China's Story - William Griffis

Primeval China

China is the oldest living nation in the world. Of all in the human family, her people have the longest story. To-day China is like an elderly gentleman, hale and hearty, despite his years, not liking to change and yet ready for new things. The danger is now that he may go too fast.

A wrinkled old man does not look like the rosy infant he once was. Yet "the child is father of the man." In going back four thousand years, we must not expect to find anything like the Chinese Empire of to-day. In size, population, manner of life, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, the China of youth will not resemble the mighty nation of the twentieth century. There have been changes in food, dress, style of houses, government, and in religion, philosophy, belief, and opinions. China is neither inscrutable nor in a state of arrested development.

We shall study each age during the many dynasties, so as to distinguish the features of a society based always on land and labor, but ever developing with new inventions. Its great men and women, the novelties and characteristics of the times, the amusements and tastes of each era will be noted. We shall see that those things which we have always associated in our minds with China did not come all at once. The oldest of them were at one time new. Their introduction brought delightful surprise to those who liked and disgust to those who disliked them. In China, as in Europe, new things were always opposed by those who thought them harmful, and were welcomed by those who voted them good.

Chinese civilization, which seems to-day so fixed, and which our people imagine has always been very much the same as it is now, is in reality an affair of long and slow evolution. Not more different in their appearance to-day from their humble beginnings ages ago are the luscious peach, the splendid rose, the race-horse, the latest triumphs of science—yes, even our men and women—than are the Chinese gentleman and lady from their savage originals. The world of experience and the outlook of fortieth-century China are vastly other than those of her cradle days. In the far-off beginning of things Chinese there were no rice, wheat, oats, silk, cotton, tea, paper, porcelain, pagodas, priests, temples, idols, letters, writing, books, jade, ivory, kites, falconry, cormorant fishing, fire-crackers, or coins with a square hole in the middle. Then the men did not wear queues, nor did the women bind their feet to make them small. There was then no Buddhism, and very little folklore or legend. There was even a time, farther back, when the people knew nothing of fire, woven clothing, houses, medicine, domestic animals, musical instruments, the institution of marriage, or the measurement of time. The natives were savages as wild as were our own far-off ancestors in the caves of the geological ages. Then, instead of being full of tilled fields, tea-gardens, towns, and villages, China was one vast forest, with swamps tenanted by ferocious wild beasts.

The originals of the fantastic creatures now known only in mythology or fairyland then lived on the earth with the men who were the distant fathers of the Chinese people. Making allowance for what myth-makers and artists have done to change or embellish the reality, some of the so-called "mythical monsters" were once as real as are elephants and gorillas. Chinese wonder-tales contain little more of exaggeration than do those of our own forbears. Nor are the beliefs of the common people, in Canton and Mukden, one whit more absurd than those of our own fore fathers.

Science and the sure witness of writing, art, architecture, customs, and traditions, when critically studied, show that the Chinese have followed the course of nature. The great has developed out of the little, according to the divine formula of seed, blade, and ear. Nevertheless, most Chinese writers still follow the fashions of an earlier world of thought and ways of reasoning. They tell us that the golden age was in the unmeasured aeons of the past. They place the best time of the world millions of years back, in the interval between the beginnings of heaven and earth and the coming of Fu Hi, whom they honor as their own great civilizer. To them the past is more honorable than the modern age. In it lived holy and semi-divine beings.

Entering Chinese temples, we discern both the first heavenly beings and the initial human makers of society, and are at once struck with the peculiarities of native art. Naturally these first men are Chinese, to all appearances. Their expression, style of hair and headdress, their jewels and ornaments, the fashion of their clothes and boots are not what we should give to our ancestors.

Yet we are like the Chinese. Although we do not dress our Adam and Eve in anything but fig leaves, we make them in their faces look like people we meet on Broadway. The first man and woman would be represented with different color of skin, according as an American, an Indian, or a Mongol should picture them. So in Chinese art there are "Jewel Lords," the "Three Pure Ones," and Panku, the first man, besides the "god" of tides, of war, of agriculture, etc., who have faces, dress, and posture according to Chinese taste and propriety.

In a word, the Chinese do no more than do we with our far-off ancestors, heroes, saints, and mighty folk, whom we idealize as if they lived in London, Boston, or Chicago. When we understand the artist's method of representing faces, dress, drapery, clouds, trees, mountains, water, bridges, and whatever goes into the making of a picture, whether Chinese or European, we soon learn what ideas he would convey. We make a difference between what is real, or supposed to be real, and what is imaginary. We soon note what the painter or sculptor has added for effect, or to heighten interest, to give local color, or to make what he thinks will suit the taste of his patrons and give us something pretty or popular. Myths and fairy tales usually keep in what is pleasant and leave out what is disagreeable. This is art—the praise of life.

The Chinese have, therefore, little trouble in comprehending their own pictures, nor need we have, when we know the mind and method of the artists in Nanking or Amoy. By patiently studying Oriental art we learn much and enjoy a great deal, beside getting truth and understanding history much more clearly. Such a method, with text, picture, inscription, architecture, games, plays, and customs, is more satisfactory than reading newspapers or accepting what foreigners have guessed at. Such a plan we try to follow in this little book.

In telling the story of the oldest nation, it is not at all necessary to use many Chinese names or words. These sound uncouth to us, because in our minds they have no meaning or association of ideas. Only by turning Kung Fu Tse—that is, the learned Professor Kung—and the name of his pupil Meng Tse into Latin, do "Confucius " and "Mencius" sound familiar to our ears. We can tell the story of China better in simple English than by appearing learned in the use of odd terms and many dates.

The Chinese are just as human as we are. They are moved by the same feelings and stirred by the same passions. It is not his curious dress, long queue, shaven forehead, or heelless velvet shoes that make a Chinaman. Nor do bound feet, wobbly slippers with the toes turned up, and loose clothes, that are purposely made so as to hide the marks of sex, make a Chinese woman. Neither will mills and machine-shops, telephones, railways, aeroplanes, automobiles, or steel battleships make any difference in the deviltry or sainthood of China. A native would be still Chinese even if he adopted all our customs, fashions, manners, inventions, and varieties of religion. The real man and woman in the Middle Kingdom can be fully described in English.

In the past these people taught us a great many things, some of them so long ago that we have forgotten how they came to us. The Chinese have probably invented and originated more than any other people with whose history we are acquainted. The civilization of China is her own, while ours is only a new edition, revised and corrected, of former civilizations.

The names of this long-lived empire and grand-mother of many nations, historically the oldest State in the world, are numerous and suggestive. Her own people do not know or use the term China, or Chinese, yet this name occurs in the ancient books of India. Isaiah knew of "the land of Sinim." Of native names the most common, perhaps, means the Middle Kingdom, or the Central Empire, or the Central Flowery Land—that is, the civilized country surrounded by pupil and vassal nations. All other countries lie on the edge of the map, while China fills the page. Distant nations look like microbes, or parasites. "All under Heaven " means the Chinese Empire. It is often seen on bank-notes.

This method of atlas-making is not so very different from our own. We often give a page to one State, or even a county, and then in a similar space we represent all the Chinas. The empire holding one fourth of the human race is squeezed into a space that one could cover with a teacup, while Japan looks like a caterpillar.

Among the names which the natives themselves do not use, but are known in Europe, several forms of this word being found in the Bible, is Seres, meaning silk. Sinae means "the Chinas," having the idea of plurality, or of many countries. In Russia, Khitai or Khata became "Cathay," with which we are all familiar. Tennyson has said, "Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay." By this he meant a long, indefinite period without change.

Another name is Heavenly Dynasty, which some foreigners have translated Celestial Empire, but the odd term "Celestials " is not a native idea. The official name, used in Japan, as in China, means the Country Ruled by a Line of Rulers of Heavenly Origin. This notion is not exclusively Chinese. Europeans long believed that czars, emperors, and other rulers enjoy the special grace of the Deity, because of their form of government, teaching this as religious truth. As the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618–905) was one of the most celebrated in history, and very brilliant, a common name for China is the Hills (or the country) of Tang.

No one can understand China unless he knows the variation, in features and limbs, ideas and speech, mind and body, between the northern and the southern Chinese. They are quite as different as are English and Scotch. Only the southern Chinamen have thus far gone abroad in large numbers. In the south the people call themselves the Men of Tang, while in the north their favorite title is the Men of Han, after the famous dynasty B.C. 206–220 A.D. The people also speak of themselves as the Black-haired Race, or the Sons of Han. Their beloved home, in contrast with the outlying lands, is the Central Flowery Land. For the Country of the Hundred Families they get very homesick when abroad. When in a mood like that suggested by our "Hail Columbia," or Fourth of July, the Chinaman talks of the glorious Hia, an ancient dynasty. With loyal spirit, in order to compliment the present or Tsin (Pure) dynasty in Peking, they call their country the Great Pure Kingdom.

There are pious ways of speaking of China from a religious or exalted point of view. The Buddhists, who came from India, call it by the Hindoo name the Land of Dawn. The Mahometans, who entered from the West, speak of the Land of the East. When we want a Latin adjective meaning Chinese, we call the mixed writing common in Japan, Sinico-Japanese, and the peoples which have received Chinese culture the Sinitic nations. A man who is familiar with the Lingua Sinica, or Chinese language, is a sinologne, because learned in the wonderful script that the average American sees only on tea-boxes or in "Chinatown" of New York or San Francisco.

Nevertheless, Chinese characters, which speak to the eye, can be just as well used to write English or German as to express native thought. China has no alphabet based on sound, nor a syllabary like the Japanese or Ethiopic. Her writing consists of ideographs, which were once pictures of the objects represented, to which a sound was attached, so that the characters represent things or stand for words in themselves. Speaking to the eye, the Chinese written language is the richest in the world. It means even more in sight than in sound. There are no ideas in science, philosophy, or invention that cannot be expressed in Chinese script.

Let us, then, study China, allowing the Chinese as far as possible to speak for themselves.

Oriental and Occidental Civilization

In the evolution of Eastern and Western civilization there is a notable difference. Chinese society is like a mighty boulder. From its unknown rock-bed, after separation and movement in rolling down the stream of ages of experience, it took long ago the shape which it still retains.

In contrast, the younger European civilization is more like a piece of conglomerate rock, in which many diverse elements have been fused, or forced by pressure into something like unity. The Chinese have had many forms of government and vast social, industrial, religious, and political experience. China is the old man among nations, and we younger ones may well apply our own proverb concerning fools, and about what young men think and old men know.

China's longevity explains why the average Chinaman is not interested in novelties. He is not curious to know about other kinds of men and countries. He refuses to accept or be excited by what he hears. His many and long trials of things good and bad make him cautious. He does not argue concerning cause and effect in quite the way we do. He does not enjoy answering the kind of queries that we put to him. They seem to him to be jokes or conundrums. To the ordinary native, most questions are settled. What he prefers or follows to-day is according to the wisdom of ages. His etiquette represents the sum total of all past history. It does not seem wise to him to change the old methods, or to introduce new fashions.

Our Chinese friend, while right in his reasoning, is likely to lose much, if, living in the present age of the world, he does not become more social and avail himself of the resources and advantages possessed by his fellows of other nations.

In mental culture, he has heretofore thought that Confucius was the one perfect man, teaching and living flawless truth, and that therefore it was waste time, if not impiety, to look into the literature of other nations. Since also the rules for the conduct of life and the precedents followed to-day were ordained ages ago by men faultlessly wise, it seems absurd even to talk about improvement or reform. This also to him savors of impiety.

On the other hand, this excessive reverence for the past is largely the cause of so much superstition among the common people. It explains their settled belief in such absurdities as witchcraft and gods, imps and demons of all sorts, dragons, and foxes that become pretty women. There is a vast menagerie of mythical animals that have no existence out of Chinese noddles. That mass of superstitious nonsense, both silly and dangerous, called Feng Shuey, which means "wind and water," is a sort of rude popular science. For a long time it hindered the introduction of railways and telegraphs, besides being opposed to reality and pure religion.

This state of mind also accounts for the fact that the government has never really tolerated any doctrines that seem to be contrary to the ancient customs, which in themselves mean morals. Any new teaching that would change the ways of the people is branded as sacrilege. The Chinese religion is probably the only one in the world spontaneously developed on the soil of the people who now hold the land on which it originated. It is the only purely native religion among the great ones of earth.

Yet many religions have entered the Central Empire,—Shamanism or spiritism from the North; Buddhism from India; Islam from Arabia; Hebraism from Babylon, and Christianity from the West. Ancient and medieval missionaries from Palestine, Egypt, and Persia, good priests from Rome in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, earnest men and women from Protestant countries since A.D. 1800, and from Russia in recent years, have come to China. Thus the three modern forms of the teachings of Jesus—Greek, Roman, and Reformed—have begun to influence Chinese thought. The government never persecuted, however, until it seemed that the social system of China was in danger, and the morals, that is, the ritual and national habits of the people, were being altered.

So long as even the wisest of the Chinese lived within their own boundaries, dwelling in one world of fixed ideas, it was not possible for them even to conceive of another state of society as good as their own. They could not understand the merits of foreign men and things, even when these were brought to them. Such outlandish novelties were as strange to them as Chinese chopsticks and "joss" houses are to us,—even though joss is but our own misspelled Latin word Deus, or God.

To the Chinese such things as telescopes, microscopes, steam engines, and the various machines of war and peace, which require the forces of gun-powder, modern chemicals, steam, or electricity to operate them, seemed only oddities or toys for amusement. No practical good could be discerned in these importations of "the outside barbarians." The men of the West were considered good blacksmiths or cunning mechanics, but not necessarily refined persons, with politeness, culture, religion, or morals. It was necessary that Chinese gentlemen should go abroad and see humanity, in all its phases, before even the surface of thought could be ruffled or even a suggestion of change be made. It was still more important that young people, more susceptible and sensitive, should learn about the new kind of world and man outside of China. After numbers of them had absorbed Western culture, it was possible that an interior movement looking to reform should take place.

At last it seems that this time has come. The seed planted by American and European teachers long ago, the persistent work of missionaries on the soil, and the education of Chinese lads and girls beyond sea have borne fruit. The introduction of new ideas by means of trade and commerce and the distribution of printed matter, the wonders of science, the commercial assault, the invasion of the steam engine, the startling events of war, and the near presence of Japan, "a neighbor-disturbing nation," now the most eager pupil of the Anglo-Saxon peoples, have roused China to new life. Now the rate of movement seems almost dangerously rapid.

There is hope for the Central Empire, because it is based on the family. The unit of Chinese society is not the individual, but the household, the result of forty centuries of harmony. The civilization of the Orient is communal, that of the Occident is individual. Filial piety is the corner-stone of the nation, and the promise attached to the commandment, "Honor thy father and thy mother," is as valid for the Chinese people who still own their native soil as for landless Israel.

The Japanese have already reversed the general opinion of the Western world concerning the capabilities of dark-skinned peoples. The battle on the Yalu with the Russians, in 1904, sounded the note of hope to all Asia. Their victory made obsolete hundreds of books written in disparagement of Asiatics.

China seems destined to do a slower but vastly greater work even than Japan. Mother of all civilization east of the Ganges, the world's debt to her, already incalculable, is to be manifold greater. China will conquer every conqueror that attempts her conquest. The Chinese love liberty, equality, and fraternity. If treated honorably and with righteousness, they will enrich the world with their gifts, graces, and inheritances. The Middle Kingdom has for ages been the source of blessings to surrounding nations. A reformed China will be a blessing to the whole race.

There are great, deep currents of sympathy and unity between the Orient and the Occident, beneath the apparent and even sometimes stormy differences on the surface. Chinese human nature in its depths is exactly like human nature everywhere,—including our own variety. Mythology, poetry, literature, and all the old and pre-ancient products of mind show this, as well as do the responses of the Chinese mind to new visions and messages containing truth, which knows no climate, time, or space, and outgrows all names and labels. All this argues favorably for a reformed China.

Apart from the various religions which the Chinese have accepted, let us take an illustration from Popular art.

China is the Land of the Dragon and bears this symbol of power on her yellow flag. Yet all over the earth, among primitive peoples, the dragon has been the supreme symbol of living, concrete force. The Chinese dragon in all its varieties is well worthy of study. On sculpture, painting, dress, flag, it is almost omnipresent, being chief of the four supernatural animals. It is so much like the geological creatures of a world that has passed away, that we are forced to believe that it is but the development, in fancy, of an actual organism once upon the earth. There are nine or ten varieties of this imaginary creature that carries in his structure a cyclopedia of all the forces of life, with their powers of motion and of destruction. Of one, for example, it is written: "When earth is piled up in mountains, wind and rain arise, but when water comes together into streams, the Kiao dragon comes into being."

Chief of all scaly reptiles, the dragon wields the power of transformation. It can render itself visible and invisible at pleasure. It lives partly in the waters of the earth and partly in the waters above the earth, in the spring ascending to the clouds, in the autumn burying itself in the watery depths. At will it reduces itself to the size of a silkworm, or it is swollen until it fills the space of heaven and earth. It can rise into the clouds or sink into the ocean deeps. The watery principle of the atmosphere, mist, cloud, dew, rain, etc., is particularly associated with one dragon, but another of different nature controls the earth's surface.

In art it is not usual to represent the dragon as completely visible, but to hide parts of his body or limbs in cloud or mist, to suggest rather than fully to portray.

The dragon can climb, fly, crawl, and run. It has tooth, claw, wing, tail, and every equipment belonging to beast, bird, fish, or reptile. Of the four sorts of principal dragons, the celestial variety guards the mansions of the gods and sup-ports them so that they do not fall. The spiritual dragon causes winds to blow and produces rain for the benefit of mankind. The dragon of earth marks out the courses of rivers and streams. There is a bob-tailed dragon that sports in the whirlwind and is credited with special power in destroying houses and cities.

The dragon is associated with the East, with springtime, and with the eastern quarter of the heavens. In the popular belief, there are four dragon kings, each having dominion over one of the four seas which form the border of the habitable earth. The palaces in which these kings live have striking names. There is also a dragon which does not mount up to heaven, and another without horns. The name of the Iliu Kiu (Loo Choo) Islands, Sleeping Dragon, suggests one that has not yet risen to the skies. Most honorable of all is the yellow dragon. That which has five claws can be used only by the emperor or on imperial property.

It is not wonderful that such a divinely endowed creature, which holds within himself all the powers known to life of any sort, should occupy a great place in Chinese art and story. The dragon is the symbol not only of power, but of guardianship. It is often seen in carving, sculpture, and painting, on gateways, posts, and temple ornaments. At wells, fountains, eaves, conduits, in gardens and other places where water spouts, flows, or is stored up, we may expect to meet with the stone, bronze, or iron dragon represented in various forms, while from paper, porcelain, and in pictorial art he greets us continually.

In philosophy the dragon is the emblem of power manifesting itself. In popular notion the dragon is held responsible for a great deal that we should express by other symbols or in different forms of speech. In the earlier world of thought, in the infancy of the race, before there were scales, measures, laboratories, written figures, or mathematics, all great manifestations of power and strange events, as well as human heroes, were described in fairy tales and mythology. Only in this way was explanation possible. Thus a rude sort of science, outside of the books, grows up. Little children who cannot know anything about the invisible laws of the universe, or understand machinery or its motive power, have things wonderful explained to them by means of things living, that is, of animals who talk, and of men and women who can change themselves, or their friends or enemies, into something else, and one thing into another. In the myths the heroes and heroines can over-come all obstacles by magic. Now to people who have never seen and cannot know anything about such wonders as locomotives, telegraphs, steam engines, photographs, and a thousand other strange inventions of an age of science, explanations must be made in the language and forms of thought with which they are acquainted.

With these illustrations we can appreciate the fact that the uneducated masses of China—not ten per cent of whom can read books—believe easily the most absurd stories circulated about foreigners. Indeed, they quite equal or excel the worst of our own people who are ignorant of the Chinese. The amazing things actually done, or alleged to be done, do not seem any more wonderful than what they have been accustomed to believe.

Let us consider a Chinese traveler in America, but not yet understanding how the forces of steam and electricity are harnessed and made to obey the will of man. On going back home and telling of the Pennsylvania Railroad, for example, with engines going at lightning speed, drawing crowds of people in long trains of cars thousands of miles a day, but also killing men by accident daily, he might describe this as a steel dragon stretching from Pittsburg to New York. The monster is able to carry on its back every day thousands of people, but it requires for its food a man or two every day, devouring human beings very much like the dragons of mythology. So also in the great disasters from storm and flood, tidal waves or volcanoes, which overwhelm human lives, and in the dangers and deaths from mining, or by fire, gas, explosion, or poisonous fumes, the uneducated Chinese sees the work of the great offended "god," dragon, or some other irritated creature, where we should look only for the phenomena of nature.

The power of the dragon is beneficent also. Its nobler side is shown especially in relation to water. Life, fertility, food, comfort, and beauty come from the cloud and rain. The sweet influences that drop from the skies and descend from the mountain are for the happiness of man. Hence there are dragons which are associated with happy omens and permanent blessing.

Critical comparison of the root ideas of East and West, whether of men or of dragons, shows differences. In European and Semitic lore, the hero overcomes and slays the dragons, man's wit and valor prevailing over brute fierceness and strength. This human phase of struggle is as nearly absent from the Oriental lore as is praise from their worship.

Who and Whence?

The people called Chinese are a composite formed of hundreds of tribes. The Chinaman, like the American, is made up of many kinds of man. The reason why there is no common spoken language all over the empire is because of these ancient bodies of foreigners, now fused into the mass, whose thought and speech have made dialects, just as in Southern Europe are many languages.

To the "griffin" or foreigner newly arrived on Chinese soil all Chinese look exactly alike. Even the traveler who penetrates the interior can only by keen observation and long experience distinguish a Mongol from a Manchu or a Tibetan from a Cantonese. The expert also is puzzled when many subjects of the Chinese emperor gather in one company from all parts. When they dress in foreign clothes, few Europeans can tell whether the men whom they see are Japanese, Koreans, Annamese, or Pekingese.

In a word, in China a great many different kinds of men of various origins have been so blended together by one social system and one general method of dress, manners, and life that they cannot at first be distinguished. Never elsewhere on earth did so many millions of people become so much like one another as those who dwell in the eastern half of Asia. If all the tribes and nations of humanity were to stream past a certain point, every fourth person would be a Chinese.

All this, however, is very different from the reality in early ages. So many human beings have been made like one another, first, because of a wonderful social system that, like a crucible set in white-hot anthracite, melts into uniformity whatever falls into it; and, second, because they were so long separated from the rest of the world by the great impassable things in nature. Steppes and deserts on the north, high mountains on the west, and the ocean on the east walled them in. In the days before the magnetic compass, when keeled ships did not exist, and there were no routes by water, except those within sight of the coast, the fearsome Sea of Darkness sufficed to keep strangers away. The mountains shut in and kept out, and on the deserts men could not live. China thus escaped conquest.

Gorge leading to Jin Fu San.


So, as in a walled garden, or like squirrels in a cage, having a similar environment and living on much the same food, it is no wonder that the Chinese have become as much alike as they are. The "Hundred Families," as they call themselves, formed for ages a self-centered hermit nation. Yet there are mighty differences in China, even as inside the forest there are various trees, and these we shall consider. Let us now look at their home:

The empire on the map is shaped like a rough triangle with its point toward Europe, its jagged base resting along the sea, while the irregular side lines from east to west converge in Central Asia, near Kashgar.

From west to east the land consists of height, slope, and level. Its physical geography is more interesting than any description. China owns the roof of the world, which is Tibet. There we find a region, cold, full of mountains and of the sand and gravel which have been ground from them. It is rich in ice and snow, with a few fertile plains and many valleys. On this plateau are the cradles of Asia's great rivers. Those flowing outside the mountain walls make the Ganges, Irawaddy, Sal-win, and Mekong. Those which rush eastward across China, cutting deep gorges through the in-cline before reaching level land, are the Whang Ho, Yang-tse, and Si rivers.

This long slope, or vast inclined plane, through which three great rivers have worn their way, furnishes the second division or set of altitudes in the great empire. Three immense gorges, or defiles, like mighty canals, have thus been cut out during the long ages. The billions of tons of earth which these streams have brought down from the higher land have been deposited below, forming the great fertile plains, both inland and along the sea, on which the larger part of the population of China is found to-day. A steady river of wind also, blowing from the west, after ages of activity, has deposited the vast yellow beds of loess, or loam, of various height, forming the great plain of northern China, on which many tens of millions of people live.

Thus the landscape is a triple formation, consisting of plateau, incline, and sea-level; the first averaging in altitude 12,000 feet; the second being roughly from 3000 to 6000 feet high; while the densely populated rolling land rises from 600 to 3000 feet above the sea-plain. Not a little of the fertile soil in the northeast, in the Yang-tse basin, and along the West River valley to the south, is almost on the level of the sea. The Yang-tse River is "the girdle of China," is most navigable of all China's streams, and is in the centre of its largest trade.

Large areas of the empire are uninhabited, or sparsely settled. A redistribution of population is needed in order that waste land shall be tilled and the pressure on the food-supply relieved. The replanting of the forests with greater variety of grain food, other than rice, the opening of the mines, the exploitation of the metallic and mineral wealth, and the building of railroads, making all regions accessible, will accomplish this with benefit to all. The masses are crowded in river valleys and on plains where rice is most easily cultivated.

The Chinese suffer to-day because they abused nature in early times. With the prodigality of youth, and never thinking of want, they cut down their forests without replanting. Now, over large areas the rain falls, but runs off at once as if from a roof, carrying down into the rivers and the sea billions of tons of earth that would be fertile if kept in place with its moisture retained. From the treeless hills, and from land robbed of its roots and underbrush for fuel, the soil is blown out to sea by the winds. To clothe the hills again with Nature's covering is China's duty. This lack of forests is the cause of alternate droughts and floods, which cause untold suffering and the loss of many millions of lives because of famine and drowning. China needs the engineer, the forester, the miner, and the railway builder. She may then be able to support a vastly greater population, for no land on earth of equal area exceeds China proper in fertility.

The various countries make up an empire containing one third of Asia, or about four and a half million square miles. No one knows its population, which is supposed by many to be over four hundred millions, but some think it less. The government claims a total of four hundred and twenty-six millions.

Notable differences exist, not only between the people of the North and those of the South, but also between the highlanders, the valley men, and those dwelling on the sea-plains. There is not, and never has been, a uniform speech. Writing and literature have always been the national bond. Indeed, the history of China will show us that in no country in the world have letters had a more profound influence, not only on the social, but also on the political development of a nation. Dialects arose in China very much as did French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and other Romance languages of Southern Europe. The speech of the conquerors won, but the old ideas, idioms, thought-forms, and much of the vocabulary remained. Chinese dialects are as truly languages as are those in Europe derived from the Latin. The "Mandarin," created from the written forms, is the standard of the spoken language.

Nobody knows whence or how the first people, the primeval fathers of the Chinese, came into the old home, but all traditions point to their entrance from the West. The fortieth parallel of north latitude is the oldest pathway of nations. They passed from central Asia down the valley of the Tarim, where are still famous cities, through Turkestan, across the Gobi desert, and into the valleys of the Yellow River.

This great stream, called the Hoang Ho, or Whang Ho, flows southeastwardly from the high-lands of Tibet. After cutting out mighty gorges in the long slope, it makes a tremendous bend to the north. Then flowing southward, it turns eastward from its great loop and debouches at present into the Gulf of Pechili. It has changed its course very many times, so that a map of the old channels, now dry and become fields, looks like a tangled skein of thread. Oftener, in ages past, it flowed into the sea at different points north of the promontory province of Shantung, but in many other cases it leaped southward, occasionally emptying its waters only a few miles away from its greater comrade, the Yang-tse. Its yellow color, whence its name, reveals its history. For ages past, "China's Sorrow" has wrought vast destruction of property, ruining houses and fertile fields and drowning millions of human beings, or bringing them to their death through famine. It constantly tends to raise its bed, and needs a greater engineer than China has yet produced to curb it. In history it has been what the Rhine is to Western Europe.

Into the Yellow River valley, before written history, bands of people entered with their faces to the rising sun. Industrious, peacefully inclined, ready to learn and to progress, they showed very early a capacity for self-development, and began an evolution, through ceaseless industry, toward the great triumphs of to-day. While most of what is Chinese has been evolved from within, much also has been imported from the West. We cannot say how much, though some have tried to tell us. China's astronomy and measurements of time are certainly borrowed from the same source as ours, Chaldea.

The Chinese is frugal, temperate, and laborious.

He runs to muscle rather than to nerve, and to body rather than to brain. Whereas the Hindoo is small of limb and frame, and large in head development, the Chinese tends to stockiness. The typical man of India enjoys intellectual discipline, but while the normal Chinese cultivates his mind, he does not give himself to abstractions. He lives on the earth. The mind of Confucius rose no higher.

Besides its fertility and variety of soil and scenery, China proper, where most of the people live, contains eighteen provinces and one third of the empire. It is well watered, and has many lake regions, which are yet to become playgrounds for the world's tourists. China proper is shaped, very appropriately, like a great round-bodied teapot, with one foot resting upon Hai-nan Island and another upon Burma. Shantung is its spout, while the eyes for the loops of the handle are the provinces of Chili on the east and Kangsi on the northwest.

Tibet, the cold highland of Asia and the cradle of its rivers, long the dwelling-place of the Grand Lana, and mysterious because unknown, the Pure Wrest, or Paradise of the Buddhists, the land of sheep and the yak, has only in late years been penetrated by daring explorers. It contains 812,000 square miles, and about 2,300,000 people.

In the extreme northwest, and north of Tibet, are East Turkestan and Ili, or Sungaria. Here, as in Mongolia, are great desert plateaus of dry sand. Of their early history we know but little, yet they were once populous. Beneath their drifting sands and dust are many buried cities. The name Gobi means "dried-up sea." Here water is worth more than gold, and the guide-marks for the routes of caravans are the bones of camels and horses. Yet large armies have crossed this desert waste, aided by the oases which dot the plain. In the Russian expeditions of Generals Skobeleff and Kaufmann to Mery and Khiva, in the last century, about twenty thousand camels died. In reality this is debatable land between the Russians and Chinese. The population in both provinces does not exceed two millions.

Mongolia, high, cool, and grassy, has much desert land, but is rich in camels, herds, and flocks. Out of these highlands, as from a geyser, in recurrent overflows, have gone forth both to the East and to the West many streams of humanity to influence history and civilization. To this source we can trace the Huns, Vandals, and other destructive hordes which assisted in breaking up the Roman Empire, and the Turks of later days. Going southward and eastward, as they scattered, they took on different names.

Ming tombs


The Mongols overwhelmed China. In India they were called Moguls. Moving westward in a cloud of devastation they camped on Russian soil for over two centuries. To-day the Mongol coming to Peking, as camel driver, with long trains of camels, is the object of chaffing by his more civilized neighbor, the Chinese. The term "Mongolian," absurdly applied in late times to the Chinese, is a relic of the days when the science of ethnology was in its infancy.

Manchuria, with its area of 363,610 square miles, much of it fertile, includes the three eastern, or imperial, provinces. These in recent years have become famous as the seat of Japan's two wars, with China and with Russia. It is the bean-garden of the world. Its silkworms, that feed on oak-leaves instead of the mulberry, produce vast quantities of pongee, which means either "home-made " or "wild" silk. One third of its area is nearly as low as the sea-level. Since about 1860 there has been an active immigration thither, so that the population, greatly increased in recent years, numbers now probably 25,000,000.

Out of this region came the Manchus, who, since 1644, have given to China her ruling dynasty and most of her soldiers. They introduced the current style of dressing the hair, compelling the shaving of the forehead and the wearing of the queue in token of loyalty. Until very recently, Manchus never traveled abroad. Indeed, very few Chinese have ever been in America except those coming from the southern region around Canton. There has never been any sign of a large immigration from China to the United States from northern, central, western, or eastern China; but only from the South, where for centuries the emigrants, have gone out into peninsular and island Asia.

The Tartars

We can understand Chinese history if we think of the Roman Empire and the northern barbarians of Europe. Tartary was the general name given by Europeans to those countries north of China proper. Roughly speaking, the story of China is largely that of civilized Chinese struggling to resist the assaults of the Tatars, or "Tar-tars." Just as there were at the opening of the Christian era only two kinds of people in early Europe, civilized and barbarian, so also in China.

In Europe the Alps made the mountain line dividing the Romans from the vassal and pupil nations under their control. There were as yet no French, Germans, Dutch, English, Scotch, Irish, or Scandinavian populations and languages, but only wandering savages and rude barbarians, of whose language and general life, though they were our ancestors, we know but little. In time the northern barbarians, moving southward over the Alps, broke up the Roman Empire, mingled their blood with that of the southern people, and adopted more or less of Roman civilization. Through Christianity and mutual struggle, they passed by evolution into higher forms of life, in which the different nations, languages, and governments grew into their present form. To-day there are in Europe, Spaniards, French, Germans, Dutch, English, Russians, etc. Two thousand years ago, as there were north of the Roman Empire only "barbarians," so also there were only "Tartars" outside and north of China.

In eastern Asia, China was the civilized centre, with aborigines or uncivilized peoples to the east, south, and west, while in the north was the long frontier, beyond which were the savages called collectively Tatars. Their countries were later named Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkestan, etc. This term, Tatar, is suggestive of horses or cattle and "horsy" men, whose business is with herds and droves, and who live, not on rice and grain, but on the milk of mares, sheep, and goats. One of their commandments was—"Never strike a horse."

When the Mongols broke into Europe, the similarity of the name Tatar to Tartarus, or Hell, prompted the monks to write the word Tatar as if it were spelled Tartar. The French king, St. Louis, in speaking of these rough riders from the Far East and their horrible deeds, said, "Well may they be called Tartars, for their deeds are those of fiends from Tartarus." They were certainly kinder to their animals than to men not of their own race.

As was the case with the various tribes called collectively Germans, so these many kinds of men in northern Asia bore different tribal names in various eras. Some scholars have divided Chinese history into two periods: first, development and evolution, until B.C. 206; while all the rest, until A.D. 1644, is comprised in the "struggles with the Tartars." The first great clash lasted from 206 B.C. to A.D. 589, when the empire was divided between the Tartars in the north and the Chinese in the south.

The second great struggle lasted from 589 to 1644, during which, after divisions between the Chinese and the Kin and Mongol Tartars, there was only one pure Chinese dynasty, called the Ming, or Bright, which lasted from 1388 to 1644. Then followed the Manchu Tartars, who assumed the rule over the empire with the capital at Peking. For the most part the conquerors kept themselves separated from the Chinese, not intermarrying with them. While they held the governmental rule and military power, the purse and the sword, they let the Chinese have their own way, so that the conquered won, as they perhaps always will, in the long run, by passive resistance. The Manchus lost their own language and changed most of their habits. Thus, through luxury and conformity to native ways, they became to all intents and purposes Chinese, and are now largely blended with the nation which they rule.

Nevertheless, there are still great differences in the physical appearance of the Manchus and the genuine natives, while many institutions, such as slavery, peculiar to the Tartars, were never adopted by the Chinese. In the wearing of the queue, the people were forced to be like their conquerors; for a "pigtail" is a sign of loyalty.

In the ancient world, before Confucius (551–479 B.C.), when China meant only a little kingdom, not much larger than France or Texas, the various kinds of men, aborigines, savage and half-civilized, at the four points of the compass and on the islands, were vastly more different from one another than they are to-day. Manners, customs, food, religions, forms of social order, and government differed widely, and before becoming what they are, have passed through a long evolution. To-day they show the results of human beings under the play both of natural forces and of human influences, such as religion, literature, art, the pressure of invading and conquering nations, and the events of war and peace. Education and the social system have made one solvent that dissolves everything which it touches or which is dropped into it.

Perhaps no writer has made a better map showing the limits of old China and the gradual extension of the empire than has Professor E. H. Parker, though Klaproth's Atlas of twenty-six epochs is very suggestive. We see old China lying between parallels thirty-five and forty of north latitude, and between the Yellow River and the Gulf of Pechili. By a glance at Professor Parker's map, one may learn more about the other annexations, incorporations, and assimilations of territory, the areas conquered from and re-taken by the Tartars or nomads, the portions inhabited by mixed races, or only partially or very lately brought under Chinese influence, than from reading pages of description. To this day, in the very heart of the empire, there are tribes, like the Lolos, only half absorbed. An area as large as France is still occupied by several millions of people belonging to aboriginal tribes, nearly two hundred in number, called Chinese, but reckoned as "tame" savages, in contrast to the "wild" or the wholly unsubdued.

The general relations between the Chinese and their northern frontagers is best shown in the legends and anecdotes, just as the stories of our frontiersmen and captives among the Indians illustrate American colonial life. Many a Tartar lad, taken prisoner and employed at the Chinese court as a stable boy, waiter, or slave, rose to favor and fame. In one case, in 86 B.C., an imperial general marched into Turkestan and captured the golden image worshiped by the tribe,—possibly a statue of Buddha,—and brought it home as spoil, along with the chieftain's son Jih Ti. The tall and fine-looking boy, so faithful to his duties, attracted the attention of the emperor, who raised him to the post of Master of the Horse, with the surname of Kin, or golden, and later made him regent of the empire. Jih Ti was famous for the magnificence of his clothes and houses, and in history his name enjoys posthumous honors.

This idea of gold as the measure of things super-fine, and with a sentimental as well as money value, is as common with the Chinese as with us. The small feet of the women are "golden lilies." The lights in the imperial palace are called "The Golden Lily Candelabra," and one of the highest honors conferred by the emperor upon a minister was to order him to be escorted home by light-bearers. The Gate of the Golden Horses, belonging to the imperial palace, took its name from a group of statuary, and to this day "to wait at the Gate of the Golden Horses" means to hold one's self in readiness for the imperial commands. It is this constant allusion to good stories, happy omens, or things that suggest pleasure, that makes a literary composition or the conversation of Chinese gentlemen with one another so sparkling. One of the most famous authors of dramatic literature of the seventeenth century had Kin in his name. In a thousand ways the Chinese show their love of gold, both sentimentally and in rhetoric, in art and in business, the Buddhists especially making their images, altars, and temple furnishings a blaze of golden glory.

It is from the Chinese, also, that the idea of the transmutation of metals, and especially of the baser into the nobler, comes. Since the discovery of radium in our time, scientific men do not sneer at this notion quite in the same way as they formerly did. The Chinese mystics taught that gold grows by natural evolution, beginning with the original substance of all things. It was argued that gold is the perfected essence of mountain rock, which, after the lapse of a thousand years, is changed into quicksilver. But this moon-metal, mercury, is called into existence by the female or lunar principle of nature, and remains liquid until acted upon by the solar or masculine elemental force, when it is converted into gold. This belief in the transmutation of metals was especially in vogue during the Tang and Sung dynasties, when the Arabs were bringing Chinese ideas, discoveries, and inventions to Europe. During the Middle Ages the Tartars called their dynasty Kin, or Golden. The great Mongol host that invaded Russia was called the Golden Horde.

Many are the novels and poems which picture the Chinese frontier settlements and garrisons, the troops and officers pining for home and tired of their monotonous life, the sudden raids and cunning stratagems of the enemy, and the experiences of border fighting. In many civil wars the Tartars were employed as auxiliaries, just as the British used the Indians during our Revolutionary War, and as both sides enrolled them in the War of 1812. Banishment beyond the Great Wall was frequent, and many are the laments of the exiles, in poetry. In some cases the long-banished one went out as a youth and came back as a white-haired man. Su Wu, who lived B.C. 100, was one of these, who is now extolled in the popular stories as the pattern of unchanging fidelity to his imperial lord. Forgotten at court, he sent a message to the emperor by means of "wireless telegraphy" on the wings of a bird. How he did it is thus told:—

After many years' absence, having meanwhile clung to his staff of office as a precious wand, he married a wife and reared a son. Catching a wild goose, he wrote a message of loyalty and attached it to the creature's leg just as it was about to fly southward in the autumn. The emperor, hunting in his pleasure grounds, shot the bird, and observing the missive, opened and read it. He at once took measures to have Su Wu recalled, and the venerable man, now husband and father, returned to receive honors.

Other instances are known in which fugitives from crime or debt, and Chinese renegades, got among the Tartars, teaching them many new things or helping them to profit by treachery in raids against the Chinese. Many also are the stories of the lovely wives of these exiles, left at home, but ever faithful to their lords. In the fourth century A.D. a lady, the wife of a banished governor, thus bereaved, embroidered her poetical laments in an intricate circular scrollwork, in 840 characters, on satin, and sent it as a souvenir to her absent lord. This dainty piece of needlework is as celebrated as is the Bayeux tapestry on which the Norman invasion of England is depicted. In China it is the original of many such works in the same style.

Chinese art, thought, and literature reflect this long struggle with the Tartars. There are two reasons why the South is always associated with what is sunny and pleasant, and is looked upon as the source of all that is good and desirable,—peace, calm, abundance, fruit, spice, treasure, commerce, and civilization; while the North is the quarter whence come cold, storm, death, disease, evil influences, war, and the Tartars. Of the two reasons, one arises from nature and the weather, the other is the lengthened shadow of history lying athwart the national memory.

Yet in the age-long clash between Chinese civilization and Tartar barbarism there were many mutual gains. The southerners learned many a lesson, and adopted from their neighbors not a few articles of food and other material advantages, while the northerners absorbed Chinese culture for their own good. The contact of the two peoples for their mutual benefit has been much like that of our American people with the Indians, who gave us tobacco, maple sugar, maize, the snow-shoe, the bark canoe, and many articles of food. Almost all distinctive American dishes, besides our best native fruits, grains, and berries, have been developed from Indian or native originals. So also the debt of the Chinese to the Tartars is very great. It is true that the very learned Terrien de la Couperie tried to trace at least one hundred and sixty items of civilization in China to Western sources; but the great body of critical scholars believe that in the Chinese Empire itself arose most of what is now part and parcel of the civilization of China.

In a word, as some writers contend, the real history of the Chinese Empire is as much that of the Tartars as of the Chinese. In the slow evolution of the ages, and especially during the reign of the dynasty ruling from 1644 into the twentieth century, itself Tartar, the two peoples have virtually blended together. Through alien pressure, and in presence of foreign aggressions, they have become one.

About the Beginning of Things

Told for centuries by wise men, parents, and nurses around the family fire in winter, under the trees in summer, or by the lamp in spring or autumn, every old country has many hero and wonder tales stored in the national memory.

In each nation the hero must be the kind of man admired of the people, and very much like popular living men, but greater in every way. He must represent the nation's ideal of a great and good man. He must be crafty, strong, or brave, like Jacob, Samson, or David; powerful like Charlemagne, full of energy like Napoleon, or noble like Lincoln. If the real man did not actually have these traits, the romancers clothe him with them in fiction. Most of the ancient demigods, saints, and heroes would never know themselves if they could look into the mirror of modern fancy. The value of these oft-told stories about great men is to reflect opinion and show what ought to be, as well as what is. Story-tellers usually drop what is displeasing, and keep only what is lovely or exciting to tell. Mythology is rich in literary candy and sweets. Children like these best, and in the childhood of the race the taste of hearers requires what is suited to the palate.

Chinese fathers want their sons to be like the men who lived in the morning of creation. Every mother in the eighteen provinces hopes that her daughters will imitate the women of antiquity. All over the Chinese world, on the 7th of August, is the feast of the Starry Weaver Maiden, whose graces and accomplishments every Chinese girl hopes to have. Their early heroes are wonderfully like the popular men of modern China. If, therefore, the Chinese ideal is linked with toil, then their first man, or Adam, must be a tremendous worker with his hands. Incessant labor is the lot of China's millions. In Chinese fairy tales, the naughty boy or girl is lazy, the good one is always notably industrious.

This is so true that in China when any one wants to show that he is rich and does not have to toil with his hands, he lets his finger-nails grow long, sometimes even until they become like Nebuchadnezzar's talons. They look first like birds' claws, and then like switches. Little bamboo splints, or ivory supports, are used to keep them straight and prevent breakage, so that these signs of luxury may be trained as upon a trellis. Manicuring is an old art with the Chinese, but it is more like vine-dressing than with us. Portraits of persons of leisure show this. Empresses, who wear a sort of long, golden thimble on their finger tips, are thus represented.

When the Chinese think of creation, they tell us about the first being, who was named Pau Ku. He was placed on the earth, when sky and ground were all one, to reduce chaos to order and to pound, chisel, and carve the earth until it got into proper shape. The mighty giant had a chisel in one hand and a mallet in the other. For eighteen thousand years he began work every morning early and kept up his task until dark. As he toiled, he increased in stature, so that gradually he was able to push up the heavens and expand the earth, making it more solid and shapely. He held the sun and moon in his hands. At last, in a rough way indeed, the world was fit for human beings to live upon.

Then Pan Ku died, but in his death he did almost as much to make the world habitable as during his life, for the products of the decay of his body gave the earth its furniture. His head became mountains; his breath, winds and clouds; his voice, thunder; his left eye the sun, and his right eye the moon. His limbs were changed into the four quarters of the globe, and his five extremities into the five great mountains famous in Chinese history. His sinews became the undulations of the earth's surface, his blood the rivers, his muscles and veins the strata of the earth, his flesh the soil, his hair and beard the stars and constellations, his skin and the hairs on it plants and trees, his teeth and bones metals, and his marrow pearls and precious stones. The sweat of his body turned into rain, and then, as the last particles of his mortal frame were blown upon by the wind, the parasites, or, as we should call them, microbes, turned into human beings.

The Chinese and the Scandinavian theories of creation are much alike.

There were many giants on the earth in those days, There always are in ancient stories. Some of the big fellows, being unruly, had to be kept in older. So three rulers in succession, called the heavenly, the earthly, and the human sovereigns, each of them living eighteen thousand years, ruled the world. Gradually the inhabitants learned to do many things, becoming thus less brutish and more human. They had homes and families. Children knew their fathers. As yet, however, they lived in caves, in holes in the ground, or among the branches of the trees, and ate their food raw. The earth was full of horrible beasts and reptiles, and the trees and vegetation were rougher than at present and furnished little food for man. Gradually better breeds of animals came into being, and some of these were tamed for human service. Certainly no race has excelled the Chinese in taming animals, beasts, birds, reptiles, and fish for the service of man.

After Pan Ku and the three early sovereigns, there followed a ruler who instructed men in the building of "wooden nests" or houses. Then the Fire Maker showed men how to rub one stick against another until smoke and flame came forth. He also taught them to count and record days, months, and years by tying knots with strings. From this time on, men cooked their food, softened many hard things by fire, hot water, and steam, and kept warm in cold weather.

One must not ask, nor try to answer, too many questions about these old stories. Myths are mirrors of belief. They are very useful in showing what the Chinese believed about their ancestors. These, they thought, rose from very humble beginnings and passed through periods of lowest savagery, which is a kind of life not very far lifted up, either in habits or in states of mind, from that of the brutes. Then they merged into a condition one stage higher, barbarism, in which there were arts and crafts, by which men avail themselves of the forces and resources of nature and gain health, comforts, and time for thought. The first is an age of long processes, the other of distinct events.

This unknown period of early beginnings men fill up with mythology and fairy tales, because they cannot now tell exactly what took place, any more than a child can remember what happened in its infancy. There are no records, for there was then no writing, but only rude picture signs, such as Indians and Esquimaux use. In the next age certain great happenings stand out by them-selves, such as a flood, a famine, an earthquake or pestilence which destroys many lives. The happy events, such as the introduction of a new article of food or drink, the discovery of metals, a sure remedy for diseases, or an invention that saves toil or gives beauty, are long remembered.

In this period also there are great civilizers, who teach marriage and politeness, medicine and agriculture, the catching of fish, and the rearing of domestic animals. They show how hemp may be woven into cloths, or how silkworms may be made to yield shining fibres for beautiful dresses. Some make musical instruments and draw sweet sounds therefrom, or they invent writing, and thus store up and hand down, even after death, ideas, information, and records of events. With what the steel point scratches on bamboo, or the brush pen puts with ink on paper, men may be moved by history, eloquence, or poetry. Then the drama and the theatre come into existence.

In time, these great men who were inventors are supposed to have been "gods." Gratitude turns to adoration, prayer, and honors paid to their memory. Craftsmen, guilds and companies, cities and provinces, adopt them as their patron gods or saints. The painters attempt to represent their faces. Legend, poetry, the drama, proverbs, and art make their names and their sup-posed features, as shown in their portraits, so familiar that they become very real to the people. Where we foreigners, visiting a temple in Canton, or seeing a collection of dolls, images, idols, or pictures in Ningpo, behold only strangeness and oddity, the natives of China recognize benefactors and familiar friends, whose names are to them as household words. As the thirteen stripes and cluster of stars suggest the independent thirteen colonies which became the United States, or as an axe and rails recall Abraham Lincoln, so to the Chinese mind the cock standing on the drum means peace, the sacred unicorn prosperity, and a score of other symbols bring to memory famous events in the long and glorious history of China,—the oldest of states.

The legendary age extends from 2852 B.C. to the historical period, which begins about 800 B.C., after which we have clearly written accounts of men who did things at a fixed date, and who lived very much nearer in time to the men who wrote about them. The Chinese have no history before 800 B.C., and the Japanese none before 400 A.D. Yet, like Europeans of all sorts, they claim vast age, which has only lately manufactured tradition to support it.

All the languages of mankind may be divided into a few families. The Aryan has inflections, gender, number, person, and case, and the root is changeable in form. The Semitic has tri-literal roots. The Turanian is agglutinative, extra pieces or parts of speech being glued on to the unchangeable root. Now, Chinese is perhaps the oldest written, living language in the world, but the very fact that it began to be written so early prevented its growth. Infants learn to talk in single syllables. Chinese is the baby talk of the ancient world, too early fixed in form by written characters, and has little or no grammar. It is monosyllabic. The poverty of sounds is made into richness by a system of tones, so that one syllable may have many meanings, according as it is intoned.

That is the main reason why it is so hard for us to hold Chinese names in our mind. There are no long words, and even proper names are made of monosyllables. If we do not know the language by eye or ear, it is only by making Chinese words and names look and sound like our own that we can easily remember them, as we see in the case of names of places and Latin forms like Confucius, Mongolia, Manchuria, etc.

Hence, also, the very short names of the early founders of Chinese order. To read of them and what they did is like perusing the early chapters of Genesis. Thus Tsi, now worshiped as the god of agriculture, was Director of Husbandry. Shen Nung, the Divine Husbandman, first fashioned timber into ploughs and taught men farming. He discovered the curative virtues of plants and began the practice of bolding markets. He developed the scheme of the eight diagrams, on which philosophy is based, into sixty-four. Hi Chung, director of chariots under Yu the Great, taught men to apply horses in draught, and ploughs and wheeled vehicles in place of human labor. Another introduced the grapevine and showed men how to make wine. Ling Lun began the art of music. In medical science, one physician dissected the human body, learned about its internal parts and the blood channels, and set forth a theory of the pulses. One of his successors, long afterward, was very skilful in acupuncture, or needle surgery, and by this means relieved an emperor of cerebral disease. Li Show was the inventor of the art of notation, and drew up the nine sections of mathematics. In order to measure the earth, that is, the known dominions, Tai Chang paced the earth from its eastern to its western border, while Shu Hai performed the same task from north to south, by which means its length and breadth were ascertained. To these early people "the earth" meant China.

Indeed, most Chinese precedents are drawn from this age, which we may call that of the Yellow Emperor, Whang Ti (B.C. 2697), who was surrounded by eminent men of light and leading, whose names are famous. Of course, the Chinese, though now a very peaceful people, must have a god of war. All old nations did. Yeo was a great rebel, who was beaten by the Yellow Emperor. He headed a confederacy of eighty-one brothers who talked like men, but who had the bodies of beasts and fed on dust. They made war weapons and oppressed the people until Whang Ti marched to chastise them. On the day of battle, Yeo called on the wind god and rain lord to aid him, but when a mighty tempest rose, the Yellow Emperor sent his ally, the Daughter of Heaven, to quell the storm. Then he slew the rebel, whose spirit went up and occupied the planet Mars, which still influences the issues of battle. Verily this was a war of Titans. Yeo was the first to produce disorder, but is reputed to be the inventor of weapons and of astrology.

Two great men, Yao and Shun, are to the Chinese very much what Abraham and Moses are to the Semitic peoples. Chinese gentlemen will say, and believe what they are telling you, that there is hardly anything in the China of to-day that was not in the minds or plans of Yao and Shun. The reign of one began B.C. 2356, and of the other, his associate, B.C. 2285. As with most national worthies, we have wonderful stories as to what their fond mothers thought of them, even before they were born. The mother of Yu the Great gave him birth after seeing a falling star and swallowing a divine pearl. The three, considered as peerless in wisdom and virtue, have been immortalized by Confucius and Mencius, and glorified beyond measure by later writers.

Theirs was the golden age which it is the object of the good men of to-day to bring back to the earth. Yao began great works, but selected Shun, because of his filial piety, to complete them. In Yao's time a great flood covered the country, the water rising even to the tops of the mountains. This overflow, which destroyed fields and houses, was probably a change in the channel of the Yellow River. After nine years of incredible toil, during which he took heed neither to food nor clothing, and thrice passed by the door of his home without stopping, even when he heard the wailing of his infant son within, Yu brought the waters under control. Then he divided the empire into nine provinces. Agriculture was taught and a calendar was begun, by having men watch the notions of the stars and planets. To accept the Chinese calendar has ever been a mark of loyal vassalage to the Chinese emperor. Shun also improved the ritual of religion and ordained a code of punishments.

It is the peculiarity of nearly all ancient writing and religion, and the mark usually of age, both in individuals and in nations, to assert vehemently that the past was better than the present, and things are not as they used to be, either in ancient times or when "we were children." With every succeeding age glorifying the former one, and the story-teller always embellishing what went before, there is piled up a vast mass of unconscious exaggeration. The past "wins a glory by its being far." In those distant days in China, nobody stole anything, or locked his doors at night, and things dropped on the road were never picked up by any but the owner. In a word, as among savages, private ownership, or property, was unknown. Everything was held in common. Morals were of the community, not of the individual.

The virtues and prosperous government of the two celebrated sovereigns, Yao and Shun, are commemorated in a phrase of four characters, the synonym for prosperity, and reading literally "Yao Heaven, Shun sun"; or, in full, "Heaven favoring, as in the days of Yao; and the sun resplendent, or the day prosperous, as in the time of Shun." Another phrase is "Pearls strung together and the tally of gems united," meaning brilliancy and concord. When Yao had completed the seventieth year of his reign at the winter solstice, the five planets were in conjunction and the sun and moon stood opposite to each other.

Learned men's essays and Chinese literature in general, but especially of the elegant sort, are full of such terse phrases, which make sentences sparkle and delight cultured readers. No language is as luxurious as the Chinese in allusions to ancient stories, anecdotes of famous people, or places and things delightful. It is no wonder the Chinese love their favorite authors, whose texts are a mosaic rich in pleasing images.

Chinese notions of eclipses were those of primitive man everywhere. It was especially charged upon the two earliest astronomers that they should give warning of a solar eclipse. According to the tradition, these men neglected their duty and became riotous and drunken. An eclipse having come on without notice, the pair were put to death.

The great mass of ignorant people in China are still terrified when they see during the daytime untimely darkness, and the birds going to roost in the premature twilight. Believing that a great dragon in the sky is swallowing the luminary, they beat gongs, drums, and tom-toms, blow horns and whistles, and by every kind of hideous noise try to frighten the monster away or make him disgorge his prey. When full light comes again, they imagine they have succeeded. Similar ideas prevailed in ancient Europe.

The dragon is also the symbol of what is most precious. It is believed that pearls endowed with peculiar virtues of magic and blessing are carried by dragons upon their foreheads. We see them playing with one another and the jewels, or, supremely strenuous, they contend in dire conflict for the possession of the prizes. One of the most common representations on works of art is that of two dragons, that are struggling for, or, it may be, guarding a precious gem. This is a picture, in symbol, of the terrific struggle of the forces of the universe, as manifested in storm, cyclone, typhoon, earthquake, tidal wave, volcanic eruption, or the phenomena of the skies, ocean, and land. On the Chinese national flag the dragon is the emblem of authority. Although the Chinese did not know the theory of the tides, and the effect which the moon has upon the sea and its waters, yet they associated the moon, or the precious pearl among the moving clouds in the sky, with the pulses of the ocean. A common representation in bronze and crystal is that of dragons seizing, contending for, or controlling the crystal ball or pearl, which represents the moon. Hence the dragon is used as a symbol of commerce and fortunate voyages, or the hope of such, and on paper money.

We meet the dragon very often in fairyland. The shrine of the king of the world beneath the sea is under his guardianship. He guides the daring voyager into strange seas and to the treasure castle on far-off islands. He loves music, and can be diverted by the sound of the lute. He delivers the hero out of his dangers, and brings the princess safely to joy and peace. In their dreams, Chinese children, and especially ambitious students, ride on the backs of dragons and go soaring through the air and over mountains and sea, or they travel on these coursers into strange lands, or go down beneath the ocean's bed. In serious thought the dragon is the symbol of that with which the impious may not fool or trifle, and whose powers none may mock or defy.

One would need a library to tell of all the stories of dragons in the lore and art of Japan, Korea, and other nations under Chinese culture. In geography an amazing number of features of the landscape take their name from some part of the dragon's body, head, tail, eye, or mouth. The successful students at examinations are called dragons. The emblem of their success is either the dragon or the tiger. The Son of Heaven, the emperor, and his high ministers, and all the imperial attributes are associated with this divinely constituted creature, and the seat of power is called the Dragon's Seat. Hence, around the imperial throne of China the dragon is carved in the richest wood and rarest stones. The emperor's face is the Dragon Countenance, and his carriage the Dragon's Chariot.

The Evolution of Government

Chinese society rests for its longevity upon the principle contained in the fifth commandment in the decalogue of Moses. In China, the church-nation, filial piety lies at the foundation of all order, and its typical saints are those who most highly honor their parents. It is related of Shun (B.C. 2317-2208), that, though cruelly treated by his father, who had taken a new wife and favored her offspring, he in nowise lessened his dutiful conduct toward his parents or his regard for his step-brother. The good boy was rewarded even by the beasts, so that they came to help him drag his plough, while the birds weeded the fields for him. He also made pottery and caught fish for his step-parent and brother, though they still persecuted him. They even set fire to his house, and then, getting him to go into a deep well, tried to put him out of the way, but in every case his life was miraculously preserved.

In Chinese literature there are twenty-four stories of twenty-three sons and one daughter who illustrated filial piety in their unswerving obedience, and in the unselfish sacrifices they made for their parents. It rather amuses the Occidental to find so many boys and only one girl thus canonized. We recognize these characters in the storybooks, in pictures on plates, cups, and vases, and in many forms of art in China and Japan. Putnam and the wolf, George Washington and his cherry tree, Betsy Ross and her flag, are not better known to us than are these paragons to the Chinese.

We must not forget that classic China, where these worthies lived, with fewer than a million people in it, comprised only parts of three northern provinces. The neighboring aborigines had not been wholly subdued, though peaceful measures were gradually winning them over. So long as they remained quiet, they were allowed to live on the soil, gradually becoming Chinese.

All land in theory belonged to the ruler, who gave certificates of ownership, part of the produce being paid to him for the support of order. Where the ruler lived was the capital. This was in the centre of five squares, of different sizes, inclosed one within another. The central one was called the Royal Domain. The Noble's Tenure, or next square, consisted of lands allotted to the great officers. The Region of Tranquil Tenure, the Territory of Aliens, and the Wild Domain followed in their order. In these five squares lived the nine different grades of people, from the ruler and his household to the savages in the distant regions where civilization was unknown. Those living in the square nearest the capital paid the highest taxes, and those at the greatest distance the lightest.

Gradually government changed from the simple patriarchal form, in which the head of a tribe ruled his people, as if all were in one family, into a monarchy, where there was a king, with grades of society,—the nobles, the higher order of citizens, the lower orders, the half subdued, and the utterly wild,—each class paying taxes according to ability. Thus by slow evolution the form of government approached that of to-day. In reality China has passed through many varieties of government, but the nation is one family and the emperor is the father of his people.

All religions are less complicated and more simple as we ascend the stream of time. There were no idols or temples, or any caste of priests, in early China. Worship was offered to the Supreme Ruler, to the Six Objects of Honor, to hills and rivers, and to the hosts of spirits. Many scholars translate the term Shang-ti by our word God. A sentence from Confucius, in ten characters, in his Doctrine of the Mean, or Middle Way, is thus put into English: "In the ceremonies at the altars of Heaven and Earth they served God." In spirit and form, ancient Chinese religion was but slightly different from that of the ancient Semites. The Temple of Heaven in Peking, mostly of white marble, in three stories, is roofed with blue tiles, as if to represent the azure of the sky. Dr. Legge put off his shoes in visiting this sacred place. In 1900, the British cavalry made a stable of it!

Ancient worship was graded. When we first know anything of Chinese ancestral worship, we find this to be the form of their religion. Only the emperor offered sacrifice to the spirits of his imperial progenitors, the province governors to the spirits of Earth and Heaven, and the common people to their ancestors.

In all ancient cults, however, what a man neglected to do was even more significant than what he performed. It was believed that the spirits of the forefathers had great powers of evil, as well as of good. Therefore to neglect honoring the ancestors might mean frightful disasters from water, fire, or pestilence.

When scholars tell us about the ancient religion of China, as described in or learned from the books, we must remember that this lofty faith was practiced in its purity only by the most intelligent and devout. The great mass, the ignorant, the vulgar, the stupid, the brutal and wicked held to debasing habits and notions. Beast-worship, belief in fox and wolf possession, witchcraft and resort to magic, and a degrading fear of evil spirits, were and are general. In China, as in other countries, there is a great gulf between the theory and the practice of religion.

In China, whether pre-ancient or of to-day, the unit of society is not the individual, but the family. The happiness or unhappiness of the individual is nothing in itself, that of the family is everything. Equality and fraternity are written on the Chinese heart, and the idea of education is to inspire family affection. There is no other country in the world where the family idea is so prominent or its unity so safeguarded.

Oriental civilization is communal, not individual. Even the language mirrors the state of society. There are no true personal pronouns, few ways or none of expressing individuality, no personification in poetry, while the whole speech is impersonal to the last degree. Many words common to us cannot be translated directly into these languages, nor theirs into ours, for there are no exact equivalents. It is like making change as between American quarters and English shillings, or American dollars and French five-franc pieces. One can come only near to a fair exchange.

Circular house


With us the husband and wife begin the home, living, as a rule, apart from their parents. In China the married children occupy the same house with the son's parents. If a man is adopted into another family, with no father or son in it, he must, in order to become its head, take his wife's family name. Of old the members of the same family lived in one hamlet, and when the families increased they became a clan, which was supposed to have had but one ancestor. Even to-day in remote villages, all the people form one household. One great house, built in the form of a circle, or hollow ring, with the garden in the centre and cultivated fields outside, may hold three or four generations in many families who make up one clan, living under one round roof for better protection against robbers.

This prehistoric division of the people into clans is reflected in the very small number of Chinese family names. Ours, like Smith, Jones, etc., are large in number, compared to the Li, Sun, Fan, etc., of the "Hundred Families" of China. In all matters that are purely local, the head of the family or clan has control. There is no country in the world more famous for its local freedom, and no larger democracy than China. Yet there seems lacking a powerful middle class between the throne and the people. This is China's great need. Local customs are so tenacious as to have the force of law, and with these customs or binding traditions of a place, very few magistrates, whether emperors, province rulers, mayors, or village elders, dare interfere.

In very, very early days, human sacrifices were as common in eastern Asia as in Europe. When the master died, some, often many, of his faithful servants, yes, even his wives, died with him. Traces of this custom are found within quite modern times. Among the beneficent reforms was the substitution of clay figures, and, in process of time, of paper effigies. Memorial tablets are said to have originated B.C. 350 in honor of a courtier who had given his own flesh to save the life of an emperor. Ancestor-worship involved the propitiation of the evil as well as the good spirits. This is the immediate purpose in mind when fire-crackers are set off by the Chinese in their burying-grounds and at funerals; that is, to scare off the spirits that would work harm. In constant fear of the over-populated world of the unseen, the Chinaman, like the Japanese, is apt to laugh or appear gay, when announcing bad news or telling of trouble, especially of the death of near friends. It is a relic of the old dread of evil spirits and the desire of not letting them know, lest they might seize upon the departed. A large part of the ritual of burial is intended to fool or drive away the goblins, and at the grave these are kept off by fireworks. This is the real and the unconsciously inherited philosophy of "the Japanese smile." The Chinese grin while bearing pain, or announce sad news with apparent merriment.

One of several stories illustrating the ancient custom of men "dying with the master," or of virgins being offered to appease gods and monsters, is that of "giving a wife in marriage to the river-god." It also shows how a brave man abolished a bad custom. A reforming governor, B.C. 424, found that the ruling elders of a certain city, in league with the sorcerers and a chief priestess, levied money on the people and then selected a pretty maiden, who was richly dressed and thrown into the Yellow River to meet the embraces of the god. The next year the governor seized the chief sorceress and some of her associates and tumbled them into the water in place of the customary virgin. After that the river lord, or god of the Yellow River, had to do without his regular allowance.

In a pack of fire-crackers, one can see reflected the order of ancient society. There is, first of all, the one yellow, or imperial cracker. That stands for the emperor. Various green-tinted crackers represent the nobles and magistrates of various ranks, whom we call "mandarins." The great number alike and of the same color, red, tell of the populace or common people, who are "made of the red earth and to the red earth return." What we long employed to celebrate the birth of a new nation, July 4, 1776, the Chinese used ages ago in connection with funerals. The one way is about as civilized as the other.

When Yu succeeded to power, B.C. 2205, there began the Hia or first regular Chinese dynasty, which lasted to B.C. 1818. It was so named after the territory now in the province of Honan, which was given to Yu the Great, for his services in controlling the Yellow River. After this herculean task, he gave the country a good government. In order to be close to the people, he had a drum, a gong, a sounding-stone, a wooden bell, and a rattle hung outside the palace walls. These, in their order, were to be sounded according as one came to instruct the king, had a suggestion to offer, came to tell of famine or rebellion, appealed from an unjust decision, or asked for justice. During Yu's reign, more aboriginal tribes were conquered and the realm was extended. As gold and silver were now mined, stamped money took the place of the old-fashioned barter.

The legends of the era show the influence of both good and wicked women as well as men. They make it plain, also, that as wealth increased, luxury and cruelty became more general. The state of affairs became so bad that one Prince Tang, a very virtuous man, was, in B.C. 1766, provoked into rebellion,—the first of the many successful "rebels" known in Chinese history.

On the occasion of a great drought, it was supposed that the wrath of Heaven required a human victim. In this crisis, the emperor, Tang, after fastening and cutting off his hair, put on white robes, and in a chariot drawn by white horses came to the mulberry grove where sacrifices were offered. Confessing his sins, Tang prayed to Heaven to take his life for the sins of the people. Happily at this moment clouds gathered, rain fell, and his life was spared. The Shang or Yin dynasty, which he founded, endured for over six hundred years, from B.C. 1766 to B.C. 1122. Most of the twenty-six rulers were of little personal importance.

During this period, in addition to the wild tribes on the borders, we note the beginning of the long struggle between the Chinese and the northern Tartars, which at last, after thirty centuries, ended by the Manchus subduing the Chinese in war, and ruling in Peking. On the other hand, the Chinese overcame their conquerors in time of peace, civilization winning greater victories than those of bloodshed.

Most interesting during this epoch is the division of the arable land into units of nine equal squares. Each family cultivated its own block, while the ninth, or central square, was worked in common by all and its produce paid to the government as a tax. Gradually it came to pass that the emperor, who ruled by divine right as the father of his people, was looked upon as the favorite of the Supreme Ruler and was called the Son of Heaven, as we have seen.

Probably the most famous man of this period was the scholar Ki Tsze, an ancestor of Confucius, whom the Koreans call the founder of their civilization. He was the author of part of the classics. Vainly protesting against the wickedness of his sovereign, he was thrown into prison, but, released in 1122, he went to Liao Tung, or the Far East. His alleged tomb at Ping Yang was greatly injured during the war of 1894, but was soon re-paired. Around a sacrificial stone table and drum are the effigies of horses and sheep, as at the tombs of great men in China. Because Ki Tsze lived before Confucius, the Koreans boast an antiquity greater than China's and a "civilization four thousand years old." Yet they have no real history covering half this period.

With the defeat of Chou Hsin, in 1122, the Divine Prince, Wu Wang, founded the famous Chow dynasty, lasting from B.C. 1122 to B.C. 255, ushering in also the feudal system, so brilliantly described in the poetry gathered by Confucius, at which we shall now glance.

The Feudal System

During the era from 1122 to 255 B.C., society in China was organized under the forms of the feudal system. Feudalism, through which almost every civilized nation has passed, is in substance much the same all over the world, whatever be the time or the people. Hundreds of volumes have been written on this subject, telling us what feudalism is and how it originated, but not from very many writers do we get real light. Some seem rather to increase the darkness.

The feudalism of Japan, under which I had the rare experience of living, in 1871, during the last year of its career, was seven centuries old, and was very much like that of other countries and ages. Indeed one reason, and the chief one, for the difference in the reputations of Chinese and Japanese merchants lies in the fact that in China, since feudalism passed away, trade has been honorable for more than two thousand years. In Japan feudalism was not abolished until 1872, and until that time the merchant had no social standing.

In feudalism there is no place of honor for the trader, but only for the landowner and the soldier. There may be many definitions of feudalism, but practically in this state of society there are only two classes of people,—those who own land and are "somebody," and those who are landless and are "nobody." The whole basis of feudalism is ownership of land. All the territory, instead of being owned by those who have bought or who till it, belongs to men of varying rank, to whom it has been given as a reward for personal service.

In such a state of society there are lords and nobles, and in some countries the clergy also, as privileged classes. Yet instead of many classes of the people, or hundreds of ways of earning a living, making many social distinctions, as in mod-ern life, there are but two divisions of society,—taxpayers and non-taxpayers. The peasantry may consist of the free and the unfree, that is, of serfs and farmers who have certain privileges on the soil. "The people" do not exist politically. They have few or no rights, for the lord of the land owns everything,—the fish in the water, the birds in the air, the beasts in the forest, and the treasures in the ground. All privileges come from the land-lord, who permits or forbids, exercising authority in even the smallest affairs. Yet there are many picturesque phases of human life and generally a great diversity of color, costume, and customs. In the feudal system, almost all relations and usages being based on ownership of land, the chief characteristics of social and political life are the relationships of lords and vassals. In such a state of society, public law becomes merged into private law, so that office, jurisdiction, and even kingship are forms of property. The tenures of land are in the form of feuds, that is, fees, or fiefs. The retainer is bound to serve his lord at court or as a soldier. The personal note of the system is loyalty. For the sake of his lord, the knight or soldier must count his life, his parents, wife, children, or property as naught, in comparison to the claims of his master upon him. Thus the great laws of con-tract and of mutual dependence and service are taught, and probably as these can be taught in no other system of society. In China, filial piety is the basis of civilization and the note of ethics and history. In Japan it is loyalty.

When Wu Wang, who founded the Chow dynasty (1122–255 B.C.), became emperor, he parceled out his domain, rewarding those who had helped him during his campaigns. Besides giving them grants of land he added titles of honor, such as duke, marquis, earl, count, etc. These high officers were the emperor's vassals and were bound to serve him as courtiers or soldiers. In this way China was divided up like a chessboard, though the areas were of various shapes and sizes, for the real value of territory is not in its measurement, but in its fertility, and is reckoned according to the average results of the harvest.

Now there are two ways of picturing to the mind this remarkable era and the people who lived under it. One is to write the outward story of events, give a catalogue of the petty states,—scores in number, each with a monosyllabic name, which few of us can remember,—and then mention the rulers in succession, or tell of the feudal wars; in other words, to show the bones of history.

As to war, one might almost say that campaigns seemed continuous and interminable. Many rulers, ambitious of power and coveting more land, extended their boundaries unjustly. Armies went out regularly when the millet flowers bloomed in the spring, and returned when the snow lay on the mire. As each state was governed by its own ruler, there was constant rivalry between these vassal kingdoms. In time, some of them became so powerful that their rulers took the title of kings. One of them, the state of Tsin, or Chin, became paramount, B.C. 255, overthrew the imperial dynasty, and usurped the throne. It is believed that from this state the name China became known throughout Asia. Dr. Legge declares that "the state of Tsin fought its way to empire through seas of blood. Probably there is no country in the world which has drunk in so much blood from its battles, sieges, and massacres as this."

There is another way of picturing China's feudal age. It is to tell how people felt, played, hunted, met together socially, and enjoyed themselves; or, how the nobles and their men of war with their splendid chariots, caparisoned horses, silken banners, shining armor, fine clothes, jewels, and equipment made grand display at the durbars, or state levees, when the prince gave audience to his vassals. It is pleasant, also, to learn how the women and young folks lived, dressed, and amused them-selves, how children were reared and educated, what was the round of daily life, what grew in the fields, and what kind of food was eaten. We would know something about agriculture and industry, what flowers were cultivated, and what animals were hunted or reared for protection and defense, or employed for burdens or draught. One would like to be told of the ornaments and jewels worn, of the perfumes that were considered pleasant, of the musical instruments played, and, in general, about what human beings cared most to do. Has any one reported these things? In the days before newspapers, who wrote on such subjects?

Happily for us we have true pictures made by men and women who lived during the feudal era. These word-paintings are found in the form of poetry, written from B.C. 1765 to B.C. 585, in the She King, or Book of Odes, which Confucius edited, and Dr. James B. Legge has translated. According to the tradition, "the old poems amounted to more than three thousand. Confucius removed those which were only repetitions of others, and selected those which would be service-able for the inculcation of propriety and righteousness." Confucius published in all three hundred and five pieces, which he sung over to his lute to bring them into accordance with the musical style then prevalent.

Many of these verse-pictures are of lovers and weddings, and of the joyous festivals celebrated when the maid became bride and wife. Lovers seem to have been like those of to-day,—as much in a hurry as now,—eager to get their wives, then, after marriage, taking things as a matter of course. See the swift-driving lover in this poem:—

"With axle creaking all on fire I went,

To fetch my young and lovely bride.

No thirst or hunger pangs my bosom rent,—

I only longed to have her by my side.

I feast with her, whose virtue fame had told,

Nor need we friends our rapture to behold."

The poem in five stanzas then describes the birds and living creatures met by the rider on his way to his "virtuous bride of noble mind and personality," and how he ascended the hills and ridges. Whether on level roads or slopes, he drew from the things seen, were they oak trees or trailing-tailed pheasants, images of the beauty and grace of the maid who was to make his home.

In another case, when, "like the dove in the magpie's nest," the bride goes to her future home, a hundred chariots are ready to meet her and take her there. Again a wife, with industry and reverence, assists her husband in sacrificing at the temple. In other verses, the wife of a great officer bewails his absence on duty and longs for the joy of his return. Many are the picture-songs celebrating the diligence and virtue of good wives, or the charms of royal princesses. One poem shows the anxiety of a young lady to get married. She notices that the plums when ripe fall from the bough,—at first only seven tenths, then three tenths are left, and finally she gives notice that they who would "wish her love to gain" will not now apply in vain. When no more plums are on the bough, and all are in the basket, any ardent seeker "need only speak the word."

The position of woman was not very high in these early ages. It never has been in China, where subordination is the great principle. The introduction of Confucianism into Korea and Japan resulted in a distinct lowering of the status of women. Even the loved bride might be called a dove, but it would be with the idea of her stupidity, not loveliness. A score of odes celebrate the lack of jealousy in the true wife toward the other women in the harem, one of them being devoted to the cure of jealousy and "the restoration of good feeling in the harem." The Chinese can never be proud of their treatment of one half of the race, despite all their boasted ethics. Nevertheless, China has had many great women who are justly famous.

One of the difficult tasks in translating poetry or prose from one language into another is that of retaining the pleasing associations of the original. "One man's meat is another man's poison," and "concerning tastes there should be no dispute." Different peoples have very varying ideas as to a goose, a dove, or the tree from which jujube paste is made. Not only plants, but animals, have a different language to various nations. The same flower in one country suggests a funeral and in another a wedding. To one mind there rises at a certain word the idea of grace and beauty, to another that of stupidity and folly. In one country the cherry blossom is the queen of flowers, in another the rose. In our land the rose-bud is the emblem of blooming young womanhood, but in Japan the Valerian blossom. Many common flowers in the gardens of China, as familiar as are golden-rod or pond-lilies to us, are known in America only by their long and uncouth Latin names. It is very evident that we cannot do justice to these ancient poems of China by mere translation. The task awaits some poet who is also a scholar in Chinese.

Very remarkable is the fact that many of these odes, written thousands of years ago, contain the same ideas expressed in almost the same metre with which our poets have made us familiar. For example, there is one nearly identical with our "Woodman, Spare that Tree":—

"Oh fell not that sweet pear-tree!

See how its branches spread

Spoil not its shade," etc.

And the reason is that the people love the tree because their good ruler, the duke, rested under it.

All know Poe's wonderful rhymes on the raven. About B.C. 200, an exiled Chinese poet pictures himself in grief and loneliness amid his volumes of lore, in a poem half as long as Poe's, which Dr. W. A. P. Martin has translated thus:—

"On his bed of straw reclining,

Half despairing, half repining,

When athwart the window-sill

In flew a bird of omen ill,

And seemed inclined to stay."

Then follow seven other stanzas, which contain much the same idea as that over which Poe brooded:—

"Gentle bird, in mercy deign

The will of fate to me explain,

Where is my future way?

It raised its head as if 't were seeking

To answer me by simply speaking;

Then folded up its sable wing,

Nor did it utter anything,

But breathed a 'Well-a-day'!"

Confucius may, or may not, be held responsible for admitting into his collection, without a word of explanation, an ode which has done much to perpetuate among his people a barbarous contempt for women. However we translate it, the idea is there. It occurs in a poem on the completion of a royal palace with good wishes for the builder and his posterity. Dr. Martin thus gives a rhyming translation:—

"When a son is born—in a lordly bed

Wrap him in raiment of purple and red;

Jewels and gold for playthings bring

For the noble boy who shall serve the king.

"When a girl is born—in coarse cloth wound

With a tile for a toy, let her lie on the ground.

In her bread and her beer be her praise or her blame,

And let her not sully her parents' good name."

Wonderfully vivid, in the poems, are the pictures of the costumes, the handsome figures, and the easy dignity of popular officers at the court. Fulsome praises of certain dukes, for their culture and accomplishments, are set in tuneful lines. The weaknesses of conceited young men of rank are held up to ridicule. There are sentimental travelers who give themselves up to melancholy on contemplating the desolation of former capitals. Famous buildings, once filled with gay lords and ladies, now lying as ruins among the millet fields or forgotten among men, compel reflection. The moon inspired to much verse-making then as now. We hear also the murmurs of the soldiers who have been long absent on service, and are home-sick. In many a case, an officer of character is weary of life and complains that men of principle suffer while worthless men escape punishment.

"Caught as the pheasant in the net,

That vainly for the hare is set.

So those who duty promptly do

Find cause their loyal zeal to rue," etc.

Many narratives show how virtuous magistrates repress crime and licentiousness. The daring charioteer is praised for his skill and speed in the races, while the archers are honored in verse for their rapidity, skill, and ability to hit the target.

The praises of many birds, insects, and animals, that furnish human beings with good examples, are sung by these men of the lute. The noxious vermin and rodents are awful examples to the lazy and vicious. One man is likened to a rat, because he is uncultured and rude, or in Chinese phrase "lacks propriety." In another case, a rabbit catcher is praised as fit to be a prince's mate. The country boy diligent in his business stands before kings.

A very large number of the poems are about, or by, or dedicated to women, but many more are by, about, or in praise of or sympathy with soldiers, so that one would think the feudal age was given up wholly to love and war. The peasantry are praised and misgovernment is condemned, in some cases even when the people, while complaining of their harsh treatment, profess still more strongly their loyalty. Evidently there was plenty of gossip and slander, for these furnish the theme of many of the odes.

Step by step we can trace the rise of some of the feudal lords, and their growing opulence and pride, which led to luxury in the castle, but which meant more oppression and heavier taxes for the people. Many of the poets lament over the frivolous character of their princes, who are more fond of displaying their robes than of attending to the duties of government. Certain lines also read as if the fashion reporter of a modern society journal had been present, for the description of dresses is quite detailed. There is no lack of sarcasm, irony, jibe, and pun. One poet lampoons the gate wardens, who shine so grandly in their red knee covers, but who really disgrace the court, looking rather like pelicans that stand on the dam:—

"And there their pouches cram,

Unwet the while their wings,

But take no part in toil or care,

Nor the State's welfare seek."

An accurate picture of lazy office-holders, who feed at the public expense!

Thus in the early morning of Chinese history, we find numerous poets and plenty of poetry. Through all the centuries and to this day the Chinese gentleman pens verses. The national store-house of poetry is very rich. Verse-writing literary parties and contests are very common. The Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, a club of seven convivial men of letters, about A.D. 275, are among those most renowned. Many improvised poems are popularly known and quoted, the following stanza being among the most famous. A tyrant and usurper, jealous of his brother, who had talents as a poet, hoping to bring him to confusion, commanded hint publicly to compose an ode while taking seven paces. Equal to the occasion, the poet took seven steps while reciting these satiric lines:—

"A kettle had beans inside,

And stalks of beans made a fire;

When the beans to their brother-stalks cried,

'We spring from one root,—why such ire?'"

China Unified: The Great Wall

Out of the crowd of petty feudal states, that of Chin rose to be paramount. Its dukes then began to take on the airs of emperors. This was shown in the thoroughly Chinese fashion of their offering the imperial sacrifices to Heaven. Their dynasty lasted from 255 B.C. to 205 B.C. After various struggles and much bloodshed, one of their princes, 221 B.C., borrowing from Whang Ti, who ruled, according to tradition, 2769 B.C., assumed the title of She Whang-ti, or First Universal Emperor. From the "Land of Chin" has arisen the name China.

For twenty centuries, the phrase Whang-ti, which stands for the Universal Sovereignty claimed by China, has represented the political theory underlying the Chinese world of ideas in all eastern Asia. It is the foundation principle of action by the emperor and government. The doctrine is that China, as the most highly civilized nation on earth, and at the centre of the world, is supreme. All other nations and rulers must accept the calendar and etiquette of the Central Empire and be obedient vassals, or else be considered as "outside barbarians."

Millions of men in China still hold this notion, which lay at the root of the Chino-Japanese War of 1894. Throughout the Middle Ages Tibet, Annam, Korea, Japan, and the whole fringe of nations surrounding China were considered as more or less dependent. When European rulers sent their envoys and brought presents, it was given out publicly, and often flauntingly advertised, that these men coming from distant nations were tribute-bearers to the great Chinese emperor, and the people supposed that they were. It is true that the pupil nations often reduced this idea of "tribute" to mere trade, and profited by it. The Koreans, for example, made more money out of it than did the Chinese.

Japan's hostile encounter with this dogma in 1894 was over the question of Korea. She had either to destroy it or be destroyed. Just as the American republic came into collision with the relies of European feudalism, the divine right of kings, the pretensions of the Holy Roman Empire, and other worn-out political dogmas, so foreign diplomatists have frequently encountered notions of sovereignty in China which have long been discarded elsewhere.

Our American ministers in Peking have always refused to make the kow-tow, or nine prostrations, before the Chinese throne. Japan led the nations of Asia in obtaining audience of the Son of Heaven in Peking with dignity and in refusing to treat on any principles but those of international law. In fact, the Japanese claimed to have a Son of Heaven of their own. Hence the difficulty of mutual agreement between the two nations. It was a dogmatic collision, in which one party suffered severely.

The emperor who unified China was only thirteen years old when he ascended the throne, B.C. 246. He showed unexpected ability. He built a new capital and then gave his life's energies to reconstructing the empire. He divided the country into thirty-six provinces, putting over each one three great officers who were directly responsible to him.

The first founders of imperialism, of the Chin dynasty, did not perhaps mean to abolish the feudal states. Yet in order to secure national unity it was necessary to do away with feudalism, which was a perpetual source of weakness, besides being a men-ace to imperial power. Since the northern Tartars were ever pressing upon civilized China, national strength was of the first importance.

In carrying out the policy of uniting all China, the emperor was opposed on every hand by the literary men, who lauded the traditions of the past, and were hostile to the new plans of progress. Under feudalism, the local and personal idea of loyalty had been so cultivated that few men cared for anything outside of their neighborhood. There was no community of ideas, or feeling for anything larger than one's petty state. No such thing as patriotism in a broad sense existed. The unifier of China therefore resolved to break with the past and to fuse many local loyalties into one that was national. He would help the people to see and appreciate larger ideas, and teach them to live for the commonwealth and not for a section. So he swept away feudalism. He also burned the classics and put to death many of the literati. For this he has been held up to scorn by native historians.

In order to rear a monument of united China and at the same time a defense against the Tartars, he began the building of the Great Wall, which still stands, after many enlargements and frequent rebuildings. This massive line of brick and masonry, over eighteen hundred miles long, is the most stupendous work of human industry in the history of the race. Its top, wide enough for six horsemen to ride abreast, is strengthened with parapets, turrets, and towers. It strikes wonder into the beholder, and appeals to the imagination as it disappears from view in the distance. Surmounting hills, valleys, rivers, and plains, it stretches over a line which if drawn in America would reach from Philadelphia to Kansas City.

The emperor's life was spent in restless activity. He entered upon vaster enterprises as he grew older. He opened new roads through the forest, protected the frontiers with fortifications, diked the rivers, built bridges, and in various ways made life more comfortable and pleasant to the people. Yet notwithstanding all his energies, he was the slave of superstition. Always in dread of death, he tried to secure from his magicians an elixir that would secure for him a long life.

In later times, other emperors, imitating his example, made the same search for some liquid to lengthen life. A famous Japanese novel is based upon the idea that from southern China a colony sailed away to the Isles of the Rising Sun to obtain what Ponce de Leon sought in Florida. Instead of coming back, the colonists remained in the country. Then, the young men and maidens marrying, began the peopling of Japan.

From earliest ages, the curse of China has been the fear of evil spirits. To this day millions of dollars are spent annually in paying sorcerers and buying charms and inventions of various kinds to drive away the malevolent beings that overpopulate the sky, air, and earth. Many crafty people make a living by preying on these fears. As of old, witchcraft is the enemy of science and religion.

The great emperor was told that he was pursued by evil spirits and must sleep in a different room of his palace every night, so as to puzzle them. A like idea accounts for the crookedness, irregular widths, and oddities of Chinese streets, locations of gateways and houses, and many strange customs concerning infants, weddings, and funerals. He employed seven hundred thousand men, mostly criminals, or prisoners of war, wasting millions of the people's money, to build a palace as full of rooms as a honeycomb is of cells, in order to mystify the demons. At the western end was the Loadstone Gateway, or Barbarian-Repelling Gate. Through it, the people outside, that is, the barbarians, entered from the west. Every one was expected to disarm, but if any carried concealed weapons they were drawn by force of attraction to the side of the gate and held there! Near by was the colossal palace built within the imperial park or hunting-grounds. The central hall was of such dimensions that ten thousand persons could be assembled within it, and banners sixty feet high could be unfurled. In spite, however, of this prolonged game of hide-and-seek, death came to the emperor at last.

Not long after this his newly founded dynasty (Yin) went to ruin. The empire had been greatly extended and many of the northern tribes had been brought under control, but so much conquered territory made the new China like a farm that was too large to be tilled properly. The elements within were too discordant, and the result was not a good illustration of e pluribus unum. After a few years, the house of Yin fell to pieces.

China's feudal age had been so rich in dramatic and spectacular elements that the imagination of later ages loved to play upon it, and thus to enrich and embellish its pictures of life, as left by the poets. Some could not easily adapt themselves to a change in the order of things. The men who remembered the old, picturesque life were opposed to reform, and especially to the abolition of the feudal privileges. This is the real reason why they were handled so roughly, oppressed, persecuted, and even put to death, and their books burnt. This explains also why the man who unified the empire is said to have been "an enemy to literature,"—a heinous crime in the eyes of the Chinese,—even wantonly destroying the old texts and writings. But as in European history, we must be careful not to believe too much of what the monkish scribes wrote about the so-called enemies of religion. We need not take at their full value all the stories which the ancient writers have told concerning the past. To this day the literati are ultra-conservatives who, as a rule, hate and oppose all changes, even when improvements.

Before we pass from feudalism to centralized government, we must note again, that if history concerned itself only with wars and battles, we should know little of the greater things which make up human life and secure the prosperity of the race. The wars of this epoch are hardly more than shadows in the memory even of scholars, while the words of Confucius still breathe and his thoughts burn. Written history begins with Confucius, who, in B.C. 481, wrote the only original work ascribed to his pen. This is a chronicle of his native state, from B.C. 722, entitled "Spring and Autumn."

It was during the feudal era that the three greatest intellectual men of China lived. They were philosophers, whose writings have influenced seventy generations of China and the nations around her. One of them has been the teacher of the largest number of men and for the longest time of any known in the history of the race. These three men we call Lao-tse, or Laotius, Confucius, and Mencius. Confucius was an active man of affairs, a true teacher, and not at all the prig that late ages have represented him to be.

The ideas of these great men concerning religion, law, morals, and philosophy, we can learn easily, if we will, for many scholars have translated their texts and made commentaries; but if we wish to know what notions, fancies, and superstitions they held, we must question Chinese art and literature, which give us copious answers. We find that besides the living creatures that roam the earth, fly in the air, or swim in the waters, most Chinese believe in some that never were on sea or land or in the atmosphere. They see them in dreams, paint them in pictures, or tell about them in stories.

Chinese plate


Some of these, described by the ancient writers before Confucius, have been so long in the national literature that the common people take it for granted that they exist as real beings. Other animals are associated with what is patriotic, or sacred, like the creatures found in European heraldry, or copied from actual life, on the national banners. The British lion and unicorn, the French cock, the American eagle, the double-headed birds of prey of Russia and Germany are in the same patriotic menagerie.

The four chief supernatural creatures are the unicorn, phoenix, tortoise, and dragon. The first is believed to be the noblest form of the animal creation and is the emblem of perfect good, be-cause it is the incarnation of the five elements out of which all things are made: that is, water, fire, wood, metal, and earth. With the body of a deer and the tail of an ox, it lives to be a thousand years old. The male is called ki and the female lin, so the word kilin is generally used for the species. The appearance of one of these beasts upon the earth is an omen of good fortune and prosperity. We find this soft-horned creature often pictured on porcelain plates and dishes.

The phoenix being an omen of good government, virtuous rulers use it as an emblem of their office. With the bead of a pheasant, the beak of a swallow, and the neck of a tortoise, it has much of the look of majesty which is associated with a dragon. Usually pictured as having the colors and features of both the peacock and the pheasant, it occupies a large place in Chinese art, on coins, tablets, decorated faience, etc. In the classic books we are told that it sat in the court of the traditional "universal sovereign," Whang Ti, who ruled 2697 B.C., whose wife taught the people the art of rearing silkworms. Also when the great Shun presided at the musical ceremonies, the pheonix came with stately steppings to add splendor to the occasion. Each of the five colors which embellished the plumage of the phoenix is typical of one of the virtues,—benevolence, uprightness, propriety, knowledge, and good faith. A name is given to each of the many intonations ascribed to its voice.

The Kwei or tortoise is also a supernatural creature. By stitching together a few scraps of reference from the ancient books, the story has been made that when Yu was draining off the flood, a divine tortoise rose out of the river, presenting to his gaze a scroll of writing upon his back, composed of the numbers from one to nine. The sage interpreted this, and made it the base of his nine-fold exposition of philosophy. Thus the first "dragon-horse" carried upon his back the elements of the future literature of the Chinese. It is remarkable also that in the Japanese story of creation, when Uzumé danced before the cave to entice out the sun goddess, she sang a song which some interpret as the numerals, one, two, three, up to myriads.

There are whole books of marvelous tales about the tortoise, which is supposed to exercise a happy influence on the region in which it lives. Its shell has always been the chief element in divination. Another creature, which partakes of the form and qualities of both the tortoise and the dragon, has the power of transforming itself and taking many shapes. Another tortoise-shaped "god of the rivers" has enormous strength. For that reason it is often sculptured in stone as the support of huge monumental tablets planted immovable upon its steadfast back. In Korea and Japan also, as in China, one sees this burden-bearer carrying tons of marble or granite upon its shell.

These classic legends are told, and their pictorial, representations are common, in all the countries influenced by Chinese civilization, just as nearly all our fairy tales and imaginary beings, such as the chimera, griffin, sea-serpent, Santa Claus, Rip Van Winkle, the Golden Goose, and other old friends of the nursery, have come to us from the ancient nations from which we have derived our culture.

The philosophy of fortune-telling is based on the diagrams or symbols supposed to have been found on the back of the dragon-horse, or tortoise, and whole libraries of occult lore have been developed from it. The eight trigrams, or sets of whole and broken lines, remind one of the Morse telegraph alphabet of dashes and dots. They represent the first developments from unity, or the primal substance of the Yin and Yang, or the positive and negative elements. These eight figures are capable of sixty-four combinations. When handled by the philosophers and diviners, they are supposed to give a clue to the secrets of nature and existence. The whole lines correspond to Heaven, the celestial expanse, or the perfect male principle; while the broken lines correspond to the earth, terrestrial matter, or the pure feminine principle. Others represent the forms of water, mist, fog, cloud, etc., of heat and light, of thunder and wind, simple water, mountains, etc. These all interwork in ceaseless activity, and their evolution is indicated by combinations of the diagrams. In the course of their movement, they mutually extinguish and give birth to one another, thus producing the phenomena of existence. Some Chinese books are filled with these diagrams in various arrangements. Before the fortune-tellers' shops or booths in the cities one sees them, as indicative of the money-earner's occupation. Most of the oddities seen on Chinese streets, in popular art, in the toy shops, etc., are as directly connected with Chinese philosophy as are ours with the traditions and notions of our ancestors.

In the case of all these mythical animals, the general idea is to combine both strength and beauty, or to embody in one creature the power, charms, and graces of the many different animals inhabiting earth, air, and water. In mythical zoology, whether in Europe or in China, the human mind is not content with plain reality, but desires gorgeous and astonishing combinations. The Chinese imaginary animals are hardly more monstrous or amusing than those in the heraldry of Europe. This beast-worship underlies all the religions of Asia.

The idea of the five colors—black, red, azure, white, and yellow—runs all through Chinese thoughts about dress, furniture, heraldry, and symbolism. Each of the five metals, five planets, and five kinds of clouds has its particular color. In the skies each color has an omen or meaning, betokening a plague of creeping things, mourning, war, destruction, floods, prosperity, abundance, etc. Each of these sets of things, or influences, grouped in fives, affects every other. Since they have to do with pleasure or pain, disgust or delight in the every-day life of the Chinese, one can easily see how many mistakes foreigners are apt to make in the eyes of the natives.

The Chinese take this method of arranging their ideas according to number, so as to keep their thoughts in order. They talk also about the five blessings, which are long life, riches, peace, love of virtue, and a noble end crowning life. There are five grades of mourning, for parents, grandparents and ancestors, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, and distant relatives in the line of descent or ascent. The five punishments, each with from two to five degrees of severity or duration, are beating with the bamboo; bastinado, or whipping on the soles of the feet; banishment; transportation; and death, either by strangling or by decapitation. There are five atmospheric influences,—rain, fine weather, heat, cold, and wind; each of which is dominated by one of the five elements,—wood, metal, fire, water, and earth. These invisible influences in the air are classified as pertaining to heaven, while the five tastes or flavors, salt, bitter, sour, acrid, and sweet, appertain to the earth. So also there are five constituents of the human frame, the muscles, flesh, bones, skin, and hair, while the five inward parts of the body are the heart, liver, stomach, lungs, and kidneys.

In Chinese cemeteries we see that many tombs are made of five stones, set one upon the other in the form of a base (earth), a cube (air), a sphere (water), a saucer (fire), and flame-shape (ether), representing the five elements of the human soul.

When people get married, they must be careful to see that the proper elements in them are harmonized. For example, the five elements are wood, metal, fire, water, and earth. Every one born under the signs of the respective elements has a disposition or character corresponding to the element under which he is born, and of which he partakes, or by which he is influenced. Thus, it would never do for a woman of fire disposition to marry a man born under the wood element, because then there would be continual bickering or hot water, and marital happiness would be entirely burned up or would go off in steam. It is perfectly proper for a man of wood to marry a woman of water temperament, because wood floats on water, and it is expected that a husband must rule his wife. It would not do for a man of earth disposition to marry a woman of water temperament, lest he should be ultimately washed away, or lost in her superior power. Even the dynasty is supposed to be under the direct potency of one of the five elements, which is believed to overcome the element prevailing in the previous line of rulers.

Now when it is remembered that there are also five planets and five points of space, and the five arrangements of time,—the year, the month, the day, the signs of the stars and zodiac, and the great calculations of the calendar, which the astronomers make,—one can see what terrors there are in store for those ignorant of Chinese etiquette. The fortune-tellers, star-gazers, geomancers, and tricksters of every sort, including the whole faculty of professors of tomfoolery and the sorcerers, have a rich field. Millions of dollars are annually extracted from the pockets of the poor people who believe in the guesses of palm-readers, shufflers of the bamboo sticks, or readers of the eight diagrams. These crafty folk, who get the people's money, pretend that what they tell their dupes is based upon profound calculations and observation of things unseen by the average mortal eye. Fortune-tellers abound on the streets of the large cities, and are found all over the empire. Heavy is the burden which poor China, from the imperial palace to the beggar's mat, groans under and has to pay for. No people will be more benefited by science, or be given greater deliverance and clearer vision through pure religion, than the Chinese.

The Empire and the Northern Barbarians

Out of the thirty-five dynasties known in Chinese history, only two are reckoned as of purely native origin, the Han and the Ming. As in England, the founders of ruling houses were mostly foreigners.

The Han line of emperors is divided by historians into two branches and epochs, the Former or Western Han, B.C. 206 to A.D. 25, and the Later or Eastern Han dynasty, A.D. 25 to 214. It is not necessary, in this little book, to name the emperors, some thirty in number, or to say much about them, but only to speak of the characteristics of the line and the age in which they lived.

Some of the traditions of the early ages, as in the following example, explain the situation better than descriptions could do. Han Sin, a grandson of the prince of the Han domain, whose territory was seized by the first Tsin ruler, was left so poor that he had to get his breakfast out of the water which flowed around the castle of his ancestors. While the hungry boy sat in front of the moat, waiting for a bite, a poor woman, who was steeping flax near by, took pity on him and gave him food. Becoming a soldier when grown, he rose rapidly as a hero and served under the founder of the Western Han dynasty, and winning many battles was made prince of the domain in which lay his ancestral castle. At once he sought out the old woman who had helped him, and made her a present of one thousand gold pieces. He also hunted up and gave a position of trust to a man who had once dared him when a boy to show his grit.

In later life, slandered by enemies to the emperor who was founder of the Han dynasty, Han Sin expected to be put to death, for he knew how often jealous men who reach power handle cruelly their helpers, when the benefit of their service has been exhausted. So Han Sin said, "When the cunning hare is caught, the fleet bound goes into the cooking pot; when the soaring bird is shot, the trusty bow is laid aside; when the foe is vanquished, the wise counselor is forgotten. The empire is now established,—it is right that I should go into the cooking pot." He lived, however, some years after this episode. Han Sin was one of the "Three Heroes" most famous in Chinese history.

This being the first really national dynasty, the Chinese, especially the northerners, still speak proudly of themselves as the Sons of Han. The good opinions of the scholars were won by repealing the decree against them, by collecting the books which were hidden or had survived, and by paying honor to literature and offering sacrifices at the tomb of Confucius. The capital was located in Shen Si, so as to be near the threatening danger, the barbarians of the north, with which the Chinese had to grapple. The Tartars had by this time spread over the northern part of what is now China proper.

These Mongolians, of the same stock as the Huns and Turks, had no cities and never dwelt in towns. Their homes were on their horses. Even the children were taught, when very young, to ride on the sheep's backs. Having no fields or gardens, their animals furnished them occupation, food, drink, clothing, means of travel, and power in war. Tartar food was mainly meat and milk. With their camels, asses, mules, horses, and sheep as their daily care, they moved from place to place in search of pasture. They fought on horseback, charging with wild shouts against their enemies.

The eastern Tartars became the Manchus and Koreans, and also made part of the composite people of Japan. The western Tartars at various times overran western Asia, the Roman Empire, and medieval Europe.

So began and continued for centuries the struggle of the Chinese with the fierce shepherds and wandering horsemen of the north. In its nature, this strife was much the same as that rivalry between Abel and Cain, which we behold in the forefront of human history. One is a farmer. He settles down to regular life, tills the soil, and begins the civilization which means progress. The other is a hunter, or a shepherd, who will not plough the ground or live under a roof. If a hunter, he finds his food in the forest. If a nomad, he moves over the earth, never abiding in any one place. In either case he despises, or even hates, the man of regular life. He is apt to consider the property of the farmer or townsman as fair game, and the tempting spoils of war. We see the same picture of life in ancient Israel, where the wandering Bedawin in the desert and the settled Hebrews in the walled cities were ever at war; in early Japan between the Yamato men and the Ainu; in Europe between the Romans and the Teutonic barbarians, our ancestors, between the lowlanders and the highlanders of Scotland, between our colonial fathers and the Indians; and, indeed, in all human history.

War in China had occasionally its comic side, and many things occurred to make one laugh as well as to mourn. In one case these northern mauraders, after making a raid, started back to carry off their spoil. The Chinese emperor pursued them, but "caught a Tartar," and was obliged himself to get into a walled city. There he might have been captured, except for a smart trick played upon his enemy. In the Tartar camp, the barbarous chieftain's wife had no fear that her husband would not conquer the Chinese men, but she dreaded the Chinese women, lest with their beauty they should steal away her husband's affections. So the emperor stuck up on the city walls puppets or lay figures, dressed and painted to represent pretty Chinese girls. He then craftily sent a letter to the Tartar chieftain's wife, saying that he proposed to present these lovely maidens to her husband. Instead of being glad to hear this, the lady developed a fit of fiery jealousy, and was not happy until she had persuaded her husband to raise the siege and retreat. This incident made a great impression on the northerners, who were so feared yet despised by the Chinese. When a few years afterwards they made another irruption, the emperor bought them off by giving his own daughter to their leader and promising an annual tribute of silk, wine, and grain. For centuries, Tartar chiefs made invasions southward, lured by the beauty of the Chinese women. Soon we shall find these Tartar chiefs with Chinese wives claiming the throne through their heirs.

During this era, the barbarians fought among themselves. One tribe withdrew from Mongolia and moved westward, beginning that great march which continued for centuries. They settled in Bokhara, and were part of the great movement of the Huns that struck the Roman Empire so disastrously in the era of its weakness.

One can see easily how much alike, and at very much the same time, was the work of both the Roman and the Chinese Empire in keeping back the northern barbarians, who in Europe were the Teutons, our ancestors, and in Asia were Tartars. Yet on both continents and in both empires there were victories in peace as well as in war.

One emperor, Wen-ti, was renowned for his filial devotion. During his mother's last illness, which lasted three years, it is said he never left her apartments. He was a very humane ruler. He reformed the code of barbarous punishment, which hitherto had included branding on the face, cutting off the nose, chopping off the feet, etc. He also revived the study of literature and collected manuscripts. His star, in the constellation named after him, is the abode of the god of literature.

Many stories are told of battle, ambuscade, advance, and retreat in these wars on the northern frontier. To develop grand strategy and to make a flank movement, one emperor invaded and annexed the northern part of Korea, then much larger than now, and including Liao Tung. Wu-ti, who reigned fifty-four years, also extended the confines of the empire westward and southward. Although so active in war and letters, he was very superstitious. He patronized magicians and sorcerers and indulged his sensual passions. One of these necromancers professed to be able to bridle and mount dragons and bestride the hoary crane, and on these coursers of the air to visit the whole universe; to make snow out of silver and transmute cinnabar into gold. Centuries after Wu-ti's time, these Chinese theories, brought into Europe by the Arabs, greatly influenced our ancestors' notions of alchemy and chemistry.

In popular tradition this emperor Wu-ti bears two different characters. In the later wonder tales, he is represented as being wooed by his fairy visitor, whose title is the Western Royal Mother. She dwelt on a famous high mountain, at the head of her troops of genii and fairies, and from time to time she had friendly interviews with favored emperors. The magnificence of the mountain pal-ace of this Empress of the West is glowingly described in the romances, and on many a Chinese dish, vase, or plate we recognize her and her train and the story wrought in splendid colors. Here, by the Lake of Gems, grows the peach tree, whose fruit confers the gift of immortality, which the queen bestows upon her favorites, and from her mountain home she sends out the azure-winged birds, who serve as her attendants and messengers.

A staff of generals, brave and daring, carried the arms of Wu-ti into the heart of central Asia. By B.C. 130 the tribes of Yunnan were brought under imperial rule, and the boundaries of China proper became very much as they are found to-day. Through these conquests the Chinese became acquainted with the countries of the West, and the aborigines and barbarians received much Chinese culture. Travel was then by land, for ships able to cross the ocean were not yet known. Embassies and caravans came from Parthia, Mesopotamia, Bactria, and Afghanistan, by which many Greek, Persian, and Hindoo ideas and inventions were brought to the Middle Kingdom. Traffic opened with the Roman Empire. Many things made in China and inscribed with ancient Chinese letters have been found in Egypt and various parts of Africa and Europe. The magnetic needle was used to guide travelers on land at night and in cloudy and stormy weather. It was called the South Pointing Chariot, because to the Chinese mind the needle trembled in that direction. Forcing their way over the mountains, Chinese pilgrims reached India to bring back news of great treasure lands scarcely known before. Buddhist missionaries, for the first time, found their way into China. The first two are said to have come riding eastward on white horses, and about the same time that St. Paul was moving westward into Europe.

Thus began the long and glorious reign of the Indian and Aryan religion in China, blending Mongol and Hindoo ideals of life. Buddhism has done much to uplift the Chinese people, cheer them in affliction, and minister to their spiritual wants as Confucianism could not, besides offering the greatest of all hopes,—life hereafter.

Wind box Gorge


Under Buddhism, the Chinese landscape was greatly changed. The country was covered with shrines and sculpture, pagodas, monasteries, and temples. The Hindoo and the Chinese were brought together as brothers in the same household of faith. Asia became like a garden. Gradually the ideals of the two races and civilizations commingled. The philosophy of India penetrated that of China. Of the permanent and far-reaching influence of this religion we may have more to say. From this time the intellect of the Chinese is touched with a new fertility, and their imagination stimulated. China becomes the land of the pagoda. The law of tenderness and mercy sways life as never before.

One of the ministers of Wu-ti was a great explorer. He "pierced the void," that is, penetrated into the extreme regions of the hitherto unknown Far West, and discovered the sources of the Yellow River. Before his time this stream was believed to flow from the verge of Heaven, as a continuation of the Milky Way. Taken prisoner by the wild tribes, he lived among them for many years, brought back the grapevine, and re-taught his countrymen the art of wine-making.

Around this River of Heaven many pretty stories cluster, one of the most famous being that of the Ox-boy and the Weaver-girl. These lovers meet on the night of August 7, every year, over a bridge of magpies' wings. Many are the poems recited, the songs sung, and the charming customs based on this legend, both in China and in Japan. In the long course of centuries most of the famous personal adventures, exploits of travel, voyages, martial deeds, and visits to wonderful caves, mountains, or forests by the various Chinese heroes became nursery legends or themes for artists,—a veritable Milky Way, full of light, glory, and mystery. As with most other histories, beside that of China, the people do not, cannot, retain in memory the dates, statistics, or exact details. They hold the substance of these chiefly in poetry, art, and pleasing story, retaining what is richest in human interest.

The Rise and Fall of Dynasties

From about the time of the Christian era the empire assumes the general form and features of the civilization which we associate with the word Chinese. The great question of national life and growth presents itself in two forms,—interior development, and defense against enemies. From within evolution is according to the ideals of Confucius.

Most of these movements, including battles, sieges, rebellions, and the rise and fall of dynasties, have very little meaning to us. Indeed, it is almost impossible to get or hold clear ideas of the personality of the leaders, whether generals or statesmen. The length of China's history and the great number of names and persons forbid any attempt on the part of the average reader to keep a clear picture of the details, though the general course is clear. The subject, however, is divisible into two parts: first, the struggle with the Tartars, until the nineteenth century; second, the clash with the Western world of ideas.

As elsewhere, success or failure decides what name shall be given in history to the insurgents against throne or government. If their plan fails, it is rebellion; if it succeeds, it is revolution. The Chinese, like other people, adjust their philosophy to the facts. Rebellion is the greatest of crimes, but if successful, Heaven has willed it so. In the human method of reasoning, success is the manifest will of God. The Chinaman always acknowledges a fact. "Whatever is, is right."

No one can understand their government and its policy until he realizes that the Chinese are a church-nation, with a doctrine that is orthodoxy never to be swerved from, while from time to time men who have done great things for China are canonized as saints. The emperor is the father and high priest of the whole nation. The government is the embodiment of China's ethical system. Confucius was the incarnate conscience of the nation. He taught that the emperor was the vice-gerent and the Son of Heaven. The emperor is therefore the Father of his People. He alone mediates between his subjects or children and Heaven. The supreme duty of each subject is obedience to the emperor. If the emperor is not him-self what he ought to be, if the public works are neglected and the government does not do what it ought, then the subject takes no concern, since his own duty is fulfilled in obedience to the emperor, who is the representative of Heaven and destiny.

The duties of the emperor and his subjects are reciprocal. If there be peace and prosperity in the empire, these are the results of his fatherly rule. But if his subjects rebel, or things go wrong, then the reason of it is, as the emperor usually acknowledges, his own lack of ability or wisdom.

One curious feature is common to the state papers of the rulers of the Middle Kingdom and the countries which follow Chinese customs: namely, their frequent and public confession of sin. Emperor, mikado, king, and kinglet acknowledge that in them lies the fault of misrule, calamities, or rebellion. If a rebellion succeeds, the argument is that Heaven has punished the sovereign for his want of virtue.

The rebellion during the first Han dynasty, in A.D. 9, in which a band of marauders known as the Red Eyebrows figured prominently, is famous. They were so named because they dyed their eye-brows red. After a great battle, the Han dynasty was restored, and is known as the Later or Eastern Han dynasty, which lasted from A.D. 25 to 214. The chief events were the introduction of Buddhist priests and books from India; the building of a dike, thirty miles long, to prevent the overflow of the Yellow River; the marching of an army to the Caspian Sea, that is, as far as the eastern boundaries of the Roman Empire; the engraving of the Five Classics on stone tablets; and the establishment, in A.D. 175, of public contests for literary degrees. These became the basis of the civil service examinations, which have lasted to our day.

Henceforward employment in official life was possible only to those who could pass an examination in the classics, the writing of verses, and the composition of essays. This system came to be very widely organized. Halls were built in the district, province, and national capitals, and to these came the young men from all quarters. Setting out from their native villages, the candidates would gather together and journey over the same road, often carrying banners duly inscribed with mottoes or the names of their homes. In thousands of cells, with pen, ink, and paper, and their food, also, they were shut up and carefully guarded, to secure fair play for all. Here they remained many hours and sometimes days. It frequently happened that the ambition of some was too great for their nerves or strength, and they were found dead at their desks. The examiners and judges assigned the questions and looked over the papers, making the awards at an appointed time. The successful candidate, on reaching home, was received in his native village and ancestral temple with banners, songs, speeches of welcome, and other evidences of local joy. In time, many foolish and amusing customs grew up. What we call hazing, or ragging, was often boisterous and rough.

Those who attended were not always young. Some beginning early in life might try again year after year. The sight of gray-haired students was very common. The life of many a literary man was spent in examinations. It was not rare to find a grandfather, father, and son at the same examination. Only a small percentage of applicants were able to meet the test, but most of these received office. In time, passing successfully through other examinations, these became mayors of cities, governors of provinces, or high officers of the empire.

The large majority of those who failed would go back home to become teachers, clerks, or literary men. Educated men were thus found all over China, and village schoolmasters were numerous. As a class they were very conservative in their notions, being opposed to changes in customs or religion; but otherwise they were centres of culture for the uplift of the masses.

Following the Han dynasty came the period of the Three Kingdoms of Wei in the North, Wu in the South, and Shu in the West, reminding one of the division at Verdun of Charlemagne's empire among his grandsons, whence began the evolution of the French, Germans, and Italians; or of the three countries of Great Britain,—Scotland, England, and Wales.

While probably not so important in history, this period A.D. 221–277 kindles the Chinese imagination, because the novelists, romancers, and artists have made it appear the most romantic in all Chinese history. Outwardly it resembled the age of chivalry in Europe. To this day street story-tellers and actors on the stage never tire of picturing in word, act, or costume the events of this era. According to fiction and drama, there were a great many heroes and heroines who had amazing adventures, exciting escapes, and joyful triumphs, quite equal to any to be found in our dime novels. In China, Korea, and Japan, one of the most popular books is a long romance, entitled "The Three Kingdoms," so full of incident as to remind one of a moving picture show. To a Chinese boy, this era is as wonderful as is that of Bruce and Wallace to a Scottish lad.

Among the instances narrated as historical was that of three generals who took the "Peach Garden Oath" by drawing blood from one another's arms, mingling it, and drinking it,—a custom which has since become common to men engaged in desperate enterprises. So terrible a fighter was one of these generals that after death he was deified as the god of war, and is now worshiped all over China. As with other gods of pagan people, those of the Middle Kingdom were once men. Indeed, the history of China and Japan and other Asiatic nations is largely taken up with the manufacture of gods, that are nothing more nor less than common men, whose ghosts the ignorant and vulgar fear and worship. When Islam came to China with its message, "There is no God but God," it brought a truth to help and uplift.

It being difficult for the average man, who lives and dies near the spot on which he was born, to hold clearly the idea of one God, it is necessary for him, he thinks, to believe in scores, hundreds, thousands, and even millions of petty deities. Every village, locality, mountain, and valley has its gods. They swarm on the roof, cellar, well, garden, swamp, wood, hills, and rivers. Temples are crowded with their images. In a festival, or pageant, the scholar can recognize their effigies in threefold character: as men who once lived on the earth, as deities with names and titles, and as fanciful creatures that cause terror, delight, or merriment. Superstition keeps the people poor. Armies of priests, diviners, and sorcerers fatten and get rich by playing on popular hopes and fears.

The achievements and actions of these men-gods have given rise to many proverbs or popular sayings. Nearly every trade or craft has its patron god. For example, Pan, an ingenious mechanic, to avenge his father's death, carved an effigy in wood, whose hand pointed toward the kingdom of Wu. In consequence, a drought prevailed for the space of three years. The men of Wu paid Pan a large sum of money to have him cut off the hand of the figure, which he did, and at once rain fell. Hence the masons and carpenters of China worship him, and the proverb "skillful in the house of Pan" means much the same as "Preaching to Buddha," or "carrying coals to Newcastle."

Another military craftsman in Han days moved his army so fast that he was said to have employed "wooden oxen and machine-made horses," by which some think are meant wheel-barrows, which in China are used as land boats with sails and as passenger cars, as well as to carry pigs, vegetables, and freight. He also invented a bow that would shoot many arrows at one time, and his system of tactics in eight lines of battle has been much discussed.

In another case a defeated general, with only a handful of men, beat his enemies "by means of broomsticks." While in retreat, he occupied a walled town that had been deserted, and ordered his men to throw open the gates and stand with brooms in their hands, while he climbed up into a tower over the city wall and began to play upon the lute. The enemy, suspecting an ambuscade, retreated.

Incessant border wars followed the era of the Three Kingdoms. The northern Tartars seemed to make constant progress southward. They coveted the high-bred women of the south for wives. When victorious, their leaders demanded Chinese princesses who married their conquerors, so that in time these northern chieftains, through their children, could claim to be heirs to the imperial throne. Through these women, Chinese writing, etiquette, learning, medicine, and general culture were spread through the northern regions.

It became the custom also in this ancestor-worshiping country that whenever the claimant of the throne was successful, he would seize the old capital or establish a new one.

Casting out the ancestral tablets of those whom he had overcome, he set up in their place those of his own ancestors. Giving his dynasty an auspicious name, he and his descendants would hold the power as long as possible. Yet it became the law of history that dynasties should rise and fall, while the people, ever steadily gaining, remained. Imperial families perished, but the nation lived, becoming ever greater.

Yet while the Tartars and Chinese, like Greek and barbarian, Roman and Teuton, mingled together, there were also many disintegrating forces. In the north, as in a similar case and time in Europe, there sprang up a great many small kingdoms, so that there were constant hostilities between the cultured in the south and the rude peoples in the north. The process resembled very much that of the struggle of the Roman Empire with the Teutonic barbarians and later of Christianity with northern paganism. On both continents there was first the successful invasion, the destruction of the old power, and then the formation of new nations, governments, and types of man. When the barbarians accepted and assimilated the civilization of the conquered, they yielded themselves to them and became like them. Conquest by force is always temporary. The victories of peace are permanent.

This first great struggle with the Tartars ended when the Sui dynasty, which held power from A.D. 599 to 618, was established. The whole empire was one household again, and those once foreigners within the empire had yielded themselves not only to the superior civilization of the conquered, but to their religion, so that to all intents and purposes they were Chinese.

It was during this period of changing dynasties that many stories were told in which sentimental ideas about the moon and the jade stone, with other notions in the world which is outside of science, grew up, and these have been developed by writers of fiction and poetry. As these still influence powerfully the Chinese in their art and everyday life, it is well to glance at them.

The moon is the favorite home of the fairies, and one wonders what the story-tellers would do without this ornament of the night sky. The moon is the refuge of lovely women when persecuted, and at this terminal the famous characters in the fairy world arrive sooner or later. Chinese children, according as they are taught the fairy, the Buddhist, or the Taoist legends, or all of them, see three different figures on the moon's face.

The Archer Lord who, in B.C. 2435, served the emperor, is famous as the moon's deliverer. When the precious pearl of heaven was being swallowed by a dragon, this worthy shot arrows into the sky and gave deliverance from the monster. His wife stole from him the drug of immortality which grows in the moon-world and had been given him by the Western Royal Mother, who dwells on the sacred mountain-top, amid troops of genii and the azure-winged birds, and in whose gardens the precious cassia tree flourishes. With the coveted booty the jealous wife fled to the moon, but was changed into a frog, and there she is yet, and Chinese children will trace the outline on the full moon's surface on a bright night.

Other young folks, who have read the story of the Man in the Moon, see Mr. Kang, who, for some offense against the supernal powers, was banished to the white planet and condemned to labor without ceasing in trying to hew down the cassia, or cinnamon tree, which grows there. As fast as his axe falls, the wood closes again. So his labors are endless and all for naught. This is at root and in idea the same man in the moon, and it is the same story told in Europe a thousand years ago, of the sinner who broke the Sabbath by gathering fagots of wood and is still carrying them.

In the moon grows the cassia tree, at the foot of which crouches the hare that pounds drugs for the genii. As this noble tree is especially brilliant at mid-autumn, those who take a degree at the literary examinations "pluck a leaf from the cassia tree." At this time the moon is worshiped and the children enjoy immensely the moon cakes which are made in honor of the season.

The Japanese, who borrowed so many of their ideas and legends from China, as we did most of ours from the nations in Asia, tell us that it is the reddening leaves of the cassia, or katsura tree, that causes the effulgence of the autumn moon. The islanders have stories also of moon-maidens visiting the earth and returning to their silvery palace in the sky. Chinese who admire a very beautiful woman may call her The Lady of the Moon, in reference to the one who fled with the immortal drug.

Jade, or nephrite, is a real mineral, which, apart from its beauty or comparative rarity, has a thousand sentimental values. The word jade is one of a hundred or more, like joss, junk, mandarin, cat-sup (or ketchup), etc., which foreigners think is Chinese, and Chinese think is foreign. It is of Spanish origin, meaning colic (stone). Nephrite is Greek, meaning kidney (stone). The mineral was so named by our ancestors, who were often as superstitious as the Chinese, because they imagined it would cure the stomachache or kidney disease. The hard stone, worked into tools and used as axes, knives, etc., is found all over the world, but is believed to have come in every case from China, where it is called yu. Being so costly, the Chinese from ancient times, as the poems edited by Confucius show, considered it their chief gem, and made sceptres, bracelets, vases, and ornaments of it. To them it was the symbol of all that is most excellent in human life and virtue. Like heaven, of which it is an emblem, it combines the highest strength with the purest effulgence. As the most perfect expression of the positive masculine principle in nature, various magical virtues have been attributed to it. The mystical treaties of the immortals are inscribed on tablets of jade. These tell us that the liquid flowing from the jade mountains, after a thousand years, becomes clear as crystal. If to this liquid a certain herb be added, the drinker of the draught attains millennial life. By virtue of this "jade spirit beverage," he becomes incorporeal and is able to soar through the air without wings, balloon, or aeroplane. It is curious to read that this rock of jade stone, where the genii live and whence flows the liquor of immortality, is placed by ancient writers seventy thousand li to the west. Of the jade tree blossoming in the moon, we have already heard.

The Era of Printing and Literature

Wen ti, the first Sui Emperor (A.D. 589-605) was an unusually able ruler. He practiced what he preached, and faced the logic of his creed. Ascribing the calamity of a famine to his own lack of virtue, he made a pilgrimage to a high mountain and there confessed his sins and prayed for forgiveness. Attracted by his fame, envoys from distant tribes visited his court. His successor, Yang Ti, was infamous and extravagant. He built many canals, compelling even the women to work in digging them. One of these, connecting the Yellow and Yang-tse rivers, became the Grand Canal. In his luxurious palaces, he rivaled Solomon in collecting beautiful women for his harem.

When Korea refused to forward the usual tribute, the emperor sent an army of three hundred thousand men into Liao Tung province, then part of "the little outpost state on the eastern frontier," and besieged the capital. The military operations, in A.D. 610, took place about where the great campaign between the Russians and Japanese was fought in 1904, another conflict being waged near the Yalu River. The Chinese were defeated, but the emperor insisted upon raising another army and again attacking the Koreans, whose splendid courage had been so manifested in their fortresses. When in A.D. 615 this mighty expedition moved eastward again, the Korean king yielded and promised submission. Embassies from Japan also visited the imperial court. After campaigns with the Turkomans on the west, the latter joined, as allies, with the imperial general Li Yuan, who in 618 A.D. became master of the empire and established the great Tang line of rulers, one of the longest of China's dynasties.

In China the rulers change often, but the people remain one. Her social system seems unchangeable. Japan, on the contrary, that appears so elastic and ready to change, has had but one imperial dynasty. Over thirty acknowledged families of rulers have occupied the Chinese throne. The contrasted situations in Japan and China are the results of different political theories. In China government rests on the idea of virtue in the emperor, the Son of Heaven, who alone has the right to worship Heaven, bearing their sins and asking blessings for his people. In Japan government rests on the idea of the divine right of hereditary succession to the throne, as one may read in the first clause of the Constitution of 1889. In China no historic dynasty has ever continued during three hundred years. In Japan there has been one ruling house since the written history of the sixth century, or in legend from B.C. 660. When China shall have adopted representative government, the responsibility will be, as it has not been, shared by the people.

The arts both of war and of peace were highly cultivated during the Tang period, from A.D. 618 to 905. The foot soldiers were equipped with longer pikes and stronger bows. The cavalry, in which the Tartars had hitherto excelled, was now better organized and cultivated by the Chinese. Most of the tactics and ideas of strategy which were adopted in this age remained in fashion in China down to the Russo-Japanese War.

Still older is the Book of War, the military classic of Chin, which was written in the fourth century B.C., and which has been read and studied in the whole Chinese world of culture. Even after the Japanese, rejecting chariots, umbrellas, and fans, conchs and kettle-drums, had adopted artillery and rifles, the sayings of the two authors, Sun and Wu, wrought into proverbs and maxims, fired their resolution and carried them through the Russian war. The reason is that this classic, over two thousand years old, deals less with strategy and tactics than with the morale, or spirit, of commanders and their troops, regarding the state of mind as of even more importance than missiles and supplies. Uniforms and weapons change, but not the mind of the soldier. Human nature remains ever the same. The spirit of the true warrior, the coward, the brave man, the deserter, the homesick follower, and the general traits of the commander and the commanded have altered little, if at all, in two thousand years. The Chinese are governed less by sentiment than by reason.

Most famous of all in the Tang dynasty was the emperor Tai-Tsung, who reigned from A.D. 627 to 650. He built a library in which two hundred thousand volumes were stored and used. He held discussions on morals and the best methods of government. There is a vivid picture of his court, in the year 630, when embassies from many vassal states and kingdoms, and even from the island empire of Japan, were present. The variety of languages and diversity and brilliancy of the costumes of the envoys excited much interest and caused some merriment in the capital.

Tai-Tsung's generals overcame the Turkomans, and he himself led an army into Korea, but here again the notable valor of the Koreans, when besieged, brought disaster and demoralization to the Chinese, who had to retreat. But the Chinese persevered, and in 667 sent another expedition to Korea. The city of Ping Yang—the same before which the great battles of 1593 and 1904 were fought—was besieged and surrendered. Korea again became vassal, and was divided into five colonies with Chinese overseers.

A fresh enemy appeared on the west when the Tibetans, then called Turfans, became hostile. Kokonor, or the Azure Lake, was the scene of a battle in which the Tibetans were beaten. A new Tartar tribe invaded from the north, ravaging and plundering. From its name, Khitai, comes the familiar word "Cathay."

One of the longest reigns in Chinese history was that of a woman, the empress Wu-Hu, who ruled from A.D. 684 to 705. After her time, the story of the Tang dynasty is that of decay, there being many insurrections. Yet this epoch is brilliant in history, because in the year A.D. 785 the Han-lin or Imperial Academy was founded. The words mean Forest of Pencils. The hall in which the scholars met was called later the Jeweled Dome. In front of the gateway of the college grew magnolia trees, so that it was also known as the Jeweled Magnolias. At the examination, held once in three years, only six candidates were chosen. In Peking, in 1900, during the Boxer troubles, the vast library of the Han-lin, with its precious treasures, was destroyed by fire.

In this Tang epoch, also, the oldest newspaper in the world, the official Gazette of the Court, was founded, to publish the edicts of the emperor. This era is well called the Augustan age of Chinese literature, and its famous poets and philosophers are regarded as models and their language as the standard.

Buddhists on Rock


Nestorian missionaries had entered China as early as A.D. 506, but in the eighth century they increased in number and met with great success. Christian ideas greatly influenced Buddhist philosophy in China, but even more in Japan. There still stands a tablet, upon which is recorded in outline a summary of the Nestorian form of Christianity, in Chinese characters.

The population of China proper was reduced some millions by the wars, civil and foreign, which marked the later days of the Tang dynasty. From A.D. 907 to 960 is the epoch of the five dynasties whose beads were Tartar chieftains or of Turkoman origin. Here again the conditions in Europe and Asia were much alike. This may be called also the period of military despotism, and yet one invention made at this time was destined to have a large influence upon mankind. In 932 the art of printing with wooden blocks was invented, and the Five Classics of Confucius and the Four Books were printed. Later on, "living types," or, as we call them, "movable" types, were invented and much used in Korea and China. There is no convincing evidence that printing was invented in Europe. It was probably brought there out of China, where it had been used for centuries, during the Mongol invasions. Once in Germany and the Netherlands, this Chinese art came rapidly into general use.

During the Tang era, the teachers and missionaries of both Taoism and Buddhism were very active. It was an age of toleration and brotherhood. A constant stream of learned Hindoo priests came into China, bringing books, writing, new ideas in ethics, art, literature, and architecture. At one time there were three thousand priests from India and ten thousand Hindoo families in China. Gradually Aryan thought penetrated the minds of scholars. Sanskrit script gave the Chinese the idea of an alphabet, spelling by syllables, and an easier system of writing for the common people, thus helping greatly the spread of general education. New popular festivals were instituted. Temples, pagodas, extensive rock carvings, monasteries, and nunneries began to be very numerous. Not a few shrines became renowned for the holy relics of the saints, and gained gradually a reputation for miracle-working which drew myriads of visitors thither, thus stimulating habits of travel and pilgrimages. In spite of all opposition from the literati and even from the nation's great high priest, the emperor, Buddhism flourished until it reached its culmination of popularity in the twelfth century, when it began to decline.

It was not the ethics of Buddhism, but its doctrines of hope, consolation, retribution, and of the boundless compassion of the Buddha, in new incarnations of mercy, that made it acceptable to the masses. Confucianism attracts intellectual men and works for order and government, but it means also the subjugation of women. It has little inspiration or aspiration. Its head and front is Heaven, or impersonal Law. The high church" Buddhists reckon a regular succession of patriarchs from the Buddha, or Shakyamuni of India, who lived in the sixth century before Christ. Taoism, taking more and more the form of magic, alchemy, the attempted mastery of matter, ran off into mystical speculation upon corporeal immortality, the elixir of life, alchemy, transmutation of metals, aviation on dragons, cranes, etc. One of the Eight Immortals of the Taoists is often met with and easily recognized in the art of the Chinese world, being an especial favorite with Japanese artists also. This eighth-century man rode on a white mule, which carried him thousands of miles a day. When he halted he condensed the beast into small compass, folding it up and hiding the skin in his wallet. When he would travel again, he spurted water from his mouth, when presto! the mule resumed his proper shape. Preferring the life of a tramp, he declined even the invitation of the emperor to be a priest at court. He "became a guest in heaven," that is, entered upon immortality without suffering bodily dissolution, and in his honor one of the million or more shrines in the empire was erected. Another famous immortal who practiced reflection and self-examination, when not in a mood for thought, could put his supernal self into a gourd. Then at will he would uncork the vessel and let his visible soul be projected upon the clouds or air, and thus study his own personality. We meet with him often in the art of Japan and China on porcelain, vase, or sword-guards, at his favorite occupation of enjoying his dual personality.

Progress in art was also notable during the Tang era, the impulses of which were felt in Korea and Japan, notably stimulating and developing the schools of artists at the capitals, Sunto and Nara, and hastening the erection of the colossal images of Buddha in both pupil countries. Especially is this true of the paintings of the dragons as symbols of power. Buddhism enriched the folklore, in which the dragon holds so prominent a place that we must here glance at this creature, the cyclopedia of all the vital forces in nature.

There is a famous story about the Dragon Mother, who is a deified being, worshiped at a celebrated temple. There was once an old woman who gained her living by catching fish. One day she found an enormous egg, which she carried home. Out of it came forth a creature which aided her in fishing. By accident the old woman cut off a part of the creature's tail, whereupon it left her and she thought no more of it, except to mourn her loss, for she could not catch as many fish as before. Some years afterwards, this same creature returned in such splendor that the old woman at once recognized it as a dragon. The emperor summoned her to give an account of her wonderful adventures. She started to go, but when halfway to the Court she was overcome with a longing for home. Thereupon a dragon at once appeared and transported her in an instant to the banks of the stream where she lived. As the story went down the ages and others hoped to receive similar summons to the Court and ride on the dragon's back, this fish woman came to be revered as a divinity and the patroness of navigators on the West River, where the sailors still worship her.

Fishing boats


The Chinese do not seem to have used balloons or to have had recourse to aeroplanes, but there are a great many stories of aerial coursers, who on the backs of dragons or storks traverse swiftly the atmosphere on their important errands.

"High mounted on the dragon's back he rode

Aloft to where the dazzling cloudlands lie,"

is about the way some romances begin. There are also hundreds of stories of Taoists and wise men of the mountain, or sennin, taking these voyages in the air with dirigible creatures. On the backs of whales or great fishes, also, they bring art, letters, and material blessings across the sea.

More important, even, than the rise and fall of a dynasty was the discovery in southern China of a plant from whose leaf a delicious, perfumed, mildly stimulating drink could be brewed. As a rival of the grape, and filling "the cups that cheer but not inebriate," tea has been a blessing to China and the race. The use of tea helped mightily, thus early in their history, to make and keep the Chinese a temperate people.

The tea-plant is the queen of the camellia family. It was not always used as it is now. The method of serving it has passed through several stages of evolution in social use. Originating in southern China, probably during the Han era, it was known first in botany as a medicine, and its leaves were made into plasters for rheumatism. As a drink, the Taoists first made it known, for with them it was an ingredient in the elixir of immortality. It is alluded to in the classics as Tou, from which the modern character tcha, cha, tea, or te, is derived. The Buddhist monks, on coming from India into China, were delighted to discover its exhilarating qualities, and they brewed it during their night vigils to prevent sleep. Indeed the legend of its origin is associated with religion.

Dharma, the holy saint from south India, was accustomed to give himself to midnight devotions. One night nature revolted, and he fell asleep until morning. Waking up in horror at his lapse from holiness, he pulled out a sharp knife, cut off his eyelids and threw them on the ground. Presto! there sprang up twin plants, each with pearly white flowers. Steeping the leaves in hot water, he bade good-by to fear. He told his brethren the secret, and henceforth holy men were kept from nodding by the cheering brew.

In Japan, this saint, who first saw the tea-rose and leaf, is called Daruma, and is represented as legless. He is honored as the founder of the Zen sect of contemplation. In red-painted wood, squat, and round as a pumpkin, with terrible, lidless eyes, his effigy serves as the tobacco shopman's sign of trade, though he deserves a better fame. His lower limbs dropped off after he had sat in meditation during nine years.

Chinese poets called their new drink "froth of the liquid jade," and emperors proffered cups of it as a reward of honor for eminent service. Out from the Yang-tse valley, the use of tea spread abroad, not reaching Japan, however, until A.D. 805, nor becoming a common drink in the islands until the twelfth century. By slow evolution, its use blossomed into an aesthetic cult called cha-yo-yu, or tea-decoction. Why, we shall see.

In the beginning no one thought of steeping tea. Between its early application as a cold plaster for rheumatism and its modern use in ice-cream (in Japan), the art of making tea had to pass through three stages requiring heat, or fire.

In the beginning the leaves were steamed, crushed in a mortar, and made into a cake. Then with rice, ginger, salt, orange-peel, spices, milk, onions, or what not, men boiled the tea, even as the Mongolians and Tibetans do to-day, and as was often done at first in Europe. Indeed the Russians, and we after them, still use a slice of lemon in the infusion. This is a survival of the old custom. To this day "brick tea" is the kind most imported into the land of the Czar and the samovar.

We should all read Mr. Okakura's delightful work, "The Book of Tea," in which we are told that the poet Luwuh of the Tang dynasty, who is the tutelary god of the tea-merchants in China, wrote a book in three volumes, entitled the Tea Classic, treating of the history, nature, and preparation of the herb and describing "the twenty-four members of the tea equipage." Tea drinking powerfully influenced the development of the ceramic art in China. Luwuh considered blue as the ideal color of the teacup. He used cake tea. In the time of the Mings, when the steeped leaves were used, white porcelain was preferred.

During the Sung dynasty, whipped tea, or a frothing liquid made by pouring boiling water on powdered tea and churning it round with a whisk of split bamboo, came into fashion. Thus the second school of tea was formed.

After the Mongol invasion, tea was steeped and drunk in modern fashion. Not till late in the Ming dynasty did Europe become acquainted with tea, and then only according to the one fashion of infusion, steeping, and decoction. The introduction of hot drinks had a tremendous and far-reaching influence on social life in China, but probably even more upon table customs and the ceramic art in Europe, where it gave woman her proper place at the head of the table. Among the poorer Chinese, who could not afford rich wine in the nuptial cup, tea became the recognized drink, and oftentimes to this day, among them, the only marriage ceremony consists in the woman's making tea for the man and proffering him the cup.

In the Far East, tea is associated with philosophy. As with some other things borrowed from the Orient, we took the ceramic part of the gift, the cup's cover, upside down, turning the lid into a saucer.

China's Experiment in Socialism

After the period of military despotism (A.D. 907–960) China was virtually divided between the Tartars of the north, of whom the Kin, or Golden, was the most famous tribe, and the Chinese, whose imperial house or family was the Sung (A.D. 960–1333), with their capital at Kai Feng in Honan. The Sung dynasty is usually reckoned as the Sung (A.D. 960–1126) and the Southern Sung (A.D. 1127-1333).

The emperor, Tai Tsu, made it the aim of his life to consolidate the empire. He took away from the provincial officers the power of life and death and centred them in a board of punishments at the capital. He made expeditions against the Khitans into Liao Tung, but without success. He bestowed posthumous honors on those descendants of Confucius who had lived during the previous forty-four generations, and exempted from taxation all the future descendants of the sage,—a privilege which these gentlemen, still among the ablest men in the empire, yet enjoy. Beside other reforms, literature was encouraged, so that this era is remembered as one of the most brilliant for its schools and education and the number of great writers, one of them being the standard historian, Sze Ma Kwang, whose history of China fills three hundred and fifty-four volumes.

A Chinese library differs greatly in appearance from one of ours. We must not think of heavy octavo books, with stiff bindings of boards, leather, or cloth. A volume in Chinese is made of thinner and tougher bamboo paper, and is much smaller and lighter in weight than the average one in the West. The books lie flat, one upon another, piled upright, in boxes, and do not stand on their edges, as with us. The binding being of paper, or thin pasteboard, the leaves are stitched at the sides with silk and the title is marked in ink on what with us would be the lower edge. Where we end they begin, and the reading is in columns from top to bottom and from right to left. The Chinese call us "the crab-writing barbarians."

As most of the interesting events of history, or the situations in Chinese social life, are painted on porcelain, one can easily recognize a scene in the life of a child who was destined to grow up and become the famed historian, Sze Ma Kwang. When several children were playing together, Kwang, with his playmates, leaned on the rim of a large porcelain vessel in which tame gold-fish were kept. One boy lost his balance and fell into the water among the fishes. The child would have been drowned, except for the presence of mind of Kwang. The other boys, screaming with terror, ran away, but Kwang took up a large stone and smashed the vessel with it. Fish, boy, and water all rushed out. The jar was spoiled, but the boy was saved.

Proverbs and bright-colored pictures, on many a cup, plate, saucer, and vase, keep alive the memory of the boy Kwang. As a man he became a great statesman. He opposed strenuously the doctrines of a famous populist, or socialistic agitator, Wang (1021–1086 A.D.), whose schemes of reform included new methods of taxation and tenure of land, besides radical notions as to economics and philosophy which would make paternalism the form of government. The changes proposed were so far-reaching that wise men called them revolutionary. Yet the populace, for a while, hailed Wang as the savior of society.

Even in this era, A.D. 1068, rich men controlled the market, bought from the poor their crops, and sold at the highest rate possible, which was often exorbitant. The emperor backed the agitator when he put into practice his new ideas. Wang proposed that the taxes should be paid in produce and that the government should purchase the surplus, to be distributed according to the demand and sold at a reasonable rate in different parts of the empire. In a word, the commerce of the country was to be wholly a state affair. That the state should advance money to the farmers, at a very low rate of interest and to be repaid after the harvest, was another part of the scheme.

In the enrollment of the militia, it was proposed to divide the whole empire into groups of ten, fifty, and five hundred families under the control of graded officers. Every family with more than one son was to furnish a soldier. In time of peace, they were to follow their ordinary business, but when danger threatened they were to assemble on call.

Incomes were to be taxed to build public works. Instead of compulsory labor, each family was to be assessed according to its income. The same difficulty was experienced then as at the present time in finding out just what the income was. Another enterprise was to publish the classics at public expense, with Wang's peculiar ideas as commentary.

This great experiment in socialism, despite violent opposition, was tried; but the result was total failure. Customs could be changed, but not human nature. Dishonest and rapacious men took advantage of their position and robbed the people, so that, instead of the expected benefits, the general poverty and distress were increased.

This attempt at populism led the wisest men, especially the two brothers Cheng (1032–1111 A.D.), to re-read the classics and to think long and deeply, not only on the nature of man and Heaven (or God), but also on the subjects of property and taxes, rights and duties, and on government and social organizations generally. The result, after a hundred years of thought and discussion, was the complete restatement of the Confucian system, by Chu Hi, of whom we shall tell.

By this time also, when Normans and Saxons in England were blending to form the English people, Taoism and especially Buddhism in China had greatly influenced the minds of men, so that scholars, who began the long and hard thinking necessary for clearness and re-statement, had abundant material upon which to work. The most eminent of all the philosophers was Chu Hi (1130–1200). He took his second degree at the literary examination before reaching his twentieth year. Being appointed a mandarin, he first studied for some years the systems of Buddha and Lao Tsze, and then mastered the writings, not only of Confucius and Mencius, but also of the famous scholars, critics, and commentators who for a century had been reexamining the doctrines of Confucius in the light of socialistic and other theories of the times.

Chu Hi's renown was so great that the emperor appointed him adviser at the court, and then governor of Nanking. Continuing his studies, he vindicated and restated the orthodox doctrine handed down from the past, but with additions ranging out into all departments of human thought. Until the twentieth century Chu Hi's commentaries on the classical writings formed the aids to reflection, the strategic points of metaphysical discussion, and the recognized standard of what gentlemen in eastern Asia ought to believe. Chu Hi's teachings so developed Confucianism, that from being merely a system of rules and observances it became both a philosophy and a creed for centuries.

We foreigners think of the three old religions of China as separate in idea and history. To the average Chinese, in everyday life, they are one. The ancestral cult teaches manners and morals. Buddhism, the Aryan faith from India, gives hope of the hereafter. Taoism is a system of philosophy for the thinkers and of superstition to the populace. In reality, though there are three religions there is no God. In the age of Sung (A.D. 960–1333) religion, literature, industry, and commerce were greatly developed under the intellectual stimulus and blending of ideas so notable in this tolerant era. Buddhism henceforth was less the faith of the educated than of the learned, while Confucianism, greatly affected by the thought of India, took on the form of a creed as well as a ritual of worship and rule of conduct. In Taoism the development was in the line of outward organization.

Taoists, as we have seen, are very "high church" in their notions, and their doctrine of succession is held to almost as rigidly as in Buddhist, Mahometan, or Christian countries. Chang Tao-ling, born A.D. 34, turned aside from royalty's favors and lived in the high mountains, cultivating alchemy, purity, and mental abstraction. Receiving instruction from a book supernaturally received from Lao Tsze himself, he found the elixir of life and confided the secret to his son. Then, at the age of one hundred and twenty-three, he compounded and swallowed a draught of it, and ascended to the heavens to enjoy the bliss of immortality. At this point legend turns into history. His descendants were in 1016 endowed with land and later honored by the Mongol emperors. To this day the family claim the headship of the Taoist sect. Like the Lamas of Tibet, the succession is perpetuated by the transmigration of the soul of each successor of Chang Tao-ling into the body of some infant or child of the family, whose heirship is supernaturally revealed as soon as the miracle is effected.

Besides being the era when printed books were put into the hands of school children for their use in the study of the classics, the Sung period was famous for its poetry and imaginative literature. In the beginning, the far-off ancestors, the pre-historic people of China, were little better than simple savages, but when they came to consciousness of themselves, and were filled with the wonder of life, they began to think of their past. Reasoning upon this, they inquired as to their origins. Then men with active imagination took to the making of mythology and the formulating of traditions. Skillful penmen set down the manufactured myths in attractive literary form, while with songs and dances, art and commemorative customs, these traditions became articles of the national faith. On the basis of these primitive ideas, symbols, animals, signs, and numerical groups have developed during forty centuries the poetry, philosophy, literature, romance, drama, sculpture, and pictured representations that make the Chinese seem so peculiar to us. In a word, there was during the Sung period such an outburst of literary splendor that this is often called the Augustan age, or the Elizabethan era of Chinese literature. The larger part of the mythology, poetry, and standard literature, apart from the ancient classics, dates from this time.

Of one of the most famous poets, Su Tang Po, it was written that "under his hands, the language of which China is so proud may be said to have reached perfection of finish, of art concealed." One of his poems, called "The Song of the Cranes," has been thus rendered into English, though "translation is treachery."

"Away !Away! My birds fly westward now,

To wheel on high and gaze on all below;

To swoop together, pinions closed, to earth;

To soar aloft once more among the clouds;

To wander all day long in sedgy vale,

To gather duckweed in the stony marsh.

Come back! Come back! Beneath the lengthening shades,

Your serge-clad master stands, guitar in hand.

'T is he that feeds you from his slender store,

Come back I Come back! Nor linger in the west."

Progress was not confined to the domain of the intellect. Industry, enterprise, trade, and commerce expanded. There were now four well-known and well-traveled routes westward to India and the Mahometan countries of Asia, while by sea, Hindoo, Javanese, and Arab fleets of trading-ships made the ocean less lonely. The ship's compass came into general use. Banks and cash-shops were numerous at the seaports. China has always had a currency of perforated copper, brass, and iron "cash" strung on strings, and paper money, but no silver or gold coinage. The Arabs probably taught the idea of using silver by weight, and Sycee or "shoe" silver, looking like little white trays or boats, passes as money. In keeping accounts, the terms taels, mace, candarin, and li, according to the decimal system, are used, but there are no coins corresponding to these names, which are theoretical, like the English "guinea."

The size of the bank notes is peculiar, 12x8 inches, and the reading matter is very interesting. On one of these under the Ming dynasty and of the date A.D. 1399, it is stated that this note is current as money everywhere in China (all under Heaven), and that counterfeiters will be beheaded.

With the progress of civilization, the lot of the average woman became less one of outdoor toil and more of indoor work and accomplishments. In mythology, in fairy lore, and in actual history, woman is ever the weaver and spinster. The star maiden in the Milky Way, or River of Heaven, works at her loom. On earth it is the wife of the Heavenly Emperor who rears silkworms and teaches the wearing of silk. In the feudal age, we read of flax and hemp and see the women steeping the stalks in the castle moats. Not, however, until the Sung era do we hear of Chinese women weaving into cloth the white blossom of the cotton plant, which is probably the gift of the Semitic world.

It was a great day for China when cotton was brought from the West. It was not cultivated in China until the time of the Sung dynasty. Even then the Chinese hemp and silk growers (just like the linen weavers of England in 1721, when people were fined for wearing muslin) were so opposed to it that it was not until Mongol times that the plant was common throughout the empire. It is sown in June and gathered in October. After Sung times, instead of grass and hemp cloth for the poor and silk for the rich, the common people could have clothes of muslin, made thin for summer and by padding rendered suitable for winter. The spinning-wheel and loom now took their places in the houses of the peasantry, and most garments were home-made.

Winter in China


In a country where forestry was unknown and fuel dear, so that most people had to do without fire in their houses during the time of snow and ice, the Chinese kept warm by putting on more clothes. Thus they would describe the temperature by saying it was "two coats cold," "three coats cold," etc. The day on which they "took off cotton," that is, removed their padded or thickly lined garments for lighter wear, formed a point in the calendar. Out of cotton the Chinese weave many fabrics, such as nankeen, which was formerly exported. Now it is all used at home, and the Chinese import both raw cotton and cotton cloth to the value of millions. Most of their native textiles are dyed with indigo, so that China has been called the Land of the Blue Gown. With steam mills equipped with the latest and best machinery, cotton cloth is woven for the clothing of millions.

China Invaded by the Mongols

The great northern region beyond the Chinese wall is the nursery of many nations. These built up no civilizations of their own. Issuing forth, from time to time, as clouds of horsemen and conquering hordes, they seemed, while ravaging the abodes of luxury, to be only destroyers. Yet these emigrant peoples infused fresh blood into old communities. Bringing in new ideas of freedom and toleration, they added new vigor to humanity.

Looking from the point of view of A.D. 1000, one could hardly believe that, out of this mysterious north, despite the many and long struggles of the Chinese with Tartar tribes, there would emerge another body of men that should completely subdue not only China, but nearly all Asia and a large part of Europe.

We have heard of the Kin tribe of Tartars before. In 1125, after overcoming their former rulers, they made themselves independent. Their chief took the title of Grand Khan and founded a dynasty named the Kin, or Golden. In battle they put in the forefront their heaviest men and horses, clad in the stoutest armor, the warriors being armed with pikes for charging and short swords for close combat. In each company of fifty, twenty soldiers were at the front, while thirty more lightly armed men were kept in the rear, until the heavily equipped warriors had made their attack. Then the light cavalry rushed forward, shot their arrows, threw their javelins, and rode away swiftly, making way for fresh reinforcements. This method, repeated several times, completely broke up the ranks of the opponents by throwing their soldiers into confusion. Then the whole body of Tartars charged, plying pike and sword. They usually won by the rout and massacre of their enemies.

Tempted south by the love of conquest and the riches of the empire, they captured in A.D. 1125 the capital Kai Feng. They forced the Chinese to promise an indemnity of five million ounces of gold, fifty million ounces of silver, ten thousand oxen, ten thousand horses, and one million pieces of silk, to recognize the victor's title of Khan, or emperor, to cede a large part of northern China, and to give up the emperor's brother as a hostage.

No sooner had these northern horsemen turned their backs than the Chinese, repenting of their promise, began to raise an army to resist the Kins. When they heard of this, the northern hordes quickly reappeared and increased the punishment of the Chinese. They demanded more land and provinces, carried the imperial family away into captivity, compelled the promise of one hundred thousand ounces of gold, two hundred thousand ounces of silver, and ten million pieces of silk. We do not know that the promise of such an enormous indemnity was fulfilled. Worse than all, they appointed one of their own nominees to rule over the Chinese Empire, but as their own vassal.

All the northern provinces were now under the control of the Kin Tartars, who, however, were unable to complete their conquest of that part of China south of the Yellow River, for the Chinese fought with the energy of despair. The Southern Sung (1127-1333), as their dynasty was called, made a new seat of government at Nanking.

The word for capital is "king," or first city; Nan-king means southern capital and Peking northern capital. This king, pronounced kio in Japanese, is the kio in Tokio and Kioto. The word nankeen, or Chinese cloth, for summer wear, is only another form of Nanking, where much of it was formerly made.

Brave and skillful generals led the southerners in the struggle, which was now for the rich province of Honan, whose northern boundary is the great, wide Yellow River. This, like the Rhine in Roman days, was the dividing line between civilization and northern barbarism. The Tartars, being from the desert and unaccustomed to navigate or to fight on water, were unable to cross this river, while many of the Chinese were adroit boat-men and could fight on deck. Hence the river remained a barrier against further invasion. Had the emperor possessed more courage, he might have driven the Tartars out of China. The last words of one of his generals were, "Cross the river," meaning that the emperor should abandon Nanking and advance northward.

The Tartars were able to make even more progress on their right wing. They passed into Shantung, which means "the mountains east," and devastated the rich country. On land these warriors in the saddle usually beat the Chinese, but on water they were themselves badly handled. Now these Kin Tartars were to find an enemy in their rear also, that was to conquer them and then advance to the conquest of the whole empire. At these we shall glance.

Near the head waters of the Amoor River, south-east of Lake Baikal, lived a tribe of horsemen whose ensign was an ox-tail. They called themselves Brave Men, or Mongols. Other tribes joined their confederacy until, in 1135, filled with the lust of conquest, they began fighting with the Kin Tartars. Their chief, Kabul, assumed the title Grand Khan. His banner was a cluster of ox-tails.

About 1162 there was born the great hero known in history as Genghis Khan. It is said that when thirteen years old, at his mother's prompting, this son of Kabul became head of the Mongols. Genghis means the Greatest of the Great. He moved with a mighty host southward and beyond the Great Wall, occupying several of the northern provinces. In 1213 he despatched three great expeditions eastward, all of which were successful. The ox-tail banner was carried to the sea near the modern Wei Hai Wei.

Some Japanese scholars claim that Yezukai, or Genghis Khan, was no other than the Japanese field-marshal and hero, Yoshitsuné, whose name in Chinese is Gengi Ké, and who fled across the Yezo Kai, or northern sea of Tartary. Some Chinese authors also accept this plausible theory. In 1905 a Japanese officer found at Mukden the reputed tomb of Yoshitsuné.

When this great wave of humanity on horseback moved toward the setting sun and over the Himalaya Mountains, it struck Russia during the time of her feudal system. There was then no national unity, but many semi-independent states existed, nominally under a Czar, but almost always at war with one another. At this time they were much weakened in resources. When the Muscovites set their hastily collected forces in battle against the Mongols, their rout was rapid and complete, and the Czar's empire was put under tribute.

A Mongol, who lived in the saddle, horse and man seeming like one animal, hated cities and would have nothing to do with roofs or walls. Coming out of the broad steppes and living continually in the open air, the horsemen felt as if they would be stifled within doors, and they feared any and every high structure. So they leveled to the ground the Russian towns and villages, churches and farmhouses, making large areas of the country a waste.

The son of Genghis Khan, named Ogotai, continued the work begun by his father. He completely subdued the Kin Tartars and ended their dynasty of nine emperors, which had ruled half of the Chinese Empire one hundred and eighteen years. Then moving with a still larger army into Europe, he penetrated to the very heart of the continent, destroying Moscow, Kief, and other Russian cities, committing terrible atrocities and slaughtering the inhabitants almost as numerously as the Romans did our ancestors in Gaul and Germany. The Mongols invaded Hungary and Poland, razing Pesth, Cracow, and other cities to the ground, but when in Silesia, bearing, in 1241, that Ogotai was dead, the Mongol generals returned with their hordes to the capital at Karakorum.

At the same time the Pope of Rome sent two envoys, Carpini and Benedict, with a letter urging upon Ogotai's successor more humanity in war, to which the Mongol ruler civilly replied. Returning, these two scholars brought to medieval Europe the first knowledge of the Chinese as being a nation more highly civilized than any at that time existing in Europe. The ruins of the Mongol capital still litter the ground near the Orkhan River.

Meanwhile, in southern China, the Sung Emperor, in order to drive out the Kin Tartars, made alliance with the Mongols. The allies succeeded, but the old story of the badger inviting the porcupine into his hole was retold. After quarreling over the spoils, the Chinese attempted again to occupy the province of Honan, but the Mongols ordered them out. The latter soon found what kind of allies they had invited to aid them. When Mangu became Khan in 1253, he and his brother Kublai planned the complete conquest of China. Kublai, who was elected Grand Khan on the death of his brother, fixed his capital at or near the modern Peking. About Cambulac, on the city of the Khan, some of us have heard through the poetry of Coleridge.

The Chinese were still defiant, but the Mongols, being as ready to adopt modern improvements as are the Japanese, employed foreign experts, teachers, and advisers with new machinery and methods. To the siege of cities they brought engines of war made in Persia, which could throw stones and logs of wood weighing over a hundred pounds. Using these catapults, the General Bayan captured city after city, until finally the ox-tail banners were planted on the seashore below Canton. After fifty years of battle and warfare, in which both the courage and the tenacity of the Chinese were conspicuous, the Mongol conquest of China was completed and the Yuan, or Original, dynasty was founded. Like our barbarian ancestors, who destroyed the Roman Empire and occupied its area, the Mongol Tartars were now about to be powerfully influenced by the civilization they had apparently destroyed. Though Kublai was not actually seated on the throne of China until 1260, the Yuan dynasty is reckoned as lasting from A.D. 1206 to 1333.

There was yet much land to be occupied to the east and south, so Kublai looked across the sea to Japan. The Japanese sent back the envoys from Kublai Khan with an answer of defiance. When others came later, their heads were cut off. The Koreans were quickly won over. Then, with a combined fleet made up from the three peoples, Mongols, Chinese, and Koreans, an attempt was made to invade Japan.

When the Mongol armada, equipped with war-machines and even cannon which the Italian Polos had taught the Mongols to make, arrived off Kiushiu, it was scattered by tempests. The Mongol cavalry was repulsed on land by archery of the Japanese. Then the latter, venturing out in their little boats with swords and grappling-irons, leaped on the big ships and fought the Mongols hand to hand. As usual, the Tartars failed in battles on the water. The lives of the Koreans and Chinese who surrendered were spared.

To this day in Japan the civil ruler and the captains who defeated the Mongols enjoy posthumous honors. After the destruction of the Russian armada, or Baltic fleet, by Admiral Togo in 1905, very near the place where the Mongol armada came to its end, the victors on land and sea, headed by the Mikado, were present at a great celebration in honor of Hojo, the governor who roused the nation to resist the invaders of A.D. 1281.

Something like the same lack of success befell the Mongols when they invaded Annam and attempted Cambodia. They found that the work of war in steaming bamboo jungles and teak forests, or on the plains under the almost vertical rays of the sun, was not so easy as fighting on the northern plains and frozen rivers. They were so greatly weakened by heat and sickness that they retired from Cambodia and left Annam a semi-independent state. All this region of peninsular Asia is popularly known as Cochin China. It is interesting as the original home of our barnyard fowls, the cock and hen.

It was not necessarily the plan of the Mongol Emperor to make war upon all nations, but those near the frontiers, or even within reach, were expected to pay tribute and acknowledge themselves vassals of the great Khan. If they did not, they were invaded and subjugated. In the case of Burma, after the first refusal, the usual invasion was made. This time the Mongol veterans found a new war animal. Elephants charged on them, overwhelming both men and horses, while the Burmans discharged their darts and arrows with skill and effect. The Mongols were driven back and their tactics made worthless. So they tried a new plan by bringing forward their most skilled archers, who aimed at the eyes, trunks, and other tender parts of the big brutes. These, maddened and unmanageable, carried confusion into the ranks of the Burmans. Then charging with their horsemen, the Mongols won victory and Burma became a vassal state.

Meanwhile the great empire kept expanding until it was the largest in area and population known in history, stretching as it did from the Black to the Yellow Sea and from the steppes of Mongolia to the Indian Ocean, within which space was a vast variety of nations, tribes, and peoples.

What the Mongols Did for China

In 1294 the great Khan died, and the Japanese proverb, "There is no seed to the great general," was illustrated.

By her wonderful social system, China is able to absorb all affluents, "salting all the water that flows into it." Gradually the Mongols came under the influence of Chinese civilization, with its comfort, luxury, and culture. Like other tribes, before and since, the Mongol invaders were absorbed in the Family of the Hundred Names. As a distinct people, they disappeared in the Chinese mass, like a lump of lead in the melting-pot.

Kublai was succeeded in 1295 by Tamur. Now, instead of exciting campaigns and thrilling news, there seemed to come a succession of floods, famines, and earthquakes. Lao Tsze had taught that full stomachs made government easy. Hunger creates political trouble. The people, famine-stricken, poor, and discontented, developed a rebellious spirit. In this era sprang up those patriotic secret societies which have ever since been so numerous in China, inciting rebellion and stirring up trouble. The White Lily Society is the most famous, and that of the Boxers the most familiar to us. Their objects are for the most part political, and usually anti-dynastic. In this era they were anti-Mongol. With the idea of "China for the Chinese," they lived in hope of driving out their conquerors and bringing in a native line of rulers.

Mongol camp


These secret societies soon became open bands of rebels, in one of which was a patriotic priest, who left the monastery to become a leader. He showed rare qualities as a fighter and tactician, and under his leadership Nanking was captured. The fall of the Mongol dynasty was now certain.

In the north, not only were fresh tribes menacing the frontier and advancing on Peking, but the Mongols themselves were quarreling over the choice of an heir to the throne. It mattered little, for when the rebels captured Kai Feng, the leader pronounced himself emperor and gave the name of Ming, or Bright, to the new dynasty now founded. Peking was taken. The last Mongol Emperor fled to his ancestral home in Mongolia. The Yuan dynasty passed out of history.

It has been the general fashion among European writers to brand the Mongols as utterly brutal savages, before whose advent civilization melted away, and the land became a desert. No adjective seems sufficiently black for them. Even Japanese authors mourn that the Mongols ravaged the Buddha-garden and destroyed the spiritual unity of Asia. It is evident that nearly all Western people get their notions about the Mongols not wholly from true history, but rather from folklore, romances, and fairy-tales, the nightmare fears of the Middle Ages, and the fantastic legends of the monks. Yet a similar process of description would lower our estimate of other races, who are highly praised, but who, like Assyrians, Romans, Chinese, British, Russians, and Americans, have nearly annihilated native tribes and shed seas of blood. Compared with other conquerors, from the dawn of history to this century, Genghis need not be wholly ashamed. In justice, we must turn to inquire what and who the Mongols were, and what results followed their conquest of China and part of Europe.

We have a wonderful picture of Cathay, or of Mongolian China, in Marco Polo's book. With his uncles he traveled and traded in Kublai's empire, and held office under the great Khan during many years. He told Europe about Japan, giving information which Columbus sought to verify, for he sailed westward over the Sea of Darkness, with the idea of finding, not America, of which he knew nothing, but Nippon and Cathay.

Polo's writings touched the imagination of Europe, helping mightily to stimulate discovery and to unveil the continent of America. For over a century after Columbus, navigators sailed westward to find China, or sought a passage north of America or east of Spitzbergen. While the coast-line of our continent was not yet unveiled, savage America was associated only with fish, furs, gold, or things curious. It was considered rather as an obstacle in the quest for China, which Captain John Smith, Henry Hudson, and many others were bent on finding. Only gradually was America known as a continent which in itself was a source of wealth.

From Marco Polo, who traveled from Venice to China and lived nearly twenty years in the empire, we learn of the high state of prosperity to which China attained under the Mongols, and what broad and liberal ideas the conquerors possessed and welcomed. Starting as savages, they quickly responded to the ideas of civilization. They had a postal system from one end of the empire to the other, with good roads and protection to the traveler. Trade and industry flourished to an extent unknown before. Toleration was shown to all sects. Complete religious liberty was given the followers of Buddha, Jesus, and Mahomet, and to the Jews, but the superstitious and magical practices of the Taoists were put under ban and their books, except the original writings of Lao-Tsze, were ordered to be burned. The Chinese, with their social system thus renovated and enlarged, became almost reconciled to the rule of foreigners.

The Mongol invasion of Europe was not wholly an evil. It hindered the spread of Mahometanism in eastern Asia. It allowed the Christian missionaries to come into Mongolia, where they were for a while so successful that afterwards, when the Turks closed the roads into Asia, thus hindering caravans and traffic, there grew up the legend of a renowned Far Eastern Prester John, who long had the fame of a great church prince. There are "lost" Christian nations in the same sense as there are "lost" tribes of Israel.

The Mongols opened new lines of traffic. Through the freedom of the roads, many valuable discoveries of the Chinese were carried westward, giving half-civilized Europe the rich fruits of Oriental civilization. Our debt to China is vast. Among other things came printing, gunpowder, the mariner's compass, paper money, wall paper, silk, tea, porcelain, banks, etc.

Marco Polo, who in 1295 A.D., while in prison, wrote his book on China—the first in Europe—was laughed at as a romancer, but he told the truth as he saw it, as we now know. Probably no medieval nation in Europe, before 1300 A.D., was on the whole as highly civilized as China. The old text found new application, that our composite Western civilization is but a revised and corrected edition of other civilizations. The Orientals excel at originating, and the Westerners at developing and adapting. Each is debtor to the other.

This subject deserves further study, but it is manifest that the Mongols were not wholly a curse to the world, and that the progress of the race was hastened by bringing together the nations at opposite ends of the earth's greatest island, the Eurasian continent.

The Mongols in India, called Moguls, descendants of Tamerlane, produced, in the sixteenth century, one of the most liberal lines of rulers known in history. Under them there arose a brilliant civilization. Men of genius from both China and Europe were invited, like the yatoi, whom the Japanese from 1870 to 1900 employed to reconstruct their civilization, to lend their aid and talents in making the Mogul Empire lovely as well as strong. Some of the fairest works of art and architecture known on earth, such as the Taj Mahal and Kutub Minar, have arisen from the blending of the Italian, the Mongol, and the Hindoo genius. In every country the Mongols showed a talent for absorbing what was good and noble in the civilization amid which they dwelt. What the Tartar genius is capable of, when fused with that of other races, is clearly discerned in China, Japan, and Korea, by all who have openness of mind to see. The later Tartars, or Manchus, became "the most improvable race in Asia."

In Russia the contact of the Mongols had certain striking results still visible in the Czar's dominions. Ordinary horses would have died during the long winter, which in the Russian vernacular is first green, then white, then black; during which the ground is wholly covered, and food for ordinary cattle is provided only by the forethought of man. The Mongol ponies, with their long snouts, were able to dig into the snow, throw it up, and find and feed upon the buried grass and plentiful moss. The Mongols conquered by their better arms, discipline, and tactics. They secured a foothold which enabled them to remain in Russia two centuries. Indeed, they were not wholly driven out until about the time of Peter the Great. The long dwelling of these Orientals in Russia has left its mark upon the faces and forms of the Russians, many of whom, in that conglomerate empire, are more Mongolian, or Tartar, than are many of the Japanese, who have in them a powerful strain of true Aryan and Semitic blood.

Not least of the Mongols' gifts to China was the stimulus and fertilization of the native intellect in the domain of the imagination. The great literary achievements are to be credited to them, the drama and the novel. Previously the court had songs, music, and acting, besides the blending of the two in the opera. Indeed, in A.D. 713, one of the Han emperors established the Imperial Dramatic College, as it may be called, in which hundreds of male and female performers were trained to amuse him with their music and acting. These were called Young Folks of the Pear Garden, by which name Chinese actors call themselves to this day.

Nearly all dramatic pieces were at first religious. Development was made during the Middle Ages, but there was no real theatre or full dramatic performance until the Mongol era. Then the plays were worked up by the Chinese from their own history and social life. Some, in origin, were from Western players and musicians at the Mongol court. Then, from the court to the people came the dramas and plays illustrating life. Tragedy, melodrama, and comedy, as acted on the stage, are now common in China. These had been long known among the Mongols and were introduced by them, the Chinese theatre of to-day having changed little from the days of Kublai. Now there are theatres and strolling players all over China. In most of the villages the theatre and stage are put up with bamboo and matting by expert artificers. After the play, which lasts two or three days, the temporary structure is removed.

Whether the Mongols brought the romance from that paradise of the story-tellers, in central Asia, where grew up from the soil of Persia, India, and Arabia the so-called Arabian Nights' Entertainments, or whether they invented it in China, the credit of the Chinese novel belongs to the Yuan era. Before this time there were only fables, anecdotes, short stories, and the lore that Buddhism supplied. Whether the novel was developed out of the drama, or from the Buddhist mystery and morality plays and pageants, cannot yet be said. There is a vast storehouse of fiction, but only a few Chinese novels have been translated. In four-fold division, they deal with usurpation or plots; love and intrigue; superstition, local legend, mythical zoology, etc.; or with lawless characters; exactly as in American cheap fiction.

In the voluminous folklore of China one soon learns to detect the elements, Taoist, Buddhist, primitive, or medieval, and to recognize the symbols, characters, and course of the story. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are three separate worlds of ideas, differing one from another as do air, earth, and water; birds, beasts, and fishes.

At home, in China, Mongol supremacy was at first the rule of cow-boys in the cities. Yet while the men who governed moved around more freely on horseback, carrying messages and transacting public business with a celerity that startled the staid natives, the Chinese women retreated still further into privacy and security. It is often sup-posed in Europe that the custom of foot-binding arose because husbands wished to keep their wives at home and to prevent them from gadding about. On the contrary, as in our own country, it was the decree of fashion that led women to make martyrs of themselves in order to have small and pretty feet. Chinese girls suffer years of pain and even agony in order to turn one of the most beautiful things in nature—the human foot—into a hoof, or something that custom calls beautiful when within an embroidered slipper. Such extremities might be attractive if belonging to sheep or gazelles.

Chinese writers say that a paragon of female beauty in the person of Yao Niang, the lovely concubine of the last of the Southern line of Tang emperors, began the practice. According to poetical tradition, her feet were pinched and "cramped into the semblance of the new moon." Such an example set at court was soon followed, and became so general that it will require generations of argument and disapproval to break up the custom.

Undoubtedly the rough manners of the Mongols drove Chinese women into stricter privacy, and helped to immure women. Centuries of Confucianism, foot-binding, and abominable customs still tolerated have contributed to make it an ordeal for decent women to appear freely on the streets of a Chinese city, encouraging also female slavery and the multiplication of the wrong kind of women, to the detriment of public morals.

Deeper notes were struck in the Chinese consciousness, and imagination was kindled by the clash of alien with native humanity. Certainly from this era literature is infused with a new spirit and takes on more fascinating forms. The sublimity of thought and boldness of imagery stimulated may be best set forth to the Western mind by the following poem:—

"See the five variegated peaks of yon mountain, connected like the finders of the hand,

And rising up from the south, as a wall midway to heaven:

At night, it would pluck, from the inverted concave, the stars of the milky way;

During the day, it explores the zenith and plays with the clouds.

The rain has ceased—and the shining summits are apparent in the void expanse;

The moon is up and looks like a bright pearl over the expanded palm;

One might imagipe that the Great Spirit had stretched forth an arm.

From afar—from beyond the sea—and was numbering the Nations."

The Ming Emperors

The Chinese have more patriotism than the foreigner is apt to suppose. In 1368 all true-born Chinese rejoiced in the advent of a native dynasty. Happily the new ruler showed the traits of a good priest and a true shepherd of the flock, as well as those of a firm general. While his captains restrained the Tartars in the north, he gave himself to the work of reducing taxes, cutting down the public expenses, and opening friendly relations with Korea and Japan. In every way he showed himself a wise ruler. Yet the empire was not free from usurpations and rebellions, and the Tartars were still making inroads at various points on the northern frontier, which was too extended to be easily protected. In one raid they captured the Chinese Emperor, who had to be ransomed.

Ming tombs


Literature was not forgotten. The great encyclopedia, completed in 1407, in 22,877 volumes, is a unique literary monument of the Ming era. Another enterprise was the collecting, editing, revising, and publication of the classical canon of scripture and the works of the schoolmen of the Sung era. The barbarous custom of putting slaves and concubines to death when an emperor died was abolished forever in China. Before 1465, even the most loved wives were buried alive in the imperial coffin. A via sacra, or glorious avenue of colossal stone sculpture-figures of mighty men, camels, horses, animals used in sacrifice, with pillars, obelisks, monoliths, marble bridges, and monumental gateways, was reared near Peking. Enshrined in solemn beauty in the bosom of the hills are the Thirteen Tombs, as the Chinese call them, encircled with cypress trees. The Ming memorial arch is the finest in the empire. The entrance is named "Rest the Spirit." All manner of beautiful woods, marbles, and tiles are used in the ancestral hall and shrines. One tablet is inscribed "The Tomb of the Perfect Ancestor and Literary Emperor." The procession of these stone figures and the tombs and shrines form one of the most beautiful places in all China. Japan quickly followed the good examples set her by China during the Ming era, in memorial architecture. This was the age of the tiled pagoda. When first built in China, these tall structures were heavy and stumpy, like the India tope or dagoba. The Chinese developed them into slender, graceful, and lofty structures, on the model of the ever beautiful bamboo, famous for its delicacy and strength, often hanging wind-bells at the end of their curves, making music in the air.

The canal between Peking and the Peiho River was so enlarged and deepened that ships could reach the capital from the Yang-tse River by way of the Grand Canal. The Great Wall was repaired and business encouraged, so that the nation became very prosperous. It is believed that the population of China proper rose to sixty millions.

The glory of the dynasty culminated at the opening of the sixteenth century, when public works on a colossal scale were carried out. Nanking, the capital, became so famous that in distant lands a Chinese was known as a "Nanking-man." I was so called by the children of interior Japan, in 1871. Strangers were supposed to be either Chinese, that is, "Eastern men" (to-jin), or Nankingmen. Or they were called Holland men, or Outlanders.

One important event was a war with Japan, though the battlefield was Korea. Between the Japanese and Chinese no love has ever been lost. The earliest men in Nippon knew nothing about China, but the medieval Japanese had a great feeling of reverence and gratitude for this Treasure Land of the West from which they received writing, literature, costume, etiquette, medicine, and science, and a "book religion,"—Buddhism. It was by China's aid that they were able to rise from barbarism to be a civilized nation. Yet the Mikado's subjects could never brook the idea of the Chinese looking down upon them. They called their emperor also the "Son of Heaven," and theirs the "Country governed by a Heaven-descended line of rulers." They used exactly the same words and phrases about their Mikado as the Chinese did about their Emperor, speaking of the Dragon's Face, the Dragon's Seat, the Dragon's Chariot, and of their nobles as the Clouds (of Heaven), etc. Just as in Europe our medieval barbarian fathers imitated the Roman Empire and emperor, and their kings and emperors called themselves Caesar, Kaiser, Czar; or in republics used the letters S.P.Q. (Senate and People), and later founded the Holy Roman Empire, inheriting Roman law, custom, and rhetorical expressions, so the Japanese imitated China in a thousand ways.

But between China and Japan, and Rome and the northern nations, there was this difference. The Roman Empire was dead, but the Chinese Empire was very much alive; and the Chinese considered the Japanese vassals or at least pupils, which the latter never acknowledged and ever bitterly scouted and resisted. As there could not be two suns in the same sky, Japan considered China as bigoted and conceited. China returned the compliment by looking on Japan as an impudent upstart. The Chinese often used, even as late as 1894, the ancient term of contempt, Wojin, or dwarfs, which is very insulting; as in the proclamation of the Empress of China when she called on her soldiers "to root the Wojin out of their lairs."

The invasion of Kublai Khan, in which the Chinese and Koreans assisted, incensed the Japanese, who, when refused trading privileges, began a career of piracy and privateering. They captured towns and cities and carried off slaves, prisoners, and spoils. They were fully as cruel as our Norman ancestors. The Chinese along the coast besought their gods to deliver them from the wrath of the murderous Japanese, even as our forefathers prayed in their litanies, "from the fury of the Northmen" (that is, the ancestors of the Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes of to-day), "good Lord, deliver us."

Chinese armies were sent to defend the coast, and the pirates from Nippon became less troublesome. Hideyoshi, the regent, having at home a large military force consisting of the retainers of the daimios, whom he had subdued in the name of the Mikado, thus unifying Japan, but whose blades were restless in their scabbards, planned to conquer Korea first and then invade China. He claimed that the Ming Emperor had insulted him by offering to make him King of Japan, on condition of Japan's becoming a confessed vassal to China. Having been defied by the Koreans, he sent two divisions of his army to invade their country, one under Konishi the Christian and the other under Kato the Buddhist. In eighteen days from landing, the rival divisions entered at opposite gates of Seoul.

Hideyoshi's reinforcements were checked by a large Chinese army marching into northern Korea. A great battle was fought at Ping Yang, exactly where, in 1904, the soldiers of the two nations met in conflict again. The Japanese were beaten, and with "hearts cold in their bosoms" they retreated. In the southwestern waters, the Japanese plans were utterly ruined by the Korean Admiral Yu, with his famous iron-clad, or turtle ship, which rammed, fired, sunk, or scattered the Japanese ships.

There were many battles and sieges in Korea at places where now are cities, railway stations, or telegraph offices. At length, in 1598, on the death of Hideyoshi, who meanwhile had become the Taiko, or ex-regent, peace was arranged and the armies were called home. A trading-station at Fusan, across the sea from Nagasaki, was kept by the Japanese.

The Chinese change their dynasty every two or three centuries, and the Mings, like most of those who have ruled China, were not destined to a long career. One of the longest reigns was that of Wan Li, who ruled from 1573 to 1620, during which great events in connection with Japan and Europe took place.

The reason for these short-lived dynasties in the long-lived empire is very plain. In the long Chinese story, the people are the real hero. The nation is the tree, the dynasties are but the leaves. The latter, unless China's constitution is radically reformed, are bound to fall. The duration of a ruling house is brief, the life of the people is eternal. National government and responsibility must be shared with the people, if the empire is to live.

A cloud of destiny, at first no bigger than a man's hand, rose in the northeast. A Tartar clan named the Manchu, or Pure, dwelling in the district about thirty miles east of Mukden, united the other clans with them into a confederacy. The Chinese Emperor championed the cause of a chieftain hostile to the Manchus. It was a mistake. Forty thousand Manchus invaded Liao-tung and their leader read before the whole army a declaration of war against China. The paper was solemnly burnt and the smoke arose as a prayer to Heaven. The Chinese made their second mistake in dividing their army into four divisions, each of which was defeated in succession by the Manchus.

As soon as men or nations have become great or famous, they want a genealogy or family history showing illustrious origins. Fashion requires it and it impresses the vulgar. If facts or proof fail, literary men make up, with the aid of fables or mythology, that story of their ancestors which suits the taste of the age. The Japanese and Koreans borrowed this habit from the Chinese. As nothing is exactly known of the origin of the Manchus in the desert, where there was no writing, a pretty fairy-tale—far more delicious to the palate of imagination—is told in place of history. It is this.

Ages ago, under the northern shadow of the Ever White Mountains that divide Korea from Manchuria, three virgins from Heaven descended to the shore of a lake, which reflected on its bosom the azure of the skies and the majestic forms of the snowy peaks. By day they enjoyed the rose tints of the morn on the ripples raised by breezes, and at noon they rejoiced in the golden sunlight. They found rapture in the glories of the sunset and clapped their hands with delight when they saw the mirror of the lake spangled with star jewels. Thus they lived on earth's fairest portion, nor ever longed for their home in the skies.

One day the three sisters were bathing in the crystal waters, having left their robes on the pebbly beach, when they saw a magpie flying in the air. Pausing for a moment over the youngest of the virgins, the bird dropped a blood-red fruit. As the magpie was sacred in their eyes, this was a happy omen. The maiden at once ate the fruit as a message from Heaven.

By this divine token, the virgin conceived and in due time bore a son whom she called the Golden Family Stem. This name, in Manchu, Ai-sin-Coro, is the family name of the emperors of China. Both the Chinese and Manchu words for the dynasty, meaning bright or clear, have reference to the splendor of water on which the sun shines. The mother told her son that he was Heaven-born. She taught him that his destiny was to heal quarrels among men and bring peace and prosperity to the nations.

The boy grew up under the mountain shadow and by the lakeside. In due time his mother entered the icy caves of the dead. Then the lad started out into the world on his own career. In a little boat he paddled down the river Hurka (near Ninguta), which flows into the Sungari, reaching a place where dwelt three clans then at war with one another. Impressed by his appearance, they hailed him as their chief, and, uniting their fortunes, they made a settlement at Otoli, and he ruled over them. In one of the later wars, he and all his sons were slain except one who escaped. The murderers chased Fancha, as he was called, but when a magpie alighted on his head, the youth stood still as a post, and turned his back on his pursuers as they rushed through the forest; they took him for a piece of dried wood, and passing him, gave up the hunt. The magpie has ever been a sacred bird with the Manchus.

The mark of nationality among these north-eastern Tartars was the queue. They shaved the whole front part of the scalp and then let their hair grow behind into a long tail. A young Manchu warrior was as proud of his tail of hair as a Mohawk or Pawnee Indian was of his scalp-lock.

Before this time, the Chinese wore their hair as the Koreans do, that is, done up in a sort of knot or chignon at the back of the head. Thus it happens that Chinese, on first coming to Korea, are amused at seeing the fashion of topknots prevalent, just as it was among their ancestors of the Ming period. If short by nature, the queue was lengthened out, by means of black silk or false hair, so as to reach below the knees. In China this queue became the solemn mark of loyalty to the Manchu sovereign. Millions of natives were slaughtered before they would submit their heads to the razor. Although Chinese males wash their own clothes, being laundry-men by habit, they do not shave themselves, but pay for their tonsure. To the Manchus the barbers of China are very grateful.

Until our twentieth century, in China, not to wear the queue, or to cut it off, was a sign of disloyalty to the emperor. Some of the anti-dynastic secret societies showed their enmity to the Peking rulers by secretly snipping off the queues of prominent citizens, or men high in office, thus bringing disgrace and shame upon them.

Nevertheless the Chinese are not peculiar in priding themselves on their hair tails, for it was the fashion with Europeans and Americans in the eighteenth century to wear them. Most of the Continental soldiers and sailors in the Revolution had pigtails which they larded, powdered, or wore in eelskins, looking just as funny as do the Chinese. In every country in the world there is a language of hair. The fashions of hair and head-gear serve as signs of nationality, sex, marital promise or condition. The Japanese, however, cut off their top-knots in 1870, the Koreans two decades later, and the Chinese are now slowly following the example of the world at large. In China, whether with or without hair tails, the men follow a uniform fashion, but there is an amazing variety among the women in arranging their tresses.

When the Manchus appeared before the oft-besieged and many times captured city of Liao-yang, the people submitted to their new masters, giving signs of their sincerity by shaving the front part of their scalps and waiting for their queues to grow.

The Manchus tried to take the city of Ning Yuan, north of the Great Wall, but now they had to face gunpowder and cannon-balls. The Jesuit Europeans, being men of science, had taught the Ming men how to cast cannon, and the Chinese had also bought artillery from the Portuguese at Macao. Under the training of the missionaries, they made and served their heavy guns so effectively that the Manchus had to withdraw. They established their capital at Mukden, where are to-day the imposing mausoleums of the Manchu dynasty. In 1629 they marched into Korea, and securing the king's submission, advanced into China at the head of a hundred thousand men to besiege Peking. The Chinese were reinforced and the Manchus retreated, so the empire was still safe for a while.

The torment of China is the frequency of insurrections. One of these broke out in the central region, which was so successful that after capturing many cities, Li, the chief rebel, declared himself emperor and moved on to Peking. The Chinese sovereign, taken by surprise, went up on Coal Hill, north of the imperial palace, and seeing the great rebel host, ended his life by suicide. Yet Li's triumph was short. The Chinese commander in the north made an alliance with the Manchus, and a great battle was fought near the eastern end of the Great Wall, in which the allies won and the army of the rebels was scattered. The Manchu chief Durgan entered Peking and placed his nephew, a child eight years of age, on the throne. Thus in 1644, amid rebellion and blood-shed, the Ming dynasty came to an end.

The Great Wall was now no longer needed, for the Tartars were inside China proper to stay—and to become Chinese. In spite of the romantic attempt of Koxinga to hold Formosa for the Mings, the dynasty was defunct beyond all hope of resurrection. For us the Mings survive ever in memory, chiefly through the exquisite porcelain and other art works of their brilliant era.

The Manchus and Europeans

From the moment that the men of the desert entered China, and, from living on the backs of horses and among cattle, slept in houses and lived like civilized people, they began to lose their language and for the most part their peculiar customs, and rapidly to become Chinese.

It is the China of the Ming and Manchu dynasties that our European ancestors first saw and described, and with which the books written and read during the last three hundred years have made us familiar. The notions and ideas of the average man of to-day, who does not study, is of this China, now already in large part obsolete. Most of the pictures which have impressed us as children, beyond the power of any printed matter or writing, and the curiosities in the museums are from Ming days. It is the China from which our fathers first obtained porcelain, lacquer, ivory, and crystal work, matting, drugs, tea, spices, fire-crackers, nankeen, crape, silk, and odd things bearing the odors of the East. China is above all others the land of odors,—sweet, mysterious, pleasant, and otherwise.

The Portuguese, first to round the Cape of Good Hope, were the European pioneers in China. Two small fleets of these "Southern Barbarians" came to Canton in 1511. They were well treated. A revulsion of Chinese feeling followed after the commander of the third fleet had committed brutal outrages along the coast. He was seized and beheaded and his men massacred at Ningpo. The survivors fled to Macao, where they were allowed to settle. Until within recent years, Macao was virtually a Portuguese possession, and with Canton was one of the two chief foreign seaports of China. Here, in exile, Camoens wrote his poem, the "Lusiad," which celebrates the achievements of Portuguese explorers in the Orient.

The Spaniards followed, settling in the Philippine Islands. At Manila, where the population was chiefly Chinese, they treated the people with cruelty, and suspecting them of complicity in a plot, massacred thousands of them. After such treatment of their countrymen, the Chinese were not inclined to receive human beings from Europe very hospitably. For centuries the "foreign devils," so called in China, were believed to be so because of what the people heard about them.

The Dutch pioneers in the Far East, the Houtman brothers, having obtained charts of the seas, sailed from the Texel in 1595. By 1622, after failing to establish a factory in Canton, the Dutch secured a foothold in the Pescadores. When driven out from these islands, they made a strong settlement at Tai-wan, in Formosa, built a fort, laid out a town, and began the conversion of the natives. They led all Protestant nations in establishing the first foreign missions on a large scale. Over a score of ordained ministers and many teachers instructed hundreds of converts and translated the creeds and the gospels into Formosan. They met with great success until conquered by Koxinga. Such an impression was made on the people that, after three centuries, the first natives ordained to office in the churches, in our days, were descendants of the converts of the seventeenth century. Formosa, hitherto virtually unknown or ignored by China, was colonized by Chinese from Fukien province by Koxinga and his father, the latter having married a wife from the Japanese, then numerous in the island.

The Ming dynasty was in power when the great missionary Francis Xavier, after laboring in India and Japan, came to China. He lived on the island which he named Saint John, now corrupted into San Ciano, near Macao, where he died in 1552. To this day, the Portuguese make annual pilgrimages to his grave. His two successors, Roger and Ricci, settled in Kwantung in 1582, and under the Emperor Wan Li reached Peking. Ricci was highly honored at court, and being a man of science, gave the Chinese the benefit of his knowledge of astronomy and mechanics. He translated Euclid and helped to correct the Chinese calendar, besides assisting in making and using improved war weapons. Some of these astronomical instruments, their supports being cast in bronze in the form of dragons and other mythical creatures, found in Peking, were removed to Germany after the Boxer riots, as part of the loot taken by Christian armies to Europe.

What were the first impressions and real feelings of the Chinese toward Europeans? We are apt to suppose that these Asian people must of necessity consider us handsome and our ways pleasant. Yet in truth what we think of them and what they think of us is well balanced. Our faces seem often pale and ghost-like. Our deep-set eyes have to them an uncanny, far-apart look. Our high, large noses frighten their children. Our hair, of various tints, shades, and colors, instead of standard black, makes anything but a pleasing impression at first. The odor of our bodies, whether we are emperors and empresses, or day laborers, being that of meat-eating people, is not pleasant to these rice-eaters. Our drinking of liquor from large glasses, and our use of cooked flesh, not in scraps but in quantities, besides many forms of our table manners and general etiquette, the dress, public relations, and common ideas concerning the sexes, are in their eyes decidedly below par. They consider departure from inherited tradition outlandish, improper, wrong, wicked, devilish,—according to the culture, experience, or reason possessed by the person judging. In every land, however, gentlemen are gentlemen and ladies are ladies, and they soon discover one another. Probably Moses, Confucius, and St. Paul could dine together comfortably and enjoy an interview. Certainly many Chinese are noble exemplars of loyalty, gratitude, and friendship; not at all the "treacherous" people so often caricatured in America.

While people in the northern part of China submitted and shaved their heads in token of obedience to the new rulers, the southerners attempted to keep up the Ming dynasty. Several emperors under this name held power for a short time. The national feeling toward the Ming, or any other dynasty, is accurately expressed in the motto of a patriot who refused to cut the dikes and flood the country, because it would hurt the Chinese more than the Manchus,—"First the people and next the dynasty." As the Tartar soldiers moved south, capturing city after city, they compelled the beaten folk to apply the razor to their scalps, making a harvest for the barbers. The career of victory of the Peking troops did not end until they were at the borders of Burma.

In general, the policy of the Manchus was one of conciliation. China was the fat goose that laid golden eggs, and these new politicians were not in a hurry to ruin their prize. A grand council was organized, consisting of four members, two Manchus and two Chinese. These four men, having audience of the sovereign, outranked the members of the Six Boards and of the Board of Censors. By thus giving equal representation to both races, the conquerors gradually removed most of the hatred with which they were at first regarded. The garrisons and military officers were Manchu, but most of the civil offices were held by Chinese.

This fact explains one great difference between the Japanese and their Continental neighbors. In China there has always been a great gulf fixed between the soldier and the civilian. The idea of Chinese statesmen has always been to govern through moral agencies rather than by physical force. War is considered a rude and abominable business, fit only for men of low degree. Hence the soldier is despised and the scholar is honored. The man of war was especially hated when a Manchu.

In Japan, on the contrary, the soldier and the scholar have been one. The accomplishments of the pen and the sword were united in the samurai, or servant of the emperor, who incarnated the history of Japan. Under feudalism, the merchant, long honored in China, was despised in Japan. Yet as Nippon has changed, so has the Central Empire, in her ideas, while facing the new age of economics under pressure of hostile nations, and she is adopting modern armaments. In this century China is honoring the soldier and Japan the trader.

When the great emperor Kang Hi, eight years of age, began in A.D. 1662 his reign of sixty-one years, the country entered upon a career of prosperity and splendor. Two embassies from Europe came to Peking in 1664, but when the new rulers insisted upon the kow-tow, or nine prostrations, the Russians, who had come overland through Siberia, refused and returned. The Dutch yielded for the sake of trade, but gained little thereby. Adam Schall, a Jesuit missionary, was for a time the tutor of the young emperor, but on a false charge was thrown into prison. The emperor showed favor to the Jesuits, while Father Verbiest, a Dutch priest, succeeded as tutor to the emperor and corrected errors in the calendar.

Chinese and Japanese, when jealous, are as bitter and unrelenting in punishing rivals as are Europeans. The tragedies of the Tower of London and of the graves in the Chapel of St. Peter in Chains have their counterparts in the East. The court officers were not at all thankful to the Dutchman, despite his thirty years of honorable service. They persecuted him for his truth-telling, which is no more liked in Japan or China than in Europe when it is disagreeable. They were especially sensitive, since the calendar is the sign of Chinese infallibility, and when accepted by pupil nations is a sign of vassalage. The mandarins had Verbiest condemned to be sliced into a thousand pieces, but the order was not executed, and he died with a whole skin in prison at the age of seventy-eight. Regis and others conducted a survey of the empire, then the most complete geographical work ever done out of Europe. When it was published the learned men in the West obtained clear ideas about China's greatness.

As usual, the southern Chinese, who in mind and habit differ notably from their countrymen in the north, were in rebellion, one of the rebels even threatening to come to Peking, but he was subdued. Knowing how weak they were on the water, the Manchus sent an overwhelming force to make Formosa a part of the empire. Three hundred ships with twelve thousand men were sent to conquer and occupy the island, but they won only the western half. With this success and exception, the great Kang Hi's reign was undisputed. He was a generous patron of literature. The superb standard dictionary and encyclopaedia of 5026 volumes were compiled under his direction, and published. Kang Hi also wrote out himself sixteen famous moral maxims. These, expanded and annotated by his son, formed the book called the Sacred Edict, which ever since has been read and expounded throughout the empire; indeed, it is supposed to be read in every town and village on the first and fifteenth days of the month. When properly carried out, the exercises are much like those in a church on Sunday in a Christian land.

In religious matters the Roman Catholic missionaries enjoyed imperial favor, built one hundred churches, and enrolled one hundred thousand converts, but trouble arose within. The different orders in the Catholic Church disputed concerning the term to be used for God. When they appealed to a ruler in Italy to settle the question, the Chinese Emperor could not understand such a procedure, and took alarm. The Jesuits approved of the worship of ancestors, but the Dominicans and Franciscans opposed the cult. The Pope condemned ancestor-worship, which still further angered the emperor. From Italy also came the command to use the term Heavenly Lord (Tien Chin) instead of the term for Heaven (Tien), or the Dweller in Heaven (Shang Ti). When it was realized at Peking that there was an empire within an empire, the emperor was furious, and issued an edict which greatly restricted the work of the missionaries. Had the ancient cult of ancestor-homage been winked at, vast success might have been won, and in time this method of honoring the family, founded on forty centuries of harmony, might have been as easily reconciled to Christianity as are some of those notions, still prevalent in Christian churches, of which Jesus knew nothing.

Despite outward conformity, the Chinese in many ways clung to their old customs, as against the novelties introduced by their conquerors. Chinese women still held to their foot-binding, while the Manchu females, with natural feet, were free to walk. "The men submitted, the women never; the living yielded, the dead not at all," became a proverb. "Pigtail and 'lily' feet" expressed the situation. The style of dress ordered by their rulers in Peking was worn, but the dead are always robed in the old Chinese manner. Thus the natives cherished their liberties, the women being, as ever, the social conservatives.

East and West in Conflict

When the commercial mission sent by Peter the Great reached Peking, in 1723, the mighty emperor Kang Hi lay on his deathbed. The Czar had planned to open commerce and thus turn the stream of China's wealth, in the time of its greatest glory, into Russia. Unfortunately, the feeling in Peking had changed. It was declared that all trade must be at the frontiers. Thus Peter's enterprise ended in failure. In 1805 the Russians again attempted to open trade with China, but at the Great Wall envoys from the emperor met them, announcing that unless Count Goloyken would perform the kow-tow he would not be received, whereupon the count turned back.

A dark day for the Catholic missionaries began when Kang Hi died, for a "new king arose which knew not Joseph." Fearing the political influence of these foreigners, who were abolishing the most cherished native customs, the next emperor, in 1723, drove the missionaries to Macao, and forbade them on pain of death to propagate their doctrines. Three hundred churches were destroyed, and a third of a million of converts were left without their pastors. A century or more afterwards the Chinese paid dearly for this act of spoliation.

The emperor Yung Cheng, who died in 1775, was wholly opposed to foreigners and to throwing down of old barriers which had kept them out. He feared their presence as much as California labor unions dread the influx of Asiatics into America. Yet Western nations seemed determined on intercourse with the sealed empire. In 1727 the Russians, succeeding in obtaining a permanent foothold in Peking, opened diplomatic relations, and set some of their young men to study the Chinese language. Envoys from Portugal came in the same year, putting their credentials directly into the hands of the emperor. It is from the Portuguese that we get such words as mandarin, joss (Deus or God), junk, etc., which average Europeans think are Chinese and uneducated Chinese imagine are European.

Chinese family


Outbreaks in the southwestern provinces took place, and another disturbance in Mongolia later. When the rebels were put down, Eastern Turkestan was annexed to the empire. During these troubles the Turgut tribe of Buddhist, Kalmuck Tartars fled westward into Russia and settled near the Volga River. Not liking the military conscription, which forced their young men to serve in the Russian army, they determined, after fifty years, to return to their original home. On January 5, 1761, six hundred thousand men, women, and children started on the long eastern journey. As with the Israelites from Egypt, there was pursuit. Cossacks slaughtered thousands of the fugitives. Marching over deserts and steppes, harassed by famine, thirst, hunger, and disease, besides their human enemies, they were reduced to less than half the number when they entered Chinese territory. The great cloud of dust portended their coming to the Kalmuck Khan, who was then out hunting. In sight of Lake Tengis, the fugitives rushed forward to assuage their torturing thirst, only to be attacked by the Bashkis, with nomads of Turkestan, who had been hanging on their skirts. Hundreds were drowned. The lake was reddened by the blood of the slain. Finally rescued by a Chinese army, they settled down in peace and safety. De Quincey, in his wonderful style, has told this amazing story.

In China the aboriginal tribes, called Miao-tse, who resisted Chinese culture very much as the North American Indians refused to accept our civilization, were from time to time compelled to move away from their old hunting-grounds and ancestral seats to the Far West, there to find new homes. One of these tribes that had settled on the mountainous borders of Sze-chien province entrenched themselves in their fastnesses and bade defiance to the local magistrates. They resisted all attempts at taxation or the enforcement of Chinese law. They killed the two envoys sent by the emperor Kien Lung and burnt his letter in defiance. To march into the region of the savages and reduce their stockades, meant for an army a campaign of heavy fighting and arduous toil in the forests without roads, besides constant danger from ambuscade. The imperial soldiers captured every stronghold by assault except the last great fortress, which was surrounded, and the braves, starved into submission, were banished and put to hard labor in Ili. Nevertheless, there are still a few aboriginal tribes left unconquered in the inaccessible regions of the empire. China has had for at least twenty-five centuries an "Indian" problem.

Burma was invaded in 1768, because the Burmese border ruffians had become troublesome. A treaty of peace was made between the two countries, the Burmans agreeing to pay to the court at Peking a tribute every three years. In 1790 the Gurkas of India, invited by a rival Grand Lama, who had quarreled with his brother over distribution of treasure, invaded Tibet, and the Dalai Lama asked assistance from Peking. A Chinese army, marching up into the great plateau and as far as the capital in Nepaul, subdued the Gurkas and put them under tribute.

So restless a commercial people as the English were not likely to allow their rivals to have all the trade with China, but under Queen Elizabeth their first attempts were not successful. Some English merchants in the time of Charles I, on coming to Macao, were hindered by the Portuguese. They sailed into the Canton River. When they were passing the famous batteries of the Bogue, or bend of the stream, the Chinese gunners opened fire. This time the Tartars themselves caught a new kind of Tartar. The plucky Englishmen first silenced the guns, and then landed a force, captured the forts, and hoisted their red flag. The Peking government granted the right to trade, but the local officers at Canton tried in every way to hinder business, because they foolishly imagined that any outflow of silver impoverished the country. Most Europeans at that time had the same economic notions.

In 1793 King George sent Lord Macartney with many presents to the emperor at Peking, but the mandarins could not yet conceive of the Middle Kingdom's awarding social or political equality to outer barbarians. Unknown to the British minister, and without intending it as a joke or deception, the Chinese presented a flag of welcome to Macartney, under which he sailed to Tien Tsin. It was inscribed, and so the people along the river read the legend, taking it as a matter of course, "Tribute-bearer from England." In Peking Macartney refused to kow-tow, or make the nine prostrations, unless a magistrate of equal rank would kneel, and bow nine times before a portrait of George III. Both sides declined to yield. Finally, not in the palace, but in a garden, informally, the British minister obtained audience of the emperor, but in reality he was received and treated as tribute-bearer from a vassal state. Trade was opened at Canton, but the British foreigners agreed to obey the local magistrates. In a word, there was no "extra-territoriality" as yet. The foreigners' place of business was called a "factory."

Such was the beginning of that commerce which brought tea to England in large quantities, so that a decoction of this herb became not only a national English, but a universal British beverage. Its name, pronounced in different ways according to the local dialects, at Amoy is tea. It was from this port that the ships of the East India Company received their cargoes and sailed for Annapolis, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, where the Americans refused to receive it and destroyed or sent it back, or let it mould until worthless. "In this little Chinese leaf was folded the germ which enlarged into American independence."

By this time, so many new countries having been annexed, and peace and prosperity having been so long the rule, there were three, possibly four hundred million souls in the Central Empire. Nevertheless secret societies, opposed to the dynasty, were still active. Comets or "tailed stars" have caused as much fear and popular commotion in China as in Europe. When Halley's comet of 1771 and 1910 appeared, the superstitious multitude saw in it a portent of disaster. The leaders of the White Lily Society, taking advantage of the popular excitement, began another rebellion. In Peking their emissaries twice attempted to assassinate the emperor. The rebellion was stamped out, only after enormous expense in blood and treasure.

British trade with China was conducted by the East India Company, which had a charter of monopoly. During the wars with Napoleon, Macao was captured and twice occupied to prevent its falling into French hands. This proceeding greatly angered the Peking government. Lord Amherst was sent out in 1816 to conciliate the Chinese and arrange matters, but again misunderstandings arose and only disaster and more mutual irritation were the results. The two emperors who succeeded the great Kien Lung, ruling from 1793 to 1821, and from 1821 to 1851, were noted for their dislike of foreigners. In our colonial days, American seafarers, including not a few picturesque pirates, had visited China, the respectable sailors being on ships of the West India Company. In 1784 the Stars and Stripes were hoisted by Americans at Canton, and commerce with the United States was begun. Nearly all the first large fortunes made by Americans were in direct trade with China, or in traffic between Oregon, Hawaii, and the Chinese ports. Many town, city, and country names in the United States are borrowed from China.

As the knowledge of Asian countries proceeded eastward from India and came to us through Great Britain, it has happened that words of Hindoo origin are still used by Americans. For many things that are Chinese and Japanese they are, however, often bad misfits. It puzzles an American in eastern Asia to find words, coined thousands of miles westward, thus used. Japan and China, for example, are not in our Far East, but in the quite Near West. We also imitate the British in a most unfortunate use of the word "coolie," which in India means a member of a low caste and has in it the idea of religious ban or hatred. There are no coolies in Japan and hardly any in China. No educated person ought to apply this word to a Japanese or free Chinese laborer. Even the fire-crackers, so long used on the Fourth of July, were at first called India crackers. More justifiable instances are the use of the word tiffin, meaning lunch; chit, meaning a letter, etc. Other words, not a few, taken out of the mouths of the native servants and helpers, are absurdly applied.

On the other hand, in recent times, educated Hindoos, Chinese, and Japanese have made effectual protest against the misuse of certain words having sacred associations to them, but ignorantly employed by us. Some of the uses to which Oriental household articles in our country are put make Asiatic travelers laugh, grieve, or blush. They are also angered beyond forgiveness, or they pity the Christians who can behave so brutally, or loot so villainously, when away from home. Some of these solecisms, now almost hopelessly fixed in popular speech and writings, are as ridiculous as those seen in "English as She is Spoke" by some Orientals. They remind one of the Hindoo who put a descriptive label in English on an idol supposed to be the chief demon in the infernal regions. Without offense, and seriously, he Englished it thus: "The King of the Netherlands." The odd mistakes and amusing situations into which "griffins," as newcomers in the Far East are called, have fallen would fill a huge jest-book.

Tai Pings and Trade War

In 1834 the East India Company's charter expired. The British government, assuming control, sent out Lord Napier as King George's representative, supposing that he would be welcomed, and that China would feel it an honor. The Peking mandarins refused him audience, insisting that they would not open diplomatic relations with any outside nation. Such a proceeding would also spoil the lucrative trade of the Cohong, or company of native merchants and mandarins who had charge of the systematic "squeezing," without which no business in China, from viceroy to laborer, is done. The Chinese, conceited as they then were, could not conceive of treating with any other nation on equal terms, or with their representative. At one time, the Japanese were as inhospitable. Lord Napier, after many rebuffs, insulted, and kept a virtual prisoner in the factory at Canton, lost health, retired to Macao, and died there in 1834.

It seemed necessary to force open the gates of the hermit nation with gunpowder. Matters having become acute, two British frigates had anchored in the Canton River to protect the foreign factories. In 1836 Captain Charles Elliot was sent out, and ordered to ignore the Cohong and deal directly with the authorities. He also was unsuccessful, and retired to Macao. The Chinese now took high-handed measures against the import of opium, which had proved itself to be a curse to their people and country. When the Peking government demanded that the sale of the "filthy drug" should be restricted, smuggling became the order of the day. The Chinese then determined to stop the importation of the stupefying juice of the poppy, even at the cost of war, and the court appointed as imperial commissioner the stalwart Lin. This conservative and determined man at once surrounded the foreign factory on the land side, and prepared to blockade the island and thus shut off the aliens. He ordered all opium from the ships to be put on shore, and Captain Elliot yielded.

When a Chinese was killed by some foreign sailors, the demand of Lin for the particular murderer was for good reason refused. Lin gave ten days to have the culprit ferreted out and handed over to be dealt with according to Chinese law. This, as to methods of trial, prisons, and punishment, was at that time as barbarous as had been that of medieval Europe. War now broke out, and some Chinese junks were sunk by British cannon. On one of them, then or later, a Chinese mandarin was found dead, sitting in his bloodstained silk robes. He had been reading a Chinese version of the Four Gospels, to discover what there was in the teachings of Jesus that made Christians seem so murderous.

Although this is called the Opium War, it was really a collision between the ideas of hermits and those of international law, between the standard of a local civilization and the growing conscience of the world. To these, China and all nations must in time yield fully. The forcing of opium upon China by the British cannot be justified, but the opium was the occasion and not the cause of the hostilities, which lasted from 1840 to 1843.

Basket shop


River battles were fought at Canton and Amoy, and some Chinese ports were blockaded. The British ships appeared in the north at the mouth of the Pei-ho River, threatening Peking. The forts on the Canton River were again attacked. Terms of peace were proposed and refused. The Bogue forts were taken. There were intervals of peace and fighting, and an attack on the city of Canton. Again negotiations were attempted, but after their failure, war was carried to the north. Ning-po, Shanghai, and several forts were captured. The Chinese with obsolete weapons were beaten.

The lack of unity in the China of the Manchus and the low state of patriotism were shown at one place when Chinese mandarins entertained the British soldiers while the Manchu garrisons were fighting them. On August 9, 1842, the British army reached Nanking. Here the fleets carrying tribute rice to the capital could be intercepted. The imperial government therefore sent high commissioners, Manchus, and the first treaty between China and Great Britain was concluded August 29, 1842, a pivotal date in the empire's history. Its chief points were the opening of five ports—Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai—to foreign trade, the payment of an indemnity of twenty-one million dollars, and the cession of the Island of Hong Kong, now a part of the British Empire and one of the greatest centres of commerce in the world. Other nations shared in the triumph, the Americans among the first, President Polk having sent out the Hon. Caleb Cushing, who made a treaty with China. At the treaty ports settlements were made and missionaries began their Christian labors. Shanghai became one of the model cities of the Far East.

Imposed by force, these agreements were unpopular, and the first business of the Chinese mandarins was to nullify them as far as possible. Riots broke out among the people and several Englishmen were murdered.

In every old country, the entrance of new ideas, whether commercial, religious, political, or social, causes ferment. The first results are not encouraging, because these new ideas lead either to unbalanced enthusiasm or to indignation and hatred. In a protectorate or on conquered territory, they fill the native students with the notion of immediate but impossible independence. In China, the Tai Ping rebellion broke out.

A disappointed scholar named Hung, who had failed in the examinations, came into contact with Christian truths. Born near Canton in 1813, the son of an emigrant farmer who had come from the north, he devoted himself to study. China is the land of the free, where there is no permanent nobility except the descendants of Confucius, and where any boy in the land may become prime minister, promotion being by merit and not by rank or birth. The boy Hung devoted himself to study, and thrice attended the civil service examinations at Canton, to get the degree of Bachelor of Arts and later government employment. His disappointment so preyed upon his mind that he became ill and was apparently at the gates of death. He had a dream in which first a dragon, then a tiger, and finally a cock entered his room. He saw also happy men and women in shining robes, who led him into the palace of Heaven. Taken to a river, be was washed and made clean. His heart was taken out, and he was given a new one of a red color, his wound closing without a scar. A venerable being put a sword in his hand and commanded him to abolish the worship of evil spirits.

On recovering health Hung pondered the meaning of this dream, but could not at first interpret it. He took out the Christian tracts which he had received, and studied them. They seemed to furnish a key to the meaning of his dream. He put himself under the instruction of a missionary, and even asked for baptism, but it is not known that he was ever admitted into the church as a member. In a word, he was never, in any real sense, a Christian.

Thoroughly convinced of his divine call, Hung converted first his own household and then his neighbors, forming, in 1850, the Shang-ti Hwei, or Society [for the Worship of] Almighty God. Their first acts were to smash idols and to level temples to the ground. Starting out as a purely religious movement, this became, almost of necessity, political. When the Peking government, fearing that the movement might become revolutionary, sent two mandarins to suppress it with force, the followers of Hung declared open rebellion. Being southern Chinamen, they almost as a matter of course raised the cry, "Exterminate the Manchus!" When the rebels seized town after town, tens of thousands, incited by the hope of plunder, followed the banners inscribed with characters meaning Heavenly Father, Heavenly Elder Brother, Heavenly King of the Great Peace (Tai Ping), Dynasty of the Heavenly Kingdom (China), etc. When they gave up shaving the front part of their heads, cut off their queues, and let their hair grow, they were called the "Long-Haired Rebels."

It being difficult to feed so large an army, Hung marched north, capturing cities as he went. At Chang-sha he received his first severe check and lost eighty days in vainly trying to take this city. The rebels moved into the Yang-tse valley, taking four large cities by storm. In March, 1853, they captured Nanking, which, after a horrible massacre of its people, was made the capital of the new dynasty.

Hung, claiming to be the brother of Christ, having taken the personal title of Heavenly King and the name of Heavenly Virtue for his reign, sent forth a Book of Celestial Decrees, which he declared contained the revelations given to him by God the Heavenly Father and by Christ his Celestial Brother. Proclaimed as emperor of China, and surrounded by his army of eighty thousand men, which was ever increasing, he appointed four assistant "kings," of the North, South, East, and West, to help in ruling the empire. He depended upon his brave and able general Chung for success in the field of war.

Now came the reaction so often seen in the career of such men, who have risen high and fallen low. Leaving the actual direction of affairs in the hands of his subordinates, Hung, who probably never knew by any real experience of life what it is to be a Christian, gave himself up to unbridled license and apparently lost all energy. Some foreigners, including missionaries (with whom the writer has talked concerning their adventures), who cherished hopes that the movement promised a new and better life for China, visited Hung at his court. Their eyes were opened when they saw the disorder and fanaticism of the rebels. All ideas of the regeneration of China through the Tai Pings were dispelled.

In March, 1853, a rebel army tried to seize the city of Kai Feng and failed. Repulsed also from Tien Tsin, they retreated to Nanking. Li Hung Chang, afterwards known to the world, now appeared on the stage. Raising a regiment of militia, he harassed the rear-guard of the rebels, and for this success was introduced to imperial favor. The government troops regained their courage, retook several cities, and put a new face upon affairs. The Tai Pings were now confined to the Yang-tse valley.

Meanwhile the sixth Manchu Emperor, ruling from Peking, Tai Kwang, who had held the sceptre since 1821, died after a reign of thirty years and was succeeded by Hien Feng, who was to enjoy or suffer during eleven troublous years the duties of his high station.

The Arrow and Flowery Flag

The attention both of the Peking government and of foreigners was now turned from the Long-Haired Rebels, for the Peking mandarins were being forced to keep treaty stipulations. As on another continent, the dogma had been taught in Asia,—"no faith to be kept with the heretics." Now the Chinese were to suffer for breaking solemn promises. At this time there appeared on the scene a new person, Harry Parkes, who not only was destined to play the great part of a strong and brave man, in forcing the Manchu government to tell the truth, keep faith, be honest, and learn to hate treachery as an abominable thing, but who also assisted by his indomitable firmness and penetration of shams to temper the Japanese to new ideals. Parkes taught two nations that the best way to "save face" was to practice "truth in the inward parts."

While matters were in a state of tension and the question whether the Chinese would keep their contracts was unsettled, "the Arrow affair" precipitated war. At Hong Kong, the British governor had, with certain provisos, allowed Chinese vessels to sail under the British flag. With a European hull and Chinese rigging, such a vessel, the Arrow, for example, was called a lorcha. While she was lying at Whampoa, in the autumn of 1856, a Chinese mandarin came on board, hauled down the British flag, and carried off twelve of the crew as prisoners to a Chinese man-of-war.

At once Parkes wrote to Commissioner Yeh demanding apology for the insult to the British flag and the return of the twelve men to the ship. Yeh began the tactics of evasion, denial, and controversy. He finally proposed to send back nine men, but ignored the demand for an apology. Parkes refused. Yeh delayed, and war preparations on the part of the British began.

An outsider, neither British nor Chinese, in order to get at the truth, need not trouble himself overmuch as to what were the exact provocations on either side. It is more important to study principles behind the events. The Arrow affair was not the cause, but only the occasion, of the war. On the one hand were Chinese, who looked with contempt upon all foreigners as of an inferior race, because they had not the Confucian culture. Such persons, therefore, were not to be treated with respect or on equal terms. To the Chinese, Western civilization, based as they believed it to be chiefly on shop-keeping and markets, on trade and machine-shops, and on war and lawless rapacity, even to the forcing of a poisonous drug upon China, was little better than that of barbarism, and in their dense ignorance they refused to be enlightened. Furthermore, in all their own dealings with aliens or natives, it was not reality which they sought. Their first and last idea was to "save face." The average mandarin would often rather lose his head than to "lose face." "They cannot progress in civilization until they become truthful," is the verdict of their great friend, Dr. S. Wells Williams, concerning the Chinese.

To some students, however, it was even then evident that China's doctrine of universal sovereignty must be blown to atoms before there was much hope of progress, or of freedom for such nations as Japan and Korea, to say nothing of the prospects of peaceful intercourse on equal terms with the nations of Europe and America. Harry Parkes was only too ready to deal the hoary doctrine a staggering blow.

Apart from his firmness and other traits of character, Parkes knew, more than most men of that time, how the Chinese thought and felt. He had come to China when but a boy of thirteen, and had been set to work by Mr. Gutzlaff, his uncle, to study the written language. This German gentleman would not let his nephew have his breakfast until he had learned a certain number of characters. In playing with Chinese boys, Parkes learned the spoken language perfectly and became master of Chinese etiquette. He was a loyal Englishman, on whose heart it was written, "Make England great." A high Japanese officer once said of Parkes, "He was the only one among the foreign ministers that I could not twist round my little finger." Firmness was his chief characteristic, and the want of it had already been aptly illustrated in the weaker personality of certain British envoys in China. The Chinese roused a lion when they played falsely with Parkes. He knew every one of their tricks, could foil them at every enterprise, rip open their hypocrisy, and beat them in every move at their own game. None more frankly or generously than he could welcome and meet every honest proposal or appreciate a just action.

It was common for brutal Europeans in walking through the crowded streets to beat people with their canes over the head, and at home to whip their Chinese servants. Drunken sailors violated all the rules of decency, while the licentiousness of many of the foreign residents was startling.

The Chinese had other reasons for hating foreigners. The Portuguese at Macao conducted a traffic which was only slightly less abominable than the African slave-trade. They kidnapped Chinese and sent them off, on the forced contract system, to work in California, Cuba, and Peru. Then also, although dealing in opium had been declared illegal, the drug was smuggled into China, and often by men in ships of the Arrow class, which had a certain protection under a foreign flag. All these things fed the fires of hate among the Chinese, to whom all aliens seemed frightful, ugly, brutish, ill-smelling, or undesirable people.

In the war which soon opened, the Bogue forts were once again captured. Canton was bombarded, and the Yamen, or official house of Commissioner Yeh, was destroyed by shells. The British had not force enough to hold the city, and its evacuation by them made the Chinese believe that their enemy had been beaten. Becoming more defiant, a price was set on British heads, the factories outside Canton were burned, and several Europeans put to death. The Chinese chief baker of the Hong Kong colony, at official instigation, put arsenic in the morning supply of bread to poison all the foreigners, but he failed because he had sprinkled too much in his flour.

There has never been a war between the United States and China, but during the Parkes-Yeh controversy American steamers were twice fired upon when passing the barrier forts near Canton, and an American sailor was killed. In those days the average Chinese knew little about foreign flags. Still it seemed necessary to teach ignorant mandarins that all foreigners were not opium-smugglers, and that peaceful neutrals had rights. Commodore Armstrong, in command of the United States men-of-war San Jacinto, Portsmouth, and Levant, ordered Captain (afterwards Rear Admiral) Foote to capture and destroy the forts. These were built of granite and mounted large cannon.

On the 16th of November, the heavy steam frigate San Jacinto moved up the river, but could not get near enough to use her guns, so the little American steamer Willamette towed the sailing sloop-of-war Portsmouth, which, under the Chinese fire of grape and round shot, got into position. At first the broadside guns of the Portsmouth sent a rain of eight-inch shells inside the fort, but soon the current caught the ship and swung her round stern-wise to the fort. The danger of a raking fire was great. Foote ran out a gun from the stern port and fought until dark.

Several days were consumed in diplomacy. Then on the 21st the U. S. S. Levant, a sailing ship, towed by the egg-shell launch Kum Fa, after an hour's cannonade silenced one fort. A storming party of four hundred American marines and sailors, in boats towed by the Kum Fa, moved up the river under a hot fire. One cannon shot struck the launch of the San Jacinto and killed three men. Disembarking, our men started over the muddy rice-fields in the face of grape, ball, jingal-shot, rockets, and big feathered bamboo arrows, six feet long and shot out of guns. Happily for the Americans the Chinese, though they stood to their guns nobly in the fight, fired too high. When our men entered the fort the garrison broke and ran.

About three hundred Chinese were struck by shot, shell, or bullets. Our loss was seven killed and twenty-two wounded. In the fort were found 176 guns, one a brass monster of eight-inch bore, twenty-two feet long and three feet in diameter at the breech.

Nevertheless this was not considered war, nor did any reason exist for the disturbance of good relations between the United States and China. Commissioner Yeh neither apologized nor showed any feeling over the episode. American honor was vindicated, and Yeh's own words closed the incident when he said:—

"There is no matter of strife between our respective nations. Henceforth, let the fashion of the flags which American ships employ be clearly defined, and inform me what it is beforehand. This will be the verification of the friendly relations which exist between the two countries."

In this spirit China has ever acted, and the Central Empire and the Country of the Flowery Flag have ever been at peace. In 1900 the American Admiral, Louis Kempff, refused to join with the allied nations in making war on China. When the soldiers of the United States and of China first met in hostile array, the war had been provoked by Europeans.

The British government ordered a fleet of transports with five thousand troops to China, but the Sepoy mutiny breaking out in India, Lord Elgin, the High Commissioner, diverted these reinforcements to India, where they did great service, and a new expedition was sent from England. Meanwhile the entire fleet of Chinese war-junks had been destroyed. The French—these being the days of Napoleon III—joined the British in hostilities, making a force of 20,000 men. Canton was again assaulted and taken, and Commissioner Yeh captured. He was sent as an exile to Calcutta, where after two years be ended his days.

Yeh was the man who, when asked why be never read anything about foreign men or countries, made answer that he had already digested the contents of all the books in the world worth reading. In a word, nothing except the Chinese classics were worth the attention of a man of education. Canton was ruled three years by a British commission, without the usual "squeezes" of the mandarins.

Lord Elgin, foiled in his polite attempts to open negotiations with the Peking government, sailed with the combined British and French fleets to the mouth of the Pei-ho River, capturing the Taku forts, and then moving on to Tien Tsin. There the two peace commissioners on behalf of the emperor met him. A treaty in fifty-six articles was signed, June 26, 1858, by which the Chinese agreed to receive a resident British minister at the court of Peking, to open five new ports to commerce, to allow British trading in the Yang-tse River, to permit foreigners to travel in the interior, and to tolerate the Christian religion, besides paying four million taels for the expenses of the war. When the tariff was revised, to the shame of Great Britain, since often confessed, the opium traffic was legalized. This proved in the end to be a more terrible curse to China even than war, for henceforth instead of cultivating the earth for food, the Chinese, especially in Yunnan, began to raise the poppy. Native opium now debauched and impoverished the people and helped to produce famines.

Shop in Canton


It was now to be seen whether the Chinese would hold faithfully to the treaty. Next year Sir Frederick Bruce, with the French, Russian, and American ministers, arrived at Shanghai, but the imperial mandarins sent word to them not to come to Peking. They determined to go. The Chinese proposed to the ministers to land further up the coast, at Pehtang, and to be escorted overland to Peking. In other words, they were invited to follow the time-honored road by which the tribute-bearers, coming from petty and subject countries, traveled. The envoys refused, demanding rights which any civilized nation would have yielded.

The war dogs were let loose again. On the night of June 23 the British, moving to attack the Taku forts, found the stream was blocked by barriers of great stakes held together with heavy iron chains. One of the booms was blown up during the night, and the next morning Admiral Hope, with his thirteen vessels, tried to force the passage. This time, however, the walls were stronger and mounted with heavier cannon. The Chinese gunners had the exact range, which was very short, and quickly sank two British gunboats. When the British landed a force to capture the forts from the rear, the men got stuck in the mud, while the Chinese artillery played upon them with grape and canister. After terrible loss, they had to give up and retreat.

An American commodore, Josiah Tatnall, was at this time in Chinese waters. He was the same officer who, during the Mexican War, with the two little gunboats Spitfire and Vixen, towing a line of "mosquito boats," steamed to within eighty yards of a mighty stone fortress at Vera Cruz. His object was to divert the fire of the castle from our naval battery, built by Captain Robert E. Lee and mounted with the ships' guns from Commodore Perry's squadron. Tatnall held his place for half an hour in a furious cannonade against walls that were many feet thick and armed with ordnance, one shell from which, if it had hit anything, could have blown both gun and mosquito boats out of the water. Covered with clouds of spray, Tatnall was called away by Commodore Perry, when he saw the castle gunners improving their range. Although Tatnall obeyed, he stormed with chagrin, not liking to retreat without bloody decks. To his men, all wet with the spray, he said, "War shortens life, but it broadens it."

Now, in China, Tatnall was about to convey our minister, Mr. Ward, in the chartered steamer Toeywan into the river. Of necessity he remained on his ship outside the bar, a spectator and neutral. But when he saw the sinking British ships, the silenced guns, the flag-vessel Plover drifting a helpless wreck, with nearly all her men killed or disabled, and the admiral wounded, only the one bow gun gallantly served by a weary squad, be-sides eighty-nine killed and three hundred and forty-five men of the fleet wounded, the American commodore could stand it no longer.

It was not in him to see men of the same blood and language as his own thus badly cut up by the Chinese. He ordered his cutter, and in the thick of the fight passed through the fleet and the hell of fire to visit and cheer the British admiral and to offer him the services of the American surgeon. A round shot from the Chinese fort struck and shattered the stern of his boat, killing the cox-swain. This only roused the fighting blood of the American sailors and their chief to the hottest. When he reached the stern of the Plover, the surprised British officer asked him, as he stepped aboard, why he had come.

Tatnall's reply has become classic. Sir Walter Scott, in one of his poems, quoted the old Scotch proverb, "Blood is warmer than water." Tatnall gave the answer, "Blood is thicker than water," and asked if he could aid the wounded. Meanwhile the American sailors rowed round to the bow of the Plover and clambered on board. Giving their British sailor mates a rest, they loaded and fired the bow gun for a round or two, until Tatnall, finding out what they were doing, ordered them off. He roared with his voice, but he shot approval out of his eyes, and his men understood.

Tatnall's excuse for a technical violation of international law, for which the Chinese as yet cared nothing, was expressed in a phrase and a sentiment destined to strengthen and deepen as the years flow on. With equal humanity, Tatnall offered the services of his surgeons to aid the wounded Chinese. His offer was declined. At that time, neither the Chinese government nor possibly the black-haired race was particularly interested in saving lives endangered in war. Indeed, the Chinese government then had no consuls or ministers abroad, and paid no attention to its people who left China to go into other countries. Every emigrant was reckoned as a foreigner or a dead man. Until the present century, a hospital corps in war was not thought of. Every man took his chances.

Mr. Ward, the American minister, went to Pehtang, the place appointed by the Chinese, and was escorted by soldiers to Peking, but he refused to make the kow-tow. Without seeing the emperor, he exchanged ratifications outside the capital at Pehtang.

To wipe out the disgrace of the repulse at the Taku forts, an army of thirteen thousand British, chiefly Indian troops, and seven thousand French, gathered to punish the Peking mandarins. The plan was to take Pehtang first and then attack the Taku forts from the rear,—a plan which upset Chinese calculations. In battle on land, the Sikh lancers from India, in a terrible charge, beat the Tartar cavalry. At the second attack on the Taku forts, the native gunners bravely stood to their work inside, while laborers, hired in Canton, helped the allies to place scaling ladders on the walls of the fort! The Chinese had race pride, but patriotism was not yet. After one fort had been taken, the other four forts soon hoisted the white flag. The way was open and the fleet advanced up the river.

Then began the march on Peking, during which both Mr. Parkes and Mr. Loch discovered an ambuscade of eighty thousand Chinese troops around the camp-ground proposed for the allies. Parkes and thirty-four men were taken prisoners and confined with the lowest criminals in Peking. Again a battle was fought. The Tartar horsemen behaved splendidly, but were compelled to retreat before the Sikh lancers. One more battle was fought, in which the Chinese were beaten, the French being conspicuously brave.

The Manchu Emperor fled, and his brother, Prince Kung, was left to arrange terms. He too disappeared. Then to show that punishment was to be meted out, not upon the Chinese people but upon the rulers, the imperial palace was given up to sack and loot. The British and French troops, after loading themselves with all that they could carry, ran riot in smashing and damaging everything that was portable. This brought Prince Kung to terms. He released all that were living of the thirty-four prisoners, eleven in number, who had survived the tortures suffered in prison. In vengeance for the men thus barbarously murdered, Lord Elgin ordered the Summer Palace to be burned to the ground. The stripes fell on the right back.

Peace Under Heaven

Prince kung persuaded the court to open peace negotiations. The treaty of Tien Tsin was ratified and a new one signed in the Hall of Ceremonies, October 22, 1860. It provided for an indemnity of eighty thousand taels, permission for Chinese subjects to emigrate, the opening of Tien Tsin as a treaty port, and the enlarging of Hong Kong by the annexation of Kowlun.

All this, humiliating as it was, was little, as compared with one provision in the French treaty. This stipulated that the Chinese government should pay an indemnity for all churches, buildings, and land which a century or two before had belonged to the native Christians, and that the money should be paid to the French envoy at Peking. This occasioned the greatest difficulty and confusion, and was the seed of much trouble in the future, because most of the property had long before passed into the ownership of those who had honestly bought it. In the Chinese draft of the French treaty was another clause permitting the missionaries to buy land, erect buildings, and reside in the interior.

Winter coming on, the allies left for Shanghai. Prince Kung could not persuade his imperial master to return to Peking, and shortly after this the emperor died, leaving Tung Chi, a child four years of age, the heir apparent. Now the danger was that the court, having returned to Peking, should be controlled in the interests of the anti-foreign party. Prince Kung therefore made an arrangement with the two empresses, the mother and the dowager, and seizing control of power, arrested and put to death the leaders of the anti-foreign party. Then he and the empress dowager ruled the empire. This was the time-honored method of procedure in an Asiatic country, when there is no national legislature. It was much the same in meaning as moving a vote of censure, but the method was different from that of the British Parliament or the American Congress. Unanimity of opinion was secured by removing the heads of those who differed. Very much the same thing was done in Japan, about the same time, by the premier Ii, and later by clan leaders. In Korea the reformers of 1875 followed a similar programme.

The Chinese now began to recognize the fact that Western nations must be treated decently. A department of foreign affairs, called the Tsung-li Yamen, was created. Of its three members, Prince Kung was the head. It was now possible for foreign envoys to meet Chinese officers regularly for the transaction of business.

The war with the Europeans had drawn away the imperial troops to the north. The Long-Haired Rebels had become more active and had captured several other cities. When the government forces surrounded Nanking, the Tai Ping general, Chung, defeated them in a great battle with a loss of five thousand men. City after city was captured, until the Long Hairs occupied the whole peninsula between the Yang-tse River and Hang Chow Bay.

The viceroys of the two great provinces had asked foreign assistance against the Tai Pings, but thus far in vain. In Shanghai, a native patriotic association, taking the advice of Li Hung Chang, then a province governor, engaged two Americans, Ward and Burgevine, to organize a force of foreigners to fight the rebels. Burgevine soon quarreled with the mandarins. Ward organized a force of two hundred men and captured one city, but in his attack on a second was wounded. When the Tai Pings attacked Shanghai, they were easily driven away by foreign troops firing from the walls.

Ward recovered from his wound, but as the Shang-hai authorities wished neutrality to be preserved, he was not allowed to employ any but native troops. He therefore selected foreign officers and organized the nucleus of what afterwards' was called the Ever Victorious Army, which Gordon, the Englishman, enlarged and led. Under Ward these Chinese became seasoned veterans and won many victories over the rebels. The British commanders, finding that the policy of neutrality had been a mistake, agreed to clear the country of rebels within a radius of thirty miles around Shang-hai. This was done by the end of 1862; but meanwhile in September Ward had been killed in battle near Ningpo. After various changes and troubles, Gordon took the army organized by Ward and divided it into five regiments of infantry and one of artillery, increasing it to about three thousand men.

Between civil strife and foreign troubles, the emperor Hien Fang died and the little boy Tung Chi, who did not end his minority until 1873, was proclaimed ruler of China, the regents at Peking carrying on the government.

War was carried on by stratagem as well as by strategy. Before Tai Tsang, besieged by the government army, some rebels in the city shaved off the front of their heads, and, making queues, pretended to be imperialists by choice. They offered to lead the attacking force inside of the gates, but as soon as these were opened, the rebels within slaughtered the entire imperial force thus enticed inside. Gordon, however, succeeded later in capturing Tai Tsang. When a mutiny broke out because the soldiers loaded with plunder refused to march, Gordon's firmness saved the day. In a second case of insubordination, he had the ring-leaders pulled out and shot. After that, discipline was maintained.

It was not only in severity of rule, but in the simple matter of telling the truth, that the ideas of Gordon, a typical Englishman and man of honor, came into contact with medieval and savage notions, which were less Chinese than they were of the ancient world. Yet while this is so, the incident illustrates the need of interpreters and of men understanding one another. Su Chow was difficult to capture, but inside the city there was division of council. The rebel chiefs agreed to surrender, on receiving what they understood to be a promise that their lives would be spared. But Gordon could not talk Chinese, or the rebels English. Gordon supposed that Li Hung Chang assented. As soon as the city had surrendered, the rebel leaders were invited to meet Li Hung Chang, but they came in swaggering, and not at all humble. They were seized and had their heads cut off. This act so enraged Gordon, who considered it rank treachery, that he pursued Li Hung Chang with a revolver.

Orientals, though not valuing truth when it is disagreeable to speak it, do not so often seem to lie when we understand their language. Many have been the mistakes of interpreters, often ludicrous, sometimes disastrous, yet they have done a large and honorable part in the good work of brotherhood. Gordon after a while resumed command, believing that unless the advantages gained were followed up, the war would be indefinitely prolonged. When the last stronghold of the rebels, Nanking, was invested, the women and children were sent out, because there was no food. The Tai Ping leader took poison and died by suicide June 30, 1864. The imperialists, having blown up part of the wall, entered through the breach on the 19th of July. The dead leader's son was immediately executed, but his brave general Chung was permitted to finish the writing of his memoirs. He was then led out and beheaded.

The Tai Ping rebellion was over, during which it is believed twenty millions of lives were sacrificed and some of the finest provinces in China devastated. To-day in many cities acres of ruins, once occupied by the rebels, remain to tell of their awful work. In gratitude for his eminent services the Chinese government built a memorial shrine in commemoration of the brave American, Frederick Townsend Ward, born at Salem, Massachusetts, in 1831.

Gordon advised Li Hung Chang to make the Ever Victorious Army the basis of a standing army, but this mandarin feared that such a force might become too powerful. While Europe has long staggered under the awful expense of vast standing armies and costly navies, and passed through an untold number of wars, armed uprisings, riots, revolutions, and conflicts of all kinds, China, until pressed on all sides by the ambitious and predatory Western nations, never kept a standing army. In most places in the empire there is no permanent police force.

During all this time a fleet of gunboats, ordered by Prince Kung and built in England, lay idle when most needed; because the Chinese refused, even as the Japanese have persisted in refusing, to give foreigners control of their military or naval forces. The Peking government decided how the fleet purchased by them was to be commanded. The British gentleman who had been appointed inspector of the Imperial Customs was dismissed, and in his place Mr. Robert Hart was appointed, who by tact, ability, and untiring energy won unbounded influence with the Chinese.

Hart was a young Irishman, the descendant of a Captain van Hardt, in King William's army of 1688, who with Irish grit and Dutch tenacity wrought his wonderful work. During his service of over forty years, he acted as mediator, staved off war, kept the peace, equipped the coast with lighthouses, revenue vessels, navy, and army, and created in the customs service a spirit of honesty and fair dealing that to the old-time mandarins seemed unearthly, if not supernatural.

With a navy of foreign-built ships, it was necessary to have a flag to distinguish the country and to be able to hold communication, in the language of naval signals, with the war-vessels of other tions. A triangular yellow flag, with the device of a dragon upon it, was adopted. The shape now used, following the general fashion of the naval world, is oblong, but the dragon remains. The flag of Korea has the eight diagrams, with the red and yellow symbols of creation. The flag of Japan bears the red rising sun on a white field.

Another uprising in large proportions broke out among the Chinese Mahometans in Yunnan. In theory, China allows no interference with the customs of the country as handed down from the times of Confucius. The state religion is as much opposed to Mahometanism as to Christianity. Nominally, but not really, other religions are tolerated, but there is no such thing in China as perfect freedom of conscience. China is theoretically, at least, a persecuting country, as much so as is Russia, or as were the old nations of Europe. In spite of all imperial proclamations, even toleration is not a settled fact. The Mahometans in China are tolerated because they are so strong and so numerous. Some of the ablest Chinese generals have followed the faith of Islam.

The Mahometans in Yunnan, fearing that the murder of all their fellow believers had been decreed in Peking, took up arms. Their leader assumed the title of sultan and sent agents to Great Britain asking for his recognition as an independent sovereign. The rebellion was put down and the garrison of the chief stronghold massacred. Another Mahometan uprising broke out in the northwest. The tribes in central Asia sympathizing, Yakoop Beg (or Governor Jacob) assumed the command. To repress disorder, the Russians sent an army into Ili, and in 1871 established a government in the Chinese city of Kuldja. The Chinese general Tso, marching leisurely with an army, sowing the seed and raising the crops with which to feed his soldiers on the way, quelled this rebellion, and later Ili was restored to the Chinese.

Japan, Korea, and Dual Sovereignty

The government in Peking was gradually yielding to reason. In 1857, under the persuasion of the American minister, Mr. Anson Burlingame, it sent its first embassy to foreign countries under his leadership, appointing two Chinese envoys to act with him. In the United States and Europe, Mr. Burlingame did much to enlighten the dense ignorance of Western people in regard to the most unknown of the great nations. Rather because of this ignorance than of the things which he ought not to have said, he was misunderstood. The Chinese people were not yet ready to open their country in such a way that foreigners would be the chief financial gainers. On July 4, 1868, he concluded the famous Burlingame treaty, which gave reciprocal privileges to Chinese and Americans. Going to Europe the embassy concluded similar treaties with China, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, and Prussia. Unfortunately Mr. Burlingame died at St. Petersburg while negotiating with Russia.

The feeling of Chinese against foreigners had not very much changed. One reason for this was quite plain. Except missionaries, few outsiders had done much for improvement or conciliation. Anti-foreign riots took place, even while the embassy was in Europe. The unfortunate expedition of the French to Korea was a colossal blunder, and acted like a blast of wind upon smouldering embers in China. The old regent of Korea had, in March, 1866, put nine French missionaries to death and persecuted the native Christians. The French minister at Peking, who had been an officer in the corps of African Zouaves, and had carried into diplomacy the language, manners, and methods of the camp, ordered an expedition of vengeance. Meanwhile, in August, some Americans and British, in the schooner General Sherman, from China, while on a disreputable expedition into Korea, and supposed to be Frenchmen, were killed at Ping Yang. In October Admiral Roze with the French squadron went up the Han River, attacked the city of Kangwa and looted it. He sent into the interior a party of one hundred and forty men, which was attacked and had to retreat. On a second expedition the French force was badly cut up and Admiral Roze came back, having failed to accomplish anything. To his chagrin, the government at Paris disapproved of the expedition.

The authorities of Washington or London were now expected to act at once and dispatch a strong force to Korea, but nothing was done. The French had the Germans on their hands, and the report spread like a gale through China that the hated French had been driven away by the Koreans. These Europeans, as the Chinese believed, were like the highwayman who puts a pistol to the traveler's head. They had extorted the value of land justly confiscated long ago, and had defied their rulers and decent government in protecting the converts of their missionaries.

The ruffians, of whom there are many millions in China, immediately now saw their opportunity. In Tien Tsin, especially, the minds of the people had been doubly inflamed by the publication of an anti-Christian book, entitled "Death Blow to Corrupt Doctrine," intended to exterminate Christianity, which denounced the religion of Jesus in the most violent language conceivable. French Roman Catholic ladies and gentlemen in Tien Tsin, despite their benevolent and noble work, were very unpopular because of this clause requiring the payment of indemnity. But what acted as sparks on gunpowder were the stories, persistently circulated, that the Sisters of Charity habitually kidnapped children to make medicine out of their hearts and eyes. When photographs were first seen in China, the people believed that part of one's soul went out of him into the picture, so that if a man sat often before the camera there would be nothing left of him, not even a shadow. Arguing also from the image on the eye-ball, which one looking into the eyes of another sees, and which is only a reflection, though itself a natural photograph, the ignorant people imagined that the chemicals used in photography, which foreigners made use of, were made from the eyes of Chinese infants. Hence, the natives argued, the great desire of the Christian missionaries to buy or get from the dung-piles or rubbish-heaps on which they had been thrown, or out of the floating jars in the river, the bodies of infants, mostly female. Those in charge of the orphanage wisely invited a committee of five Chinese gentlemen to come and satisfy themselves as to the facts.

Unfortunately, this was the time of Napoleon III. The French consul, being present, was angry at what he considered an outrageous intrusion, and drove the Chinese gentlemen into the street. Meanwhile a great mob had gathered to hear the committee's report. Excited when they saw their countrymen insulted by being put out, they attacked the consulate. On applying to the superintendent of trade for military assistance, the consul was informed that all military orders must come from the viceroy of the province. He then advised the Frenchmen to remain at the Yamen, or office.

The consul refused, and going out into the street, was attacked and beaten to death. The ferocious mob then massacred the Sisters of Charity and set on fire the orphanage and cathedral. Twenty foreigners, with most of their native assistants, were put to death.

Negotiations followed. The supposed ringleaders were decapitated. Compensation in money was made. The Chinese local officer voyaged to France to make apologies, and the government at Peking tried without success to get the obnoxious clause of the treaty annulled. The missionaries of the Roman Church still separate themselves and their converts from the jurisdiction of the local mandarins, so that the Chinese really have no sovereignty over their subjects when attached to this form of Christianity.

The young emperor was considered old enough to be married in 1872, and on October 16 the wedding took place with great ceremony. The foreign ministers were given audience June 29, 1873, in the hall for the receiving of tributary nations, or Pavilion of Purple Light. This was so pleasing to foreigners that many of them leaped to the conclusion that China would immediately become a field for commercial invasion. These hopes were not fulfilled. China was not ready yet to have her economic and social system thrown into confusion by railways, telegraphs, and the machinery which foreigners were only too glad to sell. Such hasty action would mean the throwing out of employment hundreds of thousands of laborers, and long-continued distress. The Boxer uprising of 1900 was thus caused.

In addition to floods, famines, and other interior troubles, China was now to receive the first serious assault upon her hoary doctrine of universal sovereignty, not from the West, but from a nation whom she had long looked upon as vassal. A train of events began, which was to end the last of the dual sovereignties of Asia, in Korea, Loo Choo, Tibet, Burma, Annam, and Ili. Korea and the Loo Choo Islands, being too weak to defend themselves, had lived under the motto, "Courtesy to China and Politeness to Japan." The Japanese had for eight hundred years claimed the Islands of the Sleeping Dragon (Riu Kiu) or the Long Rope (Okinawa) as they called them, as part of their empire. The Chinese wrote the name with characters meaning pendant tassels, signifying the fringe on the great robe of the Central Empire.

China had never pretended to govern the east side of Formosa, the high mountain region inhabited by head-hunters. These copper-colored savages made the possession of human heads, chiefly Chinese, the basis of property, the unit of value, and the social necessity of a would-be bride-groom, before he could get a wife or found a family. It was even said that these men in the bamboo jungle were cannibals.

Formosa is the original home of the morning-glory and the blue bamboo, and is the island of camphor forests. On its eastern coast many American and European vessels have been wrecked and their crews beheaded. Expeditions of chastisement had been attempted, but it being impossible for white men to fight the aborigines in the hot and steaming jungles, these were all failures. In one such expedition, under the American Admiral Bell, with the warships Hartford and Wyoming, on June 19, 1867, Lieutenant A. S. McKenzie was killed, Mr. Sigsbee, later Captain of the U. S. battleship Maine, in Havana harbor, being present.

After 1868, the Mikado having been restored to ancient power, the Tokyo government sent two companies of soldiers to the capital of Riu Kiu, lowered the kinglet of the islands to the grade of marquis, and brought him to Tokyo to live. The group of islands became an integral part of Japan, under the name of the Okinawa prefecture. When in 1874 fifty-four Loo Chooans were wrecked on Formosa and murdered, satisfaction was demanded from Peking. The answer was given that eastern Formosa was not under Chinese jurisdiction. The Japanese sent a detachment, with modern uniforms and weapons, under General Saigo, to punish the head-hunters and build roads and houses. The Chinese ordered them off, but the Tokyo government refused, unless both indemnity and a guarantee that the islands should be ruled efficiently, after the manner of civilization, were given. During the negotiations, Okubo, the Japanese minister, appeared in Peking. He refused to treat on any basis but that of international law, a copy of which he presented to the Tsung-li Yamen. He would not recognize, or have anything to do with, the Chinese notion of universal sovereignty. On the basis of the laws of nations, the two governments entered into a peaceful arrangement, the Chinese agreeing to pay five hundred thousand taels to the Japanese. Concerning the Riu Kiu Islands, China and Japan appointed joint high commissioners to negotiate, but at the last the Peking mandarins took the whole matter out of their hands and put it under control of the Board of Trade,—an insult which Japan remembered in 1904.

Tung Chi, the young emperor, died childless on January 12, 1875. Then the potency of a Chinese woman behind the throne was again, as so often before, illustrated. Nominally, women in China are wholly subordinate in public. Within the home and behind the curtain of the government, they are often all-powerful. Their "rights" are undefined, but their sovereignty is sure. By the mother of the dead emperor, the infant son of Prince Chun and nephew of the empress was brought crying, out of his cradle, into the palace and enthroned as Kwang Si, while she herself, the dowager empress, became the real ruler of China, swaying its destinies until 1908. Prince Kung retired and Li Hung Chang became prominent as adviser to the government.

When in 1874 Mr. A. R. Margary, of the British consular service, was murdered in Yunnan, Sir Thomas Wade endeavored to have a high mandarin punished, but the mystery was never cleared up. Instead of war, a convention made at Chi Fu opened two new ports of trade, and four places on the Yang-tse, where foreign goods could be landed, were named. An indemnity and other matters calculated to produce mutual good-will were agreed upon.

By the treaty of Livadia, in 1879, Kuldja, and that signed at St. Petersburg in 1881, Ili was restored to China after an indemnity of nine million rubles had been paid to Russia.

Another blow at China's nearly defunct doctrine of universal sovereignty was given by Japan through Korea. Neither the French nor the American expedition had accomplished anything permanent, but in 1876, when the marines of a Japanese surveying ship, mistaken for Frenchmen, were fired upon from a Korean fort, they immediately captured it. The Tokyo government sent a peace expedition to Korea, which was exactly like Commodore Perry's, in method and manner. The government at Seoul agreed by treaty to open three ports and allow Japanese to live in the country. Thus Japan gave to Korea her first recognition as an independent country.

As the Central Empire still considered the Peninsular Kingdom a vassal, the court of Peking looked with suspicion upon this action, and in order to neutralize its influence virtually opened this hermit kingdom to the world, by making a commercial treaty with Korea and helping the American envoy to do the same, just as if the Koreans were an independent people. China, however, was still blinded by old traditions and thought that she should retain control. In trying to "save face," she paved the way for serious misunderstandings in the future.

When a Korean mob, with stones and fire-arms, attacked their legation, the Japanese fought their way to the coast. The old regent, in Seoul, who had fomented the disturbance, made the young king, his own son, a prisoner, and connived at an attempt to assassinate the queen Min.

Li Hung Chang at once dispatched a naval squadron and a body of soldiers to Seoul. The uprising was put down, the king restored, and the regent kidnapped and brought to Tien Tsin. A Chinese officer, Yuan Shi Kai, like a British resident in India, was installed at the Korean court, and a military force was kept in camp near Seoul.

In the negotiations which followed, a new port was opened, Japan received an indemnity, and kept a permanent guard of soldiers at the legation. These men, mostly deer-hunters of northern Japan, were dead shots with the rifle. It boded ill for the peace of the country, that besides a swaggering Chinese resident, with a large force of soldiers at his beck and call, there should be two companies of Japanese riflemen only too ready to make use of their rivals as targets. Between the two countries, as said before, no love is ever lost.

The oddity of dual sovereignty, that is, of one state owing allegiance to two suzerains,—a servant serving two masters,—was again illustrated in the Far East by Korea. China, while professing to the world that Korea was an independent state, virtually annexed "the Little Outpost Country," by including her within the Imperial Chinese Customs. In November, 1883, the Korean envoys, escaping Chinese espionage, were brought across the ocean in the American man-of-war, Trenton. They visited Washington, met President Arthur, and ratified the American treaty as if agents of a sovereign state. In Europe, also, they had their eyes still further opened concerning the advantages of Western civilization, as compared with that of China.

I had the honor of meeting in New York and conversing, through the medium of the Japanese language, with this embassy, headed by Ming Yong Ik, the cousin of the queen. These picturesque wearers of white gowns and big hats differed among themselves, some being eager progressives and others intense conservatives. Soon after these Koreans reached Seoul, the so-called Liberals seized the royal palace and beheaded the king's ministers. By a trick, they secured the aid of the Japanese legation guard. They expected to reform the government at once and, in a few days or weeks, change the ancient dress, habits, and manners of their countrymen, and make Korea a modern state.

The Chinese troops moved upon the palace to rescue the king. The little band of fewer than two hundred Japanese were compelled to retreat, which they did in good order. Their superb marksmanship told terribly on the overwhelming numbers of the Korean mob and Chinese troops. Their march continued to the seaport Chemulpo. The Japanese legation was looted and burned.

The governments of Tokyo and Peking landed fresh military reinforcements, but the danger of another collision was averted by the convention of Tien Tsin, made by the Marquis Ito and Li Hung Chang. It was agreed that neither China nor Japan should attempt permanent occupation of the peninsula. In case of disturbance, neither should send troops without first giving notice to the other. The soldiery of both countries was then withdrawn.

Old Dogmas Blown to Atoms

The Land of Morning Calm suffered so much from her chronic disease of insurrection, caused by the rapacity of her nobles and the weakness of her central government, that it became a menace to the peace of the East. The palace and capital were under the control of the women of the harem, the eunuchs, and the sorcerers rather than of statesmen. The court and the government were not separated. The little kingdom was liable at any time to become a prey to the cupidity of foreign nations, especially since the old-fashioned European doctrine of "the balance of power" had been extended even to the Far East. When Russia made a move on the northern frontier, Great Britain, in order to keep equilibrium, seized Port Hamilton. Both these powers ignored the wishes of the weakling, for the pigmy kingdom was not able even to play the balance-beam on the see-saw.

In China, under Li Hung Chang's directions, Port Arthur and Wei-hai-wei, the sea gateways to the capital, were fortified by German engineers, and an army was drilled by German officers. There was talk of Bismarck's buying Formosa, where German marines first used the needle gun.

In the Land of the Rising Sun the evolution of a public school army, in which every man could read and write, and assembled on modern lines of organization, proceeded rapidly. Sooner or later collision with the Chinese claim of universal sovereignty was inevitable. In Russia's contempt for the Japanese as an inferior race, as "yellow monkeys," and her determination to control eastern Asia by land and sea, Japan saw another imminent danger. Meanwhile the islanders were very skeptical of China's ability, in case of war, either to defend herself or to enforce neutrality.

Neither Russia nor Great Britain was alone in readiness of aggression against weak China. France also was full of the spirit of conquest. Her agents had shown this by interfering in Japanese affairs in 1868, offering to aid the reactionary party, and also by invading Korea in 1870, as we have seen.

It was clear that, sooner or later, the claim of France to stand as the protector in Asia of the Roman Catholic Christians would bring her into collision with China, the church nation. Under all dynasties, the Peking government clings to the Confucian ritual as of divine origin. France having gained so great a point in diplomacy in shielding native Chinese Christians, it remained now to find some vulnerable point in China's "face." This the French did in Annam, just as the Germans did later in Shantung in 1897.

France had failed to colonize America, but as early as 1715 the Roman form of Christianity was introduced by French missionaries in Annam. With success came difficulties between the converts and other natives. Some French priests were murdered. France interfered, and a treaty was made. When in 1858 the King of Annam would not fulfill the promised terms, a French fleet destroyed some forts at Hue, the capital, and took Saigon. In 1864 Cochin China was ceded to France, becoming a French colony.

After the Franco-Prussian War France entered upon a commercial crusade, hoping by this means to recoup the losses by war in Europe. Something like the spirit of filibustering that disturbed the United States in the days of Presidents Fillmore and Pierce, when Cuba, Mexico, and Nicaragua were invaded by private bands of adventurers from the United States, broke out in France. The great prize in view was the possession of the trade routes to Yunnan, which the British also were expecting to gain through Burma. Hanoi, the capital of Tong King, was the point of attack. The French hoped to gain this province and build railways into China proper. Langson, a town eighty miles distant and near the frontier of Yunnan, was to be the prize of French strategy.

The King of Annam appealed to the Chinese Emperor for protection, but ten years of negotiation failed to yield satisfaction either to Peking or to Paris. Meanwhile the Annamese king hired Chinese volunteers, or irregular troops, called the Black Flags. When the French threatened an attack upon them, Marquis Tseng in Paris gave notice that this would mean war. As neither China nor France wanted this, a conference was held at Tien Tsin. Yet while tortoise-slow China, then the land without nerves or telegraphs, crawled, not having learned the value of time, the French leaped like a greyhound. The Peking authorities forgot or neglected to notify their troops either as to the time of their withdrawal, or of the proposed French occupation of Langson. In this era of telegrams, orders from Europe were received over night. When in 1884 the French moved to occupy the places named, they were repulsed. Paris at once charged Peking with treachery, but the Chinese claimed that the French, no date having been specified, were in too much of a hurry, and were equally breakers of good faith.

Admiral Courbet, to whom a monument was unveiled in Formosa in 1910, was a stalwart up-holder of French interests. He bombarded Keelung in Formosa, and then appeared before Foo Chow on the mainland. Before the Chinese suspected his purpose, it being a time of peace, he was inside the Min or Pearl River and in the rear of the Chinese forts and fleet. Receiving orders by telegram from Paris, he summoned both to surrender and was refused. The French, then the best artillerists in the world, opened fire and in a few minutes destroyed both forts and fleet. Courbet returned to Formosa, took Keelung, and occupied it. In Tong King, however, the Black Flags were more than a match for their enemies, and the French had to retreat from Langson.

Such a war had in it neither glory nor profit to either party. To France it was frightfully costly. By the treaty of June 9, 1885, matters were left very much as before, except that China was again called on to pay an indemnity of ten million taels. After other experiences, as with Japan in 1894-95, and with the powers in 1900, China found it cheaper, as Japan had already done, to arm and fight, than to trust to the honor of nations, whether Christian or pagan. It was plain that the sons of Han could face their foes, white or brown, if they could be properly armed and led.

The humiliating experiences of the Chinese still further opened their eyes. Men must go down into a well if they would see the reality of stars during daylight hours. As in every other case of China's collision with Western powers, reforms followed, and in 1886 a navy was formed. The northern squadron of modern steel battleships and cruisers, built in England and Germany, was in use by 1890. China was not yet enough of a nation, or sufficiently unified, to have all the national ships under one head. The southern squadron was put under local officials in the south, with headquarters at Foo Chow, Captain Lang of the British fleet in command; but the inevitable misunderstanding, or quarrel, concerning the relative rank and authority of foreigner and native came in due time.

The Peking government felt the necessity of learning the news of the world quickly, and the short telegraph line between Tung Chow and Yunnan was extended to Peking. China's nervous system was thus improved. Of old she had been compared to an alligator, the head of which, if a pin was stuck into its tail, would only after some minutes know what had happened. Nothing of the celerity of the dragon, which she bore on her yellow flag, marked her movements. The actual creature in diplomacy seemed too long in trying to swallow the sun.

From being a boneless, nerveless giant, China was becoming more like a normal man, with a prospect of being something of an athelete, and instantly responsive. In old days, a war in one province was of so little concern to another, that thousands of men might be slaughtered by foreigners at one end of the empire without arousing much feeling in other provinces. It did not occur to Chinese in the interior that things done at the seashore concerned them also. Race pride did not mean patriotism. Without newspapers, telegraphs, railways, and public schools, the Chinese could not become a body politic, sensitive in every part of its frame. The mollusk must become vertebrated.

This evolution, into a type of political structure with a backbone, was rapidly promoted by events. The customs service, organized all over the empire under the supervision of Sir Robert Hart, helped greatly the cause of national unity; yet without representation of the people in the central government, there was little hope of rapid progress. So long as merit or blame rested wholly with the emperor or his servants the people felt no responsibility. Some attempt was made to create a national consciousness and also to improve and revise the civil service examinations. Mathematics were introduced, but the old-fashioned scholars opposed the innovation and nullified the expected benefit.

The woes of a land whose prince was a child seemed to have surcease for a while, when, in 1887, the boy emperor came of age. In 1889 he married, and to the joy of an army of menials and contractors, who fatten on the tax-paying people, over $5,000,000 were lavished on the wedding ceremonies. The dowager empress now retired, and in 1891 the young emperor gave audience to the foreign ministers. Yet though many rejoiced at this, the coming of the new kingdom, which foreigners waited for, still tarried. Evidences of the literary bigotry yet to be overcome were seen in the opposition of the men of letters in the Yangtse valley to the proposed reforms in the examinations. The anti-foreign spirit of the soldiers was also pronounced, Honan being the centre of opposition. The most horribly blasphemous pictures and tracts against the Christian religion, and the old story of kidnapping children and using their eyes for chemicals—easily believed in a country where science was not taught—were widely circulated.

In many places riots broke out, Christian churches were wrecked, and two foreigners were killed. The Peking government, too weak to ferret out the culprits, evaded the task and paid money, which the foreigners too readily received. The emperor issued an edict, saying some good things about the religion of the missionaries and their motives and aims. The local magistrates were to protect the property and lives of foreigners. There was as yet, however, no real religious freedom granted, and the seed of troubles still remained.

While China's chronic diseases, corruption in the government, favoritism of the mandarins, and love of falsehood, still persisted, there was little hope of genuine reform. No machinery of iron, wood, or stone has ever been devised that can make men virtuous. Because the Chinese government spent plenty of money in buying ships, weapons, and ammunition from foreigners, it was supposed by them that China was "awakening," and Li Hung Chang was liberal-minded. Such a showy policy pleased all lovers of material progress, for arsenals were built and young men trained in the navy and army.

At Yokohama, in 1873, I met Dr. Yung Wing, who, brought to Massachusetts by Dr. S. R. Brown in 1847, won prizes and graduated from Yale College. He had orders from Peking to take six-score youths to America to be educated. They came to New England and were making excellent progress. The conservatives in Peking, however, feared that these lads might become too American, human, and modern, and the boys were all recalled after a few months. Those who hope for reform, even if they begin in their boyhood, must expect to count a good many gray hairs on their heads, and probably lose even these, before China is fully modernized. We must expect reaction from time to time, for the course from old disease to perfect health is never a straight one.

Again the Central Empire's ancient claim of exclusive sovereignty proved her undoing and humiliation, when unreformed China came into collision with new Japan. By piercing the elephant-like crust of conservatism, the logic of events hastened the day of reconstruction. In Korea, the weak spot of the Far East, one of the chronic southern insurrections broke out early in 1894, this time led by the bead of the Tong Haks, who were followers of Oriental culture as opposed to Western ideas. Unable to repress the uprising, the pro-Chinese party in Seoul applied for help. The Peking government, violating the Li-Ito treaty, sent into Korea a force of two thousand soldiers first, and then gave notice to Tokyo, saying that Korea was "Our vassal state." At once the Mikado's government sent a larger force to Korea under strict discipline, and notified Peking that any further despatch of Chinese troops would be an act of war.

Despite this warning, China chartered the British transport Kow Shing, and put on board eleven hundred men. Escorted by two Chinese men-of-war, she was met by Captain (afterwards Admiral) Togo, in the steel cruiser Naniwa. Knowing the treaty had been violated, Togo signaled to the Kow Shing to surrender or to go to a Japanese port as a prize of war. The Chinese soldiers would neither yield nor let the foreign officers off the ship. Togo kept his signals flying four hours. He then ran up the red flag, and sunk the transport with a broadside. He was justified by the verdict of international law.

War was now declared from both Tokyo and Peking, the document of the Mikado being in the temperate language of civilized nations, while that from Peking was violent, abusive, and boastful, echoing the ancient notions of Chinese statecraft.

The real kernel of the whole matter was that China, despite her solemn treaties, had not yet, either in regard to Riu Kin, Formosa, or Korea, sincerely accepted international law, and in now flaunting her doctrine of universal sovereignty, gave the first provocation. The Tong Hak insurrection and all the incidents following it, including the murder of the Korean reformer, Kim Ok Kiun, in Shanghai, and the transportation of the corpse in a Chinese warship to be delivered to the Seoul government for savage mutilation, were mere matters of occasion, but were not causes. There was no hope for Japan, or for peace, so long as China held to a doctrine that nullified all her treaty promises.

Two Asiatic nations now confronted each other in war, one having but a tenth part of the population, area, and resources of the other; the discrepancy and contrast being so great as to recall the conflict of David and Goliath. One was inclosed in obsolete panoply, the other wielded expertly its weapons. Japan had an army educated in the public schools, inflamed with patriotism, led by officers filled with the noblest ideals of loyalty, masters of modern science, and backed by helpful women fully as intelligent as the men. Moreover, Japan went to war with a creditable hospital corps, including ships and hundreds of trained nurses.

China's real army consisted of about thirty thousand troops drilled in modern style, her northern forts were modern and strong, and her steel navy large, including battleships, while the Japanese had only cruisers. There existed no regular provision for the treatment of the Chinese sick and wounded, and the war equipment of most of the new soldiers called out was medieval.

Those who knew the situation predicted, with only ordinary foresight, what would happen, or, as the writer declared, when the news of the war's outbreak was first received: "There will be one great battle—at Ping Yang. The regular forces of the Chinese will be beaten. After that the Japanese will go through China as a knife goes through cheese."

The Mikado's soldiers gained their first victory over the Chinese at Asan and won the battle at Ping Yang. The Japanese sailors, with only cruisers and no battleships, crippled the Chinese fleet near the Yalu River mouth, five vessels under the dragon flag being sunk, and the rest, seven in number, put to flight. Korea was swept clean of Chinese troops, and Marshal Yamagata occupied southern Manchuria. After taking two cities, he assaulted Port Arthur November 21, capturing the stronghold which had been considered impregnable. General Oyama landed another army and took the forts at Wei-hai-wei.

The Peking government sent two separate missions to Japan to treat for peace, but without giving the envoys full power. After this incredible piece of conceit, the war went on. The Japanese blew up the Chinese battleships, turning the guns of the forts against the former garrison. Admiral Tang committed suicide.

The court had disgraced Li Hung Chang, but called him again to honor and sent him as peace commissioner to Shimonoseki, where he was shot at and wounded by one of those assassins so numerous in Japan's history. On the 17th of April, 1895, a treaty was signed which declared the independence of Korea, ceded the Liao Tung peninsula, including Port Arthur, to Japan, opened five new ports to trade, and required China to pay to Japan within seven years an indemnity of two hundred million taels.

This humiliating treaty was doubtless agreed to by China in the hope that Russia or the European powers, by whose mutual jealousy and the playing off of one against the other Peking had long profited, would interfere. They did.

On the 9th of May, when in a little steam-tug the two Japanese peace commissioners, not knowing how far the Chinese would keep faith, approached Chifu, where the ratifications were to take place, the sight of the mighty allied fleet of the three powers as against the little steam-tug was ludicrous. It was like that of roaring wild beasts about a dove.

Not alone Russia's big fleet, but all of the available German and French war vessels in Asiatic waters, had assembled in Chifu harbor, and their gunners were firing blank cartridges, filling the air and heavens with smoke to overawe two men in a little tug. Uniting against Japan in her exhausted condition, the three great powers forced her to give up her foothold on the continent and accept, instead, Formosa and the Pescadores, with a bonus of thirty million taels. Unable at once, without a great navy, to fight the three combined nations, the Japanese accepted the situation, and a supplementary treaty was signed at Peking, November 7, 1895. Japan immediately invested the extra money in building the best battleships afloat, and at once began preparations to fight Russia, whose motives and purposes had been already foreseen in Tokyo.

The Boxer Riots

Her exorbitant creditors now pressed China, and as usual she had to pay all the bills. To Russia she, yielded the right to extend her Siberian railway through Manchuria to Vladivostok, with branch lines to Mukden and Port Arthur. The French were promised that railways in China when built should meet theirs in Tong King. Germany was given fresh mining and railway privileges in Shantung.

The burdens of the war fell upon the poor people, who were goaded almost to universal rebellion by the new exactions laid upon them. One of the worst results was the pitiable exposure of China's military weakness, the great world, as usual, having been misled by notions of bulk. It was the old case of Jack and the Giant. Hercules, with only the head of a cocoanut, is no match against brains and nimbleness, whether of sprightly boys or intelligent princesses.

Foreign powers now seemed to rely less on diplomacy and reason, and more and more on force and brutality. One British author even wrote a book entitled "The Break-up of China." It was something like that of another British historian, whose premature work was entitled a "History of Federal Government from the Amphictyonic Council to the Disruption of the United States of America."

Beneath diplomacy and war there lie other motives than political ambition, earth-hunger, martial glory, or love of conquest, chiefly commercial. Trade wars for markets are often provoked to enrich a few men at the expense of the many. Economic conditions in America forced European action. As soon as steel could be produced in Pittsburg cheaper than in Europe, the United States not only ceased to be a market for this metal, but became an exporter, and the Europeans saw that they must seek new customers. At once they made strenuous efforts to get at China's untold wealth of iron and coal.

To find both market and fields of profitable investment is the motive underlying most of Western statecraft concerning the Far East. China's mineral wealth exceeds that of ten Pennsylvanias. Within four months from America's economic independence of Europe, Germany, Great Britain, France, Russia, and even Italy made a rush to be in at the supposed "break-up of China." When on November 1, 1897, two Roman Catholic missionaries from Germany were murdered by robbers in Shantung, Germany landed troops, drove Chinese soldiers out of the forts, demanded indemnity, with mining and railway privileges, and a lease of Kiao Chau for ninety-nine years. Helpless China agreed.

Russia demanded a German-like lease of both Port Arthur and Talien Wan, and at once began building a great city of empty houses called Dalny. At this the Japanese were not surprised. As soon as the Mikado's soldiers evacuated Wei-hai-wei, Great Britain took a twenty-five years' lease of the place, and in 1899 secured more land back of Hong Kong also. Italy sent a warship to demand San-men Bay, but was refused. Europeans who had been making new maps and dividing China up into "spheres of influence" wondered what was the new power that had stiffened China's back to refuse further vivisection. They soon found that the empress dowager had returned to power.

Meanwhile the Chinese people, looking at these acts of European governments as spoliations, became more embittered than ever against foreigners. In addition to the staggering burdens of taxation imposed under the form of indemnities, the so-called Christian nations were vivisecting their country. Now began the interior activities of the secret society of United Righteous Strikers, called later, by foreigners, the Boxers.

Hurricane reform is as dangerous as the dry-rot of conservatism. In 1898, under the influence of a patriot, Kang Yu Wei, the young emperor Kwang Si began the issue of edicts of reform, which, had they been patiently carried out, would have made a new life for China. The civil service examinations were entirely changed, so as to bring the curriculum into harmony with modern needs. The government was to be reorganized. A system of public schools on Western models was to be established, and the right to petition the throne was to be given to all officers throughout the empire. Ardent and radical reformers rejoiced at the action of the young emperor and foresaw a new era.

Looking at this wonderful programme from the Western point of view, it seemed right and promising. The motives of the reformers appeared to be pure and their proceedings righteous. The dawn of the new day was widely heralded.

From the Chinese point of view, however, especially from that of the Court in Peking, the whole situation and the purposes of the reformers were interpreted differently. The Conservatives saw in the new movement the machinations of traitors, and the subversion of ancient customs. They discerned also a plot to kidnap and remove the empress dowager.

In most old-fashioned Oriental schemes to secure unanimity of opinion, even as in some instances in the West, the removal of the heads of opponents was part of the proceedings. The conservatives, led by the empress, struck a blow for their own lives, and, as they believed, for the stability of the empire. With military force in reserve, the empress dowager, on the 22d of September, 1898, seized the person of the young emperor and made him sign a paper, in which it was stated that owing to ill-health—the stock pretext in Asia—he was obliged to drop the reins of government. The same lady who had lifted the baby, crying, out of his cradle, now drove the grown man off the throne.

The dowager empress became regent of the empire, and the reformers were bunted out and banished or beheaded. With the ultra-conservatives around her and now in power, she, in the emperor's name, by the decree of September 26, negatived the proposed reforms. The spirit of the government became more anti-foreign. Secret plots to rid China of all aliens, whose modern machinery, both political and commercial, threatened the very existence of the hoary empire, were undoubtedly encouraged at court. Lest the reform spirit might break out afresh and the men of new mind rally round the young emperor, the empress dowager compelled her nephew to issue a decree on the Chinese New Year's Day, January 31, 1900, announcing that he had abdicated. Despite all protests, native and foreign, which only confirmed her purpose, she had her own way. A reign of terror against all reformers was instituted. Prince Tuan's son, a little boy, was made heir apparent.

In all these proceedings the empress was probably actuated only by one dominating motive,—to prevent what foreigners had proclaimed "the break-up of China," and to save her country and people. There were too many eagles gathered together waiting for the expected corpse. She postponed the feast. The language of one of her decrees, like a window looking to the sun, lets in a great light upon the situation. It was as noble an address to her people as was Queen Elizabeth's to Englishmen in face of the Spanish Armada:—

"Let no one think of making peace, but let each strive to preserve from destruction and spoliation by the ruthless band of the invader his ancestral home and graves."

This was the Chinese woman's way of striking back at the spoilers, who under threat of battle-ships and armies of invasion had forced China to let them occupy her soil, and who ruthlessly disordered China's ancient industrial system.

The hundreds of thousands of rice-winners thrown out of employment made good material for agitators to work upon. The Buddhist priests used diligently their opportunity to organize a campaign against the foreign religion. The conservative Manchus at court, maddened by their repeated humiliations at the hands of the Europeans, were ready to utilize any movement, even apparently anti-dynastic, that promised to rid their country of the aliens. In their treatment of China and principles of diplomacy, these Europeans seemed to defy Heaven and all righteousness.

In the Confucian province of Shantung, a society had been formed whose original purpose was to expel the foreigners—Manchus. They were the Know-Nothings of the Middle Kingdom. As European aggression increased, these men attributed the woes of China to the misrule of the Tartar dynasty in Peking, and to the cowardice of their rulers in yielding to the Westerners. Because these "Fisters" were so anti-foreign in spirit, the Manchus opposed to reform were able to turn them to their own purpose.

Their name, composed of three Chinese characters meaning Righteousness, Unity, and Fists, may be translated Harmonious Holy Pugilists, or Righteous United Fisters, or Strikers, or, in short, Boxers. Armed for the most part only with arrows, swords, and spears, they began to drill in bodies during the autumn of 1899. Few were accustomed to guns and cartridges, and no large number of them ever mastered the use of firearms. They knew nothing of the tactics of real soldiers, or of the idea of unity of operations in a large army. This fact afterwards proved the salvation of the besieged in Peking. Misled largely by Taoist and Buddhist priests, the Boxers depended on charms and incantations, believing themselves invulnerable to the bullets of the aliens, who, they imagined, could be hypnotized and their missiles rendered harmless.

From first to last the Boxer uprising was nothing but a riot on a large scale, with which at first the Peking mandarins were unable to cope. Happily the authorities at Washington, learning this fact promptly, were saved from foolish diplomacy. No regular soldiers fired a hostile shot, nor did the Chinese government order, or let loose, its army against the Westerners, until the allied Europeans and Japanese—the Americans refusing to join in the "entangling alliance"—had wantonly begun war against a friendly nation by firing upon and destroying the Chinese forts at Taku.

The Boxers struck first at the native Christians, because they identified these as "foreigner-Chinese," who were supposed to approve of the doings of Europeans, the common people not being able to discriminate between the governments and the missionaries, or the differing motives of the various foreigners. With what looked like the impeding division of the empire among aliens, neither the local mandarins nor those in the central government were zealous in punishing the rioters, who were thus made bold to other excesses.

Furthermore, since it was possible to believe anything in old China, both the imperial troops and the local magistrates were terrified, thinking that the Boxers possessed magical powers and arts. In Shantung and northern China, therefore, the mandarins shrunk from strong measures. In the centre and south, where a vigorous preventive attitude was assumed by province governors, few or no symptoms of the Boxer madness manifested themselves, and foreigners were safe. In its actual outbreak, in 1900, the Boxer movement was wholly a northern affair.

The missionaries, living among the people and understanding their language, had long before warned the legations of their danger, but their words were not taken seriously. As a matter of fact, few of the diplomatists had been long in China, or knew the country or people well. Happily, however, convinced of their critical situation, they secured by telegrams several hundred marines and sailors, sent June 8, from the warships. Then they were isolated from the world, for the wires were cut and the rails, rolling stock, and stations of the railway destroyed. The first property injured by the Boxers was that supposed by them to have taken the rice out of their mouths.

All the foreigners in the capital and the native Christians, making common cause, assembled in the legation quarter. This, fortified under the directions of Rev. F. D. Gamewell, the American missionary-engineer, was soon surrounded by the rioters. So far, however, not one national soldier had fired a shot, for this was a riot, which the Peking government was unable to quell. In the Imperial Council some mandarins were only reasonably friendly to foreigners, while others were stalwart against the idea of injuring them, breaking the faith of treaties, or showing any sympathy with the rioters. But their strong arm of righteousness was paralyzed by the action of the allies in wantonly making war on China, as we shall see.

Knowing the awful danger of their countrymen beleaguered in Peking, the British Admiral Seymour and the American Captain McCalla quickly organized a force of a thousand men. These, hastily equipped and poorly provisioned, reached Tien Tsin June 10. Beyond this point the rails were torn up. It was slow work repairing the railway, and the rioters were swarming around them, but they bravely fought their way forward until provisions gave out, and they were obliged to retreat. Now began their surprises and terrible disasters.

The Allies Make War on China

On the advance, not one shot had been fired by any but the rioters, but on coming back, from the morning of June 18, the Chinese soldiers in uniform were firing at Admiral Seymour's force from all sides. In Peking, the Japanese chancellor of legation on June 11, and the German ambassador, Baron von Ketteler, on June 20, were killed.

What was the cause of the trouble, and what were the reasons for this apparent change, in that the enemy, being now of the regular army under orders of the government, took the place of the rioters? For this action of the Chinese regulars the commanders of the warships of all the foreign powers, then in Chinese waters, except those of the United States, under Rear Admiral Louis Kempff, were wholly responsible, as an account of their action shows.

At the mouth of the Pei-ho River leading to Peking, and near the Taku forts which guarded the entrance, the warships of eight allied nations, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Japan, were lying. There was no real necessity of any hostility against these forts, but the foreign admirals on June 16 demanded their surrender or evacuation.

The American admiral Louis Kempff, trained under Farragut, showed himself the bravest of the brave by refusing to use force and shed blood when China and the United States were at peace. The Peking government was embarrassed with a riot on a large scale. It was another insurrection, and threatened to be as great as the Tai Ping uprising. Admiral Kempff had received no orders from his superiors at Washington. He had to act according to his judgment as a good American, and his conscience was clear. The unbroken tradition binding the United States and China was that of peace. There had never been war or real hostilities between the two countries, the affair at the Canton forts in 1856 being an episode with-out meaning. Washington had laid down the principle and made the precedent against entangling alliances with European nations, and this policy had been scrupulously followed by every president. To fire on these Taku forts was a wanton act of needless war.

Admiral Louis Kempff


Admiral Kempff refused to join in the lawless act. He warned his colleagues that their procedure would unite the Chinese against all foreigners, and immediately render the situation at Tien Tsin and Peking more dangerous. He pleaded in vain. Kempff was the kind of man needed to represent the United States in the Far East. Of physical valor and brute force we have had enough. Our race does not lack in these. Of moral courage, like that of Washington, Perry, and Harris, for example, we have never had as yet enough, and ever need more.

The ultimatum was served at night. It demanded the surrender by two A.M. Bravely and as a true patriot the commander of the forts refused, and notified his government at Peking. The Chinese nobly defended their flag and country for six hours. Then a shell from the Algerine, of the British navy, blew up the main magazine, and the fort was in ruins, on June 17.

The first shot fired at the Taku forts united all China against the hated foreigner. It was worth everything to the anti-foreign mandarins in the government council at Peking. It was exactly what they were waiting and hoping for. It fully justified their attitude. The Chinese government immediately declared war against the invaders, and the Tsung-li Yamen, according to the laws of the world, served notice on the foreign ministers to leave Peking within twenty-four hours, guaranteeing safe conduct. The Boxers were now recognized as militia and helpers of the government against the men who had declared war upon China.

Meanwhile the rioters, now incited from Peking, proceeded with their murderous work, destroying the property of the native Christians and of the missions. Nearly seven-score missionary people lost their lives, but this number, great as it was, was only a fraction of the loss suffered by their Chinese fellow believers, of whom many thousands were put to death, and for none of their losses were the living compensated.

Now sounded the call for an allied army for the rescue of the legations. Eight nations responded. Japan sent the splendid Hiroshima division, making a total of twenty-one thousand of her men on ship and shore, and mostly veterans. Russia soon had eight thousand soldiers on the ground.

The United States, however, was the first to have, with twenty-eight hundred men under General A. R. Chaffee, a definite policy of action, and was the only country that did. Its theory of action, based on over a hundred years of consistent friendship, and especially upon the action of Admiral Kempff, was this: China was a friendly power, ever at peace with the United States. The Boxer movement was a riot on a large scale. After relieving their citizens, insuring protection, and receiving indemnity, the Americans would leave the country. They had no business to remain after the diplomatic settlement was over. China must save herself. In the American view, there was to be no break-up of China. At Washington, during the siege of the legations, acting on the Chinese minister Wu's petition, Mr. John Hay, Secretary of State, had refused to believe that the foreigners in Peking had been massacred. Patience was rewarded and a telegram received in Washington from our minister, Mr. Conger.

Of the diplomacy of President McKinley and Secretary Hay, the action of Admiral Kempff, in maintaining the American peace policy with China, formed the basis. This insistence on the integrity of China was in direct opposition to the "break-up" theory.

Now began the march to Peking. Had the Japanese been allowed to go forward at once and alone, they could easily have performed the work without aid, and the legations would have been relieved a month sooner than they were. The cosmopolitan relief force did not start for Peking until August 4. Before this, Tien Tsin, now strongly fortified and garrisoned by Chinese regulars, must be taken. The first assault of the allies failed. Then the Japanese blew up a gate and resistlessly stormed walls and city. After bloody fighting, the Chinese retreated. In this campaign, the American naval force, under Admiral Kempff, and the Ninth U. S. Infantry, were especially active, but the brave Colonel Liscum was slain.

On the hot and dry march to Peking, the Japanese, with modern appliances, including filtered water, were in the advance, but had to wait for the Russians, who averaged only four miles a day. These selected the best villages, wells, and camping places. In their dust, the Americans marched next, selecting such sites and drinking water as might be left. The English forces (including a drilled regiment of Chinese from Wei-hai-wei), German marines, Italians, Austrians, etc., followed. Of the entire host, the Japanese lost the fewest men by sickness in proportion to their numbers. In this international school of war many lessons were learned, the Mikado's men losing all fear of the Czar's soldiers after seeing them on the march and in camp.

Meanwhile in Peking there could be no unity in the councils of the regular Chinese and the Boxers. Furthermore, some of the best men in the government, though discouraged at the treachery of the foreigners in firing on the Taku forts, tried by warnings to restrain excesses. Hence the safety of the besieged. Many buildings near the legations were fired in the hope of burning out the foreigners. In the defense the American marines, brave, alert, and efficient, covered them-selves with glory and greatly aided the prospects of holding out. The native Christians were continually at work on fortification or repair.

The advance of the rescuing expedition reached Peking August 14, and the city was taken next day. As the rescuers entered, the court and empress fled, and the seat of government was set up in the west at Sian Fu.

For the missionaries and diplomatists there were rescue, food, and certain indemnity; but what of the native Christians exiled from their homes and fields, of which only vestiges remained? Where was even food to come from? In such a crisis, brave men, like the American Dr. Ament, went out into the open country. According to justice and immemorial custom in China, he compelled the village elders, who had connived at, or encouraged the Boxers, to furnish supplies of food. From the confiscated property in Peking, money was obtained to support the native Christians until they could be sent home. This action was misunderstood and maligned at home by a popular author. He "caught a Tartar" in attacking Dr. Ament, who showed the true facts.

Admiral Kempff, the hero who had vindicated the noblest American traditions, instead of being rewarded as Admiral Dewey, for example, had been, received no thanks, and was relegated to routine duty in the Philippines. Yet on his righteous action was based the diplomacy which followed, in which the United States led the way. This was because our State Department had a definite policy, the policy inaugurated by George Washington and fixed by over a hundred years' precedents given by American merchants, explorers, and missionaries, whose theory and practice were the exact reverse of those of other Western peoples.

In Europe, the traditional idea concerning the countries of Asia was that they exist to be conquered and made part of European empires. At the antipodes of such a notion, which was based on the exploded dogma of the divine right of kings and the supposed privilege of the white race to dominate all others, was the American doctrine that Asian humanity does not exist for conquest or possession, but that her peoples are to be treated as brothers, to be taught, helped, and healed. Such a creed had been exemplified for over a century by Americans. President McKinley, Admiral Kempff, Secretary John Hay, and Elihu Root, as servants of the American people, merely declared to the world and registered the verdict which had long ago been given by American commerce, Christianity, and diplomacy.

In the looting of Peking, the savagery that lurks even in the civilized nations of Christendom broke loose, the Russians, French, and Germans showing especially relapse into needless slaughter of innocent people and brutal treatment of women. The main body of the Germans arrived after the real work of rescue was over. The Europeans, indeed all except the Americans, recognized Count von Waldersee as commander-in-chief of the so-called "punitive expeditions," that devastated the country in the name of God. Prince Ching and Li Hung Chang, as plenipotentiaries, acted with the foreign diplomatic agents at the council table.

The punishment of China was made so severe that the American conscience revolted. Several of the missionary societies refused to apply for or receive indemnity. After all just claims of American citizens had been settled, the government at Washington returned the unexpended remainder. This fund was immediately invested by the Peking government for the education of scores of Chinese youth in America.

After many long sessions and the voting down of many ridiculous propositions, the articles which were signed secured the integrity of China, indemnity to foreigners to the amount of four hundred and fifty million taels,—but none to the native Christians,—the abolition of the Tsungli Yamen, and the creation of a state department of foreign affairs, to rank above the Ministers of State, the death penalty upon eleven princes or mandarins named, the razing of the Taku forts, prohibition of the importation of arms and war material, provision for foreign guards at the capital, and the suspension of provincial examinations in the Boxer districts for five years. Where Baron von Ketteler was killed, a memorial structure was built, and an imperial prince went in person to Berlin and presented apologies to the Kaiser.

Again the poor people of China were called upon to endure an increase of the already crushing burdens of taxation, to pay within forty years the foreigners' mulct.

At Arlington, near Washington, are the eloquent tombs of Liscum and Reilly, who led our brave soldiers in China. In Saint James Park, London, is a statue in bronze of the English rescuers and defenders, with bas-reliefs showing men of two nations, British and American, of the same race and language, defending the legations. In better days to come, the heroes who refuse to fight unjustly will also be honored in enduring bronze.

The Russo-Japanese War: Its Result

While the United States, at the very first possible moment, kept faith and set a good example in withdrawing the American troops, Russia showed unmistakably her policy—as old as Peter the Great—of securing frontage on the sea, with a seaport open in winter. Baffled, after the Russo-Turkish War, in her hereditary march on Constantinople, by the firmness of Great Britain, she now turned her energies into railroad building eastward, and waited for a pretext that should enable her to dominate Manchuria, absorb Korea, humble Japan, and keep China in subservience. So at least the imperialistic Russian newspapers intimated.

When a Chinese general attacked some Cossacks, one of these pretexts was availed of. In revenge, the Russians drove a multitude of Chinese men, women, and children from the city into the Amoor River, slaughtering thousands of them. Another pretext was the state of disorder in Manchuria, to cure which, Russia insisted that it was necessary to occupy large portions of the province with her military forces. She claimed from China, for having assisted so largely in suppressing the Boxer uprising, the right to lease Manchuria, occupy Port Arthur, and, before she had people to occupy it, build Dalny, a great city, with granite piers providing facilities for prospective trade by land and sea. Yet all this time, and until 1904, beside military and railway men, the number of Russian subjects in Manchuria was not over one thousand. Japan, whose interests were equally great, had on the same soil at least ten thousand of her people engaged in legitimate business.

Although Russia promised to evacuate Manchuria by October 8, 1903, yet the only signs she showed were those of remaining. Her building was of the sort that meant permanent occupation. Japan took the alarm and made protest. The American government, considering that Manchuria belonged to China, made a new treaty at Peking, signed October 8, 1903, opening Mukden and An Tung to trade. Russia, however, refused to allow American consuls to enter.

While diplomacy was active between Tokyo and St. Petersburg, the Russians increased their army on land and gathered twenty-six war vessels at Port Arthur. As Japan and Great Britain had made an alliance, the island empire was able to face Russia boldly, especially as her new steel battleships were on their way from England, ready for immediate use. When diplomacy ceased on February 6, 1904, war at once began.

Those who knew the greatness of the Japanese people and what Japan, with foreign help, had been doing during the previous thirty-five years, in educating her people, in renovating the moral and physical condition of the masses, and in training an army and a navy, knew there was scarcely the ghost of a chance of success for the Russians. Bluster would never make up for good gunnery. On sea, it would fare with the Muscovites little better than it did with the Mongols. On land, a public school army would face a mass of brave but ignorant men. It was not a war of religion, of creed, of color, or of race, but a struggle in the interest of truth and justice. The field of battle would be on China's soil and in Chinese waters.

In three days, one third of Russia's navy was damaged or destroyed. Within sixty hours, two divisions of the Mikado's army were in Korea, and in the first battle, on the Yalu River, the Russians were beaten. Then followed victory after victory for the Japanese. Port Arthur, after a long siege, surrendered January 1, 1905. On March 10, after a three weeks' fight, Mukden, the goal of the war, was entered. The second or Baltic Russian fleet was destroyed on May 27. Intelligence, science, the modern spirit, unity of counsel, thorough preparation, first-class generalship, honesty, and valor had prevailed over medieval methods and spirit, division in council, bureaucratic corruption, and poor leadership.

By invitation of the President of the United States, peace plenipotentiaries from the Czar and the Mikado met at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and agreed upon terms of peace. The treaty was signed September 5, 1905. China was allowed no voice in these deliberations, the results of which so vitally affected her own interests. Southern Manchuria became, for a time at least, virtually a Japanese, and the central and northern part a Russian possession, and Korea was absorbed in the Japanese Empire.

Awakened China

The key to the real history of awakened China, since 1895, may perhaps be found in an imperial autograph proclamation issued in May of that year, which declared that "henceforth the truth will be supported by the State." China's most deeply seated disease was thus advertised. The document itself laid open the interior weakness and official corruption in the empire as frankly as an enemy or alien could do it. China's most prolific source of corruption is "face"; her greatest need is "truth in the inward parts."

Over a half century ago, Dr. S. Wells Williams wrote: "The want of truth and integrity weakens every part of the social fabric. China, alone, of all the civilized nations of the earth, has even now no national silver or gold coin and no bank bills, the only currency being a miserable copper-iron coin, so debased as not to pay counterfeiters to imitate it." Japan has had a gold and silver coinage since 1871, yet in popular notion, commercial integrity is higher in the older than in the younger country. Now, happily, China, awakening to the reality of what was stated long ago, seems more and more determined to rely on showing the true inwardness of things than of hiding or saving the "face" of them.

After the treaty of Portsmouth, in September, 1905, the Mikado's minister, Baron Komura, went to Peking. China accepted the situation, realizing that for generations to come that part of her territory, most sacred in the history of the Manchu dynasty and most promising in her future development, must remain in the hands of Russia and Japan,—which would doubtless soon, by absorbing Korea, become a continental power. As matter of fact, the once peninsular kingdom, with its twelve million souls, was made a province of Japan, under the name of Chosen (Morning Calm) in August, 1910.

Nippon and Muscovy began in earnest to develop trade and railways in Manchuria. The former aimed to connect the Russian and Chinese systems with those in Korea, so that with steamer communication from Tsuruga to Fusan and Vladivostok, making a ferry of the Sea of Japan, she would be in quick and easy touch with Europe. Russia perfected her transatlantic lines of railway. In 1910 the two peoples lately at war entered into a compact of friendship, with mutual purpose to maintain their rights in Manchuria. They also rejected a proposition from Washington to have the railways on Chinese soil open to international capitalization.

Yuan Shi Kai


Soon after the conclusion of the Chino-Japanese War, Yuan Shi Kai, who in Korea and at home had made a reputation for energy and patriotism, had been selected to do the work of creating a modern army, with uniform weapons, equipment, and commissariat according to the best models. For several years, and with great energy, Yuan gave himself to this work until a creditable force of infantry, cavalry, artillery, and engineers was organized, while many young men were sent to Europe to study in its military schools. Later, through one of the outbreaks at court, between the various struggling and conflicting parties, this mandarin was deprived of his rank under the "face" of (imaginary) rheumatism and retired to private life, but the work went on.

Meanwhile there was a great exodus of native students from every province in the Chinese Empire to Japan. In mind, they were exactly like the Japanese of fifty years before, for most of these eager youths imagined that they could learn the secrets of Western civilization in a few months, and having imbibed the knowledge necessary, could reconstruct old China in a very few years. Turning with contempt from foreigners, missionary or commercial, to their fellow Asiatics, with great expectations and not infrequently with seditious motives and anti-dynastic hostility, they hastened to Tokyo to the number of twenty thousand or more, giving the resident Chinese minister and the Japanese government a problem in keeping them in moral harness. The differences in spirit and manners and the difficulties of language between the Chinese and Japanese, added to those of personal finance, chilled the noble rage of these enthusiastic young fellows, thus unduly tested. More than half of them soon returned, some with just enough knowledge to make them dangerous. Returning to China, they led riotous demonstrations against their magistrates at home with a view of influencing the government to drive the Japanese out of Manchuria. Thousands, however, remained in Japan, becoming pupils who realized the greatness of the noble tasks still in the future before them. Hundreds of Chinese girls were sent to Japan and to Western countries. Nearly five hundred students, including scores of "indemnity students," have come to the United States at the suggestion of the government at Washington, to be educated from the funds returned from the overcharge of the Boxer indemnity. These Chinese students abroad, male and female, have altered their coiffure, dress in Western fashion, hold annual conventions, belong to cosmopolitan clubs, and in every way are endeavoring to absorb what is best in the world's civilization.

At home in China, economic and intellectual reconstruction proceeded rapidly. Vernacular newspapers started up in the seaports, cities, and provinces. Events, persons, and tendencies are discussed with startling freedom, which often in the foreign settlements runs into license, revealing a love of scandal and depths of immorality that are horrible. Yet there is steady improvement in Chinese journalism.

Even more wonderful is the reconstruction of education. The old examination halls are deserted or in ruins. Imperial edicts called for the creation of a national system of public schools to be sustained by taxation. By the decree of 1910, English is made the official language in all the higher scientific and technical schools. The curriculum of the civil service examinations has been entirely modernized. The difficulty of finding competent teachers has been one of the greatest impediments to the educational progress of China. Nevertheless, the desire and intention to master the secrets of Western progress and a perception of the necessity of being equal to the other nations in modern knowledge are manifest both in the government and among the people. The old objections, criticism and denunciation of Christian missionary work, have weakened. All teachers of religion find a more free spirit of inquiry and open-mindedness to receive new ideas.

Even the riots, which break out from time to time, in which foreign property is destroyed and the lives of teachers are menaced or lost, are no real indication that the Chinese people decline enlightenment and a better civilization. On the contrary, the real reason for mob violence in China is the same as in Japan before 1868. The object is to embroil the government with the treaty powers, so that the Manchu rule at Peking may be overthrown and the people be benefited. However blind or foolish they may be who choose such a method to improve their condition, the real reason for these outbursts of popular violence is not what the foreigner, who at once seeks money or vengeance, is apt to imagine.

The real danger now before the Chinese is, that in their eagerness to adopt the best that the world can offer, they will fail to understand the true principles that underlie Christian civilization, and will accept a travesty or distortion of them. Hence the determination of leading men in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States to establish at a central point in China, probably Chang Sha, a great university, that shall affiliate with it the various foreign schools and colleges now on the soil. The plan is to have hostels, in which the particular theory or principles of each sect or denomination may be taught, while the central university shall be devoted to pure science and the highest order of instruction.

In political matters, steady progress has been made. Imperial princes have traveled abroad. Various commissions have been sent out by the Peking government to study the armament, re-sources, and methods, but especially constitutional history and procedure of Western nations. Eminent men, both Chinese and Manchu, have repeatedly visited the Western countries, making special investigations,—educational, military, naval, judicial, political, and economic. While thus, in vital contact with the great nations, China is acting out her own proverb, "The aged must learn from the younger," there is growing up in Hawaii and the United States a generation of children born of Chinese parents, who will be Americans, and, in spite of the barbarians in our own land, they will help to lead China into the world's brotherhood. The system of provincial assemblies has already been established, but the eager reformers, who are in haste to have a national legislative assembly which has been promised by the imperial decree, have been disappointed by repeated postponements,—as was the ease in Japan, from 1868 until 1889. A parliament in China means the transfer of their power by the Manchus to the people. One sign, trivial to us, but deeply significant to the Chinese people, is the choice of a propitious day (January 30, 1911), when Chinamen all over the world were permitted and encouraged to cut off their queues—first the badge of conquest and then of loyalty—and thus wear their hair like civilized male humanity.

The "Yellow Peril" is the nightmare of the guilty and the selfish in the Occident, but the Chinese, confronted by multiplying dangers from the "White Peril," have strenuously resisted the importation of opium and prohibited its growth at home, with results that are hopeful.

At the death, in 1908, of the empress dowager, or Holy Mother, preceded the day before by the decease of the young emperor, there was a great display of the paraphernalia of woe and the elaborate apparatus for confusing and keeping off the evil spirits. This was probably the last of the great spectacular funerals, requiring millions of dollars for display, besides heavy drafts necessary for the expenses of the journey to Mukden, in Manchuria; all of which has to be paid for in taxation by the common people.

In the development of communications, China has gone ahead rapidly. Her purpose is to keep in her own hands the control of railways and telegraphs, to build them as far as possible with her own money, or to borrow from foreign nations in such a way as not to tie her own hands, and to educate her own sons to be the surveyors, road-builders, engineers, and railway managers. Already Chinese students, educated abroad, have surveyed, built, and maintained creditable railways. The main line between Peking and Kalgan, opened in 1910, was constructed solely by Chinese labor, under the sole direction of Chinese engineers. The purpose is to have trunk lines from Canton to Peking, and through the great valleys of the empire, north, south, east, and west, where nature has already furnished natural highways, along which the engineering difficulties will be least. One great line is planned also northwestward through Mongolia. Other lines will connect westward with the Russian, in the southwest with the British, and in the south with the French roads, in Siberia, India, and Annam respectively. The comparative ease and thoroughness with which educated Chinese have already constructed and equipped railroads excites the surprise of British and American engineers. In telegraphy, the "lightning threads," as the natives call the wires, traverse and are being spread all over the empire. In the large cities telephones are no longer luxuries, but necessities.

The coal of China probably equals, in its possible workable supply, all the rest of the world's store, and the iron is situated near the coal. In some places the houses are built against the great black strata, which, visible at the surface, show by their weathering that this fuel has been exposed for thousands of years without being used. As the power of Pittsburg to produce steel altered the economic complexion of the world and dictated history, so now the fact that the Chinese are able to produce and lay down pig iron in San Francisco, and farther east, more cheaply than it can be made in America, marks the beginning of another economic revolution. In other branches of enterprise the Chinese are moving forward, building and working their own weaving and spinning mills for the production of textile fabrics in cotton, woolen, flax, and hemp. American finance is aiding in the railway development of China. In a few years, however, Asia will be economically and industrially independent of Europe.

While many nations have helped in opening China, to whom is due the greater credit of opening the Chinese heart? In linguistic scholarship and mastery of the languages of Asia, geographical exploration, and penetrating statecraft by the men in their superb civil service, of which Macartney, Elgin, Parkes, Satow, Aston, Wade, Hart, Parker, and many others are shining examples, the British have excelled. Of all living writers Professor E. H. Parker has in his books given us the most comprehensive idea of the Chinese, ancient and modern. Americans, led by Dr. Arthur H. Smith, have striven to understand the mind and open the heart of the Far Easterner. Very remarkable also has been the progress made by American women, as physicians, artists, and friends, in learning the true nature of Chinese womanhood, and the real worth of Manchu ladies of the court.

By invitation of the empress dowager, Miss Katharine A. Carl lived some months in the imperial palace, while painting the portrait of the empress dowager, which the imperial lady presented to the American people, to be exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition at St. Louis, in 1906. Professor Headland has opened for us the Chinese child's world. Mrs. Conger, wife of the American minister, not only received audience of the empress dowager, but invited to her own house the Manchu princesses and Chinese court ladies. These interchanges of courtesy between women reared under different civilizations are as important in good influence as trade, battles, or diplomacy, for by them the way is prepared for mutual understanding and appreciation.

The "Diffusion Society" has excelled in the intellectual regeneration of China. With tons upon tons of printed matter in the Chinese language it has spread all over China a knowledge of foreign nations and their great men and women, and the wonders of history and science. Whatever can enlighten a hermit people, such as the Chinese long were, seems to have been attempted in print. Rev. Young J. Allen, scarcely known to fame, gave his life to this unique work. Such men as Williams, Ashmore, Martin, Rockwell, and a host unnamed, and such women as Miss Field, Mrs. Headland, Mrs. Little, with their sisters of the pen, have published the truth about the Middle Kingdom and her people.

Even in diplomacy, Americans have long striven to understand the Chinese and to apply the Golden Rule. In 1899, Secretary of State John Hay secured from the governments of Europe and Japan an agreement to respect the rights of China and to observe the principle of "the open door" of welcome and equality of opportunity to all nations. At the opening of the war in 1904, through Mr. Hay's insistence, both Russia and Japan agreed to restrict the field of hostilities and to maintain the integrity of China.

Those who understand the Chinese heart and have sincere sympathy—the key to interpretation—will make the best conquest of China. Of no nation or people can it be said more truly than of those who strive to gain victory over the Chinese,—

"Who overcomes by force

Hath overcome but half his foe."

China will in the long run wear out and overcome every conqueror that tries to conquer her people.

China: a Republic

To preserve the life of the oldest of nations, the time had come when in China men must shorten their hair and women lengthen their feet.

Both of these old fashions, of queues and of bound feet, were symbols—the one of a political, the other of a domestic form of slavery. China's vital needs were a keener sense of personality in the individual, more cohesion in the body-politic, and a living faith in the unity of law and its Creator. In order to survive, the commonwealth must take on the features of a modern state. Race pride must become patriotism. Without these changes, China could not live.

Would the necessary transformation come through evolution, or by revolution? After aeon-old adherence to civic order, would this new freedom to man and woman be abused, or would it tend to a larger life?

China's back must be turned upon other things, besides the three-century-old badge of conquest imposed by the Manchus on the head of the males and the token of social slavery fastened by immemorial fashion upon the feet of women, if a modern society, able to compete with western nations, or even with its next-door neighbor, Japan, were to be built up.

All true progress, through adoption of what is apparently new, springs from a deeper insight and clearer apprehension of what is old and tried. This is the truth underlying the myth of the "Golden Age," which stagnant nations locate in the past. Returning to pre-ancient principles, the Chinese must drop medieval forms of ancestor worship, study birth control, in plants, animals, and men, and make selection of the better elements for the improvement of life in all its forms. They must seek for quality, instead of quantity or numbers, in the household, the country's population, the soil, and the products of the earth, air, and sea. The powers of nature must be tamed and harnessed to the service of man and the newer inventions and material forces of the West must be adopted. China must face the logic of facts in that industrial revolution which has affected every civilized nation. She must seek for unity, bury her interminable intestine quarrels, strip the military province governors of their power, and win the confidence, even as she now has the sympathy, of foreign nations.

To effect these beneficent results, the putting on of a new mind is of far more importance than wealth of material. It was the changed mental attitude and interior intellectual preparation, even more than the external impact, that made the New Japan. China has the capacity. Her need is of the new spirit and outlook.

In attempting to interpret the past and forecast the future, we must look first at agriculture and the soil; for these together form the foundation of all wealth. Yet although the Chinese have been "farmers for forty centuries" they have neglected two relatively modern and vitally progressive ideas. The first is the proper selection of seeds. The second is the combating and control of both parasites and the diseases of plants and animals.

In very recent years these principles in the modern colleges on the soil of China have been grasped and put into effect. They open a new era of Chinese agriculture, improving while increasing the yield. With afforestation of the bare hills and proper engineering for the guidance of her rivers and water flow, the famines, that have so long afflicted and desolated China, will have become the forgotten episodes of history—recalled only by the inquiring scholar. China is not over-populated, except in the river valleys. The opening of her mines and underground resources, and the establishment of manufactures will re-distribute, beneficially, the whole nation. There are too many farmers and not enough diversified industries.

The China that has been thus far able to survive all changes and persist through the ages is the resultant of many minds and the human toil of mind and body of pre-ancient time, of the recorded centuries, and of recent years, when altruistic aliens in China's harvest field gave mind, life, and health to "bind the same sheaf." The creation of modern China is the work of innumerable men and women, known and unknown. To neither alien nor native is the credit wholly due, either for accomplishment or for hope. Philosophy and education turn sight into insight, interpret phenomena, save man from stagnation, prevent society from relapse, and keep the lamp of promise brightly burning.

Besides illustrating the principle that all true progress springs from a deeper apprehension of what is old and tried, it is well for both native and alien to note that China herself has in large measure furnished, in the person of her own philosophers, the new mind which fits the common-wealth for wholesome change. Given the needed stimulus from without, the reinforced Chinese need hardly go very far beyond their own resources for mental equipment. Confucius did indeed teach a system, of thought and of conduct, expressed chiefly in etiquette, that has most admirably formed the culture of a fourth of the human race. In its various interpretations and representations, it has aided Korea, Japan, and the nations of eastern Asia in their onward march.

Beside that reconstruction of Chinese thought which was noticed in Chapter XII, the new man with the new mind appeared in the sixteenth century (1472-1528), in the person of Wang Yang Ming, who elaborated a philosophy, not of forms and ceremonies only, or a culture based wholly on things human and earthly. Wang, cultivating the intuitional method, taught men to look within and find the Source of all power. Those who would study Wang's system of thought in his writings, must read his book; but those who wish to see it developed in a body of culture, interpreted in action and its fruit visible in signal results, must turn to modern Japanese history. The makers of the New Japan, in the nineteenth century, probably without a single exception, were disciples of Wang Yang Ming (in Japanese, Oyomei).

Wang suffered the usual fate of seers and prophets, even to detraction, punishment, and exile, but was restored to honor; his teaching won favor and large acceptance, and after his death he was canonized. His vision and teachings have had much to do with the recasting of modern Chinese thought, the making of China's new mind, the overthrow of popular superstition, the galvanizing into life of deadly official inertia, and the creation of the New China. In deepest truth, a plastic mind was vitally necessary to meet the new problems confronting so old a society, because of the clash with western ideas and methods.

The frequent seizures of China's territory, after aggressive wars, so appalling to the Chinese, followed logically a dogma which was rejected by the United States, even from colonial beginnings. This arose from the doctrine of Church and State, begun by Charlemagne and the pope in A.D. 800, which developed into the conceptions of "Christendom" and "heathendom"; by which, in the fifteenth century, the world was divided by the papacy into halves and given to Spain and Portugal.

By further logical evolution, the doctrine in statecraft of "the balance of power" was elaborated. Under this ruling idea, the conscience of Christendom was debauched. More than one "nation of shopkeepers," in its lust for land and gold, virtually eliminated the eighth commandment from politics—whenever a weak nation was confronted by one with superior power. "Under all diplomacy, there must be a solid substratum of force," became the guiding motto not only of Sir Rutherford Alcock, the British minister to Japan in 1863 and in China from 1865 to 1871, but of others. Such a doctrine was totally opposed by so successful a diplomatist as Townsend Harris.

In view of the historic facts patent to the world during and after the Boxer uprising and the subsequent diplomacy, the Government at Washington, in 1908, notified Peking that it would cancel all claims for further indemnity and return what had been already paid, provided that the money thus released should be used for the education of Chinese youth in the United States.

This beneficent arrangement—the logical following out of the time-honored conviction and policy of the American people—again challenged the dogmas and reversed the record of the Old World, even though "Christian." Whereas, papal, imperial, and royal Europe—the Holy Roman Empire, with Pope, King, Czar, and Kaiser—made it a dogma, of both Church and State, that Asiatic and uncivilized nations existed to be exploited or conquered, the creed and practice of the United States, from the beginning, has been that these people were to be helped, healed, taught, and uplifted. President Washington declared that the blessings which we as a nation enjoyed were to be shared by others.

Under this arrangement, about twelve hundred Chinese, young men and women, have been educated, of are in American colleges. They are chosen after competitive examinations—nearly all the girls being daughters of Christian pastors.

It is now time to look at China as a republic. Is it a name only? Or, has there been a real transformation?

When at the inevitable fall of the Ta Tsing, or Great Bright dynasty of Manchu emperors, China became a republic, the movement, as in Japan's revolution of 1868, was largely one of students and "intellectuals," the mass of the people being but slightly enlightened or interested. New Japan arose out of an agglomeration of feudal units. China, that had abolished feudalism over two thousand years before, was a conglomerate of many countries, races, provinces, and communities, with few elements of political cohesion or powers of articulation, though the social and cultural bond was strong. The Chinese were illy fitted either to become a true nation or to form a modern government. Though the name of a republic might be chosen and even the American idea of a striped flag—significant of federal union and the equality of each province, large or small, in the national legislature—yet for the multitudinous units of local freedom, there were few elements of vital political union. One thinks rather of a boneless giant or a monstrous jellyfish—an organism with only the smallest degree of articulation. There existed an enormous mass of population below and the few agitators and leaders above, but the great middle term of a politically intelligent public, which only education and experience could slowly supply, was lacking.

The most formidable obstacle to concentration, unity, or harmony, however, lay in the racial, mental, and economic diversity between the North and South—such as Americans with civil war memories ought to be able to understand with some degree of sympathetic clearness. The men of the two sections are as different, in origin and temperament, as may well be conceived, even though called by one name and nominally of one race. One thinks of the Celto-Frankish and Teutonic peoples and their age-old wars. The southern Chinese, in origin, are largely of Malay descent, interested in the sea and accustomed to spread into other countries. The Northern Chinese are of Tartar and Manchu descent and men of interior land interests. In physical appearance, in mental processes, and in economic interests, the men of these sections are almost as two nations. The bond of the Chinese empire or republic is not political, but is almost wholly social and one of culture.

A full understanding of this fundamental fact furnishes a key to the events following the death of the young emperor in 1908 and that of the famous empress dowager soon after, and the regency of the reactionary Prince Chun. The unfulfilled promises, of a representative government and a modern constitution, provoked open rebellion, which was led by Dr. Sun Yat Sen, a southern Chinese, a Christian and a man of cosmopolitan culture. Opposed to him, in the north, arose Li Hung Chang's pupil and successor, Yuan Shi Kai, of whom we heard in Korea.

Again, as in the Japan of 1868, the southerners were, in the main, men of progressive mind, students, or those who had been abroad or under foreign teachers. The northerners, as a rule, were the conservatives, holding to the old monarchical forms and traditional ideas. In a large sense, here was a struggle of democracy and new ideas against aristocracy and tradition. There were great economic factors, also, which influenced the estrangement of these two sections.

The revolution, which started in 1910, in Canton, spread rapidly through the southern provinces and there was some fighting in 1911; in which year a republic was proclaimed, with Wu Ting Fang, former Chinese minister at Washing-ton, leading. Sun Yat Sen, after Yuan Shi Kai had declined the offer, was provisionally made president. In February, 1912, the boy-emperor abdicated, the monarchists acknowledged the Republic, and a Senate and House of Representatives were formed. When the members of this Congress met in Peking, in 1913, most of them were clad in foreign costume. The People's Party (Kuo-wing Tang) and the southern Chinese dominated the situation. In a joint session of the two houses, Yuan Shi Kai was elected president and Li Yuan Hung vice-president.

To foreign observers familiar with Yuan's career in Korea, such a choice was ominous for republican government. Having a military education, never out of Asia, and saturated with imperialism, Yuan could not brook the interference of a legislature. His methods for ridding himself of critics, rivals, and enemies were those of the firing squad and the executioner's axe. . He filled the offices with his friends and tools and when the Congress made protest, Yuan, on November 4, 1913, ordered the People's Party, after branding its members as rebels, to be dissolved. This left the Congress without a quorum and the southern provinces without representation. Yuan and the northerners were now in supreme power.

At Canton the discredited legislators formed a government under the leadership of Sun Yat Sen. Later, Li Yuan Hung was chosen president.

China was now in civil war. Roughly speaking, the North was militaristic and the South republican. Yuan, having abolished the Congress, now surpassing the example, his model, of the Tai Wen Kun of Korea, aspired to the throne. On December 12, 1915, he proclaimed a monarchy and fixed the date of his coronation for the following February.

The death of Yuan Shi Kai, on June 15, 1916, simplified the situation, but one more attempt was made to restore the Manchu monarchy, on July 1, 1917, the boy-emperor reigning only six days. The marching of provincial armies towards Peking caused a change and the Congress again assembled on the basis of the constitution of 1912, and in August proceeded to form a new constitution; but the age-old quarrels of North and South continued. In August of the next year, 1918, Hsu Shi Chang was chosen president to serve until 1923.

Just when wise men saw national bankruptcy approaching and no outlet to their troubles, the armistice in Europe seemed to open a way to unity. At Shanghai, in the foreign settlement, the northerners and southerners met, hoping to agree; but after months of debate, failed. Meanwhile Japan profited by the situation to strengthen her power in China in every way. Political disintegration increased. The Anfu club was pro-Japanese and strongly militaristic in sentiment. The Chili group trusted more to a peaceful policy. Both were in the North, but in 1920, the two factions came to blows in Peking. The Anfu men, being beaten, fled for shelter to the Japanese legation. The Chili faction was now uppermost.

In the south also, the splitting process, on account of quarrels which were largely over distribution of spoil, went on. The game seemed to be one for money and power, patriotism being more of a theory than of actual practice. The armies were personal, rather than national, or even provincial, though in total these bodies of mercenaries numbered over a million. Thus China's resources were wasted.

Through all these turnings and over-turnings, Japan hoped and waited for a united China in full sovereignty; for such a happy condition of things would add greatly to the prosperity of the island empire, which had become an industrial nation, depending in the main on China for raw materials. If Japanese gold has been, as so often alleged, used politically in China, it has been to secure some sort of stable government. For no other nation has been so wounded with that weapon which the Chinese are past masters in wielding—the boycott. In no instance did Japan, in pride, prestige, and prosperity, suffer more than when, after the publication of the twenty-one demands, the Chinese boycott was applied so vigorously that the government in Tokyo withdrew the Fifth or most infamous group.

On May 7, 1915, the Japanese ultimatum concerning Kiauchau was served. After four months of delay, China, hoping for help from some or all of the Occidental nations, which did not come, yielded and signed the agreement. Though the attitude of the United States restrained the aggressive spirit of Japan, the Lansing-Ishii agreement recognized Japan's "special interests" in China.

In reality, this was another blunder, significant of the temporary reversal of American policy. It meant the shutting of the "open door." It paralleled the mistake of a former administration in giving Japan "a free hand in Asia"—which resulted in hauling down the stars and stripes in Korea, calling home the American legation, and leaving our interests to the mercies of the Prussianized militarists of Japan, who promptly made conquest and extinguished the sovereignty of Korea, a nation with a noble history. It is not at, all improbable that if the Washington government had remained firm in upholding our treaty with Korea, Japan would not have broken hers, and embarked on her bumptious career in Asia.

Happily the results of the Washington Conference of 1921 were to ignore and abolish the "special interests" of any one nation in China, to reaffirm the doctrine of the "Open Door" and, implicitly, to end European conquest in Asia. In May, 1922, the Japanese signed the Shantung agreement.

Again in 1922, civil war broke out, in the conflicts between the armies of General Wu Pei, representing the Peking Government, and General Chang Tso Lin, whose retreat beyond the Great Wall and reported purpose were to found an independent republic in Manchuria and Mongolia.

China's vital problem is to establish on a sure and lasting basis the supremacy of one central government over the constitutionally limited sovereignty of the provinces, without destroying, but rather confirming the powers of both in harmony. This, the only system of federal government that can operate over a vast territory, has been demonstrated to be possible in the United States of America. To this living model, true patriots in China look with ever brightening hope, while wrestling manfully with the problem. At two conventions, one political and the other religious, held in China in the early summer of 1922, living issues were discussed with insight, ability, and invincible faith in a better China to come. In the one case federal union of all the provinces, after the American model, in the other the formation of one Chinese Christian church, independent of foreign control was the theme. In both conventions was the conviction that in great China as in the case of other nations, large and small, "Union makes strength"—the secret of long life for nations.

Meanwhile, as in the same field in which grow wheat and tares, the forces of education, enlightened economics, altruism and Christianity are energizing, along with those of waste and hate—some for the barn and others for the burning—in the shaping of a new China. There are those still toiling, even as nearly a century ago did the American pioneer educators. In the time of the fullness of their labors, the author of this book talked with many of them, as neighbors, friends, and fellow workers. They cherished the hope, as do those who still toil in altruism, that "the regeneration of China will be accomplished like the operation of leaven in meal, without shattering the vessel."

So the Master taught.

Outline of Chronology

[chronology 1 of 4] from China's Story by William Griffis
[chronology 2 of 4] from China's Story by William Griffis
[chronology 3 of 4] from China's Story by William Griffis
[chronology 4 of 4] from China's Story by William Griffis