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peror did not answer, but after waiting awhile said: "I will call An Shih to take your place; how will that be?" The Prime Minister also did not answer, so the Emperor offered the position to Wang An-shih. He in turn recommended his colleague, who was given the position, but as he disagreed with An Shih he kept the position for only a short time.
The discussion concerning the Seed Grain Law was a bitter one. On the one hand was Han Ch'i the "faithful and wise," with the great historian Ssu Ma-kuang and all those whom the latter in his history calls "the good officials and great scholars ;" and on the other hand was the "clique" with Wang An-shih and his associate Lü Hui-ch'ing at its head. But on their side was the Emperor, who had the most unbounded confidence in Wang An-shih.
When the Seed Grain Law began to be enforced the official (EAKWĚ) of the Yamên which took care of the taxes presented a document, in which he said: "The people all like to use the Seed Grain Money. I therefore ask the Emperor to order the Grain Commission of every province to execute this law and appoint officers (), whose special duty it will be to receive and send out this money." All these officials were in perfect harmony with An Shih and the law. They flattered him and thought that the more money they sent out the more credit they would receive. The rich men of course had no occasion to use this money, but these "executive officers" forced them to use it (just as Mr. Bellamy would make all rich men give all their property into the hands of the government). This led the rich people to cry down the law, and produced a general sentiment against it.
Han Ch'i, the "faithful and wise," presented a document, in which he spoke as follows: "I understand that the Imperial will in the establishment of the Seed Grain Law is that the people may be favored and that the rich may be prevented from taking an exorbitant interest from the poor. If now you do thus is it not an indication that the empire is covetous of riches? No matter whether the families are rich or poor all are expected and forced to use the money. This looks as if the government sends out money, because it covets the interest. This conduct is contrary to the original idea in the enactment of the law. The officials force the rich to take the money even as the poor, else they would not do so. The poor families will borrow, but to borrow is easy, to repay is difficult. The result will be thus: You will be forced to reprove and urge them, which will create much disorder among the people. If the Emperor is economical in his expenditures and the expenditures of the empire, his income will be sufficient. Why have these avaricious officials going about creating disorder and discontent?”
This letter of Han Ch'i so unsettled the Emperor that he resolved to order the Seed Grain Money to be discontinued. An Shih presented his resignation on plea of illness, but his friends persuaded the Emperor not to allow him to give up his office. He then came to the court to call on the Emperor, and told him that many "officials here and in the provinces are secretly united in a desire to destroy the ancient rules of the empire and impede these good laws, and are having numerous consultations." A queer speech for him to make who, says Williams, "advocated reform and change to the entire overthrow of existing institutions." *
Wen Yen-po told the Emperor that the Seed Grain Law was an injury. The Emperor answered: "I have sent two eunuchs, who have gone to every province to examine, and the people all say that the law is very convenient." Wen Yen-po answered: "Han Ch'i has been Prime Minister during three reigns, and you will not listen to his speech, but you listen to the talk of two eunuchs." historian adds: the Emperor had nothing to say, nevertheless he believed An Shih.
Passing over many of the documents that were presented let me give the substance of one presented by the Inspector Censor Cheng Hao. In substance he said: "The wise man in times of plenty will prepare for times of scarcity, and not repent when calamity comes that it is too late. Now since men think that this new government is inexpedient I fear that calamity will come before long. All the affairs of the government are thought to be wrong by many, both inside and outside of the Imperial Court. If this new government has any results, they will be to bring out the avaricious men. Honest business will be destroyed. The injury is much greater than the benefit."
The Emperor sent Ch'eng Hao to the office of the Prime Minister. When An Shih saw him he was very angry. Ch'eng Hao said: "We are now to consult about the great affairs of the empire and not simply about your family affairs; you must be mild and even-tempered in this consultation.'
We have thus presented three of the many letters that were sent in; the result of the whole discussion may be briefly stated in the words of Fan Chen (范鎮).
"The Emperor," said he, "should listen to the words of reproof, but a great officer has a plan to forbid reproof; the Emperor desires to love the people, but the great officer has methods to injure the people. Since you are not able to follow my advice I have no face to stand up in court; I will give up my position."
* Middle Kingdom, Vol. II, p. 174.
(To be continued.)
The Poverty of Shantung.-Its Causes and Treatment.*
BY REV. A. G. JONES.
[English Baptist Mission, Chou-p'ing.]
(Concluded from p. 187, April number.)
NOTHER set of causes is found in the religious beliefs of the people operating adversely to their progress. They lack the power of the hope of an endless life. It is passing strange that heavenly hope should make a richer people, but it is so. Nothing stimulates more than a future. Their world has none but what is a dreary repetition of the past, its changes and its precedents. The Chinese, as a people, are also largely affected by their ideas about fate and destiny, and nothing tells more against that effort and labor, which are the very first conditions of material advantages. Their vague and contradictory beliefs leave them, as a rule, destitute of moral courage. There is little of the great fear of God before their eyes, while there is very much of the little and inferior fear of breaking customs and superstitions and of offending their neighbours. This keeps them from advancing to where, even now, they might. Right and truth have to give way to formality, compromise, easiness and the proprieties and conventionalities of the district. This too keeps them poor. Their ancestral beliefs lead to a desire for a numerous progeny; this leads to early engagements and marriages; this leads to over-population and weakly population, and this is itself a main source of their poverty and arises from a religious belief.
Besides religious beliefs there are moral causes at the root of their wretchedness. Intellectual darkness and lack of science is not the worst cause. Wickedness and unrighteousness is the worst of all. Its operation in causing poverty is manifest. The general fear of trickery, swindling, insecurity, lying and injustice represses all commerce, and specially investment and co-operation. Perfidy and mendacity necessitate the most wasteful expense of effort to check it, both in the markets and in the government. The unreliability of samples and want of confidence as to execution of orders in bulk is a direct obstacle to trade. Adulteration tends to destroy trade and profit. For instance, the foreign tea trade which is being gradually lost partly on this account. I might also mention how labor is despised by the learned, how time and therefore gold is wasted sinfully by them, how their pride and intolerance first enchain them in their ignorance and suffering, and then their ignorance enchains them still worse in their pride. When we speak * A paper read at the Shantung Missionary Conference.
of the poverty of Shantung we must reckon with these things. Truly there is a necessity for the preaching of the Gospel and establishment of the Christian Church-the union of the good and blestregenerate this nation that the earth may yield them her increase. Again there are many causes of poverty in the principles and form of the government-partly intellectual as to their origin, partly moral as to their operation. The fear of an unjust administration of the laws and the uncertainty it brings, delay in procedure and the waste of time and money it causes, the universality of bribing and consequent uncertainty of issues, the "squeezing" caused by the system of farming the taxes of the various districts; these things all paralyze money-making down even to its very simplest forms. Besides, duties and imports are levied most arbitrarily and conflictingly. Their present practice of moving the officials from place to place in a country where everything depends, or may be made to depend, on the official sanction, is most prejudicial to the welfare and progress of the people. You also find good projects aborted in their being carried out by officials without good motives, and others rained by being placed in the hands of men with only Confucian learning who, to be effective, would need a technical training. It must be apparent, too, how costly, wasteful and cumbrous are their methods of government. Note their police system.
These are things that are impoverishing the people. They are known by the Chinese themselves to be evils. Have we no duty here?
Akin to the foregoing are the perverted social principles of the country we live in, showing their fruit in aggravated poverty. For instance: the generally received idea that to be born into a family constitutes a right to live off the ground of that family, and so on from generation to generation, almost ad infinitum, must lead to want and indigence. The right, and even the duty, of marrying without any special obligation to labor for your offspring, beyond putting in your father's spring crop and reaping and eating his harvest, this must be fatal to even ordinary well being. The notion that new departures are to be initiated by their government, directed by their officials, and managed by their relatives, would of itself run the very best projects for the alleviation of poverty into the ground. Yet these are of the very essence of their general notions.
There is another group of causes that go to aggravate poverty which, though not original evils, do augment it and make its cure more difficult and slow. They arise from the arrested progress of the country, and you will readily discern their bearing as I mention them. Bad roads making distribution and exchange of commodities difficult, costly and slow. Difficulty of emigration making land incredibly dear and over-populated in one district and valueless and
desolate in others. This also operates to prevent the masses of the overcrowded and hungry from reaching the waste lands, of which there are still plenty at present. Laborious porterage. Different standards of weight, measure and value in different places. Cumbrous and therefore costly currency. Low state of their mechanical knowledge, slow manipulation, hampering all advance in industry and manufacture; this again leaving them open to merciless foreign competition, which both disemploys their trades-people and drains their country of money to enrich foreign operatives and mill owners already well remunerated.
This completes what I have to say in this paper about the causes of the poverty of Shantung and much of the poverty of the other provinces. It is a long, depressing account of the very deepseated and intractable causes of that evil we are considering, but there is no use in shutting our eyes to the facts, and there is no use whatever in speaking of the treatment till we have ascertained the extent and nature of the disease.
Now as to the cure, or rather the attempted cure, of such of these features as we may reasonably hope to deal with.
And here let us first look at some of the difficulties that have to be reckoned with.
Many of these causes are themselves difficulties, for instance ignorance, but the one I fear most is cupidity in the officials, leading to such hardness of heart as, in many cases, makes the welfare of the people only a small and very secondary object in their eyes. There is also the tendency of the government to first of all arm and defend itself against aggression in preference to ameliorating the state of the masses. Then there is the exceedingly complex way in which these causes are all interlocked and related, the effects of one still operating after another has been removed.
For all this there is nothing but persistent Christian endeavor, in the assured faith that the seeds of better things systematically sown in this vast field of the world will afterwards assuredly and really bear fruit. We must learn the lesson of history and believe that the Lord has reserved China for some great and glorious end. We must realize her present sorrow and must feel it laid on our hearts and energies to work for their alleviation; thinking deeply over the matter and doing our share on sound and telling lines; working seminally and patiently, remembering that the whole trend of circumstances and of civilization is being ordered in our favour. So much for our general attitude. Let us now ask, What can we do, what ought we do, being face to face with this state of affairs?
First, let us all do our proper missionary work and preach the full Gospel with a deeper sense than ever of its being the greatest