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languages. When Mr. Burlingame was ap-
pointed Minister to Peking some years ago,
he met Butler in Paris, made him his pri-
vate secretary, and took him to China, where
he became familiar with the spoken Chi-
nese.

Mr. Burlingame always put him on a
footing of social equality. Wishing to go
into business, Butler left the American em-
bassy, and took a post in one of the great
American trading-houses. Subsequently he
went into the service of the Shanghai Navi-
gation Company. For some time past, the
Chinese officials and some of the rich Chi-
nese merchants have been watching care-
fully the operations of the Europeans in
steam navigation, supported by European
capital. These prudent, careful men de-
termined that, if there was any profit in the
trade, the Chinese should have it, and not
the/rtrt qui (foreign devil). Therefore they
began to buy steamships themselves, and to
run them to and from their own ports.
They organized the China Merchants' Steam-
ship Company. They put their own, and
not foreign, money into it. They purchased
the Shanghai Company's steamers, and But-
ler went into their employment. Still, these
Chinese, careful and economical as they are,
did not understand the business of running
steamships, for it is a business which re-
quires special training. These men were
cheated by Europeans in the quality of the
vessels sold, and they were held in great
contempt by Europeans and Americans who
kept lines of steamships in the East, and
who believed that their dominion over the
sea would never be successfully disputed by
the " pig-tails."

The Chinese concluded it would be well
to employ Europeans, at first, in the most



responsible positions. But the trouble has
been, that the Europeans have generally
tried to rob the Chinese when employed by
them. The owners of this new Chinese
line, including some of the most influential
men in the Chinese Government, put Butler
in charge of one of the most important de-
partments of the business, and authorized
hun to reorganize the service in his o^vn
way. He is a natural organizer, one of
those men who know how to put things in
their proper place, how to put down confu-
sion. He systematized the business, brought
order out of chaos, introduced economy,
enforced discipline, and rivaled the Euro-
peans in their steamship service. The re-
sult is, that after two years' work this Chi-
nese steamship company, instead of run-
ning at a loss, has earned over a million
dollars net profit. The prospect now is, that
it will earn very large annual dividends.

The Chinese official who is at the head
of the company told me that they considered
Butler not only a man of great ability, but
an honest man. He said that he was a very
safe adviser, and they regarded him as an
important agent in the future operations of
the company. Xow this Chinese company
own already thirty-six steamers. They are
bidding for the trade of the Pacific Ocean.
One of their vessels lately went to San
Francisco, and reduced the price of freight
to China. The American and European
lines are by no means easy at the appear-
ance of this great steamship fleet ; no one
knows where its operations will stop. As
these people learn more thoroughly the
steamship business, they will become more
formidable rivals to the Europeans, and, as
they are content with much less profit than
the European.s, and the business is conducted
at their own homes, and not with a distant
European basis, it is easy to see that the
time is soon coming when the vast trade of
the great Pacific Ocean will be in Chinese
hands.

Coal is an expensive article in China.
Supplies for steamers are brought from
Australia and Java. Now, there are im-
mense coal-fields in China. The Chinese
will not let the Europeans touch these coal-
fields under any circumstances, but they
can touch them themselves. Already they
\ have opened a vast colliery about eighty
miles from tide-water, at Tientsin ; a canal
from the mine to the ocean is about finished.
I The coal is owned by the same people who
! control the steamship company. This year



844



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



coal will be delivered to ships. If the Chi-
nese prefer to consume the coal in their
own vessels, instead of selling it to the
foreign steamers, it will not take long to
wipe out the foreign service, as the cost of
the coal will be so much less than that now
used by all steamers.

Butler is a leading man in this magnifi-
cent enterprise in China.

I have related this incident because it
bears on the question of the "color-line,"
and I write this from a city where the pres-
ence of twenty-six different nationalities has
obliterated all color-lines. There is a lesson
in Butler's life. He fought for his position
and won it. lie did not sulk for it, or cry
for it, or beg for it ; he commanded it. He
made himself the peer of men about him,
and they acknowledged it, as all men will
admit, when forced to meet the matter.
Men sought him, as they always seek men
who have advantages, either in brains or
experience. Interested as I am in the negro
question, it was to me a most important in-
cident to meet, on the seaboard of the great
Chinese Empire, an American negro, edu-
cated, capable, doing his work well, and a
leader among men.

Several weeks after meeting Butler, I
was with the King of the Hawaiians on
board the royal yacht of the King of Siam,
on the river Menam. On the way to the
capital of the country, Bangkok, the yacht
stopped for a moment at the custom-house,
in order to take on board some officials.
I noticed a negro sitting in the stem of
a boat, and inquired about him. A mer-
chant said to me : " He is at the head of
the custom-house on the river. It is a very
responsible place. This negro is a man of
considerable education, is honest and capa-
ble ; so he was appointed to the place, and
discharges the duties well." I had no op-
portunity to speak to this man, but I coimt-
ed it as another incident of my trip that I
had met another negro who was doing credit
to himself. I have written this letter for
the sole purpose of presenting these facts
to the younger colored people in America,
that they may know that their race can
hold itself if it will.

[Mr. Armstrong adds to the above val-
uable information a few notes on travel,
which we are sure will interest our readers :]

The city of Bangkok contains about four
hundred thousand people. Through the
center of it flows a large river; from the
river canals are cut in every direction ; and,
while most of the people five on land, very
many thousands live on the water entirely.
A raft is made of hamhoo, and tied to the
river-bank. A house is then built on the
raft. In it one or more families live. The
back part of the house, or the part toward
the river-bank, is used for living purposes,
while the front part, facing the river, is



used for stores or manufacturing purposes.
One wishing to do some shopping hires a
canoe, rowed by two men. This canoe is
moved along the river, and stops in front of
the houses. The passenger, sitting in it,
leans over the side and inspects the articles
in the house on the raft ; when tlie trade is
over the canoe moves off to another place.
It is, in fact, a river-carriage. These water-
houses extend for three miles up and down
the river. They rise and fall with the tide.
In rowing the canoes or boats, the men
stand up, facing the bows. The oar is
fastened to a stake in the boat, and the
rower dips the oar in and pushes it while
standing.

About one year ago the Queen of Siam,
while passing up the river in a royal barge,
was run down by a steam-tug. There were
numbers of people standing by, but none
of them dared to rescue her, because she
was sacred, and could not be touched ; so
the poor woman went to the bottom. Just
before we arrived at Bangkok she was cre-
mated; a vast temple was built for the
occasion, and an altar of sandal-wood was
erected in the center of it. In this the
body was placed, and burned to ashes.
Festivities continued for ten days. The
total cost of the cremation was above one
half million dollars. Cremation is univer-
sally practiced in Siam. In many cases
the bodies are taken to a temple and ex-
posed in the open air ; vultures and carrion-
birds come down in dense flecks, and con-
sume the flesh in a few moments. The
bones are then burned, and the ashes are
scattered in the waters of the sacred river
Menam.

The Siamese are a pleasant people, but
very lazy. Rice and fish are cheap, and if
the people can get this food they will not
work. Few of them are forehanded. The
consequence is, that the Chinese come in,
get the best lands, and do the best part of
the business. In the end the four million
Siamese will pass away, and the country
will be in the hands of the Chinese entirely.
It is a case of the " survival of the fittest."

The Chinaman is the New-Englander of
the Pacific in his energy and pluck. The
Chinaman of the northern part of the em-
' pire docs not emigrate. Though he is poor,
he prefers his mud-hut and his associations
to foreign lands; no inducements so far
have brought him out of his home. The
southern Chinese, living along the coast, in
the vicinity of Canton, are the people who
emigrate. All who have left are, however,
but a fraction of the people in only one
province. California holds seventy-five
thousand of these people; Australia, per-
haps, as many more. What are these num-
bers to the forty millions of one province
alone in south China ?

I do not despise their religion. Let no



CORRESP ONDENCE.



845



one despise any religion which contains any
good. The central doctrine of their religion
is anceaUjr-worship. It is believed that the
spirit of the father, or ancestor, wanders
about In an unhappy, restless condition,
unless it is worshiped. While every Chi-
naman worships, therefore, the spirits of
his forefathers, he is always on the lookout
for a son who will, in turn, worship his
spirit. This is no idle business with these
people. It is no Sunday affair. It will not
do to meet in the temples and say we ought
to worship our forefathers. They do it. It
is a practical belief, which controls every
man's life. The father, while living, is the
head of the family, and the profoundest re-
spect is paid to him till he dies. If a Chi-
naman has money, he would starve himself
just as quickly as he would allow his father
to go without support. Of the thousands
of poor "coolies," or laborers, who have
gone from China to the Hawaiian Islands to
work on sugar-plantations at eight dollars
per month, the majority remit money to their
parents ; so a missionary in Hong-Kong told
me; much of it went through his hands. 1
But the worship of ancestors requires pres-
ence at the tomb. So the Chinaman, the \
moment he has obtained a little money, re-
turns home and worships at the tomb. But j
every Chinaman must have a son, as I have |
said. (Of course, under this system of re-
ligion early marriages are the rule. ) Prob-
ably every one of the seventy-five thousand
Chinamen in California is a married man, |
but has left his wife at home. It is clear ,
to me that they would not hesitate to bring
them — firstly, if they could afford it; sec-
ondly, if they felt secure of property and
liberty. The Chinaman has found that, so
far as he is concerned, the treatment given
him by the proud and Christian civilization
of America is more unjust than that of the
most despotic of any taotai (magistrate) of '
his native land. j

It ia said in America : " Oh, these Chi- j
ncse don't intend to stay ; they will not mix
with our people. They make money, and !
go home ! " True ! But here are' some
twenty " treaty ports " in China and Japan '
opened to Europeans and Americans. These '
people come here, engage in business, make ,
money, and go home. There is not an Eng-
lishman, or a Frenchman, or an American,
or a German, who does not frankly admit
that he came here to make money, and that
he .shall return home at the earliest possible
moment to spend it. Make one of these j
foreigners believe that his life must be {
spent here, in the East, and he would look
about for his razors. |

Here, in Singapore, the Chinese are at 1
the head. Look at the map, and you will j
see the commanding position of this place, i



at the southern extremity of Asia. Here
the trade of the East centers. The English
took it over sixty years ago, when its popu-
lation numbered about four thousand, all
Malays. Now there are one hundred and
thirty-seven thousand people, and of those
sixty thousand are Chinese, who have come
from China, a thousand miles away. All
that is valuable, in the way of trade, or
business of any kind whatsoever, is in their
hands. The Malay can not stand against
them for a moment. They outdo him at
every turn. Trade from Japan, northern
China, the Malaysian peninsula, the vast
archipelago of immense islands which in-
clude Sumatra and Borneo, stretching away
for three thousand miles to the skirts of the
Australian Continent, centers here. Thirty
languages are spoken, but the Malay is the
language of trade, because it is easy to
learn. Though, as I say, the Malaysians
are of little account here, they were, at the
start, the dominant race, and their language
became the medium of conversation between
the score of races which meet here. Though
they have got into the background, in the
great struggle, they have left their language
to the common use, till some other takes its
place.

The similarity of the Malays to the Ha-
waiians is striking. Though these two na-
tions are five thousand miles apart, and
there is no tradition of any intercourse in
the ancient days, even the languages have
words in common. For death, the Malay
says " mate," the Hawaiian says " make " ;
for eye, the Malay says " mata," the Ha-
waiian says " muka." For want of thrift,
laziness, and supreme indifference to the
future, the Malay and Hawaiians are one
and the same. The Chinamen will soon be
masters of the situation here, and the Malay
will submit to it.

W. N. A.



HARVEST-MITES OR JIGGERS.
Afeaitrg. .Editors.

The minute creature about which Dean
V. R. Manly asks for more definite informa-
tion, in your September number, is undoubt-
edly the Lcptus Amencamis, described and
figured by me six or seven years ago in the
" American Naturalist." It is a minute, six-
legged mite of the genus Lcptus, now gen-
erally recognized as but the larval form of
some eight-legged T roinhidium. Being
away from home, I can not now give you the
exact references, bui may send you more
particulars at some future time. Respect-
fully,

C. V. RlLET.

Alba.nt, New Yokk, August 31, ISSl.



846



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



EDITOR'S TABLE.



DR, FAJRBAIRN AKD THE SYNTHETIC
PniLOSOPIlY.

IT was the aim of Bacon to bring the
great divisions of knowledge into
unity. Tired of the sterility of the old
philosophies, he proposed a new one that
should be both a true interpretation of
nature and lead to grand utilities. He
divined the method, bat his imagination
outran the resources of his time, and he
-could not execute it

Three centuries of science have now
made the fulfillment of Bacon's concep-
tion not only possible, but an impera-
tive intellectual necessity; and, among
the thinkers of this age who have most
clearly perceived and most strongly
felt the need of attempting this formi-
dable task, is Mr. Herbert Spencer. He
entered upon it as a life-work, and has
now devoted twenty-five years of un-
remitting thought to the undertaking.
As his system is predominantly con-
structive — a binding together of differ-
ent orders of ideas by far-reaching
principles — he has called it "The Syn-
thetic Philosophy." It is now in its
main features an accomplished fact,
and its appearance is probably the most
considerable intellectual event of our
times. The periodical press is slow to
note the significant incidents of its
progress, and so nothing remains but
for "The Popular Science Monthly" to
repair the omission.

The project, in the nature of the
case, was extensive, and it was certain-
ly a worthy thing for a man of ability
to forego the common aims of ambi-
tion, and dedicate his powers to what
required prodigious work, and was
even then generally thought to be im-
practicable and impossible. But, no-
ble us was the scheme, it was neither
received with the sympathy nor sus-



tained with the liberality that such an
undertaking deserved. Nevertheless,
Spencer's system of thought has made
its way so successfully as to have be-
come of cosmopolitan import before it
is yet completed. His elaborate works
I have been reproduced in all the lead-
1 ing modern languages, and they are
making a powerful impression upon the
cultivated mind of the different coun-
tries where they are circulated. They
I are ably criticised in the leading re-
j views of these countries, and books are
multiplying on every hand, directed to
, the exposition, defense, and refutation
of their doctrines.

We have referred to the unfavor-
able reception of his system. That his
I views should have met with a formi-
dable resistance was natural and proper,
but criticism did not stop here. The
attacks of reviewers were too often ac-
companied by gross personal disparage-
ment. His adversaries, assuming them-
selves to be the guardians of great and
sacred interests, often wrote with pas-
sion, and indulged in the tone of de-
I preciation wholly foreign to the pur-
I poses of honorable controversy. The
I critics are, however, beginning to find
that nothing is gained in the long-run
by such unfairness. The system pro-
I nounced worthless and impotent, or
potent only for mischief, is steadily
gaining upon the world's favorable ap-
preciation. Spencer has been again and
j again ostentatiously "crushed," and all
men called to witness how the dust of his
unsubstantial reputation has gone to the
winds. Yet there stands the solid fabric
of his labors unharmed, the stronger
for every attack, and becoming more
stable with each addition as its author
steadily proceeds with his task.

"What we are now called upon to



EDITOR'S TABLE.



847



note is that the abler men who have lat-
terly ventured to cope with his thought
no longer disparage him. In this re-
spect til ere is a marked change of tone
on the part of his critics. They recog-
nize that his work has in it great ele-
ments of valuable induence, worthy of
cordial praise and even of emphatic
eulogy.

Tills more Uberal spirit is well illus-
trated in a recent English criticism of
Spencer's doctrines that is attracting at-
tention. Principal Fairbairn, of Brad-
ford, was appointed to deliver the
"M^uir Lectures" at the University of
Edinburgh last winter, and recognizing
the growing influence of the synthetic
philosophy he devoted three of these
lectures to an examination of it. They
were reported at the time, and awak-
ened so much interest that the author
was led to make an extended restate-
ment of his case, which has appeared
in the July and August numbers of the
'• Contemporary Review."

Dr. Fairbairn is a subtle and thor-
oughly trained metaphysician, and he
devotes himself mainly to an attack
upon the introductory portion of Spen-
cer's scheme, where he discusses the
limits of knowledge to find the true
sphere of philosophy. "With Dr. Fair-
bairn's general argument we have here
no concern, but are interested in its
opening passage, which reads as fol-
lows:

Mr. Herbert Spencer's philosophy lias at
least one conspicuous merit — it can claim to
be the most comprehensive, or rather ambi-
tious, of English philosophies. It Is, in its
psychology, distinctively English and empir-
ical ; but, in its spirit and endeavor, distinc-
tively encylopcdic and transcendental. In
many resptcts its constructive and compre-
hensive character entitles it to cordial admira-
tion and praise. Its outlook, backward, for-
ward, and outward. Is so immense that it
powerfully affects the imaifination, which the
traditional philosophy of England has, with
the splendid but only the more illustrative
exception of Berkeley, been too prosaic and
narrow to touch or to stir. To conceive a sys-
tem so positive and universal as Mr. Spencer's



is in itself an education to an age, and its ex-
traordinary influence is an evidence that the
modem intellect is neither so skeptical nor so
critical as it Ls said to be, but loves, as intel-
lect ever has done, to believe a system, stated
in terms it thinks it understands, that prom-
ises to explain the universe presented to its
senses and represented in its thought. The
English mind has been rather inclined to
make merry over the pliilosophies of Ger-
many, especially the Hegelian, which has so
adventurously essayed to fit the universe into
its dialectic network; but the approbation
which has greeted Mr. Spencer's attempts at
a "synthetic philosophy" is proof enough
that the English contempt for transcendental-
ism Is due to insular peculiarities, not to say
ignorance, rather than to intellectual disabil-
ity or insufficient sympatliy with constructive
aims. HLs system, indeed, seems so little
metaphysical, so concrete, intelligible, real,
it so speaks the language of science, is made
so striking by brilliant generalizations, and
so vivid by abundant, even superabundant
illustrations, that it has come, to a people in-
clined by their mental habits to despise meta-
physics and respect science, almost as a reve-
lation of the true nature and method of crea-
tion.

This is a novel strain for an adver-
sary of Spencer. It is no small compli-
ment to pay a system of thought that
its largeness and power are attested by
its influence upon the national mind,
and that even during its promulgation.
It may seem ungracious not to accept
so generous a statement as wholly sat-
isfactory; but, in accounting for the
"remarkable influence" ascribed to
Spencer's system, Dr. Fairbairn seems
strangely to have missed what we re-
gard as its most important element.
He recognizes its ambitious claims and
its specious character, which make their
appeal to a deficient national culture ;
but he was not ignorant that tliis sys-
tem has in it also sterling elements
which have made their successful ap-
peal to the most sober and thoroughly
instructed minds of England. Admis-
sions made in the course of his discus-
sion, if placed at its threshold, would
have very materially altered the com-
plexion of the opening passage wo have
quoted.



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



Although combating various of
Spencer's positions, chiefly on the meta-
physical side, Dr. Fairbairn fully ac-
cepts the doctrine of evolution. Many
give it a cautious and qualified approval
in the lower sphere of life. Dr. Fair-
bairn takes it without reservation as
a comprehensive law, true not only in
the domain of inferior life, but also in
the higher sphere of humanity, and
emphatically in the realm of relig-
ious sentiments and ideas. lie says:
" There is to be no attempt here to
question or deny the doctrine of evo-
lution; it is indeed frankly accepted.
. . . The crfcational method is here
held to be evolutional. Its history nar-
rates a progress and exhibits a process
best named developmental. Without
this notion a philosophy of religion
were impossible, for without it there
could be no scientific study of man
and his religions. We can not refuse
to apply the principle or idea that un-
derlies and vivifies the study of man in
history to the interpretation alike of
man and nature, to the master-prob-
lems that relate to their being and be-
coming, to their birth and growth."

Now, this great principle is the per-
vading and characteristic idea of the
synthetic philosophy. It is there first
expounded as a universal law, devel-
oped as a method of thought, and car-
ried out in its main applications. Dr.
Fairbairn holds it to be true, and a
truth of such moment, that its establish-
ment makes an epoch even in the study
of rehgion. But is this fact that Spen-
cer's system has a great and all-influenc-
ing truth at its foundation which he has
so profoundly mastered that he has been
enabled to throw it into philosophic
form — is this fact to count for nothing
in estimating the elements of its ad-
mitted " remarkable success " ? What
kind of a notion has Dr. Fairbairn of
the value which his readers attach to
the quality of truthfulness in systems
of thought submitted to their judg-



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 106 of 110)