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´╗┐Title: America, through the spectacles of an Oriental diplomat
Author: Wu, Tingfang, 1842-1922
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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America

Through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat



[Note on text:  Italicized sections are capitalized.  A few obvious
errors have been corrected.  Some footnotes have been added, and are
clearly marked.]



Introduction:

While this book is by no means famous, it is a remarkable chance to
look at America of 1914 through the eyes of an outsider.  Wu Tingfang
shows evidence of having thought through many issues of relevance to
the United States, and while some of his thoughts are rather odd--such
as his suggestion that the title of President be replaced by the title
of Emperor; and others are unfortunately wrong--such as his hopes for
peace, written on the eve of the First World War; they are all
well-considered and sometimes show remarkable insight into American
culture.

Even so, it should be remarked that he makes some errors, including
some misunderstandings of American and Western ideas and an
idealization of Chinese culture, and humanity in general, in some
points--while I do not wish to refute his claims about China, I would
simply point out that many of the things he praises have been seen
differently by many outside observers, just as Wu Tingfang sometimes
looks critically at things in America which he does not fully
understand (and, unfortunately, he is sometimes all too correct)--in
all these cases (on both sides) some leeway must be given to account
for mutual misunderstandings.  Still, his observations allow us to see
ourselves as others see us--and regardless of accuracy those
observations are useful, if only because they will allow us to better
communicate.

The range of topics covered is also of particular interest.  Wu
Tingfang wrote this book at an interesting juncture in
history--airplanes and motion pictures had recently been invented, (and
his expectations for both these inventions have proven correct), and
while he did not know it, a tremendous cultural shift was about to take
place in the West due to the First World War and other factors.  I will
leave it to the reader to see which ideas have caught on and which have
not.  The topics include:

    Immigration; the Arms Race and changes in technology;
    one-time six year terms for the office of President;
    religion and/or ethics in the classroom; women's equality;
    fashion; violence in the theatre (violence on television);
    vegetarianism; and, cruelty to animals.

I will also note that a few passages seem satiric in nature, though I
am not certain that it isn't merely a clash of cultures.


                    Alan R. Light.  Birmingham, Alabama.  May, 1996.



AMERICA

Through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat

by Wu Tingfang, LL.D.

  Late Chinese Minister to the United States of America, Spain, Peru,
  Mexico and Cuba; recently Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister
  of Justice for the Provincial Government of the Republic of China, etc.



Preface

Of all nations in the world, America is the most interesting to the
Chinese.  A handful of people left England to explore this country:
gradually their number increased, and, in course of time, emigrants
from other lands swelled the population.  They were governed by
officials from the home of the first settlers, but when it appeared to
them that they were being treated unjustly, they rebelled and declared
war against their rulers, the strongest nation on the face of the
earth.  After seven years of strenuous, perilous, and bloody warfare,
during which thousands of lives were sacrificed on both sides, the
younger race shook off the yoke of the older, and England was compelled
to recognize the independence of the American States.  Since then, in
the comparatively short space of one hundred and thirty years, those
revolutionists and their descendants, have not only made the
commonwealth the richest in the world, but have founded a nation whose
word now carries weight with all the other great powers.

The territory at first occupied was not larger than one or two
provinces of China, but by purchase, and in other ways, the
commonwealth has gradually grown till now it extends from the Atlantic
to the Pacific Ocean, from the north where ice is perpetual to the
south where the sun is as hot as in equatorial Singapore.  This young
republic has already produced many men and women who are distinguished
in the fields of literature, science, art and invention.  There hosts
of men, who in their youth were as poor as church mice, have, by dint
of perseverance and business capacity, become multi-millionaires.
There you may see the richest man in the world living a simple and
abstemious life, without pomp and ostentation, daily walking in the
streets unattended even by a servant.  Many of them have so much money
that they do not know what to do with it.  Many foreign counts, dukes,
and even princes have been captured by their wealthy and handsome
daughters, some of whom have borne sons who have become high officers
of state in foreign lands.  There you find rich people who devote their
time and wealth to charitable works, sometimes endowing libraries not
only in their own land, but all over the world; there you will find
lynching tolerated, or impossible of prevention; there one man may kill
another, and by the wonderful process of law escape the extreme penalty
of death; there you meet the people who are most favorably disposed
toward the maintenance of peace, and who hold conferences and
conventions with that object in view almost every year; there an
American multi-millionaire devotes a great proportion of his time to
the propaganda of peace, and at his own expense has built in a foreign
country a palatial building to be used as a tribunal of peace.[1]  Yet
these people have waged war on behalf of other nationalities who they
thought were being unjustly treated and when victorious they have not
held on to the fruits of their victory without paying a reasonable
price.[2]  There the inhabitants are, as a rule, extremely patriotic,
and in a recent foreign war many gave up their businesses and
professions and volunteered for service in the army; one of her richest
sons enlisted and equipped a whole regiment at his own expense, and
took command of it.  In that country all the citizens are heirs
apparent to the throne, called the White House.  A man may become the
chief ruler for a few years, but after leaving the White House he
reverts to private citizenship; if he is a lawyer he may practise and
appear before a judge, whom he appointed while he was president.  There
a woman may become a lawyer and plead a case before a court of justice
on behalf of a male client; there freedom of speech and criticism are
allowed to the extreme limit, and people are liable to be annoyed by
slanders and libels without much chance of obtaining satisfaction;
there you will see women wearing "Merry Widow" hats who are not widows
but spinsters, or married women whose husbands are very much alive, and
the hats in many cases are as large as three feet in diameter;[3] there
you may travel by rail most comfortably on palace cars, and at night
you may sleep on Pullman cars, to find in the morning that a young lady
has been sleeping in the berth above your bed.  The people are most
ingenious in that they can float a company and water the stock without
using a drop of fluid; there are bears and bulls in the Stock Exchange,
but you do not see these animals fight, although they roar and yell
loudly enough.  It is certainly a most extraordinary country.  The
people are wonderful and are most interesting and instructive to the
Chinese.

Such a race should certainly be very interesting to study.  During my
two missions to America where I resided nearly eight years, repeated
requests were made that I should write my observations and impressions
of America.  I did not feel justified in doing so for several reasons:
first, I could not find time for such a task amidst my official duties;
secondly, although I had been travelling through many sections of the
country, and had come in contact officially and socially with many
classes of people, still there might be some features of the country
and some traits of the people which had escaped my attention; and
thirdly, though I had seen much in America to arouse my admiration, I
felt that here and there, there was room for improvement, and to be
compelled to criticize people who had been generous, courteous, and
kind was something I did not wish to do.  In answer to my scruples I
was told that I was not expected to write about America in a partial or
unfair manner, but to state impressions of the land just as I had found
it.  A lady friend, for whose opinion I have the highest respect, said
in effect, "We want you to write about our country and to speak of our
people in an impartial and candid way; we do not want you to bestow
praise where it is undeserved; and when you find anything deserving of
criticism or condemnation you should not hesitate to mention it, for we
like our faults to be pointed out that we may reform." I admit the
soundness of my friend's argument.  It shows the broad-mindedness and
magnanimity of the American people.  In writing the following pages I
have uniformly followed the principles laid down by my American lady
friend.  I have not scrupled to frankly and freely express my views,
but I hope not in any carping spirit; and I trust American readers will
forgive me if they find some opinions they cannot endorse.  I assure
them they were not formed hastily or unkindly.  Indeed, I should not be
a sincere friend were I to picture their country as a perfect paradise,
or were I to gloss over what seem to me to be their defects.


[1] This magnificent building at The Hague, which is aptly called the
Palace of Peace, was formally opened on the 28th of August, 1913, in
the presence of Queen Wilhelmina, Mr. Carnegie (the founder) and a
large assembly of foreign representatives.

[2] I refer to the Spanish-American War.  Have captured the Philippine
Islands, the United States paid $20,000,000, gold, for it to the
Spanish Government.

[3] This was several years ago.  Fashions change every year.  The
present type is equally ludicrous.



Contents

  Preface
  Chapter 1.  The Importance of Names
  Chapter 2.  American Prosperity
  Chapter 3.  American Government
  Chapter 4.  America and China
  Chapter 5.  American Education
  Chapter 6.  American Business Methods
  Chapter 7.  American Freedom and Equality
  Chapter 8.  American Manners
  Chapter 9.  American Women
  Chapter 10.  American Costumes
  Chapter 11.  American versus Chinese Civilization
  Chapter 12.  American versus Chinese Civilization (Continued)
  Chapter 13.  Dinners, Banquets, Etc.
  Chapter 14.  Theaters
  Chapter 15.  Opera and Musical Entertainments
  Chapter 16.  Conjuring and Circuses
  Chapter 17.  Sports



AMERICA

Through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat



Chapter 1.  The Importance of Names

  "What's in a name?  That which we call a rose
  By any other name would smell as sweet."


Notwithstanding these lines, I maintain that the selection of names is
important.  They should always be carefully chosen.  They are apt to
influence friendships or to excite prejudices according to their
significance.  We Chinese are very particular in this matter.  When a
son is born the father or the grandfather chooses a name for the infant
boy which, according to his horoscope, is likely to insure him success,
or a name is selected which indicates the wish of the family for the
new-born child.  Hence such names as "happiness", "prosperity",
"longevity", "success", and others, with like propitious import, are
common in China.  With regard to girls their names are generally
selected from flowers, fruits, or trees.  Particular care is taken not
to use a name which has a bad meaning.  In Washington I once met a man
in an elevator whose name was "Coffin".  Was I to be blamed for
wondering if the elevator would be my coffin?  On another occasion I
met a man whose name was "Death", and as soon as I heard his name I
felt inclined to run away, for I did not wish to die.  I am not
superstitious.  I have frequently taken dinner with thirteen persons at
the table, and I do not hesitate to start on a journey on a Friday.  I
often do things which would not be done by superstitious persons in
China.  But to meet a man calling himself "Coffin" or "Death" was too
much for me, and with all my disbelief in superstition I could not help
showing some repugnance to those who bore such names.

Equally important, if not more so, is the selection of a name for a
state or a nation.  When the several states of America became
independent they called themselves the "United States of America"--a
very happy idea.  The Union was originally composed of thirteen states,
covering about 300,000 square miles; it is now composed of forty-eight
states and three territories, which in area amount to 3,571,492 square
miles, practically as large in extent as China, the oldest nation in
the world.  It should be noted that the name is most comprehensive:  it
might comprise the entire continent of North and South America.  It is
safe to say that the founders of the nation did not choose such a name
without consideration, and doubtless the designation "United States of
America" conceals a deep motive.  I once asked a gentleman who said he
was an American whether he had come from South or North America, or
whether he was a Mexican, a Peruvian or a native of any of the
countries in Central America?  He replied with emphasis that he was an
American citizen of the United States.  I said it might be the United
States of Mexico, or Argentina, or other United States, but he answered
that when he called himself a citizen it could not mean any other than
that of the United States of America.  I have asked many other
Americans similar questions and they all have given me replies in the
same way.  We Chinese call our nation "The Middle Kingdom"; it was
supposed to be in the center of the earth.  I give credit to the
founders of the United States for a better knowledge of geography than
that possessed by my countrymen of ancient times and do not assume that
the newly formed nation was supposed to comprise the whole continent of
North and South America, yet the name chosen is so comprehensive as to
lead one naturally to suspect that it was intended to include the
entire continent.  However, from my observation of their national
conduct, I believe their purpose was just and humane; it was to set a
noble example to the sister nations in the Western Hemisphere, and to
knit more closely all the nations on that continent through the bonds
of mutual justice, goodwill and friendship.  The American nation is,
indeed, itself a pleasing and unique example of the principle of
democracy.  Its government is ideal, with a liberal constitution, which
in effect declares that all men are created equal, and that the
government is "of the people, for the people, and by the people."
Anyone with ordinary intelligence and with open eyes, who should visit
any city, town or village in America, could not but be impressed with
the orderly and unostentatious way in which it is governed by the local
authorities, or help being struck by the plain and democratic character
of the people.  Even in the elementary schools, democracy is taught and
practised.  I remember visiting a public school for children in
Philadelphia, which I shall never forget.  There were about three or
four hundred children, boys and girls, between seven and fourteen years
of age.  They elected one of their students as mayor, another as judge,
another as police commissioner, and in fact they elected for the
control of their school community almost all the officials who usually
govern a city.  There were a few Chinese children among the students,
and one of them was pointed out to me as the police superintendent.
This not only eloquently spoke of his popularity, but showed goodwill
and harmony among the several hundred children, and the entire absence
of race feeling.  The principals and teachers told me that they had no
difficulty whatever with the students.  If one of them did anything
wrong, which was not often, he would be taken by the student policeman
before the judge, who would try the case, and decide it on its merits,
and punish or discharge his fellow student as justice demanded.  I was
assured by the school authorities that this system of self-government
worked admirably; it not only relieved the teachers of the burden of
constantly looking after the several hundred pupils, but each of them
felt a moral responsibility to behave well, for the sake of preserving
the peace and good name of the school.  Thus early imbued with the idea
of self-government, and entrusted with the responsibilities of its
administration, these children when grown up, take a deep interest in
federal and municipal affairs, and, when elected for office, invariably
perform their duties efficiently and with credit to themselves.

It cannot be disputed that the United States with its democratic system
of government has exercised a great influence over the states and
nations in Central and South America.  The following data showing the
different nations of America, with the dates at which they turned their
respective governments from Monarchies into Republics, all subsequent
to the independence of the United States, are very significant.

Mexico became a Republic in 1823, Honduras in 1839, Salvador in 1839,
Nicaragua in 1821, Costa Rica in 1821, Panama in 1903, Colombia in
1819, Venezuela in 1830, Ecuador in 1810, Brazil in 1889, Peru in 1821,
Bolivia in 1825, Paraguay in 1811, Chile in 1810, Argentina in 1824,
and Uruguay in 1828.

These Republics have been closely modelled upon the republican form of
government of the United States; thus, nearly all the nations or states
on the continent of America have become Republics.  Canada still
belongs to Great Britain.  The fair and generous policy pursued by the
Imperial Government of Great Britain accounts for the Canadians'
satisfaction with their political position, and for the fact that they
do not wish a change.  It must be noted, however, that a section of the
American people would like to see Canada incorporated with the United
States.  I remember that at a public meeting held in Washington, at
which Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then Premier of Canada, was present, an
eminent judge of the Federal Supreme Court jocularly expressed a wish
that Canada should be annexed to the United States.  Later, Mr. Champ
Clark, a leader of the Democratic party in the House of
Representatives, addressed the House urging the annexation of Canada.
Even if these statements are not taken seriously they at least show the
feelings of some people, and he would be a bold man who would prophesy
the political status of Canada in the future.  There is, however, no
present indication of any change being desired by the Canadians, and it
may be safely presumed that the existing conditions will continue for
many years to come.  This is not to be wondered at, for Canada though
nominally a British colony practically enjoys almost all the privileges
of an independent state.  She possesses a constitution similar to that
of the United Kingdom, with a parliament of two houses, called the
"Senate", and the "House of Commons".  The Sovereign of Great Britain
appoints only the Governor General who acts in his name, but the
Dominion is governed by a responsible Ministry, and all domestic
affairs are managed by local officials, without interference from the
Home Government.  Canadians enjoy as many rights as the inhabitants of
England, with the additional advantage that they do not have to bear
the burden of maintaining an army and navy.  Some years ago, if I
remember rightly, in consequence of some agitation or discussion for
independence, the late Lord Derby, then Secretary of State for the
Colonies, stated that if the Canadians really wished for independence,
the Home Government would not oppose, but that they should consider if
they would gain anything by the change, seeing that they already had
self-government, enjoyed all the benefits of a free people, and that
the only right the Home Government reserved was the appointment of the
Governor-General, although it assumed the responsibility of protecting
every inch of their territory from encroachment.  Since this sensible
advice from the Colonial Secretary, I have heard nothing more of the
agitation for independence.

From a commercial point of view, and for the welfare of the people,
there is not much to choose to-day between a Limited Monarchy and a
Republic.  Let us, for instance, compare England with the United
States.  The people of England are as free and independent as the
people of the United States, and though subjects, they enjoy as much
freedom as Americans.  There are, however, some advantages in favor of
a Republic.  Americans until recently paid their President a salary of
only $50,000 a year; it is now $75,000 with an additional allowance of
$25,000 for travelling expenses.  This is small indeed compared with
the Civil List of the King or Emperor of any great nation.  There are
more chances in a Republic for ambitious men to distinguish themselves;
for instance, a citizen can become a president, and practically assume
the functions of a king or an emperor.  In fact the President of the
United States appoints his own cabinet officials, ambassadors,
ministers, etc.  It is generally stated that every new president has
the privilege of making more than ten thousand appointments.  With
regard to the administration and executive functions he has in practice
more power than is usually exercised by a king or an emperor of a
Constitutional Monarchy.  On the other hand, in some matters, the
executive of a Republic cannot do what a king or an emperor can do; for
example, a president cannot declare war against a foreign nation
without first obtaining the consent of Congress.  In a monarchical
government the king or the cabinet officials assume enormous
responsibilities.  Lord Beaconsfield (then Mr. D'Israeli), while he was
Prime Minister of England, purchased in 1875 from the Khedive of Egypt
176,602 Suez Canal shares for the sum of 3,976,582 Pounds on his own
responsibility, and without consulting the Imperial Parliament.  When
Parliament or Congress has to be consulted about everything, great
national opportunities to do some profitable business must undoubtedly
be sometimes lost.  No such bold national investment as that made by
Lord Beaconsfield could have been undertaken by any American president
on his own responsibility.  Mr. Cleveland, when president of the United
States, said that "the public affairs of the United States are
transacted in a glass house."

Washington, in his farewell address, advised his compatriots that on
account of the detached and distant situation of their country they
should, in extending their commercial relations with foreign nations,
have as little political connection with them as possible; and he asked
this pertinent and pregnant question, "Why, by interweaving our destiny
with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in
the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or
caprice?" In 1823, twenty-seven years after Washington's celebrated
address, President Monroe in his annual message to Congress warned the
European Powers not to plant any new colonies on any portion of the
American hemisphere, as any attempt on their part to extend their
system in that part of the world would be considered as dangerous to
the peace and safety of the United States.  This "Monroe Doctrine", as
it has since been called, practically protects every state and country
on the American continent from attack or interference by any foreign
power, and it cannot be denied that it has been and is now the chief
factor in preserving the integrity of all the countries on that
continent.  Thus the United States is assuming the role of guardian
over the other American nations.  In the city of Washington there is an
International Bureau of the American Republics, in which all the
Republics of Central and South America are represented.  It is housed
in a magnificent palace made possible by the beneficence of Mr. Andrew
Carnegie, the American multi-millionaire and philanthropist, and the
contributions of the different governments.  It cost 750,000 gold
dollars, and Mr. John Barrett, the capable and popular director of the
Bureau, has well called it "a temple of friendship and commerce and a
meeting place for the American Republics."  The Bureau is supported by
the joint contributions of the twenty-one American Republics, and its
affairs are controlled by a governing board composed of their
diplomatic representatives in Washington, with the American Secretary
of State as chairman ex officio.  This institution no doubt strengthens
the position of the United States and is calculated to draw the
American Republics into closer friendship.



Chapter 2.  American Prosperity

One of the main causes of the prosperity of the great American Republic
is its natural resources.  It possesses coal, oil, silver, gold,
copper, and all the other mineral ores.  Nature seems, indeed, to have
provided almost everything that man needs.  The soil is rich; wheat and
every kind of fruit can be grown; but favorable as are these native
conditions they could not be turned to any great advantage without the
skill and industry of enterprising men.  Many countries in Africa and
Asia possess equal advantages, but they are not equally prosperous.
This leads me to the consideration of another reason for America's
growth.  The men who have migrated to the United States have not been
rich people.  They went there to make a living.  They were prepared to
work, their purpose was to improve their condition, and they were
willing to undertake any manual or mental labor to accomplish their
object.  They were hardy and strong and could bear a heavy strain.
Their children inherited their good qualities, and so an American is
generally more hard working and enterprising than most of the people in
Europe and elsewhere.

Another reason for America's success is the great freedom which each
citizen enjoys.  Every man considers himself the equal of every other,
and a young man who is ambitious will not rest until he reaches the top
of his profession or trade.  Thousands of Americans who were once very
poor, have become millionaires or multi-millionaires.  Many of them had
no college education, they taught themselves, and some of them have
become both literary and scholarly.  A college or university education
does not necessarily make a man learned; it only gives him the
opportunity to learn.  It is said that some college men have proven
themselves to be quite ignorant, or rather that they do not know so
much as those who have been self-taught.  I do not in any way wish to
disparage a college education; no doubt men who have been trained in a
university start in life with better prospects and with a greater
chance of success, but those men who have not had such advantages have
doubtless done much to make their country great and prosperous, and
they ought to be recognized as great men.

The general desire of the American people to travel abroad is one of
their good traits.  People who never leave their homes cannot know
much.  A person may become well-informed by reading, but his practical
knowledge cannot be compared with that of a person who has travelled.
We Chinese are great sinners in this regard.  A Chinese maxim says, "It
is dangerous to ride on horseback or to go on a voyage":  hence until
very recently we had a horror of going abroad.  A person who remains
all his life in his own town is generally narrow-minded,
self-opinioned, and selfish.  The American people are free from these
faults.  It is not only the rich and the well-to-do who visit foreign
countries, but tradesmen and workmen when they have saved a little
money also often cross the Atlantic.  Some years ago a Senator in
Washington told me that he crossed the Atlantic Ocean every summer and
spent several months in Europe, and that the next trip would be his
twenty-eighth voyage.  I found, however, that he had never gone beyond
Europe.  I ventured to suggest that he should extend his next annual
journey a little farther and visit Japan, China, and other places in
the Far East which I felt sure he would find both interesting and
instructive.  I have travelled through many countries in Europe and
South America, and wherever I have gone and at whatever hotel I have
put up, I have always found some Americans, and on many occasions I
have met friends and acquaintances whom I had known in Washington or
New York.  But it is not only the men who go abroad; in many cases
ladies also travel by themselves.  On several occasions lady friends
from Washington, Philadelphia, and New York have visited me in Peking.
This is one of the Americans' strong points.  Is it not wiser and much
more useful to disburse a few hundred dollars or so in travelling and
gaining knowledge, coming in contact with other peoples and enlarging
the mind, than to spend large sums of money in gaudy dresses, precious
stones, trinkets, and other luxuries?

In a large country like America where a considerable portion of the
land still remains practically uncultivated or undeveloped, hardy,
industrious, and patient workmen are a necessity.  But the almost
unchecked influx of immigrants who are not desirable citizens cannot
but harm the country.  In these days of international trade it is right
that ingress and egress from one country to another should be
unhampered, but persons who have committed crimes at home, or who are
ignorant and illiterate, cannot become desirable citizens anywhere.
They should be barred out of the United States of America.  It is well
known that foreigners take part in the municipal and federal affairs of
the country as soon as they become citizens.  Now if such persons
really worked for the good of their adopted country, there could be no
objection to this, but it is no secret that many have no such motives.
That being so, it is a question whether steps should not be taken to
limit their freedom.  On the other hand, as many farms suffer from lack
of workmen, people from whatever country who are industrious, patient,
and persevering ought to be admitted as laborers.  They would be a
great boon to the nation.  The fear of competition by cheap labor is
causeless; regulations might be drawn up for the control of these
foreign laborers, and on their arrival they could be drafted to those
places where their services might be most urgently needed.  So long as
honest and steady workmen are excluded for no reason other than that
they are Asiatics, while white men are indiscriminately admitted, I
fear that the prosperity of the country cannot be considered permanent,
for agriculture is the backbone of stable wealth.  Yet at present it is
the country's wealth which is one of the important factors of America's
greatness.  In the United States there are thousands of individuals
whose fortunes are counted by seven or eight figures in gold dollars.
And much of this money has been used to build railways, or to develop
manufactories and other useful industries.  The country has grown great
through useful work, and not on account of the army and navy.  In 1881
America's army numbered only 26,622 men, and her navy consisted of only
24 iron-clads, 2 torpedo-boats, and 25 tugs, but in 1910 the peace
strength of her army was 96,628 and the navy boasted 33 battleships and
120 armored cruisers of different sizes.

Within the last few years it has been the policy of many nations to
increase the army and to build as many Dreadnaughts and
super-dreadnaughts as possible.  Many statesmen have been infected by
this Dreadnaught fever.  Their policy seems to be based on the idea
that the safety of a nation depends on the number of its battleships.
Even peaceful and moderate men are carried away by this hobby, and
support it.  It is forgotten that great changes have taken place during
the last twenty or thirty years; that a nation can now be attacked by
means quite beyond the reach of Dreadnaughts.  The enormous sums spent
on these frightful monsters, if applied to more worthy objects, would
have a greater effect in preserving the nations' heritages than
anything these monstrosities can do.

The nation which has a large army and a strong navy may be called
powerful, but it cannot be considered great without other good
requisites.  I consider a nation as great when she is peacefully,
justly, and humanely governed, and when she possesses a large number of
benevolent and good men who have a voice in the administration.  The
greater the number of good men that a nation possesses the greater she
becomes.  America is known to have a large number of such men and
women, men and women who devote their time and money to preaching peace
among the nations.  Mr. Andrew Carnegie is worth a hundred
Dreadnaughts.  He and others like him are the chief factors in
safeguarding the interests and welfare of America.  The territory of
the United States is separated from Europe and other countries by vast
oceans; so that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a foe to
successfully attack any portion of that country.  But who wishes to
attack her?  She has scarcely an enemy.  No country is invaded by
another without cause, and as the United States is in friendly
relations with all the Powers, there is no reason to fear foreign
invasion.  Even should a foreign power successfully attack her and
usurp a portion of her territories, a supposition which is most
improbable, would the enemy be able to hold what he seized?  History
shows that no conquered country has ever been successfully and
permanently kept without the people's consent, and there is not the
least chance that the Americans will ever consent to the rule of a
foreign government.

It is to be hoped that the United States will not follow the example of
other nations and unduly increase her armaments, but that she will take
the lead in the universal peace movement and show the world that a
great power can exist and maintain her position without force of arms.
I am aware that general disarmament is not popular among statesmen,
that it has been denounced by an eminent authority as a "will-o'-the
wisp", that arbitration has been styled a "Jack-o'-lantern", but this
is not the first time a good and workable scheme has been branded with
opprobrious names.  The abolition of slavery was at one time considered
to be an insane man's dream; now all people believe in it.  Will the
twentieth century witness the collapse of our present civilization?

Why are the world's armaments constantly increasing?  To my mind it is
due to two causes, one of which is mistrust.  One nation begins to
build Dreadnaughts, another does the same through fear and mistrust.
The second cause is that it is the fashion of some nations to follow
the example of others that they may preserve their position as great
naval powers.  But it is unnecessary for the United States to show such
mistrust or to follow such fashion.  She should rather, as becomes a
great and powerful nation, take an independent course of her own.  If
she sets the example other nations in due time will follow her.  The
peace of the world will be more surely guarded, and America will win
the approbation, the respect, and the gratitude of all peace-loving
people.



Chapter 3.  American Government

Democratic principles were enunciated by Chinese philosophers as long
ago as 4,500 years, and from time to time various emperors and
statesmen have endeavored to apply them to the government of China, but
these principles in all their minute details have been exemplified only
by the wisdom of the statesmen in the West.  In the United States they
are in full swing.  As China has now become a Republic, not in name
only but in fact, it will be well for her statesmen and politicians to
examine the American constitution, and to study its workings.  To do
this at close range it will be necessary for the student to visit
Washington, the Capital of the United States of America.  Here he will
find the President, or the chief of the nation.  With the co-operation
of his Cabinet and a large staff of assistants, the President
administers the affairs of the Federal Government.  He may be a new man
and have had no previous training in diplomacy, and little
administrative experience, but in all probability he is a man of
resource and adaptability, who has mastered every detail of his high
office.  All important matters are referred to him, so that his daily
work taxes his whole strength and energy.  Another part of his function
is to see the Congressmen, Senators, or Representatives, and others who
call to see him on business, and this takes up a great part of his
time.  In fact, he is expected to be, and generally is, 'Suaviter in
modo, fortiter in re'.

In Washington the National Congress, which is composed of the Senate
and of the House of Representatives, holds its sittings in the Capitol,
and passes bills subject to the approval of the President.  If he signs
a bill it becomes law, and binds the nation.  The basic principle of
democracy is the sovereignty of the people, but as the people cannot of
themselves govern the country, they must delegate their power to agents
who act for them.  Thus they elect the Chief Magistrate to govern the
country, and legislators to make the laws.  The powers given to these
agents are irrevocable during their respective terms of office.  The
electors are absolutely bound by their actions.  Whatever laws Congress
may pass, the people must strictly obey; thus the servants of the
people really become their masters.  There is no fear, however, that
their masters pro tempore will betray their trust, as any neglect of
duty on their part, or disregard of the wishes of their constituents,
would most likely destroy their chances of re-election.

According to the terms of the Constitution, the senators and
representatives must be residents of the states for which they are
chosen.  This is an excellent provision, insuring that the people's
delegates possess local knowledge and know how to safeguard the
interests and welfare of the states which sent them to Washington.  On
the other hand, as each state, irrespective of its size, is entitled to
elect only two Senators, and to send only a limited number of
Representatives to the House, proportionally to its population,
unfortunately it frequently happens that eminent, capable, and
well-known public men, of large experience, are deprived of an
opportunity to serve their country.  In England, and in some other
lands, the electors may choose as their representative a resident of
any city, borough, or county as they please, and it only occasionally
happens that the member of Parliament actually lives in the district
which he represents.  Is it advisable to adopt a similar system in the
United States?  It could not be done without amending the Constitution,
and this would not be easy; but every nation, as well as each
individual, should be prepared, at all times, to receive fresh light,
and be willing to change old customs to suit new conditions, and so I
make the suggestion.

The fixing of four years as the term of office for the President was an
excellent idea, intended no doubt to prevent an unpopular or bad
President from remaining too long in power.  It is, however, gradually
dawning on the minds of intelligent people that this limited term,
though excellent in theory, is very inconvenient in practice.  However
intelligent and capable a new President may be, several months must
elapse before he can thoroughly understand all the details incidental
to his exalted position, involving, in addition to unavoidable social
functions, the daily reception of callers, and many other multifarious
duties.  By the time he has become familiar with these matters, and the
work of the office is running smoothly, half of his term has gone; and
should he aspire to a second term, which is quite natural, he must
devote a great deal of time and attention to electioneering.  Four
years is plainly too short a period to give any President a chance to
do justice either to himself or to the nation which entrusted him with
his heavy responsibilities.  Presidential elections are national
necessities, but the less frequently they occur the better for the
general welfare of the country.  Those who have been in the United
States during campaign years, and have seen the complicated working of
the political machinery, and all its serious consequences, will, I feel
convinced, agree with what I say.  During the greater part of the year
in which a President has to be elected the entire nation is absorbed in
the event, all the people, both high and low, being more or less keenly
interested in the issue, and the preparations leading up to it.  They
seem to put everything else in the shade, and to give more attention to
this than to anything else.  Politicians and officials who have a
personal interest in the result, will devote their whole time and
energy to the work.  Others who are less active, still, directly or
indirectly, take their share in the electioneering.  Campaign funds
have to be raised and large sums of money are disbursed in many
directions.  All this sadly interrupts business; it not only takes many
business men from their more legitimate duties, but it prevents
merchants and large corporations from embarking in new enterprises, and
so incidentally limits the demand for labor.  In short, the whole
nation is practically hurled into a state of bustle and excitement, and
the general trade of the country is seriously affected.  A young man in
Washington, who was engaged to be married, once told me that he was too
busy to think of marriage until the election was over.

If the French system were followed, and the President were elected by a
majority of the combined votes of the Senate and the House of
Representatives, the inconveniences, the excitements and expense above
enumerated might be avoided, but I think the people of America would
rather endure these evils than be deprived of the pleasure of electing
their President themselves.  The alternate remedy, so far as I can see,
is to extend the presidential term to, say, six or seven years, without
any chance of a re-election.  If this proposal were adopted, the
President would be more free and independent, he would not be haunted
by the bugbear of losing his position by temporarily displeasing his
political friends, he could give his undivided attention, as he cannot
do now, to federal affairs, and work without bias or fear, and without
interruption, for the welfare of his nation.  He would have more chance
of really doing something for his country which was worth while.  A
further advantage is that the country would not be so frequently
troubled with the turmoil and excitement arising from the presidential
election.  If I were allowed to prophecy, I should say that the young
Republic of China, profiting by the experiences of France and America,
will most likely adopt the French system of electing its President, or
develop a system somewhat similar to it.

One of the defects in the American way of government is the spoils
system, in accordance with the maxim, "To the victor belongs the
spoils." The new President has the right of dismissing a large number
of the holders of Federal Offices, and to appoint in their places his
friends, or men of his party who have rendered it services, or who have
otherwise been instrumental in getting him elected.  I am told that
thousands of officials are turned out in this way every four years.
President Jackson introduced the practice, and almost every succeeding
President has continued it.  This spoils system has been adopted by
almost every state and municipality; it forms indeed the corner-stone
of practical politics in the United States.  In every country, all over
the world, there are cases where positions and places of emolument have
been obtained through influential friends, but to dismiss public
servants who are doing useful work, for no better reason than simply to
make room for others, is very bad for the civil service, and for the
country it serves.  Attempts to remedy these evils have been made
within recent years by the introduction of what is called "Civil
Service Reform", by which a candidate is appointed to a post after an
examination, and the term of his service is fixed.  If this is to be
strictly adhered to in all cases, the President will be, to a great
extent, deprived of the means of rewarding his political friends.  In
that case I doubt if the professional politicians and wire pullers will
be so active and arduous as they have hitherto been, as the chief aim
in securing the election of the nominee will have been taken away.
Great credit is due to President Taft for his courage and impartiality,
in that after assuming the duties of the high office to which he was
elected, he gave appointments to men according to their ability,
irrespective of party claims, and even went so far as to invite one or
two gentlemen of known ability, who belonged to the opposite party, to
become members of his Cabinet.

In America men are not anxious for official offices.  Men possessing
talent and ability, with business acumen, are in great demand, and can
distinguish themselves in their several professions in various ways;
they can easily attain a position of wealth and influence, and so such
men keep out of politics.  It must not, however, be inferred from this
that the government officials in America are incompetent.  On the
contrary I gladly testify from my personal experience that the work
done by them is not only efficient, but that, taken as a whole, they
compare most favorably with any other body of government officials in
Europe.  Still, on account of the small salaries paid, it is not to be
wondered at that exceptionally good men cannot be induced to accept
official positions.  I have known several Cabinet Ministers who, after
holding their offices for two or three years, were obliged to resign
and resume their former business, and a President has been known to
experience great difficulty in getting good and competent men to
succeed them.

These remarks do not apply to the President, not because the
President's salary is large, for compared with what European Kings and
Emperors receive it is very small, but because the position is, far and
above any other, the largest gift the people can bestow.  No one has
ever been known to refuse a presidential nomination.  I believe anyone
to whom it was offered would always gladly accept it.  I have conversed
with some in America who told me that they were heirs apparent to the
White House, and so they are, for they are just as eligible candidates
for the position, as is the Crown Prince to succeed to a throne in any
European country.  Even a lady was once nominated as a presidential
candidate, although she did not obtain many votes.

One of the things which arouses my admiration is the due observance by
the people of the existing laws and the Constitution.  Every one obeys
them, from the President to the pedler, without any exception.
Sometimes, however, by a too strict and technical interpretation of the
law, it works a hardship.  Let me quote a case.  According to Article
1, Section 6, of the Constitution, "no Senator or Representative shall,
during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil
office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been
created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased, during
such time." A certain Senator was appointed by the President to a
Cabinet office, but it happened that the salary attached to that office
had been raised during the time he was in the Senate, and so it was
held that he could draw only the salary which was allowed before he
became a Senator, and that he was not entitled to the increase which
was sanctioned by Congress while he was in the Senate, although at the
time he had not the slightest notion that the increase would ever
affect his own pocket.

The relation of the states to the Federal Government is peculiar and
unique.  I will illustrate my point by correcting a mistake often made
by foreigners in regard to the different provinces of China.  It is
generally assumed by Western writers that each province in China is
self-governed, and that the provincial authorities act independently
and in defiance of the injunctions of the Peking Government.  The
facts, however, are that until the establishment of the Republic, all
the officials in the Provinces were appointed or sanctioned by the
Peking Government, and that by an Imperial decree even a Viceroy or
Governor could, at any moment, be changed or dismissed, and that no
important matter could be transacted without the Imperial sanction.
How does this compare with the states in America?  Every American
boasts that his state is independent of the Federal Government.  All
officials, from the Governor downward, are, in every state, elected by
the people.  Each state is provided with a Legislature consisting of a
Senate and a House of Representatives, also elected by the popular
vote.  The state has very large, and almost absolute, legislative and
executive powers, and is competent to deal with all matters not
reserved by the Constitution for the Federal Government.  Each state is
also independent of every other state.  The criminal and civil laws,
including all matters pertaining to the transfer of and the succession
to property, as well as marriage, divorce and fiscal laws, are within
the scope of the state administrations.  The authorities of each state
naturally do their best to make their own state as populous and
prosperous as possible.  Thus in some states the laws concerning
divorce, corporations, and landed property, are more favorable than in
other states.  A person, for example, unable to obtain a divorce in his
own state, can, without difficulty, attain his object in another state.
What is expressly prohibited by statute in one state may be perfectly
legitimate in the neighboring state.  It is the same with the local
taxes; fees and taxes are not uniform; in one state they are heavy,
while in another they are comparatively light.  A stranger would
naturally be surprised to find such a condition of things in a great
nation like America, and would wonder how the machinery of such a
government can work so well.  Nevertheless he will find that everything
goes on smoothly.  This can be explained only by the fact that the
inhabitants of one state often remove to other states, and by
commercial and other dealings and social associations they mix
together, so that, notwithstanding the dissimilarity of conditions in
different states, the people easily adapt themselves to the local
surroundings, and, so far as I can find, no friction or quarrel has
ever arisen between two states.  However, would it not be better for
all the states to appoint an interstate committee to revise and codify
their laws with a view to making them uniform?

Foreigners living in America sometimes find themselves at a
disadvantage, owing to the state being independent of the control of
the Federal Government.  This point can be better illustrated by a case
which happened some years ago in one of the states.  A foreigner, who
was the subject of a European country, was attacked by a mob, and his
property destroyed.  He laid his complaint before the local
authorities, but it appeared that he could not obtain the redress he
sought.  His consul did all he could for him by appealing to the local
authorities, but without success; finally the matter was reported to
his ambassador in Washington, who immediately interested himself in the
affair and brought it before the Secretary of State.  The Secretary,
after going into the facts of the case, said that all he could do was
to write to the Governor of that state and request him to take the
matter up, but the Governor, for some reason or other, did not take any
such action as would have given satisfactory redress to the foreigner.
His ambassador made frequent appeals to the Secretary of State, but the
Secretary was powerless, as the Constitution does not empower the
Federal Government to interfere in state matters.  This seems a blemish
in the administration of foreign affairs in the United States of
America.  Suppose a foreigner should be ill-treated or murdered in a
state, and no proper redress be given, the Federal Government cannot
send its officers to arrest the culprit.  All it can do is to ask the
Governor of that state to take action, and if he fail to do so there is
no remedy.  Fortunately such a case rarely happens, but for the more
efficient carrying on of their state affairs, is it not better in
special cases to invest the Federal Government with larger powers than
those at present possessed by it?  I am aware that this opens up a
serious question; that Congress will be very reluctant to confer on the
Federal Government any power to interfere in the state affairs, knowing
that the states would not tolerate such an interference; but as there
is a large and ever increasing number of aliens residing in the United
States, it naturally follows that riots, and charges of ill treatment
of foreigners now and then do occur.  Now state officials can, as a
rule, be trusted to deal with these matters fairly, but where local
prejudice against a class of aliens runs high, is it not advisable to
leave to the Federal officials, who are disinterested, the settlement
of such cases?  For the sake of cordial foreign relations, and to avoid
international complications, this point, I venture to suggest, should
be seriously considered by the Federal and the State Governments.

The question as to what form of government should be adopted by any
country is not easy to decide.  The people of America would no doubt
claim that their system is the best, while the people of the monarchial
governments in Europe would maintain that theirs is preferable.  This
is mostly a matter of education, and people who have been accustomed to
their own form of government naturally like it best.  There are
communities who have been long accustomed to the old system of
monarchial government, with their ancient traditions and usages.  There
are other communities, with a different political atmosphere, where all
the people share in the public affairs of State.  It would be
manifestly improper to introduce a democratic government among the
former.  It would not suit their tastes nor fit in with their ideas.
What is good for one nation is not necessarily good for another.  Each
system of government has its good points, provided that they are
faithfully and justly carried out.  The aim to secure the happiness and
comfort of the people and to promote the peace and prosperity of the
nation should always be kept in view.  As long as these objects can be
secured it does not matter much whether the government is monarchial,
republican, or something else.

It may pertinently be asked why China has become a Republic, since from
time immemorial she has had a monarchial form of government.  The
answer is that the conditions and circumstances in China are peculiar,
and are different from those prevailing in Japan and other countries.
In Japan it is claimed that the Empire was founded by the first
Emperor, Jummu Tenno, 660 B.C. and that the dynasty founded by him has
continued ever since.  It is well known that the Chinese Imperial
family is of Manchu origin.  The Ching dynasty was founded in 1644 by
conquest, not by succession.  Upon the recent overthrow of the Manchu
dynasty it was found very difficult to find a Chinese, however popular
and able, who possessed the legal right of succeeding to the throne.
Jealousy and provincial feelings placed this suggestion absolutely
beyond discussion.  Disagreements, frictions, and constant civil war
would have ensued if any attempt had been made to establish a Chinese
dynasty.  Another fact is that a large majority of the intelligent
people of China were disgusted with the system of monarchial
government.  Thus it will be seen that for the sake of the peace and
welfare of the nation there was no other course for the people but to
take a long jump and to establish the present Republic.  The law of
evolution has been very actively at work in China, and no doubt it will
be for her ultimate good, and therefore for the benefit of all mankind.
China is now an infant republic, but she will grow into a healthy and
strong youth.  Her people have the kindest feeling for the people of
the elder republic across the Pacific.  There are excellent reasons why
the two republics should be in closer friendship.  It is well known
that there are great potentialities for the expansion of trade in
China, and as the Philippine Islands are close to our shores, and the
completion of the Panama Canal will open a new avenue for the
enlargement of trade from America, it will be to the interest of both
nations to stretch out their hands across the Pacific in the clasp of
good fellowship and brotherhood.  When this is done, not only will
international commerce greatly increase, but peace, at least in the
Eastern Hemisphere, will be better secured than by a fleet of
Dreadnaughts.



Chapter 4.  America and China

America has performed great service for the Orient and especially for
China.  If, however, the people of the latter country were asked to
express their candid opinion on the matter, the verdict would not be
altogether pleasant, but would be given with mixed feelings of
gratitude and regret.  Since the formal opening of China to foreign
trade and commerce, people of all nationalities have come here, some to
trade, some for pleasure, some to preach Christianity, and others for
other purposes.  Considering that the Chinese have a civilization of
their own, and that their modes of thoughts, ideas, and habits are, in
many respects, different from those of the western people, it is not
surprising that frictions and disputes have occasionally occurred and
that even foreign wars have been waged between China and the Occident,
but it is gratifying to observe that no force has ever been resorted to
against China by the United States of America.  Now and then
troublesome questions have arisen, but they have always been settled
amicably.  Indeed the just and friendly attitude taken by the American
officials in China had so won the esteem and confidence of the Chinese
Government that in 1867, on the termination of Mr. Anson Burlingame's
term as American Minister to Peking, he was appointed by the Manchu
Government as Chief of a special mission to America and Europe.  In
that capacity he performed valuable services for China, although his
work was unfortunately cut short by his untimely death.  The liberal
and generous treatment accorded to the Chinese students in America is
another source of satisfaction.  They have been admitted freely to all
educational institutions, and welcomed into American families.  In
whatever school or college they enter they are taught in the same way
as the American boys and girls, and enjoy equal opportunities of
learning all that the American students learn.[1] That America has no
desire for territorial acquisition in China is well known.  During the
Boxer movement the American Government took the lead in initiating the
policy of maintaining the open door, and preserving the integrity of
China, a policy to which the other great powers readily consented.  It
was well known at the time, and it is no breach of confidence to
mention the fact here, that Mr. John Hay, American Secretary of State,
with the permission of President McKinley, was quite willing that
America's indemnity demanded from China as her share of the
compensation for losses sustained during the Boxer upheaval, should be
reduced by one-half, provided the other powers would consent to similar
reductions.  Unfortunately, Mr. Hay's proposal could not be carried out
for want of unanimity.  However, to show the good faith, and the humane
and just policy of America, she has since voluntarily refunded to China
a considerable portion of her indemnity, being the surplus due to her
after payment of the actual expenses incurred.  This is the second
occasion on which she has done this, although in the previous case the
refund was smaller.  These are some of the instances for which the
people of China have good reasons to be grateful to America and her
people.

There is, however, another side to the picture; the Chinese students in
America, who may be roughly calculated by the thousands, and whose
number is annually increasing, have been taught democratic principles
of government.  These could not but be detrimental to the welfare of
the late Manchu Government.  They have read the history of how the
American people gained their independence, and naturally they have been
imbued with the idea of inaugurating a similar policy in China.
Chinese merchants, traders, and others who have been residing in
America, seeing the free and independent manner in which the American
people carry on their government, learned, of course, a similar lesson.
These people have been an important factor in the recent overthrow of
the Manchu dynasty.  Added to this, the fact that America has afforded
a safe refuge for political offenders was another cause of
dissatisfaction to the Manchus.  Thus it will be seen that the Manchu
Government, from their point of view, have had many reasons for
entertaining unfavorable sentiments toward America.

This view I need hardly say is not shared by the large majority of
Chinese.  Persons who have committed political offenses in their own
country find protection not only in America but in all countries in
Europe, Japan, and other civilized lands.  It is an irony of fate that
since the establishment of the Chinese Republic, Manchu and other
officials under the old regime, now find secure asylums in Hongkong,
Japan, and Tsingtao, while hundreds of ex-Manchu officials have fled to
the foreign settlements of Shanghai, Tientsin, and other treaty ports,
so reluctantly granted by the late Manchu Government.  Thus the edge of
their complaint against America's policy in harboring political
refugees has been turned against themselves, and the liberality against
which they protested has become their protection.

The more substantial cause for dissatisfaction with the United States
is, I grieve to say, her Chinese exclusion policy.  As long as her
discriminating laws against the Chinese remain in force a blot must
remain on her otherwise good name, and her relations with China, though
cordial, cannot be perfect.  It is beyond the scope of this chapter to
deal with this subject exhaustively, but in order to enable my readers
to understand the exact situation it is necessary to supply a short
historical summary.  In 1868, on account of the pressing need of good
laborers for the construction of railways and other public works in
America, the Governments of China and the United States, concluded a
treaty which provided that "Chinese subjects visiting or residing in
the United States shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities, and
exemptions in respect to travel or residence as may be enjoyed by the
citizens or subjects of the most favored nation." It was a treaty
negotiated by that great American statesman, Secretary Seward, and
announced by the President of the United States to Congress as a
"liberal and auspicious treaty".  It was welcomed by the United States
as a great advance in their international relations.  It had also the
double significance of having been negotiated by a Chinese special
embassy, of which a distinguished American diplomat, Mr. Anson
Burlingame, who was familiar with the wishes and interests of the
American people, was the head.

But within a few years the labor unions on the Pacific coast began to
object to the competition of Chinese laborers.  Soon afterward the
Chinese Government, to its intense surprise, was informed that the
President of the United States had delegated a commission to come to
Peking to solicit an abrogation of the treaty clause to which reference
has been made.  The Chinese Government was naturally unwilling to
abrogate a treaty which had been urged on her by the United States with
so much zeal, and which had so lately been entered upon on both sides
with such high hopes.  Long and tedious negotiations ensued, and
finally a short treaty was concluded, the first and second Articles of
which are as follows:


        Article I

"Whenever in the opinion of the Government of the United States, the
coming of Chinese laborers to the United States, or their residence
therein, affects or threatens to affect the interests of that country,
or to endanger the good order of the said country or of any locality
within the territory thereof, the Government of China agrees that the
Government of the United States may regulate, limit, or suspend such
coming or residence, but may not absolutely prohibit it.  The
limitation or suspension shall be reasonable and shall apply only to
Chinese who may go to the United States as laborers, other classes not
being included in the limitations.  Legislation taken in regard to
Chinese laborers will be of such a character only as is necessary to
enforce the regulation, limitation, or suspension of immigration, and
immigrants shall not be subject to personal maltreatment or abuse."


        Article II

"Chinese subjects, whether proceeding to the United States as teachers,
students, merchants, or from curiosity, together with their body and
household servants, and Chinese laborers who are now in the United
States shall be allowed to go and come of their own free will and
accord, and shall be accorded all the rights, privileges, immunities,
and exceptions which are accorded to the citizens and subjects of the
most favored nations."


It would seem reasonable to expect that in yielding so fully to the
wishes of the United States in this second negotiation the Chinese
Government would not be called upon to make any further concessions in
the interests or at the demand of the labor unions on the Pacific
coast, but in this China was disappointed.  Within a period of less
than ten years an urgent application was made by the American Secretary
of State for a new treaty amended so as to enable the Congress of the
United States to still further restrict the privileges of Chinese
laborers who had come to the United States.  And when the Chinese
Government hesitated to consent to the withdrawal of rights which the
United States granted to the subjects of other Governments, Congress
passed the Scott Act of 1888 prohibiting any Chinese person from
entering the United States except Chinese officials, teachers,
students, merchants or travellers for pleasure or curiosity and
forbidding also Chinese laborers in the United States, after having
left, from returning thereto.  This, in the words of Hon. J. W. Foster,
ex-Secretary of State and a distinguished international lawyer, "was a
deliberate violation of the Treaty of 1880 and was so declared by the
Supreme Court of the United States."  In order to save the Executive of
the United States from embarrassment, the Chinese Government, contrary
to its own sense of justice, and of international comity, for a third
time yielded to the wishes of the United States, and concluded the
amended treaty of 1894 which gave Congress additional power of
legislation respecting Chinese laborers.  By Article I of this treaty
it was agreed that for a term of ten years the coming of Chinese
laborers to the United States should be absolutely prohibited.  Article
III distinctly provided that "the provisions of this convention shall
not affect the right at present enjoyed of Chinese subjects, being
officials, teachers, students, merchants, or travellers for curiosity
or pleasure, but not laborers, of coming to the United States and
residing therein." Thus it is clear that the prohibition affects only
laborers, and not the other classes of Chinese.  For a few years after
the signing of this convention this was the view adopted and acted upon
by the immigration officials, but afterward they changed their
attitude, and the foregoing Article has since been interpreted to mean
that only the above-mentioned five classes can be admitted into the
United States, and that all the other classes of Chinese, however
respectable and honorable, must be refused admission.  Will my readers
believe that a Chinese banker, physician, lawyer, broker, commercial
agent, scholar or professor could all be barred out of the United
States of America under the provisions of this convention?  In the face
of the plain language of the text it seems too absurd and unreasonable
to be contemplated, and yet it is a fact.

This convention was proclaimed in December, 1894.  According to its
provisions, it was to remain in force only for a period of ten years,
but that if six months before the end of that period neither Power
should give notice of denunciation it should be extended for a similar
period.  Such notice was, however, given by China to the United States
and accordingly the convention expired in December, 1904, and is now no
longer in force.  No serious attempt has since been made by the United
States Government to negotiate a new treaty regarding Chinese laborers,
so the customs and immigration officials continue to prohibit Chinese
laborers from coming to America by virtue of the law passed by
Congress.  It will be seen that by the treaty of 1868, known as the
"Burlingame Treaty", the United States Government formally agreed that
Chinese subjects, visiting or residing in the United States, should
enjoy the same privileges and immunities as were enjoyed by the
citizens or subjects of the most favored nation; that being so, and as
the convention of 1894 has expired, according to the legal opinion of
Mr. John W. Foster, and other eminent lawyers, the continuation of the
exclusion of Chinese laborers and the restrictions placed upon Chinese
merchants and others seeking admission to the United States are not
only without international authority but in violation of treaty
stipulations.

The enforcement of the exclusion laws against Chinese in the Hawaiian
and Philippine Islands is still more inexcusable.  The complaint in
America against the immigration of Chinese laborers was that such
immigration was detrimental to white labor, but in those Islands there
has been no such complaint; on the contrary the enforcement of the law
against the Chinese in Hawaii has been, and is, contrary to the
unanimous wish of the local Government and the people.  Free
intercourse and immigration between those Islands and China have been
maintained for centuries.  What is most objectionable and unfair is
that the Chinese should be singled out for discrimination, while all
other Asiatics such as Japanese, Siamese, and Malays are allowed to
enter America and her colonies without restraint.  It is my belief that
the gross injustice that has been inflicted upon the Chinese people by
the harsh working of the exclusion law is not known to the large
majority of the American people, for I am sure they would not allow the
continuation of such hardships to be suffered by those who are their
sincere friends.  China does not wish special treatment, she only asks
that her people shall be treated in the same way as the citizens or
subjects of other countries.  Will the great American nation still
refuse to consent to this?

To solve the problem of immigration in a manner that would be
satisfactory to all parties is not an easy task, as so many conflicting
interests are involved.  But it is not impossible.  If persons
interested in this question be really desirous of seeing it settled and
are willing to listen to reasonable proposals, I believe that a way may
be found for its solution.  There is good reason for my optimistic
opinion.  Even the Labor Unions, unless I am mistaken, would welcome an
amicable settlement of this complicated question.  In 1902, while at
Washington, I was agreeably surprised to receive a deputation of the
leaders of the Central Labor Union of Binghamton, New York, inviting me
to pay a visit there and to deliver an address.  As I did not wish to
disappoint them I accepted their invitation.  During my short stay
there, I was very cordially and warmly received, and most kindly
treated not only by the local authorities and inhabitants, but by the
members of the Labor Union and the working men also.  I found that the
Union leaders and the working men were most reasonable, their platform
being, as far as I could learn, to have no cheap labor competition but
not necessarily discrimination against any race.  If the United States
Government would appoint a commission composed of members representing
the Labor Unions, manufacturers and merchants, to treat with a similar
commission nominated by the Chinese Government, the whole question in
all its bearings could be discussed, and I feel certain that after free
and candid exchange of views, the joint Commissioners would be able to
arrive at a scheme which would put at rest once for all the conflicting
claims, and settle the matter satisfactorily to both China and the
United States.

When this disagreeable difference has been removed, the friendly
relations between the two Republics, cordial even while one was yet an
Empire, will leave nothing to be desired and cannot but help to largely
affect the trade between the two countries and to contribute to the
peace of the Far East.


[1] I need hardly say that our students are also well treated in
England, France, Germany, Japan, and other countries in Europe, but I
am dealing in this chapter with America.



Chapter 5.  American Education

Out of a total population of 91,972,266 in the United States there
were, in 1910, 17,506,175 pupils enrolled.  Few nations can show such a
high percentage of school students.  The total number of teachers was
506,040.  Educational efficiency on such a scale can be maintained only
by a large expenditure of money, and from the statistics of education I
find that the sum received from tuition fees was $14,687,192 gold, from
productive funds $11,592,113 gold, and from the United States
Government $4,607,298 gold, making a total of $70,667,865 gold.[1] I
question whether any other nation can produce such an excellent example
in the cause of education.

In every state there are very many schools, both public and private.
There are public schools in every town, and even the smallest village
has its school, while in some agricultural states, such as Wyoming,
where the population is very scattered, teachers are provided by the
government to teach in the farmers' homes wherever three or four
children can be gathered together.  The public schools are free and
open to all, but in some towns in the Southern States special schools
are provided for the colored people.  Having such facilities for
gaining knowledge, it naturally follows that the Americans, as a whole,
are an educated people.  By this I mean the native American, not the
recent immigrants and negroes, but even as regards the latter a
reservation should be made, for some of the negroes, such as Booker T.
Washington and others, have become eminent through their learning and
educational work.

The distinguishing feature of the school system is that it is cheap and
comprehensive.  In the primary and high schools the boys and girls,
whether they come from the wealthy or aristocratic families, or from
more straitened homes, are all studying together in the same
class-room, and it is known that a President sent his son to study in a
public school.  There is, therefore, no excuse for even the poorest man
in America being an illiterate.  If he wishes he can obtain a degree in
a university without difficulty.  Many of the state universities admit
the children of citizens of the state free, while their tuition fees
for outsiders are exceptionally low, so that it is within the power of
the man of the most moderate means to give his son a university
education.  Many of the college or university students, in order to
enable them to go through their courses of study, do outside jobs after
their lecture hours, and perform manual, or even menial work, during
the vacations.  I frequently met such students in summer resorts acting
as hotel waiters and found them clean, attentive, and reliable.  During
a visit to Harvard University, President Eliot took me to see the
dining-hall.  Many students were taking their lunch at the time.  I
noticed that the waiters were an unusually clean set of young men, and
upon inquiry was informed that they were students of the University,
and that when a waiter was wanted many students applied, as the poorer
students were glad to avail themselves of the opportunity to earn some
money.

Honest labor, though menial, is not considered degrading, and no
American of education and refinement is above doing it.  In some of the
states in the East, owing to the scarcity of servants, families do
their own cooking and other household work.  Some few years ago I was
on a visit to Ashburnham, Massachusetts, and was surprised to find that
my hostess not only did the cooking but also cleaned my room.  I was
invited to a formal luncheon by a professor, and to my astonishment his
two daughters waited at the table.  This is not unlike what occurs in
some parts of China in the interior.  The members of families, although
in good circumstances, do their own household work.  In some towns, not
far from Canton, wealthy farmers and country gentlemen hire out their
sons as menials, so that these youngsters, when they have grown up,
shall know the value of money and not squander the family wealth.  I
cite a typical case of a millionaire who had only one son.  In order to
make him appreciate the worth of money he took his boy to Canton, and
allowed him to be hired out as an ordinary servant.  The boy was
ordered by his master to look after a certain part of the house, and
also to take care of a little garden.  One day he carelessly broke a
valuable gold-fish jar much prized by the family.  His master naturally
became enraged and reproached him for his negligence.  The young man
coolly told him that if he would come to his father's house he could
replace the broken vessel by making his own selection from his father's
collection of gold-fish jars.  This irritated the master, who thought
that the lad was adding insult to injury.  However, ultimately, his
master was persuaded to go with him to his father's house, and to his
great astonishment he found there many gold-fish jars which were more
precious than that which the lad had broken.  Household work, however
mean it may be, is not considered degrading in China, but the
difference between China and America is that in America the people are
compelled to do it from necessity, while in China it is resorted to as
a matter of policy to make the young men realize the value of money,
and not spend it wastefully.

The curriculum prescribed in the schools covers a wide range of
subjects, and the graduates are well equipped to face the battle of
life.  Not only are drawing, sketching and other fine arts taught, but
also carpentry and other trades.  I was once shown a fairly made box
which was the product of a very small boy.  I did not at first perceive
the use of teaching a boy to do such work in school, but I learned that
its object was to instruct the pupil how to think and arrange his
materials systematically.

With the exception of those schools established by Christian societies,
or endowed by religious sects, all educational institutions, especially
those established by the state authorities, are secular.  Religion is
not taught.  Neither the Bible nor any other religious work is used in
the schoolroom.  The presidents, professors, and tutors may be strict
churchmen, or very religious people, but, as a rule, they are not
permitted to inculcate their religious views on the students.  The
minds of the young are most susceptible, and if no moral principles are
impressed upon them at school or college they are apt to go astray.  It
should be remembered that men of education without moral principles are
like a ship without an anchor.  Ignorant and illiterate people infringe
the law because they do not know any better, and their acts of
depredation are clumsy and can be easily found out, but when men of
education commit crimes these are so skilfully planned and executed
that it is difficult for the police to unravel and detect them.  It has
been known that frauds and forgeries perpetrated by such unscrupulous
persons were so cleverly designed that they bore the evidence of
superior education, and almost of genius.  The more a man is educated
the more is it necessary, for the welfare of the state, to instruct him
how to make a proper use of his talents: Education is like a
double-edged sword.  It may be turned to dangerous usages if it is not
properly handled.

As there is no established church in the United States, and in view of
the numberless different sects, it is not advisable to permit any
particular phase of religion to be taught.  But why not consent to
allow the cardinal principles of morality to be taught in every school?
The following may serve as examples:

   (1)  Honesty is the best policy.
   (2)  Honor thy father and thy mother.
   (3)  Universal brotherhood.
   (4)  Love of mankind.
   (5)  Charity to all.
   (6)  Purity in thought and action.
   (7)  Pure food makes a pure body.
   (8)  Happiness consists of health and a pure conscience.
   (9)  Live and let live.
  (10)  Respect a man for his virtues, not for his money or position.
  (11)  'Fiat justitia, ruat coelum' (Let justice be done,
          though the Heavens should fall).
  (12)  Bear no malice against anyone.
  (13)  Be equitable and just to all men.
  (14)  Liberty and freedom but not license.
  (15)  Do not unto others what ye would not that others should do unto
          you.

I have jotted down the above just as they occurred to me while writing.
They can easily be amplified, and be made the basis of an ethical
instruction in all the schools.  In any case, every nation should aim
at the highest standard of morals.

Co-education in the United States is not so unpopular as in some other
countries, and it is increasing in favor.  In all the primary schools,
and in most of the high schools, boys and girls study in the same
class-room, and girls are admitted as students even in some colleges
and universities.  This principle of admitting the fair sex to equal
educational privileges is slowly but surely being recognized
everywhere.  In some universities the authorities have gone half-way;
lectures are given to the girl students in separate rooms, or separate
buildings, or halls, are provided for the girl students.  With regard
to the teaching staff, in the primary schools nearly all the teachers
are women, and in the high schools their number is at least half, if
not more.  In some of the universities there are lady professors or
tutors.  It goes without saying that girls have the natural talent for
learning everything that boys can learn.  The objections raised by the
opponents of co-education seem to rest chiefly upon the danger of the
intellectual or physical overstrain of girls during adolescence, and
upon the unequal rate of development of boys and girls during the
secondary school period.  It is further alleged that in mixed schools
the curriculum is so prescribed that the girls' course of study is more
or less adapted to that of the boys, with the result that it cannot
have the artistic and domestic character which is suitable for the
majority of girls; but why should not the curriculum be arranged in
such a way as to suit both sexes?  Is it not good for both to learn the
same subjects?  That which is good for a boy to learn is it not equally
advisable for a girl to know, and vice versa?  Will not such a policy
create mutual sympathy between the sexes?  The opponents of the
co-education policy assert that it makes the girls masculine, and that
it has a tendency to make the boys a little feminine.  It cannot,
however, be doubted that the system reduces the cost of education, such
as the duplication of the teaching staff, laboratories, libraries, and
other equipment.

It is objected that the system has done more than anything else to rob
marriage of its attractions, by divesting man of most of his old-time
glamour and romance.  It is claimed that this early contact with the
other sex, on a footing of equality, and the manner in which the
majority of the girl students more than maintain their intellectual
standing with the boys, has tended to produce that contempt of the
much-vaunted superiority of man, that, as a rule, is reserved for those
post-nuptial discoveries which make marriage such an interesting
venture.  But they forget that marriages are frequently contracted in
places where girls and boys are taught together, and where they have
had ample opportunities for knowing each other intimately, and that
experience proves that such marriages are happy and lasting unions.  It
is interesting to observe, however, that as the number of educational
institutions has increased, the number of unmarried women has been
correspondingly augmented.  It is easy to explain this by the fact that
a large number of women earn their own livelihood by going into
business and the professions.  As they become more educated, and are
allowed to participate in many of the same privileges as men, it is
only natural that they should show their independence by remaining
single.  The same thing would occur in any country, and we may expect a
like state of things in China as greater facilities for instruction are
afforded to women.  I do not feel alarmed at the prospect; indeed, I
would welcome it if I could see my country-women acting as
independently and as orderly as their American sisters.

The games and sports sanctioned and encouraged in schools and
universities are useful, in that they afford diversion of the pupils'
minds from their school work.  They should not, however, be indulged in
in such a way as to interfere with their studies.  Take, as an example,
boat racing; several months of preparation are necessary before the
event takes place, and during a great portion of this time the students
do not think much of their studies; they are all mad with excitement.
The contest between the two rival parties is very keen; they have but
one thought, and that is to win the race.  In this way, at least so it
seems to me, the main object of recreation is entirely lost sight of;
it becomes no longer an amusement, but labor and work.  I am told that
the coxswain and the other members of the boat race generally have to
take a long rest when the race is over, which clearly shows that they
have been overworking.  I favor all innocent games and sports which
mean recreation and diversion, but if it be thought that without a
contest games would lose their relish and their fun, then I would
suggest that the aim should be the exhibition of a perfect body and
absolute health.  Let the students, when they come to the recreation
ground, indulge in any sport they please, but make them feel that it is
"bad form" to overstrain, or do anything which, even temporarily, mars
the perfect working of their physical organisms.  Let each student so
train himself as to become healthy and strong both physically and
mentally, and the one who, through reasonable and wholesome exercises,
is able to present himself in the most perfect health should be awarded
the highest prize.


[1] There appears to be $39,781,262 missing from these figures.
Possibly Wu Tingfang's figures are incorrect, but it seems more likely
that he neglected to include expenditures by state and local
governments.--A. R. L., 1996.



Chapter 6.  American Business Methods

If I should be asked what is most essential for the successful carrying
on of business in America I would say advertising.  A business man in
America who intends to succeed must advertise in the daily, weekly, and
monthly papers, and also have big posters in the streets.  I do not
believe any up-to-date merchant in America fails to do this.  Every
book and magazine contains many advertisements; sometimes fully half of
a big magazine is covered with notices or pictures of articles for
sale.  Wherever you go the inevitable poster confronts you; and even
when you look out of the window of the train you see large sign-boards
announcing some article of trade.  The newer the brand the bigger the
picture.  If when you get into a street-car you look around you will
see nothing but advertisements of all kinds and sorts, and if you
answer an advertisement you will keep on receiving notices of the
matter about which you inquired.  Even now I receive letters urging me
to buy something or other about which I sent a letter of inquiry when I
was in America.  At night, if you stroll round the town you will be
amazed by the ingenious and clever signs which the alert minds of the
trades people have invented, such as revolving electric lights forming
the name of the advertiser with different colors, or a figure or shape
of some sort illustrating his wares.  But even this is not thought
sufficient.  Circulars are often sent to everyone, making special
offers, setting forth forceful reasons why the commodity advertised is
indispensable.  Certain stores make it a point to announce cheap sales
once or twice a year, with from 10 to 25 per cent. reduction.  It
should be noted that no tradesman voluntarily sells his goods at a
loss, so that if during a sale he can give as much as 25 per cent.
discount we can easily calculate the percentage of profit he generally
makes.  There are cases where men who started as petty dealers have,
after a few years, become millionaires.

To show the importance of advertising I cite the well-known sanitary
drink which is a substitute for tea and coffee, and which by extensive
advertising in almost every paper published in every country has now
become a favorite beverage.  The proprietor is now a multi-millionaire
and I am told that he spends more than a million dollars a year in
advertising.

Another thing inseparable from American business is the telephone.  A
telephone is a part of every well-appointed house, every partner's desk
is provided with a telephone, through which he talks to his clients and
transacts business with them.  In all official departments in
Washington scores of telephones are provided; even the secretary of the
department and the chief of the bureau give orders by telephone.  It
goes without saying that this means of communication is also found in
the home of almost every well-to-do family.  The invention of a
telephone is a great blessing to mankind; it enables friends to talk to
each other at a distance without the trouble of calling.[1]
Sweethearts can exchange their sweet nothings, and even proposals of
marriage have been made and accepted through the telephone.  However,
one is subjected to frequent annoyances from wrong connections at the
Central Office, and sometimes grave errors are made.  Once, through a
serious blunder, or a mischievous joke, I lost a dinner in my Legation
in Washington.  My valet received a telephone message from a lady
friend inviting me to dine at her house.  I gladly accepted the
invitation, and at the appointed time drove to her home, only to find
that there was no dinner-party on, and that I should have to go hungry.

With some trades, in order to create a new market, commercial
travellers or "drummers" give their goods away for nothing.  Experience
has proved that what they lose at the start they recover in the course
of time, receiving in addition triple or tenfold more business than the
cost of the original outlay.  These commercial agents travel through
all sections of the country to solicit business; they call upon those
who can give them orders; they look up those who are engaged in similar
businesses to their own, and, if they are retailers, they invite their
orders, or ask them to become sub-agents.  These gentlemen practically
live on the trains: they eat, sleep, and do their business while
travelling.  One of them told me that in one month he had covered
38,000 miles, and that he had not been back to his firm for three
months.

There is no doubt that the American people are active, strenuous
workers.  They will willingly go any distance, and undertake any
journey, however arduous, if it promises business; they seem to be
always on the go, and they are prepared to start anywhere at a moment's
notice.  An American who called on me a short time ago in Shanghai told
me that when he left his house one morning at New York, he had not the
slightest notion he was going to undertake a long journey that day; but
that when he got to his office his boss asked him if he would go to
China on a certain commission.  He accepted the responsibility at once
and telephoned to his wife to pack up his things.  Two hours later he
was on a train bound for San Francisco where he boarded a steamer for
China.  The same gentleman told me that this trip was his second visit
to China within a few months.

American salesmen are clever and capable, and well know how to
recommend whatever they have to sell.  You walk into a store just to
look around; there may be nothing that you want, but the adroit manner
in which the salesman talks, and the way in which he explains the good
points of every article at which you look, makes it extremely difficult
for you to leave the store without making some purchases.  Salesmen and
commercial travellers in the United States have certainly learned the
art of speaking.  I once, however, met a remarkable exception to this
rule in the person of an American gentleman who was singularly lacking
in tact; he was in China with the intention of obtaining a concession,
and he had nearly accomplished his object when he spoilt everything by
his blunt speech.  He said he had not come to China for any
philanthropic purposes, but that he was in the country to make money.
We all know that the average business man is neither a Peabody nor a
Carnegie, but it was quite unnecessary for this gentleman to announce
that his sole object was to make money out of the Chinese.

Up to a few years ago business men in America, especially capitalists,
had scarcely any idea of transacting business in China.  I well
remember the difficulty I had in raising a railway loan in America.  It
was in 1897.  I had received positive instructions from my government
to obtain a big loan for the purpose of constructing the proposed
railway from Hankow to Canton.  I endeavored to interest well-known
bankers and capitalists in New York City but none of them would
consider the proposals.  They invariably said that their money could be
just as easily, and just as profitably, invested in their own country,
and with better security, than was obtainable in China.  It was only
after nearly twelve months of hard work, of careful explanation and
much persuasion, that I succeeded in finding a capitalist who was
prepared to discuss the matter and make the loan.  Conditions have now
changed.  American bankers and others have found that investments in
China are quite safe.  They have sent agents to China to represent them
in the matter of a big international loan, and they are now just as
ready to lend money in China as in Europe, and on the same terms.  In
conjunction with the representatives of some large European capitalists
they even formed a powerful syndicate in China, for the purpose of
arranging loans to responsible Chinese investors.  In the spring of
1913, however, they withdrew from the syndicate.

The opportunities to make money in America are great and a young man
with only fair ability, but an honest purpose, will always get
something to do; and if he is industrious and ready for hard work, if
he possess courage and perseverance, he will most surely go forward and
probably in time become independent.  There are hundreds of
millionaires and multi-millionaires in America who, in their younger
days, were as poor as sparrows in a snowstorm, but through
perseverance, combined with industrious and economical habits they have
prospered far beyond their own expectations.  The clever methods they
adopt in the carrying on of their business cannot but arouse our
admiration, and Chinese merchants would do well to send some of their
sons to America to study the various systems practised there.  But no
nation or any class of people is perfect, and there is one money-making
device which seems to me not quite sound in principle.  To increase the
capital of a corporation new shares are sometimes issued, without a
corresponding increase in the actual capital.  These new shares may
represent half, or as much of the actual capital as has been already
subscribed.  Such a course is usually defended by the claim that as the
property and franchises have increased in value since the formation of
the corporation the increase of the stock is necessary in order to
fairly represent the existing capital.  It is said that some railway
stock has been "watered" in this way to an alarming extent, so that a
great deal of it is fictitious, yet though it exists only on paper it
ranks as the equal of the genuine stock when the dividends are paid.
Whether or not such an action really is justifiable, or even moral, I
leave to the Christian clergy and their followers to decide.  The
promoters and directors of such concerns have at least hit upon a very
clever method for becoming rich, and if the securities of the original
shareholders are not injured, and the holders of the genuine and the
watered stock can share equally without endangering the interests of
all, perhaps such an action may be less blamable, but it is a new kind
of proceeding to Orientals.

I must not omit to mention, however, the confidence which is placed in
the honesty of the people in general; for example, you enter an
omnibus, you will find the driver, but no conductor to collect the
fare.  "It is up to you" to put the fare into a box, and if you do not
pay no one will ask for it.  Yet every fare is paid.  I have never seen
a dishonest man who omitted to pay.  This is a remarkable fact which I
have noticed nowhere but in America.  I suppose it is because the
people are not poor, and as they are always able to pay the fare they
do so.  They are too honest to cheat.  It is certainly a good way to
encourage people to be honest, to put them on their honor and then rely
on their own sense of uprightness.

The most curious sight I have ever seen was the Stock Exchange in New
York.  It is used as a market for the purchase and sale of various
articles, but there were no goods exposed for sale.  I saw a good many
people running about talking, yelling and howling, and had I not been
informed beforehand what to expect I should have thought that the men
were getting ready, in their excitement, for a general all round fight.
However, I did not see any exchange of blows, and I did not hear that
any blood was shed.

Another remarkable feature of the scene was that I did not see a single
woman there; she was conspicuous by her absence.  Whether or not the
rules of the Exchange allow her to become a member I do not know; that
is a question for the woman suffragists to investigate, but I learned
that it is a wealthy association consisting of 1,100 members, and that
to become a member one must be a citizen of the United States of 21
years of age or more.  The number of members is limited.  Persons
obtain membership by election, or by the transfer of the membership of
a member who has resigned or died.  A new member who is admitted by
transfer pays an initiation fee of 2,000 gold dollars, in addition to a
large fee to the transferrer, for his "seat in the House".  A member
may transfer his seat to his son, if the Committee of the Exchange
approve, without charging for it; but in all cases the transferree pays
the above-mentioned initiation fee of 2,000 gold dollars.

The prices for these seats vary, the fluctuations being due to the
upward or downward trend of the stock market.  Within recent years the
price has risen considerably, and as much as 95,000 gold dollars has
been paid to the transferrer.  This is much higher than the price
usually paid by new members in Stock Exchanges in Europe, yet when a
seat becomes vacant there is no lack of purchasers.  It is clear that a
seat in the "House" is very valuable to the holder.  In the building
each member has a stall allotted to him where he has a telephone for
his exclusive use; this enables him to communicate every transaction
done in the Exchange to his business house, and to keep up connections
with his constituents in other cities.  When one of his constituents,
say in Washington, D.C., desires to buy a certain security the order is
conveyed to him direct, and executed without delay.  I have seen a
transaction of this kind executed in ten minutes, though there was a
distance of several hundred miles between client and broker.  The
amount of business transacted in the "House" every day is enormous,
aggregating many millions of dollars.  New York also has other
Exchanges, where different articles of merchandise are purchased and
sold, such as corn, coffee, cotton, etc., and the volume of business
transacted daily in that "Empire City" must be immense, and almost
beyond calculation.

Of course there are Exchanges in Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati, St.
Louis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and other cities, all
conducted on similar lines, but the prices are always governed by the
quotations from New York.  This skilful and systematic way of doing
business is remarkable, and I am inclined to believe that New York is
ahead of many cities in South America and in Europe.  No wonder that
the services of Americans are required by other countries in industrial
and technical concerns.  Some years ago, when I was in Madrid, I
noticed that the street tram-car was running according to the American
system, and upon inquiry I was told it was controlled by an American
syndicate.

The pursuit of wealth in America is intense; it is apparent everywhere
and seems to be the chief aim of the American people.  Because of their
eagerness to become rich as soon as possible they are all in a constant
hurry.  You may see people in the streets almost running to their
offices, at luncheon they do not masticate their food, they bolt it,
and in less than ten minutes are on their way back to their office
again.  Everyone is urged on by this spirit of haste, and you
frequently hear of sudden deaths which doctors attribute to heart
failure, or some other malady, but which I suspect are caused by the
continual restless hurry and worry.  People who are so unnaturally
eager to get rich naturally suffer for it.

It is the general belief that Americans do not live as long as
Europeans.  They make money easily and their expectations are high.  I
have known many Americans who, in my opinion, were wealthy people, but
they themselves did not think so; in fact, they said they were poor.
Once I asked a gentleman, who was known to be worth half a million of
gold dollars, whether it was not time for him to retire.  He
pooh-poohed the idea and said that he could not afford to give up his
work.  In reply to my inquiries he informed me that he would not call a
man wealthy unless he should be possessed of one or two millions of
dollars.  With such extravagant ideas, it is no wonder that Americans
work so hard.  I grant that a man's mission in this world is to attain
happiness.  According to Webster, happiness is "that state of being
which is attended with enjoyment," but it is curious to observe what
different notions people have as to what happiness is.  I know an
Englishman in China who by his skilful business management, combined
with good luck, has amassed immense wealth; in fact, he is considered
the richest man in the port where he resides.  He is a bachelor, over
seventy years old, and leads a very simple life.  But he still goes to
his office every day, and toils as if he had to work for a living.
Being told that he should discontinue his drudgery, as at his death he
would have to leave his large fortune to relatives who would probably
squander it, he gave an answer which is characteristic of the man.  "I
love," he said, "accumulating dollars and bank notes, and my enjoyment
is in counting them; if my relatives who will inherit my fortune, take
as much pleasure in spending it as I have had in making it, they will
be quite welcome to their joy." Not many people, I fancy, will agree
with the old bachelor's view of life.  I once suggested to a
multi-millionaire of New York that it was time for him to retire from
active work, leaving his sons to carry on his business.  He told me
that he would be unhappy without work and that he enjoyed the demands
his business made on him each day.

Many a man's life has been shortened by his retiring from business.  It
is the mind rather than the body that lives, and apart from their
business these men have no thoughts and therefore no life.  A man's
idea of happiness is greatly governed by his personal tastes, and is
influenced by his environment, his education and the climate.  The form
which it is to assume may vary with persons of different tastes and
positions, but it should not be carried out for his own benefit solely
and it should not be injurious to his health or to his intellectual and
spiritual improvement, nor should it be detrimental to the interests of
other people.


[1] "To call" in the sense of "to visit".--A. R. L., 1996.



Chapter 7.  American Freedom and Equality

When an Oriental, who, throughout his life, has lived in his own
country where the will of his Sovereign is supreme, and the personal
liberty of the subject unknown, first sets foot on the soil of the
United States, he breathes an atmosphere unlike anything he has ever
known, and experiences curious sensations which are absolutely new.
For the first time in his life he feels that he can do whatever he
pleases without restraint, and that he can talk freely to people
without fear.  When he takes up a newspaper and reads statements about
different persons in high positions which are not at all creditable to
them, and learns that no serious consequences happen to the writers, he
is lost in wonderment.  After a little time he begins to understand
that this is the "land of the free and the home of the brave", and that
in America everybody is on an equality.  The President, the highest
official in the United States, is neither more nor less than a citizen;
and should he, which is very unlikely, commit an offense, or do
anything in contravention of the law, he would be tried in a Court of
Justice in the same manner as the lowest and the poorest citizen.
Naturally the new visitor thinks this the happiest people on earth, and
wishes that his own country could be governed as happily.  Until that
lucky day arrives he feels that he would rather stay in free America
than return to his native land.

One of the first lessons which is learned by the American child in
school, and which is deeply impressed on its mind by its teacher, is
that according to the Constitution all persons are born equal, and that
no distinction is made between sections, classes, or sects.

No slaves, or persons under bonds, have been allowed in the United
States since the abolition of slavery by President Lincoln.  The moment
a slave, or anyone in bonds, steps on the shores of the United States
he is free, and no one, not even his former master, can deprive him of
his liberty.  America also affords an asylum for oppressed people and
for political offenders; people who have been persecuted in their own
land, on account of their religion, or for political offenses, find a
safe refuge in this country.  Every year large numbers of Jews, and
other foreigners, emigrate to America for the sake of enjoying
religious freedom.  Perfect religious liberty is guaranteed to everyone
in the United States.  There is equal religious liberty in England, but
the King is compelled to belong to a particular section of the
Christian Church, whereas in the United States no restriction is placed
on the religious belief of the President; thus one President was a
Baptist, another a Unitarian, and a third a Congregationalist; and, if
elected, a Jew, a Mohammedan, or a Confucianist could become the
President.  Several Jews have held high Federal offices; they have even
been Cabinet Ministers.  Article VI of the Constitution of the United
States says: "No religious test shall ever be required as a
qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

So ingrained in the minds of the American people is this principle of
liberty and freedom of action that I do not believe they would resign
it for any consideration whatsoever.  Once an English Duke was asked
whether he would accept the throne of China on the sole condition that
he must reside in the Palace of Peking, and act as the Chinese Emperors
have always been accustomed to act.  He replied that such an exalted
position of power and responsibility would be very great and tempting,
but that he would on no account accept such an honor on such terms, as
it would practically make him a prisoner.  Though a subject under a
monarchial form of government, he would not forfeit his right of
freedom of action; and much less would a democratic American give up
his birthright for any price.  I knew an eminent and learned Judge of
the Supreme Court in Washington, who used to say that he would never
bend his knees to any human being, and that to the Almighty God alone
would he ever do homage.  He no doubt acted up to his principles, but I
much doubt if all Americans observe so lofty an ideal.  A young lover
in proposing to his sweetheart would not mind kneeling down to support
his prayer.  I have seen penitent husbands bending their knees to ask
the forgiveness of their offended wives.  This, however, can be
explained by the fact that the act of kneeling is not, in such cases, a
sign of inferiority, but the act of one equal asking a favor from
another; still it is the bending of the knee which was so solemnly
abjured by the learned Judge.

The dislike of distinction of classes which arises from the principle
of equality is apparent wherever you go in the States.  The railroad
cars are not marked first, second, or third, as they are in Europe.  It
is true that there are Pullman cars, and palace cars, with superior and
superb accommodation, and for which the occupant has to pay an extra
fare; but the outside of the car simply bears the name "Pullman"
without indicating its class, and anyone who is willing to pay the fare
may share its luxuries.  I should mention that in some of the Southern
states negroes are compelled to ride on separate cars.  On one
occasion, arriving at the railroad station in one of those states, I
noticed there were two waiting-rooms, one labelled "For the White", and
the other "For the Colored".  The railway porter took my portmanteau to
the room for the white, but my conscience soon whispered I had come to
the wrong place, as neither of the two rooms was intended for people of
my complexion.  The street-cars are more democratic; there is no
division of classes; all people, high or low, sit in the same car
without distinction of race, color or sex.  It is a common thing to see
a workman, dressed in shabby clothes full of dirt, sitting next to a
millionaire or a fashionable lady gorgeously clothed.  Cabinet officers
and their wives do not think it beneath their dignity to sit beside a
laborer, or a coolie, as he is called in China.

Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors coming to Washington soon learn to
follow these local customs.  In a European country they ride in
coronated carriages, with two liverymen; but in Washington they usually
go about on foot, or travel by the street-cars.  I frequently saw the
late Lord Pauncefote, the celebrated British Ambassador to Washington,
ride to the State Department in the street-car.  My adoption of this
democratic way of travelling during the time I was in America was the
cause of a complaint being made against me at Peking.  The complainants
were certain Chinese high officials who had had occasion to visit the
States; one of them had had a foreign education, and ought to have
known better than to have joined in the accusation that my
unpretentious manner of living was not becoming the dignity of a
representative of China.  They forgot that when in Rome you must do as
the Romans do, and that to ride in a sumptuous carriage, with uniformed
footmen, is in America not only an unnecessary expense, but a habit
which, among such a democratic people as the Americans, would detract
from, rather than add to, one's dignity.  An envoy residing in a
foreign country should be in touch with the people among whom he is
sojourning.  If he put on unnecessary airs, there will be a coldness
and lack of cordiality between him and the community; his sphere of
usefulness will be curtailed, and his knowledge of the people and their
country limited.  Of course, in a European Capital, where every
diplomat drives in a carriage, I should follow the example of my
colleagues.  But even in England, I frequently met high statesmen,
such, for example, as Lord Salisbury, walking in the streets.  This
unrestrained liberty and equality is remarkably conspicuous in the
United States; for instance, at the White House official receptions or
balls in Washington, I have seen ladies in ordinary dress, while on one
occasion a woman appeared in the dress of a man.  This was Doctor Mary
Walker.

In a democratic country, such as the United States, one would naturally
suppose that the people enjoyed a greater degree of freedom than is
possible in monarchial countries.  But, so far from this being so, in
some respects, they appear to be in a worse position.  On my return
journey from South America, some years ago, our steamer had to stay for
four hours outside of New York harbor.  We had first to wait for the
doctor to come on board to make his inspection of all the passengers,
then the Customs officials appeared and examined the luggage and boxes
of all the passengers, and then, last but not the least, we had to wait
for the immigration officers.  All this necessarily took time, and it
was not until all these inspections were completed that the steamer was
allowed to enter the harbor, and to tie up alongside the dock.  And
this occurred in the land of freedom and liberty!  I spoke to some of
my American fellow passengers about the inconvenience and delay, and
though they all murmured they quietly submitted.  Customs and sanitary
inspection should be so conducted as to cause as little delay as
possible.  I have visited many countries in Europe, in South America,
and in Asia, but I have never known of a ship having to stay outside
the harbor of the port of her destination for so long a time.

Take another case; some months since, I wished, in compliance with the
request of a lady in America, to send her a chow-dog.  A mutual friend
was willing to take it to her, but, upon making inquiries at the
American Consulate as to the Customs regulations, he was informed that
it would be impossible for him to undertake the commission, as the
Customs officers at San Francisco, besides imposing a heavy duty on the
dog, would keep the ship in quarantine because the dog was on board.  I
could scarcely believe this, but inquiries confirmed the truth of my
friend's statement.  Customs and immigration laws and sanitary
regulations must, of course, be observed, but they should be enforced
in such a way as not to work hardship on the people.  Officers
entrusted with the performance of such duties, while faithfully and
conscientiously performing their work, should yet exercise their power
with discretion and tact.  They are the servants of the people, and
ought to look after their interests and convenience as well as after
the interests of the State.  I would be the last one to encourage
smuggling, but would the national interests really suffer if the Custom
House officers were to be a little more ready to accept a traveller's
word, and if they were less ready to suspect everyone of making false
declarations when entering the country?  Smuggling must be repressed,
but at the same time is it not true that the more imports enter the
country the better it is for the State and for the people?

There are no peers in the United States, as the Government has no power
to create them; and although America is nominally a free country, yet
if a foreign government should confer a decoration on an American
citizen for services rendered, he cannot accept it without the consent
of Congress, just as under a monarchy a subject must obtain his
sovereign's permission to wear a foreign decoration.  It is true that
there are some such titled persons in America, but they are not treated
with any greater respect or distinction than other citizens; yet you
frequently find people in America who not only would not disdain, but
are actually anxious, to receive decorations from foreign governments.
Once, at least, an American high official, just before leaving the
country to which he had been accredited, accepted, without permission,
a decoration, knowing, that if he had asked for the consent of
Congress, he would not have been allowed to receive it.

It is human nature to love change and variety, and for every person to
be designated "Mister" is too tame and flat for the go-ahead Americans.
Hence many of the people whom you meet daily have some prefix to their
names, such as General, Colonel, Major, President, Judge, etc.  You
will not be far wrong to call a man "Judge" when he is a lawyer; or
"General" or "Colonel" if he has served in the army; or "Admiral" or
"Captain" if he has been in the navy.  Though neither the Federal nor
the State Government has power to confer titles, the magnates do so.
They see that dukes and other peers are created in Europe, and that the
partners in the big, wealthy firms over there, are called "merchant
princes", and so to outdo them, they arrogate to themselves a still
higher title.  Hence there are railroad kings, copper kings, tobacco
kings, etc.  It is, however, manifestly improper and incongruous that
the people should possess a higher title than their President, who is
the head of the nation.  To make it even, I would suggest that the
title "President" be changed to "Emperor", for the following reasons:
First, it would not only do away with the impropriety of the chief
magistrate of the nation assuming a name below that of some of his
people, but it would place him on a level with the highest ruler of any
nation on the face of the earth.  I have often heard the remark that
the President of the United States is no more than a common citizen,
elected for four years, and that on the expiration of his term he
reverts to his former humble status of a private citizen; that he has
nothing in common with the dignified majesty of an Emperor; but were
the highest official of the United States to be in future officially
known as Emperor, all these depreciatory remarks would fall to the
ground.  There is no reason whatever why he should not be so styled,
as, by virtue of his high office, he possesses almost as much power as
the most aristocratic ruler of any nation.  Secondly, it would clearly
demonstrate the sovereign power of the people; a people who could make
and unmake an Emperor, would certainly be highly respected.  Thirdly,
the United States sends ambassadors to Germany, Austria, Russia, etc.
According to international law, ambassadors have what is called the
representative character, that is, they represent their sovereign by
whom they are delegated, and are entitled to the same honors to which
their constituent would be entitled were he personally present.  In a
Republic where the head of the State is only a citizen and the
sovereign is the people, it is only by a stretch of imagination that
its ambassador can be said to represent the person of his sovereign.
Now it would be much more in consonance with the dignified character of
an American ambassador to be the representative of an Emperor than of a
simple President.  The name of Emperor may be distasteful to some, but
may not a new meaning be given to it?  A word usually has several
definitions.  Now, if Congress were to pass a law authorizing the chief
magistrate of the United States of America to be styled Emperor, such
designation to mean nothing more than the word "President", the title
would soon be understood in that sense.  There is no reason in history
or philology why the word "Emperor" should never mean anything other
than a hereditary ruler.  I make this suggestion seriously, and hope it
will be adopted.

Marriage laws in the United States, as I understand them, are more
elastic than those in Europe.  In England, until a few years ago, a man
could not contract a legal marriage with his deceased wife's sister,
although he could marry the betrothed wife of his deceased brother.  It
is curious to compare the Chinese view of these two cases.  Marriage
with a deceased wife's sister is, in China, not only lawful, but quite
common, while to marry a dead brother's betrothed is strictly
prohibited.  Doubtless in the United States both are recognized as
legal.  I was not, however, prepared to hear, and when I did hear it, I
could not at first believe that a man is permitted to marry his
deceased son's wife.  Let me quote from the "China Press" which has
special facilities for obtaining news from America.  "Boston, March 24.
The engagement of Mrs. Katherine M. B., widow of Charles A. B., and
daughter of George C. F., chairman of the ........, Board of ........,
to her father-in-law, Frank A. B., of ........, became known to-day.
Charles A. B. was killed at the ........ Road crossing in ........  on
March 29, 1910, by a locomotive which struck a carriage in which he was
driving to the First Congregational Church, to serve as best man at the
wedding of Miss H. R. F., another daughter of S. F., to L. G. B. of
........  His wife, who was in the carriage with him and was to have
been matron at the wedding, was severely injured.  Her mother-in-law,
Mrs. Frank A. B., died some months later."[1]  I suppose the marriage
has since been consummated.  If a father is permitted to marry his
deceased son's wife, in fairness a son should be allowed to marry his
deceased father's wife.  I presume that there is a law in the United
States or in some of the states against marriages within the prohibited
degrees of consanguinity and affinity, but I confess that the more I
study the subject the more I am confused as to what is or what is not
within the prohibited degrees.

In China the law on this subject is extremely rigid, and consequently
its infraction is exceedingly rare; I have, as a matter of fact, never
heard of the marriage laws in China being broken.  In "Liao Chai", a
famous collection of Chinese tales, it is recorded that a young widow
married her son and moved to another part of the country, so that their
identity and relationship should be concealed.  They seemed to have
lived very happily together.  After many years, when they had had
children and grandchildren, their true relationship was accidentally
discovered.  A complaint was laid before the local authorities.  After
a long deliberation and careful review of the case, and to eradicate
such "unnatural offspring", as they were termed, it was decided that
the two offenders, and all their children and grandchildren should be
burned to death, which sentence was duly carried out.  I doubt if the
story is authentic.  It was probably fabricated by the author that it
might serve as a warning.  The sentence, if true, was too severe; the
offspring who were innocent contributories to the crime deserved pity
rather than punishment; the judgment passed on the real offenders was
also unduly harsh.  My object in citing this unsavory tale is to show
the different views held in regard to incestuous marriage in China with
its serious consequences.

It is commonly supposed that all men are born equal, and that the
United States is the land of perfect equality.  Now let us see if this
is really so.  There are men born into high stations of life, or into
wealthy families, with "silver spoons" in their mouths; while there are
others ushered into this world by parents who are paupers and who
cannot support them.  Then there are people born with wit and wisdom,
while others are perfect fools.  Again there are some who are brought
to this life with strong and healthy constitutions, while others are
weak and sickly.  Thus it is plain that men are not born equal, either
physically, intellectually, or socially.  I do not know how my American
friends account for this undoubted fact, but the Chinese doctrine of
previous lives, of which the present are but the continuation, seems to
afford a satisfactory explanation.

However, this doctrine of equality and independence has done immense
good.  It has, as a rule, caused men to think independently, and not to
servilely follow the thoughts and ideas of others, who may be quite
wrong.  It has encouraged invention, and new discoveries in science and
art.  It has enabled men to develop industries and to expand trade.
New York and Chicago, for example, could not have become such huge and
prosperous cities within comparatively short periods, but for their
free and wise institutions.  In countries where personal liberty is
unknown, and the rights of person and property are curtailed, people do
not exert themselves to improve their environments, but are content to
remain quiet and inactive.

By the constitution of the State of California it is declared that "all
men are free and independent".  It must be conceded that the American
people enjoy a greater amount of freedom and independence than other
people.  But are they perfectly free, and are they really independent?
Are they not swayed in politics by their "bosses", and do not many of
them act and vote as their bosses dictate?  In society are they not
bound by conventionalities and, dare they infringe the strict rules
laid down by the society leaders?  In the matter of dress also are they
not slaves, abjectly following new-fangled fashions imported from
Paris?  In domestic circles are not many husbands hen-pecked by their
wives, because they, and not the men, rule the roost?  Are not many
women practically governed by their husbands, whose word is their law?
The eager hunger for "the almighty dollar" leads most Americans to
sacrifice their time, health, and liberty in the acquisition of wealth,
and, alas, when they have acquired it, they find that their health is
broken, and that they themselves are almost ready for the grave.  Ought
a free and independent people to live after this fashion?

In every well organized community it is essential that people should
obey all laws and regulations which are enacted for the greatest good
of the greatest number.  In domestic circles they should willingly
subordinate their own wishes to the wishes of others, for the sake of
peace, concord and happiness.  Happy that people whose laws and
conditions are such that they can enjoy the greatest amount of freedom
in regard to person and property, compatible with the general peace and
good order of the community, and if I should be asked my opinion,
notwithstanding all that I have above said concerning the United
States, I should have to acknowledge that I believe that America is one
of the few nations which have fairly well approximated the high ideal
of a well-governed country.


[1] The names of the parties and places were given in full in the
"China Press".



Chapter 8.  American Manners

Much has been written and more said about American manners, or rather
the American lack of manners.  Americans have frequently been
criticized for their bad breeding, and many sarcastic references to
American deportment have been made in my presence.  I have even been
told, I do not know how true it is, that European diplomats dislike
being stationed in America, because of their aversion to the American
way of doing things.

Much too has been written and said about Chinese manners, not only by
foreigners but also by Chinese.  One of the classics, which our youth
have to know by heart, is practically devoted entirely to manners.
There has also been much adverse criticism of our manners or our excess
of manners, though I have never heard that any diplomats have, on this
account, objected to being sent to China.  We Chinese are therefore in
the same boat as the Americans.  In regard to manners neither of us
find much favor with foreigners, though for diametrically opposite
reasons:  the Americans are accused of observing too few formalities,
and we of being too formal.

The Americans are direct and straight-forward.  They will tell you to
your face that they like you, and occasionally they also have very
little hesitation in telling you that they do not like you.  They say
frankly just what they think.  It is immaterial to them that their
remarks are personal, complimentary or otherwise.  I have had members
of my own family complimented on their good looks as if they were
children.  In this respect Americans differ greatly from the English.
The English adhere with meticulous care to the rule of avoiding
everything personal.  They are very much afraid of rudeness on the one
hand, and of insincerity or flattery on the other.  Even in the matter
of such a harmless affair as a compliment to a foreigner on his
knowledge of English, they will precede it with a request for pardon,
and speak in a half-apologetic manner, as if complimenting were
something personal.  The English and the Americans are closely related,
they have much in common, but they also differ widely, and in nothing
is the difference more conspicuous than in their conduct.  I have
noticed curiously enough that English Colonials, especially in such
particulars as speech and manners, follow their quondam sister colony,
rather than the mother country.  And this, not only in Canada, where
the phenomenon might be explained by climatic, geographic, and historic
reasons, but also in such antipodean places as Australia and South
Africa, which are so far away as to apparently have very little in
common either with America or with each other.  Nevertheless, whatever
the reason, the transplanted Englishman, whether in the arctics or the
tropics, whether in the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere, seems to
develop a type quite different from the original stock, yet always
resembling his fellow emigrants.

The directness of Americans is seen not only in what they say but in
the way they say it.  They come directly to the point, without much
preface or introduction, much less is there any circumlocution or
"beating about the bush".  When they come to see you they say their say
and then take their departure, moreover they say it in the most terse,
concise and unambiguous manner.  In this respect what a contrast they
are to us!  We always approach each other with preliminary greetings.
Then we talk of the weather, of politics or friends, of anything, in
fact, which is as far as possible from the object of the visit.  Only
after this introduction do we broach the subject uppermost in our
minds, and throughout the conversation polite courtesies are exchanged
whenever the opportunity arises.  These elaborate preludes and
interludes may, to the strenuous ever-in-a-hurry American, seem useless
and superfluous, but they serve a good purpose.  Like the common
courtesies and civilities of life they pave the way for the speakers,
especially if they are strangers; they improve their tempers, and place
them generally on terms of mutual understanding.  It is said that some
years ago a Foreign Consul in China, having a serious complaint to make
on behalf of his national, called on the Taotai, the highest local
authority in the port.  He found the Chinese official so genial and
polite that after half an hour's conversation, he advised the
complainant to settle the matter amicably without troubling the Chinese
officials about the matter.  A good deal may be said in behalf of both
systems.  The American practice has at least the merit of saving time,
an all important object with the American people.  When we recall that
this remarkable nation will spend millions of dollars to build a tunnel
under a river, or to shorten a curve in a railroad, merely that they
may save two or three minutes, we are not surprised at the abruptness
of their speech.  I, as a matter of fact, when thinking of their
time-saving and abrupt manner of address, have been somewhat puzzled to
account for that peculiar drawl of theirs.  Very slowly and
deliberately they enunciate each word and syllable with long-drawn
emphasis, punctuating their sentences with pauses, some short and some
long.  It is almost an effort to follow a story of any length--the
beginning often becomes cold before the end is reached.  It seems to me
that if Americans would speed up their speech after the fashion of
their English cousins, who speak two or three times as quickly, they
would save many minutes every day, and would find the habit not only
more efficacious, but much more economical than many of their
time-saving machines and tunnels.  I offer this suggestion to the great
American nation for what it is worth, and I know they will receive it
in the spirit in which it is made, for they have the saving sense of
humor.

Some people are ridiculously sensitive.  Some years ago, at a certain
place, a big dinner was given in honor of a notable who was passing
through the district.  A Chinese, prominent in local affairs, who had
received an invitation, discovered that though he would sit among the
honored guests he would be placed below one or two whom he thought he
ought to be above, and who, he therefore considered, would be usurping
his rightful position.  In disgust he refused to attend the dinner,
which, excepting for what he imagined was a breach of manners, he would
have been very pleased to have attended.  Americans are much more
sensible.  They are not a bit sensitive, especially in small matters.
Either they are broad-minded enough to rise above unworthy trifles, or
else their good Americanism prevents their squabbling over questions of
precedence, at the dinner table or elsewhere.

Americans act up to their Declaration of Independence, especially the
principle it enunciates concerning the equality of man.  They lay so
much importance on this that they do not confine its application to
legal rights, but extend it even to social intercourse.  In fact, I
think this doctrine is the basis of the so-called American manners.
All men are deemed socially equal, whether as friend and friend, as
President and citizen, as employer and employee, as master and servant,
or as parent and child.  Their relationship may be such that one is
entitled to demand, and the other to render, certain acts of obedience,
and a certain amount of respect, but outside that they are on the same
level.  This is doubtless a rebellion against all the social ideas and
prejudices of the old world, but it is perhaps only what might be
looked for in a new country, full of robust and ambitious manhood,
disdainful of all traditions which in the least savor of monarchy or
hierarchy, and eager to blaze as new a path for itself in the social as
it has succeeded in accomplishing in the political world.  Combined
with this is the American characteristic of saving time.  Time is
precious to all of us, but to Americans it is particularly so.  We all
wish to save time, but the Americans care much more about it than the
rest of us.  Then there are different notions about this question of
saving time, different notions of what wastes time and what does not,
and much which the old world regards as politeness and good manners
Americans consider as sheer waste of time.  Time is, they think, far
too precious to be occupied with ceremonies which appear empty and
meaningless.  It can, they say, be much more profitably filled with
other and more useful occupations.  In any discussion of American
manners it would be unfair to leave out of consideration their
indifference to ceremony and their highly developed sense of the value
of time, but in saying this I do not forget that many Americans are
devout ritualists, and that these find both comfort and pleasure in
ceremony, which suggests that after all there is something to be said
for the Chinese who have raised correct deportment almost to the rank
of a religion.

The youth of America have not unnaturally caught the spirit of their
elders, so that even children consider themselves as almost on a par
with their parents, as almost on the same plane of equality; but the
parents, on the other hand, also treat them as if they were equals, and
allow them the utmost freedom.  While a Chinese child renders
unquestioning obedience to his parents' orders, such obedience as a
soldier yields to his superior officer, the American child must have
the whys and the wherefores duly explained to him, and the reason for
his obedience made clear.  It is not his parent that he obeys, but
expediency and the dictates of reason.  Here we see the clear-headed,
sound, common-sense business man in the making.  The early training of
the boy has laid the foundation for the future man.  The child too has
no compunction in correcting a parent even before strangers, and what
is stranger still the parent accepts the correction in good part, and
sometimes even with thanks.  A parent is often interrupted in the
course of a narrative, or discussion, by a small piping voice, setting
right, or what it believes to be right, some date, place, or fact, and
the parent, after a word of encouragement or thanks, proceeds.  How
different is our rule that a child is not to speak until spoken to!  In
Chinese official life under the old regime it was not etiquette for one
official to contradict another, especially when they were unequal in
rank.  When a high official expressed views which his subordinates did
not endorse, they could not candidly give their opinion, but had to
remain silent.  I remember that some years ago some of my colleagues
and I had an audience with a very high official, and when I expressed
my dissent from some of the views of that high functionary, he rebuked
me severely.  Afterward he called me to him privately, and spoke to me
somewhat as follows: "What you said just now was quite correct.  I was
wrong, and I will adopt your views, but you must not contradict me in
the presence of other people.  Do not do it again." There is of course
much to be said for and against each system, and perhaps a blend of the
two would give good results.  Anyhow, we can trace in American customs
that spirit of equality which pervades the whole of American society,
and observe the germs of self-reliance and independence so
characteristic of Americans, whether men, women, or children.

Even the domestic servant does not lose this precious American heritage
of equality.  I have nothing to say against that worthy individual, the
American servant (if one can be found); on the contrary, none is more
faithful or more efficient.  But in some respects he is unique among
the servants of the world.  He does not see that there is any
inequality between him and his master.  His master, or should I say,
his employer, pays him certain wages to do certain work, and he does
it, but outside the bounds of this contract, they are still man and
man, citizen and citizen.  It is all beautifully, delightfully legal.
The washerwoman is the "wash-lady", and is just as much a lady as her
mistress.  The word "servant" is not applied to domestics, "help" is
used instead, very much in the same way that Canada and Australia are
no longer English "colonies", but "self-governing dominions".

We of the old world are accustomed to regard domestic service as a
profession in which the members work for advancement, without much
thought of ever changing their position.  A few clever persons may
ultimately adopt another profession, and, according to our antiquated
conservative ways of thinking, rise higher in the social scale, but,
for the large majority, the dignity of a butler, or a housekeeper is
the height of ambition, the crowning point in their career.  Not so the
American servant.  Strictly speaking there are no servants in America.
The man, or the woman as the case may be, who happens for the moment to
be your servant, is only servant for the time being.  He has no
intention of making domestic service his profession, of being a servant
for the whole of his life.  To have to be subject to the will of
others, even to the small extent to which American servants are
subordinate, is offensive to an American's pride of citizenship, it is
contrary to his conception of American equality.  He is a servant only
for the time, and until he finds something better to do.  He accepts a
menial position only as a stepping stone to some more independent
employment.  Is it to be wondered at that American servants have
different manners from their brethren in other countries?  When
foreigners find that American servants are not like servants in their
own country, they should not resent their behavior:  it does not denote
disrespect, it is only the outcrop of their natural independence and
aspirations.

All titles of nobility are by the Constitution expressly forbidden.
Even titles of honor or courtesy are but rarely used.  "Honorable" is
used to designate members of Congress; and for a few Americans, such as
the President and the Ambassadors, the title "Excellency" is permitted.
Yet, whether it is because the persons entitled to be so addressed do
not think that even these mild titles are consistent with American
democracy, or because the American public feels awkward in employing
such stilted terms of address, they are not often used.  I remember
that on one occasion a much respected Chief Executive, on my proposing,
in accordance with diplomatic usage and precedent, to address him as
"Your Excellency", begged me to substitute instead "Mr. President".
The plain democratic "Mr." suits the democratic American taste much
better than any other title, and is applied equally to the President of
the Republic and to his coachman.  Indeed the plain name John Smith,
without even "Mr.", not only gives no offense, where some higher title
might be employed, but fits just as well, and is in fact often used.
Even prominent and distinguished men do not resent nicknames; for
example, the celebrated person whose name is so intimately connected
with that delight of American children and grown-ups--the "Teddy Bear".
This characteristic, like so many other American characteristics, is
due not only to the love of equality and independence, but also to the
dislike of any waste of time.

In countries where there are elaborate rules of etiquette concerning
titles and forms of address, none but a Master of Ceremonies can hope
to be thoroughly familiar with them, or to be able to address the
distinguished people without withholding from them their due share of
high-sounding titles and epithets; and, be it whispered, these same
distinguished people, however broad-minded and magnanimous they may be
in other respects, are sometimes extremely sensitive in this respect.
And even after one has mastered all the rules and forms, and can
appreciate and distinguish the various nice shades which exist between
"His Serene Highness", "His Highness", "His Royal Highness", and "His
Imperial Highness", or between "Rt. Rev." and "Most Rev.", one has yet
to learn what titles a particular person has, and with what particular
form of address he should be approached, an impossible task even for a
Master of Ceremonies, unless he always has in his pocket a Burke's
Peerage to tell him who's who.  What a waste of time, what an
inconvenience, and what an unnecessary amount of irritation and
annoyance all this causes.  How much better to be able to address any
person you meet simply as Mr. So-and-So, without unwittingly treading
on somebody's sensitive corns!  Americans have shown their common sense
in doing away with titles altogether, an example which the sister
Republic of China is following.  An illustrious name loses nothing for
having to stand by itself without prefixes and suffixes, handles and
tails.  Mr. Gladstone was no less himself for not prefixing his name
with Earl, and the other titles to which it would have entitled him, as
he could have done had he not declined the so-called honor.  Indeed,
like the "Great Commoner", he, if that were possible, endeared himself
the more to his countrymen because of his refusal.  A name, which is
great without resorting to the borrowed light of titles and honors, is
greater than any possible suffix or affix which could be appended to it.

In conclusion, American manners are but an instance or result of the
two predominant American characteristics to which I have already
referred, and which reappear in so many other things American.  A love
of independence and of equality, early inculcated, and a keen
abhorrence of waste of time, engendered by the conditions and
circumstances of a new country, serve to explain practically all the
manners and mannerisms of Americans.  Even the familiar spectacle of
men walking with their hands deep in their trousers' pockets, or
sitting with their legs crossed needs no other explanation, and to
suggest that, because Americans have some habits which are peculiarly
their own, they are either inferior or unmanly, would be to do them a
grave injustice.

Few people are more warm-hearted, genial, and sociable than the
Americans.  I do not dwell on this, because it is quite unnecessary.
The fact is perfectly familiar to all who have the slightest knowledge
of them.  Their kindness and warmth to strangers are particularly
pleasant, and are much appreciated by their visitors.  In some other
countries, the people, though not unsociable, surround themselves with
so much reserve that strangers are at first chilled and repulsed,
although there are no pleasanter or more hospitable persons anywhere to
be found when once you have broken the ice, and learned to know them;
but it is the stranger who must make the first advances, for they
themselves will make no effort to become acquainted, and their manner
is such as to discourage any efforts on the part of the visitor.  You
may travel with them for hours in the same car, sit opposite to them,
and all the while they will shelter themselves behind a newspaper, the
broad sheets of which effectively prohibit any attempts at closer
acquaintance.  The following instance, culled from a personal
experience, is an illustration.  I was a law student at Lincoln's Inn,
London, where there is a splendid law library for the use of the
students and members of the Inn.  I used to go there almost every day
to pursue my legal studies, and generally sat in the same quiet corner.
The seat on the opposite side of the table was usually occupied by
another law student.  For months we sat opposite each other without
exchanging a word.  I thought I was too formal and reserved, so I
endeavored to improve matters by occasionally looking up at him as if
about to address him, but every time I did so he looked down as though
he did not wish to see me.  Finally I gave up the attempt.  This is the
general habit with English gentlemen.  They will not speak to a
stranger without a proper introduction; but in the case I have
mentioned surely the rule would have been more honored by a breach than
by the observance.  Seeing that we were fellow students, it might have
been presumed that we were gentlemen and on an equal footing.  How
different are the manners of the American!  You can hardly take a walk,
or go for any distance in a train, without being addressed by a
stranger, and not infrequently making a friend.  In some countries the
fact that you are a foreigner only thickens the ice, in America it
thaws it.  This delightful trait in the American character is also
traceable to the same cause as that which has helped us to explain the
other peculiarities which have been mentioned.  To good Americans, not
only are the citizens of America born equal, but the citizens of the
world are also born equal.



Chapter 9.  American Women

It is rather bold on my part to take up this subject.  It is a path
where "fools rush in where angels fear to tread".  No matter what I say
it is sure to provoke criticism, but having frequently been asked by my
lady friends to give my opinion of American women, and having given my
solemn promise that if I ever should write my impressions of America I
would do so, it would be a serious "breach of promise" if I should now
break my word.

In general there are three classes of women:  first, those who wish to
be praised; secondly, those who wish to be adversely criticized and
condemned; and thirdly, those who are simply curious to hear what
others think of them.  American women do not as a rule belong to either
the first or the second class, but a large majority of them may be
ranged under class three.  They wish to know what other people honestly
think of them and to hear their candid views.  They are progressive
people who desire to improve their defects whenever they are pointed
out to them.  That being the case I must not swerve from my duty of
sitting in a high court of justice to pass judgment on them.

To begin with, the American women are in some respects dissimilar to
the women of other nations.  I find them sprightly, talkative and well
informed.  They can converse on any subject with ease and resource,
showing that they have a good all-round education.  Often have I
derived considerable information from them.  The persistence with which
they stick to their opinions is remarkable.  Once, when I had a lady
visitor at my Legation in Washington, after several matters had been
discussed we commenced talking about women's rights.  I was in favor of
giving women more rights than they are enjoying, but on some points I
did not go so far as my lady friend; after arguing with me for several
hours, she, seeing that I did not coincide with all her views,
threatened that she would not leave my house until I had fully digested
all her points, and had become converted to her views.

I have observed that many American women marry foreigners, but that an
American rarely has a foreign wife.  It may be said that foreigners
marry American girls for their money, while American women marry
distinguished foreigners for their titles.  This may have been true in
some cases, but other causes than such sordid motives must be looked
for.  It is the attractiveness and the beauty of the American girls
which enable them to capture so many foreign husbands.  Their pleasant
manners and winsome nature predispose a person in their favor, and with
their well-grounded education and ready fund of knowledge, they easily
win any gentleman with marital propensities.  Had I been single when I
first visited America I too might have been a victim--no wonder then
that American men prefer American wives.  Once I was an involuntary
match-maker.  Some years ago, during my first mission in Washington, I
was invited to attend the wedding of the daughter of the Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court.  When I entered the breakfast room, I saw the
bridesmaids and a number of young men.  Going up to one of the
bridesmaids whom I had previously met, and who was the daughter of a
Senator, I asked her when it would be her turn to become a bride.  She
modestly said that she did not know, as she had not yet had an offer.
Turning to the group of young men who were in the room, I jocularly
remarked to one of them, "This is a beautiful lady, would you not like
to marry her?"  He replied, "I shall be most delighted to." Then I said
to the young lady, "Will you accept his offer?" She seemed slightly
embarrassed and said something to the effect that as she did not know
the gentleman she could not give a definite answer.  After a few days I
met the young lady at an "At Home" party when she scolded me for being
so blunt with her before the young men.  I told her I was actuated by
the best of motives, and a few months later I received an invitation
from the young lady's parents inviting me to be present at their
daughter's marriage.  I thought I would go and find out whether the
bridegroom was the young man whom I had introduced to the young lady,
and as soon as I entered the house, the mother of the bride, to my
agreeable surprise, informed me that it was I who had first brought the
young couple together, and both the bride and bridegroom heartily
thanked me for my good offices.

One very conspicuous feature in the character of American women is
their self-control and independence.  As soon as a girl grows up she is
allowed to do what she pleases, without the control of her parents.  It
is a common occurrence to see a young lady travelling alone without
either a companion or a chaperon.  Travelling on one occasion from San
Francisco to Washington I met a young lady on the train who was still
in her teens.  She told me that she was going to New York to embark on
a steamer for Germany, with the intention of entering a German college.
She was undertaking this long journey alone.  Such an incident would be
impossible in China; even in England, or indeed in any European
country, I hardly believe that a respectable young girl would be
allowed to take such a journey without some trusty friend to look after
her.  But in America this is a common occurrence, and it is a credit to
the administration, and speaks volumes for the good government of the
country, that for sensible wide-awake American girls such undertakings
are perfectly safe.

This notion of independence and freedom has modified the relation of
children to their parents.  Instead of children being required to show
respect and filial obedience, the obligation of mutual love and esteem
is cultivated.  Parents would not think of ordering a girl or a boy to
do anything, however reasonable; in all matters they treat them as
their equals and friends; nor would a girl submit to an arbitrary order
from her mother, for she does not regard her as a superior, but as her
friend and companion.  I find it is a common practice among American
girls to engage themselves in marriage without consulting their
parents.  Once I had a serious talk on this subject with a young couple
who were betrothed.  I asked them if they had the consent of their
parents.  They both answered emphatically that it was not necessary,
and that it was their business and not their parents'.  I told them
that although it was their business, they might have shown some respect
to their parents by consulting them before committing themselves to
this important transaction.  They answered that they did not agree with
me, and as it concerned their own happiness alone, they had a perfect
right to decide the matter for themselves.  This shows the extreme
limit to which the Americans carry their theory of independence.
Unless I am greatly mistaken, I fear this is a typical and not an
isolated case.  I believe that in many cases, after they had made up
their minds to marry, the young people would inform their respective
parents of their engagement, but I question if they would subordinate
their own wishes to the will of their parents, or ask their consent to
their engagement.

Now let us see how all this is managed in China.  Here the parties most
interested have no voice in the matter.  The parents, through their
friends, or sometimes through the professional match-makers, arrange
the marriage, but only after the most strict and diligent inquiries as
to the character, position, and suitability of temper and disposition
of the persons for whom the marriage contract is being prepared.  This
is sometimes done with the knowledge of the interested parties, but
very often they are not consulted.  After an engagement is thus made it
cannot be broken off, not even by the young people themselves, even
though he or she may plead that the arrangement was made without his or
her knowledge or consent.  The engagement is considered by all parties
as a solemn compact.  On the wedding day, in nine cases out of ten, the
bride and bridegroom meet each other for the first time, and yet they
live contentedly, and quite often even happily together.  Divorces in
China are exceedingly rare.  This is accounted for by the fact that
through the wise control of their parents the children are properly
mated.  In saying this I do not wish to be supposed to be advocating
the introduction of the Chinese system into America.  I would, however,
point out that the independent and thoughtless way in which the
American young people take on themselves the marriage vow does not as a
rule result in suitable companionships.  When a girl falls in love with
a young man she is unable to perceive his shortcomings and vices, and
when, after living together for a few months, she begins to find them
out, it is alas too late.  If, previous to her engagement, she had
taken her mother into her confidence, and asked her to use her good
offices to find out the character of the young man whom she favored, a
fatal and unhappy mistake might have been avoided.  Without
interfering, in the least, with the liberty or free choice, I should
think it would be a good policy if all young Americans, before
definitely committing themselves to a promise of marriage, would at
least consult their mothers, and ask them to make private and
confidential inquiries as to the disposition, as well as to the moral
and physical fitness of the young man or lady whom they contemplate
marrying.  Mothers are naturally concerned about the welfare and
happiness of their offspring, and could be trusted in most cases to
make careful, impartial and conscientious inquiries as to whether the
girl or man was really a worthy and suitable life partner for their
children.  If this step were generally taken many an unfortunate union
would be avoided.  It was after this fashion that I reasoned with the
young people mentioned above, but they did not agree with me, and I had
to conclude that love is blind.

Before leaving this subject I would add that the system of marriage
which has been in vogue in China for so many centuries has been
somewhat changed within the last few years.  This is due to the new
spirit which has been gradually growing.  Young people begin to exert
their rights, and will not allow parents to choose their life partners
without their consent.  Instances of girls choosing their own husbands
have come to my knowledge, and they did not occur during leap-year.
But I sincerely hope that our Chinese youth will not go to the same
lengths as the young people of America.

The manner in which a son treats his parents in the United States is
diametrically opposed to our Chinese doctrine, handed down to us from
time immemorial.  "Honor thy father and thy mother" is an injunction of
Moses which all Christians profess to observe, but which, or so it
appears to a Confucianist, all equally forget.  The Confucian creed
lays it down as the essential duty of children that they shall not only
honor and obey their fathers and their mothers, but that they are in
duty bound to support them.  The reason is that as their parents
brought them into the world, reared and educated them, the children
should make them some return for their trouble and care.  The view of
this question which is taken in America seems to be very strange to me.
Once I heard a young American argue in this way.  He said, gravely and
seriously, that as he was brought into this world by his parents
without his consent, it was their duty to rear him in a proper way, but
that it was no part of his duty to support them.  I was very much
astounded at this statement.  In China such a son would be despised,
and if he neglected to maintain his parents he would be punished.  I do
not believe that the extreme views of this young man are universally
accepted in America, but I am inclined to think that the duties of
children toward their parents are somewhat ill-defined.  American
parents do not apparently expect their children to support them,
because, as a rule they are, if not rich, at least in comfortable
circumstances; and even if they are not, they would rather work for
their livelihood than burden their children and hinder their success by
relying on them for pecuniary aid.  It may have escaped my observation,
but, so far as I know, it is not the custom for young people to provide
for their parents.  There was, however, one exceptional case which came
to my knowledge.  Some years ago a young Senator in Washington, who was
famous for his eloquence, had his father living with him.  His father
was eighty years of age, and though in robust health was a cripple, and
so had to depend on him for support.  I was informed that he and his
wife were very kind to him.  Many young men treat their parents kindly
and affectionately, but they do it more as a favor than as a duty; in
fact, as between equals.

In connection with this subject I may mention that as soon as a son
marries, however young and inexperienced he may be, he leaves his
parents' roof.  He and his bride will set up a separate establishment
so that they can do as they please without the supervision of their
parents.  The latter do not object, as it gives the young folk an
opportunity to gain experience in keeping house.  Young wives have a
horror of having their mothers-in-law reside with them; if it be
necessary to have an elderly lady as a companion they always endeavor
to get their own mothers.

American women are ambitious and versatile, and can readily apply
themselves to any task with ease.  They are not only employed in stores
and mercantile houses but are engaged in different professions.  There
is scarcely any store in America where there are not some women
employed as typists, clerks, or accountants.  I am told that they are
more steady than men.  Even in the learned professions they
successfully compete with the men.  Some years ago the
Attorney-Generalship of one of the states became vacant.  Two
candidates appeared; one was a gentleman and the other a young lady
lawyer.  They both sought election; the gentleman secured a small
majority, but in the end the lady lawyer conquered, for she soon became
the wife of the Attorney-General, her former opponent during the
election campaign, and after her marriage she practically carried on
the work of her husband.  Some years later her husband retired from
practice in order to farm, and she continued to carry on the law
practice.  Does not this indicate that the intellect of the American
woman is equal, if not superior, to that of the men?  American women
are good conversationalists, and many of them are eloquent and endowed
with "the gift of the gab".  One of the cleverest and wittiest speeches
I have ever heard was from a woman who spoke at a public meeting on a
public question.  They are also good writers.  Such women as Mrs. Ella
Wheeler Wilcox, Mrs. Mary N. Foote Henderson, Mrs. Elizabeth Towne and
many others, are a great credit to their sex.  The writings of such
women show their profound insight and wide culture.  Naturally such
women cannot be expected to play second fiddle.  They exercise great
influence, and when married "they rule the roost".  It should be
mentioned that their husbands submit willingly to their tactful rule,
and gladly obey their commands without feeling that they are servants.
I would advise any married woman who complains of her husband being
unruly and unpleasant to take a lesson from the ladies of America.
They are vivacious, bright, loquacious and less reserved than European
ladies.  In social functions they can be easily recognized.  If,
however, an American lady marries a foreigner and lives abroad, she
soon loses her national characteristics.  Once on board a steamer I had
an American lady as a fellow passenger; from her reserved manner I
mistook her for an English lady, and it was only after some days that I
discovered she was born in America, but that she had been living in
England for many years with her English husband.

There is one fault I find with American women, if it can be so called,
and that is their inquisitiveness; I know that this is a common fault
with all women, but it is most conspicuous in the Americans.  They have
the knack of finding out things without your being aware of it, and if
they should want to know your history they will learn all about it
after a few minutes' conversation.  They are good detectives, and I
think they should be employed in that line more than they are.

A nation's reputation depends upon the general character of its women,
for they form at least half, if not more, of the population.  In this
respect America stands high, for the American woman is lively,
open-hearted and ingenuous; she is also fearless, independent, and is
almost without restraint.  She is easily accessible to high and low,
and friendly to all, but woe to the man who should misunderstand the
pure and high character of an American girl, and attempt to take
liberties with her.  To a stranger, and especially to an Oriental, she
is a puzzle.  Some years ago I had to disabuse a false notion of a
countryman of mine respecting a lady's behavior toward him.  The keen
observer will find that the American girl, having been educated in
schools and colleges with boys, naturally acts more freely than her
sisters in other countries, where great restraint is imposed upon them.
Her actions may be considered as perilously near to the border of
masculinity, yet she is as far from either coarseness or low thoughts
as is the North from the South Pole.  The Chinese lady is as pure as
her American sister, but she is brought up in a different way; her
exclusion keeps her indoors, and she has practically no opportunity of
associating with male friends.  A bird which has been confined in a
cage for a long time, will, when the door is opened, fly far away and
perhaps never return, but if it has been tamed and allowed to go in and
out of its cage as it pleases it will not go far, but will always come
back in the evening.  When my countrywomen are allowed more freedom
they will not abuse it, but it will take some little time to educate
them up to the American standards.



Chapter 10.  American Costumes

Fashion is the work of the devil.  When he made up his mind to enslave
mankind he found in fashion his most effective weapon.  Fashion
enthralls man, it deprives him of his freedom; it is the most
autocratic dictator, its mandate being obeyed by all classes, high and
low, without exception.  Every season it issues new decrees, and no
matter how ludicrous they are, everyone submits forthwith.  The
fashions of this season are changed in the next.  Look, for example, at
women's hats; some years ago the "merry widow" which was about two or
three feet in diameter, was all the rage, and the larger it became the
more fashionable it was.  Sometimes the wearer could hardly go through
a doorway.  Then came the hat crowned with birds' feathers, some ladies
even placing the complete bird on their hats--a most ridiculous
exhibition of bad taste.  The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals should take up the question of the destruction of birds for
their plumage, and agitate until the law makes it illegal to wear a
bird on a hat.  Some may say that if people kill animals and birds for
food they might just as well wear a dead bird on their hats, if they
wish to be so silly, although the large majority of America's
population, I am sorry to find, sincerely believe meat to be a
necessary article of diet; yet who will claim that a dead bird on a hat
is an indispensable article of wearing apparel?  Why do we dress at
all?  First, I suppose, for protection against cold and heat; secondly,
for comfort; thirdly, for decency; and, fourthly, for ornament.  Now
does the dress of Americans meet these requirements?

First, as regards the weather, does woman's dress protect her from the
cold?  The fact that a large number of persons daily suffer from colds
arouses the suspicion that their dress is at fault.  The body is
neither equally nor evenly covered, the upper portion being as a rule
nearly bare, or very thinly clad, so that the slightest exposure to a
draught, or a sudden change of temperature, subjects the wearer to the
unpleasant experience of catching cold, unless she is so physically
robust and healthy that she can resist all the dangers to which her
clothing, or rather her lack of clothing, subjects her.  Indeed ladies'
dress, instead of affording protection sometimes endangers their lives.
The following extract from the "London Times"--and the facts cannot be
doubted--is a warning to the fair sex.  "The strong gale which swept
over Bradford resulted in an extraordinary accident by which a girl
lost her life.  Mary Bailey, aged 16, the daughter of an electrician,
who is a pupil at the Hanson Secondary School, was in the school yard
when she was suddenly lifted up into the air by a violent gust of wind
which got under her clothes converting them into a sort of parachute.
After being carried to a height estimated by spectators at 20 feet, she
turned over in the air and fell to the ground striking the concreted
floor of the yard with great force.  She was terribly injured and died
half an hour later."  Had the poor girl been wearing Chinese clothing
this terrible occurrence could not have happened; her life would not
have been sacrificed to fashion.

As to the second point, comfort, I do not believe that the wearer of a
fashionable costume is either comfortable or contented.  I will say
nothing of the unnecessary garments which the average woman affects,
but let us see what can be said for the tight corset binding the waist.
So far from being comfortable it must be most inconvenient, a sort of
perpetual penance and it is certainly injurious to the health.  I feel
confident that physicians will support me in my belief that the
death-rate among American women would be less if corset and other tight
lacing were abolished.  I have known of instances where tight lacing
for the ballroom has caused the death of enceinte women.

As to the third object, decency, I am not convinced that the American
dress fulfils this object.  When I say American dress, I include also
the clothing worn by Europeans for both are practically the same.  It
may be a matter of education, but from the Oriental point of view we
would prefer that ladies' dresses should be worn more loosely, so that
the figure should be less prominent.  I am aware that this is a view
which my American friends do not share.  It is very curious that what
is considered as indecent in one country is thought to be quite proper
in another.  During the hot summers in the Province of Kiangsu the
working women avoid the inconveniences and chills of perspiration by
going about their work with nothing on the upper part of their bodies,
except a chest protector to cover the breasts; in Western countries
women would never think of doing this, even during a season of extreme
heat; yet they do not object, even in the depth of winter, to
uncovering their shoulders as low as possible when attending a
dinner-party, a ball, or the theater.  I remember the case of a Chinese
rice-pounder in Hongkong who was arrested and taken to the Police Court
on a charge of indecency.  To enable him to do his work better he had
dispensed with all his clothing excepting a loin cloth; for this he was
sentenced to pay a fine of $2, or, in default of payment to be
imprisoned for a week.  The English Magistrate, in imposing the fine,
lectured him severely, remarking that in a civilized community such
primitive manners could not be tolerated, as they were both barbarous
and indecent.  When he said this did he think of the way the women of
his country dress when they go to a ball?

It must be remembered that modesty is wholly a matter of
conventionality and custom.  Competent observers have testified that
savages who have been accustomed to nudity all their lives are covered
with shame when made to put on clothing for the first time.  They
exhibit as much confusion as a civilized person would if compelled to
strip naked in public.  In the words of a competent authority on this
subject:  "The facts appear to prove that the feeling of shame, far
from being the cause of man's covering his body is, on the contrary, a
result of this custom; and that the covering, if not used as a
protection from the climate, owes its origin, at least in many cases,
to the desire of men and women to make themselves attractive." Strange
as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that a figure partially clad
appears more indecent than one that is perfectly nude.

The fourth object of clothes is ornament, but ornaments should be
harmless, not only to the wearer, but also to other people; yet from
the following paragraph, copied from one of the daily newspapers, it
does not appear that they are.

  "London, May 7.  The death of a girl from blood-poisoning caused by a
  hatpin penetrating her nose was inquired into at Stockport, Cheshire,
  yesterday. The deceased was Mary Elizabeth Thornton, aged twenty-four,
  daughter of a Stockport tradesman.  The father said that on Saturday
  evening, April 20, his daughter was speaking to a friend, Mrs.
  Pickford, outside the shop. On the following Monday she complained of
  her nose being sore. Next day she again complained and said, "It must
  be the hatpin." While talking to Mrs. Pickford, she explained, Mrs.
  Pickford's baby stumbled on the footpath.  They both stooped to pick
  it up, and a hatpin in Mrs. Pickford's hat caught her in the nostril.
  His daughter gradually got worse and died on Saturday last.  Mrs.
  Pickford, wife of a paper merchant, said that some minutes after the
  deceased had picked up the child she said, "Do you know, I scratched
  my nose on your hatpin?"  Mrs. Pickford was wearing the hatpin in
  court. It projected two inches from the hat and was about twelve inches
  in length. Dr. Howie Smith said that septic inflammation was set up
  as a result of the wound, and travelling to the brain caused
  meningitis. The coroner said that not many cases came before coroners
  in which death was directly traceable to the hatpin but there must be
  a very large number of cases in which the hatpin caused injury,
  in some cases loss of sight.  It was no uncommon sight to see
  these deadly weapons protruding three or four inches from the hat.
  In Hamburg women were compelled by statute to put shields or
  protectors on the points of hatpins.  In England nothing had been
  done, but this case showed that it was high time something was done.
  If women insisted on wearing hatpins they should take precaution
  of wearing also a shield or protector which would prevent them
  inflicting injury on other people.  The jury returned a verdict
  of accidental death, and expressed their opinion that long hatpins
  ought to be done away with or their points protected."

To wear jewels, necklaces of brilliants, precious stones and pearls, or
ribbons with brilliants round the hair is a pleasing custom and a
pretty sight.  But to see a lady wearing a long gown trailing on the
ground does not impress me as being elegant, though I understand the
ladies in Europe and America think otherwise.  It would almost seem as
if their conceptions of beauty depended on the length of their skirts.
In a ballroom one sometimes finds it very difficult not to tread on the
ladies' skirts, and on ceremonial occasions each lady has two page boys
to hold up the train of her dress.  It is impossible to teach an
Oriental to appreciate this sort of thing.  Certainly skirts which are
not made either for utility or comfort, and which fashion changes, add
nothing to the wearer's beauty; especially does this remark apply to
the "hobble skirt", with its impediment to free movement of the legs.
The ungainly "hobble skirt" compels the wearer to walk carefully and
with short steps, and when she dances she has to lift up her dress.
Now the latest fashion seems to be the "slashed skirt" which, however,
has the advantage of keeping the lower hem of the skirt clean.
Doubtless this, in turn, will give place to other novelties.  A Chinese
lady, Doctor Ya Mei-kin, who has been educated in America, adopted
while there the American attire, but as soon as she returned to China
she resumed her own native dress.  Let us hear what she has to say on
this subject.  Speaking of Western civilization she said: "If we keep
our own mode of life it is not for the sake of blind conservatism.  We
are more logical in our ways than the average European imagines.  I
wear for instance this 'ao' dress as you see, cut in one piece and
allowing the limbs free play--because it is manifestly a more rational
and comfortable attire than your fashionable skirt from Paris.  On the
other hand we are ready to assimilate such notions from the West as
will really prove beneficial to us."  Beauty is a matter of education:
when you have become accustomed to anything, however quaint or queer,
you will not think it so after a while.  When I first went abroad and
saw young girls going about in the streets with their hair falling
loose over their shoulders, I was a little shocked.  I thought how
careless their parents must be to allow their girls to go out in that
untidy state.  Later, finding that it was the fashion, I changed my
mind, until by degrees I came to think that it looked quite nice; thus
do conventionality and custom change one's opinions.  But it should be
remembered that no custom or conventionality which sanctions the
distorting of nature, or which interferes with the free exercise of any
member of the body, can ever be called beautiful.  It has always been a
great wonder to me that American and European ladies who are by no
means slow to help forward any movement for reform, have taken no
active steps to improve the uncouth and injurious style of their own
clothes.  How can they expect to be granted the privileges of men until
they show their superiority by freeing themselves from the enthrallment
of the conventionalities of fashion?

Men's dress is by no means superior to the women's.  It is so tight
that it causes the wearer to suffer from the heat much more than is
necessary, and I am certain that many cases of sunstroke have been
chiefly due to tight clothing.  I must admire the courage of Dr. Mary
Walker, an American lady, who has adopted man's costume, but I wonder
that, with her singular independence and ingenuity she has not
introduced a better form of dress, instead of slavishly adopting the
garb of the men.  I speak from experience.  When I was a law student in
England, in deference to the opinion of my English friends, I discarded
Chinese clothes in favor of the European dress, but I soon found it
very uncomfortable.  In the winter it was not warm enough, but in
summer it was too warm because it was so tight.  Then I had trouble
with the shoes.  They gave me the most distressing corns.  When, on
returning to China, I resumed my own national costume my corns
disappeared, and I had no more colds.  I do not contend that the
Chinese dress is perfect, but I have no hesitation in affirming that it
is more comfortable and, according to my views, very much prettier than
the American fashions.  It is superior to any other kind of dress that
I have known.  To appreciate the benefits to be derived from
comfortable clothing, you have to wear it for a while.  Dress should
not restrain the free movement of every part of the body, neither
should it be so tight as to hinder in any way the free circulation of
the blood, or to interfere with the process of evaporation through the
skin.  I cannot understand why Americans, who are correct and cautious
about most things, are so very careless of their own personal comfort
in the matter of clothing.  Is anything more important than that which
concerns their health and comfort?  Why should they continue wearing
clothes which retard their movements, and which are so inconvenient
that they expose the wearers to constant risk and danger?  How can they
consistently call themselves independent while they servilely follow
the mandates of the dressmakers who periodically make money by
inventing new fashions necessitating new clothes?  Brave Americans,
wake up!  Assert your freedom!

It would be very bold, and indeed impertinent, on my part to suggest to
my American friends that they should adopt the Chinese costume.  It has
much to recommend it, but I must candidly confess that it might be
improved.  Why not convene an international congress to decide as to
the best form of dress for men and women?  Male and female delegates
from all over the world might be invited, and samples of all kinds of
costumes exhibited.  Out of them all let those which are considered the
best for men and most suitable for women be recommended, with such
improvements as the congress may deem necessary.  The advantages of a
universal uniformity of costumes would be far-reaching.  There would be
no further occasion for any one to look askance at another, as has
frequently happened when some stranger has been seen wearing what was
considered an uncomely or unsuitable garb; universal uniformity of
costume would also tend to draw people closer together, and to make
them more friendly.  Uniforms and badges promote brotherhood.  I have
enough faith in the American people to believe that my humble
suggestion will receive their favorable consideration and that in due
time it will be carried into effect.



Chapter 11.  American versus Chinese Civilization

This is a big subject.  Its exhaustive treatment would require a large
volume.  In a little chapter such as this I have no intention of doing
more than to cast a glance at its cuff buttons and some of the frills
on its shirt.  Those who want a thesis must look elsewhere.

Now what is Civilization?  According to Webster it is "the act of
civilizing or the state of being civilized; national culture;
refinement." "Civilization began with the domestication of animals,"
says Alfred Russell Wallace, but whether for the animal that was
domesticated or for the man domesticating it is not clear.  In a way
the remark probably applies to both, for the commencement of culture,
or the beginning of civilization, was our reclamation from a savage
state.  Burke says:  "Our manners, our civilization, and all the good
things connected with manners and civilization have in this European
world of ours depended for ages upon two principles--the spirit of a
gentleman, and the spirit of religion."  We often hear people,
especially Westerners, calling themselves "highly civilized", and to
some extent they have good grounds for their claim, but do they really
manifest the qualifications mentioned by Burke?  Are they indeed so
"highly civilized" as to be in all respects worthy paragons to the
so-called semi-civilized nations?  Have not some of their policies been
such as can be characterized only as crooked and selfish actions which
less civilized peoples would not have thought of?  I believe that every
disinterested reader will be able to supply confirmatory illustrations
for himself, but I will enforce the point by giving a few Chinese
ideals of a truly civilized man:

"He guards his body as if holding jade"; i.e., he will not contaminate
himself with mental or moral filth.

"He does not gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he
seek ease"; i.e., he uses the physical without being submerged by it.

"Without weapons he will not attack a tiger, nor will he dare to cross
a river without a boat"; in other words he will never ruin himself and
his family by purely speculative practices.

He will "send charcoal in a snowstorm, but he will not add flowers to
embroidery", meaning that he renders timely assistance when necessary,
but does not curry favor by presents to those who do not need them.

Our most honored heroes are said to have made their virtue "brilliant"
and one of them engraved on his bath-tub the axiom--"If you can
renovate yourself one day, do so from day to day.  Let there be daily
renovation."  Our ideal for the ruler is that the regulation of the
state must commence with his regulation of himself.

It is too often forgotten that civilization, like religion, originally
came from the East.  Long before Europe and America were civilized, yea
while they were still in a state of barbarism, there were nations in
the East, including China, superior to them in manners, in education,
and in government; possessed of a literature equal to any, and of arts
and sciences totally unknown in the West.  Self-preservation and
self-interest make all men restless, and so Eastern peoples gradually
moved to the West taking their knowledge with them; Western people who
came into close contact with them learned their civilization.  This
fusion of East and West was the beginning of Western civilization.

A Chinese proverb compares a pupil who excels his teacher to the color
green, which originates with blue but is superior to it.  This may
aptly be applied to Westerners, for they originally learned literature,
science, and other arts from the East; but they have proven apt pupils
and have excelled their old masters.  I wish I could find an apothegm
concerning a former master who went back to school and surpassed his
clever pupil.  The non-existence of such a maxim probably indicates
that no such case has as yet occurred, but that by no means proves that
it never will.

Coming now to particulars I would say that one of the distinguishing
features in the American people which I much admire is their
earnestness and perseverance.  When they decide to take up anything,
whether it be an invention or the investigation of a difficult problem,
they display indomitable perseverance and patience.  Mr. Edison, for
example, sleeps, it is said, in his factory and is inaccessible for
days when he has a problem to solve, frequently even forgetting food
and sleep.  I can only compare him to our sage Confucius, who, hearing
a charming piece of music which he wanted to study, became so engrossed
in it that for many days he forgot to eat, while for three months he
did not know the taste of meat.

The dauntless courage of the aviators, not only in America, but in
Europe also, is a wonderful thing.  "The toll of the air", in the shape
of fatal accidents from aviation, mounts into the hundreds, and yet men
are undeterred in the pursuit of their investigations.  With such
intrepidity, perseverance, and genius, it is merely a question of time,
and I hope it will not be long, when the art of flying, either by
aeroplanes or airships, will be perfectly safe.  When that time arrives
I mean to make an air trip to America, and I anticipate pleasures from
the novel experience such as I do not get from travelling by land or
sea.

The remarkable genius for organization observable anywhere in America
arouses the visitor's enthusiastic admiration.  One visits a mercantile
office where a number of men are working at different desks in a large
room, and marvels at the quiet and systematic manner in which they
perform their tasks; or one goes to a big bank and is amazed at the
large number of customers ever going in and coming out.  It is
difficult to calculate the enormous amount of business transacted every
hour, yet all is done with perfect organization and a proper division
of labor, so that any information required is furnished by the manager
or by a clerk, at a moment's notice.  I have often been in these
places, and the calm, quiet, earnest way in which the employees
performed their tasks was beyond praise.  It showed that the heads who
organized and were directing the institutions had a firm grasp of
multiplex details.

We Chinese have a reputation for being good business men.  When in
business on our own account, or in partnership with a few friends, we
succeed marvelously well; but we have yet much to learn regarding large
concerns such as corporations or joint stock companies.  This is not to
be wondered at, for joint stock companies and corporations as conducted
in the West were unknown in China before the advent of foreign
merchants in our midst.  Since then a few joint stock companies have
been started in Hongkong, Shanghai, and other ports; these have been
carried on by Chinese exclusively, but the managers have not as yet
mastered the systematic Western methods of conducting such concerns.
Even unpractised and inexpert eyes can see great room for improvement
in the management of these businesses.  Here, I must admit, the
Japanese are ahead of us.  Take, for instance, the Yokohama Specie
Bank: it has a paid-up capital of Yen 30,000,000 and has branches and
agencies not only in all the important towns in Japan, but also in
different ports in China, London, New York, San Francisco, Honolulu,
Bombay, Calcutta and other places.  It is conducted in the latest and
most approved scientific fashion; its reports and accounts, published
half-yearly, reveal the exact state of the concern's financial position
and incidentally show that it makes enormous profits.  True, several
Chinese banks of a private or official nature have been established,
and some of them have been doing a fair business, but candor compels me
to say that they are not conducted as scientifically as is the Yokohama
Specie Bank, or most American banks.  Corporations and joint stock
companies are still in their infancy in China; but Chinese merchants
and bankers, profiting by the mistakes of the past, will doubtless
gradually improve their systems, so that in the future there will be
less and less cause to find fault with them.

One system which has been in vogue within the last ten or twenty years
in America, and which has lately figured much in the limelight, is that
of "Trusts".  Here, again, it is only the ingenuity of Americans which
could have brought the system to such gigantic proportions as to make
it possible for it to wield an immense influence over trade, not only
in America but in other countries also.  The main object of the Trust
seems to be to combine several companies under one direction, so as to
economize expenses, regulate production and the price of commodities by
destroying competition.  Its advocates declare their policy to be
productive of good to the world, inasmuch as it secures regular
supplies of commodities of the best kind at fair and reasonable prices.
On the other hand, its opponents contend that Trusts are injurious to
the real interests of the public, as small companies cannot compete
with them, and without healthy competition the consumer always suffers.
Where experts differ it were perhaps wiser for me not to express an
opinion lest I should show no more wisdom than the boy who argued that
lobsters were black and not red because he had often seen them swimming
about on the seashore, but was confuted by his friend who said he knew
they were red and not black for he had seen them on his father's dinner
table.

The fact, however, which remains indisputable, is the immense power of
wealth.  No one boycotts money.  It is something no one seems to get
enough of.  I have never heard that multi-millionaires like Carnegie or
Rockefeller ever expressed regrets at not being poor, even though they
seem more eager to give money away than to make it.  Most people in
America are desirous for money, and rush every day to their business
with no other thought than to accumulate it quickly.  Their love of
money leaves them scarcely time to eat, to drink, or to sleep; waking
or sleeping they think of nothing else.  Wealth is their goal and when
they reach it they will probably be still unsatisfied.  The Chinese
are, of course, not averse to wealth.  They can enjoy the jingling coin
as much as anyone, but money is not their only thought.  They carry on
their business calmly and quietly, and they are very patient.  I trust
they will always retain these habits and never feel any temptation to
imitate the Americans in their mad chase after money.

There is, however, one American characteristic my countrymen might
learn with profit, and that is the recognition of the fact that
punctuality is the soul of business.  Americans know this; it is one
cause of their success.  Make an appointment with an American and you
will find him in his office at the appointed time.  Everything to be
done by him during the course of the day has its fixed hour, and hence
he is able to accomplish a greater amount of work in a given time than
many others.  Chinese, unfortunately, have no adequate conceptions of
the value of time.  This is due, perhaps, to our mode of reckoning.  In
the West a day is divided into twenty-four hours, and each hour into
sixty minutes, but in China it has been for centuries the custom to
divide day and night into twelve (shih) "periods" of two hours each, so
that an appointment is not made for a particular minute, as in America,
but for one or other of these two-hour periods.  This has created
ingrained habits of unpunctuality which clocks and watches and contact
with foreigners are slow to remove.  The time-keeping railway is,
however, working a revolution, especially in places where there is only
one train a day, and a man who misses that has to wait for the morrow
before he can resume his journey.

Some years ago a luncheon--"tiffin" we call it in China--was given in
my honor at a Peking restaurant by a couple of friends; the hour was
fixed at noon sharp.  I arrived on the stroke of twelve, but found that
not only were none of the guests there, but that even the hosts
themselves were absent.  As I had several engagements I did not wait,
but I ordered a few dishes and ate what I required.  None of the hosts
had made their appearance by the time I had finished, so I left with a
request to the waiter that he would convey my thanks.

Knowing the unpunctuality of our people, the conveners of a public
meeting will often tell the Chinese that it will begin an hour or two
before the set time, whereas foreigners are notified of the exact hour.
Not being aware of this device I once attended a conference at the
appointed time, only to find that I had to wait for over an hour.  I
protested that in future I should be treated as a foreigner in this
regard.

As civilized people have always found it necessary to wear clothes I
ought not to omit a reference to them here, but in view of what has
already been said in the previous chapter I shall at this juncture
content myself with quoting Mrs. M. S. G. Nichols, an English lady who
has written on this subject.  She characterizes the clothing of men as
unbeautiful, but she principally devotes her attention to the dress of
women.  I quote the following from her book:[1]  "The relation of a
woman's dress to her health is seldom considered, still less is it
contemplated as to its effect upon the health of her children; yet
everyone must see that all that concerns the mothers of our race is
important.  The clothing of woman should be regarded in every aspect if
we wish to see its effect upon her health, and consequently upon the
health of her offspring.  The usual way is to consider the beauty or
fashion of dress first, its comfort and healthfulness afterward, if at
all.  We must reverse this method.  First, use, then beauty, flowing
from, or in harmony with, use.  That is the true law of life" (p. 14).
On page 23 she continues:  "A great deal more clothing is worn by women
in some of fashion's phases than is needed for warmth, and mostly in
the form of heavy skirts dragging down upon the hips.  The heavy
trailing skirts also are burdens upon the spine.  Such evils of women's
clothes, especially in view of maternity, can hardly be over-estimated.
The pains and perils that attend birth are heightened, if not caused,
by improper clothing.  The nerves of the spine and the maternal system
of nerves become diseased together."  And on page 32 she writes: "When
I first went to an evening party in a fashionable town, I was shocked
at seeing ladies with low dresses, and I cannot even now like to see a
man, justly called a rake, looking at the half-exposed bosom of a lady.
There is no doubt that too much clothing is an evil, as well as too
little; but clothing that swelters or leaves us with a cold are both
lesser evils than the exposure of esoteric charms to stir the already
heated blood of the 'roue'.  What we have to do, as far as fashion and
the public opinion it forms will allow, is to suit our clothing to our
climate, and to be truly modest and healthful in our attire."  Mrs.
Nichols, speaking from her own experience, has naturally devoted her
book largely to a condemnation of woman's dress, but man's dress as
worn in the West is just as bad.  The dreadful high collar and tight
clothes which are donned all the year round, irrespective of the
weather, must be very uncomfortable.  Men wear nearly the same kind of
clothing at all seasons of the year.  That might be tolerated in the
frigid or temperate zones, but should not the style be changed in the
tropical heat of summer common to the Eastern countries?  I did not
notice that men made much difference in their dress in summer; I have
seen them, when the thermometer was ranging between 80 and 90, wearing
a singlet shirt, waistcoat and coat.  The coat may not have been as
thick as that worn in winter, still it was made of serge, wool or some
similarly unsuitable stuff.  However hot the weather might be it was
seldom that anyone was to be seen on the street without a coat.  No
wonder we frequently hear of deaths from sunstroke or heat, a fatality
almost unknown among the Chinese.[2]

Chinese dress changes with the seasons, varying from the thickest fur
to the lightest gauze.  In winter we wear fur or garments lined with
cotton wadding; in spring we don a lighter fur or some other thinner
garment; in summer we use silk, gauze or grass cloth, according to the
weather.  Our fashions are set by the weather; not by the arbitrary
decrees of dressmakers and tailors from Peking or elsewhere.  The
number of deaths in America and in Europe every year, resulting from
following the fashion must, I fear, be considerable, although of course
no doctor would dare in his death certificate to assign unsuitable
clothing as the cause of the decease of a patient.

Even in the matter of dressing, and in this twentieth century, "might
is right".  In the opinion of an impartial observer the dress of man is
queer, and that of woman, uncouth; but as all nations in Europe and
America are wearing the same kind of dress, mighty Conventionality is
extending its influence, so that even some natives of the East have
discarded their national dress in favor of the uglier Western attire.
If the newly adopted dress were, if no better than, at least equal to,
the old one in beauty and comfort, it might be sanctioned for the sake
of uniformity, as suggested in the previous chapter; but when it is
otherwise why should we imitate?  Why should the world assume a
depressing monotony of costume?  Why should we allow nature's
diversities to disappear?  Formerly a Chinese student when returning
from Europe or America at once resumed his national dress, for if he
dared to continue to favor the Western garb he was looked upon as a
"half-foreign devil".  Since the establishment of the Chinese Republic
in 1911, this sentiment has entirely changed, and the inelegant foreign
dress is no longer considered fantastic; on the contrary it has become
a fashion, not only in cities where foreigners are numerous, but even
in interior towns and villages where they are seldom seen.

Chinese ladies, like their Japanese sisters, have not yet, to their
credit be it said, become obsessed by this new fashion, which shows
that they have more common sense than some men.  I have, however, seen
a few young and foolish girls imitating the foreign dress of Western
women.  Indeed this craze for Western fashion has even caught hold of
our legislators in Peking, who, having fallen under the spell of
clothes, in solemn conclave decided that the frock coat, with the
tall-top hat, should in future be the official uniform; and the
swallow-tail coat with a white shirt front the evening dress in China.
I need hardly say that this action of the Peking Parliament aroused
universal surprise and indignation.  How could the scholars and gentry
of the interior, where foreign tailors are unknown, be expected to
dress in frock coats at formal ceremonies, or to attend public
entertainments in swallow-tails?  Public meetings were held to discuss
the subject, and the new style of dress was condemned as unsuitable.
At the same time it was thought by many that the present dresses of men
and women leave much room for improvement.  It should be mentioned that
as soon as it was known that the dress uniform was under discussion in
Parliament, the silk, hat and other trades guilds, imitating the habits
of the wide-world which always everywhere considers self first, fearing
that the contemplated change in dress might injuriously affect their
respective interests, sent delegates to Peking to "lobby" the members
to "go slow" and not to introduce too radical changes.  The result was
that in addition to the two forms of dress above mentioned, two more
patterns were authorized, one for man's ordinary wear and the other for
women, both following Chinese styles, but all to be made of
home-manufactured material.  This was to soothe the ruffled feelings of
the manufacturers and traders, for in purchasing a foreign suit some of
the materials at least, if not all, must be of foreign origin or
foreign make.

During a recent visit to Peking I protested against this novel fashion,
and submitted a memorandum to President Yuan with a request that it
should be transmitted to Parliament.  My suggestion is that the
frock-coat and evening-dress regulation should be optional, and that
the Chinese dress uniform as sketched by me in my memorandum should be
adopted as an alternative.  I am in hopes that my suggestion will be
favorably considered.  The point I have taken is that Chinese diplomats
and others who go abroad should, in order to avoid curiosity, and for
the sake of uniformity, adopt Western dress, and that those who are at
home, if they prefer the ugly change, should be at liberty to adopt it,
but that it should not be compulsory on others who object to suffering
from cold in winter, or to being liable to sunstroke in summer.  I have
taken this middle course in order to satisfy both sides; for it would
be difficult to induce Parliament to abolish or alter what has been so
recently fixed by them.  The Chinese dress, as is well known all over
the world, is superior to that worn by civilized people in the West,
and the recent change favored by the Chinese is deplored by most
foreigners in China.  The following paragraph, written by a foreign
merchant and published in one of the Shanghai papers, expresses the
opinion of almost all intelligent foreigners on this subject:

"Some time back the world was jubilant over the news that among the
great reforms adopted in China was the discarding of the Chinese tunic,
that great typical national costume.  'They are indeed getting
civilized,' said the gossip; and one and all admired the energy
displayed by the resolute Young China in coming into line with the
CIVILIZED world, adopting even our uncomfortable, anti-hygienic and
anti-esthetic costume.

"Foreign 'fashioned' tailor shops, hat stores, shoemakers, etc., sprang
up all over the country.  When I passed through Canton in September
last, I could not help noticing also that those typical streets lined
with boat-shaped, high-soled shoes, had been replaced by foreign-style
boot and shoemakers.

"Undoubtedly the reform was gaining ground and the Chinese would have
to be in the future depicted dressed up as a Caucasian.

"In my simplicity I sincerely confess I could not but deplore the
passing away of the century-old tunic, so esthetic, so comfortable, so
rich, so typical of the race.  In my heart I was sorry for the change,
as to my conception it was not in the dress where the Chinese had to
seek reform...."

I agree with this writer that it is not in the domain of dress that we
Chinese should learn from the Western peoples.  There are many things
in China which could be very well improved but certainly not dress.


[1] "The Clothes Question Considered in its Relation to Beauty, Comfort
and Health", by Mrs. M. S. G. Nichols.  Published in London, 32
Fopstone Road, Earl's Court, S.W.

[2] There have been a few cases of Chinese workmen who through
carelessness have exposed themselves by working in the sun; but such
cases are rare.



Chapter 12.  American versus Chinese Civilization (Continued)

The question has often been asked "Which are the civilized nations?"
And the answer has been, "All Europe and America."  To the query, "What
about the nations in the East?" the answer has been made that with the
exception of Japan, who has now become a great civilized power, the
other nations are more or less civilized.  When the matter is further
pressed and it is asked, "What about China?" the general reply is, "She
is semi-civilized," or in other words, not so civilized as the nations
in the West.

Before pronouncing such an opinion justifiable, let us consider the
plain facts.  I take it that civilization inculcates culture,
refinement, humane conduct, fair dealing and just treatment.  Amiel
says, "Civilization is first and foremost a moral thing." There is no
doubt that the human race, especially in the West, has improved
wonderfully within the last century.  Many inventions and discoveries
have been made, and men are now able to enjoy comforts which could not
have been obtained before.

From a material point of view we have certainly progressed, but do the
"civilized" people in the West live longer than the so-called
semi-civilized races?  Have they succeeded in prolonging their lives?
Are they happier than others?  I should like to hear their answers.  Is
it not a fact that Americans are more liable to catch cold than
Asiatics; with the least change of air, and with the slightest
appearance of an epidemic are they not more easily infected than
Asiatics?  If so, why?  With their genius for invention why have they
not discovered means to safeguard themselves so that they can live
longer on this earth?  Again, can Americans say that they are happier
than the Chinese?  From personal observation I have formed the opinion
that the Chinese are more contented than Americans, and on the whole
happier; and certainly one meets more old people in China than in
America.  Since the United States of America is rich, well governed,
and provided with more material comforts than China, Americans, one
would think, should be happier than we are, but are they?  Are there
not many in their midst who are friendless and penurious?  In China no
man is without friends, or if he is, it is his own fault.  "Virtue is
never friendless," said Confucius, and, as society is constituted in
China, this is literally true.  If this is not so in America I fear
there is something wrong with that boasted civilization, and that their
material triumphs over the physical forces of nature have been paid
dearly for by a loss of insight into her profound spiritualities.
Perhaps some will understand when I quote Lao Tsze's address to
Confucius on "Simplicity".  "The chaff from winnowing will blind a man.
Mosquitoes will bite a man and keep him awake all night, and so it is
with all the talk of yours about charity and duty to one's neighbor, it
drives one crazy.  Sir, strive to keep the world in its original
simplicity--why so much fuss?  The wind blows as it listeth, so let
virtue establish itself.  The swan is white without a daily bath, and
the raven is black without dyeing itself.  When the pond is dry and the
fishes are gasping for breath it is of no use to moisten them with a
little water or a little sprinkling.  Compared to their original and
simple condition in the pond and the rivers it is nothing."

Henry Ward Beecher says, "Wealth may not produce civilization, but
civilization produces money," and in my opinion while wealth may be
used to promote happiness and health it as often injures both.
Happiness is the product of liberality, intelligence and service to
others, and the reflex of happiness is health.  My contention is that
the people who possess these good qualities in the greatest degree are
the most civilized.  Now civilization, as mentioned in the previous
chapter, was born in the East and travelled westward.  The law of
nature is spiral, and inasmuch as Eastern civilization taught the
people of the West, so Western civilization, which is based upon
principles native to the East, will return to its original source.  No
nation can now remain shut up within itself without intercourse with
other nations; the East and the West can no longer exist separate and
apart.  The new facilities for transportation and travel by land and
water bring all nations, European, American, Asiatic and African, next
door to each other, and when the art of aviation is more advanced and
people travel in the air as safely as they now cross oceans, the
relationships of nations will become still closer.

What effect will this have on mankind?  The first effect will be, I
should say, greater stability.  As interests become common, destructive
combats will vanish.  All alike will be interested in peace.  It is a
gratifying sign that within recent years the people of America have
taken a prominent part in peace movements, and have inaugurated peace
congresses, the members of which represent different sections of the
country.  Annual gatherings of this order must do much to prevent war
and to perpetuate peace, by turning people's thoughts in the right
direction.  Take, for instance, the Lake Mohonk Conference on
International Arbitration, which was started by a private gentleman,
Mr. A. K. Smiley, who was wont every year to invite prominent officials
and others to his beautiful summer place at Lake Mohonk for a
conference.  He has passed away, to the regret of his many friends, but
the good movement still continues, and the nineteenth annual conference
was held under the auspices of his brother, Mr. Daniel Smiley.  Among
those present, there were not only eminent Americans, such as Dr. C. W.
Eliot, President Emeritus of Harvard University, Ex-American Ambassador
C. Tower, Dr. J. Taylor, President of Vassar College, and Dr. Lyman
Abbott, but distinguished foreigners such as J. A. Baker, M.P., of
England, Herr Heinrich York Steiner, of Vienna, and many others.  Among
the large number of people who support this kind of movement, and the
number is increasing every day, the name of Mr. Andrew Carnegie stands
out very prominently.  This benevolent gentleman is a most vigorous
advocate of International Peace, and has spent most of his time and
money for that purpose.  He has given ten million dollars (gold) for
the purpose of establishing the Carnegie Peace Fund; the first
paragraph in his long letter to the trustees is worthy of reproduction,
as it expresses his strong convictions:

"I have transferred to you," he says, "as Trustees of the Carnegie
Peace Fund, ten million dollars of five per cent. mortgage bonds, the
revenue of which is to be administered by you to hasten the abolition
of international war, the foulest blot upon our civilization.  Although
we no longer eat our fellowmen nor torture our prisoners, nor sack
cities, killing their inhabitants, we still kill each other in war like
barbarians.  Only wild beasts are excusable for doing that in this the
Twentieth Century of the Christian era, for the crime of war is
inherent, since it decides not in favor of the right, but always of the
strong.  The nation is criminal which refuses arbitration and drives
its adversary to a tribunal which knows nothing of righteous judgment."

I am glad to say that I am familiar with many American magazines and
journals which are regularly published to advocate peace, and I have no
doubt that in every country similar movements are stirring, for the
nations are beginning to realize the disastrous effects of war.  If I
am not mistaken, however, Americans are the most active in this matter.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, whose members belong
to nearly every nation, is a significant index of the spirit of the
times.  Yet what an irony of fate that while people are so active in
perpetuating peace they cannot preserve it.  Look at the recent wars in
Europe, first between Italy and Turkey, and afterward in the Balkans,
to say nothing of disturbances in China and other parts of the world.
It is just like warning a child not to take poison and then allowing
him to swallow it and die.  Sensible men should consider this question
calmly and seriously.  We all agree as to the wickedness of war and yet
we war with one another; we do not like war yet we cannot help war.
There is surely some hidden defect in the way we have been brought up.

Is not the slogan of nationality, to a great extent, the root of the
evil?  Every schoolboy and schoolgirl is taught the duty of devotion,
or strong attachment, to his or her own country, and every statesman or
public man preaches the doctrine of loyalty to one's native land; while
the man who dares to render service to another country, the interests
of which are opposed to the interests of his own land, is denounced a
traitor.  In such cases the individual is never allowed an opinion as
to the right or wrong of the dispute.  He is expected to support his
own country and to cry at all times, "Our country, right or wrong."  A
politician's best chance to secure votes is to gloss over the faults of
his own party or nation, to dilate on the wickedness of his neighbors
and to exhort his compatriots to be loyal to their national flag.  Can
it be wondered at that men who are imbued with such doctrines become
selfish and narrow-minded and are easily involved in quarrels with
other nations?

Patriotism is, of course, the national life.  Twenty-four centuries
ago, speaking in the Greek Colony of Naxos, Pythagoras described this
emotion in the following eloquent passage:  "Listen, my children, to
what the State should be to the good citizen.  It is more than father
or mother, it is more than husband or wife, it is more than child or
friend.  The State is the father and mother of all, is the wife of the
husband and the husband of the wife.  The family is good, and good is
the joy of the man in wife and in son.  But greater is the State, which
is the protector of all, without which the home would be ravaged and
destroyed.  Dear to the good man is the honor of the woman who bore
him, dear the honor of the wife whose children cling to his knees; but
dearer should be the honor of the State that keeps safe the wife and
the child.  It is the State from which comes all that makes your life
prosperous, and gives you beauty and safety.  Within the State are
built up the arts, which make the difference between the barbarian and
the man.  If the brave man dies gladly for the hearthstone, far more
gladly should he die for the State."

But only when the State seeks the good of the governed, for said
Pythagoras on another occasion:  "Organized society exists for the
happiness and welfare of its members; and where it fails to secure
these it stands ipso facto condemned."

But to-day should the State be at war with another, and any citizen or
section of citizens believe their own country wrong and the opposing
nation wronged, they dare not say so, or if they do they run great risk
of being punished for treason.  Men and women though no longer bought
and sold in the market place are subjected to subtler forms of serfdom.
In most European countries they are obliged to fight whether they will
or not, and irrespective of their private convictions about the
dispute; even though, as is the case in some European countries, they
may be citizens from compulsion rather than choice, they are not free
to abstain from active participation in the quarrel.  Chinese
rebellions are said to "live on loot", i.e., on the forcible
confiscation of private property, but is that worse than winning
battles on the forcible deprivation of personal liberty?  This is
nationalism gone mad!  It fosters the desire for territory grabbing and
illustrates a fundamental difference between the Orient and the
Occident.  With us government is based on the consent of the governed
in a way that the Westerner can hardly understand, for his passion to
expand is chronic.  Small nations which are over-populated want
territory for their surplus population; great nations desire territory
to extend their trade, and when there are several great powers to
divide the spoil they distribute it among themselves and call it
"spheres of influence", and all in honor of the god Commerce.  In China
the fundamentals of our social system are brotherhood and the dignity
of labor.

What, I ask, is the advantage of adding to national territory?  Let us
examine the question calmly.  If a town or a province is seized the
conqueror has to keep a large army to maintain peace and order, and
unless the people are well disposed to the new authority there will be
constant trouble and friction.  All this, I may say, in passing, is
opposed to our Confucian code which bases everything on reason and
abhors violence.  We would rather argue with a mob and find out, if
possible, its point of view, than fire on it.  We have yet to be
convinced that good results flow from the use of the sword and the
cannon.  Western nations know no other compulsion.

If, however, the acquisition of new territory arises from a desire to
develop the country and to introduce the most modern and improved
systems of government, without ulterior intentions, then it is beyond
praise, but I fear that such disinterested actions are rare.  The
nearest approach to such high principle is the purchase of the
Philippine Islands by the United States.  I call it "purchase" because
the United States Government paid a good price for the Islands after
having seized the territory.  The intentions of the Government were
well known at the time.  Since her acquisition of those Islands,
America has been doing her best to develop their resources and expand
their trade.  Administrative and judicial reforms have been introduced,
liberal education has been given to the natives, who are being trained
for self-government.  It has been repeatedly and authoritatively
declared by the United States that as soon as they are competent to
govern themselves without danger of disturbances, and are able to
establish a stable government, America will grant independence to those
islands.  I believe that when the proper time comes she will fulfill
her word, and thus set a noble example to the world.

The British in Hongkong afford an illustration of a different order,
proving the truth of my contention that, excepting as a sphere for the
exercise of altruism, the acquisition of new territories is an illusive
gain.  When Hongkong was ceded to Great Britain at the conclusion of a
war in which China was defeated, it was a bare island containing only a
few fishermen's huts.  In order to make it a trading port and encourage
people to live there, the British Government spent large sums of money
year after year for its improvement and development, and through the
wise administration of the local Government every facility was afforded
for free trade.  It is now a prosperous British colony with a
population of nearly half a million.  But what have been the advantages
to Great Britain?  Financially she has been a great loser, for the
Island which she received at the close of her war with China was for
many years a great drain on her national treasury.  Now Hongkong is a
self-supporting colony, but what benefits do the British enjoy there
that do not belong to everyone else?  The colony is open to all
foreigners, and every right which a British merchant has is equally
shared with everyone else.  According to the census of 1911, out of a
population of 456,739 only 12,075 were non-Chinese, of whom a small
portion were British; the rest were Chinese.  Thus the prosperity of
that colony depends upon the Chinese who, it is needless to say, are in
possession of all the privileges that are enjoyed by British residents.
It should be noticed that the number of foreign firms and stores (i.e.,
non-British) have been and are increasing, while big British hongs are
less numerous than before.  Financially, the British people have
certainly not been gainers by the acquisition of that colony.  Of
course I shall be told that it adds to the prestige of Great Britain,
but this is an empty, bumptious boast dearly paid for by the British
tax-payer.

From an economic and moral point of view, however, I must admit that a
great deal of good has been done by the British Government in Hongkong.
It has provided the Chinese with an actual working model of a Western
system of government which, notwithstanding many difficulties, has
succeeded in transforming a barren island into a prosperous town, which
is now the largest shipping port in China.  The impartial
administration of law and the humane treatment of criminals cannot but
excite admiration and gain the confidence of the natives.  If the
British Government, in acquiring the desert island, had for its purpose
the instruction of the natives in a modern system of government, she is
to be sincerely congratulated, but it is feared that her motives were
less altruistic.

These remarks apply equally, if not with greater force, to the other
colonies or possessions in China under the control of European Powers,
as well as to the other colonies of the British Empire, such as
Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and others which are called
"self-governing dominions".  The Imperial Government feels very tender
toward these colonists, and practically they are allowed to manage
their affairs as they like.  Since they are so generously treated and
enjoy the protection of so great a power, there is no fear that these
self-governing dominions will ever become independent of their mother
country; but if they ever should do so, it is most improbable that she
would declare war against them, as the British people have grown wiser
since their experience with the American colonists.  British statesmen
have been awakened to the necessity of winning the good-will of their
colonists, and within recent years have adopted the policy of inviting
the Colonial premiers to London to discuss questions affecting Imperial
and Colonial interests.  Imperial federation seems to be growing
popular with the British and it is probable that in the future England,
Scotland, Wales, and Ireland will each have its own parliament, with an
Imperial Parliament, sitting at Westminster, containing representatives
from all parts of the British Empire, but America is the only nation
which has added to her responsibilities with the avowed purpose of
making semi-civilized tribes independent, self-governing colonies, and
America is almost the only great power that has never occupied or held
territory in China.

Let me ask again what is the object of nations seeking new possessions?
Is it for the purpose of trade?  If so, the object can be obtained
without acquiring territory.  In these days of enlightenment anyone can
go to any country and trade without restriction, and in the British
colonies the alien is in the same position as the native.  He is not
hampered by "permits" or other "red-tape" methods.  Is it for the
purpose of emigration?  In Europe, America and all the British
colonies, so far as I know, white people, unless they are paupers or
undesirables, can emigrate to any country and after a short period
become naturalized.

Some statesmen would say that it is necessary for a great power to have
naval bases or coaling stations in several parts of the world.  This
presupposes preparations for war; but if international peace were
maintained, such possessions would be useless and the money spent on
them wasted.  In any case it is unproductive expenditure.  It is the
fashion for politicians (and I am sorry to find them supported by
eminent statesmen) to preach the doctrine of armaments; they allege
that in order to preserve peace it is necessary to be prepared for war,
that a nation with a large army or navy commands respect, and that her
word carries weight.  This argument cuts both ways, for a nation
occupying such a commanding position may be unreasonable and a terror
to weaker nations.  If this high-toned doctrine continues where will it
end?  We shall soon see every nation arming to the teeth for the sake
of her national honor and safety, and draining her treasury for the
purpose of building dreadnaughts and providing armaments.  When such a
state of things exists can international peace be perpetuated?  Will
not occasion be found to test those war implements and to utilize the
naval and military men?  When you purchase a knife don't you expect to
use it?  Mr. Lloyd George, the English Chancellor of the Exchequer, in
a speech in which he lamented the ever-increasing but unnecessary
expenditure on armaments, said in Parliament:  "I feel confident that
it will end in a great disaster--I won't say to this country, though it
is just possible that it may end in a disaster here." A man with a
revolver sometimes invites attack, lest what was at first intended only
for a defense should become a menace.

When discussing the craze of the Western nations for adding to their
territories I said that white people can emigrate to any foreign
country that they please, but it is not so with the yellow race.  It
has been asserted with authority that some countries are reserved
exclusively for the white races, and with this object in view laws have
been enacted prohibiting the natives of Asia from becoming naturalized
citizens, besides imposing very strict and almost prohibitory
regulations regarding their admission.  Those who support such a policy
hold that they, the white people, are superior to the yellow people in
intellect, in education, in taste, and in habits, and that the yellow
people are unworthy to associate with them.  Yet in China we have
manners, we have arts, we have morals, and we have managed a fairly
large society for thousands of years without the bitter class hatreds,
class divisions, and class struggles that have marred the fair progress
of the West.  We have not enslaved our lives to wealth.  We like luxury
but we like other things better.  We love life more than chasing
imitations of life.

Our differences of color, like our differences of speech, are
accidental, they are due to climatic and other influences.  We came
originally from one stock.  We all started evenly, Heaven has no
favorites.  Man alone has made differences between man and man, and the
yellow man is no whit inferior to the white people in intelligence.
During the Russo-Japan War was it not the yellow race that displayed
the superior intelligence?  I am sometimes almost tempted to say that
Asia will have to civilize the West over again.  I am not bitter or
sarcastic, but I do contend that there are yet many things that the
white races have to learn from their colored brethren.  In India, in
China, and in Japan there are institutions which have a stability
unknown outside Asia.  Religion has apparently little influence on
Western civilization; it is the corner-stone of society in all Asiatic
civilizations.  The result is that the colored races place morality in
the place assigned by their more practical white confreres to economic
propositions.  We think, as we contemplate the West, that white people
do not understand comfort because they have no leisure to enjoy
contentment; THEY measure life by accumulation, WE by morality.  Family
ties are stronger with the so-called colored races than they are among
the more irresponsible white races; consequently the social sense is
keener among the former and much individual suffering is avoided.  We
have our vices, but these are not peculiar to US; and, at least, we
have the merit of being easily governed.  Wherever there are Chinese
colonies the general verdict is:  "The Chinese make good citizens."

This is what the late Sir Robert Hart, to whom China owes her Customs
organization, said about us:

"They (the Chinese) are well-behaved, law-abiding, intelligent,
economical, and industrious; they can learn anything and do anything;
they are punctiliously polite, they worship talent, and they believe in
right so firmly that they scorn to think it requires to be supported or
enforced by might; they delight in literature, and everywhere they have
their literary clubs and coteries for learning and discussing each
other's essays and verses; they possess and practise an admirable
system of ethics, and they are generous, charitable, and fond of good
work; they never forget a favor, they make rich return for any
kindness, and though they know money will buy service, a man must be
more than wealthy to win esteem and respect; they are practical,
teachable, and wonderfully gifted with common sense; they are excellent
artisans, reliable workmen, and of a good faith that everyone
acknowledges and admires in their commercial dealings; in no country
that is or was, has the commandment 'Honor thy father and thy mother',
been so religiously obeyed, or so fully and without exception given
effect to, and it is in fact the keynote of their family, social,
official and national life, and because it is so their days are long in
the land God has given them."

The cry of "America for the Americans" or "Australia for the
Australians" is most illogical, for those people were not the original
owners of the soil; with far greater reason we in the far East might
shout, "China for the Chinese", "Japan for the Japanese".  I will quote
Mr. T. S. Sutton, English Secretary of the Chinese-American League of
Justice, on this point.  "The most asinine whine in the world," he
says, "is that of 'America for the Americans' or 'China for the
Chinese', etc.  It is the hissing slogan of greed, fear, envy,
selfishness, ignorance and prejudice.  No man, no human being who calls
himself a man, no Christian, no sane or reasonable person, should or
could ever be guilty of uttering that despicable wail.  God made the
world for all men, and if God has any preference, if God is any
respecter of persons, He must surely favor the Chinese, for He has made
more of them than of any other people on the globe.  'America for the
aboriginal Indians' was once the cry.  Then when the English came over
it changed to 'America for the English', later 'America for the
Puritans', and around New Orleans they cried 'America for the French'.
In Pennsylvania the slogan was 'America for the Dutch', etc., but the
truth remains that God has set aside America as 'the melting pot' of
the world, the land to which all people may come, and from which there
has arisen, and will continue to rise, a great mixed race, a
cosmopolitan nation that may, if it is not misled by prejudice and
ignorance, yet lead the world." Although Mr. Sutton's phraseology is
somewhat strong, his arguments are sound and unanswerable.

I now pass to some less controversial aspects of my theme, and note a
praiseworthy custom that is practically unknown in the Far East.  I
refer to the habit of international marriages which are not only common
in cosmopolitan America but are of daily occurrence in Europe also,
among ordinary people as well as the royal families of Europe, so that
nearly all the European courts are related one to the other.  This is a
good omen for a permanent world-peace.  There have been some marriages
of Asiatics with Europeans and Americans, and they should be
encouraged.  Everything that brings the East and West together and
helps each to understand the other better, is good.  The offspring from
such mixed unions inherit the good points of both sides.  The head
master of the Queen's College in Hongkong, where there are hundreds of
boys of different nationalities studying together, once told me that
formerly at the yearly examination the prizes were nearly all won by
the Chinese students, but that in later years when Eurasian boys were
admitted, they beat the Chinese and all the others, and generally came
out the best.  Not only in school but in business also they have turned
out well.  It is well known that the richest man in Hongkong is a
Eurasian.  It is said that the father of Aguinaldo, the well-known
Philippine leader, was a Chinese.  There is no doubt that mixed
marriages of the white with the yellow races will be productive of good
to both sides.  But do Chinese really make good husbands? my lady
friends ask.  I will cite the case of an American lady.  Some years ago
a Chinese called on me at my Legation in Washington accompanied by an
American lady and a girl.  The lady was introduced to me as his wife
and the girl as his daughter; I naturally supposed that the lady was
the girl's mother, but she told me that the girl was the daughter of
her late intimate friend, and that after her death, knowing that the
child's father had been a good and affectionate husband to her friend,
she had gladly become his second wife, and adopted his daughter.

Those who believe in reincarnation (and I hope most of my readers do,
as it is a clue to many mysteries) understand that when people are
reincarnated they are not always born in the same country or continent
as that in which they lived in their previous life.  I have an
impression that in one of my former existences I was born and brought
up in the United States.  In saying this I do not express the slightest
regrets at having now been born in Asia.  I only wish to give a hint to
those white people who advocate an exclusive policy that in their next
life they may be born in Asia or Africa, and that the injury they are
now inflicting on the yellow people they may themselves have to suffer
in another life.

While admitting that we Chinese have our faults and that in some
matters we have much to learn, especially from the Americans, we at
least possess one moral quality, magnanimity, while the primal virtues
of industry, economy, obedience, and love of peace, combined with a
"moderation in all things", are also common among us.  Our people have
frequently been slighted or ill-treated but we entertain no revengeful
spirit, and are willing to forget.  We believe that in the end right
will conquer might.  Innumerable as have been the disputes between
Chinese and foreigners it can at least be said, without going into
details, that we have not, in the first instance, been the aggressors.
Let me supply a local illustration showing how our faults are always
exaggerated.  Western people are fond of horse-racing.  In Shanghai
they have secured from the Chinese a large piece of ground where they
hold race meetings twice a year, but no Chinese are allowed on the
grand-stand during the race days.  They are provided with a separate
entrance, and a separate enclosure, as though they were the victims of
some infectious disease.  I have been told that a few years ago a
Chinese gentleman took some Chinese ladies into the grand-stand and
that they misbehaved; hence this discriminatory treatment of Chinese.
It is proper that steps should be taken to preserve order and decency
in public places, but is it fair to interdict the people of a nation on
account of the misconduct of two or three?  Suppose it had been Germans
who had misbehaved themselves (which is not likely), would the race
club have dared to exclude Germans from sharing with other nations the
pleasures of the races?

In contrast with this, let us see what the Chinese have done.  Having
learned the game of horse-racing from the foreigners in China, and not
being allowed to participate, they have formed their own race club,
and, with intention, have called it the "International Recreation
Club".  This Club has purchased a large tract of land at Kiangwan,
about five miles from Shanghai, and has turned it into a race-course,
considerably larger than that in Shanghai.  When a race meeting is held
there, IT IS OPEN TO FOREIGNERS AS WELL AS CHINESE, in fact
complimentary tickets have even been sent to the members of the foreign
race club inviting their attendance.  Half of the members of the race
committee are foreigners; while foreigners and Chinese act jointly as
stewards and judges; the ponies that run are owned by foreigners as
well as by Chinese, and Chinese jockeys compete with foreign jockeys in
all the events.  A most pleasing feature of these races is the very
manifest cordial good feeling which prevails throughout the races
there.  The Chinese have been dubbed "semi-civilized and heathenish",
but the "International Recreation Club" and the Kiangwan race-course
display an absence of any desire to retaliate and sentiments of
international friendship such as it would, perhaps, be difficult to
parallel.  Should such people be denied admission into Australia,
Canada, or the United States?  Would not the exclusionists in those
countries profit by association with them?

The immigration laws in force in Australia are, I am informed, even
more strict and more severe than those in the United States.  They
amount to almost total prohibition; for they are directed not only
against Chinese laborers but are so operated that the Chinese merchant
and student are also practically refused admission.  In the course of a
lecture delivered in England by Mrs. Annie Besant in 1912 on "The
citizenship of colored races in the British Empire", while condemning
the race prejudices of her own people, she brought out a fact which
will be interesting to my readers, especially to the Australians.  She
says, "In Australia a very curious change is taking place.  Color has
very much deepened in that clime, and the Australian has become very
yellow; so that it becomes a problem whether, after a time, the people
would be allowed to live in their own country.  The white people are
far more colored than are some Indians." In the face of this plain fact
is it not time, for their own sake, that the Australians should drop
their cry against yellow people and induce their Parliament to abolish,
or at least to modify, their immigration laws with regard to the yellow
race?  Australians are anxious to extend their trade, and they have
sent commercial commissioners to Japan and other Eastern countries with
the view to developing and expanding commerce.  Mr. J. B. Suttor,
Special Commissioner of New South Wales, has published the following
advertisement:

"NEW SOUTH WALES.  The Land of Reward for Capital Commerce and
Industry.  Specially subsidized steamers now giving direct service
between Sydney, THE PREMIER COMMERCIAL CENTER OF AUSTRALIA, AND
SHANGHAI.  Thus offering special facilities for Commerce and Tourists.
NEW SOUTH WALES PRODUCTS ARE STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE."

Commerce and friendship go together, but how Australians can expect to
develop trade in a country whose people are not allowed to come to
visit her shores even for the purposes of trade, passes my
comprehension.  Perhaps, having heard so much of the forgiving and
magnanimous spirit of the Chinese, Australians expect the Chinese to
greet them with smiles and to trade with them, while being kicked in
return.

I believe in the doctrine of the universal brotherhood of men.  It is
contrary to the law (God) of creation that some people should shut out
other people from portions of the earth solely from motives of
selfishness and jealousy; the injury caused by such selfish acts will
sooner or later react on the doers.  "Every man is his own ancestor.
We are preparing for the days that come, and we are what we are to-day
on account of what has gone before."  The dog-in-the-manger policy
develops doggish instincts in those who practise it; and, after all,
civilization without kindness and justice is not worth having.  In
conclusion, I will let the English poet, William Wordsworth, state
"Nature's case".

Listen to these noble lines from the ninth canto of his "Excursion".

  "Alas! what differs more than man from man,
  And whence that difference?  Whence but from himself?
  For see the universal Race endowed
  With the same upright form.  The sun is fixed
  And the infinite magnificence of heaven
  Fixed, within reach of every human eye;
  The sleepless ocean murmurs for all years;
  The vernal field infuses fresh delight
  Into all hearts.  Throughout the world of sense,
  Even as an object is sublime or fair,
  That object is laid open to the view
  Without reserve or veil; and as a power
  Is salutary, or an influence sweet,
  Are each and all enabled to perceive
  That power, that influence, by impartial law,
  Gifts nobler are vouchsafed alike to all;
  Reason, and, with that reason, smiles and tears;
  Imagination, freedom in the will;
  Conscience to guide and check; and death to be
  Foretasted, immortality conceived
  By all--a blissful immortality,
  To them whose holiness on earth shall make
  The Spirit capable of heaven, assured.

  ..............................The smoke ascends
  To Heaven as lightly from the cottage hearth
  As from the haughtiest palace.  He whose soul
  Ponders this true equality, may walk
  The fields of earth with gratitude and hope;
  Yet, in that meditation, will he find
  Motive to sadder grief, as we have found;
  Lamenting ancient virtues overthrown,
  And for the injustice grieving, that hath made
  So wide a difference between man and man."



Chapter 13.  Dinners, Banquets, Etc.

Dinner, as we all know, indicates a certain hour and a certain habit
whose aim is the nourishment of the body, and a deliverance from
hunger; but in our modern civilized life it possesses other purposes
also.  Man is a gregarious animal, and when he takes his food he likes
company; from this peculiarity there has sprung up the custom of dinner
parties.  In attending dinner parties, however, the guests as a rule do
not seek sustenance, they only go to them when they have nothing else
to do, and many scarcely touch the food that is laid before them.
Their object is to do honor to the host and hostess, not to eat, but to
be entertained by pleasant and congenial conversation.  Nevertheless,
the host, at whose invitation the company has assembled, is expected to
provide a great abundance and a large variety of savory dishes, as well
as a good supply of choice wines.  Flesh and wine are indispensable,
even though the entertainers eschew both in their private life, and
most of the guests daily consume too much of each.  Few have the
courage to part with conventional practices when arranging a social
function.

American chefs are excellent caterers, and well know how to please the
tastes of the American people.  They concentrate on the art of
providing dainty dishes, and human ingenuity is heavily taxed by them
in their efforts to invent new gustatory delicacies.  The dishes which
they place before each guest are so numerous that even a gourmand must
leave some untouched.  At a fashionable dinner no one can possibly
taste, much less eat, everything that is placed before him, yet the
food is all so nicely cooked and served in so appetizing a manner, that
it is difficult to resist the temptation at least to sample it; when
you have done this, however, you will continue eating until all has
been finished, but your stomach will probably be a sad sufferer,
groaning grievously on the following day on account of the frolic of
your palate.  This ill-mated pair, although both are chiefly interested
in food, seldom seem to agree.  I must not omit to mention however that
the number of courses served at an American millionaire's dinner is
after all less numerous than those furnished at a Chinese feast.  When
a Chinese gentleman asks his friends to dine with him the menu may
include anywhere from thirty to fifty or a hundred courses; but many of
the dishes are only intended for show.  The guests are not expected to
eat everything on the table, or even to taste every delicacy, unless,
indeed, they specially desire to do so.  Again, we don't eat so
heartily as do the Americans, but content ourselves with one or two
mouthfuls from each set of dishes, and allow appreciable intervals to
elapse between courses, during which we make merry, smoke, and
otherwise enjoy the company.  This is a distinct advantage in favor of
China.

In Europe and America, dessert forms the last course at dinner; in
China this is served first.  I do not know which is the better way.
Chinese are ever ready to accept the best from every quarter, and so
many of us have recently adopted the Western practice regarding
dessert, while still retaining the ancient Chinese custom, so that now
we eat sweetmeats and fruit at the beginning, during dinner, and at the
end.  This happy combination of Eastern and Western practices is, I
submit, worthy of expansion and extension.  If it were to become
universal it would help to discourage the present unwholesome habit,
for it is nothing more than a habit, of devouring flesh.

One of the dishes indispensable at a fashionable American dinner is the
terrapin.  Those who eat these things say that their flesh has a most
agreeable and delicate flavor, and that their gelatinous skinny necks
and fins are delicious, but apparently the most palatable tidbits pall
the taste in time, for it is said that about forty years ago terrapins
were so abundant and cheap that workmen in their agreement with their
employers stipulated that terrapin should not be supplied at their
dinner table more than three times a week.  Since then terrapins have
become so rare that no stylish dinner ever takes place without this
dish.  Oysters are another Western sine qua non, and are always served
raw.  I wonder how many ladies and gentlemen who swallow these mollusca
with such evident relish know that they are veritable scavengers, which
pick up and swallow every dirty thing in the water.  A friend of mine
after taking a few of them on one occasion, had to leave the table and
go home; he was ill afterward for several days.  One cannot be too
careful as to what one eats.  The United States has a Pure Food
Department, but I think it might learn a great deal that it does not
know if it were to send a commission to China to study life in the
Buddhist monasteries, where only sanitary, healthful food is consumed.
It is always a surprise to me that people are so indifferent to the
kind of food they take.  Public health officers are useful officials,
but when we have become more civilized each individual will be his own
health officer.

Some of the well-known Chinese dishes are very relishable and should
not be overlooked by chefs and dinner hostesses.  I refer to the
sharks' fins, and birds' nest--the Eastern counterpart of the Western
piece de resistance--the terrapin.  From a hygienic point of view
sharks' fins may not be considered as very desirable, seeing they are
part of the shark, but they are certainly not worse, and are perhaps
better, than what is called the "high and tender" pheasant, and other
flesh foods which are constantly found on Western dining tables, and
which are so readily eaten by connoisseurs.  Birds' nest soup is far
superior to turtle soup, and I have the opinion of an American chemist
who analyzed it, that it is innocuous and minus the injurious uric acid
generated by animal flesh, the cause of rheumatic and similar painful
complaints.

The "chop suey" supplied in the Chinese restaurants in New York,
Chicago, and other places, seems to be a favorite dish with the
American public.  It shows the similarity of our tastes, and encourages
me to expect that some of my recommendations will be accepted.

Will some one inform me why so many varieties of wines are always
served on American tables, and why the sparkling champagne is never
avoidable?  Wealthy families will spare neither pains nor expense to
spread most sumptuous dinners, and it has been reported that the cost
of an entertainment given by one rich lady amounted to twenty thousand
pounds sterling, although, as I have said, eating is the last thing for
which the guests assemble.

I do not suppose that many will agree with me, but in my opinion it
would be much more agreeable, and improve the general conversation, if
all drinks of an intoxicating nature were abolished from the dining
table.  It is gratifying to know that there are some families (may the
number increase every day!) where intoxicating liquors are never seen
on their tables.  The first instance of this sort that came under my
notice was in the home of that excellent woman, Mrs. M. F. Henderson,
who is an ardent advocate of diet reform and teetotalism.  Mr. William
Jennings Bryan, the Secretary of State, has set a noble example, as
from newspaper reports it appears that he gave a farewell dinner to
Ambassador Bryce, without champagne or other alcoholic drinks.  He has
a loyal supporter in Shanghai, in the person of the American
Consul-General, Dr. A. P. Wilder, who, to the great regret of everybody
who knows him in this port, is retiring from the service on account of
ill-health.  Dr. Wilder is very popular and figures largely in the
social life of the community, but Dr. Wilder is a staunch opponent of
alcohol, and through his influence wines at public dinners are always
treated as extras.  So long as the liquor traffic is so extensively and
profitably carried on in Europe and America, and so long as the
consumption of alcohol is so enormous, so long will there be a
difference of opinion as to its ill effects, but in this matter, by
means of its State Prohibition Laws, America is setting an example to
the world.  In no other country are there such extensive tracts without
alcohol as the "Dry States" of America.  China, who is waging war on
opium, recognizes in this fact a kindred, active moral force which is
absent elsewhere, and, shaking hands with her sister republic across
the seas, hopes that she will some day be as free of alcoholic poisons
as China herself hopes to be of opium.  Every vice, however, has its
defense.  Some years ago I met a famous Dutch artist in Peking, who,
though still in the prime of life, was obliged to lay aside his work
for a few days each month, due to an occasional attack of rheumatism.
I found he was fond of his cup, though I did not understand that he was
an immoderate drinker.  I discoursed to him somewhat lengthily about
the evil effects of drink, and showed him that unless he was willing to
give up all intoxicating liquor, his rheumatism would never give him
up.  He listened attentively, pondered for a few minutes, and then gave
this characteristic answer:  "I admit the soundness of your argument
but I enjoy my glass exceedingly; if I were to follow your advice I
should be deprived of a lot of pleasure.  Indeed, I would rather have
the rheumatic pains, which disappear after two or three days, and
continue to enjoy my alcoholic drinks, than endure the misery of doing
without them."  I warned him that in course of time his rheumatism
would be longer in duration and attack him more frequently, if he
continued to ignore its warnings and to play with what, for him, was
certainly poison.  When anyone has a habit, be it injurious or
otherwise, it is not easy to persuade him to abandon it.

"The Aristocracy of Health" written by the talented Mrs. Henderson is
an admirable work.  I owe much to it.  The facts and arguments adduced
against tobacco smoking, strong drink and poisonous foods, are set
forth in such a clear and convincing manner, that soon after reading it
I became a teetotaler and "sanitarian"[1] and began at once to reap the
benefits.  I felt that I ought not to keep such a good thing to myself,
but that I should preach the doctrine far and wide.  I soon found,
however, that it was an impossible task to try to save men from
themselves, and I acquired the unenviable sobriquet of "crank"; but I
was not dismayed.  From my native friends I turned to the foreign
community in Peking, thinking that the latter would possess better
judgment, appreciate and be converted to the sanitarian doctrine.
Among the foreigners I appealed to, one was a distinguished diplomat,
and the other a gentleman in the Chinese service, with a world-wide
reputation.  Both were elderly and in delicate health, and it was my
earnest hope that by reading Mrs. Henderson's book, which was sent to
them, they would be convinced of their errors and turn over a new
leaf--I was disappointed.  Both, in returning the book, made
substantially the same answer.  "Mrs. Henderson's work is very
interesting, but at my time of life it is not advisable to change
life-long habits.  I eat flesh moderately, and never drink much wine."
They both seemed to overlook the crucial problem as to whether or not
animal food contains hurtful poison.  If it does, it should not be
eaten at all.  We never hear of sensible people taking arsenic,
strychnine, or other poisons, in moderation, but many foolish women, I
believe, take arsenic to pale their complexions, while others, both men
and women, take strychnine in combination with other drugs, as a tonic,
but will anyone argue that these substances are foods?  The rule of
moderation is applicable to things which are nutritious, or at least
harmless, but not to noxious foods, however small the quantity of
poison they may contain.

Pleasant conversation at the dinner table is always enjoyable, and a
good talker is always welcome, but I often wonder why Americans, who
generally are so quick to improve opportunity, and are noted for their
freedom from traditional conventionalisms, do not make a more
systematic use of the general love of good conversation.  Anyone who is
a witty conversationalist, with a large fund of anecdote, is sure to be
asked by every dinner host to help to entertain the guests, but if the
company be large the favorite can be enjoyed by only a few, and those
who are too far away to hear, or who are just near enough to hear a
part but not all, are likely to feel aggrieved.  They cannot hear what
is amusing the rest, while the talk elsewhere prevents their talking as
they would if there were no interruptions.  A raconteur generally
monopolizes half the company, and leaves the other half out in the
cold.  This might be avoided if talkers were engaged to entertain the
whole company during dinner, as pianists are now sometimes engaged to
play to them after dinner.  Or, the entertainment might be varied by
engaging a good professional reciter to reproduce literary gems, comic
or otherwise.  I am sure the result would bring more general
satisfaction to the guests than the present method of leaving them to
entertain themselves.  Chinese employ singing girls; Japanese, geishas
to talk, sing or dance.  The ideal would here again seem to be an
amalgamation of East and West.

It is difficult for a mixed crowd to be always agreeable, even in the
congenial atmosphere of a good feast, unless the guests have been
selected with a view to their opinions rather than to their social
standing.  Place a number of people whose ideas are common, with a
difference, around a well-spread table and there will be no lack of
good, earnest, instructive conversation.  Most men and women can talk
well if they have the right sort of listeners.  If the hearer is
unsympathetic the best talker becomes dumb.  Hosts who remember this
will always be appreciated.

As a rule, a dinner conversation is seldom worth remembering, which is
a pity.  Man, the most sensible of all animals, can talk nonsense
better than all the rest of his tribe.  Perhaps the flow of words may
be as steady as the eastward flow of the Yang-tse-Kiang in my own
country, but the memory only retains a recollection of a vague,
undefined--what?  The conversation like the flavors provided by the
cooks has been evanescent.  Why should not hostesses make as much
effort to stimulate the minds of their guests as they do to gratify
their palates?  What a boon it would be to many a bashful man, sitting
next to a lady with whom he has nothing in common, if some public
entertainer during the dinner relieved him from the necessity of always
thinking of what he should say next?  How much more he could enjoy the
tasty dishes his hostess had provided; and as for the lady--what a
number of suppressed yawns she might have avoided.  To take great pains
and spend large sums to provide nice food for people who cannot enjoy
it because they have to talk to one another, seems a pity.  Let one man
talk to the rest and leave them leisure to eat, is my suggestion.

The opportunities afforded at the dining table may be turned to many
useful purposes.  Of course not all are ill-paired, and many young men
and ladies meet, sit side by side, engage in a friendly, pleasant
conversation, renew their acquaintance at other times, and finally
merge their separate paths in the highway of marriage.  Perhaps China
might borrow a leaf from this custom and substitute dinner parties for
go-betweens.  The dinner-party method, however, has its dangers as well
as its advantages--it depends on the point of view.  Personal
peculiarities and defects, if any, can be easily detected by the way in
which the conversation is carried on, and the manner in which the food
is handled.  It has sometimes happened that the affianced have
cancelled their engagement after a dinner party.  On the other hand,
matters of great import can often be arranged at the dinner table
better than anywhere else.  Commercial transactions involving millions
of dollars have frequently been settled while the parties were sipping
champagne; even international problems, ending in elaborate
negotiations and treaties, have been first discussed with the
afterdinner cigar.  The atmosphere of good friendship and equality,
engendered by a well-furnished room, good cheer, pleasant company, and
a genial hostess, disarms prejudice, removes barriers, melts reserve,
and disposes one to see that there is another side to every question.

In China when people have quarreled their friends generally invite them
to dinner, where the matters in dispute are amicably arranged.  These
are called "peace dinners".  I would recommend that a similar expedient
should be adopted in America; many a knotty point could be disposed of
by a friendly discussion at the dinner table.  If international
disputes were always arranged in this way the representatives of
nations having complaints against each other might more often than now
discover unexpected ways of adjusting their differences.  Why should
such matters invariably be remanded to formal conferences and set
speeches?  The preliminaries, at least, would probably be better
arranged at dinner parties and social functions.  Eating has always
been associated with friendship.  "To eat salt" with an Arab forms a
most binding contract.  Even "the serpent" in the book of Genesis
commenced his acquaintance with Eve by suggesting a meal.

It almost seems as if there were certain unwritten laws in American
society, assigning certain functions to certain days in the week.  I do
not believe Americans are superstitious, but I found that Thursday was
greatly in favor.  I remember on one occasion that Mrs. Grant, widow of
the late President, sent an invitation to my wife and myself to dine at
her house some Thursday evening; this was three weeks in advance, and
we readily accepted her invitation.  After our acceptance, about a
dozen invitations came for that same Thursday, all of which we had, of
course, to decline.  Curiously enough we received no invitations for
any other day during that week, and just before that eventful Thursday
we received a letter from Mrs. Grant cancelling the invitation on
account of the death of one of her relations, so that we had to dine at
home after all.  Now we Chinese make no such distinctions between days.
Every day of the week is equally good; in order however to avoid
clashing with other peoples' engagements, we generally fix Fridays for
our receptions or dinners, but there is not among the Chinese an
entertainment season as there is in Washington, and other great cities,
when everybody in good society is busy attending or giving "At Homes",
tea parties or dinners.  I frequently attended "At Homes" or tea
parties in half-a-dozen places or more in one afternoon, but no one can
dine during the same evening in more than one place.  In this respect
America might learn a lesson from China.  We can accept half-a-dozen
invitations to dinner for one evening; all we have to do is to go to
each place in turn, partake of one or two dishes, excuse ourselves to
the host and then go somewhere else.  By this means we avoid the
seeming rudeness of a declination, and escape the ill feelings which
are frequently created in the West by invitations being refused.  The
Chinese method makes possible the cultivation of democratic friendships
without violating aristocratic instincts, and for candidates at
election times it would prove an agreeable method by which to make new
friends.  We are less rigid than Americans about dropping in and taking
a mouthful or two at dinner, even without a special invitation.[2]

Washington officials and diplomats usually give large entertainments.
The arranging of the seats at the dinner table is a delicate matter, as
the rule of precedence has to be observed, and inattention to the rule,
by placing a wrong seat for a gentleman or lady who is entitled to a
higher place, may be considered as a slight.  It is at such functions
as these that the professional story-teller, the good reciter, the
clever reader, the perfect entertainer would make the natural selfish
reserve of mankind less apparent.

Fashionable people, who entertain a good deal, are, I understand, often
puzzled to know how to provide novelties.  In addition to the
suggestions I have made, may I be pardoned another?  There are many
good cooks in the U.S.A.  Why not commission these to sometimes prepare
a recherche Chinese dinner, with the food served in bowls instead of
plates, and with chop-sticks ("nimble lads" we call them) for show, but
forks and spoons for use.  I see no reason why Chinese meals should not
become fashionable in America, as Western preparations are frequently
favored by the Elite in China.  One marked difference between the two
styles is the manner in which the Chinese purveyor throws his most
delicate flavors into strong relief by prefacing it with a diet which
is insipid, harsh or pungent.  Contrasts add zest to everything human,
be it dining, working, playing, or wooing.

This suggests an occasional, toothsome vegetarian repast as a set-off
to the same round of fish, flesh, fowl and wine fumes.  No people in
the world can prepare such delicious vegetarian banquets as a Chinese
culinary artist.

A banquet is a more formal affair than the dinner parties I have been
discussing.  It is generally gotten up to celebrate some special event,
such as the conclusion of some important business, or the birthday of
some national hero like Washington, Lincoln, or Grant; or the Chambers
of Commerce and Associations of different trades in the important
cities of America will hold their annual meetings to hear a report and
discuss the businesses transacted during the year, winding up by
holding a large banquet.

The food supplied on these occasions is by no means superior to that
given at private dinners, yet everybody is glad to be invited.  It is
the inevitable rule that speeches follow the eating, and people attend,
not for the sake of the food, but for the privilege of hearing others
talk.  Indeed, except for the opportunity of talking, or hearing others
talk, people would probably prefer a quiet meal at home.  Speakers with
a reputation, orators, statesmen, or foreign diplomats are frequently
invited, and sometimes eminent men from other countries are the guests
of honor.  These functions occur every year, and the Foreign Ministers
with whose countries the Associations have commercial relations are
generally present.

The topics discussed are nearly always the same, and it is not easy to
speak at one of these gatherings without going over the same ground as
that covered on previous occasions.  I remember that a colleague of
mine who was a clever diplomat, and for whom I had great respect, once
when asked to make an after-dinner speech, reluctantly rose and, as far
as I can remember, spoke to the following effect: "Mr. Chairman and
gentlemen, I thank your Association for inviting me to this splendid
banquet, but as I had the honor of speaking at your banquet last year I
have nothing more to add, and I refer you to that speech;" he then sat
down.  The novelty of his remarks, of course, won him applause, but I
should like to know what the company really thought of him.  For my
part, I praised his wisdom, for he diplomatically rebuked all whose
only interest is that which has its birth with the day and disappears
with the night.

Banquets and dinners in America, as in China, are, however, often far
removed from frivolities.  Statesmen sometimes select these
opportunities for a pronouncement of their policy, even the President
of the nation may occasionally think it advisable to do this.  Speeches
delivered on such occasions are generally reported in all the
newspapers, and, of course, discussed by all sorts of people, the wise
and the otherwise, so that the speaker has to be very careful as to
what he says.  Our President confines himself to the more formal
procedure of issuing an official mandate, the same in kind, though
differing in expression, as an American President's Inaugural Address,
or one of his Messages to Congress.

Commercial men do not understand and are impatient with the
restrictions which hedge round a Foreign Minister, and in their anxiety
to get speakers they will look anywhere.  On one occasion I received an
invitation to go to Canada to attend a banquet at a Commercial Club in
one of the principal Canadian cities.  It would have given me great
pleasure to be able to comply with this request, as I had not then
visited that country, but, contrary to inclination, I had to decline.
I was accredited as Minister to Washington, and did not feel at liberty
to visit another country without the special permission of my Home
Government.

Public speaking, like any other art, has to be cultivated.  However
scholarly a man may be, and however clever he may be in private
conversation, when called upon to speak in public he may sometimes make
a very poor impression.  I have known highly placed foreign officials,
with deserved reputations for wisdom and ability, who were shockingly
poor speakers at banquets.  They would hesitate and almost stammer, and
would prove quite incapable of expressing their thoughts in any
sensible or intelligent manner.  In this respect, personal observations
have convinced me that Americans, as a rule, are better speakers
than....  (I will not mention the nationality in my mind, it might give
offense.)  An American, who, without previous notice, is called upon to
speak, generally acquits himself creditably.  He is nearly always
witty, appreciative, and frank.  This is due, I believe, to the
thorough-going nature of his education:  he is taught to be
self-confident, to believe in his own ability to create, to express his
opinions without fear.  A diffident and retiring man, whose chief
characteristic is extreme modesty, is not likely to be a good speaker;
but Americans are free from this weakness.  Far be it from me to
suggest that there are no good speakers in other countries.  America
can by no means claim a monopoly of orators; there are many elsewhere
whose sage sayings and forcible logic are appreciated by all who hear
or read them; but, on the whole, Americans excel others in the
readiness of their wit, and their power to make a good extempore speech
on any subject, without opportunity for preparation.

Neither is the fair sex in America behind the men in this matter.  I
have heard some most excellent speeches by women, speeches which would
do credit to an orator; but they labor under a disadvantage.  The
female voice is soft and low, it is not easily heard in a large room,
and consequently the audience sometimes does not appreciate lady
speakers to the extent that they deserve.  However, I know a lady who
possesses a powerful, masculine voice, and who is a very popular
speaker, but she is an exception.  Anyhow I believe the worst speaker,
male or female, could improve by practising private declamation, and
awakening to the importance of articulation, modulation, and--the pause.

Another class of social functions are "At Homes", tea parties, and
receptions.  The number of guests invited to these is almost unlimited,
it may be one or two dozen, or one or two dozen hundreds.  The purpose
of these is usually to meet some distinguished stranger, some guest in
the house, or the newly married daughter of the hostess.  It is
impossible for the host or hostess to remember all those who attend, or
even all who have been invited to attend; generally visitors leave
their cards, although many do not even observe this rule, but walk
right in as if they owned the house.  When a newcomer is introduced his
name is scarcely audible, and before the hostess, or the distinguished
guest, has exchanged more than one or two words with him, another
stranger comes along, so that it is quite excusable if the next time
the hosts meet these people they do not recognize them.  In China a new
fashion is now in vogue; new acquaintances exchange cards.  If this
custom should be adopted in America there would be less complaints
about new friends receiving the cold shoulder from those who they
thought should have known them.

In large receptions, such as those mentioned above, however spacious
the reception hall, in a great many instances there is not even
standing room for all who attend.  It requires but little imagination
to understand the condition of the atmosphere when there is no proper
ventilation.  Now, what always astonished me was, that although the
parlor might be crowded with ladies and gentlemen, all the windows
were, as a rule, kept closed, with the result that the place was full
of vitiated air.  Frequently after a short time I have had to slip away
when I would willingly have remained longer to enjoy the charming
company.  If I had done so, however, I should have taken into my lungs
a large amount of the obnoxious atmosphere exhaled from hundreds of
other persons in the room, to the injury of my health, and no one can
give his fellows his best unless his health is hearty.  No wonder we
often hear of a host or hostess being unwell after a big function.
Their feelings on the morning after are often the reverse of "good-will
to men", and the cause is not a lowered moral heartiness but a weakened
physical body through breathing too much air exhaled from other
people's lungs.  When man understands, he will make "good health" a
religious duty.

In connection with this I quote Dr. J. H. Kellogg, the eminent
physician and Superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.  In his
book, "The Living Temple"[3], the doctor speaks as follows on the
importance of breathing pure air:  "The purpose of breathing is to
obtain from the air a supply of oxygen, which the blood takes up and
carries to the tissues.  Oxygen is one of the most essential of all the
materials required for the support of life....  The amount of oxygen
necessarily required for this purpose is about one and one-fourth cubic
inches for each breath....  In place of the one and one-fourth cubic
inches of oxygen taken into the blood, a cubic inch of carbonic acid
gas is given off, and along with it are thrown off various other still
more poisonous substances which find a natural exit through the lungs.
The amount of these combined poisons thrown off with a single breath is
sufficient to contaminate, and render unfit to breathe, three cubic
feet, or three-fourths of a barrel, of air.  Counting an average of
twenty breaths a minute for children and adults, the amount of air
contaminated per minute would be three times twenty or sixty cubic
feet, or one cubic foot a second....  Every one should become
intelligent in relation to the matter of ventilation, and should
appreciate its importance.  Vast and irreparable injury frequently
results from the confinement of several scores or hundreds of people in
a schoolroom, church, or lecture room, without adequate means of
removing the impurities thrown off from their lungs and bodies.  The
same air being breathed over and over becomes densely charged with
poisons, which render the blood impure, lessen the bodily resistance,
and induce susceptibility to taking cold, and to infection with the
germs of pneumonia, consumption, and other infectious diseases, which
are always present in a very crowded audience room.  Suppose, for
example, a thousand persons are seated in a room forty feet in width,
sixty in length, and fifteen in height:  how long a time would elapse
before the air of such a room would become unfit for further
respiration?  Remembering that each person spoils one foot of air every
second, it is clear that one thousand cubic feet of air will be
contaminated for every second that the room is occupied.  To ascertain
the number of seconds which would elapse before the entire air
contained in the room will be contaminated, so that it is unfit for
further breathing, we have only to divide the cubic contents of the
room by one thousand.  Multiplying, we have 60*40*15 equals 36,000, the
number of cubic feet.  This, divided by one thousand, gives thirty-six
as the number of seconds.  Thus it appears that with closed doors and
windows, breath poisoning of the audience would begin at the end of
thirty-six seconds, or less than one minute.  The condition of the air
in such a room at the end of an hour cannot be adequately pictured in
words, and yet hundreds of audiences are daily subjected to just such
inhumane treatment through ignorance."

The above remarks apply not only to churches, lecture rooms, and other
public places, but also with equal force to offices and family houses.
I should like to know how many persons pay even a little attention to
this important subject of pure air breathing?  You go to an office,
whether large or small, and you find all the windows closed, although
there are half-a-dozen or more persons working in the room.  No wonder
that managers, clerks, and other office workers often break down and
require a holiday to recuperate their impaired health at the seaside,
or elsewhere.

When you call at a private residence you will find the same thing, all
the windows closed.  It is true that there are not so many persons in
the room as in an office, but if your sense of smell is keen you will
notice that the air has close, stuffy exhalations, which surely cannot
be sanitary.  If you venture to suggest that one of the windows be
opened the lady of the house will at once tell you that you will be in
a draught and catch cold.

It is a matter of daily occurrence to find a number of persons dining
in a room where there is no opening for the contaminated air to leak
out, or for the fresh air to come in.  After dinner the gentlemen
adjourn to the library to enjoy the sweet perfumes of smoking for an
hour or so with closed windows.  What a picture would be presented if
the bacteria in the air could be sketched, enlarged, and thrown on a
screen, or better still shown in a cinematograph, but apparently
gentlemen do not mind anything so long as they can inhale the
pernicious tobacco fumes.

It is a common practice, I fear, to keep the windows of the bedroom
closed, except in hot weather.  I have often suggested to friends that,
for the sake of their health, they should at least keep one of the
windows, if not more, open during the night, but they have pooh-poohed
the idea on account of that bugaboo--a draught.  It is one of the
mysteries of the age that people should be willing to breathe
second-hand air when there is so much pure, fresh air out of doors to
be had for nothing; after inhaling and exhaling the same air over and
over again all through the night it is not strange that they rise in
the morning languid and dull instead of being refreshed and in high
spirits.  No one who is deprived of a sufficiency of fresh air can long
remain efficient.  Health is the cornerstone of success.  I hear many
nowadays talking of Eugenics.  Eugenics was founded ten years ago by
Sir Francis Galton, who defined it thus:  "The study of agencies under
control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future
generations, either physically or mentally."  The University of London
has adopted this definition, where a chair of Eugenics has been
founded.  This science is undoubtedly of the first importance, but what
advantage is good birth if afterward life is poisoned with foul air?  A
dust-laden atmosphere is a germ-laden atmosphere, therefore physicians
prescribe for tubercular convalescents conditions in which the air is
90% free from dust.  However, the air of the city has been
scientifically proven to be as pure as the air of the country.  All
that is necessary to secure proper lung food is plenty of it,--houses
so constructed that the air inside shall be free to go out and the air
outside to come in.  Air in a closed cage must be mischievous, and what
are ill-ventilated rooms but vicious air cages, in which mischiefs of
all sorts breed?

America professes to believe in publicity, and what is "publicity" but
the open window and the open door?  Practise this philosophy and it
will be easy to keep on the sunny side of the street and to discourage
the glooms.  The joys fly in at open windows.


[1] I have never been a smoker and have always eschewed tobacco,
cigarettes, etc.; though for a short while to oblige friends I
occasionally accepted a cigarette, now I firmly refuse everything of
the sort.

[2] Since writing the above, I have heard from an American lady that
"progressive dinners" have recently been introduced by the idle and
rich set of young people in New York.  The modus operandi is that
several dinners will, by arrangement, be given on a certain day, and
the guests will go to each house alternately, eating one or two dishes
only and remaining at the last house for fruit.  I can hardly believe
this, but my friend assures me it is a fact.  It seems that eating is
turned into play, and to appreciate the fun, I would like to be one of
the actors.

[3] "The Living Temple", by J. H. Kellogg, pp. 282 et al.  Published by
Good Health Publishing Co., Battle Creek, Mich., U.S.A.



Chapter 14.  Theaters

The ideal of China is sincerity but an actor is a pretender.  He
appears to be what he is not.  Now our ancient wise men felt that
pretense of any sort must have a dangerous reactionary influence on the
character.  If a man learns how to be a clever actor on the stage he
may be a skilled deceiver in other walks of life.  Moreover, no one to
whom sincerity is as the gums are to the teeth, would wish to acquire
the art of acting as though he were some one else.  Hence actors in
China have from ancient times been looked down upon.  Actresses, until
the last decade or so, were unknown in China, and a boy who became an
actor could never afterward occupy any position of honor.  He, his
children and his grandchildren might be farmers, merchants or soldiers,
but they could never be teachers, literary men or officials.  The
Chinese feeling for sincerity, amounting almost to worship, has caused
the profession of an actor in China to be considered a very low one,
and so until the new regime the actor was always debarred from
attending any literary examination, and was also deprived of the
privilege of obtaining official appointment; in fact he was considered
an outcast of society.  No respectable Chinese family would think of
allowing their son to go on the stage.  As a natural consequent the
members of the Chinese stage have, as a rule, been men who were as much
below the level of moral respectability as conventionalism had already
adjudged them to be below the level of social respectability.  Regard
anyone as a mirror with a cracked face and he will soon justify your
opinion of him.  If the morals of Chinese actors will not bear
investigation it is probably due to the social ostracism to which they
have always been subjected.  The same phenomenon may be seen in
connection with Buddhism.  As soon as Buddhism in China ceased to be a
power the priests became a despised class and being despised they have
often given occasion to others to despise them.

I am aware that quite a different view is held of the stage in America
and Europe, and that actors and actresses are placed on an equal
footing with other members of society.  This does not, of course, mean
that either America or Europe lays less stress on sincerity than China,
but simply that we have developed in different ways.  I have heard of
the old "morality plays", I know that English drama, like the Egyptian,
Greek, and Indian, had its origin in religion, but this alone will not
explain the different attitude assumed toward actors in the West from
that taken up in China.[1]  I am inclined to think that the reason why
actors are not despised in the West as they are in China is because the
West considers first the utility of pleasure, and the East the
supremacy of sincerity.  Here, as is so frequently the case, apparent
differences are largely differences of emphasis.  The West would seem
to emphasize the beauty of the desire to please where Chinese consider
the effect on character or business.  The expensive dinners which no
one eats and which I discussed in a previous chapter are an
illustration.  No one in China would spend money in this fashion
excepting for some definite purpose.

We Chinese like to flatter, and to openly praise to their faces those
whom we admire.  Most Westerners, would, I think, please rather than
admire; most men and women in America and Europe enjoy applause more
than instruction.  This recognition of the delicate pleasure of being
able to please some one else naturally attracts quite a different type
to the Western stage from the material usually found in Chinese
dramatic companies, and in a society where everyone acknowledges the
beauty of pleasing another, the position of the actor naturally becomes
both envied and desirable.  When therefore a man or woman succeeds on
the European or American stage he or she is looked up to and welcomed
in fashionable society, e.g., Henry Irving had the entree to the
highest society, and his portrait was always found among the notables.
Newspapers published long notices of his stage performances, and when
he died he received as great honors as England could give.  During his
lifetime he enjoyed the royal favor of Queen Victoria, who conferred a
knighthood upon him.  After his death his biography was published and
read by thousands.  All this is quite contrary to the spirit of the
Chinese who, no matter how clever a man may be as an actor, can never
forget that he is a pretender and that the cleverer he is the greater
care exists for guarding one's self against his tricks.

Actresses are no less respected and honored in the West, whereas in
China there are positively no respectable women on the stage.  Yet in
the West it is a common occurrence to hear of marriages of actresses to
bankers, merchants, and millionaires.  Even ballet-girls have become
duchesses by marriage.  The stage is considered a noble profession.
Often, when a girl has a good voice, nothing will satisfy her but a
stage career.  A situation such as this is very difficult for a Chinese
to analyze.  The average Chinese woman lacks the imagination, the
self-abandon, the courage which must be necessary before a girl can
think of herself as standing alone in a bright light before a large
audience waiting to see her dance or hear her sing.  Chinese actresses
were quite unknown until very recently, and the few that may be now
found on the Chinese stage were nearly all of questionable character
before they entered the theater.  In the northern part of China some
good Chinese women may be found in circuses, but these belong to the
working class and take up the circus life with their husbands and
brothers for a livelihood.

The actresses of the West are different.  They are drawn to the stage
for the sake of art; and it must be their splendid daring as much as
their beauty which induces wealthy men, and even some of the nobility,
to marry these women.  Man loves courage and respects all who are brave
enough to fight for their own.  In a world where self-love (not
selfishness) is highly esteemed, manhood, or the power of
self-assertion, whether in man or woman, naturally becomes a
fascinating virtue.  No one likes to be colleague to a coward.  The
millionaires and others who have married actresses--and as actresses
make plenty of money they are not likely to be willing to marry poor
men--meet many women in society as beautiful as the women they see on
the stage, but society women lack the supreme courage and daring of the
stage girl.  Thus, very often the pretty, though less educated,
ballet-girl, wins the man whom her more refined and less self-assertive
sister--the ordinary society girl--is sorry to lose.

The suffragettes are too intent just now on getting "Votes for Women"
to listen to proposals of marriage, but when they succeed in obtaining
universal suffrage I should think they would have little difficulty in
obtaining brave husbands, for the suffragettes have courage.  These
women, however, are serious, and I do not think that men in the West,
judging from what I have seen, like very serious wives.  So perhaps
after all the ballet-girl and actresses will have more chances in the
marriage (I had almost written money) market than the suffragettes.

I may be mistaken in my theories.  I have never had the opportunity of
discussing the matter with a millionaire or an actress, nor have I
talked about the stage with any of the ladies who make it their home,
but unless it is their superb independence and their ability to throw
off care and to act their part which attract men who are looking for
wives, I cannot account for so many actresses marrying so well.

What, however, we may ask, is the object of the theater?  Is it not
amusement?  But when a serious play ending tragically is put on the
boards is that amusement?  The feelings of the audience after
witnessing such a play must be far from pleasant, and sometimes even
moody; yet tragedies are popular, and many will pay a high price to see
a well-known actor commit most objectionable imitation-crimes on the
stage.  A few weeks before this chapter was written a number of men of
different nationalities were punished for being present at a cockfight
in Shanghai.  Mexican and Spanish bullfights would not be permitted in
the United States, and yet it is a question whether the birds or the
animals who take part in these fights really suffer very much.  They
are in a state of ferocious exaltation, and are more concerned about
killing their opponents than about their own hurts.  Soldiers have been
seriously wounded without knowing anything about it until the
excitement of the battle had died away.  Why then forbid cockfighting
or bull-baiting?  They would be popular amusements if allowed.  It is
certain that animals that are driven long distances along dirty roads,
cattle, sheep, and fowl that are cooped up for many weary hours in
railway trucks, simply that they may reach a distant market and be
slaughtered to gratify perverted human appetites, really suffer more
than the cock or bull who may be killed or wounded in a fight with
others of his own kind.  What about the sufferings of pugilists who
take part in the prize-fights, in which so many thousands in the United
States delight?  It cannot be pity, therefore, for the birds or beasts,
which makes the authorities forbid cockfighting and bull-baiting.  It
must be that although these are exhibitions of courage and skill, the
exhibition is degrading to the spectators and to those who urge the
creatures to fight.  But what is the difference, so far as the
spectator is concerned, between watching a combat between animals or
birds and following a vivid dramatization of cruelty on the stage?  In
the latter case the mental sufferings which are portrayed are
frequently more harrowing than the details of any bull- or cockfight.
Such representation, therefore, unless a very clear moral lesson or
warning is emblazoned throughout the play, must have the effect of
making actors, actresses and spectators less sympathetic with
suffering.  Familiarity breeds insensibility.  What I have said of
melodrama applies also, though in a lesser degree, to books, and should
be a warning to parents to exercise proper supervision of their
children's reading.

Far be it from me to disparage the work of the playwright; the plot is
often well laid and the actors, especially the prima-donna, execute
their parts admirably.  I am considering the matter, at the moment,
from the view-point of a play-goer.  What benefit does he receive from
witnessing a tragedy?  In his home and his office has he not enough to
engage his serious attention, and to frequently worry his mind?  Is it
worth his while to dress and spend an evening watching a performance
which, however skilfully played, will make him no happier than before?
It is a characteristic of those who are fond of sensational plays that
they do not mind watching the tragical ending of a hero or a heroine,
and all for the sake of amusement.  Young people and children are not
likely to get good impressions from this sort of thing.  It has even
been said that murders have been committed by youngsters who had been
taken by their parents to see a realistic melodrama.  It is dangerous
to allow young people of tender age to see such plays.  The juvenile
mind is not ripe enough to form correct judgments.  Some time ago I
read in one of the American papers that a boy had killed his father
with a knife, on seeing him ill-treat his mother when in a state of
intoxication.  It appeared that the lad had witnessed a dramatic
tragedy in a theater, and in killing his father considered he was doing
a heroic act.  He could, by the same rule, have been inspired to a
noble act of self-sacrifice.

After all, the main question is, does a sensational play exercise a
beneficial or a pernicious influence over the audience?  If the reader
will consider the matter impartially he should not have any difficulty
in coming to a right conclusion.

Theatrical performances should afford amusement and excite mirth, as
well as give instruction.  People who visit theaters desire to be
entertained and to pass the time pleasantly.  Anything which excites
mirth and laughter is always welcomed by an audience.  But a serious
piece from which humor has been excluded, is calculated, even when
played with sympathetic feeling and skill, to create a sense of gravity
among the spectators, which, to say the least, can hardly be restful to
jaded nerves.  Yet when composing his plays the playwright should never
lose sight of the moral.  Of course he has to pay attention to the
arrangement of the different parts of the plot and the characters
represented, but while it is important that each act and every scene
should be harmoniously and properly set, and that the characters should
be adapted to the piece as a whole, it is none the less important that
a moral should be enforced by it.  The practical lesson to be learned
from the play should never be lost sight of.  In Chinese plays the
moral is always prominent.  The villain is punished, virtue is
rewarded, while the majority of the plays are historical.  All
healthy-minded people will desire to see a play end with virtue
rewarded, and vice vanquished.  Those who want it otherwise are
unnatural and possess short views of life.  Either in this life or in
some other, each receives according to his deserts, and this lesson
should always be taught by the play.  Yet from all the clever dramas
which have been written and acted on the Western stage from time to
time what a very small percentage of moral lessons can be drawn, while
too many of them have unfortunately been of an objectionable nature.
Nearly everyone reads novels, especially the younger folk; to many of
these a visit to a theater is like reading a novel, excepting that the
performance makes everything more realistic.  A piece with a good moral
cannot therefore fail to make an excellent impression on the audience
while at the same time affording them amusement.

I am somewhat surprised that the churches, ethical societies and reform
associations in America do not more clearly appreciate the valuable aid
they might receive from the stage.  I have been told that some churches
pay their singers more than their preachers, which shows that they have
some idea of the value of good art.  Why not go a step further and
preach through a play?  This does not mean that there should be no fun
but that the moral should be well thrust home.  I have heard of
preachers who make jokes while preaching, so that it should not be so
very difficult to act interesting sermons which would elevate, even if
they did not amuse.  People who went to church to see a theater would
not expect the same entertainment as those who go to the theater simply
for a laugh.

In China we do not expend as much energy as Americans and Europeans in
trying to make other people good.  We try to be good ourselves and
believe that our good example, like a pure fragrance, will influence
others to be likewise.  We think practice is as good as precept, and,
if I may say so without being supposed to be critical of a race
different from my own, the thought has sometimes suggested itself to me
that Americans are so intent on doing good to others, and on making
others good, that they accomplish less than they would if their actions
and intentions were less direct and obvious.  I cannot here explain all
I mean, but if my readers will study what Li Yu and Chuang Tsz have to
say about "Spontaneity" and "Not Interfering", I think they will
understand my thought.  The theater, as I have already said, was in
several countries religious in its origin; why not use it to elevate
people indirectly?  The ultimate effect, because more natural, might be
better and truer than more direct persuasion.  Pulpit appeals, I am
given to understand, are sometimes very personal.

Since writing the above I have seen a newspaper notice of a dramatic
performance in the Ethical Church, Queen's Road, Bayswater, London.
The Ethical Church believes "in everything that makes life sweet and
human" and the management state that they believe--"the best trend of
dramatic opinion to-day points not only to the transformation of
theaters into centers of social enlightenment and moral elevation, but
also to the transformation of the churches into centers for the
imaginative presentation, by means of all the arts combined, of the
deeper truths and meanings of life."  Personally, I do not know
anything about this society, but surely there is nothing out of harmony
with Christianity in these professions, and I am glad to find here an
alliance between the two greatest factors in the development of Western
thought and culture--the church and the theater.  The newspaper article
to which I have referred was describing the "old morality play,
Everyman" which had been performed in the church.  The visitor who was
somewhat critical, and apparently unused to seeing the theater in a
church, wrote of the performance thus: "Both the music and the dressing
of the play were perfect, and from the moment that Death entered clad
in blue stuff with immense blue wings upon his shoulders, and the trump
in his hand, and stopped Everyman, a gorgeous figure in crimson robes
and jewelled turban, with the question, 'Who goes so gaily by?' the
play was performed with an impressiveness that never faltered.

"The heaviest burden, of course, falls on Everyman, and the artist who
played this part seemed to me, though I am no dramatic critic, to have
caught the atmosphere and the spirit of the play.  His performance,
indeed, was very wonderful from the moment when he offers Death a
thousand boons if only the dread summons may be delayed, to that final
tense scene, when, stripped of his outer robe, he says his closing
prayers, hesitates for a moment to turn back, though the dread angel is
there by his side, and then follows the beckoning hand of Good Deeds, a
figure splendidly robed in flowing draperies of crimson and with a
wonderfully expressive mobile face.

"At the conclusion of the play Dr. Stanton Colt addressed a few words
to the enthusiastic audience, 'Forsake thy pride, for it will profit
thee nothing,' he quoted, 'If we could but remember this more carefully
and also the fact that nothing save our good deeds shall ever go with
us into that other World, surely it would help us to a holier and
better life.  Earthly things have their place and should have a due
regard paid to them, but we must not forget the jewel of our souls.'"

I have, of course, heard of the "Passion Play" at Oberammergau in
Germany where the life of Jesus Christ is periodically represented on
the stage, but I say nothing about this, for, so far as I know, it is
not performed in America, and I have not seen it; but I may note in
passing that in China theaters are generally associated with the gods
in the temples, and that the moral the play is meant to teach is always
well driven home into the minds of the audience.  We have not, however,
ventured to introduce any of our sages to theater audiences.

The theater in China is a much simpler affair than in America.  The
residents in a locality unite and erect a large stage of bamboo and
matting, the bamboo poles are tied with strips of rattan, and all the
material of the stage, excepting the rattan, can be used over again
when it is taken down.  Most of the audience stand in front of the
stage and in the open air, the theater generally being in front of the
temple; and the play, which often occupies three or four days, is often
performed in honor of the god's birthday.  There is no curtain, and
there are no stage accessories.  The audience is thus enabled to
concentrate its whole attention on the acting.  Female parts are played
by men, and everything is beautifully simple.  There is no attempt to
produce such elaborate effects as I have seen in the West, and of
course nothing at all resembling the pantomime, which frequently
requires mechanical arts.  A newspaper paragraph caught my eye while
thinking of this subject.  I reproduce it.

"The Century Theater in New York City has special apparatus for
producing wind effects, thunder and lightning simultaneously.  The wind
machine consists of a drum with slats which are rotated over an apron
of corded silk, which produces the whistling sound of wind; the
lightning is produced by powdered magnesium electrically ignited;
thunder is simulated by rolling a thousand pounds of stone, junk and
chain down a chute ending in an iron plate, followed by half-a-dozen
cannon balls and supplemented by the deafening notes of a thunder drum."

Although, however, Chinese play-goers do not demand the expensive
outfits and stage sceneries of the West, I must note here that not even
on the American stage have I seen such gorgeous costumes, or robes of
so rich a hue and displaying such glittering gold ornaments and
graceful feathers, as I have seen on the simple Chinese stage I have
just described.  Western fashions are having a tendency in our ports
and larger cities to modify some things that I have stated about
Chinese theatrical performances, but the point I wish especially to
impress on my readers is that theatrical performances in China, while
amusing and interesting, are seldom melodramatic, and as I look back on
my experiences in the United States, I cannot but think that the good
people there are making a mistake in not utilizing the human natural
love for excitement and the drama as a subsidiary moral investment.
And, of course, all I have said of theaters applies with equal force to
moving-picture shows.



Chapter 15.  Opera and Musical Entertainments

Opera is a form of entertainment which, though very popular in America
and England, does not appeal to me.  I know that those who are fond of
music love to attend it, and that the boxes in an opera house are
generally engaged by the fashionable set for the whole season
beforehand.  I have seen members of the "four hundred" in their boxes
in a New York opera house; they have been distinguished by their
magnificent toilettes and brilliant jewelry; but I have been thinking
of the Chinese drama, which, like the old Greek play, is also based on
music, and Chinese music with its soft and plaintive airs is a very
different thing from the music of grand opera.  Chinese music could not
be represented on Western instruments, the intervals between the notes
being different.  Chinese singing is generally "recitative" accompanied
by long notes, broken, or sudden chords from the orchestra.  It differs
widely from Western music, but its effects are wonderful.  One of our
writers has thus described music he once heard:  "Softly, as the murmur
of whispered words; now loud and soft together, like the patter of
pearls and pearlets dropping upon a marble dish.  Or liquid, like the
warbling of the mango-bird in the bush; trickling like the streamlet on
its downward course.  And then like the torrent, stilled by the grip of
frost, so for a moment was the music lulled, in a passion too deep for
words." That this famous description of the effects of music which I
have borrowed from Mr. Dyer Ball's "Things Chinese" is not exaggerated,
anyone who knows China may confirm by personal observation of the keen
enjoyment an unlearned, common day laborer will find in playing a
single lute all by himself for hours beneath the moon on a warm summer
evening, with no one listening but the trees and the flitting insects;
but it requires a practised ear to appreciate singing and a good voice.
On one occasion I went to an opera house in London to hear the
world-renowned Madame Patti.  The place was so crowded, and the
atmosphere so close, that I felt very uncomfortable and I am ashamed to
acknowledge that I had to leave before she had finished.  If I had been
educated to appreciate that sort of music no doubt I would have
comprehended her singing better, and, however uncomfortable, I should
no doubt have remained to the end of the entertainment.

While writing this chapter it happened that the following news from New
York was published in the local papers in Shanghai.  It should be
interesting to my readers, especially to those who are lovers of music.

"'Yellow music' will be the next novelty to startle and lure this blase
town; amusement forecasters already see in the offing a Fall invasion
of the mysterious Chinese airs which are now having such a vogue in
London under the general term of 'yellow music'.

"The time was when Americans and occidentals in general laughed at
Chinese music, but this was due to their own ignorance of its full
import and to the fact that they heard only the dirges of a Chinese
funeral procession or the brassy noises that feature a celestial
festival.  They did not have opportunity to be enthralled by the
throaty, vibrant melodies--at once so lovingly seductive and harshly
compelling--by which Chinese poets and lovers have revealed their
thoughts and won their quest for centuries.  The stirring tom-tom, if
not the ragtime which sets the occidental capering to-day, was common
to the Chinese three or four hundred years ago.  They heard it from the
wild Tartars and Mongols--heard it and rejected it, because it was
primitive, untamed, and not to be compared with their own carefully
controlled melodies.  Mr. Emerson Whithorne, the famous British
composer, who is an authority on oriental music, made this statement to
the London music lovers last week:

"'The popularity of Chinese music is still in its childhood.  From now
on it will grow rapidly.  Chinese music has no literature, as we
understand that term, but none can say that it has not most captivating
melodies.  To the artistic temperament, in particular, it appeals
enormously, and well-known artists--musicians, painters, and so on--say
that it affects them in quite an extraordinary way.'"

Chinese music from an occidental standpoint has been unjustly described
as "clashing cymbals, twanging guitars, harsh flageolets, and shrill
flutes, ear-splitting and headache-producing to the foreigner." Such
general condemnation shows deplorable ignorance.[2] The writer had
apparently never attended an official service in honor of Confucius,
held biennially during the whole of the Ching dynasty at 3 A.M.  The
"stone chimes", consisting of sonorous stones varying in tone and
hanging in frames, which were played on those solemn occasions, have a
haunting melody such as can be heard nowhere else.  China, I believe,
is the only country that has produced music from stones.  It is
naturally gratifying to me to hear that Chinese airs are now having a
vogue in London, and that they will soon be heard in New York.  It will
take some little time for Westerners to learn to listen intelligently
to our melodies which, being always in unison, in one key and in one
movement, are apt at first to sound as wearisome and monotonous as
Madame Patti's complicated notes did to me, but when they understand
them they will have found a new delight in life.

Although we Chinese do not divide our plays into comedies and tragedies
there is frequently a good deal of humor on the Chinese stage; yet we
have nothing in China corresponding to the popular musical comedy of
the West.  A musical comedy is really a series of vaudeville
performances strung together by the feeblest of plots.  The essence
seems to be catchy songs, pretty dances, and comic dialogue.  The plot
is apparently immaterial, its only excuse for existence being to give a
certain order of sequence to the aforesaid songs, dances, and
dialogues.  That, indeed, is the only object for the playwright's
introducing any plot at all, hence he does not much care whether it is
logical or even within the bounds of probability.  The play-goers, I
think, care even less.  They go to hear the songs, see the dances,
laugh at the dialogues, and indulge in frivolous frivolities; what do
they want with a plot, much less a moral?  Chinese vaudeville takes the
form of clever tumbling tricks which I think are much preferable to the
sensuous, curious, and self-revealing dances one sees in the West.

Although musical comedy, or, more properly speaking, musical farce, is
becoming more and more popular in both Europe and America it is also
becoming proportionately more farcical; although in many theaters it is
staged as often as the more serious drama, in some having exclusive
dominion; and although theater managers find that these plays draw
bigger crowds and fill their houses better than any other, in the large
cities running for over a year, I cannot help regarding this feature of
theatrical life as so much theatrical chaos.  It lacks culture, and is
sometimes both bizarre and neurotic.  I do not object to patter, smart
give and take, in which the comical angles of life are exposed, if it
is brilliant; neither have I anything to say against light comedy in
which the ridiculous side of things is portrayed.  This sort of
entertainment may help men who have spent a busy day, crowded with
anxious moments, and weighted with serious responsibilities, but
exhibitions which make men on their way home talk not of art, or of
music, or of wit, but of "the little girl who wore a little black net"
are distinctly to be condemned.  Even the class who think it waste of
time to think, and who go to the theater only to "laugh awfully", are
not helped by this sort of entertainment.  Such songs as the following,
which I have culled from the 'Play Pictorial', a monthly published in
London, must in time pall the taste of even the shallow-minded.

    "Can't you spare a glance?
    Have we got a chance?
    You've got a knowing pair of eyes;
    When it's 2 to 1
    It isn't much fun,"
    This is what she soon replies:

    "Oh, won't you buy a race-card,
    And take a tip from me?
    If you want to find a winner,
    It's easy as can be
    When the Cupid stakes are starting,
    Your heads are all awhirl,
    And my tip to-day
    Is a bit each way
    On the race-card girl."

Yet this, apparently, is the sort of thing which appeals to the modern
American who wants amusement of the lightest kind, amusement which
appeals to the eye and ear with the lightest possible tax on his
already over-burdened brain.  He certainly cannot complain that his
wishes have not been faithfully fulfilled.  It may be due to my
ignorance of English, but the song I have just quoted seems to me
silly, and I do not think any "ragtime music" could make it worth
singing.  Of course many songs and plays in the music halls are such as
afford innocent mirth, but it has to be confessed that there are other
things of a different type which it is not wise for respectable
families to take the young to see.  I would not like to say all I think
of this feature of Western civilization, but I may quote an Englishman
without giving offense.  Writing in the 'Metropolitan Magazine', Louis
Sherwin says:  "There is not a doubt that the so-called 'high-brow
dancer' has had a lot to do with the bare-legged epidemic that rages
upon the comic-opera stage to-day.  Nothing could be further removed
from musical comedy than the art of such women as Isadora Duncan and
Maude Allen.  To inform Miss Duncan that she has been the means of
making nudity popular in musical farce would beyond question incur the
lady's very reasonable wrath.  But it is none the less true.  When the
bare-legged classic dancer made her appearance in opera houses, and on
concert platforms with symphony orchestras, it was the cue for every
chorus girl with an ambition to undress in public.  First of all we had
a plague of Salomes.  Then the musical comedy producers, following
their usual custom of religiously avoiding anything original, began to
send the pony ballets and soubrettes on the stages without their
hosiery and with their knees clad in nothing but a coat of whitewash
(sometimes they even forgot to put on the whitewash, and then the sight
was horrible).  The human form divine, with few exceptions, is a
devilish spectacle unless it is properly made up.  Some twenty years
from now managers will discover what audiences found out months ago,
that a chorus girl's bare leg is infinitely less beautiful than the
same leg when duly disguised by petticoats and things."


[1] In his discussion of actors, Wu Tingfang does not seem to be aware
that the idealization of actors in the West is comparatively recent,
and that historically, and even now in some parts of society, actors
and the acting profession have been looked down upon in the West for
many of the same reasons he gives for the same phenomenon in China.--A.
R. L., 1996.

[2] Wu Tingfang is quite correct to deplore this statement as a
description of Chinese music.  However, in all fairness, it is an
accurate description of how a Western ear first hears CERTAIN types of
Chinese music.  After successive hearings this impression will fly
away, but until then CERTAIN types are reminiscent of two alley-cats
fighting in a garbage can.  This is not meant as a degrading comment,
any more so than Wu Tingfang's comments on opera.  Some music is an
acquired taste, and after acquirement, its beauty becomes not only
recognizable but inescapable.  Certain other types of Chinese music can
easily be appreciated on the first hearing.--A. R. L., 1996.



Chapter 16.  Conjuring and Circuses

After what I have said as to the position of the actor in China my
readers will not be surprised at my saying that the performance of a
conjuror should not be encouraged.  What pleasure can there be in being
tricked?  It may be a great display of dexterity to turn water into
wine, to seem to cut off a person's head, to appear to swallow swords,
to escape from locked handcuffs, and to perform the various cabinet
tricks, but cleverness does not alter the fact that after all it is
only deception cunningly contrived and performed in such a way as to
evade discovery.  It appears right to many because it is called
"legerdemain" and "conjuring" but in reality it is exactly the same
thing as that by which the successful card-sharper strips his victims,
viz., such quickness of hand that the eye is deceived.  Should we
encourage such artful devices?  History tells many stories as to the
way in which people have been kept in superstitious bondage by
illusions and magic, and if it be now held to be right to deceive for
fun how can it be held to have been wrong to deceive for religion?
Those who made the people believe through practising deception
doubtless believed the trick to be less harmful than unbelief.  I
contend, therefore, that people who go to see conjuring performances
derive no good from them, but that, on the contrary, they are apt to be
impressed with the idea that to practise deception is to show
praiseworthy skill.  It is strange how many people pay money to others
to deceive them.  More than ever before, people to-day actually enjoy
being cheated.  If the tricks were clumsily devised and easily detected
there would be no attraction, but the cleverer and more puzzling the
trick the more eagerly people flock to see it.

Christian preachers and moralists could do well to take up this matter
and discourage people from frequenting the exhibitions of tricksters.
There are doubtless many laws in nature yet undiscovered, and a few
persons undoubtedly possess abnormal powers.  This makes the
cultivation of the love of trickery the more dangerous.  It prevents
the truth from being perceived.  It enables charlatans to find dupes,
and causes the real magician to be applauded as a legerdemainist.  This
is what the New Testament tells us happened in the case of Jesus
Christ.  His miracles failed to convince because the people had for a
long time loved those who could deceive them cleverly.[1]  The people
said to him, "Thou hast a devil," and others warned them after his
death saying, "That deceiver said while he was yet alive 'After three
days I will rise again.'"  When people are taught not only to marvel at
the marvelous but to be indifferent to its falsehoods they lose the
power of discrimination, and are apt to take the true for the false,
the real for the unreal.

For an evening's healthy enjoyment I believe a circus is as good a
place as can be found anywhere.  The air there is not close and
vitiated as in a theater; you can spend two or three hours comfortably
without inhaling noxious atmospheres.  It is interesting to note that
the circus is perhaps the only form of ancient entertainment which has
retained something of its pristine simplicity.  To-day, as in the old
Roman circuses, tiers of seats run round the course, which in the
larger circuses is still in the form of an ellipse, with its vertical
axis, where the horses and performers enter, cut away.  But the modern
world has nothing in this connection to compare with the Circus Maximus
of Rome, which, according to Pliny, held a quarter of a million
spectators.  It is singular, however, that while the old Roman circuses
were held in permanent buildings, modern circuses are mostly travelling
exhibitions in temporary erections.  In some respects the entertainment
offered has degenerated with the change, for we have to-day nothing in
the circus to correspond to the thrilling chariot races in which the
old Romans delighted.  I wonder that in these days of restless search
for novelties some one does not re-introduce the Roman chariot race
under the old conditions, and with a reproduction of the old
surroundings.  It would be as interesting and as exciting as, and
certainly less dangerous than, polo played in automobiles, which I
understand is one of the latest fads in the West.  A modern horse-race,
with its skill, daring and picturesqueness, is the only modern
entertainment comparable to the gorgeous races of the Romans.

The exhibition of skillful feats of horsemanship and acrobatic displays
by juvenile actors, rope-dancing, high vaulting and other daring
gymnastic feats seen in any of our present-day circuses are
interesting, but not new.  The Romans had many clever tight-rope
walkers, and I do not think they used the long pole loaded at the ends
to enable them to maintain their equilibrium, as do some later
performers.  Japanese tumblers are very popular and some of their
tricks clever, but I think the Western public would find Chinese
acrobats a pleasant diversion.  With practice, it would seem as if when
taken in hand during its supple years there is nothing that cannot be
done with the human body.  Sometimes it almost appears as if it were
boneless, so well are people able by practice to make use of their
limbs to accomplish feats which astonish ordinary persons whose limbs
are less pliable.

The trapeze gives opportunity for the display of very clever
exhibition, of strength and agility; at first sight the gymnast would
appear to be flying from one cross-bar to the other, and when watching
such flights I have asked myself:  "If a person can do that, why cannot
he fly?" Perhaps human beings will some day be seen flying about in the
air like birds.  It only requires an extension of the trapeze "stunt".
Travelling in the air by means of airships or aeroplanes is tame sport
in comparison with bird-like flights, whether with or without
artificial wings.

There are many advantages in being able to travel in the air.  One is a
clear and pure atmosphere such as cannot be obtained in a railway car,
or in a cabin on board a ship; another is the opportunity afforded of
looking down on this earth, seeing it as in a panorama, with the people
looking like ants.  Such an experience must broaden the mental outlook
of the privileged spectator, and enable him to guess how fragmentary
and perverted must be our restricted view of things in general.  There
is, however, danger of using such opportunities for selfish and
mischievous purposes.  A wicked man might throw a bomb or do some other
wicked nonsense just as some one else, who really sees things as they
are and not as they seem to be, might employ his superior knowledge to
benefit himself and injure his fellows; but the mention of the trapeze
and its bird-like performers has diverted me from my theme.

I suppose that a reference to the circus would be incomplete which
overlooked the clowns, those poor survivals of a professional class of
jesters who played what appears to have been a necessary part in
society in ruder days, when amusements were less refined and less
numerous.  The Chinese have never felt the need of professional
foolers, and I cannot say that I admire the circus clown, but the
intelligence which careful training develops in the horse, the dog,
etc., interests me a good deal.  An instance of this came under my own
observation during a recent visit to Shanghai of "Fillis' Circus".  Mr.
Fillis had a mare which for many years had acted the part of the horse
of a highway robber.  The robber, flying from his enemies, urges the
animal beyond its strength, and the scene culminated with the dying
horse being carried from the arena to the great grief of its master.
When this entertainment was given in Shanghai this horse--"Black
Bess"--fell sick.  A tonic was administered in the shape of the lively
tune which the band always played as she was about to enter the arena
and play her part as the highwayman's mare.  The animal made pitiable
attempts to rise, and her inability to do so apparently suggested to
the intelligent creature the dying scene she had so often played.  She
lay down and relaxed, prepared to die in reality.  The attendants,
ignorant of the manner in which the horse had let herself go, tried to
lift her, but in her relaxed condition her bowels split--Black Bess had
acted her part for the last time.


[1] This is a rather unorthodox view, but nonetheless interesting,
especially as it pertains to his following statements.--A. R. L., 1996.



Chapter 17.  Sports

Perhaps in nothing do the Chinese differ from their Western friends in
the matter of amusements more than in regard to sports.  The Chinese
would never think of assembling in thousands just to see a game played.
We are not modernized enough to care to spend half a day watching
others play.  When we are tired of work we like to do our own playing.
Our national game is the shuttlecock, which we toss from one to another
over our shoulders, hitting the shuttlecock with the flat soles of the
shoes we are wearing.  Sometimes we hit with one part of the foot,
sometimes with another, according to the rules of the game.  This, like
kite-flying, is a great amusement among men and boys.

We have nothing corresponding to tennis and other Western ball games,
nor, indeed, any game in which the opposite sexes join.  Archery was a
health-giving exercise of which modern ideas of war robbed us.  The
same baneful influence has caused the old-fashioned healthful gymnastic
exercises with heavy weights to be discarded.  I have seen young men on
board ocean-going steamers throwing heavy bags of sand to one another
as a pastime.  This, though excellent practice, hardly equals our
ancient athletic feats with the bow or the heavy weight.  Western
sports have been introduced into some mission and other schools in
China, but I much doubt if they will ever be really popular among my
people.  They are too violent, and, from the oriental standpoint,
lacking in dignity.  Yet, when Chinese residing abroad do take up
Western athletic sports they prove themselves the equals of all
competitors, as witness their success in the Manila Olympiad, and the
name the baseball players from the Hawaiian Islands Chinese University
made for themselves when they visited America.  Nevertheless, were the
average Chinese told that many people buy the daily paper in the West
simply to see the result of some game, and that a sporting journalism
flourishes there, i.e., papers devoted entirely to sport, they would
regard the statement as itself a pleasant sport.  Personally, I think
we might learn much from the West in regard to sports.  They certainly
increase the physical and mental faculties, and for this reason, if for
no other, deserve to be warmly supported.  China suffers because her
youths have never been trained to team-work.  We should be a more
united people if as boys and young men we learned to take part in games
which took the form of a contest, in which, while each contestant does
his best for his own side, the winning or losing of the game is not
considered so important as the pleasure of the exercise.  I think a
great deal of the manliness which I have admired in the West must be
attributed to the natural love of healthy sport for sport's sake.
Games honestly and fairly played inculcate the virtues of honor,
candidness, and chivalry, of which America has produced many worthy
specimens.  When one side is defeated the winner does not exult over
his defeated opponents but attributes his victory to an accident; I
have seen the defeated crew in a boat race applauding their winning
opponents.  It is a noble example for the defeated contestants to give
credit to and to applaud the winner, an example which I hope will be
followed by my countrymen.

As an ardent believer in the natural, healthy and compassionate life I
was interested to find in the Encyclopaedia Britannica how frequently
vegetarians have been winners in athletic sports.[1] They won the
Berlin to Dresden walking match, a distance of 125 miles, the
Carwardine Cup (100 miles) and Dibble Shield (6 hours) cycling races
(1901-02), the amateur championship of England in tennis (four
successive years up to 1902) and racquets (1902), the cycling
championship of India (three years), half-mile running championship of
Scotland (1896), world's amateur cycle records for all times from four
hours to thirteen hours (1902), 100 miles championship Yorkshire Road
Club (1899, 1901), tennis gold medal (five times).  I have not access
to later statistics on this subject but I know that it is the reverse
of truth to say, as Professor Gautier, of the Sarbonne, a Catholic
foundation in Paris, recently said, that vegetarians "suffer from lack
of energy and weakened will power."  The above facts disprove it, and
as against Prof. Gautier, I quote Dr. J. H. Kellogg, the eminent
physician and Superintendent of Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan,
U.S.A., who has been a strict vegetarian for many years and who, though
over sixty years of age, is as strong and vigorous as a man of forty;
he told me that he worked sixteen hours daily without the least
fatigue.  Mrs. Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society, is
another example.  I am credibly informed that she has been a vegetarian
for at least thirty-five years and that it is doubtful if any
flesh-eater who is sixty-five can equal her in energy.  Whatever else
vegetarians may lack they are not lacking in powers of endurance.

It is needless for me to say that hunting, or, as it is called,
"sport", is entirely opposed to my idea of the fitness of things.  I do
not see why it should not be as interesting to shoot at "clay pigeons"
as to kill living birds; and why moving targets are not as suitable a
recreation as running animals.  "The pleasures of the chase" are no
doubt fascinating, but when one remembers that these so-called
pleasures are memories we have brought with us from the time when we
were savages and hunted for the sake of food, no one can be proud of
still possessing such tastes.  To say that hunters to-day only kill to
eat would be denied indignantly by every true sportsman.  That the
quarry is sometimes eaten afterward is but an incident in the game; the
splendid outdoor exercise which the hunt provides can easily be found
in other ways without inflicting the fear, distress, and pain which the
hunted animals endure.  It is a sad commentary on the stage at which
humanity still is that even royalty, to whom we look for virtuous
examples, seldom misses an opportunity to hunt.  When a man has a
strong hobby he is unable to see its evil side even though in other
respects he may be humane and kind-hearted.  Thus the sorry spectacle
is presented of highly civilized and humane people displaying their
courage by hunting and attacking wild animals, not only in their own
native country but in foreign lands as well.  Such personages are, I
regret to have to add, not unknown in the United States.

The fact that hunting has been followed from time immemorial, that the
ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians indulged in this pastime,
does not make it any more suitable an occupation for us to-day.  The
good qualities of temper and patience which hunting demands are equally
well developed by athletic sports.  I understand that a good hunting
establishment will cost as much as $10,000 (2000 Pounds) a year.
Surely those who can afford so much on luxuries could find a more
refined amusement in yachting and similar recreations.  To sail a yacht
successfully in half a gale of wind, is, I should imagine, more
venturesome, more exciting, and a pastime requiring a manifestation of
more of the qualities of daring, than shooting a frightened animal from
the safe retreat of the saddle of a trusty horse; and not even the hunt
of the wild beast can equal in true sportsmanship a contest with the
wind and the waves, for it is only occasionally that a beast shows
fight because he is wounded, and even then man is well protected by his
gun; but whether yachting or swimming the sportsman's attitude of
watchfulness is uninterrupted.  I fancy it is convention and custom,
rather than conviction of the superiority of the sport, that has given
hunting its pre-eminence.  It is on record that four thousand years ago
the ancient emperors of China started periodically on hunting
expeditions.  They thus sought relief from the monotony of life in
those days; in the days of the Stuarts, in England, royalty found
pleasure in shows which were childish and even immoral.  Of course in
barbarous countries all savages used to hunt for food.  For them
hunting was an economic necessity, and it is no slander to say that the
modern hunt is a relic of barbarism.  It is, indeed, a matter of
surprise to me that this cruel practice has not ceased, but still
exists in this twentieth century.  It goes without saying that hunting
means killing the defenseless, inflicting misery and death on the
helpless; even if it be admitted that there is some justification for
killing a ferocious and dangerous animal, why should we take pleasure
in hunting and killing the fox, the deer, the hare, the otter, and
similar creatures?  People who hunt boast of their bravery and
fearlessness, and to show their intrepidity and excellent shooting they
go to the wilderness and other countries to carry on their "sport".  I
admire their fearless courage but I am compelled to express my opinion
that such actions are not consistent with those of a good-hearted
humane gentleman.

Still less excuse is there for the practice of shooting.  What right
have we to wantonly kill these harmless and defenseless birds flying in
the air?  I once watched pigeon shooting at a famous watering place,
the poor birds were allowed to fly from the trap-holes simply that they
might be ruthlessly killed or maimed.  That was wanton cruelty; to
reprobate too strongly such revolting barbarity is almost impossible.
I am glad to say that such cruel practices did not come under my
observation during my residence in the States, and I hope that they are
not American vices but are prohibited by law.  No country, with the
least claim to civilization, should allow such things, and our
descendants will be astonished that people calling themselves civilized
should have indulged in such wholesale and gratuitous atrocities.  When
people allow animals to be murdered--for it is nothing but murder--for
the sake of sport, they ought not to be surprised that men are murdered
by criminals for reasons which seem to them good and sufficient.  An
animal has as much right to its life as man has to his.  Both may be
called upon to sacrifice life for the sake of some greater good to a
greater number, but by what manner of reasoning can killing for
killing's sake be justified?  Does the superior cunning and intellect
of man warrant his taking life for fun?  Then, should a race superior
to humanity ever appear on the earth, man would have no just cause of
complaint if he were killed off for its amusement.  There formerly
existed in India a "well-organized confederacy of professional
assassins" called Thugs, who worshipped the goddess Kali with human
lives.  They murdered according to "rigidly prescribed forms" and for
religious reasons.  The English, when they came into power in India,
naturally took vigorous measures to stamp out Thuggeeism; but from a
higher point of view than our own little selves, is there after all so
much difference between the ordinary sportsman and the fanatic Thuggee?
If there be, the balance is rather in favor of the latter, for the Thug
at least had the sanction of religion, while the hunter has nothing to
excuse his cruelty beyond the lust of killing.  I do not understand why
the humane societies, such as "The Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals", are so supine in regard to these practices.  The
Chinese are frequently accused of being cruel to animals, but I think
that those who are living in glass houses should not throw stones.

In this connection I would remark that birds are shot not only for
pleasure and for their flesh, but in some cases for their plumage, and
women who wear hats adorned with birds' feathers, do, though
indirectly, encourage the slaughter of the innocent.  Once a Chinese
was arrested by the police in Hongkong for cruelty to a rat.  It
appeared that the rat had committed great havoc in his household,
stealing and damaging various articles of food; when at last it was
caught the man nailed its feet to a board, as a warning to other rats.
For this he was brought before the English Magistrate, who imposed a
penalty of ten dollars.  He was astonished, and pleaded that the rat
deserved death, on account of the serious havoc committed in his house.
The Magistrate told him that he ought to have instantly killed the rat,
and not to have tortured it.  The amazed offender paid his fine, but
murmured that he did not see the justice of the British Court in not
allowing him to punish the rat as he chose, while foreigners in China
were allowed the privilege of shooting innocent birds without
molestation.  I must confess, people are not always consistent.

The Peace Societies should take up this matter, for hunting is an
imitation of war and an apprenticeship to it.  It certainly can find no
justification in any of the great world religions, and not even the
British, or the Germans, who idolize soldiers, would immortalize a man
simply because he was a hunter.  From whatever point the subject be
viewed it seems undeniable that hunting is only a survival of savagery.


[1] E. B., 9th ed., vol. 33, p. 649.





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