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that they should resort to arts and acts of as bad a nature for defence and revenge. Those who have been the first to come to this country, and those who congregate at the open ports of China where Americans generally get their impressions of the Chinese, are of course in great measure the lowest part of the people, adventurers, separated from the restraining influence of their families and of home society, who have come for a short period to engage in the general scramble for money. It is evident that they fall far short of affording us a fair representation of the character of the general body of the people, or of the character of the immigrants that we shall obtain in the future when they come in large numbers from the interior of the country. In respect for parents and the aged they far surpass us. Their standard of propriety, and of what the public taste requires in books for general reading, and in objects openly represented to be seen and admired by the young and old of both sexes, is also higher than ours. A nude representation of the human form is hardly to be found among all the innumerable idols and images of the empire. In their literature, as well as in their paintings and sculpture, there is a scrupulous solicitude to avoid all indecent and immoral associations and suggestions. "No people," says Thomas Taylor Meadows, who is an acknowledged authority on Chinese character and literature, "no people, whether of ancient or modern times, has possessed a sacred literature so completely exempt as the Chinese from licentious descriptions, and from every offensive expression. There is not a single sentence in the whole of their sacred books and their annotations that may not, when translated word for word, be read aloud in any family in England." The same propriety is observed in their theatres. Vulgar and immoral plays are proscribed by law, and are comparatively rare. They are found generally only in obscure villages in the country. In secret, however, there are done with them, as with us, things which are not to be spoken of. Among the middle and lower classes the habit of using obscene language is a common one. This is said to take the place of the profanity found in Western countries, and to be followed
from the same motives, and to about the same extent. Drunkenness, as we have said, is infrequent; but gambling, secret vice, and the use of opium, are said to prevail to an extent not known in Europe or America.
Infanticide has been charged with being a common crime among the Chinese. In some places, as about Fuchow, says Nevins, it is common, but in other parts of the empire it is very rarely that you find well-authenticated instances of it. It is confined almost exclusively to female children; and is due to the over-crowding of population in China, and the dif ficulty of marriage, which is absolutely the only means of support which a woman in China has. In this country, it would not be likely to occur at all. The extent of infanticide among the Chinese has been supposed very much greater than it really is, because of their superstitious practice, in many parts of the empire, of casting away, unburied, the bodies of dead infants. When Europeans see these dead bodies floating in the rivers, or lying on its banks, or by the city walls, or hanging from trees, they erroneously infer that they are the work of infanticides.
In regard to honesty, there is probably a considerable lack of it among the lower classes. When dealing with the petty traders, one must be on his guard if he does not wish to be imposed upon. In the large cities, especially the foreign communities, it is hardly safe to leave coats and umbrellas near the hall-door when that is unlocked. There is considerable corruption, peculation, and extortion among the gov. ernment officials. But this is as true of New York or Washington as of Canton or Pekin. Mr. Nevins says that he has travelled hundreds of miles in the interior at different times, and in different parts of the country, sometimes entirely alone, and has been completely in the power of perfect strangers, who knew that he had about his person money and other articles of value, but has always felt nearly as great a sense of security as at home; that he has heard the testimony of prominent merchants, who have had large business transactions with the Chinese, both in China and California, who have represented Chinese business men as very prompt and relia
ble in meeting their business engagements; that Chinese agents are often sent into the interior with large sums of money, to purchase silks and tea, the person sending them having no guarantee or dependence but that of their personal honesty; and that he has known genuine "one-priced" stores in China where you are sure to obtain a good article at a reasonable price..
He adds, further, that he has met in China with some of the most beautiful instances of affection, attachment, and gratitude which he has ever known; and that he has made the acquaintance of not a few Chinese, whom he regards with more than ordinary affection and respect, on account of the natural amiability of their dispositions, their sterling integrity, and their thorough Christian principle and devotion. Mr. Brace fully corroborates Mr. Nevins in regard to the trustworthiness of the large Chinese business houses in California. The conclusion to which an impartial judge must come to, in regard to Chinese morality, must be, we think, the same as that of Mr. Nevins, — that, in the standard and practice of virtue, there is no such difference between China and Christian lands as to form the basis of any very marked contrast, or to render it modest or prudent for us to designate any vice, or class of vices, as peculiar to, and especially characteristic of, the Chinese.
In person, we have said that they are cleanly. Their houses, furniture, and settlements, however, are often, it must be admitted, very filthy and noisome. Many virulent diseases maintain themselves among them; and epidemics are more frequent and much more severe than among the inhabitants of this country.
Some races, it has been noticed, readily conform themselves to the usages of whatever land and society they travel or emigrate to. When at Rome, they not only do as the Romans do, but soon become transformed into regular Romans, and are no longer to be distinguished from the rest of the community. Other races, however far from home they may go, and however long they may stay, retain tenaciously their own national peculiarities. The French are an example of
the first; the English of the second class. The difference seems to be due to the greater imitative tendency of the French. The great activity of this faculty among them is shown by their superiority in all kinds of manufacture where great exactness and delicacy is required. Now, the Chinese are famous for this same imitative faculty; and it is natural to expect that it will tend powerfully to assimilate them easily and speedily to our institutions, if they come to settle permanently among us.
In addition to the predisposition which this faculty gives them to conform to our society and institutions, they have a considerable preparation for them in their own intellectual development, and educational and political system. Chinese who have been educated with Europeans, have shown themselves in no way inferior in mental ability. China has an extensive and valuable literature. She has been for centuries the centre of light and civilization to Eastern Asia. She has given a literature and a religion to the thirty or forty million of the Japanese, and to the inhabitants of Corea and Mantchuria; and by these and other nations and countries of the East is looked up to as an acknowledged leader and teacher. In Chinese literature may be found, in pretty clear outlines, the prototypes of almost every prominent form of European thought and speculation. Confucianism, for example, with its worship of ancestors and benefactors, and its doctrine of the insufficiency of the human mind to attain to any knowledge of spiritual or divine things, and our consequent duty to ignore them, and put our whole attention and labor upon earthly and material things, anticipated by three thousand years one of the essential principles of the Positive Philosophy, which is regarded by many as the final result of all Western philosophizing. In the writings of Confucius's great contemporary, the founder of the Chinese Rationalists, we find the main doctrines of that other "last word of philosophy," the transcendentalism of Schelling and Hegel; and also, at the same time, many striking parallels to the teachings of Jesus. In science and the arts, as well as in philosophy, the Chinese have anticipated us. They invented before
us the art of printing, the use of gunpowder, and the magnetic needle, the manufacture of paper, porcelain, chinaware, and silk fabrics. Of the modern sciences,-chemistry, geology, astronomy, the use of steam and electricity, - the Chinese know of course hardly any thing. But neither did we, four hundred years ago. At that time, the Chinese, in all the arts and knowledges and habits of civilized life, were certainly the equals, if not the superiors, of European nations. Since then, while we have advanced with unparalleled rapidity, they have halted in the path of progress. But this is only a temporary stop, a thing of the last few centuries only, and does not justify the charge which has been brought against them of ancient and native immobility.
Already they are beginning to advance again. The commercial energy and enterprise which they display at home, and throughout Eastern Asia, show that they are ready to enter into the path of modern progress as soon as they are assured of its advantages. Steamboats are superseding junks in the river and coasting trade of China. The Imperial government has given up for good, as it would seem, its traditional policy of exclusion, It has taken away from the provincial authorities the management of its foreign affairs, and assumed the control of them itself. It has taken men of the most civilized and progressive Western nations into its ambassadorial service, putting an American at the head, and by them has negotiated treaties with the leading powers of Europe and America, such as promise to bring China into free and equal and more intimate relations with them. Wheaton's "International Law" has been translated, and adopted as the guide of the Imperial government in its relations with foreign countries. It is reorganizing its army and navy, building gunboats, and adopting European arms and drill. It has abandoned the old system of farming out the collection of the duties, and has established a Marine Customs Service. In this both foreigners and natives are employed. The Inspector-General, at the head of the service, is a foreigner of marked ability. Liberal salaries, competitive examinations, and promotion according to merit, secure for it