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ing and multiplying under conditions ac- honesty or in knowledge of the Orient. cording to which the Japanese artisan I tried to make plain in a former paper : woild refuse to live! Compel China to that a characteristic of Japanese life was do what Japan has voluntarily done, and its fluidity; and also that this characthe increase of her population within one teristic was not of yesterday. All the century will probably be a phenomenon modern tales about the former rigidity without parallel in the past history of of Japanese society — about the conserthe world.

vation of habits and customs unchanged VII.

through centuries - are mostly pure fieHere, however, there come up some tion. The assimilative genius of the race doubts to be considered. Can China be is the proof. Assimilative genius is not forced to develop herself as Japan has the characteristic of a people whose cusdone ? And is not Western industrial- toms and habits have been conservatively ism likely to be protected from Chinese fixed beyond the reach of change. “A competition by the irreducible character mind that would grow,” said Clifford, of Chinese conservatism ? Japanese de “must let no ideas become permanent velopment has been voluntary, patriotic, except such as lead to action. Towards eager, earnest, unselfish. But will not all others it must maintain an attitude of the Chinaman of the year 2000 resem- absolute receptivity, - admitting all, beble in all things the familiar Chinaman ing modified by all, but permanently biof to-day ?

ased by none. To become crystallized, I must presume to express a convic- fixed, in opinion and mode of thought tion that the character of Chinese con- is to lose that great characteristic of life servatism has never been fully under- by which it is distinguished from inanistood in the West, and that it is just in mate nature, the power of adapting itthe peculiar one-sidedness of that con- self to circumstances. This is true even servatism that the peril reveals itself. of the race. ... And if we consider that Japan has certainly been more thor- a race, in proportion as it is plastic and oughly studied than China ; yet even capable of change, may be considered the character of Japan was so little un- as young and vigorous, ... we shall derstood two years ago that her defeat see the immense importance of checking by China was predicted as a matter of the growth of conventionalities.”? The course. Japan was imagined to be a sort relation between the essentially mobile of miniature of China, - probably be- and plastic character of Japanese society cause of superficial resemblances created and that assimilative genius which could by her adoption of Chinese civilization. successively adopt and remodel for its It often occurs to me that the old Jesuit own peculiar needs two utterly differmissionaries understood the difference of ent forms of civilization should certainly the races infinitely better than even our be obvious. But according to the same diplomats do to-day. When, after hav- sociological law expressed by Profesing studied the wonderful quaint letters sor Clifford, the Chinese race would be of these ecclesiastics, one reads the judg- doomed to disappear, or at least to ments uttered about the Far East by shrink up into some narrow area, -supmodern journalists, and the absurdly posing it really incapable of modificauntruthful reports sent home by our tion. In Europe the generally received English and American missionaries, it opinion about China seems to be that is difficult to believe that we have not her conservatism is like the conservaactually retrograded, either in common tism of the ancient Egyptians, and must

1 See The Atlantic Monthly for October, 2 Lectures and Essays, “Some Conditions of 1895.

Mental Development.”



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eventually leave her people in a state of a bamboo hut in Sumatra, a brick cotchangeless subservience like that of the tage in New Zealand, a fireproof twomodern fellaheen. But is this opinion story in Japan. He avails himself of true ?

the best he can afford abroad when the Perhaps we should look in vain through use of the best is connected with a comthe literature of any other equally civi- mercial advantage ; and when this is not lized people for a record like that in the the case he can put up with much worse Li-Ki, which tells us that anciently, in than the worst. His conservatism never China, persons “guilty of changing what

interferes with his business : it is a dohad been definitely settled," and of using mestic matter, a personal matter, affector making " strange garments, wonder- ing only his intimate life, his private ex

“ ful contrivances, and extraordinary im- penditure. His pleasures and even his plements,” were put to death! But mod- vices - provided he be not a gambler ern China is not to be judged by her - are comparatively inexpensive ; and ancient literature, but by her present life. he clings to the simplicity of his ancesMen who know China also know that tral habits even while controlling - like Chinese conservatism does not extend to the Chinese merchant at the next corner those activities which belong to trade, of the street in which I live a capital to industry, to commerce or speculation. of hundreds of thousands. This is his It is a conservatism in beliefs, ethics, strength; and in our own West, through and customs, and has nothing to do with centuries, it has been the strength of the

, business. A conservatism of this sort Jews. may be a source of power; it is not like- Perhaps China can never be made to ly to be a source of weakness. Whether do all that Japan has done ; but she in Japan or in India, Canada or Aus- will certainly be made to do what has tralia, Cuba or Chili, Siberia or Burmah, given Japan her industrial and commerthe Chinaman remains a Chinaman. But cial importance. She is hemmed in by a while so remaining he knows how to uti- steadily closing ring of foreign enemies: lize the modern inventions of industry, Russia north and west, France and Engthe modern facilities of communication, land south, and all the sea power of the the new resources of commerce. He world threatening her coast. That she knows the value of cable codes ; he char- will be dominated is practically certain; ters steamers, builds factories, manages the doubt is, how and by whom. Russia banks, profits by the depreciation or the cannot be trusted with the control of those rise of exchange, makes “corners,” or- hundreds of millions; and a partition of ganizes stock companies, hires steam or Chinese territory would present many electricity to aid him in his manufactur- difficult problems. Very possibly she ing or speculating. As a merchant his will be long allowed to retain her indecommercial integrity is recognized by the pendence in name, after having lost it foreign merchants, of every nation, who in fact. She will not be permitted to deal with him. He keeps his costume exclude foreigners from her interior durand his creed, observes his national rules ing any great length of time. If she of propriety, maintains his peculiar cult will not build railroads and establish teleat home ; but the home may be a granite graph lines, the work will be done by front in America, a bungalow in India, foreign capital, and she will have to pay

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1 At the time of the great silver depreciation a clever trick was reported from one of the Chinese open ports. Some Chinese forgers were able to put into circulation a considerable quantity of unlawful coin; but when the coin was

examined it proved to be true metal! Nevertheless, a handsome profit must have been made, because of the temporary difference between the market price of silver and the value of the money.




for it in the end. She will be exploited Russo-Chinese compact, the state of anas much as possible ; and, for the sake archy in Korea following upon the brutal of the exploiters, foreign military power murder of the queen, the tangle of inwill force order, sanitary law compel terests and the confusion of perils, - all cleanliness, engineering provide against this I confess myself utterly unable to catastrophes. She cannot be compelled express any opinion about. At this writto change her creeds or to study Western ing nothing appears clear except that science in all her schools ; but she will China will be controlled, and that Japan have to work very hard, and to keep her has become a new and important factor cities free from plague. By remaining in all international adjustments or readotherwise unchanged, she will become, justments of the balance of power in the not less dangerous, but more dangerous. Pacific. From the most ancient times Chinese

VIII. multiplication has been checked at in- No successful attempt has yet been tervals by calamities of such magnitude made, by any one familiar with the Far that, to find any parallel for them in East, to controvert the views of Dr. PearWestern history, we must recall the Not one of the many antagonistic slaughters of the Crusades and the rav- reviews of his work has even yielded ages of the Black Death. Enormous proof of knowledge competent to deal famines, enormous inundations, fright- with his facts. Professor Huxley indeed ful revolutions provoked by misery, have suggested — in a short appreciative note periodically thinned the number of appended to his essay, Methods and ReChina's millions. Even in our own era sults of Ethnology - that future therathere have been disasters too large for peutic science might find ways to render the imagination to realize without diffi- the tropics less uninhabitable for white culty. The Tai-ping rebellion cost twen- races than Dr. Pearson believed. But ty millions of lives, the later Moham- this suggestion does not touch the quesmedan revolt in the West more than tion of obstacles, more serious than fever, two million five hundred thousand ; and which a tropical climate offers to intelcomparatively recent famines and floods lectual development, nor the question of have also swept millions out of existence. race competition in temperate climates, But whatever Western power rule China nor any of the important social problems hereafter, that power will have to oppose

to which Dr. Pearson called attention. and to overcome, for reasons of self- Religious criticisms of the book have interest, all those natural or unnatural been numerous and hostile ; but they checks upon multiplication which have have contained nothing more noteworthy hitherto kept the population at a rela- than the assertion that Dr. Pearson's tively constant figure. The cholera and opinions were due to his want of faith in the plague must be conquered, the inun- Providence. Such a statement amounts dations must be prevented, the famines only to the alarming admission that we must be provided against, and infanti- should hope for some miracle to save us cide must be prohibited.

from extermination. Various journalists As for the new political situation in on this side of the world have ventured the East, the guarantee of the Chinese in the supposition that a Western dominademnity to Japan by Russia, the rumors tion of China might gradually force up of a European combination to offset Rus- the standard of Chinese living to such sia's financial diplomacy, the possibili- a degree as would leave Oriental comties of an Anglo-Japanese alliance, the petition no more to be dreaded than insupposed project for a Russian railway ternational competition at home ; and through Manchuria, the story of a secret

1 Collected Essays, 1894.

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they have cited the steady increase of follows that in the end the pressure, the cost of life in Japan as a proof of the whatever it may then be, must be borne possibility. But even could it be shown in full.” 1 In such an epoch the races that the cost of living in Japan is likely, of the Occident can only maintain their say at the close of the twentieth cen- standard of living by forcing other races tury, to equal the average cost of life out of existence; and in the mere ability in Europe, it were still poor reasoning to live they will probably find themselves to argue that the influence of Occiden- overmatched. tal civilization must necessarily produce What Chinese competition would then similar results in China, under absolute- mean cannot be imagined without a clear ly different conditions and among a peo- understanding of one ugly fact which ple of totally opposite character. What distinguishes modern civilization in the distinguishes the Chinese race from


West from ancient civilization in the Far other civilized race is their inherent East, its monstrous egotism. As Propower to resist, under all imaginable cir- fessor Huxley has shown, the so-called cumstances, every influence calculated to “struggle for existence” in Western soraise their standard of living. The men ciety is not really a struggle to live, but who best know China are just the men a struggle to enjoy, and therefore somewho cannot conceive the possibility of thing far more cruel than a contest for raising the standard of Chinese living to the right to exist.? According to Farthe Western level. Eventually, under Eastern philosophy, any society founded foreign domination, the social conditions upon such a system of selfish and sensuwould certainly be modified, but never al intercompetition is doomed to perish; so modified as to render Chinese com- and Far Eastern philosophy may be right. petition less dangerous, because the stan- At all events, the struggle to come will dard of living would not be very materi- be one between luxurious •races, accusally affected by any social reforms. On tomed to regard pleasure, at any cost, as the other hand, it is not difficult to im- the object of existence, and a people of agine conditions at home which would hundreds of millions disciplined for thourapidly force down the living-standard, sands of years to the most untiring inand manifest themselves later in a shrink- dustry and the most self-denying thrift, age of population. That the future in- under conditions which would mean worse dustrial competition between Occident than death for our working masses, and Orient must be largely decided people, in short, quite content to strive to by physiological economy is not to be the uttermost in exchange for the simple doubted, and the period of the greatest privilege of life. possible amount of human suffering is visibly approaching. The great cause Pessimistic as Dr. Pearson's views of human suffering, and therefore of seemed to most readers at the time all progress in civilization, has been when his book was first published, they

, pressure of population ; but the worst, now command more attention than was as Herbert Spencer long since pointed accorded to them before the late war out, has yet to come: “Though by the between China and Japan. They are emigration that takes place when the forcing new convictions and new apprepressure arrives at a certain intensity hensions. It is certain that the conditemporary relief is from time to time tions of society in Western countries are obtained, yet as by this process all hab- not now ameliorating; and it is not difitable countries must become peopled, it ficult to believe that the decay of faith,

1 Principles of Biology, “ Human Population 2 Evolution of Ethics, Prolegomena, xiv. in the Future," vol. ii. chap. xiii.


the substitution of conventionalism for not of nations only, but of widely divertrue religion, the ever-growing hunger of gent races. The evolutional trend would pleasure, the constant aggravation of suf- seem to be toward universal brotherhood, fering, may be signs of that senescence without distinctions of country, creed, or which precedes the death of a civiliza- blood. It is neither onscientific nor untion. It is possible that the races of the reasonable to suppose the world eventoOccident have almost exhausted their ca- ally peopled by a race different from any pacity for further development, and even now existing, yet created by the blendthat, as distinct races, they are doomed ing of the best types of all races ; unitto disappear. Nor is it unnatural to sup- ing Western energy with Far-Eastern pose that the future will belong to the patience, northern vigor with southern races of the Far East.

sensibility, the highest ethical feelings But a more optimistic view of the future developed by all great religions with the is also possible. Though there be signs largest mental faculties evolved by all in Western civilization of the disintegra- civilizations ; speaking a single tongue tion of existing social structures, there composed from the richest and strongare signs also of new latent forces that est elements of all preëxisting human will recreate society upon another and a speech; and forming a society unimagimore normal plan. There are unmistak. nably unlike, yet also unimaginably suable growing tendencies to international perior to, anything which now is or has union, to the most complete industrial and ever been. commercial federation. International ne- To many the mere thought of a fusion cessities are rapidly breaking down old of races will be repellent, because of anprejudices and conservatisms, while de- cient and powerful prejudices once esveloping cosmopolite feeling. The great sential to national self-preservation. But fraternities of science and of art have as a matter of scientific fact we know declared themselves independent of coun- that none of the present higher races is try or class or creed, and recognize only really a pure race, but represents the the aristocracy of intellect. Few think- blending, in prehistoric times, of races ers would now smile at the prediction that have individually disappeared from that international war will be made im- the earth. All our prejudices of napossible, or doubt the coming realization tionality and race and creed have doubtof Victor Hugo's dream of the “Unit- less had their usefulness, and some will ed States of Europe.” And this would probably continue to have usefulness for signify nothing less than the final oblit- ages to be; but the way to the highest eration of national frontiers, the removal progress can be reached only through of all barriers between European peoples, the final extinction of all prejudice, the ultimate fusion of Western races into through the annihilation of every form one vast social organism. Such fusion is of selfishness, whether individual or naeven now visibly beginning. The tenden- tional or racial, that opposes itself to cy of Western civilization in its present the evolution of the feeling of universal form is to unite the strong while crush- brotherhood. The great Harvey said, ing the weak, and individual superiority "Our progress is from self-interest to seeks its affiliations irrespective of nation- self-annihilation.” Modern thought inality.

dorses the truth of that utterance. But But the promise of international coa- the truth itself is older by thousands of lescence in the West suggests the proba- years than Harvey ; for it was spoken, bility of far larger tendencies to unifica- long before the age of Christ, by the lips tion in the remoter future,- to unification of the Buddha.

Lafcadio Hearn.

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