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* A. C. LYALL, K.C.B , G.CLE. ; D. MENANT ;


^ OF




Copyright, 1900, 1901, by Thk North American Review Publishing Co
AU rig^hts restrved.
' September, 1901.



By Herbert A. Giles, LL.D., Professor of
Chinese in Cambridge University 3

BUDDHISM. By T. W. Rhys Davids, LL.D., Ph.D.,
Professor of Pali and Buddhist Litera-
ture IN University College. London ... 33

TURY. By Oskar Mann, Orientalist in the
Royal Library, Berlin 53

BRAHMINISM. By Sir A. C. Lyall, K.C.B., G.C.I.E.,
MEiMber of Council of the Secretary of
State for India 81

NANT, Author of "History of the Parsis" . 109

SIKHISM AND THE SIKHS. By Sir Lepel Griffin,
K.C.S.1 139

By Frederic Harrison 167

BABISM. By E. Denison Ross, Professor of Per-
sian IN University College, London .... 189

TURY. By the Rev. M. Gaster, Ph.D., Chief
Rabbi of the Sephardi Communities of Eng-
land 219

Washington Gladden, D.D., LL.D 253

dinal Gibbons 281





Between 1662 and 1796 two of China's great-
est emperors occupied the throne, with a short
intervening reign, each of them for over sixty
3^ears. These one hundred and twenty years may
be said to have been chiefly devoted to the exten-
sion of learning and the glorification of Confu-
cianism. A prodigious amount of literature was
produced under the direct patronage of these two
monarchs. Besides dictionaries and encyclopae-
dias of various kinds, a vast collection of com-
mentaries upon the Confucian canon was published
in 1675, filling noless than one hundred and twen-
ty large volumes."! Everything, in fact, was done
which, in the words of the Sacred Edict (1670),
would tend to "get rid of heterodoxy and exalt
the orthodox doctrine." Yet, during a consider-
able part of this period of Confucian revival,
Roman Catholic missionaries were not only toler-
ated, but even honored. Such treatment, accord-
ing to the Paraphrase of the Sacred Edict, was
not for any value attached to the religion they



taught, which was stigmatized as unsound, but
solely because they understood astronomy and
mathematics, and were usefully employed in re-
forming the Chinese calendar.

In 1795 the great emperor Chien Lung, who had
received Lord Macartney, abdicated, and three
years later he died. He was succeeded by his
fifteenth son, known to us as the Emperor Ghia
Ching, from whose accession may be dated the
turning of the tide. The new ruler proved to be
dissolute and worthless. In 1803 he was at-
tacked while riding in a sedan-chair through the
streets of Peking, and had a narrow escape. This
was found to be the result of a family plot, and
many of the imperial clansmen suffered for their
real or alleged share in it. Ten years later a
band of assassins, belonging to a well-known
secret society, very nearly succeeded in murder-
ing him in his own palace. The effect of these
attempts was to develop the worst sides of his
character; he became a mere sensualist, and even
grave up the annual hunting expedition, which
had always been associated with Manchu energy.
Sucli ' man was not likely to do much for the
advancement of the great teaching which was
founded upon such obligations as filial piety and
duty towards one's neighbor. Some few valuable
works, aiding to elucidate, the Confucian canon,
were published during his reign, but there was
no more the same imperial stimulus manifesting
itself under a variety of forms, such as welcome



encouragement, pecuniary assistance, and, last
but not least, the supply to deserving books of
prefaces written with the vermilion pencil.

Confucianism was not for the moment exposed
to any attacks. Roman Catholicism had been
scotched by the formal expulsion of its mission-
aries under the edicts of 1718 and 1724, and Prot-
estants had, so far, not entered upon the field.
It was only in icSo7 that the Rev. Dr. Morrison, of
dictionary fame, went out to Canton ; and within
a 3^ear he retired for safety and the convenience
of his work to Macao.

In 1820 the em})eror known to us as Tao Kuang,
second son of Chia Ching, succeeded to the throne.
His courage had saved his father's life on the
occasion of the attack on the palace in 1813, and
he had been at once named heir ai)parent. He
made a good beginning, and attempted to purify
the coiu"t; but war with England, and rebellion
in various parts of the empire, darkened his
reign, and little progress was made. Gradually
he learned to hate foreigners, and opjjosed their
claims; and, borrowing a sashing some centuries
old, he declared that he was not going to allow
another man "to snore alongside of his bed."

There was, at an}' rate, one great Confucianist
who flourished during this period, and strove, both
by his own works and by the patronage he ex-
tended to others, to keep alive the Confucian spirit.
Under the friendly auspices of Yuan -Yuan (1764-
1849) w. iS produced, in a uniform edition, a col-



lection of more than one hundred and eighty sep-
arate treatises on the canon b}* scholars of the
present dynasty. This work fills one hundred
and two large volumes, and was intended to be a
continuation of the similar collection published
in 1675. Of course, every one who is a follower of
Confucius ma3^ be called a Confucianist, but a
man is specially so distinguished by the Chinese
if he has contributed to the enormous mass of
literature which helps in any way to explain, or
sets forth in glowing color and attractive form,
the holy teachings of the master.

The active opposition of Commissioner Lin (1785-
1850) to the opium trade, which precipitated the
war, w^as a direct outcome of his careful training
in the Confucian school. The question of moral-
ity and the appeal to justice which he introduced
into his famous letter to the queen, asking her to
put a stop to the opium trade, were both based
upon the ethics of Confucius. He not only professed
his firm adherence to Confucianism, but exhibited
in his every-day life a lofty conception of its ideals.
He is the one representative of China, during this
reign, to whom all foreigners would ungrudgingly
accord the title of an honest man and a true patriot.

Tao Kuang was succeeded in 185 1 by his fourth
son, known to us as the Emperor Hsien F^ng.
The reign of the latter is particularly associated
with the Tai-ping rebellion, which shook the em-
pire to its foundations, and, but for the presence
of General Gordon, would probably have succeed-



ed in putting an end to the Manchu-Tartar dynasty.
In one of its aspects, it was a crusade against Con-
fucianism, organized by a small band of men who
had adopted a morbid and spurious Christianity.
The large following which these leaders gathered
around their banner knew nothing whatever of
genuine Christianity, and very little of the doc-
trines offered them by the soi-disant Brother of
Christ, afterwards known as the Heavenly King.
As matters turned out, the shock to Confucianism
was a mere nothing; for, although the Heaventy
King succeeded in capturing some six hundred
cities in sixteen out of the eighteen provinces,
so soon as the rebellion was crushed (1864) Con-
fucianism at once and completely regained the
ground it can hardly be said to have lost. It
suffered most, perhaps, through the destruction
of many printing establishments containing the
blocks of now priceless editions of valuable works
on the classics. On the other hand, it can be shown
that Confucianism is sometimes extremely sensi-
tive. It had been enacted that the Sacred Edict,
mentioned above, should be publicly read to the
people on the 1st and 15th of each month, at every
important centre all over the empire. This prac-
tice had been allowed to fall very much into desue-
tude at Canton. But about the yeax 1850 a num-
ber of educated Chinese, taking alarm at the open
activity of Protestant missionaries, actually form-
ed themselves into a society for reading and stud}^-
ing the Sacred Edict among themselves.



f No one, of course, could maintain that the mere
study of Confucian doctrines would suffice to turn
/out men of high character, unless the seed were
/sown in minds, as Confucius said, "fit for the
4 reception of truth." As a counterpoise to Com-
missioner Lin, we may cite the case of Governor
Yeh, whose action in the Arrow affair led to the
bombardment and capture of Canton in 1857. When
sent a prisoner to Calcutta, Yeh was asked why he
never read, to pass the time. " All the books which
are worth reading," he replied, "I already know
by heart." He was alluding to the Confucian
canon, his intimate acquaintance with which had
placed him high on the list of candidates for the
coveted third degree. Yet this man was, as an
official, little more than a blood-thirsty tj^rant. He
is said to have put to death, first and last, no fewer
than seventy thousand Tai-ping rebels. He had
also become so unwieldy from self-indulgence that,
although disguised for flight, he was unable to
make the necessary effort to evade his pursuerSjJ

In 1 86 1 the emperor, who smoked opium to
excess, died at Jehol, whither he had fled to escape
from the English and French forces, then at the
gates of Peking, and his son, Tjjng Chih, reigned
in his stead. Coming to the throne as a mere
child, the latter remained during his thirteen years
of rule entirely under the guidance of the empress
dowager, so that almost the first that was heard of
him as an emperor was that he had fallen a victim
to small-pox. He could not have learned much

C O N F U C I A N I wS iM

good about foreigners from his Confucian tutors,
one of whom openly expressed his daily and night-
ly longing "to sleep on their skins." Meanwhile,
with the ratification of the treaty of Tientsin, a
shadow fell across the path of Confucianism.
Since the days of the opium war and the partial
opening of China, the missionary question had
gradually entered upon the acute stage in which
it may be vSaid to have remained ever since, and it
had become needful to insert in the new treaty
a clause protecting not only the Christian religion
and its exponents, but its converts. This was,
and always has been, resented by Confucianists
as withdrawing the converts from their allegiance ;
but it is difficult to say what other arrangement
could have been made. Neither can it be fairly
alleged that Protestant missionaries have ever
abuvSed their opportunities.

With the close of the Tai-ping rebellion, with a
settled government, and with more prosperous
times generally, the production of books showed
marked signs of increase. Clearly printed editions
of the classics and kindred works w^ere issued from
Wu-chang, the capital of Hupeh ; on execrable paper
it is true, but at a price which placed them easily
within reach of the masses.

In 1872 Tseng Kuo-fan died, at the compara-
tively early age of sixty-one. He had worn him-
self out in the service of the state, first as a suc-
cessful militar}' commander and afterwards as a
successful administrator. He was, further, a suc-



cessful Confucianist, in the sense that his pure
and incorrupt hfe was a happy exemphfication of
what Confucianism may lead to, if only its seed is
dropped upon propitious soil. Though saturated
with the principles and teachings of Confucian-
ism, and undoubtedly hostile to foreigners, yet his
memor}^ is hardly more honored among his own
countrymen than by those whom he felt it his
duty to oppose. After the Tientsin massacre of
1870 he advocated a policy of peace with foreign
nations, thereby incurring the odium of the more
fanatical of the literati. At his death it was re-
ported to the throne that, "when his wardrobe was
examined to find some suitable garments for the
last rites, nothing new could be discovered. Every
article of dress had been worn many times; and
this may be taken as an example of his rigid
economy for himself and in all the expenditure
of his family."

In 1875 another child-emperor, known to us as

Kuang Hsu, was placed upon the throne by the

empress dowager. This unfortunate youth has

been severely battered by the shocks of doom.

The story of the reform movement, and of his

virtual deposition in September, 1898, is fresh in

the minds of all. Since then we have heard rumors

of abdication, and again of restoration. Had

I he remained in power, Confucianism would have

\ been forced to reconsider its attitude to foreign

I standards of thought and education. But upon

/ his suspension it was determined that the old ex-



aniination system, which had prevailed almost
unaltered for nearly six centuries, with its roots
extending back to the Christian era, should be re-
stored in its integrity. The introduction of " new,
depraved, and erroneous subjects," by which we
must understand modern scientific teaching, was
to be stricth'' prohibited under various pains and
penalties. Thus, the occupation of the newly in-
augurated Peking University was gone. For the
time being, Confucianism is triumphant; and if
the tablets of women are ever admitted to the
Confucian temple, that of the empress dowager
should be the first. Actuated, probably, by selfish
motives, her anti-reform zeal has been invaluable
to those who would maintain the paramountcy of
Confucian education, with all its immediate influ-
ences upon the governing classes of the country.

A glance at a few questions actually set some
few years ago at these public examinations will
afford a good idea of the educational level to which
Confucianism has raised the Chinese. The fol-
lowing were subjects for essays :

" (i.) To hold a middle course, without deviation, is as
bad as holding an extreme.

" (2.) Of suspended bodies, none can exceed in brightness
the sun and the moon.

" (3.) In the time of the Hsia dynasty (B. C. 2205-1766),
the imperial drum was placed on feet; during the Shang
dynasty (B. C. 1766-1122), it was supported on pillars;
under the Chou dynasty (B. C. 1122-255), it was hung bj^
a cord."


For a poem, the following theme was presented :

" The azure precipice was half concealed in a mass of
rolling clouds."

In addition to essays and poems, several gen-
eral papers of questions are set to the candidates.
These comprise classical exegesis, history of an-
cient and mediaeval China, ancient geograplty,
etc., and are almost identical, mutatis mutandis,
with papers on the languages and literatures of
Greece and Rome, such as are set, for instance,
at the annual examination of candidates for the
Indian civil service. Here is a specimen of a
classical question :

" Mao Chang in his edition of the Odes interprets ' The
Guests at the Feast ' to mean that Duke \Vu was upbraiding
Prince Yu. Han Ying in his edition says that Duke Wu
is here repenting of his fault of drunkenness. Wliich editor
is to be followed?"

Here is a question on the competitive system :

"During the Tang dynasty (A. D. 618-907), personal
appearance, fluency of speech, handwriting, lear.iing, and
decision were all taken into account at the examinations.
How were the various merits of the candidates tested?"

It is the fashion to deride the Chinese curriculum,
and to cry out for the introduction of "science."
which would, no doubt, be very advantageous
in many wa3^s. At the same time, it must be
confessed that the Chinese classics have had pre-


C O N I'^ U C I A N I S M

ciscly the effect attributed by Professor Jebb, in
his lecture on "Humanism in Education," to the
clasvsics of Greece and Rome. Discarding the
past tense for the present, his actual words apply
with surprising force to the China of to-day :

" At the close of this century, the classics still hold a virtual
monopoly, so far as literary studies are concerned, in the
public schools and universities. And they have no cause
to be ashamed of their record. The culture which they
supply, while limited in the sphere of its operation, has long
been an efficient and vital influence, not only in forming
men of letters and learning, but in training men who after-
wards gain distinction in public life and in various active

Several noble specimens of Confucianists have
disappeared during the present reign. Shen Pao-
cheng (1819-79), who first distinguished him-
self against the Tai-ping rebels, was a stern Con-
fucianist and, withal, a capable man of business.
In 1867 he became director of the Foochow Ar-
senal, which he started with the aid of M. Prosper
Giquel, in the face of much opposition, launching
his first gunboat in 1869. Successful as an ad-
ministrator, he gained a lasting name for probity,
courage, and frugality, leaving behind him in ma-
terial wealth literally no more than he brought
with him into the world.

Another official of the same class was Ting
Jih-chang (1823-82). He was connected with the
arsenals at Soochow and Foochow. He was a
commissioner for the settlement o^cases arising




out of the Tientsin massacre. He became govern-
or of Fuhkien, and in 1878 was sent to Foochovv to
arrange a very serious missionary difficult3^ in
connection with some building operations. A
Confucianist to the backbone, he earned the full
respect of all foreigners, and when he withdrew,,
into private life he carried with him a spotless

With such a father as Tseng Kuo-fan, whose dy-
ing injunctions to his children compare favorably
with Lord Chesterfield's advice to his son, it is hard-
ly a matter for wonder that the Marquis Tseng
(1837-90), once ambassador to the Co.urt of St.
James, should have continued the best traditions
of Confucianism, He promoted to his utmost the
establishment of peaceful relations between China
and foreign nations, and his death was a severe
loss to Great Britain in particular.

Probitt^, like its opposite, seems to run in families.
In the same year with the Marquis Tseng died his
uncle, Tseng Kuo-chuan, younger brother of Tseng
Kuo-fan. He had risen to be Viceroy of the Two
Kiang, and had consequently held the lives and
fortunes of myriads of his countrymen in the palm
of his hand. It is only necessary to add that at
his death the people of Nanking went into public
mourning, from which it may be inferred that, given
tlie right material, Confucianism need be no hin-
derance to an upright and unblemished career.

One eminent Confucianist is still working for his
cause, in a j|aanner which compels the admira-


tion of his opponents. Chang Chih-tung, Vicero\^
of the Two Hii, devotes much of the time which
he can snatch from a busy hfe to the encourage-
ment of Confucian learning. He has founded a
college and a library for the benefit of poor stu-
dents. He is a poor man himself, in spite of
the high posts he has filled. He is master of a
trenchant style, and has written against the opium
habit and against the practice of cramping wom-
en's feet. He is hostile to foreigners and to Chris-
tianity, from the very natural desire to see his
own countrymen and Confucianism paramount.
Yet he is known to the general public as the one
incorruptible viceroy.

I Manners and customs, convenient or incon-
venient, if founded, as many of them are, upon
the authority of the Confucian canon, remain
fixed in the national life even more- deepty than
is found to be the case among Western peoples.
The practice of emplojang a go-between in mar-
riage, the illegality of marriages between persons
of the same surname, the unwritten regulation
that the axle-trees of all carts in the same district
shall be of uniform length — these and many
similar customs, fully in force at the present da3%
are based upon well-known passages to be found
in different parts of the canon. Especially has
the patriarchal system taken deep root, so deep, in
fact, that, vshort of an entire upheaval, it is not
easy to see how it can ever bJfcliminated from
the social life of China, over which j^lgjomination



is complete. Since the days of Confucius, with
fihal piety as its foundation-stone, patriarchaUsm
has prevailed over the empire, the unit of civiliza-
tion being not the individual, but the family. The
father, and after his death the mother, has ab-
solute power over all the children, until the sons
enter upon an official career, when they can be
reached only with the consent of the emperor,
and imtil the daughters pass by marriage under
the patria potestas of another family. At eighteen
or nineteen the sons marrj?^, and bring their wives
under the paternal roof. The eldest brother suc-
ceeds to the headship and responsibilities of the
family, and the subordination of his younger
brothers to him is only less marked than that of
his children.

Altogether the patriarchal system has many
advantages. It knits close the family ties. All
earnings or income go to a common fiuid; and
individuals, in days of failure and distress, are
not left to their own resources. Labor is thereby
provided with a defence against capital, and a
stead}^ equilibrium is maintained. It is, no doubt,
a check to individual enterprise, and a direct en-
couragement to clannishness and its evils. On
. J the other hand, it is equally an encouragement to
J [ morality and thrift. One thing is quite certain —
either it is admirably adapted to the temper of
the Chinese people or a long communion has
adapted them *dl^J[

The Coi^M^an temple, mentioned above, de-

*• ''


serves particular notice, playing as it does an im-
portant part in what may be called, for the want
of a better term, the state religion of China. Al-
most since the death of Confucius himself, certain-
ly since the second century B. C, there appears
to have been some sort of shrine commemorative of
his name and teachings. At the present moment
there must be what is called a Confucian temple,
distinguishable by its red walls, in all cities above
a certain rank throughout the em|)ire. In those
temples are ranged, in a particular order, a large
nimiber of tablets iuvScribed with the names of
Confucius and of his disciples, of Mencius, and of
various great men whose personal efforts have in
past times contributed to keep alight the torch
of Confucianism. Many tablets have, doubtless,
slipped in which ought not to be there, and some
names with indisputable claims have been ex-
cluded ; but, altogether, the collection is fairly rep-
resentative of the class intended, and may be re-
garded as the literar3' Valhalla of China. Twice
a 3^ear, in spring and in autumn, offerings of food
and wine are set out before these tablets. Early
in the morning the local officials, in full dress,
assemble at the temples; musicians play, the
officials burn incense and prostrate themselves
before the tablet of Confucius, and a troupe of
trained performers go through certain set move-
ments, after the style of the tragedy dances of
ancient Greece. The whole ceremony is com-
memorative, not intercessory or propitiatory in
B 17


aii3" sense, no form of pra^'er being used. Yet it
has been scouted by man37^ missionaries as wor-
ship, in the same way as the ceremonies com-
memorative of ancestors have been scouted, with
more justification, as ancestral worship.

Every Chinese family possesses a shrine, be it
only a shelf, where stand the wooden tablets of
ancestors. Before these, incense is burned dail3^,
with ceremonial prostrations. Twice a month,
bowls of food are offered in addition. Once every
year, at a certain date in spring, all respectable
Chinamen make an effort to visit their ancestral
burying-grounds. The spirit-path leading to the

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Online LibraryHerbert Allen GilesGreat religions of the world → online text (page 1 of 17)