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the ablest young men; and it is said to be the most efficient and honestly conducted revenue service in the world. A university has been established at Pekin expressly to teach foreign arts, sciences, and literature, under the superintend ence of professors from Europe and America. The young men who will be educated here in European knowledge and ideas, will become influential officers at home, authors of Chinese works on the modern sciences, and translators of European literature.
A powerful stimulus cannot but be given by these means to free thought, inquiry, and material progress throughout the empire. In view of such reforms, was Mr. Burlingame) at all extravagant when he averred that there was "no spot on this earth where there had been greater progress made in the last few years than in the Empire of China"? Under the invigorating influence of American institutions, society, and example, then, can we doubt their having both the desire, and the capability to go forward in the march of modern civilization?
The Chinese government is an example, at once, of the intellectual and organizing capability of that people, and of their devotion to freedom and order. Their system of government and code of laws have elicited a generous tribute of admiration and praise from the most competent writers of Christendom. Mr. Meadows characterizes it as "at once the most gigantic and the most minutely organized that the world has ever seen." Whatever its abstract merits or demerits may be, it has certainly the testimony of successful practice It has the evidence of the great fact that it has stood the test of time longer than any other government during the world's history, that it has bound together into one nation such a vast mass of people, and given to them such a homogeneousness of character and ideas as the world affords no parallel to, and that it has given that multitudinous population a degree of prosperity and comfort such as will excite our wonder.
The Imperial government of China, instead of being a despotism, as commonly supposed, is, as Rémusat, Huc, Nevins,
and other writers have abundantly shown, a strictly limited monarchy, limited not only by the careful restrictions of a written constitution, but by the efficient power of a watchful public opinion, which, when the government fails in its duties, or stretches its prerogatives beyond the bounds of ancient custom, soon recalls it to its duty by the voice of a hundred thousand pamphlets, and the personal remonstrance of the chief officers and distinguished men of the nation; and which, in the case of gross abuses of power, does not hesitate to employ force, and eject the offending emperor from the throne. The idea that the people are the source of power, and that government is only a trust, was uttered by one of their most revered philosophers, more than two thousand years ago, and has become embodied in the thought and practice of the people. The people of China are accustomed to a great deal of self-government, not only indirect, but direct. The towns and villages of China elect their own local magistrates, without any pressure or dictation from the Imperial government in regard to their choice; and every man in the town is both capable of electing and of being elected. The Chinese are a people among whom the passports, espionage, and petty governmental interference of many European States nowhere exist; among whom, outside of the small handful of the Imperial family, there are no castes, no privileged nobility, no hereditary classes of any sort, nor any hereditary distinctions; among whom all offices and titles are open to every man by virtue of merit alone; and among whom a system of competitive examinations as the means of getting the best officers for the service of government, which Europe and America are just beginning to see the necessity for, has existed for thousands of years.
China is a land where newspapers and books are common, and where primary education is as universal as in the United States. Among the countless millions of that empire, there are hardly any, it is said, who cannot read and write sufficiently for the ordinary purposes of life. This is accomplished principally by private schools, voluntarily supported by the people out of their own purses, but free day schools are not
In familiarity with the principles and practice of civil liberty and general education, and in the qualification resulting from this, for becoming desirable members of our republic, the Chinese would seem to be superior to the people of most European States.
There is one thing, however, which it must be admitted is a great drawback to all these qualifications. This is the great difference in religion between the Chinese and ourselves. Between a Christian and the follower of any form of Chinese religion or superstition, there is an incomparably greater gulf of thought, association, habit, and custom than between any the different divisions of Christianity. This could not but create mutual prejudices, hostilities of feeling and act, and clashings of interest. While our national and state constitutions and laws seek carefully to maintain entire freedom and impartiality as to religious matters, and to keep state and church as separate as possible, still we are in fact a Christian nation. Christianity underlies our whole political and social system. It has determined the fashion of our civilization, our common-school exercises and instruction, our legislative and judicial proceedings and forms, and our days of labor and rest. On all these points, great difficulties may be created by the introduction of a large population, whose religious customs and associations have been formed outside the influence of Christianity.
Many hope that the Chinese by settlement in this country, and being surrounded by Christian influences, and becoming the objects of Christian proselytism, may become converted to our own faith, as our African population has been. There is certainly a hope of this. But it will be accomplished, if at all, į with much more difficulty and slowness than the conversion of the negro race. This latter race came to us without any determinate religious faith, children in intellectual and religious and social attainment. The Chinese come as a mature, highly civilized people, with faiths and usages to which they are wedded by the custom of centuries. The efforts which have been made in California for their conversion have been only moderately successful. If they go over to Christianity
in any large numbers, it will probably be into the Roman Catholic Church. Incredible as it may seem, and difficult as it is to account for, it is a fact that there is a long and minute correspondence between the rites, customs, and objects of worship of the Roman Church and of Buddhism, the religion of the greater part of Chinese immigrants. Both religions have a supreme and infallible Head, celibacy among their priesthood, monasteries and nunneries, prayers in an unknown tongue; prayers to saints and intercessors, especially to a virgin with a child; prayers for the dead; the use of a rosary and of a cross; works of merit and supererogation; self-imposed austerities and bodily inflictions; chants, burning of candles, sprinkling of holy water; bowings, prostrations, religious processions; images and pictures, fabulous legends and relics. This extraordinary coincidence gives to the Roman Church a great advantage over every Protestant sect in the work of proselytizing the Chinese. Even if the Chinese become converted to Christianity, they will not then, in respect to religious faith, be as desirable a class of immigrants for our country as the Protestant immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia, whom we have lately begun to receive in large numbers.
Taking these different considerations on the one side and the other into view, some will doubtless find the preponderance on the affirmative, others on the negative side of the question. It is, as we have already said, a difficult question, which we are hardly in a position to give an unhesitating answer to; but if called on for a provisional decision, we should say that it seems to us, on the whole, that the Chinese promise to form as valuable an addition to our population, and to be moulded as readily into harmony with our institutions, and into a homogeneous part of our society, as the larger portion of our present foreign population.
But, whatever doubt may rest on this question in the mind of the candid inquirer, there are two things on which no doubt or difference of opinion ought to exist. These are, that if the Chinese come at all, they must, in the first place, come only as freemen, never in the semi-bondage of a coolie's
position; secondly, that as soon as they step the first foot on American ground, they must have their equal civil rights and the protection and redress of our laws and courts secured to them. It is a burning disgrace that this inoffensive, industrious, and law-abiding race are still denied this, on our Pacific coast, and are handed over by the laws themselves, without hope of redress, to unrestrained insult, plunder, outrage, or murder, by any white ruffian who wishes to gratify his envy, his greed, or his brutality at their expense. Such unbridled license to our worst passions towards any human being is far more corrupting to our institutions than would be the admission of half a million Chinese at once to the franchise itself. The annals of injustice bear everywhere this warning, that oppression demoralizes and degrades the oppressor as much as the oppressed; that the contempt for law, order, and justice, which it fosters, the tribe of rascals, desperadoes, and brutes whom it breeds, soon turn from the original victim to rend and destroy its own ranks and the parent state.
ART. VI. — LIBERAL CHRISTIANITY IN EUROPE AND· AMERICA.
WHEN, last year, the editor of this Journal was travelling in Europe, among many other leading representatives of Christian Liberalism whom he had the pleasure of meeting abroad, he made the personal acquaintance of the Dean of the Faculty in the Theological School at Strasburg,- Professor Bruch. A recent private letter to the editor, from this distinguished scholar and noble gentleman, presents the present position of Liberal Christianity so clearly and succinctly, that he has thought a translation of it would furnish the readers of this journal with as good a summary as they could anywhere find of the present prospects of Rational Christianity upon the European continent. The editor has thrown what he hopes may prove timely views of the history and prospects of Liberal Christianity in this country, into the
VOL. LXXXVII. -NEW SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. II.