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BriiUc over the Tearl Rh








Copyright, igot
By Dana Estes & Company

All rights reservea





With the opening of the twentieth century China begins to cease to remain an iso-
lated empire, impenetrable, mysterious, unknown, and to become a part of the federa-
tion of the world. As the narrow-minded Greek regarded every foreigner as a
barbarian, so we have been brought up to regard with a sort of contemptuous conde-
scension the character, the religion, the literature, and the institutions of this great
people. As the territorial barriers are breaking down, so also are the barriers of prej-
udice and misconception. The child is living that will see the Mongolian ranking with
the races of the West and vying with them in the strenuous competitions of civilisation.
Stirred from her palsy, and stimulated by contact with the industrial and commercial
activities which are circling the earth like electric wires, China will emerge from her
seclusion; and her people, whether under one government, or seeking the convenience
of separate forms of national life, will take their place in the march of common

China's beginning has no date. It is lost in the mists of the morning of the world.
She antedates the rise of Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, and she saw their fall.
Confucius was a religious teacher five hundred years before Christ. Whether the
original seed from which China sprang came from the banks of the Nile or of the
Caspian Sea, the soil in which it lodged was that watered by the Yellow River. Gain-
ing little by conquest, absorbing her conquerors, originally' restricted in territory,
China now stretches over sixty degrees of longitude and thirty-four degrees of latitude,
and embraces every variety of soil and climate. To-day four hundred million people
acknowledge her rule. Her history, after all, is the common history of every race. In
her long line of rulers have been exemplified the wisdom and military genius of a
Caesar and the debaucheries of a Nero. She has had her Augustan era and her Renais-
sance. Mencius was her Socrates. She has had her Helen of Troy, her Joan of Arc,
and her Catharines. Her poets have sung, her novelists and dramatists have written,
and her literature is rich. She searched the sky and her astronomers studied the stars
before Ptolemy. Her engineers built canals and bridges, and her Great Wall is an evi-
dence of their skill, and of the industiy of her people. Medicine early opened its pages
to her students. Other sciences also gave of their beneficent stores to lier welfare.
Printing was invented in China nearly nine hundred years before it became known in
Europe. Her historical and encyclopa?dic records are extensive. Education, though
of a limited range, has been widespread among her male population, being the main ave


nue to honour and official career. Her domestic and social life has been one of quiet
enjoyment, and nowhere has filial piety had finer illustrations. Her government has
been patriarchal, and her religion, as taught by Confucius, whose name to China is as
that of Christ to the West, largely enforces the precepts of Christian ethics. And
to-day, in business, mechanics, manufactures, trade, literature, education, diplomacy,
oratory, and all the various arts of peace, she has a showing with the Christian nations
of the world, thougli falling far behind them in the Christian art of war.

In the sixth century, when the glorious Tang dynasty was in its youth, Chinese
arms battered down the wall separating Cathay — China's ancient name — from Europe.
In the thirteeth century the great Venetian traveller, Marco Polo, penetrated the Chinese
court. He laid the foundation of what might have been a splendid edifice of mutual
esteem between the Chinese and the outer world. But the Portuguese, who made their
first appearance in 1516, by their cruel aggressions destroyed his work, and in its stead
established the base of the recent structure of anti-foreign hatred. Later the soldiers
of Spain were guilty of a massacre of Chinese in Manila. Not as barbarous, the
English were not tactful in their efforts to open the door of Chinese trade. The
glories of the East which Marco Polo described upon his return to Venice, and the con-
firmation of his reports by later travellers and traders, fired England with a desire to
share in the advantages of contact and commerce with the Oriental Empire. Queen
Elizabeth despatched a commission to Pekin. Disaster overtook it before it reached
iJbs destination. English traders became England's diplomats. Then of course war. In
1637 the Chinese forts which protected Canton were bombarded and occupied, and
their evacuation by the belligerent foreigners did not occur until the latter had disposed
of the cargoes their ships had brought.

Friendship rarely crowns relations established by force. Though advantageous to
foreign peoples, China found little recompense for contact with them. During the
greater part of the reign of the Mongol dynasty, every encouragement had been given
Eoman missionaries to spread their faith in northern China, but the reestablishment
of a Chinese dynasty seems to have been followed by their expulsion. Undoubtedly
the wrongs perpetrated by the Portuguese and Spaniards were potent causes for the
determination of the emperor to exclude foreigners from China. The missionaries who
sought admission to the empire after this decision was reached were brusquely
informed that they were not wanted. After patient endeavour, the Eoman Church
finally succeeded in effecting reentrance. Intimate knowledge of the Chinese language
and Chinese literature, and recognition of some of the least superstitious of the native
ceremonials, enabled them to acquire an influence which might — though it is not
likely — have served as the lever for turning the whole empire from Confucianism,
Taoism, Buddhism, and Mohammedanism to Christianity. But the people became
incensed at the denunciation of the worship of their ancestors, and at the interference
by missionaries in behalf of conyerts in the native courts. Experience and time
changed neither the view of the zealous servant of Christ nor of the nation he would


proselytec The religion of the one bade him bear the message of good-will, even
though its rejection were indubitable. The character of his reception by the other, as
the nineteenth century rolled into the past, was tempered by the knowledge of the
crushing might that lay behind him. Though the ethics taught by the Bible have
much in common with those proclaimed by Confucius, and though China was origi-
nally tolerant of all religions, her experience with the West developed an antagonism
which manifested itself in anti-Christian outrages and which gave evidence of its
strength in the Boxer movement of 1900. But the blame for this movement cannot
be entirely placed upon the shoulders of the missionary. He was one factor. Foreign
aggression was the other.

Western trade early chafed under the restrictions imposed by the Imperial Govern-
ment. Their removal or, at least, their modification was persistently sought by the
commercial powers. In the eighteenth century six nations were engaged in trade with
China through the single port of Canton, — Portugal, England, Holland, Spain, France,
and the United States. The first appearance of America as a competitor in Oriental
commerce occurred when the thirteen American colonies, revolting from British
sovereignty, were clumsily working together under the makeshift of the Confederation.
None of the European governments, thus apprised of its latest rival, was gifted with
the prescience to see in this pioneer the leader of a fleet which would curry a com-
merce more valuable than that of any of them save one, — Great Britain, — and which
by leaps and bounds, a century later, was to make great strides in overtaking the lead
which that one had acquired.

Foreign aggression placed its hand heavily upon the empire in the nineteenth cen-
tury. Her people enervated by the effects of opium, and her treasury depleted of
silver used to pay for that drug, China prohibited its importation and brought upon
herself the "opium war" which lasted from 1840 until 1842. Ignominious defeat
compelled her to sue for peace. Hong-kong, the first territory alienated to the West,
was ceded to her conqueror. Great Britain, the United States, and France, negotiated
treaties which removed some of the obstacles in the way of trade and accorded to their
nationals the privilege of extra-territoriality — one of the great humiliations under
which China has smarted. The T'ai P'ing revolt embarrassed the central government
from 1850 until 1864. Its suppression was hampered by fresh difficulties witli foreign
nations which culminated in the extension by France of a nominal protectorate over
Annam, and by the British and French occupation of Fekin in 1860. New treaty con-
cessions, including the maintenance of diplomatic representatives in Pekin and the
protection of missionaries in the interior, were exacted of China. The entire West
claimed and was granted the right to enjoy them. Forced into international relations,
and appreciating that her military power was inadequate to defend her territory
against foreign attack, China secured from the United States and Great Britain in
1868 a promise never to intervene in Chinese goyernnicntal affairs, — a promise the
Washington government has consistently observed. War with France in 1884-85


resulted in the cession of Tonquin and Annam to the victor. Beyond this, it induced
China to organise a navy, which, however, suffered overwhelming defeat during the
war with Japan in 1894.

Japanese arms exposed the weakness of an empire that sprawled over a large part
of Asia. Taking advantage of its inability to resist, foreign nations demanded conces-
sions which were granted to prevent still greater misfortunes. But the rapacity of
European governments knew no bounds. In retaliation for the murder of two German
missionaries, Geimany seized Kiao Chou and imposed other demands, — exacting an
indemnity far disproportionate to the seriousness of the crime committed. Russia,
which had forced Japan to relinquish the Liao Tung peninsula, occupied Talien Wan
and Port Arthur, To preserve the balance of power in the north of China, Great
Britain acquired Wei-hai-wei. France took possession of Kwang-chow Bay, and Great
Britain added the Kowloon promontory to Hong-koug. Spheres of influence were
outlined and the chancellories of Europe frankly described the territories their gov-
ernments should seize in case of partition. Railroad and mining concessions were
demanded as matters of right. The coastwise trade, which had been historically
carried by native junks, was largely transferred to foreign steamers. Spoliation
seemed to be the fate of China.

Reform was the panacea which the emperor adopted for the ills of his empire.
Resistance was the remedy advocated by the conservatives. Supported by the latter,
the empress dowager resumed the reins of government in September, 1898. Prepara-
tions to oppose foreign aggression were begun, — a course which received the cordial
approval of the people. A vast volunteer army was organised. Urged on by the
impetuosity of fanatical leaders, hostilities were inaugurated against foreigners^

Guilty of violating the most sacred laws of international hospitality, China's recent
conduct must yet be judged in the light of the wrongs she had suffered. Aware as
she was of Western strength, the courage which prompted her to throw her glove in
the face of all nations compels acknowledgment. There could, of course, be but one
result of war against the rest of the world. She again suffered humiliation, and she
will be compelled to pay for her temerity by complying with terms which might well
crush a less resourceful uation. Both in the operations necessary to effect the relief
of the legations besieged in Pekin, and in the subsequent diplomatic negotiations, the
United States, besides affording proper protection to American interests, has observed
that policy of unselfishness which has historically guided it in its relations with China.
Substantial evidence of its support of this policy is furnished by the small claim for
indemnity it recently submitted ; by its proposal to reduce that claim by half if other
nations would take like action; by its refusal to join in firing on the Taku forts; and
by its being the first power to withdraw its armed forces from Pekin. Throughout
the negotiations, its purpose has been tempered with justice and leniency, and it has
made haste to be considerate and helpful. Though the Imperial Government is bur-
dened by the exaction of excessive indemnities, Chinese entity has been preserved, and


China will again soon be free to resume the task of carving out her own destiny, in
which task she is entitled to our cordial sympathy.

Prior to the Boxer movement, Chinese patriotism was either a thing unknown or
unappreciated in the West. The unity of the North and the difficulty with which the
viceroys restrained the South during the national outbreak of 1900 gave evidence of
the existence of a strong love of country in the Chinese breast. The conduct of the
Allies in Chi Li has intensified the hatred of the natives for things Western. Defeat
established Chinese inability to meet modern armies with unorganised mobs, and
modern ordnance with the tools of husbandry. The English have demonstrated that
the yellow man, capably led, is excellent military material. Eradication of native
prejudice against the profession of arms and creation of well-drilled regiments are
vital to China's existence. Foreign greed, which manifested itself prior to the Boxer
outbreak, will renew its assault when the Chinese government resumes power in Pekiu.
Suffering from Western avariciousness and awakened to the need of foreign innovations
by the lash of Western enterprise, who can doubt, however, that China will engraft the
civilisation of the West upon the trunk of what for centuries was the glory of the
East, and under the influence of modern institutions return to the position of power
and culture which she held in the halcyon days of the Han dynasty ? Thus, by God's
hard but moulding hand, through the selfishness and the strife of men and nations,
through greed and outrage on the one hand and prejudice and encrustation on the
other, through the fierce drive for gain and adventure, — the trader more a factor thuu
the missionary, — the slow welding of old empires, peoples, and institutions upon new
and better ones goes cruelly and brutally, but progressively on. China as a name, a
form of government, an entity, is nothing, as every other nation as a name, a form of
government, an entity, is nothing; but China as a people — one-quarter of the human
race — is henceforth, as is every other people, under whatever name or form of gov-
ernment it may be, sure to share in the better things of that coming progress and
civilisation of the world, when "the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal
law," and fifty years of Europe shall be one with fifty years of Cathay.



I. Glimpses of the Axciext Shore

II. The Mountain Monastery

III. The Island of Flowers .

IV. The Hub of the World .
V. Tlie Three Eivers

VI. Modern Canton

VII. Along West River .

VIII. Natural Wonders

IX. The Head of Eiver Navigation

X. Some Chinese Customs .

XI. The Highlands of China

XII. The Land of the " Golden Theth

XIII. The Eiver of the Golden Sand

XIV. In Darkest Tibet

XV. Tl[e Mountaineers of China .

XVI. Birds of China ....

XVII. Village Life ....

XVin. The Country Schools

XIX. The Women of China

XX. Upber Yangtse Kiang

XXI. Picturesque China .

XXII. The Grand Caxon of the Great Ei

XXTII. From the IMountains to the Sea

XXIV. Shanghai, the City of Commerce

XXV. Footprints in I'lii-; Sands of Centui

XXVI. The Era of Chinese Chivalry

XXVII. The Dynasty of the ^Mongols .





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XXIX. The Mings and Manciius

XXX. How Europe Entered China

XXXI. The Taiping Rebellion

XXXII. Foreign Influence .

XXXIII. The Oiider of the Sword

XXXIV. The Imperial Capital
XXXV. The Siege in Pekin .

XXXVI. China at the Beginning of the New Century




Bridge over the Pearl Ru-er at Canton. Photoyravu

KoLOOX, A Military Station opposite Hong - koxg

British Troops, Hong - kong

A Chinese Junk ....

Hong - kong Harbour

A Chinese Navy Yard

Modes of Conveyance, Hong -kong .

A Public Garden, Hong - kong

Rear of a Private House, Hong - kong

The Sowkewan Road near Whitefield Station, Hon

Beacoxsfield Arcade,' and Hong - kong and Sh

Buildings .....

Canton from the River Front .
The French Cathedral in Canton
A Mandarin's House, Canton
A Private Garden, Canton
An Execution at Canton
Farm Houses, Canton
Private House, Canton . . .
Educational Towers, Canton
River Scene, Canton ....
A Residence, Canton
Images to Frighten Away Evil Spirits at Entran


House-tops and Pagoda on Wai.i,. Xative City

Pawn - brokers' Storehouse, Canton

Good I^uck Pagoda, near Canton

A Chinese Garden ....

Bridge at Soushow ....

A Chinese Labourer ...

Temple of Tinghai, Chusan

Rice Threshing at Shanghai .

Chinese Priest, Shanghai

Pagoda at Siccawei, near Shanghai

Chinese Ladies, Shanghai

Walls of Shanghai, Native City

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Online LibraryGeorge Waldo BrowneChina; the country and its people → online text (page 1 of 33)