000, that is, it is as large as the New England States and has almost six times their population. That portion of Ho-nan near the Yellow River (Hoang-ho) is very densely settled. The capital is Kai-fung (kie-foong), near the river. For almost three hundred and fifty years (A.D. 780-1129) Kai-fung was the capital of the Chinese Empire.

Kiang-su (keeahng-soo) lies south of Shan-tung. It has an area of 40,000 square miles, or that of Kentucky, and a population of 40,000,000, or almost twenty times the number of inhabitants of that State. This province is exceedingly fertile and has a complete network of waterways, lakes, rivers, and canals. The capital is Nanking, or Southern Capital. It was the seat of the Imperial Government from A.D. 317-592, and again from 1368-1403. The second city, and the first in importance, is Shanghai (shahn-gye). It has obtained its preeminence since 1842, when it was opened as a treaty port. It well deserves to be called the Model Settlement of the Far East. Since 1895, when foreigners were allowed to manufacture in China, a large number of modern factories have been established in Shanghai. From twenty to thirty steamers arrive and depart each day. It has a fine city government, churches, schools and hospitals.

Another important city is Soochow, close to Tahu (tahhoo) Lake, with water routes to different parts of the Empire. Between Soochow and Shanghai the road is almost one continuous line of towns and villages. In the opinion of the Chinese it is a garden spot. They say: "To be happy on earth one must be born in Soochow, live in Canton, and die in Hang-chow."

An-hui (ahn-hwee) has an area of 54,000 square miles and a population of over 36,000,000. It is about the same size as Arkansas, and has thirty times its population. It lies in the central and southern parts of the Great Plain. Its general aspect resembles Kiang-su, but it has not so many cities and is not so fertile.

Kiang-si (keeahng-see) and Kiang-su are often spoken of as the Two Kiangs. The area of Kiang-si is 68,000 square miles, with a population of 26,000,000. In area this province nearly equals the State of Missouri, but it has almost ten times the number of inhabitants. The surface is rolling and hilly, but well watered and fertile. Manufacturing is a leading occupation.

Che-Kiang (chay-keeahng) covers 35,000 square miles and has 8,000,000 inhabitants. It is the smallest of the provinces, being somewhat larger than Maine, with more than ten times its population. It. is one of the healthiest and most beautiful provinces of the Empire. Fine forest and fruit trees abound. There are many large towns. Marco Polo said of the capital, Hang-chow, that of all the cities, it was "beyond dispute the noblest in the world."

Fuh-Kien (foo-kien) is one of the coast provinces facing the Formosa Strait. Within an area of 45,000 square miles it supports 23,000,000 inhabitants. As large as the State of Pennsylvania, it has almost four times its population. Most of this, province is highly cultivated, and the people are comparatively prosperous. Two of its cities, Amoy (ah-moy) and Foochow, are treaty ports.

Kwang-tung (kwanhng-toong) has an area of 90,000 square miles and a population of 20,000,000. Although not quite so large, it has fifty times the population of the State of Oregon. Its capital is Canton, the largest city of China, and the one best known to us, since before 1842 it was the only place where foreigners were permitted to trade. It is situated on the Pearl River. Its inhabitants number some of the wealthiest merchants of China.

The coolies and laundrymen, so common in the United States, come, without any exception, from this province.

Kwang-si (kwahng-see) extends over 80,000 square miles, and has a population of 8,000,000. Smaller than Kansas, it has five times the number of inhabitants. Its principal waterways are the West River and its tributaries. Woo Chow and Nanning, on the West River, are the largest trading towns.

Yun-nan (yoon-nahn), the southwest province, has an area of 122,000 square miles and a population of 6,000,000. It suffered greatly from the Mohammedan rebellion, and the plague which followed. In size it compares with New Mexico, but it has thirty-five times the number of people. It is mountainous and high, and its mineral wealth is immense. The Yang tsz' River runs through it, bearing the name of River of the Golden Sand.

Kwei-chow (kwhy-chow) has 64,000 square miles, and about 6,000,000 people. It is not as large as Washington, but it has nearly fifteen times as many people. Agriculture, although largely engaged in, brings poor returns, and its great mineral wealth is almost untouched, owing to lack of transportation. The result is that the people are poor.

Shen-si (shen-see) has about 80,000 square miles, and a population of about 8,000,000. Less in extent than Minnesota, it has over five times its population. This province is the greatest agricultural part of the northwest. It has such natural defenses that it is called "the center of resistance of Middle China." Sian-Fu (seeahn-foo), its capital, was the capital of the Empire for a long, long time. During the Tang Dynasty, that is, while the Tang family reigned over China (A.D. 618-903), China was probably the most civilized country in the world. Sian-Fu was then called Chang-ngan. It is often thought that the present government of China will move from Peking to this ancient capital.

Kan-suh (kahn-soo) is the largest of the provinces, as it extends over 260,000 square miles, with a population of about 20,000,000. Its size is greater than Colorado and Wyoming taken together, and it has thirty-six times the population of these States. It borders upon Thibet, and its altitude is great.

Sze-chuen (szay-chooen) is the richest and most populous of the provinces. Within an area of about 180,000 square miles, it has a population of probably 60,000,000, or as much as the United States east of the Mississippi, although it is not as large as Nebraska and Nevada. As New York is sometimes called the Empire State, so Sze-chuen deserves the name of the Empire Province. "In the mountains," says Mrs. Bishop, "there are a number of large and handsome farmhouses, each with its cedar and cypress groves; and mandarins' country-houses, rivaling some of our renowned houses in size and stateliness, are frequent. As the country grows more open, there are fortified refuges on rocky heights, great temples with porcelain fronts in rich coloring, paper and flour mills, and every town and large village has its special industry—silk-weaving, straw-plaiting, hat-making, dressing hides, iron or brass work, pottery and china, chair-making, dyeing, carving and gilding idols, making the red paper used for religious and festive purposes, and the imitation gold and silver coins burnt as offerings, etc.—everything indicates industry and prosperity and a certain security for the gains of labor."

Chung-king (choong-king) is the only treaty port in Szechuen. Chingtu, the capital, lies on the Min River.

Chinese farmyard


Hu-peh (hoo-pay) has an area of 70,000 square miles and 28,000,000 inhabitants, or is about as large as North Dakota, with a population about ninety times as great as that State. Its southeastern part is thought to be the most fertile in China. Three large cities—Wu-chang (woo-chang), the capital, Han-Kow and Han-yang—lie opposite on the Yang tsz', the Han River separating Han-Kow from Han-yang.

Han-Kow was intended to be, and probably will be at sometime, the railroad center of China, being almost at equal distances from Peking and Canton. Large workshops have been established at Han-yang.

Hu-nan (hoo-nahn) contains 83,000 square miles, or is about the same size as Idaho, and has a population of 20,000,000, or about one hundred and thirty times that of Idaho. The province is rich, but the people are quarrelsome and hate foreigners.

 ProvincesArea (sq.mi.)Population
1.Chih-li (chee-lee)57,00036,000,000
2.Shan-si (shahn-see)66,00017,000,000
3.Shan-tung (shahn-toong)53,00030,000,000
4.Ho-nan (ho-hahn)67,00029,000,000
5.Kiang-su (keeahng-soo)40,00040,000,000
6.An-hui (ahn-hwee)54,00036,000,000
7.Kiang-si (keeahng-see)68,00026,000,000
8.Che-Kiang (chay-keeahng)35,0008,000,000
9.Fuh-Kien (foo-kien)45,00023,000,000
10.Kwang-tung (kwahng-toong)90,00020,000,000
11.Kwang-si (kwahng-see)80,0008,000,000
12.Yun-nan (yoon-nahn)122,0006,000,000
13.Kwei-chow (kwhy-chow)64,0006,000,000
14.Shen-si (shen-see)80,0008,000,000
15.Kan-suh (kahn-soo)260,00020,000,000
16.Sze-chuen (szay-chooen)180,00060,000,000
17.Hu-peh (hoo-pay)70,00028,000,000
18.Hu-nan (hoo-nahn)83,00020,000,000

Products of China

Poor as the great number of Chinese are, the country is well cultivated, and unless some disaster occurs produces large crops. The first thing that strikes a visitor is the exceedingly small size of the farms; next, the simplicity of the farming implements; and, lastly, the variety of the crops.

The vast number of people accounts easily for the small size of the farms; there are very few farmers in China, but the number of peasants is very great. They do not like to use machinery, but prefer to employ men and women. What implements they have are exactly the same as those which their ancestors used two thousand years ago. They use plows, harrows, and hoes, and sometimes a spade, but all of very simple make. The plow is sometimes drawn by buffaloes, but often men and women are employed. They use water wheels and chain-pumps to irrigate the land. Water wheels are seen on the banks of most rivers, the current moving the wheel, and pouring the water into a large trough. This trough empties into several channels, which run in various directions through the fields, and thus keep them constantly watered. The wheel itself is a large machine, but very light, since it is made of bamboo, as are the buckets for raising the water. The chain-pump is used to draw water from wells and ponds, and is very useful because it can be easily moved.

Plowing with buffalo


The principal food of the Chinese is rice, and the plains often seem one vast rice field, of a bright green color at first, but turning yellow when the rice is getting ripe The seed is sown first in small patches; as soon as the shoots are five or six inches high, they are transplanted to the fields, where the laborers drop them into holes, about six together. These men stand up to the ankles in water, for the rice must be kept constantly wet, or it would be spoiled. As soon as the rice is ripe the fields are drained. The harvest is about midsummer. A second crop is usually planted at once, which is harvested in November, after which the ground is planted with cabbages or some other vegetable. Sometimes there is no second crop of rice, but cotton is planted instead.

In the northwestern provinces, where it is often too cold or dry to raise rice, wheat, millet, or some other grain is grown.

Rice field


One of the most important of Chinese productions is the tea shrub, which is a species of camellia bearing a white flower without odor. It is most frequently seen about the Yang tsz', and in the province of Fuh-Kien. In these tea districts large quantities of young plants are raised every year from seeds. These seeds are gathered in October and kept during the winter months mixed with sand and earth. They are sown thickly in the spring in the corner of a farm, and transplanted when they are about a year old and ten inches high. They are then planted in rows about four feet apart. Five or six plants are placed in each hole, the holes again being four feet apart. They are allowed to grow three years, the ground between them being used to raise vegetables.

The first crop of leaves, which produces the finest quality of tea, is picked in April. One person picks about thirteen pounds of leaves a day. These leaves are brought from the plantations and spread out thinly on small bamboo trays and exposed to the sun in order that the moisture may evaporate. In about two hours the leaves are dry. They are then thrown into roasting-pans, and rapidly moved about and shaken up. The leaves make a crackling noise, and after five minutes they are drawn out quickly and dropped upon the rolling-table, where a number of men are waiting.

Each of these men takes as many leaves as he can press with his hands, and makes them up in the form of a ball, which is then rolled upon the table and pressed tightly, so that no moisture can remain. After this the leaves are shaken out upon flat trays, and again taken to the roasting-pan, where they are kept in rapid motion by the hands of the workmen.

The tea is then passed over sieves of various sizes, so that no dirt can remain, and is then assorted. When this is finished, it is refined—the coarse kinds once, the finer kinds twice.

Green tea is made either by a different method in curing the leaves, or by adding coloring matter. "Foreigners," the Chinese say, "like to have their tea uniform and pretty;" so a little Prussian blue is used. The Chinese do not drink such tea.

Sorting tea leaves


A true Chinese will not drink cold water, because he dislikes it, and believes it will make him sick; but he can drink tea all day long. When they make it, they put a few leaves in the cup, and pour hot water over them when wanted; but in stores and other places tea is always kept ready made. No milk or sugar is added. If a Chinese is traveling, he stops at an inn to take a cup of tea; if he makes a call, he is offered tea as soon as he arrives; and if he receives a caller, he at once offers him a cup of tea. He takes a cup of tea before his meal so as to get an appetite, and after a meal to promote digestion. This excessive use of tea, however, does not seem to injure him.

I will give here the advice of a Chinese expert as to how best to make tea: "Whenever the tea is to be infused for use," says Tung-po (toong-poh), "take water from a running stream and boil it over a lively fire." It is an old custom to use running water, boiled over a lively fire; that from springs in the hills is said to be the best, and river water the next, while well-water is the worst. "When making an infusion do not boil the water too hastily, as first it should begin to sparkle like crabs' eyes, then somewhat like fishes' eyes, and lastly to boil up like pearls innumerable, springing and waving about." This is his elaborate description of the way to boil the water.

These are the names of six kinds of tea much liked by the Chinese: 1. First Spring Tea. 2. White Dew. 3. Coral Dew. 4. Dewy Shoots. 5. Money Shoots. 6. Rivulet Garden Tea. Others are called White Hairs, Red Plum Blossoms, Prince's Eyebrows, and Sparrow's Tongue.

The tea shrub is from three to six feet high; the leaf has a dark green color, and an oblong, oval shape. Each plant produces about half a pound of dried leaves a year.

In the provinces near the Yang tsz' cotton is largely cultivated. Nanking has long been famous for its cotton cloth. Where mills have not yet been built, the weavers and spinners work at home. Before the planting of cotton was introduced, pastures with horses, cattle, and sheep were common in the southern part of China; but when the land began to be used for cultivation, these domestic animals were driven to the mountains. At present very few of them are seen in the plains.

The silk districts are among the most populous and prosperous of China. The peasants are employed in taking care of the mulberry plantations, which require great attention. The silkworms are kept in houses surrounded by trees, for they must have absolute quiet, because it is known that any noise hurts the younger ones especially. The women of the family have the care of the worms, and of the silk as soon as it is spun. The best silk is produced in the provinces near the lower part of the Yang tsz', but this silk is not sold except to the richest Chinese. Their damasks and crepes are finer than those made in Europe, but their velvets are not so good. Women sometimes make thirty dollars a month by embroidering shawls. This is very large pay in a country where a laborer often makes only ten cents a day.

One of the most useful plants is the bamboo. There are a great many varieties of this tree, differing in size, strength and color. It is used to build houses, to make water pipes, the cabins of sampans or family boats, ropes, etc. But the most useful articles made from it are paper and hats.

The Chinese use an enormous amount of paper. They all like to read and write, and besides, paper is always used in their sacrifices. The paper used for printing books is very thin and transparent, so that it can only be printed on one side and folded; in a Chinese book every leaf is double, with the edge uncut. They do not bind books as we do, but every work is divided into a number of separate parts, with strong paper covers. The parts in this shape are placed together, loosely, in a square case or envelope, perhaps because they do not like to hold a thick volume in the hand.



The Chinese understood the art of printing hundreds of years before we did. There are so many thousands of characters in their language that every time a book is printed, separate type must be made. The usual method of printing is this: The copy is written on very thin paper and pasted on plain blocks, from which all the blank parts are carefully cut away. Thus the characters are left raised on the surface, and the type is an exact reproduction of the writing. Movable type has now been introduced at Peking, Shanghai, and Hongkong, but this is very expensive, and the Chinese dislike to learn anything new.

In the large cities there are streets occupied by book-sellers only. The older the book, the higher the price. They say that in olden times men were better, wiser, and more honest. The Chinese like books on history best; but there are also books on medicine, agriculture, the Chinese language, religion, poetry, novels, and plays.

Besides the bamboo, the tallow tree and the camphor tree are very valuable. The first produces a vegetable wax from which candles are made, but which is also sold and exported. Camphor is a gum procured from the fresh gathered branches of the camphor tree; of its wood trunks, chests, and household furniture are made.

There is a small tree, a species of sumac, from which oozes a gum producing a varnish used to make lacquer. This varnish must be laid on perfectly smooth, and, as it requires many coats, each must be spread with the same nicety. This varnish will take any color without losing its brilliancy, so that all the painting is done upon the lacquered surface.

In the southern provinces, that is, south of the Yang tsz', may be found: oranges, lemons, pomegranates, black and white mulberries, the vine, walnut, chestnut, peach, apricot, and fig trees. There are several fruits for which we have no English names, such as the lai-chi (lie-chee), the lung-yen (loong-yen), sometimes called dragon's eye. Many of these fruits are liked by foreigners. Potatoes, yams, turnips, onions, beans, and a white kind of cabbage called pih-tsie (pee-tsie), are carefully cultivated.

In some parts of China the elephant, the rhinoceros, and the dromedary are found. There are bears in the hilly country west of Peking, and their paws are considered a delicacy by the people. Deer, wild boars, and foxes, are numerous in some provinces. There are tigers, leopards, lynxes, hyenas, and jackals. The Chinese look upon the wildcat, of which there are large numbers in the forests, as a kind of game, and eat it after it has been fed in a cage for some time.

Fishing Cormorants


Some of the native birds are beautiful. The gold and silver pheasants have been brought to America, but the Reeves' pheasant is rare, even in China. Its tail feathers are exceedingly beautiful, and six feet long. Another is called the medallion pheasant from the shape of a variety of colors which appear when it is excited. Immense flocks of wild geese and ducks cover the rivers and lakes in winter. A teal duck, known as the mandarin drake, is very common. The fishing cormorant is a brown bird resembling a pelican, with yellow bill, white throat, and whitish breast spotted with brown. When they are employed in fishing for their owners, the birds have a ring around the lower part of the neck, so that they can not swallow the fish. When they have finished their work, this ring is removed, and they are allowed to fish for themselves. A family owning two or three of these birds can easily support itself. Quails are very plentiful, and the "rice bird" appears about Canton during the harvest. Fish is eaten in large quantities by the people, and almost every variety known to us is found along the coast or in the rivers and lakes. Foreigners are fond of sturgeon, soles, carp, and shrimps. Our beautiful silver and gold fish came first from China.

Among the insects is a monstrous spider that feasts upon small birds just as our spiders eat flies. Locusts sometimes spread over a section of land and devour the crops. In the hills east of Canton butterflies of large size and brilliant colors are found; also night moths, which are caught and sent to Peking. Throughout the south, sphinx-moths of great beauty are common, as are crickets and fireflies. The most valuable insect is, of course, the silkworm.

How the Chinese are Governed

When we speak of China and its monarch, we call him an emperor and we call his country an empire. We do this because we have no better name. China, from its size, may deserve to be known as an empire; but the Solitary Man, who sits in the Purple Forbidden City at Peking, is certainly not an emperor.

The Chinese speak of him as Tien-tsz' (teen ts), that is, Son of Heaven. Sometimes they mention him as Hwang-Shang, or the August Lofty One. He is the High Priest, who stands between the people and the gods. But he is more than that, for he is the common father of all the people.

In another chapter I have told you that to love and reverence their fathers is taught to Chinese children from their babyhood. No crimes are punished so severely as those showing disrespect for parents. The father is complete master in his family; he may sell his wife and his children. The Chinese do not like or admire a man who does so; but if he wishes to do it, nobody can stop him. Therefore the Son of Heaven at Peking, as the common father of all the people, may do as he pleases, and the people must obey.

Chinese family


As the Son of Heaven, he is also the High Priest. No-body but he can worship at the great Altar of Heaven, and when he performs that ceremony, he does it for his people. If there is a flood, a long drought, a famine, or a plague, in any part of the vast country, it is the duty of the Tien tsz' to blame himself, and to punish himself; because he considers that the evil is owing to his neglect of duty. When he takes the blame upon himself, or punishes himself, it is announced in the King-Chau (king-chow), which means literally Court Records, but which foreigners in China call the Peking Gazette, and which is really the oldest newspaper in the world. It is distributed over every part of China, and anybody may subscribe for, and read it.

As a father, the Tien-tsz' is expected to treat the people as his children, that is, to show them kindness, sympathy, and love. As a High Priest he lives in the Purple Forbidden City, where he can be seen by nobody, except by the members of his own family and high officers of state. When he intends leaving the palace, his route is chosen and announced to time to have the streets cleaned, curtains stretched at both sides, and orders given that no one shall show himself, either in the streets or in the houses. The emperor is carried on a canopied platform upon the shoulders of eighteen men. Everything he uses has a particular color, and this color may not be used by the people. The color of the cover of this book is called Imperial Yellow. If it were sold in China, the people would think that it had come from the palace.

Throne of Empress


The outward gate of the palace must be passed on foot. The oldest statesman must leave his sedan chair here at the gate. Only the Tien-tsz' may use the paved walk leading up to it. The empty throne must be worshiped as if he were sitting on it. A screen of yellow silk over a chair is looked upon while the Chinese falls upon his knees; and when Li Hung Chang or any other Viceroy received a dispatch from the palace at Peking, incense was burned and he knelt down as he received it.

Since the Son of Heaven can not do everything himself, he employs officers to act in his place. In the chapter on Examinations I shall tell you how these officers are chosen. If the officers do not do their duty, or if they are too severe or cruel, the people often complain in this way: "A strange way for parents to treat their children!"

China Proper, as you know, is divided into eighteen provinces. These eighteen provinces have eleven governments, at the head of each of which is a Tsung-tuh (tsoong-tooh) or Viceroy, or a Fu-yuen (foo-yooen), one rank below the Viceroy, but having so nearly the same authority that he is addressed as Viceroy by foreigners.

These Viceroys, each in his province or provinces,—for one Viceroy sometimes rules over two provinces,—have the same authority as the Son of Heaven exercises over the whole country. But their first duty is to preserve law and order. If any disturbance or riot breaks out in their province, they are sharply called to account, and may lose, not only their position, but also their heads. They are made responsible even for accidents which they can not help. Li Hung Chang more than once asked the Tien-tsz' to punish him, because heavy rains had caused a flood in his province. Chang Chih Tung (chahng chee toong), a Viceroy almost as well known as Li, asked to be removed from office because there had been a drought, followed by a famine. The Viceroy, like the Tien-tsz', has power over life and death.

Each province is again divided into several tao (tahoh), literally a circuit, but which we might call a county. At the head is the taotai (tahoh-tie), who is really a deputy of the Viceroy, and responsible to him. They are superior to the other officers of the county. The county is again divided into fu, chau; or ting (foo, chahoh, ting), which may be translated as districts.

The people, however, are allowed to choose their own "elders," who decide disputes and quarrels. The Chinese, one and all, dislike the idea of employing a lawyer. "We don't want to have a man," they say, "who will try to tell us that right is wrong, and wrong is right."

Chinese officials, one and all, have a bad name. We have been told that they are dishonest, and rob the people. You must know, however, that a great many of these officials receive the same, or almost the same, pay that was given two thousand years ago, and at that time a penny in money would buy more than ten dollars will now. The salary of a Viceroy is not enough to pay one secretary; yet out of his salary he is expected to pay several secretaries, and a small army of other officers. The government knows this and pays them an extra sum of money, about twenty times as much as the salary, but even this is not enough to meet expenses. The Chinese are aware of this, and are willing to pay an official a fair price for his services. Among the lower magistrates, however, are many who are actually in league with thieves and robbers. But if the people think an officer is trying to rob them, they have several means of putting a stop to it.

The lowest magistrate or officer of a district knows quite well that, if a complaint is made by the people of his district, the officer above him, or the county officer as we would say, will fine him one-half of all he has made, and that fine must be paid. There is no means of getting out of it. So he prefers taking less and keeping it all. It is the same with every officer, even with the Viceroys.

Besides this, there are everywhere in China a number of people who have passed the examinations (see the chapter on Examinantions), and who are known to us as literati or men of letters, that is, learned men. These men may be put in office at any time, and they watch the officers, hoping, no doubt, that if one is removed, they may have a chance to be appointed to his post. The Government at Peking has the names and addresses of all these literati, and is not at all sorry to use them as spies upon the officers.

Chinese literati


There is another good reason why officers should behave themselves. They are appointed for a term of three years, and their record is kept at Peking. If they have made a good record, it is likely that they will be promoted. These are the rules for an officer: No officer can be appointed in the district where he was horn, and he can not marry a girl from the district where he holds office, nor own land there; nor can he have a son, brother, or any other near relative holding office under him. An officer knows, therefore, that every man under him may be a spy, and that, if he does wrong, the fact will be reported, and count against him when his term of office expires.

As you know, the President of the United States has a number of men around him, each of whom is at the head of a department, which he manages for the President. These men have the title of Secretary,—as Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Treasury, etc. The Secretary of State carries on the business of the government with other nations; the Secretary of the Treasury looks after the money of the United States, and pays the bills of the nation.

China has eight such departments, but the heads of these do not, as in the United States, act as advisers. That office belongs, first, to the Nui Koh (nwee koh). This is a council made up of six men, four councilors and two assistant councilors, half of whom are Manchu and half Chinese. This council informs the Tien-tsz' about the business of China. When he asks them for advice, they write it on a slip of paper, and fasten it to the paper under discussion. After everything is finished, they present the paper to the Tien-tsz', who by a stroke of his vermilion pencil marks the advice which he selects. That advice becomes at once a law, and is published in the King-Chau  or Peking Gazette.

The second council is the Kiun-Ki Chu (keeoon-kee choo), or General Council. This is the most influential body in the government. The members of this council meet every morning between five and six o'clock in the Forbidden City, and attend to whatever business may be before them. If they are called by the Tien-tsz', they sit upon mats or low cushions, for no one is permitted to sit on a chair in his presence. In times of war, every question is decided in this council.

The eight departments are:

1. The Li-Pu (lee-poo), or Department of Civil Service. It appoints the officers, promotes, removes, rewards, or punishes them, and grants or denies requests for leave of absence.

2. The Hu-Pu (hoo-poo), or Department of Revenue, is almost the same as our Treasury Department.

3. The Le-Pu (lay-poo), or Department of Religion, controls and directs everything belonging to ceremonies.

4. The Ping-Pu (ping-poo), or Department of War, also embraces the Navy Department. As the name shows, it is supposed to look after the army and navy.

5. The Hing-Pu (hing-poo), or Board of Punishments, somewhat resembles our Department of Justice and Supreme Court combined.

6. The Kung-Pu, or Board of Works, is to some extent like our Department of the Interior.

7. The Li Fan Yuen (lee fahn yooen), or Colonial Office, directs the affairs of the provinces beyond China Proper, as Mongolia, Koko-Nor, etc.

8. The Tsung-li Yamen (tsoong-lee yahmen), or Foreign Office, transacts business with other nations.

One of the most important parts of the government is the Tu-chah Yuen (too-chah yooen), or Censorate. Its first duty is to see that manners and customs are kept unchanged. You will understand now why it is that our customs are not introduced into China. The man who should dare to introduce them, would be a traitor, and, if he were caught, would probably lose his life. The Censorate also keeps a record of all the officers, and does not hesitate to blame a Viceroy or even the Tien-tsz' himself. There are numerous instances where the Tien-tsz' was roundly told the truth by these censors. It is, of course, ticklish work, especially if the Son of Heaven is a man who has a will of his own. A great number of censors have been punished with death for expressing themselves too freely. But the Tien-tsz' knows that every one of his acts may be criticised in this manner, and it makes him careful.

In the last six years the Censorate has opposed every movement toward progress in China. Many high officers who were in favor of reforms, said plainly that they dared not express themselves openly, for fear of being reported. The Board of Punishment has no regard for rank or wealth, and a Viceroy's head is cut off just as easily as a beggar's.

Examinations: How Officers are Appointed

The author of a recent book on China mentions as one of the reasons for the long existence of the Chinese nation that all her officers are taken from among the people. That is quite true. Just as every American-born boy may sometime be President of the United States, so every Chinese boy, however poor and humble his parents, may be Prime Minister of China. Many of the highest ministers of State have been poor boys. Wen Hsiang (wen hseeahng), for many years prime minister, was the son of a farmer who leased ten acres of land. His successor in office, Shen Quei Fen (shen khwy fen), was the son of a street peddler who did not earn more than ten cents a day.

To be an officer means honor and wealth. Anyone who passes the necessary examinations may be put into office, and all Chinese may be examined, excepting only the sons of actors, executioners, jailers, and of such people as are supposed to lead a bad life. No person can be examined within three years of the death of his father or mother; for during that time the son is supposed to be mourning, and not thinking of anything else.

Persons from almost every class of society may become candidates for degrees. All officers must be graduates of the second or third degree. Nothing is required except a thorough knowledge of the writings of Confucius and Mencius. The reason of this is that these writings teach virtue, and every officer should be a virtuous man.

Two examinations must be passed before a candidate may present himself for the first or lowest degree. The first examination is by the district judge. If the candidate succeeds, he will be examined by the judge of a Fu City, or county seat. If successful, he receives a certificate of scholarship, but no degree. He may now send in his papers for the real examination.

These papers must state the candidate's name, age, stature, complexion, the place of his birth, the names of his father, grandfather, and principal teacher. It must be signed by two graduates as securities. These graduates are well known, and are responsible for the candidate's character and behavior.

There are from three thousand to six thousand candidates at these examinations, and, since the hall will not hold them all, they are called by districts. No candidate is permitted to enter the hall unless the graduate who is his security is present, to answer for him when his name is called. After he is admitted, the candidate is taken to his seat. He is not allowed to bring any books, but only writing material and a little food.

When the candidates are seated, subjects are given out for two compositions and one poem. The subjects are usually some saying of Confucius or Mencius. Each candidate is supposed to know the rules and regulations. The work must be finished before night. The name of the writer is written on one corner, the paper is folded over and pasted so that the name can not be seen, until the merits of the work have been decided.

Those whose compositions are considered the best, are called for another examination. They must write from memory from a book called the "Sacred Edict," and it must be done with perfect accuracy. After this is finished and inspected, the names of the successful candidates are announced. They receive the first degree, known as Siu-tsai (seeoo-tsie), or "Beautiful Ability." The number of successful candidates is very small. To secure impartiality, this examination is held under the direction of a scholar from Peking.

Every three years the examinations for the second degree are held at the provincial capitals under two graduates from Peking, sent especially for this purpose. Graduates of the first degree, to the number of from 5,000 to 8,000, come from all parts of the province. The wealthiest come with servants and friends; but most of them are so poor that they must borrow the money for their expenses.

The large examination hall in the provincial capital is divided into little cells or closets enough to accommodate about 10,000 candidates. They bring bedding and food with them, for they must remain two days. No friends or servants are permitted to enter. When all the candidates are in, the doors are shut, and no one can enter or leave until the time for writing the compositions is past, and they have been handed in.

Three compositions and one poem must be finished. They are delivered to examiners, who look them over, and those which have bad mistakes are thrown out. Those which are approved are copied in red ink by clerks, and each copy is carefully compared with the original. This is done so that the handwriting of a candidate shall not be recognized.

Examination hall


The papers are now for the second time examined by other scholars, and those which are good, receive a round red mark. All others are refused. The approved compositions are then placed in the hands of the chief examiners, and those of the greatest merit are selected by them.

On the morning of the third day the gates are opened, and the candidates come out. The next day they must submit to another examination, and write other compositions and a poem. Again they are given a day's vacation, and then a third examination is held.

After all the papers are in, and have been carefully examined, the result is announced. The successful candidates number about one out of every hundred. These receive the second degree of Kyu-jin (keeoo-gin), that is "Promoted Men."

Men who are of weak health can not support the fatigue of these examinations. Several are found exhausted, and not a few die, in which case the body is carried over the back wall, as it would bring bad luck to take it through the front door. Whenever a candidate breaks any of the rules, he is reported and his name is posted on the outer door of the hall. After this he is not allowed to enter until another examination comes around.

Every three years another examination is held at Peking. Graduates of the second degree are helped with their traveling expenses by money from the treasury. They come from all parts of the empire, and from two hundred to three hundred candidates succeed. These may be kept at Peking, or they may be appointed to office in the provinces. Their degree is Tsinsz'—"Entered Scholars," or Doctors.

There is another examination at Peking for Han-lin (hahn-lin), or "Member of the Academy." This, however, is an office, and not a degree.

There are also military examinations. These consist in lifting heavy weights, bending bows, shooting arrows at a target, shooting from horseback, and sometimes shooting at a mark with a gun.

The chief part of a military examination is to shoot at a mark with bow and arrow from horseback. It is amusing to see it. The horse is led into a trench by a groom. This trench runs in a perfectly straight line, and is about two feet wide, so that the rider can not easily be thrown off by the horse shying. When the rider is seated, the horse is started by a cut from the whip of a groom. The arrow is shot at a bundle of straw about six feet around, and not more than five feet distant from the trench. The successful candidates are made officers of the army.

I have told you that about one in every hundred of the candidates for the second degree succeeds, and that there are usually about 8,000 in every province. What becomes of the other 7,920? Some of them continue studying, and present themselves every three years until they die of old age or perhaps broken-hearted. Many of them enter into business; but most of the graduates of the first and second degree are the literati, that is, scholars who hold no office. They are usually poor, and many are engaged as teachers in village schools, or as tutors in the families of wealthy men.

All the learning these men have acquired after many years of hard study, is a knowledge of the writings of Confucius and Mencius. They object, naturally, to go to school again, and to learn the studies which we think necessary. They, therefore, oppose every effort to introduce our schools or school system, and, since they possess great influence among the people, it is difficult to see how China can be reformed.

It has frequently been said that degrees and offices can be bought in China. It is true that literary degrees may be secured for money, but such a degree does not entitle the bearer to office. Every rank in China is shown by a certain uniform, but especially by the button on the hat. This rank brings with it certain privileges, and wealthy people are willing to pay a reasonable price for them. It may be stated that the road to an office can be reached only through the gate of examinations. But it would not be so easy to deny that money may be, and is, used to influence promotion.

Mode of punishment


You have seen from this that all that is necessary to enter official life in China is an extensive knowledge of the books of Confucius and Mencius. A scholar in these writings may be made a judge or hold some other responsible position. The Chinese have a Constitution and a good Code of Laws. But they are scarcely ever studied, and the judge trusts to his own sense of what is right in deciding a case.

All cases of whatever nature that are brought into court are decided by the same judge. Most of the disputes about debts or payments are settled by the village elders. Six tablets are placed at the governor's palace where complaints can be inscribed; but the usual rule is to write the complaint, and to carry it to the governor or judge.

The Chinese, however, dislike to make an appeal to the Court. In criminal cases, no judgment can be given until the criminal has confessed, and for that purpose torture may be employed. It is stated that more persons die from this than from execution by law.

The most common punishment for criminals is flogging with a bamboo weighing from two to two and two-third pounds. From ten to one hundred blows are given. Transportation, perpetual exile, and death are also punishments for various crimes. Visitors in China often see Chinese with a board round the neck, upon which the name, residence, and offence of the bearer are written. This is the Kia (kee-ah), or cangue. The frame of this board weighs from twenty-five to thirty pounds, and is made so as to rest upon the shoulders without chafing the neck, but it is so broad that the man can not feed himself. A policeman stands near him to see that he does not run off.

The Tie That Binds

The word religion means "the tie that binds." The belief in Feng Shui (feng shooee), or the air-and-water spirit, is so general in China, that it may be called a part of the religion. But the real tie that binds is filial piety and ancestral worship. This is what holds the Chinese together, and molds them into one people.

You know that the national character of a people depends greatly upon its belief or creed. The Chinese believe in a life after death, or they would not worship the spirits of their ancestors. Every religion has certain outward signs or ceremonies. If we wish to know something of a people, we must find out what they believe, and how that belief influences them. If a Chinese should wish to find out something of our belief, he would probably go to the different churches, and have a talk with their ministers. So the best we can do is to visit different temples in China, and to hear what their priests tell us.

In Chinese cities you will frequently see a high wall, apparently surrounding an open space. If you enter through the gate, you will see first a large open court, with a stage for a theater at one end. A temple opens on the side opposite the stage. As you enter you will see no idols, but instead a greater or less number of tablets, as the temple is old or new.

If we ask the priest, he will tell us that this temple was built so many years, sometimes hundreds of years, ago by a wealthy man in honor of his father, and the tablets which we see are supposed to contain the spirits of this father and of all his descendants. These tablets are made of wood, and are about a foot high, three inches wide, and are placed upright in a block. The characters written upon them give the name and title of the deceased, the exact hour of his birth and of his death, and the names of his sons. The Chinese suppose that a man has three spirits, one of which, after death, dwells in this tablet, another in the tomb, and the third goes to a lower world, where it remains until it comes back to earth in another form.

The temple also contains a number of paintings supposed to be likenesses of the deceased, although they are very unlike any living person. These paintings are brought out and worshiped only at the beginning of the new year, on the birthday anniversaries of the deceased, and when a theatrical exhibition is given in their honor.

All over China a holiday is kept in the beginning of April. It is' called Pai Shan (pie shahn), or "Worshiping at the Hills." Everybody, men, women, and children, go to their family tombs, carrying a tray containing the sacrifices or food, and the candles, paper, and incense, for burning. Here the family pray, and worship the spirits of the dead. The grave is carefully repaired and swept, and before leaving, three pieces of turf are placed at the back and front so as to hold long strips of red and white paper. These strips show that the usual ceremonies have been performed, and that the grave has been cared for. If a grave has been neglected for three years, the land may be sold.

There is no more sacred spot to the Chinese than that occupied by the ancestral temple. Here rest the spirits of his ancestors; here the members of the family meet on their own holidays, and here he expects his own spirit will finally rest, and receive its share of the worship. You know now the reason why the Chinese who come to the United States always provide for the return of their bodies to China, if they should have the misfortune to die here. They wish their bones to rest among those of their ancestors, so that their spirit may dwell in the ancestral temple. They can not imagine a more dreadful condition than for their spirit to roam in a strange land, homeless, uncared for, and unfed.

On the day when the spirits of the ancestors are worshiped, food and drink are placed upon the grave. If you were to say to a bright Chinese: "They can not, and do not, eat anything; the food and drink, when you take it away to eat and drink it yourselves, is just the same as when you placed it there," he would probably answer: "That is quite true; we know very well that nothing is eaten or drunk; but we wish to give some outward token that we are grateful to them; we wish to show how much we love the memory of our ancestors, how happy we should be if they could sit down to enjoy themselves with us, and if we could provide for their wants."

Because all the Chinese worship in this manner, this ancestral worship is really the Chinese religion, or the tie that binds. There are a great many other temples, and people go there to pray, but only when they want something, and think this the speediest way to obtain it.

The word "Kiau" means "to teach" or "a system of teaching." The Chinese use this word in speaking of the different temples, and what the priests teach. But since very few Chinese care anything for this teaching, it can not properly be called religion.

Still, there are three different kinds of teaching, and just as many kinds of temples. The first is known as Ju-Kiau (joo kiow), which means "System of Teaching of the Learned." It is really nothing more than the worship of Confucius and his teaching. Over fifteen hundred of these temples are connected with the examination halls, and it is said that in one year over sixty-six thousand pigs, rabbits, sheep and deer, are offered and eaten by the worshipers, who also use the twenty-seven thousand pieces of silk presented as offerings.

The Tao-Kiau or Tao System of Teaching, is the oldest in China. It was founded by Lao-tsz' (lou-tsz), meaning "The Old Boy," because he was an old man when he was born. It is named Tao-ism (tou-ism) after the first word of Laotsz's book, which is Tao or Truth. His teachings recommend retirement and contemplation as the best means of purifying the nature. But the Chinese do not care to worship him. They have a greater respect for gods who are supposed to do them harm, than for those who may be able to help them. In the Tao temples the god who is most worshiped is Lu-tsu (loo-tsoo), who is thought to be the great medicine god, so they go to him to get a prescription. Here is the story of how Lu-tsu was changed into a god:

About a thousand years ago there lived a scholar named Lu-tsu, who had passed the examination for the second degree. Being an ambitious man, he started for the capital to be examined for the last or highest degree, and on his journey he stopped at an inn. He was very weary, for he had made a long march. A servant handed him a pillow to rest upon while supper was being prepared, and the scholar soon fell asleep. He dreamed that he had passed the examination, and was appointed to be an officer in the government. He was promoted very rapidly, until at last he was prime minister. Then he dreamed that he was an old man, and that it was his birthday. He was just celebrating it with his sons and their children, and his friends when he awoke. When the servant entered he said to Lutsu: "So you have been prime minister, have you?" "You must be one of the genii," replied the scholar, "for you have guessed it." The servant said: "I don't see why you should be disappointed that it was only a dream. Suppose your dream had come true? When death comes, what is it all but a dream?" Lu-tsu began to ponder what the servant had said, and at last he came to the conclusion that the man was right. He made up his mind to give up his ambitions plans, and to do his best to be a good man. The servant guessed what Lu-tsu was thinking of, for he said: "If you desire to be a good man, I will teach you a secret by means of which you can change anything you point at into gold. Then you may help the poor, and do other kind acts." "Will the gold ever turn back to its previous condition?" asked Lu-tsu. "Yes, after many years." "In that case I do not wish to know your secret," said the scholar, "for I should not care to make a man glad, if he must be disappointed afterwards." "Why," exclaimed the servant, who was really one of the genii, "if you are such an honest fellow now, I will change you into one of us." He was as good as his word, and Lu-tsu was at once promoted to the rank of god of medicine.

You have all seen the Chinese flag. It is in the form of a triangle, a blue dragon upon a yellow shield. The dragon is also one of the gods of Taoism. All the divisions of water are subject to him, as well as all that live in them. He is also master of clouds, and waterspouts. He is so mighty a god that his name, "Dragon," is used to show the power of the Chinese Emperor, who, they say, is seated on the Dragon throne, and when you see him you see the Dragon face. Therefore, the Dragon is upon the flag and upon the Emperor's coat-of-arms.

[Illustration] from The Story of China by R. Van Bergen


The Chinese believe that there really is a dragon, and some of them say that they have seen one. At all events, it is a familiar object on articles made by them. But all the representations of the dragon look very much alike. If you were to ask a Chinese scholar the reason of this he would probably tell you this story: "During the reign of the Tsin emperors (A.D. 265-317), one of these rulers decided to build a bridge over the surface of the sea, that he might enjoy the fresh salt air. The Dragon had a liking for this emperor, and because the work was to be done in his realm, he offered to take charge of it. The Emperor gladly agreed. One day, as he was going to see how the bridge was getting on, he met the Dragon in disguise, but he knew him at once. "Dragon," said he, "I would like to see you as you really are." "Well," replied the Dragon, "I don't mind; only you must promise me not to have my picture taken." "All right," said the Emperor; and he saw the Dragon in all his beauty, just as you see him on the flag. But the Emperor forgot his promise, and had the picture taken by a skillful artist. The Dragon was very angry, but when the Emperor built him a temple his anger was appeased.

Such stories as these make up Taoism or the Religion of Truth. The Chinese believe them, and a great many tales more wonderful still. There are not many Taoist priests, and when you ask them what they wish most, they answer that they hope to be one of the Sien-jin (seen-gin) or genii. Genii, they think, do not die, but pass from this life into another airy state, where they enjoy an everlasting dreamy happiness.

In the hills or the forests, the temples and cloisters of the Buddhists are found. They search for solitude and peace, because they desire to think of nothing except rest. These temples, therefore, are always found in beautiful spots, and are always built on the same plan.

They consist of several buildings, one directly behind the other. If the ground slopes, each building rises several feet above the one in front of it, and is reached by a flight of stone steps. Artistically laid out paths lead to these temples, winding through groves of pine and bamboo, and over fine arched bridges. These parks are among the most beautiful spots in China.

When you enter the first building, you see before you a large statue or image with an expression of contempt upon its face. This image is called Mi-leh-fuh (mee-lay-foo). It guards the temple, and is supposed to smile at the folly of man, who cares only for pleasure. Back of this image and facing the door is another image, dressed in armor, and with a large battle club in the hand. This is Wei-to Poo-sah (wie-toh poho-sah), who, as the guardian god of the temple, protects it from thieves, evil spirits, etc. There are several other idols in this building.

The building immediately in the rear is about ninety feet wide, seventy feet deep, and from forty to fifty feet high. There are some temples even larger than this. It is called in Chinese: The Great, Glorious, Precious Temple. There are three images of Buddha or Fuh, as they call him here, viz., the Past, the Present, and the Future Fuh. These images are made of metal, stone, wood or clay. The largest have a framework of wood, covered with mortar and gilded on the outside. They have, or are supposed to have, a heart and other imitations of the human body, and are well executed.

Flower Pagoda


Some of the Buddhist temples have pagodas attached to them. These are built of stone or brick in many different stories, and are from eighty to two hundred feet high. They are a peculiar feature of the landscape. In Canton there are two pagodas and many temples, halls and pavilions. The appearance of a large Buddhist temple is really imposing, and the building shows great skill in architecture. The roof is covered with fretwork, and figures of horses, elephants, etc. The interior is handsomely carved. These temples have rooms specially prepared to receive wealthy guests. Foreigners in Peking usually pass the hot summer months in such temples in the hills west of the capital. The majority of worshipers of Buddha are women.

The Belief in Spirits

No Chinese would start on a journey, build a house, marry, bury a relative, or even close a bargain, without first consulting the spirit world. He has no idea, and does not care to know, how many spirits there are; but he thinks that the earth and the air are full of them. While he believes that there are kindly spirits who bring him good luck, he is far more concerned with the bad spirits, of whom he thinks there are a great number, all anxious to do him harm. He gives the latter presents in order to make them friendly toward him.

It is not strange that where so many people believe in spirits, men should be found who believe, or pretend to believe, that they can communicate with the spirit world. Every city in China has hundreds of such men, who do a thriving business, being consulted by rich and poor alike, and they charge a good price, according to the wealth or poverty of their customers.

The priests in most of the temples make a living by foretelling the future. These temples have an altar, and a big box in which the people throw their least valuable copper coins. Before the altar are several other boxes, shaped like part of a stovepipe, each containing little sticks with a number printed on them. There are also several wooden balls, cut in two.

Chinese God


When a man wishes to know what will happen to him in the future, he goes to such a temple, and throws into the box as much cash as he thinks proper. He then burns a candle and some incense before the horrible image of the god. After this, he takes one of the small boxes in his hand, and, kneeling before the altar, shakes it gently until one of the numbered sticks drops out of it. At the same time he asks the question which he would like to have answered. Then he picks up the stick, places it before the god, and returns the box to its place. To make sure that he has the right number, he takes two of the half balls in his hand, and drops them on the floor. If they fall on the flat side, the stick is the right one; but if they roll on the round side, the stick is wrong, and he must go through the ceremony all over again. After he has in this manner discovered the right number, he takes the stick to the priest, who selects a paper with the corresponding number on it, and gives it to him. On this paper is written a sentence just like those we sometimes find wrapped around some of our candy. That is the answer to his question. He may explain it as best suits himself, and if the answer proves wrong, his own explanation is at fault.

When a Chinese finds out that a thief has visited his house, he does not call in a policeman or a detective, but a priest. This priest takes a plate and smoothes over it a carefully moistened paper. He then makes mystic motions over it, and rubs it with another wad of paper tightly rolled up, which he takes from his sleeve. Figures and houses appear on the paper in the plate, and at last comes the picture of the thief. I do not know if it is always the right picture, but if it is, we might learn something from the Chinese, as it is certainly a cheap way to play detective.

Every Chinese believes in the Yau-Kwei (yah-oo kwy), or genii. These are supposed to be men who have escaped death and entered upon spirit life. The Chinese believe that the Yau-Kwei can reappear in the body or without it, just as it suits them.

When a person suffers from nightmare or sleeplessness, the Yau-Kwei are the cause of it. They are also blamed for bad dreams. The first and easiest way to get rid of them is to scold them roundly as soon as awakened. If that does not succeed, one or two strong, healthy people are called in to pass the night with the patient, because it is thought that these spirits are afraid of the strong and only attack the weak. Should this fail to bring relief, a sword, wet with human blood, is brandished over the bed, or else a man is engaged who is said to be able to shoot spirits. Looking-glasses are hung upon the four walls of the bedroom, so that the Yau-Kwei has no opportunity to enter unperceived. If the spirit still declines to leave, a complaint is made against it at the office of Chang-tien-tsz' (chahng-teents') or Chang the Son of Heaven, who resides in the province of Kiang-si, and who is supposed to rule over the Yau-Kwei, and even over some of the gods. He has a seal containing a charm, and when he issues a command over it, all the genii tremble and obey.

The patient, after paying well for it, receives a paper containing his name, place of residence, age, and a statement of the facts of his case, sealed by Chang's magic seal. The paper, after it has been burned, is supposed to be received by some god, who must see to it that the guilty Yau-Kwei is caught and punished. When such offending genii are caught, they are confined in sealed bottles. The Chinese, one and all, believe this to be true. They say that visitors have heard the noise made by these bottled Yau-Kwei, who make every effort to escape from their uncomfortable prison.

The Kwei are supposed to be the ghosts of the dead. They are thought to be the spirits of those men whose sins were not so bad as to condemn them to the place of the wicked, but who must wander about until they are fit to reappear in another state. These Kwei are very troublesome to the Chinese. They roam about in search of food, or rather of the smell of food, and when they visit a house and do not find what they want, they are angry and somebody in that house falls ill. Then the master of the house sends for a priest, who must find out what kind of a Kwei has been around, and what sort of food he likes. Sometimes the patient gets better, but very often he does not. In that case it is probably the priest's fault.

In the central and southern part of China, the climate is very unhealthful during August and September, and a great many people fall sick. The Chinese explain this by saying that during those two months the gates of hell are opened and the spirits are allowed a vacation or holiday. This accounts for the Fang yin-kau (fahng yen-kow), a sort of spirit holiday, sometimes called Shi-shih (shee-she). During these months every locality has a day appointed when a feast is set out upon tables in open places or courts. Patterns of clothing made of paper in different sizes and colors are hung around, and priests are engaged to see that everything is done properly. As soon as it grows dark, lanterns are suspended from high bamboo poles to guide the Kwei to the food. The priests begin to howl their incantations, while others beat upon the tom-toms, producing a deafening noise. All this excitement is kept up until daylight, when the spirits are supposed to be satisfied and to have left for another spot. The patterns of clothing are burned for their benefit, and the food, always of an inferior quality, is given to beggars.

It is impossible to mention all the different names given by the Chinese to the supposed dwellers of the air and water. But special notice must be taken of the Feng Shui, because it exercises great influence upon the daily life of the people, and is the real cause of their dislike of foreigners. The characters used in writing this word mean air and water, but the word Feng Shui should be translated by the phrase, "Principle of Life," although to the Chinese its meaning is "luck."

Not one among those hundreds of millions of Chinese, from the Emperor down to the poorest coolie, would think of burying his father without first employing a Feng Shui man to find out a lucky spot. They suppose that by doing so the spirit of luck will enter into the body of the dead, and that it will follow his children and their children, wherever they may be found.

From what I have seen in China, I think that the Feng Shui sin-sang, or Feng Shui doctors, honestly believe that they are able to discover lucky spots. It is certain that they have studied, for their conversation shows it, and they are held in great respect. Their charges are high, and their directions are strictly obeyed.

When these Feng Shui or "luck doctors," are employed to find the lucky spot for a grave, they pass some days in examining the general outline of the country, the hills, canals, rivers, any height or declivity, etc They then secure the dates of the birth and death of the deceased and of other members of the family, and return home to consult their books. Sometimes the result is not given to the family for weeks, and the funeral is postponed. When the decision of the Feng Shui doctors is received, the land indicated as the lucky spot for the grave is bought at any price, if the family can afford it. This accounts for the fact that grave mounds are found all over China. There is no greater punishment for a Chinese than to have the tomb of his ancestors destroyed. He firmly believes that it ruins all his chances of luck, and this renders him desperate.

Tombs near Peking


If the spot thus selected fails to bring the expected good luck, the Feng Shui doctors have always plenty of excuses to show that the luck was good at the time of the funeral, but that it must have changed since. Defacing a tomb, or cutting down a tree near it, destroys the Feng Shui. A man convicted of such an offense is punished with great severity by the courts.

When a Chinese decides to build a house, the Feng Shui doctor is in even greater demand than the architect. He determines the location of the doors and windows, points out where the furniture must be placed, and enters into the most minute details. If, after all these precautions, sickness or other misfortune follows, another Feng Shui sin-sang is called in. After examining the premises, he may order one door closed and another made, or decide upon some slight change in the position of the furniture. If ill-luck continues, the doctor is again changed. Whatever disappointment a Chinese may meet, his faith in the Feng Shui is never shaken.

When new canals are constructed, or railroads laid out, the general outline of the country must necessarily change somewhat. This disturbs the Feng Shui of every grave within sight, and fully accounts for the opposition shown by the people to such improvements. Nor is it only the ignorant who are governed by this belief. The more highly a man is educated among the Chinese, the greater is his faith in, and fear of, the Feng Shui. But it must be remembered that Chinese education means the knowledge of Chinese literature only. That is the study of what was known two thousand years ago, and no account is taken of the progress made since that time.

The Chinese People

China is the only one among the nations that has worked out a civilization entirely its own. Other nations have borrowed or adopted, but China has always been unwilling to do so. As a nation China is so old that we are scarcely able to form an idea of its age. It was a civilized nation in the time of Abraham, and was highly civilized when the people of Europe could neither read nor write. But from that time to this the Chinese have made no progress, and much of their life to-day is the same as it was thousands of years ago.

Western nations do not understand the Chinese, and they, in turn, do not understand us. In the first place, their language is difficult to learn, because they have almost as many different characters as words. While every character represents the same idea, the word for it is pronounced so differently in the different provinces that it is impossible to recognize it.

You will understand this better if you remember that a Russian can understand our figures, 1, 2, 3, etc., when he sees them written or printed, but when we pronounce  the figures or numbers, the sound conveys no meaning to him. In the same way, if a Frenchman were to tell you that the number of a certain article was, for instance, huit, you would not know what he was talking about, unless you had studied French. But if he were to take a piece of paper and write on it 8, you would understand him at once. It is exactly the same all over China. Here, for instance, is a character meaning the eye: . Every Chinese, when he sees that character, knows its meaning; but, in speaking of the eye a Peking man calls it muh, and a Fuh-Kien man calls it bak-choo.

In learning any European language we are aided by certain resemblances to our own, or to other languages with which we may be acquainted. But with Chinese this is not so. We may have studied the languages of every civilized people that ever existed, but when we begin to study this language, we must begin all over again. And, since by language we express our thoughts, it is almost impossible for any of us to comprehend the Chinese mode of thinking.

It would he unjust to call the Chinese a half-civilized people, but neither can we call them a highly civilized people at the present day. They for their part call us "foreign devils," because we do not know the first beginning of their laws of politeness and courtesy. Those who are better acquainted with us, secretly pity us, because we are so very ignorant and stupid. They make fun of our short-cut hair, our tight-fitting clothes, our thin-soled leather shoes, and our gloves in summer time. They call the appearance of our ladies "wasp-like and ungraceful," and they think it very rude that a husband and wife should walk in the streets arm-in-arm.

Compared to us, the Chinese are calmer and quieter, and not so easily made to lose their temper. They dislike fighting, although they do not readily yield. This dislike is not from fear of pain, but because they do not like to be considered rude. They are able to bear more pain than we are; they can work more continuously, and never ask for a holiday. They will do as they are told, when they consider it right; but when they consider it wrong, no power on earth can make them obey orders.

A great many look upon the Chinese as people who can not be made to understand what is good for them. This is wrong. The Chinese believe that they know more than we do, and that we should be glad to learn from them. Hundreds of years ago they understood printing, the use of the compass and of gunpowder; it is so long ago that they have almost forgotten when they first made silk, chinaware and porcelain.

That is the real difference between the Chinese and ourselves. Their "past" has been so long, that they are always looking backward. Our past has been very short, compared with that of China, and we live in the future. That is why we make progress, while they are standing still.

We have had all the knowledge and experience of the oldest nations to draw upon, and we exchange ideas with every civilized nation. But the Chinese dislike and avoid any departure from the ways of their fathers. It must be remembered that respect, love, and veneration for his father, is taught the Chinese from his earliest youth. Speaking disrespectfully to a parent is a crime to be punished with death, and no excuse is admitted. The Commandment, "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God bath given thee," has been scrupulously obeyed by the Chinese nation.

The Chinese are neither dull nor stupid. Some years ago one of them, a student in Yale College, took the first prize in English composition. In Hongkong and other cities in China, many Chinese are living who were educated in England, and graduated as physicians and lawyers. They are considered by foreigners to be highly capable in their professions.

It is said sometimes that the Chinese are "a nation of liars and thieves." It is quite true that in China, as in every Oriental country, politeness and courtesy are more highly thought of than a strict regard for the truth. But we must remember that just as we have been taught, from childhood, to speak the truth, and to consider it disgraceful to lie, so in China the children are taught to be polite and courteous or to lose the respect of all.

The family tie is very strong. The Chinese hate to move from one place to another. In some villages every family bears the same name, which is that of the village, too. For instance, there is Chang Kia (chahng keeah), the village Chang, or, as we might say: Changville; Sie Kia (see keeah), the village Sie, or Sieborough.

A son, when he marries, is expected to live with his parents, and his wife becomes the chief attendant to her parents-in-law, while every tie binding her to her own parents is dissolved. When a father dies, the oldest son becomes head of the family, and is in duty bound to provide for his younger brothers. The laws in such cases are very exact, and are invariably executed. While the position of woman is low in China, her standing in the family depends largely upon herself. Recent history has shown what a woman can do. The Empress-Dowager has broken many a law of the Chinese; she has passed through several revolutions, but she is ruling China still.

Politeness or good manners is a science. If a man ask another, who may be ever so poor, where he lives, he must say: "Where is your mansion?" The person thus spoken to, even if he be rich and live in a palace, must reply: "My hut," or "my hovel is in such and such a street." "What is your honorable age?" "My worthless number is forty-five." "Is your noble son doing well at school?" "The contemptible little dog has learned a few characters." The Chinese father is excessively fond and proud of his sons; for without them there would be no one to worship before his tablet after his death. To show an interest in a Chinese' sons always puts him in good humor.

When a Chinese really does lose his temper, he uses very bad language, but he does not come to blows. If the insult or injustice is so great as to provoke murder, he does not kill the other man, but himself, because in doing so the other man is looked upon as a murderer, since he was the cause of the deed. They often kill themselves by swallowing poison, after first hiring men to carry their bodies to the door of their enemy.

The costume of the Chinese men and women is loose and flowing. Most of the people wear homespun cotton, but the wealthy classes wear silk, satin, gauze, furs, and clothes of other expensive materials. Summer clothing is thin and light, but in winter one garment is put on over another according to the degree of cold. They have no stoves or fireplaces, and depend upon their clothing for comfort and heat. The time for the change from summer to winter wear, and vice versa, is announced by the Emperor.

The men shave the front part of the head, but keep a small patch on the top and back, which is allowed to grow, and when long enough is braided into a queue. Most of us are familiar with this Chinese headdress. In ancient times, however, the Chinese wore their hair long and bound about the top of the head. After the Manchu had conquered China, they issued an order that all the Chinese should adopt the queue as a sign of allegiance. At first the people objected and refused to obey. The Manchu did not appear to notice this, but made an order that criminals must leave their heads unshaved, and have their queues cut off. The Chinese did not like to look like criminals, and the queue was adopted without further trouble.

Foot binding


The Manchu did not bind the feet of girls, but among the Chinese it is done everywhere. The process begins when a child is about five years old. A cotton bandage two or three inches wide is wound tightly about the foot in different directions, and among the higher classes the foot is not allowed to grow from this time. The horrid custom has existed for so long that the Chinese themselves do not know when it was first practiced.

The Chinese, rich and poor, eat their rice morning, noon and night. This constitutes the principal article of food. The poor have some relishes, such as fresh or salt fish, or vegetables. The rich have pork, fowls, eggs, fish, or game. Before each chair is placed an empty bowl and two chop-sticks, while the dishes containing the food are placed in the center of the table. The chopsticks are about eight inches long, and look somewhat like our penholders. They are made of bamboo, wood, ivory, or silver. When seats are taken at the table, the bowls are filled with hot rice. The person at the head of the table takes his chopsticks in the right hand and, holding them between the thumb and fingers so that the lower ends approach each other like a pair of pincers, takes one or two mouthfuls. The other persons follow his example. Then the bowl is brought to the lips by the left hand, and the rice is pushed into the mouth by the chopsticks in the right hand.

[Illustration] from The Story of China by R. Van Bergen


The Chinese have yet to learn habits of personal cleanliness, and the houses of rich and poor alike are dirty and untidy.

Marriage, Birth, and Death

Young men or women are not supposed to have anything to say about marriage. When the father of a son thinks that it is about time that the young man should marry, he sends for a woman who is employed by families in the neighborhood to help at weddings and funerals, as it would be very improper for one parent to call on the other to arrange the matter. Such a woman is employed to find somebody of the same position and wealth as the young man's father who has a daughter of suitable age. If all is satisfactory, presents are exchanged, and the parents of the bride give a written agreement to those of the groom. The prospective bride and groom may be children, but that makes no difference. They are engaged, and nothing but death can end the engagement.

When it has been decided that the marriage shall take place, the first thing to do is to choose a lucky day. Nothing can be done without that. After the day has been selected, the bride begins preparations by having her eyebrows pulled out, so that she may be known as a married woman. On the morning of the "lucky" day, she is carried from her own home to that of her future husband in a beautiful sedan chair, used only for such purposes. After she has arrived at the groom's house, the young couple worship together before the spirit tablets of the groom's ancestors. The bride in doing so, parts from her own family to enter into that of her husband. This worshiping together is the real marriage ceremony. Then the bride and groom drink sam-shu, or native wine, out of the same cup, when the bride removes her veil, and the young husband sees her for the first time. The day is spent in feasting and receiving congratulations.

Wedding scene


Meng tsz', or Mencius as he is called by us, is considered by the Chinese as the wisest man after Confucius. He says in one of his writings: "There are three kinds of impiety, but the greatest of these is to be without sons." All the Chinese think that it is of the highest importance that every family should have at least one son. They want to be sure that the spirits of the dead ancestors will be supplied with food, and that sacrifices will be made at their tombs. If a wife has no children when she is forty years old, the husband may marry again; but if the second wife has children, the first wife is looked upon as the mother.

When there are many girls in a poor family, girl babies are sometimes drowned because the parents can not support them. In many parts of China the bodies of children are frequently seen floating in a river, or wrapped up in a mat outside a city wall, or hung from the branches of trees to keep them from the dogs. These babies have not been killed, but may have died of sickness. Some of them may have even been nursed tenderly. When a child dies the parents grow very angry. They think that some of their ancestors must have left a debt unpaid, and that the man to whom the money was due, entered into the body of the child to cause anxiety, trouble, and expense. So the body of the poor child is thrown anywhere, and the house is swept, crackers are fired and gongs beaten, to frighten the Twan-ming Kwei (twahn-ming kwy), or short-lived devil, that it may never dare to enter the house again.

It is on the funeral of parents that the Chinese spend most money. When a well-to-do man dies, the house is filled with people weeping and wailing, and calling upon the spirit to come back. Candles, incense, and food, are placed before the body. A company of priests is hired to come and chant prayers for the dead, and a quantity of clothing is put in the coffin. For several days after the death different ceremonies are performed, and every seventh day until the forty-ninth day.

Chinese Funeral


The coffin is of well-seasoned wood, the planks sawed very thick and nailed together with large spikes, and coated over with a very hard varnish. The lid is nailed down in cement so that it is perfectly air-tight. The most valued present a dutiful son can make to his parent, is a fine coffin. It is kept in the house near the entrance, so that guests and visitors may examine and admire it. When the coffin is carried out for burial, from ten to twenty men are required. Men and sometimes women follow in the procession, dressed in coarse white clothes, for white is the color of mourning. The men braid their queues with white, and keep them so for several months, just as we wear a black band around our hat or arm. The women in the procession weep and wail.

The Chinese usually bury near the surface, and heap the earth over the grave until it looks like a mound. The rich people have the coffin placed upon a cement floor, and covered with an arch of brick laid in cement.

In less thickly settled districts, the poor bury their dead on hillsides which are bound to be lucky, and such spots look like a cemetery. Near Hankow is a burying ground about ten miles long and one mile wide. But graves are found almost everywhere throughout China.

The Chinese at Home

In China the houses of the poor are almost without exception mud hovels, without any attempt at comfort, and barely serving as shelter against the weather. A cow-shed in the United States would appear luxurious to millions of Chinese, for there are more poor people than we can imagine. The officials and wealthy people are, of course, better housed, although their ideas of comfort are quite different from ours. Thus, for instance, the Chinese are quite anxious that there should always be a draught in the house, a discomfort which we avoid as much as possible. "We like a current of air," say the Chinese, but that is only an excuse. The true reason is that they all believe the air to be occupied by spirits, good and bad, and, if a bad spirit enters their house, they wish to give it an opportunity to leave.

In the north the houses of most of the people are built of mud. There is so little wood that it is used only in the framework of the houses of the rich and of the high officials. The walls are thick and curve slightly at the top. Most of these houses are of one story, having neither cellar nor basement. If they are composed of two, the upper one is used for recreation. The rooms on the ground floor serve for all the purposes of daily life.

The general arrangement of a Chinese dwelling of the better class is a series of rooms, separated and lighted by intervening courts. Upon entering, the door opens into a sort of waiting-room, with a servants' room on each side. Three doors, one large and two small, are opposite the entrance. The large one serves for the owner and for visitors whose rank or wealth entitles them to its use. One is reserved for the women and children, and visitors of less importance, and the third is used by the servants and humble retainers. These doors open upon a courtyard, which is entered by descending three steps. On each side is a paved gallery, in front of a room. One of these apartments is set apart for the use of the children, the other is used by the owner as a lounging-room, or to receive people whose rank does not demand ceremony. In country houses of the wealthy class the courts and apartments are broken by pretty gardens containing fountains and fish pools.

Home of wealthy chinese


Three steps, opposite those by which the courtyard is entered, lead to the drawing-room or reception room. This is flanked on both sides by several rooms, according the rank and wealth of the owner, which are reserved for his use. Behind this room are the women's quarters, where no man, except the owner and his servants, may enter. But if a man can not visit these rooms, a woman can. Miss E. R. Scidmore, in her book on China, has given us a description of her visit to the Yamen, or official residence, of a high officer whose Tai-tai (tie-tie), or lady of the house, she was permitted to see. The party were carried through four gates and into as many courtyards, in the last of which they were received by the master of the mansion. The following is an extract from her account:

"Then the ladies were led to the last dragon gate, which parted magically and brought us facing a solid screen. We rounded it, and saw the pretty tableau of the Tai-tai of the yamen and her seven young sons ranged in a row before the bright red curtain that concealed the door-way of her own boudoir or living-room. The Tai-tai stood on the tiniest of pointed slippers, and from their tips to her throat she was a mass of embroidered satins of brilliant, contrasting colors. Full trousers and skirts, each heavily embroidered, and coat upon coat, weighted the slender figure, and her blue-black hair was almost concealed with wing-like pieces, butterflies, pins, and clasps of pearls. A string of finely cut ivory beads and phenix plastrons on the back and front of her outer coat declared her official quality, and the fine, pale-yellow face was alight with an expression of pleasure that lent emphasis to the cordial, soft-voiced greetings. An attendant lifted the screen curtain, and she led us into her lofty, stone-floored room, furnished with deep, square, carved chairs and round center table, and hung with the gold-lettered red scrolls of holiday ornament. Tea was brought, and the Tai-tai, swaying on her stumps of feet, served each one with her own ivory chopsticks to fruits and cakes of many kinds."

Upper class woman


After partaking of these refreshments, her seven sons, ranging from about fourteen years to a baby in arms, were introduced, and then the Tai-tai's bedroom was thrown open for inspection. It had a stone floor, hand-carved chairs and tables along the walls, which were hung with vermilion scrolls, "a mirror and dressing-table before the window, and facing it a monumental carved canopy or alcove-bed. The bed was a hard marble shelf with many thick blankets folded at the farther side. Not a soft chair nor a floor-covering, not a common comfort, as we consider such things, was provided for this gentle, delicate, high-bred woman, despite the considerable wealth of the family."

The Tai-tai did not need much urging to remove the many superfluous garments which weighed her down, and then the wardrobe and trinkets were inspected. Ladies seem to have at least one common feeling in Asia and America! Then a visitor, the wife of another official, called, and while the Tai-tai was discussing the strangers with her latest guest, time began to hang heavily upon the hands of the first callers, and they left.

Even if the Chinese would learn nothing else from us, they could at least secure greater happiness by imitating our family life. But the Chinese will not change, and it is exactly his idea of the relation between man and wife which keeps him back from every reform.

Social life, as we understand it, does not exist in China. There are rich men, but their number is very small compared to the population. Most of the Chinese are poor, and a very large number of them are so poor that if for half-a-day they are thrown out of work, they know that during that time there will be nothing for them to eat. They are up at daybreak, and work until dark, and the word Sabbath has no meaning for them. They have three holidays in the year, and their highest idea of happiness is that on those days, and on the occasion of a wedding or a funeral, they may have a small piece of meat to eat with their rice and cabbage. Everybody in China works, except those who absolutely can not. The beggars one sees on the bridges and in the crowded streets, beg only because they have no other means to keep from starving.

It is, however, not only the poor man who must work without ceasing, but the highest officers, and even the Emperor himself, have very little time for leisure or recreation. A Cabinet Minister at Peking once gave an account of his daily duties as follows: He left his house every morning at two o'clock, because the Emperor received him in audience at three, and he was charged to remain at the palace until six. From six to nine he attended the meeting of the Privy Council, which advises the Emperor upon difficult questions. From nine until eleven he was at the War Department, and from eleven to two he sat as a member of the Supreme Court. From two to five or six he was at the Tsung-li Yamen, or Foreign Office. Such was his round of duties without intermission, and it evidently left him little time for pleasure or social life.

Whatever social life there is contains not a sign of friendship or good feeling. To slap a Chinese on the back and call him "a good old fellow," would make him your enemy for life. It would be a dire insult to ask him after the health of his wife. Wife and daughters must not be referred to by the slightest word.

Not so many years ago, the Chinese Government sent a number of boys to the United States to be educated. One day one of the boys, while walking with an American girl, met the carriage of the old Chinese who was in charge of the party. The young man took off his hat to salute. According to Chinese good manners this was a direct insult, but it was a still greater offense for him to be walking with a young lady. The members of the Chinese Government were terribly shocked when they heard of this apparently innocent matter, and it was one of the reasons why all these young men were ordered to return to China.

When a Chinese gentleman receives a caller, every word he speaks and every motion he makes is prescribed by law. Foreigners know nothing of this law, and, beyond the common rules of what we consider good-breeding, do not attempt to rival the politeness of the Chinese. Many Chinese who do not understand this consider foreigners very impolite, and consequently dislike them.

It sometimes happens that the Chinese meet their foreign acquaintances at dinner. If the dinner is given by a Chinese, the foreigner feels clumsy and awkward in handling the chopsticks. But when a Chinese is entertained by a foreigner, he does not allow himself to be inconvenienced by the knife and fork; he simply puts them down and helps himself with his fingers. He considers the foreigners very stupid not to learn how to use chopsticks, as every civilized man has done since the days of Confucius.

A Chinese City

The first thing that strikes a foreigner in a Chinese city is the streets. They are exceedingly narrow, are paved with stone slabs, and there are no sidewalks. These slabs are wonderfully irregular, because the Chinese think it unlucky to put them down evenly. The houses are packed as closely as possible, and are generally of one story. There are no public squares, gardens or parks. The only open spaces are those found in front of the temples. If a fire breaks out, there is no means of stopping it, for such a thing as a fire department does not exist. The owners, however, do not wait for the ground to get cool before they are building again.



Signboards and advertisements are seen everywhere. The houses are low, but there are signboards eight or ten feet long. The Chinese do not put them up lengthwise, as we do, but hang them down; because they do not write as we do, from left to right, but from top to bottom. Every store has a name, generally a high-sounding one. Here is a coal dealer. Those two characters are the name of his store. They signify in plain English: Heavenly Ornament. That does not mean that coal is a heavenly ornament, but that the owner is modest enough to think he is. Across the street is an undertaker whose sign reads: United and Prosperous. That fur merchant yonder seems to be satisfied with himself, for he calls his place of business: Virtuous and Abundant. Perhaps the Chinese are not often praised by other people, so they praise themselves.

The streets are too narrow and the roads too uneven for carriages. There is no opportunity to take a ride, but when we are tired of walking, we can hire a sedan chair. The officers and wealthy Chinese have handsome ones, but those for hire at the street corners are very shabby. Most of them are made of bamboo, and look as if they would break down if a man of ordinary weight were to sit in them. It seems almost impossible for two chairs to pass in these crowded, narrow streets. But they do, and you can hear the coolies shout: "Look out for your backs! Look out for your backs!". There are also queer-looking wheel-barrows that are made so that two people can sit on them and be trundled along by a coolie. They are all busy, these Chinese. You do not see any ladies out shopping, nor gentlemen walking in the streets. But you see hundreds of coolies, some carrying baskets of rice, others buckets slung from the ends of a pole, and filled with river or well water, which they sell to their customers. Water pipes and faucets are luxuries which these people do not possess.

Passenger wheelbarrow


Here is another traveler in the shape of a water buffalo, plodding his way along, guided by his driver, a small boy, proudly sitting upon the animal's back. There is a barber, busily employed in cutting the hairs from a customer's ear. Behind the buffalo comes a procession. First two Yamen runners, messengers of a high official, armed with whips. They are followed by some fourteen-year-old boys carrying large painted boards, inscribed with the characters: "Stand aside," and "Respectful silence, please!"

Chinese Barber


Then follows the handsomely decorated sedan chair of the Mandarin (mahn-dah-reen), in his fine robes of satin. His umbrella-bearer comes right behind the chair.

The streets are narrow enough, yet at both sides are stalls or booths occupied by traveling tradesmen. In one of these a tinker is busy mending some old iron ware; next to him is a physician who seems to be recommending his medicine to the gaping crowd around him. Opposite him, in quiet contemplation of his wealth, sits the money-changer. His capital does not seem to exceed five dollars, but probably he does not care to display any more. Some of these poor-looking money-changers would astonish us considerably if they could be made to tell us of the sums of money they control.

Would you like to try a Chinese luncheon? The smell is enough for you, you think? Still, we may as well take a look. I am sure that you will not find any puppies, cats, rats, snakes, or worms in this shop, and I do not think that the Chinese are very fond of them themselves. Here are sausage balls smelling of garlic, minced beef and celery, slices of fried fish, dumplings of fat pork sprinkled with sugar, and other Chinese delicacies.

There is a man in a loose yellow robe who is a begging priest; he has no queue, for his head is shaved. As he walks along he strikes a wooden drum fastened around his waist. It makes a dull and hollow sound. Such drums are used in the temples while the priests are chanting their prayers. The Chinese are taught that if they give alms to these begging priests it will help them after they are dead. What they give is dropped in the small wallet or satchel which you see strapped on the back of the priest.

Beggars! They are as thick in China as flies in June. Here is a whole string of blind men, moving along in Indian file, and holding by each other's coats. They go from one store to another, and every storekeeper gives them something. But sometimes they will pass one or more stores without stopping. The owners of these stores give every year a certain sum of money to the King of the Beggars to secure them from daily annoyance.

Beggars suffering from every disease are squatting or crawling about on the street corners. Their whining cries for alms are scarcely less distressing than their horrid appearance. When they notice a well-dressed Chinese approaching, they kow-tow, that is, they knock their fore-heads against the hard stones of the street. Some of them wear a thick leather pad around the head.

Here is the stall of a fortune teller. Let us watch him. That young man is telling him that he is thinking of leaving home for a while, and wants to know if his journey will be lucky or not. The fortune teller takes a cage with several birds in it, and, picking up a few grains of rice, calls one of the birds. Then he shuffles what looks like a pack of cards—papers with answers to the most common questions written on them. The bird is told to pick out a card. He pecks at one of them, and the fortune teller reads what is written on it. "The journey will not be lucky at this time. You will lose money by it. Stay at home and wait for a lucky day!" The young man pays his fee and goes away. You may be sure that he will postpone his journey.

Let us look in at this florist's shop. Here he comes himself, with several shallow bamboo baskets filled with fine plants. In early spring he sells the sweet-scented flowers of the lamei (lah-may) and the pretty pink blossoms of the almond. Later on in the season, he has azaleas, roses, pinks, and peonies, pomegranates, and water lilies. In early fall the brilliant coxcombs, with their large flowers, are the favorite. The Chinese are fond of the chrysanthemum, the passion flower, and the aster. The sweet scent of the Kwei-wha (kwy-whah), or fragrant olive, is very pleasant, especially among the vile odors of a Chinese street. The flower pots which you see in the store, some of which are very handsome, come from the famous potteries of Chin-teh-tsin (chin tay-tsin), near Po-yang (poh-yahng) Lake.

Wealthy Chinese engage florists by the year to bring them fresh flowers. Thus you may see in their courtyards the narcissus and camellia in the middle of winter.

This open space shows that we are near a Yamen, or judge's office. That gate is the entrance. Those odd-looking stone animals guarding it are supposed to be lions. Do you notice how timidly the children look at them? They believe that they are stone lions only in the daytime but that at night they come to life and roam through the streets of the city.

Here is a man walking along with two large and deep bamboo baskets slung from a pole, and a little flag with the characters: "Respect printed paper!" They seem to expect him in this street, for doors open and menservants come out with waste-paper baskets, which they empty into his. What do you think he will do with these scraps? He is paid by a society to gather them, and they are sent to a temple where there is a furnace to burn them. The Chinese have the greatest respect for learning, and think it is a shame to treat written paper with disrespect. They can not understand how we can step upon it in the street, or use it to wrap parcels in. They think that we can not have any good writers, because we care so little for written or printed paper.

Now let us go into this handsome crockery store. After we have entered, a servant comes and offers us a cup of tea. Those vases, some of them five feet high and painted in delicate colors, are very expensive. You may take your choice of wine pots, teacups, and articles which we use, such as tea sets with handles to the cups, teapots, plates, dishes, etc. Offer the shopman about one-half of the price he asks. Never fear! he will take it, and make a good profit. He would be greatly disappointed if you were to pay him his own price, for then he would blame himself for not asking twice as much. A Chinese storekeeper loves to bargain.

Here is a tea-house. This is the place where the Chinese meet their friends. They drink tea, and nibble at peanuts and melon seeds, and talk over the news of the day. They will sit here for hours, and when they leave and pay the bill, it is about—one penny!

What are the names of the streets we have passed? I will tell you. We began with that of Perpetual Comfort, then we passed through Filial Piety Lane, and turned into the Court of Eternal Harmony; where we saw the Judge's Yamen. Afterwards we went through New Street, Horsetail Lane, Thread-and-Needle Alley, the Street of Heavenly Treasures, and now we are in the Chia Family Street, which leads to the gate: This gate is closely covered with advertisements. There are notices of Buddhist celebrations, rewards for the finding of people who have disappeared, advertisements of patent medicines, kerosene oil, and other goods, just as we see in our cities. But we see something here that we have never seen at home,—the heads of criminals, hanging in small bamboo cages, just beyond the heavy stone gateways. Looking at them we remember that we are in China.

What Boys Learn at School

When a boy is six years old his father thinks that it is time to send him to school. As soon as he has made up his mind, he goes to consult a fortune teller who will find him a lucky day. When that important question is decided, and the day arrives, the little fellow goes with his father to the school selected. There are no public schools in China, but a great number of private ones, kept by men who have passed one or two examinations, but who could not succeed in the third.

Chinese children


The little boy looks, neat and tidy. His hair has been shaved from his forehead, and the rest plaited into a long queue or pien-tsz' (peentse), as he calls it, which hangs almost down to his heels. If it is in the summer season, he wears small baggy trousers of grass-cloth, and a loose jacket of the same material, or of cotton, and he is bare-headed. But if it is winter, he has three, four, or five jackets, one over the other, some of them padded with cotton. He has a skull cap of black or blue silk on his head, with a red tassel of silk threads falling down behind, and a little scarlet twist at the top. His shoes have thick, white soles, often with embroidered toes. Sometimes he has a little purse in his belt, but if there is any money in it, it is only a few copper pieces. He has no pockets; if he wants to carry or hide something, he uses his sleeves. They are so large and long that they will hold many things Chinese boys like.

At last he comes to the schoolhouse and enters the school-room with his father. Here there is a tablet with the name of Confucius inscribed upon it. The little fellow kneels before this tablet, and burns incense. When he has performed this duty, he is introduced to the teacher, to whom he makes some small presents, which he has brought with him. Then he lifts his little almond eyes and looks around him.

He sees the small schoolroom with a number of little desks with high stools behind them, most of which belong to the parents of the boys. Each little desk has an ink- stone upon which the boys rub the cake of Chinese ink,—we call it Indian ink, after dipping it in a little water. This is the inkstand, and the pen is a little brush with a holder in it, looking like our camel's-hair painting brush. When he begins to write he holds it straight in his hand, so that the holder points to the ceiling.

Chinese school


The first years at school are spent in learning to recite by heart the sound of the characters, or picture-words, without knowing anything of their meaning. Every day the teacher gives the child the sound of several characters. When the boy thinks that he knows them, the teacher takes the book away, the boy turns round with his back to the teacher, and shouts the sounds from memory in the order in which they are given in the book.

The Chinese language is very difficult to learn. It has no alphabet, but there are two hundred and fourteen primitive words, from which all the others are derived. For instance: This character represents the word sun. If it written above a line standing for the horizon, it means morning; thus morning. Here is the character for tree:  When two of these characters are placed together, thus: it means forest.

Here are the characters for mouth and door. A mouth in a door, like this means: to ask.

Even when a person has learned all these characters, he does not know Chinese by any means.

It would be difficult for a foreigner, coming to the United States, and not perfectly familiar with our language, to understand such an expression as: "Will you please pare a pair of pears for me?" because the sounds are so much alike: pare, pair and pear all have a different meaning. In Chinese there are words with exactly the same sound which have ten, twelve, and sometimes eighteen different meanings. For instance, the one word che, pronounced in exactly the same tone of voice, may mean: famine, fowl, foot, print, foundation, hindrance, sieve, small table, to wind silk, to make fun of, to crowd, to draw water, to strike, to examine, etc. And if it is pronounced with a breathing before it it has a dozen other meanings in addition to those already mentioned.

When, foreigners in China, who think they know something of the language, begin to speak it, their mistakes are sometimes very funny. One man amazes his servant by telling him that he wishes him to purchase half-a-dozen wives, although he thinks he is ordering him to buy half-a-dozen fowls. Another thinks that he is calling for a cake, but his servant brings him a bottle; he wishes to talk about leather, but all the time he is speaking about his nose. Another man grows very angry because his servant does not bring him his hat, although he really has been asking for the cat. "Bring me a biscuit," a gentleman said, or thought he said. His servant looked helplessly at him, for what he really said was: "Bring me a soldier."

But we want to know what the boys learn at school. Let us stand by this boy, who is eight or nine years old, and hear what he is shouting. Every boy in the schoolroom shouts out the characters he is learning at the top of his voice. When he begins a new sentence, the teacher repeats it, and the boys, holding their books in their hands, and with a swinging motion of their bodies, repeat his pronunciation. They then return to their seats, and learn the words by heart. The noise in a large schoolroom may be imagined."

The first book, the boy studies is the San-Tsz-King (sahn-ts'-king), or Learning by Three Words, because each line has that number of characters. The first sentence reads: "Men at their births are by nature good at bottom." Another sentence, which Chinese boys learn very thoroughly without enjoying it very much, says: "To educate without severity shows a teacher's laziness." Do you see that bamboo cane, within reach of the teacher's hand? He uses it frequently and promptly, as every boy knows.

The boys learn from their books that there are three great powers: heaven, earth, and man; that there are three lights: the sun, moon, and stars; and that there are six kinds of grain used for food: rice, millet, pulse, wheat, rye, and barley. After a good deal more of this, they begin to study Chinese history, and then they are promoted to the stories told of wonderfully wise boys and men.

Here is one about Lao Lai-tsz' (lah-oh lie-tsz'): At the time when David was King in Jerusalem, that is about three thousand years ago, this Lao Lai-tsz' was seventy years old. His parents, however, were still living. For this reason he grew angry if his neighbors spoke to him as Honorable or Venerable, words which are always used when a man has passed the age of sixty, because he thought that if his parents heard him addressed in this manner they would remember how very old they were, and it might make them feel sad. He wished to make them very happy, and so bought the very best food in the market for them, and thought of them day and night.

Sometimes he would dress himself in a coat of the same pattern and color as he had worn when a boy. Then he would come into his parents' room, and jump and play with the toys which he had had in his childhood. At other times he would bring a pail of water from the well. He would take it to the guest room and pretend to stumble, and begin to cry. Then he would run up to his father or mother, and, like a little child, ask to be petted and soothed. He did all this so that the old people might, for a time, forget their great age in caring for their little boy, and once again imagine themselves young.

Here is the story of Koh Kü (koh kee). At the time when emperors of the Han family reigned over China (B.C. 202-A.D. 221) there lived a man named Koh Kü. He lived with his wife, his son, a fine boy three years of age, and his mother who was very old. They were very happy, for Koh Kü worked hard and supported his family.

But trouble came. There was no rain. The harvest failed, there was no work, and there was no food. The Chinese do not, as we would do, move to another place to find work. They would not think of such a thing, for who would worship at the ancestral graves? So long as there was any food in the house, the old grandmother and the little son ate together. At last the food began to give out; they all grew thin, and their strength began to fail.

One day Koh Kü took his spade, and called to his wife to follow him with the child. He hurried on beyond the bamboo fence around their little homestead, and then stopped. When his wife and child came to where he was standing, he said to her: "Wife, we are now so poor that I can no longer support my mother, and the child takes from the little food we can give her, so that both are growing weaker before our eyes. We may have another child, but when a mother is dead, she can never return. The child must die; then my mother's life may be saved, and perhaps we may manage to live until a better time comes."

The poor woman could not speak. She knew that her husband was master: but she held the child close to her heart, while Koh Kü was digging the grave. Suddenly the spade seemed to strike against some hard substance. The man bent down, and scarcely believed his eyes when he pulled out a pot full of gold. But the most wonderful part of it was that written on the pot were the words: "Heaven gives this treasure to the dutiful son Koh Kü. The officers must not take it away from him, and the neighbors must not ask for a share."

Another one of these stories is about Wang Liang (wahng leeahng): About fifteen hundred years ago, at the time when the Emperors of China were of the Chin family (A.D. 386-534), there lived a boy whose name was Wang Liang. He was only a child when his mother died, and soon after her death his father married another woman named Chu. The boy's stepmother took a strong dislike to Wang; she scolded him continually, and complained of him to his father. Wang did not like this at all. He did not mind so much being scolded and punished, but he did not want to have his father annoyed.

It was in winter, and snow was falling heavily. Icicles were hanging from the eaves, and pond, lake, and river were covered with ice. Mrs. Chu had been scolding and complaining as usual, and at last she threw herself into one of the stiff-backed chairs, and said: "Oh! dear, I wish I had a dish of fresh carp!"

There were plenty of carp in the lake near by, but who was going to catch them under that thick sheet of ice? Wang thought that he could do it. He left the house and went to the lake, where he threw himself upon the ice, hoping that the heat of his body would melt it. Heaven smiles upon such dutiful conduct. The ice did melt, and two beautiful carp leaped out. Wang caught them, and ran home.

When he came into the room where his stepmother was half asleep, he knelt before her, and offered her the fish.

Here the story ends. I hope that Mrs. Chu was a little kinder to the boy thereafter, and that Wang did not catch cold from his wetting.



Besides reading and writing, Chinese boys learn arithmetic. They use no slate, but a swanpan or abacus. This is a case with wires strung across it. On the wires are strung five movable balls, and beyond a dividing slat two more balls. The five balls are units, and the two balls make a ten. Of geography, grammar, and other studies they learn nothing.

Games and Holidays

Chinese boys are, as a rule, more quiet than our boys, but they are quite as fond of play and fun. When a new boy enters a school, it is not at all unusual for some other boy, who ought to know better, to take the newcomer's nicely-plaited queue and slyly tie it to that of another boy, all the time shouting his lessons, so that the teacher will not notice what he is doing.

[Illustration] from The Story of China by R. Van Bergen


Chinese boys know nothing of football, baseball, or any such games. If you were to ask one of them what game he likes best, he would probably answer: kite-flying. That is a game which their fathers and even grand-fathers like. The Chinese know how to make kites to perfection. Some of them look like birds or butterflies, with wings cleaving the air; others are in the shape of animals, and many are like dragons. Sometimes a tiny lighted lantern is fastened to the tail of a kite, which, when it rises, looks like a little star. Sometimes a number of kites, in the form of birds, are fastened by short strings to the principal cord. When they rise in the air they look like a flock of birds flying around one center.

Boys begin to fly their kites on the ninth day of the ninth month. If you ask them why they do so, they will tell you that once upon a time a man was warned that he would have a great misfortune on a certain day. The man decided to prevent it by taking all the members of his household into the mountains for that day. He did so, and when he returned in the evening, he found that all his domestic animals were dead. This was on the ninth day of the ninth month, so, the people think, it must be an unlucky day. Therefore, they go out and fly kites to spend the time.

From the tenth to the fifteen of the first month most of the stores are closed, and nobody does any business except the men who sell lanterns. There are any number of peddlers in the streets, with their lanterns hung from long bamboo poles, and they do a brisk trade.

You have seen these Chinese lanterns with their light bamboo frame covered with bright colored paper. They are of all shapes. Most of them are made in the shape of a ball, fixed to the end of a stick, but there are some in the form of rabbits, horses, fowls, shrimps, crabs, beetles, and some very handsome ones imitate the lotus or other flowers. Wealthy people have their lanterns made of gauze or silk, and the most expensive ones are ornamented with small figures, to whose heads, legs, or arms fine wires are attached. When the lantern is lighted the heated air makes these wires revolve, and the figures on the outside begin to move, and you see an old man fishing, or a ferryman rowing across a stream, or two Chinese gentlemen wishing each other a Happy New Year.

The Chinese have a feathered ball, very much like our shuttlecock. They make it rebound on the thick sole of the shoe or on the instep of the foot. They can do it sometimes two or three hundred times without missing once. When they bounce the ball up and down with the hand they call it playing Ta chiau (tah chee-ow).

When Chinese boys play with tops they call it Ta teh-lo (tah tey-loh). Their tops are made of bamboo, with a piece of wood going through it, and a hole cut in the side, which causes a humming sound when it spins. Blind man's buff is called by them "Hiding from the cat."

In early spring they have a ceremony called "Turning the Dragon." The dragon, sometimes thirty or forty feet long, is made of a large number of lanterns fastened together and covered with colored paper and cloth. Being made of lanterns it has so many joints that it can be easily turned and twisted by the carriers. Long poles are fastened to a number of the joints, and in the evening it is lighted up. As the big dragon, with wide-open mouth, is carried through the streets, turning and twisting in every direction, and rearing its horrible head, it is followed by a large crowd of people. Gongs are beaten, crackers are fired, and there is yelling and shouting. The Chinese think that this dragon will frighten the evil spirits and drive sickness away.

The greatest holiday is China is New Year's Day, between the middle of January and that of February. It is not on the first of January, as with us, because the Chinese month begins with every new moon.

Most of the Chinese would not dream of going to bed on New Year's Eve. They believe that if they watch for the dawn of New Year's morning for several years in succession, they will surely have long life. The children also sit up "to round the year" as they call it. Everybody, young and old, burns firecrackers.

Several days before the New Year the people begin making preparations. The principal streets are filled with booths where articles of various kinds are sold. Houses are cleaned, new charms and scrolls are bought, and new clothes are rented or purchased, while debts are paid before the old year ends. If the whole debt can not be paid in full, the creditor is at least given something on account. Stocks of provisions are laid in, for the stores will be closed perhaps for five or six days. In former years it was customary to close for fourteen days, but that is not done now.

As soon as midnight is passed, the Chinese worship at the ancestral tablet. Then the family go out by the front door, while the servants or women lift up the lanterns or lamps to light them. They then bow down toward a part of the heavens which the almanac has indicated as the proper place. They call this worshiping the heaven and earth, and think that in doing so they will be receiving the spirit of Good Luck which is supposed to come out of that quarter.

At this moment all the Chinese are terribly anxious, for they believe that the first person they see or the first word they hear will influence, for good or ill, their fortune in the coming year. If the first person they see coming along should be a priest with his shaven head, what a terrible misfortune that would foretell! They tremble as they listen to hear the first word. If it should refer to fire, loss of office, failure in business, sickness, or death, they would enter with a heavy heart upon the new year. But if the first word they hear is one of joy or prosperity, how glad they are, for that means a lucky year for them.

When the morning breaks, the streets are found to be covered with crimson paper of burnt-out crackers. These are fired to frighten evil spirits. The beggars are about, and take in a rich harvest, for no Chinese would refuse alms, and thus run the risk of beginning the new year badly.

Upon almost every front door you will see new men shin (main shin), or door spirits. They are cheaply colored pictures of two generals. It is said that once upon a time the Emperor had a dream that evil spirits would enter his palace. He ordered two of his bravest generals to guard the gate, and the spirits were so frightened by them that they were afraid to enter. When those two brave generals died, it was thought that the evil spirits would be as much afraid of their pictures as they had been of the men themselves, and that is why they are used to guard the house.

There are other cheap ornaments about the doors, houses, and windows, but they have all the same purpose, namely, to drive away evil spirits and to invite such as are good.

When a Chinese gentleman meets a friend on New Year's morning, he clasps his own hands, keeping them well within his long sleeves, moves them up and down before him, bows low, and says several times "Kung-she, Kung-she," (koongshay) which, I suppose, means about the same as our "Happy New Year."

"Receiving the Spring" is another holiday, although it is not observed by everybody. The "Feast of the Dragon Boats" is sometimes spoken of as the Children's Festival. It is chiefly the racing of so-called dragon boats, which are long and narrow, and carry from twenty to thirty men. The waist and stern are painted, and the bow is shaped like the head of a dragon with gaping jaws. A boy or man sits upon the dragon's neck and directs the oarsmen by means of a flag which he holds in his hand.

Crowds of people upon the river banks watch the races, and accidents from collision are frequent. The winning crew receives prizes.

This holiday is about 2,400 years old, and this is the story they tell about it: There once lived a very wise Minister of State named Ken Yuen (can yooen), who urged his Emperor to introduce reforms. But the Emperor, who did not wish to help the people, grew angry and dismissed him. Ken Yuen could not survive this disgrace, so he threw himself into the river and was drowned. Some fishermen who saw him disappear searched for his body, but it could not be found. Some time after this Ken Yuen's spirit appeared and complained that the offerings which the people brought him were always stolen by a big reptile. So these dragon boats are made to frighten away the monster.

In the eighth month of the year comes the "Festival of the Moon," when the people, and especially the children, eat moon cakes, which are shaped like the moon, and painted with spots of bright color. The Chinese tell this story about it:

Chinese cake-seller


One evening the Emperor Ming Wong was walking in his garden with some of his councilors. Suddenly the Emperor's son asked if the moon was inhabited or not. "Would you like to see for yourself?" asked the tutor of the young prince, and, of course, the boy said yes. The tutor threw his staff into the air, and it was at once changed into a bridge, over which he and his pupil walked to the moon. They found it inhabited by beautiful women, living in splendid palaces surrounded by charming gardens. The prince wished to remain, but the tutor told him that it was time to go home. When they were about half-way over the bridge, the tutor asked the prince to play upon the lute which he carried with him. This the prince did. They happened then to be directly over the city of Nanking, and the people could be seen rushing to the roofs of their houses. "Give them what money you have in your pockets," said the tutor. The prince did so, and he and the tutor reached home in safety. The next day the prince thought that his trip to the moon must have been a dream, but very soon a letter came from the Governor of Nanking saying that on the fifteenth of the eighth month, heavenly music was heard, and a shower of money fell from the sky. Then the prince knew that his journey to the moon was true, and so the day was made into a holiday.

The Deluge as Told by the Chinese

There is no distinct account of the creation in Chinese history, but the Shu-King  (shoo-king), a history written so long ago that nobody is able to say exactly when, tells of events which happened before the Deluge. A number of people who, after learning the Chinese language, studied and translated this old book, were surprised to find that there is a difference of only fifty-seven years between the date usually assigned to the Deluge told of in the Bible and that given in the Chinese account. But the Bible says that only Noah and his family were saved; and the Shu-King has it that a great many people escaped. The story is somewhat as follows:

At the time of the flood the Emperor of China was named Yau (yah-oo). After the waters had gone down somewhat, he called a meeting of his ministers, and said to them:

"A great many people are ruined because of this flood. What can we do to help them?"

The ministers answered: "Ask Kwan!"

"No," replied the Emperor, "I can not do so. Why, that man would not obey my orders, but would do just as he pleased."

The ministers shook their heads, and looked wise; but as they did not know any better advice to give, they all repeated:

"Try him. Perhaps he may succeed."

So Emperor Yau gave his consent and told his ministers to engage Kwan, but to be careful not to let him have things all his own way. Kwan worked hard for nine years, but did not succeed in bringing help to the people. The Emperor grew tired of waiting, and poor Kwan was put to death.

Emperor Yau thereupon sent for Kwan's son, Yu, and asked him if he would try and do the work. Yu agreed, and worked so hard that he really succeeded. He drained the land, and so restored order in the empire.

When the Emperor heard of it, he sent for Yu, who, of course, went as quickly as he could. When he came before him the Emperor began with a joke, perhaps to make Yu feel at ease:

"You need not stand so far off!" he said to Yu. "By your looks I should not be surprised if you had something interesting to tell me."

"Well, Your Majesty," replied Yu, "perhaps I have. The flood was very high, and the water was well up on the high mountains, and the foothills could not be seen at all. Whenever the people made a misstep, slipped, and fell in, they were wet, and lost their temper. (The Chinese never did like cold water or a bath!) When I could see the way, I took a boat; but the worst of it was when I had to climb on foot, on account of the brush. It was lucky that I had spiked shoes.

"I traveled from one mountain to another, and made the people cut down trees. Sometimes I had a shot at some game, and I let them eat the meat raw, for there was no way to make a fire to cook it.

"Then, to make a passage for the water, I had pipes laid, and cut nine ditches. As soon as the ground was dry, I set the people plowing and sowing, and then they had an opportunity to cook their food. Sometimes a man would come and ask me for something, but when I found that he had anything that he did not need, I told him to trade it. So now, everybody is happy."

Yau was well pleased, and was going to speak, when he saw that Yu had not quite finished; so he smiled at him to go on.

"With Your Majesty's permission," said bold Yu, "you, too, have some work to do. Think how much mightier an Emperor you would be, if you would look after your ministers, and see what schemes they have to defraud the people. Then the people would believe in you; they would admire and praise you."

Many emperors of whom we have heard would not have liked this sort of speech, but Yau was not a bad-hearted man. I suspect that is why the Chinese are so proud of him. He showed that he was not offended, by calling a meeting of his ministers. When they had arrived, and the roll had been called, he said:

"Gentlemen, do you know that you ought to be my legs and arms, my eyes and ears? Attend to your duties, and help the people if they need any assistance. The first thing I want you to do is to advertise in every paper, that I am the Master. When you have done that, send for an artist, for I wish to have groups painted of the sun, moon, and stars; of the mountains, the dragons, the insects, and the flowers. Also, I need some new clothes. I do not care for gaudy colors: some embroidered cloth will do, with a neat mixture of blue, red, yellow, white and black. Then the courts of law must be attended to, and don't forget the band, for I am fond of music. Pay the greatest attention to all these things. If I make a mistake, let me know it. Don't smile before my face, and blame me when my back is turned! Now about the common people; you know what blockheads they are. If they do not attend to their business, give them a gentle reminder. Use the lash occasionally, and make them learn their lessons, and see to it that they are kept at work. If any come and ask for work, let them have it; but if they are idle, stir them up."

When Yu heard of this speech to the ministers he was pleased, and said to the monarch:

"The Emperor is like a great light. Every man of this country may see it if he is not blind, and even the people near the Big Pond. But Your Majesty should hear what your ministers have to say. If you wish to promote them, let them show by their language that they are fit for the position, and set a good example to the people. Have plenty of mounted police, and who will dare to raise any objection? Whenever a new law is made, have it published at once, and keep a record of the criminals."

Yau died at the ripe age of one hundred and two. He did not leave the empire to his son, but to a stranger named Shun (shoon).

Before I go on with my translation of the Shu-King, I shall tell you something about this Shun. His mother died when he was very young, and after some time his father married again. Then the boy had a hard time of it. When his stepmother had children, his lather loved them better than he did his oldest son. He began to beat poor Shun, and at last tried to kill him. In China a father can do what he pleases. His children must not only obey him, but dare not even talk to him. This is called filial piety, and the child who neglects it is severely punished. So Shun suffered in silence, more so because his stepmother was sly and his younger brother proud. But he bore it all, and never once showed how much it hurt him. He was always obedient to his parents, and kind to his brother. He made up his mind to be respectful and quiet, and at last his parents began to love him, and then he had his reward. But the neighbors had noticed all this, and they admired him so much for his conduct, that they would have elected him to any position, if only they had known what elections were.

This is what the Shu-King says of him:

"If you study the old Emperor Shun you will find that he was like the emperors before him. He was wise, polite, kind, true, and honest. When the Emperor Yau first heard about him, he sent for him, and put him into office, so that he might see for himself. When he found Shun always the same,—kind, just, polite, wise and honest,—he made him a general superintendent, and afterwards promoted him to be Master of Ceremonies, whose duty it was to introduce all the nobles who came to pay their respects to the Emperor. Once he was ordered to explore the deepest parts of a vast forest, and to find out what caused a flood. He had gone about this work, when a terrible thunder and rain storm overtook him, so that people were afraid that he might be killed. But he showed how brave he was, by keeping cool, and so escaped from dangers which would have overwhelmed other men. Therefore, the Emperor could not help admiring Shun, and thought of how to reward him."

You must know that in China the Emperor need not leave the throne to his oldest son, as in Europe. He is supposed to study all his sons, and to make the best one his heir. In former times he could appoint anyone, and this is exactly what Yau did. Not only did he make Shun his heir, but he insisted that he should be Emperor from that day. Shun obeyed, and was another ruler of whom the Chinese are very proud. Yu, who restored order after the Deluge, was made prime minister. After reigning thirty-three years, Shun resigned and made Yu his successor.

Brief History of China

When we study the history of England, we read of rulers of the House of Plantagenet, of the House of Tudor, etc. Such a family of kings is called a dynasty. In many accounts of European nations only the history of the dynasty, or of the reigning family, is given, and little or no attention is paid to the history of the people. It is the same with the history of China. In their long, long records of the past they mention twenty-six dynasties.

The writers of Chinese history tell us that the Emperor Fuh-hi (foo-hee) was living in the time of Noah. They state that much progress in civilization was made under his two successors—Shin-nung (shin-noong), that is, "the Husbandman," and Hwang-ti (hwhahng-tee), or the "Yellow Emperor." New inventions increased the comfort of the people. Of Yau and the Deluge we have read in the last chapter. Until Yu, of whom I have told you, became Emperor, each ruler had always selected his successor; but from that time on it was the son who succeeded, although, if there were more sons than one, it was not necessarily the oldest. The Emperor retained the right to appoint as his successor any one of his sons.

The first Emperor of the Shang family (B.C. 1760-1198) is said to have worshiped God under the name of Shang-ti (shahng-tee), or Supreme Ruler. When no rain fell for seven years, he prayed earnestly, saying: "Do not on account of any neglect of mine, who am but a single individual, destroy the lives of the people!" When his prayer was ended rain began to fall plentifully.

The worship of images or idols began under Wu-yih (woo-yee), the twenty-fifth Emperor (B.C. 1198). He is spoken of as one of the most wicked of all China's rulers. The "History Made Easy," one of the Chinese books, tells us that he ordered images of clay to be made in the shape of human beings, and had them called gods. He grew tired of them, however, and cast them aside. Then he had leather bags made, filled with blood, which he threw up in the air. He shot at them with arrows, and when the blood was pouring down, he shouted: "I have killed the gods!" The people soon grew very tired of such a madman, and another dynasty succeeded to the throne.

The Tsin dynasty, from which probably we have the name of China, existed only three years under the Emperor Chi hwang-ti (chee hwahng-tee),which means "First Emperor." His father had made war upon the last of the Chau family, and compelled him to kneel in the dust at his feet.

This First Emperor made his capital at Hien-yang (heen-yahng), on the River Hwai (hwie), where he built a great palace from the spoils of all the captive kings who had submitted to him, and he ordered that all the treasures of their palaces should he brought to him. He visited various parts of the empire, built public buildings, ordered canals and roads to be constructed, and drove the Huns back into Mongolia. It was he who continued that Great Wall, extending from the sea to the desert, a distance of 1,250 miles. This Wan-li Chang (wahn-lee chahng), or Myriad Mile Wall, as the Chinese call it, was constructed to keep out the Huns and other nomadic tribes (B.C. 220).

Great wall of China


This Emperor was very vain. He desired to be thought the first emperor the country ever had, and ordered that every book in China should be burned. This order was carried out, and all the historical records of the country, as well as the works of Confucius and Mencius, went up in flames. There is, however, no doubt that several copies of their works were saved.

The Tsin dynasty did not last long. Chi's successor was defeated by Liu Pang (leeo pahng), who, under the name of Kautsu (kah-oot-soo), was the founder of the Han dynasty. The Chinese say that their modern history commences at this time. The capital of China under the Han dynasty was first in Shen-si (shen-see), but later at Loh-yang in the province of Ho-nan.

When Ming ti (ming tee) was emperor, some learned men were sent to India (A.D. 65), where they studied the religion of Buddha. From that time Buddhism spread in China, but became so steeped in superstition that nothing but the form remains. Ming and his successor, Chang, extended the empire westward as far as the Caspian Sea. The Chinese had intercourse with the Romans. They say of Rome: "Everything precious and admirable in all other countries comes from this land. Gold and silver money is coined there; ten of silver are worth one of gold. Their merchants trade by sea with Persia and India, and gain ten for one in their traffic. They are simple and honest, and never have two prices for their goods; grain is sold among them very cheap, and large sums of money are employed in trade."

The Tang (tahng) dynasty occupied the throne 287 years (A.D. 618-905), during which time China was probably the most civilized country in the world. Li Chi-min (lee chee-min), the son of the founder, was one of the best emperors of China. He was known for his goodness and wisdom, his temperance, refined taste, and love of art. The capital of the empire was again removed to Sien-gan (see-en-gahn), in Shen-si. It was he who established schools, and began the system of examinations for officers ( A.D.627). He ordered all the writings of Confucius and Mencius to be collected, and commanded that the memory of Confucius should be honored by special ceremonies. A code of laws was also prepared by his order.

Theodosius, the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, sent an envoy to Sien-gan, bearing presents of emeralds and rubies. It was at this time that the first Christian missionaries entered China. The Emperor Tai-tsung (tietsoong) listened to them with interest, and ordered a temple to be built for them. He also had some of their sacred books translated into Chinese (A.D. 643).

After a reign of tweny-three years, Tai-tsung died, and was succeeded by his son Kau-tsung (kah-oh tsoong). Under him the conquest of Korea, commenced by his father, was completed. It was, however, not he who ruled, but a woman named Wu Tsih-tien (woo tsee-teen). She obtained such power over him, that the real Empress was first degraded and afterwards put to death, when this woman took her place. After her husband's death she ruled in her own name. She extended the limits of the empire, but did not hesitate to murder anyone opposing her, not even her own sons. At last, when she was very old, one of her sons—Chung-tsung (choong-tsoong)—entered into a conspiracy against her and confined her within her own apartments. Here she died at the age of eighty-one. Her reign is given as an instance of the evil of allowing women to meddle with the government.

From A.D. 1127-1280 the empire was attacked by the Mongols. About 1245 Li-tsung (lee-tsoong) calling in the help of Kublai Khan (kooblie khahn), his son, Ti Ping (tee ping), drowned himself. The Mongols, now in possession of Northern China, lost no time in invading the south. Kublai founded the Yuen (yoo-en) dynasty, and built the Grand Canal. The Mongols, however, were expelled in 1368, and the Ming or Bright dynasty succeeded.

Ming tombs


The son of the founder, Yung-loh (yoong-loh) removed the capital to Peking from Nanking, where his father had lived. He was also the author of the code of laws which is still supposed to be in force in China. It was during this dynasty that the Portuguese and Jesuits came into China. In the year 1618 Tien-ming (teen-ming), a Manchu prince, declared war against the Ming. He died in 1627, but left his army in command of his son, Tien-tsung (teen-tsoong). At this time the empire was disturbed by insurrections, and one of the rebels attacked Peking, whereupon the last of the Ming hanged himself (1643). While different rebels were claiming the throne, the Manchu Tien-tsung marched upon the capital, and declared himself emperor. He died the following year, and his son Shun-chi (shoon-chee) is considered as the first emperor of the present Manchu, Tsing, or Pure dynasty.

The Manchu introduced the fashion of shaving the head and wearing the queue. Kang hi (kahng hee), his successor, reigned sixty-one years. It is said of him "that he was tireless in his duty to the government, careful to select none but honest and able officers, liberal toward others, but with simple tastes for himself, and eager to promote the happiness of the people by the steady execution of the laws, and by watching over the conduct of the high officers."

His grandson Kien-lung (keen-loong) proved worthy of his grandfather. He also reigned sixty years. It was he who subdued Thibet. He received embassies from the Russians, Dutch, and English, so that China became better known in Europe. The Chinese were confirmed in their theory that theirs is the Middle Kingdom, and that all other kings and emperors must acknowledge an older brother in their Tien-tsz', and as such do homage to him. Tribute was never expected. Kien-lung died in 1799, having given the throne in 1796 to his fifth son, Kia-King (kee-ah king), who reigned twenty-five years.

Kia-King was succeeded by Tau Kwang (tah-oh kwahng) in 1821. His reign was a constant succession of wars and insurrections, and is remarkable because for the first time in its long existence China was involved in a war with Europeans. This war and its results are too important for brief mention and will be treated in another chapter.

Tau Kwang was the sixth emperor of the Manchu, or Tsing dynasty. He was the second son of Kia-King, and was born in 1781, hence he was forty years old when he succeeded his father. As a man, he was fitted for times of peace, but was unable to meet or overcome the difficulties which filled his reign.

Each emperor, upon ascending the throne, assumes a certain name by which, not he, but the period of his reign, shall be known. Thus, Tau Kwang means Glory of Reason. The family name is Gioro (gee-oh-roh), from their ancestor Aisin Gioro (i-sin). The word Tsing, or Purity, denotes that the dynasty shall be known by the purity of its justice. It is the same with other dynasties: Ming, the Illustrious; Yuen, the Original, etc. The present dynasty is also mentioned as the Ta Tsing (tah tsing). Ta is a prefix meaning Great.

Confucius—551-479 B.C.

In the year 551 B.C., during the reign of the Emperor Ling Wang, a boy was born at Yin-chow, in the province of Shan-tung. His father, named Kung, was a judge; he died when the child was three years old. The boy's mother brought him up, and took care that he was well taught. This shows how civilized the Chinese were at the time when kings were ruling in Rome, and long before the foundation of the Roman Empire.

The boy, who was named Chong-ni, grew up and showed a taste for old writings. He was steady and quiet, and thereby gained the respect of his neighbors. When he was seventeen years old he received an appointment in the revenue office. A few years later he was promoted to an office somewhat like that of surveyor. When he was twenty-four years old, his mother died. There was an old custom or law (law and custom have almost the same meaning in China), that an officer, upon the death of a parent, must resign his position, and live in retirement for three years. This custom had gone out of use, but Chong-ni acted upon it. He resigned, and withdrew into retirement.

During these three years Chong-ni devoted his entire time to the study of the old writers. It was his intention to teach their doctrine to the people, and hoped to induce them in this manner to return to the customs of former times. After the period of his mourning was over, he spent several years in traveling, and at the age of thirty he returned to Yin-chow.

From this time the boy Chong-ni became known as Kung Fu-tsz', or Kung the Teacher, which many years afterwards was turned into the Latin form of Confucius by the Jesuit priests in China. He settled down in Yin-chow as a teacher, and the number of his pupils grew rapidly, until he was asked to come to the court of the Prince of Tsi (tsee). He accepted; but when he came there he did not like court life, and so, with those students who had followed him, he continued his travels, teaching all the time.

One day as he was passing through a field, he noticed a man engaged in snaring birds, and placing them in different cages. Kung Fu-tsz' looked on for a time, while his students were wondering why their teacher took such an interest in such a simple thing. He finally went up to the man, and said:

"I do not see any old birds here; where have you put them?"

"The old birds," replied the man, "are too wary to be caught. They are on the lookout, and if they see a net or cage, far from falling into the snare, they fly away and never return. The young ones, which keep with them, also escape. I can catch only such as fly out by themselves, or go in company with other young birds. If I do sometimes catch an old bird, it is because it follows the young ones."

"Did you hear that?" asked Confucius, turning to his students. "The young birds escape only when they keep with the old ones. It is always so with us. Our young people are led astray by boldness, want of forethought, inattention, and by thinking that they know more than older people. And when the old ones are caught, it is because they are foolishly attached to the young, and allow themselves to be led astray by them."

Confucius was sixty-eight years old before he returned to Yin-chow. Here he continued to teach a very large number of students, at the same time collecting the ancient writings. When he had completed this work, he invited his students to go with him to one of the neighboring hills where for many years sacrifices had been offered. Here he had an altar built; put his books upon it, and, turning his face toward the north, he fell upon his knees and thanked Heaven that life and strength had been given to him to finish the difficult task, and prayed that the Chinese might benefit largely by his work.

There are several Chinese pictures of Confucius kneeling as in prayer, with a beam of light shining upon his books, while his students stand around filled with wonder and admiration.

A few days before his death he said:

Tai shan, ki tui hu!       (Tie shan, kee twee hoo!)

Liang muh, ki hwai hu!     (Leeang moo, kee hwie hoo!)

Chi jin, ki wei hu!       (Chee jin, kee way hoo!)


The great mountain is broken!

The strong beam is thrown-down!

The wise man is decayed!

He died in 479 B.C., leaving one grandson called Tsz' sze. His descendants are hereditary dukes of the empire. Many temples have been erected in China in his honor, and he is considered as little less than a god by the Chinese. Confucius' life was devoted to the study and examination of the ancient writings, which he resolved to teach to his countrymen. This proves how old the civilization of China is, when at such a remote period, 2,450 years ago, it was possible to collect writings which were old at that time. It is remarkable that the teachings of Confucius contained nothing new or startling, but aimed at a return to former habits and customs. China must have been, indeed, a country far advanced in civilization, when a thoughtful man like Confucius could devote his life to urging the Chinese to return to the customs of bygone years. But what is most remarkable of all, is that his life should have had such an influence upon hundreds of millions of men.

Confucian temple


Confucius says of himself: "The wise man and the man of virtue—how dare I rank myself with them! It may simply be said of me that I ever strive to improve, and that I never grow weary of teaching others. I may be equal to other men in knowledge of literature; but I have failed to reach the character of a superior man, one who carries out in his conduct what he teaches. These are the things which cause me fear: that I do not properly cultivate virtue; that I do not discuss thoroughly what I learn; that I am unable to act with righteousness when I know it; and that I am not able to change that which is not good. I am not one who was born wise. I am one who is fond of olden times, and who is seeking knowledge there. I am not a maker, but only one who transmits; but I am one who believes in and loves the wise men of old."

Confucius collected the Wu-King  or Five Classics, and the S'shu  or Four Books. The Five Classics, of which the Shu-King  is one, contains Spring and Autumn, a work written by Confucius himself.

Confucius was not one of the wise men, like those who flourished in Rome and Greece, who taught of a future life. When one of his students once asked him what death meant, he answered sadly: "How can I tell you about death, when I am not perfectly acquainted with life?" His teachings embraced only the relations of life and its duties. The great principle taught by him, which can be perceived through out every institution of China, is the relation of the child toward the parent, or, as it is called, filial piety. There is no greater duty with the Chinese, nor is there a disgrace more dreaded than that of being thought Puh-hiao (poo-heeahoh), viz., undutiful. At the very earliest age, children are taught to be respectful and dutiful; such a thing as familiarity between child and parent is absolutely unknown. As the children grow up their old parents are entitled to be reverenced and cherished; all their wants must be anticipated, and everything must be done to please them. When the parents are dead, they must be worshiped by their children and sacrifices must be offered to them. The highest honor that can befall a man is to bring honor upon his ancestors.

The punishments for undutiful behavior to parents are horrible in their cruelty. But, as we shall see in another chapter, it is this principle of filial piety which renders the Chinese submissive to the authorities. For the Emperor is the father of all, and, since his authority is transferred to officers, disobedience to them would equal undutiful conduct.

The relation between husband and wife is simple. The wife's duty is to honor and obey, while the husband appears to have no duties at all toward her. When it was known in Peking that the wife of Prince Kung was dead, a gentleman of the United States Legation asked a high Chinese official if Prince Kung would retire for a while, or go into mourning. "Oh, no!" he replied, smiling, "the death of a wife is nothing at all. Why should the Prince go into mourning for her? He can get as many more wives as he wishes." But if very little is said of the duties between husband and wife, much is said as to the attitude of the elder brother to the younger. The rule is: Hiung ai, ti kin (heeoong ie, tee kin), that is: The elder must love, and the younger must respect.

This relationship of elder brother and younger was shown in China's conduct toward Korea, which country was thought to be tributary to China. Korea never paid any tribute, but sent presents to the Emperor of China on New Year's Day, and received in return presents of far greater value.

Confucius mentions five great virtues, and among these Jen, or charity, ranks first. When one of his students asked him if there was anything which might serve as a rule of practice for all one's life, he replied: "What you do not want done to yourself do not do to others." This rule is very similar to our Golden Rule, and comes nearer the teaching of the New Testament than any other saying of the old philosophers.

The motive of Confucius' teaching was his earnest desire to return to the ancient or patriarchal form of government. He had not the least idea that he was preparing a set of laws, but he wished men to be governed by moral influences only. He believed that if the emperors would set an example of virtue, the people would respect, obey and imitate them. For more than two thousand years his teaching has been the real law of the people. The Chinese still cling to the law of filial piety, which is good, and to that of ancestral worship, which is bad. They refuse to admit that their condition might be improved, and would sooner die than permit changes to be made.

The following is an extract from General Wilson's book on China, describing his visit to the tomb of Confucius:

"The grave of Confucius is within a separate enclosure, the entrance to which is covered by a large pavilion of the usual type, where the descendants of the sage come twice a year to offer sacrifices and worship him. A paved, sunken road, which runs between low retaining-walls on each side, leads to the tomb, which is a simple mound of earth about twenty feet high, overgrown by bushes and forest trees, including an oak. A stone tablet, nearly as high as the mound, a stone table, and an urn or incense-burner, stand in front of it. It is flanked by the burial-mounds of the mother, son, and grandson of Confucius, and the whole inclosure is heaped into mounds covering the remains of the successive heads and dignitaries of the family."

Early Intercourse with China

The Chinese are mentioned by the Greeks as the Seres. This word is probably derived from the Chinese sze, meaning the silk fiber or thread. "The region of the Seres," says a Greek writer, "is a vast and populous country, touching on the east the ocean and the limits of the habitable world; and extending west nearly to Imaus and the confines of Bactria. The people are civilized men, of mild, just, and frugal temper; avoiding quarrels with their neighbors, and even shy of close intercourse, but not unwilling to dispose of their own products, of which raw silk is the staple, but which include also silk stuffs, furs, and iron of remarkable quality." At that time the Chinese were known for their honesty, and they are known so still among the other people of Asia.

Chinese writers state that there was trade between their country and one which they call Tat-sin Kwoh. This was probably the Roman Empire. Roman writers also mention China, and it is well known that silk was brought to Rome, where it sold at a high price. It is said that two monks brought the first silkworm eggs to Constantinople in the sixth century after Christ. They had hidden them in a hollow bamboo staff.

Although among Europeans trade was always the principal cause for exploring new countries, another reason was the desire to preach the Gospel. There is a tradition that a pious man went to China from the country of Ta-Tsin (Palestine) in the year 636 A.D., and that he was kindly received by the Emperor. Not very long ago a stone was standing in the yard of a temple at Sian-Fu (see-ahn foo). It had an inscription in the Syrian and Chinese characters, and bore the date 781 A.D. It was the only trace left of the work of those old missionaries. The inscription, translated, reads as follows:

"A stone tablet commemorating the diffusion of the illustrious religion in China by a priest from the Church in Ta-Tsin (Palestine), with a preface, written by King Tsing."

The first really good description we have of China is given by two Arabians in the years 850 and 877 A.D. They describe their journey, the customs of the Chinese, what goods are most in demand, and how to carry on trade. At that time the city of Hang-chow, where the trade was conducted, was one of the largest and wealthiest in the world. It was destroyed in A.D. 877, from which year Canton became the market for foreign trade.

A well-known account of China is that given by Marco Polo. Nicolo Polo, a noble of Venice, and the father of Marco, left that city about the year 1250 A.D., with his brother Matteo, on a trading voyage to the Crimea. From there they drifted eastward until they came to China, which had lately been conquered by Kublai Khan. They were kindly received, and after remaining some time, received permission to return home, on condition that they would come back to China. In 1274 they did so, this time accompanied by Marco, then a boy of sixteen. They arrived safely, and were again received in high favor. Marco took office under the Chinese and rose to the position of Tao-tai (tah-o-tie) or Prefect of Che-Kiang (chay-keeahng). This time Marco and his father and uncle remained in China for many years, and finally returned home by way of Southern Asia. But when they reached Venice they were so changed that nobody recognized them, and the Venetians at first refused to believe that they were really the three Polos.

Houseboats in Canton


Everyone was amazed at the number of diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones that they had brought back with them. When the news of their great wealth became known in Venice, all their former friends and acquaintances hurried to their house to congratulate them. Everybody wanted to know their adventures, and Marco was asked to give an account of what they had seen.

In his book he tells about the conquest of China by Kublai Khan and his fierce Mongols that had taken place only a few years before his arrival in that country. He visited the southern part of China, and says "that the number of inhabitants is so great that no person can count them, and if they were men-at-arms," (that is, soldiers) "those of the province of Manji (mahn-jee) would conquer the whole world; they are not so, however, but prudent merchants."

Marco Polo was afterwards captured in a war with Genoa and thrown into prison. This was several years after his return. As he had nothing to do, he began to dictate further accounts of his travels to a fellow-prisoner, who wrote them down in French. A famous German writer says of him: "If the name of Discoverer of Asia were to be given to any person, nobody would deserve it better than Marco Polo."

In strong contrast with Marco Polo's account of China is that of Sir John Mandeville, a Knight of St. Albans, who claims that "he passed the sea on St. Michael's Day of the year 1322," and that he wrote his adventures in English, "so that other noble and worthy men, if he err from defect of memory, may redress and amend it." It seems that Sir John's memory was very short indeed; or else, his imagination must have been remarkable. He says that in the Far East he learned of men and women who have "dogs' heads, and they are reasonable and of good understanding, except that they worship an ox for their god." He claims to have discovered a country where there is "a kind of snails so great that many persons lodge in their shells, as men would do in a little house;" and another where "are white hens without feathers, but they bear white wool, as sheep do here." He must have discovered some very curious islands, for in one of them "are people of great stature, like giants, hideous to look upon; and they have but one eye, which is in the middle of the forehead, and they eat nothing but raw flesh and fish." In another island "there were dwarfs who have no mouth, but instead of a mouth they have a little round hole; and when they eat or drink they take it through a pipe, or pen, or such thing, and suck it in."

In describing China, he says: "The greatest river of fresh water in the world is there, which, where it is narrowest is more than four miles broad. This remarkable river flows through the land of pigmies, where the people are only three span long. These men are the best workers of gold, silver, cotton, and silk, and of such things that are to be found in the world. They have sometimes a war with the birds of the country, which they kill and eat. They do not admire the men of our stature, any more than we do giants. Cathay is a great country, fair, noble, rich, and full of merchants." In the palace "all the vessels that men are served with, in the hall or in chambers, are of precious stones; and especially at great tables, either of jasper, or of crystal, or of amethyst, or of fine gold. And the cups are of emeralds, and sapphires or topazes, and of many other precious stones. Vessels of silver there are none, for they set no value on it to make vessels of; but they make therewith steps and pillars and pavements to halls and chambers."

Sir John tells many other stories even more marvelous than these. People at that time believed them, and so it is no wonder that they were anxious to find a short route to Cathay.

[Illustration] from The Story of China by R. Van Bergen


A more truthful story is told by Friar Odoric, who really did travel in China at about the time when Sir John Mandeville said that he was there. Odoric noticed the peculiar method of fishing with cormorants; that of allowing the finger nails to grow long, and he speaks of the custom of dwarfing the feet of women. His description of the division of the Khan's empire into twelve provinces with four viceroys is correct, as are also the names mentioned by him of the post stations. But he is, like most men of that age, very superstitious, and is apt to explain what he does not understand by magic or witchcraft.

How a Jewish colony came to settle in the heart of China will probably remain a mystery forever. It was located at Kai-fung (kie-foong), about 450 miles southwest of Peking. In 1850 some rolls or scrolls covered with Hebrew characters were bought from the descendants of former Jews. It was said that a synagogue had been built here in 1164, the ruins of which Dr. Martin discovered when he visited the place in 1866. At the present time there are a sufficient number of Jews in the province of Ho-nan to form a separate community.

Before the discovery of America, in 1492, no strong effort was made to trade with China. Venice, up to that time, had been the center of European commerce, and she was satisfied to purchase her stock from the Arabs, who brought their goods by caravans to the coast of the Mediterranean. At the beginning of the sixteenth century a daring spirit of exploration was aroused in Europe.

The European Explorers in China

The Portuguese were among the first European explorers to arrive in China. The Arabs, who had, until the sixteenth century, been in possession of the trade, were peaceable merchants, with whom the government was friendly. The first explorers, of whatever nation, were essentially pirates, and it was from them that the Chinese formed an estimate of the European character. A Chinese author gives the following description of the arrival of the first white strangers:

"During the reign of Ching-ti (thing-tee) (1506), foreigners from the west, called Fah-lan-ki (fah-lahn-kee, Franks), who said they had tribute, abruptly entered the Bogue (entrance of the West River), and by their exceedingly loud guns, shook the place far and near. This was reported at court, and an order was given to drive them away at once, and to stop trading with them. At this time also the Dutch came to Macao (mah-cow) in two or three large ships. Their clothes and their hair were red; their bodies were tall; they had blue eyes, sunk deep in their head. Their feet were one cubit and two-tenths long; and they frightened the people by their strange appearance."

The Portuguese sent four ambassadors to the Emperor of China, but not one of these was received. The conduct of most of the early Europeans was such as to draw upon them the dislike of the orderly and well-behaved Chinese. One instance will prove enough:

Among the first Portuguese to reach China was Hernandez Mendez Pinto. His ships had been plundered by pirates, and the crew made its way to Ningpo, where a number of Portuguese had formed a settlement. They were received here with "great affection and Christian charity" by their fellow-countrymen, and were told that China was in a very unsettled condition, so that there was not much danger in plundering and burning any city. That was good news for them. And when Pinto and his men heard that somewhere to the northeast there was an island containing seventeen golden tombs of former Chinese kings, besides many idols of the same metal, they determined to find that island. They cruised around for a long time, and at last came to an island where they did find some tombs, not of gold, but of gilt copper. They broke open the graves, and found there a quantity of silver, which they carried aboard their boat. After they left the island, a storm overtook them and they were shipwrecked near the coast. Pinto and thirteen others escaped by swimming; the other sailors were drowned.

The people on the coast were kind-hearted, gave them rice to eat, and pointed out the way to a pagoda (pah-godah) and temple where people in misfortune were always assisted. When they arrived at the temple they were asked who they were and where they came from. They replied that they were poor fishermen from Siam; that their boat had been wrecked, and they were castaways. The priests kept them for several days, although very poor themselves. They then left and visited another temple, where they were equally well received. Thus they tramped through that province for about two months, taking care not to enter into any large city, for fear of being recognized as Portuguese. This shows that they were aware that the people had good reason to hate them.

At last they grew more careless, and entered the town of Tai pol (tie pol). As they went begging from door to door, a judge noticed them. They were arrested, and cast into prison, where they were put in chains. Here one of them died. After twenty-six days, they were taken to a boat, together with about twenty Chinese prisoners, and brought to Nanking. Pinto, who, at least, tells the truth in his story, describes this city as very large and populous. Here they were taken before a very severe judge, who ordered them to be flogged on the bare back. As a result of this punishment two of them died. Some kind-hearted Buddhist visited the prison, dressed their sores, and begged the judge to send them to the Supreme Court at Peking. The request was granted, and soon Pinto and his men were carried to the capital by way of the Grand Canal.

They were surprised at the beauty and strength of this waterway, and at the number and elegance of the bridges, pagodas, tombs, arches, and fountains. Pinto also describes the quiet manner of the Chinese, and their evident order and industry. In this manner they arrived at Peking, where they were put into another prison. Soon after they were taken to the Supreme Court; where they were pardoned and set free.

They spent two months at Peking, where they found many charitable people. They were then sent to Kinsai (kin-sie), and taken into the service of the governor, as members of his bodyguard. Here they were treated with great kindness, until one day they began quarreling among themselves, and some blood was shed. The Chinese object to fighting, which they consider a great breach of good manners, so the Portuguese were again thrown into prison, and each received another flogging. After eight weeks of imprisonment they were released, but taken as slaves, and the governor told them that if they ever fought again they would be flogged to death.

Grand Canal with boats


They now had a very hard time of it. They received no pay for their work, not even food, but had to beg for it. Luckily, one of them, named Gaspar, had a good voice and could play the guitar. When this became known, wealthy Chinese, upon giving a dinner to their friends, would send for him, and pay him liberally for the amusement he afforded. Whatever Gaspar earned in this manner was equally divided. At last the Manchu Tartars captured Kinsai, and the Portuguese were released.

In about the middle of the sixteenth century the Portuguese were permitted to erect sheds at Macao to protect their merchandise from the weather. Gradually they began to build houses, and bring their families. This was against the laws of the empire, and to show that the Chinese would not permit Europeans to enter China, they built a wall across the narrow isthmus which connects the tiny peninsula of Macao with the mainland. A Chinese officer was appointed by the Emperor to watch the behavior of the Portuguese and report if he saw anything amiss.

In the year 1570 two Spanish priests came to China from Manila. Their appearance attracted so much attention that people would climb on poles and even upon the housetops to catch a glimpse of them. They were very kindly treated. When they expressed a wish to go out, they were provided with sedan chairs, and were permitted to travel through the country; but they were closely watched, and unable to secure any information.

At last the Chinese thought that these strangers had seen enough of their country. So they told them, politely but firmly, that it was about time to go home. They were escorted to Canton, where a ship was in readiness to take them back to Manila.

The first Catholic missionary who succeeded in obtaining a foothold in China was Matteo Ricci (mat-tay-oh rick-chee), who arrived at Canton in 1581, dressed as a Buddhist priest. He was an able and highly educated man, possessing a firm will, zealous but prudent. He devoted much time to studying the language, and in 1601 moved to Peking, where he arrived dressed as a literary gentleman. His manners and language made him many friends, and he gained much influence over the officials of the capital. Several of his associates arrived in China and followed the example of Ricci, so that, when they began to preach, they made a number of converts. Ricci translated Euclid's Geometry into Chinese.

Other Jesuit missionaries began to arrive, and the government grew suspicious. In 1617 an edict was issued ordering them to leave Peking and to return to Europe by way of Canton. Some of them obeyed, but most of them did not. These men must have studied and worked very hard, for in the year 1636, only thirty-five years after Ricci had arrived at Peking, they had printed in Chinese 470 books, some on religion, but most of them on natural philosophy and mathematics.

Ricci died in 1610, at the age of eighty. Soon after a German Jesuit, named Schaal, came to Peking. His learning placed him at the head of the missions, and Schaal became one of the most famous men in the Empire. At this time the ancestors of the present Emperor, the Manchu, began to make war upon the Ming family, who occupied the throne, and the missions suffered severely, although the converts numbered several hundred thousand.

The Ming was dethroned, and the Manchu became Emperor (1644). Schaal soon grew to be a great favorite. He was appointed president of the Kin Tien Kien (kin teen keen), or Board of Astronomy, and was made a mandarin of the first class. He also built two churches at Peking, and at his request other missionaries were allowed to come.

Among the native converts was a man named Siu (see-oo), and his daughter, who had received the name of Candida. Both worked hard for the missions, and did much good. It was owing to Candida that thirty-nine churches were established in the provinces; she founded a hospital for deserted children, and an institution for the blind. She and her father were so much respected by the people that in some parts of China they are still worshiped as gods.

The quarrels among the different religious orders attracted the attention of the government, and in 1665 an edict was published whereby the missionaries were banished. Schaal died the following year, at the age of seventy-eight. When, ten years later, the Emperor Kang hi (kahng hee) succeeded to the throne, the Jesuits were once more taken into favor.

They used their time well, and, if it had not been for the quarrels among the religious orders, China might have been a Catholic country. In the beginning of the eighteenth century, there were in the two Kiang provinces no less than one hundred churches, and at least a hundred thousand converts. In 1708 the Jesuits were charged by the Emperor to make a survey of the Empire.

But the disputes among the orders once more attracted the attention of the government, and the Emperor was persuaded that the new religion would destroy his authority. He issued a decree in 1718, in which he ordered all missionaries to leave the country except such as promised to obey his laws. Those who remained were kept at Peking, while the persecution of the native Christians commenced in the provinces.

Chinese Christian Congregation


The successor of Kang hi, the Emperor Yung-ching (yoong-ching), issued an order in 1724 by which it was forbidden to preach the Tien Chu Kiau (teen choo keeow) or religion of the Lord of Heaven, as the Christian faith has been called by the Chinese. All missionaries whose services as teachers of sciences were not needed at Peking were ordered to leave the country. A great many did not obey, but hid themselves for a time, in the hope that they would be allowed to continue their teaching once more.

Emperor Kien-lung (keen-loong), who ascended the throne in 1736, was strongly opposed to the missionaries. Persecution recommenced, and in 1747 extended over all the provinces. Gradually this persecution increased, and no more missionaries were permitted to enter the country. Those who defied the laws were compelled to conceal themselves; but the Catholic religion was never wholly destroyed in China.

The Dutch in China, and What They Did

No country in the world depends so much upon trade for its existence as Holland. It was trade which gave the Dutch the means to fight with Spain for eighty years (1568-1648), and thereby to gain their independence. During the early part of the struggle the Dutch explored the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Most of these early explorers were really nothing more than pirates. They had no respect for other people's property. They were in search of gold, and took it wherever they could find it.

After the Dutch had established themselves on the Island of Java, building Batavia upon the site of a fort called Jacatra, 1619, they turned their attention toward China. A fleet of seventeen ships appeared before Macao in 1622, and attacked that place, but the Dutch were repulsed by the Portuguese and Japanese. They established themselves, however, in 1624, on the Pang-hu (pahng-hoo) or Pescadores Islands. Here they began to build a fort, which caused great uneasiness to the Chinese of Fuh-Kien (foo keen), as well as to the Portuguese and Spaniards. There were bitter quarrels and some fighting between the Dutch and Chinese, and at last it was agreed that the former should move to Formosa, which they did in the same year. Here they built a fort on the western shore, which they named Zeelandia. The Dutch tried to introduce civilization in the island, and to teach the natives how to govern themselves. Two years afterwards, a preacher, George Candidius by name, arrived, and began to preach Christianity so earnestly that within six months a hundred of the natives were baptized. Schools were built, the children were taught, and one of the ministers made a dictionary of the native language. Thousands of Chinese came over from the mainland, and the island began to look like a garden.

Just as the English factories and agencies in Asia were under the control of what was called the East India Company, so the Dutch East India Company decided all matters connected with the Asiatic trade of Holland. That company sent, in 1653, a commissioner named Schedel to Canton, who, after making rich presents to the governor, obtained the promise that the Dutch should be permitted to build a factory. The governor also advised Schedel to tell the Dutch to send an embassy to Peking. Schedel made a report to the company at Amsterdam to this effect, and it was decided to act upon his advice.

Two merchants of Batavia, named Goyer and Keyzer, were appointed to go to Peking, where they arrived without any trouble, and were received by the Emperor. The result of this visit to Peking was that the Dutch received permission to come to Peking once in every eight years, and to bring four ships to trade. The merchants returned to Batavia in 1657.

Soon after their return a Chinese chief named Ching Ching-Kung, called Coxinga by the Portuguese, prepared to attack Formosa. The Dutch had been expecting this, and since 1650 had put the fort Zeelandia into a state of defense. Ching had sent men among the Chinese of Formosa to secure their assistance. He prepared a fleet at Amoy, but declared that it was not to attack Formosa, but to fight the Manchu, who had nearly conquered China. The Dutch East India Company believed him, and ordered their admiral to leave Formosa. As soon as he was gone, Ching landed with an army of 25,000 men.

He began by laying siege to the forts, when the Dutch governor sent out 300 men to drive him away. They fought bravely, but the Chinese were too numerous, and only half of the Dutch returned. One of the ships in the harbor was burned by the Chinese, and another sailed for Batavia to obtain assistance. Ching then surrounded the fort with his soldiers, and when he saw that they could not take it by force, he determined to starve out the defenders. The surrounding country was plundered; the ministers were crucified, and the friendly Chinese were murdered.

Among the prisoners taken by Ching was a minister named Anthony Hambroeck, his wife, and all his children, except two daughters who were in the fort. Ching sent him into Zeelandia, to order the governor to surrender the fort, and to say that if this were not done all the prisoners would be put to death. Hambroeck promised to return with the governor's answer.

When he arrived at Zeelandia, the Dutch Governor called a meeting of the principal officers and merchants, and Hambroeck told them that Ching had lost many of his best ships and men, and was growing tired of the siege; that, if they would hold out a little longer, relief must come from Batavia, and the fort would be saved. He spoke so bravely that the governor decided to refuse to surrender, but to fight to the last.

Now came Hambroeck's greatest trial. When he went to take leave of his daughters, they threw their arms around his neck and begged him to remain with them, as he would surely be murdered if he returned. He soothed them as best he could, and told them that for the sake of the others he must go. The officers, also, begged him not to return, but he replied that he had pledged his word, and as a Christian minister, he could not break it. The gate was opened, and the people of the fort watched him as he quietly returned to the Chinese camp.

Ching was very angry when Hambroeck returned and told him that the fort would not surrender. He ordered the prisoners, 500 in all, to be cruelly butchered, and among them was the brave preacher whose name well deserves to be remembered.

After some time a fleet of ten Dutch ships and seven hundred men arrived from Batavia, and, aided by the soldiers of the fort, began to attack Ching. They were unable to drive him away from the town, but they checked his attacks. But finally, through the treachery of their Chinese allies, the Dutch were compelled to surrender the fort, after a siege of nine months (1667).

The Dutch never again regained Formosa. The East India Company at Batavia decided upon punishing Ching, who was still holding Amoy. A fleet of twelve vessels was fitted out, and sailed under command of Admiral Bost. The Manchu did not help him much, but he attacked and destroyed Ching's ships and troops wherever he found them. He returned to Batavia the following year, and was again sent to China, this time to Fuh-Kien. After some fighting, Amoy was taken and Ching's troops destroyed.

The Company did not make any other effort at colonization, but decided to send another embassy to Peking to ask for permission to trade. A merchant named Van Hoorn was placed at its head. He landed at Foochow in 1669, and was well received. A dispute with the governor detained him a year, after which he continued his journey to Peking, along the Grand Canal, where he counted 37 cities and 335 villages. Van Hoorn was admitted to the presence of the Emperor, whom he saluted after the Chinese fashion, but he did not secure any privileges.

No more embassies were sent to Peking for one hundred and twenty years. In 1794 Van Braam, the consul of Holland at Canton, proposed to send one to congratulate the Emperor upon his sixtieth birthday anniversary. The Company agreed, and sent Isaac Titsingh, who had lived for many years in Japan, with Van Braam as his deputy. The embassy arrived at Peking, where they were presented to the Emperor. They returned in 1796, without having accomplished anything. Thus ends the story of Dutch enterprise in China.

Russia's Object in China

As early as 1558 there is evidence that two Russian travelers entered the capital of China. Fifty years later an embassy from Russia was sent to China, but it proved fruitless. In 1643, while the Manchu were attacking China, several Russians, who had penetrated north of the Amur valley, commenced a series of explorations. Six years later an incursion was made under Chaboroff. The Czar Alexis sent an embassy to Peking in 1653, but as the Russians refused to kow-tow, or prostrate themselves before the Emperor, they were not received. In 1655 the Russian Stepanoff invaded China, but was defeated by the Manchu-Chinese army. During the years 1658, 1672, and 1677 three trading caravans came to Peking. The Russian settlers on the banks of the Amur had frequent difficulties with Chinese soldiers, and a war of five years followed. It was ended in 1689 by the treaty of Nerchinsk, and the Amur valley was restored to China, while Russia secured a portion of the bank of the River Argun, a branch of the Upper Amur.

After the boundary line between Chinese and Russian territory was decided, the Chinese commanders at the frontier received orders to inspect their posts every day. "Only in this way," says one writer, "could the frontier be kept for a hundred years against the Russians. Across the river horse-hair ropes were drawn for the same purpose." Peter the Great, in 1692, also sent an embassy to Peking.

There was constant trouble near the frontier. In 1715 a considerable number of Russians, who had been taken prisoners by the Chinese, were permitted to settle at Peking, and in 1727 they were allowed to build a church and school. In the same year another embassy was sent to Peking, which resulted in permission being given for a caravan to travel to China every three years.

Twenty years before, the peninsula of Kamtchatka had been declared Russian territory, and in 1746 the Russian government was advised to establish a fortified post at the mouth of the Amur. Nothing was done, however, until 1806, when Captain Golofkin was sent to Peking to ask for free navigation on the Amur, or at least for permission to send a number of ships with provisions each year. The Chinese refused absolutely.

No further attempts were made until Count Nicholas Muravieff was appointed Governor of Eastern Siberia in 1847. He sent a party of Cossacks, or Russian soldiers, to explore the Amur River. This party left for the Amur in the spring of 1848, but was never heard of again.

Muravieff, however, was not discouraged. He sent vessels to the Sea of Okhotsk and a survey of the coast was made. In 1850 Lieutenant Orloff discovered the mouth of the Amur River. Captain Nevilskoi ascended the Amur and founded Nikolayefsk, so named after the Czar Nicholas. Russian settlements were made along the coast, and in 1853 one was established on the west coast of Saghalien, which island was settled by Japanese.

When the Crimean War broke out (1853), Muravieff determined to seize the Amur. He sent a request to the Mandarin at Kiakhta (kee-ak-tah), to be allowed to send stores down the river to the Russian settlements. The answer was that nothing could be done without orders from Peking. Muravieff did not wait any longer. Supplies were badly needed on the Lower Amur, and necessity knows no law. The governor started down the Amur in the steamer Argun, with fifty barges and a large number of rafts. He also took with him a thousand soldiers and several big guns.

The expedition arrived at Aigun (i-goon), where they found a number of junks moored by the bank. The Chinese invited the Russians ashore, and entertained them in a tent near the river bank, since the entrance of strangers into the town was prohibited. The Russians noticed that the Chinese army was about a thousand strong, but that the men were wretchedly clothed and armed. Most of the soldiers carried bows and arrows, some had lances, others had poles blackened at the top to look like lances, and a few favored ones were proud in the possession of old, and evidently useless, matchlocks. Muravieff soon after returned to Irkutsk, well pleased at having descended the Amur to its mouth.

During the Crimean War many of the new settlements on the Pacific were deserted, but after peace was concluded in 1856 the settlers returned. Muravieff had gone to St. Petersburg in 1855 to urge upon the government the advisability of planting of colonies on the Amur. He returned to Irkutsk in 1857, and at once organized new expeditions. During the summer a large number of settlers and quantities of provisions were taken down the Amur. Among the travelers was Admiral Putiatin, who was on a mission to Japan and China. He sailed down the river, and, after calling at some of the Pacific Coast settlements, visited the island known as Port Hamilton, where he obtained permission from Korea to establish a coaling station. From Port Hamilton Putiatin sailed to the Gulf of Pechili, and with considerable difficulty persuaded a mandarin to accept a letter to the Emperor.

This letter was simply a request from the Czar to let him have Manchuria, offering in return to help put down the Tae-Ping (tie-ping) rebellion. The request was refused, and the only result was a number of protests from the mandarins on the frontier against the invasion of Chinese territory by the Russians.

When he received these protests, Muravieff hurried to St. Petersburg for instructions. The government decided to give him full power to treat with the Chinese, and to send him more troops. At this time the Chinese were at war with the English and the French, and when Muravieff arrived on the Amur they were in no mood for any more fighting, after their experience with the English and French troops, and declared that they would let Russia have free navigation on the Amur. But Muravieff was no longer satisfied with such a concession. He asked for, and was given, the left bank of the Amur as far as the Ussuri (oo-sootee) River, and both banks from there to the sea. The Sungari and Ussuri River were also to be open to travelers and merchants carrying a Russian passport. This treaty was signed at Aigun on the 28th of May, 1858. In the meanwhile Admiral Putiatin had not been idle. By the Treaty of Tientsin he had secured for Russia the same privileges granted to the United States, England, and France, and an agreement besides, that the new frontier between China and Siberia should be surveyed and mapped.

The new Russian territory, acquired without the expense of a dollar or the loss of a man, was divided into the maritime Province of Eastern Siberia, and the Amur Province. In consequence of certain privileges ten thousand Russians arrived on the Amur at the beginning of 1859. When gold was discovered, in the same year, the number of settlers increased rapidly.

In June, 1859, the Chinese gained a brief victory over the English and French at the mouth of the Pei-ho River, and the mandarins began to annoy the Russian settlers on the Amur in every way. General Ignatieff was sent with a complaint to Peking. When he arrived the British and French were about to enter the city. The mandarins did not want any more fighting, and when Ignatieff demanded the whole of the maritime Province of Manchuria, the country round Lake Balkash, and part of Turkestan, and permission for Russian merchants to travel to Peking, the Chinese agreed to these terms by the Treaty of Peking, signed on November 14th, 1860.

In the western part of China many of the people are Mohammedans. These people rose in rebellion in 1863, and every attempt of the Chinese government to restore order failed. Then the Russians determined to put down the rebellion. As soon as the Russian troops appeared, the rebels dispersed, and Russia occupied their territory. China demanded that the Russians should withdraw their army. The latter, however, remained, and the Chinese did not care to risk a fight. In 1879 a mandarin of high rank, named Chung-How (choong-how) was sent to St. Petersburg, and Russia offered to restore part of the territory upon the payment of five million rubles. Chung-How seeing that this was the best he could do, agreed, and returned to Peking.

The Empress-Dowager was very indignant. Chung-How was taken to prison and sentenced to death. When the Czar heard this he began to send men and ships to the Chinese Coast, and the Empress-Dowager, ordered Marquis Tseng, the Chinese Ambassador in London, to go to St. Petersburg and arrange terms. He agreed to the Treaty of St. Petersburg, by which Russia restored nearly the whole of the territory in the west, while China paid a large sum, and allowed Russia free navigation of the rivers in Manchuria. The treaty was signed in 1881, and approved by the Empress.

The war between Japan and China in 1894 caused a renewal of Russian activity. Japan, among other things, demanded the cession of the Liao-tung (lee-ah-oh toong) peninsula. Russia at once declared that it would not permit this, because it would mean the dismemberment of China. France and Germany agreed with Russia, and Japan was forced to submit.

In 1896 the famous Li Hung Chang (lee hoong chahng), a mandarin of great influence, was sent to St. Petersburg to represent China at the crowning of the Czar. While he was there a secret treaty was made between Russia and China, and in the same year an arrangement was made for the construction of a railway through Manchuria. The following year Germany demanded a port in the Shan-tung peninsula, named Kiao-chao (kee-ah-oh chah-oh), and Russia took this opportunity to seize Port Arthur, which the Japanese had taken after a hard fight. Toward the end of March, 1898, the Chinese government announced that Port Arthur had been leased to Russia. This completed Russia's occupation of Manchuria.

Americans in China

Do you know what name the Chinese have for us? They see our flag, and so they call us Hwa-Ki (hwah-kee), or Flowery Flag people. Well, we need not be ashamed of that name!

American Legation


Directly after the War of Independence, the Americans began to look out for trade. On Washington's Birthday of the year 1784, the ship Empress, commanded by Captain Green, left New York for Canton. She returned on May 11th, 1785, having been one year, two months and nineteen days on her voyage.

At this time sailing vessels were traders, that is, they carried home products and sailed to a foreign market where they could secure the highest price for them. With this money they bought such merchandise as would fetch a good price at home. Ships sailing from New York first made for the Columbia River, where they bought furs. From there they visited the Sandwich Islands, which are known to the Chinese by the name of Tan-hiang Shan (tahn heeahng shahn) or "Sandalwood Islands," where they bought sandalwood, sharks' fins and tortoise shells. Then they sailed for China, where all these things brought a high price. After purchasing tea with the money thus obtained, they returned to the United States.

The trade with China increased steadily, and several Americans proceeded to Canton. The wars between France and England proved of great assistance to American commerce. British ships were open to capture by French privateers, whereas American ships could safely proceed across any sea. At first the government at Washington did not think of protecting American citizens and interests in China, and for many years the United States government had no dealings with China. This gave the Chinese the idea that they could do with Americans as they pleased.

In 1819 the American ship Emily  lay at anchor in a Chinese port, when one of the sailors, named Terranova, threw a jar at a Chinese woman, and she fell overboard. It was afterwards proved that her own haste and carelessness were the direct cause. The district judge of Pwan-yu (pwahn-yoo) came on board, bringing with him a number of merchants and Chinese to act as interpreters, and the sailor was tried before this court. The American merchants, who had come to watch the trial, saw that the so-called interpreters did not understand the accused man, and they asked that Dr. Morrison, a fine Chinese scholar, who was present, should act as interpreter. This request was refused. The American merchants felt that they must submit to the laws of the country, with the result that the sailor was taken from the ship, sent to Canton and there strangled.

Although without government protection, our merchants increased our trade rapidly, but it was not until after the close of the first war between England and China that the United States made itself officially known to the Chinese government. Shortly after this so-called Opium War, Hon. Caleb Cushing was sent to China to make a treaty. This was signed at Wang-hia (wahng-heeah), July 3, 1844. In this treaty it was distinctly stated that our citizens should have all accommodations for churches, hospitals, and cemeteries. It was owing to this that missionaries secured the right to preach the Gospel in China.

It may interest you to hear what a prominent Chinese, Seu-ki-yu (shoo-kee-yoo) has to say about George Washington. He devoted some time to a study of what he called "the barbarian countries," and in 1848 published a work in two volumes, entitled "A General Glance at the Countries by the Sea." After describing the United States, he goes on to speak of our first President.

"Washington was born in the ninth year of the Emperor Yung Ching. His father died when he was but ten years of age. He was educated by his mother. While yet young he showed himself very intelligent in regard to civil and military affairs. He had great personal strength and courage."

Seu gives a good description of the events of Washington's life, and then expresses his admiration for him:

"In an address to Congress, Washington said that it would be a criminal ambition to obtain a kingdom for one's self, to leave to one's children. Honesty should distinguish those who are to be raised to this position in the nation. Surely, Washington was an extraordinary man. His successes as a soldier were more rapid than those of Shing and Kwang, and in personal courage he was greater than Tsau-pi (tsow-pee) and Liu-pang (leeoo-pahng). With the two-edged sword (of justice) he restored order over an area of several thousand miles. He refused to receive any reward in money. He worked to found a government by election. Patriotism like this is to be praised under the whole heavens. Truly, it reminds us of our own three great ancient dynasties. In conducting the government he fostered virtue, he avoided war, and succeeded in making his country greater than all other nations. I have seen his picture. His face shows great power of mind. Who does not agree that he has the character of an extraordinary man?"

In 1856 the second war broke out between China and England and France. President Buchanan sent Hon. William B. Reed to China to watch events and, if possible, to act as peacemaker. Mr. Reed arrived at Hongkong in the United States steamer Minnesota, on November 7, 1857. He found that he could do nothing, so the following year he went north, and signed a new treaty with China on June 18.

The British and French had taken the Taku (tah-koo) forts, at the mouth of the Pei-ho River, and then moved rapidly toward Tientsin, followed by the Minister of the United States. Two commissioners from the Emperor came to that city, and a new treaty was made with England and France.

Early in the summer of 1859 the Minister of the United States, as well as those of England, France, and Russia, arrived again at the mouth of the Pei-ho, to exchange the treaties. Two Chinese commissioners made their appearance, and told the ministers that the mouth of the Pei-ho was closed, and that, although they would be received at Peking, they must go there by another route. The Ministers of the United States and of Russia did so, and exchanged the treaties at the capital.

In 1867, Anson Burlingame was the United States Minister at Peking. During his six years' residence in that capital he had made himself respected and liked by the Chinese mandarins, and Prince Kung (koong), the head of the Foreign Office, asked Mr. Burlingame to visit the United States and Europe as Ambassador of China to obtain new treaties. Burlingame accepted, and left Peking on the 25th of November, 1867. He was accompanied by two high mandarins, with J. McLeary Brown and M. Deschamps as secretaries. There was some danger on the road from Peking to Tientsin, as the party was attacked by mounted robbers. From Tientsin they proceeded to Shanghai, and took the steamer for San Francisco. It was May 1868, before the party arrived at Washington, D.C.

William H. Seward, then Secretary of State, agreed upon a new treaty with China. This treaty was signed at Washington on the 28th of July, 1868.

The members of the embassy visited Niagara Falls, Boston, the City of New York, and other places of interest, and were well entertained. From the United States they went to England, where at first they were received coldly, but afterwards Mr. Burlingame succeeded in making a treaty. France, Prussia, and other European powers did the same.

When the news was sent across the Pacific of the discovery of gold in California in 1849, large numbers of Chinese came to the Pacific Coast. At first they were well received, but as more and more of them kept coming, there arose opposition to Chinese labor. After California was admitted as a State in the Union (1850), this opposition increased so much that Congress made a law forbidding the entrance of Chinese laborers into the United States. Since, however, Congress has no power to make laws which come into conflict with a treaty, an embassy was sent to Peking, asking that the treaty be changed so that the United States might regulate Chinese immigration. To this the Chinese government readily agreed.

What the British Ask of China

In Great Britain only a small part of the people are engaged in agriculture. Food of all kinds, therefore, has to be bought from other countries. Great Britain, however, having rich mines of coal and iron, is a great manufacturing country, that is, what are called raw materials, such as cotton, wool, hides, etc., are here made up into cotton and woolen goods, shoes, etc. Great Britain thus obtains food and raw materials from other countries, and in return sends to foreign markets her manufactured articles. The British merchant, therefore, is always looking out for a new market, that is, for countries where the people will buy his goods. He thinks that better and cheaper goods are made in England than anywhere else, and he is satisfied if he is given the same opportunities to trade as other nations. England asks of China a free market for trade, or what is called "The Open Door."

When British ships first appeared in the Pacific Ocean, the Portuguese, Spaniards, and Dutch were all equally anxious to trade with the Asiatic people. Each nation wanted this trade for itself, and whenever two or more ships of different nations came together, there was sure to be a fight. The victors killed the crew of the other ship and plundered it. Sometimes they burned the vessel, or kept it, if they had men enough to sail it. Whenever a ship was fortunate enough to get back to Europe with a cargo the owners made an enormous profit. Still, there was always the danger that their vessels might be burned or captured. A number of rich merchants formed a company for mutual protection, and asked the government to give them a charter. The government agreed, and the association was known as the East India Company. The company was permitted to make treaties with Indian princes; to build forts, and to hire soldiers; to take cannon on their ships, and to fight when it was necessary. In return, the company agreed to allow the government the use of its ships in case of war.

In the year 1615 the East India Company sent some ships to Amoy to open an agency, or factory, as it was called at that time, and twelve years later an effort was made to open a market at Canton. In 1637 a fleet, under command of Captain Weddell, was sent to China, and anchored off Macao (mah-cow). The captain sent some of his officers to Canton. When they returned, they said so much of the wealth of that city that Weddell was anxious to take his ships there to trade. He sailed up the river as far as the forts, and sent a written request to the Chinese commandant, asking permission to go on to Canton. The commandant replied that he would answer in a week. But the Portuguese, who did not like to see the British secure a share of their trade, influenced the Chinese against them, and the commandant thought that it was best to drive them away. So he fired upon one of the ships' boats, which was returning to the vessel with drinking water for the sailors.

This made Weddell very angry, so he weighed anchor, took his ships up the river, anchored off the forts and the castle, and fired a broadside to such effect that in two or three hours the Chinese had had enough. The British landed some men, and the Chinese soldiers ran away without trying to defend the castle. The sailors entered and hoisted the British flag. All the guns were taken from the forts and sent aboard, and the castle was set on fire. Two large junks, or trading vessels, were captured, and the captain of a smaller one was hired to take a letter to the Governor of Canton. In this letter Weddell complained of the action of the commandant. The governor told Weddell that if he would return the guns and the junks, he might have permission to trade. Weddell agreed, and, loading his ships with Chinese goods, he sailed away.

Chinese Sailboats


Although the English had obtained permission to trade at Canton, there was no love or friendship between them and the Chinese. Chinese merchants did not understand the English way of doing business, and the English did not try to learn the Chinese way. The East India Company cared only to make money, and did not always deal justly, as the following instance will show:

Among the merchants employed by the Company was a man named Flint, who had studied the Chinese language so that he could read and write it. In 1759 the Company's factory at Ningpo was destroyed and Flint was sent there to have it rebuilt. When he arrived at Ningpo, he found that the governor had forbidden the Chinese to have anything to do with foreigners. Seeing that he could do nothing there, Flint went on to Tientsin, and from there addressed a complaint to the Emperor. When the Emperor received it, he appointed a high officer to go with Flint back to Canton, and to make a report. When they arrived at Canton, Flint returned to the factory, where he was told that everything had been settled.

Flint's going to Tientsin had angered the governor, who would have been severely punished by the Emperor, if he had not bribed the officer with a large sum of money to make a false report. Flint, accordingly, was called to the governor's office, where he was taken prisoner, after he had been struck repeatedly. He was then sent to a place near Macao, where he was kept in jail for two years and a half. The poor man, who was innocent, and who had only tried to do his duty, wrote to the Company that he would be set free if $1,250 was paid to the governor. But the Company refused to pay this sum for his release.

The Chinese, in their dealings with foreigners, act upon the following rule: "The Barbarians are like beasts, and can not be ruled on the same principles as the civilized Chinese. If anyone should try to control them by the great principles of reason, it would lead to nothing but confusion. The ancient emperors well understood this, and, therefore, ruled the barbarians by misrule; therefore, to rule the barbarians by misrule is the true and best way to rule them."

A recent English writer says: "The Chinese certainly saw but little of the better side of the strangers from the West, whether hailing from Europe or America. To them the foreigner was a man thinking of nothing but gain by trade, gain at any price; a coarse and vicious-tempered being, with no appreciation of Chinese philosophy, or literature, or history, and not even the most elementary acquaintance with Chinese etiquette."

An American author, who lived many years in China, speaking of the East India Company, says: "During that long time, even if they had only paid an interpreter in their agency, who, besides attending to his office duties, could have translated books on geography, astronomy, and other sciences into Chinese, the Chinese would have a far better opinion of the foreigners than now."

The Chinese complained constantly of the conduct of the sailors when ashore. In those days a voyage to China sometimes lasted more than a year. All that time the sailors were confined in the ship; they had to be up at all hours of the day or night, and in all sorts of weather, and their food was very poor. Ship biscuits, or hard tack as it is called, with salt beef and pork, was all that they received. When these men, at the end of a voyage, were allowed to go ashore, they were often quarrelsome and hard to control. This caused many quarrels between the Chinese officers and the British.

The general law in China is: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life." That is, if one person kills another, the man who committed the crime must die. Yet the laws in China are not cruel, for every sentence of death must be submitted to the Emperor, who alone can order an execution.

In 1784, the Lady Hughes, a British ship, at anchor near where the city of Hongkong now stands, fired a salute, and a Chinese was accidentally killed by a ball carelessly left in one of the guns. The Chinese officers demanded that the gunner should be surrendered to them, but this the British refused to do. Mr. Smith, the supercargo, or merchant, of the ship, shortly afterwards went ashore, when he was seized and put in prison. The Chinese refused to set him free unless the captain gave up the gunner. The gunner accordingly was sent into the city, where he was arrested at once, and Mr. Smith was released. The gunner was tried in a Chinese court, although he could not understand a word of the language, nor did the judge understand English. He was kept in jail six weeks, when the order arrived from the Emperor and the unfortunate man was strangled.

Another instance shows how Chinese officers evade the law. In 1807 a party of sailors were jeered at by a mob of Chinese at Canton; a scuffle followed, and one of the Chinese was killed by a blow from the fist of a sailor. The Lion, a British man-of-war, being in port, the captain called a court. The man who struck the blow could not be found, but one of the sailors, named Edward Sheen, was placed under arrest. This satisfied the Chinese until the ship was going to sail. They then demanded that the man be given up to them, but the captain of the Lion  refused to surrender him. When the ship had sailed away, the Chinese officers sent a report to Peking. They said that the sailor had opened a window and accidentally dropped a stick upon the head of the deceased, and so killed him. They added that they had examined the sailor, and fined him twenty dollars to pay the funeral expenses. This shows that the Chinese sometimes have a lively imagination and little regard for the truth.

During all the years that the East India Company traded at Canton there were complaints on both sides, and constant misunderstandings. The charter expired in 1834, and was not renewed. After that British trade in China was to be managed by an officer appointed by the Crown, and Lord Napier was appointed chief superintendent.

First War Between Great Britain and China

Lord Napier had no easy task before him. The British government had ordered him "to report by letter to the governor;" to be careful not to hurt the Chinese in their feelings, and to try to open new ports for trade.

(lee), the governor or viceroy, did not, and could not, understand that it was possible for any nation on earth to think itself the equal of China; nor could he understand how any king or emperor dared to call himself the equal of the Son of Heaven. All intercourse with the "outside barbarians" had been conducted upon this understanding. Lord Napier, on the other hand, would not humble the King of England, whom he represented, and he determined to follow out his orders, just as the Chinese governor was fully prepared to execute the orders from Peking.

Lord Napier upon his arrival at Canton sent a letter to the governor, which the governor would not receive. Lü thought it outrageous that a barbarian should dare to send a letter to one who represented the Emperor. He was more angry still when he heard that the letter was inscribed Ta Ying Kwoh (tah ying kwoh), the "Great English Nation." Hence, from the very first, Lord Napier could not  carry out his orders, and he finally withdrew to Macao, where he died.

The most profitable trade at Canton, at this time, was in opium. As early as the year 1800 the government at Peking had forbidden its use and importation. But the profits from its sale were so large that the people resorted to smuggling, that is, bringing it into the country unknown to the officers, and so opium continued to be imported in large quantities. It is certain that many Chinese officers whose duty it was to prevent opium from coming into the country profited by this smuggling.

This evil was seriously considered by the government. Some officers favored making laws under which the drug could be brought into China, but making it so expensive that the people would not be able to buy it; other officers thought that it should not be brought into the country at all.

Smoking Opium


Captain Elliot, the British superintendent of trade, who succeeded Lord Napier, was personally opposed to the trade in opium, and hoped that it might be regulated by law. But the British merchants were unwilling to give up the profitable trade in the drug, and Captain Elliot's attitude brought down upon him the abuse of certain English newspapers. The government at Peking now took a firm stand.

In February, 1837, Captain Elliot wrote to Admiral Capel, in India, asking him to send a man-of-war to China. The sloop-of-war Raleigh  arrived, and was sent to Foo-chow to secure the release of the crew of the opium brig Fairy, who had been detained there for some months. This was done. In the fall of the same year the Admiral received orders to proceed to China.

The opium was carried to China by British merchants, and sold to the receiving-ships at Lin-tin, where the Chinese officers could not come, and from there sold to the smugglers. The governor received orders from Peking to stop this, and he so informed Captain Elliot. The superintendent sent word to this effect to London, but received no satisfactory reply.

The government at Peking had now firmly decided to suppress the opium trade, and the governor of Canton received orders which he dared not disobey. In order to frighten the foreigners at Canton, he ordered a Chinese merchant convicted of opium selling to be executed in front of the factories. A large crowd collected, and the foreigners who tried to drive these people away were themselves attacked.

Captain Elliot arrived the same evening, and urged the British merchants to cease the opium trade. He wrote to the British at Canton, saying that "this course of traffic was rapidly staining the British character with deep disgrace." The government at Peking had determined that the opium trade should cease, and sent Lin Tseh-su (lin tsay-soo) to Canton to execute the law. He arrived on the 10th of March, 1839.

On the 18th of that month the new governor notified the foreigners to give up every pound of opium in the store-ships, and to give bonds that they would bring no more to China, on penalty of death. The foreigners met at the Chamber of Commerce, and replied that they would send a final answer in four days, and added "that the foreigners at Canton have almost agreed that they will have nothing further to do with the opium trade."

At ten o'clock some Chinese merchants came and said that if the opium was not given up at once they would all be beheaded. The foreigners delivered 1,037 chests, to be given to the governor. In the afternoon Lin sent for Mr. Dent, a leading British merchant, to meet him at the city gates. Dent replied that he would come, if the governor would give him a safe-warrant, that is, a paper declaring that he would be permitted to return. The next morning another order came for Dent. The foreigners held a meeting at Dent's house, and it was resolved that he should not go without a safe-warrant. The Chinese officers, however, came to Dent's house, and he told them that if they wanted to take him by force he could not resist, but he would not go without a safe-warrant.

It is certain that the governor intended to hold Dent as a hostage for the delivery of the opium, and the stopping of the trade in that drug. Captain Elliot sent a note to Lin asking him if he meant to make war. He also ordered all British ships, opium as well as others; to go to Hongkong, and to prepare to resist any attack by the Chinese.

Lin at once ordered a fleet of armed boats upon the river to prevent the foreigners from leaving Canton, and ordered all their native servants to leave them. This was done, and when evening came, only the foreigners, numbering about two hundred and seventy-five in all, were left in the factory. Guards were placed around it, and all was excitement.

On the 25th most of the foreign merchants signed a paper promising never to deal in opium again. Captain Elliot then requested that their servants be permitted to return. The governor replied that this could not be done until the opium was given up. No native was allowed to bring food or water; no letters could be sent or received. The foreigners were prisoners in their own houses.

Lin then sent a letter to Captain Elliot, urging him to give up the opium, and on the 27th of March the British superintendent ordered all English merchants to deliver to the governor all the opium they had, and making his government responsible for their losses. This was done, and 20,283 chests of opium were given up to the Chinese, who then allowed some of the native servants to return, and sent in a supply of sheep, pigs, chickens, and other provisions.

The opium was destroyed by orders from Peking. Trenches were dug, and the opium, mixed with lime and salt water, was drawn off into a creek. One of the Chinese, who was caught stealing a small quantity, was beheaded on the spot. The year 1839 passed, and angry feelings continued on both sides. Fresh cargoes of opium, which had left India before these events were known, continued to arrive, and the merchants sold them to those of other nations, so that they were carried by vessels not under the British flag. More trouble occurred as the result of a fight between some British sailors and the Chinese, in which one of the latter was killed. Captain Elliot and the British merchants had withdrawn to Hongkong. Lin saw that they were too strong to be driven away, and he ordered the people not to sell them any provisions. Several small fights now occurred, but there was, as yet, no war.

When war was declared by England in 1840, the British government declared that it was "to obtain reparation for insults and injuries offered to the British superintendent and subjects; to obtain payment for the losses which the merchants had suffered under threats of violence, and to get security that persons and property trading with China should in future be protected from insult and injury, and trade maintained upon a proper footing."

The war which followed is known as the Opium War. It was said at the time that the Chinese believed that the English fought only because they wanted to sell opium. But that was not so. The time had come when the Chinese must be taught that their Tien-tsz' was not the ruler of the whole earth, and that there was another civilization besides that of Confucius.

The Chinese, who had felt that war would follow these troubles, had begun to construct and repair forts. The English forces under Sir Gordon Bremer arrived off Macao, June 22, 1841. Whenever the Chinese were behind entrenchments they fought well, but they could not face a hand-to-hand battle. After taking the Island of Chu-san (choosahn), the English fleet sailed for the Pei-ho River, where it anchored, August 11th. Ki-shen (kee-shen), the governor of Pe-chih-li, received a letter from Admiral Elliot, and asked for ten days delay, that it might be placed before the Emperor. This was granted, and the fleet sailed to Liao-tung to secure provisions. They returned to the Pei-ho on the 27th, and on the 30th a meeting took place between Ki-shen and Admiral Elliot. After several meetings it was arranged that Ki-shen should meet Admiral Elliot again at Canton. The fleet sailed for Chu-san on the 15th of September.

The ships arrived off Macao on November 29th, and Admiral Elliot at once sent a steamer to the forts with a message for Ki-shen. The steamer was fired upon, but Ki-shen apologized. It was found that no terms could be agreed upon, and Admiral Elliot moved up the river and took two forts. Ki-shen then proposed a truce, and after several meetings terms of peace were agreed upon. They included the cession of the island and harbor of Hongkong to the British, the payment of six million dollars, direct intercourse with Peking upon equal footing, and the resumption of trade at Canton.

The Emperor at Peking was very angry when this treaty was sent to him, and would not sign it. On the 27th of January he issued orders to resume the war. On the 26th of February the forts protecting Canton were attacked and taken by the English, and on March 3rd the fleet was off Canton. On the 10th a truce was agreed to, and trade was resumed. But in May the Chinese intended treachery. Admiral Elliot discovered this, and on the 21st notified all foreigners to go aboard ship. When the Chinese attacked the factory, they found only two Americans, named Morse and Coolidge, and a boat's crew of the American ship Morrison. They were taken prisoners.

On the 24th the land and naval forces under Sir Hugh Gough and Sir Fleming Senhouse arrived from Hongkong and began to besiege the city. The factories were taken, and Mr. Morse and the other American prisoners set free, after an unpleasant experience of sixty hours. Before the attack upon the city could be made, the Chinese agreed to pay $6,000,000, and withdrew their troops sixty miles from the city. Two days after the truce was signed, a force of nearly fifteen thousand Chinese, who called themselves "patriot soldiers," advanced upon 500 British. Sir Hugh Gough ordered an attack, and soon the army of 15,000 was flying before the handful of foreigners. A party of Sepoys, or Indian troops, 90 strong, was attacked by a large force of Chinese. The Sepoys fought for three hours before they were relieved; they lost only one man and fourteen wounded.

After retaking the Island of Chu-san, the British force moved up the Yang tsz', and the Emperor issued orders to kill all the barbarians. Chinese troops were raised everywhere, but were defeated wherever the British met them.

On the 11th of August Nanking was invested. The Chinese officers had made several attempts to make peace, to which Sir Henry Pottinger, who represented the British government, replied that he would meet them if they could show credentials; that is, papers from the Emperor showing that they had power to sign a treaty. On the night of the 14th four high mandarins, among whom was Ki-ying (kee-ying), sent a letter to Sir Henry asking for a meeting in the morning. The Chinese and British met on the 15th, and the treaty of peace was discussed.

Chinese Mandarin


On the 29th the treaty was signed. The Chinese government was to pay twenty-one millions of dollars by the end of 1845; the ports of Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai were to be thrown open to British trade and residence; the Island of Hongkong was to be ceded to the British; all British prisoners were to be released; all Chinese in the service of the British were to be pardoned; correspondence between the two nations was hereafter to be conducted on terms of perfect equality. On the 15th of September the Emperor's ratification was received, and the war was ended.

The Tae-Ping Rebellion

In 1853 a riot broke out in China ; in a very short time it grew into an insurrection, and threatened to expand into a revolution. Before order was restored millions of people had perished, and many thriving towns and villages had become blackened ruins. It brought into prominence Li Hung Chang, the man who often promoted the progress of China, and as often opposed it.

Siu-tshuen (see-oo tshoo-en) was born in 1813, in the Hwa (hwhah) district of Kwang-tung. It is situated in a level, fertile, rice-growing region near Canton, with the White Cloud Mountains on the south, and the Nan-ling range on the north.

The boy's family name was Hung. Every inhabitant of the village where he lived was a Hung, and the village might have been called Hungborough. Siu's father was a village elder.

Would you like to see Siu's house? It was of one story, built of mud in a wooden frame, and covered with tiles. A narrow door opened from the street into the hall, showing a kitchen and some sleeping rooms on either side. Opposite the door was a sitting room. The house was not more than thirty-five or forty feet deep, and twelve or fifteen wide. In it lived grandparents, parents, and children, a buffalo, a few pigs, some fowls and a couple of dogs. Still there was room enough for half-a-dozen idols, but there was no room left for the children to play.

Young Siu had all the fun he wished on the edge of a mud hole or small pond in front of the village, used by the ducks, dogs, pigs and other animals as a sort of common. When he had reached his fourth year, one of the older boys accidentally pushed him into the water, where it was beyond his depth, and he might have been drowned, had not another boy, seeing his queue floating, pulled him out. His father made him a sort of life-preserver, in the shape of a hollow gourd, which he fastened behind his son's back. When Siu showed himself in such an unusual article of dress, the boys shouted "Gourd boy! Gourd boy!" The child ran home, and pleaded with his father to be relieved of the gourd. His request was granted after a bamboo had been applied to his back. Siu never forgot that first whipping. He may not have liked it at the time, but in after years he always said that it did him good.

Siu was the youngest son. The other boys were helping their father in the field, but Siu was to be a scholar and an officer. When he was seven years old his father made a contract with the village schoolmaster, Ting-jin, to teach the boy for one year, whereby he agreed to pay two dollars in money, fifty pounds of rice, and one and one-third pounds of tea, salt, lard, and lamp oil. Ting-jin was to supply the necessary paper, ink, and brushes.

Ting-jin was one of the ten thousand who had passed the examination for the first degree, but could not advance beyond it. He was satisfied to make his living by teaching as he had been taught, using the bamboo cane not more than he thought necessary. Siu continued to go to school for three years, when his mother died.

After six months' mourning, the boy resumed his studies. When he was eleven years old, Ting began to tell him the meaning of the characters which he had committed to memory. Siu was kept at school until he was fifteen, when his father needed his help in the field.

In China everybody works, especially among the peasants, and Siu had to do his share. He was selected, however, to herd the cows and buffaloes of the village, and while engaged in this business he kept up his studies.

His evident desire to learn attracted the attention of the elders of the Hung clan. They met, and decided to give him an opportunity for further study. They subscribed a small sum of money, sufficient for Siu's expenses. So when he was sixteen years old, Siu left on foot for the chief town of the district where he resided, and presented himself for the first preparatory examination. After giving his name, his father's, and his grandfather's, as well as his place of residence, he was assigned a seat. There were four or five hundred boys and men in the hall. In the evening Siu handed in his compositions, and among the names of the approved writers he was proud to hear his own. He was now a "hien ming," which means having a name in the village.

Following up this success, Siu went to the chief city in the department, and came out a "fu ming," that is, he had a name in the department. But his luck left him at the provincial examination at Canton. He returned home with too much learning to earn his living by labor, and not enough to earn it with his brains.

Once again the Hung clan came to Siu's assistance, and started a school. Thus he passed some years, and his father procured a wife for him. After this he opened another school in a village about ten miles distant, but dutifully left his wife at home to assist his parents.

In 1833 Siu once more made his way to Canton to try to pass the examination. Arriving a few days before the time set, he was walking in the street, when, on passing a fortune teller's stand, he thought that he would consult him upon the result of his journey. He did so, and received the answer:—"You will succeed; you will be ill; my respects to your virtuous father."

This answer contained both sweet and bitter, but, on the whole, Siu felt happy. As he was strolling along the street he met Liang A-fah (leeahng ah-fah), a Christian Chinese who was distributing tracts. Siu was much surprised to see his friend employed in this way, but he took several of the tracts without paying anything for them.

Siu failed again in his examination, and returned home. He read the tracts, but not being able to understand them, put them on his shelf. There they remained for about ten years. Again Siu went to Canton, only to fail; and when he returned home, he fell ill.

Brain fever set in, and brought him to the brink of the grave. When he recovered, he had a vision or dream, which was deeply impressed upon his mind. He resumed school work in his own village, and in due time he presented himself again at the examination hall at Canton. But he was doomed to disappointment.

Soon after his return home, he was visited by a relative of the Li family, who, happening to see the tracts upon the bookshelf, asked leave to read them. When Li returned them he remarked that their teaching was quite different. from that of Confucius. This remark induced Siu to read them again, and he became convinced that he was chosen from heaven to destroy the idols, and to convert the people. Many believed in him, and he ordered a demon-killing sword to be made.

His unbelief in Confucius caused him to lose his pupils, and Siu made up his mind to visit some friends in Kwangsi. On his way he increased his number of believers, and after a year he returned home and published several essays. Upon being told that there was a white man at Canton preaching almost the same doctrine, Siu went to that city and introduced himself to Rev. I.J. Roberts, an American missionary. Siu was then about thirty-four years old. After studying for some time, he applied for a position as assistant to the missionary. This request was declined, and Siu decided to visit his relatives in Kwang-si. Upon his arrival he found the number of his followers increased to such an extent that he, with their help, began to destroy idols. When the officers prepared to punish him, he collected his men and began to march toward Kwang-tung.

The weakness of the governors added to his strength, and he declared war upon the Manchu, calling himself Tae-Ping Wang, or King of the Great Ping dynasty. He then moved northward, to the Yang-tsz', where he repeated his successes. After he had taken Nanking, he prepared to descend the river. An American named Ward offered to protect the trembling Chinese merchants at Shanghai against the Tae-Ping, if they would subscribe the necessary money. They agreed, and Ward engaged some one hundred and fifty foreigners, and went up the river to meet the rebels. Ward, who was recklessly daring, checked the advance of the Tae-Ping. With the assistance of Li Hung Chang, of whom you will hear later, he enlisted Chinese, and laid the foundation of the "Ever-Victorious Army." Always in the heat of the battle, he was severely wounded, and died. Major Gordon, a British officer, then took command of the imperial army, and gradually closed in on Siu. At last the Tae-Ping surrendered, and the leaders were beheaded by order of Li Hung Chang.



This rebellion cost China millions in men and money. It should have taught the value of discipline, but as soon as peace was restored the old careless order of things was continued.

How a Poor Boy Made a Name

In 1842 a fourteen-year-old boy arrived at Macao from England. His name was Harry Parkes, and he was an orphan. He had taken the long journey from England to China in order to join his sister, who was living there as the wife of a missionary, the Reverend Mr. Lockhart.

After he had arrived, his brother-in-law gave him an opportunity to study Chinese. Harry studied hard, so hard that when the first war with England broke out, he was engaged to go with the fleet and help in the buying of provisions. By that time Harry knew enough Chinese to make himself understood by the country people.

Of course, Harry thought it fun to see the fighting, and was only sorry sometimes that he could not carry a gun. He was permitted to be present when Sir Henry Pottinger met the Chinese to agree upon terms of peace; and he was also present when the treaty was signed.

When Hongkong was opened to the British, Harry was sent there as interpreter in the service of the government. He kept up his studies, and did so well that he very soon understood the Chinese characters.

After Harry had learned Chinese well, he was appointed consul. He then secured leave of absence, and visited England, where he married. When he returned to China with his wife he stopped at Siam, and there made a treaty with the king on behalf of England.

When Harry came to Canton as consul he found things in a bad condition. The Chinese government would not carry out the terms of the treaty. Foreigners were not allowed to enter the city, and were treated as "outside barbarians" and slaves. Parkes was not the man to submit to such treatment. He wrote a strong letter to the governor, and when he received an insolent reply, he placed the matter in the hands of the British admiral.

The admiral, Sir Michael Seymour, made his way to the Yamen of Governor Yeh, but did not succeed in seeing the governor. In the year 1856 another difficulty arose. The Chinese seized a "lorcha," or schooner, flying the British flag, and this was made a pretext to begin a second war.

The English fleet under Admiral Seymour had taken some of the forts on the river at Canton, and on the 29th of December, 1857, had bombarded and captured that city. The Chinese officers fled, and Harry Parkes immediately took measures to maintain law and order. For two years Canton had a just and reasonable government, which the Chinese people of that city appreciated.

Lord Elgin was appointed by the English government to go to China, and try to arrange terms for a peace that would be lasting. The British understood how hard it was for the Son of Heaven at Peking to give up the idea that he was the ruler of the whole world, and to receive the ambassadors of other nations as his equals. But the British felt that if trade with China was to continue, it would be necessary to transact business at Peking, and not at one of the provincial capitals.

There was an alliance at this time between England and France, and the two countries decided to act together in forcing China to respect the treaties.

Taku Forts


The combined fleets of England and France sailed north to the Pei-ho River. Two Chinese officers were sent to meet the British and French ambassadors, but when their papers were examined it was found that they had no power to make treaties. A letter was sent to the Emperor that, if no higher officers were sent, the Taku forts at the entrance of the river would be taken. When no answer came to this letter, the forts were attacked and taken, after two hours hard fighting, in August, 1860. The British and French troops then moved rapidly upon Tientsin, which they captured. In spite of the protests of the Emperor, a land force of the allies now advanced on Peking.

What was our friend Harry Parkes doing all this time? He had his hands full at Canton. But when the British government determined to send an army inland, a man was needed who understood China and the Chinese, and Harry Parkes was ordered to go with Lord Elgin as interpreter.

An immense army under Seng-ko-ling-sing lay between Tientsin and the capital. The British and French advanced, driving the Chinese before them, and when they were nearly half-way, a flag of truce was sent by the Chinese, who asked for a meeting to arrange terms of peace. Harry Parkes and some Sepoys were sent forward to find quarters for the ambassadors. After making all arrangements, Harry saw that it was too late to return to camp that night. The following day he and his companions, among whom was the correspondent of the London Times, were riding back to their camp, when Harry noticed a band of Chinese horsemen galloping toward them. Before they could do anything, they were surrounded and taken prisoners. They were dragged before a Chinese officer, probably Seng-koling-sing himself, and ordered to kow-tow. Harry refused to do so, and said that he was there under a flag of truce, and that the British would punish them severely. After the Chinese officers had consulted together, the prisoners were placed into covered carts and taken to Peking. At last the carts stopped, and, stiff and sore, they were ordered to get out. They did so, and Harry almost gave up hope when he read: "Board of Punishment" upon the building where the carts had stopped. They were taken in and put into a filthy room, occupied by criminals and lepers. After being kept in this place for some days, Harry was brought before some Chinese officers. He offended these officers deeply when, referring to England's Queen, he gave her the title which the Chinese thought belonged only to their Emperor. They used threats to make him confess that his Queen was of a lower rank, but Harry held his ground. He was taken back to prison, and loaded with chains.

After being brought several times before the officers, and maintaining the same brave attitude, he was asked if he would write a letter to Lord Elgin, asking him to stop the advance upon Peking. He replied that he could not do so. He was threatened with death if he refused, and he answered that if he was put to death, the British would surely avenge him. At last, after one of these examinations, he was taken to better quarters, and his chains were removed.

Lord Elgin had, of course, missed his interpreter, and, suspecting treachery, had broken off the negotiations, and notified the Chinese government that, if anything happened to Harry Parkes, he would hold that government responsible. The British and French defeated Seng-ko-ling-sing, and marched upon Peking. Hsien-Feng, the emperor, fled, and once more Harry was called before the officers.

When they saw that they could not persuade him to do anything but his duty, they told him that they would send him out of Peking, but Harry refused to go without his companions. A few days later a covered cart was brought to the door. He and the others were put in, and carried away. After a long ride, they were ordered out, and found that they were in sight of the British camp.

Harry learned soon afterwards that he owed his escape to Prince Kung, who had managed to send him out of Peking fifteen minutes before the time when orders would arrive from the Emperor to put him and his companions to death.

With their guns trained upon the walls of Peking, and one of the gates of the capital in their possession, the ambassadors demanded and obtained the right to reside at Peking and to be received by the Emperor without kow-towing. Other concessions were made: new ports were to be opened to foreigners,—Chefoo and Tientsin in the north, New-chwang in Manchuria, Swatow on the south coast of China, and two in the Island of Formosa. Missionaries were to have the right to live in any part of the eighteen provinces, and all foreigners were to be free to travel through China with a passport. In addition to this, China was to pay the cost of the war.

To punish the Chinese for their treachery, the Summer Palace was burned down before the treaty was signed, as a sign that they had been defeated. A good many people thought that this was wrong. A Russian writer says: "The opinion that during the last Anglo-French war with China the Europeans, and not the Chinese, were defeated, is universal throughout the whole of Inner Asia, wherever we traveled. Certainly, to the Asiatic mind, an enemy who appears beneath the walls of a hostile city and does not destroy it, is no victor, but rather the defeated party. The Chinese government took advantage of this circumstance to spread the report among their faithful subjects of their victory over the Europeans. Yet they can scarcely have suppressed the knowledge of the destruction of the Emperor's summer palace, and that just act of the English chiefs, which caused such an unreasonable indignation, finds a new justification in the circumstances here stated."

Queen Victoria admired Harry Parkes' loyalty and courage. He was knighted, and in 1863 was sent to Japan as Minister of Great Britain. No man ever did more for Japan as well as for England than Sir Harry during the eighteen years of his residence in Tokyo. He was then made Minister to Peking, where he died. His body was taken to England, and buried in Westminster Abbey. A statue of him was erected at Shanghai.

Several years after Parkes' death a foreigner was traveling in the interior of China in a hired boat. He was surprised to notice that, wherever he stopped, mandarins came and kow-towed before him, and sent presents. At last he asked the owner of the boat the reason for this. The man pointed to a dirty little flag with some Chinese characters on it, that was hung out on the boat, and said that it was a first-class flag. He had painted on the flag the characters by which Sir Harry Parkes was known in China, and, although he had been dead for some time, his name still inspired deep respect in the Chinese.

Li Hung Chang

Of all the Chinese officers, not one is so well known in America or Europe as the man whose name appears at the head of this chapter. He was born in Hu-nan in the year 1818, and was one of those few who successfully passed the three examinations. His parents belonged to the middle class, and his rise was certainly not due to the corrupt use of money.

Li Hung Chang


He first attracted notice during the Tae-Ping rebellion by his great courage. At a time when every official sent to meet the rebels displayed arrant cowardice, Li Hung Chang showed great personal daring. He was soon convinced that European discipline and guns were better than the twenty-century-old tactics of China, and it was he who first engaged Ward and afterwards Gordon, to lead the imperial troops in the Tae-Ping rebellion. Thus, when comparatively a young man, he was brought into contact with foreigners. He studied them closely, more, however, to find out their weak points, than in order to profit by their experience. His first real lesson of the difference between a foreign gentleman and a Chinese nearly cost him his life.

Gordon, or "Chinese Gordon," as he is best known, had so hemmed in the chiefs of the Tae-Pings that no escape was possible. He was unwilling to shed unnecessary blood, and, knowing that desperate men will do desperate things, he received their surrender, promising that their lives would be spared. The chiefs were invited by Li Hung Chang to his houseboat. There were nine of them, and, trusting in Gordon's word, they came. Soon after nine headless bodies were seen floating down the river. When Gordon heard of this murder he hunted for Li for a whole day with a loaded revolver, but he could not find him. Gordon was so indignant that, if he had found Li, he would have killed him on the spot.

But Li kept out of his way, and, thinking to appease him, asked the Emperor to make Gordon a high Chinese officer, and to reward him with a large sum of money. The Emperor agreed, and sent two high officers with 50,000 taels (about $75,000) to Gordon. When they arrived and made their business known to him, he was so angry at them for thinking that money would satisfy his feeling of honor, that he caned the astonished officers out of his house, and had the money thrown out after them. Li Hung Chang afterwards pleaded that he had not given instructions to Gordon to pledge his word to the Tae-Ping chiefs. But Gordon replied that he acted for Li Hung Chang, and that his word must not be broken. It was many years before Gordon saw Li Hung Chang again.

As you have read in the last chapter, the British and French had compelled the government at Peking to admit foreign ambassadors to the capital, and to the presence of the Tien-tsz' without kow-towing. Hsien-Feng, the emperor at that time, had fled to Yeh-ho or Hot Springs, where he had a summer palace. He did not return to the capital, but died there the following year. (1861.) The Empress, his widow, had a little baby daughter; but the Chinese do not want girls on the throne. Another of Hsien-Feng's wives had a three-year-old son, and he was the heir. Some of the Chinese officers wanted to kidnap the boy, so that they could rule until he became of age. But the mother heard of the plot, and, with the Empress and her son, fled to Peking, where they sought the help of the late Emperor's brother, Prince Kung, the same who had saved the life of Harry Parkes. Prince Kung began an investigation, with the result that the treacherous officers were arrested and beheaded. The little boy had been proclaimed Emperor under the name of "Fortunate Union." Soon after, the widowed Empress and the Emperor's mother were established in the immense imperial palace at Peking, called the Purple Forbidden City. By Chinese law the baby boy belonged to the Empress, but the mother would not give him up. It was, therefore, agreed that the two ladies should be joint guardians of the boy, and act together as regents until he was of age. The boy's title was then changed to Tung-Chih (toong-chee), which means "United Rule." The Dowager-Empress was proclaimed Empress of the East, and the mother of the boy received the title of Tsze Hsi An (tsay hsee ahn), or "Mother of the Sovereign." Soon after she received another title, that of Empress of the West.

You will notice that the mother of the boy Tung-Chih, in acting as she did, defied the laws of China. In China she had no real standing. The law gave her child to the widow of the Emperor. To obtain the position she did shows what a strong-minded woman this Tsze Hsi An was, even at that time, more than forty years ago. She had not the least education, could not even read or write, for Chinese girls are not taught that way. Thus, at a time when China was entering upon a new chapter of its history, it was a woman who determined much of what that history should be.

The Ministers of the United States, England, France and Russia arrived at Peking, and after some difficulty, bought or rented temples under the wall dividing the Tartar City from the quarter occupied by the Chinese. This street was thereafter known as Legation Street. The ministers were ordered to give their credentials, as the letters from their governments are called, into the hands of the Emperor. But how could they, when the Emperor was a baby? Nor could they give them into the hands of the regents, for they were women, and Chinese law forbids any man, except the husband and members of the family to speak to a woman.

The Tsze Hsi An did what she could to avoid carrying out the treaties. The foreign ministers wanted order restored first of all, and tried to live on amicable terms with the Chinese. But the Chinese ascribed their actions to fear of the wrath of the great Middle Kingdom, and thus all the results of the war with China were lost.

Li Hung Chang had kept 30,000 men of Gordon's army in his pay, and when, in 1872, he was promoted as Viceroy of Pe-chih-li, he ordered his army northward, and took up his quarters at Tientsin, which was no an open port, instead of Pao-Ten-fu (pah-oh teng-foo), the capital of the province; for among his other duties, he was to advise upon the dealings with the barbarians.

The Tsung-li Yamen, or Foreign Office, had been established in 1861. At first it may have been, and probably was, intended to act as a Department of State, with power to carry on China's business with foreign nations. But when the Chinese saw that the foreign ministers took no advantage of their position, all its power was taken away, and it was simply a board, to hear what the barbarians might have to say. After its members had made a report, Li Hung Chang's advice was asked and generally followed. At this time a dispute arose between China and Japan. A Japanese junk had been wrecked on the coast of Formosa, and the government at Tokyo demanded satisfaction. China denied that it had any power over the island, whereupon the Japanese undertook to punish the islanders, and sent a small army to Formosa. China then claimed the island, and war seemed certain, but it was averted through the influence of the British Minister at Peking.

In the same year Tung-Chih came of age, and Tsze Hsi An withdrew behind the screen. The foreign ministers insisted upon carrying out their orders, and, after much objection, they were finally admitted before Tung-Chih in 1873, but only in the Hall of Tribute. They found this out after it was too late to insist upon being received in a more fitting manner.

In 1875 Tung-Chih died. Tsze Hsi An was now no longer mother of the sovereign, and had not a shadow of a claim upon the regency. But she had tasted the sweets of power, and was not the woman to give them up without a struggle. She at once called a family council of the princes friendly to her, and by her advice Prince Chung, the brother of the late Emperor Hsien-Feng, consented that his three-year-old son, Tsai-tien (tsie-teen) should be proclaimed emperor under the title of Kuang Hsu (kwahng hsoo), or "Illustrious Successor."

Li Hung Chang was notified and moved his Ever-Victorious Army toward Peking. This had the effect of stopping all opposition, even when Tsze Hsi An gravely announced that her late husband, dead these fourteen years, had adopted the three-year-old child by "posthumous act," that is, by an act after his death.

If this posthumous act was recognized, she was as much Tsze Hsi An as she was before, and Li Hung Chang had prevented opposition. From that time a strong friendship commenced between them. The Viceroy, as he was now called, was from this time really Secretary of State, and it was no easy position. He, alone among all the princes and high officers of China, did know something of the power of foreign nations, and it was owing to the friendship of Tsze Hsi An that he was not beheaded long ago.

In 1876 there was trouble again with Japan. This time it was about Korea. That country had insulted the Japanese, perhaps trusting to the assistance of China. But neither Li Hung Chang nor the Tsze Hsi An had any liking for war. A treaty was signed at Tientsin in which China declared that it had no power over Korea. There was another dispute about the Loo-Choo Islands. It was submitted to General U. S. Grant, when he visited China in 1878. Grant advised that the islands should be divided between China and Japan. Both refused to do this, and Japan settled the question by taking all the islands.

In 1883 there was a quarrel with France, and war followed the next year. Although the French were victorious, the Chinese fought better than they had ever done before.

Korean Village


The year before this Li Hung Chang had played a neat trick upon Japan. He disliked the Japanese because they have adopted many of our customs and manners, and for another reason which I shall tell you hereafter. In 1882 he was really afraid that the Japanese would take Korea. Admiral Shufeldt, of the United States Navy, was in Tientsin at the time, and Li advised him to go to Chemulpo (che-mull-poh), and make a treaty. The French and Americans had tried to go there before, but failed on account of the shallow water near Korea, and the strong tide along that coast. Admiral Shufeldt, however, acted upon Li's advice and found the Koreans, who had been warned by Li Hung Chang, quite willing to do as he wished. The treaty was signed, and the United States was the first western nation with whom Korea made a treaty. Li Hung Chang thought that, if Japan tried to capture Korea, the United States would take steps to prevent it.



In 1884 trouble broke out in the capital of Korea, known to us by the name of Seoul or Soul (sowl). It was really a quarrel between two prominent families, the Min and the Kim. The Min were related to the Queen, and the Kim were friends of the Japanese. They all threw the blame upon the Tai-won-Kun (tie-won-koon), or Prince Regent, the title given to the father of the King. Li Hung Chang heard of it, and sent a warship to Chemulpo. To restore order he had the Tai-won-Kun kidnapped on board the war vessel, and brought to Tientsin, where he was kept prisoner for two years. At the end of that time he was quietly taken back to Korea.

In 1886 Kuang Hsu became of age, and once more the Tsze Hsi An retired behind the curtain, but, except in name, it was she who governed. Although not related to the Emperor by blood, in the eye of the Chinese she was his mother, and he owed to her all the duties imposed by filial piety. How often was the poor, weak boy compelled to visit his adopted mother at the E-ho (ay-hoh) Park palace, to kow-tow before her!

Li Hung Chang's history from this time until his death in November 1901, can not be separated from that of the Emperor Kuang Hsu.

Kuang Hsu, the Illustrious Successor

Taken from his father and mother when he was only three and a half years old, the poor little boy was brought to that immense Purple Forbidden City; a city by itself indeed. To worship and to be worshiped,—such were his duties and his burdens. The dead and gone emperors of China were now his ancestors, and he must worship at their tablets, or their spirits would have no rest. He must worship the Tsze Hsi An; that was a duty impressed upon the child from his babyhood. But every one of the palace officers, and of the five thousand palace servants must worship him, for to them he was the Tien-tsz', the Son of Heaven.

Poor little fellow! Even if he did have a "whipping boy," who was to receive all the punishment which the little Emperor had deserved, what boy would not rather take his own whipping? But Kuang Hsu had no choice. He was watched by day and by night. Did he ever have any fun? It is difficult for a foreigner to find out what passes behind those high walls enclosing the Purple Forbidden City. The Court Records, or the Peking Gazette, of the time when Kuang Hsu was still a boy, has some curious notices. One day a pony was presented to him. All boys like ponies, and I suppose he did. At all events, the Peking Gazette  says that the pony was quiet and gentle, and, therefore, he had given it the name of: "The Pearl that flies like a bird." The Gazette  does not tell how long the pony with such a long name lived.

When Kuang Hsu was sixteen years old, it was time for him to marry. The Tsze Hsi An, or Empress-Dowager, as she is improperly called, selected his bride for him. This was Ye-ho-na-la (yay-hoh-nah-lah), one of her own nieces.

Kuang Hsu now ascended the throne and began to use the vermilion pencil. It is supposed that a certain degree of liberty was allowed him in unimportant matters; but it is certain that he was compelled to consult his imperious adoptive mother in every affair of moment. It is very probable that the decisions of the council were laid before the Empress before they were submitted to him. But Li Hung Chang stood between the throne and the outside barbarians, and if Kuang Hsu had any serious troubles, they were kept hidden from the world.

The world, in the first eight years of Kuang Hsu's reign, did not take much interest in him or in China. But suddenly, in 1894, a change came. A dispute arose between China and Japan in regard to Korea. The King of Korea asked the assistance of China to help him subdue a rebellion in his country. Japan thereupon claimed that Korea was an independent State, and that China had no right to interfere. Japan then began to send large bodies of soldiers to Korea.

It has been stated that the Tsze Hsi An, who was that year to celebrate her sixtieth birthday, wished to add splendor to it by defeating Japan. It is more probable that Japan's warlike preparations had attracted Li Hung Chang's attention. For several years he had been successful in defending China, by using one nation's jealousy to keep the other in check. He may have thought that Russia or England would not permit Japan to fight. He should have known that China had no soldiers beyond what remained of his own "Ever-Victorious Army." Whosoever or whatsoever was the cause of the war, it ended the peaceful existence of China.

Poor Kuang Hsu, on the 1st of August, 1894, ordered his generals to drive the so-called Japanese pigmies back into their lair. Instead of that, the undrilled, half-starved, ill-armed Chinese coolies, hired for the purpose of cutting off Japanese heads, gladly followed their officers when they set the example of running away from the enemy. Tsze Hsi An did not celebrate her birthday that year. Instead, there was fear in the Purple Forbidden City. Yellow jackets and peacock feathers, the tokens of rank and power, were given and taken away, and still those little pigmies drew nearer and nearer to the capital. Poor Kuang Hsu! If common report at Peking at that time be true, he did feel the disgrace to his country and to himself, but he did not know what to do, nor which way to turn.

The Japanese gained one success after another; they had half destroyed the Chinese navy in a great battle at the mouth of the Yahu River, and had captured Port Arthur, the strongest fortress in China, with its great stores of war material. A combined attack by army and navy was made on the forts which protected the harbor of Wei-hai-wei. The Chinese admiral finally gave up his shattered fleet, and then killed himself.

Peace proposals were now being made by the Chinese, and at length Li Hung Chang was called to Peking and received orders to proceed to Japan with full powers to conclude a treaty of peace.

The journey almost cost him his life, for he was shot at by a Japanese ruffian and the ball wounded him in the cheek. The Mikado, or Emperor, of Japan, ordered all fighting to stop, and after much negotiation a treaty of peace was concluded.

China was forced to agree to Japan's demands, and Li Hung Chang returned to Peking with the Treaty of Shimonoseki that humbled China before the whole world.

Peace was made. What next? That was the question. If China was to keep her place among the nations, reforms must be instituted. Railroads must be built, schools must be opened, and what had been done by Japan must be done by China.

In the meantime a new Czar of Russia was to be crowned in the old imperial City of Moscow, and Li Hung Chang was sent to represent Kuang Hsu, and the old man began his long journey around the world.

How could he even describe to his fellow-countrymen what he had seen? The Chinese language itself has no name for many of our modern improvements.

Li Hung Chang, while in the United States, visited many places of interest, and bowed before Grant's tomb. Here, at least, was something which he could understand.

He returned to China, and upon his arrival at Peking, knowing who was the real ruler, he went in his chair to the E-ho Park Palace, to pay his respects to the Tsze Hsi An, and came near losing his head for it. The Peking Gazette  announced the very next day that Li would be severely punished for his lack of respect in not visiting the Emperor first. It took all the influence of the Tsie Hsi An and all Li's diplomacy to save his life. He withdrew to Pao-ting-fu (pah-oh ting-fu), the capital of the province, and would no more take office.

Kuang Hsu was in earnest in his desire for reforms. China must wake up from her long sleep; railroads must be built; schools must be established.

But when he ordered his officers to do all this, they kow-towed and said: "We have no money!" Then Russia stepped in, and wanted to build a railroad, and China was forced to yield. When the order was given that Chinese boys and girls must be sent to school to learn what our boys and girls are learning, the whole of China stood aghast. What was to become of those hundreds of thousands of men who had spent their lives in learning by heart the books of Confucius and Mencius? Would they, too, have to go to school and learn our a, b, c?

Every officer and every one of the literati thought that the Emperor was mad. The people thought so, too, especially when the railroads upset the Feng Shui of the whole country, and disturbed the "luck" of every family. But Kuang Hsu was in earnest, and the Peking Gazette  announced that he, the Son of Heaven, would go himself to open the new railroad between Peking and Tientsin.

What was the Tsze Hsi An doing all this time? She saw that if Kuang Hsu was premitted to go on, whatever might be the fate of China, her power would be lost. She pretended to be satisfied with the reforms, and even announced in the Gazette  that she, too, would visit Tientsin in a rail-road carriage. But she consulted secretly with her Manchu friends, and bribed the palace officials, and formed a plot against the Emperor's life. But one who was loyal to the poor Emperor warned him of his danger, and Kuang Hsu was on the point of leaving the Purple Forbidden City to seek shelter in the British Legation, when he was dragged back and taken to the E-ho Park Palace, where he was confined upon a little island. He would have been poisoned if the foreign ministers had not heard of the outrage and interfered. They demanded to see the Emperor, and at last the physician of the French Legation was admitted. The young Emperor looked as if he were just recovering from a dose of poison.

The foreign ministers could do nothing for him, as their respective governments did not desire to go to war with China, and so Kuang Hsu was kept in confinement and the Tsze Hsi An was the real ruler once more.

The Last Years of Manchu Rule (1899-1912)

No sooner had the Empress Dowager resumed the throne than she abolished all the reforms that had been introduced by Kuang-Hsu. She dismissed almost all the Chinese officials of high rank, and replaced them with men of her own race (Manchurian) or with conservative Chinese whom she considered "sedate and discreet." Believing that all the troubles in the country had been caused by foreigners residing there, she advised with her councilors concerning the best method of removing the root of these troubles, in other words, of ridding the country of these "meddlesome foreigners." The result was a series of schemes conducted by the government under the guise of "routine work," the significance of which both China and the outside world failed to realize.

Just at this juncture (in the fall of 1899), the "Yi-ho-Ch'üan," or Society of Righteous United Boxers, began to show a hostile attitude toward the people "from Beyond the Ocean-sea," and especially toward the Germans. This Boxer Society, as it is commonly called, was a brotherhood for mutual aid which had originated, some time previously, in the province of Shan-tung. The cause of their bitter hatred of foreigners is easily explained. It was this: European residents in China were not always gentlemanly and sympathetic in their intercourse with the natives. Not only did they assume an insolent and brutal manner toward the Chinese in general, but they frequently interfered unduly with Chinese laws and customs and even with the ethics of the country. Added to this was the voracious encroachments upon Chinese territory by the several European Powers, and the repeated economic concessions exacted by European merchants. These acts of injustice and tyranny caused the helpless and simple-minded natives to look upon all foreigners with suspicion, fear, and hatred. In the end it remained only for the Germans at Ts'ing-Tao (Kiao-Chao) to apply the spark which produced the long-delayed explosion; for it was by the high-handed acts of the Germans in uniform that the blood of the Chinese people was finally stirred to the point of resistance.

Peking Street


One of T'sze-Hsi's most trusted men (a Manchu) was at that time governor of Shan-tung. Being very ignorant, he was betrayed into the belief that the Boxer Brotherhood really possessed magic powers and could practice incantations that would defy the foreigners' machine guns. "Friends and countrymen"—so he must have reasoned to the officials at the court of T'sze-Hsi,—"hearken to me. We have been discussing plans to rid the country of the cause of all its troubles. Now what can be of greater service as an ally of the Court than this Brotherhood whose loyalty has never been doubted?" And then he proceeded to induce the other officials of the empire to share his faith in the magic power of the Boxers.

In the end, ignorance prevailed, and T'sze-Hsi consented to the employment of the Brotherhood as her aids in driving the hated Europeans out of the country.

Openly, therefore, the Shan-tung authorities were directed to watch and see that the Boxers did not cause any unnecessary trouble to the people, native or foreign, throughout that province. Secretly, however, the Court through its representatives gave much encouragement to the Boxers, so that the local authorities did not dare to interefere with their operations.

The Boxers began their open attack on "things foreign" by robbing and killing the native Christian converts in Shan-tung; then they attacked the foreign missionaries themselves. Not much was done to check the disturbance,

and it soon spread like wildfire into the two provinces of Chih-li and Shan-si, as well as to parts of Manchuria.

Forbidden City


In May and June, 1900, Peking and most of the adjoining districts came under the control of the Boxers, who were now strongly but secretly supported by T'sze-Hsi and her trusted officials. It is reported that thousands of innocent Chinese, who had never had anything to do with foreigners, fell victims to the murderous rage of the Boxers and their helpers.

To aid in making her schemes successful, T'sze-Hsi endeavored to remove every obstacle in her way. In January, 1900, she forced the reform-loving Kuang-Hsu to resign. In his place she installed a child of fourteen, P'u Chun, under her own regency. Soon afterward, she put the child's father (another Manchu friend), at the head of the Chinese Foreign office. Three days later, to the indignation and shame of all educated and enlightened Chinese, an organized attack was made on the foreigners in Peking, and the siege of the international legations was openly inaugurated by the imperial troops (75,000 Manchus), with perhaps hundreds of thousands of Boxers as their confederates. All sorts of lawlessness prevailed throughout Peking and its outlying districts.

It was not until after sixty-five days of anarchy that the allied forces, composed mostly of British, Japanese, Russian, American, and German troops, arrived at Peking and took it by storm. This was on the fifteenth of August, 1900. T'sze-Hsi and the child-emperor, P'u Chun, accompanied by poor Kuang-Hsu, fled from the capital and finally established the Court at Hsi-An-Fu, in Shen-si, leaving Peking wholly in the hands of the Allies for almost a year.

Finally, Prince Ch'ing and Li Hung-Chang were appointed plenipotentiaries, to negotiate peace with the Allies. Months passed, however, before all parties concerned could agree upon the terms of peace. A treaty was at length signed in September, 1901. By its terms, Peking should thereafter be occupied by soldiers of all nations serving as permanent guards of their respective legations, and the Chinese people, as a whole, were to indemnify the foreign Powers for the crime committed by their hated rulers, the Manchus, and their unprincipled friends. The amount of indemnity was fixed at 450 'million taels.

Peace having been completely restored, T'sze-Hsi with her court returned to Peking (1902). She could not but see how futile her policy in trying to drive out the foreigners had been; how hopelessly ignorant the people in general were; and how inferior China's methods of warfare had proved compared with those of Western nations. So, on her return to power, her views regarding reforms and "things foreign" seem to have changed to a remarkable extent. Indeed, the period from 1902 to the close of roll may well be called the "Reconstruction-Period" in the history of Manchu rule in China.

At first, however, T'sze-Hsi's attempts at reform seemed to promise but little. She urged the establishment throughout China of schools of modern learning; she commanded the provincial governments to send suitable youths to America and Europe to study the arts and sciences; she also recommended the adoption of modern laws and legal methods in the courts of justice. All these acts were commendable and led in the right direction but it would require time for them to produce great results.

It was not until the Dowager Empress found that the diminutive Japan could win astounding victories over the giant Russia (1904-1905) that she endeavored to introduce movements of greater magnitude. Russia, be it remembered, had long been ambitious to dominate eastern Asia. She realized that the occupation of Manchuria was perhaps the only road to the attainment of her desired end, and while the Boxer disturbance was at its height she took military possession of that vast and rich territory. China at that time was in a state of the utmost helplessness; but Japan saw the menace to her own position, and in the negotiation of the Peking peace protocol, she, with the support of the other Western Powers, compelled Russia to agree to evacuate Manchuria as soon as possible.

Almost three years passed by, and the indications were that Russia was determined to disregard her promise. After a long series of negotiations which had come to nothing, Japan lost her patience and, early in 1904, declared war on Russia. The outcome of that war was that, on both land and sea, Japan proved herself superior to Russia in military strength; and the Russian menace, at least in eastern Asia, was swept away for an indefinite period, if not forever.

No other people in the world were so surprised at the Japanese successes as were the Chinese. What! Only half a century ago Japan was in the same condition as China in her relations with the Western nations. But she was skillful in adopting Western ways; and, behold, she could now actually beat the Westerners at their own game! And now, there was China, with her ancient civilization and her vast resources—What could China not do if only she would also imitate those Western nations?

With a vigor that was most amazing when we consider what sort of woman she was only three or four years previously, T'sze-Hsi inaugurated numerous reforms calculated to put China in the front rank of nations. She prefaced her new liberal policy by granting amnesty to all political offenders, except a few prominent leaders of the Kuang-Hsu period. She sent (1905) the first special mission to Europe and America to study governmental methods. She urged the provincial officials (1906) to prepare the people for a constitutional government. She prohibited opium smoking (1906-1908), and took effective measures to reduce gradually opium culture. She ordered (1907) preparations for the adoption of a National Constitution, the establishment of Provincial Assemblies and the National Assembly, and the diffusion of knowledge concerning representative governments. She promulgated new mining laws. She appointed a special mission to negotiate loans for railways and for the industrial development of China along various lines.

While yet these various movements towards reform were in their infancy, news came of the sudden death of poor Kuang-Hsu. This must have been a great shock to T'sze-Hsi, for, on the following day, she too passed away. The whole world united in doing her honor; for indeed she was a most remarkable woman.

Without delay, Kuang-Hsu's nephew, a two-year-old child, was chosen to succeed to the throne, with the child's father, Prince Ch'un, acting as regent. This may be reckoned as the beginning of the end of Manchu rule in China. For Prince Ch'un soon found that the sovereign power which the Chinese had for the last three hundred years recognized in the Manchus, was now suddenly denied them. The regent realized that the Ch'ing dynasty was tottering; and he found that everywhere in China the ruling Manchus were regarded with contempt, distrust, and defiance. The Chinese people had awakened to a desire to manage their own business. They no longer had any use for a foreign steward, especially when that steward had brought nothing but infamy, disgrace, and shame upon the entire country.

Already, in the last years of T'sze-Hsi, one or two revolutionary demonstrations had been made by rash and incompetent young men. In 1905 a bomb had been thrown among a number of high officials as they were leaving Peking on a special mission to Europe and America. In 1907 the governor of the An-hui province had been assassinated by the revolutionists, one of whom was a woman, the principal of a well-known school. Furthermore, direct opposition and open rebellions had occurred at various times and in several provinces within the past few years. Now, for the Manchu ruler, represented by a baby and an elderly man who knew nothing about China or the world, to face a people who was awakening to a national consciousness, there was little hope of success.

The final breakdown of the Manchu dynasty came with the formal opening of the Provincial Assemblies in 1909, followed by the opening of the National Assembly in 1910, and the violent opposition by the provinces to the government's policy of contracting foreign loans for railways and industrial development. In October, 1911, a revolution broke out in Wu-chang, Hu-peh; and the next day the revolutionists proclaimed war on the Manchu government. From that day, town after town and province after province passed to the revolutionists until finally the Manchu government was left very little territory to govern. Even Manchuria itself declared autonomy and severed connection with Peking. Li Yuan-hung, the revolutionary leader, was proclaimed the first president of the Republic of China.

For more than four months the death struggle between the revolutionists and the Manchus continued. Then the latter gave up the game as lost, and in February, 1912, the power of sovereignty was declared to have become the "public property of the whole Chinese nation." The ancient absolute monarchy of Ta-Ch'ing had passed away, and in its place was established the Republic of China.

From Monarchy to Republic (1912-1921)

With the establishment of the republic, Young China began to feel that he had at last reached the goal of his aspirations. Very soon, however, he found, to his disappointment and surprise, that the goal could be held only through the exercise of good judgment and eternal vigilance. In spite of his knowledge of political philosophy and the economic history of Western nations, his words and opinions did not have the effect upon the masses that he had expected. The conservative men of the nation were still inclined to look down upon him and his theories as upon something both impractical and impossible. Thus, Young China was more than once in danger of being ousted and put out of business; and he was saved from defeat and destruction only by his unconquerable courage and tireless perseverance.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen


This conflict of opinions between the radicals and the conservatives early gave rise to the two great political parties known respectively as the "South" and the "North." The former was made up largely of hot-headed political theorists, young men knowing but little about the history and customs of their own land; the other consisted of old politicians and leaders generally regarded as "cold-blooded" with a sprinkling of men well versed in modern methods but less radical in their political views.

While the South wanted to overturn and destroy the whole rotten political structure of China and establish a new government on modern lines, the North desired only, for the present at least, to graft a few new things on the old political stem. These differences in party feeling soon brought about a great political upheaval in China, ending in civil war between the North and the South.

When the Manchu government was overthrown in 1912, the Edicts appointed Yuan Shih-k'ai to organize a provisional republican government. Yuan Shih-k'ai was a high statesman of the old school. He enjoyed the international reputation of being the "strong man of China"; yet he was not converted to republicanism until these political movements were well under way. The Nanking Assembly which had objected to Yuan at first was finally induced to elect him as its provisional president, and Sun Yat-sen resigned in his favor. He was inaugurated at Peking on the 10th of March, 1912, and Li Yuan-hung was elected vice-president. A little later, the provisional National Assembly at Nanking transferred the seat of government to Peking.

It soon began to appear that the Southern members of the provisional National Assembly were combined to oppose every movement advocated by Yuan. Tied down by the terms of the provisional Constitution, which had been framed by the Southern members of the Assembly, Yuan found that he was utterly powerless and that the only thing he could do was to wait quietly for some turn in the title of affairs.

Yuan Shi-kai


In the spring of 1913, the general election for members of the Senate and House of Representatives took place; in April the first national parliament convened at Peking then came the presidential election, in which Yuan, with the greatest difficulty, proved successful. The Southern members continued their hostile attitude toward him; but now, finding that the balance of power had passed to his friends of the North, he began to use strong measures to stop the party quarrels. In November, after another violent storm between the parliament and himself, he ordered a battalion of the Peking troops, assisted by the police, to surround the parliament house and summarily unseat the Southern members. As this left the parliament without a quorum, it was powerless to act.

Immediately Yuan appointed a political council to assist him in carrying on the administration. Another provisional Constitution was drawn up to replace the one framed by the Nanking Assembly, and, under the title of the Constitution Compact, it was promulgated in May, 1914. The new Compact, as might have been expected, conferred upon the president an almost autocratic power. A Council of State was soon created to take the place of the Political Council; and, as the members were appointed by the president himself, we can easily imagine how much restraint they would be likely to exert upon the appointer.

Yuan, soon afterwards, startled the whole world by an attempt to abandon altogether the republican system and restore the monarchy. The upshot was that five provinces, headed by Yun-nan, rose up in rebellion, with the cry, "Maintain the republic!" The Japanese minister, supported by the ministers of Great Britain and Russia, also suggested in a friendly way that the time was inopportune for China to change her form of government.

But Yuan had set his mind on becoming an emperor. His coronation occurred in January, 1916; and within three months thereafter he found the whole of the South opposing him in arms. Even his former friends and supporters, politicians and military leaders, deserted him and went over to the republicans. Assailed on every side by verbal and documentary denunciations, what could the self-made emperor do but abdicate? While he was preparing to do this he became suddenly ill and died, and his brief dream of power was ended.

Li Yuan-hung was soon afterwards elected to succeed Yuan. Both China and the outside world were glad of this selection, for no one who knew him doubted Li's character and loyalty. And Li did not disappoint the Chinese people, although, unfortunately, his presidency was short-lived. Suddenly and without warning, on the second of July, 1917, an old-time ignorant military leader, General Chang Hsün, with thirty or forty thousand armed men, marched into Peking and demanded that Li Yuan-hung should give up the presidency. It was the general's purpose to restore the monarchy by putting the Manchu baby-emperor back upon the throne. Li Yuan-hung fled to the Japanese legation for protection, at the same time ordering the great military leader, General Feng Kuo-chang to act as president in his place. The seat of government was hastily transferred to Nanking, and the whole nation united in the effort to oppose and crush Chang. So determined were the friends of peace and progress that this latest rebellion was crushed within a few days and Chang retired in disgrace. From that time on the question of a monarchical restoration as a disturbing factor in Chinese politics may be said to have been eliminated, at least for an indefinite period.

Meanwhile the North was being dominated by a party of militarists headed by General Tuan Ch'i-jui, who had been premier under Li Yuan-hung. The South, condemning the Northern government as unconstitutional and illegal, set up an independent Southern military government at Canton to represent a genuine constitutional government and to declare war upon the Northern militarists. Soon afterwards, at Peking, Hsü Shih-ch'ng, a statesman of the old regime, was elected president. How well he will succeed in reconciling the various factions that stand in the way of China's fullest development, future events only will show.

Turning now from the political affairs and internecine wars of present-day China, a review of her relations with foreign countries during the past ten years may not be devoid of interest.

In February, 1912, the Chinese Republic through its agents approached the British, German, French, and American ambassadors at Peking and asked a loan to meet her urgent requirements. But as China's needs were many and her treasury was, and still is, empty, she had to contract as many loans from foreign countries as possible. All these loans were given by the foreign bankers under terms that involved foreign control over China's revenues. Russian and Japanese banking interests were later added to those of the nations already mentioned; but America, under President Wilson's administration, withdrew from these arrangements, owing to her desire not to do anything that would interfere with the independence of a free people. Nevertheless, in October, 1920, American bankers in conjunction with the French, English, and Japanese, formed what was known as the new China-Consortium, "an international partnership for the purpose of assisting China in the development of her great public enterprises."

In January, 1915, Japan presented to China a series of twenty-one demands, some of which infringed China's sovereign rights and affected her treaty engagements with other countries. Negotiations between China and Japan regarding these demands began on the second of February and were continued for four months. Japan finally modified her demands, but presented to China a revised list of twenty-four items together with an ultimatum, which China was obliged to accept.

At the beginning of the World War in 1914, China declared her neutrality. Later, however, when the United States became involved in the great conflict, she, at the suggestion of the American government, broke off diplomatic relations with Germany. She hesitated to enter the war, although urged to do so by both England and the United States. For China had no navy; her finances were in a most embarrassing condition; and her own internal troubles required her undivided attention. In the end, however, she cast in her lot with the Allies. Although China was unable to send any troops to the field of war in Europe, she nevertheless rendered great service to the Allies by contributing several hundred thousand laborers to replace their men in fields and factories.