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The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti. By Felix Frankfurter. Little, Brown & Co. Further proof that history does repeat itself. What the fear and rage of Massachusetts, hiding behind the law, have tried for six years to do to Sacco and Vanzetti, is what the fear and rage of Massachusetts, hiding behind the law, did to the persons accused of witchcraft in Salem Village in 1692. It is

true that these men have not been executed, but it is also true that the witchcraft frenzy lasted only about six months. The odds are therefore about even. Professor Frankfurter, of the Harvard Law School, has made a careful examination of the case which should be read by everybody who prefers justice to prejudice.

Wilhelm Hohenzollern. By Emil Ludwig. G. P. Putnam's Sons.

A dramatic interpretation, with an abundance of rather journalistic explaining, of the character and deeds of the last of the kaisers. The materials are drawn from authorities close to Wilhelm and generally friendly to him. His enemies could not have served him


The Rebellious Puritan: Portrait of Mr. Hawthorne. By Lloyd Morris. Harcourt, Brace & Co.

A study of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life, not of his books, written with insight, grace, and charm. Hawthorne, according to this biography, rebelled wisely, but not quite well enough, and finally died of the quietness in which he had taken refuge from the Puritan world.

The Field God and In Abraham's Bosom. By Paul Green. Robert M. McBride & Co. Two strong and tragic plays by a 128

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A first novel by a novelist who will justify a good deal of watching. It is the story of a conflict between an enlightened woman and her mean, stupid, crafty family.

Flower Phantoms. By Ronald Fraser. Boni & Liveright.

An exquisite romance of a girl who prefers flowers to men, becomes for a time, in phantasy, a flower herself, and returns to her human condition somewhat more reconciled to her own kind. While the plot is fanciful, the states of mind portrayed are convincing to any acute imagination.

The Story of a Wonder Man: Being the Autobiography of Ring Lardner. Charles Scribner's Sons.

Noble nonsense. Mr. Lardner has two methods by which he makes his nonsense noble: (1) puns; (2) apparent imbecility. The puns are puns. The imbecility is only apparent.

The Second Conning Tower Book. Edited by F. P. A. Macy-Masius.

Verses collected from "The Conning Tower" by the most Horatian editor now editing. Nearly all of the contributors have a silver felicity, but Dorothy Parker frequently inclines to gold. Hawkers and Walkers in Early America. By Richardson Wright. J. B. Lippincott Co. A picturesque record of what went on, chiefly during the first half-century or so of the Republic, upon the highways, and some of the byways, of the United States. Historical novelists should give Mr. Wright three votes of thanks.




Vol 114

June 1927

No 2



And the Remaking of Her Civilization Begins

YHEN Alexander was pushing his conquests into India, China not only had a well established civilization, but the Chinese were in contact, if infrequently, with the Mediterranean basin. When Cæsar Augustus was launching imperial Rome on its thousand years of achievement and decline, Chinese merchants were visiting this capital of the Western World and making profit from their long and hazardous marches across the old caravan routes through Central Asia.

A Jewish colony was established in China by the first century A. D. Christians and Mohammedans entered the country in the seventh century. Catholic priests and an Italian merchant gradually came to have considerable influence in Chinese officialdom between the thirteenth and the seventeenth centuries. Portuguese traders arrived in 1516; Russia signed a commercial treaty in 1689; Spanish, Dutch, and British merchants occasionally visited China in the years between. By the end of the eighteenth century a fairly regular if small foreign trade had developed,

chiefly at Canton, with Americans and nationals of several European nations participating. The first Protestant missionary landed in 1807. The frequency and variety of contacts between the West and China continued to develop steadily through the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries.

Through these and similar channels, the West had been spinning gossamer threads of contact with China from early times. In some cases, as through the scientific work of the Jesuits, Western civilization had made a real contribution to the development of the civilization of China. In others, as in the case of the craze for French clocks and watches which at one time swept the imperial court, the West had given a new toy to delight the emperor and his satellites. In still others, through what seemed to the Chinese undue presumption on the part of mere traders, or improper political activity of traders or priests or both, Chinese anger was aroused against these barbarians from the West.

Save perhaps in the case of the

Copyright, 1927, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.


influx of Mohammedanism, however, even with all these contacts, the West had made little if any impress on China as a whole. Nestorian Christianity, after a few centuries, disappeared even from the memory of the imperial court; knowledge of its early presence was reacquired only with the discovery of a stone monument near Sianfu in 1625. The Jews gradually dwindled into a small poverty-stricken group in one of the less important provincial capitals, where a semblance of the old religious ritual is still maintained. Mohammedanism never took to China the learning and culture which made it so large a contributor to Western development.

The real impact of Western civilization on China did not begin until well into the nineteenth century. It came even then chiefly because of the development of means of more rapid communication than the world ever before had known: the steamship, the telegraph, and the cable. Oceans and mountain ranges ceased to be barriers. These new aids to communication in fact so reduced the size of the world that Peking, by the end of the nineteenth century, was in reality nearer Philadelphia than Boston was when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and Canton was less far from London than was Aberdeen when Burke thundered in the House of Commons.

By the time, too, that these inventions were so rapidly bringing East and West together, the West had worked its new civilization into fairly coherent form. The tide of democratic polemics was in full flood even though democracy had not yet been completely achieved. Nationalism

of the new and modern sort was getting a strong hold on the minds and emotions of men. The new science and its philosophy, and the Marxian economics, were reorienting the thoughts of men about their place in the universe. Pressed for new markets and new lands by the growth of population and the new industry of the machine, the nations of Europe were seeking new opportunities across the seas.

Thus all things conspired to make of the latter half of the nineteenth century the period in which the West would pour a steadily growing flood of new ideas and methods into the Far East. Good and bad, idealistic self-sacrifice and purely selfish desire for quick profit and special privileges, even though won unscrupulously, were jumbled together in this flood. The flood swept across Japan, and only by heroic effort at remaking their national life did the Japanese save themselves from being swamped. The flood beat against China, and it has slowly been penetrating into even the remotest corners of the land.


There have been three distinct periods in the reaction of the Chinese to modern Western civilization.

The first period, which lasted roughly somewhat past the middle of the nineteenth century, was marked by an undiscriminating assumption that everything Western was inferior to everything Chinese and, on the whole, undesirable. Western traders might be tolerated, as other barbarians from outside had been, if they did not cause too much trouble and if they recognized their inferiority. Western missionaries

might preach their religion to those who were foolish enough to listen, so long as they made no serious efforts to upset the government. The idea that the West really might have something of value to teach China was, however, absurd. Thus argued those who had occasion to come into contact with the foreigners.

The great mass of the Chinese people, of course, knew nothing and cared less about these strange new barbarians who began to clamor at China's doors. Even the imperial court at Peking took only the vaguest interest in their doings until Western soldiers began to threaten the capital itself. The local officials were left to settle questions which arose in whatever way they chose; and they generally chose the way which at the moment seemed the easiest.

Disagreements, mutual recriminations, the use of force by foreigners to secure Chinese acquiescence in their demands, efforts on the part of the Chinese to pare away the concessions which they had been forced to make, sincere and friendly coöperation in mutually profitable trade -all these are written into the record of the last quarter of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries. On the whole, Western trade was not wanted, nor Western religion.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, however, a few of the Chinese had begun to take a new attitude. The second period in the relations with the modern West was beginning, a period marked by a growing feeling that China should and must learn from the West. The young men of this period were in many respects as undiscriminating

as their fathers, but in the opposite direction. There was a strong tendency to copy everything Western just because it was Western, and to reject all things Chinese because they were not "modern."

This new attitude showed itself, principally, in two ways.

Chinese troops had been badly defeated in a number of battles by numerically far inferior foreign forces. In 1858 foreign armies forced their way into Peking itself, and the emperor was compelled to sign treaties which recognized as equals the rulers of certain Western states.

In passing, it is worth noting that the significance of this forced recognition of foreign equality can scarcely be overemphasized. The keystone of the Chinese political system was the assumption that the emperor was in theory at least supreme over all the earth; over "all within the four seas," as Confucius put it. Dynasties might be overthrown and new ones established. This, however, meant simply that Heaven's mandate to rule the earth had been taken from one emperor and given to another. to another. Such a change in no way affected the basic assumption that the emperor ruled by what in the West would be called divine right, and that all other rulers of the earth were properly his subordinates or tributary to him. When Western troops, by forcing recognition of equality between the Son of Heaven and Western rulers, unsettled in its place this keystone assumption of Chinese political thought, they started the downfall of the whole imperial system. The attack on Peking in 1858 was as far-reaching in its conse

quences as the Protestant repudiation of the pope's infallibility and the eighteenth-century denial of the divine right of European kings, though neither the Chinese nor the foreigners at the time realized the profound political significance for China of the steps which led to the treaties of 1858.

When Peking itself was entered by foreign troops, however, many of the Chinese did realize that, if China were to be saved from complete foreign domination, she must hasten to learn at least Western fighting methods. Other Chinese saw the effectiveness of Western steamships and Western machinery; the nine up-to-date steamships on the Yangtse in 1865, for example, were rapidly taking trade away from the Chinese junks. Hence young men and some of their elders went or were sent abroad to study Western weapons, Western ways of fighting, and Western mechanical methods and equipment. This deliberate attempt to find out by what means the Westerners made themselves efficient, so that the means might be copied in China and China be saved from Western domination, was one of the two chief expressions of the changed attitude toward the West which marked this second period.

The other of these two expressions came in the form of a desire to learn Western political, social, and religious ideas so that these might be spread abroad for the salvation of the Chinese people and the creation in China of a democratic state. A number of young Chinese went abroad to pursue such studies; many others at home secured, studied, and translated Western books.

China, that is, alarmed by the disastrous consequences of inability to stem the tide of Western aggression, and urged by the first stirrings of new ideas of democracy which had been implanted by Westerners, began sending her young men abroad to learn at the fountainheads of Western civilization whatever that civilization might have to teach. Even toward the end of the nineteenth century, there still was much conservative opposition to this new movement; the first group of 120 boys who, in 1872 to 1875, were sent to America to study, for example, were summarily recalled in 1881 because they were becoming too much Americanized. The outbound tide of students had begun to move, however. It has since then steadily increased in volume, until to-day nearly ten thousand young Chinese men and women are studying in foreign countries, and in the course of the last halfcentury nearly twenty-five thousand have had direct personal contact with Western ways and ideas during their student days either in Western countries or in Japan.

While a favored few were having this chance to go abroad to study, a much larger number in China were turning with avidity to the study of Western thought and ways. Western political, philosophical, and technical books were translated and have had wide circulation in the years beginning with the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Huxley, Darwin, Spencer-these names became almost as familiar to the students in China as to their foreign fellows in the schools of Europe and America. The teachings of Rousseau and

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