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Title: Lion and Dragon in Northern China
Author: Johnston, Reginald Fleming
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lion and Dragon in Northern China" ***

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(Showing the interior of the walled city, the island of Liukung and the
Harbour, and the European settlement of Port Edward). ]









The meeting-place of the British Lion and the Chinese Dragon in
northern China consists of the port and Territory of Weihaiwei. It is
therefore with this district, and the history, folk-lore, religious
practices and social customs of its people, that the following pages
are largely occupied. But Weihaiwei is in many respects a true
miniature of China, and a careful study of native life and character,
as they are exhibited in this small district, may perhaps give us a
clearer and truer insight into the life and character of the Chinese
race than we should gain from any superficial survey of China as a
whole. Its present status under the British Crown supplies European
observers with a unique opportunity for the close study of sociological
and other conditions in rural China. If several chapters of this
book seem to be but slightly concerned with the special subject of
Weihaiwei, it is because the chief interest of the place to the student
lies in the fact that it is an epitomised China, and because if we wish
fully to understand even this small fragment of the Empire we must make
many long excursions through the wider fields of Chinese history,
sociology and religion. The photographs (with certain exceptions noted
in each case) have been taken by the author during his residence at
Weihaiwei. From Sir James H. Stewart Lockhart, K.C.M.G., Commissioner
of Weihaiwei, he has received much kind encouragement which he is
glad to take this opportunity of acknowledging; and he is indebted
to Captain A. Hilton-Johnson for certain information regarding the
personnel of the late Chinese Regiment. His thanks are more especially
due to his old friend Mr. D. P. Heatley, Lecturer in History at the
University of Edinburgh, for his generous assistance in superintending
the publication of the book.


  _May 1, 1910._


  CHAP.                                               PAGE
  I.     INTRODUCTION                                    1
  III.   HISTORY AND LEGEND                             34
  V.     BRITISH RULE                                   77
  VI.    LITIGATION                                    102
  VII.   VILLAGE LIFE AND LAND TENURE                  127
  IX.    THE WOMEN OF WEIHAIWEI                        195
  X.     WIDOWS AND CHILDREN                           217
  XI.    FAMILY GRAVEYARDS                             254
  XII.   DEAD MEN AND GHOST-LORE                       276
  XIII.  CONFUCIANISM--I                               300
  XIV.   CONFUCIANISM--II                              328
  XVIII. THE FUTURE                                    426
  INDEX                                                451


    WEIHAIWEI                                       _Frontispiece_
                                                       FACING PAGE
  THE MANG-TAO TREE                                             18
  A HALT IN YÜ-CHIA-K'UANG DEFILE                               18
  THE TEMPLE AT THE SHANTUNG PROMONTORY                         22
  IMAGES OF "MR. AND MRS. LIU"                                  28
  A VIEW FROM THE WALL OF WEIHAIWEI CITY                        30
  PART OF WEIHAIWEI CITY WALL                                   46
  THE AUTHOR AND TOMMIE ON THE QUORK'S PEAK                     46
  DISTRICT OFFICER'S QUARTERS                                  100
  THE COURT-HOUSE, WÊN-CH'ÜAN-T'ANG                            100
  "WE ARE THREE"                                               128
  VILLAGE OF T'ANG HO-HSI                                      128
  VILLAGE THEATRICALS                                          130
  THREE VILLAGE HEADMEN                                        158
  PROTECTIVE CHARMS USED IN WEIHAIWEI                          174
  FIRST-FULL-MOON STILT-WALKERS                                182
  THREE WOMEN AND A HAYRICK                                    206
    FRONT OF THE ANCESTRAL TEMPLE                              224
  MONUMENT TO FAITHFUL WIDOW, KU-SHAN-HOU                      224
  AN AFTERNOON SIESTA                                          252
  WASHING CLOTHES                                              252
  A PEDIGREE-SCROLL (CHIA P'U)                                 264
  SPIRIT-TABLETS                                               278
  A PEDIGREE SCROLL (CHIA P'U)                                 280
  A WRECKED JUNK                                               288
  A JUNK ASHORE                                                288
  WEIHAIWEI VILLAGERS                                          314
  SHEN-TZŬ (MULE-LITTER) FORDING A STREAM                      314
  HILLS NEAR AI-SHAN                                           330
  HILL, WOOD AND STREAM                                        330
  IMAGE OF KUAN TI, WEIHAIWEI                                  362
  THE BUDDHA OF KU SHAN TEMPLE                                 368
  THE CITY-GOD OF WEIHAIWEI                                    368
  SHRINE TO THE GOD OF LITERATURE                              372
  A T'U TI SHRINE                                              372
  YÜAN DYNASTY GRAVES                                          376
  A T'U TI SHRINE, SHOWING RAG-POLES AND TREE                  376
  THE HAUNTED TREE OF LIN-CHIA-YÜAN                            380
  A VILLAGE                                                    382
  AT CHANG-CHIA-SHAN                                           382
  AI-SHAN PASS AND TEMPLE                                      386
  WORSHIP AT THE ANCESTRAL TOMBS                               396
  AT THE VILLAGE OF YÜ-CHIA-K'UANG                             398
  A MOUNTAIN STREAM AND HAMLET                                 398
  WÊN-CH'ÜAN-T'ANG                                             400
  SHRINE ON SUMMIT OF KU SHAN                                  414
  VILLAGERS AT A TEMPLE DOORWAY                                414
  A ROADSIDE SCENE                                             434
    AT THE TEMPLE OF CH'ÊNG SHAN                               440

  WEIHAIWEI      _at the end_




Less than a dozen years have passed since the guns of British warships
first saluted the flag of their country at the Chinese port of
Weihaiwei, yet it is nearly a century since the white ensign was seen
there for the first time. In the summer of 1816 His Britannic Majesty's
frigate _Alceste_, accompanied by the sloop _Lyra_, bound for the
still mysterious and unsurveyed coasts of Korea and the Luchu Islands,
sailed eastwards from the mouth of the Pei-ho along the northern coast
of the province of Shantung, and on the 27th August of that year cast
anchor in the harbour of "Oie-hai-oie." Had the gallant officers
of the _Alceste_ and _Lyra_ been inspired with knowledge of future
political developments, they would doubtless have handed down to us
an interesting account of the place and its inhabitants. All we learn
from Captain Basil Hall's delightful chronicle of the voyage of the
two ships consists of a few details--in the truest sense ephemeral--as
to wind and weather, and a statement that the rocks of the mainland
consist of "yellowish felspar, white quartz, and black mica." The rest
is silence.

From that time until the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1894
the British public heard little or nothing of Weihaiwei. After the
fall of Port Arthur, during that war, it was China's only remaining
naval base. The struggle that ensued in January 1895, when, with vastly
superior force, the Japanese attacked it by land and sea, forms one
of the few episodes of that war upon which the Chinese can look back
without overwhelming shame. Victory, however, went to those who had the
strongest battalions and the stoutest hearts. The three-weeks siege
ended in the suicide of the brave Chinese Commander-in-Chief, Admiral
Ting, and in the loss to China of her last coast-fortress and the whole
of her fleet. Finally, as a result of the seizure of Port Arthur by
Russia and a subsequent three-cornered agreement between Japan, China
and England, Weihaiwei was leased to Great Britain under the terms of a
Convention signed at Peking in July 1898.

The British robe of empire is a very splendid and wonderfully
variegated garment. It bears the gorgeous scarlets and purples of the
Indies, it shimmers with the diamonds of Africa, it is lustrous with
the whiteness of our Lady of Snows, it is scented with the spices of
Ceylon, it is decked with the pearls and soft fleeces of Australia. But
there is also--pinned to the edge of this magnificent robe--a little
drab-coloured ribbon that is in constant danger of being dragged in the
mud or trodden underfoot, and is frequently the object of disrespectful
gibes. This is Weihaiwei.

Whether the imperial robe would not look more imposing without this
nondescript appendage is a question which may be left to the student
of political fashion-plates: it will concern us hardly at all in the
pages of this book. An English newspaper published in China has dubbed
Weihaiwei the Cinderella of the British Empire, and speculates vaguely
as to where her Fairy Prince is to come from. Alas, the Fairy Godmother
must first do her share in making poor Cinderella beautiful and
presentable before any Fairy Prince can be expected to find in her the
lady of his dreams: and the Godmother has certainly not yet made her
appearance, unless, indeed, the British Colonial Office is presumptuous
enough to put forward a claim (totally unjustifiable) to that position.
By no means do I, in the absence of the Fairy Prince, propose to ride
knight-like into the lists of political controversy wearing the gage
of so forlorn a damsel-in-distress as Weihaiwei. Let me explain,
dropping metaphor, that the following pages will contain but slender
contribution to the vexed questions of the strategic importance of the
port or of its potential value as a depôt of commerce. Are not such
things set down in the books of the official scribes? Nor will they
constitute a guide-book that might help exiled Europeans to decide
upon the merits of Weihaiwei as a resort for white-cheeked children
from Shanghai and Hongkong, or as affording a dumping-ground for
brass-bands and bathing-machines. On these matters, too, information
is not lacking. As for the position of Weihaiwei on the playground
of international politics, it may be that Foreign Ministers have not
yet ceased to regard it as an interesting toy to be played with when
sterner excitements are lacking. But it will be the aim of these
pages to avoid as far as possible any incursion into the realm of
politics: for it is not with Weihaiwei as a diplomatic shuttlecock
that they profess to deal, but with Weihaiwei as the ancestral home of
many thousands of Chinese peasants, who present a stolid and almost
changeless front to all the storms and fluctuations of politics and war.

Books on China have appeared in large numbers during the past few
years, and the production of another seems to demand some kind of
apology. Yet it cannot be said that as a field for the ethnologist,
the historian, the student of comparative religion and of folk-lore,
the sociologist or the moral philosopher, China has been worked out.
The demand for books that profess to deal in a broad and general way
with China and its people as a whole has probably, indeed, been fully
satisfied: but China is too vast a country to be adequately described
by any one writer or group of writers, and the more we know about China
and its people the more strongly we shall feel that future workers
must confine themselves to less ambitious objects of study than the
whole Empire. The pioneer who with his prismatic compass passes rapidly
over half a continent has nearly finished all he can be expected to
do; he must soon give place to the surveyor who with plane-table and
theodolite will content himself with mapping a section of a single

It is a mistake to suppose that any class of European residents in
or visitors to the Far East possesses the means of acquiring sound
knowledge of China and the Chinese. Government officials--whether
Colonial or Consular--are sometimes rather apt to assume that what
they do not know about China is not worth knowing; missionaries show a
similar tendency to believe that an adequate knowledge of the life and
"soul" of the Chinese people is attainable only by themselves; while
journalists and travellers, believing that officials and missionaries
are necessarily one-sided or bigoted, profess to speak with the
authority that comes of breezy open-mindedness and impartiality. The
tendency in future will be for each writer to confine himself to
that aspect of Chinese life with which he is personally familiar, or
that small portion of the Empire that comes within the radius of his
personal experience. If he is a keen observer he will find no lack
of material ready to his hand. Perhaps the richer and more luxuriant
fields of inquiry may be occupied by other zealous workers: then let
him steal quietly into some thorny and stony corner which they have
neglected, some wilderness that no one else cares about, and set to
work with spade and hoe to prepare a little garden for himself. Perhaps
if he is industrious the results may be not wholly disappointing;
and the passer-by who peeps over his hedge to jeer at his folly and
simplicity in cultivating a barren moor may be astonished to find that
the stony soil has after all produced good fruit and beautiful flowers.
In attempting a description of the people of Weihaiwei, their customs
and manners, their religion and superstitions, their folk-lore, their
personal characteristics, their village homes, I have endeavoured to
justify my choice of a field of investigation that has so far been
neglected by serious students of things Chinese. It may be foolish to
hope that this little wilderness will prove to be of the kind that
blossoms like a rose, yet at least I shall escape the charge of having
staked out a valley and a hill and labelled it "China."

Hitherto Weihaiwei has been left in placid enjoyment of its bucolic
repose. The lords of commerce despise it, the traveller dismisses it
in a line, the sinologue knows it not, the ethnologist ignores it,
the historian omits to recognise its existence before the fateful
year 1895, while the local British official, contenting himself
with issuing tiny Blue-book reports which nobody reads, dexterously
strives to convince himself and others that its administrative
problems are sufficiently weighty to justify his existence and his
salary. And yet a few years of residence in this unpampered little
patch of territory--years spent to a great extent without European
companionship, when one must either come to know something of the
inhabitants and their ways or live like a mole--have convinced one
observer, and would doubtless convince many others, that to the
people of Weihaiwei life is as momentous and vivid, as full of joyous
and tragic interest, as it is to the proud people of the West, and
that mankind here is no less worthy the pains of study than mankind

There is an interesting discovery to be made almost as soon as one
has dipped below the surface of the daily life of the Weihaiwei
villagers, and it affords perhaps ample compensation and consolation
for the apparent narrowness of our field of inquiry. In spite of their
position at one of the extremities of the empire, a position which
would seemingly render them peculiarly receptive to alien ideas from
foreign lands, the people of Weihaiwei remain on the whole steadfastly
loyal to the views of life and conduct which are, or were till
recently, recognised as typically Chinese. Indeed, not only do we find
here most of the religious ideas, superstitious notions and social
practices which are still a living force in more centrally-situated
parts of the Empire, but we may also discover strange instances of the
survival of immemorial rites and quasi-religious usages which are known
to have flourished dim ages ago throughout China, but which in less
conservative districts than Weihaiwei have been gradually eliminated
and forgotten. One example of this is the queer practice of celebrating
marriages between the dead. The reasons for this strange custom must
be dealt with later;[1] here it is only desirable to mention the fact
that in many other parts of China it appears to have been long extinct.
The greatest authority on the religious systems of China, Dr. De Groot,
whose erudite volumes should be in the hands of every serious student
of Chinese rites and ceremonies, came across no case of "dead-marriage"
during his residence in China, and he expressed uncertainty as to
whether this custom was still practised.[2] Another religious rite
which has died out in many other places and yet survives in Weihaiwei,
is that of burying the soul of a dead man (or perhaps it would be more
correct to say one of his souls) without his body.[3] Of such burials,
which must also be dealt with later on, Dr. De Groot, in spite of
all his researches, seems to have come across no instance, though he
confidently expressed the correct belief that somewhere or other they
still took place.[4]

As the people of Weihaiwei are so tenacious of old customs and
traditions, the reader may ask with what feelings they regard the
small foreign community which for the last decade and more has been
dwelling in their midst. Is British authority merely regarded as an
unavoidable evil, something like a drought or bad harvest? Does British
influence have no effect whatever on the evolution of the native
character and modes of thought? The last chapter of this book will be
found to contain some observations on these matters: but in a general
way it may be said that the great mass of the Chinese population
of Weihaiwei has been only very slightly, and perhaps transiently,
affected by foreign influences. The British community is very small,
consisting of a few officials, merchants, and missionaries. With two
or three exceptions all the Europeans reside on the island of Liukung
and in the small British settlement of Port Edward, where the native
population (especially on the island) is to a great extent drawn from
the south-eastern provinces of China and from Japan. The European
residents--other than officials and missionaries--have few or no
dealings with the people except through the medium of their native
clerks and servants. The missionaries, it need hardly be said, do not
interfere, and of course in no circumstances would be permitted to
interfere, with the cherished customs of the people, even those which
are branded as the idolatrous rites of "paganism."

Apart from the missionaries, the officials are the only Europeans who
come in direct contact with the people, and it is, and always has
been, the settled policy of the local Government not only to leave the
people to lead their own lives in their own way, but, when disputes
arise between natives, to adjudicate between them in strict conformity
with their own ancestral usages. In this the local Government is only
acting in obedience to the Order-in-Council under which British rule
in Weihaiwei was inaugurated. "In civil cases between natives," says
the Order, "the Court shall be guided by Chinese or other native
law and custom, so far as any such law or custom is not repugnant
to justice and morality." The treatment accorded to the people of
Weihaiwei in this respect is, indeed, no different from that accorded
to other subject races of the Empire; but whereas, in other colonies
and protectorates, commercial or economic interests or political
considerations have generally made it necessary to introduce a body
of English-made law which to a great extent annuls or transforms the
native traditions and customary law, the circumstances of Weihaiwei
have not yet made it necessary to introduce more than a very slender
body of legislative enactments, hardly any of which run counter to or
modify Chinese theory or local practice.

From the point of view of the European student of Chinese life
and manners the conditions thus existing in Weihaiwei are highly
advantageous. Nowhere else can "Old China" be studied in pleasanter or
more suitable surroundings than here. The theories of "Young China,"
which are destined to improve so much of the bad and to spoil so
much of the good elements in the political and social systems of the
Empire, have not yet had any deeply-marked influence on the minds of
this industrious population of simple-minded farmers. The Government
official in Weihaiwei, whose duties throw him into immediate contact
with the natives, and who in a combined magisterial and executive
capacity is obliged to acquaint himself with the multitudinous details
of their daily life, has a unique opportunity for acquiring an insight
into the actual working of the social machine and the complexities of
Chinese character.

This satisfactory state of things cannot be regarded as permanent,
even if the foreigner himself does not soon become a mere memory. If
Weihaiwei were to undergo development as a commercial or industrial
centre, present conditions would be greatly modified. Not only
would the people themselves pass through a startling change in
manners and disposition--a change more or less rapid and fundamental
according to the manner in which the new conditions affected the
ordinary life of the villagers--but their foreign rulers would, in
a great measure, lose the opportunities which they now possess of
acquiring first-hand knowledge of the people and their ancestral
customs. Government departments and officials would be multiplied
in order to cope with the necessary increase of routine work, the
executive and judicial functions would be carefully separated, and
the individual civil servant would become a mere member or mouthpiece
of a single department, instead of uniting in his own person--as
he does at present--half a dozen different executive functions and
wide discretionary powers with regard to general administration.
Losing thereby a great part of his personal influence and prestige,
he would tend to be regarded more and more as the salaried servant
of the public, less and less as a recognisable representative of the
_fu-mu-kuan_ (the "father-and-mother official") of the time-honoured
administrative system of China. That these results would assuredly be
brought about by any great change in the economic position of Weihaiwei
cannot be doubted, since similar causes have produced such results in
nearly all the foreign and especially the Asiatic possessions of the
British Crown.

But there are other forces at work besides those that may come from
foreign commercial or industrial enterprise, whereby Weihaiwei may
become a far less desirable school than it is at present for the
student of the Chinese social organism. Hitherto Weihaiwei has with
considerable success protected itself behind walls of conservatism
and obedience to tradition against the onslaughts of what a Confucian
archbishop, if such a dignitary existed, might denounce as "Modernism."
But those walls, however substantial they may appear to the casual
eye, are beginning to show signs of decay. There is indeed no part of
China, or perhaps it would be truer to say no section of the Chinese
people, that is totally unaffected at the present day by the modern
spirit of change and reform. It is naturally the most highly educated
of the people who are the most quickly influenced and roused to action,
and the people of Weihaiwei, as it happens, are, with comparatively
few exceptions, almost illiterate. But the spirit of change is "in
the air," and reveals itself in cottage-homes as well as in books and
newspapers and the marketplaces of great cities. Let us hope, for the
good of China, that the stout walls of conservatism both in Weihaiwei
and elsewhere will not be battered down too soon or too suddenly.

One of the gravest dangers overhanging China at the present day is
the threatened triumph of mere theory over the results of accumulated
experience. Multitudes of the ardent young reformers of to-day--not
unlike some of the early dreamers of the French Revolution--are
aiming at the destruction of all the doctrines that have guided the
political and social life of their country for three thousand years,
and hope to build up a strong and progressive China on a foundation of
abstract principles. With the hot-headed enthusiasm of youth they speak
lightly of the impending overthrow, not only of the decaying forces of
Buddhism and Taoism, but also of the great politico-social structure of
Confucianism, heedless of the possibility that these may drag with them
to destruction all that is good and sound in Chinese life and thought.
Buddhism (in its present Chinese form) might, indeed, be extinguished
without much loss to the people; Taoism (such as it is nowadays) might
vanish absolutely and for ever, leaving perhaps no greater sense of
loss than was left by the decay of a belief in witchcraft and alchemy
among ourselves; but Confucianism (or rather the principles and
doctrines which Confucianism connotes, for the system dates from an
age long anterior to that of Confucius) cannot be annihilated without
perhaps irreparable injury to the body-social and body-politic of
China. The collapse of Confucianism would undoubtedly involve, for
example, the partial or total ruin of the Chinese family system and the
cult of ancestors.

With the exception of Roman Catholics and the older generation of
Protestant missionaries with a good many of their successors, who
condemn all Chinese religion as false or "idolatrous," few, if any,
European students of China will be heard to disapprove--whether on
ethical or religious grounds--of that keystone of the Chinese social
edifice known to Europeans as ancestor-worship. To the revolutionary
doctrines of the extreme reformers Weihaiwei and other "backward"
and conservative parts of China are--half unconsciously--opposing a
salutary bulwark. They cannot hope to keep change and reform altogether
at a distance, nor is it at all desirable that they should do so;
indeed, as we have seen, their walls of conservatism are already
beginning to crumble. But if they only succeed in keeping the old
flag flying until the attacking party has been sobered down by time
and experience and has become less anxious to sweep away all the
time-honoured bases of morality and social government, these old
centres of conservatism will have deserved the gratitude of their
country. What indeed could be more fitting than that the Confucian
system should find its strongest support, and perhaps make its last
fight for life, in the very province in which the national sage
lived and taught, and where his body has lain buried for twenty-five


[1] See pp. 230 _seq._, 233 _seq._

[2] _The Religious System of China_, vol. ii. p. 806.

[3] See pp. 281 _seq._

[4] _Op. cit._ vol. iii. p. 854.



As applied to the territory leased by China to Great Britain the word
Weihaiwei is in certain respects a misnomer. The European reader
should understand that the name is composed of three separate Chinese
characters, each of which has a meaning of its own.[5] The first of
the three characters (transliterated _Wei_ in Roman letters) is not
the same as the third: the pronunciation is the same but the "tone"
is different, and the Chinese symbols for the two words are quite
distinct. The first _Wei_ is a word meaning Terrible, Majestic,
or Imposing, according to its context or combinations. The word
_hai_ means the Sea. The combined words Weihai Ch'êng or Weihai
City, which is the real name of the little town that stands on the
mainland opposite the island of Liukung, might be roughly explained
as meaning "City of the August Ocean," but in the case of Chinese
place-names, as of personal names, translations are always unnecessary
and often meaningless. The third character, _Wei_, signifies a Guard
or Protection; but in a technical sense, as applied to the names of
places, it denotes a certain kind of garrisoned and fortified post
partially exempted from civil jurisdiction and established for the
protection of the coast from piratical raids, or for guarding the
highways along which tribute-grain and public funds are carried through
the provinces to the capital.

A _Wei_ is more than a mere fort or even a fortified town. It often
implies the existence of a military colony and lands held by military
tenure, and may embrace an area of some scores of square miles. Perhaps
the best translation of the term would be "Military District." The Wei
of Weihai was only one of several Wei established along the coast of
Shantung, and like them it owed its creation chiefly to the piratical
attacks of the Japanese. More remains to be said on this point in the
next chapter; here it will be enough to say that the Military District
of Weihai was established in 1398 and was abolished in 1735. From that
time up to the date of the Japanese occupation in 1895 it formed part
of the magisterial (civil) district of Wên-têng, though this does not
mean that the forts were dismantled or the place left without troops.
In strictness, therefore, we should speak not of Weihaiwei but of
Weihai, which would have the advantage of brevity: though as the old
name is used quite as much by the Chinese as by ourselves there is no
urgent necessity for a change. But in yet another respect the name
is erroneous, for the territory leased to Great Britain, though much
larger than that assigned to the ancient Wei, does not include the
walled city which gives its name to the whole. The Territory, however,
embraces not only all that the Wei included except the city, but also
a considerable slice of the districts of Wên-têng and Jung-ch'êng. It
should therefore be understood that the Weihaiwei with which these
pages deal is not merely the small area comprised in the old Chinese
Wei, but the three hundred square miles (nearly) of territory ruled
since 1898 by Great Britain. We shall have cause also to make an
occasional excursion into the much larger area (comprising perhaps a
thousand square miles) over which Great Britain has certain vague
military rights but within which she has no civil jurisdiction.

A glance at a map of eastern Shantung will show the position of the
Weihaiwei Territory (for such is its official designation under
the British administration) with regard to the cities of Wên-têng
(south), Jung-ch'êng (east), and Ning-hai (west). Starting from the
most easterly point in the Province, the Shantung Promontory, and
proceeding westwards towards Weihaiwei, we find that the Jung-ch'êng
district embraces all the country lying eastward of the Territory;
under the Chinese _régime_ it also included all that portion of what is
at present British territory which lies east of a line drawn from the
sea near the village of Shêng-tzŭ to the British frontier south of the
village of Ch'iao-t'ou. All the rest of the Territory falls within the
Chinese district of which Wên-têng is the capital. Jung-ch'êng city is
situated five miles from the eastern British frontier, Wên-têng city
about six miles from the southern. The magisterial district of Ning-hai
has its headquarters in a city that lies over thirty miles west of the
British western boundary. The official Chinese distances from Weihaiwei
city to the principal places of importance in the neighbourhood are
these: to Ning-hai, 120 _li_; to Wên-têng, 100 _li_; to Jung-ch'êng,
110 _li_. A _li_ is somewhat variable, but is generally regarded as
equivalent to about a third of an English mile. The distance to Chinan,
the capital of the Shantung Province, is reckoned at 1,350 _li_, and to
Peking (by road) 2,300 _li_.[6]

The mention of magisterial districts makes it desirable to explain,
for the benefit of readers whose knowledge of China is limited, that
every Province (there are at present eighteen Provinces in China
excluding Chinese Turkestan and the Manchurian Provinces) is subdivided
for administrative purposes into _Fu_ and _Hsien_, words generally
translated by the terms Prefecture and District-Magistracy. The
prefects and magistrates are the _fu-mu-kuan_ or father-and-mother
officials; that is, it is they who are the direct rulers of the
people, are supposed to know their wants, to be always ready to listen
to their complaints and relieve their necessities, and to love them
as if the relationship were in reality that of parent and children.
That a Chinese magistrate has often very queer ways of showing his
paternal affection is a matter which need not concern us here. In
the eyes of the people the _fu-mu-kuan_ is the living embodiment of
imperial as well as merely patriarchal authority, and in the eyes of
the higher rulers of the Province he is the official representative
of the thousands of families over whom his jurisdiction extends. The
father-and-mother official is in short looked up to by the people as
representing the Emperor, the august Head of all the heads of families,
the Universal Patriarch; he is looked down to by his superiors as
representing all the families to whom he stands _in loco parentis_.[7]
A district magistrate is subordinate to a prefect, for there are
several magistracies in each prefecture, but both are addressed as
_Ta lao-yeh_. This term--a very appropriate one for an official who
represents the patriarchal idea--may be literally rendered Great Old
Parent or Grandfather; whereas the more exalted provincial officials,
who are regarded less as parents of the people than as Servants of the
Emperor, are known as _Ta-jên_: a term which, literally meaning Great
Man, is often but not always appropriately regarded as equivalent to

All the district-magistracies mentioned in connexion with Weihaiwei are
subordinate to a single prefecture. The headquarters of the prefect,
who presides over a tract of country several thousand square miles in
extent, are at the city of Têng-chou, situated on the north coast of
Shantung 330 _li_ or about 110 miles by road west of Weihaiwei. The
total number of prefectures (_fu_) in Shantung is ten, of magistracies
one hundred and seven. As Shantung itself is estimated to contain
56,000 square miles of territory,[8] the average size of each of the
Shantung prefectures may be put down at 5,600 and that of each of
the magistracies at about 520 square miles. The British territory
of Weihaiwei being rather less than 300 square miles in extent is
equivalent in area to a small-sized district-magistracy. The functions
of a Chinese district magistrate have been described by some Europeans
as somewhat analogous to those of an English mayor, but the analogy is
very misleading. Not only has the district magistrate greater powers
and responsibilities than the average mayor, but he presides over a far
larger area. He is chief civil officer not only within the walls of the
district capital but also throughout an extensive tract of country that
is often rich and populous and full of towns and villages.

The eastern part of the Shantung Peninsula, in which Weihaiwei and
the neighbouring districts of Jung-ch'êng, Wên-têng and Ning-hai
are situated, is neither rich nor populous as compared with the
south-western parts of the Province. The land is not unfertile, but the
agricultural area is somewhat small, for the country is very hilly.
Like the greater part of north China, Shantung is liable to floods and
droughts, and local famines are not uncommon. The unequal distribution
of the rainfall is no doubt partly the result of the almost total
absence of forest. Forestation is and always has been a totally
neglected art in China, and the wanton manner in which timber has been
wasted and destroyed without any serious attempt at replacement is one
of the most serious blots on Chinese administration, as well as one
of the chief causes of the poverty of the people.[9] If north China
is to be saved from becoming a desert (for the arable land in certain
districts is undoubtedly diminishing in quantity year by year) it will
become urgently necessary for the Government to undertake forestation
on a large scale and to spend money liberally in protecting the
young forests from the cupidity of the ignorant peasants. The German
Government in Kiaochou is doing most valuable work in the reforestation
of the hills that lie within its jurisdiction, and to a very modest
extent Weihaiwei is acting similarly. Perhaps the most encouraging sign
is the genuine interest that the Chinese are beginning to take in these
experiments, though it is difficult to make them realise the enormous
economic and climatic advantages which forestation on a large scale
would bring to their country.

It must have been the treelessness of the district and the waterless
condition of the mountains as viewed from the harbour and the sea-coast
that prompted the remark made in an official report some years ago
that Weihaiwei is "a colder Aden"; and indeed if we contemplate the
coast-line from the deck of a steamer the description seems apt enough.
A ramble through the Territory among the valleys and glens that
penetrate the interior in every direction is bound to modify one's
first cheerless impressions very considerably. Trees, it is true, are
abundant only in the immediate neighbourhood of villages and in the
numerous family burial-grounds; but the streams are often lined with
graceful willows, and large areas on the mountain-slopes are covered
with green vegetation in the shape of scrub-oak. At certain seasons of
the year the want of trees is from an æsthetic point of view partly
atoned for by the blended tints of the growing crops; and certainly
to the average English eye the waving wheat-fields and the harvesters
moving sickle in hand through the yellow grain offer a fairer and more
home-like spectacle than is afforded by the marshy rice-lands of the
southern provinces. On the whole, indeed, the scenery of Weihaiwei is
picturesque and in some places beautiful.[10] The chief drawback next
to lack of forest is the want of running water. The streams are only
brooks that can be crossed by stepping-stones. In July and August, when
the rainfall is greatest, they become enormously swollen for a few
days, but their courses are short and the flood-waters are soon carried
down to the sea. In winter and spring some of the streams wholly
disappear, and the greatest of them becomes the merest rivulet.

The traveller who approaches Weihaiwei by sea from the east or south
makes his first acquaintance with the Shantung coast at a point
about thirty miles (by sea) east of the Weihaiwei harbour. This is
the Shantung Promontory, the Chinese name of which is Ch'êng Shan
Tsui or Ch'êng Shan T'ou. Ch'êng Shan is the name of the hill which
forms the Promontory, while _Tsui_ and _T'ou_ (literally Mouth and
Head) mean Cape or Headland. Before the Jung-ch'êng magistracy was
founded (in 1735) this extreme eastern region was a military district
like Weihaiwei. Taking its name from the Promontory, it was known as

[Illustration: THE MANG-TAO TREE (see p. 384).]

[Illustration: A HALT IN YÜ-CHIA-K'UANG DEFILE (see p. 18).]

Ch'êng Shan, with all the rest of the present Jun-ch'êng district, is
within the British "sphere of influence"; that is to say, Great Britain
has the right to erect fortifications there and to station troops:
rights which, it may be mentioned, have never been exercised.

The Shantung Promontory has been the scene of innumerable shipwrecks,
for the sea there is apt to be rough, fogs are not uncommon, and
there are many dangerous rocks. The first lighthouse--a primitive
affair--is said to have been erected in 1821 by a pious person named
Hsü Fu-ch'ang; but long before that a guild of merchants used to light
a great beacon fire every night on a conspicuous part of the hill.
A large bell was struck, so the records state, when the weather was
foggy. The present lighthouse is a modern structure under the charge of
the Chinese Imperial Customs authorities. Behind the Promontory--that
is, to the west (landward) side--there is a wide stretch of
comparatively flat land which extends across the peninsula. It may be
worth noting that an official of the Ming dynasty named T'ien Shih-lung
actually recommended in a state paper that a canal should be cut
through this neck of land so as to enable junks to escape the perils of
the rock-bound Promontory. He pointed out that the land was level and
sandy and that several ponds already existed which could be utilised
in the construction of the canal. Thus, he said, could be avoided the
great dangers of the rocks known as Shih Huang Ch'iao and Wo Lung Shih.
The advice of the amateur engineer was not acted upon, but his memorial
(perhaps on account of its literary style) was carefully preserved and
has been printed in the Chinese annals of the Jung-ch'êng district.

These annals contain an interesting reference to one of the two groups
of rocks just named. Wo Lung Shih means "Sleeping dragon rocks," and
no particular legend appears to be attached to them, though it would
have been easy to invent one. But the Shih Huang Ch'iao, or Bridge of
the First Emperor, is regarded by the people as a permanent memorial
of that distinguished monarch who in the third century B.C. seized the
tottering throne of the classic Chou dynasty and established himself as
the First Emperor (for such is the title he gave himself) of a united
China. Most Europeans know nothing of this remarkable man except that
he built the Great Wall of China and rendered his reign infamous by the
Burning of the Books and the slaughter of the scholars. Whether his
main object in the latter proceeding was to stamp out all memory of the
acts of former dynasties so that to succeeding ages he might indeed be
the First of the historical Emperors, or whether it was not rather an
act of savagery such as might have been expected of one who was not
"born in the purple" and who derived his notions of civilisation from
the semi-barbarous far-western state of Ch'in, is perhaps an impossible
question to decide: and indeed the hatred of the Chinese _literati_ for
a sovereign who despised literature and art may possibly have led them
to be guilty of some exaggeration in the accounts they have given us of
his acts of vandalism and murder.

During his short reign as Emperor, Ch'in Shih Huang-ti (who died in
210 B.C.) is said to have travelled through the Empire to an extent
that was only surpassed by the shadowy Emperor Yü who lived in the
third millennium B.C. Yü was, according to tradition, the prince of
engineers. He it was who "drained the Empire" and led the rivers into
their proper and appropriate channels. The First Emperor might be said,
had he not affected contempt for all who went before him, to have taken
the great Yü as his model, for he too left a reputation of an ambitious
if not altogether successful engineer. The story goes that he travelled
all the way to the easternmost point of Shantung, and having arrived at
the Promontory, decided to build a bridge from there to Korea, or to
the mysterious islands of P'êng-lai where the herb of immortality grew,
or to the equally marvellous region of Fu-sang.

The case of the First Emperor affords a good example of how wild myths
can be built up on a slender substratum of fact. Had he lived a few
centuries earlier instead of in historic times, his name doubtless
would have come down the ages as that of a demi-god; even as things
are, the legends that sprang up about him in various parts of northern
China might well be connected with the name of some prehistoric hero.
The Chinese of eastern Shantung have less to say of him as a monarch
than as a mighty magician. In order to have continuous daylight for
building the Great Wall, he is said to have been inspired with the
happy device of transfixing the sun with a needle, thus preventing it
from moving. His idea of bridge-building had the simplicity of genius:
it was simply to pick up the neighbouring mountains and throw them
into the sea. He was not without valuable assistance from persons
who possessed powers even more remarkable than his own. A certain
spirit helped him by summoning a number of hills to contribute their
building-stone. At the spirit's summons, so the story goes, thirteen
hills obediently sent their stones rolling down eastwards towards the
sea. On came the boulders, big and little, one after another, just as
if they were so many live things walking. When they went too slowly or
showed signs of laziness the spirit flogged them with a whip _until the
blood came_.

The truth of this story, in the opinion of the people, is sufficiently
attested by the facts that one of the mountains is still known as
Chao-shih-shan or "Summon-the-rocks hill," and that many of the stones
on its slopes and at its base are reddish in hue.[11] The Emperor was
also helped by certain Spirits of the Ocean (_hai-shên_), who did
useful work in establishing the piers of his bridge in deep water.[12]
The Emperor, according to the story, was deeply grateful to these Ocean
Spirits for their assistance, and begged for a personal interview
with them so that he might express his thanks in proper form. "We are
horribly ugly," replied the modest Spirits, "and you must not pay us a
visit unless you will promise not to draw pictures of us." The Emperor
promised, and rode along the bridge to pay his visit. When he had gone
a distance of forty _li_ he was met by the Spirits, who received him
with due ceremony. During the interview, the Emperor, who like Odysseus
was a man of many wiles, furtively drew his hosts' portraits on the
ground with his foot. As luck would have it the Spirits discovered what
he was doing, and naturally became highly indignant. "Your Majesty has
broken faith with us," they said. "Begone!" The Emperor mounted his
horse and tried to ride back the way he had come, but lo! the animal
remained rigid and immovable, for the Spirits had bewitched it and
turned it into a rock; and his Majesty had to go all the way back to
the shore on foot.[13]

This regrettable incident did not cause the cessation of work on the
bridge, though the Emperor presumably received no more help from
the Spirits of the Ocean. But on one unlucky day the Emperor's wife
presumed without invitation to pay her industrious husband a visit,
and brought with her such savoury dishes as she thought would tempt
the imperial appetite. Now the presence of women, say the Chinese, is
utterly destructive of all magical influences. The alchemists, for
example, cannot compound the elixir of life in the presence of women,
chickens, or cats. The lady had no sooner made her appearance at Ch'êng
Shan than the bridge, which was all but finished, instantaneously
crumbled to pieces. So furious was her imperial spouse at the ruin
of his work that he immediately tore the unhappy dame to pieces and
scattered her limbs over the sea-shore, where they can be seen in
rock-form to this day. The treacherous rocks that stretch out seawards
in a line from the Promontory are the ruins of the famous bridge, and
still bear the name of the imperial magician.

[Illustration: THE TEMPLE AT THE SHANTUNG PROMONTORY (see p. 23).]

Legends say that a successor of the First Emperor, namely Han Wu
Ti (140-87 B.C.), who also made a journey to eastern Shantung, was
ill-advised enough to make an attempt to continue the construction of
the mythical bridge; but he only went so far as to set up two great
pillars. These are still to be seen at ebb-tide, though the uninitiated
would take them to be mere shapeless rocks. Han Wu Ti's exploits were
but a faint copy of those of the First Emperor. Ch'êng Shan Tsui has
for many centuries been dedicated to that ruler's memory, and on its
slopes his temple may still be visited. The original temple, we are
told, was built out of part of the ruins of the great bridge. In 1512
it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt on a smaller scale. Since then
it has been restored more than once, and the present building is
comparatively new.

There is no legend, apparently, which associates the First Emperor
with the territory at present directly administered by Great Britain,
but there is a foolish story that connects him with Wên-têng Shan, a
hill from which the Wên-têng district takes its name. It is said that
having arrived at this hill the Emperor summoned his civil officials
(_wên_) to ascend (_têng_) the hill in question and there proclaim
to a marvelling world his own great exploits and virtues; but this
story is evidently a late invention to account for the name Wên-têng.
Among other localities associated with this Emperor may be mentioned a
terrace, which he visited for the sake of a sea-view, and a pond (near
Jung-ch'êng city) at which His Majesty's horses were watered: hence
the name _Yin-ma-ch'ih_ (Drink-horse-pool). But the Chinese are always
ready to invent stories to suit place-names, and seeing that every
Chinese syllable (whether part of a name or not) has several meanings,
the strain on the imaginative faculties is not severe.

The feat performed by the Emperor close to the modern treaty-port
of Chefoo--only a couple of hours' steaming from Weihaiwei--may be
slightly more worthy of record than the Wên-têng legend. His first
visit to Chih-fu (Chefoo) Hill--by which is meant one of the islands
off the coast--is said to have taken place in 218 B.C., when he left a
record of himself in a rock-inscription which--if it ever existed--has
doubtless long ago disappeared. In 210, the last year of his busy life,
he sent a certain Hsü Fu to gather medicinal herbs (or rather the herbs
out of which the drug of immortality was made) at the Chefoo Hill. In
his journeys across the waters to and from the hill Hsü Fu was much
harassed by the attacks of a mighty fish, and gave his imperial master
a full account of the perils which constantly menaced him owing to
this monster's disagreeable attentions. The Emperor, always ready for
an adventure, immediately started for Chefoo, climbed the hill, caught
sight of the great fish wallowing in the waters, and promptly shot it
dead with his bow and arrow.

It is natural that the Shantung Promontory and the eastern peninsula in
general should have become the centre of legend and myth. We know from
classical tradition that to the people of Europe the western ocean--the
Atlantic--was a region of marvel. There--beyond the ken of ships
made or manned by ordinary mortals--lay the Fortunate Islands, the
Isles of the Blest. The Chinese have similar legends, but their Fairy
Isles--P'êng-lai and Fu-sang--lay, as a matter of course, somewhere in
the undiscovered east, about the shimmering region of the rising sun.
Many and many are the Chinese dreamers and poets who have yearned for
those islands, and have longed to pluck the wondrous fruit that ripened
only once in three thousand years and then imparted a golden lustre to
him who tasted of it. The Shantung Promontory became a region of marvel
because it formed the borderland between the known and the unknown,
the stepping-stone from the realm of prosaic fact to that of fancy and

The coast-line from the Promontory to Weihaiwei possesses no features
of outstanding interest. It consists of long sandy beaches broken by
occasional rocks and cliffs. The villages are small and, from the sea,
almost invisible. Undulating hills, seldom rising above a thousand
feet in height, but sometimes bold and rugged in outline, form a
pleasant background. There are a few islets, of which one of the most
conspicuous is Chi-ming-tao--"Cock-crow Island"--lying ten miles from
the most easterly point of the Weihaiwei harbour. All the mainland from
here onwards lies within the territory directly ruled by Great Britain.
On the port side of the steamer as she enters the harbour will be seen
a line of low cliffs crowned by a lighthouse; on the starboard side
lies Liukungtao, the island of Liukung.

As in the case of Hongkong, it is the island that creates the harbour;
and, similarly, the position of the island provides two entrances
available at all times for the largest ships. The island is two and
a quarter miles long and has a maximum breadth of seven-eighths of a
mile and a circumference of five and a half miles. The eastern harbour
entrance is two miles broad, the western entrance only three-quarters
of a mile. The total superficial area of the harbour is estimated
at eleven square miles. Under the lee of the island, which might be
described as a miniature Hongkong, is the deep-water anchorage for
warships, and it is here that the British China Squadron lies when
it pays its annual summer visit to north China. On the island are
situated the headquarters of the permanent naval establishment, the
naval canteen (formerly a picturesque Chinese official _yamên_), a
United Services club, a few bungalows for summer visitors, an hotel,
the offices of a few shipping firms, and several streets of shops kept
chiefly by natives of south China and by Japanese. There are also the
usual recreation-grounds, tennis-courts, and golf-links, without which
no British colony would be able to exist. The whole island practically
consists of one hill, which rises to a point (the Signal Station) 498
feet above sea-level. On the seaward side it ends precipitously in a
fringe of broken cliffs, while on the landward side its gentle slopes
are covered with streets and houses and open spaces.

The name Liukungtao means the Island of Mr. Liu, and the records
refer to it variously as Liu-chia-tao (the Island of the Liu family),
as Liutao (Liu Island), and as Liukungtao. Who Mr. Liu was and when
he lived is a matter of uncertainty, upon which the local Chinese
chronicles have very little to tell us. "Tradition says," so writes the
chronicler, "that the original Mr. Liu lived a very long time ago, but
no one knows when." The principal habitation of the family is said to
have been not on the island but at a village called Shih-lo-ts'un on
the mainland. This village was situated somewhere to the south of the
walled city. The family must have been a wealthy one, for it appears to
have owned the island and made of it a summer residence or "retreat."
It was while residing at Shih-lo-ts'un that one of the Liu family
made a very remarkable discovery. On the sea-shore he came across a
gigantic decayed fish with a bone measuring one hundred _chang_ in
length. According to English measurement this monstrous creature must
have been no less than three hundred and ninety yards long. Liu had
the mighty fishbone carried to a temple in the neighbouring walled
city, and there it was reverently presented to the presiding deity.
The only way to get the bone into the temple was to cut it up into
shorter lengths. This was done, and the various pieces were utilised as
subsidiary rafters for portions of the temple roof. They are still in
existence, as any inquirer may see for himself by visiting the Kuan Ti
temple in Weihaiwei city. Perhaps if Europeans insist upon depriving
China of the honour of having invented the mariner's compass they may
be willing to leave her the distinction of having discovered the first

[Illustration: _Photo by Ah Fong._

From time immemorial there existed on the island a temple which
contained two images representing an elderly gentleman and his wife.
These were Liu Kung and Liu Mu--Father and Mother Liu. They afford
a good example of how quite undistinguished men and women can in
favourable circumstances attain the position of local deities or
saints: for the persons represented by these two images have been
regularly worshipped--especially by sailors--for several centuries.
The curious thing is that the deification of the old couple has taken
place without any apparent justification from legend or myth. Perhaps
they were a benevolent pair who were in the habit of ministering to
the wants of shipwrecked sailors; but if so there is no testimony
to that effect. When the British Government acquired the island and
began to make preparations for the construction of naval works and
forts, which were never completed, the Chinese decided to remove the
venerated images of Father and Mother Liu to the mainland. They are
now handsomely housed in a new temple that stands between the walled
city and the European settlement of Port Edward, and it is still the
custom for many of the local junkmen to come here and make their pious
offerings of money and incense, believing that in return for these
gifts old Liu and his wife will graciously grant them good fortune at
sea and freedom from storm and shipwreck.

It is on the island that the majority of the British residents dwell,
but Liukungtao does not occupy with respect to the mainland the same
all-important and dominating position that Hongkong occupies (or
did till recently occupy) with regard to the Kowloon peninsula and
the New Territory. The seat of the British Government of Weihaiwei
is on the mainland, and the small group of civil officers are far
more busily employed in connexion with the administration of that
part of the Territory and its 150,000 villagers than with the little
island and its few British residents and native shopkeepers. The
British administrative centre, then, is the village of Ma-t'ou, which
before the arrival of the British was the port of the walled city
of Weihaiwei, but is gradually becoming more and more European in
appearance and has been appropriately re-named Port Edward. It lies
snugly on the south-west side of the harbour and is well sheltered
from storms; the water in the vicinity of Port Edward is, however,
too shallow for vessels larger than sea-going junks and small
coasting-steamers. Ferry-launches run several times daily between the
island and the mainland, the distance between the two piers being
two and a half miles. Government House, the residence of the British
Commissioner, is situated on a slight eminence overlooking the village,
and not far off are situated the Government Offices and the buildings
occupied, until 1906, by the officers and men of the 1st Chinese
Regiment of Infantry. At the northern end of the village, well situated
on a bluff overlooking the sea, is a large hotel: far from beautiful
in outward appearance, but comfortable and well managed. A little
further off stands the Weihaiwei School for European boys. It would be
difficult anywhere in Asia to find a healthier place for a school, and
certainly on the coast of China the site is peerless.

[Illustration: IMAGES OF "MR. AND MRS. LIU" (see p. 27).]

Elsewhere in the neighbourhood of Port Edward there are well-situated
bungalows for European summer visitors, natural sulphur baths well
managed by Japanese, and a small golf course. Other attractions for
Europeans are not wanting, but as these pages are not written for
the purpose either of eulogising British enterprise or of attracting
British visitors, detailed reference to them is unnecessary.

It may be mentioned, however, that from the European point of view,
the most pleasing feature of Port Edward and its neighbourhood is the
absence of any large and congested centre of Chinese population. The
city of Weihaiwei is indeed close by--only half a mile from the main
street of Port Edward. But it is a city only in name, for though it
possesses a battlemented wall and imposing gates, it contains only a
few quiet streets, three or four temples, an official _yamên_, wide
open spaces which are a favourite resort of snipe, and a population of
about two thousand.

The reader may remember that when the New Territory was added to
the Colony of Hongkong in 1898 a clause in the treaty provided that
the walled city of Kowloon, though completely surrounded by British
territory, should be left under Chinese rule. This arrangement was
due merely to the strong sentimental objection of the Chinese to
surrendering a walled city. In the case of Kowloon, as it happened,
circumstances soon made it necessary for this part of the treaty to
be annulled, and very soon after the New Territory had passed into
British hands the Union Jack was hoisted also on the walls of Kowloon.
When the territory of Weihaiwei was "leased" to Great Britain in the
same eventful year (1898) a somewhat similar agreement was made "that
within the walled city of Weihaiwei Chinese officials shall continue to
exercise jurisdiction, except so far as may be inconsistent with naval
and military requirements for the defence of the territory leased."
So correct has been the attitude of the Chinese officials since the
Weihaiwei Convention was signed that it has never been found necessary
to raise any question as to the status of the little walled town.

Nominally it is ruled by the Wên-têng magistrate, whose resident
delegate is a _hsün-chien_ or sub-district deputy magistrate;[15] but
as the _hsün-chien_ has no authority an inch beyond the city walls,
and in practice is perfectly ready to acknowledge British authority in
such matters as sanitation (towards the expenses of which he receives a
small subsidy from the British Government), it may be easily understood
why this _imperium in imperio_ has not hitherto led to friction or

A walk round the well-preserved walls of Weihaiwei city affords a
good view of the surroundings of Port Edward and the contour of the
sea-coast bordering on the harbour. At the highest point of the city
wall stands a little tower called the Huan-ts'ui-lou, the view from
which has for centuries past been much praised by the local bards. It
was built in the Ming dynasty by a military official named Wang, as a
spot from which he might observe the sunrise and enjoy the sea view.
From here can be seen, at favourable times, a locally-celebrated mirage
(called by the Chinese a "market in the ocean") over and beyond the
little islet of Jih-tao or Sun Island, which lies between Liukungtao
and the mainland. The view from this tower is very pleasing, though one
need not be prepared to endorse the ecstatic words of a sentimental
captain from the Wên-têng camp, who closed a little poem of his own
with the words "How entrancing is this fair landscape: this must indeed
be Fairyland!"

Many of the most conspicuous hills in the northern portion of the
Territory can be seen to advantage from the Huan-ts'ui-lou. The
small hill immediately behind the city wall and the tower is the

[Illustration: A VIEW FROM THE WALL OF WEIHAIWEI CITY (see p. 31).]

Like many other hills in the neighbourhood and along the coast, it
possesses the remains of a stone-built beacon-tumulus (_fêng tun_),
on which signal fires were lighted in the old days of warfare. To the
northward lie Ku-mo Shan, the hill of Yao-yao, and Tiao-wo Shan, all
included in the range that bears in the British map the name of Admiral

The highest point of the range is described in the local chronicle as
"a solitary peak, seldom visited by human foot," though it is nowadays
a common objective for European pedestrians, and also, indeed, for
active Chinese children. The height is barely one thousand feet above
sea-level. Tiao-we Shan and a neighbouring peak called Sung Ting Shan
were resorted to by hundreds of the inhabitants of Weihaiwei as a
place of refuge from the bands of robbers and disorganised soldiers
who pillaged the homes and fields of the people during the commotions
which marked the last year of the Ming dynasty (1643). To the northward
of the Huan-ts'ui-lou may be seen a little hill--not far from the
European bungalows at Narcissus Bay--crowned with a small stone obelisk
of a kind often seen in China and known to foreigners as a Confucian
Pencil. This was put up by a graduate of the present dynasty named
Hsia Shih-yen and others, as a means of bringing good luck to the
neighbourhood, and also, perhaps, as a memorial of their own literary
abilities and successes. It bears no inscription.

A loftier hill is Lao-ya Shan, which is or used to be the principal
resort of the local officials and people when offering up public
supplications for rain. Its name (which means the Hill of the Crows)
is derived from the black clouds which as they cluster round the
summit are supposed to resemble the gathering of crows. An alternative
name is Hsi-yü-ting--the Happy Rain Peak. The highest point in this
section of the Territory lies among the imposing range of mountains
to the south of Weihaiwei city, and is known to the Chinese as
Fo-erh-ting--"Buddha's Head"--the height of which is about 1,350 feet.
This range of hills has been named by the British after Admiral Sir
Edward Seymour.

The enumeration of all the hills of so mountainous a district as the
Weihaiwei Territory would be useless and of little interest. Some of
them, distinguished by miniature temples dedicated to the _Shan-shên_
(Spirit of the Hill) and to the Supreme God of Taoism, will be
referred to later on.[17] The loftiest hill in the Territory--about
1,700 feet--lies fourteen miles south of Port Edward, and is known to
Europeans as Mount Macdonald, and to the Chinese as Chêng-ch'i Shan or
Cho-ch'i Shan.[18] The Chinese name is derived from a stone chessboard
said to have been carved out of a rock by a _hsien-jên_, a kind of
wizard or mountain recluse who lived there in bygone ages. Most of
the more remarkable or conspicuous hills in China are believed by the
people to have been the abode of weird old men who never came to an end
like ordinary people, but went on living with absurdly long beards and
a profound knowledge of nature's secrets. There are endless legends
about these mysterious beings, many of whom were in fact hermits with
a distaste for the commonplace joys of life and a passion for mountain

On the rocky summit of the Li-k'ou hill (situated in the range of
which Fo-erh-ting is the highest point) there is a large stone which
is symmetrical in shape and differs in appearance from the surrounding
boulders. Legend says that a hermit who cultivated the occult arts
brewed for himself on the top of the hill the elixir of life. An ox
that was employed in grinding wheat at the foot of the hill sniffed
the fragrant brew and broke away from his tether. Rushing up the hill
in hot haste, he dragged after him the great grindstone. Arriving at
the summit, he butted against the cauldron in which the hermit had
cooked the soup of immortality, and eagerly lapped up the liquid as
it trickled down the side. The hermit, emulating an ancient worthy
called Kou Shan-chih who was charioted on the wings of a crane, jumped
on the ox's back, and thereupon the two immortal beings, leaving the
grindstone behind them as a memorial, passed away to heaven and were
seen no more. This is only one of many quaint stories told by the
old folks of Weihaiwei to explain the peculiar formation of a rock,
the existence of a cave in a cliff, or the sanctity of some nameless
mountain-shrine. Thus even the hills of Weihaiwei, bare of forests as
they are and devoid of mystery as they would seem to be, have yet their
gleam of human interest, their little store of romance, their bond of
kinship with the creative mind of man.


[5] The three characters in question are depicted on the binding of
this book.

[6] The following list of distances by sea to the principal
neighbouring ports may be of interest. The distance is in each case
reckoned from the Weihaiwei harbour. _Shantung Promontory_, 30 miles;
_Chefoo_, 42 miles; _Port Arthur_, 89 miles; _Dalny_, 91 miles;
_Chemulpo_, 232 miles; _Taku_, 234 miles; _Shanghai_ 452 miles;
_Kiaochou_, 194 miles; _Nagasaki_, 510 miles.

[7] "The magistrate is the unit of government; he is the backbone of
the whole official system; and to ninety per cent. of the population he
is _the_ Government."--Byron Brenan's _Office of District Magistrate in

[8] England and Wales contain 58,000 square miles, with a population
perhaps slightly less than that of Shantung.

[9] As early as the seventh century B.C. deforestation had become a
recognised evil in the State of Ch'i (part of the modern Shantung),
chiefly owing to the lavish use of timber for coffins and grave-vaults.
(_See_ De Groot's _Religious System of China_, vol. ii. pp. 660-1.)

[10] Especially some of the sea-beaches, the defiles that lie between
Yü-chia-k'uang and Shang Chuang, and the valleys in which are situated
Ch'i-k'uang, Wang-chia-k'uang, Pei k'ou, Chang-chia-shan, and Ch'ien

[11] The story is quoted in the _T'ai P'ing Huan Yü Chi_ (_chüan_ 20).

[12] With regard to this assistance from spirits, cf. the Jewish legend
that King Solomon by the aid of a magic ring controlled the demons and
compelled them to give their help in the building of the great Temple.

[13] See _T'ai P'ing Huan Yü Chi_, _loc. cit._

[14] For accounts of other appearances of the "sea-serpent" in Chinese
waters, see Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_, pp. 109, 113-4.

[15] See pp. 53 and 36.

[16] _Shan_ is the Chinese word for "Hill."

[17] See pp. 391 _seq._

[18] See pp. 397-8.

[19] See pp. 393 _seq._



Though Chinese historians have never set themselves to solve that
modern European problem as to whether history is or is not a science,
they have always--or at least since the days of Confucius--had a
strong sense of its philosophical significance and its didactic value.
Of the writings with which the name of Confucius is connected, that
known as the _Ch'un Ch'iu_ or "Spring and Autumn Annals" is the one
that he himself considered his greatest achievement, and Mencius
assures us that when the Master had written this historical work,
"rebellious ministers and bad sons were struck with terror." The
modern reader is perhaps apt to wonder what there was in the jerky,
disconnected statements of the _Ch'un Ch'iu_ to terrify any one,
however conscience-stricken; but Mencius's remark shows that history
was already regarded as a serious employment, well fitted to engage the
attention of philosophers and teachers of the people.

For a long time, indeed, practice lagged a long way behind theory.
There is some reason to suppose that Confucius himself was not above
adapting facts to suit his political opinions, which shows that history
had not yet secured for itself a position of great dignity. The oldest
historical work in the language is the _Shu Ching_, which is believed
to have been edited by Confucius. Certainly the sage's study of this
work does not seem to have inspired him with any lofty theories as
to how history ought to be treated, for his own work is considerably
balder and less interesting than the old one. The Confucian who wrote
the historical commentary known as the _Tso-chuan_ improved upon his
master's methods very greatly, and his work can be read with pleasure
at the present day; but the first great Chinese historian did not
appear till the second century B.C. in the person of Ssŭ-ma Ch'ien. For
several reasons it would be incorrect to style him the Herodotus of
China, but he may at least be regarded as the father of the modern art
of historical writing in that country.[20]

Yet his example did not bring about the abolition of the old methods of
the dry-bones annalists; for while the writers of the great Dynastic
Histories have been careful to imitate and if possible improve upon
his advanced style and method, and have thus produced historical
works which for fidelity to truth, comprehensiveness, and literary
workmanship will often bear comparison with similar productions in
Europe, the compilers of the innumerable local histories have almost
invariably contented themselves with legends, fairy-tales, and the
merest chronicle of notable events arranged under the heads of
successive years. The enormous quantity of these local histories may be
realised from the fact that each province, prefecture and district, as
well as each famous lake and each celebrated mountain, has one of its

These works are often very voluminous: an account of a single famous
mountain, with its monasteries, sometimes extends over a dozen separate
books; and the account of Ssŭch'uan, a single province, is not far
short of two hundred volumes in length. These productions are not,
indeed, only of an historical and legendary nature: they include full
topographical information, elaborate descriptions of cities, temples,
and physical features, separate chapters on local customs, natural
productions and distinguished men and women, and anthologies of the
best poems and essays descriptive of special features of interest or
inspired by the local scenery.

On legends and folk-lore and anything that seems in any way marvellous
or miraculous, the compiler lingers long and lovingly; but when he
comes to the narrative of definite historical facts he is apparently
anxious to get over that dry but necessary part of his labours as
rapidly as possible, and so gives us but a bare enumeration of the
events in the order of their occurrence, and in the briefest and most
direct manner possible.

As a rule, his succinctly-stated matters of fact may be regarded as
thoroughly reliable. When a Chinese annalist states that in the year
990 there was a serious famine at Weihaiwei, the reader may take it for
granted that the famine undoubtedly occurred, however uninstructive the
fact may be in the opinion of those who live nearly a thousand years
later. What is apt to strike one as inexplicable is the occasional
appearance, in a list of prosaic details which may be accepted as
generally reliable, of some statement which suggests that the compiler
must have suddenly lost control of his senses. For instance, we read
in the _Wên-têng Chih_ or Annals of the district in which the greater
part of Weihaiwei is situated, that in the year which corresponds with
1539 there were disastrous floods, and that in the autumn a large
dragon suddenly made its appearance in a private dwelling. "It burst
the walls of the house," says the chronicler, "and so got away; and
then there was a terrific hailstorm." Why such startling absurdities
are introduced into a narrative that is generally devoid of the least
imaginative sparkle, may be easily understood when we remember that
such animals as dragons, phœnixes and unicorns and many other strange
creatures were believed in (or at least their existence was not
questioned) by educated Chinese up to a quite recent date; and the
writer of the _Wên-têng Chih_, when noting down remarkable occurrences
as they were brought to his notice, saw no reason whatever why he
should doubt the appearance of the dragon any more than he should doubt
the reality of the floods or the hailstorm. That the dragon episode
could not have happened because dragons did not exist was no more
likely to occur to the honest Chinese chronicler than a doubt about
the real existence of a personal Devil and a fiery Hell was likely to
beset a pious Scottish Presbyterian of the eighteenth century, or than
a disbelief in the creation of the world in six days in the year 4004
B.C. was likely to disturb the minds of the pupils of Archbishop Ussher.

The Chinese chronicles from which we derive our knowledge of the past
history of Weihaiwei and the adjacent country are those of Wên-têng
in four volumes, Jung-ch'êng in four, Ning-hai in six and Weihaiwei
(that is, the Wei of Weihai) in two. The first three are printed from
wooden blocks in the usual old-fashioned Chinese style, and this means
that recently-printed copies are far less clear and legible than the
first impressions, which are unfortunately difficult to obtain; the
last (that of Weihaiwei) seems to exist in manuscript only, and is
consequently very rare. It is from these four works chiefly, though not
solely, that the information given in the rest of this chapter, as in
many other parts of the book, has been culled; and while endeavouring
to include only such details as are likely to be of some interest to
the European reader, I trust there will be enough to give him an
accurate idea not only of the history of Weihaiwei but also of that
prodigious branch of Chinese literature of which these works are

The traditions of Weihaiwei and its neighbourhood take us back to the
days of myth. The position of this region at the end of a peninsula
which formed, so far as China knew, the eastern limit of the civilised
world, made it, as we have seen, the fitting birthplace of legend
and marvel. Not content with taking us back to the earliest days of
eastern Shantung as a habitable region, the legends assure us of
a time when it was completely covered by the ocean. Thousands of
years ago, it is said, a Chinese princess was drowned there.[21] She
was then miraculously turned into a bird called a _ching wei_, and
devoted herself in her new state of existence to wreaking vengeance
on the cruel sea for having cut short her human life. This she did by
flying to and fro between land and sea carrying stones in her beak
and dropping them into the water one by one until, by degrees, they
emerged above the surface and formed dry land. Thus her revenge for the
drowning incident was complete: she punished the sea by annihilating it.

For many centuries--and in this matter history and legend coincide--the
peninsular district of Shantung, including Weihaiwei, was inhabited
by a non-Chinese race of barbarians. Not improbably they were among
the aboriginal inhabitants of the central plains of China, who
were driven west, south and east before the steady march of the
invading Chinese, or--if we prefer to believe that the latter were an
autochthonous race--by the irresistible pressure of Chinese expansion.
The eastward-driven section of the aborigines, having been pressed into
far-distant Shantung, perhaps discovered that unless they made a stand
there they would be driven into the sea and exterminated; so they held
their ground and adapted themselves to the new conditions like the
Celts in Wales and Strathclyde, while the Chinese, observing that the
country was hilly, forest-clad, and not very fertile, swept away to the
richer and more tempting plains of the south-west.

This may or may not be a correct statement of what actually occurred:
all we know for certain is that at the dawn of the historical epoch
eastern Shantung was still inhabited by a people whom the Chinese
regarded as uncouth foreigners. The name given to them in the _Shu
Ching_ is Yü I, words which, if they are to be translated at all,
may be rendered as "the barbarians of the hill regions." The period
to which the _Shu Ching_ assigns them is that of the more or less
mythical Emperors Yao, Shun and Yü, whose reigns are assigned to the
twenty-third and twenty-fourth centuries B.C., the Chinese Golden Age.
An alternative view of the Yü I is that they were not the people of
eastern Shantung, but the inhabitants of one of the Japanese islands.
Dr. Legge, again, took the view that Ch'ing Chou, one of the nine
provinces into which the Emperor Yü divided the Empire, included
the modern kingdom of Korea. As the Yü I are always referred to as
inhabiting the most easterly portion of the Empire, Dr. Legge was
obliged to assign them to some part of the Korean peninsula[22];
following certain Chinese writers, moreover, he took Yü I to be a
place-name, though this surely can only have been by the transference
of the name or nickname of a people to their place of habitation. The
whole question is hardly worth discussing, for it is almost impossible
to disentangle fact from myth in respect of any of the alleged events
of that far-off age; though, on the whole, it seems improbable that
Yü's Empire--presuming that Yü was an historical personage--ever
extended as far as some patriotic Chinese commentators would like to
make out, or ever included any portion of either Korea or Japan. The
great K'ang Hsi dictionary definitely states that the Yü I country
"is the present Têng-chou," which includes the north-eastern section
of Shantung all the way to the Promontory. The dictionary also
describes it as "the place where the sun rises." An interesting point
in connection with the Yü I is that it was to their country that the
Emperor Yao (2357 B.C.) is said to have sent one of the Imperial
Astronomers to "observe the heavens." The heavens of those days must
have been well worth observing, for Chinese legends say there were then
ten suns,[23] which all rose out of a prodigious abyss of hot water.
At one time, it was said, nine of the suns sat every day in the lower
branches of a great tree that grew in the land of Fu-sang, and one sat
on the topmost branch; but in the time of Yao all the suns climbed up
together to the top of the tree and made everything so uncomfortably
hot that the Emperor shot at them and succeeded in destroying nine.
Since then the world has had to content itself with a single sun.[24]

Assuming that the ordinary interpretations of the _Shu Ching_ are
correct, it appears that in the Golden Age of Yao the office of
Astronomer-Royal, as we should say, was an exclusive perquisite of
two families surnamed Hsi and Ho. Four members of these privileged
families were sent to establish observatories in the four quarters
of the Empire, east, west, south, and north, in order that they
might "deliver respectfully the seasons to the people." The passage
of the _Shu Ching_ in which this matter is mentioned[25] is of
great scientific interest on account of its astronomical details,
and of great importance as establishing the reliability of early
Chinese records. The only point that concerns us here is that one of
the astronomers--namely, the second of three of the privileged Ho
brothers--was sent to a tract of country called Yang Ku--"the Valley
of Sunlight"--in the territory of the Yü I. His special duty it was
to "receive as a guest the rising sun, and to adjust and arrange the
labours of the Spring." Monopoly and absence of competition seem
to have had their inevitable result; the privileged families of
Hsi and Ho fell into utter disgrace, and were charged with having
"neglected the ordering of the seasons and allowed the days to get
into confusion,"--and all this because they gave themselves up to the
pleasures of wine and female society instead of keeping a careful watch
on the movements of the heavenly bodies. The Hsi and Ho had evidently
become magnates of no small importance, for it was necessary to send
an army to punish them. Their main offence, as we gather from the _Shu
Ching_,[26] was that they made some sad blunder in connection with an
eclipse, and the penalty attached to an offence of this nature was
death. The only point with reference to all this that bears upon our
subject is that the eastern observatory, presided over by one of the Ho
family, was probably situated somewhere in the extreme eastern part of
the Shantung peninsula: and though it is open to sceptics to declare
that the astronomer, the observatory, and the Emperor himself were all
figments of the Chinese imagination, it is equally open to any one to
hold, though quite impossible for him to prove, that the Yang Ku--the
Vale of Sunlight--was no other than the sandy strip of sun-bleached
territory that lies between the sombre rocks of the Shantung Promontory
and the most easterly hills of Weihaiwei.[27]

Whether the people of this district were or were not called the
Barbarians of the Hill Regions at the dawn of Chinese history, or
whether in their territory there was or was not a place called the Vale
of Sunlight, does not affect the undoubted truth of the statement that
the Shantung peninsula was up to historic times inhabited by a race, or
the remnants of a race, that was not Chinese. We may be sure, from what
we know of the boundaries and inter-relations of the various Chinese
states in the Confucian epoch (that is, the sixth century B.C.), that
if Confucius himself had travelled from his native state of Lu through
that of Ch'i and so on in a north-easterly direction until he reached
the sea, he would have been obliged to engage an interpreter to enable
him to communicate with the inhabitants of the district we now know as

We may presume without rashness that as time went on these Eastern
barbarians gradually assimilated themselves with, or were assimilated
by, their civilised Chinese neighbours. The process was probably a
long one, for we do not hear of the establishment of ordinary Chinese
civil government until the epoch of the Han dynasty, about 200 B.C.
Perhaps the legendary journeys of Ch'in Shih Huang-ti, the "First
Emperor," which, as we have seen, are supposed to have taken place a
few years earlier, really represent some great military achievement
whereby the far-eastern barbarians were for the first time brought
under the Chinese yoke. The local annals mention the fact that during
the Chou dynasty, which preceded that of Ch'in Shih Huang-ti and held
the throne of China from 1122 B.C. to 255 B.C., the present district
of Wên-têng (including Weihaiwei) formed part of the Mou-tzŭ country;
but it must have been an independent or semi-independent state, for no
Chinese administrators are mentioned. Later on there was an hereditary
marquisate of Mou-p'ing, which extended over much of the country we are

The dynasty founded by the "First Emperor" divided the whole Empire as
it then was into thirty-six _chün_ or provinces, and Wên-têng formed
part of the Ch'i province. At last, in the sixth year of Kao Tsu of the
Han dynasty (201 B.C.), a Chinese magisterial district was founded in
the eastern peninsula for the first time, though the city chosen as the
centre of government was not Wên-têng but a place called Pu-yeh-ch'êng,
and the _hsien_ or magisterial district was accordingly known as
Pu-yeh-Hsien. This city, which is said[28] to have been founded by one
Lai-tzŭ in the "Spring and Autumn" period twenty-five centuries ago,
is now a small village in the modern Jung-ch'êng district, a short
distance from the British frontier on the Chinese side, and whatever
glory it may once have possessed has totally departed. The origin
of the name, which means "Nightless," is unknown, though naturally
one would like to connect it in some way with the Sunlit Vale of the
astronomer Ho. The new _hsien_ city was assigned to the prefecture of
Tung-lai, then the most easterly prefecture in the province.

From this time onward all the north-eastern part of Shantung, including
the districts with which we are specially concerned, remained under the
civil administration of China. From time to time various changes were
made in the seat of district-government and in the boundaries of the
prefectures, but these it would be superfluous to follow in detail. In
the fourth year of T'ien T'ung (568 of our era), Wên-têng city became
the magistrate's headquarters, and the district was placed in the
Ch'ang-kuang prefecture under the name of Wên-têng-shan Hsien. Early in
the period K'ai Huang (581-600), the abolished Ch'ang-kuang prefecture
gave place to Mou Chou, and Wên-têng was placed in the Tung-lai
prefecture, to which Pu-yeh had formerly been assigned. Passing over
many similar administrative changes of no special significance we come
to the Ming dynasty, which began to reign in 1368. In the ninth year of
Hung Wu (1376) the present prefecture of Têng-chou was created. Both
Wên-têng and Ning-hai districts were assigned to the new prefecture and
have remained under its jurisdiction ever since.

Before Jung-ch'êng (in the neighbourhood of the Shantung Promontory)
was made a separate magistracy, which was not till 1735, the position
of Wên-têng was most responsible and often perilous, for it faced
the sea on three sides--north, east, and south. The chronic danger
that menaced these shores came from the restless Japanese. From
the time of the Northern Wei dynasty (401 of our era) onwards, the
Chinese Government found it necessary to take special measures for the
protection of the Shantung coasts from Japanese pirates. Elaborate
military precautions, say the records, were taken in 742, during the
epoch of the mighty T'ang dynasty, and again in 1040 (Sung dynasty)
and in 1341 (Yüan dynasty). The failure of the warlike Mongols (who
founded the last-named dynasty) when they took to over-sea expeditions,
is no less remarkable than their wonderful successes on land. The
armadas despatched in 1274 and in 1281 by the great Kublai Khan for
the purpose of reducing to obedience the refractory Japanese has been
spoken of as an unwarranted attack on the liberty of a free and gallant
people, which met with well-deserved failure; but when we know how the
pirates of Japan had repeatedly harassed the coasts of China and, more
particularly, had made innumerable murderous attacks on the helpless
farmers and fishermen of the eastern coasts of Shantung, an entirely
new light is thrown upon Kublai's Japanese policy.

The whole history of Asia and of the world might have been changed
(perhaps for the worse, but not necessarily so) if the mighty Mongol
fleet that set sail for Japan in 1281 had not been scattered by hostile
winds and waves and defeated by its brave human adversaries. This was
the only serious attempt ever made by China to conquer Japan, and
though the Chinese dynasty of that day had carried its victorious
arms through a great part of the Euro-Asiatic continent it utterly
failed in its efforts to reduce to vassalage the island Empire of the
East. Yet it was not always Japan that represented enlightenment and
civilisation: it was not always China that stood for stagnation and
barbarism. When Kublai sent envoys to Japan in 1275 and in 1279 they
were not treated with the courtesy that the world has in more recent
years learned to expect from the natives of Japan: they were simply
deprived of their heads.

The disasters to their fleets appear to have discouraged the Chinese
from again trying their fortunes on the ocean; while the Japanese,
always intrepid sailors and fighters, re-entered with zest into the
profitable occupation of raiding the coasts of China and robbing her of
her sea-borne merchandise. "The spacious days of great Elizabeth," made
glorious for England by knightly freebooters and gentleman pirates,
were to some extent anticipated in the north-western Pacific during
the twelfth and succeeding centuries of our era. Japan took more than
ample revenge for the insult offered her by the great Kublai. The
whole coast-line of China lay open to her attacks and she utilised
the situation to the utmost, but it was north-eastern Shantung that
suffered most of all. For a long time the people of Wên-têng and
neighbouring districts, who were only poor fisher-folk and farmers,
sparse in numbers, vainly implored the Government to save them from
their miseries and protect them from the sea-rovers. The measures
hitherto fitfully employed to safeguard the coast had been repeatedly
shown to be inadequate. Soon after the commencement of the Ming period
(1368) the Imperial Government at last began to make a serious effort
to keep inviolate the shores of the Empire and to succour the people
who "had in the past suffered grievous hurt," so runs a Chinese account
of the matter, "from the pestilent outrages committed by the rascally

It may be mentioned that in the Chronicles of Wên-têng and Weihaiwei
the Japanese are never referred to except as _Wo_ or _Wo-jên_, which
literally means Dwarfs. This term was not current only among the
unlettered classes: it was regularly employed in official documents
and memorials intended for the inspection of the Shantung Provincial
Government.[29] A great Chinese geographical work published in
the tenth century of our era is even more uncomplimentary, for it
states[30] that "since the later Han dynasty [which reigned from 25 to
220 A.D.] the country [Japan] has been known as that of the Dwarf-slave
country," and it gives details as to the tribute said to have been paid
by Japan to China for a period of many centuries.

The new defensive measures taken by the Government consisted in the
establishment of Military Districts (_Wei_)[31] at various strategic
points round the coast of Shantung. Of these Districts Weihaiwei was
one and Ch'êng Shan was another. These two _Wei_ were created in 1398,
thirty years after the establishment of the Ming dynasty. The carrying
out of the project was entrusted to two high officials, one of whom
took up his temporary residence on Liukungtao. A wall was built a few
years later (1403) round the village of Weihai, the modern Weihaiwei
"city," and the headquarters of Ch'êng-shan-wei, known to us as the
town of Jung-ch'êng, was similarly raised to the dignity of a walled
city. Military colonies--that is, bands of soldiers who were allowed
to take up agricultural land and to found families--were brought into
every Wei under the command of various leaders, the chief of whom
were known as _chih-hui_. This title, generally applied to the chiefs
of certain non-Chinese tribes, was in many cases hereditary. Even in
Weihai, Ning-hai and Ch'êng-shan the _chih-hui_ were petty military
chieftains rather than regular military officers. There were other
commanders known as _li ssŭ_, _ch'ien-hu_ and _pai-hu_,[32] all of
which titles--being generally applied to petty tribal chiefs--were
probably selected in order to emphasise the two facts that the Wei
system was extraneous to the general scheme of Chinese civil and
military administration and that the officers of a Wei were not only
soldiers but also exercised a general jurisdiction, civil as well as
military, over the affairs of the Wei and its soldier-colonists.

[Illustration: PART OF WEIHAIWEI CITY WALL (see p. 47).]

_Photo by Fleet Surgeon C. M. Beadnell, R.N._
(Summit of Mount Macdonald.)]

The Chinese Government has always done its best, in the interests of
peace and harmony and general good order, to inculcate in the minds of
its subjects a reverence for civil authority. Hence, besides appointing
a number of military officials whose enthusiasm for their profession
might lead them to an exaggerated notion of the dignity of the arts
of war, the Government also appointed a _Ju Hsüeh_, or Director of
Confucian studies, such as existed in every civil magistracy. To
render the ultimate civil control more effective the Wei were at first
regarded as nominally under the civil jurisdiction of the appropriate
magistracies: Weihaiwei thus remained an integral part of Wên-têng
Hsien. A change was made apparently on the recommendation of the
magistrate of Wên-têng himself, who pointed out the failure of the
joint-administration of Hsien and Wei and said that "the existing
system whereby the Magistracy controls the Wei is much less convenient
than a system whereby each Wei would look after itself"--subject
of course to the ultimate control of the higher civil authorities.
From the year 1659, then, that is sixty-one years after the first
establishment of the Wei system, Hsien and Wei were treated as two
entirely separate jurisdictions, neither having any authority over the
other. This was the system that remained in force from that time onward
until the final abolition of the Wei in 1735.

The main object in establishing these Wei was, as we have seen, to
provide some effective means of repelling the persistent attacks
of Japanese raiders. In this object the authorities appear to have
been only moderately successful. "When the sea-robbers heard of what
had been done," says one exultant writer, "they betook themselves a
long way off and dared not cast any more longing looks at our coast;
and thus came peace to hundreds and thousands of people. No more
intermittent alarms and disorders, no more panics and stampedes for
the people of Weihai!" This view of the situation was unduly rosy,
for in the fourth year of the reign Ming Yung Lo (1406)--only eight
years after the creation of the several Wei--the Japanese (_Wo k'ou_,
"Dwarf-pirates") effected a landing at Liukungtao, and additional
troops had to be summoned from long distances before they could be
expelled. Two years later--as if to show their contempt for one Wei
after another--they landed in force at Ch'êng-shan, and though they
did not succeed in capturing the new walled city of Ch'êng-shan-wei
they overwhelmed the garrisons of two neighbouring forts. These
daring raids resulted in an increase and reorganisation of the troops
attached to each Wei, and in the appointment of an officer with the
quaint title of "Captain charged with the duty of making preparations
against the Dwarfs." Henceforward the forts under each Wei were known
as "Dwarf-catching Stations," while the soldiers were "Dwarf-catchers."
It is not explained what happened to the Dwarfs when caught, but
there is no reason to suppose they were treated with undue leniency.
It is perhaps well for the self-respect of the Chinese that the Wei
establishments had been abolished long before the capture of Weihai
by the Japanese in 1895, otherwise the Catchers would have found
themselves in the ignoble position of the Caught.

We have seen that the city wall of Weihaiwei was first built in 1403.
The troops were stationed within the city and also in barracks erected
at the various beacon-posts and forts which lined the coast to east and
west, but considerable numbers in times of peace lived on their farms
in the neighbourhood and only took up arms when specially summoned.
The official quarters of the commandant of the Wei--the principal
_chih-hui_--were in the yamên which is now the residence of the Chinese
deputy-magistrate. The number of troops under his charge seems to have
varied according to the exigencies of the moment, but it is recorded
that Weihaiwei was at first (at the end of the fourteenth century)
provided with a garrison of two thousand soldiers, which number was
gradually increased. The area of the Wei--including the lands devoted
to direct military uses and those farmed by the military colonists--was
probably considerably less than one hundred square miles in extent,
and embraced a part of the most northerly (peninsular) portion of the
territory now administered by Great Britain.

It was not only from foreign "barbarians" that the inhabitants
of Wên-têng had to fear attack. Their own lawless countrymen were
sometimes no less daring and ruthless than the Japanese. Those that
came by sea were, indeed, foreigners in the eyes of the people of
Shantung, for most of them came from the provinces south of the Yangtse
and spoke dialects quite incomprehensible in the north. During the
Chia-ching period (1522-66) a Chinese pirate named Wang Hsien-wu seized
the island of Liukung, within full view of the soldiers of the Wei,
and maintained himself there with such ease and comfort that he built
fifty-three houses for his pirate band and took toll of all junks
that passed in and out of the harbour. He was finally dislodged by a
warlike Imperial Censor, who after his main work was accomplished made
a careful survey of the arable land of the island and had it put under
cultivation by soldier-farmers. This useful work was again pursued with
energy rather more than half a century later, when in 1619 the prefect
T'ao Lang-hsien admitted a few immigrants to the island and enrolled
them as payers of land-tax. With a view to their better protection
against further sudden attacks from pirates he established on the
island a system of signal-beacons.

The last year or two of the Ming dynasty (1642-3) was a troublous and
anxious time for all peace-loving Chinese. The events that led to the
expulsion of the Mings and the establishment of the present (Manchu)
dynasty on the Chinese throne are too well known to need detailed
mention. A great part of the Empire was the prey of roving bands of
rebels and brigands, one of whom--a remarkable adventurer named Li
Tzŭ-ch'êng--after repeatedly defeating the imperial troops finally
made himself master of the city of Peking. The last Emperor of the
Ming dynasty, overwhelmed with shame and grief, hanged himself within
the palace grounds. The triumph of Li was short-lived, for the warlike
tribes of Manchuria, readily accepting an invitation from the Chinese
imperialist commander-in-chief to cross the frontier and drive out the
presumptuous rebels, soon made themselves supreme in the capital and
in the Empire. The condition of the bulk of the Chinese people during
this time of political ferment was pitiable in the extreme. Military
leaders, unable to find money to pay their troops, neither could nor
would prevent them from committing acts of pillage and murder. Bands
of armed robbers, many of them ex-soldiers, roamed over the land
unchecked, leaving behind them a trail of fire and blood.

Confining our attention to the districts with which we are specially
concerned, we find that a band of brigands took by assault the walled
city of Ch'êng-shan, while at Weihaiwei the conduct of the local
troops was so disorderly that civilians with their wives and families
had to abandon their fields and homes and flee for refuge to the
tops of hills.[33] The _chih-hui_ in command of the local Wei at
this momentous time, coming to the conclusion that the dynasty was
tottering and that the seals of office issued by the Ming Emperors
would shortly bring disaster on their possessors, deserted his post
and sought a dishonoured refuge at home. It was not for several years
afterwards that the distracted people of Weihaiwei, or such of them
as had survived the miseries of those terrible days, once more found
themselves in possession of their ancestral farms and reasonably secure
from rapine and outrage.

The strong rule of the early Ta Ch'ing Emperors (the Manchu dynasty)
had its natural effect throughout the whole country. Law-abiding folk
enjoyed the fruits of their industry without molestation, while robbers
and pirates found their trade both more dangerous and less profitable
than in the good old days of political disorder. Yet it was not to be
supposed that even the great days of K'ang Hsi and his two remarkable
successors were totally unmarked by occasional troubles for the people
of so remote and exposed a section of the Empire as north-eastern
Shantung. The year 1703, say the local annals, was a disastrous one,
for floods in spring and a drought in summer were followed in autumn by
the arrival at Weihaiwei of shiploads of Chinese pirates. Soldiers from
the neighbouring camps of Ning-hai, Fu-shan (Chefoo) and Wên-têng had
to be sent for to assist the local garrison in beating them off. Nine
years later, on the seventeenth day of the tenth month, pirates arrived
at the island of Chi-ming,[34] whereupon a great fight ensued in which
a brave and distinguished Chinese commander lost his life.

An important year for the districts we are considering was 1735. For
some years previous to this the question of the abolition of the
various Wei and amalgamating them with the appropriate Hsien had been
eagerly discussed in civil and military circles. The question was
not, indeed, one of dismantling fortifications or denuding the place
of troops: these, it was reluctantly recognised, were a permanent
necessity. The disputed point was merely one of jurisdiction and
organisation. As we have seen, the Wei were something quite exceptional
in the Chinese administrative system; the creation of districts under
direct military control, free from any interference on the part of the
civil magistrates, had been in Chinese eyes a dangerous departure from
the traditional administrative practice of past ages and could not be
justified except as a temporary measure, which, being bad in principle,
should only be resorted to under pressure of abnormal conditions.
Several of the memorials and despatches written for and against the
retention of the Wei are preserved in the printed Annals of the
districts concerned. The matter was considered of such grave importance
that a provincial governor and a governor-general were separately sent
by the central Government to inquire into local conditions at the
north-eastern peninsula and to prepare detailed reports on the problems
of administration and defence. The end of it all was that in 1735 the
several Wei were abolished: Weihaiwei resumed its old place within the
magistracy of Wên-têng, while the Promontory Wei of Ch'êng-shan was
converted into a new magisterial district under the name of Jung-ch'êng
Hsien. Similar fates befell the other Wei of eastern Shantung, such
as Ching-hai, Ta-sung and Ning-hai. The boundary of Jung-ch'êng was
placed as far west as the villages of Shêng-tzŭ and Ch'iao-t'ou,[35]
and therefore, as we have seen, the territory temporarily administered
by Great Britain contains portions of both Wên-têng and Jung-ch'êng

In most magisterial districts which include seaports or large
market-centres there are certain small officials styled _hsün-chien_
who reside at such places and carry on the routine and minor duties
of civil government and police administration on behalf and under the
authority of the district-magistrates. A _hsün-chien_ in fact presides
over what may be called a sub-district and acts as the magistrate's
deputy. Before Weihai ceased to be a Wei an official of this class
resided near what was then the northern boundary of the Wên-têng
magistrate's jurisdiction, namely at a place called Wên-ch'üan-chai.
When the Wei was absorbed in the Wên-têng district in 1735 and the
boundaries of that district were thus made to include all the land
that lay to the north, the sub-district of Wên-ch'üan-chai was
abolished, and a new sub-district created at Weihai with headquarters
at Weihai city. The last _hsün-chien_ of Wên-ch'üan-chai became the
first _hsün-chien_ of Weihai, and the former place sank at once into
the position of an ordinary country village. Wên-ch'üan-chai must not
be confused with Wên-ch'üan-t'ang, the headquarters of the South
Division of the territory under British rule;[36] the two places are
several miles apart, though both at present fall within the magisterial
jurisdiction of the British District Officer. It is interesting to note
that Wên-ch'üan-t'ang itself was long ago--probably before the days of
the Ming dynasty--the seat of a military official, the site of whose
yamên is still pointed out by the people of the locality. The last
_hsün-chien_ of Wên-ch'üan-chai, who was transferred to Weihai city,
was a man of such excellent reputation that his name is remembered
with respect to this day. The people of the neighbourhood still repeat
a well-known old rhyme which he was fond of impressing upon their
ancestors' minds:

  "_Shan yü shan pao
  O yü o pao
  Jo shih pu pao
  Shih-ch'ên wei tao._"

This being translated means:

"Happiness is the reward of virtue; misery is the reward of wickedness.
If virtue and wickedness have not brought their due recompense it is
only because the time has not yet come."

This man, whose name was Yang, is said to have been so upright and
clean-handed an official that when he was relieved of office he found
himself without funds sufficient to take him home to his native place,
which was a long way off. However, being connected by marriage with the
Li family of Ai-shan-ch'ien,[37] he took up his residence with them and
there spent the remainder of his life. He was buried in the graveyard
of the Li family, where his tomb is still to be seen.

The abolition of the Wei necessitated military changes of some
importance, but the descendants of the old military colonists remained
where they were and kept possession of their lands. The only difference
to them was that their names as land-holders were now enrolled in the
ordinary civil registers instead of in separate military registers. The
_chün ti_ (military lands) became _min ti_ (civilian lands) and the
payment of land-tax was substituted for military service.

The country appears to have remained unmolested by external foes until
1798, when a fleet of pirate-junks made its appearance with the usual
disagreeable results. The years 1810-11 were also bad years for the
people, as the eastern part of the province was infested with bands
of roving brigands--probably poor peasants who, having been starved
out of house and home by floods and droughts and having sold all
their property, were asserting their last inalienable right, that of
living. Whatever their provocation may have been, it appears from the
local records that during the two years just mentioned their daring
robberies caused the temporary closing of some of the country-markets.
The robbers went about in armed bands, each consisting of seventy or
eighty men, and complaints were openly made that the officials would
take no active steps to check these disorderly proceedings because the
yamên-runners--the ill-paid or unpaid rabble of official underlings by
whom Chinese yamêns are infested--were in league with the robbers and
received a percentage of the booty as "hush-money." The usual method of
attack adopted by the miscreants was to lurk in the graveyards--where
in this region there is always good cover--and lie in wait for
unprotected travellers. Unlike the Robin Hoods and Dick Turpins of
England they shrank not from robbing the poor, and they spared neither
old woman nor young child.

Human enemies were not the only adverse forces with which the
much-harried peasant of Weihaiwei had to contend. Famine, drought,
earthquake, pestilence, all had their share in adding to his sorrows.
Sometimes his crops were destroyed by locusts; sometimes his domestic
animals became the prey of wild beasts. We find from the Annals that
the first visit of British war-vessels to Weihaiwei, which occurred
in 1816,[38] synchronised with a period of great misery: famines and
epidemics in 1811 and 1812 had been followed by several years of
agricultural distress; and during the years from 1813 to 1818 a new
scourge visited the people in the shape of packs of ravenous wolves.
The officers and men of the _Alceste_ and _Lyra_ might have had
the pleasure, had they only known it, of joining in the wolf-hunts
organised by the local officials.

The published chronicles do not carry us further than the middle of
the nineteenth century, though the yamêns of Wên-têng and Jung-ch'êng
possess all the information necessary for the production of new
up-to-date editions of their local histories as soon as the higher
provincial authorities issue the necessary orders. A new edition of the
_T'ung Chih_, the general Annals and Topography of the whole Province
of Shantung, is at present in course of preparation at the capital; and
to this work each of the magistracies will be required to contribute
its quota of information. If the work is brought up to recent times
it will be interesting to read its account of the war with Japan in
1894-5, and of the capture of Weihaiwei. Before the outbreak of that
war the fortifications of Weihaiwei had been entirely reconstructed
under the direction of European engineers. It was not, however, so
strong a fortress as Port Arthur, upon which six millions sterling had
been spent by the Government, and which was regarded by the Chinese as
impregnable. Yet Port Arthur fell to the victorious Japanese after a
single day's fighting, whereas Weihaiwei, vigorously attacked by land
and sea, did not capitulate till three weeks after the Japanese troops
had landed (on January 20, 1895) at the Shantung Promontory.


[20] A writer in the _Historians' History of the World_, published by
_The Times_ (see vol. xxiv. p. 683), says of the Chinese, that "up to
the advent of Europeans in the sixteenth century A.D. their records are
untrustworthy." This is an erroneous and most extraordinary statement.
The Chinese possessed valuable and, on the whole, reliable records
centuries before a single one of the modern States of Europe had begun
even to furnish material for history, far less produce trustworthy
historical records of its own.

[21] This story is related in that ancient book of marvels the _Shan
Hai Ching_ ("Hill and Sea Classic"). The princess is there said to have
been the daughter of the mythical Emperor Shên-nung (twenty-eighth
century B.C.). As a _ching wei_, the princess is said to have had a
white bill and red claws and to have been in appearance something like
a crow.

[22] See Legge's _Chinese Classics_, vol. iii. pt. 1. pp. 18 and 102-3.

[23] Ten was a sort of mystic number with the ancient Chinese. Lao Tzŭ,
the "Old Philosopher," for instance, is supposed to have had ten lines
on each hand and ten toes on each foot.

[24] These superstitions, which are treated seriously in the _Shan Hai
Ching_, are referred to in the _Lun Hêng_ of Wang Ch'ung, a writer of
the first century A.D. Wang Ch'ung decided that the ten suns could not
have been real suns, for if they had been in a Hot Water Abyss they
would have been extinguished, because water puts out fire; and if they
had climbed a tree their heat would have scorched the branches! (See
Forke's transl. of _Lun Hêng_, Luzac & Co: 1907, pp. 271 _seq._)

[25] See Legge's _Chinese Classics_, vol. iii. pt. 1. pp. 18-23.

[26] _Ibid._, vol. iii. pt. 1. pp. 162 _seq._

[27] The _Shan Hai Ching_ mentions an island in the Wên-têng district,
off the south-east coast, called Su-mên-tao, which still bears that
name; and describes it as _jih yüeh so ch'u_--"the place where the sun
and moon rise." This part of the ocean, though not the island itself,
is visible from the sandy strip mentioned in the text.

[28] See the _T'ai Ping Huan Yü Chi_ (_chüan 20_).

[29] The offensive appellation is preserved to this day in the name of
a small island 120 _li_ south-west of the Shantung Promontory, known as
Dwarfs' Island. The term is still frequently used by the people, and it
often occurred in formal petitions addressed to my own Court until I
expressly forbade, under penalty, its further use.

[30] _T'ai P'ing Huan Yü Chi_, 174th _chüan_, pp. 3 _seq._

[31] See pp. 12 _seq._

[32] For notices concerning the _ch'ien-hu_ and _pai-hu_ of the tribes
of far-western China at the present day, see the author's _From Peking
to Mandalay_ (John Murray: 1908), pp. 172, 176, 190, 425-7, 429.

[33] See p. 31.

[34] See p. 25.

[35] See pp. 14, 98.

[36] See p. 98.

[37] This is a village in British territory near Ai-shan Miao, a temple
described on pp. 385-6.

[38] See p. 1.



Since February 1895 Weihaiwei has never been out of the hands of a
foreign Power. At the conclusion of the war the place was retained in
the hands of the Japanese as security for the due fulfilment of the
conditions of peace. Then followed the concerted action of the three
States of Germany, Russia and France to rob Japan of some of the fruits
of her victory. The moving spirit in this coalition was Russia, who
ousted Japan from Port Arthur and took possession of it herself. As a
result of this manœuvre Great Britain demanded that Weihaiwei should
be "leased" to her "for as long a period as Port Arthur remains in
the occupation of Russia." It may be noted that the original "lease"
of Port Arthur by China to Russia was for twenty-five years, which
period will not elapse till 1923. Another almost simultaneous attack on
Chinese integrity was made by Germany, whose long-sought opportunity of
establishing herself on the coast of China was thrust in her way by the
murder of two of her missionaries in Shantung. (Is it to be wondered
at that the Chinese have at times regarded European missionaries
as the forerunners of foreign armies and warships, in spite of the
missionary's assertion that he is the apostle of universal love and has
come to preach the Golden Rule?)

The Chinese in Shantung have a strange tale to tell of the murder of
those German missionaries. They say the outrage had its origin in the
kidnapping of a woman by an employee in a certain Chinese yamên. She
had influential connexions, who promptly demanded her restitution. The
kidnapper had the ear of the magistrate, who, turning a deaf ear to
his petitioners, or professing to know nothing about the matter, took
no action. The woman's relations then devoted their energy to bringing
ruin upon the magistrate; and after long consultations decided that
the surest and quickest method of doing so would be by killing the two
local missionaries. This, they knew, would infallibly be followed by
a demand from the foreign Government concerned for the magistrate's
degradation and punishment. They had no grudge whatever against the
missionaries, and merely regarded their slaughter as a simple means to
a much-desired end. They carried out their plan with complete success,
and the magistrate's ruin was the immediate result; but a further
consequence, unforeseen by the murderers, was that "His Majesty the
Emperor of China, being desirous of promoting an increase of German
power and influence in the Far East," leased to His Majesty the German
Emperor the territory of Kiaochou. Needless to say, an increase of
the power and influence of any great European Power in the eastern
hemisphere was, very naturally, the last thing to be desired by the
Chinese Emperor and his people. It seems a pity that modern civilised
States have not yet devised some means of putting an end to the ignoble
warfare that is continually waged by the language of diplomacy against
the language of simple truth.

The reader may be interested in some illustrations of the manner in
which the Chinese official chronicler arranges, in chronological
order, his statements of conspicuous local events. The following
lists of occurrences with their dates (which are merely selections
from the available material) are translated direct from the Chinese
Annals of Weihaiwei, Wên-têng, Jung-ch'êng, and Ning-hai. A few of
the meteorological and astronomical details are of some interest, if
their meaning is not always obvious. With regard to the comets, I
have made no attempt at exact verification, though the comet of 1682
was evidently Halley's, which is occupying a good deal of public and
scientific attention at the present time. That of 1741 may have been
either Olbers's or Pons's, and that of 1801 was perhaps Stephan's. But
these are points which are best left to the man of science. The Chinese
dates are in all cases converted into the corresponding dates of the
Christian era.


  40 B.C. A singularly successful year in the wild-silk industry, owing
  to the abundance of silk produced by the silk-worms at Mou-p'ing Shan.


  353 A.D. (about January). The planet Venus crossed the orbit (?) of
  the planet Mars and passed over to the west. [This appears to be

  386 (about July). The planet Jupiter was seen in the daytime in the


  841. In the autumn, hailstorms destroyed houses and ruined crops.


  990. Great famine.


  1295-6. Floods.

  1297. Seventh moon. Great famine. [The Chinese year begins a month
  or more later than the European year. The word "moon" is used as
  an indication that the month is the lunar month, which alone is
  recognised in China.]

  1330. Great famine.

  1355. Locusts destroyed crops.


  1408. Earthquake, with a noise like thunder.

  1506. Seventh moon, sixth day. Great floods, both from sky and ocean.
  Crops destroyed and soil impregnated with salt.

  1511. Wandering brigands entered the district. Hearing the sound of
  artillery, they fled.

  1512. Third moon, thirteenth day. The bell and the drum in the temple
  of Ch'in Shih Huang-ti on Ch'êng-shan[39] sounded of their own accord.
  Immediately afterwards, the temple was destroyed by fire, but the
  images remained intact. On the same day a band of roving robbers
  entered Wên-têng city.

  1513. A flight of locusts darkened the sun.

  1516. Drought and floods. No harvest.

  1518. Famine and starvation.

  1546. Floods. Ninth moon, second day: a hailstorm and an earthquake,
  with a noise like thunder.

  1548. Great earthquake. Countless dwelling-houses overthrown.

  1556. Between five and six in the morning of the twenty-ninth day
  of the twelfth moon (early in 1556) the sun produced four parhelia
  (mock-suns) of great brilliance. The northern one was especially
  dazzling. [The appearance of four parhelia was regarded as unusual
  enough to merit special mention, but old inhabitants of Weihaiwei say
  that two "sun's ears," as they are called, are comparatively often
  seen at sunrise. According to the local folk-lore, a single "ear" on
  the left side of the sun betokens high winds, while a single "ear" on
  the right foretells rain. If "ears" appear on both left and right,
  splendid weather for the farmers is to be expected.]

  1570. Floods. All crops destroyed and houses flooded.

  1576. Third moon, twenty-seventh day. Tremendous storm of wind and
  rain, and ruin of young crops.

  1580. Landslips on the hills.

  1585. Great famine.

  1597. Earthquake and rumbling noise. From this year to 1609 there were
  no good harvests.

  1613. Seventh moon, seventh day. At noon a black vapour came up from
  the north-east. There was a fierce wind and a great fall of rain. In
  the autumn there was a drought.

  1615. A plague of locusts, resulting in the destruction of the crops.

  1616. In spring, a great famine. Men ate human flesh. Free breakfasts
  were provided by the district-magistrate of Wên-têng, Chang
  Chiu-ching, and by the _chih-hui_ of Weihaiwei, T'ao Chi-tsu, whereby
  thousands of lives were saved.

  1620. Seventh moon, eighth day. A great storm, which tore up trees
  and destroyed houses. Many people crushed to death. Ninety-six junks
  wrecked on the coast and over one hundred men drowned.

  1621. Fourth moon, eighteenth day. A rumour was spread that pirates
  had landed on the coast. Many people were so terrified that they fled
  to a distance of 800 _li_, and trampled each other under foot in their
  efforts to escape. It was a false rumour. In the autumn there was an

  1622. Locusts.

  1623-5. Three years of excellent harvests.

  1626. Fifth moon: storm with hailstones as big as hens' eggs.
  Intercalary sixth moon: floods and destruction of crops. Seventh moon:
  great storm that uprooted trees.

  1639. Locusts darkened the sky. Famine.

  1640. Drought. Famine.

  1641. Great famine. More than half the people perished. Men ate human
  flesh. Six hundred taels of money were given by the officials of
  Ning-hai to relieve the people of that district.

  1642-3. No harvests. Country pillaged by robbers.


  1650. Spring and summer: drought. Autumn: floods and crops inundated.

  1656. Great harvest.

  1659. Comet in the Northern Dipper [the stars α β γ δ in Ursa Major].

  1662. At Weihaiwei the tide threw up a monstrous fish which was five
  _chang_ high [over fifty-eight English feet], several tens of _chang_
  long [at least three hundred and sixty feet], with a black body and
  white flesh. The people of the place all went down and spent a couple
  of months or so in cutting up the great beast but did not come to the
  end of it. Those of the people who liked a bit of fun cut out its
  bones and piled them into a mound; the large bones were about twelve
  feet in circumference, the small ones about six feet. The small ones
  were his tail bones. [Stories of monstrous fishes are not rare along
  the Shantung coast, and--allowing for exaggerations with reference to
  dimensions--they are based on a substratum of fact. We have seen (see
  p. 27) that the bones of a vast fish were presented to the Kuan Ti
  temple in Weihaiwei city, where they may still be seen; and another
  set of fishbones adorn the canopy of a theatrical stage in the same
  city. For other references to great fishes, see pp. 24 and 26.]

  1664. Drought. Seventh moon: a comet with a tail twelve feet in length.

  1665. Earthquake. Great drought. Land taxes remitted. A comet.

  1668. First moon. The sun produced four parhelia. On the twenty-fifth
  day a white vapour came from the south-west. On the seventeenth day
  of the sixth moon there was a great earthquake, and there were three
  noises like thunder. Parts of the city walls of Ch'êng-shan-wei and
  Wên-têng collapsed, and many houses. A devastating wind for three days
  spoiled the crops.

  1670. Great snowstorm. Snow lay twelve feet deep. Intensely cold
  weather. Men were frozen to death on the roads and even inside their
  own houses.

  1671. Great landslips on the hills. Sixth moon, rain and floods
  for three days, followed by ruin of crops and partial remission of

  1679. First moon: four halos appeared round the sun. Sixth moon, first
  day, and seventh moon, twenty-eighth day: earthquakes.

  1682. Fifth moon, sixth day: earthquake destroyed two portions of the
  yamên of the district-magistrate, Wên-têng. Eighth moon, first day:
  a comet [Halley's?] was seen in daytime, and did not pass away till
  the eleventh day. In the same moon a violent storm occurred in one
  locality, spoiling the crops.

  1685. Third moon, twelfth day. A violent wind.

  1686. Earthquake. Sixth moon, twenty-eighth day, a comet came from
  the south-east as big as a peck-measure and as bright as the sun.
  It threaded the Southern Dipper and entered the Milky Way, where it
  became invisible. The sound of "heaven's drum" was heard four or five

  1688. Twelfth moon, seventh day. Earthquake.

  1689. Spring: famine. Sixth moon, first day: earthquake.

  1691. Seventh moon, tenth day. Locusts.

  1696. Floods and famine. In winter the district-magistrate provided
  free breakfasts.

  1697. Government grain issued to save the people from starvation. Some
  however died of hunger.

  1703. Floods and drought and a great famine in 1703 were followed in
  1704 by deadly epidemics. More than half the population perished.
  The condition of the survivors was pitiful. They lived by eating
  the thatch that roofed their houses and they also ate human flesh.
  Land-tax remitted for three years.

  1706. Great harvest.

  1709. Rains injured crops. Famine.

  1717. A great snowstorm at Weihaiwei on the twenty-sixth day of the
  first moon. People frozen to death. Eighth moon, rain and hail.

  1719. Seventh moon. Great floods. Houses destroyed and crops ruined;
  the district-magistrate gave free breakfasts and issued grain for

  1723. Great harvest.

  1724. Remission of three-tenths of land-tax for three years. Great
  snowfall in winter.

  1725. In the second moon (about March) occurred the phenomenon of
  the coalescence of sun and moon and the junction of the jewels of
  the five planets.[40] [This has nothing to do with an eclipse.
  It is a phenomenon which is believed to indicate great happiness
  and prosperity, and good harvests. It is said to consist in the
  apparent simultaneous rising of sun and moon accompanied by peculiar
  atmospheric conditions. Some of the planets are supposed to go through
  a similar process.] #/

  1730. Twelfth moon, twenty-eighth day (about January or February
  1730), at nine in the evening, some beautiful parti-coloured clouds
  appeared in the north. They were resplendent with many tints
  intricately interwoven, and several hours passed before they faded
  away. Every one declared that the phenomenon betokened unexampled

  1736. First year of the reign of Ch'ien Lung. Three-tenths of the
  land-tax remitted. Eleventh moon, twenty-fourth and twenty-sixth days,

  1739. Drought and floods.

  1740. Land-tax remitted and public granaries opened.

  1741. Seventh moon. A comet came from the west and did not fade till
  the twelfth moon. Great harvests.

  1743. On the festival of the Ninth of the Ninth Moon a strange fish
  came ashore near Weihaiwei. Its head was like a dog's, its belly like
  a sea-turtle's. Its tail was six _ch'ih_ long [say seven English feet]
  and at the end were three pointed prongs. On its back was a smaller
  fish, about ten inches long, which seemed to be made of nothing
  but spikes and bones. No one knew the name of either fish. It was
  suggested that perhaps the smaller one had fastened itself to the big
  one, and that the latter, unable to bear the pain of the small one's
  spikes, had dashed for the shore.

  1747. Seventh moon, fifteenth day. Great storm: crops ruined.

  1748. Locusts hid the sun and demolished the crops.

  1749. Tenth moon, twenty-second day. Great storm and many drowned.

  1751-2. Floods. Crops damaged by water and a hailstorm. Many died of
  starvation. Assistance given by Government, by the importation of
  grain from Manchuria.

  1753. Good harvests.

  1761. Great snowfall. Many geese and ducks frozen to death.

  1765. Second moon, eleventh day: earthquake. Sixth moon: great floods,
  land flooded, houses destroyed, people injured.

  1766. Great drought.

  1767. Third moon, twenty-first day: great storm, trees uprooted and
  houses destroyed. Sixth moon, twentieth day: earthquake.

  1769. Autumn, a comet.

  1770. Seventh moon, twenty-ninth day. In the evening the north quarter
  of the sky became red as if on fire.

  1771. Sixth moon. Continuous rain from second to ninth days. Crops
  ruined; famine.

  1774. Second moon, second day: great storm which made the sands fly
  and the rocks roll, burst open houses and uprooted trees. Heaven and
  earth became black. Eighth moon: locusts.

  1775. Summer, great drought. Eighth moon, seventeenth day: earthquake.

  1783. From first to sixth moon, no rain; food excessively dear.

  1785. Eighth moon, tenth day. Earthquake.

  1790. Tenth moon, sixth day. Earthquake.

  1791. Tenth moon, ninth day. Earthquake.

  1796. First moon, second day. A sound like thunder rolled from
  north-east to south-west.

  1797. Eleventh moon, second day. "Heaven's drum" was heard.

  1801. Fourth moon. A star was seen in the north, of fiery red colour;
  it went westward, and was like a dragon. Summer and autumn, great
  drought: all grass and trees withered. Famine in winter.

  1802. Tenth moon. Wheat eaten by locusts.

  1803. Great snowfall.

  1807. Seventh moon. Comet seen in the west, dying away in the tenth
  moon. Good harvests.

  1810. Floods. In spring, devastation was caused by wolves.

  1811. Eighth moon. A comet was seen, more than forty feet long. There
  was a great famine. During this year there were seventeen earthquakes,
  the first occurring on the ninth day of the fourth moon, the last on
  the sixteenth day of the ninth moon.[41]

  1812. Famine in spring. The people lived on willow-leaves and the bark
  of trees. Multitudes died of disease. The district-magistrate opened
  the public granaries. The famine continued till the wheat was ripe.

  1813. Wolves caused devastation from this year onwards until 1818. The
  year 1816 was the worst, and the officials organised expeditions to
  hunt the wolves with dogs.

  1815. A comet was seen in the west.

  1817. Fourth moon, eighth day. Earthquake and loud noise.

  1818. Sixth moon, floods. People drowned. A kind of temporary lifeboat
  service was organised by the officials.

  1821. Famine. Locusts. A deadly pestilence in autumn. Fourth moon, a
  repetition of the celestial phenomenon mentioned under the date 1725.

  1823. Earthquake. #/

  1835. Sixth and seventh moons. More than forty days of rain.
  Government help given to the people.

  1836. Famine. Food and seed provided by the officials. Abnormally high
  tides this year.

  1838. Fourth moon. A plague of locusts. The district-magistrate
  collected the people of the country, and went out at their head to
  catch and slay the insects. After a few days they utterly vanished.
  Excellent harvest thereafter.

  1839. From fourth to seventh moon, crops spoiled by excessive rain.
  Tenth moon, twelfth day, a noisy earthquake. From the sixteenth to the
  twenty-third of the same month rain fell unceasingly.

  1840. Eclipse of the sun.

  1842. Sixth moon, first day, an eclipse of the sun, during which the
  stars were visible.

  1844. Eighth moon, twenty-fifth day, at midnight, a great earthquake.

  1846. Sixth moon, thirteenth day, at night, a great earthquake.

  1847. Seventh moon. The planet Venus was seen in daytime.

  1848. Drought and locusts.

  1850. First day of the New Year, an eclipse of the sun.

  1852. Eleventh moon, first day, an eclipse of the sun.

  1856. Seventh moon, locusts. Great pestilence. On the first of the
  ninth moon, an eclipse of the sun.

  1861. Eighth moon, first day, same phenomenon as witnessed in 1725 and

  1862. Seventh and eighth moons, great pestilence.

These extracts from the local chronicles are perhaps enough to prove
that the Weihaiwei peasant has not always lain on a bed of roses. When
we know him in his native village, and have learned to appreciate his
powers of endurance, his patience, courage, physical strength and
manly independence, and remember at the same time how toilfully and
amid what perils his ancestors have waged the battle of life, we shall
probably feel inclined either to dissociate ourselves forthwith from
the biological theory that denies the inheritance of acquired qualities
or to recognise that the principle of natural selection has been at
work here with conspicuous success.

The chief boast of the Promontory district, including Weihaiwei, is
or should be its sturdy peasantry, yet it is not without its little
list, also, of wise men and heroes. Weihaiwei, like other places, has
its local shrine for the reverential commemoration of those of its
men and women who have distinguished themselves for _hsien_, _chieh_,
_hsiao_--virtue, wifely devotion and filial piety; and the accounts
given us in the official annals of the lives and meritorious actions
of these persons are not without interest as showing the nature of the
deeds that the Chinese consider worthy of special honour and official

On the northern slope of Wên-têng Shan, near the city of that name, is
the tomb of _Hsien Hsien Shên Tzŭ_--the Ancient Worthy Shên. He was a
noted scholar of the Chou dynasty (1122-293 B.C.). The T'ang dynasty
honoured him (about one thousand years or more after his death) with
the posthumous title of Earl of Lu (Lu Pai). The Sung dynasty about the
year 1012 A.D. created the deceased philosopher Marquess of Wên-têng
(Wên-têng Hou). His descendants--no longer of noble rank--are said
to be still living in the ancestral village of Shên-chia-chuang (the
village of the Shên family), his native place. In 1723 a new monument
was erected at his grave by the district-magistrate of that time, and
the custom was established for the local officials to offer sacrifices
at the marquess's tomb three days before the Ch'ing-ming festival.[43]

Close to Wên-ch'üan-t'ang (the headquarters of the South Division
of Weihaiwei under British rule) is to be seen the grave of one
Yü P'êng-lun, who during the terrible period 1639-43 honourably
distinguished himself by opening soup-kitchens along the roadsides. He
also presented a free burial-ground for the reception of the bones of
the unknown or destitute poor who had starved to death. Free schools,
moreover, and village granaries were founded by this enlightened
philanthropist. After his death the Board of Rites in 1681 sanctioned
his admission into the Temple of Local Worthies.

In 1446 were buried close to Weihaiwei the remains of a great general
named Wei (_Wei chiang-chün_) who had done good service against the

Ch'i Ch'ung-chin, a native of Weihaiwei, is stated in the Chronicle
to have been by nature sincere and filial, and a good friend. He was
also zealously devoted to study. In 1648 he became an official and
occupied many posts in Yünnan and other distant provinces. He governed
the people virtuously, and conferred a great benefit on them during an
inundation by constructing dykes. He died at his post through overwork.

Pi Kao was a _chih-hui_ of Weihaiwei, and first took office in 1543. He
was afterwards promoted to a higher military post in Fuhkien, and in
1547 died fighting against the "Dwarfs" who had landed on the coast of
that province. He was canonised as one of the Patriot-servants of the
Empire (_chung-ch'ên_).

Ku Shêng-yen from his earliest years showed exceptional zeal in the
study of military tactics, and accustomed himself to horseback-riding
and archery. In 1757 he became a military _chin shih_ (graduate of high
rank) and was selected for a post in Ssŭch'uan.

Subsequently in Yünnan he took part in fourteen actions against the
Burmese. At Man-hua during a siege he was wounded in the head and had a
severe fall, from which he nearly died. He took part in the operations
against the Sung-p'an principality (in Ssŭch'uan), and in 1773 the
general commanding the imperial troops against the Chin-ch'uan rebels
in the west of Ssŭch'uan ordered him to lead the attack. This he did
with conspicuous success, capturing numerous strongholds, bridges
and outposts, and slaughtering enormous numbers of the enemy. He was
honoured by the Emperor with the Peacock Feather and the Bat'uru.[44]
Later on he received a wound from which he died. Further marks of
imperial favour were bestowed upon him on the occasion of his funeral.

Wang Yüeh of the Ming dynasty passed a very good examination and
was appointed a district-magistrate. For nine years he received no
promotion, so he threw up his official post and came home whistling
and singing with delight at having got his freedom. Among his writings
are "Records of Southern Travel" and a description of Weihaiwei. The
latter takes the form of an imaginary dialogue between a stranger from
Honan and a Weihaiwei native.[45] It is too long to translate in full,
but it begins thus: "From the far west came a stranger. Here at Weihai
he rested awhile, and as he gazed at the limitless expanse of hills
and ocean his feelings expressed themselves now in deep sighs, now
in smiles of happiness. Summoning to his side a native of Weihai he
introduced himself thus: 'I come from the province of Honan. No rich
man am I, yet I love to wander hither and hither, wherever there are
wonderful places or beautiful scenery to be visited. I have seen the
sacred hills of Hêng, Sung, Hua and T'ai;[46] the famous rivers and
lakes of the Empire, the Yangtse and the Han, the Tung-t'ing lake, the
Hsiang river, have all been visited by me, all their points of interest
examined and all their beauties seized. But methought that the great
ocean I had not yet seen, for it lay far to the east.'" He goes on to
describe by what route and under what difficulties he travelled, and "I
don't know how many thousand _li_ I haven't come," he said plaintively;
"my horse is weary and his hoofs are worn, my servant is in pain
with swollen ankles, and just see what a pitiable sight I am with my
tortured bones and muscles! However, here we are at last, and all I
want to do is to gain new experiences and behold new scenes, and so
remove all cause of future regret for things not seen."

The Weihai man points out to the stranger the various features of
interest of the place and gives a sketch of its history, and the
narration ends up with his loyal wishes for the eternal preservation of
his country and the long life of the Emperor.

Yüan Shu-fang took his degree in 1648 and received an appointment
in Yang-chou,[47] where he fulfilled his official functions with
wisdom and single-mindedness. He was fond of travelling about in the
south-eastern provinces and attracted round him numbers of people of
artistic temperament. After many years, continues his biographer, he
retired from the civil service and went home to Weihaiwei. There he
gave himself up with the greatest enthusiasm to the luxury of poetic
composition. Among his poems are "Songs of the South." He edited
and annotated the _Kan Ying P'ien_ [the Taoist "Book of Rewards and
Punishments"] and other works of that nature. A little poem of his
on the view of Liukungtao from the city wall is given a place in the
_Weihaiwei Chih_.

The number of Chinese officials who, like Wang Yüeh or Yüan Shu-fang,
have been glad to divest themselves of the cares and honours
of office under Government is surprisingly large. Disappointed
ambition; constitutional dislike of routine employment, official
conventionalities and "red tape"; a passion for the tranquil life of
a student; a love of beauty in art or nature: these, or some of them,
are the causes that have impelled multitudes of Chinese officials to
resign office, often early in their careers, and seek a quiet life
of scholarly seclusion either in their own homes or in some lonely
hermitage or some mountain retreat. Even at the present day retired
magistrates may be met with in the most unexpected places. I found
one in 1908 living in a little temple at the edge of the stupendous
precipice of Hua Shan in Shensi, eight thousand feet above the
sea-level. He was a lover of poetry and a worshipper of Nature.

Ting Pai-yün was for some time a resident in but not a native of
Weihaiwei. His personal name and native place are unknown. It is said
that he obtained the doctorate of letters towards the end of the
Ming period. His first official post was at Wei Hsien in Shantung.
Subsequently he took to a roving life and travelled far and wide.
When he came to Li Shan near Weihaiwei he was glad to find a kindred
spirit in one Tung Tso-ch'ang, with whom he exchanged poems and essays.
He devoted himself with the utmost persistence to the occult arts,
and succeeded in foretelling the date of his own death. He practised
his wizardry in the Lao mountains,[48] and people called him Mr.

Wang Ching, Ting Shih-chü, Kuo Hêng, Pi Ch'ing and some others receive
honourable mention among the Weihaiwei worthies for their kindness and
benevolence towards the poor during various periods of famine. Some
writers are apt to assume that pity and charity are only to be met with
among Christian peoples. The mistake is serious, but perhaps it is not
an unnatural one, for we do not in Oriental countries see anything
comparable with the vast charitable organisations, the "missions" to
the poor and vicious, the free hospitals, infirmaries and almshouses,
that we see in Western countries. As a partial explanation of this
we should remember that in countries where individualism is supreme
there are more people who "fall by the wayside," lonely and helpless,
than there are in countries where the family ties are indissoluble.
The people of Weihaiwei consist of peasant-farmers--very poor from the
Western point of view: yet there is not a beggar in the Territory, and
if an almshouse or an infirmary were established there to-morrow it
would probably remain untenanted.

Ch'i Yen-yün was a graduate and a devoted student of the art of poetry.
He put his books in a bundle and trudged away to look for a Master.
He wandered great distances, and made a pilgrimage to the Five Sacred
Mountains. He was joined by a number of disciples, who came from all
directions and travelled about with him. A pilgrimage to the Wu Yüeh
or Five Sacred Mountains,[49] it may be mentioned, is regarded as a
performance of no mean merit, through which the pilgrim will infallibly
evolve mystical or spiritual powers of marvellous efficacy. These
valuable powers have not yet shown themselves in a foreigner from
distant Europe who performed this little feat in 1908-9.

Wang Ch'i-jui was famous among all the literates of the district for
his exemplary character. When he was only thirteen he and his whole
family were bought by a certain official as domestic servants. Wang
paid the greatest attention to his studies, and his master, seeing
this, put out his tongue in astonishment and said, "this boy is much
too good to be wasted." So he cancelled the deed of purchase and set
the boy free. In after-years he distinguished himself as a friend of
the down-trodden and oppressed, and during the troublous times that
marked the end of the Ming and the rise of the Ch'ing dynasty he
strenuously advocated the cause of the poor. Once he passed a certain
ruffian who was waiting by the roadside to waylay travellers. This
man was the most truculent swashbuckler in the whole countryside; but
when he saw Wang Ch'i-jui, and recognised him, he lowered his sword.
Subsequently through Wang's clemency this robber received a pardon for
his crimes.

The name of the patriot Huang Ch'êng-tsung of the Ming dynasty is
enrolled among both the _Hsiang Hsien_ (Local Worthies) and the _Chung
Ch'ên_ (Loyal Officials). The records say that though he came of a poor
family in Weihaiwei he showed a zealous and ambitious temperament even
from the days of childhood. Having taken his degree, he was appointed
to a post at Ch'ing-tu, where he distinguished himself as an able
official. In 1638, when rebel troops were approaching the city, he
placed himself at the head of the local troops and fought with great
heroism for ten days. Unfortunately a certain military graduate entered
into traitorous communication with the enemy and let them into the
city. When Huang was told the bad news he decided that, though defeat
and death were now certain, he was bound in honour to fight to the
last. He had a brave young son of eighteen years of age, named Huang
Chao-hsüan, who, learning what had happened, addressed his father thus:
"An official can prove his loyalty by dying for his sovereign, a son
his filial devotion by dying with his father." The two went out to meet
the enemy together. Huang Ch'êng-tsung was shot dead by an arrow while
he was fighting in the streets, and the son was slain at his father's

This was not the end of the tragedy. Of Huang's wife, Liu Shih, the
story is told that as soon as news was brought her of her husband's
death she immediately turned towards the north and made an obeisance
in the direction of the Emperor. Then she took her little daughter and
strangled her, and immediately afterwards died by her own hand.[50]
Her dying wish was that her little girl should be placed beside her in
her coffin. Finally, a faithful servant of the family, named Huang Lu,
seized a dagger and killed himself. And so, says the local chronicle,
were brought about the pitiful deaths of a patriotic official, a filial
son, a devoted wife, a loyal servant.[51] No one who heard the story
but shed tears. The dead bodies were brought back to Weihaiwei and
buried at Nai-ku Shan, to the north of Weihai City.


[39] See p. 23.

[40] _Jih yüeh ho pi, wu hsing lien chu._

[41] The large number of earthquakes recorded in the Annals of this
region is remarkable. Only slight earth-tremors have been noticed since
the beginning of the British occupation, but the experience of former
days should prevent us from feeling too sanguine as to the future.
A recent writer has pointed out that though violent earthquakes are
not to be expected on "a gently sloping surface such as the ocean-bed
from which the British Isles arise," they may be expected on "the
steeply shelving margins of the Pacific Ocean." (Charles Davison in the
_Quarterly Review_, April 1909, p. 496.)

[42] In another chapter mention will be made of the Virtuous Widows and
other women of exemplary conduct whom the Chinese delight to honour.

[43] See pp. 186-7.

[44] A kind of Manchu D.S.O.

[45] Quoted in _Weihaiwei Chih_ (9th _chüan_, p. 69).

[46] See pp. 74, 391 _seq._, 396.

[47] A city on the Grand Canal in Kiangsu, well known on account of its
association with the name of Marco Polo.

[48] Close to the present German colony of Kiaochou.

[49] See pp. 71 and 391 _seq._

[50] A motive for this was doubtless the knowledge that the rebel
soldiers would soon be turned loose in the captured city.

[51] Apparently the poor daughter did not count, either because she was
a mere soulless infant or because her part in the proceedings was a
passive one.



When negotiations were being carried on seventy years ago for the
cession of Hongkong to the British Crown the only interests that
were properly consulted were those of commerce. Military and naval
requirements were so far overlooked that one side of the harbour,
with its dominating range of mountains, was allowed to remain in the
hands of China, the small island of Hongkong alone passing into the
hands of Great Britain. The strategic weakness of the position was
soon recognised; it was obvious that the Chinese, or any hostile Power
allied with China, could hold the island and the harbour, with its
immense shipping, entirely at its mercy by the simple expedient of
mounting guns on the Kowloon hills. The first favourable opportunity
was taken by the British Government to obtain a cession of a few square
miles of the Kowloon peninsula, but from the strategic point of view
this step was of very little use; and it was not till 1898 that the
Hongkong "New Territory"--a patch of country which, including the
mountain ranges and some considerable islands, has an area of several
hundred square miles--was "leased" to Great Britain "for a period of
ninety-nine years."

When, in the same year, arrangements were being made for the "lease"
of Weihaiwei, no decision had been come to as to whether the place was
to be made into a fortress, like Hongkong, or merely retained as a
flying base for the fleet or as a depôt of commerce: but to make quite
sure that there would be enough territory for all possible or probable
purposes the British Government asked for and obtained a lease not only
of the island of Liukung but also of a strip of land measuring ten
miles round the entire bay. The bay itself, with its various inlets, is
so extensive that this strip of land comprises an area of nearly three
hundred square miles, with a coast-line of over seventy miles; while
the beeline frontier from the village of Ta-lan-t'ou in the extreme
east to Hai Chuang in the extreme west measures about forty miles.

This land-frontier is purely artificial: in one or two cases, while
it includes one portion of a village it leaves the rest in Chinese
territory. This considerable area is under direct British rule, and
within it no Chinese official has any jurisdiction whatever except,
as we have seen,[52] within the walls of the little city from which
the Territory derives its name. Beyond the British frontier lies a
country in which the British Government may, if it sees fit, "erect
fortifications, station troops, or take any other measures necessary
for defensive purposes at any points on or near the coast of the region
east of the meridian 121° 40' E. of Greenwich." The British "sphere of
influence" may thus be said to extend from about half-way to Chefoo on
the west to the Shantung Promontory on the east: but Great Britain has
had no necessity for the practical exercise of her rights in that wide

Of the general appearance of the Territory and its neighbourhood
something has been said in the second chapter. Hills are very numerous
though not of great altitude, the loftiest being only about 1,700 feet
high. A short distance beyond the frontier one or two of the mountains
are more imposing, especially the temple-crowned Ku-yü hills to the
south-west, which are over 3,000 feet in height.[53] There are about
three hundred and fifteen villages in the leased Territory under direct
British rule; of these none would be described as a large village
in England, and many are mere hamlets, but they have been estimated
to contain an aggregate population of 150,000. Considering that
agriculture is the occupation of all but a small portion of the people,
and that large areas in the Territory are wholly unfit for cultivation,
this population must be regarded as very large, and its size can only
be explained by the extreme frugality of the people and the almost
total absence of a leisured or parasitic class.

The Weihaiwei Convention was signed in July 1898. For the first
few years the place was controlled by various naval and military
authorities, of whom one was Major-General Sir A. Dorward, K.C.B.,
but it can hardly be said to have been administered during that time,
for the whole Territory beyond Liukungtao and the little mainland
settlement of Ma-t'ou (now Port Edward) was almost entirely left to
its own devices. The temporary appointment of civil officers lent by
the Foreign and Colonial Offices led to the gradual extension and
consolidation of civil government throughout the Territory. One of
these officers was the late Mr. G. T. Hare of the Straits Settlements
Government, and another--whose excellent work is still held in
remembrance by the people--was Mr. S. Barton, of the British Consular
Service in China. The appointment of Mr. R. Walter[54] as Secretary
to Government shortly preceded that of Mr. (now Sir) J. H. Stewart
Lockhart, Colonial Secretary of Hongkong, as first civil Commissioner.

By this year (1902) Weihaiwei had been placed under the direct
control of the Colonial Office, since which time it has occupied a
position practically identical with that of a British Crown Colony,
though (owing to technical considerations) its official designation is
not Colony but Territory. The Commissioner is the head of the Local
Government, and is therefore subject only to the control of His Majesty
exercised through the Secretary of State for the Colonies. His official
rank corresponds with that of a Lieutenant-Governor: that is to say,
he receives (while in office at Weihaiwei) a salute of fifteen guns
as compared with the seventeen of a first-class Crown-colony Governor
(such as the Governors of Hongkong, the Straits Settlements, Ceylon
and Jamaica), or the nine accorded to a British Consul in office. His
actual powers, though exercised in a more limited sphere, are greater
than those of most Crown-colony Governors, for he is not controlled by
a Council.

As in Gibraltar and St. Helena, laws in Weihaiwei are enacted by
the head of the executive alone, not--as the phrase usually runs
elsewhere--"with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council."
The Order-in-Council indicates, of course, on what lines legislation
may take place, and all laws (called Ordinances) must receive the Royal
assent, or rather, to put it more accurately, His Majesty is advised by
the Secretary of State "not to exercise his powers of disallowance."
This is in accordance with the usual Colonial procedure. In practice,
as we saw in the first chapter, it has been found unnecessary to enact
more than a very small number of Ordinances for Weihaiwei. The people
are governed in accordance with their own immemorial customs, and it
is only when the fact of British occupation introduces some new set of
conditions for which local custom does not provide, that legislation
becomes necessary. The legal adviser to the local Government is _ex
officio_ the Crown Advocate at Shanghai, and he it is who, when
necessary, drafts the legal measures to be promulgated in the name of
the Commissioner. Such measures are generally copied from or closely
modelled on laws already in force in England or in the Colony of

[Illustration: _Photo by Ah Fong._

The China Squadron of the British Fleet visits the port every summer.
The fact that Weihaiwei is under British rule gives the Naval
commander-in-chief perfect freedom to carry out target-practice or
other exercises ashore and afloat under highly favourable conditions.
But the greatest advantage that Weihaiwei possesses--from the naval as
from the civilian point of view--is its good climate. It is perhaps not
so superlatively excellent as some writers, official and other, have
made out: but none will deny that the climate is "a white man's," and
most will agree that it is, on the whole, the finest on the coast of

The rainfall is not, on the average, much greater or much less than
that of England, though it is much less evenly distributed than in
our own country. This is perhaps an advantage; there is no doubt that
the average year in Weihaiwei contains a greater number of "fine
days"--that is, days when the sun shines and no rain falls--than the
average year in England. The other side of the shield shows us droughts
and floods; how frequent and how destructive are these calamities may
have been gathered from statements made in the last chapter. The winter
is much colder and the summer much warmer than is usually the case in
England: in addition to which both cold and heat are more steady and
continuous. But there are not the same extremes that are met with in
Peking and other inland places. The temperature in winter has been
known to fall to zero, but the average minimum may be put at about
6° (F.). The snowfall is not great and the roads are rarely blocked.
Skating, owing to the lack of rivers and lakes, can only be indulged in
to a minute extent.

The winter north winds are intensely cold: even the Chinese go about
muffled up to the ears in furs. The autumn months--September to
November--are the most delightful of the year. The heat and rains of
summer have passed away and the weather at this period is equal to
that of a superb English summer and early autumn. The spring months
are often delightful: but this is the season of those almost incessant
high winds that constitute one of the chief blemishes of the Weihaiwei
climate. Yet they are as nothing compared with the terrible dust-storms
of the Chihli plains, such as make the European resident in Peking
wish himself anywhere else. July and August are the months of rain,
damp, and heat: yet the temperature rarely goes higher than 94° (F.),
and the summer climate is much less trying than that of Hongkong or
of Shanghai. It is during those two months, indeed, that Weihaiwei
receives most of its European summer visitors from the southern ports.

When the British Squadron and the European visitors leave Weihaiwei in
or about the month of September, the place is left to its own resources
until the month of May or June in the following year. From the social
point of view Weihaiwei suffered severely from the disbandment of the
well-known Chinese Regiment, the British officers of which did much to
cheer the monotony of the winter months. A pack of harriers was kept by
the Regiment, and hunting was indulged in two days a week during that
period. From November, when the last crops were taken off the fields,
and cross-country riding became possible, until the end of March,
when the new crops began to come up and confined equestrians to the
roads, hunting the hare was the favourite recreation of the British
community. The Regiment itself, after undergoing many vicissitudes,
was disbanded in 1906. During its short career of about seven years
it proved--if indeed a proof were needed, after the achievements of
General Gordon--that the Chinese, properly treated and well trained and
led, could make first-rate soldiers.

The appearance of the rank and file of the Chinese Regiment on parade
was exceptionally good, and never failed to excite admiration on the
part of European visitors; but their soldierly qualities were not
tested only in the piping times of peace. They did good service in
promptly suppressing an attempted rising in the leased Territory, and
on being sent to the front to take part in the operations against the
Boxers in 1900 they behaved exceedingly well both during the attack on
Tientsin, and on the march to Peking. Among the officers who led them
on those occasions were Colonel Bower, Major Bruce, Captain Watson and
Captain Barnes.[55]

At its greatest strength the Regiment numbered thirteen hundred
officers and men, but before the order for disbandment went forth
the numbers had been reduced to about six hundred. With the Chinese
Regiment disappeared Weihaiwei's only garrison. A few picked men
were retained as a permanent police force, and three European
non-commissioned officers were provided with appointments on the
civil establishment as police inspectors. These men, in addition to
an already-existing body of eight Chinese on Liukungtao and twelve in
the European settlement at Port Edward, constitute the present (1910)
Police Force of the Territory, which now numbers altogether fifty-five
Chinese constables and three inspectors.

Weihaiwei, then, is entirely destitute of troops and of fortifications,
and in the long months of winter--when there is not so much as a
torpedo-boat in the harbour--the place is practically at the mercy
of any band of robbers that happened to regard it with a covetous
eye. This state of things cannot be regarded as ideally good: yet--to
touch upon a matter that might once have been regarded as bearing on
politics, but is now a mere matter of history--it may be admitted that
from the imperial point of view the abolition of the Chinese Regiment
was a wise step. This view is not shared by most Englishmen in China:
and as for the British officers, who had given several of the best
years of their lives to the training of that regiment, and had learned
to take in it a most justifiable pride, one can easily understand how
bitter must have been their feelings of dismay and disappointment when
they heard of the War Office's decision. Similar feelings, perhaps, may
have agitated the mind of the "First Emperor" when the beautiful bridge
to Fairyland, on which he had spent so much time and energy, began to
crumble away before his sorrowing eyes. The position of the Chinese
Regiment was not analogous to that of the native troops in India and in
our other large imperial possessions. Its very existence was anomalous.
The great majority of its men were recruited not in British but in
Chinese territory,[56] and as their employment against a European enemy
of Great Britain was scarcely conceivable, their only function could
have been to fight against their own countrymen or other Orientals.

To persuade them to fight against China would necessarily have
become more and more difficult as the Chinese Empire proceeded in
the direction of reform and enlightenment. The Boxers, indeed, were
theoretically regarded as rebels against China, so that Chinese troops
in British pay could fight them with a clear conscience, believing
or pretending to believe that they were fighting for the cause of
their own Emperor as well as (incidentally) that of Great Britain.
But the Regiment outlived the Boxer movement by several years, and
the maintenance of a considerable body of troops (at an annual cost
to the British taxpayer of something like £30,000) with a sole view
to the possibility of a similar rising at some uncertain date in the
future was hardly consistent with British common sense. Moreover, its
position in the event of an outbreak of regular warfare between England
and China would have been peculiar in the extreme, inasmuch as the
men had never been required, under the recruiting system, to abjure
their allegiance to the Chinese Emperor. They were, in fact, Chinese
subjects, not British. Even over the inhabitants of Weihaiwei, from
whom a small proportion of the men was drawn, the Emperor of China
retains theoretical sovereignty. This has been expressly admitted by
the British Government, which has declared that as Weihaiwei is only a
"leased territory," its people, though under direct British rule, are
not in the strictly legal sense "British subjects."[57]

The officers of the Regiment would no doubt have denied that the
loyalty of the men to their British leaders was ever likely to fall
under suspicion, but the fact remains that in the event of an outbreak
of regular warfare between China and Great Britain the Chinese
authorities might, and probably would, have done their utmost to induce
the men of the Regiment to desert their colours and take service
with their own countrymen. Many methods of inducement could have
been employed, over and above the obvious one of bribery. It is only
necessary to mention one that would have been terribly forcible--the
imprisonment of the fathers or other senior relatives of the men who
refused to leave the British service, and the confiscation of their
ancestral lands. The men who deserted, in these circumstances, would
not, perhaps, feel that they had much to reproach themselves with. They
had taken service under the British flag: but did that entitle them to
become traitors to their own country, and to violate the sacred bonds
of filial piety? Even if the Chinese soldier in British employment
had been formally absolved from all allegiance to his own sovereign
it would have been unreasonable to expect him to evolve a spirit of
loyalty to a European monarch of whose existence he had but the vaguest
idea, and to whom he was bound by no ties of sentiment.

But it may be urged that new conditions of service might have been
devised, under which the men of the Chinese Regiment would have been
exempted from the obligation of fighting against their own countrymen.
Against whom, then, could they have fought? They might possibly have
been led against the Japanese, but no one ever supposed for a moment
that they were being trained with a view to action against a Power with
whom Great Britain will probably be the last to quarrel: and in any
case they would have been too few in number to be of effective service
on the field, and by their inability to take an appropriate place among
the other units they might even have been a source of embarrassment.
As for the assistance they might have rendered in the event of an
attack on Weihaiwei by any European Power, it is only necessary to
point out that an infantry regiment would have been totally powerless
to prevent the shelling of Weihaiwei by a naval force, and that if the
British fleet had lost command of the sea, not only the entire Chinese
regiment (or what remained of it after desertions had taken place), but
Weihaiwei itself and all that it contained would have speedily become
prizes of war to the first hostile cruiser that entered the harbour.

It may be said, in conclusion of this topic, that if the British
Government had taken the cynical view that China was doomed to remain
in a chronic state of administrative inefficiency and national
helplessness, it would no doubt have been fully justified, from its own
standpoint, in maintaining the Regiment. That it decided on disbandment
may be regarded as welcome evidence that Great Britain did not, in
1906, take an entirely pessimistic view of China's future.

That the complete withdrawal of all troops was followed by no shadow
of disorder among the people and no increase of crime, strikingly
refutes the argument, sometimes advanced, that the real justification
of the existence of the Regiment was the necessity of relying on a
local armed force for the maintenance of British rule and prestige,
which would otherwise have been outraged or treated with open contempt.
No doubt the Regiment fulfilled a most useful function in suppressing
or preventing disorder and in helping to consolidate British rule
during the eventful year of 1900: and it may very well be that the
people of the Territory then learned the futility of resistance to the
British occupation. But it may be stated with emphasis that since the
disbandment of the Regiment the people--perhaps from a knowledge of the
fact that British troops and warships though not stationed at Weihaiwei
are never very far away--have given no sign whatever of insubordination
or restlessness.[58]

So far from crime and lawlessness having increased since that time,
they have shown a distinct tendency to diminish, while no trouble
whatever has arisen with the Chinese beyond our frontier. The
significance of this will be realised by those who know how easily the
official classes in China can, by secret and powerful means, foster or
stir up a general feeling of antagonism to foreigners.

Perhaps it may not be out of place to mention here that the relations
between the British officials of Weihaiwei and the Chinese officials
of the neighbourhood have always been intimate and friendly: much more
intimate, indeed, than those normally existing between the Government
of Hongkong and the magistrates and prefects of the neighbouring
regions of Kuangtung. The result is that through the medium of informal
or semi-official correspondence, and by personal visits, a great deal
of business is satisfactorily carried through without "fuss" or waste
of time, and that frontier-matters which might conceivably grow into
difficult international questions requiring diplomatic intervention,
are quickly and easily settled on the spot.

But it must be remembered that these friendly relations might at any
time be interrupted by the Chinese officials if they were to receive a
hint from the provincial capital or from Peking that the position of
Great Britain was to be made difficult and unpleasant. One important
reason why the people of Weihaiwei acquiesce with a good grace in
British rule is their vague belief that we are in Weihaiwei at the
request and with the thorough goodwill of the Chinese Government, and
are in some way carrying out the august wishes of the Emperor. They
still speak of us as the foreigners or "ocean men," and of China as _Ta
Kuo_, the Great Country. When they erect stone monuments, after the
well-known Chinese practice, to the memory of virtuous widows and other
good women, they still surmount the tablet with the words _Shêng Chih_,
"By decree of the Emperor." There is not the faintest vestige of a
feeling of loyalty to the British sovereign, even among those who would
be sorry to see us go away. Most of the people have but the haziest
idea of where England is; some think it is "in Shanghai" or "somewhere
near Hongkong"; others, perhaps from some confused recollection of the
dark-skinned British troops who took part in the operations of 1900,
suppose that Great Britain and India are interchangeable terms.

I have been asked by one of our village headmen (in perfect good faith)
whether England were governed by a _tsung-tu_ (governor-general) or
by a _kuo-wang_ (king of a minor state)--the implication in either
case being that England was far inferior in status to China. Thus
arises among the people the notion that their own Emperor has for
some mysterious reason, best known to himself, temporarily entrusted
the administration of Weihaiwei to some English officials, and will
doubtless decide in his own good time when this arrangement is to be
rescinded. The notion does not, indeed, attain this definiteness, and
the majority of the people well know from actual experience that no
Chinese official, however exalted, has a shadow of direct authority in
Weihaiwei at the present time; but any attempt to persuade them that
the Emperor could not, if he willed, cause the immediate departure of
the foreigners would probably be a miserable failure. The long and
short of the matter is that the Chinese of Weihaiwei acquiesce in
British rule because their sovereign, as represented by the Governor
of Shantung, shows them the example of acquiescence; but if diplomatic
troubles were to arise between Great Britain and China, and the
command, direct or indirect, were to go forth from the Governor that
the British in Weihaiwei were no longer to be treated with respect, a
few days or weeks would be sufficient to bring about a startling change
in the direction of anti-foreign feeling among the inhabitants of the
leased Territory.

Incessant troubles, also, would suddenly and mysteriously arise
on the frontier; the magistrates of the neighbouring districts,
notwithstanding all their past friendliness, would become distant and
unsympathetic; difficulties internal and external would become so
serious and incessant that it would be no longer possible to administer
the Territory without the presence of an armed force. In the absence
of a local garrison the Government would be compelled to requisition
the services of the ever-ready British marines and bluejackets; and
His Excellency the Vice-Admiral, obliged to detach some of the vessels
of his squadron for special service at Weihaiwei, might begin ruefully
to wonder whether, after all, Weihaiwei was worth the trouble of

This is a picture of gloomy possibilities which, it is to be hoped,
will never be realised so long as the British occupation of Weihaiwei
subsists. Unfortunately, diplomatic difficulties are not the only
possible causes of trouble. If eastern Shantung were afflicted with
long-continued drought and consequent famine--not an uncommon event--or
if it were visited by some of those lawless bands of ruffians, too
numerous in China, who combine the business of robbery and murder with
that of preaching the gospel of revolution, the position of Weihaiwei
would not be enviable. And parts of China, be it remembered, are
in such a condition at present that almost any day may witness the
outbreak of violent disorder. A small band of hungry and desperate
armed men with a daring leader, a carefully-prepared plan and a good
system of espionage--were it not for the Boy Scouts of the Weihaiwei
School, who are fortunately still with us!--descend upon Port Edward,
glut themselves with booty, and be in a safe hiding-place beyond the
British frontier before noon the next day. Much more easily could
any village or group of villages be ransacked and looted, and its
inhabitants killed or dispersed: and the local Government, except by
summoning extra assistance, would be powerless under present conditions
to take any vigorous action.

Trouble of this kind is much more likely to come from the Chinese of
some distant locality than from the people of the Territory itself. In
one very important respect the British have been highly favoured by
fortune. It happens that harvests in Weihaiwei for several years past
have been on the whole very good, and the people are correspondingly
prosperous. There has not been a really bad year since British rule
began; moreover certain agricultural developments (especially the
cultivation on a large scale of ground-nuts intended for export) have
been beneficial to the soil itself, and are a steadily-increasing
source of wealth to the farmers. With the loose conceptions of cause
and effect common to most peasant-folk, many of the villagers believe
that the good harvests and general prosperity are somehow due to the
"luck" of their alien rulers, of which they derive the benefit. The
gods and spirits of the land, they imagine, must be satisfied with the
presence of the British: is it not obvious that they would otherwise
show their discontent by bringing a blight on the fields or sending a
plague of insects?

Such is the popular argument, indefinitely felt rather than definitely
expressed; and there is no doubt that it has had some effect in
inducing a feeling of contentment with British rule. I have also heard
it remarked by the people that since the coming of the English the
villages have ceased to be decimated by the deadly epidemics that
once visited them. A sage old farmer whom I asked for an explanation
of the recent remarkable increase in the value of agricultural land
explained it as due to the fact that the British Government had
vaccinated all the children. This prevented half the members of each
family from dying of smallpox, as had formerly been the case, and
there was naturally an increased demand for land to supply food for a
greater number of mouths! The medical work carried out by Government is
doubtless of great value; but the reduced mortality among the people is
probably chiefly due to the succession of good harvests, the increased
facilities for trade, and the consequent improvement in the general
conditions of life. A few successive years of bad crops may, it is
to be feared, not only reduce the people to extreme poverty--for as
a rule the land represents their only capital--but will also produce
the epidemics that inevitably follow in the wake of famine. That such
disasters may be expected from time to time in the natural course of
events the reader will have gathered from the lists of notable local
events given in the last chapter. When they come, the people's faith
in the fortune-controlling capacities of the foreigners may then suffer
a painful shock, and the results may not be unattended by something
like disaffection towards their alien rulers.

At the beginning of British rule in Weihaiwei many wild rumours passed
current among certain sections of the people with reference to the
intentions and practices of the foreigners. One such rumour was to
the effect that the English wanted all the land for settlers of their
own race and were going to remove the existing population by the
simple expedient of poisoning all the village wells. In a few cases
it was believed that the Government had actually succeeded in hiring
natives to carry out this systematic murder; whereupon the villagers
principally affected, growing wild with panic, seized and tortured
the unhappy men whom they suspected of having taken British pay for
this nefarious purpose. One man at least was buried alive and another
was drowned. These cases did not come to the knowledge of the British
authorities for some years afterwards, long after the well-poisoning
story had ceased to be credited even by the most ignorant. One of
them I discovered by chance as lately as the summer of 1909, though
the incident occurred nine years earlier. An unlucky man who for some
unknown reason was understood to be a secret emissary of the foreigners
was seized by the infuriated villagers and drowned in the well which he
was said to have poisoned. The well was then filled up with earth and
stones and abandoned. The poor man's wife was sold by the ringleaders
to some one who wanted a concubine, for a sum equivalent to about ten

No doubt the many horrible stories that were circulated about the
foreigners were deliberately invented by people who, whether from some
feeling akin to patriotism or from more selfish motives, were intensely
anxious to arouse popular feeling against their alien rulers. Their
plan failed, for popular fury was directed less against the English
than against those of their own countrymen whom the English were
supposed to have bribed.

It may be said that on the whole the chief fear of the people in
the early days of British administration was not that they or their
families would be slaughtered or dispossessed of their property,
or personally ill-treated, but that they would be overtaxed; and
the disturbances which arose at the time of the delimitation of the
frontier in 1899 and 1900 were in part traceable to wild rumours as to
the means to be adopted by the foreigners for the raising of revenue.
It was thought, for example, that taxes were to be imposed on farmyard
fowls. Taxation has been increased, as a matter of fact, under British
rule. The land-tax (the principal source of revenue) has been doubled,
and licence-fees and dues of various kinds have had the natural result
of raising the price of certain commodities. But these unattractive
features of British rule are on the whole counterbalanced, in the
opinion of the majority of the people, by comparative (though by no
means absolute) freedom from the petty extortions practised by official
underlings in China, by the gradual development of a fairly brisk local
trade, by the influx of money spent in the port by British sailors, by
the facilities given by British merchant ships for the cheap and safe
export of local produce, and by the useful public works undertaken by
Government for direct public benefit.

The amount spent on public improvements is indeed minute compared with
the enormous sums devoted to these purposes in Hongkong, Singapore,
and Kiaochou, yet it forms a respectable proportion of the small local
revenue. That the construction of metalled roads, in particular,
is heartily welcomed throughout the Territory is proved by three
significant facts: in the first place the owners of arable land through
which the new roads pass hardly ever make any demand for pecuniary
compensation, unless they happen to be almost desperately poor;
in the second place, wheeled traffic, which a few years ago would
have been a ludicrous impossibility in any part of the Territory, is
rapidly becoming common; and in the third place the people, on their
own initiative, are extending the road-system in various localities at
their own expense. It may seem almost incredible that, in one case at
least, certain houses that obstructed traffic in a new village road
were voluntarily pulled down by their owners and built further back:
yet not only did they receive no compensation from Government, but
they did not even trouble to report what they had done. Very recently
a petition was received praying the Weihaiwei Government to urge
the Government of Shantung to extend the Weihaiwei road-system into
Chinese territory, especially to the extent of enabling cart traffic
to be opened up between the port of Weihaiwei and the neighbouring
district-cities of Jung-ch'êng, Wên-têng and Ning-hai. The Shantung
Government has been addressed on the subject by the Commissioner of
Weihaiwei, and the Governor has smiled upon the project; though as he
has since been transferred to another province it is doubtful whether
anything will be done in the matter at present. So long as Weihaiwei
remains in British hands the Provincial Government, naturally enough,
has no desire to extend the trade facilities of that port to the
possible disadvantage of the Chinese port of Chefoo.

On the whole, the more intelligent members of the native community in
Weihaiwei may be said to be fully conscious of the advantages directly
and indirectly conferred upon them by British rule, though this is far
from implying that they wish that rule to be continued indefinitely.
Some of them are even aware of the fact that they owe many of those
advantages to a philanthropist whom they have never seen--the
uncomplaining (or complaining) British taxpayer. The Territory is, in
fact, so far from being self-supporting that a subsidy of several
thousands of pounds from the British Exchequer is required to meet the
annual deficit in the local budget.[59] The Government is conducted on
extremely economical lines, indeed expenditure has been cut down to
the point of parsimony, yet it is as well to remember that from the
point of view of local resources the administration is costly in the
extreme. A large increase of trade would no doubt soon enable the local
Government to balance its books without assistance from England, but
there are no indications at present that such an expansion is likely to
take place.

British colonial methods do not, as a rule, tolerate a lavish
expenditure on salaries or on needless multiplication of official
posts. In these respects Weihaiwei is not exceptional. There are less
than a dozen Europeans of all grades on the civil establishment, and
of these only four exercise executive or magisterial authority. Since
1906 the whole Territory has been divided for administrative purposes
into twenty-six districts: over each district, which contains on the
average about a dozen villages, presides a native District Headman
(_Tsung-tung_) whose chief duties are to supervise the collection of
the land-tax, to distribute to the separate Village Headmen copies
of all notices and proclamations issued by Government, to distribute
deed-forms to purchasers and sellers of real property, and to use his
influence generally in the interests of peace and good order and in the
discouragement of litigation. For these services he is granted only
five (Mexican) dollars a month from Government, but he is also allowed
a small percentage on the sale of Government deed-forms (for which a
fee is charged) and receives in less regular ways occasional presents,
consisting chiefly of food-stuffs, of which the Government takes no
notice unless it appears that he is using his position as a means of
livelihood or for purposes of extortion.

The land-tax is based on the old land-registers handed over by the
Chinese magistrates of Wên-têng and Jung-ch'êng, and as they had been
badly kept up, or rather not kept up at all, for some scores of years
previously, the present relations between the land under cultivation
and the land subject to taxation are extremely indefinite. It is but
very rarely that a man can point to his land-tax receipts as proof
that he owns or has long cultivated any disputed area. Only by making
a cadastral survey of the whole Territory would it be possible to
place the land-tax system on a proper basis. At present the tax is in
practice (with certain exceptions) levied on each village as a whole
rather than on individual families. For many years past every village
has paid through its headman or committee of headmen a certain sum of
money which by courtesy is called land-tax. How that amount is assessed
among the various families is a matter which the people decide for
themselves, on the general understanding that no one should be called
upon to pay more than his ancestors paid before him unless the family
property has been considerably increased.

The Chinese Government did not and the British Government does not
make any close enquiries as to whether each cultivator pays his proper
proportion or whether a certain man is paying too much or is paying
nothing at all. It is undoubtedly true that a great deal of new land
has been brought under cultivation since the Chinese land-tax registers
were last revised, and that the cultivators are guilty of technical
offences in not reporting such land to Government and getting it duly
measured and valued for the assessment of land-tax: but these are
offences which have been condoned by the Chinese authorities in this
part of China for many years past, and it would be unjust or at least
inexpedient for the British Government to show greater severity in
such matters than is shown on the Chinese side of the frontier. The
British Government has, indeed, by a stroke of the pen doubled the
land-tax, that is, it takes twice as much from each village as it did
six years ago, so it may at least congratulate itself on deriving
a larger revenue from this source than used to come to the net of
Chinese officialdom. The total amount of the doubled tax only amounts
to about $24,000 (Mex.) a year, which is equivalent to not much more
than £2,000 sterling. The whole of this is brought to the coffers of
the Government without the aid of a single tax-collector and without
the expenditure of a dollar. In the autumn of each year proclamations
are issued stating the current rate of exchange as between the local
currency and the Mexican dollar and announcing that the land-tax will
be received, calculated according to that rate, upon certain specified
days. The money is brought to the Government offices at Port Edward by
the headmen, receipts are issued, and the matter is at an end until the
following year. Litigation regarding land-tax payments is exceedingly
rare and the whole system works without a hitch.

For administrative and magisterial purposes the Territory is divided
into two Divisions, a North and a South. The North Division contains
only nine of the twenty-six Districts, and is much smaller in both
area and population than the South, but it includes the island of
Liukung and the settlement of Port Edward. Its southern limits[60]
extend from a point south of the village of Shuang-tao on the west to
a short distance south of Ch'ang-fêng on the east. A glance at the
map will show that it comprises the narrower or peninsular portion
of the Territory. The headquarters of this Division are at Port
Edward, where is also situated the office of the Commissioner. The
North Division is under the charge of the North Division Magistrate,
who is also Secretary to Government and holds a dormant commission
to administer the government of the Territory in the Commissioner's
absence. The South Division comprises all the rest of the leased
Territory, including seventeen out of the twenty-six Districts, and is
presided over by the South Division Magistrate, who is also District
Officer. His headquarters are at Wen-ch'üan-t'ang[61] or Hot Springs, a
picturesque locality near the old boundary-line between the Jung-ch'êng
and Wên-têng districts and centrally situated with regard to the
southern portion of the leased Territory. Separate courts, independent
of one another and co-ordinate in powers, are held by the North and
South Division Magistrates at their respective headquarters.

The District Officer controls a diminutive police force of a sergeant
and seven men, all Chinese. His clerks, detectives and other persons
connected with his staff, are also Chinese. Besides the District
Officer himself there is no European Government servant resident in
the South Division, which contains 231 out of the 315 villages of the
Territory and a population estimated at 100,000. The whole of the land
frontier, nearly forty miles long, lies within this Division.

Under the Commissioner, the Secretary to Government and Magistrate
(North Division), and the District Officer and Magistrate (South
Division), are the executive and judicial officers of the Government.
There is also an Assistant Magistrate, who has temporarily acted
as District Officer, and who, besides discharging magisterial work
from time to time, carries out various departmental duties in the
North Division. The functions of the North and South Division
Magistrates are quite as miscellaneous as are those of the prefects
and district-magistrates--the "father-and-mother" officials--of China.
There are no posts in the civil services of the sister-colonies of
Hongkong and Singapore which are in all respects analogous to those
held by these officers; but on the whole a Weihaiwei magistrate may be
regarded as combining the duties of Registrar-General (Protector of
Chinese), Puisne Judge, Police Magistrate and Captain-Superintendent
of Police. Most of the time of the Magistrates is, unfortunately,
spent in the courts. Serious crime, indeed, is rare in Weihaiwei.
There has not been a single case of murder in the Territory for seven
years or more, and most of the piracies and burglaries have been
committed by unwelcome visitors from the Chinese side of the frontier.
But the Weihaiwei magistrates do not deal merely with criminal and
police cases. They also exercise unlimited civil jurisdiction; and as
litigation in Weihaiwei has shown a steady increase with every year of
British administration, their duties in this respect are by no means

Beyond the Magisterial courts there are no other courts regularly
sitting. There is indeed a nebulous body named in the Order-in-Council
"His Majesty's High Court of Weihaiwei," but this Court very rarely
sits. It consists of the Commissioner and a Judge, or of either
Commissioner or Judge sitting separately. The Assistant Judge of the
British Supreme Court at Shanghai is _ex officio_ Judge of the High
Court of Weihaiwei; but the total number of occasions on which his
services have been requisitioned in connection with both civil and
criminal cases during the last five or six years--that is, since his
appointment--is less than ten. The Commissioner, sitting alone as High
Court, has in a few instances imposed sentences in the case of offences
"punishable with penal servitude for seven years or upwards,"[62] and
the Judge has on three or four occasions visited Weihaiwei for the
purpose of trying cases of manslaughter. The civil cases tried by the
High Court--whether represented by Commissioner or by Judge--number
only two, though the civil cases on which judgment is given in
Weihaiwei (by the magistrates acting judicially) number from one
thousand upwards in a year.

This curious state of things is primarily due to the fact that
Weihaiwei, with its slender resources, cannot afford to support a
resident judge, and has therefore to content itself with the help,
in very exceptional circumstances, of one of the judges of a court
situated hundreds of miles away; but the existing conditions, whereby
the magistrates perform the work of judges, are legally sanctioned by a
clause in the Order-in-Council, which lays it down that "the whole or
any part of the jurisdiction and authority of the High Court for or in
respect of any district may, subject to the provisions of this Order,
and of any Ordinance made thereunder, be exercised by the magistrate
(if any) appointed to act for that district and being therein."[63]
The rights of the High Court are safeguarded by the declaration that
it "shall have concurrent jurisdiction in every such district, and may
order any case, civil or criminal, pending before a magistrate, to be
removed into the High Court."[64] In practice, it may be said, all
criminal cases except the most serious, and all civil cases of any and
every kind, are tried in Weihaiwei by the magistrates of the North and
South Divisions, acting either as magistrates merely, or as judges with
the delegated powers of the High Court.

[Illustration: DISTRICT OFFICER'S QUARTERS (see p. 100).]

[Illustration: THE COURT-HOUSE, WÊN-CH'ÜAN-T'ANG (see p. 98).]

The Court of Appeal from the High Court of Weihaiwei (and therefore
from the magistrates acting as High Court) is the Supreme Court of
Hongkong. This arrangement has been in force since the promulgation of
the Weihaiwei Order-in-Council in July 1901; yet during nine subsequent
years not a single appeal has been made. This is due to three main
causes: firstly, there are in Weihaiwei neither barristers nor
solicitors by whom litigants might be advised to appeal. Every party to
a suit appears in court in his own person, and states his case either
orally or by means of written pleadings called Petitions. If he loses
his case the matter is at an end unless he can show just cause why a
re-hearing should be granted. Secondly, the legal costs of an appeal to
a Hongkong court would be prohibitive for all but a minute fraction of
the people of Weihaiwei. It is questionable whether, outside Liukungtao
and Port Edward, there are more than a dozen families that would not
be totally ruined if called upon to pay the costs of such an appeal.
Thirdly, there are probably not twenty Chinese in the Territory who are
aware that an appeal is possible.

Apart from the magistrates, there are very few Europeans employed
under the Government of Weihaiwei. There is a Financial Assistant, who
also (somewhat incongruously) supervises the construction of roads
and other public works and the planting of trees; and there are, as
already mentioned, three Inspectors of Police. These officers (with the
exception of one Inspector stationed at Liukungtao) all reside at Port
Edward. Finally there are two Medical Officers, of whom one resides on
the Island, the other on the Mainland. Such is the European section of
the Civil Service of Weihaiwei,--a little body of sober and industrious
persons who, like the members of similar services elsewhere, are
frequent grumblers, who always consider themselves ill-used and their
services under-estimated, but who will generally admit, if pressed,
that the British flag floats over many corners of the earth less
attractive and less desirable than Weihaiwei.


[52] See p. 29.

[53] Ku-yü Shan is the northern peak of the Ta K'un-yü hills, 40 _li_
south-east of Ning-hai city. The highest peak is Ta Pei Ting (the
"Great Pity Peak") or Ta Pai Ting (the "Great White Peak"). There are
many temples and hermitages, some of unknown antiquity, others dating
from the last decade of the ninth century A.D. There are also tablets
and inscriptions of the Han dynasty (ending 220 A.D.).

[54] Formerly of the Federated Malay States Civil Service.

[55] Captain (now Lieut.-Col.) Barnes has written a book entitled _On
Active Service with the Chinese Regiment_, which should be consulted by
those interested in the subject.

[56] On the eve of disbandment, when the Regiment was some six hundred
strong, only forty men were natives of the leased Territory.

[57] It follows that when they go abroad they have no right to the
support of British consuls, though they have often claimed it and have
sometimes been granted it through the courtesy of the consul concerned.

[58] As one reason for this it should be noted that the people still
hold in vivid remembrance the Japanese march through their villages
and fields in 1895. They have had some practical experience of modern
warfare, and they are not anxious for more.

[59] For details of revenue and expenditure, as well as trade returns
and other statistics, the reader is referred to the _Colonial Office
List_ (published yearly by authority) and to the local Government's
Reports which are printed annually and presented to both Houses of

[60] See the blue line in map.

[61] See pp. 53, 54, 70, 400.

[62] See _Weihaiwei Order-in-Council_, Clause 21 (3).

[63] See _Weihaiwei Order-in-Council_, Clause 18.

[64] _Ibid._, Clause 18 (1).



The entire absence of both branches of the legal profession is perhaps
(be it said without disrespect to the majesty of the law) a matter on
which the people of Weihaiwei are to be congratulated, for it enables
them to enjoy their favourite pastime of litigation at a minimum of
cost. The cheapness of litigation in Weihaiwei is indeed in the eyes
of many of the people one of the most attractive features of British
rule: though, if only they could be brought to realise the fact, it is
also one of the most dangerous, for it tends to diminish the authority
of village elders and clan-patriarchs and so to weaken the whole social
structure upon which village life in China is based. The people have
discovered that even their most trifling disputes are more easily,
quickly and cheaply settled by going to law than by resorting to the
traditional Chinese plan of invoking the assistance of "peace-talkers";
for these peace-talkers are usually elderly relatives, village headmen
or friendly neighbours, who must at least be hospitably entertained,
during their lengthy deliberations, with pork and vegetables and sundry
pots of wine, whereas the British magistrate is understood to hanker
after no such delicacies. Thus while the people recognise, with more
or less gratitude, the purity of the British courts and the readiness
of the officials to listen to all complaints, some of the wiser among
them contemplate with some anxiety a system which is almost necessarily
productive of excessive litigation and of protracted family feuds.
There can be no part of the British Empire where litigation costs less
than it does here, and indeed there is probably no part where it costs
so little. There are no court fees, and the magistrate himself not only
takes the place of counsel for both plaintiff and defendant, thereby
saving the parties all legal costs, but also assumes the troublesome
burden of the collection and investigation of evidence.

Until recently there existed a class of licensed petition-writers who
charged litigants a small fee for drawing up petitions addressed to the
court. After several of these petition-writers had been convicted of
bribery and extortion and other malpractices, it was found necessary to
withdraw all their licences and abolish the system. At present every
litigant who cannot write and has no literary relative who will oblige
him by drawing up a petition for him, simply comes into the court when
and how he likes and makes his statement by word of mouth. Unlettered
peasant-folk are garrulous and inconsequential all the world over, and
those of Weihaiwei are not exceptional: so it may be easily understood
that the necessity of taking down long rambling statements made in
rustic Chinese by deaf old men and noisy and unreasonable women adds
no slight burden to the labours of an English magistrate. Unnecessary
litigation is indeed becoming so common a feature of daily life that
the Government is at present contemplating the introduction of a system
of court fees which, while not preventing the people from making just
complaints before the magistrates, will tend to discourage them from
running to the courts before they have made the least attempt to settle
their quarrels in a manner more consistent with the traditional usages
of their country. That something of this kind must be done to check
the present rush of litigants to the courts is daily becoming more

In the South Division court[65] the proceedings are carried on entirely
in the Chinese language. The speech of the people, it may be said, is
a form of Mandarin (so called) which after a little practice is easily
intelligible to a speaker of Pekingese. Colloquialisms are naturally
numerous among so remote and isolated a community as the inhabitants of
north-eastern Shantung, and in some respects the dialect approximates
to that of Nanking rather than to the soft speech of the northern

The absence of Counsel is no hardship to the people, for in China
professional lawyers--as we understand the term--are unknown. "A man
who attempted to appear for another in a Court of Justice," as Sir
Robert Douglas says, "would probably render himself liable to a penalty
under the clause in the Penal Code which orders a flogging for any
person who excites or promotes litigation."[66] In Weihaiwei only
once has a native--in this case a Christian convert--made the least
attempt to conduct a case for and on behalf of another individual,
and he, though it was impossible under British methods to have him
flogged, was duly punished for this as well as for other offences.
In the courts of Weihaiwei, then, as in those of China, each of the
parties to a suit argues out his own case in his own way, though it
is upon the magistrate himself that the duty devolves of separating
the wheat from the chaff and selecting such parts of the litigant's
argument as appear to have a real bearing on the points at issue. In
all essentials, therefore, cases are heard and dealt with in Weihaiwei
very much as they are heard and dealt with in China; thus a man from
the Chinese side of the frontier who comes into court as plaintiff in
Weihaiwei finds himself--especially if he is used to litigation in his
own country--quite at home. As may be easily imagined, lawsuits are
not conducted with the frigid decorum that usually marks the hearing
of a civil case in England; the facts that plaintiff and defendant
appear in person, each to conduct his own case, and that each enjoys
practically unlimited freedom to say what he likes about his opponent
and about things in general, introduce a dramatic element which is
lacking in the more stately procedure of Western law-courts. Instead of
the patient discussion of minute points of law and the careful citation
of precedents and authorities, there are clamorous recitals of real or
imaginary woes, bitter denunciations, passionate appeals for justice.
A rather remarkable feature of all this, however, is the absence of
gesturing. Hands are not clasped or raised to heaven, the movements of
the body show no signs of deep feeling, even the features--though their
owner is inwardly seething with emotion--seem to remain almost passive.
Is this a sign of remoteness from savagery? The people of England
have been singled out as examples of those who make a minimum use of
gesture: but Englishmen cannot be compared in this respect with the

The side-lights that legal proceedings throw upon the moral and
intellectual qualities of the people are inexhaustible in their
variety. Under the stress of a burning sense of wrong or dread of
disaster, or in the intensity of his anxiety to win a lawsuit on which
he has staked his happiness, the Chinese, though he still refrains from
what he considers the vulgarity of gesturing, casts to the winds the
reserve and ceremonious decorum of speech that on more placid occasions
often seem to be part of his personality. He can tell lies with
audacity, though his lies indeed are not always rightly so called, and
he has the most extraordinary aptitude for simulating strong emotions
with the object of enlisting judicial sympathy; but, in spite of these
drawbacks, it is during the prosecution of a lawsuit that the strong
and weak elements in his character stand out in strongest relief.

If the litigant can write (though comparatively few of the people
of Weihaiwei can do so) he is allowed to state his case in the form
of a written petition. A typical Chinese petition may be said to be
divided into three parts: firstly, the "case" of the petitioner is
stated in full, strong emphasis being laid on his innate love of right
and his horror of people who disobey the law; secondly, his opponent,
the defendant, is held up to obloquy as a rogue and a hatcher of
villainies; thirdly, the magistrate himself, to whom the petition is
addressed, is cunningly described as having a marvellous faculty for
separating right from wrong, a highly developed sense of justice, and
a peculiarly strong love for law-abiding people. The defendant, when
summoned, will of course adopt similar tactics. If his case is weak and
he has nothing very definite to urge in his own favour, he will try
to prejudice the magistrate against the plaintiff by describing him
as quarrelsome and fond of lawsuits--no small offence in China. His
petition may then run somewhat in these words, which I translate from a
petition recently received: "Plaintiff is an audacious fellow and cares
not how often he goes to law. He is not afraid of officials and loves
litigation. When he comes home from the courts he uses boastful words
and says, 'What fun it is to go to law.'"[67]

Both plaintiff and defendant consider it a good plan to assume an
attitude of weakness, docility, and a constitutional inability to
contend with the woes thrust upon them by a wicked world. "For several
years," says one, "I bore my miseries in silence and dared not take
action, but now things are different, for I have heard the glad news
that the Great Man[68] settles cases as if he were a Spirit."[69] One
of the commonest expressions in a Chinese petition has an odd look when
it is literally translated: "I the Little Man am the Great Man's baby."

When a lawsuit arises out of complicated family disputes, such as
those concerned with inheritance and adoption, there are sometimes
representatives of four generations in the court at the same time.
Babes and small children, if their rights or interests are in any way
involved, are brought into court by their mothers, not with any idea
that the evidence of infants would be accepted, even if it could be
intelligibly given, but merely in order that the magistrate may see
that the children really exist and have not been invented for the
occasion. Sometimes they appear in the court for the practical reason
that all the adults of the family have come to prosecute their lawsuit
and that no one is left at home to take care of them. The presence of
young boys of twelve or fourteen is very useful, as they are often
able to express themselves and even to state the material points of a
case far more briefly and intelligibly than their garrulous elders. If
the case is an important one the court is often filled by cousins and
aunts and interested neighbours of the litigants, and these people are
all ready to swear that plaintiff or defendant, as the case may be, is
a man of pre-eminent virtue who has never committed a wrong action or
entertained an unrighteous thought in his life, while his opponent is a
noted scoundrel who is the terror and bully of the whole countryside.
These exaggerations are merely resorted to as a method of emphasising
one view of the matter in dispute, and are not, as a rule, seriously
intended to mislead the magistrate so much as to give a gentle bias to
his mind. If, as very frequently happens, the magistrate has occasion
to ask a witness why he has made a number of obvious and unnecessary
misstatements, he merely replies with childlike blandness: _Ta_ _jên
mien-ch'ien hsiao-ti pu kan sa huang_--"In the Great Man's presence the
Little One would not dare to tell a lie."

When arguing out their cases in court litigants seldom lose their
temper--always a sign of very "bad form" in China--but they often
assail each other in very vigorous language. Men of some education
often make a show of leaving it to the magistrate to unmask the evil
nature of their opponent. "If the magistrate will only look at that
man's face," they say, "he will see that the fellow is a rogue." The
remark of course implies, and is intended to imply, that the magistrate
is a man of consummate perspicacity who cannot be deceived.

What constitutes one of the gravest difficulties from a European point
of view in settling civil disputes between Chinese is that the plain
unvarnished truth is seldom presented, even when a recital of the bare
facts would be strong enough to ensure a favourable judgment. Yet I
am far from wishing to imply that the Chinese are naturally liars. An
inaccurate statement unaccompanied by an intention to deceive does not
constitute a lie; and many such statements habitually made by Chinese
do not and are not intended to deceive other Chinese to whom they are
addressed. That they often deceive a European is no doubt a fact; but
the fault lies with the European's want of knowledge and experience of
the Chinese character, not with the Chinese, who are merely using forms
of speech customary in their country. Why should a Chinese be expected
to alter his traditional way of saying things merely because it differs
from the foreign way? I am not convinced that a Chinese intentionally
deceives or tries to deceive his own countrymen--that is, lies to
them--much oftener than the average European deceives or tells a lie
to his neighbour. Before we say of a Chinese, "This man has told me a
lie," it would perhaps be well to ask ourselves, "Is the statement made
by this man intended to deceive me? Is it such that it would deceive
one of his own people?"

Perhaps it should not be necessary to labour this point, but there is
no doubt that missionaries and others who feel irresistibly impelled
to emphasise the darker sides of the Chinese character are apt to make
the most of the supposed national predisposition to falsehood. For
instance, the Rev. J. Macgowan in _Sidelights on Chinese Life_[70]
says, much too strongly, "It may be laid down as a general and
axiomatic truth, that it is impossible from hearing what a Chinaman
says to be quite certain of what he actually means." On the other
hand, I have known missionaries accept the word of their own Chinese
converts, as against that of non-Christians, with a most astonishing
and sometimes unjustifiable readiness. Some go so far as to imply
that a non-Christian Chinese who speaks the truth is a person to be
marvelled at. "_Albeit he is a Confucianist_," wrote a missionary to
me, "this man may be relied on to speak the truth."

The foreigner who wished to prove that the Chinese are liars might
find abundant proof ready to his hand in the false evidence that is
given every day in the Weihaiwei courts. Yet the longer and oftener
he watched and listened to Chinese litigants and witnesses, the less
satisfied would he become as to the reliability of his "proof." The
English magistrate finds that as time goes on he becomes less and less
likely to be deceived or led astray about any material point owing to
the direct misstatements of witnesses. It is not so much that he "sees
through" them as that he understands their points of view. To say that
in due time he will be totally free from any liability to be misled
would, of course, be to claim for him infallibility or omniscience;
but there is no doubt that as his knowledge and experience of Chinese
character grows, the less ready will he be to label the Chinese crudely
as "liars." For the native magistrate, who knows without special
training his countrymen's character and their peculiarities of thought
and speech, it is, of course, much easier than it is for the European
to detect the element of truth that lies embedded in the absurd and
inaccurate statements made before him in court. To say that even a
Chinese magistrate can always be sure when a man is speaking the truth
would certainly be ridiculous; there are accomplished liars in China as
in Europe, just as there are forgers so skilful that they can deceive
experts in handwriting; but he is at least able to make allowances for
inaccuracy and hyperbole which, though they may deceive the foreigner,
will not deceive the native, and should not therefore be condemned as
deliberate falsehood.

Instances of these exaggerations and misstatements occur every day
throughout China and in Weihaiwei. If A wants redress against B, who
has removed a landmark and encroached upon his land, he will probably
add, in his petition, that B is the author of deep villainies, a
truculent and masterful dare-devil, and a plotter of conspiracies
against the public welfare. One such petition contained remarks which
I translate almost word for word. "After I had discovered that he had
stolen some of my land I went to his house and tried to reason with
him in a persuasive manner. He refused to listen, and reviled me in
the most shocking terms. He then seized my mother and my children and
beat them too. They are covered with wounds and unable to stand; in
fact, they are barely alive. So I had no resort but to approach the
magistrate and ask him to enquire into the matter so that the water may
fall and the rocks appear (that is, the truth will be made manifest),
justice will be done to the afflicted and the cause of the humble
vindicated, and the gratitude of your petitioner and his descendants
will be without limit." The real point at issue was the disputed
ownership of the land. No physical wounds had been inflicted upon any
member of the family, and no fighting had taken place; but hard words
had been freely bandied about, and the female members of the family,
as so very frequently occurs in China, had shrieked themselves into a
paroxysm of rage which had left them exhausted and voiceless. To have
taken the good man at his word with regard to the assault, and to have
called upon him to produce evidence thereof, would have caused him pain
and astonishment. All he wanted to do was to make out that his opponent
was a rascal, and was therefore the kind of person who might naturally
be expected to filch people's land.

But how, it may be asked, is the magistrate to know which is the true
accusation and which is the false one? There are many indications to
guide him, and a short cross-examination should elicit the true facts
very quickly, even if the wording of the petition itself were not
sufficient. In this particular instance it need only be pointed out
that had a murderous assault really taken place, the victims would
certainly have been brought to the court for a magisterial inspection
of their wounds. Had they been unable to move they would have been
carried in litters. That the wounds in an assault case should be shown
to the magistrate as soon as possible after the occurrence is regarded
as very necessary--and naturally so, considering how little value could
be attached, in the present state of medical and surgical knowledge
in China, to the evidence of a native doctor. Sometimes the court is
invaded by a wild-looking creature with torn clothes and matted hair,
who, judging from the blood on his face and head, must be covered with
hideous gashes and gaping wounds. He begins to blurt out accusations of
brutal assault against his neighbour; but before allowing him to pour
forth his tale of woe, a wise magistrate will require him to be removed
and well combed and washed. In all probability he will come back a new
man, the picture of good health, and free from stain or bruise; and if
he is asked to show his wounds, he will point to a long-healed scar,
or a birth-mark, or some slight scratch that might have been, and quite
possibly was, inflicted by his neighbour's wife's finger-nails. Then,
not in the least degree abashed, he will proceed to tell the tale of
his real woes, and will make no further reference to the little matter
of his physical ill-treatment.

The causes of litigation in Weihaiwei are endless, but a large
proportion of the cases are the results of more or less trivial family
quarrels. When a father has resigned the family property into his sons'
hands and becomes dependent on them for support, he ceases to be the
active head of the family. He must of course continue to be treated
with obedience and respect, and very few fathers in China have any real
cause to accuse a son of unfilial behaviour. But very old men, in China
and elsewhere, often become petulant and hard to please, and it is they
who, perhaps in a fit of temper, are the most likely to bring actions
against their sons and daughters-in-law. An apparently crazy old man
came to me with this story. "I am ninety-two years old. My son Li Kuei
is undutiful. He won't feed me. I have no teeth, and therefore have
to eat soft things, and his wife won't cook them for me." The facts
(easily ascertained by the court) were that the old man's digestive
powers were failing, and that being unable to assimilate even the
softest of food, he erroneously fancied himself to be ill-treated.
Having discovered that he had several nephews who were ready to protect
him in the case of any real grievance, I informed him that out of
consideration for extreme old age the court could not allow people of
over ninety years old to prosecute their suits in person when they had
relatives to do it for them. But if the poor man had lost his teeth, it
was clear that the court had erred in supposing that he had also lost
his wits; for after acquiescing in the ninety-year rule and going away
without a murmur, he reappeared two days later and explained that he
had made a stupid mistake about his age: he was not ninety-two, but
only eighty-eight.

The next case chosen as typical of Weihaiwei deals with a quarrel
between a woman and her male cousin. "I have two houses," said the
man. "I mortgaged one of them to my cousin (a woman), but subsequently
redeemed it. Then I went to sea for several years. On coming home this
year I found that she had treated the house as if it were her own,
though I had long since redeemed it. She had also annexed some of my
furniture. I told the headman. The headman said I had better let my
cousin have her own way for the sake of keeping the peace. I agreed.
But I have a nephew to whom I want to give the house. My cousin refuses
to let him take possession." The difficulty about the house was duly
settled by the court, but a few days later the plaintiff returned with
further complaints. "I have now nothing to say against my cousin,"
he said, "except that she has stolen some more of my furniture--my
cooking-pot, to be precise--and has torn down some of the thatch of
my roof to light her fire with. She also reviles me in public and in
private. I do not want her to be severely punished, but I should like
her to be admonished by the magistrate."

Serious cases very frequently arise out of the most trumpery quarrels
and differences of opinion between one villager and another. If men
only are concerned in such a quarrel their own good sense, or that of
their neighbours, usually prevents the matter from going to extremes,
but if women are concerned, cases of homicide or suicide are sometimes
the outcome. The question of the ownership of a few blocks of stone was
the origin of a quarrel that might easily have had a tragic ending.
The plaintiff's statement in court was as follows: "I accuse Chiang
Tê-jang of beating my wife and myself. At sunset I went home and found
that defendant had beaten my wife. I went to his house, and he met me
at the door. I reasoned with him, and said that if my wife had given
any cause of complaint he should have told me about it. He replied that
my wife deserved a beating. I asked him why he didn't beat me instead,
whereupon he at once took me at my word and thrashed me soundly."
In reply to questions he went on: "I did not strike him back, as I
would not be guilty of a breach of the peace, and thereby appear to
be holding the law in contempt. After I had been beaten I went home.
My wife told me the defendant had beaten her because she refused to
let him take away some stone from our backyard. The stone belonged to
me." In answer to this the defendant stated: "I never struck plaintiff
or his wife. The stone is my own. Plaintiff's wife was fighting with
my mother, and my mother scratched her face. My mother got the worst
of the fight. She is lying in a basket outside the court, as she is
unable to move. I brought her here to have her wounds inspected by the

The more intelligent members of the Chinese community of Weihaiwei
soon discovered, after the arrival of the foreigners, that the British
system of administration and of dealing with civil suits in the Courts
differed from that of China in nothing so conspicuously as in the
absence of "squeezes" and the ease with which the magistrate could
be directly approached by the poorest litigant. There are always
large numbers, however, who are afraid to bring their plaints direct
to the court, either from a fear that they will be prevented by the
police or other native employees of the Government from gaining the
foreign magistrate's ear, or because they dare not openly bring a
lawsuit or make accusations against some influential person or family
in their own village. For the benefit of such timid individuals I
long ago set up, on the roadside in the neighbourhood of the South
Division court, a locked letter-box for the reception of any and
every description of petition or memorial which the writers for some
reason or other preferred not to bring openly to the court. Into this
box, the contents of which are examined by myself alone, petitions of
various kinds are dropped almost daily: and though a large majority
are anonymous denunciations of the private enemies of the writers,
and are immediately destroyed, a considerable number have led to some
discoveries of great value from the administrative point of view,
and have sometimes greatly facilitated the labours of the court in
ascertaining the rights and wrongs of pending cases.

If the petition-box served no other good purpose it would still be
useful as throwing interesting lights on certain aspects of the
character of the people. The petitions received through this medium
are so heterogeneous that it is difficult to select a typical specimen
for purposes of illustration; but the following translation of a
document recently found in the petition-box may give some idea of the
characteristic features of a large class.

  "Your Honour's nameless petitioner humbly exposes the evil deeds
  of a brutal robber who is headman of the village of ----. He and
  his son ill-treat the people shamelessly. At ploughing time he
  continually encroaches upon his neighbours' lands, and if they
  question him on the matter his mouth pours forth a torrent of evil
  words and he reviles them without ceasing. He says, 'I am the
  headman of this village and a person of importance. As for this
  trifling matter of your boundaries, I will treat you exactly as I
  please, for you are all my inferiors.' On other occasions he says,
  'My family is wealthy; I have one hundred and thirty odd _mu_ of
  land. In my house I have silver heaped up like a mountain.' In our
  village there is a right-of-way to the well, which is situated on
  a slope at the edge of his land; but he has forbidden us to use
  this path any longer. In our village there is also an old temple
  called the T'ai-p'ing An, and there is an ancient right-of-way to
  it for the use of people who wish to burn incense at the shrines.
  This path also he has blocked up. He declares that the spirits of
  the dead may use this road, but he will not allow living men to use
  it. Further, he says, 'If any one in the village refuses to obey
  me, let him beware! I am headman and have great influence, and if I
  were to fall upon you it would be as though the sacred mountain of
  T'ai were to fall and crush you.'

  "Sometimes, also, he tells us that he will have us taken to the
  Magistrate's yamên for punishment. Thus we poor petitioners are
  afraid to put our names to this memorial. But we earnestly beg
  the Clear-as-Heaven Magistrate to enquire into this man's conduct
  and have him severely punished. Degrade him from the position of
  headman; lock him up in gaol for several years; inflict a fine
  of several thousand dollars upon him--he has plenty of money in
  his house. Thus will the people be made happy at last, and your
  petitioners' gratitude will endure through all ages to come. We
  implore the Clear-as-Heaven venerable Magistrate quickly to make
  investigations and to inflict punishment, and thus save the people
  and release them from their woes. Then not only through Weihaiwei
  will his fame roll like thunder, but the people who live in Chinese
  territory will all come to know how god-like are his judgments, and
  his reputation will shine with the combined brilliance of sun, moon
  and stars."

The magistrate is supposed to be a kind of living embodiment of all
the Confucian virtues, and therefore to look with extreme favour on
any one whose words or conduct show him to be dutiful to his father,
punctilious in serving the spirits of the dead, respectful to old
age, a wise and good parent, industrious, honest in his dealings with
his neighbours, and law-abiding. No litigant neglects an opportunity
of showing that he possesses each and all of these qualities; and
sometimes it is done cleverly and with an appearance of artlessness. A
man brought an action against another for debt. In the course of his
statement he said: "Whenever I demand the money from him he reviles
me. (Cross-examined). I never reviled him in return. I didn't dare to
do so because he had a beard and I had none. How could I dare to revile
a man with a beard?" This of course means in plain language, "He was my
elder, and therefore I with my well-known regard for the proprieties
could not presume to answer him back." It is not usual in China for a
man to grow a beard or moustache until he has reached middle age.

A litigant also tries to ingratiate himself with the magistrate by
an affectation of extreme humility. A villager is asked if he can
write. He says no. When it is subsequently discovered that he can read
and write with fluency and he is taxed with his falsehood, he merely
explains that he did not dare to boast of his accomplishments in the
presence of the magistrate. The meaning is that the magistrate's
scholarly attainments are (theoretically) so overwhelmingly brilliant
that the litigant's own poor scraps of learning sink into utter
nothingness by comparison. In other words, it is politeness and
humility that impel the man to say he cannot write.

Among the cases that cause the greatest difficulty and sometimes
embarrassment to an English magistrate are those that turn on some
foolish old custom or deeply-rooted superstition. Sometimes it happens
that by deciding the case one way the magistrate may be upholding a
popular view at the cost of doing violence to his own feelings of what
is right and proper; by deciding it in another way he may provoke a
strong local feeling of resentment against the ignorant judgments of
foreigners who do not understand the ways of the people. As a rule
it is best to ascertain the views of the oldest and most respectable
members of the village or district concerned, and give judgment
accordingly. It is interesting to observe that the old folks will not
in all cases give their vote for the pro-superstition view. A lawsuit
of the kind referred to arose recently out of a dispute in a village
as to the digging of a well. The plaintiffs petition ran as follows:

  "Near our village there is a well which supplies good water. As it
  was a long way to this well from the further end of the village it
  was decided some years ago to sink a new well opposite the house of
  Wang Lien-tsêng. This was done, and unfortunately soon afterwards
  a man was drowned in the new well. Then the elders discussed the
  matter and agreed that as the spot was evidently an unpropitious
  one for a well it must be abandoned. A new well was sunk near my
  house. Soon after this well was opened for public use my eldest boy
  took ill. He spat blood for seven months and then died. This was
  not the only piece of bad luck that befell me: I got into trouble
  somehow and was sent to gaol. This second well was then also filled
  up and abandoned. No more well-boring was undertaken for a long
  time, but recently there has been a fresh agitation among some of
  the villagers who say they must have a second well. I and the best
  people in the village think matters had much better be left as they
  are, as well-boring has been proved to be highly dangerous in our
  village. Wang Ming-hu is the principal agitator, and he declares
  that the well which started my misfortunes may be safely reopened,
  as three years have passed since the last time it caused death."

In this case the agitator--perhaps a trifle less superstitious than his
neighbours--got his way, and the results do not seem to have caused any
rise in the local death-rate.

No one who has lived in China requires to be reminded of the strange
pseudo-science of _fêng-shui_, which includes among its various
branches and subdivisions a method of divination whereby lucky sites
are chosen for buildings of all kinds and especially for graves.
A master-in-fêng-shui, as one might render the term _fêng-shui
hsien-shêng_, is one who gives his services, not gratuitously, to
persons who wish to find a propitious spot for the erection of a new
dwelling-house or (as in the case just quoted) the boring of a well
or the burial of a deceased relative. The richer and more patient the
client, the longer, as a rule, will the _hsien-shêng_ take to complete
his calculations, and the larger will be his fee.

A very important point to remember with regard to the selection
of lucky sites for graves is that the solicitude is not only for
the deceased but for the present generation and its descendants as
well.[71] A carefully-selected burial-ground brings, it is believed,
peace to the ancestors down in the Yellow Springs of the Underworld and
also ensures an endless progeny of descendants who will enjoy wealth,
distinction and longevity. The two words _fêng-shui_ mean nothing
more than "wind and water," but their esoteric connotation, if we
were to do it justice, could hardly be elucidated in a whole chapter.
Fêng-shui that was originally good may be ruined through a change in
the course of a river, the erection of new buildings in the immediate
neighbourhood, the opening-up of virgin soil, and through an endless
variety of other causes.

The well-known Chinese dragon often plays a conspicuous part in matters
relating to fêng-shui. To the true believer, indeed, the hills and
rocks are not dead things, but animated with a mysterious kind of life
which is apart from and yet has strange influences over the lives of
men. Threatened disturbances of fêng-shui have frequently been the real
or pretended cause of Chinese opposition to the opening of mines and
the building of railways: and the popular feelings in the matter are so
strong (though they are gradually weakening) that the official classes
are obliged to treat the superstition with an outward respect which
it is fair to say is on their part generally simulated. Yet it is by
no means ignored by the highest in the land: the tombs of the Chinese
imperial family are always selected after a most careful scrutiny of
the spots favoured by the best fêng-shui. The case to which I am about
to allude arose out of a quarrel concerning the proposed opening of a
stone-quarry in the vicinity of an ancestral graveyard. The dialogue
that took place in court proceeded somewhat as follows, though the
speeches are much abbreviated.

  _Plaintiffs._--We object to the quarry. The land is defendants'
  own and we do not claim any rights over it, but it is close to
  our ancestors' graves, and is certain to injure the fêng-shui. We
  should not object to a quarry on the far side of the hill, which
  cannot be seen from the graveyard. Our ancestors left word that if
  a quarry were opened on the far side it would not matter. Why don't
  the defendants go to that side?

  _Defendants._--The land belongs to us and our deeds are in order.
  We assert that plaintiffs have no right to interfere with our
  quarry, and we do not see how the fêng-shui of their graves can be
  affected. We don't go to the other side of the hill because there
  is no stone there.

  _Plaintiffs._--There is a dragon in the hill and it lives under the
  graveyard, and it extends to the place where the defendants have
  wickedly started to quarry. If the hill is cut into, the dragon
  will be hurt.

  _The Magistrate._--I do not think the dragon would raise any
  objections to the quarry. In fact he would no doubt feel much more
  comfortable if the stone were moved away. He probably finds it very
  heavy. In that case your fêng-shui would be immensely improved by
  the opening of the quarry.

  _Plaintiffs (with perhaps the least suspicion of scorn at the
  foreign magistrate's ignorance)._--The stones in the quarry are the
  dragon's bones.

Hardly less important than the choice of a well-situated grave is the
_ante-mortem_ provision for a becoming funeral. It is well known that
among the poorest classes the most acceptable present a dutiful son can
give his father is a handsome coffin; and it is a real satisfaction
to a humble labourer or farmer to know that, however poor he and
his family may be, there will be no doubt about his being laid to
rest in a thoroughly respectable manner. The coffin--a large and most
cumbersome article--is sometimes deposited during the owner's lifetime
in a Buddhist temple, but this costs money; so it is frequently allowed
to occupy an honourable corner in the family living-room, where it
becomes the pride of the household and the envy of less fortunate
neighbours. The presentation of a coffin to the head of a family by
his dutiful and affectionate sons is sometimes made the occasion of
an "At Home," to which are invited all relatives and friends who live
in the neighbourhood. The visitors are expected to congratulate the
proud father on his new piece of furniture and on his good fortune in
possessing exemplary sons, to express unbounded admiration for the
coffin, and to compliment the sons on the filial devotion of which they
have just given so admirable a proof.

In Weihaiwei, litigation arising directly or indirectly out of disputes
concerning coffins is fairly common, owing to the fact that timber
is scarce and good coffins correspondingly expensive. The rights
of ownership over a single tree or a group of trees are for this
reason hotly contested, though the intention of using the timber for
coffin-making is not always mentioned in the pleadings. One T'sung
P'ei-yü made his complaint thus: "I was one of three sons. When the
family property was divided between the three of us by our father's
instructions, my eldest brother was given the house in which we had
been brought up. But in the garden there was a fir-tree, and our
father, before he died, specially declared that this tree was to be
regarded as mine, in order that I might make myself a coffin out of it.
The village headman can bear witness to this, and all the neighbours
know that what 1 say is true. This happened seven years ago, and no one
contested my claim to the tree until the tenth day of this moon, when I
went to the garden to cut it down. To my surprise I was stopped by my
elder brother's wife, Ts'ung Liu Shih, who refused to let me touch it.
I am a man of peace and dared not take the law into my own hands, so I
appeal to the court for help." The end of the case was that some of the
neighbours--doubtless sympathising with the plaintiff in his laudable
and natural longing for a good coffin--offered to "talk peace," and
there was an amicable settlement out of court. The plaintiff got his
tree but had to spend the amount that a good coffin would have cost in
entertaining his genial neighbours at a feast. What became of the elder
brother's wife did not transpire.

From coffins to ancestral worship the transition is easy. Very numerous
cases might be cited in which the magistrate is called upon to decide
subtle questions--such as could seldom arise outside China--connected
with adoption, inheritance, the guardianship of lands devoted to
sacrificial purposes, and the custody of ancestral tablets. During a
journey in western China I had some conversation with a missionary on
this and allied topics. When I mentioned that the ancestral tablets
were frequently produced in court as part of the evidence in a lawsuit
and sometimes remained in the magistrate's custody for several days,
the missionary remarked that he presumed I took advantage of such
occasions to talk seriously to the "heathen" on the wickedness and
folly of "idolatry." The fact that the people of Weihaiwei are still in
the habit of appealing to the British courts for judgments in cases of
this kind, is sufficient to show that the missionary's assumption was

The Chinese magistrate being in theory the father of his district, he
must not merely hold the balance between his people when they come to
him with their quarrels; he must not merely punish the offender and
vindicate the cause of the oppressed: he must also instil into the
minds of his "children," by word and example, a submissive reverence
for the doctrines of the ancient sages, which include proper respect
for tradition, a dutiful obedience to all properly-constituted
authority, whether in family or in State, and the practice of courtesy
and forbearance in all dealings with neighbours and strangers. Some
of the most valuable of the Confucian maxims are summed up in the
"Sacred Edict," which, though it only dates from the time of K'ang Hsi
(seventeenth century), is entirely based on the Confucian teachings
and is very well known--by name if not by its contents--to the vast
majority of the Chinese people. Whether Chinese magistrates always
fulfil their functions either as models or as teachers of virtue is a
matter which does not concern us.

In Weihaiwei, where the King's Order-in-Council justifies a magistrate
in giving effect to Chinese customs and practices, I have frequently,
in delivering judgments in both civil and criminal cases, used
appropriate texts taken either from the Confucian classics themselves
or from the Sacred Edict, for the purpose of giving my hearers little
moral discourses on points suggested by the cases before me. If, for
example, two neighbours have quarrelled over some trifling matter I
tell them of the wise words used by K'ang Hsi and his commentators
with reference to the observance of harmonious relations among people
who inhabit the same village. I remind them, perhaps, that "if
fellow-villagers quarrel with one another and neither is willing to
forgive, then the result will be a state of enmity which may not only
last all their own lives, but may embitter the lives of their sons and
grandsons, and even then peace may not ensue."

On one occasion on which I had quoted a passage from the Sacred Edict a
local missionary pointed out to me that I could have found a far more
appropriate text for my purpose by turning to a certain passage in the
Bible to which he referred me. He was very probably quite right, though
I did not verify his Biblical reference: but it would no more occur
to me, in addressing a crowd of Chinese from the magisterial bench in
Weihaiwei, to read them passages from the Bible than it would occur to
a judge in England to entertain the jury or the prisoner at the bar
with quotations from the Zend Avesta or the Institutes of Vishnu. Is
it not probable that an ordinary Chinese peasant will think more of
his magistrate's ethical views and be more likely to profit by them if
the magistrate bases his discourses on teachings which the Chinese and
his ancestors have always been taught to hold sacred, rather than on
strange-sounding quotations from a book he has never heard of?

From the examples given of some of the questions that come up for
decision in the courts of Weihaiwei it may be seen that in this
outlying part of the British Empire, no less than in India and the
rest of our Asiatic possessions, the chief qualifications necessary
for a judge or magistrate are not so much a knowledge of law and legal
procedure as a ready acquaintance with the language, customs, religious
ideas and ordinary mode of life of the people and an ability to
sympathise with or at least to understand their prejudices and points
of view. Perhaps no Englishman, no European or American, can hope to
administer justice or exercise executive functions among Asiatics in
a manner that will win universal approval. If he becomes too fond of
the natives he runs the risk of becoming de-occidentalised. Morally
and intellectually he becomes a Eurasian. He is distrusted by his own
countrymen, he is not respected--perhaps regarded as rather a bore--by
the natives over whom he is placed. But let the European who applies
to another the epithet of "pro-native" enquire rigorously of himself
whether his real ground of complaint is not this: that the person whom
he criticises does not in all cases support the European against the
Asiatic when the interests of the two are at variance, that he does
not necessarily accept the European point of view as the only possible
or the only just one.

"How is it that you Government officials, as soon as you have learned
the language and studied the customs of the country, become either mad
or hopelessly pro-Chinese?" This is a question which in one form or
another is frequently asked by unofficial European residents in China.
It may be that there is something in the nature of Chinese studies
that makes men mad, and indeed I have heard this soberly maintained
by persons who themselves are careful to avoid all risk of contagion.
But it never seems to occur to such questioners that there may be
some solid reasons for the apparently pro-Chinese tendencies (they
are generally only apparent) of their official friends: reasons based
on the fact that the latter have discovered--perhaps much to their
own astonishment--how much there is truly admirable and worthy of
preservation not only in Chinese art and literature and even religion,
but also in the social organisation of the Chinese people. If there is
one statement about China that can be made with perfect assurance it
is this: that if in the long process of reform she learns to despise
and throw aside all the supports she has leaned upon for thousands
of years, if she exchanges for Western substitutes all her ideals,
her philosophy of life, her ethics, her social system, she may indeed
become rich, progressive, powerful in peace and war, perhaps a terror
to the nations, but she will have left behind her very much that was
good and great, she will have parted with much that was essential to
her happiness and even to her self-respect, she will be a stranger to
herself. And what will be the outward aspect of the China of those
days? Great industrial cities there may be; harbours thronged with
ocean-liners and with great battleships flying the Dragon flag; miles
of factories, barracks, arsenals and shipping-yards; railway trains,
motor-cars and airships coming and going incessantly from province
to province; warehouses, banks and stock-exchanges full of myriads of
buyers and sellers, each straining every nerve to excel his neighbour
in the race for wealth. And where, in this picture of China's possible
future, are the thousands of ancestral temples where to-day the members
of every family meet to do homage to their honoured dead and to renew
the bonds of kinship one with another? They are to be seen no more. In
their place stand thousands of village police-stations.


[65] See p. 98.

[66] _Society in China_, p. 107.

[67] _Kuei chia shih shih yang yen i ta kuan ssŭ wei lo shih._

[68] _Ta-jên._ The term _Ta Lao-yeh_ (see p. 15) is more correct for a
"father-and-mother" official, but _Ta-jên_ implies higher rank, and the
Chinese finding from experience that nearly all European officials are
foolish enough to prefer the loftier form of address, wisely make use
of it in addressing a foreigner whom they desire to propitiate.

[69] _Ta-jên tuan shih ju shên._

[70] See p. 2.

[71] See below, pp. 264 _seq._



To enter into a detailed description of Chinese village life would
take us far astray from the immediate purpose of this book, which is
to place before the reader a picture of Weihaiwei and the manners
and customs of its people. Many such manners and customs are indeed
common to the whole Empire, and in describing them we describe China;
others are, or may be, peculiar to eastern Shantung or to the districts
in proximity to the Promontory. Indeed, the student of sociological
conditions in various parts of Asia will perhaps observe how much
there is in common, with respect to village organisation, between the
people of Weihaiwei and those--for example--of many parts of the Indian
Empire. Far apart as the races concerned are in origin, traditions, and
geographical and climatic conditions, it is yet a fact that the village
communities of Weihaiwei at the present day are, in some important
respects, identical in structure with those of Burma, especially of
Upper Burma as it was before the annexation to the British Empire.

In outward appearance, it must be confessed, a Weihaiwei village is
a poor thing compared with a village on the banks of the Irrawaddy.
At close quarters it is often offensive both to the eye and to the
nostrils--for the peasantry of China are not a cleanly people. Seen
from a distance, the village that gives the greatest pleasure to
a European observer is the village that is almost entirely hidden
in a grove of trees. Not infrequently the villages have an almost
north-country English appearance. The houses are built of roughly-hewn
grey stone, of which there is abundance in the hills; the roofs are
usually of thatch, though the temples and some of the better-class
dwelling-houses are roofed with bluish-grey tiles. All buildings--even
temples--have very plain exteriors, and were evidently constructed
for use and not for outward show. There are no pagodas, and not much,
except a few twisted gables, that reminds one of southern China. Apart
from an occasional Chinese inscription cut on a block of stone (such
as "May a lucky star look down on us") or a crude representation of
the well-known figure of the _Yin_ and _Yang_ (according to Chinese
philosophy the complementary forces and qualities of nature),[72]
there is little to suggest Oriental surroundings. In the larger
villages may be seen theatrical pavilions in front of some of the local
temples, and these pavilions are often the most elaborate buildings,
as regards architectural structure and ornament, in their respective

[Illustration: "WE ARE THREE" (see p. 250).]

[Illustration: VILLAGE OF T'ANG HO-HSI (see p. 128).]

The Weihaiwei Territory contains, as already stated, about three
hundred and fifteen villages and hamlets. Estimating the total area
of the Territory at three hundred square miles, and allowing for a
large hill-area of uncultivated barren land, we find that there are
probably about three villages, on an average, to every two square
miles of territory. No census has yet been taken, but the population
was long ago estimated by the military authorities (when they surveyed
the territory) at 500 to the square mile, which would give a total of
close on 150,000. I am inclined to think this estimate was too high
at the time it was made, though the present population, which has
been steadily increasing during the last decade, may not be far from
that figure. Continuing this rough estimate, it may be said that the
North Division[73] of the Territory contains 100 square miles with 84
villages, and a population of 50,000; the South Division 200 square
miles with 231 villages and a population of 100,000. There are no
walled towns or villages with the exception of the so-called city of
Weihaiwei, which is nominally under Chinese jurisdiction. There are six
market centres, all of which are situated in the South Division with
the exception of the first named: they are Weihaiwei city, Fêng-lin,
Ku-shan-hou, Ch'iao-Lou, Ts'ao-miao-tzŭ and Yang-t'ing. Market is held
at each of these places on every fifth day.

All these markets are of old standing with the exception of that of
Ku-shan-hou, which was established, or rather revived, in 1907. The
most important of the markets are those at Weihaiwei, Ch'iao-t'ou, and
Yang-t'ing. The merchandise sold includes all kinds of agricultural
produce in addition to material for clothing, cooking utensils, and
other household gear. Foreign cloth and fancy goods of a cheap kind
have a small sale. Beasts of burden are bought and sold as occasion
demands, but it is at the great annual fairs that they change hands in
largest numbers. These fairs were originally held in connection with
religious festivals, and, indeed, they are still semi-religious in
character. Men and women, especially the latter, flock to the temples,
which at other seasons are rarely visited, and burn incense before
the image of their favourite saint or deity; religious processions
are held--a great source of delight to the children, who are given
an opportunity of "dressing up"; and thousands of fire-crackers are
exploded in the temple courtyards. But it is the business aspect of the
fairs that appeals most strongly to the male adults who attend them,
for it is on these occasions that they hope to drive the best bargains
in the buying and selling of oxen, mules, ponies, donkeys and pigs.
A fair or _hui_[74] is held annually at most of the market centres
and at a few other places. One of the largest is held every spring
at T'ang-ho-hsi, close to the District Officer's headquarters, and
another at Pei-k'ou, where there is a temple in a picturesque defile.
Theatrical performances are always held on such occasions, in fact
they constitute part of the religious element of the _hui_. Though the
performances are secular in character they are known as _shên hsi_,
which might be translated "divine" or "religious drama."

The drama (such as it is) provides the most popular of all forms of
amusement among the agricultural classes. The actors are professionals,
who wander from place to place seeking engagements. Contracts are drawn
up by middlemen called _hsieh-hsi-ti_, and contain a concise statement
of how many days the performances are to be given (generally three or
four), how many actors are to take part in them, and what the payment
is to be. The actors carry with them their own garments, false beards,
masks and other "properties," while the stage is supplied by the
village. The stone-built theatrical pavilions usually face northwards,
towards the gateway of the temple with which they are connected.
Temples, and the images in them, face the south: thus the gods, for
whose benefit and in whose honour the plays are theoretically given,
have a full view of the entertainment. The spectators stand between the
temple and the stage. The performances (usually consisting of short
separate plays) take place at intervals throughout the whole of each

(see p. 130).]

[Illustration: VILLAGE THEATRICALS (see p. 132).]

There is very little originality in the plots of the pieces presented;
they are all taken from or founded on well-known Chinese legendary
episodes or on events described in famous historical novels. If this
were not the case, the dramatic methods in vogue in agricultural China
would have to be modified; for the dialogue cannot under present
conditions be heard distinctly except by a limited number of the
audience. Not to mention the gongs and cymbals of the orchestra, which
frequently come into action at what appears to foreigners to be the
wrong moment, the open air soon dissipates the players' voices, and the
great body of spectators ("audience" is hardly an appropriate word) is
apt to be somewhat restless, if not noisy. Female parts are generally
taken by specially trained boys or young men, though actresses are no
longer unknown in China. The acting is rarely good from a European
point of view; on the contrary, it is very stiff and full of what
seem to us ridiculous mannerisms. But it is unfair to judge of the
histrionic art of China from what one sees at a country fair.

The frequent association of the drama with religion in China will
naturally recall to the minds of students of English literature
the miracle-plays and mysteries of the Middle Ages in Europe. But
the analogy is not a very close one. The English drama, regarded
historically, may be said to be English through and through. The
changes it underwent were almost, if not quite, independent of the
history of the drama on the Continent. The evolution of the drama
can be traced step by step from its origin to its culmination in the
hands of the great Elizabethans. In China the origin of the drama is
doubtful; it is not (in its present or any similar form) of great
antiquity, and dramatic writing has never taken rank as a very high
form of art. Some of the elements of drama may probably be traced
in the stately gesture-dances, combined with music, of which we
read in some of the oldest Chinese books. Dances which are probably
very similar to those performed at the courts of the ruling dukes
in Confucius's time may be witnessed at the present day in parts of
Further India. In the old Indo-Chinese capital of Vientian on the
Mekong (now the capital of French Laos) I witnessed, in 1902, a dance
of this kind. By a stretch of the imagination it might have been styled
a drama in dumb show, but with more dumb show than drama: a dance that
aimed at expressing not so much the poetry of graceful movement as the
poetry of successive states of more or less dignified repose.

The Chinese drama of to-day is still a drama of posturing and gesture:
the player is for ever aiming at "striking an attitude." This is all
the more remarkable among a people who in ordinary life consider
gesture undignified and indicative of a lack of self-control. It
can, I think, be explained only as a survival from the days when
the Chinese drama consisted mainly of dance and music. The literary
developments of the drama--if indeed they may correctly be described
as developments--date only from the time of the Yüan dynasty
(1280-1367), and the popularity of the drama among the people seems to
have been only of gradual growth since that date. It was apparently
an importation from Central Asia, and came to China with the Mongol
conquerors. For some time this novel form of art was confined to
Peking and the other great centres of Mongol power, and to this day
the influence of Peking is shown in the very frequent employment of
the Peking dialect even in provinces where that form of speech is
unintelligible to the mass of the people.

A theatrical company may be engaged by any person or group of persons
willing to pay the required expenses. A theatrical entertainment is
not therefore necessarily connected with religion, though in Weihaiwei
it is generally so--at least in name. Occasionally a villager who
has acquired wealth in Manchuria or elsewhere makes a bid for local
popularity by paying the whole expenses out of his own pocket; but
as a rule the cost is met out of the common purse. This leads us
to a consideration of the internal polity and fiscal arrangements
of a Weihaiwei village, which must be clearly understood in their
main outlines if we are to arrive at any adequate conception of the
manner in which the peasants of this district, as of nearly the
whole of China, regulate their lives and allocate their rights and

Certainly the main interest of the Territory, especially for those
interested in sociological questions, lies in the quiet and apparently
humdrum life of the village communities. As that life is now, so
it has been for unnumbered centuries. There is no manorial system,
no "villeinage," no landlordism, no rack-renting. The people of
Weihaiwei are practically a population of peasant proprietors, though
proprietorship is vested rather in the family (using the word in an
extended sense) than in the individual. Villages still bear, in very
many cases, the name of the family that lived in them as far back
as their history can be traced. Chang-chia-shan is the Hill of the
Chang family; Wang-chia-k'uang is the Defile of the Wang family;
Chiang-chia-k'ou is the Pass of the Chiang family; Yü-chia-chuang is
the village of the Yü family.

There is an old story of a weary traveller in Scotland who, having
arrived at a certain country town in the Border district late at
night, and finding closed doors everywhere, called out, "Are there no
Christians in this town?"--whereat an old woman popped her head out
of an upper window and replied, "Nae, nae, we're a' Johnstones and
Jardines here." The Scottish town at least had its two surnames; more
often than not a Weihaiwei village has only one. There may be Chinese
Johnstones or Chinese Jardines; but it is improbable that they will be
found together in the same village in such an old-fashioned district as
Weihaiwei. This is not, of course, universally the case. When a clan is
starved out of existence or has emigrated in a body, or, owing to its
paucity of numbers, has admitted immigrants, the village may gradually
become the property of several unrelated families. It is then known as
a _tsa hsing_ village, or village of miscellaneous surnames. Its old
name may or may not be perpetuated. Mêng-chia-chuang, which ought to
be the village of the Mêng family, is now the property of a well-to-do
family or clan named Liang, and the Mêngs have disappeared.

As a rule we find in Weihaiwei either that each village is exclusively
inhabited by the people of one name, who are all inter-related and
address each other as brothers and uncles and nephews, or that
one "surname" is in numbers, wealth and social influence greatly
predominant over the others. Title-deeds and tombstones testify to
the antiquity of many of the existing Weihaiwei families; many of the
peasant-proprietors who share the land among them to-day are the direct
or collateral descendants of the people who tilled the same fields in
the days of the Sung, Yüan and Ming dynasties.

There are considerable numbers, however, whose ancestors were
immigrants from other parts of China; some of these were military
colonists, some were transferred by Government from other provinces
as a result of political or social troubles connected with rebellions
or famines. There are many well-known residents who themselves have
never travelled beyond the boundaries of the Wên-têng and Jung-ch'êng
districts, but who are well aware, from their carefully-preserved
pedigree-scrolls, that their ancestors were brought hither by
Government hundreds of years ago from provinces as far distant as
Yünnan. The Roman Emperors, we know, frequently adopted a similar
method of dealing with certain political exigencies, for they
transferred whole bodies of people from one province of the Empire to
another; but the fate of the transferred Chinese was better than that
of many of the Roman provincials, for they retained their independence
and did not become the serfs of overlords.

A typical village of Weihaiwei may be defined as consisting of a
group of families all bearing the same surname and all tracing their
descent from a single ancestor or a single ancestral stock, each
family in the group constituting a semi-independent unit, owning
its own lands, possessing certain rights over a common tract of
pasture-land and sharing in the rights and responsibilities connected
with the upkeep of the Ancestral Temple[75] and its tablets,[76] the
family burial-ground,[77] and any land or property that may have been
specially set apart to provide for the expenses of religious ceremonies
and sacrifices.[78] The more mixed a village becomes, that is, the
greater the number of "surnames" that it contains, the more widely does
it depart from the uniformity implied by this description. There may,
for example, be several ancestral temples, several burial-grounds,
many different patches of sacrificial land; though if the immigrants
came from a village in the vicinity, and have left there the main body
of their clan, it sometimes happens that they will still associate
themselves with the parent-village rather than with that in which they
live, and will therefore refrain from establishing new centres of
ancestral worship.

The units of the village community are not individuals but families.
Nothing is more important for an understanding of the wonderfully
stable and long-lived social system of China than this fact: that the
social and the political unit are one and the same, and that this unit
is not the individual but the family.[79]

It is well known that this family-system exists, or till recently
existed, in nearly every Asiatic country; and that only within the
present generation the advance of European influence and legal notions
has in some parts of the Continent brought about a gradual tendency to
Western individualism.[80]

But the European must not too hastily assume, when he sees
individualism largely replacing the old family-system in such countries
as Japan, that the wiser heads in those countries regard the change as
being in all respects beneficial. Some of them are inclined to fear
that the new system--though its adoption may possibly be necessary
in order to supply their country with a certain brute strength which
the old system lacked, and so to enable it to cope with European
aggression--tends to the grievous injury of much that they believe to
be essential to true civilisation. They do not welcome with enthusiasm
the emergence above the social and political horizon of that strange
new star--the self-contained individual. They contemplate with
something like dismay the weakening or breaking of the old family
bonds, which if they were sometimes a hindrance to personal advancement
and had a cramping influence on the individual life, at least did much
to keep within bounds the primitive instincts of selfishness and greed.

Even in Europe there are thinkers who have expressed doubts as
to whether our Western individualism is not a terribly fragile
and unstable foundation on which to build a vast social system;
whether there are not already signs of decay in the very bases of
our civilisation. The truth of the matter is that there are certain
profound social problems which have never yet been solved either by
the East or by the West. We are all yet in various experimental stages
of social progress. It may be that if Western theories and ideals have
soared to greater heights, Eastern theories and ideals have aimed at
producing a greater fundamental solidity;[81] and that, the essential
differences being so great, it is inadvisable for either hemisphere
to press its ideals too persistently on the other, and dangerous for
either to abandon its own ideals too hastily in deference to the
other's teaching or example.

Most people have heard a great deal of the high standard of
commercial honour that prevails among the Chinese. Testimony to this
characteristic has been given so often by English merchants and
others that it seems unnecessary to insist upon it. I will only say,
in passing, that nearly all business transactions between Chinese
and Chinese, even those involving considerable sums of money, are
in Weihaiwei still carried out by word of mouth. The point to be
emphasised here is that the commercial honesty of the Chinese is to
a great extent dependent on and the result of their theory of the
relationship between the individual and the family, which theory is
in turn based on the social doctrines (such as filial piety) which
Confucius taught or sanctioned.

The Western individual who owes money and cannot or will not pay
can always shoot himself or abscond or go bankrupt. He may leave a
stigma on his family if it is known who his family are, but the debts
were his own and his relations cannot be held responsible. But the
identification of the interests and obligations of an individual with
those of his family have in agricultural China this peculiar and
socially beneficial result, that a man cannot dissolve his liabilities
by such a simple process as going bankrupt or dying.[82] His rights are
inherited by his sons: so are his liabilities. The law, it is true,
limits a man's liability for an ancestor's debts to the extent of his
own inheritance: but the rule of custom is sterner than the rule of
law. In 1907 a man whom we will call Ku brought me a petition in which
he stated that in the seventh year of Chia Ch'ing (one hundred and five
years earlier) an ancestor of his had contracted a debt of three _tiao_
(a sum which at the present day is worth five or six shillings) to a
man Liu. Liu's descendant, rummaging among the family archives, had
recently chanced to come across documentary evidence of this debt (the
grimy little scrap of paper was produced in court) and he forthwith
brought it to Ku, who had never heard of the transaction, with the
suggestion that final settlement of this long-standing little bill was
now eminently desirable. Principal and interest together then amounted
to something like twenty times the original amount.

The reason why Ku brought his case to my court was not that he objected
to this unexpected call upon his slender purse, for as it happened he
had already paid the whole amount without a murmur; he merely came to
suggest that as the original debtor had two direct living descendants
besides himself, those two persons should be required to pay their fair
shares of the ancestral debt. He wished to know the views of the court
on the point before he demanded payment from them. The man might in law
have repudiated this debt altogether: Chinese law does not and could
not go as far as local custom in settling questions that directly or
indirectly concern the honour of a family. Repudiation of an ancestor's
debt is, however, as rare in a Weihaiwei village as is bankruptcy.
Debts may go unpaid, but only at the risk of a "loss of face" that
would in most cases cause the debtor much greater inconvenience and
discomfort than the monetary loss.

Weihaiwei has as yet shown but little tendency to modify its
semi-patriarchal social system as a consequence of its fifteen years
of continuous contact with Western civilisation. The individual is
still sunk in the family. He cannot divest himself of the rights any
more than of the responsibilities that belong to him through his family
membership. The Weihaiwei farmer has indeed so limited a conception
of his own existence as a separate and distinct personality that in
ordinary speech he continually confuses himself with his ancestors or
with living members of his family. Examples of this are of repeated
occurrence in the law-courts. "I bought this land and now the Tung
family is trying to steal it from me," complains a petitioner. "When
did you buy it?" asks the magistrate. "Two hundred years ago," promptly
replies the oppressed one. Says another, "My rights to the property
of Sung Lien-têng are being contested by my distant cousin. I am
the rightful owner. I buried Sung Lien-têng and have charge of his
soul-tablet and carry out the ancestral ceremonies." "When did Sung
Lien-têng die?" questions the magistrate. "In the fortieth year of
K'ang Hsi" is the reply. This means that the deceased whose property is
in dispute died childless in 1701, that plaintiff's ancestor in that
year defrayed the funeral expenses and acted as chief mourner, that by
family agreement he was installed as adopted son to the deceased and
heir to his property, and that plaintiff claims to be the adopted son's
descendant and heir. Looking upon his family, dead and alive, as one
and indivisible, he could not see any practical difference between the
statement that certain funeral rites had been carried out by himself
and the statement that they had been carried out by a direct ancestor.

Another litigant, whose long residence abroad had had no apparent
effect on his general outlook on life, came to me very recently with
the complaint that on his return from Manchuria he had found his land
in the possession of a neighbour. "I went to Manchuria as my family
had not enough to eat," he said. "I came home this year and wished to
redeem the land I had mortgaged before I went away. But I found it had
been already redeemed by my neighbour, a cousin, and he refuses to let
me redeem it from him." On being asked when he had mortgaged his land
and emigrated, he replied: "In Chia Ch'ing 3"--that is, in 1798. He was
merely identifying himself with his own great-grandfather.

In another case a man whom I will call A brought a plaint to the effect
that he wished to adopt B, and that C for various reasons refused to
allow this adoption to take place. On investigation it turns out that
B is dead and that it is his infant son D whom A really wishes to
adopt. B and D--father and son--seem to A merely different expressions,
as it were, of the same entity. This does not mean, of course, that
supposing B were still alive it would not matter whether B or D
actually became A's adopted son. The rules of adoption in China are
strictly regulated. A man cannot adopt any one he likes. Not to mention
other necessary conditions, the person adopted must belong to the
appropriate generation, that is, to the generation immediately junior
to that of the adopter. In the case before us the infant D belonged to
the proper generation, and his father B could not have been adopted. To
our notions it seems all the stranger that A, knowing this, should have
spoken of B when he meant D: yet this manner of speech is exceedingly

But after all, if we wish to assure ourselves that the individual is
not regarded as an independent unit we must rely on stronger evidence
than strange verbal inaccuracies. Perhaps the best and most convincing
proofs will be found in the restrictions placed on the powers of the
individual to dispose of real property.

It is necessary at the outset to lay stress on the fact that there
is no evidence, so far as I am aware, of the former existence, in
Weihaiwei or elsewhere in China, of agrarian communism. A village
community may indeed possess a common tract of pasture-land, or common
pasture or "fuel" rights over private hill-lands at certain seasons
of the year,[83] or some arable fields may under certain conditions
be cultivated by different persons or different families in turn: but
if we were to assume from this that all arable land was once owned in
common and that individual or family proprietorship has only gradually
superseded an old communistic system, we should be entirely wrong.
Students of the laws and customs relating to land must be careful, as
Fustel de Coulanges has clearly warned them, "not to confuse agrarian
communism with family ownership, which may in time become village
ownership without ceasing to be a real proprietorship."[84]

In China all land theoretically belongs to the Emperor and the land-tax
paid by cultivators may be regarded, from one point of view, as rent
payable by tenant to proprietor. The Emperor is the Son of Heaven
(T'ien Tzŭ) and owns the whole Empire (literally "what is under
Heaven"--_T'ien hsia_): _a fortiori_ he is owner of every separate
patch of tilled land that the Empire contains. But for the people of
China the ultimate rights of the Emperor are a matter of legal theory
only. In practice, land is privately owned in China just as it is
privately owned in England; but whereas in England a land-owner may
(if his land is not "tied up") exercise all the rights of absolute
ownership quite regardless of the wishes of his nearest relations, not
to mention his distant cousins, in China the individual land-owner
cannot disregard the inextinguishable rights of his family.[85]

Be it remembered, moreover, that "family" does not imply merely a
father and a mother with their children. It includes also nephews,
grand-nephews, cousins of several degrees, and in fact all who come
within the description of _wu fu_, or persons on whose decease one must
assume one of the five degrees of "mourning." In England, if a man's
title-deeds are in order, and the land is free from encumbrances, no
one will question his perfect right, as an independent individual, to
sell his land how and to whom he chooses. It is unnecessary for him to
consult relations, neighbours or friends. Now in Weihaiwei, which is
a typical Chinese agricultural district, the man who tried to dispose
of his landed property without fully discussing the whole matter with
all the prominent members and "elders" of his village--or rather with
those among them who are of the same surname and come within the _wu
fu_--would find himself foiled at the outset, for no one would venture
to run the risk of buying land that was being offered for sale in so
peculiar and irregular a manner. Even if the purchaser, being a man
of wealth and influence, were prepared to run all possible risks,
who would be found to draw up the deed of sale? Who would take the
place of the numerous relatives who always append their signatures to
such documents as proof that all is in order? The would-be seller's
title-deeds may be in perfect order; the land may have come down to
him from his direct ancestors and his right to sell may be apparently
incontestable. But he is not the less bound to satisfy his uncles and
brothers and cousins, as well as his own sons, as to the reason for his
desire to sell, and even if they agree that a sale is necessary (owing
perhaps to the seller's debts) he is by no means permitted to dispose
of the property by public auction or offer it to the highest bidder.

All his relatives, more or less in the order of their seniority or
proximity, must be given the option of purchase, and if the price
offered by an influential relative is considered fair by the general
voice of the village or the clan, he must perforce accept it and be
thankful or refrain from selling his land. The theory that seems to
lie at the root of this custom is not that the land is the common
property of the clan but that the individual _per se_ is only the limb
of a body, and cannot therefore act except in accordance with the will
of the organism to which he belongs; and that it is contrary to the
interests of the family that a portion of the real property belonging
to any of its members should pass into alien hands.

Absolute sales of land are, indeed, not regarded with favour even if
conducted according to the "rules." They have grown common in Weihaiwei
during the past few years, partly because the great increase in the
value of agricultural land has tempted many to take advantage of a
condition of the real-estate market which they think may only be
temporary; partly because foreign occupation and other recent events
have opened out new avenues of employment to large numbers of the
people who are willing, therefore, to dispose of the little plots of
land that are no longer their all-in-all; partly because many of the
smaller land-holders are engaging in commerce or emigrating to Chihli
and to Manchuria. For these and other reasons a good deal of land has
changed and is changing hands, but the old custom whereby real property
can be transferred only from relative to relative is still observed
with very slight if any relaxation of its former strictness.

A Chinese deed of sale, carefully examined, throws an interesting light
on the systems of land-tenure and the conditions under which transfer
is permissible. Without going into technical details, which would be
of small interest to the general reader, attention may be drawn to
the fact that the reason why the seller is disposing of his land must
always be stated. The theory seems to be that he should not want to
sell his land, and that his desire to do so is highly regrettable if
not reprehensible. The document therefore sets forth in detail that
(for example) "Ch'i Tê-jang of Ch'i-chia-chuang, _being altogether
without_ _money or means of subsistence_, is obliged to sell that
piece of land measuring ... _mu_ in extent, bounded as follows: ..., to
his younger "brother" of the same generation [really a cousin] named
Ch'i Shuan, to be held by him as his absolute property for ever."

To these clauses are appended any reservations or special provisions
by which the purchaser is to be bound, and the deed closes with the
statement that it is drawn up "in case hereafter there should be no
proof of the transaction." Then follow the names and crosses of the
witnesses, all of whom are members of the "family,"[86] the name of the
writer of the deed, who is often a schoolmaster, and the name of the
village headman, who is generally himself a relative. The witnesses,
it will now be understood, are very far from being merely persons
invited to testify to the execution of a deed. They have themselves
been consulted at every step of the negotiations, it is they by whom
the purchase price has probably been fixed, and their consent has been
necessary before the deed could be drawn up or the land sold.

Mortgages in Weihaiwei, as probably in the rest of China, are much
commoner than sales. A farmer will generally sell his land only because
he must; he will mortgage it on very slender provocation. As a mortgage
does not definitely alienate the land from the family, the customary
rules regulating this transaction are much more flexible than those
relating to sales. Sometimes a piece of land is merely mortgaged as
security for a temporary loan, in which case the mortgagor remains
on the land;[87] in other cases it is mortgaged because the owner is
going abroad or because the opposition on the part of the family to a
definite sale is too strong to be overcome. In such cases the rights of
cultivation are transferred to the mortgagee. In the great majority of
cases mortgaged lands are subsequently redeemed.[88]

Some of the customs regarding redemption are rather curious, and
strongly emphasise the theory that redemption is a duty which must
be undertaken by another member of the family if the original
mortgagor will not or cannot do it himself. For example, A and B are
two brothers. They _fên chia_, that is to say they set up separate
establishments, each taking his own share of the family property. A
remains at home, quietly cultivating his farm, while B decides to
emigrate to Manchuria. In order to raise some necessary capital he
decides to mortgage his share of the family land; but as neither A
nor any other relative can provide the amount of money he requires,
he is obliged to mortgage his property to an outsider C--a man of
different surname who lives in a neighbouring village. This man C
takes possession of the land as mortgagee and cultivates it for some
years. B meanwhile is in Manchuria, and no one knows how he is faring,
or whether he is alive or dead. A now goes to C and tells him that he
wishes to redeem the land mortgaged to B. It is obvious that according
to strict legality the land should only be redeemed by the original
mortgagor. B's name alone is on the deed: A had nothing whatever to do
with the transaction. Yet, by custom, C must resign the land to A; not
merely because A produces the mortgage-price, but because he is one of
B's family.

Perhaps several years later B returns from Manchuria. He has money and
wishes to redeem his land. He soon discovers that it has been redeemed
by his brother A. His own rights of redemption, however, are still
valid; he applies to A for the return of the land for the same price at
which it was originally mortgaged to C. A must comply. If B has been
absent many years and meanwhile the land has greatly risen in value,
A will probably give it up with a very bad grace. If the original
mortgage-deed was badly drawn up or there are some doubts about what
actually took place, A will perhaps refuse to surrender the land at
all unless or until he is ordered to do so by the court. Litigation
concerning transactions of this kind has been common in Weihaiwei of
recent years. A man who mortgaged his land many years ago, perhaps at
a time of famine and scarcity, for a ridiculously small sum, returns
from abroad to find his land worth five or more times what it was
worth then. He is naturally eager to redeem it, while the person in
whose hands it now is--whether the original mortgagee or one of the
mortgagor's family--is equally eager to retain it. The court in such
cases naturally supports local custom, though there are sometimes
bewildering complications which render it no easy matter to give a
rigidly just decision. Deeds of sale and mortgage of real property
used to be drawn up in an excessively vague and slipshod manner--the
very boundaries of the land being either not mentioned at all or
inaccurately; moreover nearly all such deeds were "white" deeds--that
is to say they had not been put through the formal process of
registration which would turn them into legal documents. To remedy this
state of things (which was not to be wondered at in a district where
ignorant peasants do their own conveyancing without legal assistance)
certain recommendations were made some years ago which resulted
in the adoption of a new system whereby all intending sellers and
mortgagors of land are obliged to use an officially-stamped deed-form,
on which spaces are provided for the proper description of land-areas
and other necessary particulars. The forms are numbered and kept in
counterfoil-books, and no deed can evade registration except through
the negligence of Government clerks. Government has in this simple
procedure a small but unfailing source of revenue, the magistrates find
their labours in the court simplified, and the people are greatly
benefited by having more satisfactory title-deeds to their lands (or
rather proofs of legal purchase and mortgage) than they ever had before.

If the Chinese restrictions on a man's freedom to dispose of his own
property are regarded from the Western point of view as an intolerable
and unjustifiable interference with the rights of the individual, let
it be remembered that the Chinese system is expressly intended to
protect the family rather than the individual. But even so, does it
not safeguard the rights of the individual as well? If A has complete
control over his land and can bequeath it or sell it to whom he
chooses, what about his son B? The average Chinese villager is at birth
a potential landed proprietor.[89] His share in the family inheritance
may be small, but his wants, too, are small. One often hears of an
Englishman's desire to "found a family," by which is generally meant
that he aspires to a position "in the county." The "family" of a
Chinese never requires to be founded: it is there already. He does not
require to engage a searcher of records to find out who his ancestors
were so that he may be provided with a pedigree: he will find all the
necessary information in the Ancestral Temple of his clan.

Whatever the faults of the Chinese social system may be there is no
doubt that in Weihaiwei it very largely accounts for the complete
absence of pauperism (though no one is rich), for the orderliness of
the people (nearly every one has a stake in the land and has nothing
to gain and everything to lose from disorder), for the uninterrupted
succession of father and son in the homesteads, and for the long
pedigrees attested by family graveyards and ancestral tablets.
Certainly the family trees of many of the British Peerage or even
of the English squirearchy and the chieftains of Scottish clans,
would make a poor forest compared with those of the majority of the
farmer-folk of Weihaiwei.

As a father cannot, except in exceptional circumstances, deprive
his son of the family inheritance, it follows that a man's power of
making a will is severely limited. The division of property between
brothers may take place either after their father's death or while he
is still living. The process is called _fên chia_,--Division of the
Family. When brothers _fên-chia_ it means in general terms that each
takes his share of the family inheritance and leaves the paternal
roof: and the document which is drawn up to define and give effect
to the agreement is known as a _fên-shu_ or written statement of the
details of division.[90] The share of each participating member of the
family is clearly stated in the _fên-shu_, and each is given a copy of
the document to hold henceforth as his title-deed. A _fên-shu_ is in
Weihaiwei generally drawn up by mutual agreement between brothers after
their father's death. If the arrangement is made during the father's
(or mother's) lifetime, a portion of the property usually remains in
the parent's hands as _yang-lao-ti_--"Nourish-old-age land." After his
or her death the _yang-lao-ti_ is made to bear the cost of the funeral,
and what remains is divided up among the heirs. A portion of the
property is sometimes set aside as _chi t'ien_ (sacrificial land) to be
cultivated in turn by all the brothers participating in the division.
Sometimes the father keeps no _yang-lao-ti_ for himself but merely
stipulates either that he shall be supported by all his sons in turn
or shall receive from them a fixed proportion of the produce of their
several shares. The former of these arrangements works very well when
the members of the family are in complete harmony with one another;
but sometimes a discordant note is struck either by an unfilial son
or (much more often) by one of the sons' wives, who perhaps fails to
treat her husband's father with proper respect.[91] A woman in China,
be it remembered, practically severs her connection with her own family
when she marries; her husband's parents are henceforth regarded as
her own, and she owes them just the same obedience and filial respect
that are owed them by her husband. The _patria potestas_, in fact, is
exerted not only over sons and grandsons but also over their wives.
But in practice we find that sons' wives do not always, to put it
mildly, show the meek and reverential obedience to their _kung-tieh_,
or father-in-law, that Chinese law enjoins and public opinion considers

As the mother, no less than the father of a family, is made the object
of ancestral "worship," it follows that she succeeds, nominally if
not always actually, to her deceased husband's control over the
family property. A widow is regarded as possessing a life-interest
in her husband's lands, subject of course to the rights, actual or
potential, of her sons. If the _fên-chia_ has already taken place,
all she can personally control is her _yang-lao-ti_. If, however, she
enters into a second marriage, she must relinquish all her rights
in her first husband's property. The reason of this is obvious. If
widows were allowed to endow their second husbands with the property
of the first, there would be a gradual disintegration of the system of
family-ownership. There would no longer be any guarantee that the land
would follow the "name."

If the "family-division" or _fên-chia_ does not take place till after
the father's death but during the lifetime of the mother, the deed
of division or _fên-shu_ must make reference to the fact that the
transaction has received the mother's authorisation. The following may
be taken as a very ordinary type of _fên-shu_ in Weihaiwei:

  "This _fên-shu_ is made under the authority of Yü Ts'ung Shih.[92]
  There are three sons, of whom the second, Shu-yen, has been
  'adopted out' to another branch of the family.[93] The following
  division of property is made between the eldest son Shu-tung and
  the third son Shu-shan. The division is necessary because the
  families of Shu-tung and Shu-shan have become so large that it
  is no longer convenient for them all to live together. With the
  knowledge and assent of their relatives they have drawn lots
  for the division of the property, and the result is as follows:
  Shu-tung's share is the plot of land ...; Shu-shan's share is the
  family house, consisting of the three-roomed central building and
  two side-buildings of two rooms each, together with the garden and
  fields bounded.... This deed is made out in duplicate, in order
  that Shu-tung and Shu-shan may each possess an original and hold
  it as his just title to the property allotted to him. This deed
  is drawn up and attested by the clan-members so that none of the
  parties concerned may hereafter go back on the division of property
  herein described. If any one raises any complaint hereafter,
  let him be sent to the magistrate in order that he may receive
  punishment for the crime of want of filial piety (_pu hsiao_)."

Then follow the names of a number of attesting and assenting relatives,
the name of the writer of the deed, and the date. Simultaneously a
second deed, called a _ch'u tan_ or Reservation of _Yang-lao-ti_, is
very often drawn up in such terms as these:

  "This _ch'u tan_ is executed by Yü T'sung Shih. Inasmuch as her
  three sons have set up separate establishments, and one of them,
  namely her second son Shu-yen, has been adopted by another branch
  of the family, Yü Ts'ung Shih, with the knowledge and assent of
  the elders and relatives of the family, reserves to her own use
  that house situated ... and that piece of land measuring ..., for
  the purpose of providing for her support during life and for her
  burial expenses after death.[94] All that remains of this property
  after these charges have been met is to be equally divided between
  the first and third sons T'sung Shu-tung and Ts'ung Shu-shan. The
  second son, Ts'ung Shu-yen, has no share in or right to any portion
  of this property, as he cannot carry the family property away with
  him when he is 'adopted out.'[95] Lest there should be no proof of
  this transaction hereafter, this deed is drawn up and attested, and
  is to be preserved for future reference."

It will be seen from the first of these two documents that a method of
dividing real property among brothers is the drawing of lots (_nien
chu_ or _chiu fên_). There is no system of primogeniture: all the
brothers receive share and share alike. The process of lot-drawing
is a very simple one. The family-in-council begins by dividing the
property into a number of shares corresponding with the number of the
beneficiaries. The shares are approximately equal in value: one may
include the family dwelling-house and a small area of arable land;
another share, containing no house, will comprise a larger area of
land; and so forth. Descriptions of all the shares are written on
separate pieces of paper, which are folded up or twisted into little
bundles and thrown together in a heap. The second, third and fourth
brothers, and so on down to the youngest, draw lots, each in the
order of seniority; the sole remaining lot is thus left to the eldest
brother. Each must be content with the piece of land, or the house, or
the vegetable garden, as the case may be, which is inscribed on his
lot, though friendly exchanges are of course permissible. The eldest
brother is so far from having a claim to a larger or better share than
the rest that, as we see, he is not even entitled to draw the first
lot: probably, indeed, it is to emphasise the principle of share and
share alike that custom requires him to take the lot that is left to
the last. The drawing of lots is not resorted to in cases where the
shares are all equal and there are no preferences.

If as a result of repeated subdivisions the family property has become
so small that there is not enough to "go round," or the family is so
large that an equal division would leave each with too little for
his support, the usual arrangement is for the entire property to be
mortgaged or sold to the nearest relatives who are willing to buy. The
cash proceeds are then divided equally among the brothers, who separate
to seek their fortunes, each according to his bent. One may emigrate
to Manchuria, or join his numerous fellow-provincials in the capital,
another may set up a shop in the neighbouring market-village, a third
may wander off to one of the great commercial ports on the coast, and
seek employment under foreigners. The unsuccessful ones may possibly
never be heard of again; the successful ones will probably return after
many days to their native village and re-purchase or redeem the old
family property.

The remarkable increase in the value of agricultural land that has
taken place in the Weihaiwei Territory during the past few years is a
pleasant symptom of the advancing prosperity of the people. The fact
must be admitted, however, that the increase is to a considerable
extent due to their economic backwardness. There is a serious want of
local means for the satisfactory investment of capital. To purchase
land is to the great mass of the population the only safe way in which
savings or profits can be employed. The consequence is that the land
has now acquired a somewhat fictitious value, a fact which may come
prominently into view if the people should be visited by some calamity
such as a succession of bad harvests.


[72] See pp. 262 _seq._

[73] See pp. 97-8.

[74] The word may be translated as "a coming together." It is the usual
word for a "society" or "club."

[75] _Chia miao._

[76] _Shên chu._

[77] _Huo Ying-ti._

[78] _Chi-t'ien._

[79] As an indication of how widely sundered are the theory and
practice of East and West in the matter of social organisation, D. G.
Ritchie's _Natural Rights_ (1903 ed.), pp. 259-60, may be consulted.
"No real or positive equality in social conditions," says that writer,
"can be secured so long as individuals are looked at in any respect as
members of families, and not in every respect as members of the State
alone." Yet in China, where individuals are in almost every respect
regarded as members of families, and never dream of claiming to be
members of the State alone, there is far greater equality in social
conditions than there is in the individualistic States of the West! Let
us hope for China's sake that this fact will not be overlooked by those
young patriot-reformers who are casting about for ways and means of
raising their country in the scale of nations.

[80] The family-system has of course existed in regions other than
Asia. "In most of the Greek states and in Rome," says Sir Henry Maine
(_Ancient Law_, 4th ed., p. 128), "there long remained the vestiges
of an ascending series of groups out of which the State was at first
constituted.... The elementary group is the Family, connected by common
subjection to the highest male ascendant. The aggregation of Families
forms the Gens or House. The aggregation of Houses makes the Tribe.
The aggregation of Tribes constitutes the commonwealth." In another
place (p. 126) he speaks of "the clearest indications that society
in primitive times was not what it is assumed to be at present, a
collection of _individuals_. In fact, and in the view of the men who
composed it, it was _an aggregation of families_. The contrast may be
most forcibly expressed by saying that the _unit_ of an ancient society
was the Family, of a modern society the individual." Had Maine been
acquainted with the details of the social organisation of the Chinese
he would have found a copious source from which to draw illustrations
of his thesis, and would have perceived that the family-unit system is
not yet to be spoken of as a vanished phase of social development.

[81] "The whole Chinese administrative system is based on the doctrine
of filial piety, in its most extended signification of duty to natural
parents and also to political parents, as the Emperor's magistrates
are to this day familiarly called. China is thus one vast republic
of innumerable private families, or petty _imperia_, within one
public family, or general _imperium_; the organisation consists of a
number of self-producing and ever-multiplying independent cells, each
maintaining a complete administrative existence apart from the central
power. Doubtless, it is this fact which in a large measure accounts
for China's indestructibility in the face of so many conquests and
revolutions."--PROF. E. H. PARKER in the _Journal of the Royal Asiatic
Society (China Branch)_, vol. xl. (1909), p. 14.

[82] It must be understood that what is referred to is "custom" rather
than law, and that these remarks are not always applicable to the
business relations between Chinese and foreigners at the treaty-ports,
where commercial intercourse is to a great extent conducted on Western
lines. When an English banker declares (as he has declared) that the
word of a Chinese is as good as his bond, he is paying a compliment not
so much to the character of the Chinese people (who as individuals are
no more though perhaps no less trustworthy than average Englishmen),
as to the fundamental soundness of the Chinese social system. If that
system is subverted, through the efforts either of foreign advisers
or of Chinese reformers, the moral results may be disastrous beyond
conception. Let there be evolution by all means; not revolution.

[83] As, for instance, after the silk worms have been taken off the
scrub-oak bushes.

[84] _The Origin of Property in Land_, transl. by M. Ashley, p. 151.

[85] Perhaps it is hardly necessary to explain that a Chinese who cuts
himself adrift from his family, or emigrates, or sets up in business
in some distant town or in a foreign Settlement such as Shanghai, may
and often does acquire real property under conditions that render
him absolutely independent of his family or clan. The family-rights
are not, indeed, extinguished: they are merely in abeyance owing to
the difficulty or impossibility of enforcing them. Yet the theory
of family-ownership is often--thanks to Chinese conservatism and
clan-loyalty--fully recognised even in such cases as these.

[86] The Chinese word for "Family" (_chia_) is often more suitably
rendered with the word "Clan."

[87] This is a customary, not a legal, arrangement.

[88] In Weihaiwei a mortgage is regarded as an out-and-out sale if the
right of redemption is not exercised after a definite number of years.

[89] This may be compared with Hindu custom. "The instant a child is
born he acquires a vested right in his father's property, which cannot
be sold without recognition of his joint ownership" (Maine's _Ancient
Law_, p. 228). Cf. also Plato, _Laws_, xi.: "You cannot leave your
property to whomsoever you please, because your property belongs to
your family, that is, to your ancestors and your descendants." This is
the Chinese theory precisely.

[90] The _fên-shu_ being "neither secret, deferred, nor revocable,"
may be compared with the early Roman "Will," which was not a Will at
all in the modern sense of the word. See Lord Avebury's _Origin of
Civilisation_ (6th ed.), pp. 486-7.

[91] Cf. p. 199.

[92] That is, Mrs. Yü _née_ Ts'ung.

[93] Cf. pp. 205, 284 _seq._

[94] _Shêng yang ssŭ tsang._

[95] _Pu nêng tai ch'an ch'u chi._



The villages of Weihaiwei, so far as their domestic affairs are
concerned, are somewhat like so many little self-contained republics,
each with its own ancestral temple, its _t'u-ti miao_[96] or temple of
the local tutelary spirit, its theatre, its pasture-lands, its by-laws,
its graveyard, and its little band of elders under the leadership of
the headman. There is no regular village council. The "elders" are
simply the most influential or most respected of the inhabitants, and
their number is elastic. When important matters arise, affecting the
interests of the whole village, they discuss them in the headman's
house, or in a temple, or in the village street under the shade of an
old tree. Nothing is discussed with closed doors. The whole village,
including the women and children, may as a rule attend a meeting of
elders, and any one who wishes to air his views may do so, irrespective
of his age or position in the village. The elders have few privileges
that their fellow-villagers do not share, and the headman himself is
only _primus inter pares_. His authority, like that of the elders, is
chiefly derived from his position as head of the family or clan.

When all the people are bound together by ties of blood relationship,
as is the case in a typical Weihaiwei village, the bonds of family
life and the bonds of village life are one and the same. The senior
representative of the senior branch of the family holds as a rule a
double responsibility: as the head of the family he is the natural
arbitrator or judge in cases of domestic strife or petty crime, and as
headman of the village he is held, to a limited extent, responsible by
Government for the good conduct of his fellow-villagers. It is true
that in practice the headman is not always the senior representative
of the senior branch of the family. Under British rule, indeed, every
new headman is "confirmed" by Government and receives a _chih-chao_, or
official certificate of appointment. This applies both to the District
headmen[97] and to the headmen of villages. But in both theory and
practice the headman is the chosen of the people. He may fall into the
position with their tacit consent by virtue of the _patria potestas_,
or in consequence of his wealth, strong personality or social prestige;
or he may be definitely elected after a consultation among the heads of

The position of headman is not altogether enviable, and there is little
or no competition for the filling of a vacancy. Sometimes, indeed,
it is only after a village has been threatened with a general fine
that it will make the necessary recommendation. This is especially
the case since the establishment of British rule, for Government
shows--or did show--a tendency in Weihaiwei to increase the headman's
responsibilities without giving him any compensating advantages.[98]
The headman, as such, has no very definite authority over the
individuals of his village, but every individual is bound by rigid
unwritten law to conform to the will of the _maior et sanior pars_,
and to fulfil his duties to the community even if they involve his own

It is true that the Chinese village cannot be said to possess
corporate unity. Even in Europe the evolution of the "juristic person"
was a slow process, and it is not likely that we shall find the
developed principles of corporate existence amid the heterogeneous
elements of village life in China, where there are no professional
lawyers to interpret indefinite social facts by the light of definite
legal fictions. Yet the germs of the theory of a _persona ficta_ may
perhaps be found in several features of the village-system. Most
villages, for instance, possess funds which are collected and disbursed
for the benefit or amusement of the inhabitants collectively; and
we usually find in the typical village a strongly-developed sense
of mutual responsibility and a general acceptance of the obligation
to co-operate for common ends. A man was once accused before me
of refusing to join his fellow-villagers in subscribing towards
the expenses of the local _hui_ with its inevitable theatrical
performances. He admitted in court that he was in the wrong and
undertook to contribute his proper share forthwith. Had this man been a
Christian the matter would not have been so easily disposed of. It is
well known that troubles have arisen in various parts of China through
the refusal of Christian converts to subscribe towards their village
entertainments on the ground that such entertainments were idolatrous
or involved the performance of pagan ceremonies. When one understands a
little of the Chinese village organisation one can see, perhaps, that
there is something to be said on the side of the indignant "pagans,"
and that the trouble has not necessarily arisen from their hostility to
the religious views, as such, of their converted fellow-villagers. It
is obvious that the solidarity of the village system would be severely
shaken if individuals were allowed to dissociate themselves at will
from the actions of the village as a whole.

As the Village does not possess a strictly corporate character, it
follows that though there may be pasture lands, wells, roads, and
other property which belong to all the inhabitants collectively, it
would be inaccurate to say that the Village as such is the ultimate
owner of, or has reversionary rights over any real property. If such
rights seem to be possessed by any given village they will be found
to rest on the fact that the village comprises a single family or
clan--village and family being, in fact, almost interchangeable terms;
but it is the family, not the village, that owns the land. If a village
has two "surnames," say Liu and Ch'i, it will never be found that
arable land is jointly owned by the Liu and the Ch'i families, though
both families may have equal customary rights (not definable in law)
over a tract of pasture-land. Another indication that the real entity
is the family and not the village may be found in the fact that many
old and long-established families "overflow," as it were, from their
original villages into many neighbouring villages, and still possess
a kind of unity entirely lacking to the villages as such. The Chiang
family, to take a specific example, is the sole or principal family in
the village of Chiang-chia-chai, but it is also the sole or predominant
partner in at least five villages within a radius of as many miles.
One outward sign of its essential unity consists in the old family
burying-ground, in which all the Chiangs in all these villages have
equal rights of sepulture.


[Illustration: THREE VILLAGE HEADMEN (see p. 158).]

The peace of an ordinary Weihaiwei village is not often seriously
disturbed. The chief causes of trouble are bad-tempered women, who
form an appreciable proportion of the population. Robbers and other
law-breakers are few in number; not necessarily because the Chinese
are by nature more honest and respectable than other people, but
because the social system to which they belong is singularly well
adapted, in normal times at least, to prevent the outbreak of criminal
propensities. No village possesses any body of men whose special duty
it is to act as a police force, yet it is hardly an exaggeration to
say that every village is policed by its entire adult male population.
The bonds of family and village life are such that every male villager
finds himself directly or indirectly responsible for the good behaviour
of some one else. The bad characters of every village soon become
marked men. For minor offences, evil-doers are punished by their
neighbours in accordance with long-standing rules and by-laws; if they
are regarded as incorrigible, they are either expelled with ignominy
from the family and clan to which they belong[99] or they are handed
over for punishment to the nearest magistrate. Every unknown stranger
who arrives in a village is immediately treated with a disquieting
mixture of hospitality and suspicion. He is not interfered with so long
as he encroaches on nobody's rights, but all the villagers constitute
an informal band of amateur detectives for the purpose of keeping an
eye on his movements and ascertaining his intentions. He is regarded,
in fact, as a suspicious character until he settles down and becomes a
land-owner, and that--for reasons already explained--he can hardly ever
hope to do.

There are curious old customs which seem to indicate that even the
native of a village who returns home, after many years' residence
abroad, must in some places go through a kind of formal re-admission
before he is allowed to resume his position on the old footing
of equality. A man once came to me with a complaint which, under
cross-examination, he stated somewhat as follows: "I was nine years
absent from my village. When I went home a few days ago, I was ordered
by the people of the village to give a feast. I asked them to let me
postpone it for a few weeks. They did not say they were glad to see me
back. They insisted that the feast must be given at once. I am quite
willing to give it later on. It is a village custom. Any one who leaves
the village and stays away several years must provide a feast for the
heads of the village families when he returns. I have no fault to find
with the custom, only I want a few weeks' grace."

Nearly all villages in Weihaiwei have certain police regulations
which are made and promulgated by the local elders. They possess, of
course, no legal sanction, though they are frequently brought to the
British magistrates for approval and to be stamped with an official
seal. They consist of lists of punishable offences, and the penalties
attached to them: the money fines being imposed by the village or
clan elders, and applied by them to local uses. There is a good deal
of variety among these village regulations or _ts'un kuei_ in respect
of penalties, though the punishable offences are everywhere much the
same. They always repay inspection, for they throw an interesting
light on the local morality and the views held by the leaders of
public opinion as to the relative seriousness of different classes of
misdemeanours. A written copy of the _ts'un kuei_ is usually kept in
the family Ancestral Temple or in the headman's house. The following is
a translation of one of these documents:

  "1. Trampling on or desecrating graves or
  allowing domestic animals to desecrate graves
  in the ancestral burial-ground              10 _tiao_.[100]

  2. Usurping portions of the common pasture
  land (_mu niu ch'ang_) or ploughing up
  portions thereof                             5 _tiao_.

  3. Removing fuel from private land without
  permission, and cutting willows and uprooting
  shrubs and trees                             3 _tiao_.

  4. Allowing mules, ponies, pigs, sheep, or
  other animals to feed on private ground
  without the owner's permission               3 _tiao_.

  5. Stealing crops                            5 _tiao_.

  6. Stealing manure from private gardens      3 _tiao_.

  7. Moving boundary-stones                    5 _tiao_.

  8. Obstructing or blocking the right of way
  to the common pasture land                   5 _tiao_.

  If any of the above offences are committed at night-time, the
  punishment is Expulsion from the Village.

  If any person having committed any of these offences declares that
  he will die rather than pay his fine, let him be conveyed to the

  The following are exempted from punishment as being irresponsible
  for their actions and deserving of compassion: children under
  twelve, dumb people, and imbeciles."

Very serious offences, such as housebreaking, violent assault,
homicide, and offences against morality are not mentioned in the
_ts'un kuei_, as neither Chinese nor British law would recognise the
power of the villagers to take upon themselves the punishment of such
crimes. The very prevalent vice of gambling is sometimes but not always
punishable under the _kuei_. It occupies a conspicuous place in the
_kuei_ published by the East and West villages of Ch'ü-chia-chuang, of
which the following is a translation:

  "1. Gambling:

  (_a_) The owner of the house where
  gambling takes place to be fined            30 _tiao_.

  (_b_) Each gambler to be fined               5 _tiao_.

  (_c_) Persons of the village who gamble
  outside the village, but within
  the limits of the village lands, to
  be fined                                     2 _tiao_.

  (_d_) Gamblers under fifteen years of
  age to be fined                              2 _tiao_.

  2. Any person who unlawfully digs up his
  neighbor's grass and shrubs, to be fined   500 _cash_.[101]

  3. Any person who steals manure from
  private gardens, if the offence is committed
  in daytime, to be fined                    500 _cash_.

  4. The perpetrator of the same offence, if
  it is committed at night, to be fined        2 _tiao_.

  5. Any person who steals crops from the
  fields or vegetables or fruit from private
  gardens, if he is adult, to be fined         3 _tiao_.

  6. Any child who commits the same offence,
  to be fined                                200 _cash_.

 The above Rules have been made by the whole Village in council, and
 must be obeyed by every one, irrespective of age and sex. If any
 offender refuses to pay his fine the headman and elders will report
 him to the magistrate, who will be asked to inflict punishment."

The following is a translation of a similar document in which the
penalties imposed are somewhat light; but in this case the _kuei_ are
of ancient date and the _tiao_ was worth a great deal more than at

  "1. Gambling                      Fine levied according
                                        to circumstances.

  2. Cutting trees and shrubs                    1 _tiao_.

  3. Stealing crops                              1 _tiao_.

  4. Gleaning in the harvest-fields without
  permission                                     1 _tiao_.

  5. Feeding cattle in a neighbour's field
  after harvest                                  1 _tiao_.

  6. Uprooting grass and shrubs                500 _cash_.

  7. Climbing over private walls and
  stealing manure or removing soil             500 _cash_.

  8. Stealing fuel at night                      5 _tiao_.

  9. Stealing silk-worms or cocoons  Fine levied according
                                         to circumstances.

  10. Knocking down chestnuts with sticks      500 _cash_.

  11. Allowing dogs to go on the _ts'an ch'ang_
  (silk-worm feeding-ground) and eat the
  silk-worms[102]                              500 _cash_.

  Headmen and elders who are found guilty of any of the above
  offences will incur double the specified penalty.

  If doubtful[103] characters enter the village and create a
  disturbance, the heads of all the families will hold a meeting to
  decide what is to be done with them."

We have seen that a large number of the villages of Weihaiwei are
named after the families that inhabit them. But when a single
prosperous family has "overflowed" into a number of other villages
it is necessary to differentiate between them, and the names given
have often some reference to the outward aspect of the locality.
For example, the name Sha-li-Wang-chia means the village of the
"Wang-family-who-live-in-the-sand." As a matter of fact this village
is situated near the sea-shore amid rolling sandhills, so the name is
appropriate enough. Similarly the name Sung-lin-Kuo-chia means "the
Kuo family of the Pine-grove." There are also such village names as
Willow-grove, Black Rock, Thatched Temple, North-of-the-Ku-mountain,
North-of-the-Pheasant-hill, White-pony Village. Sometimes pieces
of family-land are given fancy names for the convenience of
identification. The _Ssŭ-lao-p'o kou_ is "the ditch of the dead woman,"
apparently because a female's corpse was once found there: but as this
name struck the owner as being unlucky and likely to bring misfortune
on his family, he changed the "tone" of the first word, which
transformed the phrase into "the ditch of the four old wives."

Men have their nicknames as well as places. Such names generally
emphasise the owner's moral or physical peculiarities, and are often
highly appropriate. The name Liu T'ieh-tsui, for instance, means Liu
of the Iron Mouth--an allusion to his argumentative nature and love
of brawling. Chou Lü, or Chou the Donkey, implies just what it would
imply in England. One man writhes under the name Yü Hsieh-tzŭ--Yü
the Scorpion--because his neighbours look upon him as a poisonous
creature. Another is known as Wang Ko-p'i-tzŭ--Wang Gash-skin--because
he is possessed of a knife-like sharpness of tongue. Yet another is
spoken of as Chang T'ien Tzŭ--Chang the Son of Heaven, or Chang the
Emperor--because he is the tyrant of his village.

The food of the people, as everywhere in China, is largely vegetarian,
but fish (dried and fresh) is naturally eaten by all classes in
Weihaiwei, and pork is consumed by all except the very poorest. The
Chinese, it seems clear, would willingly endorse the judgment given in
the _Anatomy of Melancholy_, where we are told that "pork of all meats
is most nutritive in his own nature." Rice--the staple food in south
China--is something of a luxury, as it has to be imported. There is a
kind of "dry-rice"[104] grown in Shantung, but it is not a common crop
in Weihaiwei. The ordinary grain-crops are wheat, millet, maize, barley
and buckwheat. The wheat is harvested about the end of June and early
in July. Immediately after the harvest the fields are ploughed up and
sown with beans. The land is cultivated to its utmost capacity, and it
need hardly be said that the farmer takes care to waste no material
that may be useful for manuring purposes. Most fields are made to yield
at least three crops every two years, and as the rotation of crops is
well understood it is seldom that land is allowed to lie fallow.

In recent years very large areas have been devoted to pea-nuts,
which are exported from Weihaiwei to the southern parts in enormous
quantities and have become a source of considerable profit. Vegetables
are grown in large quantities and include asparagus, onions, cabbage,
garlic, celery, spinach, beans and sweet potatoes. Fruit is not
cultivated to any great extent, though there are apples, peaches,
apricots, plums, pears, melons and some other varieties, most of
which are inferior to similar fruit grown in England. The services
of an English fruit-grower were obtained by the British Government
of Weihaiwei during the years 1905-8 with the two chief objects of
testing the suitability of the district for fruit-cultivation and
inducing the people if possible to make fruit-growing an important
local industry. Partly owing to lack of enterprise and to a want of
familiarity with the conditions under which fruit could be exported or
profitably disposed of, the people have not responded to the efforts of
the Government with any enthusiasm; but that Weihaiwei is a suitable
locality for fruit-growing as well as for the cultivation of many kinds
of vegetables has been amply demonstrated. The grape-vine flourishes
provided reasonable precautions are taken against insect-pests.[105]
Of English fruits which do well in Weihaiwei are apples, pears, plums,
black-currants and strawberries. Of the last-named fruit it has been
reported that "English varieties grow and crop splendidly, and the
fruit is equal in every way to first-class fruit of the same varieties
grown at home. All the varieties introduced proved to be perfectly
hardy without any protection whatever."

Weihaiwei is not without game of various kinds, though the want of
sufficient cover keeps down the numbers of many game-birds that would
otherwise thrive. Woodcock are rare, and pheasants rarer still;
but partridges are to be found in certain localities such as the
neighbourhood of Lin-chia-yüan, near Wên-ch'üan-t'ang, and other
hill-districts. The coasts are visited by various kinds of duck and
teal, wild geese are common enough in winter, and the wild swan has
been shot occasionally; but the best sport is provided in spring
and autumn by the snipe. The record "bag," so far as I am aware, is
ninety-five and a half couple of snipe in one day to two guns. The
local Annals tell us that a small spotted deer, and also wild boar,
used to be common among the hills of Weihaiwei, but they are now
unknown. The Manchurian Muntjak tiger (_Felis brachyurus_) has also
disappeared. Mount Macdonald and other wild parts of the Territory
harbour a few wolves which occasionally raid the outskirts of a village
and kill pigs and other animals. In seasons of famine, as we have
seen,[106] the wolves of Weihaiwei have been something of a scourge,
but they have greatly decreased in numbers in recent years. Foxes are
occasionally seen, and there are said to be some wild cats. Hares are
numerous, and until the disbandment of the Chinese Regiment they were
regularly hunted with a pack of harriers.

Agriculture, fishing and the manufacture of a rough silk form the
principal industries of the people. The silk-worms are fed not on the
mulberry but, as already mentioned, on the leaves of the scrub-oak,
which now covers large areas of mountain land that would otherwise
be totally unproductive. One may often notice, about the months of
June and July, small shreds of red cloth tied to the oak-shrubs on
which the silk-worms are feeding. Red is the colour which betokens
happiness and success, and rags of that colour when tied to shrubs and
fruit-trees are supposed to act as charms, guaranteeing the success
of the fruit and silk crops, and keeping away injurious insects. Men
who are engaged in the work of _fang-ts'an_--putting out the worms on
the oak-leaves--make success surer by adorning the front of their own
coats with similar pieces of red cloth. They also invoke the sympathy
and help of the _shan-shên_, or Spirit of the Mountain, by erecting
miniature shrines to that deity.

If the Weihaiwei villages are not in themselves objects of beauty they
are often surrounded by groves of trees which go far to conceal their
less attractive features; and many of the cottages have little gardens
which if chiefly devoted to vegetables are seldom quite destitute of
flowers. The peony, chrysanthemum, wild lilies and roses, spiræa,
hibiscus, jasmine, sunflower, campanula, iris and Michaelmas daisy are
all common, and a few experiments made since the British occupation
prove that numerous English flowers such as the Canterbury Bell,
mignonette, carnation, aster, wall-flower, geranium and many others,
in spite of an uneven rainfall and extremes of heat and cold seldom
experienced in England, find a congenial home in Weihaiwei. Many of
the flowering plants are prized for their medicinal qualities, real or
supposed. The sunflower-seed--as in India and Russia--is used as a food
for both men and animals, and the leaves and stems are said to make
good fodder. A little purple wildflower named _ching tzŭ_ that grows on
sandy soil near the sea-side is in some localities eaten by women on
account of its magical efficacy in giving strength to unborn children:
but this superstition seems to be dying out.

The trees in the neighbourhood of villages and in graveyards are
common property, and it is very rarely, therefore, that they are cut
down: elsewhere trees are very few, and timber is so scarce that
large quantities are imported yearly from Manchuria.[107] Some of the
principal trees of the Territory are the fir (_Pinus Thunbergii_ and
_Pinus Massoniana_), ailanthus, _wu-t'ung_ (_Paulonia imperialis_) and
white poplar; and there are also cypress, walnut, _ch'iu_ (_Catalpa_),
pomegranate, wax-tree,[108] the beautiful maidenhair tree (_Salisbaria
adiantifolia_)[109] and the _huai shu_ (_Sophora japonica_).

Among the trees introduced since the British occupation, the acacia,
Lombardy poplar, laburnum, yew and some others thrive in the Territory,
but the oak, sycamore, elm, birch, mountain-ash and many other trees
well known in England have hitherto proved failures. From the present
denuded condition of the hills one would hardly suppose that the people
of Weihaiwei cared much for trees: yet as a matter of fact they value
them highly for their shade and for their beauty. Public opinion is
strongly averse to the wanton destruction of all trees and herbage.
An illustration of this is given in the local records. "It is a very
evil thing," says the _Weihaiwei Chih_, "to set fire to the woods and
shrubs, and pitifully cruel to the living animals that are made to
suffer thereby. In the Shun Chih period [about 1650] Chiang Ping and
his sons used to behave in this dreadful manner at Li Shan [a few miles
from Weihaiwei city]. They received numberless warnings but never would
they depart from their evil courses. One day they were going home from
market and lit a fire on the hillside. Suddenly when the fire had begun
to blaze a fierce wind sprang up, and Chiang Ping and his three sons
were all burned to death. This is a warning that men should take to

The compilers of the _Jung-ch'êng Chih_ sum up the character and
manners of the people in a way that hardly needs amplification and
shows what are the features that strike a Chinese observer as of
special interest. "They are very simple and somewhat uncouth and
unpolished," he says, "but they are honest. They have some good old
customs and show by their conduct that they are guided by the light of
nature more than by learning. The men are independent and self-reliant;
the women are frugal, modest, and are most careful of their chastity.
If they lose that they hold life as worthless. The men till the land;
the women spin. The people are stupid at business of a mercantile
nature: merchants therefore are few. Many strangers from other
districts live on the islands and in the market-centres.[110] In bad
years when the harvests are scanty and there is a dearth of grain the
hill-grasses and wild herbs are used as food. Clansmen, relatives, and
neighbours take pity on each other's distress, hence one rarely hears
of the sale of boys and girls.[111] ... Betrothals are arranged when the
principals are still in their swaddling-clothes, and thus (owing to
deaths and other causes) marriages often fail to take place. Babyhood
is certainly too early a time for betrothals.[112] There are too many
betrothals between people of different districts: hence one may find
women over thirty years of age still unmarried.[113] This tends to the
grave injury of morals. When betrothals are discussed it is considered
by all disgraceful to hold mercenary views[114] or to aim at riches and
honours. It is also considered discreditable to give a girl to a man as
a concubine."[115]

The "uncouthness" of the people must be understood in a relative sense
only. In spite of the fact that the great majority are illiterate they
possess in a marked degree the natural courtesy that characterises
so many Oriental races. In considering this point with reference to
Chinese in general one must not ignore the fact that they have been
often guilty of rudeness and even savage brutality in their intercourse
with Western foreigners; but to regard rudeness and brutality as
permanent or prominent elements in the Chinese character would be
absurd, for if such were the case every Chinese village would be
in a chronic state of social chaos. Outbursts against foreigners,
however inexcusable from a moral standpoint, are always traceable to
some misunderstanding, to foreign acts of aggression or acts which
the Chinese rightly or wrongly interpret as acts of aggression, or
to abnormal political or social conditions for which foreigners are
rightly or wrongly held responsible. Most unprejudiced foreigners are
willing to admit that in normal times the Chinese are a singularly
courteous people, except when they have taken on a veneer of Western
civilisation in the treaty-ports[116] and have lost their national
graces. If the Chinese behave politely to foreigners--whom they do not
like--we may well suppose that in social intercourse with one another
their manners are still more courteous: and this is undoubtedly true.
Their rules of ceremony may seem, from the foreigner's point of view,
too stiff and artificial, or exasperating in their pedantic minuteness.
The European is inclined to laugh at social laws which indicate
with preciseness when and how a mourner should wail at a funeral,
what expressions a man must use when paying visits of condolence or
congratulation, what clothes must be worn on different occasions, how
a visitor must be greeted, how farewells are to be said, how modes of
salutation are to be differentiated and how chairs are to be sat upon.
But, after all, every race has its own code of polite manners, and
rules that impress a foreigner as intolerably formal or as ludicrous
seem quite natural to one who has been accustomed to them from his
earliest childhood. The rules of Chinese etiquette may be stiff,
but there is no stiffness about the Chinese gentleman--or about the
illiterate Chinese peasant--when he is acting in accordance with those

Gambling has been mentioned as one of the vices of the people. That
this should be a common failing among the Chinese is not a matter of
surprise, seeing that there is probably no race among whom the gambling
instinct is not to be found. It is, perhaps, specially likely to
develop itself strongly among a people who, through lack of general
culture, are at a loss to find suitable occupations for their leisure
hours. The Chinese, however, delight in games for their own sake, as is
evident from their fondness for their own somewhat complicated forms
of chess and similar games. Serious cases of gambling are of course
punished by the law. A new penal offence is opium-smoking, which now
can be indulged in only by persons who hold a medical certificate.
According to the official lists prepared by the local Government, the
number of people who may be regarded as inveterate smokers amounts to
no more than (if as many as) one per cent. of the population: but there
is a certain amount of secret smoking and doubtless a good deal of

On the whole, it cannot be said that opium seems to have done any
very serious harm to the health or morals of the people of this
district,--not, at least, as compared with the havoc wrought by alcohol
in England and Scotland. If the experience of Weihaiwei goes for
anything, the view sometimes held that opium-smokers must necessarily
become slaves to the drug is an erroneous one. Many persons who were
in the habit of indulging in an occasional pipe of opium at festive
gatherings have now abjured the seductive drug without a sigh,
and--judging from a few rather ominous indications--seem inclined
to take to the wine-pot as a substitute. It may be only a curious
coincidence that while I have been obliged to punish only six Chinese
for drunkenness during a period of about five years, all six cases have
occurred since the establishment of the new anti-opium regulations in

The Chinese have great reverence for book-learning, but poverty and
the necessity for hard work from an early age have made it hopeless
for the Weihaiwei villager to aspire to erudition. Every large village
and every group of small villages have schools, but they are attended
only by a small though gradually increasing proportion of the village
children. The schoolmasters, moreover, are neither a very zealous nor
a very learned body,--not a surprising fact when it is remembered that
they receive no more than a bare living wage. At present the proportion
of villagers who can read and write is very small--probably under ten
per cent.--and even the headmen are often unable to sign their own

Not much progress in education has been made under British rule, for
the resources of the Government are meagre in the extreme. A Government
school at Port Edward and one or two missionary schools provide
elementary education for a few dozen children, but very little has
been done to improve the village schools. It need hardly be said that
except in the Government and missionary schools the education, such
as it is, is confined to the orthodox curriculum of "Old China": the
flood of Western learning has not yet affected the little backwater of
Weihaiwei except to the extent of rousing a certain limited interest in
such subjects as geography and arithmetic.

Writing of present-day conditions, a Chinese diplomatist in the United
States has stated that "John Stuart Mill, Huxley, Spencer, Darwin
and Henry George, just to mention a few of the leading scholars of
the modern age, are as well known in China as in this country. The
doctrine of the survival of the fittest is on the lips of every
thinking Chinese.... Western knowledge is being absorbed by our young
men at home or abroad at a rapid rate, and the mental power of a large
part of four hundred millions of people, formerly concentrated on the
Confucian classics, is being turned in a new direction--the study of
the civilisation of the West."[117] These remarks are true enough of a
large and rapidly growing number of the Chinese people: but Weihaiwei
and the neighbouring regions have more in common with the Old China
that is passing away than with the New China that is coming and to

The ignorance of the people of Weihaiwei is naturally accompanied by
many strange fancies and crude superstitions. Some of these must be
considered when we are dealing with the religious ideas of the people;
here it will be sufficient to mention a few of the miscellaneous
notions that seem to be connected with no definite religious faith.
There are, of course, ghosts and devils of many kinds and of varying
degrees of malevolence. One means of protecting oneself against these
dreadful creatures is to engage a fortune-teller or a Taoist priest to
provide a charm (_fu_),[118] the mere presence of which is supposed to
throw a whole army of demons into helpless confusion. Children, it is
thought, are specially liable to injury from evil spirits, and many
of them have charms or talismans carefully sewn into their clothes. A
piece of red cloth or a few scarlet threads woven into the queue are
understood to answer the purpose nearly as well. A disagreeable monster
called the Celestial Dog (_T'ien Kou_) is supposed to be the cause of
ill-temper and petulance in small children; but even he can be got rid
of by nailing a cunningly-prepared charm above the afflicted child's
bed. It is curious that a dog (a black one) also plays an undignified
part in the nursery-mythology of our own happy land. Whether the
Western dog would yield to the same treatment as the Eastern one is a
question that might easily be solved by any parent who is prepared to
make use of the charm here reproduced.[119]

Weihaiwei also has its witches (_wu p'o_) and diviners (often called
_suan kua hsien-shêng_), who by acting as trance-mediums between the
living and the dead, or by manipulating little wands of bamboo or
peach-wood,[120] or by the use of a kind of _planchette_, profess to
be able to foretell the future[121] or to answer questions regarding
the present and past, or to disclose where stolen property has been
concealed and by whom it has been taken. I have personally known of a
case in which a thief was captured by means of the indications given
by a fortune-teller. His method was to take a small stick in each
hand and point them both in front of him, keeping his clenched hands
close to his sides. He then moved slowly round, and when the sticks
were pointing in the direction the thief had gone the points came
together.[122] No doubt there is as much make-believe and quackery
about these mysterious doings as there is in the similar practices of
many so-called mediums in the West; but I am unwilling to believe that
"there is nothing in it." Some day, let us hope, the "spiritualism" of
China will be thoroughly studied by scientific investigators, and it
will be surprising if the results do not form a most valuable addition
to the material collected by the European and American societies for
psychical research.[123]


Witches and mediums in Weihaiwei are often applied to for remedies in
cases of bodily sickness, for it is supposed that what such persons do
not know about herbs and drugs is not worth knowing; and the fact that
they are able to throw a little magic into their brews naturally makes
their concoctions much more valuable than those provided by ordinary
doctors. Chinese medicines, as every one knows, often consist of highly
disagreeable ingredients,[124] but some--even when compounded by
witches and other uncanny healers--are comparatively harmless. Certain
methods of treatment for the bite of a mad dog may perhaps be cited as
typical products of the combined arts of medicine and witchcraft in
Weihaiwei. The simplest method is to boil the mad dog's liver, heart
and lungs, and make the patient eat them. Another is to make a number
of little wheat-cakes, moulded into a dog's shape, and administer them
to the patient one by one. As he consumes them he should sit at the
front door of his house and repeatedly utter in a loud and determined
voice the words, "I am not going to die; I am not going to die." This
procedure is evidently a curious blend of something like sympathetic
magic and cure by self-suggestion. Have the Chinese anticipated the
methods of the well-meaning persons who call themselves Christian
Scientists? A third way of providing against hydrophobia is to take
some of the hairs of the mad dog and burn them to ashes; the ashes
are then mixed in a cup of rice-wine and imbibed by the patient. The
idea that the hair of a mad dog will cure the person who has had the
misfortune to be bitten must be very widespread, for it existed in
the British Isles and there is a reference to it in the Scandinavian

Those who are familiar with the mazes of folk-lore will not be
surprised to hear that the madness of a person who suffers from
hydrophobia is supposed by many people in Weihaiwei to communicate
itself to the very clothes he wears. "If the clothes are put aside
in a heap," said one of my informants, "they will be seen to quiver
and tremble, and sometimes they will leap about as if alive." Being
a truthful man, he added, "I have never actually seen this happen
myself." In the market-village of Fêng-lin there is a man of some
local celebrity who is said to have effected many remarkable cures of
hydrophobia by means of a recipe which he jealously guards as a family

If his prescription cannot be given here, another (supposed to
be equally efficacious) may take its place. Cut the tips off a
couple of chopsticks (the Oriental substitute for knife and fork),
pound them into a pulp and stew them for an hour; add an ounce of
hempen-fibre, burnt almost to ashes, and some morsels of the herb
known as _ch'ing-fêng-t'êng_. The chopsticks must be of wood, painted
red, and they must be old ones that have been often used. The tips
consist of the thin ends employed in picking up food. The whole mixture
should be well mixed together and boiled in water, and administered
to the patient as a liquid drug. The prescription adds that while
undergoing this treatment the patient should beware of yielding himself
to feelings of nervousness; that for three days he must shun cold
or uncooked food; and that owing to the singular efficacy of this
medicine, he need not avoid crossing rivers. The mention of the ends
of chopsticks as an ingredient in this preparation seems curious, and
specially noteworthy is the fact that the medicinal virtue resides
only in old chopsticks, not in new ones. As this ingredient appears
in other Chinese medicines besides those intended for the cure of
hydrophobia, it may be conjectured that some health-giving quality
is supposed to pass into the tips of chopsticks from the food which
they manipulate, and that this quality can be transferred from the
chopsticks to a living person by the simple process of conveying them
in a minced form into his physical system. The red colour is merely
intended to improve their efficacy, for red is the hue of health and
good luck. The reference to crossing rivers is also worthy of notice.
The theory of the Chinese in Weihaiwei is that the man who has been
bitten by a rabid dog is liable to be seized by paroxysms of madness if
he crosses flowing water. The word hydrophobia (dread of water) is thus
as applicable to the popular conception of the disease in China as in
Europe, though the belief that the human patient or the mad dog will
refuse water as a beverage does not seem to be known in Weihaiwei.

The lives of the Weihaiwei villagers are brightened and diversified by
a good number of festivals and holidays. Most of these are observed
all over China, others are of local importance, while some of the
customs and ceremonies now to be described are observed only in certain
villages. The universal holiday-season in China consists of course of
the first few days of the New Year, which falls about a month--more
or less--later than the corresponding festival in the West. After
the hour of _wu kêng_ (3 a.m.) on the first day of the year, torches
are lighted and certain religious or semi-religious observances take
place, consisting of the worship of Heaven and Earth (_T'ien Ti_),
the Hearth-god and the Ancestors of the family, and the ceremonial
salutation of father and mother by their children, and of uncles and
aunts and elder brothers by their respective nephews and younger
brothers. Fire crackers are let off at intervals during the morning
and throughout the day, and from dawn onwards visits of ceremony are
exchanged between relations and neighbours. The Ancestral Temple is
also visited, and incense burned before the spirit-tablets and the
pedigree-scrolls, which are unrolled only on solemn occasions. In
conversation all reference to unhappy or unlucky subjects is tabooed,
as likely to bring misfortune on the family in whose house such remarks
are made.[126]

On going out of doors for the first time care should be taken to
choose a "lucky" spot for the first footstep. If a person slip or
fall when going out to pay ceremonial visits on New Year's Day, it is
believed that he will bring disaster on his own family as well as on
the families visited. For the first three days of the year the floors
of the house are left unswept. The idea at the root of this custom
apparently is that anything thrown or swept out of the house will take
the "good luck" of the house with it; even dirty water and the refuse
of food must remain indoors until the critical three days are past.
New Year is the season of new clothes, and red is, of course, the
colour chiefly displayed. Special care is taken to dress the children
in the best and most brightly-coloured garments obtainable, as evil
spirits hate the sight of such things, and will remain at a respectful
distance. At the eaves of the roof are often hung hemp-stalks, which
are said to bring perpetual advancement and long life.[127] The
observation of the skies on New Year's Day is a matter of importance.
If the wind blows from the south-east the next harvest will be a
splendid one. If the clouds are tinged with red and yellow it will be
moderately good; if they are dark and gloomy it will be very poor.

"The Beginning of Spring" or _Li Ch'un_ is a movable feast, falling
usually in the first moon. The ceremonies observed have reference to
agriculture, and though they are chiefly official in character they
are considered of great importance to the farming public. Ages ago the
essential part of the proceedings was the slaughter of an ox, which was
offered as a sacrifice to the god of Agriculture--generally identified
with the legendary Emperor Shên Nung (B.C. 2838). Nowadays the place
of the ox is taken by a cheaper substitute. On the eve of _Li Ch'un_
the local magistrate and his attendants go in procession to the eastern
suburbs of the city for the purpose of ceremonially "meeting the
Spring."[128] Theatrical performers, singing as they go, and musicians
with cymbals and flutes, follow the sedan-chairs of the officials,
and after them are carried the Spring Ox[129]--not a real animal, but
a great effigy made of stiff paper--and a similar paper image of a
man, known as _Mang-Shên_, who represents either the typical ox-driver
or ploughman or the god of Agriculture.[130] When the procession has
"met the Spring" outside the city walls it returns to the magisterial
yamên, and there the magistrate and his principal colleagues, armed
with wands decorated with strips of coloured paper, go through the form
of prodding and beating the ox by way of "making him work" and giving
an official impetus to agricultural labour. When this ceremony is over
the paper ox is solemnly "sacrificed"--that is, he is committed to the
flames; and a similar fate befalls the _Mang-Shên_. Besides the paper
ox, a miniature ox made of clay is also supposed to be provided. The
clay ox, so far as I can ascertain, dates from a remote period when
it was considered necessary that the ox-effigy which was carried in
procession and sacrificed should for symbolical reasons be made of
earth or clay. When paper was substituted, conservatism demanded that
oxen of clay should continue to be made as before--for show if not for

While the images of the ox and _Mang-Shên_ are being prepared for the
approaching festival, a careful examination under official direction
is made of the newly-issued New Year's Almanac--the Chinese Zadkiel;
and the effigies are dressed up and decorated in accordance with
the prophecies and warnings of that publication. Hence the crowds
of people who go out to watch the procession on its way to meet the
Spring do so not only as a holiday diversion but also for the purpose
of inspecting the colours and trappings of the effigies and thereby
informing themselves of agricultural prospects for the ensuing year.
The prognostications are founded partly on astrology, partly on the _pa
kua_ or mystic diagrams of the _I Ching_ (Book of Changes), and partly
on calculations connected with _fêng-shui_. The colours and apparel
of the effigies correspond on an arbitrary system with the forecasts
of the Almanac. Thus if the people see that the head of the ox is
painted yellow, they know that great heat is foretold for the coming
summer; if it is green, there will be much sickness in the spring; if
red, there will be a drought; if black, there will be much rain; if
white, there will be high winds and storms. The _Mang-Shên_, also, is
a silent prophet of the seasons. If he wears a hat the year will be
dry; if he wears no hat there will be rain; shoes, similarly, indicate
very heavy rain; absence of shoes, drought; abundance of body-clothing,
great heat; lightness of clothing, cold weather. Finally, a red belt on
the _Mang-Shên_ indicates much sickness and many deaths; a white one,
general good health.

It will be noticed that the _Mang-Shên_, being a spirit, behaves in
a precisely contrary manner to ordinary mankind, and his garments
indicate exactly the opposite of what they would indicate if they were
worn by a living man. Thus he wears heavy clothes in hot weather,
light ones in cold weather; and as red is among men the colour that
denotes joy and prosperity and white betokens grief and mourning,
so the Mang-Shên wears red to indicate death and white to indicate
life and health. Thus it is that naughty children who take delight in
doing the opposite of what they are told to do are sometimes by their
long-suffering parents called "little Mang-Shên" or "T'ai Sui."

The Lantern Festival[132] is assigned to the fifteenth day of the
first month. As the Chinese year is strictly determined by lunations,
this means of course that the festival occurs at the time of the first
full moon of the year. Coloured-paper lanterns are hung at the doors
of houses and shops and are also carried in procession. Above the
doors of the houses are often hung fir-branches, betokening prosperity
and especially longevity.[133] The family eat little round cakes of
glutinous rice which, being supposed to represent the full moon,[134]
may be called moon-cakes. There is no doubt that in remote times the
fifteenth of the first and the fifteenth of the eighth months were
devoted to moon-worship. A curious custom observed at the Lantern
Festival is called the _tsou pai ping_--"the expulsion of disease."
In some localities this merely consists in a procession of villagers
across the neighbouring bridges, the procession returning home by
a route other than that by which they set out. The popular notion
obviously is that sickness is caused by invisible beings of a malignant
nature who on the occasion of this festival can be driven across
the local streams and so expelled from the village.[135] In other
localities the expulsion of disease is on this occasion performed only
by women, who do not necessarily cross bridges but simply walk out into
the fields and back by a different route. Male villagers perform a
similar ceremony on the ninth of the ninth month.

[Illustration: FIRST-FULL-MOON STILT-WALKERS (see p. 183).]


So far as Weihaiwei is concerned the Feast of Lanterns may be regarded
as pre-eminently the holiday season for children. During several days
before and after the fifteenth of the first month bands of young
village boys dress up in strange garments and go about by day and night
acting queer little plays, partly in dumb-show and partly in speech,
dance and song. Some of them wear the terrifying masks of wild beasts,
such as lions, a few assume the white beards of old men, and many are
attired in girls' clothing. The children perform their parts with great
vivacity, and go through their masquerades, dances and chorus-singing
in a manner that would do credit to the juvenile performers at a
provincial English pantomime. They are, indeed, taught their parts
and trained by their elders for some weeks before the festival. Every
group of villages keeps a stock of masks, false beards, clothes and
other "properties," and there are always adults who take pleasure in
teaching the little ones the songs and dances which they themselves
learned as children in bygone days. In daytime the dressed-up children
take a prominent part in processions to the local temples. On such
occasions many of them are perched on high stilts, which they manage
with great skill. At night they carry large lighted Chinese lanterns
and march amid music and song through the streets of their native
village, or from one village to another, stopping occasionally in front
of a prominent villager's house to act their little play or perform a

No European who has seen a lantern-dance in a Shantung village can
fail to be delighted. The graceful movements of the children, their
young voices ringing clear in the frosty air, the astonishing dexterity
with which they manipulate the swinging lanterns, the weird effect of
rapidly-interchanging light and shadow as the gleaming paper moons
thread the bewildering mazes of a complicated country-dance,--all these
things combine to please the eye and charm the ear. Not the least
interesting part of the proceedings is the obvious pleasure taken by
the crowds of adult spectators in the performances of their little
ones: for the Chinese are devoted to children.



The next notable festival of the year is a movable feast known as the
"Awakening of the Torpid Insects," generally held early in the second
month. In many villages it is customary to rise before dawn and cook
a kind of dumpling, which as it "rises" is supposed to assist Nature
in her work of awakening the sluggish or dormant vitality of animals
and of vegetation. The presiding deity of this festival is, naturally
enough, the Sun, and it is to him that the dumplings are offered.
Similar offerings are made by the Emperor himself in his capacity of
High Priest. It is believed that if on the evening of this day children
wash their faces in a kind of soup made from a certain shrub (_Lycium
chinense_)[137] they will never be ill and never grow old. This reminds
us of the old English belief that young people will preserve their
youthful beauty indefinitely by going into the fields before breakfast
on the first of May and washing their faces in May dew.[138]

On the eighth of the second month it is thought that by observing the
direction of the wind it is possible to foretell whether the ensuing
weather will be favourable or otherwise to the crops. If the wind comes
from the south-east there will be a good rainfall; if it comes from the
north-west there will be a drought.

The fifteenth of the second month is known as _Hua Chao_, "the morning
of flowers,"--for it is supposed to be the flowers' birthday.[139]

The festival of Cold Food (_Han Shih_)--so called because it was once
customary to partake of no hot provisions on this day and to light
no fire--occurs on the eve of the Ch'ing-Ming festival. The Chinese
in Weihaiwei have no clear idea why cold food was compulsory on this
occasion, but the custom is undoubtedly connected with the ancient
rite, once prevalent in many parts of the world, of kindling "new fire"
once a year. The Chinese _Han Shih_ would thus represent an intervening
day between the extinction of the old fire and the lighting of the
new. The custom seems to be connected with sun-worship. "The solar
rite of the New Fire," says Dr. Tylor, "adopted by the Roman Church
as a paschal ceremony, may still be witnessed in Europe, with its
solemn curfew on Easter Eve and the ceremonial striking of the new holy
fire."[140] Another writer observes that "formerly throughout England
the house-fires were allowed to go out on Easter Sunday, after which
the chimney and fireplace were completely cleaned and the fire once
more lighted."[141] It is curious to note that similar observances took
place even on the American continent. "In Peru, as in Mexico," says a
writer on the religious systems of ancient America,[142] "there was a
solemn religious ceremony of renewing at stated periods, by special
generation, the fire used in the temples and even in the households....
It is one of the oldest rites of the human race, and it has survived
under all religions alike down to the other day, when perhaps it
received its death-blow from the lucifer match."

The Ch'ing-Ming or "Pure and Bright" festival is as carefully observed
at Weihaiwei as elsewhere throughout China. It is a movable feast
generally occurring early in the third Chinese month.[143] Edible
delicacies of various kinds are diligently prepared in every household
and taken to the family graveyard to be sacrificially offered to the
ancestral spirits. At this season, and at the corresponding festival
held on the first day of the tenth month, all the members of the
family who can attend prostrate themselves on the ground in front of
their ancestors' graves.[144] These observances are known as _shang
fên_--"going up to the tombs."[145] This is one of the occasions on
which family reunions take place. It is a holiday season and there is
plenty of jollity and feasting; but the sacrifices and the "sweeping
of tombs" are regarded as sacred duties, the omission of which through
negligence would show a discreditable lack of filial piety and might
entail misfortune on the present and future generations of the
family. The virtues of obedience and submission to authority are also
emphasised at this season in the village schools, where the pupils
formally salute their teachers. An old custom sometimes observed at
this time is the wearing of willow-leaves on the head. This is supposed
to produce good weather for agriculture. This practice is not so common
in Weihaiwei as in Shansi and some parts of Chihli and Honan, where
in seasons of drought--only too common in those parts--men and boys
go about for many days wearing on their heads wreaths made of fresh
willow-branches. The willow is a tree that loves water and the banks of
rivers, and willow-wreaths are therefore regarded as rain-charms.[146]

In the third month comes the festival of Corn-rain (_Ku Yü_). This is
the appropriate time for obtaining written charms as antidotes against
snakes and grubs and venomous or destructive reptiles and insects in

The so-called Dragon Festival[147] is held on the fifth day of
the fifth month. This is the occasion on which the well-known
dragon-boat races take place at Canton and elsewhere in south China.
According to tradition, the festival was inaugurated in memory of
a high-minded statesman and poet named Ch'ü Yüan of the Ch'ü State
(south of the Yangtse) who was driven to commit suicide in the fourth
century B.C. It is with the simulated object of recovering his body
that the dragon-boats--so named from their length and peculiar
shape--annually dash through the waters of the southern rivers. But
there are no boat-races of this kind at Weihaiwei. Little cakes
called _tsung-tzŭ_--made of rice or millet with a morsel of fruit or
sweetmeat inside--are eaten by the people; but there seems to be no
local knowledge of the fact that these cakes were originally intended
as sacrifices to Ch'ü Yüan and ought to be thrown into flowing water as
offerings to his spirit.

The fifth month is regarded as the most "poisonous" of all the months
in the year, and antidotes and charms of all kinds are necessary to
repel the deadly influences that assail suffering humanity at this
period. Children are protected from the many dangers that surround them
by tying bands of parti-coloured silk threads round their fore-arms.
Among the most efficacious family-charms is the mugwort plant
(_Artemisia moxa_), which is hung over every doorway. Prof. Giles cites
an old saying to the effect that "if on the _Tuan Wu_ festival one does
not hang up mugwort, one will not eat any new wheat"; and explains it
by the comment that a famous rebel named Huang Ch'ao gave orders to his
soldiers to spare any family that exhibited this plant at its door.
But the superstitious use of mugwort is far more ancient than any such
story would imply. Its extreme antiquity is shown by the fact that
this plant has been similarly used as a valued charm against evil in
other parts of the world, including France, Germany and Britain.[148]
The custom in such lands was to pluck the plant at the summer solstice
(Midsummer Day) and to wear it on the person or (as in China) to
hang it over the doorway. This is only one of innumerable examples
of the strange unity that seems to underlie old popular customs and
superstitions all the world over.

In spite of the terrible potency of the evil things rampant during the
fifth month, it is supposed in Weihaiwei that from sunrise to sunset
on the fifth of the month (the festival we are now considering) all
poisonous and destructive influences--material and spiritual--totally
disappear, perhaps owing to the efficacy of the charms universally used
against them on that day. It is believed that even poisonous plants are
absolutely innocuous if plucked and eaten on the fifth of the fifth
moon, while medicinal herbs attain their supreme degree of efficacy.

A well-known custom is to rise early and walk exactly one hundred
paces into a grass-field without turning the head; then to pluck one
hundred blades of grass, which must be carefully taken home. The grass
is put into a pot of water and thoroughly boiled. The water--into
which all the virtues of the grass are now supposed to have passed--is
poured through a strainer into a second vessel, and the grass-blades
are thrown away. A second boiling now takes place, and the liquid is
poured into a bottle and kept for use as required. It is believed
to be a sovereign remedy for headaches, small wounds and bruises,
and various nervous disorders. The Chinese know it as _pai ts'ao
kao_--"hundred-grass lotion." The wise men who hand down this valuable
recipe from generation to generation are careful to explain that
the medicine will be of no avail whatever if any of the prescribed
conditions have been neglected. It is absolutely necessary to walk
neither more nor less than one hundred paces, to pluck neither more nor
less than one hundred blades of grass, and to boil and strain the water
in the manner laid down. Above all, everything must be done on the
fifth day of the fifth month, as it is only on that day that ordinary
grass possesses _ling_--spiritual or health-giving properties.

The seventh day of the seventh month is celebrated throughout China in
connection with a love-story to which allusion is constantly made in
Chinese literature. It is said that the Herd-boy (the star β γ Aquila)
and the Spinning Maiden (α Lyra), separated throughout the rest of
the year by the Milky Way, are allowed to cross a mystic bridge made
by magpies, and to meet and embrace each other on that night only. In
Weihaiwei, where there are large numbers of magpies, it is said that
not one of these birds will ever be seen on this day until after the
hour of noon: all having gone up to the skies to perform the duty of
making a bridge for the celestial lovers. The day is regarded as one of
good omen and suitable for fortune-telling and the drawing of lots.

On the preceding evening (the sixth of the month) boys and girls put
bowls of water on the window-sill and leave them standing all night. In
the morning each child picks a bristle from an ordinary broom[149] and
places it carefully on the surface of the water. The shadow made in the
water by the bristle is supposed to indicate the child's future lot in
life. If, for instance, the shadow seems to take the shape of a Chinese
brush-pen, the boy will become a great scholar; if it is shaped like a
plough he will remain in the condition of a peasant or farmer. I have
been told of a child who saw in the water the form of a fish. This was
interpreted to be a _mu yü_ or the "wooden fish" of Buddhist temples--a
queer hollow instrument of wood that lies on every Buddhist altar in
China and is tapped by the monks while reciting their prayers. The wise
men of the neighbourhood foretold, therefore, that the boy was destined
to become a monk. The prophecy was a true one, for subsequently of his
own accord he entered "the homeless state."

Another children's amusement on this occasion is to catch a spider
and put it under an inverted bowl. If, when the bowl is turned up,
the spider is found to have spun a web, the child and his parents
are overjoyed: for it is supposed that good fortune will adhere to
him throughout the ensuing year just as a captured fly adheres to a
spider's web.

On the fifteenth of the seventh month sacrifices are again offered to
the dead. This is a "Festival of Souls."[150]

On the first of the eighth month it is customary to collect some dew
and use it for moistening a little ink.[151] This ink is devoted to the
purpose of making little dots or marks on children's foreheads, and
this, it is supposed, will preserve them from sickness.

On the mid-autumn festival[152] of the fifteenth of the eighth month
reverence is paid to the ruler of the night. Offerings of cake,
wine and fruit are made to the full moon and then consumed by the
worshippers.[153] The occasion is one of family gatherings and festal

On the Ch'ung Yang festival of the ninth day of the ninth month it
used to be the custom in many parts of China to eat specially-prepared
flour-cakes called _kao_[154] and to drink wine made of the

The cakes are still made and eaten in Weihaiwei, but the chrysanthemum
wine appears to be obsolete.[155] On this day it is customary for young
men (especially those of the lettered classes) to climb to the top
(_têng kao_) of one of the hills of their neighbourhood. The advantages
are two in number: it will lead to the promotion of those who are
engaged in climbing the steep slopes of an official career, and it will
free them for the ensuing year from all danger of sickness. This is
equivalent to the _tsou pai ping_ of the women on the fifteenth of the
first month.

On the first day of the tenth month the family tombs are visited, and
the same ceremonies observed as at the Ch'ing-Ming festival. This is
one of the three days in the year that are regarded as specially sacred
to the souls of the departed (_Kuei Chieh_ or Festivals of Souls or
Spirits): the Ch'ing-Ming (movable) in or about the third month, and
the fixed festivals of the fifteenth of the seventh and the first
of the tenth months. Similarly there are three festivals specially
provided for the living (_Jên Chieh_ or Festivals of Men), and these
are marked by feasting and merriment; they are the New Year festival,
the fifth of the fifth and the fifteenth of the eighth months. The
former list does not, however, exhaust the occasions on which reverence
is paid to ancestors. At the winter solstice,[156] for instance,
ancestral sacrifices are offered in the family temples; and at the New
Year, as we have seen, the living do not forget, in the midst of their
own pleasures, the sacred duties owed to the souls of the dead.

On the eighth of the twelfth month it is customary for matrons to
regale their families with a concoction made of grain, vegetables and
water called La-pa-chou, which means "gruel for the eighth of the
sacrificial month." Children are made to partake of an unsavoury cake
made of buckwheat, hare's blood, sulphur, cinnabar and tea-leaves.
This, it is believed, will protect young people from smallpox--a
somewhat prevalent disease among the native children of Weihaiwei.

In the evening of the twenty-third of the twelfth month an
important family ceremony takes place known as _tz'ŭ tsao_ or _sung
tsao_--"Taking farewell of the Hearth-god." The hearth-god or
kitchen-god (_tsao shên_) is a Taoist divinity who is supposed to dwell
near the kitchen fireplace of every family,[157] and whose business
it is to watch the doings of every member of the family from day to
day with a view to reporting them in detail at the close of the year
to the Taoist Supreme Deity. In order to make his annual report he is
supposed to leave the kitchen on the twenty-third of the last month
of the year, and ascend to heaven. Before he goes, obeisance is made
to him by the family, and he is presented with small round sugared
cakes called _t'ang kua_ and lumps of _no mi_, a glutinous rice. The
object of providing the god with these dainties is to make his lips
stick together so that he will be unable to open his mouth and make his
report. The family is thus saved from any inconvenient results arising
from an enumeration of its misdeeds. Needless to say, the matter is
not regarded very seriously in most households, and the ceremonies are
chiefly kept up as a source of amusement for children, who receive
their full share of the sticky cakes. After a sojourn of a week in
heaven the hearth-god returns to his own fireside on New Year's Eve.

On the twenty-fourth of the month every house is thoroughly swept out
in preparation for the New Year's festivities. The object of this
ceremony is not merely the practical and necessary one of cleanliness:
the sweeping process will, it is believed, rid the house of all malign
influences that may have collected there during the past year, and
thereby render it fit for the reception of every kind of joy and good
luck. This is an auspicious day for the celebration of marriages.

New Year's Eve (_Ch'ü hsi_) marks the beginning of the Chinese holiday
season, and is a day of mirth and feasting. In many families it is the
custom to sit up all night; the phrase _shou sui_ has practically the
same signification as our "seeing the Old Year out and the New Year
in." In the evening, new red scrolls, such as adorn the outside and
inside of nearly every Chinese house, are pasted over the old ones
that have now become faded or illegible. The brilliant colour of these
scrolls and the felicitous phrases, virtuous maxims and wise literary
allusions with which they abound are regarded by the common people (who
can rarely read them) as equivalent to powerful charms that will bring
happiness and good fortune to all who dwell beneath the shadow of their
influence. Fire-crackers, the delight of old and young in China, are
let off at every doorstep, helping at each explosion to dissipate any
traces of bad luck that may be lingering in the neighbourhood and to
frighten away the last malignant spirit who might otherwise mar the
happiness of the New Year.


[96] See pp. 336, 371-7, 382, 386 _seq._

[97] See pp. 95, 289.

[98] The same tendency, with the same result, showed itself in Burma
after the annexation to the Indian Empire.

[99] This process, whereby the expelled one ceases to enjoy the rights
to which his birth entitles him, is known as _ch'u tsu_,--"expulsion
from the clan."

[100] A _tiao_ is at present worth approximately eighteenpence.

[101] Half a _tiao_.

[102] Silk-worms are fed on the leaves of the scrub-oak on the open

[103] Literally, "not clear" (_pu ming_).

[104] _Han tao mi._

[105] The Government fruit-grower has recommended the Black Hamburgh,
Muscat of Alexandria and Malaya--which ripen in succession--as the
best varieties of table-grapes for Weihaiwei, while of wine-grapes the
most satisfactory are the Mataro, Alicante Bouschet, Black Malvoise,
Grenache, Zinfandel, Charbons and Johannesburg Riesling.

[106] See pp. 56, 57.

[107] The local Government--not very wisely from the point of view of
sound economics--levies small "wharfage-dues" on imported timber.

[108] This is the _pai-la shu_ so well known in Ssŭch'uan in connection
with the insect-wax industry, which is also carried on to a small
extent in Shantung though not in Weihaiwei.

[109] Probably the finest specimen of the _ginkgo_ or maidenhair tree
in the Territory is that in the grounds of Pei-k'ou Temple. Besides
being very tall, it measures fourteen and a half feet in circumference
five feet from the ground. See p. 381 for remarks on another of these

[110] For temporary purposes of trade.

[111] Sale of children by starving parents is a painful feature of
famines in some parts of China.

[112] This criticism from a Chinese writer is interesting, when we
remember that the practice is much the same throughout the greater part
of the Empire.

[113] This is exceptionally rare at the present time. The overwhelming
majority of women are married before the age of twenty-five.

[114] Mercenary views are held all the same.

[115] In proportion to the population there are very few concubines in
Weihaiwei, and most of them are imported from Peking and other places.

[116] It is a curious fact, and one never yet satisfactorily explained,
that people of non-European races all seem to lose their native grace
of manner after a period of contact with Europeans. This does not
apply to Asiatic peoples (Indian and Chinese) only: it is apparently
equally true with regard to certain African races. Miss Bleek, in a
recent work published by the Clarendon Press under the auspices of the
Royal Anthropological Institute, remarks that the Bushmen are by nature
truthful, clean, honest and courteous. "Once another Bushman visited
ours for a few days. He was so much rougher than the other that our man
was asked why his friend was different. He said, 'Missis must excuse:
this man lost his parents early and was brought up by white people.'"

[117] _The United States and China_, by Wei-ching W. Yen (American
Association for International Conciliation: New York).

[118] See illustration.

[119] See illustration. The _T'ien Kou_ is the Japanese _Tengu_. See
_Trans. As. Soc. Jap._ Pt. ii (1908).

[120] For the magic uses of peach-wood see De Groot's _Religious System
of China_, vol. iv. pp. 304 _seq._

[121] "I see no race of men, however polished and educated, however
brutal and barbarous, which does not believe that warnings of future
events are given, and may be understood and announced by certain
persons." Cicero's words, after the lapse of a couple of thousand
years, are still true. (See Cic. _de Divinatione_, i. 1.)

[122] A very similar method of divining is practised in the Malay
States. See Swettenham's _Malay Sketches_, pp. 201-7, and Skeat's
_Malay Magic_, p. 542.

[123] The following remarks in Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_ (pp. 56
_seq._) will be of interest to those who are wise enough to regard this
subject with unorthodox seriousness: "Divination is in China as popular
as, and probably more respectable than, it was amongst the Israelites
in the days of the witch of Endor, and it is not perhaps going too far
to say that there is not a single means resorted to in the West by way
of lifting the impenetrable veil which hides the future from curious
mankind which is not known to and practised by the Chinese. From
'Pinking the Bible' to using the Planchette, from tossing for odd and
even to invoking spirits to actually speak through crafty media, the
whole range of Western superstition in this regard is as familiar to
the average Chinaman as to the most enthusiastic spiritualist at home.
The coincidences of practice and belief are indeed so startling that
many will doubtless see in them a sort of evidence either for their
truthfulness, or for a common origin of evil.... It is when we come to
the consulting of media, the use of a forked stick, writing on sand,
and similar matters that the Chinese practice becomes singular in its
resemblance to superstitions openly avowed at home. I would here remark
that I am no spiritualist. But how, without any apparent connection
with each other, such beliefs should at once be found in full force
in the farthest East and the extreme West is puzzling. Is our Western
spiritualism derived from China?" It may be added that Japanese
"occultism"--to use a disagreeable but useful word--is very similar to
Chinese, and offers equally striking analogies with that of Europe.
(See Percival Lowell's _Occult Japan_.)

[124] It is not so well known that almost equally disgusting medicines
used to be prescribed in England. One writer says of some old
Lincolnshire remedies for ague that they "were so horribly filthy that
I am inclined to think most people must have preferred the ague, or
the race could hardly have survived." One of these remedies consisted
of nine worms taken from a churchyard sod and chopped up small. (See
_County Folk-lore_, vol. v, p. 117.)

[125] Tylor, _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. i. p. 84. On this
subject see also Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_, pp. 51-2.

[126] "If the first person who enters a house on New Year's morning
brings bad news, it is a sign of ill-luck for the whole of the
year."--_County Folk-lore: Lincolnshire_, p. 168.

[127] The knots or joints of the hemp-stalk are supposed to represent
successive stages of advancement.

[128] _Ying ch'un._ The ceremonies differ from place to place in minor
details. Those here described are observed (with variations) at the
district cities nearest to Weihaiwei-namely Wên-têng, Jung ch'êng and

[129] _Ch'un Niu._

[130] In Shanghai, and probably elsewhere, a real ox is still sometimes
used, and he is led by a real child (_T'ai Sui_) instead of a cardboard
_Mang-Shên_. See the Rev. A. Box's "Shanghai Folk-lore" in the _Journal
of the Royal Asiatic Society_ (China Branch), vol. xxxiv. (1901-2) pp.
116-7, and vol. xxxvi. (1905) pp. 136-7. Needless to say, no blood is
shed nowadays, though it seems not unlikely that at one time a living
child and a living ox were both offered up in sacrifice to promote the
fertility of the crops. In Northumberland, England, it is or used to be
a custom to hold rustic masquerades at the New Year, the players being
clothed in the _hides of oxen_ (see _County Folk-lore_, vol. iv.).
It would be interesting to know whether the Northumbrian custom was
originally a ceremony to promote fertility.

[131] Probably the Spring Ox is still, in some parts of China, made of
clay only, not of paper.

[132] _Shang Yüan Chieh_, Feast of the First Full Moon.

[133] Cf. pp. 262 _seq._ From Gibbon's _Decline and Fall_ (vol. i. p.
344) we know that long after the establishment of Christianity there
was kept up, in Europe, a pagan festival at which it was customary to
decorate the doors of houses with branches of laurel and to hang out
lanterns. The doors of Roman houses were regarded as being under the
special protection of the household gods.

[134] _Yüan hsiao._

[135] For some interesting notes on the bridge-walking customs, see
Rev. E. Box's "Shanghai Folk-lore," in the _Journal of the Royal
Asiatic Society_ (China Branch), vol. xxxvi. (1905) pp. 133-4. These
practices are not confined to China. In Korea, on the fourteenth and
fifteenth of the first month the men and boys of Seoul walk over three
particular bridges in succession, in order to safeguard themselves from
pains in the legs and feet throughout the ensuing year. (See article
by T. Watters in _Folk-lore_, March 1895.) For the beliefs of many
races on the subject of the expulsion of evils in general, see Frazer's
_Golden Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. iii. pp. 39 _seq._, 70 _seq._

[136] This may be compared with the Scottish customs in connection with
the guisers or guisards. In Shetland a torchlight procession sometimes
formed part of the revelry. (See _Folk-lore_, vol. iii. [Orkney and
Shetland], pp. 203 _seq._)

[137] For remarks on the supposed remarkable properties of this shrub,
see De Groot's _Religious System of China_, vol. iv. p. 320.

[138] See _County Folk-lore_, vol. iv. (Northumberland) p. 73.

[139] In different parts of the Empire the date is variously assigned
to the second, tenth, twelfth and fifteenth of the month. For Shanghai
customs in connection with this festival, see Rev. A. Box, _Journal of
the R.A.S._ (China), vol. xxxiv. p. 117 and vol. xxxvi. pp. 137-8. In
that part of China "the women and children adorn the flowering shrubs
with paper rosettes, and recite verses and prostrate themselves in
token of respect and in hope of a fruitful season."

[140] Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. pp. 277-8, 290
_seq._, 297 _seq._, and p. 432. See also Frazer's _Golden Bough_ (2nd
ed.), vol. iii. p. 251.

[141] Gomme's _Folk-lore Relics of Early Village Life_, p. 97.

[142] J. M. Robertson in _Religious Systems of the World_ (8th ed.), p.

[143] In 1910 it falls on April 6, which is the 27th of the second
Chinese month.

[144] See illustration.

[145] See p. 257.

[146] Instances of similar rain-charms may be found in Frazer's _Golden
Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. i. pp. 188-9.

[147] _Tuan Wu_ or _Tuan Yang_.

[148] See Frazer's _Golden Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. iii. pp. 268, 270,
274 and especially pp. 337-8. See also _Folk-lore Journal_, vol. iii.
p. 148.

[149] There is supposed to be some magic efficacy attached to brooms,
and evil spirits are believed to have a special dread of them. In
Europe, as every one knows, a witch must have her broomstick just as
she must have her black cat.

[150] _Kuei Chieh._

[151] The so-called Indian ink ordinarily used by Chinese.

[152] The ordinary Chinese name is _Chung Yüan_, a reference being
understood to the _Shang Yüan_, or the fifteenth of the first month,
and the _Hsia Yüan_ or the fifteenth of the tenth.

[153] Cf. the offerings to Ashtoreth the Moon-goddess of the Hittites.
For mention of similar offerings in England itself, see Dennys's
_Folk-lore of China_, p. 28.

[154] There is a play on this Chinese word, which has the same sound
as a different character meaning _to go up_ or _to receive promotion_.
He who eats the cake is supposed to be securing his own advancement in
life. There is a similar double-meaning in the phrase _têng kao_.

[155] For remarks on the ancient custom of drinking this wine, see De
Groot, _Religious System of China_, vol. iv. p. 322.

[156] See p. 277.

[157] There is some reason to believe that the Hearth-god was once
regarded as an anonymous ancestor of the family, though nowadays this
relationship is ignored. The Chinese _Tsao shên_ may be compared with
the Japanese Kojin. For some valuable notes on Hearth-worship in
general, see Gomme's _Folk-lore Relics of Early Village Life_, pp. 87
_seq._ The cult of a hearth-god has been known in western Europe and
also in New Zealand.



The reader who has already learned from an earlier chapter of this
book how frequently women figure in the law-courts, will perhaps be
prepared for a not too flattering description of Chinese womankind
as represented in the leased Territory. If the litigious and
quarrelsome females were typical specimens of their sex it would
indeed be difficult to utter a word of truthful praise for the women
of Weihaiwei. But it is only fair to remember that it is just the
turbulent and masterful females that chiefly come within a British
magistrate's range of experience. Chaste and filial daughters, gentle
and companionable wives, brave and devoted mothers, bring happiness to
multitudes of cottage homes and are to be found in every village; but
they seldom come under the official notice of the authorities.

Women in Weihaiwei are, indeed, ignorant of nearly everything that is
generally implied by education; they are handicapped from childhood by
the thoroughly bad old custom of foot-binding; they know nothing of
the world beyond the limits of their own group of villages: yet the
lives they lead are probably, as a rule, happy, honourable and useful.
The Chinese suppose that a woman's proper sphere is the management of
the household affairs and the upbringing of her children: and Chinese
women seem as a rule to acquiesce willingly and cheerfully in their lot
as thus defined.

The woman's position as wife and mother is a highly honourable one:
filial piety--the cardinal Chinese virtue--is owed to the mother as
much as to the father, and the usual sacrificial rites are conducted in
honour of the maternal as well as the paternal ancestors of the family.
From prehistoric times the dignity of the mother has been regarded in
China as hardly inferior to that of the father,[158] subject of course
to the father's headship of the family. It would be a great mistake
to suppose that Chinese women are brutally or tyrannically treated by
their husbands. That cases of ill-treatment of women are sometimes met
with is undoubted, but as a rule the tyrant is not the husband but some
female member of the husband's family. Mothers-in-law are the domestic
tyrants of rural China. Besides treating the wife with severity they
often place the husband in a most unhappy dilemma.

If he wishes, as he often does, to protect his wife from the elder
lady's violence or bad temper he runs the risk of being denounced to
the neighbours--and perhaps to the local magistrate--as an unfilial
son; if he weakly and reluctantly takes his mother's side in a domestic
disagreement, or if--as is much more frequently the case--he pretends
to shut his eyes altogether to the quarrels of his women-folk, the wife
of his bosom may in a moment of anger or despair run away from him
or commit suicide. The only source of comfort to a young wife who is
unfortunate enough to displease her husband's mother is that some day,
in the course of nature, she herself will be in the proud position of a
mother-in-law. If she is of a cantankerous or tyrannical disposition,
or if her temper has been soured by her own domestic troubles, she will
then doubtless treat her son's wife with just as little kindness as she
received in her own early days of wifehood, and her daughter-in-law
will fear and dislike her just as she herself feared and disliked
her own husband's mother. Fortunately there are good and benevolent
mothers-in-law in Weihaiwei as well as bad ones: and it is only fair
to add that it is not always the wife who is meek and submissive and
the mother-in-law who wields the iron rod. Sometimes a high-spirited
and obstinate young woman will become absolute ruler of the
household--including her husband and his parents--before she has lived
a month in her new home, though her tenure of authority will always be
somewhat precarious until she has given birth to her first son. "Why
do you run away from a woman?" I once asked an unhappy husband whose
domestic troubles had driven him to the courts. "Is she not your wife,
and can you not make her obey you?" The young man's features broadened
into a somewhat mirthless smile as he replied, "I am afraid of her.
Eight men out of ten are afraid of their wives."

Women, indeed, are at the root of a large proportion of the cases
heard in the courts. No insignificant part of the duty of a magistrate
in Weihaiwei consists in the taming of village shrews. The number of
such women in China is much larger than might be supposed by many
Europeans, who regard the average Chinese wife as the patient slave
of a tyrannical master. The fact is that Chinese women, in spite of
their compressed feet and mincing gait, rule their households quite as
effectually as women do in countries further west, and in the lower
classes they frequently extend the sphere of their masterful activity
to their neighbours' houses as well. The result is not always conducive
to harmony. "For ther-as the womman hath the maistrie," wrote one of
the keenest students of human nature many centuries ago, "she maketh
to muche desray; ther neden none ensamples of this. The experience of
day by day oghte suffyse." This is a statement that multitudes of
woebegone husbands in Weihaiwei, were they readers of Chaucer, would
readily endorse.

The abject terror with which an uncompromising village shrew is
regarded by her male relatives and neighbours frequently creates
situations which would be somewhat ludicrous if they did not contain
an element of pathos. It is only when his women-folk make life
insupportable that an afflicted villager takes the step of appealing
for magisterial intervention: but the fact that such cases frequently
occur seems to indicate that domestic infelicities of a minor order
must be very common. "Two months ago," wrote a petitioner, "I bought a
piece of land in a neighbouring village, with the intention of building
a house on it. Unfortunately, after the purchase was completed I made
the discovery that my immediate neighbour was the most riotous female
in the whole village. This was a very annoying circumstance to me.
However I proceeded to build my house in a lawful and unostentatious
manner and hoped I should have no trouble. All went well until one day
when the female issued from her house and proceeded to pull my new
walls to pieces on the plea that they interfered with the good luck
(_fêng-shui_) of her own habitation. I stood by and requested her in
the kindest manner to leave me and my house alone. She repaid me with
the most violent abuse. How could I venture to hurl myself against the
spears of the enemy? She is the terror of the whole village and her
husband dares not interfere with her. I am sorry I ever bought the
land, and I had no idea she was to be my neighbour or I should not
have done so. I bought a charm to protect me against violent females,
and stuck it up on the doorway of my new house, but it does not seem
to have worked very well, and it has not frightened her at all.
Meanwhile my house is standing in ruins, and I have no remedy unless
the Magistrate, who loves the people as if they were his children, will
come to the rescue."

This case was settled easily enough. Another bristled with difficulties
owing to the fact that the plaintiff, in his petition, avoided any
mention whatsoever of his real ground of complaint. "I have fifty _mu_
of land [about eight acres]. I have two sons, the elder Ta-chü, the
younger Erh-chü. In the second moon of this year they set up separate
establishments[159] and entered upon possession of the ancestral
lands. I was at that time in mourning for my wife, and beyond my
_yang-lao-ti_[160] had no means of support for my old age. After they
had left me, what with the expenses of my wife's funeral and my own
personal requirements I found myself in debt to the extent of sixty
_tiao_ [approximately equivalent to six pounds sterling]. My two sons
would not pay my debts: on the contrary they drove me out of my own
house and refused to give me food. I am hungry and in hardship. My
elder son, Ta-chü, at last relented and wanted to do something for
me, but he was knocked down by Erh-chü and is confined to bed. I have
reasoned with Erh-chü about his evil courses, but every time I do so he
only beats me. The whole village is disgusted with his treatment of me
but dares not interfere. Now I get wet through when it rains and I have
to beg for a living. There is no rest for me. My lot has fallen in hard
places. This son of mine is no better than a _hsiao ching_.[161] Is
this the way to preserve the sacred human relationships?"

In this circumstantial petition no word of complaint is made against
the real offender--the petitioner's second son's wife, who, as I soon
ascertained, was a shrew of the worst order. To bring the action
nominally against his second son was a clever device on the part of the
petitioner, for no Chinese magistrate dare--except in almost unheard-of
circumstances--take the word of a son against his own father, and an
unfilial son is one of the worst of criminals. The old man presumed,
therefore, that the case would be at once decided in his favour, and
that his son would be imprisoned. His son's wife, the shrew, would
then have been compelled to make reparation for her former misconduct
and undertake to become a reformed character. When she had done this
the old man would return to the magistrate and obtain her husband's
release. As it happened, the process was not so circuitous as this,
for the woman's misdeeds were discovered by the independent action of
the court, and it was she, not her husband, who was sent to gaol. She
was released as soon as her own father's family had come forward and
entered--very reluctantly--into a bond to guarantee her future good

It must be remembered that as soon as a woman has left her father's
roof and passes under the care of her husband--or rather of her
husband's parents, if they are still alive--her father's family have no
longer any legal control over her. Her husband's father and brothers
become to all intents and purposes her own father and brothers: and
to her father-in-law she owes the complete obedience that before
marriage she owed to her father. She has in fact changed her family.
Yet if she prove "unfilial"--that is, disobedient to her husband's
family--a magistrate may call upon her father's family to go security
for her future good conduct, on the ground that her unfilial behaviour
must be due to her bad bringing-up, for which her father's family is

An English historian once pointed out that when two men sit on the
same horse both of them cannot ride in front at the same time. The
reference was to politics, the intimation being that there cannot be
two co-ordinate controlling powers in the active government of the
State: but the remark applies equally well to family life. If Crown
and Parliament (or two separate Houses of Parliament) cannot have
co-equal powers in the body-politic, neither can a man and a woman
have co-equal powers in the body-domestic: as there must be a supreme
authority in the State, so there must be a supreme authority in the
Family. Such used to be the theory of Englishmen, and such is still the
theory of the Chinese. They have a proverb which recalls Gardiner's
criticism of Clarendon's constitutional ideal. The Chinese say: "One
horse cannot carry two saddles; the loyal servant cannot serve two
masters."[162] But though in China the husband is legally possessed of
very extensive powers over his wife and has every right to administer
corporal punishment if she disobeys him or fails to treat his parents
with proper respect, it is very rarely indeed that one hears of such
powers being exercised in Weihaiwei.[163] No Chinese husband within
my experience at Weihaiwei has ever been convicted of wife-beating:
whereas the physical castigation of husbands by wives is by no means
unheard of.

The northern Chinese use a curious and highly appropriate expression to
describe a woman of the shrew type. They call her a _ma-chieh-ti_ or
"Curse-the-street woman." This is the kind of female who by blows or
threats drives her husband out of the house, follows him into the road,
and there--if he has sought safety in flight--proceeds to pour torrents
of abuse at the top of her voice upon her male and female neighbours
and all and sundry passers-by. If the village street happens to be
entirely empty she will address her remarks to the papered windows,
on the chance of there being listeners behind them. As a rule the
neighbours will come out to "see the fun." The abused persons generally
refrain from repartee, and the men--taking care to keep out of reach
of the nails of the _ma-chieh-ti_--gaze at her pensively and with
impassive features until her spent voice fades into a hoarse whisper
or physical exhaustion lays her helpless on the ground. But some
quarrelsome female neighbour--herself no mean mistress of words--will
often delight in advancing to a contest which is almost sure to end in
bleeding faces and torn clothes. Then husbands and grandfathers are
reluctantly compelled to intervene, and "peace-talkers" will help to
coax the two infuriated combatants into calmness. If their efforts are
unavailing, the result may be either a suicide or a lawsuit.

Women of this type feel themselves at home in the courts, and a fit
of anger will often send them hobbling off to the magistrate with
some trumpery and usually false accusation against a relation or a
neighbour. Such was a case brought by one Liu Hsia Shih against a
harmless old man whose real offence was that he had recommended her to
look after her babies instead of "cursing the street." I despatched a
constable to make enquiries into the matter, and she promptly handed
him the princely sum of one dollar with the suggestion that he should
give me a report favourable to herself. In accordance with very strict
regulations relating to bribery, the constable paid the money into
court. I summoned the parties to the suit, rebuked the female for
attempted bribery, and in dismissing her frivolous action adjudged the
dollar to her adversary. Probably the fact that he had got her money
was in her view even more exasperating than the loss of her case.

Very frequently a _ma-chieh-ti_ who brings her imagined wrongs to court
will point to wounds and scratches on her face and body as evidence
that she has been assaulted: whereas the injuries have been in all
probability self-inflicted. One Liang Wang Shih brought complaints of
ill-treatment against her adopted grandson and his wife. "They behave
in a most cruel manner," she said. "He incites her to bite me. She
bites my shoulder." She then proceeded partially to disrobe herself
in order that the supposed marks of her grand-daughter's teeth might
be inspected by the court. Another querulous woman forcibly prevented
a neighbour from putting a wall round his own vegetable-garden. "I
recently built a new house," explained her unfortunate neighbour. "This
woman's grandson died soon afterwards, and she declares that it was my
new house that killed him, by spoiling the _fêng-shui_ of her family.
She says she will not let me build my garden-wall until I restore her
grandson to life."

The marriage customs of Weihaiwei being in principle identical with
those prevailing in other parts of China, a detailed description
of them would be out of place here. It will be sufficient to say
that nearly every one gets married a few years after arrival at a
marriageable age, the bridegroom being as a rule rather older than
the bride. The majority of marriages are the outcome of long-standing
betrothals. A betrothal is in practice as binding as a marriage;
indeed, a betrothal that took place in the babyhood of both the
principals may, in certain circumstances, be regarded as an actual
marriage. If, for example, the youth dies when of marriageable age
but before the marriage has taken place, and if he was at the same
time an only son, the betrothed girl (whom he may or may not have
seen) will often be recognised as his legal wife; and if she preserves
her "widowhood" with fidelity her name will appear beside his own on
the tombstone and in the family registers. If the girl declares at
the death of her betrothed that she is willing to be regarded as his
widow, it then becomes possible (in accordance with an old and very
curious custom) for the dead youth and his living wife to be provided
with a "son" by adoption, and this "son"--who will probably be a young
nephew--nominally acts as principal mourner at the funeral, inherits
the deceased's share of the family property, and carries on the rites
of ancestral worship. If the girl or her family decline (as very
naturally they usually do) to recognise the betrothal contract as
binding after the bridegroom's death, the parents of the dead youth
will proceed to find him a bride in the person of a dead girl. This
girl must have died unmarried and should be of suitable age and family:
that is to say, a youth and maiden who could not have been betrothed to
each other in life should not be joined in matrimony after death.[164]

The arrangements for a wedding of this extraordinary nature are not
carried out directly by the parents of the dead boy and girl, but
through middlemen appointed by them (known as _kuei mei_ or "ghostly
go-betweens"), and many of the other formalities which attend an
ordinary marriage are observed with scrupulous care. If the girl has
already been buried in the graveyard of her own family her body is
exhumed and reburied beside that of the dead bridegroom: and on the
tombstone erected at the foot of the grave are duly carved their two
names as those of husband and wife. The custom is extremely old: it
is mentioned in the _Chou Li_, a book which deals with the laws and
customs of China from the twelfth century B.C. onwards. Its origin
may perhaps be traced to the same notions that lay at the root of
the widely-prevalent Oriental custom of widow immolation or _sati_:
the theory being that the sacrifice of widows and slaves at the tomb
of a dead man provided him in the comfortless world of shades with
the companionship to which he had been accustomed in life. But this
strange system of weddings between the dead is practised to-day in
Weihaiwei only in order to secure the perpetuation of the sacrificial
rites connected with the ancestral cult and to bring about a suitable
partition of the family property.

If a youth dies unmarried and is an only son, the necessary consequence
would appear to be the extinction of the family or the particular
branch which the deceased represented. To prevent the occurrence of
such a calamity it is necessary in China to provide the deceased with
a son by formal adoption. But the matter-of-fact Chinese mind declines
to contemplate the possibility of adopting a son for one who, being
a bachelor, was not in a position to have a legitimate heir in the
ordinary process of nature. It is therefore necessary to begin by
providing him with a wife; and this is done by the peculiar arrangement
just described, known locally as _ka_ (or _chieh_) _ssŭ ch'in_--the
"celebration of a dead marriage." As a rule it is not difficult for
parents to find a suitable wife for their dead son, for the family
of a girl who has died unmarried will always be glad to have their
deceased daughter raised to the honourable status of a married woman.
Sometimes, however, complicating circumstances arise. A man named Yü
Huai-yüeh died, without children and unmarried, in the tenth year of
Kuang Hsü--corresponding to 1884. At that time he had brothers living,
and as the family was in no danger of extinction it was not considered
necessary to take further action. During subsequent years the brothers
also died without issue, and the sorrowing relatives of the family
decided in 1897 that Yü Huai-yüeh should at last be provided with a
wife. In due time it was reported by "ghostly go-betweens" that a bride
with a suitable horoscope was to be found in the family of Hsia of the
neighbouring village of Chao Chia. This was a girl who had died as
long ago as 1876. In spite of the disparity of the dates of death the
ceremony was duly performed: thus a bride who had been in her grave for
more than a generation was wedded to a bridegroom who died thirteen
years before his own marriage.

In ordinary cases the repudiation of a betrothal contract while the
principals are both living is by law and custom visited by heavy
penalties. Paradoxical as the statement may appear, it is often
easier in China to get rid of a wife after the marriage ceremony has
taken place than to jilt her during the period of betrothal. There
is little or no romance about a Chinese engagement. The parents of
bride and bridegroom may or may not be known to each other; as a
rule they are strangers, for a girl is rarely married to a resident
in her own village. The reasons for this are not far to seek. As we
have seen, a typical Weihaiwei village is composed of persons of one
surname. The "prohibited degrees" in China are far more comprehensive
than those set forth in the English Book of Common Prayer. All
persons of the same surname are regarded as blood relations, and as
such they cannot intermarry. The father of a family must therefore
find husbands and wives for his children in some village other than
his own. In accordance with venerable custom, regular marriages are
negotiated neither by the parties chiefly concerned nor by their
parents. Betrothals are always in practice arranged through go-betweens
or middlemen (_mei jên_) who are understood to be the disinterested
friends of both the contracting parties. In return for their services
they receive various little presents and welcome invitations to sundry
little feasts.[165]

It is often declared that in China the bridegroom never has a chance of
seeing his bride or making her acquaintance until the fateful moment
when she raises her bridal veil: and many are the sad stories told
of the bitter disappointment of the girl who unexpectedly finds that
her husband is a decrepit old man, or the ardent young bridegroom who
suddenly realises that he is lord of an ugly or sour-faced wife instead
of the dainty beauty described by the deceitful go-between.

[Illustration: THREE WOMEN AND A HAYRICK (see p. 207).]

(see p. 246).]

But such regrettable incidents are rare in rural China. It is true
that marriage is hardly ever preceded by love-making, and that young
people have as a rule absolutely no say in the important matter of
the choice of a husband. Yet the women of the farming classes in a
rural district such as Weihaiwei are by no means concealed from public
view; if a young man does not catch a sight of his betrothed at some
village festival or a theatrical performance he is sure to have many
opportunities of beholding her at work in the fields at harvest time or
washing clothes at the side of the local brook. Sometimes, indeed, the
young couple grow up together in the same household almost like brother
and sister. This happens when, after child-betrothal has taken place,
the girl's parents die or are too poor to keep her. She then passes to
the bridegroom's family and is theoretically supposed to be brought up
as a daughter of the house, though sometimes she is treated as a mere
servant or drudge. Such a girl is known as a _t'uan-yüan hsi-fu_. As an
orphan, or the daughter of poor or helpless parents, she is expected to
cultivate a more than usually meek and respectful demeanour towards the
parents of her betrothed, and to be "thankful for small mercies." When
the boy's parents (for the boy himself has no say in the matter) decide
that a fitting time for the marriage has arrived, it is customary for
the girl to be sent temporarily to the care of some relative, where
she remains until the wedding-day. This is in order that in accordance
with the usual custom she may enjoy the privilege of being carried to
her husband's home in a red marriage-chair. In such a case as this the
bride and bridegroom are of course well acquainted with each other's
personal appearance and disposition, and have good reason to know,
before the wedding takes place, whether their married life is likely
to be a happy one. If the prospects are adverse, the bridegroom-elect
can only escape his doom by running away, for the betrothal cannot be
repudiated. The bride, poor child, has no choice in the matter one way
or another.

Marriages in Weiheiwei--in spite of the optimistic dictum of the
Chinese chronicler already quoted--are very often, like marriages
elsewhere, negotiated in a mercenary spirit and with a keen eye to
"business." The Roman _coemptio_ was undoubtedly in origin a system of
marriage by purchase; and perhaps the practice if not the theory is
in many Western countries the same to-day. In rural China the average
father wants to procure for his son the best possible wife at the
lowest possible cost; the girl's father wants to give his daughter
to the family that will allow him the largest compensation for his
own outlay. The financial part of the arrangements is so prominent in
the minds of the plain-speaking peasants of Weihaiwei that they will
talk of buying and selling their wives and daughters in much the same
way as they would talk of dealing in farm produce at the neighbouring
market. The local practice (as apart from the law of China) in matters
concerning marriage is in some respects curious. "My wife has run away
from me," stated a petitioner. "She lived with me nearly three years.
I know where she is, but I cannot make her come back to me because I
originally got her for nothing. She left me because I was too poor. She
took away with her nothing that was not her own. I have no complaint to
make against her."

The people of Weihaiwei know nothing of regular divorce proceedings.
The man whose wife deserts him or runs away with another man may
proceed to take unto himself a second wife without the least fear of
a Crown prosecution for bigamy. Under Chinese law a man may, indeed,
regularly divorce his wife for a variety of offences--including
rudeness to his parents and talkativeness--but in Weihaiwei few
husbands avail themselves of their rights in this respect; in the first
place the husband is reluctant--especially if he is still childless--to
lose the lady for whom he or his parents paid a good round sum in
cash, and, secondly, he is afraid of getting into trouble with her
family, who will quite probably drag him before the magistrate on a
charge of brutal treatment of a gentle and long-suffering wife--their
object being to "save face" and to extract from the husband substantial
pecuniary compensation. If his wife's family is numerous and wealthy,
the unhappy man who is wedded to an untamable shrew is often driven
to desperate expedients to break his chains. He may, indeed, emigrate
to Peking or Manchuria--the usual resorts of persons who find life
unbearable in Weihaiwei--but this will only result in shifting the
trouble from his own shoulders to those of his parents or brothers.

Only a few days before the penning of these lines a man named Shih
Kuan-yung came to report to me the mysterious death of his younger
brother. "His wife treated him shamefully," was the story. "He bore it
for several years, but the breaking-point came two days ago. He then
went off to his father-in-law's house, and yesterday he died there."
On inquiry it turned out that the wretched man, after an unusually
bitter passage of words with his wife, swallowed a dose of poison and
then went off to die in his wife's father's house as a protest against
his wife's bad conduct and as a sure means of bringing trouble upon
her relations. His brother suggested to the court that he, as the
deceased's only surviving relative, should be empowered to sell the
widow and pocket the proceeds as a solace for his bereavement. The
court refused to act upon this suggestion, but satisfied public opinion
by imposing a moderate punishment on the lady's family and compelling
it to defray all the expenses of the funeral.

The fact that the husband in this case could think of no better means
of punishing his wife than by dying on her father's doorstep shows
that though a woman on marriage theoretically passes from one _patria
potestas_ to another and thenceforward belongs solely to her husband's
family or _p'o chia_, her father's family or _niang-chia_ may in
certain circumstances retain considerable influence over her destiny
as a married woman; and if the family is rich and influential it may
make matters intensely disagreeable for the husband and his relations
should the woman find her new home less comfortable than the old one.
The woman whose _niang-chia_ is poor and without influence (as we
have seen in the case of a _t'uan-yüan hsi-fu_) rarely dares to hold
her head high or treat her _p'o chia_ with contempt. She knows that
henceforth it will be to her own interest to please her husband and his
parents as far as in her lies, for she can look for no help from her
father's family in the event of trouble. It is a terrible grief to a
young married woman to know that her own family has made up its mind
to take no further interest in her. A headman once reported to me that
a woman in his village, recently married, had committed suicide simply
because when the time came for her to pay the first ceremonial visit to
her father and mother after her wedding, no one was sent (in accordance
with the usual custom) from her old home to escort her thither. For
several days she moped and moaned, her incessant cry being, "I have no
_niang-chia_, I have no _niang-chia_"; and one day her husband found
her hanging dead from a peg in the wall.

Sometimes a girl's family will evince no interest whatever in her
doings as a married woman until her suicide gives them an opportunity
of showing that "blood is thicker than water." If they do not demand
a magisterial enquiry into the cause of death they will at least keep
a careful eye on the funeral arrangements and prevent the widower's
family from carrying them out with insufficient splendour or too
much regard to economy. An expensive funeral on such an occasion is
satisfactory to the dead woman's relations from two points of view: it
reflects glory on themselves and gives them "face," and it serves as a
costly punishment for the bereaved husband who has to pay the bill.

Though nearly every one in Weihaiwei, as in the rest of China, gets
married sooner or later, it sometimes happens that through the early
death of his betrothed or some other unavoidable cause a man finds
himself still unmarried at an age when his contemporaries are the
proud parents of large families. The older he is the harder will it
be for him to contract a marriage through the customary process of a
formal betrothal. He may indeed find a widow who is open to receive
an advantageous offer; but in China it is not considered creditable
or fitting for a widow to re-marry unless dire poverty compels her
to do so. The model Chinese widow is expected to serve and cherish
her late husband's parents as long as they live, and to devote her
spare time to the careful upbringing of her own children. A woman's
second marriage is not attended by the pomp and circumstance of the
first. It is only once in her life that a Chinese woman is entitled
to sit in the red chair of a bride. A common practice for an elderly
bachelor of Weihaiwei is to entrust a friend in Peking or some other
large centre of population with the task of procuring a wife for him by
the simple expedient of cash-purchase. The friend buys the woman and
brings her back to Weihaiwei on one of his return visits; and, as he
will very likely have been entrusted with several similar commissions,
he will possibly return with a bevy of damsels of varying charms and
widely different ages and degrees of comeliness. He is not, of course,
expected to go through his trouble for nothing; and indeed the business
is regarded as so lucrative that some men will secretly tout for
commissions to buy wives, and will go from Weihaiwei to Peking for that
express purpose.

The practice is, of course, highly discreditable to every one
concerned. It is a punishable offence in China, and is sternly
reprobated and discouraged by the British Government. As far as the
women themselves are concerned, however, the abuses that attend the
system are less serious than might be expected. In most cases they are
the daughters of extremely poor parents who cannot afford to support
them. By becoming the wives of poor but honest and respectable farmers
in a district like Weihaiwei, their position has certainly changed for
the better. Most of them are thoroughly cognisant of this fact; indeed,
it is rarely that they express a desire to leave their new homes even
when the Government offers them a free passage back to their native
place. Their position, be it remembered, is not a dishonourable one.
Though not always married according to the prescribed rites, they are
by general consent regarded as wives, and their children inherit the
family property as legitimate heirs. Sometimes, indeed, a poor girl
from Peking, who has been led to expect that she is being taken to a
rich young husband, feels a pang of bitter disappointment when she
finds herself face to face with a poor and elderly man whose entire
savings have been exhausted by the purchase of herself; yet in nine
cases out of ten she accepts with resignation what the gods have given
her, and settles down to the quiet life of a well-behaved matron. It is
indeed to the interest of the woman's purchaser that he should treat
her with kindness, for if she becomes seriously dissatisfied she may
cause him endless discomfort.

Not long ago eight men came to the South Division court at Weihaiwei
with a petition on behalf of one of their relatives, Yü K'o-chih, who
was married to a woman named Chao Shih, imported from Peking. She
had been selected and purchased for him in Peking by his brother, Yü
K'o-shun. Now this woman, explained the petitioners, was unfortunately
addicted to the luxurious habits and customs in vogue at the capital,
and took no pains to adapt herself to the simple life of Weihaiwei.
Chao Shih was, in fact, a self-willed person who did exactly what
she chose, and when any one remonstrated with her she threatened to
run away. Matters remained in this unsatisfactory condition until
she at last carried out her threat and disappeared. She was traced
to Weihaiwei city, a distance of about twelve miles. Her husband's
brother, Yü K'o-shun,[166] accompanied by some of his relatives, went
in pursuit of the fugitive, tracked her to her hiding-place, and hired
a cart to convey her back to her husband. She resolutely refused to get
into the cart and also declined to accept the alternative of riding
a mule. She was finally carried off by force and the party set out
on the homeward journey. Unfortunately the woman kicked and screamed
incessantly, thereby making such a disturbance on the highway that
a detective who happened to meet the noisy procession came to the
conclusion that it was a case of kidnapping, and promptly arrested
the whole party. The petitioners now requested that since the matter
had been clearly explained the magistrate would issue an order for
the release of the prisoners and allow the troublesome Chao Shih to
be returned to the arms of her anxious husband. The magistrate's
difficulty in this case was unexpectedly solved by the lady herself,
who assured the court that she was weary of a roving life and promised
to be a good and dutiful wife for the rest of her days.

Certainly the system of procuring wives from Peking is liable to
produce disappointments that are not all on the side of the women.
Listen to the tale of woe of one Chung Yen-shêng, a Weihaiwei resident
who in an ill-starred hour had decided to obtain for himself a wife
from the capital. "I have tried to make the best of her for over two
years," he said in court, "but it was no good. When I bought her I
didn't know she was an opium-smoker, but she was. I bought her for
forty-eight taels (between seven and eight pounds sterling). What
with travelling expenses and clothes she cost me altogether seventy
taels before she arrived in Weihaiwei. She was a failure. She was very
extravagant, and I had to sell some of my land to satisfy her. She
suddenly left me of her own accord in the tenth moon of last year. She
went to K'ung Chia village. I was glad to get rid of her. She went to
the house of K'ung Fu-hsiang. I met him afterwards and I told him he
might keep the woman for all I cared, but I wanted some of my money
back. He gave me forty-five taels. I think I ought to get sixty, and
I have come to court to obtain a judgment against him for the balance
of fifteen taels. (Cross-examined) I would not take the woman back on
any account. I have no children, but I shall not look for another wife.
My younger brother's branch can carry on the ancestral worship of our

The old belief, long held by Europeans, that the Chinese habitually
practise polygamy probably became extinct some years ago. The fact is,
of course, that a Chinese has only one wife, though he may possess
legally recognised concubines. Among the agricultural classes in China
concubinage is not common, and in Weihaiwei it is comparatively rare.
The farmer who takes unto himself a concubine does it not only with the
knowledge but usually with the full approval of his wife, and as a duty
which (if his wife is childless) he owes to his ancestors. So far as
British experience goes in Weihaiwei the practice is not productive of
evil effects. If both a wife and a concubine become mothers, the family
property, when the time for partition arrives, is divided equally among
all the sons without any discrimination.[167] But it sometimes happens
that another child is born after the partition (_fên-chia_[168]) has
already taken place. If the mother of such child is the _ch'i_ or wife,
the whole of the family property will again be put as it were into the
melting-pot and re-divided--the latest-born child being entitled to a
share equal to that of each of his brothers. But if the child's mother
is only a concubine there will be no repartition, and either the child
will be given a portion of his parents' _yang-lao-ti_[169] or his
brothers will be morally obliged to make suitable provision for him
out of their respective shares. Practically, therefore, there is very
little difference in position between a wife's son and a concubine's

A modified form of domestic slavery is occasionally found in Weihaiwei
as elsewhere in China: though slavery is indeed much too harsh a term
to apply to a form of service which is totally devoid of hardship
or degradation. The Chinese are as a rule indulgent masters and are
hardly ever (in the part of China with which we are dealing) guilty of
deliberate cruelty towards the inferior members of their households.
The so-called slaves are generally bought as young girls from poor
parents or guardians for the purpose of domestic service. They are
treated as subordinate members of the family, and as a rule partake
of much the same fare as their masters and mistresses. Their owners
are responsible for their good health and moral character, and are
expected to help them in due time to obtain respectable husbands. The
great majority of the people of Weihaiwei, being only small farmers,
are compelled to do their own house-work unaided: slave-girls are thus
found only in a few of the most prosperous households. An instance
will show that in spite of the indulgent treatment accorded to them,
slave-girls are regarded as the absolute property of their purchasers.

A petitioner named Ch'ü Wên-k'uei complained of "the unlawful
annexation of a female slave" of whom he declared himself to be the
rightful owner. "Five years ago I became by formal adoption the son of
my father's elder brother, who died childless. His widow, my adoptive
mother, bought a slave-girl two years ago for the sum of one hundred
dollars. My aunt and adoptive mother died two months ago and I have
inherited her property. The slave-girl is part of the property and
therefore by right belongs to me. Unfortunately a short time before
her death my adoptive mother lent the slave-girl to the Ts'ung family,
and the Ts'ung family now refuses to hand her over to me on the plea
that she has been betrothed to one of the little Ts'ungs. As I gave no
consent to her betrothal I consider it null and void, and I petition
for an order of the court requiring the Ts'ung family to return my
slave-girl without further ado." To the surprise of both parties
the court allowed the question of her disposal to be decided by the
slave-girl herself, and she elected to stay with the family of her


[158] Just the same was the theory of the old Sumerian law.

[159] See pp. 149 _seq._

[160] _Ibid._

[161] A bird that pecks at its parent's eyes as soon as it is fledged
and so is an example of unfilial conduct.

[162] _I ma pu pei shuang an; Chung ch'ên pu shih erh chu._

[163] In some other parts of the Empire things are apparently very
different. The Rev. J. Macgowan writes very strongly on the subject in
his _Sidelights on Chinese Life_, pp. 32 _seq._ But I cannot believe
that "sixty per cent. of the husbands throughout the Empire" practise
wife-beating "habitually" (p. 35).

[164] Mere disparity of age, however, is not regarded as an insuperable
objection to a "dead marriage."

[165] The custom of employing go-betweens is by no means exclusively
Chinese. It may be met with among races so far away as certain of the
tribes of British Columbia. (See Hill Tout's _British North America_,
p. 186.) For an ancient reference to the Chinese custom, see _Shih
Ching_, p. 157 (Legge).

[166] It is worth noting that it was not the husband who took the next
step but the husband's brother, by whom the woman had been brought
from Peking and who was held responsible by his brother and the clan
generally for her "success" as a family investment.

[167] By a peculiar fiction the children of a concubine are regarded as
the wife's children.

[168] See pp. 149 _seq._

[169] See pp. 149 _seq._



The remarriage of a widow is, as we have seen, regarded in the
best circles with disapproval. The model wife--the wife to whom a
commemorative arch is erected on the roadside near her home and
whose name is handed down to posterity in the official chronicle of
her district as a pattern of virtue--is as scrupulously faithful
to her husband after his death as during his life. But very poor
families--such as are the majority of the families of Weihaiwei--cannot
afford to support widows for the mere joy of contemplating their
fidelity and chastity: hence we find that in practice a young widow
is often not only induced by her late husband's family to enter into
a second marriage and so rid them of the necessity of supporting her,
but is practically compelled to get married before the expiration of
the period of deep mourning, which lasts twenty-seven months. For a
widow to re-marry while in mourning for her husband is by Chinese law a
penal offence: though when the offence is committed on account of the
straitened circumstances of the widow and her first husband's family it
is generally allowed to pass without official notice or censure.

If a young widow has presented her late husband with children it is
less likely that his family will insist upon a second marriage than
if she is childless: indeed, if the family is well-to-do, it will
sometimes take active preventive measures if she herself contemplates
such a step. When a widow with children remarries, the children remain
with the first husband's family, or at any rate revert to that family
after the years of early childhood. It is when a childless young widow,
in spite of the solicitations of her husband's family, obstinately
refuses to take a second husband that domestic troubles arise which
are likely to end in the law-courts. If the widow's father-in-law
finds it impossible to remove her aversion to a second marriage he
will probably come to the court with a trumped-up charge against her
of "unfilial" behaviour. One Chang Yün-shêng brought an action in my
court against his deceased son's wife, who was a daughter of the Lin
family, for cruelty and want of respect. "She is disobedient," he said;
"she refuses to feed me, and she constantly assaults and vilifies my
wife and myself. In our old age we find such conduct on the part of our
daughter-in-law intolerable, and I implore the court to devise some
means of recalling her to a sense of duty and obedience."

The case soon wore a different aspect when the woman's father, Lin
Pa, put in an appearance and explained that Chang's sole object in
making a series of false and unjust accusations against a blameless
young woman was that he might be sure of magisterial sympathy and
help in the matter of compelling her to accept a second marriage.
This on investigation was found to be the key to the situation. Chang
regarded the woman as a family asset which he desired to realise in
cash. Her remarriage would have been negotiated purely as a mercantile
transaction, the profits of which would have gone into the money-bags
of Chang. As the covetous old man was well able to support his son's
wife--indeed she was living without expense to him on the property
which had come to her husband before his death as a result of
_fên-chia_[170]--the court required him to find substantial security
that in no circumstances would he attempt to dispose of the person of
his daughter-in-law against her will. The interference of the woman's
father in this case affords another proof that a woman's own family
does not necessarily abandon her for ever to the caprice of the family
into which she has married.

Chinese local histories contain many accounts of the various devices
resorted to by devoted widows for the purpose of avoiding the
dishonour of a second marriage. De Groot[171] quotes the case of a
child-widow--she was only fifteen years of age--who, as a reply to the
demands made upon her to enter into a second marriage, took a solemn
oath of chastity and confirmed it by cutting off her ears and placing
them on a dish. Thereupon, as the historian says, her relatives "gave
up their project," perhaps from pity or admiration of the poor child's
heroic conduct, perhaps from the belief that no self-respecting man
would care for an earless bride. If the annals of Weihaiwei show no
cases quite identical with this, they contain accounts of many a young
widow who has died to avoid remarriage.

But first let us consider a few typical cases of a less tragic nature.
Of Wang Shih, the wife of a graduate named Ch'i, we are told that when
her husband died leaving her with an infant boy, she, though still a
very young woman, refrained from a second marriage, lived an exemplary
life, educated her boy with exceptional care, and survived to the age
of ninety-five: living just long enough to witness the marriage of her
great-grandson. To live to a green old age is regarded as one of the
rewards of a virtuous life. In China, those whom the gods love die old.
Ch'ê Liu Shih, say the Annals of Ning-hai, was for similar reasons
rewarded by no less than one hundred and two years of life. This was
in the present dynasty. Judging by length of life, still higher virtue
must have been shown in the Yüan dynasty (1280-1367), for we read of
Liu Shih, a lady who lived to the age of one hundred and three, and was
celebrated as the happy mother of three noble sons. T'ang Chu Shih, a
Ning-hai widow of the Ming dynasty, became so famous for her virtuous
refusals of marriage that she was honoured by the local magistrate with
the official presentation of a laudatory scroll bearing the words "Pure
and chaste as frozen snow." Wang Sun Shih became a grass-widow about
ten days after her marriage, for her husband was obliged to go abroad.
After a short absence news was brought her that her lord was dead. She
was wretchedly poor, but she maintained an honourable widowhood to
her death. Yüeh Ch'i Shih was left a widow soon after marriage. The
family was very poor. She served her father-in-law and brought up her
son with the utmost zeal and care. She was most industrious (all this
is carefully recorded in the Annals) in looking after the household
and in preparing the morning and evening meals. She worked all her ten
fingers to the utmost without sparing herself. She died when still
young. Sun Liu Shih became a widow at the age of nineteen. She strongly
desired to die with her husband, but her parents-in-law pointed out
that they were old and required her services. She obeyed and remained
with them, refusing remarriage. She arranged to have a son adopted for
her husband, and educated him with the utmost care and self-sacrifice.
Wang Hsüeh Shih was left a widow at the age of twenty-five. She had a
little son aged three. She brought him up to manhood and arranged a
marriage for him. Both her son and his bride died within a year. She
then urged her father-in-law to take a concubine in order to carry on
the family, for her late husband had been an only son. Some years later
the Literary Chancellor of the Province presented an honorary tablet in
commemoration of her virtue.

Cases of this kind--where young widows refuse remarriage and devote
their lives to the service of their parents-in-law and their own
children--are so common that in many parts of China they are the rule
rather than the exception, though it is not every such case, of course,
that comes before the notice of the authorities and receives official
recognition. The matter of widows' suicides is one that perhaps
deserves more careful attention.

Sociological writers have pointed to the steady increase in suicide
as one of the most alarming characteristics of modern civilised life,
inasmuch as it seems to indicate a biological deterioration of the
race. Probably this is so in Europe, where religious and ethical
teachings set so high a value on life that the man who deprives himself
of it of his own accord is commonly regarded as either a criminal or
a lunatic; but we must beware of supposing that if suicide indicates
biological decay in England or Saxony it has the same indication among
the populations of the Far East. The common view that Orientals despise
life and will throw it away on the slenderest provocation is not,
indeed, strictly accurate. Self-slaughter in Weihaiwei and throughout
China is probably far commoner than anywhere in Europe, in spite of
the numerous European suicides traceable to the appalling mental and
moral degradation brought about by alcoholism; and there is no doubt
that the Oriental will hang or poison himself for reasons which would
be altogether insufficient to make the average European do so. But the
Oriental will never take this extreme step except from a motive which
from his point of view is all-compelling: so that after all the only
difference between the Oriental and the European in this respect seems
to lie in the nature of the motive, not in its intensity.

That the instinct of self-preservation is stronger among Europeans than
among Chinese is an unproved and perhaps unprovable thesis: though it
is true that Chinese women seem to have a contempt for death which
possibly arises from a quiescent imagination. One reason why suicides
are less common among Europeans is that the would-be suicide in a
country like England must not only face the natural fear of death
and (if he happens to believe in the teachings of his Church) the
probability or certainty of terrible sufferings in another state of
existence, but he is also obliged to contemplate the dishonour that
will besmirch his name and the consequent misery and discomfort that
will be brought upon his family.

These deterrent considerations can seldom affect the would-be
suicide in China. Both Confucianism and Buddhism, indeed, forbid
self-destruction: but Confucianism is vague on the subject of life
beyond the grave, and Buddhism as taught in China lays no stress on any
terrors that may await the suicide. The northern Chinese, including
those of Weihaiwei, are inclined to the belief that a suicide's only
punishment consists in being obliged as a lonely earth-bound spirit to
wander about in the neighbourhood of his old home until he can persuade
some living person to follow his example. When his victim yields to his
sinister suggestions and commits suicide the first ghost is set free:
though what use he makes of his freedom seems to be a doubtful point.
It then becomes the second ghost's turn to look for a victim. Thus all
apparently motiveless suicides are supposed to be caused by the ghostly
promptings of those who have taken their own lives in the past. When a
suicide of this kind takes place in a Weihaiwei village it is believed
that another suicide will inevitably follow within an extreme limit of
two years. Neither public opinion nor the law of the land stigmatises
suicide as a crime: persons who attempt and fail to kill themselves are
never prosecuted.

The attitude of the more philosophically-minded of the Chinese towards
the subject of suicide in general is perhaps somewhat similar to that
of the Stoic Epictetus, who on the one hand forbids it and on the other
hand calls attention to the fact that the door out of life is always
open to those who feel that they have good reason to use it. As for
self-destruction involving dishonour in the eyes of society, this is
so far from being the case in China that in certain circumstances the
exact opposite is the result. Posthumous honours have been showered
upon suicides by imperial edict, monuments have been erected to their
memory, they have been canonised and their tablets honoured with
official worship in the public temples, and they have bequeathed to
their relatives and descendants a glory that shines undimmed for many
successive generations.

These distinguished suicides, it should be hardly necessary to say,
have generally been women, and the glory of their deed has consisted in
the fidelity and heroism that have impelled them to follow their dead
husbands to the grave: but many of them are noble-minded statesmen and
patriots who have voluntarily sealed with their own blood some protest
against the follies or mistakes of emperors or have taken their own
lives as a means of drawing public attention to some grave danger that
menaced the State.[172]

We are accustomed to "topsy-turvydom" in China, and perhaps the
suicide-statistics might be cited as an example of this. "Suicide,"
says a recent writer on sociology, "is a phenomenon of which the male
sex possesses almost the monopoly."[173] If _female_ be substituted for
_male_ we have a fair statement of how affairs stand in Weihaiwei. Over
ninety per cent. of the persons who make away with themselves belong to
the female sex, and the great majority of them are young married women
or young widows. Since 1729, when it was proclaimed by imperial decree
that official honours were no longer to be conferred upon widows who
slew themselves on the occasion of their husbands' death, it has become
less common than formerly for young widows to practise the Chinese
equivalent of _sati_, but the custom is far from extinct, and at any
rate it seems to have left among women a readiness to fling away their
lives for reasons which to us appear singularly inadequate. Imperial
edicts did not and could not stamp out a custom which was of great
antiquity and deeply rooted in popular esteem. The British Government
in India forbade the practice of _sati_ long ago, and it has therefore
ceased to exist throughout the Indian Empire; but even now there is
strong reason to doubt whether popular opinion is on the side of the
Government in this matter, and whether the custom would not immediately
spring into vogue again if the British _raj_ were withdrawn.[174]


[Illustration: MONUMENT TO FAITHFUL WIDOW, KU-SHAN-HOU (see p. 225).]

There is no doubt that the suicide of widows in China is a survival
of the ancient custom (which flourished in countries so far apart as
India and Peru, Africa and China) whereby wives and slaves were as a
matter of ordinary duty expected to follow their husbands and masters
to the grave; and though the day has probably long gone past when
such suicides were encouraged or actually enforced by the deceased's
relatives, it cannot be doubted that to this day public opinion in
China is strongly on the side of the widow who chooses to follow her
lord to the world of ghosts.[175]

The present-day theory of the matter held by the people of eastern
Shantung, including Weihaiwei, appears to be this. A woman undoubtedly
performs a meritorious act in following her husband to the
spirit-world, but her relations are fully justified in preventing her,
and indeed are obliged to prevent her, from throwing away her life if
they know of or guess her intention. If her husband has died leaving
to her the care of his aged parents who have no other daughters-in-law
to look after them, or if she has young children who require her care,
she does wrong to commit suicide, though the children are sometimes
ignored. The highest praise is reserved for a woman who temporarily
refrains from destroying herself in order that she may devote herself
to her husband's parents and her own offspring, but who, when they are
dead or independent of her care, then fulfils her original desire and
sacrifices herself to the spirit of her dead husband. The fact that
in any case the woman's relatives are considered bound to prevent, if
possible, the act of suicide from taking place, shows the beginning of
a realisation that self-destruction is in itself an evil. Time was when
they would not only make no attempt to save the woman's life, but, as
in India, would incite her and even compel her to die.

Of the stories of widows' suicides which have taken place during the
past few centuries in Weihaiwei and its neighbourhood, and which
were considered meritorious enough to deserve public honours and
special mention in the official Annals, a few examples may be found of
interest. The cases quoted are in no way unique or unusual, and there
is no reason to doubt their absolute authenticity.

Tsou Chao-tuan being sick of a mortal disease, his wife Ts'ung Shih and
his concubine Sun Shih made an agreement with one another that they
would follow him to death. As soon as he was dead the two women hanged
themselves. Members of the family quickly came to the rescue and cut
the ropes by which the women were suspended. Sun Shih the concubine was
already dead, but Ts'ung Shih the wife revived. A few days later she
again hanged herself, this time successfully. The wife was thirty years
of age, the concubine nineteen. The district-magistrate took official
notice of the matter, and caused a carved memorial to be set up
testifying to the two women's exemplary virtue. "They had performed an
act," he said, "which would cause their fragrant names to be remembered
for ever."

T'ao Liu Shih, daughter of Liu Fang-ch'ing, was betrothed to one T'ao,
but they were not married. T'ao died. When the death was announced to
her she hanged herself. [To appreciate the significance of this act it
should be remembered that there was no question of love-sickness: the
young couple in all probability had never spoken to or even seen each
other. As will be understood from explanations already given,[176] the
girl would as a matter of course be buried with her betrothed as his
wife, and would be given his name on the tombstone and the ancestral
tablets. Probably the youth's parents, in this as in most similar
cases, adopted a son for the dead couple; if so he would be brought
up to regard them as his father and mother, and would inherit their
property. Had the girl refrained from suicide and married some one
else, the family of the first betrothed might have provided him with a
dead wife, in accordance with the practice already described.[177]]

Chang Sun Shih, aged twenty-six, was the wife of Chang Ch'ing-kuang.
On the death of her husband she took an oath to follow him. The family
forcibly prevented her from killing herself. She pretended to submit
to life and to the rearing of her young child, so gradually the family
forbore to watch her. She then suddenly hanged herself.

Li Chu Shih, aged twenty-one, was the wife of Li T'ing-lun. Her husband
died, leaving her without children. She killed herself by jumping into
a well. A stone memorial to her is extant.

Ch'ên Yang Shih was the wife of Ch'ên Yüan-fu. On the death of her
husband she starved herself to death.

Pi Yü Shih, wife of Pi Ch'ang-jên, hanged herself by the side of her
husband's coffin. [Voluntary death beside the coffin is exceedingly
common and seems to represent an ancient custom.]

Chang T'ang Shih was the wife of Chang Ching-wên. On her husband's
death she devoted herself to bringing up a young daughter. She
preserved a chaste widowhood till the death of her daughter, and then
hanged herself.

Pi Chang Shih was the wife of Pi Hung-fan. Her husband when dying
gave instructions that as she was still young a second marriage was to
be arranged for her. To please him she said she would obey him. They
were childless. When he died her first action was to see that her late
husband was duly provided with an heir and successor, and she did this
by bringing about the formal adoption of one of his nephews. She then
proceeded to arrange a marriage for the nephew so that the eventual
continuation of the family might be properly provided for. "Now," she
said, "my duty is done. What is a lonely widow to go on living for?"
She then committed suicide.

Li Wang Shih was the wife of Li Yuan-po. When her husband was ill
she waited until he had only two more days to live, and then hanged
herself. [The question naturally arises, who tended the sick husband
during the last two days? The woman's own view might have been that by
dying first she would be ready to meet and help her husband's spirit
when it had crossed the dark flood, and would thus render him greater
service than by merely tending his last hours on earth. But a better
explanation of her action is given by the details furnished by the
chronicler in connection with the next case.]

Sun Shih, a Weihaiwei woman, had a dying husband. Fearing that his
last moments might be embittered by the thought that she would marry
some one else after his death she decided to hang herself before he
passed away, so that he would know she had remained true till death.
She therefore hanged herself, and a day later her husband died. This
happened in the Ming period, and in 1585 a monument was erected to her

Liang Wang Shih, aged twenty-one, was the wife of Liang K'o-jun. At
the time of her husband's death she was pregnant, so she did not
destroy herself immediately. In due time she gave birth to her child--a
daughter--who, however, soon died. She thereupon committed suicide.

Liu Ch'ên Shih, aged twenty-eight, was the wife of Liu Shêng. On her
husband's death the family feared she would hang herself, so they
watched her with special care. She smilingly assured them that she had
no such intention, so they relaxed their watchfulness. She then hanged

Hou Wang Shih tried to hang herself on the death of her husband. Some
female neighbours came in and saved her life: but she awaited another
opportunity and died by her own hand.

Chiang Lin Shih was a young bride. Two months after her marriage her
husband had to go away on business, and on the road he fell in with a
band of robbers and was killed by them. On hearing the news she hanged

Sung Wang Shih attempted to hang herself on the death of her husband,
but owing to the intervention of friends she was restored to life.
A second time she tried to hang herself, but the rope broke and her
purpose remained unfulfilled. Then she took poison, but the dose was
insufficient and she revived. Then the family tried to compel her to
marry again; but she tore her face with her nails till it streamed with
blood and resolutely refused to entertain the suggestion of a second
marriage. Finally she retired to her private apartment and succeeded in
strangling herself.

Wang Chao Shih was the wife of an hereditary _chih-hui_[178] of
Ning-hai, in the Ming dynasty. Her husband died a month after the
wedding. She remained faithful to him, and finally hanged herself. Two
maid-servants followed her example.

Wang Sun Shih was the concubine of a _chih-hui_. Her husband was killed
in battle. On hearing the news she hanged herself.

Yü Lu Shih swore on the death of her husband that she would not live
alone. Her family wept bitterly and begged her to give up her intention
to die, but she replied, "I look upon death as a going home. The wise
will understand me." Then in the night-time she strangled herself.

Liu Shih, the daughter of Liu Fang-ch'ing of Ch'êng-shan (the Shantung
Promontory) was betrothed to a Weihaiwei man named T'ao Tu-shêng.
A "lucky day" was chosen for the marriage, and the bride was being
escorted to her new home on that day when the news was brought her
of the bridegroom's sudden death. She wished to follow him to the
grave,[179] but her father and mother prevented her from carrying
out her wish. When they began to relax their watchfulness she hanged
herself. The district-magistrate presented an honorary scroll to the
family to commemorate the girl's fidelity and chastity.

Chou Ch'i Shih was the wife of a literary student. Her husband died,
and she hanged herself on the following New Year's Eve.

Tung Tu Shih was the second wife of a graduate. On her husband's death
she starved herself to death. An edict was issued authorising the
erection of an honorific portal.

Chang Shih was betrothed in childhood to a man named Yüan. He died
before the marriage took place, when the girl was only sixteen. She
begged to be allowed to carry out the full mourning rites prescribed
for a widow, but her family would not hear of it.[180] She then hanged
herself. In the Shun Chih period (1644-61) a decree was received
authorising the erection of a commemorative portal. She and her
betrothed were buried together as man and wife. The portal was erected
at the side of the tomb. Elegies, funeral odes, essays, scrolls
containing laudatory couplets, were composed by many of the local poets
and scholars in honour of this virtuous woman.

Liu Yü Shih was the wife of a man who died when he was away from home.
She wailed for him bitterly, and said, "My husband is dead and it is my
duty to go down to the grave with him: but he has left no son to carry
on the ancestral sacrifices. Therefore my heart is ill at ease." She
then sold her jewellery in order to provide money enough to enable her
husband's younger brother to get married at once. A bride was selected
and the marriage took place. In a year a boy was born, and Liu Yü Shih
said, "Now my husband is no longer childless and I can close my eyes in
death." That night she hanged herself. [It should be noted that in such
a case as this it would be the duty of the younger brother to surrender
one of his own sons in order that he might become the son and heir of
the deceased. If the younger brother had only one son and there was
no other relative of the appropriate generation available to become
adopted son to the elder, the son would be allowed to inherit the
property of his uncle and father and to carry on the ancestral rites
for both. This is known as _shuang t'iao_.]

Yang Wang Shih was the wife of Yang Shih-ch'in. Twenty-seven days after
the death of her husband she gave birth to a boy, who died within a
year. She then devoted herself to the care of her (husband's) parents.
A year or two later her father-in-law died, and the year after that her
mother-in-law died too. The young widow mourned unceasingly, saying,
"My husband and son are dead, my parents too have gone to their long
home, how dare I continue to exist between earth and sky?" Then she
begged the elders of the family to arrange the matter of adopting a son
for her late husband, and then she hanged herself.

Ch'ang Li Shih was married to a man who died in the reign of K'ang Hsi
(1662-1722). She wished to die with him, but she was with child and
therefore forbore to carry out her wish. Shortly afterwards a child was
born. It was a boy, who only lived seven days. Looking up to heaven she
sighed bitterly, saying, "When my husband died I refrained from dying
with him, for I hoped to become the mother of his child. Now the child,
too, is gone. It is as though my husband had twice died. Can I bear to
survive him all alone?" She then impressively urged her sisters-in-law
(wives of her late husband's brothers) to serve their mother-in-law
dutifully, and then took an oath to follow her lord to the lower world.
Her first resolution was to hang herself. Her sisters-in-law kept watch
on her so that she could not do this. Then she tried to take poison,
but the family, full of pity and affection, kept her from this too.
Full of vexation she cried out, "Am I to be the only one under all
heaven who longs for death yet cannot die?" Then she resolutely set
herself to starve to death. For many days she refused nourishment of
any kind, and on the sixteenth day of her fast she died. Many were the
funeral odes composed by noted poets in her honour, and in the reign of
Ch'ien Lung (1736-95) an honorary archway was erected to her memory and
her tablet was given a place in the local Shrine of Chastity and Filial

The last story of this kind to be quoted has not been extracted from
the local Annals nor does it refer to events which actually took
place in Weihaiwei; it was told me, however, by a Weihaiwei resident
concerning a girl with whose family his own was distantly connected,
and as it throws some light on certain Chinese customs and possesses
a pathetic interest of its own though it is not essentially different
from many other such stories, a little space may be found for it here.

A girl of eighteen years of age, named Chang Shih, had been betrothed
since early childhood to a youth who lived in a neighbouring village,
and the bridal day was drawing near. It was going to be a great
occasion for every one concerned, for both families were well-to-do and
popular and the girl was known by all her friends to be as tender and
lovable as she was graceful and beautiful. But over the family hung a
cloud that burst as suddenly as a thunderstorm: for one day, when the
family were eagerly looking forward to the great event of the marriage,
the black news came of the illness and death of the bridegroom.

The parents of Chang Shih consulted together as to how they should
break the news to their daughter, who though she had never seen or
spoken to her betrothed had been brought up in full knowledge of the
fact that some day she would be his wife. She heard their whispers,
and with quick intuition felt certain that their conversation had some
reference to herself. Going to her mother, she questioned her. "What
bad news have you, mother?" she said. "Whatever it may be you must
tell your daughter." For a moment or two the elder woman was afraid to
speak plainly and showed embarrassment, but at last, breaking into sobs
and tears, she told the dismal story. "My daughter's wedding-day was
fixed and a happy marriage had been foretold. But now all our hopes are
ruined, for my daughter's betrothed has closed his eyes." The girl's
face showed no sign of emotion. Her mother wondered at this, for she
knew that her daughter was highly strung and was not one who could
readily dissemble her feelings. Without a word Chang Shih turned away
and retired to her own room. At this time she was gaily and carefully
dressed like most young Chinese ladies of good family: her pretty face
was powdered and rouged, and sweet-scented flowers and two little gold
ornaments adorned her shining hair. When an hour later she appeared
before her mother again she was almost unrecognisable. All trace of
powder and rouge was washed from her face, so that she had become--as
a European observer would have said--more beautiful than ever; her
long black hair, devoid of a single flower or ornament, was uncoiled
and hung loosely over her shoulders; her handsome embroidered dress had
been thrown off, and her lithe form was disfigured by a gown of coarse

"My poor child," exclaimed her mother in amazement, "how is it that
you, who are still a maiden, have attired yourself like a widow? Are
you not still a member of your father's house? Are we of such poor
report that our daughter will be shunned by every family that has a
son still unbetrothed? Take off those ill-omened clothes that speak to
us only of death, and become again our gay little daughter who has yet
before her many years of happy life. It will not be long before the
go-betweens come knocking at our door with eager proposals of marriage
for the fairest little lady in the whole prefecture."

The girl listened, but never a smile appeared on her face. "It is my
mother's voice that speaks but the thoughts are not my mother's. Can
I, your daughter, ever give myself to another man while my husband
has gone all lonely down to the Yellow Springs?[181] I beseech you,
my mother, grant your daughter's last request. In seven days' time my
betrothed was to come to escort me to his home and I was to sit in
the red marriage-chair and to be carried away to be his bride. I pray
you, my mother, that my wedding-day may not be cancelled. When the
spirit of my husband comes for me on that day I shall be ready." The
girl's mother did her utmost to shake her daughter's resolution, for
she loved her dearly, and feared the girl was concealing some dreadful
intention in this strange request. But her words were quite without
avail, and she soon left her daughter to talk matters over with her
husband. It was not without some justifiable pride that they finally
decided to humour her; for in China the girl who on the death of her
betrothed renounces all thought of marriage with a living man and, by
remaining faithful to the dead, embraces at the same instant wifehood
and widowhood, brings glory and honour to her father's family and also
to the family of the dead bridegroom. The emperor's representative--the
head of the local civil government--will himself do homage to her
steadfast virtue, and will doubtless convey to her parents some mark of
imperial approval; while her native village will derive widespread fame
from the fact that it had once been her home.

The bridegroom's parents, in the case before us, received with
appreciative gladness the announcement of the girl's fixed
determination to remain faithful to their son, and they readily agreed
to fall in with her wish for the formality of a marriage between the
living and the dead. Preparations for the strange wedding went on
apace, and though there was no merriment and very little feasting,
strangers who suddenly arrived on the scene would never have guessed
that the bridegroom was lying stiff and cold with never a thought for
the beautiful bride that was to be his.

Though marriages of this kind--so strange and perhaps shocking to
Western notions--were by no means unknown, several years had elapsed
since such a ceremony had taken place in the district, and the local
interest shown in it was very great. On the day of the wedding two
large palanquins--one red, the other green--were carried on stalwart
shoulders from the bridegroom's house to that of the bride. At ordinary
marriages in Shantung the bridegroom usually goes in the red chair
to meet his bride while the green chair follows behind, generally
empty.[182] On arrival at the bride's house the bridegroom is received
with much ceremony and introduced to every one except his bride, whom
he is not allowed to see. Most of the introductions take place in a
guest-room, where he is regaled with light refreshments. Meanwhile the
red chair in which he arrived is taken into the inner courtyard to
await the bride. As soon as it is announced that she is ready to start,
the bridegroom takes ceremonious leave of the family and prepares for
departure. The bride in her red chair goes in front, he--in the green
chair this time--follows behind. Thus bride and bridegroom, who have
not yet exchanged a word, set out for the bridegroom's home. There they
are received by his relatives, and the other nuptial ceremonies follow
in due course.

To outward appearance there was little to suggest any unusual
circumstances in the marriage of Chang Shih. The red chair and green
chair came to her house in the usual way; the only difference was that
in the red chair there was no living bridegroom, only his _p'ai-wei_--a
white strip of paper bearing his name and age and the important words
_ling wei_--"the seat of the soul."[183]

On arrival at the home of Chang Shih, the _p'ai-wei_ was taken with
the deepest marks of respect out of the red chair and carried into the
house. It was reverently placed on a small shrine in the guest-chamber,
and in front of it were set a few small dishes of fruit and sweetmeats
and several sticks of burning incense. Then every member of the family
separately greeted it with a silent obeisance. When the time came for
departure, the _p'ai-wei_ was carefully carried out of doors again and
placed in the green chair, the red one being now occupied by Chang
Shih; and thus the strange bridal procession started home again, the
soul of the dead bridegroom escorting the body of the living bride.
On arrival at the house the _p'ai-wei_ was again taken out of its
chair and set up in the large hall where the dead man's family and
their guests were waiting to receive Chang Shih. For the time being
her widow's sackcloth had been cast aside, and she was clad in the
resplendent attire of a rich young bride. If her face bore signs of
inward emotion they were totally concealed beneath powder and rouge,
and not even her own parents could have told what thoughts or feelings
were uppermost at that time in their beautiful daughter's mind. She
went through the usual ceremonies that accompany a Chinese wedding, so
far as they could be carried out without the living presence of the

Having paid the necessary reverence to Heaven and Earth, to the
souls of the ancestors of her new family, and finally to the living
members of that family in the order of their seniority, she retired
to the room that would in happier circumstances have been the bridal
chamber, and there she quickly divested herself of her gay wedding
robes and reassumed the dress of a widow in deepest mourning. Her
betrothed--her husband now--had already been laid in his coffin, but
in accordance with the usual Chinese custom many days had to elapse
between the coffining and the burial. Those days were devoted to the
elaborate rites always observed at a well-conducted Chinese funeral,
and the young girl having taken her place as chief mourner performed
her painful duties in a manner that gained her renewed respect and
admiration. At last came the day of the burial. From the home of
the living to the home of the dead marched a long procession of
wailing mourners robed in sackcloth; several bands of flute-players
and other musicians went in front and behind; there were scatterers
of paper money, coloured-flag bearers and trumpeters, whose duty it
was to conciliate and keep at a distance evil spirits and ill-omened
influences; there were lantern-bearers to pilot the dead man's soul;
there was a great paper image of the Road-clearing Spirit, borne in a
draped and tasselled pavilion; there was a dark tabernacle containing
the tablet to which the spirit of the deceased himself would in due
course be summoned; there was the long streamer, the _ling ching_ or
Banner of the Soul; and there was the coffin itself, almost entirely
concealed beneath its canopy, covered with richly embroidered scarlet

It is not usual, nowadays, in eastern Shantung, for the female mourners
to accompany funeral processions throughout the whole sad journey,
but on this occasion the widowed maiden acted in accordance with the
ceremonies sanctioned by the sages of old,[184] for she followed
the coffin all the way to the grave. Then at last the attendant
mourners--members of her father's family and of the family of the
dead--were for the first time admitted to the secret of her intentions.
No sooner had the coffin been lowered than Chang Shih threw herself
into the grave and lay across the coffin-lid face downwards, as if to
embrace, for the first and last time, the husband whose form she had
never seen in life nor in death. For a few moments her fellow-mourners
waited in decorous silence until the violence of her passionate
outburst should have spent itself, but seeing that she did not stir one
of them at last begged her to leave the dead to the dead. "My place is
by my husband," was the girl's reply. "If he is with the dead, then
my place too is with the dead. Fill up the grave." To obey her behest
was out of the question, and for some time no one stirred. Knowing
the nature of the girl, her relatives felt sure that if they forcibly
removed her from her present position and compelled her to return home
with them she would seize the first opportunity of destroying herself.

Some one at last suggested that if they humoured her to the extent of
sprinkling her with a light covering of earth which she could easily
throw off as soon as the desire of life once more asserted itself,
she might be permanently restored to a normal condition and all might
be well. This suggestion was acted upon. Some handfuls of earth
were thrown loosely over the living and the dead, each mourner, in
accordance with custom, contributing a portion.[185] Having by this
time concluded the sacrificial rites and ceremonies, the mourners now
withdrew from the graveside. When some of the nearest relatives of
Chang Shih returned an hour later they found that the light covering
of earth had not been disturbed. The desire of life had never asserted
itself after all. The girl was dead.

Carefully and tenderly she was taken up and brought back to the sad
bridal chamber that had witnessed no bridal. Long before her beautiful
body had been prepared for burial and placed in its splendid coffin her
fame had already spread far through town and countryside. Vast was the
crowd of mourners who, when her body was once more laid beside that of
her husband, never to be disturbed again, flocked from distances of
over a thousand _li_ to show their admiration of the bravest of women
and most faithful of wives.

With the exception of the last, all these little stories have been
translated almost word for word from the official records of Weihaiwei
and the three neighbouring districts. Similar cases could be collected
by the thousand. Honorific portals and handsome marble monuments stand
by the roadside in every part of the Empire, silent witnesses to noble
Chinese womanhood. There is not a district in China that does not
possess its roll of women who have sacrificed their lives in obedience
to what they believed to be the call of a sacred obligation. Probably
none but the most bigoted or the most ignorant will read of these poor
women--many of them hardly more than children--with feelings of either
contempt or abhorrence. They died no doubt from a mistaken sense of
duty: but to die for an idea that is based on error surely requires
as much courage and resolution as to die for an idea that is radiant
with truth, and--what is perhaps of greater practical significance--the
women who go willingly to the grave for a cause that to us seems a poor
one may be counted on to suffer as cheerfully and die as bravely for a
cause that is truly great.

Brave women do not give birth to ignoble sons; and when we contemplate
the present and speculate as to the future condition of China we may
do well to remember that women like those of whom we have just read
are among the mothers of the great race that constitutes perhaps more
than a quarter of the world's population. The woman who offers herself
as a willing sacrifice to-day on the altar of what may be called a
domestic ideal is the mother of a man who may, to-morrow, offer himself
with readiness and gladness on the altar of a political or a national
ideal. In the marvellous evolution that has taken place during the
past half-century in the island Empire of Japan one has hardly known
which to admire most: the splendid daring and patriotism shown by the
Japanese soldier and civilian or the patience and trustfulness shown in
times of trial and hardship by the Japanese woman. China has surprises
in store for us as startling as those that were given us by Japan; and
not the least of these surprises, to many Western minds, will perhaps
be the unflinching steadiness of the Chinese soldier on the field
of battle when his regenerated country calls upon him to defend her
from the spoiler, and the heroism and fidelity of the Chinese woman
at home. Europeans will doubtless wonder at what they take to be the
sudden evolution of hitherto undreamed-of features in the Chinese
character; yet those supposed new features will only be the ancestral
qualities of loyalty and devotion directed into new channels broader
and deeper than the old.

In spite of these considerations, most Western readers, whatever may be
their views on the ethics of suicide, will probably confess themselves
utterly unable to understand how a young betrothed girl can work
herself into the state of intense emotional excitement which the act of
self-destruction implies, merely as the result of the untimely death
of the man to whom she happened to be engaged. The suicide of real
widows, distracted with grief for the loss of a beloved husband, they
can understand: but it cannot be love, and it can hardly be grief in
the ordinary sense, that induces a Chinese girl to throw away her life
when she hears of the decease of a young man with whom she has never
exchanged a word and whose face perhaps she has never seen. It may
be pointed out, in partial explanation of a phenomenon so strange to
Western notions, that not only is a betrothal in China practically as
binding as a marriage, but that marriage, and therefore the betrothal
that precedes it, are according to Chinese belief founded on mysterious
ante-natal causes. When the sceptical Englishman says jestingly that
"marriages are made in heaven" he is giving expression to a theory that
in China is held to be essentially true, though it is not expressed by
the Chinese in exactly the same terms. The theory is independent of
and perhaps older than Buddhism, though no doubt popular Buddhism has
done a great deal to strengthen it; and it has certainly helped to keep
the Chinese people satisfied with their traditional marriage customs,
which, as every one knows, are quite independent of love-making. It
is partly this theory that makes a Chinese woman contented and even
happy in the contemplation of her approaching marriage to an unknown
bridegroom, and often fixes in a girl's mind the idea that to give
herself to any man other than her first betrothed, even if the latter
died during the betrothal, would be as shameful a proceeding as to
commit an act of unfaithfulness in wedlock.

Probably it is only the fear of social disorder and many other
practical inconveniences that have prevented the second betrothals
and second marriages of women from being more severely discouraged by
public opinion than is actually the case. The first are in ordinary
practice passed over without comment, though the fact of the original
betrothal is "hushed up," or is at least not talked of; the second are
in many parts of China still regarded with austere disfavour, though
circumstances such as extreme poverty may render them necessary. In
any case, the girl who refuses a second betrothal is still honoured
and respected just as if she were a widow who had virtuously refused a
second marriage.

It should be noted that the discredit of a second marriage or the
lesser discredit of contracting a second betrothal does not attach to
the woman only. But a man is in practice more at liberty than a woman
to consult his own inclinations. The young widower who refrains from
a second marriage after his wife's death is regarded as deserving of
the greatest praise and respect, but if he is childless he is in the
dilemma of having to be either unfaithful to the memory of his wife
or undutiful towards his parents and ancestors; and as the parents
"count" more than the wife in China he must choose to be unfaithful
rather than undutiful. It is an important part of Chinese teaching that
the most unfilial of sons is he who has no children: the reason being,
of course, that childlessness means the extinction of the family and
the cessation of the ancestral sacrifices. Thus a childless widower
not only may, but must, seek a second marriage, especially if he has
no married brothers. A common way out of the difficulty is for the
widower to take a concubine: for the concubine's position in China is a
perfectly legal one, and her children, as we have seen, are legitimate.

After all, it is perhaps impossible for any European mind to
understand the real nature of the impulse that occasionally drives a
Chinese girl to kill herself on the death of an unknown betrothed;
not indeed because the occidental mind is essentially different from
the oriental, but because of the unbridged chasm that lies between
the social, religious and ethical systems and traditions of East and
West. Considerations of this kind should perhaps teach us something
of the limitations of our minds and characters, by showing how
comparative a thing is our boasted independence of thought, and with
what humiliating uniformity our ideals and impulses are conditioned
by the social and traditional surroundings in which we live and move.
However this may be, it will perhaps be comforting to know that the
Chinese, unsentimental as they are in their methods of courtship, are
no strangers to what in Europe we recognise as the romance of love.

As we saw in the last chapter, Chinese marriages, in spite of their
supposed pre-natal origin, are not always productive of lifelong
happiness; but as an offset to the melancholy picture there drawn of
many domestic infelicities, it is only fair to emphasise the unruffled
peace and contentment of very many Chinese households. In numerous
cases this happy condition of affairs is the result of a real if
somewhat undemonstrative love between husband and wife--a love that
is perhaps all the more likely to be firm and lasting because it
only sprang into existence after marriage. It is obviously difficult
to cite instances of this. It is the unhappy marriages, not the
happy ones, that in China--as everywhere else--engage the attention
of an administrator or a judge. But sometimes a suicide occurs in
circumstances which indicate that the moving impulse can only have been
deep grief for the death of a beloved wife or husband. I have had cause
to investigate officially no less than three such cases within two

A man named Chang Chao-wan died after a short illness. A few hours
later, at midnight, his wife, who had previously shown every sign of
intense grief, hanged herself. It was ascertained that the couple had
lived a happy married life for nearly forty years. He was fifty-eight
years of age, she was fifty-seven. They had three sons, all grown-up.
In a case like this the action of the woman cannot be attributed to a
desire for notoriety or a hope of posthumous honours, for it is only
young widows who have any reason to expect such rewards.

The second instance is perhaps of greater interest. The story may be
stated in the words of the man who first reported it. "My second son,
Ts'ung Chia-lan, went to Kuantung (Manchuria) a few months after his
marriage. This was eight years ago. He went abroad because the family
was poor and he wanted to make some money. His wife was very miserable
when he went and begged him not to go, but he promised to come back to
her. He disappeared, and for years we heard nothing of him. His wife
made no complaint, but she was unhappy. A few months ago a returned
emigrant told us that he had seen my son in Manchuria. When I saw that
this news made his wife glad I sent my elder son, Chia-lin, to look for
him and bring him home. My elder son was away for more than two months
and never found him. Then he returned by himself and told us there was
no hope of our ever seeing Chia-lan again. His wife heard him say this.
We tried to console her. She said nothing at all, but two hours after
my elder son had come home she took a dose of arsenic and died. She was
a good woman, and no one ever had a complaint to make against her. She
had no child."

The last case to be mentioned shows that it is not women only who can
throw away their lives on the death of their loved ones. A native of
the village of Hai-hsi-t'ou came to report the suicide of a nephew,
Tung Ch'i-tzŭ. "He was twenty years old," said my informant. "He
was deeply attached to his wife and she to him. She died about six
weeks ago. They had been married less than two years and they had no
children. He was very unhappy after her death, and would not let any
one console him. He was left alone, and yesterday when his father had
gone to market he hanged himself from a beam with his own girdle. There
was no other motive for the suicide. He died because he loved his wife
too much, and could not live without her."

Deaths and suicides have made a dismal chapter, and perhaps no better
way could be devised of lightening the gloom than by turning to a
source of brightness that does more to make homes happy--Chinese
homes and Western homes--than anything else in the world. To say that
the Chinese love their children would be unnecessary: they would be
a unique race if they did not. But it may not be accepted equally
readily that Chinese girls and boys are charming and lovable even when
compared with the modern children of western Europe and America, who
have all the resources of science and civilisation lavished on their
upbringing, and for whose benefit has been founded something like a
special branch of psychology. Perhaps there has been no section of
the Chinese people more hopelessly misunderstood by Western folk than
the children. It is not unnatural that such should be the case. It is
but rarely that feelings of real sympathy and mutual appreciation can
exist between Chinese children and adult Europeans. It would be futile
to deny the fact that by the Chinese child we are almost sure to be
regarded as fearfully and wonderfully ugly--and all good children
have an instinctive dislike of the ugly. Our clothing is ridiculous;
our eyes and noses are deformed; our hair (unless it is black) looks
diseased; our language--even if we profess to speak Chinese--is
strangely uncouth; and the particular blandishments we attempt are
not of the kind to which they are accustomed, or to which they know
how to respond. There is no use in saying "goo-goo" to an infant that
expects to be addressed with a conciliating "fo-fo"; nor should we be
surprised if we fail to win the approval of a shy Chinese youngster
by talking to him on the topics that would rouse the interest of the
twentieth-century English schoolboy. As likely as not he will remain
stolidly indifferent, and will stare at his well-meaning interlocutor
with a disconcerting lack--or apparent lack--of intelligence. No wonder
is it that the mortified foreigner often goes away complaining that
Chinese children are ugly, stupid, horrid and ungracious little urchins
and that he will never try to make friends with them again.

Even distance does not seem to lend much enchantment to the Chinese
child from the European point of view. He is commonly caricatured
somewhat after this fashion: he never smiles; he has hardly any nose
and possesses oblique eyes that are almost invisible; he wears too many
clothes in winter, so that he looks like an animated plum-pudding; he
wears too little in summer--his birthday dress, to be explicit--and
looks like a jointed wooden doll; he has a horror of "romping"; he is
unwashed, deceitful and cruel; he cultivates a solemnity of demeanour
with the view of leading people to think he is precociously wise and
preternaturally good; and he is always mouthing philosophic saws
from Confucius which he has learned by rote and of which he neither
knows nor wants to know the meaning. Of course there is much in this
description that is totally false and misleading, but it is not
difficult to see the superficial characteristics that may give such a
caricature a certain amount of plausibility.

To form a true idea of what Chinese children really are we must take
them unawares among their own people, if we are fortunate enough to
have opportunities of doing so. We must go into the country fields
and villages and see them at work and play; we must watch them at
their daily round of duties and pleasures, at school (one of the
old-fashioned schools if possible), in times of sickness and pain,
on occasions of festivals, family gatherings, weddings and funerals.
The more we see of them in their own houses and surrounded by their
own relatives the better we shall understand them and the more we
shall like them. They are highly intelligent, quick to see the merry
side of things, brimful of healthy animal spirits, and exceedingly
companionable. This applies not only to the boys but also in a smaller
degree to the girls, who, however, are much less talkative than they
come to be in later years and are apt to be more timid and shy than
their little brothers. They are terribly handicapped by the cruel
custom of foot-binding, which it is earnestly to be hoped will before
long be utterly abolished throughout China. It has undoubtedly caused
a far greater aggregate amount of pain and misery in China than has
been produced by opium-smoking. In spite of the cruelty involved in
foot-binding, the rather common impression that the Chinese have no
affection for their daughters or regard the birth of a girl as a
domestic calamity is very far from correct. That a son is welcomed
with greater joy than a daughter is true, but that a daughter is not
welcomed at all is a view which is daily contradicted by experience.
Mothers, especially, are often as devoted to their girls as they are
to their boys. In the autumn of 1909 a headman reported to me that a
woman of his village had killed herself because she was distracted with
grief on account of the death of her child. The child in question was
a girl, fourteen years of age. "Her mother," said the headman, "begged
Heaven (_Lao T'ien-yeh_) to bring her daughter back to life, and she
declared that she would willingly give her life in exchange for that of
her daughter." It is erroneous to suppose that the old loving relations
between mother and daughter are necessarily severed on the daughter's
marriage. It is often the case that a young married woman's greatest
happiness consists in periodical visits to her old home.

On the whole it may be said that Chinese children are neither better
nor worse, neither more nor less delightful, than the children of
the West, and that child-nature is much the same all the world over.
Among their most conspicuous qualities are their good-humour and
patience. Chinese children bear illness and pain like little heroes.
This need not be ascribed entirely to the oft-asserted cause that
"Chinese have no nerves," though indeed there is good reason to believe
that the people of the West (perhaps owing to the relaxing effects
of a pampering civilisation) are considerably more sensitive to
physical suffering than the people of the Orient. Another interesting
characteristic of Chinese children consists in the fact that good
manners very often appear, at first sight, to be innate rather than
acquired. Even illiterate children, and the children of illiterate
parents, seem to behave with a politeness and grace of manner towards
their elders and superiors (more particularly, of course, those of
their own race) which they certainly have not learned by direct
teaching. A well-bred European child sometimes gives one the impression
that he has learned his exemplary "manners" as a lesson, just as he
learns the tributaries of the Ouse or the dates of the kings. The most
remarkable point about the Chinese child's "manners" is the grace and
ease with which he displays them and the entire absence of _mauvaise
honte_. No doubt the truth of the matter is that courtesy is no more
a natural quality in the Chinese than in other races. The average
peasant's child in north China, who is always treated with what seems
to us excessive indulgence--being allowed to run wild and hardly ever
punished for his childish acts of "naughtiness" and disobedience--grows
up a devoted and obedient son and most courteous and conciliatory, as a
rule, in his dealings with the outside world; but these graces were not
born in him except possibly in the merely potential form of hereditary
predisposition. He has acquired them unconsciously through the medium
of that "endless imitation" which, as Wordsworth said, seems at times
to be the "whole vocation" of a healthy child. Doubtless he learns the
forms of politeness to some extent from his schoolmaster--and indeed
if ethical teaching can make a good boy, then the educated Chinese boy
should be perfect; but that school teaching is not everything is proved
by the fact that in a poor country-district like Weihaiwei, where only
a small proportion of the children go to school, there is no essential
difference in "manners" between the lettered and the ignorant, though
the educated are of course quicker in intelligence and more adaptable.

Perhaps the explanation of the matter is that in China the adult's
life and the child's life are not kept too far apart from each other,
so that the child has endless opportunities of indulging his imitative
faculties to the utmost. Children live in the bosom of the family, and
it is very rarely indeed that their natural high spirits are frowned
down with the chilling remark that "little boys should be seen and not
heard." Strange to say, the sparing of the rod does not seem to have
the effect of spoiling the Chinese child, who is not more troublesome
or unruly than the average European child. The Chinese, indeed, have a
proverb which shows that they, too, understand the value of occasional
corporal punishment: "From the end of the rod pops forth a filial
son." But the rod is allowed to become very dusty in most Chinese
homes, and the filial son seems to come all the same.

Female infanticide is not practised in Weihaiwei. The only infants ever
made away with are the offspring of illicit connections, and in such
cases no difference is made between male and female. A young woman who
has been seduced is--or was till recent years--practically compelled to
destroy her illegitimate child; her own life would become insupportable
otherwise, and she would probably be driven to suicide. The voice of
the people would be unanimous against the Government if it caused
the mother in such a case to be prosecuted on a charge of homicide,
although her own female relations and neighbours often treat her so
unmercifully as a result of her fall that she sometimes chooses to die
by her own hand rather than submit to their ceaseless revilings.

Chinese law strongly supports the sanctity of the home and is
very severe on unfaithful wives, but it regards the killing of an
illegitimate child as a very light offence,--indeed case-made law
regards it as no offence at all provided the killing be done at the
time of the child's birth or before it. Fortunately cases of this kind
in Weihaiwei are very rare. But the poorest classes have one most
objectionable custom which seems to be strangely inconsistent with
the undoubted fondness of parents for their children. This is the
practice of throwing away or exposing the bodies of children who have
died in infancy or in very early childhood. This seems to indicate
an extraordinary degree of callousness in the natures of the people.
How a mother can fondle her child lovingly and watch over it with the
utmost care and unselfishness when it is sick, and yet can bear to see
its little body thrown into an open ditch or left on a hillside to
become the prey of wolves or the village dogs, is perhaps one of those
mysterious anomalies in which the Chinese character is said to abound.
Even New Guinea babies are treated after death with more respect than
is sometimes the case in China.[186] Needless to say the British
Government has not remained inactive in the matter, and the man who now
refrains from giving his infant child decent burial knows that he runs
a risk of punishment.

The only excuses that can be made for the people in this respect are
not based on their poverty (for poverty does not prevent them from
burying their adult relatives with all proper decorum) but on their
theory that an infant "does not count" in the scheme of family and
ancestral relationships. No mourning of any kind is worn for children
who die under the age of about eight, and only a minor degree of
mourning for older children who die unmarried and unmarriageable. Even
when a young child's body is given a place in the family burial-ground
care is always taken to choose a grave-site that is not likely to
be selected for the burial of any senior,[187] for it is considered
foolish and unnecessary to waste good _fêng-shui_ on a mere child, who
has left no descendants whose fortunes it can influence.

Young children are not indeed regarded as soulless,[188] for there are
touching ceremonies whereby a mother seeks to recall the soul of her
child when it seems likely to fly away for ever; but child-spirits are
not supposed to exercise any control over the welfare of the family.
They never "grow up" in the spirit-world, but merely remain infant
ghosts, powerful in nothing. The ancestral temples preserve no records
of dead children nor are their names inscribed on spirit tablets.
This is very different from the state of things existing among a race
that is ethnically far inferior to the Chinese, namely the Vaeddas of
Ceylon, who pay special attention to "the shades of departed children,
the 'infant spirits,'"[189] and often call upon them for aid in times
of unhappiness or calamity.

Fortunately the average child in Weihaiwei is an exceedingly healthy
little piece of humanity and is not in the habit of worrying about
the ultimate fate of either his body or his soul. He derives pleasure
from the knowledge that he is loved by his elders, and in his rather
undemonstrative way he loves them in return. He lives on simple fare
that European children would scorn, but it is only the poorest of the
poor whose children cannot _ch'ih pao_ (eat as much as they like)
at least once a day. A villager in Weihaiwei who gave his children
too little to eat would probably hear highly unflattering opinions
about himself from his next-door neighbours, and to "save his face"
he would be obliged to show less parsimony in matters of diet. That
under-feeding cannot be common in Weihaiwei except in times of actual
famine is proved not only by the excellent health and spirits of the
children but by the fine physical development of the adults and the
great age often attained by them.

We are told by many observers that theory and practice in China are
often widely divergent, but in one matter at least they absolutely
coincide. The Chinese hold that the greatest treasure their country
can possess consists not in gold and silver, mines and railways,
factories and shipping, but in an ever-increasing army of healthy boys
and girls--the future fathers and mothers of the race. If the family
decays the State decays; if the family prospers the State prospers:
for what is the State but a vast aggregate of families? What indeed is
the Emperor himself but the Father of the State and thus the Patriarch
of every family within it? This is the Chinese theory, and there is
hardly a man in China who does not do his best to prove by practical
demonstration that the theory is a correct one. "Lo, children are an
heritage of the Lord," sings the Psalmist; "Happy is the man that hath
his quiver full of them." The average Chinese peasant must be a very
happy man.

[Illustration: AN AFTERNOON SIESTA (see p. 252).]

[Illustration: WASHING CLOTHES (see p. 207).]


[170] See p, 149. But it should be noted that if the old man had
persuaded her to re-marry, this property would have reverted to himself
or his family, and would perhaps have been added to his _yang-lao-ti_
(see pp. 149 _seq._). A widow has only a life-interest in her husband's
real property, and even that life-interest is extinguished if she
marries into another family.

[171] _Religious System of China_, vol. ii. bk. 1, p. 466.

[172] While this chapter was being written the newspapers reported a
case of a patriot's suicide which may be cited as typical. "An Imperial
Edict issued on September 5," says _The Times_ of September 21, 1909,
"bestowed posthumous honours upon the Metropolitan official Yung Lin,
who recently 'sacrificed his life in order to display his patriotism.'
The Edict is in reply to a memorial from the supervising censor of the
Metropolitan circuit and others asking for the Imperial commendation
of an act which has attracted great attention in Peking. Yung Lin,
a Manchu of small official rank but high literary gifts, bemoaning
the fate of his country, recently presented a petition to the Regent
'dealing with the circumstances of the times, and then gave up his
life.' Unable to present it in person, he sent his memorial to the
Press. It is a model of finished literary style. Imperial approval
will certainly be given to its official publication throughout the
Empire." In the course of his memorial, in which he alluded to and
bewailed the misfortunes of China and the crimes of those in high
places, Yung Lin expressed his belief that unless reforms speedily take
place, the "foreigners will seize the excuse of protection for chapels
and Legations to increase their garrisons, while secretly pursuing
their scheme for converting their sojourn in the land into ownership."
He also makes some remarks which, though they would meet the hearty
support of a Ruskin, will not be relished by foreign traders. Writing
of the waste of the national resources, he says that "vast sums of
money are frittered away in the purchase of useless foreign goods."
After sending his memorial to the Press, Yung Lin cut his throat.
The direct or indirect results of this affair will perhaps be more
far-reaching than may at present be thought likely.

[173] G. Chatterton Hill, _Heredity and Selection in Sociology_, p. 187.

[174] See Campbell Oman's _Cults, Customs and Superstitions of India_
(Fisher Unwin: 1908), p. 108.

[175] Cases in modern times where Chinese widows have actually been
compelled to commit suicide on their husbands' death are referred to in
Smith's _Chinese Characteristics_ (5th ed.), p. 215.

[176] See p. 203.

[177] See pp. 204 _seq._

[178] See p. 47.

[179] The technical term almost invariably used for this action is
_hsün_, which is the word used for the old practice of _burying alive
with the dead_. In modern times, as in all these stories, the word
signifies the death of a widow who commits suicide to prove her wifely

[180] Obviously because they wished to arrange a new betrothal for her.

[181] The Underworld of disembodied souls.

[182] In Peking and many other places the bridegroom does not _ying
ch'in_ or "go to meet the bride." He stays at home and awaits her

[183] This is a temporary tablet in which the soul of the deceased
is supposed to reside till after the burial, when it is formally
summoned to take up its abode in the wooden tablet intended to remain
permanently in the possession of the family. In the present case the
temporary tablet would be ceremonially destroyed by fire after it had
served its purpose.

[184] See the _Chou Li_. In Peking and many other places the women
still accompany the funeral party to the graveside.

[185] In China the belief that inspires this practice is that the
greater the number of mourners who throw handfuls of earth on the
coffin, the greater will be the prosperity of the family in future
and the more numerous its descendants. The custom is not, of course,
confined to China. It is mentioned by Sir Thomas Browne as a practice
of the Christians, "who thought it too little, if they threw not the
earth thrice upon the interred body" (_Urn-Burial_, ch. iv.).

[186] See Grant Allen's _The Evolution of the Idea of God_, pp. 52 and

[187] See p. 266.

[188] According to the Fijian Islanders the souls of the unmarried are
soon extinguished in the Underworld. See Tylor's _Primitive Culture_
(4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 23.

[189] Tylor, _op. cit._, vol. ii. p. 117.



Not the most unobservant visitor to China can fail to notice the
ubiquity of graveyards. In Western countries one is usually obliged
to ask the way to a cemetery; in China one finds the way by merely
walking in any direction one pleases. Nowhere so vividly as in China
does one realise that not only the path of glory but every other kind
of path leads but to a grave. The sight is sometimes a melancholy
one; as dreary as some of the city churchyards in England are the
vast cemeteries for the poor that cover the bare hillsides in the
neighbourhood of many great Chinese cities. The omega-shaped tombs
of south China are apt, moreover, to appal one by their vastness and
too often by the barren cheerlessness of their surroundings. But
there is nothing dismal in the family graveyards that dot the valleys
of the country districts in the north. Indeed, in a region like the
north-eastern extremity of Shantung, where there is of course no
tropical vegetation and where timber is scarce, the wooded graveyards
form one of the pleasantest features in every landscape. If while
walking across the fields of the Weihaiwei Territory one comes across
a thick plantation of trees--such as the fir and the Chinese oak,
which is never leafless--one is sure to find that it marks the last
resting-place of a family or a clan that inhabits or once inhabited
some village not far away. The plantation is surrounded by no wall
or fence of any kind; such would be a useless precaution, for no
one--except an occasional rascal who "fears neither God nor man"--will
knowingly injure a funereal tree or otherwise violate the sanctity of
the home of the dead. At the first glance the tombs may not be visible,
for the tree branches are almost interlaced, and in summer-time nearly
every grave has its own canopy of foliage; moreover, instead of the
omega or horse-shoe tombs of the south we find only little hillocks and
unpretentious gravestones.

A Chinese grave in Weihaiwei is not indeed very different in
appearance--looked at from afar--from a grave in Europe; though instead
of the long mound in front of an inscribed stone we find in Weihaiwei a
circular or sometimes oval-shaped mound _behind_ the stone, which is an
upright whitish block with very little ornamentation. The inscription
usually contains nothing more (in modern times) than names and dates
and position in the family. The names of husband and wife are inscribed
on the same stone--for the two are always buried in the same grave, the
wife's coffin being placed on the right of the husband's.[190] On the
stone are frequently carved the names of the surviving members of the
family by whom it has been erected. These are always persons in the
direct line of descent; or, if the deceased left no heirs of his body,
his adopted son. The translation of a typical inscription will be found
on the next page.

It is not customary to erect a tombstone soon after a burial; the
mound is sufficient to indicate to the family the exact position of
the grave, and all necessary dates and names are carefully entered on
the pedigree-scroll or inscribed on the ancestral tablets. In front
of each grave will often be seen a small stone altar or pedestal or a
stone incense-jar. Here are offered up the ancestral sacrifices at the
festivals of Ch'ing-Ming and the first of the tenth moon.[191] At one
extremity of the graveyard will often be found a large upright stone
slab on which is engraved in deep bold characters the name of the
family to which all the tombs belong. The inscription is as simple as
possible, usually consisting of four Chinese characters. _Chou Shih Tsu
Ying_[192]--to take an example--may be rendered




  This stone is erected on the twelfth day of the second month of the
  first year of Hsüan T'ung (March 3, 1909) by Yao Fêng-lai, a son, Yao
  Yüeh-i, a grandson, and Yao Wan-nien, a great-grandson


Most of the graveyards (_ying ti_) are very old, and as the centuries
pass, the inscriptions on the oldest monuments naturally tend to become
illegible or the stones themselves are displaced and broken by the
roots of trees or other natural causes. At the periodical sacrifices,
however, care is taken to neglect no grave that is recognisable as
such. In order to make sure that none of the ancestral spirits will be
left uncared for, sacrificial offerings are made to the souls of the
ancestors in general as well as to the immediate predecessors of the
sacrificers. The usual expression used in Weihaiwei for a ceremonial
visit to the family grave is _shang fên_, "to go up to the tombs."[193]

A graveyard is very often completely surrounded by cultivated fields.
As a general rule these fields are the property of a branch of the
family that owns the graveyard, but sometimes the family has emigrated
to another part of the country or has had to part with this portion of
its arable acres, so that it has passed into the hands of strangers.
But the graveyard itself is never forgotten and never alienated. No
matter to what distance the family may have moved, it will never lose
touch with the spot where lie the bones of its ancestors--the spot
to which its members all expect that their bodies will some day be
carried. Year by year one or more members of the family will be sent to
carry out the traditional sacrificial ceremonies, to "sweep" the tombs
and to see that the ploughs of strangers have not encroached upon the
sacred boundaries.

The most interesting tombs in Weihaiwei, from the visitor's point
of view, are those known to the English as Beehive graves.[194] All
or nearly all those on which the inscriptions are legible show that
they were erected in the Yüan dynasty (1280-1367) or the early Ming
dynasty, which came to the throne in 1368. None are of modern date,
though in many cases the places in which they are found are still the
family burial-grounds of the direct descendants of the people to whose
memory they were erected. This handsome form of tombstone has fallen
into complete disuse, and the people account for its former use by the
explanation that in the old days the country was overrun with wolves
and other wild beasts and that it was necessary to erect massive piles
of masonry over the graves to protect them from desecration. These
tombs somewhat resemble Buddhist stupas or Lamaist _chorten_; most of
them have panels artistically carved with figures of animals, human
beings and conventional plants and devices of various kinds. Very
often the carving on a panel represents the tomb itself in miniature,
with mourners or worshippers kneeling round it. The whole structure
is made of heavy blocks of stone, the general design consisting of a
large dome surmounted by a Buddhistic lotus or a conventional spire and
superimposed upon a panelled pedestal.

Every graveyard is "managed" by the elders of the clan, who draw up
rules for general upkeep and the allotment of grave-sites. Sometimes
the different branches of the family are allowed to take turns in
keeping the graveyard in proper order and in superintending the
sacrifices, in return for which services the caretakers are allowed
to derive a little profit from a periodical grass-cutting and pruning
of trees; sometimes, too, they are put in temporary and conditional
possession of an area of arable land out of the proceeds of which they
are often expected not only to look after the graveyard but also to
keep in repair the _chia miao_ or Family Temple. Acrimonious disputes
occasionally arise among relatives as to who has the best right or
whose turn has arrived to enjoy the use of these "sacrificial" lands,
and sometimes a whole clan brings an action against one of its branches
for refusing to give them up when it has had its turn. But after
all, though such disputes provide troublesome work for the British
magistrate whose duty it is to administer "local custom," the system
as a general rule works very smoothly.

In dealing with village life we saw that most villages have their
police regulations,[195] in accordance with which they impose fines
on those who have been guilty of misconduct. Special regulations are
often considered necessary for the adequate protection of the family
graveyards. One set of such is now before me, and runs as follows:

 "The following list of penalties for offences connected with the
 ancestral graveyard is drawn up and unanimously agreed upon by the
 entire village of the Tsou family:

  Cutting or mutilating trees without
    authority                           10 _tiao_.
  Cutting grass or shrubs                5 _tiao_.
  Pasturing cattle, donkeys or mules     5 _tiao_.

 "This list of penalties is to be preserved in the Ancestral Temple of
 the Tsou family."

It will be observed that no penalty is assigned for the offence of
damaging the actual graves, this being an offence which is almost
unknown; though a man was once charged before me by the whole of his
fellow-villagers with the offence of digging up and levelling an old
grave (_chüeh p'ing ku fên_). It was admitted by the prosecutors
that the grave in question was very ancient and that the branch of
the family to which it belonged had long been extinct. The fact that
the whole village made a point of denouncing their sacrilegious
neighbour (who had hoped to extend the boundaries of his arable land by
encroaching on a corner of the graveyard that no one seemed to want)
shows how heinous a crime it is in China to disturb the resting-places
even of the unknown dead. Sometimes the regulations are cut on a great
stone slab which is set up within the graveyard itself. If no definite
regulations have been agreed upon, the custom, when the sanctity of
a graveyard has been violated, is for the elders of the clan to meet
in council and decide the case according to circumstances. If the
convicted man refuses to accept the punishment pronounced upon him,
or if he belongs to another village or clan, the matter usually comes
before the magistrate.

A case arising out of the theft of some graveyard trees was lately
submitted to my decision owing to the truculent behaviour of the
malefactor, who refused to submit to the headmen's judgment. After
investigating the circumstances I sentenced him to pay a fine of ten
dollars, which was to be applied to the upkeep of the ancestral temple;
to plant three times the number of trees that he had cut down; and to
erect a stone tablet within the graveyard at his own expense setting
forth the offence of which he had been guilty and enlarging upon the
severe punishments that would befall others who attempted in future to
commit like misdeeds.

Another case was brought before me by a man who accused a stranger of
cutting up a dead donkey within his family graveyard. The defendant's
excuse was that while passing the graveyard his donkey had suddenly
taken ill and died, and that he dragged it in among the trees in order
to avoid incommoding the public by skinning and slicing the animal on
the roadside. Donkeys, it may be mentioned, are not ordinary articles
of diet, but few Chinese can bring themselves to throw away flesh that
by any stretch of the imagination can be regarded as edible; hence it
is quite usual to eat the remains of cattle and donkeys that die of
old age or even of disease. The plaintiff's plea in this suit was not
that the defendant was preparing for human consumption food that was
unfit to eat, but that the defendant had selected his graveyard for
use as a butcher's shop. He objected, reasonably enough, to having his
ancestors' tombs bespattered with the blood of a dead donkey. The
defendant was required to offer a public apology to the plaintiff and
to pay him a moderate sum as compensation; and the plaintiff left the
court a contented man.

The mode of punishment often chosen by the elders for offences
connected with graveyards is to compel the accused to make an expiatory
offering to the dead whose spirits he is supposed to have offended. A
man who "cut branches from the family graveyard for his own use" was
recently sentenced by his clan to present himself at the graveyard
in an attitude of humility and to offer up a sacrifice of pork and
vegetables. The custom in such cases is that after the dead have
consumed their part of the sacrifice (that is to say, the spiritual or
immaterial and invisible part) the remainder is divided up among the
chief families concerned or eaten at a clan feast.

A curious custom analogous to this of serving up hog-flesh as an
expiatory offering to the spirits to whom the graveyard and its
trees are sacred is to be found in Roman literature. "Cato," as Dr.
Tylor reminds us,[196] "instructs the woodman how to gain indemnity
for thinning a holy grove; he must offer a hog in sacrifice with
this prayer, 'Be thou god or goddess to whom this grove is sacred,
permit me, by the expiation of this pig, and in order to restrain the
overgrowth of this wood, _etc., etc._'" The two customs are not true
parallels, however, for the Chinese offers his sacrifice to the spirits
of his ancestors as an atonement for the offence of cutting trees
which he normally regards as the inviolable property of the dead or as
associated with them in some mysterious way; whereas the Roman offered
his sacrifice to a grove which was in itself sacred as being the abode
of gods or dryads. We shall see later on[197] that tree-worship still
finds a place in the Chinese religious system and is not extinct even
in Weihaiwei, but it would be a mistake to regard the veneration shown
for the trees of a family graveyard as evidence of such worship. Even
if the custom of planting a graveyard with trees had in remote times
a common origin with tree-worship (which is at least doubtful) there
is no evidence whatever to support the view that graveyard trees are
regarded as sacred in themselves at the present time. An obvious reason
for planting trees in a graveyard would seem to be that it facilitated
the protection of the graves from the encroachments of the plough; but
the custom is more probably derived from the ancient superstition that
certain trees communicate their preservative qualities to the human
remains that lie below them or impart a kind of vitality or vigour to
the spirits of the dead.

This matter has been ably and thoroughly discussed by Dr. De
Groot,[198] who shows convincingly that "since very ancient times pines
and cypresses have played a prominent part as producers of timber for
coffins, and that this was the case because these trees, being believed
to be imbued with great vitality, might counteract the putrefaction of
the mortal remains." The same cause that made such timber valuable for
coffins made it valuable for graveyards. The superstition is connected
with the ancient Chinese philosophic doctrine of the _Yang_ and the
_Yin_--the complementary forces and qualities which pervade all nature,
such as male and female, light and dark, warmth and cold, activity and
passivity, positive and negative, life and death. It was supposed that
all evergreens must have a greater store of the _yang_ element (life,
vitality) than other trees, because they retain their foliage through
the winter; and of evergreen trees those prized most by the Chinese for
their life-giving qualities were and are the fir and the cypress.[199]
Therefore by planting these trees in their graveyards and in the
courtyards of their ancestral temples the Chinese supposed they would
endow their ancestors (apparently both their dead bodies and their
living spirits) with a never-failing preservative against decay and
dissolution. The result of this on themselves--the living descendants
of the dead--must be, it was thought, a constant flow of happiness and
good fortune.

It will be remembered that ancestor-worship is not merely regarded as
a method of showing love and reverence for the dead but is believed
to induce the ancestral spirits to protect and watch over the family
and to bestow on its members long life, many children and general
prosperity. The more abundant the vitality (if one may speak of the
vitality of a ghost) that can be imparted to the ancestral spirits, the
better able will they be (so goes the theory) to exert themselves on
behalf of the fortunes of their posterity; and the best way to impart
vitality (that is, the _yang_ element) to the spirits is to surround
their coffins and their ancestral tablets with as many _yang_-supplying
agencies as possible. The original theory of the matter is probably
extinct at Weihaiwei if not everywhere else; trees are planted and
protected in the family temples and graveyards for no known reason
except that it is the traditional custom to do so[200]: yet it is
noteworthy that the cypress is still the favourite tree in the grounds
of the ancestral temples, that the fir is still considered one of the
best trees to plant in a graveyard, and that the pedigree-scrolls
preserved among the archives of every family are often decorated with
the painting of an evergreen tree.[201]

There are still persons in the Territory of Weihaiwei and its
neighbourhood who call themselves _yin-yang hsien-shêng_, that is,
professors of the principles of _yin_ and _yang_. Their functions are
much the same as those of the _fêng-shui hsien-shêng_ or Masters in
Geomancy.[202] As professional attendants at funerals their business is
to see that all the arrangements are so carried out as to give every
chance for the "vital essences" (_yang_) to assert themselves and to
keep the dark and languid essences (_yin_) in their proper position
of subordination. They select the propitious moment for starting the
procession, for lowering the coffin into the grave and for every other
act of importance in connection with the funeral; to them also is
left--within limits--the selection of a favourable position for the
grave.[203] The rules of _fêng-shui_ are complicated in the extreme;
an error of a few feet in judging of the precisely favourable spot
may completely shut off all the _yang_ influences and let in all the
_yin_ influences with a rush, in which case--so it is supposed by
believers--the family is doomed to misfortune and will probably before
long become extinct.

[Illustration: A PEDIGREE-SCROLL (CHIA P'U).]

A southern aspect is supposed to be generally the most favourable
for a graveyard, for the south is _yang_ whereas the north is _yin_;
but other influences and conditions have to be taken into account as
well--such as the contour of the neighbouring hills, the direction of
valleys and streams, the proximity of human habitations, and many other
things: so that a graveyard that has a northern aspect but possesses
first-rate geomantic conditions in other respects is often far superior
from the point of view of the professors of _yin-yang_ and _fêng-shui_
to a graveyard that has a southern aspect but happens to be overlooked
by a badly-shaped hill or is near a river that has too many bends or
flows the wrong way. Within the graveyard itself the good influences
are not supposed to concentrate themselves solely and permanently on
one spot; if that were so, the first people to die after the selection
of the graveyard would obviously get all the best positions.

The date and hour of death, the date of intended burial, the age and
sex and star-influences of the deceased, and many variable local and
temporary circumstances all have to be taken into consideration before
the _hsien-shêng_ can advise his client as to the best possible site
for any required grave. Certain parts of the graveyard are always more
"honourable" (in the heraldic sense) than others from the point of
view of family precedence and seniority. The back, centre and front
portions of the ground are reserved for married couples who have left
children and therefore take an honoured place in the family pedigree,
whereas members of the family who have died unmarried or in childhood
are either not accommodated in the family graveyard at all, or, if
admitted, they are buried close to the right or the left boundary. A
villager was once brought before me on the charge of having buried
his dead infant, a child of two years old, in a part of the graveyard
that was reserved for its dignified elders. As it is advisable in such
matters to uphold local custom I felt reluctantly obliged to order the
man to remove his child's body to that part of the graveyard which is
regarded as appropriate for those who have died in infancy.

If a family has had a long run of misfortune or misery and sees no way
of extricating itself from its difficulties, it will sometimes try
to throw the blame on its graveyard: not, of course, on the spirits
of its ancestors but merely on the unpropitious influences that hang
round the sites of the family tombs. The only possible remedy in such a
case is to employ a _hsien-shêng_ to study the geomantic conditions of
the locality and advise as to what can be done to improve them. He is
almost sure to agree with his employers that their surmise is correct
and that the badly-situated graveyard is the cause of all their woes,
for he will then be able to proceed to the lucrative task of selecting
a new graveyard-site and superintending the removal of the graves. The
only case of this nature that has come within my personal experience is
interesting as throwing a light on the _hsien-shêng_'s method of work.
It is probable that many other cases have occurred even in Weihaiwei,
but as geomantic superstitions are frowned upon by Chinese law, and the
unnecessary removal of graves on the plea of finding better _fêng-shui_
is a penal offence, _yin-yang_ professors naturally ply their trade
with as little ostentation as possible.

A man whom we will call Chang Ying-mu brought an action against some
of his neighbours for denying him the right to move certain of his
ancestors' graves from their present unlucky site to one that had been
specially selected for him after deep consideration by a professor of
_yin-yang_ and _fêng-shui_. "I have been very unfortunate in business,"
he said; "I dealt in opium at Chefoo and used to get on very well;
but this new anti-opium fad has ruined me. I came home recently and
brought with me a _hsien-shêng_ who is a native of Fu-shan Hsien [the
magisterial district in which Chefoo is situated] in order to consult
him about my ancestral graves, as I had suspicions that it was due to
the bad _fêng-shui_ of the graveyard that I had been landed in so many
difficulties. The _hsien-shêng_ saw at once that the present site was
very bad. He said that nothing could be done to improve the _fêng-shui_
and that I must move all the graves to another place. The spot he has
chosen happens to be not far from the houses of Tsou Hêng-li and Tsou
Yü-ch'êng and many other villagers; and they at once raised objections
to the proposed site on the ground that they would see the graves
on coming out of their houses, which they said would be unlucky. I
suggested planting a row of trees between their houses and my graves,
but they refused to accept this arrangement. I then offered to build
a stone wall as a screen, and to write 'Happiness' and 'Long Life' in
large characters on the side of it that would face the defendants'
houses, but the _hsien-shêng_ objects to this as the wall would
obstruct the free circulation of good _fêng-shui_ round my new graves.
I have already acquired the new site by exchanging another piece of
land for it, and now that I have got it my neighbours prevent me from
using it."

The defendants Tsou Hêng-li and others presented a counter-petition
to the following effect. "The _hsien-shêng_, whose name is said to
be Hsiao, is a stranger to our village and he is quite evidently a
rascal. He falsely pretended to be skilled in _fêng-shui_ in order to
swindle Chang Ying-mu out of his money. He told Chang that if he moved
his ancestral graves to the new site indicated he would guarantee that
Chang would acquire wealth and honours within the space of three years.
We all raised the strongest objections to the proposal, partly because
Hsiao was a rogue and partly because the new site was practically in
the middle of the village, which is quite an improper place for graves.
The luck of our village would certainly be damaged if part of it were
turned into a graveyard. Hsiao's only reply to us was that he was
learned in the P'ing-yang books of Chiang-nan and that we were children
in such deep matters. We fail to see why the customs of the Chiang-nan
provinces should be made applicable to our province of Shantung. We
appeal to the Magistrate to rid us of this pestilent fellow and so
allow our village to resume its normal life."

Hsiao himself, who was duly summoned to explain his own view of the
situation, stated that he had selected the site because he saw from
the situation that it would be productive of long life and honours
and that if the coffins remained where they were Chang Ying-mu's
family would in future have bad luck, no honours and short lives. "My
knowledge," he added on cross-examination, "is not derived from books
but from the traditions of Chiang-nan." As I was anxious to obtain
for my own information some clue to his methods and theories I called
upon him to produce a clear statement on the subject in writing; and
having had him conveyed from the court in charge of the police, I
reprimanded Chang Ying-mu for allowing himself to be deceived by a
swindler and recommended him to leave his ancestors' graves where they
were. I explained to him that the anti-opium regulations had been put
in force in both British and Chinese territory quite irrespectively of
his family concerns or his trading enterprises, and that they would
unquestionably remain in force even if he moved his ancestral coffins
a dozen times. The defendants were assured that in view of their very
reasonable objections the court would certainly not allow their village
to be turned into a graveyard.

As far as plaintiff and defendant were concerned the case was now at an
end, but I had still to receive the professor's written statement. In a
couple of days the document was duly presented, and may be translated

  "Statement showing cause why Chang Ying-mu's graveyard is
  unpropitiously situated and will cause misfortunes and early deaths;
  and why the site now selected will be the source of a constant flow of
  happiness. As regards the present site: firstly, all along the front
  of the graveyard there is a gully as deep as the height of two men.
  This is unlucky. The deep gully presses against the tombs like a wall,
  obstructing the passage of benign influences. This has a disastrous
  effect on the women of the family, who will have excessive difficulty
  in childbirth. Secondly, a small stream of water trickles from the
  graveyard and after flowing a distance of half a _li_ it vanishes in
  the sand. The result of this on the family is that children are born
  as weaklings and die in infancy. Thirdly, another stream of water
  flows away to the north-east. This carries off all the wealth-making
  capabilities of the family and the good qualities of sons and
  grandsons. As regards the proposed new site: firstly, there are hills
  on the south-west, their direction being from east to west. Their
  formation so controls the courses of four streams that they all unite
  at the eastern corner of this site. Just as these streams of water
  come together and cannot again separate, so will riches and honours
  flow from various quarters and finally unite in the hands of the
  family that has its graveyard in this fortunate locality. Secondly,
  the ceaseless flow of water has formed a long sandbank, four feet
  high, on the southern and south-eastern sides of the site. Just as the
  water brings down innumerable grains of sand and piles them up near
  the point where the waters meet, so will the family that buries its
  dead here be blessed with countless male descendants."

_Fêng-shui_ is not a branch of knowledge that deserves encouragement,
so I informed the professor that the explanations given in this
illuminating document were interesting but unconvincing, and that if
he did not withdraw from British territory within three days he would
be sent to gaol as a rogue and vagabond. He forthwith returned to
his native district and the graveyard of the Chang family remained

An incident of this kind affords proof, if such were necessary, that in
keeping up the cult of ancestors and in devoting care and expense to
the maintenance of the family tombs the Chinese are not actuated solely
by feelings of filial piety and reverence for the dead. On the other
hand it is equally clear from abundant evidence that self-interest
and a desire for material prosperity are very far from being the sole
source of ancestral worship. Some foreign critics have tried to show
that it springs not from love and filial piety but from a dread of
the ancestral spirits and a desire to propitiate them. This view,
which has been condemned as erroneous by those who are themselves
ancestor-worshippers, is certainly a mistaken one. If, indeed, the
average ancestor-worshipping Chinese did not suppose that some material
benefit would accrue to him from carrying out the prescribed rites he
would doubtless show a flagging zeal in their perpetuation. Even the
average European, perhaps, would grow a little weary of well-doing if
he were informed on unimpeachable authority that in future the promised
rewards of virtuous conduct were to be withheld both on earth and in
heaven and that a crown of glory was not for him. The average man, all
the world over, is apt to show impatience if he is asked to be virtuous
for the sole sake of virtue. Had the ancestral cult been founded on
nothing but pure love, reverence and altruism, it might have been kept
barely alive from generation to generation by a few of those rare and
exalted souls who seem incapable of self-seeking, but it would never
have attained universal observance throughout China; had it, on the
other hand, been founded on nothing but fear, selfishness and desire
for material gain, it might have become popular with the masses but it
could never have earned, as it has earned, the enthusiastic approval
of the noblest minds and loftiest characters that China has produced.
Probably it is the very mingling of motives that has caused the cult of
ancestors to take such deep root in the hearts of the people that it is
to-day by far the most potent religious and social force to be found in
the Empire.

At the present day and for very many centuries past the cult of
ancestors and the dutiful upkeep of the ancestral tombs have been
regarded as inseparably combined: but it was not so always. If the
ancient Book of Rites (_Li Chi_) is to be trusted, Confucius for many
years of adult life did not know where his father's grave was, and
apparently it was only on his mother's death that he took the trouble
to find out. The same book, which dates from the first and second
centuries B.C., also narrates a story of how Confucius's disciples
reported to him that the tumulus over his mother's grave had collapsed
owing to a heavy rainfall; yet he merely remarked, with emotion, that
"people did not repair tombs in the good old times,"--an enigmatical
remark that has been variously interpreted.[204]

These stories probably originated from the well-ascertained fact that
Confucius--like most of the Chinese philosophers and sages--was very
strongly opposed to lavish expenditure on coffins, graves and funerals.
Confucius's teaching on the subject seems to have been practical and
reasonable. He taught that the bodies of the dead should be treated
with every possible respect but that the material interests of the
living must not be sacrificed in order to confer some unnecessary and
doubtful boon upon the dead. Needless to say he was strenuously opposed
to the barbarous customs of entombing the living with the dead and of
widow-immolation, customs which seem to have been practised in China
from the seventh century B.C. if not from much earlier times and which
did not become altogether extinct till the seventeenth century of our

But if Confucius did not lay overmuch stress on funerals and the
preservation of tombs, he was emphatic on the subject of filial piety.
The connection between Confucianism and ancestral worship must be dealt
with when we are considering the subject of Religion: it is therefore
unnecessary to enlarge upon this important subject at present,
beyond pointing out that filial piety--on which ancestral worship
is based--was regarded by Confucius and his school as "the fountain
from which all other virtues spring and the starting-point of all

There is a well-known Chinese tract called the "Twenty-four Examples
of Filial Piety"[207] which consists of short anecdotes of sons who
made themselves illustrious by the exercise of this chief of virtues.
Some of the examples recorded are worthy of sincere admiration, but
many of the filial performances are apt to strike an occidental reader
as somewhat ridiculous. There is the famous story of Lao Lai-tzŭ,
for instance, whose parents lived to such extreme old age that he
was himself a toothless old man while they were both still alive.
Conceiving it his duty to divert their attention from their weight of
years and approaching end, he dressed himself up in the clothes of a
child and danced and played about in his parents' presence with the
object of making them think they were still a young married couple
contemplating the innocent gambols of their infant son. Perhaps the
most touching of these stories is that of Wang P'ou, whose mother
happened to have an unconquerable dread of thunder and lightning. When
she died she was buried in a mountain forest; and thereafter, when a
violent thunderstorm occurred, Wang P'ou, heedless of the wind and
rain, would hurry to her grave and throw himself to his knees. "I am
here to protect you, dear mother," he would say; "do not be afraid."

If the stories in this well-known collection strike one as chiefly
remarkable for their quaintness and simplicity, it should be remembered
that they were primarily intended for the edification of the young,
who might fail to understand the nobler modes in which filial piety
can display itself. How numerous are the recorded examples of this
virtue in China and how highly it is esteemed may be realised from
the fact that a special chapter in the official Annals of every
magisterial district is devoted to a summary of the most conspicuous
local instances of filial piety that have come under the notice of the
authorities. The official accounts of Weihaiwei and the neighbouring
districts are not exceptional in this respect. This corner of the
Empire may have produced few great scholars but it is certainly not
without its roll of filial sons. The finest example from an occidental
point of view is perhaps that of Huang Chao-hsüan, the brave boy who
went out willingly to die by his father's side.[208] Most of the other
cases are of a type that appeals but slightly to the Western mind.

Of Wang Yen-ming, a Weihaiwei man, we are told that he lived in a hut
beside his parents' grave for three years. This was quite a common
practice in the old days;[209] the most famous example in history is
that of Confucius's disciple Tzŭ Kung, who lived by the side of the
Master's grave at Ch'ü Fou for no less than six years.[210] But even
this act of devotion was outdone by a man named Tung Tao-ming of the
Sung dynasty, who is said to have caused himself to be buried alive
for three days in his mother's grave. The story goes that when his
family dug him out at the end of that period they found him still alive
and quite well; and he proceeded to build himself beside the grave a
mat-shed in which he spent the rest of his life.[211] To return to the
Weihaiwei story about Wang Yen-ming, it goes on to say that he mourned
so much for his parents that he wept himself blind. However, a kind
spirit visited him in a dream and rubbed his eyes with the juice or
resin of a fir-tree, and this immediately restored his sight. It will
be understood from what has been said with regard to firs and other
evergreens[212] that owing to the abundance of the _yang_ or vital
element which they contain they are supposed to have marvellous healing
as well as preservative qualities. For this reason the resin of such
trees was believed to be one of the most valuable ingredients in the
Taoists' elixir of life.

The story of Wang concludes with the remark that his descendants
became highly successful and attained exalted office: this, of course,
as a result of his filial piety, which is always supposed to bring its
reward sooner or later. Of Ch'ên Kuo-hsiang, another local worthy, we
are informed that he belonged to a family that was poor in material
wealth but rich in virtue. His father when very old lost all his teeth
and could not eat bean-porridge; moreover, as he had a chronic cough
he could not eat salt. For these reasons Ch'ên never allowed either
beans or salt to appear on the family dinner-table so long as his
father lived. This act of filial piety may have had two motives: in the
first place, if these delicacies were on the table the old man might
be tempted to taste them, and this might result in his illness and
death: in the second place, if he were persuaded to refrain from eating
them his venerable heart might vex itself with the reflection that he
was getting old and feeble and could not eat the same things as other
people. Whatever Ch'ên's dominant motive may have been he duly obtained
his reward, for the local magistrate presented him with a scroll to
hang over his door, bearing the words "A Filial Son."


[190] That is to say, the wife's body lies at the right side of the
husband's; thus the husband, as head of the family, is given the left
side--the place of honour.

[191] See pp. 186-7, 192.

[192] See illustration.

[193] Expressions such as _pai sao_ (the extended meaning of which is
"to make obeisance to the ancestral spirits and to sweep the tombs")
are also well known. In southern China (_e.g._ at Canton) perhaps the
commonest term is _pai shan_, "to worship (at) the hills"--where in
that part of the Empire the majority of the graves are situated.

[194] See illustration.

[195] See pp. 160 _seq._

[196] _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 227. Dr. Tylor quotes
from Cato, _De Re Rustica_, 139; Pliny, xvii. 47.

[197] See pp. 382 _seq._

[198] _The Religious System of China_, vol. ii. pp. 462 _seq._ See also
vol. i. pp. 294 _seq._, and p. 348, where Dr. De Groot mentions "the
conception that if a body is properly circumvested by objects and wood
imbued with _Yang_ matter, or, in other words, with the same _shên_
afflatus of which the soul is composed, it will be a seat for the
manes even after death, a support to which the manes may firmly adhere
and thus prevent their nebulous, shadowy being from evaporating and
suffering annihilation."

[199] "The ancient Chinese, as well as Pliny, must have observed that
_pinus et cupressus adversum cariem tineasque firmissimae_. (Hist.
Nat. xvi.) These trees being in fact more proof against the ravages of
air, weather and insects than perhaps any other growing on the soil of
the Empire, it is natural enough that the inhabitants thereof ascribed
their strong constitution to the large amount of vital power in their
wood."--DE GROOT, _Religious System of China_, vol. i. p. 295.

[200] In ancient Egypt the cemeteries were overshadowed by thick
sycamores; and probably in nearly every country the planting of trees
and shrubs (or flowering plants) on the graves of the dead is or has
been a common practice. There is no necessity to ascribe the custom to
a single origin. The mere desire to differentiate the grave from the
surrounding tract of land is sufficient to explain the planting of a
tree or a grove of trees on or near the funeral mound. The cypress,
as every one knows, was and is a funereal tree in Europe as well as
in China. That this was so in Roman times we know from classical
literature. For some remarks on the cypress in connection with European
folk-lore, see the _Folk-lore Journal_, vol. iii. (1885) p. 144. See
also Sir Thomas Browne's _Urn-Burial_, ch. iv. para. 3, where it is
remarked "that, in strewing their tombs, the Romans affected the rose;
the Greeks, amaranthus and myrtle: that the funeral pyre consisted of
sweet fuel, cypress, fir, larix, yew and trees perpetually verdant."
He adds that these flowers and trees were intended to be silent
expressions of the hopes of the survivors; and that "Christians, who
deck their coffins with bays, have found a more elegant emblem; for
that tree, seeming dead, will restore itself from the root, and its dry
and exsuccous leaves resume their verdure again; which, if we mistake
not, we have also observed in furze. Whether the planting of yew in
churchyards hold not its original from ancient funeral rites, or as
an emblem of resurrection, from its perpetual verdure, may also admit

[201] See illustration.

[202] See pp. 118 _seq._

[203] The services of these persons is by no means always considered
necessary in Weihaiwei. Faith in the "science" of _fêng-shui_ is much
less strong here than in many other parts of the Empire.

[204] See Legge's _Li-ki_, vol. i. p. 123; De Groot, _Religious System
of China_, vol. ii. pp. 663-4 and 689; and Wang Ch'ung's _Lun Hêng_,
transl. by Prof. A. Forke, Part i. p. 197.

[205] See De Groot, _op. cit._ vol. ii. pp. 720 _seq._

[206] The _Hsiao Ching_ (Classic of Filial Piety), chap. i.

[207] A translation of it by Mr. Ivan Chên may be found in the "Wisdom
of the East" series (John Murray: 1908).

[208] See p. 75.

[209] See De Groot's _Religious System of China_, vol. ii. pp. 794

[210] A little shrine by the side of Confucius's grave now occupies the
site of Tzŭ Kung's hut.

[211] De Groot, _op. cit._ vol. ii. p. 732.

[212] See pp. 262 _seq._



An essential point in the Chinese conception of Filial Piety is that a
father's death does not set the son free from the obligations of duty
and reverence: it merely changes the outward form or expression of
those obligations. He can no longer watch over his father's physical
welfare and anticipate his material wants, but he can still bring
peace and happiness to his father's spirit by living an upright life
and bringing glory and prosperity to the family. If his abilities or
opportunities are not such as to enable him to earn for his father
posthumous honours (such as the Emperor confers upon the ancestors of
those who have deserved well of the State) it is probably within his
power to preserve intact the inherited property, to keep the family
temple and tombs in good repair, to carry out with propriety and
reverence the orthodox ancestral rites during his own lifetime and to
provide for their continuance during future generations by bringing up
a family of his own.

The Chinese belief with regard to the souls of the dead (or rather the
ancient beliefs on which the ancestral ceremonies are based) are rather
complicated. According to one doctrine every man has no less than ten
souls, of which three are _yang_ and seven are _yin_;[213] it is also
said that what is called the _hun-_soul goes to heaven, while the
_p'o_-soul descends into the earth. The most popular view appears to be
that every man has three souls allotted to him: of these one remains
in or around the tomb, another hovers about the ancestral tablet,
while the third wanders away and, after amalgamating itself with other
mysterious forces, is finally reincarnated in another mortal body,
which--unless the soul behaved very badly in its last incarnation--will
be a human one. For the purpose of the ancestral cult the souls
that are of importance are the grave-soul and the tablet-soul. The
grave-soul receives its due share of "worship" at the great annual
tomb-festivals of spring and autumn. The tablet-soul is supposed to
take up its abode, by ceremonious invitation, in the spirit-tablet
as soon as the body has been consigned to the grave. "From this very
moment," as Dr. De Groot says, "the tablet is considered to be imbued
with the afflatus of the dead, and to have become his perpetual
duplicate, to serve as a patron divinity in the domestic circle and
there to receive the offspring's sacrifices and worship."[214]

The soul-tablets (_shên-chu_) of father, grandfather and
great-grandfather are, in Weihaiwei, preserved in every private house,
while the tablets of the earlier ancestors are deposited in the family
temples. They are not exposed, either in house or in temple, except on
ceremonial occasions, such as the first fifteen days of the first month
of the year and the festival of the winter solstice (_Tung Chih_) at or
about the time of the European Christmas. The _Chia Miao_ or Ancestral
Temple is usually the largest as well as the cleanest building in the
village. The front gate, abutting on the main village street, leads
into a small courtyard in which there is generally at least one cypress
tree.[215] The temple itself consists of a large room containing
little or nothing but a few carved chairs, a table, and--last but
not least--rows of boxes containing ancestral tablets. Each tablet
consists of an oblong piece of hard wood (_catalpa_ is chiefly used
at Weihaiwei) about eight inches high and two inches broad, fitting
into a wooden stand three inches broad and one inch high. The tablet
has a recessed front, which bears an inscription more or less similar
to that which appears on tombstones.[216] Into the recess slips a
sliding front, on the outside of which the inscription is repeated in
a slightly altered form. The outside of the tablet is often painted
white, but the recessed front is left plain. Both inscriptions are
written in black ink, but there is an important dot of red ink[217] on
the top of the important character _chu_, which comes last.

The process of "dotting the chu" (_tien chu_) with red ink is an
essential part of the ceremony whereby the wooden tablet becomes the
abode of an ancestral soul. As a rule the tablet bears two names--those
of husband and wife--so that each human soul is not necessarily
supposed to have a tablet to itself. Just as the bodies of husband and
wife share a single grave, so do their spirits (according to the theory
accepted in Weihaiwei) share a single tablet, and the prayers and
sacrifices that are offered to the one are intended in equal measure
for the other.

The inscription on a tablet now before me[218] may be translated as
follows. _Outside._ "The Spirit-tablet of my deceased honoured father
and mother. I their son Yüeh-hsiang reverentially make obeisance and
offer sacrifice."[219] _Inside._ "The Imperial Ch'ing Dynasty. The
Spirit-tablet of Yao Fêng-chu, the eldest son of his generation,[220]
and his wife Chang Shih." Sometimes dates are added on the tablet
but these are not essential, as all such records are preserved in
the genealogical table or pedigree-scroll. On ceremonial occasions
the tablets are set out in due order, so that the spirits may be
comforted by the sacrificial offerings and by the sight of the many
prosperous-looking descendants who have assembled to do them honour.
In front of the tablets are set up sticks of fragrant incense, and all
the members of the family present themselves in turn and bow reverently
towards the souls of their dead forefathers.

The little ceremony is as simple and yet as impressive as could well be
imagined. For the first few days of the New Year the pedigree-scroll
(_chia p'u_), which is carefully wrapped up and put away at ordinary
times, is unrolled and hung on the wall, where it receives a share of
the reverence paid to the tablets. The scroll is often a beautiful work
of art, painted to represent a temple or a grand family mansion,[221]
while the names of the past generations are inscribed in successive
rows so that the space devoted to each name looks a spirit-tablet
in miniature. In some parts of China, but not in Weihaiwei, it
is customary to have family portraits painted for the purpose of
preserving the "shadow-semblances" (_ying hsiang_) of ancestors as
sacred heirlooms in the family temples. Like the pedigree-scroll, such
portraits are exposed to view on solemn occasions only. They are often
painted while the subject is on his death-bed or immediately after his
death. De Groot[222] compares these family portraits with the _imagines
maiorum_ of the ancient Romans.

[Illustration: SPIRIT-TABLETS.
In the illustration on the left the slide has been removed.]

A Chinese who emigrates to a foreign land rarely fails to make an
agreement, either with his employers or with his compatriots, that if
he dies while abroad his body is to be taken back not only to China but
to his native town or village, wherever that may be. This peculiarity
on the part of the Chinese is so well recognised by every one concerned
that most European shipping firms trading in the Eastern seas are
obliged to make special arrangements for conveying cargoes of coffins
at moderate rates up and down the coast of China and from the various
countries bordering on the Pacific where there are Chinese merchants
and labourers. Probably it is generally supposed that the Chinese--like
the people of other countries, only more so--are so sentimentally
attached to their old homes that they will not venture to go abroad
unless they are sure of returning to it some day as dead men if not
as living ones. This is true to a certain extent. The average Chinese
dearly loves his old home, and considering that it has been the home of
his ancestors for a length of time that would make the oldest ancestral
estate in England ashamed of itself, it is no wonder that he should
regard it with affection.

But there is another reason why it is considered important that every
Chinese--at least every Chinese who has sons of his own and has
maintained connection with the old stock from which he sprang--should
lay his bones beside those of his fathers. The Chinese theory is that
some mysterious sympathy exists, even after death, between the soul and
the body, and that unless the body is brought to the place where the
ancestral _sacra_ are carried out it will be impossible to provide for
the sacrificial rites that ought to be rendered to the soul. The family
at home will thus lose one of its ancestral links, and the dead man's
spirit will wander homeless and lordless in the world of shades: an
ancestral ghost separated for ever from communion with its fellows.

[Illustration: _Photo by Ah Fong, Weihaiwei._
A PEDIGREE-SCROLL (CHIA P'U) (see p. 279).]

It is partly because of this supposed connection between soul and
body that the Chinese abhor the idea of descending to their graves in
a mutilated condition. Thus in China decapitation is a more serious
punishment than strangulation, because it is thought that the headless
man may become a headless ghost. The danger of appearing in a mutilated
condition in the next world is, however, lessened or averted if the
severed members can be buried along with the body to which they
belonged. A Chinese servant in Weihaiwei not long ago begged for an old
biscuit-tin from his foreign master in order that he might give it to a
friend who wished to use it as a coffin for his amputated foot.[223]

It is the hope of every Chinese, then, that when he dies he will be
laid in his ancestral graveyard, and that he will be laid there in a
state of organic completeness. But there are occasions, of course,
when it has proved impossible to convey dead men's bones from one
end of China to another, or home from a foreign land: sometimes the
family cannot afford the expense, sometimes there are overwhelming
difficulties with regard to transport. Chinese ingenuity long ago set
itself to devise a means whereby even such bad cases as this might have
a happy ending, and it succeeded. The body itself, it was argued, is
of no real importance: for sentimental reasons it is satisfactory to
be able to bury the bodies of the dead in their ancestral graveyards,
but otherwise there is no urgency in the matter provided only the dead
man's souls--in spite of the absence of the body with which they were
associated--can be persuaded or induced to take up their respective
abodes in the ancestral graveyard and in the spirit-tablet. The problem
was solved by calling in the aid of religion, and the ceremony observed
is in outline something like this.

The members of the deceased's family, clad of course in funereal garb,
call in a priest who, in accordance with the data provided by them,
prepares a scroll containing the dead man's name and age and the date
and place of his death. They then make a very rough effigy of a man--a
few twisted straws are quite good enough--and on the effigy they pin
the scroll. The priest now performs the ceremony of "calling the soul
back"--that is to say, he recites certain charms which are supposed
to reach the wandering spirit, wherever it may be, and to draw it to
the place where the ceremony is to take place. The utterance of a few
more charms is supposed to be sufficient to attach the spirit to the
effigy-or rather to the scroll--which is then placed in a miniature
coffin and buried with the rites observed at ordinary funerals. The man
himself, to all intents and purposes, now lies buried in the ancestral
graveyard, and all that remains to be done is to evoke the spiritual
presence that will in future inhabit the _shên-chu_ or spirit-tablet.
When this has been done (just in the same way as when a real corpse
lies buried) the ceremony is at an end: the soul, or rather the
combination of souls, has been saved from homelessness, and will in
future assume its proper position as an ancestral ghost both in the
family graveyard and in the ancestral temple.

This remarkable custom is obviously such a convenient means of avoiding
the trouble and expense of conveying dead bodies from distant places,
that its comparative rarity may well be a matter of some surprise.
Certainly, if the practice were to come into common use it would
indirectly give a great impulse to emigration: for which reason it
may perhaps be hoped by some Western peoples that it will for ever
remain unfashionable. The custom is, however, an exceedingly old one,
and was practised even at the Imperial Court nearly nineteen centuries
ago.[224] There seems to have always been a strong prejudice against
it, partly because it was a foolish superstition and partly because it
would tempt the people to cease troubling themselves about the burial
of their parents or bringing home their bodies from a distance, and
would thus tend to the degradation or weakening of the ideals of filial
piety. Hence we find that the practice of burying souls without the
bodies was in 318 A.D. condemned by Imperial Decree as heretical;[225]
yet this condemnation by no means brought about its discontinuance, and
the present legal position is that the "violation of a grave in which
an evoked soul is interred shall be punished just as severely as the
violation of a grave occupied by a corpse,"[226] that is to say the
offender may be sentenced to death.

In his interesting section on this strange custom Dr. De Groot remarks
that as it has been "of common prevalence for at least eighteen
centuries" its occurrence even nowadays can hardly be doubted. It
certainly exists at Weihaiwei, though it is not in very common use. One
reason for practising it in this little corner of China is based on
the very strong belief that husband and wife should always be buried
in the same grave. If the husband dies while he is abroad and the body
is lost or cannot be brought home, nothing is necessarily done until
his widow (who has remained at home) dies also. When she is buried, her
husband's soul is ceremonially summoned to take up its residence in a
paper scroll bearing the _pa ko tzŭ_ ("eight characters" naming the
year, month, day and hour of birth), and this, with or without a straw
effigy, is formally placed in the grave by the widow's side.

A practical reason for this proceeding at once suggests itself if
it has happened that the couple were childless and were the owners
of property. It then becomes necessary for the elders of the clan to
select an heir; and as an adopted heir--who must be a "spare" son of
a relative--is obliged to separate himself from his own branch of
the clan and to regard the dead man and his wife for the future as
his proper parents, matters must be so arranged that he can become
possessor of his adoptive father's spirit-tablet. As the dead man's
spirit is not supposed to take up its abode in the tablet until he has
been interred with the proper rites in the family graveyard, it is
necessary, if his body is missing, to evoke and inter its spiritual
representative. If this were not done, the adopted heir would be unable
to carry on the ancestral rites except in an irregular way, and this
might lead to serious legal difficulties later on in the event of
another member of the clan disputing the genuineness of the adoption
and heirship.

A point worth noting in connection with ancestral worship and adoption
is that (in this part of China at least) the mere fact of childlessness
does not necessarily lead a man to adopt a son: it is childlessness
combined with the ownership of property that induces him to do so.
We will suppose that a man has obtained his share of the family
inheritance; that it is too small to support him; that he has sold
it to relatives and with the cash proceeds has gone abroad to make a
living; that he returns as an old man, childless and penniless: this
man will in all probability show no desire to adopt a son, nor indeed
is it likely that he could succeed in doing so if he wished it. The
ancestral worship will not suffer by his childless death provided he
has brothers and nephews to perpetuate the family _sacra_. Even if it
happens that he is actually the last of his house and that his death
will bring the ancestral cult of his line to an abrupt conclusion, it
is not likely that, for the sole purpose of carrying on the sacra, the
last of the line will bestir himself to go through the formalities
necessary for the adoption of a son. The fact is that the possession
of property--especially landed property--is regarded in practice as
an inseparable condition of the continuation of the ancestral rites.
This theory is often expressed in the formula _mei-yü ch'an-yeh
mei-yü shên-chu_--"no ancestral property, no ancestral tablets." If
the spirits of the deceased ancestors have been so regardless of the
interests of their descendants that they have allowed the family
property to pass into the hands of strangers, it is thought that
they have only themselves to blame if for them the smoke of incense
no longer curls heavenward from the domestic altars. Indeed, there
is a vague idea that as the family line dwindles and finally becomes
extinct on the material plane, so on the spiritual plane the ancestral
ghosts gradually fade away either into non-existence or into a state of
Nirvana-like quiescence.

A childless old man who has property is in China, as in the West,
the object of the most tender solicitude on the part of brothers and
cousins with large families. They are continually impressing upon him
the gravity of his offence in not providing for the succession and
for the suitable disposal of his property, and unceasingly urge the
claims of this nephew or that to formal adoption. If the old man has
chosen a boy or young man for whom he happens to have affection, and if
the choice meets with general approval, then every one is happy, and
an adoption deed is drawn up and attested by all the near relatives.
But if his choice falls on one who is considered to be too distant a
connection for adoption, or if the elders of the clan for some other
reason object to the proposal, then the old man is in a difficulty,
for he is not entirely a free agent in the matter. He might get an
adoption deed drawn up without consulting any one, but if it were not
properly attested by his relatives it would be treated by them as null
and void. Adoption, no less than the sale of land, is an affair not of
the individual but of the family.

Disputes of this kind are the not infrequent cause of lawsuits. An old
man once complained before me that though the youth he wished to adopt
belonged to the proper generation (that is, the generation immediately
junior to that of the adopter) and was not an only son, and though both
the youth and his father had agreed to the adoption, yet the other
relatives had held aloof when they were invited to sign the adoption
deed, and had absolutely refused to take any part in the proceedings.
This implied, of course, that when the time came they would refuse to
recognise the legality of the adoption. He therefore besought me to
compel or persuade the obstinate relatives to come to a more reasonable
frame of mind. "I am now eighty-one years old"--so ran the preamble of
his petition--"and I do not know how long I have to live. When morning
dawns I cannot be sure that I shall see the evening; in another day my
eyes may be closed for ever; and if I die with the bitter knowledge
that for me there will be no ancestral sacrifices, then, indeed,
miserable shall I be down in the Yellow Springs [of death]." It is of
course impossible to decide such cases without taking into full account
the nature of the objections raised by the relatives: they are often
selfish, but as a rule they are not baseless or frivolous.

Ancestral spirits are regarded as beneficent beings who never
causelessly use their mysterious powers to injure the living; but if
their descendants lead evil lives, or neglect the family sacrifices,
or treat the sacred rules of filial piety with contempt, then the
spirits will in all probability exercise the parental prerogatives
of punishment. The power of a father in China to castigate his son
is theoretically as absolute in the case of a grown-up son as in the
case of one who is still a child: similarly it is supposed that the
father does not, by the mere accident of death, divest himself of his
patriarchal rights of administering justice and inflicting punishment
on his sons and grandsons. Provided a man carefully observes the
traditional ceremonies and leads a good life according to the accepted
ethics of his race, he knows that he has nothing to fear from the souls
of his ancestors.

But there are in China various classes of ghosts who are supposed to be
highly malevolent and to constitute no small danger to the community.
There are, for example, the ghosts whose tempers have been soured by
calamity and misfortune; those whose bodies have not been buried;
those who were drowned at sea; those who ended their mortal lives by
unjustifiable suicide and haunt the place where they died until they
can, by ghostly suggestions, prevail on one of their earthly neighbours
to follow their example;[227] those who died before accomplishing a vow
or completing an act of vengeance: these and many others are ghosts or
evil spirits which the wise man who walks warily through life will do
his best to avoid.

The curious and cruel superstition which sometimes prevents a Chinese
from helping a drowning comrade even when he could save the man without
danger to himself has its origin in a fear that he will incur the
deadly hostility of a spirit that demands the toll of a human life.
It is even thought in some places that by saving your friend you may
be condemning yourself to be his future substitute. This superstition
has existed in many parts of the world--from Ireland to the Solomon
Islands.[228] It need hardly be said that educated opinion in China is
altogether opposed to the heartless abandonment of drowning men: the
superstition is an active force only in a few localities, and only to a
minute extent, if at all, may it be said to exist in Weihaiwei.

A vestige of it is possibly to be traced in the fact that "wrecking"
is not regarded as a very serious breach of sound ethics. When British
rule was first established at Weihaiwei pitiful scenes were to be
witnessed during the tempests of winter, when junk after junk was
hurled against the rock-bound coast. No great effort was made to save
human life; indeed, there is reason to believe that men were allowed
to freeze to death on the shore or to be battered to death by the
merciless waves while those who could and should have come to their
rescue actually stepped over their bodies while on the eager search
for remnants of wrecked cargo. All this has been so greatly changed
that storm-driven junks in the Gulf of Chihli have been known to make
deliberately for the coasts of Weihaiwei, their crews believing that
if disaster must come there would be a greater chance of safety for
themselves and less risk of having their cargoes looted on the shores
of British territory than anywhere else along the coast of Shantung.
Two or three of the village headmen have shown great loyalty in
accepting and carrying out British policy in this matter, and have been
personally instrumental in saving numbers of lives and in helping the
crews of wrecked junks to salve their cargoes and to repair the damage
done to their vessels. The headman who has shown himself most energetic
in this good work deserves special mention. He is Ch'ê Shuo-hsüeh, the
district headman of Hai-hsi-t'ou. To him the Government of Weihaiwei
has presented a _pien_ or carved complimentary tablet.[229] The
inscription reads _Chêng jên yü wei_--"Human lives rescued from peril."
Tablets of this kind when presented by the official authorities are
highly valued by the Chinese, and are preserved as heirlooms.

[Illustration: A WRECKED JUNK.]

[Illustration: A JUNK ASHORE.]

But the spirits that drag men into the waters of a river or down to
Lung Wang's palace in the depths of ocean at least make a practice of
confining their activity to their chosen element. Far more dangerous
are the gloomy homeless souls that stalk the country fields and prowl
round villages, always on the look-out for victims and always ready
to deceive the ignorant. There are terrible vampires and devil-foxes
that throw mists over men's eyes and minds and make them believe
they see before them damsels of bewitching beauty. It is difficult
indeed to save any one who has once passed under the dominion of a
fox-wife: he is a doomed man. A prevalent belief on the subject of
ghosts and goblins and evil spirits is based on a kind of theory of
predestination. The man who is fated not to be bothered by such beings
will escape them; he who is fated to be their prey cannot by any
possibility avoid them. The Chinese popular saying puts it more neatly:
"He who is born lucky can laugh at demons; the unlucky wight becomes
the demon's plaything."

The Weihaiwei Annals tell a story of a man who must have been born
lucky. His name was Kuo and he belonged to Ch'in Ts'un, a village
that lies a few miles from Port Edward. One evening he was returning
from the sea-side with a load of fish. On the way he met a ghost, who
pressed Kuo to allow him to carry his load. Kuo, not in the least
dismayed, congratulated himself on a welcome relief and promptly
placed his burden on the ghost's shoulders. Man and ghost trudged along
contentedly side by side for some distance, but on arriving at Ch'in
Ts'un the dogs began to bark, and the ghost, thinking this was no place
for him, suggested that he must say good-bye. Kuo refused to hear of
such a thing and insisted that the ghost should accompany him home
and share his evening meal. On reaching home Kuo asked his unearthly
visitor to sit down, and ordered his wife and child to set about
getting supper ready. When the water was boiling he furtively threw
into the cooking-pot some fragments of decayed wood and an old nail.
The whole party, including the ghost, enjoyed a hearty meal, and when
it was over the ghost took his leave without having done the least harm
to any one.

"If men are not afraid of ghosts," adds the Weihaiwei chronicler,
"ghosts will not be able to do them any injury. When this story
is attentively considered the truth of that statement will become
increasingly evident." But he tells the story with perhaps the
suggestion of a twinkle in his eye: for in the course of the narrative
he interjects the remark, to which he adds no comment, that Kuo's
besetting weakness was strong drink. It is remarkable that he offers
no explanation of Kuo's action in throwing pieces of decayed wood and
a nail into the cooking-pot, though this was just where Kuo showed
his cunning. To put rotten wood and old iron into one's porridge will
appear a meaningless rite to the uninstructed. It is a practical
illustration of a popular Chinese belief that marvellous efficacy
in destroying the evil influences of ghosts and demons and other
ill-omened beings is inherent in rotten wood and nails taken from
_old coffin-boards_ which have been actually used for the burial of
a corpse. Kuo's rotten wood was--though the chronicler leaves that
important point to his reader's intelligence--wood that had once
formed part of a coffin.[230] This little story shows conclusively
that though in Europe if one sups with the devil one must use a long
spoon, in Weihaiwei one wants nothing more than a piece of coffin-wood
and an old nail.

As it is no one's special business to propitiate malevolent spirits,
the obligation is one that is understood to rest with the Government.
Among the numerous religious duties of the district-magistrates is
that of quieting the evil propensities of all bad ghosts or spirits.
In the district-city of Jung-ch'êng, for instance, among the altars at
which official rites must periodically take place is one called the _Li
T'an_, a phrase which may be translated as an Altar to Evil Spirits.
Three times a year--namely at the three great festivals of the Dead or
Souls' Days[231]--the district-magistrate and other local officials
attired in ceremonial robes proceed to the _Li T'an_ and there offer up
sacrifices of propitiation to all harmful spirits. The process consists
in issuing to all homeless and tablet-less ghosts a solemn invitation
to a banquet. The viands provided are three sheep, three pigs, three
measures of grain and an indefinite quantity of paper-money. All this
is supposed to satiate or pacify the spirits so that they cease to do
harm to mankind at least until the arrival of the next sacrificial

In China, as in Europe, there are various strange beliefs connected
with the mysterious powers supposed to be inherent in corpses. As soon
as a man or woman is dead the family take care that no dogs or cats
(especially cats) shall be allowed into the mortuary chamber, as it is
believed that so long as the coffin has not been closed the approach
of one of these animals will cause the corpse to jump. This is a
well-known superstition in Weihaiwei; and from De Groot's work, which
deals more particularly with a portion of the southern province of
Fuhkien, it may be gathered that it exists in other parts of the Empire
also.[232] De Groot (who mentions cats only, not dogs) accounts for
the idea by referring it to the domain of tiger-lore. Each member of
the feline race, he says, is supposed to have on its tail a miraculous
hair, which has the power of bringing the soul back to any human body
from which it had already departed. But why should this be objected
to, seeing that, as De Groot has himself pointed out, the main object
of the tearless howling at Chinese funerals, which has so often rather
unjustly excited the ridicule of Europeans, is to call back the soul of
the departed?

The explanation that has been given me in Weihaiwei, with regard to
the cat and dog superstition, is that the hair or fur of these animals
(especially that of the cat) contains so much "lightning" (electricity)
that the corpse is liable to be galvanised by it into an uncanny though
only temporary activity. Whatever the true explanation may be, it is
interesting to note that here we have one more of those very numerous
fragments of folk-lore that connect the far East with the far West.
In the Orkneys and Shetlands, when a death has taken place and the
corpse has been laid out, _all cats are locked up_.[233] It would be
interesting to know what the local explanation of the custom is in that
corner of the British Isles. Similar beliefs as to the malign influence
of cats on corpses exist in the Border country. On the Scottish side
it is believed to be so unlucky for a dog or cat to pass over a corpse
that the poor animal, if it has been seen doing so, is--or used to
be--killed without mercy.[234] Mr. G. L. Gomme, who cites this Scottish
superstition from Pennant, states that the same belief is to be found
in Northumberland. "In one case," he says, "just as a funeral was
about to leave the house, the cat jumped over the coffin, and no one
would move till the cat was destroyed."[235] A dog, too, was killed on
another occasion for a similar reason. That there is a close connection
between cats and evil spirits may be taken as one of the elementary
doctrines of "black magic," both in China and in Europe;[236] but
popular antipathy to the unfortunate animal on this account has
never become so intense in China as at one time it became in Europe,
where--in Paris and other places--cats used to be burned alive in

Among other superstitions connected with corpses may be mentioned that
relating to mirrors, though in Weihaiwei it is very nearly extinct.
In many parts of China, when a death occurs all mirrors in the house
are immediately covered up. One explanation of the custom is that if
the dead man happens to notice a reflection of himself in the glass he
will be much horrified to find that he has become a ghost, and much
disappointed with his own appearance as such. Another explanation is
that every mirror has a mysterious faculty of invisibly retaining
and storing up everything that is reflected on its surface, and that
if anything so ill-omened as a corpse or a ghost were to pass before
it, the mirror would thenceforth become a permanent radiator of bad
luck. In some Chinese households mirrors are covered up or turned
upside-down, not only when a corpse is in the house, but after sundown
every day: for it is thought that evil spirits and other unlucky
influences are free at night to wander whither they will, and that
if they pass in front of a mirror that is not covered, that mirror
will become a source of danger and unhappiness to the family that
owns it. The mirror superstition, like that of cats, is not confined
to China. In Orkney and Shetland, when a death occurs, not only are
all cats locked up, as already mentioned, but covers are put over
all looking-glasses.[238] The same custom exists on the Scottish
mainland[239] and also in many other parts of Europe, including
England, Belgium and Germany; and it is also to be found in Madagascar
and in India.[240]

But the cat and mirror notions sink into insignificance when we
contemplate another corpse-superstition to be found at Weihaiwei and
in other parts of China: a superstition of so extraordinary a nature
that it is almost certain to be received with incredulity by all who
are not in a position personally to verify the fact of its existence.
It is said that when a death has occurred the face of the corpse and
all other exposed parts (such as the hands) should be carefully covered
with a cloth, in order to prevent the tears of the mourners from
coming in contact with the dead man's flesh. To make doubly sure, it
is considered advisable for the mourners not to weep over the corpse,
but at some little distance from it. If these precautions are neglected
and tears do by some chance fall on the corpse, and if this happens
on an "unlucky"[241] day, the results may be disastrous, not only to
the family chiefly concerned, but also to the whole population of the
district. The tears, it is said, find their way through the dead man's
skin into his heart, where they are liable to create in him a kind of
quasi-vitality long after he has been consigned to his grave. On his
body will grow wings and white feathers, and though he remain in his
grave he is able to use these feathers and wings with extraordinary
effect. Just as he absorbed the tear-drops of his weeping friends, so
he is supposed to attract to his own grave all the moisture that should
be distributed in the form of rain over the whole country round, and by
moving his wings to and fro he so fans the clouds that no rain descends
except on his own grave. Some say that the horrible feathered creature
is able to leave his grave at night and fly through the neighbourhood
in the terrible guise of a malevolent demon. If he knocks at a door, it
is believed that one of the inmates of the house is doomed to a speedy
death.[242] If the locality is visited by a prolonged drought and the
usual official prayers have been unavailing, the people petition the
magistrate to send out his runners to inspect all the graveyards of the

As soon as they have found one on which the soil is soft and moist
while all the surrounding grass-mounds are parched and brown, this is
regarded as a proof that a _han-pa_ (such is the technical name of
the feathered corpse) lies in that spot. The wet grave has no sooner
been discovered than the magistrate or some person authorised by him
leads thither a crowd of the local people armed with brooms[243] and
hooks. The coffin is exhumed and the lid opened. No sooner is this
done than all the bystanders rush forward with their weapons to strike
down the corpse or to trip him up or hook him if he attempts to run
or fly away: for this, according to the story, is what the _han-pa_
always tries to do. As soon as he has been carefully secured and
recoffined, the dreaded _han-pa_ is placed on a heap of firewood and
burned to ashes. Copious rain is certain to fall the same evening or
the following day. Faith in this remarkable superstition seems to be
well rooted in Weihaiwei. One of my informants, himself a believer,
expressed amazement at hearing that no such notions existed in England.
On being asked why it was considered necessary to open the coffin-lid,
he said it was to enable the relatives of the dead man to see for
themselves that the corpse really was a _han-pa_, and that there was
no alternative but to burn it: otherwise they might feel that their
dead relative had been grievously maligned and his remains treated with
unpardonable disrespect. "What happens," I asked, "when the dead man
turns out to be just an ordinary corpse?" "But that could never be,"
was the decisive answer. "The moist grave in a time of drought is an
infallible sign of a _han-pa_. There can be no mistake."

I have described this superstition as it exists at Weihaiwei, but it
is by no means confined to that locality. The word _han-pa_ means
"demon of drought," and the earliest mention of it in extant Chinese
literature is in the beautiful hymn of King Hsüan, preserved in the
Book of Poetry (_Shih Ching_) edited by Confucius.[244] It is there
mentioned as being the cause of a great drought that appears to have
occurred about the year 821 B.C. The drought-demon is also referred
to in the _Shan Hai Ching_, a curious quasi-geographical work of
disputed date. A certain Taoist Book of Marvels tells us that "in the
southern regions there is a man-like creature two or three feet high,
with a naked body and an eye on the top of its head. It moves with the
swiftness of wind, and wherever it is seen a calamitous drought is sure
to occur. It is called _pa_."[245] From none of these authorities do we
gather that there was any connection between the drought-demon and a
human corpse over which tears had been shed. Wang Ch'ung (first century
A.D.) writes of "flying corpses" (_fei shih_),[246] but this does not
bring us much further. How the superstition as it at present exists
grew up is far from clear, and it seems likely that it represents a
coalescence of several beliefs that were once quite separate. De Groot
discusses the subject with his usual thoroughness,[247] though he does
not appear to have come across the superstition in the form in which it
is known at Weihaiwei.

It might well be supposed that in the _han-pa_, if in nothing else,
we have come across a piece of Chinese folk-lore that has no parallel
in Europe; but perhaps our supposition would be unwarrantably hasty. I
find that in the Highlands of Scotland "it was thought wrong to weep,
lest the tears should hurt the dead."[248] Then again there is, or
was, an English superstition against the use of certain feathers in
feather-beds and pillows. The feathers of the domestic fowl, goose,
pigeon, partridge, and sometimes those of wild birds generally, were
tabooed.[249] No reason has been given so far as I know for this
singular and apparently senseless idea, any more than for the Highland
notion that tears were hurtful to the dead. It may be far-fetched to
suppose on the strength of these old wives' tales that the shedding
of tears over corpses was once believed by our own remote ancestors
to turn dead men into feathered demons like the Chinese _han-pa_; but
perhaps it might appear less unlikely that there is some extremely
ancient and now forgotten connection between the British and the
Chinese superstitions if we were able to find some traces of similar
beliefs in the intervening countries of Europe or Asia.

For long I despaired of finding anything that might be regarded as a
missing link; but Bohemia is the country that seems to have supplied it
at last. The following letter will show that in Europe, as well as in
Far Cathay, there still exists in our own generation the remnant of a
belief that drought may in certain circumstances be caused by a human
corpse, and that such a corpse is in some mysterious way associated
with feathers.

  "In the Bohemian village of Metschin," says a writer in
  _Folk-lore_,[250] "the body of the schoolmaster, who was buried early
  in May amid many marks of respect from the inhabitants, is to be
  exhumed. There, as elsewhere, a great drought prevails, and the story
  has got about that a cushion with feathers was put under his head.
  Nine-tenths of the population believe that this is the cause of the
  drought, hence the proposal to exhume him and remove the cushion,
  which is in reality filled with hay. Is this case parallel to the
  prejudice against the feathers of certain birds in beds and pillows,
  or is there some special connection between feathers and rain? More
  particularly in Australia feathers and hair are associated with

It will be noticed that in China the drought-causing demon grows the
feathers on its own body, whereas in Bohemia it merely lies on a
feathered pillow. That the two beliefs had a common origin, and that
the two British superstitions already cited may be connected with them,
will not, perhaps, be regarded as altogether beyond the bounds of


[213] See pp. 262 _seq._

[214] _The Religious System of China_, vol. i. p. 212. For full details
as to the procedure at Chinese funerals and the religious ceremonies
connected therewith, the reader is referred to Dr. De Groot's
monumental work, which deals minutely with this and kindred subjects.

[215] See p. 263. Needless to say, the ancestral temples of great or
wealthy families are on a very much grander scale.

[216] See p. 256.

[217] Instead of red ink it is in some parts of China customary to use
blood extracted from a cock's comb. For an explanation of this, and for
a full description of the ceremony of dotting the tablet, see De Groot,
_op. cit._ vol. i. pp. 214-19.

[218] See illustration.

[219] The terms used are honorific.

[220] That is, the eldest son of his father.

[221] See illustration facing next page, and that facing p. 278.

[222] _Op. cit._ vol. i. p. 114.

[223] We may smile at Chinese simplicity in such matters, but exactly
the same ideas have existed in the West. "A woman in our parish,"
writes a resident in Wiltshire, "had her leg amputated and got a little
coffin made for it. She caused it to be buried in the churchyard"--with
the view of joining it there at some future day. Many similar cases
have been observed in Ireland, and doubtless in many other parts of
western Europe. (See _Folk-lore_, March 1907, pp. 82-3, and June 1907,
p. 216.)

[224] De Groot, _op. cit._ vol. iii. p. 848.

[225] De Groot, _loc. cit._ p. 849.

[226] De Groot, _loc. cit._ p. 854. The punishment under the Penal Code
for opening a grave and exposing the corpse is strangulation (subject
to confirmation).

[227] See p. 222.

[228] See Grant Allen's _Evolution of the Idea of God_ (pp. 265-7);
Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. i. pp. 108-11; W. G.
Black's _Folk-Medicine_, p. 29; and Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_,
p. 22. The superstition sometimes takes the form of a belief that
the rescued man will some day do some terrible injury to his
rescuer--perhaps at the instigation of the evil spirit who was balked
of his prey. It is quite erroneous to suppose that this superstitious
objection to saving the drowning is prevalent throughout all China. De
Groot (_op. cit._ vol. v. p. 526) states that he never found a trace
of it in the province of Fuhkien; "while, moreover, all the Chinese we
interrogated on this head protested against their humanity being thus
called in question."

[229] For the headman in question and his _pien_, see illustration.

[230] For an account of the popular belief with regard to old
coffin-wood and nails, see De Groot, _op. cit._ vol. i, pp. 328-9. See
also Doolittle's _Social Life of the Chinese_, p. 561; and Dennys's
_Folk-lore of China_ (p. 48), where it is said that "a nail that has
been used in fastening up a coffin is a sovereign charm. This is
sometimes beaten out into a rod or wire and, encased in silver, worn
as a ring round the ankles or wrists." It is very curious that even in
this matter of coffin-nails we can trace a close connection between
Chinese and Western European folk-lore. In the Shetland Islands (which
seem to possess many remarkable parallels with Chinese folk-lore) it is
said that toothache can be cured by picking the tooth "with the nail
of an old coffin." (_Folk-lore Journal_, vol. iii. p. 380.) In parts
of Yorkshire it was once the custom to take some coffin-lead or other
coffin-metal from a churchyard and have it made into a ring; it then
became a cure for cramp. (_County Folk-lore_, vol. ii. [North Riding of
Yorkshire] p. 171.) Similar beliefs existed elsewhere in England--in
Devonshire, for example. (See W. G. Black's _Folk-Medicine_, p. 175.)
It may be noted here that a thoroughly "orthodox" coffin in China is
supposed to have no nails at all, or as few as possible. The various
planks are fitted into grooves and notches with the deliberate
intention of avoiding the necessity of nails. This doctrine is well
understood at Weihaiwei and followed there as far as practicable. The
explanation of the nailless coffin given by De Groot is that it dates
from a period in extreme antiquity _when iron was unknown_. The form
of coffin that was adopted in a primitive age from necessity is used
in modern times from a spirit of conservatism, or from reverence for a
custom that time has sanctified. (_See_ De Groot, _op. cit._ vol. i.
pp. 95 and 286-7.) In Weihaiwei and many other places a single nail
_which serves no practical purpose_ is driven in (only far enough to
make it immobile) on one side of the coffin-lid, and this nail is
decorated with parti-coloured threads. The people of Weihaiwei seem to
have no explanation of this custom, but it is evidently a kind of charm
to bring wealth, happiness and an ample progeny to the family. The
charm is based on a play on the word _ting_, "nail," which also means
_a man_, or _male offspring_. As the nail (_ting_) is driven into the
parent's coffin, so, it is thought, will there always be males (_ting_)
to carry on the family; and as these five-coloured threads are wound
round the nail, so will wealth, prosperity, honours, long life and many
children be the portion of the sons of the family for all time to come.

[231] See p. 192.

[232] De Groot, _op. cit._ vol. i. pp. 43-4; vol. v. p. 750. See also
Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_, p. 20.

[233] _County Folk-lore_, vol. iii. (Orkney and Shetland), p. 216.

[234] Pennant's _Tour in Scotland_. See also Brand's _Antiquities_,
vol. ii. p. 233.

[235] G. L. Gomme's _Folk-lore Relics of Early Village Life_, p. 116.
I cannot agree with Mr. Gomme's interpretation of the superstition.
He regards it as connected with the "primitive hearth sacrifice." The
Chinese parallels seem to have been unknown to him.

[236] For China, see Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_, pp. 48, 90-91.

[237] See Frazer's _Golden Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. iii. pp. 324 _seq._

[238] _County Folk-lore_, vol. iii. (Orkney and Shetland), p. 216.

[239] _Folk-lore Journal_, vol, ii. p. 281.

[240] Frazer's _Golden Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. iii. pp. 294 _seq._

[241] Every day in the Chinese calendar is either lucky, unlucky, or
indifferent; and very many people will undertake no duty or work of
importance until they have consulted the fortune-telling almanac (a
new one is issued for each year), or have at least consulted temple
oracles. The Jewish Sabbath is now believed to have originated in a
similar superstition.

[242] Cf. the Irish and Scottish banshee.

[243] All evil demons are supposed to be afraid of brooms. See p. 190

[244] See Legge's _Chinese Classics_, vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 532. The
passage referred to is translated by Legge thus: "The demon of drought
[_han-pa_] exercises his oppression, as if scattering flames and fire."

[245] This passage is quoted in the K'ang Hsi dictionary, s.v. _Pa_.

[246] _Lun Hêng_, transl. by Forke, pt. i. p. 243.

[247] _Op. cit._ vol. v. pp. 516-20, 761. For remarks on human spectres
in the shape of birds, see vol. v. pp. 634 _seq._ For a reference to
the spectres known in Europe as Vampires, see vol. v. p. 747 _seq._ For
evidence as to the supposed existence of vampires and grave-demons in
the Malay States, see Skeat's _Malay Magic_, pp. 103 and 327.

[248] _Folk-lore Journal_, vol. ii. (1884), p. 281.

[249] _Folk-lore_, September 1900, p. 243.

[250] Mädi Braitmaier in _Folk-lore_, December 1900, p. 437.



Various religious notions and practices of the people of Weihaiwei
have been already dealt with in connection with other subjects, but
it remains to investigate more thoroughly the relations that exist
in this part of the Empire between the so-called Three Religions of
China (Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism) and the extent to which they
severally contribute to the religious life of the people.

A writer quoted in the Ning-hai Chronicle says of the inhabitants of
this district that their customs are thoroughly orthodox, or, as he
expresses it, "in complete accordance with the doctrines of Tsou and
Lu,"--the native states of Mencius and Confucius respectively. The
rituals connected with the worship--if it may be so termed[251]--of
Confucius himself have, however, no place in the ordinary religious
observances of the millions of China, and this is just as true of
Shantung--the modern province which includes the two ancient states
just mentioned--as of any other part of the Empire. Practically those
rituals are carried out only by the governing classes in their official
capacity; one therefore finds few traces of the personal Confucian cult
except in the cities, at the spring and autumn ceremonies held under
the auspices of the district-magistrates and higher officials in the
_Shêng Miao_ or Holy (Confucian) Temples. Such rites, accordingly,
have no place in the Territory of Weihaiwei, though they are carried
out with all the orthodox ceremonies in the neighbouring cities of
Jung-ch'êng, Wên-têng and Ning-hai. Not only is it the case that the
officials alone are regarded as competent to carry out the elaborate
memorial or semi-religious services connected with the cult of the
sage, but to a great extent the same is true in respect of some of the
far more ancient rites which are regarded as coming under the head of
Confucianism because Confucius "transmitted" them to posterity with
his consecrating approval. Such are the biennial sacrifices to Heaven
and Earth and to the Land and Grain, and the spring sacrifice at the
Altar of Agriculture. The high-priest at these great ceremonies is the
Emperor himself, and it is only by his deputies (that is to say the
_ti-fang kuan_ or territorial officials) that similar rites can be
performed in places other than the capital.

Yet it must not be supposed that there is no such thing as Confucianism
in China outside the ranks of the official classes. Confucian ideals
of life and conduct, Confucian doctrines of the relations between
rulers and ruled, Confucian views of the reciprocal rights and duties
of parents and children, friends, neighbours, strangers, the Confucian
sanction of the cult of Ancestors, these are all strong living forces
in the China of to-day. "Wherever Chinamen go," says Dr. H. A. Giles,
"they carry with them in their hearts the two leading features of
Confucianism, the patriarchal system and ancestral worship."[252] The
influx of new light from the West is doubtless bringing about a change
in the traditional attitude of the Chinese towards the person of the
teacher whom their forefathers have revered for more than two thousand
years; but though the Confucian cult conceivably at some future time
may be formally disestablished and the Confucian temples turned into
technical colleges, it is to be hoped for the sake of China that
many centuries will elapse before Confucianism as a moral force, as
a guide of life, fades away from the hearts and minds of the people.
Confucianism is not a mere code of rules that can be established or
abrogated as the fancy takes any prominent statesman who happens to
have the ear of the throne; it has intertwined itself with the very
roots of the tree of Chinese life, and if that venerable tree, in spite
of a mutilated branch or two, is still very far from hopeless decay it
is to Confucianism that much of its strength and vigour is due.[253]

Perhaps no teacher of antiquity has suffered more disastrously at the
hands of most of his interpreters and translators than has Confucius.
Even his Chinese commentators have not always been successful; it
is then little to be wondered at that European students, often
lacking both a complete equipment of Chinese scholarship and a
power of sympathetic insight into alien modes of thought, and above
all possessed by an intensely strong bias against "heathendom"
and "heathen" thinkers, have failed again and again to give their
fellow-countrymen an adequate account either of the Confucian system as
a whole or of the personal character of the Master himself.

Confucius, as one of his most recent English translators reminds us,
was one of the most open-minded of men, and approached no subject
with "foregone conclusions"; but the whole attitude of the Englishman
who is still regarded as the great expounder of Confucianism to the
English-speaking world (Dr. Legge) "bespoke one comprehensive and fatal
foregone conclusion--the conviction that it must at every point prove
inferior to Christianity."[254]

Now what is the impression that Confucianism gives to a European
student who is not only a good Chinese scholar and therefore able to
dispense with translations, but is also entirely free from religious

  "The moral teaching of Confucius," says the writer just quoted, "is
  absolutely the purest and least open to the charge of selfishness
  of any in the world.... _'Virtue for virtue's sake' is the maxim
  which, if not enunciated by him in so many words, was evidently the_
  _corner-stone of his ethics and the mainspring of his own career_....
  Virtue resting on anything but its own basis would not have seemed
  to him virtue in the true sense at all, but simply another name for
  prudence, foresight, or cunning."[255]

I have italicised certain words in this quotation for a reason
which will soon be apparent. As is well known, Confucianism and
ancestor-worship, as well as Buddhism and Taoism, all established
themselves in Japan. Confucianism is said to have entered Japan in the
sixth century of our era, though it remained in a stationary position,
somewhat inferior in influence to Buddhism, for about a thousand years.
But during the last three hundred years at least, "the developed
Confucian philosophy," says an authority on Japanese religion,[256]"
has been the creed of a majority of the educated men of Japan." Later
on he refers to "the prevalence of the Confucian ethics and their
universal acceptance by the people of Japan."[257] Of course the
Confucian system underwent certain changes in its new island home, as
Dr. Griffis is careful to point out,--especially in the direction of
emphasising loyalty to sovereign and overlord: but it still remained
recognisable Confucianism. Mr. P. Vivian, in a highly interesting
volume,[258] mentions the fact that "Confucianism is an agnostic
ethical system which the educated classes of Japan have adopted for
centuries, and its splendid results are just now much in evidence."
Later on he quotes an exceedingly significant and important statement
made by the Rev. Henry Scott Jeffreys, a missionary in Japan. "After
seven years' residence among this people I wish to place on record my
humble testimony to their native virtues.... _They love virtue for its
own sake, and not from fear of punishment or hope of reward._" Could
higher praise than this be given to any people on earth? He goes on,
"The conversion of this people to the Christian faith is a most complex
and perplexing problem, not because they are so bad but because they
are so good."[259]

I have italicised the words that are of special interest when
considered in connection with the statement already quoted from
Mr. Lionel Giles. It is true that the praise given to the Japanese
is a great deal too high: there is no nation, whether Christian or
non-Christian, that deserves such praise. At the same time most
Europeans might find it no easy task to prove to the satisfaction of
an intelligent visitor from another planet that the Christian nations
are, on the whole, more virtuous than the people of Japan. The European
advocate would, of course, lay stress on the alleged weakness of
Japanese commercial morality, and perhaps with very good cause. But
there is no valid reason for supposing that the Japanese, without
Christianity, cannot and will not amend their ways in this respect, and
in any case commercial immorality receives no more justification from
Confucian than it does from Christian ethics.[260]

But Japan is not China: and if Confucianism be such a good thing,
exclaims the wondering European, how is it that China is in a state
of decay, that Chinese officials are corrupt, that the population
is sodden with opium, that the country is only now, after centuries
of sloth and stagnation, beginning to show an interest in Western
civilisation and modern science? The real condition of China, or
at least of the Chinese people, is perhaps not so rotten as it is
sometimes believed to be, in spite of the grave political and social
dangers that at present lie ahead. But waiving this point and admitting
that reforms are coming not a day too soon, let us consider one or two
of the most obvious causes to which the present state of China may be
attributed. China was for many centuries so easily supreme in her own
quarter of the globe that a strenuous life became for her unnecessary.
Conflict is a law of nature, but owing to peculiar circumstances
China as a nation became to a great extent temporarily exempt from
that law.[261] She sank into inactivity because it was not necessary
for her, as it was and is for the great nations of Europe, to be
continually sharpening her wits against those of her neighbours, or to
be for ever engaged in the Sisyphean task of redressing "the balance
of power." Do the nations of modern Europe sufficiently realise to
what extent they owe their progress and civilisation and even their
mechanical inventions to the fact that they have all been pitted
against each other in a more or less equal struggle for existence in
which none has ever succeeded in establishing a supremacy over all
the rest? Had powerful and united non-Chinese kingdoms established
themselves in the Indo-Chinese peninsula, in India itself, in the
plains and mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, in Korea and in mediæval
Japan,--kingdoms capable of contending with China on fairly level
terms, competent to defend themselves against her attacks yet not
strong enough to overcome her,--can it seriously be supposed that
China would have been politically corrupt, unwarlike and unprogressive

That unhappy bird the great auk ceased to make use of its
wings--perhaps owing to a fatal love for fish--and thereby incurred
the punishment that inexorable Nature provides for those who neglect
to exercise the faculties she provides them with. Somewhat in the same
way China, fatally set at liberty from the invigorating impetus of
competition, seems to have lost the use of those powers and qualities
which ages ago carried her to the apex of the Asiatic world. Unlike
the great auk, however, China has not yet become extinct, nor indeed
is extinction likely to be her fate. To take an illustration of a very
different kind, is it not the case that many a successful and energetic
man of business is only saved from yielding to the insidious habit of
taking afternoon naps by the incessant ringing of his telephone-bell?
For ages China could count on undisturbed slumber whenever she required
it--and it must be admitted that she seemed to require it long and
often. The telephone-bell has now been ringing her up continuously for
some little time; she ignored it at first, or perhaps it only gave a
new colour to her dreams, or occasionally turned them into nightmares;
but now she has risen, slowly and unwillingly it may be, and has put
the receiver to her ear. She has taken down the messages sent her, and
she is beginning to understand them; and among other things she is
realising that afternoon slumbers for her are joys of the past.

If China thinks, or Europe persuades her into the belief, that her
backward position among the great Powers of the world is due to
Confucianism, she will be doing a great wrong to the memory of one of
her greatest sons and a greater wrong to herself.[262] It would be
just as reasonable to make the Founder of Christianity, one of the
most gracious and most pitiful of men, responsible for the injustice
and cruelty of the Crusades or for the frightful atrocities practised
in Europe on the bodies of heretics, or for such priestly and monkish
abuses as the sale of "pardons" and the traffic in saintly relics and
fragments of the "True Cross"; indeed it would perhaps be rather more
reasonable, for the mediæval popes and monks at least professed to act
in the name of their Lord, whereas it is not in the name of Confucius
that offices in China are bought and sold or that Chinese magistrates
take bribes and "squeezes," or that the naval and military defences
of the country have been allowed to fall into decay. Does any one in
Europe now suppose that if Christ had returned to earth in the Middle
Ages He would have accepted a seat beside the Grand Inquisitors and
joined them in sentencing innocent men and women "to the thumbscrew and
the stake, for the glory of the Lord"? Or that if He had appeared in
England in 1646 He would have supported the Act which made it a capital
offence to deny the truth of any of the dogmas that the English Church
of that period chose to consider essential?

This is how a papal legate in 1209 wrote to Innocent III. after a
victorious crusade against the Albigenses: "Our troops, sparing neither
sex nor age, put to the sword nearly twenty thousand; splendid deeds
were accomplished in the overthrow of the enemy, the whole city was
sacked and burned by a divine revenge marvellous fierce." A pope may
have taken this doughty champion of the Church to his bosom, but is
it conceivable that the Carpenter of Nazareth would have greeted this
monster, whose sword was reeking with human blood, with the welcoming
words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant"? If we refuse, as we
well may, to lay on Jesus the least tittle of responsibility for the
terrible crimes perpetrated in Europe for many consecutive centuries
in the name of the Christian religion, would it not be becoming on our
part to hesitate before we ascribe the faults and disasters of the
Chinese people and their Government wholly or even partially to their
faith in the teachings of Confucius?

I once heard a kind-hearted Englishman say that he could forgive China
all her faults except the torturing of prisoners in the law-courts
and in the gaols. Torture in China--which is very slowly becoming
obsolete--has very naturally made Europeans shudder with horror: but
where does Confucius give countenance to torture? And after all, the
extent of China's crime is only this, that she has not abolished the
practice of torture quite so early as the nations of Western Europe
and America. Perhaps the missionaries and others who have pointed out
to the Chinese the enormity of their crime in permitting torture have
sometimes omitted to state that only in comparatively recent times have
we ourselves become so merciful as to forbid the practice. Without
dwelling on the abominable punishments devised for heretical offenders
in every country in Europe, it is as well to remember that torture was
continually inflicted in England during the Tudor reigns,[263] and
also under the Stuarts. In Scotland it was long a recognised part of
criminal procedure, and was not finally abolished in that country till
the eighteenth century.[264] The Most High and Mighty Prince whose name
adorns the front page of our English Bibles, in one memorable case
directed the application, if necessary, of "the most severe" tortures,
and expressed the devout wish that the Almighty would "speed the good

When confronted with so lofty an ethical system as that taught by
Confucius, European writers who wish to prove the justice of their
contention that "it must at every point prove inferior to Christianity"
are naturally driven to make the utmost of any passage in the Chinese
classics that appears to reveal something of the Chinese sage's moral
imperfections. Just as an anti-foreign Chinese commentator on the
Christian religion might utilise certain texts in the Old Testament to
show that the Christian God was neither just nor merciful, and certain
texts in the New Testament to show that Jesus of Nazareth shared the
superstitions of his age and was sometimes lacking in self-control, so
European expounders of Confucianism have seized upon a few passages in
the Confucian canon to prove to their own satisfaction that the great
Sage of China did not always speak the truth. The passages are three
in number. In one we are told that a certain brave man was commended
by the Master for his absence of boastfulness, because though he nobly
brought up the rear during a retreat, he said, "It is not courage that
makes me last, it is my horse that won't gallop fast enough."[265] As
courage really was the cause of his conduct, Prof. Legge and those
who think with him take the view that the man's own explanation of
what he had done was untruthful and that Confucius by awarding him
praise condoned a lie. Considering that Confucius's only remark on the
subject was that the man was no braggart, probably few of us except
sanctimonious pedants would say that either the sage or his hero was
guilty of an act or a word that was in any way discreditable.

In another famous passage it is narrated that "A man who wanted to see
Confucius called on him. Confucius, not wishing to see him, sent to
say he was sick. When the servant with the message went to the door,
Confucius took up his musical instrument and sang aloud purposely to
let the visitor hear it and know that he was not really sick."[266] It
is interesting to note that in citing this little story as evidence of
Confucius's lack of veracity, Prof. Legge omits to quote the second
part of the passage,[267] though it ought to be obvious to the most
casual reader that it was only for the sake of the remark about the
music that the story was preserved in the Confucian canon at all. So
far from proving that Confucius could tell a lie, it goes to show
that even in small matters of everyday social intercourse Confucius's
nature was superior to all the little "white lies" and deceptions that
are and no doubt always have been continually practised in "Society."
Probably in his day, as in our own, it was considered more polite to
an unwelcome visitor to plead indisposition or absence from home as an
excuse for not admitting him than to send him the blunt message, "You
are not wanted: go away!" Confucius, however, wishing to make it quite
clear to his visitor that the plea of sickness was merely a social
subterfuge and was not intended to deceive (as a lie must surely be),
took up his musical instrument and played it in his visitor's hearing.

So far from this passage proving that Confucius had an inadequate
regard for the truth, it will perhaps strike a good many people as
indicating that untruth and insincerity were abhorrent to Confucius's
nature: and this was undoubtedly the impression that the disciple who
remembered and recorded the incident wished to convey.

So much for two out of the three solitary occasions on which Confucius
is said to have laid himself open to what Prof. Legge calls "the
most serious charge that can be brought against him, the charge of
insincerity." The events recorded in connection with the third occasion
are much more grave and deserve closer attention. The story goes that
Confucius when travelling to a place called Wei was captured by a
rebel-brigand of that state, who would only release him on condition
that he would take an oath to give up his proposed expedition to Wei.
Confucius took the oath, and on his release forthwith continued his
journey to the place he had sworn to avoid. On one of his disciples
asking him whether it was a right thing to break his word, Confucius
replied: "It was a forced oath. The spirits do not hear such." Now of
the moral question here involved Sir Robert Douglas takes the view that
it is "a nice question for casuists," but expresses the conviction that
by most people Confucius "will not be held to be very blameworthy for
that which, at the worst, was a mistaken notion of truthfulness."[268]
On the other hand many of us will hold the equally strong conviction
that if this story is true there is an ugly blot on the character of
Confucius. If he deliberately and knowingly broke his word, as this
story would indicate, then he was no gentleman.[269]

_Le bon sang ne pent mentir_, as the old French proverb says. Not
his can have been what Burke in thrilling words calls "that chastity
of honour, which felt a stain like a wound." But the evidence from
other sources that Confucius was a gentleman--a man to whom truth
and sincerity were very precious--is overwhelming. His teachings and
actions, so far as we know them--all but this one--prove conclusively
that he laid almost greater emphasis on truth and honour than on
any other quality. "Hold faithfulness and sincerity," he said, "as
first principles."[270] One of his English commentators remarks that
"the earnestness with which he insists on this, repeating the same
injunction over and over again, is a point in his teaching which is
well worthy of admiration."[271]

How then is this strange story of the broken oath to be explained?
Probably by the simple statement that the story is not true. The
incident is one which finds no place in the accepted Confucian canon:
as Prof. H. A. Giles says, it "occurs in an admittedly spurious
work,"[272]--namely the _Chia Yü_, which in its present form is
believed to have been composed in the third century A.D. The only other
authority for it is the great historian Ssŭ-ma Ch'ien. Confucius was
born in 551 B.C., Ssŭ-ma Ch'ien no less than four hundred years later.
It may, doubtless, be urged by those who believe in the story and wish
at the same time to save the honour of Confucius, that the standard
of truth at that time was very low and that Confucius was only acting
in accordance with the practice of the age in breaking his plighted
word. But we have no reason whatever to suppose that the standard
was any lower than it is to-day in Christendom: and what no writer,
so far as I am aware, seems to have made a note of is the important
fact that the story, if true at all, is of itself a clear proof that
the standard of honour was remarkably high. The rebel would not have
given Confucius the option of taking an oath unless there had been
an expectation on his part that Confucius would keep that oath; and
if the expectation existed, it must even in those far-off days have
been founded on a belief that a gentleman's word was "as good as his
bond." Thus if we believe in the story we are compelled to adopt the
conclusion that Confucius was not, as one would have thought, superior
to his contemporaries in matters of morals, but was immeasurably their
inferior: a conclusion which is patently absurd. To suppose after
hearing the evidence of the canonical books that Confucius was a man
who could deliberately break his word seems almost as unreasonable as
to suppose that Sir Walter Scott ("true gentleman, heart, blood and
bone," as Tennyson called him) could have acted dishonourably or that
Sir Philip Sidney, the prince of chivalry, could have told a lie.

I cannot hope that these remarks will re-establish Confucius's
reputation as a lover of truth in the minds of those who wish for
proselytising purposes to convince the Chinese that their sage was a
grievous sinner. Such persons will doubtless in any case continue to
hold that the Chinese as a people are untruthful, and that whether
or not the untruthfulness is a legacy left them by Confucius it is a
vice which only Christianity can extirpate. This question of Chinese
untruthfulness we have already considered,[273] and a few words are all
that is necessary here.

[Illustration: WEIHAIWEI VILLAGERS (see p. 315).]

[Illustration: SHEN-TZŬ (MULE-LITTER) FORDING A STREAM (see p. 17).]

Persons who believe that the untruthfulness of the Chinese (presuming
that it exists) is due to their "heathenism" and that truth is a
typically or exclusively Christian virtue may have some difficulty in
proving the justice of their view. "We have proof in the Bible," as
Herbert Spencer remarks, "that apart from the lying which constituted
false witness, and was to the injury of a neighbour, there was among
the Hebrews but little reprobation of lying."[274] He goes on to admit,
very properly, that in the writings of the Hebrew prophets and in parts
of the New Testament lying is strongly condemned. Missionaries often
say that the Chinese will never become a truthful people until they
become a Christian people. If truthfulness had been an unknown virtue
until Christianity appeared, one might perhaps be unable to question
the accuracy of this statement. But what does Herodotus, writing in
the fourth century B.C., tell us about the Persians of his day? "They
educate their children, beginning at five years old and going on till
twenty, in three things only, in riding, in shooting, and in speaking
the truth ... and the most disgraceful thing in their estimation is to
tell a lie."[275]

And would not most of us trust the word of Socrates, if we had the
chance, as fully as we would trust the word of an archbishop? If
truthfulness is a characteristically Christian virtue, how was it that
in the Merovingian period "oaths taken by rulers, even with their hands
on the altar, were forthwith broken"?[276] And what are we to say of
the alleged Jesuitical doctrine that the end justifies the means,
or about that immoral dogma of the Decretals (surely just as bad as
Confucius's supposed doctrine regarding forced oaths): _Juramentum
contra utilitatem ecclesiasticam praestitum non tenet_?

There are non-Christian peoples in southern India to-day of whom it
has been said that they are characterised by "complete truthfulness.
They do not know how to tell a lie"; in central India certain
aborigines are described as "the most truthful of beings."[277] But
the list might be indefinitely extended. There are numerous races
in the world among whom truth is held in the highest honour, and as
many others who appear to regard a skilful liar as a specially clever
fellow. There is certainly very little reason to believe that truth
is a monopoly of the Christian or that the "heathen" is necessarily a

The average Englishman or American does not always find that his
pious acquaintances are the most truthful:[279] indeed in many cases
he will prefer to trust the word of a man who from the Church's point
of view is a notorious sinner but who happens at the same time to be a
gentleman. It is of course easy to declare that a Christian who tells
a lie cannot be a true Christian. It is equally easy and equally just
to assert that the native of China who tells a lie cannot be a true

If in Weihaiwei as elsewhere in rural China the influence of Confucius
is to be traced not in temples and religious or commemorative
ceremonial but in the customs, manners and character of the people, it
is clear that a description of the Confucianism of this corner of the
Empire would involve a repetition of much that has been already set
forth at length in the course of the foregoing pages. But there is a
feature of Confucianism that so far has been treated less thoroughly
than it deserves, although it constitutes by far the most important
element in the religious life of the people. This is the cult of

There is perhaps a popular tendency in Europe (notwithstanding the
doctrines of Herbert Spencer) to regard this cult as something peculiar
to the Far East and without parallel in Western modes of religious
thought and practice: but, as students of comparative religion well
know, such is not the case. That ancestor-worship or something very
like it existed among the ancient Egyptians might be assumed from the
extraordinary measures which they took to preserve the bodies of the
dead: but we know from other evidence that the ancestral Ghost was
regularly approached with veneration and sacrifices. Cakes and other
articles were offered to the Egyptian _ka_ just as they are offered
to the spirits of the dead in China to-day; and, as in China, the
sacrificial ceremonies were made the occasion of family gatherings and
genial festivities.[280] Great religious revolutions have taken place
in Egypt in the course of ages, but among the Egyptian Mohammedans and
the Copts traces of ancestor-worship exist to this day. The evidence
at present available hardly justifies us in declaring that this cult
was also practised in Babylonia, though it seems at least certain that
heroes and distinguished men were deified and venerated. There is
less doubt about the early Israelites. "It is impossible to avoid the
conclusion," says the Rev. A. W. Oxford,[281] "that the pre-Jehovistic
worship was that of ancestors." He observes that "the importance
attached to a father's blessing before his death and the great fear
caused by a curse (Judges xvii. 2) were relics of the old cult of

The importance of the same cult in Greece and Rome can hardly be
exaggerated. In Greece, Zeus himself was regarded in one of his
aspects as πατρῷος, the ancestral god. "The central point of old Roman
religion," as Grant Allen has said,[282] "was clearly the household;
the family ghosts or _lares_ were the most honoured gods." In various
parts of the "Dark Continent" ancestor-worship is the prevailing
religion. "Nowhere," says Max Müller, "is a belief and a worship of
ancestral spirits so widely spread as in Africa."[283] That it existed
and still exists in many Eastern countries besides China need hardly
be emphasised. It is deeply embedded in Hinduism, and in Japan it has
grafted itself on Shinto.[284]

It is perhaps of greater interest to Europeans to know that the
cult of ancestors existed in pre-Christian days in the forests of
old Germany. "Our early Teutonic forefathers," says Mr. F. York
Powell, "worshipped the dead and treated their deceased ancestors as
gods."[285] But old customs, especially religious ones, die hard; and
so we need not be surprised to find that just as the Isis and Horus of
the ancient Egyptians have become the Madonna and Child of the modern
Italians,[286] so the ancestor-worship of our Teutonic forefathers has
been transformed under Christian influences into solemn commemorations
of the dead, and masses for the souls of the "faithful departed." The
transformation, indeed, is in some places hardly complete to this day.

"Although full ancestor-worship," says Dr. Tylor, "is not practised
in modern Christendom, there remains even now within its limits a
well-marked worship of the dead. A crowd of saints, who were once men
and women, now form an order of inferior deities, active in the affairs
of men, and receiving from them reverence and prayer, thus coming
strictly under the definition of manes. This Christian cultus of the
dead, belonging in principle to the older manes worship, was adapted
to answer another purpose in the course of religious transition in

It appears that in one part of Christendom, at least, actual
ancestor-worship is not yet extinct. In backward parts of Russia at
this day, we are told, "the dead in return for the offerings are
supplicated to guard and foster the family and crops. 'Ye spirits
of the long departed, guard and preserve us well. Make none of us
cripples. Send no plagues upon us. Cause the corn, the wine, and the
food to prosper with us.'"[288] Evidently if ancestor-worship is
idolatrous, Europe is not without its idolatry even in this twentieth

The Ancestral cult, as every one knows, received the hall-mark of
Confucius's approval, though Confucius himself did not profess to
be a theologian or to speak with authority on matters spiritual. It
is an extraordinary thing that Confucius's reticence with regard to
these matters has been selected by Christian missionaries as a subject
for special reproach. Prof. Legge, after quoting some of Confucius's
utterances on the subject of the unseen world, asks why he did not
"candidly tell his real thoughts on so interesting a subject,"[289] and
exclaims "Surely this was not the teaching proper to a sage." Elsewhere
he solves this question himself, for he decides that Confucius was
no sage.[290] Unfortunately he does not define the word Sage, though
he seems to imply that the word can be fittingly applied only to a
Christian teacher. He did not perhaps quite appreciate the significance
of the Horatian remark _Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona_.

Meadows remarks that every consistent Confucianist ought to be a blank
atheist, though probably he is using the word in the sense that used
erroneously to be attached to it a good many years ago,[291] when
"atheist" was the term applied to all persons who were outside the
Christian fold. In that sense Confucius was an atheist, and inasmuch
as he lived half a millennium before Christ was born it is obvious
that he could not possibly have been anything else. Mr. Arthur H.
Smith states that the mass of Confucian scholars are "thoroughly
agnostic and atheistic,"[292] though if these terms are correctly
used it is difficult to see how they could be both at the same time.
Mr. W. E. Griffis thinks it "more than probable" that Confucius laid
"unnecessary emphasis upon social and political duties, and may
not have been sufficiently interested in the honour to be paid to
Shang Ti or God. He practically ignored the Godward side of men's
duties."[293] Confucius would probably have said that if people fully
and completely discharge all their duties on the manward side they
need have no fear that they are neglecting the Godward side. Griffis
goes on to compare Confucianism with a child-headed giant, because it
is exaggerated on its moral and ceremonial side as compared with its
spiritual development. It must surely be clear to an unprejudiced mind
that Confucius deserves no blame whatever for omitting to lay down the
law on subjects about which he never professed to know anything. Men
have existed on this planet for tens of thousands of years: if, as
many occidental peoples hold, the Deity revealed Himself only nineteen
centuries ago, it is absurd to find fault with an honest philosopher
for not having known facts which had been preserved as a secret in
the archives of heaven for countless ages in the past and were to
remain undisclosed for another five hundred years in the future. Some
of us, perhaps, may be inclined to the opinion that the great secret
remains a secret still. "We are born to enquire after truth," said the
wise Montaigne; "it belongs to a greater power to possess it." But
supposing for the sake of argument that Truth, or a certain aspect of
Truth, came to man's knowledge by a miraculous act on the part of a
Divine Power nineteen centuries ago, one cannot blame Confucius for
not having obtained it from heaven five hundred years sooner. One
might as well blame St. Paul for not anticipating the astronomical
discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo, or St. Augustine for not telling
us how to deal with the modern Women's Suffrage problem, or the
Founder of Christianity Himself for not explaining the mechanism of
motor-omnibuses and aeroplanes. Prometheus is said to have succeeded
in wrenching a valuable secret from heaven without divine permission,
but Prometheus was a Titan and Confucius never pretended to be anything
more than a humble-minded man.

The remarks made both orally and in writing on the subject of
Confucius and his religious views are often so framed as to convey the
idea, either that he was somehow to blame for his want of knowledge, or
that he really knew all the time about God and other spiritual beings,
but was deliberately and wickedly keeping the knowledge up his sleeve.
It is presumably for this reason that some missionaries have found it
their painful duty to explain to the Chinese (whom they are trying to
convert to a belief in a merciful and loving Deity) that Confucius
is now writhing in hell.[294] It is open to them to add that good
Chinese Christians may look forward to the happy day when they, from
their heavenly mansions, may behold their national Sage undergoing the
tortures prescribed for him in the nethermost regions: for was it not
Tertullian who, perhaps in a spirit of irony or mockery, declared[295]
that one of the joys of the blessed when they reach heaven will be
to watch the torments of the damned?[296] Fortunately bigotry and
intolerance of this kind are (thanks partly to secular pressure)
rapidly disappearing from Christian apologetics, but the charge against
Confucius that his views on spiritual matters were not only unsound
but were also discreditable to himself and to those who followed his
teachings, is still occasionally heard in the missionary camp.

It is perhaps worth while to consider briefly what those views were.
They are not to be found in any consecutive form; all one can do
is to pick up hints here and there and piece them together as best
one may. It must be remembered that Confucius seems very rarely to
have offered any remarks on spiritual matters on his own initiative:
he did not profess to be an authority on such subjects, and it was
only in answer to direct questions that he said anything at all. His
attitude may be compared with that of Mohammed, who administered
rebukes to his disciples when he heard them debating about fate and
destiny. Such things, he taught, were beyond all human knowledge. If
one might presume to construct a kind of paraphrase of Confucius's
occasional utterances on spiritual subjects, and put it in the form of
a continuous discourse, it might perhaps run somewhat as follows:

  "You need not ask me about the gods and spirits or the world beyond
  the grave, because I really cannot tell you anything about them.
  You ask me what death is. I do not know. I think it will be time
  enough to consider the problems of death when we have solved those
  presented by life: and it will be a long time before we have done
  that.[297] You ask me about serving the dead. First make sure that
  you are doing everything possible in the service of living men, then
  you may consider, if you will, whether any changes should be made in
  our ancestral modes of serving the spirits of the dead. You ask if
  the departed have any knowledge of the sacrifices we offer them, or
  if they are totally unconscious of what we are doing for them. How
  can I answer you? If I were to tell you that the dead are conscious,
  you might waste your substance in funerals and sacrifices, and thus
  neglect the living to pay court to the dead. If on the other hand I
  were to tell you that the dead are unconscious, filial piety might
  diminish and sons begin to leave the bodies of their parents uncared
  for and unburied. Seek not to know whether the departed are indeed
  conscious. If they are, you will know it some day; meanwhile study the
  world you live in and have no fear that you will exhaust its treasures
  of knowledge: the world takes a lot of knowing. What is the use of
  my giving you my personal opinion about death and spiritual beings?
  You, or others less intelligent than you, might take my opinions as
  definite statements of truth, and if they happen to be erroneous
  opinions I might very properly be charged with the propagation of
  error. It is the custom of our race to offer sacrifices to the spirits
  of the dead and I consider this a good old custom and one that ought
  to be kept up, because even if there are no spirits to receive our
  homage the practice is in itself a harmless one and helps to foster
  reverence for one's elders and for those in authority. Therefore
  I say to you, carry out the solemn sacrifices to which you have
  been accustomed, and when you do so, honour the spirits as if they
  were present,[298] but do not be so foolish as to attempt familiar
  intercourse with them. It was not we who made the chasm that lies
  between ourselves and the spiritual world, nor have we any right
  (so far as we know) to try to bridge that chasm. God--if there be a
  God--knows why the chasm is there, and God can bridge it if He will.

  "My advice to you is this. Be zealous in the services you owe to your
  fellow-men; behave towards them as you would wish them to behave
  towards yourself. Be not too proud to admit when you are wrong or
  that you 'do not know.' The man who sees what is right and honest and
  dares not do it is a craven. Do not repine if you are misunderstood
  by men; repine rather that there are men who are misunderstood by
  you. Choose as your familiar companions only those who are at least
  equal to yourself in virtue. Speak and act with sincerity and truth.
  Be true to yourself and charitable towards your neighbour. Carry out
  those rites of filial piety and of religious worship that have been
  handed down to you by your fathers, even if you have doubts about the
  nature or even the very existence of the objects of your worship;
  there is nothing to be ashamed of in honest doubt, but do not let
  doubts interfere with your duty. Let not your knowledge and practice
  of the traditional rituals mislead you into thinking that you are on
  intimate terms with the spiritual world; treat the unseen Powers with
  all reverence but keep aloof from them. Do not fear that God will
  hold you guilty of neglect of heavenly things provided you neglect
  nothing of the duties you owe to men."

It is true that several remarks of Confucius are on record which seem
to indicate that he had a belief--however indefinite--in the existence
of a God or at least of spiritual beings who were both greater and
better than men. For instance he is said to have remarked that men had
failed to understand him, adding proudly, "But there is Heaven: THAT
knows me!" There is also the famous reply which he gave to Tzŭ-lu on
the subject of prayer: "My praying," said Confucius, "has been for a
long time."[299] Some English translators incline to the opinion that
according to this remark Confucius really did offer up prayers to an
unseen Power. What one knows of Confucius's life and teachings as well
as the context of this particular passage makes this highly improbable;
and indeed the remark loses most of its beauty and dignity if Confucius
referred merely to prayers in the ordinary sense. As one of his English
editors says, "his whole life had been one long prayer"[300]--in a
sense that the narrow religious pedant perhaps does not and cannot
understand. One is reminded of the landscape-painter who scandalised
the pious natives of a beautiful Welsh village by painting on Sundays.
"How is it," asked the local parson reproachfully, "that we have not
yet seen you in God's house?" "I am not aware," was the artist's quiet
reply, "that I was ever out of it." Those of us who can respect this
answer will be able to respect that given by Confucius when he said,
"My praying has been for a long time."


[251] It is perhaps still necessary to explain that in spite of the
honorary epithets heaped on Confucius by imperial decree (as in the
decree that confers upon him an "equality with heaven and earth"),
Confucius _is not worshipped as a god_. This was frankly admitted by
Prof. Legge in his later years. "I used to think," he said, "that
Confucius in this service received religious worship, and denounced
it. But I was wrong. What he received was the homage of gratitude, and
not the worship of adoration." "The Religion of China" in _Religious
Systems of the World_ (8th ed.), p. 72.

[252] _Great Religions of the World: Confucianism_, pp. 28-9. (Harper &
Bros., 1901.)

[253] Many missionaries have taken a very different view. Perhaps they
are right and the opinions expressed in this chapter erroneous--let me
hasten to disclaim any intention to dogmatise. However this may be, I
cannot but think that missionaries have not studied, respectfully and
tactfully, the susceptibilities of the proud and ancient people whom
they wish to proselytise when they hint at the approaching dissolution
of their Empire and hold out Christianity to them as a consolation
for the loss of their nationality and all that their forefathers have
held dear. "Disorganisation," says Dr. Legge, "will go on to destroy
it [China] more and more, and yet there is hope for the people ... _if
they will look away from all their ancient sages_, and turn to Him, who
sends them, _along with the dissolution of their ancient state_, the
knowledge of Himself, the only living and true God, and of Jesus Christ
whom He had sent." Is it to be wondered at that the rulers of China
look askance at a foreign religion the God of which intends to send
them--however sweetly the bitter pill may be coated--_the dissolution
of their ancient state_? Perhaps there are still missionaries who would
give their approval to these extraordinary words, but fortunately there
are laymen who take quite a different view of China's "ancient sages"
whom Dr. Legge recommends the Chinese to reject. "Never, perhaps, in
the history of the human race," says Mr. Lionel Giles, writing of
Confucius, "has one man exerted such an enormous influence for good on
after-generations." (_The Sayings of Confucius_, p. 118.) Yet this is
one of the sages from whom we invite the Chinese to "look away"!

[254] See Mr. L. Giles's Introduction to his translation of _The
Sayings of Confucius_, p. 12.

[255] _Op. cit._ p 26.

[256] Dr. W. E. Griffis, _The Religions of Japan_ (4th ed.), p. 108.

[257] _Op. cit._ p. 110.

[258] _The Churches and Modern Thought_ (2nd ed.), p. 38.

[259] _Op. cit._ pp. 398-9. One is sorely tempted to ask the question,
"Then why not leave well alone?"

[260] Prof. H. A. Giles says in a recent publication: "It is beyond
question that to the precepts and faithful practice of Confucianism
must be attributed the high moral elevation of the Japanese people; an
elevation which has enabled them to take an honourable place among the
great nations of the world." (_Adversaria Sinica_, p. 202.)

[261] "It is through conflict alone that the fittest can be selected,
because it is through conflict alone that they are afforded the chance
of manifesting those qualities, physiological and psychical, which
make them the fittest. And, as a matter of fact, conflict is the law
of Nature. It is no exaggeration, nor is it a mere figure of speech,
to say that progress is accomplished through blood."--CHATTERTON HILL,
_Heredity and Selection in Sociology_ (A. & C. Black: 1907), p. 355.

[262] "We think that Confucius cut the tap-root of all true progress,
and therefore is largely responsible for the arrested development of
China." (Griffis, _The Religions of Japan_ (4th ed.), pp. 104-5.) See
also the Lectures delivered by Mr. E. R. Bernard in Salisbury Cathedral
in 1903-4. The latter says, "Now that we have concluded our survey of
Confucius's work and system, I should like to draw your attention to a
practical inference from the results attained by it. _The results are
the condition of Chinese society at the present day with its strange
mixture of benevolence and cruelty, industry and fraud, domestic
virtues and impurity._ And the inference is the small value of an
elevated system of ethics without religion, for of religion there is
nothing in the 'Analects' from beginning to end." (The italics are
mine.) One might almost suppose from this that in Christian England
there is no cruelty, no fraud, no impurity. If a Chinese were to go to
England and declare that the vices of the country were the results of
Christianity he would probably be anathematised as a wicked blasphemer
and hounded out of the land; why should the Western nations show
surprise if the Chinese are indignant with foreigners who use words
which in their obvious and natural sense would lead the world to
suppose that the cases of cruelty, fraud and impurity one meets with
in China are the result of Confucianism! As an offset to the dictum
of Mr. Bernard (who I gather has never been in China) I quote the
opinion of one who has made China and the Chinese his lifelong study.
"The cardinal virtues which are most admired by Christians are fully
inculcated in the Confucian canon, and the general practice of these
is certainly up to the average standard exhibited by foreign nations."
(_Religions of the World_, pp. 26-7: "Confucianism," by Prof. H. A.

[263] As Hallam says, "The rack seldom stood idle in the Tower for all
the latter part of Elizabeth's reign."

[264] By an Act passed in the seventh year of Queen Anne.

[265] Mr. L. Giles's translation of _Lun Yü_, vi. 13.

[266] Mr. Ku Hung-ming's translation of _Lun Yü_, xvii. 20.

[267] See Legge's _Chinese Classics_ (2nd. ed.), vol. i. p. 100.

[268] Sir Robert Douglas, _Confucianism and Taouism_ (5th ed.), p. 146.

[269] This would certainly have been Montaigne's view. See, for a very
apposite passage, _Essays_, Bk. iii, ch. i.

[270] This is Legge's translation of _Lun Yü_ i. 8. The doctrine is
repeated in ix. 24. Cf. also _Lun Yü_ ii. 22 and many other passages in
this and other Confucian books.

[271] Sir Robert Douglas, _op. cit._ p. 114.

[272] "Confucianism," in _Great Religions of the World_, p. 26. See
also Prof. Giles's _Chinese Literature_, p. 48, and Wylie's _Notes on
Chinese Literature_ (1902 ed.), p. 82.

[273] See pp. 108 _seq._

[274] _Principles of Ethics_, i. 402. Herbert Spencer goes on to refer
to 1 Kings xxii. 22, Ezekiel xiv. 9, Genesis xxvi. 12, and also to
the Jacob and Esau incident and to the occasion "when Jeremiah tells
a falsehood at the king's suggestion." The Rev. A. W. Oxford, writing
on ancient Judaism, reminds us that "Jehovah protects Abraham and
Isaac after they have told lies, and punishes the innocent foreigner."
_Religious Systems of the World_ (8th ed.), p. 60.

[275] _Herodotus_, translated by G. C. Macaulay, vol. i. pp. 69-70.

[276] Herbert Spencer, _op. cit._ vol. i. pp. 403-4.

[277] Both cases are cited by Herbert Spencer, _op. cit._ p. 405. That
philosopher argues that "it is the presence or absence of despotic rule
which leads to prevalent falsehood or prevalent truth."

[278] Prof. Legge evidently took the view that truthfulness belonged
only to Christians. He states that a love of truth can only be
maintained, and a lie shrunk from with shame, through "the living
recognition of a God of truth, and all the sanctions of revealed
religion." (_Chinese Classics_, vol. i. p. 101.) By "revealed religion"
Legge means, of course, Christianity. It would be interesting to
know how he would have accounted for truthfulness among numerous
non-Christian races of our own time or among such people as the ancient
Persians. Perhaps as regards the latter case he would have done it by
denying the capacity of a Greek (especially of a Greek who has been
described as the "father of lies") to judge of truthfulness! Prof.
Martin in _The Lore of Cathay_ (p. 177) says that while Confucius's
writings (presumably he means his recorded sayings) "abound in the
praise of virtue, not a line can be found inculcating the pursuit of
truth." This is an amazing misstatement: let us hope it was written
inadvertently. A third missionary, Dr. Wells Williams, makes statements
regarding the character and morals of the Chinese people that are so
grossly unfair as to be almost unreadable [_Middle Kingdom_, vol. i.
pp. 833-6 (1883 edition)]. Mr. Arthur Davenport in his _China from
Within_ (T. Fisher Unwin, 1904) quotes from a missionary's letter which
appeared in _China's Millions_ (a missionary publication) in February
1903. "What a mass of evil the missionary in China has to contend
with!... Certainly there are more souls being lost every day in China
than in any country in the world ... the Bible declares that no liar
or idolater can ever reach heaven, and all these masses of people are
idolaters and liars; for 'China is a nation of liars,' consequently
there must be among the lost, among those going to eternal death, a
greater number from the Chinese than from any nation on earth.... For
though they be all liars and idolaters, they are the most industrious
of people, and of such intellectual capacity as to be able to compete
for the highest scholarships in the Universities of Europe and
America.... We thank God with all our heart that there are now so many
different Protestant Missions at work in Chehkiang, each having godly,
earnest, and faithful men representing them." No wonder Mr. Davenport,
after quoting this astonishing effusion, remarks that "this rendering
of thanks to God that there are now so many 'godly, earnest, and
faithful' foreign missionaries amongst this 'nation of liars' forcibly
reminds us of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican." It is
pitiful to think that missionaries of the class to which the writer
of this letter belongs are still at work in China, "converting the
heathen." Let us hope that the day may come when the generous-hearted
people who support Foreign Missions with their money and services will
feel justified in insisting that educated gentlemen, and no others,
are selected for work in the Mission field. Fortunately the Mission
Boards appear to be exercising much greater care in their selection of
missionaries for China than they did formerly; but how can they undo
the harm that has already been done?

[279] "A Highlander, who considered himself a devout Christian, is
reported to have said of an acquaintance: 'Donald's a rogue, and a
cheat, and a villain, and a liar; but he's a good, pious man.' Probably
Donald 'kept the Sabbath--and everything else he could lay his hands
on.'"--D. G. RITCHIE, _Natural Rights_ (2nd ed.), p. 190.

[280] The parallels between Egyptian and Chinese culture are not
perhaps very numerous or instructive; it may therefore be worth while
to mention one that is not without interest though it is doubtless
accidental. The Milky Way in Egypt was known as the Heavenly Nile: in
China it is named the Heavenly River (_T'ien Ho_). It would perhaps be
correct to translate the Chinese _ho_ in this case as "Yellow River":
for when the word _ho_ (river) is spoken of without qualification it
is the Yellow River (near the banks of which most of the old Chinese
capitals were situated) that is understood. With the phrases Heavenly
Nile and Heavenly Yellow River may be compared an old English name for
the Milky Way--Watling Street. (See A. Lang's _Custom and Myth_ [1901
ed.], p. 122.)

[281] See article on Judaism in _The Religious Systems of the World_
(Sonnenschein & Co. 8th ed.), p. 56.

[282] _The Evolution of the Idea of God_, pp. 369-70. See also Tylor,
_Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. 120; Fustel de Coulanges, _La
Cité Antique_; and T. R. Glover's _Conflict of Religions in the Early
Roman Empire_, pp. 14-15.

[283] _Last Essays_, Second Series (1901 ed.), p. 45.

[284] Ancestor-worship has been called "the foundation and chief
characteristic of Shinto" (D. Goh in _Religious Systems of the World_,
8th ed., p. 99); but though this is the statement of a scholarly native
of Japan, it is as well to observe that Dr. Aston, one of the best
European authorities on the subject, holds a somewhat different view as
to the connection between Shinto (in its earliest form) and the cult of
ancestors. "All the great deities of the older Shinto," he says, "are
not Man but Nature gods." (_Shinto_, p. 9.)

[285] "Teutonic Heathendom," in _Religious Systems of the World_ (8th
ed.), p. 279.

[286] See T. R. Glover's _Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman
Empire_, p. 23. See also F. C. Conybeare's admirable work _Myth, Magic,
and Morals_, in which he says, "Latin hymns in honour of Isis seem to
have been appropriated to Mary with little change; and I have seen
statues of Isis set up in Christian churches as images of the Virgin"
(p. 230). He also points out that in Asia Minor "the Virgin took the
place of Cybele and Artemis."

[287] _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. pp. 120 _seq._ See also
vol. i. pp. 96-7 for mention of vestiges of sacrificial ceremonies
in England in honour of the dead. With reference to the gradual
transformation of the old Roman feasts for the dead into festivals of
the Christian martyrs, see T. R. Glover's _Conflict of Religions in the
Early Roman Empire_, pp. 15-16.

[288] Dr. L. R. Farnell in _Hibbert Journal_, January 1909, p. 426.

[289] _Chinese Classics_, vol. i. (2nd ed.), p. 100.

[290]_Op. cit._ vol. iii. pt. i. p. 200.

[291] See Max Müller's _Lectures on the Origin of Religion_ (1901 ed.),
pp. 310-16.

[292] _Chinese Characteristics_ (5th ed.), p 293.

[293] _The Religions of Japan_ (4th ed.), p. 104.

[294] See pp. 353-4.

[295] _De Speculis_, 30.

[296] In nothing have we moved away from the pious savagery of a former
age more noticeably than in the average Christian's attitude towards
hell. "I don't believe in hell," is a very common observation nowadays
even on the part of those who assert themselves to be good Christians,
though surely from the Church's point of view the position is a highly
heretical one. Modern humanitarianism is gradually teaching the "plain
man" to see that if a heaven exists, and if human souls are to attain
to a condition of perfect happiness there, it is inconceivable that
there can be a hell also: for whatever the Christians of Tertullian's
day may have deemed necessary to happiness, few if any of us in
modern times could possibly (without undergoing a fundamental change
of character) attain complete happiness while in possession of the
knowledge that certain of our fellow human-beings were undergoing
eternal torment. The fact that we could ourselves behold the tormented
ones in their misery, so far from being an added source of pleasure
would surely turn our heavenly joys into dust and ashes. We cannot be
perfectly happy, as Prof. William James has remarked, so long as we
know that a single human soul is suffering pain. In a book entitled
_The Future Life and Modern Difficulties_, the Rev. F. C. Kempson
"does not hesitate to defend the belief that there are souls which are
finally lost, although he deprecates any materialistic presentation of
that state of loss." As his critic in the _Church Quarterly Review_
(April 1909, p. 200) sensibly points out, Mr. Kempson "does not fully
appreciate the depth of the objections against such a doctrine. To
many minds, not generally supposed to be tainted with sentimentality,
it appears that a universe where there was an ultimate loss of souls
through the complete determination of the will towards evil would be an
essentially atheistic universe, for it would be one in which the evil
was in the end partially triumphant over the good."

[297] "I don't know about the unseen world," said Thackeray in one of
his letters, "the use of the seen world is the right thing I'm sure. It
is as much God's world and creation as the kingdom of heaven with all
its angels."

[298] In some respects, it may be noted, Confucius's position is not
very far removed from that of some of the so-called Modernists of our
own time. Cf. Le Roy, _Dogme et Critique_ (4th ed.), p. 26; and the
late Father Tyrrell's _Lex Orandi_.

[299] _Lun Yü_, vii. 34.

[300] Mr. L. Giles, _The Sayings of Confucius_, p. 87.



Persons whose religion is bounded by dogmas and rituals, and who
take such a dismal view of human nature that they cannot conceive
of the existence of moral goodness apart from faith in a particular
creed, are always (consciously or unconsciously) on the look-out for
evidences of "sin" or imperfection or human frailty in the doctrines of
those who are ethical rather than religious teachers, and who do not
profess to have been favoured with a "divine revelation." Some of the
failings ascribed to Confucius--such as his alleged insincerity--have
been already dealt with; but if his Christian critics are unable to
substantiate their charges of moral depravity they are on much firmer
ground when they declare that Confucianism is not a religion at all,
but merely (though why "merely"?) a system of morals. This is a point
which every one will decide for himself in accordance with his own
views of what constitutes Religion. Cardinal Newman said that by
Religion he meant "the knowledge of God, of His Will, of our duties
towards Him." According to this definition Confucianism can hardly be
called a Religion. Carlyle said that whoever believes in the infinite
nature of Duty has religion. If this be so, it may after all be argued
that a religion is possessed by the true Confucian. Legge, who admired
Confucius as "a very great man," but was prompt to seek out evidence
that the Confucian system was altogether inferior to Christianity,
admitted that Confucianism was not "merely" a system of morality, but
also contained religion.[301] Sir Charles Eliot, on the contrary, says
"it has produced twenty centuries of gentlemen. Still, it is not in any
ordinary sense a religion."[302] Similarly Sir Thomas Wade declared
that the Chinese "have indeed a cult, or rather a mixture of cults,
but no creed." Hegel said that Religion is the Infinite Spirit of God
becoming self-conscious through the medium of the finite spirit. The
late Father Tyrrell held that what distinguishes religion from ethics
is "the belief in another world and the endeavour to hold intercourse
with it." Kant said that when moral duties are regarded as divine
commands, that is religion. Fichte said that religion was Knowledge
rather than morality. Matthew Arnold defined religion as "morality
touched with emotion." Schleiermacher said that religion consisted in
the consciousness of absolute dependence on a Power which influences us
though we cannot influence it in turn.

It is obvious that until we are all agreed on what we mean by
Religion it is useless to enquire whether the Confucian system is
or is not entitled to the name. One might as well try to determine
whether a given literary composition is a poem before we have agreed
upon a definition of Poetry. Some writers have been apt to look for
some quality that is common to all religion as the best basis for a
definition; but, as Edward Caird has reminded us, "such a quality,
if it could be found, would be something so vague and abstract that
little or nothing could be made of it."[303] As nobody has yet invented
a definition which will satisfy every one, we must perforce leave
Confucianism unlabelled: though if we all agree that a religious
attitude implies a deep sense of moral responsibility (either to our
own higher selves or to an external Power) and a feeling that to do
what we believe to be right--irrespective of how we come to have ideas
of right and wrong at all--is "wisdom in the scorn of consequence,"
then we cannot go far astray in asserting that Confucianism is not an
irreligious or unreligious system, but is merely an untheological one.

If the word Religion may be said to have almost as many meanings
as there are cultivated human minds, what is to be said of the word
God? The Christian objection to Chinese ancestor-worship, of which
Confucius approved, is that it is a form of idolatry, inasmuch as the
deceased ancestors are worshipped as gods. Here again our concurrence
or dissent must depend upon the exact shade of meaning to be attached
to the word "god." A rough unhewn stone may be a "god" at one place and
time--though probably, as in the case of the meteoric stone that is
said to have been carried in the Ark of Jahveh, it is never regarded by
"initiates" as more than a sacred emblem or representation. At another
place and time God becomes an ineffable Spirit invisible to the human
eye and only partially attainable by human thought. "Of Thee," said
Hooker, "our fittest eloquence is silence, while we confess without
confessing that Thy Glory is unsearchable and beyond our reach." Nor
need it be supposed that the sublimer conception of Deity is the
newly-won possession of Christians only. Perhaps no loftier idea of
the Godhead has ever existed in man's mind than that of the composers
of some of the Indian Vedas and Upanishads which were produced many
hundreds if not thousands of years B.C.; indeed Hooker's prayer and
many other Christian prayers grander and nobler would not seem at all
out of place if they were put into the mouth of an Indian forest-sage
or a prehistoric Brahman.

[Illustration: HILLS NEAR AI-SHAN (see p. 388).]

[Illustration: HILL, WOOD AND STREAM]

It is very difficult, then, to know without precise definition what
is the exact meaning of those who declare that the Chinese make gods
of their dead fathers. Du Bose has condemned the Chinese ancestral
cult because it inculcates the worship of "parents once human but
now divine," and he quotes with apparent approval the words of
another writer who describes it as "one of the subtlest phases of
idolatry--essentially evil with the guise of goodness--ever established
among men."[304] Wells Williams says that Chinese ancestor-worship is
distinctly idolatrous; yet he admits that the rites consist "merely of
pouring out libations and burning paper and candles at the grave, and
then a family meeting at a social feast, with a few simple prostrations
and petitions ... all is pleasant, decorous, and harmonious ... and
the family meeting on this occasion is looked forward to by all with
much the same feeling that Christmas is in Old England or Thanksgiving
in New England."[305] So says the earnest American missionary; and
those of us who not only see nothing wrong in the Chinese ancestral
ceremonies but would be exceedingly sorry to see them abolished, will
perhaps feel inclined to smile at the reproachful terms in which he
refers to Sir John Davis, who had expressed the heterodox opinion that
the rites were "harmless, if not meritorious, forms of respect for the

Another American writer, well known as an authority on China, is
equally strongly opposed to any compromise with the cult of ancestors.

  "It makes dead men into gods, and its only gods are dead men. Its
  love, its gratitude, and its fears are for earthly parents only. It
  has no conception of a Heavenly Father, and feels no interest in such
  a being when He is made known. Either Christianity will never be
  introduced into China or ancestral worship will be given up, for they
  are contradictories. In the death struggle between them the fittest
  only will survive."[306]

To show that this is not quite the view taken by all American
missionaries, let us quote the words of yet a third. Dr. W. A.
P. Martin, whose _Lore of Cathay_ is one of the most interesting
books of its kind on China yet produced, has a valuable chapter on
ancestor-worship in which he takes a much more liberal view than that
of his colleagues, though as a champion of Christianity he feels
himself obliged to find fault with "the transformation of the deceased
into tutelar divinities" and with "the invocation of departed spirits."
He admits that the ceremonies connected with the cult are of an
exceedingly impressive nature.

  "The spectacle of a great nation," he says, "with its whole
  population gathered round the altars of their ancestors, tracing
  their lineage up to the hundredth generation, and recognising the
  ties of kindred to the hundredth degree, is one that partakes of the

Most of my readers are doubtless aware that it has been, and perhaps
still is, the custom of many missionaries to require their converts to
surrender their ancestral tablets, or to destroy them, as a proof of
their sincerity before baptism. There are many sad stories connected
with this cruel proceeding,[308] and it is refreshing to listen to the
frank confession of so experienced and fair-minded a missionary as Dr.
Martin, who admits that he himself once insisted on a convert giving up
his ancestral tablets, and has ever since regarded this as one of the
mistakes of his life, and looks back upon it with "poignant grief." As
he adds decisively, "I had no right to impose such a test," it is to be
hoped that his words have served as a warning to some, at least, of his
successors in the missionary field.

If Christianity is to win its way to the hearts of the Chinese people
it will probably have to condescend to a compromise on the question
of ancestor-worship. A recent writer in _The Spectator_ evidently
thinks it is the Chinese who will make all the compromise. "There is
no reason," he says, "why the Chinese, in accordance with their proved
mental habit, should not adopt a kind of metaphysical reading of
ancestor-worship such as would enjoy the hearty sanction of the Church
which preaches the 'Communion of Saints.'"[309]

It is indeed likely enough that as time goes on certain superannuated
features of ancestor-worship, as of other Chinese religious practices,
will gradually disappear, but it is probable that this will be due
rather to rationalistic pressure than to Christianity. The Chinese
are beginning to imbibe Western culture--especially Western science
and philosophy--with avidity, and the more they do so the more ready
will they be to abandon some of their traditional ideas with regard to
demonology, _fêng-shui_, the burning of paper furniture and money, the
worship of the "gods" of Taoism, and many other superstitious beliefs
and practices; indeed this lopping off of the rotten branches of the
religious life of China began several years ago, and is not likely
to cease until there are no more rotten branches left on the tree.
But it is a very noteworthy fact that the abandonment of many popular
superstitions does not necessarily imply the establishment of Christian
dogmas in their place.

A year ago, while travelling in the province of Anhui, I visited a
town which had so far abandoned its "heathen" rites that a long row
of images had been dragged from their roadside shrines and tossed
into the river. Yet I was told by resident European missionaries that
their converts had had nothing whatever, directly or indirectly,
to do with this proceeding; it had been carried out solely by the
young local _literati_, who had shown themselves as absolutely
impervious to the Christian propaganda as they were contemptuous
of the puerile superstitions of the masses. But it will be a long
time yet before the essential rites and observances connected with
the cult of ancestors begin to suffer from the inroads either of
Rationalism or of Christianity. Buddhism and Taoism are China's
privileged guests, who--unless they speedily adapt themselves to new
conditions--may shortly find they have outstayed their welcome; but
the cult of ancestors is enthroned in the hearts of the people, and
if Christianity is ever to dislodge it, or even find a place by its
side, the intruder will be obliged to adopt a less arrogant and less
uncompromising attitude than it has assumed hitherto. Dr. A. H. Smith,
Dr. Edkins,[310] and other missionaries declare that China must choose
between Christianity and ancestor-worship. She made up her mind on the
subject in the middle of the eighteenth century, as a result of the
controversy between the Jesuits and the Vatican,[311] and there is no
indication that she regrets her choice.

It will be remembered that in the controversy alluded to, the Jesuit
missionaries, who had hitherto been amazingly successful in their
propaganda, strongly advocated the toleration of ancestor-worship on
the ground that the rites were merely civil and commemorative, and
were not idolatrous. This view, after lengthy disputes, was finally
condemned as erroneous, and the cult of ancestors on the part of
Christians was prohibited by the Roman pontiff (Benedict XIV.) "without
qualification or concession of any kind."[312] The result of this was
the collapse of the young and vigorous Roman Church in China. The
Chinese Emperor, who had found himself contradicted on Chinese soil by
papal edicts, was naturally disinclined to treat the foreign religion
and its professors with the tolerance and respect that had hitherto
been extended to it.[313] It is interesting to note the Protestant
attitude towards the papal decision on this matter. "It is not easy to
perceive, perhaps," writes Dr. Wells Williams, "why the Pope and the
Dominicans were so much opposed to the worship of ancestral penates
among the Chinese when they performed much the same services themselves
before the images of Mary, Joseph, Cecilia, Ignatius, and hundreds of
other deified mortals."[314]

Evidently the good Doctor could not withstand the temptation to
administer a sharp Protestant pin-prick to his Romanist rivals, though
"it is not easy to perceive" why he should find fault with the Papists
in this respect when missionaries of his own branch of Christianity
were (as some still are) equally ready to attempt the cheerless task
of reconciling contradictories. They condemn the Chinese for their
demonology and superstitious follies, yet many of them are merely
substituting Western superstition for Eastern. They expel demons from
the bodies of sick men, they report in their journals the occurrence
of miracles wrought by the Deity on behalf of their propaganda, they
pray for the supersession of the laws of meteorology, they report cases
of real devils actually speaking through "idols," they believe in the
existence of real witches, and they still teach the "heathen" fabulous
stories of the creation of the world and the origin of man.[315]

That missionaries of this class are less numerous than formerly
is fortunately true, but their teachings presumably remain the
treasured possession of their converts, and if those converts or
their descendants ever break out in acts of fanatical bigotry and
intolerance, or take to enforcing their beliefs on others, the
responsibility will rest with the Mission Boards for sending out
Christian teachers whose religious beliefs were of a type that
flourished widely in our own land in the age of witch-burning and
about the time of Mr. Praise-God Barebones, but which, thanks chiefly
to Biblical criticism and the study of comparative mythology and the
advance of scientific knowledge, has happily become all but extinct
among our educated classes.

But to return to the specific charge brought against Romanists by
Dr. Wells Williams--that the Pope and the Dominicans condemned
ancestor-worship as idolatrous although they conducted much the same
services themselves before the images of the _Mater Dei_ and other
deified mortals--this charge is one that has never yet been rebutted in
a manner satisfactory to those who are not Romanists.

If a Chinese goes to his _t'u ti_ (village "god") or to Kuan Yin or to
the Queen of Heaven (_Shêng Mu T'ien Hou_) or to Lung Wang the ruler of
clouds and water, with prayers for rain, or for the cure of disease,
or for safety from shipwreck; or if he beseeches the spirits of his
dead ancestors to protect the family and grant its members health and
prosperity, his proceedings are immediately condemned as idolatrous.
But if a Christian goes and prays to St. Hubert for an antidote to a
mad dog's bite or to St. Apollonia for a toothache-cure, or to St.
Theodorus at Rome for the life of a sick child, or to the Blessed
John Berchmans for the eradication of cancer in the breast, or to Our
Lady of Lourdes for the cure of a diseased bone, this is not idolatry
but good Christianity! As a matter of fact the ancestral spirits of
the Chinese and the great majority of the Taoist deities are neither
more nor less "gods" than the saints of Christendom. They--like the
saints--are regarded as the spirits of certain dead men who in their
new life beyond the grave are supposed to have acquired more or less
limited powers over some of the forces of nature and over certain of
the threads of human destiny. One is just as much a "god" as the other.
The Christian refuses to call his saints gods because that would be
confessing to polytheism, and as he professes to be a monotheist that
would never do; but he insists on accusing the Chinese of turning dead
men into gods because he wants to prove that the Chinese are idolatrous
and polytheistic.

If he says that he goes by the verdict of the Chinese themselves,
who apply to their dead men the title _shên_ and (in some cases) the
higher title _ti_, it is fair to remind him that if he insists upon
translating the former of these terms by the word "god" he should at
the same time supply a clear definition of the precise meaning which
that word is intended to convey; when he has done that it will be time
enough for us to consider whether the word "god" gives a fair idea
of the meaning of the Chinese when they declare that their deceased
ancestors have become _shên_. As to the supposed functions of the
Chinese "deities" and the Christian "saints," it would puzzle a keen
dialectician to say how the miracle-working of the one essentially
differs from that of the other, or how it is that St. Thomas of
Canterbury, in spite of his wonder-working bones, is a mere saint,
while Kuan Ti--who was once a stout soldier, but having been canonised
by imperial decree is now famous throughout the Chinese Empire as the
spiritual Patron of War--is to be hooted at as a false "god."[316]

It would seem that what the Christian says, in effect, is this: If the
Pope--the earthly head of our religion--canonises a dead man, that dead
man becomes a saint, and you may pray to him as much as you like; if
the earthly head of your religion--the Emperor of China--canonises a
man, he becomes a false god, possibly a demon, and if you commit the
sin of praying to him you do so on the peril of your soul. It is an
exemplification of the old saying, "Orthodoxy is my doxy, heterodoxy is
your doxy." In other words--you are right if you agree with me: if you
don't you are wrong! That was indeed a true saying of Thackeray's, "We
view the world through our own eyes, each of us, and make from within
us the things we see."

Of course there are many degrees of "godhead"--if we are to employ
that term--within the ranks of the Chinese "pantheon." The man
who, on account of his distinguished career in this world, or the
supposed miracles wrought by him since his removal to the next, has
been canonised or "deified" by imperial decree, holds a much more
important and imposing position than the ordinary father of a family
who, as it were, automatically becomes _shên_--a spirit or ancestral
divinity--through the simple and inevitable process of dying. But the
difference is rather in degree than in kind. The Emperor, as Father
of his people and as their High Priest or Pope, can raise any one he
chooses to the position of a _Ti_, and can subsequently elevate or
degrade him in the ranks of the national divinities in accordance
with his imperial will. As a matter of fact the process is intimately
connected with statecraft and considerations of practical expediency.
"In the Chinese Government," as Sir Alfred Lyall says, "the temporal
and spiritual powers, instead of leaning towards different centres,
meet and support each other like an arch, of which the Emperor's civil
and sacred prerogative is the keystone."[317]

What the Emperor can do on a large scale every head of a Chinese family
does regularly on a small one. In a sense no ceremony is necessary: a
man becomes an ancestral spirit as soon as he dies, irrespective of
anything that his son may do for him. But his position as a _shên_
is hardly a regular one--he is a mere "homeless ghost"--until the
son has carried out the traditional rites. The _shên chu_[318]--the
"spirit-tablet"--becomes the dead man's representative; no longer
visible and audible, he is believed to be still carrying on his
existence on a non-material plane, and to be still capable, in
some mysterious way which the Chinese themselves do not pretend to
understand, of protecting and watching over the living members of the
family and of bringing prosperity and happiness to future generations.
The filial affection of son for father is deepened on the father's
death into permanent religious reverence, and this reverential feeling
finds its natural expression in a system of rites and ceremonies
which, for the want of a better term, we call ancestor-worship. The
"idolatry" consists in bowing with clasped hands towards the tombs or
spirit-tablets, placing before them little cups and dishes containing
wine and food, and burning incense in front of the family portraits
in the ancestral temple at the season of New Year, or (if there are
no portraits) before a scroll containing the family pedigree. If the
disembodied members of a family were "gods" in the sense usually
attributed to the word their spiritual powers would not be confined--as
they normally are--to the affairs of their own descendants. The
orthodox Chinese knows that it is not only useless but wrong to
"worship"[319] the spirits of any family but his own. "For a man to
sacrifice to a spirit which does not belong to him," said Confucius,
"is flattery."[320]

For the sake of brevity and convenience we may and sometimes do speak
of the private ancestral spirits and of the great national divinities
as "gods," but we should preserve the necessary distinctions of meaning
in our own minds. That it is only a rough-and-ready mode of speech may
easily be perceived when we attempt to make a single Chinese term apply
to both these classes of spiritual beings. It is true enough that
both (in most cases) sprang from the same human origin, so that their
powers and functions differ, as already pointed out, in degree rather
than in kind; but if--whether from ignorance or from a desire to be
exceptionally polite--we were to describe a man's deceased forefathers
as _Ti_ (the nearest equivalent to "God" that the Chinese language
possesses) we should probably be the innocent cause of an outburst of
genial mirth. The average Chinese takes a very much humbler view of the
degree of deification that has fallen to his dead father's lot than
would be implied by the use of so distinguished a title.

It is a rather common opinion that "the worship of ancestors probably
had its origin in the fear of the evil which might be done by
ghosts."[321] Lafcadio Hearn, a devoted disciple of Herbert Spencer,
took a similar view of Japanese religion, and held that Shinto was at
one time a religion of "perpetual fear." Nobushige Hozumi, Dr. W. G.
Aston and others have disposed of this opinion with reference to Japan.
The former writer, who was called to the English Bar and subsequently
became a Professor of Law at Tokyo, and was still proud to own himself
an ancestor-worshipper, declared that "it was the love of ancestors,
not the dread of them, which gave rise to the custom of worshipping
and making offerings of food and drink to their spirits.... Respect
for their parents may, in some cases, have become akin to awe, yet it
was love, not dread, which caused this feeling of awe.... We celebrate
the anniversary of our ancestors, pay visits to their graves, offer
flowers, food and drink, burn incense, and bow before their tombs
entirely from a feeling of love and respect for their memory, and no
question of 'dread' enters our minds in doing so."[322]

So far as I have had opportunities of judging of Chinese
ancestor-worship, I am strongly of opinion that, subject to what has
been said in an earlier chapter,[323] the words of this writer are as
applicable to China as they are to Japan.[324] There seems, indeed, to
be very little reason why any one should propound or hold the theory
that a loving father was liable to turn into a malevolent ghost. What
the Chinese believe is that their deceased ancestors are well-disposed
towards them, and will give them reasonable help and protection
throughout the course of their lives: though if the ancestral graves
are left uncared-for or the periodical sacrifices neglected or the
spirit-tablets not treated with respect, or if living members of
the family have wasted the family property or have been guilty of
discreditable conduct, then no doubt the spirits will be angry and will
punish them for the crime of lack of filial piety (_pu hsiao_), the
worst crime of which a Chinese can be guilty.

The Chinese are quite satisfied that so long as they behave in a
filial manner (the word "filial" being taken in its widest possible
signification) they have nothing whatever to fear from their ghostly
ancestors. To be truly filial a Chinese must not merely behave with
dutiful obedience towards his parents when they are alive and with
dutiful reverence towards their manes when they are dead, but he must
also act in such a way as to reflect no speck of discredit upon them by
his own misdeeds. If his parents are themselves guilty of wrongdoing he
is entitled to remonstrate with them, because after all his parents as
well as himself owe filial reverence to their common ancestors. If the
wrongdoing is all his own he is twice guilty, for he has committed an
action which is in itself intrinsically wrong, and by degrading his own
moral nature he has brought disgrace on his parents. According to this
theory, the Chinese who commits a dishonourable action is unfilial;
if he breaks the law he is unfilial; if he does not discharge all his
dead father's obligations he is unfilial; if he ruins his own health
through immorality or excesses of any kind he is unfilial; if he fails
to bring up legitimate offspring (to continue the family and carry on
the ancestral rites) he is unfilial.[325]

Needless to say there is no such person as a perfectly filial son in
all China--or anywhere else in the world for that matter: but that fact
no more justifies us in attempting to disparage the noble and lofty
Chinese ideal of filial piety than the failure of Christian men and
Christian Governments to act in accordance with the doctrines of the
Sermon on the Mount justifies us in disparaging the highest ethical
ideal of Christianity. If the ideal--in either the Christian or the
Chinese system--were actually attainable, it would become necessary to
form a new ideal to take the place of that which had ceased as such to
exist or had been seen to "fade into the light of common day." Some
Western observers are apt to think that the Chinese doctrine of filial
piety is too one-sided to be practical: that it makes the son the slave
of his parents and gives the parents at the same time the position of
irresponsible tyrants. No greater mistake could possibly be made. The
responsibilities of the parent are correlative to the duties of the

The _locus classicus_ for this is a famous story told of Confucius
himself. When he was Minister of Crime in his native state a father
brought an accusation against his own son. Confucius sent them both to
gaol, and when he was questioned as to why he punished the father as
well as the son and did not rather condemn the son for the gross crime
of disobeying his father, he replied thus: "Am I to punish for unfilial
conduct one who has not been taught filial duties? Is not he who fails
to teach his son his duties equally guilty with the son who fails to
fulfil them?"[326]

This is a point of view which the Chinese--or at least those
who have not succumbed to the seductive whispers of Western
individualism--thoroughly understand and appreciate to this day. Cases
have been heard in the British courts at Weihaiwei which prove this
to be so. On the rare occasions when a father has been compelled to
bring an action against his son, or on the more numerous occasions when
a father is summoned to the court in connection with a criminal case
in which his own son is the accused, he frequently begins by making a
humble acknowledgment that his own failure to perform his duties as
father must at least partially account for his son's depravity; or if
in accordance with the Chinese practice the British magistrate sternly
lectures a father on the enormity of his offence in bringing up his
son so badly that the son has fallen into the clutches of the law,
the unhappy man admits the justice of the charge promptly and without
reserve. _Yü ts'o: ling tsui_,--"I am guilty: I accept punishment."

But the Chinese doctrine of filial piety does not concern itself only
with the relations between parent and child. We have seen that the
whole of Chinese society is regarded as a vast family of which the
Emperor is Father; similarly the territorial officials are _in loco
parentis_ to the heads of the families living within their respective
jurisdictions: they are the _fu-mu kuan_--the father-and-mother
officials.[327] The doctrine of _Hsiao_--Filial Piety--applies not only
to domestic relationships but also to the relations between Emperor
and Minister and between rulers and ruled. The head of a family who
disobeys an official proclamation is guilty of an offence towards
the local _fu-mu kuan_ which is almost identical in kind with the
offence of a son who wilfully disobeys his father. Here again the
responsibilities are not all on one side: the _fu-mu kuan_ is by the
higher authorities held theoretically responsible for the peace and
good order and contentment of the district over which he presides,
just as Confucius is said to have held the father responsible for the
misbehaviour of his son.

Sometimes, indeed, this doctrine is carried too far, as when an
official is degraded for not preventing an outbreak of crime which he
could not possibly have foreseen. Western peoples have taken advantage
of this theory when they have called upon the Government to punish an
official within whose jurisdiction the slaughter of a missionary has
occurred, even when the official's complicity is quite unproved. The
people themselves know well that their officials are theoretically
responsible for their well-being, and often--through their lack of
scientific knowledge--blame their _fu-mu kuan_ for troubles which
the very best and most diligent of officials could not have averted.
The local officials--nay, viceroys of provinces and even the Emperor
himself--are regarded by their subordinates or subjects, or profess to
regard themselves, as personally responsible for such occurrences as
disastrous earthquakes, epidemics and inundations.[328] In 1909 the
appointment of a new governor to the province of Shantung happened
to be followed by a serious drought; he became highly unpopular at
once and received the disagreeable nickname of the Drought-Governor.
As recently as 1908 I passed through a district in the province of
Shansi in which no rain had fallen for several months. On entering
the magisterial town of the district I noticed that the streets
were thronged with crowds of people from the country, all wearing
willow-wreaths as a sign that the crops were threatened with
destruction and that public prayers were being offered for rain.[329]
The whole town was in confusion, and the sudden appearance of a
foreigner made matters worse. A noisy and restless crowd followed me
into my inn and proved so troublesome (though by no means violent) that
I was obliged to send a message to the local magistrate to request him
to have the inn-yard cleared. My messenger soon came back to report
that the magistrate's official residence or yamên was also closely
invested by a clamouring mob and that the wretched man had been obliged
to barricade his windows and doors to save himself from personal
violence. He was therefore powerless to grant my request. The crowd
had no complaint whatever against him except that his official prayers
for rain had failed to have the desired result and that his culpable
inability to establish friendly relations with the divine Powers was
the evident cause of the drought.

This of course is carrying the theory of the mutual responsibilities
of father and son, ruler and ruled, a great deal too far: but
occurrences of this kind will become less and less frequent with
the gradual advance of scientific and general knowledge; and it is
surely far better that the changes should occur automatically than by
forcible interference with customs and superstitions which in their
fall might involve the indiscriminate destruction of good and bad. We
may now perceive, perhaps, how it was that Confucius, who was evidently
almost an agnostic with regard to gods and spiritual beings,[330] was
strenuously opposed to the abandonment of the rites and ceremonies
that presupposed the existence of such beings. He insisted upon the
importance of keeping up the cult of ancestors not so much for the sake
of the dead but because it fostered among living men feelings of love,
respect, reverence, and duty towards family and State. The souls of
the dead might or might not be unconscious of what was done for them,
but it was in the interests of social harmony and political stability
that the traditional religious and commemorative ceremonies should be
jealously preserved and handed down to posterity and that during the
performance of such ceremonies the presence of the ancestral spirits
should at least be tacitly assumed.

There is one alleged objection to ancestor-worship which only a few
years ago might have been regarded as most serious; and indeed it has
been urged again and again by missionaries, travellers, ethical writers
and sociologists. It was supposed that the cult of ancestors kept the
race that practised it in the grip of a remorseless conservatism;
that the ancestor-worshipper always turned his back on progress and
reform on the plea that what was good enough for his grandfather was
good enough for him; that ancestor-worship was the secret of Oriental
stagnation, and that no Eastern race could be expected to advance in
civilisation and culture until it had learned to work for the good of
its posterity rather than for the barren honour of its ancestry.

"As a system, ancestral worship," says a European writer, "is tenfold
more potent for keeping the people in darkness than all the idols in
the land." "By its deadening influences," says another, "the nation has
been kept for ages looking backward and downward instead of forward
and upward."[331] A few years ago, be it repeated, the theory was one
that had some weight: not because it was convincing in itself but
because facts were wanting by which it could be refuted. The leap of
Japan into the front rank of civilised nations has for ever disposed of
the argument that ancestor-worshippers are necessarily impervious to
change and reform. The cult of ancestors, be it remembered, is nearly
if not quite as prominent a feature in the religious life of Japan as
in that of China. Says a foreign observer, "The ancestor-worship of
the Japanese is no superstition: it is the great essential fact of
their lives."[332] Says a native observer, "the introduction of Western
civilisation, which has wrought so many social and political changes
during the last sixty years, has had no influence whatever in the
direction of modifying the custom."[333]

According to Lafcadio Hearn, ancestor-worship is "that which specially
directs national life and shapes national character. Patriotism belongs
to it. Loyalty is based on it." Little wonder is it that, knowing what
the ancestral cult has done for Japan, Prof. H. A. Giles in quoting
this passage adds a significant remark. "It would seem," he writes,
"that so far from backing up missionaries who are imploring the Chinese
to get rid of ancestral worship, the sooner we establish it in this
country the better for our own interests." That ancestor-worship can be
introduced or reintroduced into an occidental country in the twentieth
century is of course out of the question: but before we continue to
devote human lives and vast treasure to the self-imposed task of
uprooting it from its congenial oriental soil, would it not be well
earnestly to consider whether our work may not be regarded by our own
distant posterity as the most stupendous folly or as the gravest and
most disastrous of errors ever committed by the nations of the West?
By all means let it be admitted that ancestor-worship helped to make
China content--perhaps foolishly content--with her traditional culture,
and too heedless of the rapid development of the occidental Powers in
wealth and civilisation and scientific equipment: on the other hand
it helped to make her people industrious, frugal, patient, cheerful,
law-abiding, filial, good fathers, loyal to the past, hopeful and
thoughtful for the future. Most emphatically may we say this, that
it is not essential to China's future progress that ancestor-worship
should be abolished. Among the people of China their ancestors occupy
the place of a kind of Second Chamber--a phantom House of Lords,
strongly antagonistic to sudden change and to rash experiments whether
in social life, religion or politics; a House of Lords which--like
Upper Houses elsewhere--may at times have opposed real progress and
useful reform, but which perhaps far oftener has saved the nation from
the consequences of its own excesses by exercising a sacred right of
veto of which no Lower House has the least desire to deprive it: a veto
which is none the less effective, none the less binding on living men,
through being exercised by a silent crowd of viewless ghosts.


[301] "The Religion of China," in _Religious Systems of the World_ (8th
ed.), pp. 61 _seq._

[302] _Quarterly Review_, October 1907, p. 374.

[303] _The Evolution of Religion_ (3rd ed.), vol. i. p. 40.

[304] _The Dragon, Image and Demon_, pp. 77 and 88.

[305] _The Middle Kingdom_ (1883 ed.), vol. ii. p. 253-4.

[306] _Chinese Characteristics_ (5th ed.), p. 185.

[307] _The Lore of Cathay_, p. 275.

[308] None perhaps more pitiful than that which is related in the
_Revue des Deux Mondes_ of September 15, 1900. I forbear to quote this
story, as it would not be fair to do so without hearing "the other

[309] _The Spectator_, August 22, 1908, p. 267.

[310] _Religion in China_ (1893 ed.), p. 153.

[311] For brief accounts of this celebrated episode, see Prof. Parker's
_China and Religion_, pp. 197-203; Williams's _Middle Kingdom_ (1883
ed.), vol. ii. pp. 299 _seq._, and Max Müller's _Last Essays_ (Second
Series), pp. 314-18.

[312] Parker, _op. cit._ p. 202.

[313] "Considering," writes Sir Charles Eliot, "what would have been
the probable fate of Chinamen in Rome who publicly contradicted the
Pope on matters of doctrine, it is hardly surprising if K'ang Hsi dealt
severely with the rebellious foreign religion." (_Quarterly Review_
October 1907, p. 375.)

[314] _The Middle Kingdom_ (1883 ed.), vol. ii. p. 253.

[315] Evidence of these things may be found _passim_ in such journals
as _China's Millions_. Some typical cases are mentioned by Arthur
Davenport in his interesting work _China from Within_. He also quotes
in full the case referred to on p. 332 (footnote 3).

[316] The processes of beatification and canonisation in Rome and
China are in many respects similar. Some years ago the Archbishop of
Rouen and other prelates addressed a letter to the Pope with regard
to Joan of Arc, begging the Holy See to declare that "this admirable
girl practised heroically the Christian virtues ... and that she is
consequently worthy of being inscribed among the Blessed and of being
publicly invoked by all Christian people." After the lapse of some
years Pope Pius IX. duly "proclaimed the heroic quality of Joan of
Arc's virtues, and the authenticity of the miracles associated with
her name"; and since then, as is well known, the French heroine has
gone through the process of beatification. (See _Times_ of April 13,
1909.) In China a man or woman who was distinguished during life
for some heroic action or for pre-eminent virtue may--in suitable
circumstances--be recommended by the local officials for canonisation,
and if the Emperor wills it to be so he issues a decree whereby that
person becomes a saint or a god (whichever term we prefer) and is
officially entitled to be the recipient of public worship. The memorial
in which the magistrates set forth the virtues of the dead man--and the
miracles performed at his tomb if there happen to have been any--might
be translated almost word for word from similar memorials sent to Rome
by orthodox Christian prelates; and the Chinese Emperor gives his
decision in the matter in very much the same terms as are adopted by
the Pope. Cf. Farnell's _Evolution of Religion_, p. 77.

[317] _Asiatic Studies_ (Second Series), 1906 ed., p. 155.

[318] See pp. 277 _seq._

[319] This word "worship" is not a strictly correct translation of the
Chinese _pai_. "To visit or salute ceremoniously" would, as a rule, be
a fairer rendering.

[320] _Lun Yü_, ii. 24 (Legge's translation).

[321] Sir Charles Eliot, in _The Quarterly Review_, October 1907, p.

[322] _Ancestor-worship and Japanese Law_ by Nobushige Hozumi (Tokyo,
1901), pp. 4 _seq._ For a similar view see Tylor's _Primitive Culture_
(4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 113.

[323] See pp. 119, 263.

[324] In case the reader should be misled into the belief that this
opinion is shared by all foreigners in China, I quote some words
recently published by the Rev. J. Macgowan in his work _Sidelights on
Chinese Life_ (pp. 75-6). The root of ancestor-worship, he says, "lies
neither in reverence nor in affection for the dead, but in selfishness
and dread. The kindly ties and the tender affection that used to bind
men together when they were in the world and to knit their hearts in
a loving union seem to vanish, and the living are only oppressed with
a sense of the mystery of the dead, and a fear lest they should do
anything that might incur their displeasure and so bring misery upon
the home." This view is not, I think, a fair one.

[325] According to Mencius the most unfilial of sons is he who does not
become the father of children.

[326] For a criticism of the theory, cf. Montesquieu, _L'Esprit des
Lois_, vi. 20. But see also some very appreciative remarks by the
same writer on the Chinese theory of Filial Piety, as applied to both
domestic and political relationships, in Book xix. 17-19.

[327] See above, pp. 9, 15.

[328] Cf. the beautiful prayer-poem of the Chinese king Hsüan Wang,
attributed to the ninth century B.C. (For text and translation see
Legge's _Chinese Classics_, vol. iv. pt. ii. pp. 528 _seq._)

[329] See p. 187.

[330] It need not be supposed that there was anything unique about
Confucius's agnosticism. There is evidence enough that he did not stand
alone in his attitude of uncertainty with regard to the spiritual
world. The writings of Mo Tzŭ (Micius), who taught an attractive
philosophy of his own in the fourth and fifth centuries B.C., show
inferentially that the question of whether there was or was not a
world of spirits was a frequent subject of debate among the learned.
Micius himself took the view that "there are heavenly spirits and there
are spirits of the hills and streams, and there are spirits of the
dead also." He hotly combated the view (which must have been widely
current) that no such spirits existed. The subject remained a stock
question for debate; indeed once it had been raised, how could it ever
have ceased to agitate men's minds? The philosopher Wang Ch'ung (first
century A.D.) was a materialist, and besides flouting many prevalent
superstitions, such as those relating to virgin-births and other
prodigies, he entered the lists against those who sought to prove that
dead men continue to have a conscious existence or can exercise any
control or influence over their living descendants.

[331] Both of these enlightening observations are quoted with evident
approval by the Rev. H. C. Du Bose in his work _The Dragon, Image and
Demon_ (New York: 1887), pp. 87-8.

[332] O. K. Davis in the _Century Illustrated Magazine_, November 1904.
This is quoted by Prof. H. A. Giles in _Adversaria Sinica_, p. 202.

[333] Nobushige Hozumi in _Ancestor-Worship and Japanese Law_, p. 2.



It is not only Confucianism, with its grand ethical system, its
acquiescence in Nature-worship and its cult of ancestors, that has
built up the curiously unsymmetrical edifice of Chinese religion.
Taoism and Buddhism must also be taken into account; and if one can
find for them but few words of praise it is only fair to remember
that the Taoism of to-day has very little in common with the lofty
if sometimes rather misty speculations enshrined in that remarkable
old classic the _Tao Tê Ching_, and that Buddhism--as now practised
in north-eastern Shantung and indeed in the greater part of China
(excluding certain famous monastic centres)--is perhaps irrevocably
degenerate and corrupt. The _Tao Tê Ching_, the sacred book of Taoism,
is generally supposed, probably on insufficient grounds,[334] to have
been written by a philosopher known as Lao Tzŭ, said to have been an
elder contemporary of Confucius, in the sixth century B.C.

The Taoist philosophy, as set forth in that book, may or may not have
been indigenous to China; some writers insist that it was wholly a
product of Chinese speculation,[335] while others trace it to early
Indian philosophy[336] and even connect it with Buddhism.[337] Though
its doctrines are metaphysical as well as ethical, Taoism is to some
extent comparable with Confucianism, in which the ethical element is
predominant. Indeed most writers have admitted that in enunciating
the noble doctrine "Return good for evil," Lao Tzŭ rose to a height
never quite attained by Confucius, though the latter also anticipated
Christianity by formulating a version of the Golden Rule. One of the
best outline comparisons ever attempted between the two systems of
Taoism and Confucianism is that recently made by a sympathetic American
writer,[338] who concludes with the carefully-weighed and highly
important utterance that the two codes combined "furnished at once the
foundation and superstructure of as pure, high, and at the same time
practical system of ethics as the world has ever seen. It need fear
comparison with none. Even that laid down in the Bible, if carefully
separated from the religious element here and there intermingled with
it, can do no more for man than this ancient system of the Far East can
do. And why should it be otherwise, since the two are similar almost to
identity, and are, as has been claimed, the necessary outgrowth of the
same human spirit."

There is no better augury for future good relations between the
thinkers and scholars (if not the Governments and peoples) of East
and West than the recent growth of a tolerant and generous spirit on
the part of European students of oriental ethic and religion. One
still hears constantly of "heathen" and "pagan"--words which, however
inoffensive in their original meaning, have come to be regarded as
somewhat opprobrious epithets; but that there is a very decided change
for the better coming over missionary enterprise in China can be proved
very simply by a comparison between the sympathetic appreciation shown
in the passage from which the above statement is quoted (written, be
it noted, by one who is keenly interested in missionary work in China)
and the almost inconceivable bigotry and narrow-mindedness shown by
many missionary writers only a few years ago. Even Dr. Legge, the
laborious and conscientious translator of the Chinese classics, allowed
his Christian prepossessions, as we have already seen, to obscure
his judgment and stultify his conclusions. "Their sages, _falsely so
called_," is how he refers to some of the greatest ethical teachers the
world has seen.[339] "In January, 1882," writes a doctor of divinity,
"a distinguished missionary in China attacked Max Müller as a foe to
missions and as a heathen because he had instituted the series of
translations of the Sacred Books of the East. The translation itself
was an offence; but the use of the title _Sacred_ definitely fixed
Müller's status. Moreover, at even a later date, some missionaries in
answer to the query from Chinamen 'Where now is Confucius?' were prompt
to reply 'In hell.'"[340]

The missionaries of to-day (let us hope against hope that there are no
exceptions) have abandoned their old savage belief that the "heathen"
as such are destined for eternal damnation. This change of belief is of
itself sufficient to revolutionise the attitude of Christian peoples
towards those who are not Christians, and surely it makes the need of
proselytising the "heathen" infinitely less urgent than it seemed to be
when that theory still held sway. "If God be father of all," writes a
missionary of fourteen years' standing in China, "it is as impossible
to believe in the Bible as the sole written depository of the Spirit
of God as in the condemnation of the heathen which once we were
constrained to believe it taught."[341]

It is perhaps more necessary to lay emphasis on the value of pure
Taoism as an ethical system than on that of the Confucian code, for
one is apt--especially if one lives among the Chinese--to condemn
Taoism almost unheard on account of the gross superstitions that
characterise it at the present day. Popular Taoism is and for many
centuries has been a compound of jugglery and fraud, of pseudo-religion
and pseudo-philosophy. With all this Lao Tzŭ had nothing to do. That
great man and his brilliant successor Chuang Tzŭ--who has been styled
the St. Paul of Taoism--founded their theory of life and conduct on
a mysterious entity called _Tao_, a word which has been variously
translated Reason, Realisation, the Norm, the Word (λόγος), the Way,
the First Cause, Nature, the Idea of the Good (in the Platonic sense),
the Creative Principle, Truth, the Metaphysical Absolute, Virtue,
Wisdom, God. This is no place for a discussion of the philosophical
principles of pure Taoism, which has no visible existence among the
farmers of Weihaiwei. All that need be said here is that to understand
Tao and to regulate one's life according to Tao was to be a _chên-jên_,
a true man, a Taoist.

As time went on Taoism became ninety-nine parts "ism" to one part
Tao: it dabbled in alchemy, fortune-telling and astrology, and its
votaries (who included several Chinese emperors) gave themselves up to
a search for the elixir of immortality and the elusive secret of the
transmutation of metals. The torch of a lofty philosophy passed into
the hands of men who, instead of using the light to aid them in the
search for the sublime _Tao_, soon quenched it in the stagnant waters
of witchcraft and demonology. Some writers seem to have assumed that
Lao Tzŭ, in spite of the acknowledged fact of his intellectual and
moral greatness, was in some mysterious way the unwitting cause of the
later corruptions: but, as has been said, a clear distinction must be
drawn between popular Taoism (which has little or nothing to say of
_Tao_) and the philosophic Taoism which has made a noble and permanent
contribution to the ethical consciousness of the Chinese people.[342]
Popular Taoism probably existed, in some form or other, long before
the time of the compiler of the _Tao Tê Ching_. The astrology and
alchemy and demonology that give the former many of its characteristic
features may have existed in China from a very remote age. The extreme
antiquity of superstitions of this kind in other parts of Asia is an
undeniable fact: the records of the early civilisation of Chaldæa give
us statements concerning the sorcerers and astrologers of that country
that might be applied almost without alteration to the charm-mongerers
and adepts of Chinese Taoism.[343] The philosophy of Lao Tzŭ may be
compared with a pure sparkling stream that bubbled up amid the crags
of a lofty range of mountains; when it had flowed down the hillside
and began to meander through the fields and villages below, its limpid
waters became ever more and more defiled by the foulness and refuse of
the plains. Perhaps it would be equally true to say that the source
of the river of popular Taoism lies among the mists and marshes of
some trackless and pestilential jungle; that its waters throughout the
whole of its visible course are muddy and impure; and that the clear
mountain stream that flowed from the doctrines of Lao Tzŭ and his
interpreters and successors was only a tributary stream whose crystal
waters were soon lost in the turbid flood of the main river. It was a
clear perception of the fundamental difference between the philosophy
of Lao Tzŭ and popular Taoism that induced a recent Japanese writer,
Kakasu Okakura, to confer upon the former the name of Laoism, after its
founder, and to relinquish to the latter the barren glory of the name
of Taoism;[344] thus in contemplating the unattractive mythology and
crude rituals of the Taoism of the temples we must beware of laying
any of the responsibility for such follies on the grand though shadowy
figure of "the Old Philosopher," in spite of the fact that his image
has taken its place in the Taoist Trinity of gods who are supposed to
reign (though not to rule) over the phenomenal Universe.

If it can be confidently asserted that the people of Weihaiwei know
little or nothing of Laoism, it must be admitted that they still cling
with apparent fondness to the puerile imaginings of Taoism. In respect
of Confucianism they perform (with zeal and sincerity) the traditional
rites of ancestor-worship, and with respect to Buddhism they support
(with less zeal and less sincerity) a few priests to burn incense for
them on stated days before the image of the Buddha or some favourite
_p'u-sa_ such as the "Goddess of Mercy": but in other respects Taoism
may be said to be the religion that monopolises the largest share of
their attention. The greater number of temples in the Territory are
Taoist--excluding the Ancestral Temples (_Chia Miao_), which are not
open to the public. Most of these Taoist edifices are poor in outward
appearance and their interiors are often dirty and evil-smelling; while
the images of the numerous Taoist deities are of cheap manufacture and
tawdry in ornament. A casual visitor might suppose the gods were left
entirely to themselves; for he may go through a dozen temples and not
find a single worshipper or a single priest. But if he scrutinises
the altars he will find, amid the dust and cobwebs, the ashes of
incense-sticks and sometimes the remains of little offerings in the
shape of cakes or sweetmeats,--just enough to show that the gods are
not quite forgotten. It is only the largest temples that have resident
priests; the smaller ones are either in charge of apprentices or
pupil-priests or are visited from time to time (as on occasions of
annual festivals or theatrical shows) by priests who exercise spiritual
superintendence over a group of temples scattered over a considerable

The Taoist priests as a class are neither well-educated nor zealous in
discharge of their simple duties, but it would be a mistake to suppose
that they are all abjectly lazy or energetic only in vice and crime.
The Weihaiwei priests are as a rule fairly respectable in private life;
one of them has done and is doing really good work by inducing people
to cure themselves of the opium habit. A Taoist temple is generally
the property of a group of villages and the "living" is in their gift.
When a vacancy occurs in a "living," a new priest is selected by the
_hui-shou_ or committee of elders who transact most of the public
business of the villages concerned, and the appointment is absolutely
within their discretion. But once a priest has been appointed it is
(or was) as difficult to turn him out as it is to remove a clergyman
from his benefice in England. In Weihaiwei the usual procedure for
getting rid of a disreputable priest (whether Taoist or Buddhist) is to
present a petition to the magistrate, setting forth the reasons why the
priest's continued residence in the locality is considered undesirable.
The British Government, needless to say, makes no difficulty about
his prompt expulsion as soon as satisfactory evidence against him is

Some of the priests of Weihaiwei are office-bearers in the _Tsai Li_
Sect--a "total abstinence" society (in some places semi-political
in character) which has claimed a large membership in the Weihaiwei
district ever since the days of the military colonists. There are
gradations of rank among the Taoist priests, but as a rule each is
practically independent of the rest. The Taoist "Pope" himself--the
dispenser of amulets and charms who resides in the Dragon-Tiger
Mountains (Lung-hu Shan) of southern Kiangsi--has no direct authority
over the priests of eastern Shantung, or if such authority exists in
theory it is not exercised in practice. The official duties of the
priests consist in very little more than looking after the temple
buildings, seeing to the repair of the images when their clay arms
and legs fall off (this is a duty they often shirk), and calling the
attention of the deities to the presence of lay visitors who have
brought offerings and desire to offer up prayers. Their services as
magicians and retailers of charms are also invoked from time to time by
private persons.

Men and women (especially women) pay occasional visits to the temples
when they wish to implore the aid of a favourite deity in connection
with some family matter such as the approaching birth of a child, or
some hazardous business venture, or the illness of a relative; and in
such cases they often make vows to the effect that if their prayers
are granted they will make certain additional offerings of money and

Apart from these visits the temples are usually deserted except on one
or two annual occasions such as the celebration of a local festival.
The temple then becomes one of the centres of attraction--indeed in all
probability it is a god's birthday that is being celebrated--and its
precincts are thronged from morning to night by crowds of well-dressed
men and women and children, eager to register their vows or make
their petitions. The worshippers knock their heads on the ground as
an acknowledgment of humility and powerlessness, while the priest
strikes a tinkling bronze bowl with a view to awaking the god from
his slumbers. In front of every image stand jars containing sticks of
burning incense, sending up clouds of fragrant smoke. The courtyard
resounds with fire-crackers and bombs which are supposed to frighten
away any wandering spirits of evil. Dense fumes arise from heaps of
burning paper representing money, prayers and charms, all of which,
through the spiritualisation wrought by fire, are expected to reach the
immaterial region of the unseen spirits.

In front of the temple stands the open-air stage where a group of
masked or painted actors, clad in robes resplendent with colour and
gleaming with gold embroidery, strive by means of extravagant gestures
and high-pitched voices to interpret, for the benefit of a dense crowd
of eager sightseers, their conception of some fantastic old-world
legend or some tragic episode in the bygone history of China.

To enumerate all the gods and goddesses, great and small, that crowd
the Taoist pantheon would be tedious. Popular Taoism provides deities
or spiritual patrons for all the forces of nature, diseases (from
devil-possession to toothache), wealth and rank and happiness, war,
old age, death, childbirth, towns and villages, trades, mountains and
rivers and seas, lakes and canals, heaven and hell, sun, moon and
stars, roads and places where there are no roads, clouds and thunder,
every separate part and organ of the human body, and indeed for almost
everything that is cognisable by the senses and a great deal that is
not. It need hardly be said that no Taoist temple in existence contains
images of all these spiritual personages, or a hundredth part of them.
Each locality possesses its own favourites.

The _Ts'ai Shên_ or God of Wealth is popular in Weihaiwei no less than
elsewhere. He has become so important a deity to the Chinese that
though he belongs to Taoism the Buddhists have been compelled to find
room for him in their temples in order to attract worshippers who might
otherwise go elsewhere. China's guests from the Western hemisphere have
sometimes selected the "god of wealth" as a mark for special scorn and
ridicule, though why they should do so is not quite apparent, inasmuch
as the devotion to money-getting is quite as strong and prevalent
among Englishmen and Germans and Americans as it is among the Chinese.
Moreover, after a careful consideration of the kind of prayers that are
addressed to the god of wealth and the popular attitude towards him and
his gifts, I am satisfied that he is merely regarded as the dispenser
in moderate quantities of the ordinary good things of life. The farmer
who prays to Ts'ai Shên in the local temple does so in the hope that
the god will enable him to sell his crops for fair prices so that he
may continue to bring up his family amid modest prosperity. It is very
much as if he were to say "Give us this day our daily bread": in fact
he sometimes uses almost those very words.

The tradesman who burns incense daily in front of a strip of paper
inscribed with the name of the god of wealth does so because of "old
custom," or from a vague idea that "it cannot possibly do harm and may
bring some good luck," or from a more definite religious idea that
without some support from the unseen powers--of which Ts'ai Shên is
taken as a representative--his business will not prosper. The people of
Weihaiwei have a very humble idea of what constitutes wealth. A man was
described to me in an official petition as a "lord of wealth"--a common
expression for a rich man. I had occasion to make enquiries into the
state of this person's finances, and found that his total possessions
amounted in value to about two thousand dollars Mexican--less than two
hundred pounds. This was all the wealth he was "lord" of. The Chinese
Buddhists--in spite of the admission of the Taoist god of wealth into
their temples--have always, in their tracts and sermons, sternly
discouraged the pursuit of wealth for its own sake. There is a saying
which one meets with constantly in a certain class of Buddhistic work:
The mean-minded man devotes his bodily powers to the heaping-up of
money (that is, he regards money as an end in itself); the gentleman
uses what money he has to develop his character (that is, he regards
money as a means to an end).

Among other popular Taoist deities in Weihaiwei are the _San Kuan_
or Three Mandarins, who are supposed to have a kind of ghostly
superintendence over sky, earth and water. The three together form
a trinity-in-unity, and as such are known as the _San Kuan Ta
Ti_--literally, the Three-Officials-Great-God.

Several villages contain little tower-shaped shrines harbouring the
image of the God of Literature, or rather of Literary Composition,
who is supposed to reside in a constellation of six stars called
Wên-ch'ang, forming part of Ursa Major. This deity, who takes his name
from the constellation, receives the homage of literary men who aim at
an official career, and is supposed to have appeared in several human
incarnations, beginning with one Chang Chung in the Chou dynasty.
Like many other gods of China he is thus nothing more nor less than a
deified man.

Kuan Ti, the God of War, is also a conspicuous figure in many temples,
and he is officially "worshipped" in the cities in the second months
of spring and autumn. He is one of the mightiest of all the Taoist
gods, though his career as a deity has been quite a short one. He
also (in the second century A.D.) was an ordinary mortal--a great
soldier and hero named Kuan Yü, who performed many acts of valour
at a time when China was given up to internecine strife. Long after
his death he was canonised, but it was not till near the end of the
sixteenth century that one of the Ming emperors raised him to what may
be called divine rank. His position in China is equivalent to that of
the Japanese Hachiman, who is also a deified human being. Honours have
been heaped upon Kuan Ti by the present dynasty, and he has been raised
to a theoretical equality with Confucius. Had the Boxers succeeded in
driving all foreigners out of China it is possible that he (or the
deified Empress-Dowager herself) might have been raised to a position
of something approaching pre-eminence among the gods of China.

The walled city of Weihaiwei has, of course, its Kuan Ti temple, as
we have seen in connection with the story of the great fishbone found
by one of the Liu family.[345] In this temple there is a very large
and heavy weapon which might be described as a kind of sword or spear.
Weapons of this type are common enough in China, though when of such
great size and weight as that in the Kuan Ti temple they are intended
more for show than for use, and accordingly find a more appropriate
position in a temple or an official yamên than on a field of battle.
The Weihaiwei sword--if such it may be called--is of sufficient fame
to be specially mentioned in the local Annals. It is there described,
accurately enough, as being more than a _chang_ in length (say about
twelve English feet) and one hundred catties in weight (say one
hundred and thirty-three English pounds). The blade is made of iron,
and there is much skilful and delicate ornamentation in copper. "No
other temple," says the Chronicle, "has anything like it. Old folks
have handed down the tradition that it came out of the sea with a deep
rolling sound (something like the lowing of cattle). The people of
the neighbourhood heard the sound and went near the strange object.
When they lifted it up and examined it, lo! it was a great sword. So
they carried it off and presented it reverentially to the spirit of
Kuan Ti." The god of war, obviously, was the proper person to possess
a weapon which no human arm was strong enough to wield. The written
account gives us no clear statement of how this Chinese Excalibur came
out of the sea: but the present warden of the temple tells a somewhat
prosaic story to the effect that it was found along with sundry other
articles, including some arrows and two copper bells, in an open boat
that was cast ashore in the Weihaiwei harbour. The arrows are still
in the Kuan Ti temple; the bells are said to have been sent off to
Wên-têng city, where presumably they still remain.


The Kuan Ti temple is said to have been the scene of at least one
miracle. Once upon a time a Taoist priest, named Wu K'ao-yü, who was
in charge of the temple, went out for an evening stroll. Darkness came
on before he returned, and he then remembered that he had forgotten to
light the altar lamps. He hunted about for some means of striking a
light, but found none; so he decided to go to one of his neighbours and
borrow a candle. He was grumbling at himself for his carelessness when
suddenly, in his presence, the altar was illuminated by four brilliant
lights. When he observed that they neither flickered nor went out he
prostrated himself in reverence and repeated part of the liturgy.
If the god could provide lights for himself, he argued, there was
obviously no necessity for troubling the neighbours, so he went to bed
like a sensible man, leaving the lamps to look after themselves.

The question arises, did he ever take the trouble to light the lamps
again? To this the chronicler gives no reply. The priest was possibly
gifted with powers which in these days might be termed mediumistic,
for this was not his only remarkable experience of the kind. On one
occasion he beheld, in a midnight vision, three elaborately dressed
men, lively and active in manner and of handsome appearance. They
looked at the priest and all cried out together, "Come quickly and save
us!" This remark was twice repeated, and the speakers then vanished.
The priest immediately arose, and without choosing his path allowed
himself to be led by unseen influences down to the sea-beach. There he
saw, lying at the edge of the surf, three copper images. Recognising
them at once as images of the Three Prefects of the Sea-King's Palace,
he picked them up reverently and deposited them in the principal hall
of the temple. Rumours of the strange discovery soon spread far and
wide, and crowds of worshippers came to the Kuan Ti temple to see the
images for themselves and--incidentally--to make suitable offerings to
the highly-favoured priest.

A much smaller deity than Kuan Ti but of greater importance to the
people in their everyday life is the City-god--the _Ch'êng Huang_.
Every walled city in China has a Ch'êng Huang Lao-yeh (His Worship the
City-god) who acts as its guardian deity. On certain fixed days, such
as the first and fifteenth of every month and on occasions of special
dangers or disasters, the local officials visit the temple dedicated to
this deity and burn incense in front of his image, which is generally
clad in real robes and is of full human size. A similar ceremonious
visit also takes place when a new magistrate arrives in the city and
takes over the seals of office.

In many countries there was once a barbarous custom whereby human
beings were sacrificed at the building of the gates or towers of a city
wall and buried below the foundations.[346] Human blood was believed
to add strength and stability to the wall, and the sacrificed human
being was supposed to become its spiritual guardian. Sacrifices of
this kind are believed to have taken place as recently as 1857, at the
foundation of the Burmese city of Mandalay. Not only city-walls but
bridges, temples, river-dykes, and indeed all buildings of importance
were supposed to be enormously strengthened by the blood and bones of
specially-slain human victims. In some cases, apparently, the wretched
victims were buried alive. There is some reason for believing that
human sacrifices occurred at the construction of the Great Wall of
China in the third century B.C.

In some parts of the Empire there is still a curiously-prevalent belief
to the effect that Governments and officials are in the habit of
taking a toll of human life when they have any great engineering work
on hand, and bad characters or misguided patriots who wished to bring
odium upon foreigners have been known to circulate stories that Chinese
children were being kidnapped by Western barbarians for the purpose of
burying them under a railway or a fort or a dock or some great public
building. There was a scare of the kind among a section of the poorer
classes of Hongkong about eight or nine years ago, and in the little
village known to Europeans as Aberdeen, on the Hongkong island, there
was, in consequence, a small panic. A white ship, said the people,
had been seen coming by night into Aberdeen harbour, the object of
those on board being to kidnap Chinese boys and girls for purposes of
foundation-sacrifices. Yet the people of that village had been under
direct British rule for about sixty years! It would be interesting to
know whether the Ch'êng Huang or City-god was originally a sacrificed
human-being, but the Chinese will not admit such to be the case and it
is difficult to procure evidence.

The Chinese of to-day profess to think that no such barbarous custom
can ever have taken place in their country, but they are unquestionably
wrong in this belief: indeed there is some reason to believe that
the custom is not yet extinct in China.[347] As for the barbarity of
the practice, the Chinese admit that the custom of slaughtering men
and women at funerals, and even burying them alive in the tombs of
kings and high officials, became extinct only in modern times.[348]
Whatever may be the truth with regard to the origin of the Ch'êng
Huang, the popular belief is that he is a kind of ghostly magistrate,
and in modern times he is generally regarded as the spirit of a former
magistrate who on account of his blameless life or devotion to the
interests of the people died "in the odour of sanctity."

Changes and promotions sometimes take place among the city-gods just
as among the living members of the Chinese civil service. The world of
the dead is supposed to be a reduplication of the world of men. One
might almost imagine that some rather dull-witted Chinese philosopher
had heard, and grievously failed to understand, the Platonic doctrine
of Ideas, and had then applied his new learning to the solution, by
Chinese methods, of the mystery of the land from which no traveller
returns. Provinces, cities, villages, officials and yamên-runners,
houses and fields and cattle, and indeed all material things were and
are vaguely supposed to have their immaterial counterparts in the
world of shades. It is necessary to emphasise the word "vaguely," for
no well-educated and very few illiterate Chinese seem to hold this
belief with dogmatic definiteness, and indeed they are usually ready to
join Europeans in criticising or deriding it. But it is a theory that
certainly colours the traditional Chinese views of death and the beyond.

The city-god takes rank according to the status of the living
magistrate: a prefectural city is superior to that of a
district-magistracy, hence the city-god of the former takes precedence
of the city-god of the latter. The deity that presides over the
destinies of Weihaiwei city is thus very humbly placed among the
hundreds and thousands of deities of his class, for Weihaiwei
is only the seat of a _hsün-chien_[349]--the mere deputy of a
district-magistrate. It is probable, too, that just as the Weihaiwei
_hsün-chien_ has become an even less important person than formerly,
since the establishment of British rule over the territory that was
once under his supervision, so his ghostly counterpart has been obliged
to assume a humbler position than before in the ranks of the minor
deities. Yet if local legends are to be credited the Weihai city-god
was once quite competent to assert his authority and defend his
reputation. It is generally supposed that a deity of this class has
control only over the people of his own city and its subject territory:
beyond those limits his powers do not extend. But that the Weihai god
insisted at one time on respectful treatment even from strangers is
proved by the following incident. In the seventeenth century a certain
man named Chao, a native of the P'êng-lai district in the prefecture
of Têng-chou, had come to Weihaiwei to transact business. The weather
being hot he went into the Ch'êng Huang miao (temple of the city-god)
for an afternoon nap, and sat down with his back to the god's image. A
bystander, who was a local man, hastened to point out that his attitude
was disrespectful. "It is not proper," he said, "to sit with your
back to the god. Wouldn't it be wiser to turn sideways?" Chao smiled
scornfully. "I am a P'êng-lai man; your god has no power over me. I
propose to stay where I am."

Soon afterwards he fell asleep. He slumbered long and deeply, and in
the middle of the night he suddenly woke up and to his horror found
himself bound hand and foot to one of the rafters of the roof, and
there unseen hands proceeded to subject him to an unmerciful beating.
The more he howled the faster and heavier came the blows. When he had
suffered excruciating pain for what seemed to him a long time, the
thongs that bound him were mysteriously loosened by ghostly fingers and
he was lowered to the floor. Then the flogging began again, and the
wretched Chao was driven screaming out of the temple precincts. Outside
the gates he fell unconscious to the ground. When he came to himself
he was hardly able to move; his body was still bruised and scarred,
and when he tried to drag one leg after the other he writhed in agony.
After many weary days the pains left him, but his contempt for alien
gods was a thing of the past: he had become a grave and religious man.
Before leaving the city on his return journey he took care to prove his
remorse by presenting the outraged deity with a beautiful paper horse,
which was of course despatched to the spirit-world through the usual
agency of fire.

(see p. 402).]

[Illustration: _Photo by Ah Fong, Weihaiwei._

There is a quainter and more touching story told of the city-god of
the neighbouring district-city of Jung-ch'êng. The Chinese, as we have
seen,[350] regard three days in the year as specially consecrated to
the spirits of the dead, just as there are three special holidays
for the living. On each of the spirit-festivals the Ch'êng Huang
is expected to hold a formal inspection of his city. His image is
accordingly brought out of the dingy temple in which it usually
reposes, placed in an official chair, and carried in a noisy and not
very solemn procession through the principal streets of the town. The
story goes that during one of these periodical excursions a young girl,
a member of a well-known local family, was watching the procession with
the keenest interest. As the god's palanquin passed the spot where she
was standing, she saw the image--or believed she saw it--deliberately
turn its face in her direction and smile at her with a look of friendly
interest. Full of excitement the girl went home and poured out her tale
in the ear of her mother. The good lady treated the story as a kind
of joke and laughed gaily at her daughter's fancy. "It is clear," she
said, "that Ch'êng Huang Lao-yeh wants you for his wife: so off you go
to him."

A few days passed by and the girl became seriously ill. A doctor
was called in, but all he did was to look wise, give her a charm to
hang over her door, and make her swallow some disagreeable medicine.
In less than a month after the meeting with the city-god the girl
was dead. During the night following her death her mother had a
strange dream. She was visited by the spirit of her dead daughter,
who told her that she was now well and happy, for she had become the
bride of the Ch'êng Huang. Needless to say the dream soon became
the common talk of the neighbours, through whom it reached the ears
of the district-magistrate. After evidence had been given and duly
corroborated it was officially decided that the Ch'êng Huang's will
had manifested itself in an unmistakable manner and that to thwart it
would bring certain disaster on the city. The girl's body was therefore
buried with much pomp and ceremony within the temple grounds, her
image, robed in real silks, was installed in the central pavilion
beside that of the god himself, and she received formal recognition as
the Ch'êng Huang's consort.

As time went on the dead girl began to acquire some local fame as a
healer of various diseases, and persons who believed she had cured
their ailments took to buying little votive offerings such as tiny
pairs of shoes, hair-combs, ear-rings, and other trinkets such as
Chinese ladies love. These were all stored up in the temple, where
many of them may still be seen. The citizens of Jung-ch'êng who tell
the story to strangers and fear it will not be believed are in the
habit of mentioning a prosaic little fact which, they think, must
banish all doubt. Every morning, they say, a basin of clean water is
taken by the priest into the inner room which is supposed to serve as
the sleeping-chamber of the Ch'êng Huang and his wife. Having put the
basin on its stand the priest discreetly withdraws. In half an hour
he returns and takes the basin away: and lo! the water is clean no
longer. This realistic touch is rather characteristic of Chinese tales
of wonder. Whatever the real origin of the legend may be there is no
doubt that the city-god of Jung-ch'êng does share the honours of local
worship with a female spirit whose image rests beside his own; and if
any one questions whether she was ever a living human being he may ask
for an introduction to the descendants of the very family to which she
belonged,--for their name is Ts'ai and their home is in one of the city
suburbs, where they flourish to this day.[351]

Just as every town has its Ch'êng Huang Lao-yeh, so every village has
its T'u Ti Lao-yeh or Old Father T'u Ti. He is of course inferior in
rank to a Ch'êng Huang, and instead of possessing an ornate temple
and being represented by a full-sized robed and bearded image he has
no better resting-place, as a rule, than a little stone shrine three
or four feet high. In the case of the Weihaiwei villages this shrine
is generally situated on the roadside close by the village to which
it belongs. The ordinary villager's ceremonial visits to the local
T'u Ti miao or temple of the village-god are not very frequent. If
he or any member of his family is sick he will beseech the T'u Ti to
grant a restoration to health, and on such occasions, or after a cure
has been effected, he will very often hang little flags of scarlet
cloth--they are often mere rags--on a stick or pole in front of the
shrine. The popular T'u Ti of a large village sometimes possesses a
dozen of these simple offerings at one time. The death of a villager
must be formally announced to the T'u Ti, whose duty it is to act as
a kind of guide to the dead man when he finds himself for the first
time in the bewildering world of ghosts. It is a common sight and a
somewhat pathetic one to see a long row of wailing mourners, clad in
loose and unhemmed sackcloth and with hair dishevelled, wending their
way along the village street in the direction of the shrine of the T'u
Ti to report the death of a relative or fellow-villager. The T'u Ti is,
in fact, a kind of registrar of deaths: the unseen record kept by him
in the underworld and the family record kept by the people in their
homes or in their ancestral temples, are sufficient to satisfy all
Chinese requirements in the matter of death-registration.[352] Births
are not reported to the T'u Ti, who, being concerned chiefly with the
world of spirits, is not supposed to take any special interest in the
multiplication of living men. It is to the ancestors that a child's
birth (if the child be a boy) is naturally supposed to bring joy and

Beings like the Ch'êng Huang and T'u Ti and Hearth-god[353] and many
other popular deities may be all regarded as included in the list of
Taoist gods, but as far as ceremony or ritual goes they are really
independent of Taoism: that is to say, no priestly intervention is
necessary between the god and the person who prays. If the rites of
Taoism and the major Taoist gods were expelled from the land, minor
deities such as those mentioned might continue to attract just as
much or just as little reverence as they do at present; similarly
ancestor-worship would not necessarily be affected by the official
abolition of the cult of Confucius.

[Illustration: SHRINE TO THE GOD OF LITERATURE (see p. 361).]

[Illustration: A T'U TI SHRINE (see p. 372).]

The fact that the T'u Ti is supposed to interest himself in such
matters as the death of individuals seems to suggest that he must have
been in origin an ancestral god: but I cannot find any trustworthy
evidence that this is so, though it seems that in some cases at least
he (like the Ch'êng Huang) was a human being posthumously raised to
quasi-divine rank. It is noteworthy as bearing on this point that no
village in Weihaiwei, or elsewhere so far as I am aware, possesses
more than one T'u Ti, though there may be two or more "surnames" or
clans represented in the village; moreover, when a man migrates from
one village to another he changes his T'u Ti, although his connection
with his old village in respect of ancestral worship and such matters
remains unimpaired. The T'u Ti, in fact, appears to be a local divinity
who holds his position irrespective of the movements of families and
changes of surnames. It may be that he is regarded as representing in
some mysterious way the first settler in the locality concerned, or
the first builder of the village. The Chinese T'u Ti seems to bear a
considerable resemblance to the Uji-gami of Japan. As the name _Uji_
implies, this deity was evidently at one time regarded as a clan-deity
or tribal ancestor. But as a Japanese authority has told us, "the word
_Uji-gami_ or clan-god is now used in another sense, namely in the
sense of the local tutelary god or the patron-god of a man's birthplace
or domicile."[354] Dr. Aston says that the Uji-gami having originally
been the patron-gods of particular families "became simply the local
deities of the district where one was born."[355] It seems at least
possible that the history of the T'u Ti has been similar to that of the

Perhaps Greek and Roman religion may help in throwing some light on
the subject. Just as we find the ancestral cult forming a prominent
element in the religion of Greece and Rome, so we find traces of the
existence of something like a T'u Ti. Every family had its own altar
and its own gods (namely its deceased ancestors), and every phratria
or group of families "had a common altar erected in honour of a common
deity who was supposed to be more powerful than the deities of the
households taken separately."[356]

Like the Ch'êng Huang of the city of Jung-ch'êng, the T'u Ti of the
Weihaiwei district are very often if not almost invariably provided
with wives, who are known as T'u Ti P'o. The T'u Ti and his lady are
represented by rough stone effigies, about a foot in height, which
are placed side by side within the little stone shrine; or sometimes
the lady has a separate shrine, of smaller size, beside that of her
husband. Some T'u Ti are attended by two T'u Ti Po. On making inquiries
into the reason for this at a village where the T'u Ti was thus
distinguished, I was informed that the lady on his left (the place
of honour) was his wife and the lady on his right his concubine. It
was pointed out that the concubine's image was only about half the
size of that of the wife, which was quite as it should be in view of
her inferior status. Two explanations were offered as to why this
particular T'u Ti had been allowed to increase his household in this
manner: one was that he had won the lady on his right by gambling for
her, the other was that the T'u Ti had appeared to one of the villagers
in a dream and begged him to provide him with a concubine as he had
grown tired of his wife. The villager called on the local image-maker
the very next morning, the image-maker went to the shrine and took
measurements, and in a few days a nice new concubine was placed by the
T'u Ti's side. Whether the dreamer's material position underwent any
marked improvement about this time is not recorded.

It has been mentioned that little red flags are often hung on a stick
or pole close by the T'u Ti's shrine on behalf of persons whose
ailments the T'u Ti is supposed to have cured. At first sight one might
suppose that the flags were intended as thank-offerings to the T'u Ti,
but though they certainly are regarded as such at the present day, I am
strongly inclined to believe that they have a quite different origin.
Similar customs in other parts of the world irresistibly suggest the
idea that the piece of cloth was originally regarded as the vehicle of
the disease which was supposed to have been expelled from the human

Dr. Tylor refers to "that well-known conception of a disease or evil
influence as an individual being, which may be not merely conveyed by
an infected object (though this of course may have much to do with the
idea) but may be removed by actual transfer from the patient into some
other animal or object."[357] He goes on to consider many examples of
the practical working of this conception, and draws special attention
to the belief common to many parts of the world (though China is not
mentioned) that disease can be banished by driving it into a rag and
hanging it on a tree:--"In Thuringia it is considered that a string of
rowan-berries, a rag, or any small article, touched by a sick person
and then hung on a bush beside some forest path, imparts the malady
to any person who may touch this article in passing, and frees the
sick person from the disease. This gives great probability to Captain
Burton's suggestion that the rags, locks of hair, and what not, hung
on trees near sacred places by the superstitious from Mexico to India
and from Ethiopia to Ireland, are deposited there as actual receptacles
of disease; the African 'devil's trees' and the sacred trees of
Sindh, hung with rags through which votaries have transferred their
complaints, being typical cases of a practice surviving in lands of
higher culture."[358]

There are traces of a belief of this kind in Japan, and I have
observed many proofs of it also in the border country between China and
Tibet. There is good reason, I think, to believe that the custom of
hanging rags in front of the T'u Ti's shrine has a similar origin. The
fact that the rags are usually hung up after the patient has already
recovered merely goes to show that the primitive meaning of the act has
become obscured.

It is probable that the T'u Ti originally had nothing to do with the
matter. Of what possible use to him could be a number of small pieces
of ragged cloth, unless indeed he wished to make himself a patchwork
quilt? But as soon as the significance of the suspended rag had been
forgotten, the idea may very naturally have grown up that the practice
was essentially a religious one and ought to be associated with some
god: and what god so suitable as the local guardian-spirit--the T'u
Ti--whose shrine was always conveniently close at hand, and who was
supposed to take a personal interest in every villager? As soon as
the rag came to be regarded as a votive-offering the Chinese would
naturally select red--the colour of joy and good luck--as most
acceptable to the god and most likely to win his favour. This theory
will perhaps gain in reasonableness if it is explained that the
uneducated Chinese of the north--including Weihaiwei--do actually
believe to this day in the possibility of transferring certain diseases
from a human being to an inanimate object. They declare that if a sick
person rubs a piece of cloth over the part of his body in which he
feels pain, and then throws the cloth away at a cross-road,[359] he
will feel the pain no more. Wayfarers who see such cloths lying on the
road will on no account touch them, as they are supposed to harbour
the disease that has been expelled from the human patient.[360] There
are similar beliefs in Korea[361] and elsewhere in Asia, and also in
several countries of Europe.[362]

[Illustration: YÜAN DYNASTY GRAVES (see p. 257)]

(see p. 377).]

To confine ourselves to Weihaiwei, it should be mentioned that the
sticks or poles in front of the T'u Ti's shrine to which the rags are
fastened are inserted perpendicularly in the ground in front or at the
side of the shrine, and are often made to represent, on a miniature
scale, the well-known mast-like poles that stand outside the gates
of official yamêns and the houses and family temples of the literary
"aristocracy." But sometimes the shrine is shaded by the branches of
a tree, and in such cases the rags may occasionally be seen hanging
on the tree itself. It is possible that here we have something like a
blending of three old beliefs or superstitions: the cult of the local
tutelary god, faith in the magical expulsion of sickness, and the
worship of sacred trees.

Tree-worship is one of the bypaths of Chinese religion. It is not
connected, except as it were accidentally, with Confucianism, Taoism
or Buddhism. But the bypath is worth exploring if only because it
leads to a region of folk-lore and myth that is common to both China
and Europe. The idea that certain trees are animated by more or less
powerful spirits, or the distinct and still earlier view that certain
trees are themselves the bodies of living divinities, is a belief
that can be traced to almost every part of the world. It existed in
ancient Rome,[363] where the sacred fig-tree of Romulus was an object
of popular devotion; it existed among the ancient Jews at Hebron,
Shechem, Ophrah and at Beersheba;[364] it existed in Pelasgian Attica
and neighbouring regions thousands of years B.C.;[365] it existed in
India in pre-Buddhistic and post-Buddhistic times--witness the history
of the famous Bo-tree of Anuradhapura in Ceylon, to which pilgrims
still flock in their thousands; it flourishes to this day in all the
countries of Indo-China; it is to be found in Korea and in many islands
of the Pacific; indeed traces of it exist in every part of the world,
including western Europe and the American continent. No wonder Dr.
Tylor says of "direct and absolute tree-worship" that it may lie "very
wide and deep in the early history of religion."[366] Its extraordinary
vitality in Europe may be estimated by the fact that though the early
Christian missionaries on the Continent and in Britain anathematised it
as idolatrous and endeavoured to stamp it out--sometimes adopting the
method of cutting down a sacred grove and using the timber for building
a Christian chapel[367]--traces of the belief in sacred trees actually
survive in popular traditions and local customs up to the present time
right across the Euro-Asiatic continent from England and Sweden to
China, Malaya and the islands of Japan.[368] Folk-lore has much to tell
us about talking trees, and trees that could plead for their own lives
when the wood-cutter approached them with his axe. In 1606 Lincolnshire
was reported to possess "an ash-tree that sighed and groaned."[369]

Apart from all consideration of the origin of maypoles, some faint
traces of a surviving belief in holy trees have been found in recent
years in Yorkshire.[370] In Switzerland it is a common belief of the
people that walnut-trees are tenanted by spirits.[371] Dr. Frazer tells
us that "down to 1859 there stood a sacred larch-tree at Nauders in
the Tyrol which was thought to bleed whenever it was cut.... So sacred
was the tree that no one would gather fuel or cut timber near it; and
to curse, scold or quarrel in its neighbourhood was regarded as a
crying sin which would be supernaturally punished on the spot. Angry
disputants were often hushed with the whisper, 'Don't, the sacred tree
is here.'"[372] The belief in trees animated by some kind of divinity
or inhabited by spirits is parallel with many other ancient animistic
beliefs. Just as the sea has its mermaids and nymphs and the streams
have their naiads and water-kelpies and the mountains their gnomes and
elves, so groves and single trees have their haunting spirits, dryads
or gods. At the present day the popular faith in the existence of
tree-spirits is exceedingly strong in such countries as Burma, the Shan
States and Siam; indeed Buddhism was obliged to compromise with the
pre-Buddhistic animism of those lands to the extent of finding a place
for tree-nats or tree-spirits--as well as water-nats and numerous other
fairy-like beings--in its general scheme of the cosmos.

In view of the almost universal prevalence of tree-worship of some
kind or other it would be strange indeed if no trace of it could be
found in China. It has been said by a writer on the subject that
"there is very little evidence of the existence of tree-worship among
Chinese,"[373] but as a matter of fact the evidence for its existence
(though perhaps it is not to be found to any great extent in books) is
abundant and conclusive. I have myself seen "sacred trees" in at least
seven provinces of China--Chihli, Shansi, Honan, Shensi, Ssŭch'uan,
Fuhkien and Shantung--and I have good reason to believe they are to be
found in other provinces as well.[374] The trees are generally seen
in the neighbourhood of a village or sometimes in the middle of a
village-street; their branches are usually hung with votive-offerings
and lettered scrolls, and below them are sometimes placed little altars
with incense-burners and small dishes of sacrificial food. Such trees
are regarded with veneration, and their decay or accidental destruction
is looked upon as a public calamity. In north China the sacred tree
seems generally though not always to be a _Sophora_ tree, known by the
Chinese as _huai_.[375] But any one who wishes to be convinced that
tree-worship is still a living faith in China need not travel so far as
the inland provinces: it is unnecessary to go further than Weihaiwei.
Close to the picturesque village of Lin-chia-yüan (The Garden of
the Lin Family) is a fine old specimen of the Ginkgo or Maidenhair
tree,[376] known by the Chinese as the _pai kuo_ or "white-fruit tree."
It is believed in the neighbourhood to be inhabited by the spirit of a
Buddha or Bodhisatva.

[Illustration: THE HAUNTED TREE OF LIN-CHIA-YÜAN (see p. 381).]

Here we have an interesting example of how Buddhism utilised local
legends for its own purposes and for the advancement of its own
interests. Close by the tree stands an old Buddhist temple that
dates from the T'ang dynasty. Had there been no priests to mould the
religious ideas of the neighbouring villages into a Buddhistic form
the tree would still have been regarded as the abode of a spirit, but
no one would have thought of suggesting that the spirit was that of a
Buddha. The devout Christian need not jeer at the harmless wiles of the
Buddhist priests in this little matter, for the European monks of the
Middle Ages were equally ready to seize upon local superstitions and
give them a Christian interpretation. "The peasant folk-lore of Europe
still knows," says Dr. Tylor, "of that old tree on the Heinzenberg near
Zell, which uttered its complaint when the woodman cut it down, for in
it was Our Lady, whose chapel now stands upon the spot."[377] Exactly
the same procedure was adopted, as is well known, with regard to the
sacred wells and springs of our European forefathers. It was found a
simpler matter to substitute the name of a Christian saint for that of
a heathen divinity than to crush the popular superstitions altogether.
"With a varnish of Christianity and sometimes the substitution of
a saint's name," says the writer just quoted,[378] "water-worship
has held its own to this day. The Bohemians will go to pray on the
river-bank where a man has been drowned, and there they will cast in an
offering, a loaf of new bread and a pair of wax candles." The bread,
no doubt, represented the old heathen offering to the water-spirit,
the candles represented the compromise with Christianity. But let us
refrain from ridiculing the superstitions of "the heathen Chinee" so
long as we possess such obvious relics of heathendom in our own quarter
of the globe.

Signs are not wanting that the old belief in _shên shu_
("spirit-trees"), as they are called by the Chinese, is more or
less rapidly decaying in this district. Certain villages, such as
Chang-chia-shan, Wên-ch'üan-chai, Ho-hsi-chuang, Pao-hsin and others,
possess fine old trees which, according to tradition, were once
"worshipped," but are now only familiar and much-loved landmarks which
the villagers would on no account allow to be removed. I do not refer
only to the temple-groves and the little woods that shade the ancestral
burial-grounds, for they, as we have seen,[379] derive their sanctity
from causes not necessarily connected with tree-worship. I refer rather
to the large isolated trees that one sometimes sees in or close to a
village or overhanging the T'u Ti shrine. In the latter case it would
be interesting to know whether it was the tree or the shrine that first
possessed the site. Sometimes the little shrine is almost hidden by
the low-hanging foliage of a group of trees--such trees having in all
probability sprung from a parent-stem. Of the Khond tribes in British
India it is said that when they settle in a new village "the sacred
cotton-tree must be planted with solemn rites, and beneath it is placed
the stone which enshrines the village-deity."[380] Whatever may have
been the practice in Weihaiwei, it seems not improbable that similar
rites once attended the planting of sacred trees in some parts of China.

[Illustration: A VILLAGE]

[Illustration: AT CHANG-CHIA-SHAN.]

The proximity of an ancient Buddhist temple is sufficient to explain
how it is that the sacred tree of Lin-chia-yüan is supposed to be
inhabited by a Buddhist spirit: but no one seems to have thought it
worth while to proselytise the spirit of the most famous tree in the
Territory, the _sophora_ of the village of Mang-tao, which enjoys a
celebrity extending far beyond the limits of the surrounding villages.
Only a year or two ago a serious calamity befell the villagers of
Mang-tao. During one night of dismal memory their famous tree caught
fire and was destroyed. Their consternation was great, for the disaster
seemed irremediable; but the local sages rose to the occasion, for they
declared that the tree-spirit had grown tired of the old tree and had
moved into a smaller one a few yards further up the village-street.
As for the fire, it was explained as being _t'ien huo_--fire from
heaven--sent purposely at the instigation of the migrated tree-spirit
in order to prevent people from worshipping the wrong tree. A
circumstantial story has already been invented in the village to this
effect. A villager came with incense to pay his respects to the old
tree which--unknown to him--was now untenanted. The tree-spirit from
his new perch saw what was going on, and was much disgusted to perceive
that the old tree, though he had abandoned it, was still the recipient
of offerings. Grinding his branches with rage and jealousy at the
vexatious spectacle, he persuaded heaven to send a mysterious wind that
fanned the villager's lighted sticks of incense into a mighty flame,
which speedily stripped the poor old tree of bark and foliage. Whatever
the true cause of the fire may have been, the fact is indisputable
that the tree was completely destroyed. Its blackened trunk has been
removed by the villagers, so that not a trace of the tree now remains;
while its proud successor is now decorated with the rags and other
offerings that once hung upon its venerable branches.

The Mang-tao tree is prayed to for many things, but especially for
recovery from illness, and the rags are chiefly the offerings of
grateful worshippers whose prayers have met with favourable response.
It is very possible that the rags were originally regarded as the mere
vehicles of expelled diseases in accordance with the old superstition
already described, but there is no doubt that the tree or the
tree-spirit is looked upon as the power through which the diseases
are driven out. The Mang-tao tree is often adorned with more than
mere rags: cloth scrolls on which are inscribed mottoes and sentences
expressive of gratitude and reverence are also to be seen on its
branches. Grant Allen remarks that "Christianity has not extinguished
the veneration for sacred trees in Syria, where they are still prayed
to in sickness and hung with rags."[381] It is interesting to find in a
remote Weihaiwei village--probably never visited by any European other
than an occasional Englishman on official duty--a superstition that
still flourishes in the very birthplace of Christianity.


[334] Prof. H. A. Giles holds that the _Tao Tê Ching_ is a compilation
and was not written by Lao Tzŭ himself though it probably enshrines
some of his sayings. He gives strong reasons for believing that it must
have been compiled after the appearance of the works of Chuang Tzŭ
(fourth century B.C.), Han Fei Tzŭ (third century B.C.) and Huai Nan
Tzŭ (second century B.C.). As for Lao Tzŭ himself, Dr. Giles rejects
the slender evidence that makes him a contemporary of Confucius, and
assigns him to "some unknown period in remote antiquity." (_China and
the Chinese_, pp. 145, 148 _seq._)

[335] Cf. Dr. W. A. P. Martin in his _Lore of Cathay_, and many other

[336] Cf. Sir Robert Douglas, _Confucianism and Taouism_ (5th ed.),
p. 191. Max Müller rejected the theory that Tao was a Vedic idea
transferred from India to China: but he mentioned a Sanskrit word and
concept which in its historical development ran parallel with that of
_Tao_. This word was _Rita_--the Way, the Path, the κινοῦν ἀκίνητον or
_primum mobile_. (_Last Essays_, Second Series, pp. 290 _seq._)

[337] Mr. T. W. Kingsmill (_The Taoteh King_) calls it "one of the few
remains existing of primitive Buddhism." He points out that as there is
no intimation of any intercourse between China and India before the Han
period, the compilation of the _Tao Tê Ching_ must be assigned to that
age,--several hundred years after the supposed date of Lao Tzŭ.

[338] Mr. Chester Holcombe in the _International Journal of Ethics_,
January 1908, pp. 168 _seq._ The whole article deserves careful

[339] _The Chinese Classics_, vol. iii. pt. i. p. 200.

[340] Prof. G. W. Knox, D.D., LL.D., in _The American Journal of
Theology_, October 1907, p. 569.

[341] Rev. W. K. McKibben in _The American Journal of Theology_,
October 1907, p. 584.

[342] "Pure Taoism has never ceased to affect the cultured Chinese
mind, just as pure Shinto-Taoism has never ceased, or did not for long
cease, to affect the cultured Japanese Court."--PROF. E. H. PARKER,
_China and Religion_, p. 258.

[343] See Maspero's _Dawn of Civilisation_, edited by A. H. Sayce,
translated by M. L. McClure (4th ed., 1901).

[344] _The Ideals of the Far East_ (John Murray: 1903).

[345] See pp. 26-7.

[346] This detestable custom was practised in many European countries
as well as in Africa, Polynesia, Borneo, Japan, Indo-China and India.
[See Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. i. pp. 104 _seq._;
Lyall's _Asiatic Studies_ (2nd ed.), First Series, p. 25, Second
Series, pp. 312-13; Grant Allen, _The Evolution of the Idea of God_, p.
265 (see footnote).] Prof. S. R. Driver in one of his Schweich Lectures
(delivered before the British Academy on April 2, 1908) described some
recent archæological discoveries of great interest in Palestine and the
neighbouring countries. Some of these discoveries clearly prove that
foundation-sacrifices existed in those regions. At Gezer, Taanach and
Megiddo were actually discovered the skeletons of numbers of miserable
people who had been buried under the corners of walls or under towers.
That the custom of sacrificing boys and girls was practised in ancient
Persia we know from Herodotus (Book vii. 114). It is not so generally
known that it was apparently practised in the British Isles not merely
in savage times but after the introduction of Christianity and even in
connection with the foundation of ecclesiastical buildings. According
to a legend which may be founded on fact, Oran, the companion of St.
Columba, was buried under the foundations of the great monastery of
Iona. For this and many other cases see G. Laurence Gomme's _Folk-lore
Relics of Early Village Life_, pp. 24-58.

[347] The Rev. Ernest Box, writing on "Shanghai Folk-lore" in the
_Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society_ (vol. xxxv.
1901-2, p. 123), mentions that human sacrifices are said to have taken
place in the building of one of the silk-filatures at Soochow. "I
am also informed," he says, "that in the potteries in Kiangsi a new
furnace is secretly consecrated by the shedding of a child's blood, as
a sacrifice to ward off evil influences or accidents." Mr. Box seems
to be inclined to ascribe the custom to the desire of propitiating the
spirits of the earth.

[348] See pp. 225, 274.

[349] See pp. 53-4.

[350] See p. 192.

[351] It is probable that similar stories are told of other city-gods,
for the Rev. Ernest Box (_J.R.A.S._ (_China Branch_), vol. xxxiv. p.
109) mentions a case in connection with Lutien, a place a few miles
north-west of Shanghai.

[352] As the functions of the T'u Ti are, on a reduced scale, similar
to those of the Ch'êng Huang, it follows that in walled towns it is the
Ch'êng Huang who receives reports of death.

[353] See p. 193.

[354] _Ancestor Worship and Japanese Law_, by Mr. Nobushige Hozumi, p.

[355] _Shinto_, p. 10.

[356] Rev. Sir G. W. Cox, "Religion of the Ancient Greek and Latin
Tribes," in _Religious Systems of the World_ (8th ed.), p. 224.

[357] _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. pp. 148-9. See also
Frazer's _Golden Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. iii. pp. 26 _seq._, and W. G.
Black's _Folk Medicine_, pp. 34 _seq._

[358] _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 150.

[359] Quite an interesting chapter might be written about various
beliefs connected with cross-roads. See, for example, the superstition
referred to in Plato's _Laws_, quoted by Dr. Frazer in _The Golden
Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. iii. p. 20; and the Bohemian prescription for
fever: "Take an empty pot, go with it to a cross-road, throw it down,
and run away. The first person who kicks against the pot will catch
your fever and you will be cured." (_Op. cit._, p. 22.) Again, of the
Dyaks we are told that they "fasten rags of their clothes on trees at
cross-roads, fearing for their health if they neglect the custom."
(Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 223.) Still more
remarkable is it to find a similar belief in England. "Lancashire wise
men tell us, 'for warts, rub them with a cinder, and this, tied up in
paper and dropped where four roads meet, will transfer the warts to
whoever opens the parcel.'" (W. G. Black's _Folk Medicine_, p. 41. This
author mentions the existence of the same superstition in Germany.)

[360] For superstitions of the kind in the Shanghai district, see Rev.
E. Box's "Shanghai Folk-lore" in _J.R.A.S._ (_China Branch_), vol.
xxxiv. pp. 124-5. For a Chinese cross-road superstition see the same
article, p. 130; and see Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_, p. 22.

[361] See Mrs. Bishop's _Korea and Her Neighbours_, vol. ii. pp. 143
_seq._, and _Folk-lore_, September 1900, p. 329.

[362] See Frazer's _Golden Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. iii. p. 21.

[363] See T. R. Glover's _Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman
Empire_ (Methuen & Co., 1909), p. 13.

[364] See the Rev. A. W. Oxford's "Ancient Judaism" in _Religious
Systems of the World_ (8th ed.), p. 55. He remarks that the sacred
trees at these places "were always evergreen trees as being the best
symbols of life; 'green' is the constant adjective applied to them
by the prophets. The name used for them--_ela_ or _elon_--shows that
they were considered to be divine beings." As regards the choice of
_evergreen_ trees, see above, pp. 262-4.

[365] See also Mr. A. B. Cook's articles on "Zeus, Apollo and the Oak"
in _The Classical Review_ for 1903 and 1904.

[366] _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 221. The whole subject
is discussed pp. 214-29.

[367] _Op. cit._ p. 228.

[368] "Trees of great size and age are worshipped in almost every
village in Japan. They are girt with honorary cinctures of straw-rope
and have tiny shrines erected before them."--DR. ASTON'S _Shinto_, p.
45. See also W. W. Skeat's _Malay Magic_, p. 67.

[369] _County Folk-lore_, vol. v.: _Lincolnshire_ (David Nutt, 1908).

[370] _County Folk-lore_, vol. ii.: _North Riding of Yorkshire_, p. 54.

[371] _Folk-lore Journal_, vol. i. (1883), p. 377. For tree-worship in
Tuscany see Dr. J. G. Frazer's article in _Folk-lore_, Dec. 1901.

[372] Frazer's _Golden Bough_ (2nd ed.), vol. i. pp. 173-4. For Dr.
Frazer's admirable discussion of the whole subject see especially vol.
i. pp. 166-232, and vol. iii. pp. 26 _seq._ See also Grant Allen's
_Evolution of the Idea of God_, pp. 138 _seq._; Philpot's _The Sacred
Tree_, _passim_; Maspero's _Dawn of Civilisation_ (4th ed.), pp. 121-2;
H. M. Bower's _The Elevation and Procession of the Ceri at Gubbio_
(David Nutt, 1897), pp. 61, 70 _seq._, 85 _seq._, 93 and _passim_;
Griffis's _The Religions of Japan_ (4th ed.), pp. 30 _seq._; Ferguson's
_Tree and Serpent Worship_, _passim_; W. W. Skeat's _Malay Magic_, pp.
52 _seq._, 63 _seq._, 193 _seq._, 203 _seq._; Reinach's _Orpheus_ (Eng.
tr. 1909), pp. 114, 129.

[373] Philpot's _The Sacred Tree_ (Macmillan & Co., 1897), p. 15.

[374] As for example in Kansu. For Kiangsu see _J.R.A.S._ (_China
Branch_), vol. xxxiv. (1901-2), p. 116. For observations on Chinese
tree-spirits see De Groot's _Religious System of China_, vol. iv. pp.
272 _seq._ and vol. v. pp. 653-63; and see _Folk-lore_, June 1906, p.
190; and Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_, p. 47.

[375] The _Sophora japonica_.

[376] _Salisburia adiantifolia._ See p. 168.

[377] _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 221.

[378] _Op. cit._ vol. ii. p. 213.

[379] See pp. 261 _seq._

[380] Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 225.

[381] _The Evolution of the Idea of God_, p. 150.



A district like Weihaiwei, which is agricultural and which also
possesses an extensive coast-line, naturally pays special reverence to
the gods that preside over the weather and the sea. Two of the most
popular of the Weihaiwei deities are Lung Wang--the Dragon-king--who
possesses the power of manipulating rainfalls and is therefore appealed
to in seasons of drought, and T'ien Hou--the Queen of Heaven, also
known as Shêng Mu, the Holy Mother--a goddess who is in many respects
the Taoist counterpart of the Buddhist Kuan Yin (the "Goddess of
Mercy") and is regarded as a protecting deity of sailors and fishermen.
The Holy Mother has many shrines along the coast, besides a quaint old
temple at Port Edward and a locally-famous one called Ai-shan Miao on a
mountain-pass a short distance to the north-west of the market-village
of Yang-t'ing. The last-named temple, which recently has been
undergoing a partial restoration, is, owing to its position, exposed to
the fierce north winds of winter and the equally boisterous south winds
of early summer, and after its erection about the end of the fifteenth
century it was more than once blown down. The priests and other wise
men of the time deliberated on the question of how to prevent such
catastrophes in future, and finally decided that the best way would be
to dig a tunnel through the hill from north to south _underneath_ the
temple, so as to give the wind a means of crossing the pass comfortably
without hurting the building. The tunnel was duly made and exists
to this day. It is over six feet in height, four feet in breadth,
and perhaps thirty yards in length. No self-respecting wind, it was
supposed, would play havoc with the walls and roof of the temple when
a nice channel had been specially constructed for its private use, and
indeed for many years, it is said, the temple enjoyed complete immunity
from storms. But the priest now in charge has informed me regretfully
that the tempests of these latter days are not so amenable to reason
and discipline as were those of the good old times.[382]

Temples and shrines to Lung Wang, the Dragon-king, can be seen in or
near many villages, sometimes adjoining the shrine of the T'u Ti,
and also on many headlands along the coast. The Dragon-king's mother
is a favourite object of worship as well as the Dragon-king himself,
and her image often occupies a neighbouring shrine. The dragon, as
is well known, figures prominently in Chinese myth and legend and in
Chinese art-conceptions. It is regarded as a kind of symbol of empire
and of things imperial: the "dragon-body" is the emperor's person; the
"dragon-seat" is the emperor's throne; the "dragon-pen" is the imperial
autograph; the "dragon-flag" is the imperial standard. The myths
connected with the dragon are vague and conflicting and no doubt they
are of various origins, though Taoism, always an eclectic religion, has
found room for them all in its capacious system. There are the dragons
of the four quarters of the universe and a fifth for the centre;
there are the four dragons of the seas (_Hai lung wang_), the dragon
of rain and clouds, the earth dragon (who is closely concerned with
_fêng-shui_[383]), the dragon of hidden treasures, the heavenly dragon,
and several protean dragons that can assume any shape and go anywhere
they please. The Mother-dragon, judging from her clay image in the
temples, seems to be quite an ordinary and rather benevolent old lady,
who--one might think--should have been the last person in the world to
give birth to an uncanny son; but even the Dragon himself is similarly
privileged to be represented by the image of a man.

[Illustration: AI-SHAN PASS AND TEMPLE (see p. 385).]

Serpent-worship, which was one origin of the dragon-mythology,[384]
seems to have left several traces of its existence in China: large
snakes--especially in localities where snakes are rare--are often
supposed to be manifestations of the divine Dragon.[385] There is
another superstition to the effect that certain evil demons can
assume a serpent-like shape and drive men to death by haunting them
and climbing on their backs.[386] Very recently (during the summer of
1909) a large snake was killed by lightning near a village close to
the borders of the Weihaiwei Territory. Next morning (the thunderstorm
having occurred at night) the villagers found the scorched body of
the reptile and forthwith agreed among themselves that it was a
devil-snake. Their only reasons for this surmise seem to have been
its unusually great size[387] and the peculiar manner of its death. A
devil-snake is supposed to be nearly as dangerous when dead as when
alive, so the villagers deputed six of their number to carry it to
the coast and carefully consign it to the ocean. There, no doubt, the
sea-dragon could look after its own.

"The Chinese, the Mexicans and the Semitic nations," says Dr. Aston,
"concur in associating water with the serpent."[388]

Perhaps it was the sinuosity of rivers viewed from a height that first
suggested the connection, and this would also account for the Chinese
dragon's association with mountains as well as with rivers. It should
be remembered that when one meets cases of mountain-gods, river-gods,
sea-gods, tree-gods, one finds one of two beliefs, or both inextricably
mixed: there is the belief that the mountain, river, sea or tree is
itself a god, and there is the belief that these natural objects are
merely inhabited or presided over by a god or spirit, who may or may
not be visible to mortal eyes. We know that in the case of sun-worship
the earliest belief seems to have been that the visible sun is the god
himself; later on the sun is regarded merely as the sun's chariot; and
later still the god (Apollo) identifies himself with so many different
activities and interests that we are apt altogether to forget or
ignore his primary connection with the sun. The case of Zeus, who was
originally the deified vault of heaven, is a similar one: and there are
very many others.

The legend current in Weihaiwei regarding the origin of the Dragon-king
(who may be compared with the Nāga-rāja of the Indian peninsula) runs
somewhat as follows. His mother was an ordinary mortal, but gave birth
to him in a manner that was not--to say the least--quite customary.
Being in his dragon-shape the lusty infant immediately flew away on a
journey of exploration, but returned periodically for the purpose of
being fed. As he grew larger and more terrifying in aspect day by day
his mother grew much alarmed, and confided her woes to her husband, the
dragon's father. The father after due consideration decided there was
no help for it but to cut off his preposterous son's head: so next day
he waited behind a curtain, sword in hand, for the dragon's arrival.
The great creature flew into the house in his usual unceremonious
manner, curled his tail round a beam below the roof, and hung head
downwards in such a way that by swaying himself gently he could reach
his mother's breast. At this juncture his father came from behind the
curtain, whirled his sword round his head, and brought it down on what
ought to have been the dragon's neck. But whether it was that his
hand shook, or he misjudged the distance, or his prey was too quick
for him, the fact remains that the dragon's head remained where it
was, and its owner merely emitted a strange gurgling sound that might
have been meant for an expression of irritation or might on the other
hand have been a draconic chuckle. Before the sword could be whirled
a second time the dragon seized his father round the waist, untwisted
his tail from the beam in the roof, and flew away to the eastern seas.
The dragon's father was never seen again, but the dragon and his mother
were elevated to a divine rank from which they have never since been

The reasons for the elevation to godhead are perhaps not quite
apparent: but the popular saying that "the dragon's bounty is as
profound as the ocean and the mother-dragon's virtue is as lofty as the
hills" has a reference to their functions as controllers of the rains
and clouds. Of other local legends about Lung Wang perhaps two will

In the Jung-ch'êng district, not far from the British frontier,[389]
is a pool of water which though several miles from the sea is said
to taste of sea-salt, to be fathomless, and to remain always at the
same level. It is dedicated to the Dragon. One day an inquisitive
villager tried to fathom its gloomy depths with his _pien-tang_
or carrying-pole. Hardly had he immersed it in the water than it
was grasped by a mysterious force and wrenched out of his hand.
It was immediately drawn below, and after waiting in vain for its
reappearance the villager went home. A few days later he was on the
sea-coast, gathering seaweed for roof-thatch, when suddenly he beheld
his _pien-tang_ floating in the water below the rocks on which he was
standing. On the first available opportunity after this, he burned
three sticks of incense in Lung Wang's temple as an offering to the
deity that had given him so striking a demonstration of his miraculous
power. The Lung Wang of the ocean, it may be mentioned, is said to have
a great treasure-house under the sea in which he stores the wealth that
comes to him from wrecked junks. Among his most precious possessions
are the eyes of certain great fish, which are believed to be priceless
gems. That is the reason, say the fisher-folk, why large dead fish,
when cast up on shore, are always found to be eyeless: Lung Wang has
picked out their eyes and put them among his treasures.

The annals of Weihaiwei also contain this story. In the year 1723 there
was a very heavy shower of rain. In the sky, among the dark clouds,
was espied a dragon. When the storm passed off a man named Chiang of
the village of Ho Ch'ing or Huo Ch'ien picked up a Thing that was "as
large as a sieve, round as the sun, thick as a coin, and lustrous as
the finest jade. It reflected the sun's light and shone like a star, so
that it dazzled the eyes." It was passed from hand to hand and minutely
examined, but no one knew what it was. The village soothsayer was
appealed to for a decision. A single glance at the strange object was
enough for the man of wisdom. "This Thing," he said, "is a scale that
has fallen from the body of the dragon." Chiang placed the treasure on
his family-altar and preserved it as a precious heirloom, but whether
it still exists no one seems to know, or those who know will not tell.

Among the greatest of the Taoist gods are Lao Chün,--Lao Tzŭ himself,
who would have been more disgusted than most men to know of his future
deification; P'an Ku, a kind of magnified Adam; and Yü Huang Shang Ti,
the Jade-Imperial-God to whom is entrusted the supreme control of the
world and mundane affairs. The functions of these deities are general
rather than specific, so it is no wonder that they are rather neglected
by the ordinary worshipper, who usually prays to the Taoist gods not
for the sake of glorifying the divine personage addressed (which
would be regarded as mere useless flattery) but with the direct and
avowed object of obtaining some benefit for himself or his friends and

One hears little of Lao Chün and P'an Ku in Weihaiwei--probably most
villagers know hardly anything of them--but there are several shrines
dedicated to the Jade-Imperial-God. These are little stone buildings
on the hill-tops. They are perhaps the most interesting, if among the
most insignificant in size and appearance, of all the Taoist temples.
Mountain-worship is one of the very oldest forms of religion in China.
The most ancient historical records which the country possesses tell
us how those famous old emperors of the Golden Age--Yao, Shun and
Yü--offered sacrifices on mountain-tops. The old records are so terse
in expression that it is scarcely possible to say definitely whether
the mountains were worshipped for their own sakes or whether they were
merely regarded as altars for the worship of Shang Ti or T'ien, the
One God or the Greatest of Gods. As the Emperor Shun (2255-05 B.C.)
and other rulers of that early time (presuming they are not altogether
mythical) are said to have selected particular mountains for their acts
of worship it seems probable that the mountains themselves, or the
spirits they harboured, were the usual objects of worship; though it
is possible and even probable that the imperial sacrifices to Shang Ti
(still carried out annually on the Altar of Heaven at Peking) were also
regularly offered up on the summits of lofty hills.

Primitive worshippers of the visible heavens naturally thought that
the higher they climbed the nearer they would be to their god and
the more acceptable to him would be their sacrifices. As time went
on, four and subsequently five mountains in China were singled out
as being specially sacred for their own sakes as well as for the
imperial sacrifices, and those Five Mountains (_Wu Yüeh_) have been
annually visited and worshipped by countless pilgrims through all the
centuries down to the present day.[390] It does not appear, from the
ancient records of the _Shu Ching_, that Taoism had anything whatever
to do with mountain-worship in its early days: but it was evidently
the policy of the Taoists--as soon as they developed something like a
priestcraft--to associate themselves and their cult with every form
of worship in the country. Thus they soon established a priestly
guardianship, which they still retain, over the Five Sacred Mountains.
I have come across, in Chinese Buddhistic literature, evidence that the
priests of these mountains were Taoist priests in the first century
of the Christian era. No doubt it was natural enough that the sacred
hills should fall under the priestly superintendence of the Taoists,
for it was in the dark ravines and caves and on the rocky ledges of
great mountains that the Taoist recluses were accustomed to make their
solitary homes.

The impelling cause that first drove them to the hills was no doubt
to find the magical herbs and roots that were necessary ingredients
of the elixir of life, and to practise the self-control and purity of
thought that were as essential to success as the mysterious draught
itself. But the spell of the mountains soon became independent of drugs
and philosophies. Men discovered--many centuries before the sterner
aspects of hill and forest had begun to make their appeal to the
poets and artists of Europe--that wild Nature was an enchantress who
made willing slaves of all who had feelings responsive to beautiful
sights and sounds. The time came when poets, scholars, dreamers--many
of them Taoists only in name and some not even in name--sought the
solitude of mountains not because they hoped to concoct medicines or
acquire strange faculties and powers, but because they had fallen
under the power of the great enchantress, because they found amid the
sky-piercing crags and cloistered watercourses and dark pine-forests
of the great mountains a companionship, a peace of mind, a pure and
sometimes ecstatic happiness that they had never known and could never
know in peopled plains or in crowded cities. If one may presume to
alter a single word of a great poet's confession--

            "The sounding cataract
  Haunted them like a passion: the tall rock,
  The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
  Their colours and their forms, were then to them
  An appetite."

Five mountains, it is hardly necessary to say, were too few to satisfy
the Chinese longing for natural beauty. When the Buddhists came to
China in the first century of our era they found Taoist recluses and
priests in possession of the Five Sacred Mountains, but it was not long
before they, too, fixed upon equally beautiful mountain-retreats of
their own;[391] and no one who has visited a number of them can fail
to be struck by the peculiarly keen sense of the loveliness of nature
that must have guided the Buddhist recluses in their choice of romantic
sites for hermitages and monasteries. It is hardly too much to say that
there is not a beautiful mountain in all China that is not to-day or
has not been in past time the resort of monks and hermits or laymen who
have abandoned "the world."

People to whom wild Nature does not appeal with irresistible force,
those whom she does not "haunt like a passion," are of course in the
overwhelming majority in China as everywhere else, and it is just as
well, perhaps, for the practical concerns of this workaday world that
such is the case. Yet let not the hermits and Nature-worshippers be
despised: for it is an intense imaginative love of natural beauty
that has inspired the noblest pictorial art of China and has proved
the well-spring of her greatest poetry, and it was amid the glory and
wonder of the eternal hills that some of her greatest philosophers have
pondered the problems of life and death.

The hills of Weihaiwei, in spite of some fine scenery, are of small
account when compared with the glorious mountains of southern and
far western China, but even Weihaiwei has its legends of saints and
monks and "immortals" who made their homes amid the rocks and woods.
There are no monasteries now in this district, but the ravines still
contain both Taoist and Buddhist temples, each with its priest or two,
and it is easy to see that the Buddhists have generally secured the
most charming sites. The bitter coldness of the winter is sufficient
excuse for the absence of residential temples on the hill-tops: though,
as we have seen, there are many little stone-shrines dedicated to
the Jade-Imperial-God, the Governor of the Taoist universe. This is
the deity that has practically taken the place (so far as Taoism is
concerned) of the exalted God of Heaven--T'ien or Shang Ti[392]--who
was worshipped four or five thousand years ago by the rulers of the
Chinese people. There are similar little Buddhist shrines on the
hills, but these are comparatively few. Among the greater hills of
the Territory there are several known locally as Yü Huang Ting (the
Peak of the Jade-God) and at least two known as Fo Erh Ting (the Peak
of Buddha). Every hill also has its shrine--sometimes a mere heap of
unhewn stones put together without mortar--dedicated to the Shan Shên
or Spirit of the Hill, a divinity who belongs to the same order of
beings as the Ta Ti or Great Gods of the Five Sacred Mountains. The
hill-gods of Weihaiwei, though they are not visited by pilgrim-bands
from afar, receive a limited amount of "worship" from herdsmen,
silkworm-breeders and others. On many hill-slopes may also be seen
shrines to the Niu Wang and the Ma Wang, divinities whose business
it is to protect cattle and horses, and to Ch'ung Wang, the "king of
locusts." Locusts, as we know, have at various times been a terrible
scourge to the local farmers. It is supposed that by propitiating
their king with prayers and offerings they can be banished to some
locality where prayers and offerings are neglected. The Chinese of
Weihaiwei say that in spite of the devastation that locusts can work
among crops they are not really so much to be dreaded as many other
insects who _have no king_ and are therefore under no one's control
and subject to no law. If monarchical government, it is thought, could
be established among the more harmful flies and grubs, the happiness
of labouring mankind would be materially augmented. The shrines to the
mountain-spirit and the deities that preside over horses, cattle and
locusts very often contain no images but merely small uncarved stones.
The images of Yü Huang and other deities, when they exist, are usually
squat, flat-faced, dwarf-like creatures with large heads and small
bodies.[393] Of all these numerous mountain shrines the largest are
only about eight feet high and six feet square, while the smallest are
mere dolls' houses.


[Illustration: _Photo by Ah Fong._

The highest hill in the Territory is the central peak of the
Macdonald Range, in the South District. The Chinese name of the hill
is Chêng-ch'i or Cho-ch'i Shan. Here there are half a dozen or more
shrines to the various deities mentioned, each containing small stone
images and stone incense-burners. Just below the summit is an old
stone slab with an almost illegible inscription relating to "Heaven
and Earth," and close by is a shrine to the Mother-dragon. The images
are all weather-worn and have an appearance of antiquity which is
perhaps deceptive, though they are probably much older than their
stone canopies, which--as is stated on several mural tablets--have
been restored at various times during the present dynastic period,
beginning in 1644. Besides the shrines there is also a small bell-house
containing an iron bell dated Hsien Fêng X (1860), and close by are the
unrecognisable remains of a theatrical stage where performances were at
one time given in the middle of the seventh month. The principal shrine
is the _San Shêng Miao_, "The Temple of the Three Holy Ones" of Taoism.

From this mountain can be seen practically the whole of the leased
territory of Weihaiwei, laid out as it were like a map or--as the
Chinese would say--like a chessboard. The summit is a ridge which
slopes southward and northward to the two beautiful valleys of
Yü-chia-k'uang and Chang-chia-shan. Once or twice a year a priest
ascends the mountain from a temple far down on the western slope, and
having reached the summit he burns a few sticks of incense and recites
some Taoist prayers. Occasionally a villager climbs the mountain to
return thanks to the Jade-Imperial-God or the spirit of the mountain
for granting him success in some family matter or in business: but
ordinarily the little group of gods on the hill-top are left in
quietness and solitude. The Taoist devotee is not disturbed by uneasy
feelings that he is neglecting his deities: loneliness and peace amid
beautiful hills and valleys are or ought to be his own ideal, and the
gods whom he has made in his own image can surely ask for nothing

Of Buddhism in Weihaiwei not a great deal need be said. Some of the
beliefs and superstitions which have been dealt with in this book
belong, indeed, as much to Buddhism as to Taoism, but the Buddhism is
of a kind that would not be recognised in south-eastern Asia. There are
some so-called Buddhist temples, each tenanted by a single priest and
a pupil or two, and proofs are not wanting that many centuries ago the
sites of some of these rather dilapidated buildings were occupied by
flourishing little monasteries: but Buddhism has long been a decadent
religion in Shantung, and, considering the corrupt state into which
it has fallen in northern China, its disappearance as a power in the
land is not to be regretted. Judging from the inscriptions on a few
old stone tablets it appears that Buddhism in the Weihaiwei district
reached its most flourishing state during the T'ang period (618-905
A.D.). At that time, indeed, Buddhist activity throughout China was
very great, for though the faith often underwent persecution or was
treated with chilling neglect, it enjoyed from time to time the
goodwill and patronage of the highest and most influential persons in
the land.

[Illustration: AT THE VILLAGE OF YÜ-CHIA-K'UANG (see p. 398).]

[Illustration: A MOUNTAIN STREAM AND HAMLET (see p. 395).]

It was during this period that many famous pilgrims travelled from
China to India--the Holy Land of Buddhism--in search of books and
relics, and some of them left accounts of their travels which are among
the treasures of Chinese literature. This was, indeed, one of the most
glorious epochs in Chinese history. It was a period during which the
Empire, under a succession of several able and highly-cultured rulers,
enjoyed a prosperity-political, social, literary, artistic--that it has
never quite attained in any succeeding age. The prosperity seems as a
rule to have affected every class of the people and every corner of
the Empire: even the comparatively poor and bleak regions of eastern
Shantung shared in the good fortune that radiated from the brilliant
capital of an Empire which--though the fact was undreamed of by the
young nations of Europe--was undoubtedly the mightiest and most highly
civilised state then existing in the world.

The existence of large Buddhist monasteries generally indicates a
fertile and populous tract of country, for a large assemblage of monks
accustomed to live to a great extent on the free offerings of the
people can hardly expect to be received with open arms in a region
that is inhabited by a sparse and poor population. The monasteries
of Weihaiwei, then, were always small--none probably harbouring more
than six to twelve monks. But, like Buddhists elsewhere, the monks
who came to this part of the Empire took care to select for their
dwelling-places the most charming and picturesque sites available.
The best or one of the best of these little establishments was known
as Ku Shan Ssŭ--the Monastery of the Ku Hill. It was founded between
the years 785 and 804, and part of it still exists as a small temple
pleasantly situated at the foot of the hill from which it takes its
name. Close by is the famous Buddha-tree of which mention has been
made.[394] Not far away from the temple, and immediately in front of
the British District Officer's official quarters, there is a natural
hot spring that bubbles out of the sandy bed of a shallow stream. One
can imagine how, eleven hundred years ago, the little band of gowned
monks, released for an hour from the contemplation of Nirvana or the
service of the Lord Buddha, would wend their way in the twilight hour
down to the edge of the ravine to lave their reverend limbs in those
delicious waters. The spring is still a daily source of joy to hundreds
of men and boys from the neighbouring villages, but the monks are all

In the temple there is a large image of the Buddha which, say the
villagers, was not made but "just growed." There is a little story told
of this image. A peasant-woman was in the habit of cutting firewood
from the shrubs on the slopes of Ku Shan and one day she noticed a
particularly thick and well-grown shrub which she immediately proceeded
to cut down, leaving nothing in the ground but the roots. Next day she
happened to pass that way again, and to her amazement found another
shrub, equally thick and well grown, in precisely the same spot. Her
surprise was great, but seeing no reason why she should neglect to
avail herself of her good luck she treated the second shrub exactly
as she had treated the first, and took it home. On the third day the
same thing happened again. The woman possessed herself of the shrub as
before, but having done so she could no longer keep the knowledge of
these strange occurrences to herself and decided to let her neighbours
into the secret.

[Illustration: WÊN-CH'ÜAN-T'ANG.]

Next day a large number of her incredulous fellow-villagers accompanied
her to the spot she indicated, and there, sure enough, a lordly shrub
had once more made its miraculous appearance. The wise man of the
party explained that the locality was obviously haunted by a powerful
spirit, and suggested the advisability of digging up the ground to see
what might be underneath. This was accordingly done, and immediately
below the roots of the shrub was discovered a colossal stone image
of Sakyamuni Buddha. The village councillors then held a meeting to
discuss the prodigy, and it was unanimously resolved, firstly, that
the image had not been carved by the hands of man, and, secondly, that
a suitable resting-place must be found for it as soon as possible in
a well-conducted Buddhist temple. The temple finally decided on was
the Huang K'o Ssŭ--a lonely building which still exists on a hillside
overlooking the village of Fang Chi. Ropes and trestles were obtained,
and dozens of willing hands volunteered to carry the sacred image to
the temple selected: but the image would not move. A reinforcement of
bearers was summoned, yet though they pulled and strained for over
an hour not a single inch of progress was made. The wise man then
announced that the Buddha had evidently taken a dislike to the Huang
K'o Ssŭ: perhaps he wished to be taken to the Ku Shan temple instead.
So the bearers began pulling in the opposite direction (for Huang
K'o Ssŭ lies to the south, Ku Shan Ssŭ to the north), and to their
astonishment hardly any effort on their part was required: the image
almost went of its own accord. In a short space of time the party
reached a brook which happened to have been swollen by heavy rains.
Fearing that an accident might occur if an attempt were made to cross
the brook at that time, the villagers decided to leave it on the
bank until the flood-waters had gone down. At sunrise next day they
all returned to the spot where the image had been left, but to their
profound consternation it had disappeared. After a prolonged search
it was accidentally discovered on the _further_ side of the brook:
obviously it had gone across of its own accord! By this time the
villagers were thoroughly awed, and even the most irreligious of them
impressively assured his companions that he had decided to devote the
rest of his life to piety and good works. The wonderful image was duly
installed in the temple of its choice, and there--amid picturesque if
somewhat decayed surroundings--it still remains.

One of the largest Buddhist temples is that known as Tou Shan Ssŭ,
situated on a hill overlooking the village of Tung Tou Shan. It
contains nothing of much interest except a "temple of horrors," as
Europeans usually designate such places, namely a roomful of clay
images representing the tortures applied to sinners in the Buddhist
"hells." The educated classes of China (including enlightened
Buddhists) regard such things with good-natured contempt. A writer in
the _Jung-ch'êng Chih_, mentioning the so-called hells of Buddhism,
remarks that "although this is not in accordance with the true worship
of the gods it is useful as a means of warning and keeping in order
the ignorant multitude."[395] Into the outside wall of this temple has
been built a curious old stone representing the historical Buddha.
The style of carving is Indian, such as may be seen in many old
Buddhist temples in China. The traditional Indian styles of what may be
called ecclesiastical architecture and decoration survived in Chinese
Buddhistic art long after Indian and Chinese Buddhists had ceased to
make pilgrimages to each other's countries. This stone was doubtless
saved for the present buildings during one of the rather frequent
restorations which this temple has undergone.

There is now very little that is distinctively Buddhistic in the
religious ideas or ceremonies of the people, and apart from the priests
it is very doubtful whether there is a single Chinese in the Territory
who could give the date and place of the Buddha's birth,[396] much
less give any account of the teachings of that wonderful man. The
reincarnation of human souls is vaguely believed in after a fashion,
though some belief of the kind would probably be found in China even
though Buddhism had never existed. The theory of the "transmigration of
souls," which is not Buddhistic except in a popular sense, has driven
out of sight and memory the theory of the reincarnation of Karma, which
is taught by canonical Buddhism. The doctrine of the Buddha on this and
many other points is too profound to be grasped by the uncultivated
peasant. The crude idea of "transmigration" has been held by numerous
tribes and races never reached or affected by Buddhism--such as certain
American Indians, Greenlanders, Australian aborigines, and African
negroes: indeed it existed in Asia (and probably elsewhere) long before
the days of the Buddha.

Dr. Tylor shows,[397] in the case of the Manichæans and Nestorians,
that even within the range of Christian influence the idea of
transmigration has widely flourished; indeed, to a limited extent it
apparently exists to this day among certain Christians of eastern
Europe. Thus when a Chinese litigant in Weihaiwei presents a petition
in which he says, "if I am not telling the strict truth may I after
death change into a donkey or a worm and never more appear in the
form of a man," he is only expressing himself in the terms of a
belief that is in reality independent of Buddhism, though now closely
connected with it in the popular mind. I have before me a petition
which concludes in words that may be translated thus: "If His Worship
will take pity on his humble petitioner and come to his help in the
present trouble, then the whole of his petitioner's family and all
future generations of his family for a period of ten thousand _kalpas_
(innumerable ages) will reverently raise their hands and repeat the
name of Amitabha Buddha." This, of course, is a "patter" taken from the
lips of the Buddhist priests; Amitabha[398] is the great Buddha-god of
the fabled Western Heaven--that abode of bliss which in the Chinese
Mahayana system has practically abolished (except for certain monkish
schools) the Nirvana of primitive and orthodox Buddhism.

A few stories and legends survive in Weihaiwei to show that Buddhism
was once a mightier power in this part of China than it is at present.
Of a fisherman named Miao we are told that once upon a time when he
was at sea he hooked what he thought was a great fish; but when he
hauled in his line he found his "catch" was an image of Buddha. Being
an irreligious man he took a stone and smashed the image to pieces. A
few days afterwards he sickened and died. According to another story an
image of Kuan Yin (the "Goddess of Mercy") in the tower of the south
gate of Weihai city is of peculiar sanctity. About the year 1650 part
of the city wall collapsed and the gate-tower fell in ruins: but the
image, though it was only made of clay, was miraculously preserved and
was found uninjured on the top of the pile of ruins. The people of
Weihaiwei marvelled much at this incident and willingly subscribed for
the restoration of the tower and the shrine. For the better protection
of the goddess in future, an image of Wei To was set up within the
shrine, and since then there have been no accidents.[399]

A more interesting story is told of Miss Ch'ên, who was a Buddhist
nun celebrated for her virtue and austerity. Between the years 1628
and 1643 she left her nunnery near Weihai city and set out on a long
journey for the purpose of collecting subscriptions for casting a new
image of the Buddha. She wandered through Shantung and Chihli and
finally reached Peking, and there--subscription book in hand--she
stationed herself at the Ch'ien Mên (Great South Gate) in order to take
toll from those who wished to lay up for themselves treasures in the
Western Heaven. The first passer-by who took any notice of her was an
amiable maniac. His dress was made of coloured shreds and patches and
his general appearance was wild and uncouth. "Whither away, nun?" he
asked. Miss Ch'ên explained that she was collecting subscriptions for
the casting of a great image of Buddha and had come all the way from
Shantung. "Throughout my life," remarked the madman, "I was ever a
generous giver"; so taking the nun's subscription book he headed a page
with his own name (in very large characters) and the amount subscribed.
The amount in question was two "cash," equivalent to a small fraction
of a farthing. He then handed over the two small coins and went on his

In course of time the nun returned to Weihaiwei with her subscriptions,
and the work of casting the image was duly begun. When the time had
come for the process of smelting, it was observed that the copper
remained hard and intractable. Again and again the furnace was fed with
fuel, but the shapeless mass of metal remained firm as a rock. The head
workman, who was a man of wide experience, volunteered an explanation
of the matter. "An offering of great value must be missing," he
said. "Let the collection-book be examined so that it may be seen
whose subscription has been withheld." The nun, who was standing by,
immediately produced the madman's money, which on account of its
minute value she had not taken the trouble to hand over. "There is one
cash," she said, "and there is another. Certainly the offering of these
must have been an act of the highest merit, and the giver must be a
holy man who will some day attain Buddhahood."

As she said this she threw the two cash into the midst of the cauldron.
The great bubbles rose and burst, the metal melted and ran like the
sap from a tree, limpid as flowing water, and in a few moments the
work was accomplished and the new Buddha successfully cast. This story
has a pleasant and instructive little moral of its own, though perhaps
the Western reader will be chiefly struck by the parallel between the
madman's two cash and the Widow's two mites.[400] In each case the
value of the gift lay not in the amount given but in the spirit of the

A glance at the interior of a Buddhist temple at Weihaiwei shows that
there is little or nothing left here of any form of Buddhism that
is worthy of the name. A native from Burma, Siam and Ceylon (where
comparatively pure forms of Buddhism are still to be found) would
recognise the image of Sakyamuni, but otherwise he would see hardly
anything to indicate that the Light of Asia had ever penetrated to this
far corner of the continent. The people, as we have seen, know nothing
of the life of the Buddha and next to nothing of his teachings, while
the priests--temple caretakers would be a more fitting description
for them--know not much more than the people. Here, as in the greater
part of China, efforts have evidently been made to popularise
the Buddhist temples by the introduction of the images of Taoist
divinities--especially the various gods that bring material prosperity
and heal diseases. A Buddhist temple therefore contains nearly as many
images as a Taoist temple: if they were excluded the temple would be
deserted, and the sole revenue--apart from the profits arising from a
few cultivated fields--would probably be a small sum paid annually by
laymen for the privilege of storing their unused coffins in the temple

Weihaiwei is not by any means unique in respect of the decayed state
of Buddhism. It is hardly too much to say that Buddhism as a distinct
religion only exists in China in certain famous monastic centres. The
only true Buddhists are the monks of the great monasteries (to be found
chiefly south of the Yangtse) and the people of certain localities
where monastic influences happen to be strong. Elsewhere Buddhism has
indeed tinged--sometimes very deeply--the religious life and customs of
the people, especially in the beliefs and ceremonies relating to death
and burial, but it can hardly be said to be a separate living faith.

Of other religions besides the _San Chiao_--the "Three Doctrines" of
Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism--there is very little to be said so
far as Weihaiwei is concerned. Mohammedanism exists in certain parts
of the province--as in Chinan-fu and Ch'ing-chou-fu--but there is
no trace of it in Weihaiwei or its neighbourhood. Both Catholic and
Protestant Missions exist, and there are some converts to Christianity.
At present--1910--there are reported to be about fifty baptized
Catholics besides some catechumens preparing for baptism; there are
also eighty-three Christians belonging to Protestant denominations. The
Christians may thus be said to number less than one-tenth of one per
cent. of the inhabitants of the Territory.


[382] We need not jeer at Chinese simplicity in this matter unless we
reserve some of our gibes for the good folk of Settrington, Yorkshire,
where "it is considered prudent during a thunderstorm to leave the
house door open in order to enable the lightning to get out if it
should come in." (_County Folk-lore_, vol. ii.: _North Riding of
Yorkshire_, pp. 43-4.)

[383] See pp. 119 _seq._

[384] Serpent-worship was as we know common in Egypt, and also among
the Hebrews up to the time of Hezekiah, and among certain Indian
and other Asiatic races. As for "dragons," they existed even in
Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire (see _County Folk-lore_, vol. x. p.
33; and _County Folk-lore: Gloucestershire_, p. 23). It is unnecessary
to remind the English reader of St. George and his feats. For further
parallels see Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_, pp. 92, 102 _seq._, 107,

[385] Sir Robert Douglas mentions a case in point in his _Confucianism
and Taouism_ (5th ed.), p. 277. He says of a certain great serpent
that "Li Hung-chang, the viceroy of the province, came in person to
pay reverence to it as the personification of the Dragon-king." For a
discussion of snake-demons in China see De Groot's _Religious System of
China_, vol. v. pp. 626 _seq._ See also _J.R.A.S. (China Branch)_, vol.
xxxiv. p. 116. For a famous snake-demon legend that has been widely
accepted in lands other than China, the reader need not look further
than Genesis, chap. iii.

[386] A belief of the kind exists in Japan. See Griffis, _The Religions
of Japan_ (4th ed.), p. 32. For China, see also De Groot, _Religious
System of China_, vol. iv. pp. 214-19.

[387] Large snakes are very rare in Shantung, though pythons are common
enough in south China.

[388] _Shinto_, p. 42.

[389] Near the village of Hsing-lin ("Almond-Grove").

[390] The Five Sacred Mountains are T'ai Shan in Shantung, Hêng Shan
in Shansi (and a rival claimant of the same name in Chihli), Sung Shan
in Honan, Hua Shan in Shensi, and the Nan Yüeh in Hunan. The Spirits
of these Mountains are known as Ta Ti--"Great Gods." The most famous
of them, so far as literature and tradition go, is T'ai Shan; the most
popular (judging from my own observation of the number of worshippers
during the pilgrim season) is the Nan Yüeh; the most beautiful, as
well as the loftiest, is Hua Shan, which--when there is a railway from
Honan-fu to Hsi-an-fu--will become a European tourists' Mecca. See
_supra_, pp. 71, 73, 74.

[391] The so-called Four Famous Mountains (_Ssŭ Ta Ming Shan_) of
Buddhism are Wu-t'ai Shan in Shansi, Omei Shan in Ssŭch'uan, Chiu
Hua Shan in Anhui and Pootoo Shan off the coast of Chehkiang. After
visits to all these hills I am inclined to give the palm of beauty
to Omei Shan, though the others have great charms of their own, more
especially the little fairyland of Pootoo, with its silver sands, its
picturesque monasteries, its tree-clad slopes and the isle-studded
deep-blue sea that laps its rock-fringed coast. But apart from the Five
Sacred Mountains (still predominantly Taoist) and the Four Famous Hills
(almost exclusively Buddhist) there are very many other beautiful and
famous temple-studded hills in China. Wu-tang in Hupei, T'ai Pai in
Shensi, T'ien-t'ai in Chehkiang, Huang Shan in Anhui, Shang-Fang near
Peking, Wu-i and Ku Shan in Fuhkien, the Lo-fou hills near Canton, are
only a few of those of which the fame has spread furthest.

[392] _Shang Ti_ is the term that the majority of Protestant
missionaries in China have adopted to represent the word God. _T'ien
Chu_ (Lord of Heaven) is the name selected by the Roman Catholics. The
Chinese know Protestantism as _Ye-su Chiao_ (the Jesus Doctrine) and
Roman Catholicism as _T'ien Chu Chiao_ (the Lord-of-Heaven Doctrine).

[393] The simple uncarved stones seem to gain in interest when we
go back in thought to the days of the early Greeks and the early
Babylonians and Assyrians. Of the ancient Greeks Pausanias tells us
that they worshipped the gods through the medium of images, and that
these images were unwrought stones. Some of the T'u Ti and other
images that one finds everywhere in Weihaiwei--with their short,
squat, scarcely human bodies--suggest a transition from the mere
unwrought stone to the carved and finished statue. Similarly in Greece
we find first the absolutely rough, unhewn stone, such as that which
represented Eros at Thespiæ, next the legless, angular, ugly images
such as the well-known square Hermes--of which, one would have thought,
both gods and men should be ashamed--and finally the exquisite statues
of idealised boyhood and youth such as are still a source of the purest
delight to all lovers of beauty and of art. Unfortunately the desire to
make the gods appear different from ordinary mankind led the Chinese,
as it led the Indian and other Eastern races, to what may be called
the cultivation of the grotesque, so that there is very little that is
grand or beautiful, as a rule, even in the best of their divine images.
The finest statues, generally speaking, are undoubtedly those of Sakya
Buddha. Tradition, in this respect, has been comparatively merciful to
the memory of the great Indian philosopher and sage. Europeans often
find fault with the Buddha-faces for their alleged insipidity: whereas
what the artist has really aimed at is an ideal of passionless repose.

[394] See p. 381.

[395] Cf. the remark of Diodorus Siculus (i. 2): "The myths that are
told of affairs in Hades, though pure invention at bottom, contribute
to make men pious and upright."

[396] In any case they would be wrong, as the Chinese Buddhists
antedate the Buddha's birth by several centuries.

[397] _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. pp. 2 _seq_. and 14 _seq_.

[398] The Japanese Amida.

[399] Wei To in Chinese Buddhism is a fabulous Bodhisatva whose special
function it is to act as protector of Buddhist temples (_Vihārapāla_)
and all their contents. His image is generally found in the front hall
of such temples. He is often depicted on the last page of Buddhist
books: this prevents them from destruction by fire and insects, and (it
is confidently asserted) compels their borrower to return them to their
owner. A private Wei To would perhaps be a most welcome addition to the
furniture of many an Englishman's library.

[400] Mark xii. 41-4, and Luke xxi. 1-4. Buddhism also has a story of
a Widow who gave as an offering two pieces of copper. It occurs in a
Chinese version of the Buddhacarita of Asvagosha.



We have now made a rough survey of the different religious systems
that are to be found in China, and especially in that part of China
with which these pages are chiefly concerned; and it is not improbable
that the reader's verdict will be that Confucianism is an admirable
if unemotional system of ethics, that Buddhism has decayed out of
recognition, and that Taoism has degenerated into mere ritual,
mythology and image-worship. But before we reproach the Chinese for the
childish superstitions that seem to occupy so large a place in their
outlook on life, let us remember that the Chinese are very far from
believing all they are supposed to believe.

When writers on comparative mythology and religion declare that this
or that race holds this or that strange belief they do not necessarily
mean that such belief is present to the minds of the people in question
in the definite and clear-cut fashion that a dogma of the Christian
faith may be supposed to present itself to a devout Catholic. A
so-called belief, when it comes to be closely examined, is often found
to be nothing more than some quaint old fancy that has crystallised
itself in the form of a quasi-religious ceremonial. Many a strange
national or tribal custom that seems to presuppose a definite religious
belief is carried on because it is traditional; the belief that it
represents may or may not be extinct: in some cases, indeed, it has
obviously been invented to explain the existence of a ceremony the
cause of which has long been forgotten. Sometimes the custom lingers
on--like the children's masquerades in the first Chinese month at
Weihaiwei[401]--not only after the ideas that originally prompted it
have disappeared but in spite of the fact that no one has thought it
worth while to evolve a new theory of origin.

If it were definitely proved that these children's dances sprang from
prehistoric magical rites connected with the growth of the crops, we
might soon hear from European writers on myth and religion that "the
people of Weihaiwei hold certain dances in the first month of each year
in the belief that they will conduce to good harvests." Yet this would
be a misleading statement, for whatever the origin of the custom may
have been the people of Weihaiwei at the present time are absolutely
destitute of any such belief. When studying comparative religion in
books it is very necessary to be on one's guard against obtaining quite
erroneous impressions of the actual conditions of belief among the
people treated of, for however careful and conscientious the writers
may be, it is very difficult for them (writing very largely from
travellers' and missionaries' notes) to distinguish between a belief
that is an active religious force and a stereotyped custom which merely
represents a belief that existed or is supposed to have existed in
days gone by. The mistakes that arise are of course the natural result
of studying books about men instead of studying the men themselves.
Unfortunately all of us are obliged to rely on books to a great extent,
as life is too short to enable each of us to make himself personally
familiar with the customs and religious ideas of more than a very small
number of different races. But this fact ought to make us particularly
careful not to run the risk of misleading others by misunderstanding
and therefore erroneously reporting the facts that have come under our
own observation.

There are few of the minor superstitious practices of the Chinese
which are regarded by their Western teachers as more ridiculous and
contemptible than their strange fancy that they can send money,
articles of furniture and clothing and written messages to the dead
by the simple and economical expedient of burning paper images or
representations of such things. Perhaps at a Chinese funeral one
may be shocked to see a liberal-minded Chinese gentleman of one's
own acquaintance joining the rest of the mourners in this foolish
occupation. If, after having gained his confidence, one asks him
whether he literally believes that paper money will turn into real
money in the other world or that his dead ancestors actually require
a supply of money to help them to keep up appearances among their
brother ghosts, he will in all likelihood say that of course he
believes in nothing of the kind, but that the paper-burning forms part
of the customary rites and it is not for him to alter them. Perhaps he
will say that the women and children believe, and that an attempt to
disabuse them of their silly notions might unsettle their minds and
cause trouble.

If he is a scholar he will perhaps say something like this: "In ancient
times real valuables were thrown into the grave. Money, jewels,
animals, even living men and women were once buried with the dead.
When it was decided that this custom must be given up it was thought
necessary to keep ignorant minds quiet by explaining that worthless
imitations of the real articles would serve the purpose equally well;
so clay and wood and paper began to be used at funerals, and their
use still continues. It is a foolish custom, but we think it helps to
convey a useful lesson to the average unthinking man and woman and
makes them feel that they are bound to their dead ancestors by ties of
love and reverence and gratitude. The more strongly their feelings are
moved in this way the more likely will they be to rule their families
well and to lead peaceful and orderly and industrious lives. They might
show love and reverence for the dead in some better way than by burning
heaps of paper? I grant you: but it happens to be our way, and when we
ourselves or rather the superstitious masses begin to disbelieve in it
and laugh at it then it will be time enough to make a change."

But why should we take the Chinese to task for a custom which we
tolerate within a stone's throw of the Vatican itself? How puzzled
our Chinese gentleman would be, after listening to our arguments on
the folly of burning paper for the dead, to read such a paragraph as
this: "In the Church of the Jesuit College at Rome lies buried St.
Aloysius Gonzaga, on whose festival it is customary especially for the
college students to write letters to him, which are placed on his gaily
decorated and illuminated altar, and afterwards burned unopened. The
miraculous answering of these letters is vouched for in an English book
of 1870."[402]

It is well to remember that as regards the world beyond the grave and
the nature of spirits the Chinese ideas--like those of the average
European--are vague and inconsistent. The ordinary Christian seems
able to reconcile in his own mind (perhaps by providing himself with
separate thought-tight compartments) all kinds of heterogeneous beliefs
and notions about heaven and hell and the Day of Judgment and the
present lot of those who have "gone before." A Chinese who, knowing
nothing of Western religious notions, began with an unbiassed mind
to study many of our Church hymns, our old-fashioned epitaphs and
obituary notices, our funeral sermons and a good deal of our serious
poetry (such as Tennyson's magnificent "Ode on the Death of the Duke
of Wellington") would probably account for obvious inconsistencies
of doctrine by the supposition that the eschatological ideas of the
West were rather like those of his own land, inasmuch as each dead man
evidently possessed at least three souls--one that remained in the
grave, another that hovered round the bereaved relatives, and a third
that wore a crown in heaven. Yet the devout church-goer would doubtless
be surprised to hear that his prayers and hymns contained any words
which could give an outsider so false an impression of his real belief.

I have been asked this question: How is it that from all accounts
the Chinese are such sensible and intelligent men and yet hold such
puerile and idiotic views about nature and religion? The answer is that
backwardness in scientific knowledge (especially in such knowledge as
has been acquired very recently even by Western peoples) is accountable
for many of their foolish imaginings, but that a very great number of
the most childish superstitions and customs of the Chinese are not
founded on any existing beliefs at all but are merely traditional
forms. The "heathen" rites so harrowingly described by missionaries
are very often much more harmless than one would suppose from their
accounts. A careless Chinese traveller in England might after observing
some of our English rites and customs tell tales which would make
England appear hardly less grotesque than poor China appears in
numberless books written by well-intentioned foreigners. If he visited
an old-fashioned country-house in England and watched the yule-log
blazing in the hall at Christmas time he might suppose (after learning
the origin of the custom) that his host was knowingly practising an old
heathen rite connected with the winter solstice.[403]

At dawn on May Morning it is the custom for the surpliced choristers
of Magdalen College to ascend the Great Tower and there greet the
rising sun with the sweet strains of a Latin hymn. Just as the full
circle of the sun flushes with morning light the grey stone pinnacles
the beautiful hymn comes to an end, and the tower--the "dawn-smitten
Memnon of a happier hour"--trembles and sways as its eight mighty bells
leap into glad music and awaken "the college of the lily" into joyous
life. No one seems to know the certain origin of the ancient rite of
which this is a survival, but some have said that it represents an
old heathen ceremony connected with the worship of the sun. The rite
(in a modern form) is very properly kept up because it is singularly
beautiful--the most beautiful and impressive ceremony of its kind
practised throughout the length and breadth of England. But would
not Oxford be politely surprised and somewhat amused if our Chinese
traveller were to inform his fellow-countrymen that sun-worship was
still kept up at England's academic capital and that the President of
Magdalen was an Egyptian initiate or a Druid?

The analogy between Chinese and English survivals is far from perfect.
Heathen ceremonies in England have been Christianised; in China all
ceremonies remain "heathen." But, after all, the difference ceases to
oppress us by its magnitude if we regard Religion as One though creeds
are many. What good do we do the cause of truth by heaping disagreeable
epithets on faiths other than our own? Socrates was denounced as an
atheist by his fellow-countrymen. Which of us now would not be proud to
have been an atheist with Socrates? Christians themselves were at one
time stigmatised as atheists by both Greeks and Romans. What good does
the Vatican do to the cause of Christ by vituperating the Modernists
because they are honest? What did Athanasius gain, either for himself
or for "Orthodoxy," by applying to the Arians such ugly names as
"devils, antichrists, maniacs leeches, beetles, gnats, chameleons,
hydras" and other terms equally discourteous?[404]

But, comes the reply, when we say the Chinese are idolaters we are only
stating a simple fact that any one can verify for himself. "That the
Chinese have profound faith in their idols," says a Western writer, "is
a fact that cannot for a moment be questioned. China is a nation of
idolaters, and neither learning nor intelligence nor high birth tends
to quench the belief that has come down from the past that these wooden
gods have a power of interfering in human life, and of being able to
bestow blessings or to send down curses upon men."[405]

Now this question of idolatry is a difficult one to deal with, for
plain speaking is sure to offend. It is on the heads of the unfortunate
Chinese "idols" that the vials of Christian wrath are chiefly poured.
As a matter of fact it is rather questionable whether the images
in Chinese temples are correctly described as idols at all. Surely
it would be less misleading to reserve that term for images which
are regarded as gods _per se_ and not merely as clay or wooden
representations of gods. One sees a Chinese "worshipping" an image,
say, of Kuan Yin. Does he regard Kuan Yin as actually present before
him or does he merely regard the image as a man-made statue of his
goddess,--an image set up as an aid to prayer or as a stimulator of the
imagination or the emotions?

[Illustration: SHRINE ON SUMMIT OF KU SHAN (see p. 396).]

[Illustration: VILLAGERS AT A TEMPLE DOORWAY (see p. 415).]

Theoretically, at least, he most emphatically does not believe that
the goddess is herself before him: for he knows perfectly well that if
he walks two miles to another temple he will find another image of the
same divinity; and that if he wishes to do so he may come across three
or four Kuan Yins in the course of a single day's walk. On the island
of Pootoo he could see dozens in a couple of hours. Unless the goddess
is endowed with multiple personalities it is obvious that she cannot
possibly be present in every image, and that all these clay figures are
therefore merely lifeless statues which fulfil a useful enough function
in exciting the devotional feelings of worshippers who might feel
unable to offer up prayers to a blank wall. If the Christian urges that
the Chinese worshipper of Kuan Yin is still an idolater because there
is no such person as Kuan Yin either in the material world or in the
spiritual and that therefore nothing remains to worship but the image,
it may at least be tentatively suggested that if indeed there be a God
of Love then the prayers that fly forth on the wings of sincerity from
an upright heart will not be allowed--though they be misdirected--to
flutter aimlessly for ever in some dark region of Godlessness.

That the Chinese sometimes treat the images of their gods or saints
as if they were sentient creatures is true enough. They are taken out
in processions, for example, and sometimes--if public prayers have
been disregarded--they are buffeted and even mutilated. This is simply
another instance of the remarkable inconsistency that seems to go hand
in hand with religious opinions all over the world, and in the case
of the most ignorant classes is doubtless due to the fact that many
uneducated people cannot conceive of the existence of a being that is
in no way cognisable by the bodily senses. Is Christendom free from
such inconsistency? Certainly not in the matter of images,[406] as any
one may see for himself at any time in southern Europe and elsewhere.
There is a story told of St. Bernard, who eight hundred years ago knelt
in a cathedral in front of an image of Mary. Devoutly and fervently
he commenced to pray: "O gracious, mild and highly favoured Mother of
God," he began: when lo! the image opened its lips and vouchsafed an
answer. "Welcome, my Bernard!" it said. In high displeasure the saint
rose to his feet. "Silence!" he said, with a frown at his holy patron.
"No woman is allowed to speak in the congregation."

Let us pass this over as a fable, for it finds no place in the _Aurea
Legenda_ and is useful only as an indication that St. Bernard, though
doubtless a true disciple of St. Paul,[407] took a somewhat ungenerous
view of women's rights. But there are other facts to be noted which are
not fables. "Is it not notorious," says Max Müller, "what treatment
the images of saints receive at the hands of the lower classes in
Roman Catholic countries? Della Valle relates that Portuguese sailors
fastened the image of St. Anthony to the bowsprit, and then addressed
him kneeling, with the following words: 'O St. Anthony, be pleased to
stay there till thou hast given us a fair wind for our voyage.' Frezier
writes of a Spanish captain who tied a small image of the Virgin
Mary to the mast, declaring that it should hang there till it had
granted him a favourable wind. Kotzebue declares that the Neapolitans
whip their saints if they do not grant their requests."[408] In a
missionary's account of China I recently came across a statement to the
effect that in this land of idolatry, gamblers and other evil-doers
will sometimes take the precaution of bandaging their idols' eyes so
that the divinity may not be aware of what they are doing. This I
believe is true enough, and it proves that in such cases, at least,
the clay figures are supposed to be endowed with human senses; unless
indeed the real idea at the root of the proceeding is connected with
what is known as sympathetic magic: "As I bandage the eyes of the
god's image so the eyes of the god himself (wherever he may be) will
for the nonce be sightless." But even this practice is not unknown
to Christendom, however repugnant it may be to Christianity. In the
passage from which I have just quoted Max Müller goes on to mention an
analogous practice in Russia: "Russian peasants, we are told, cover
the face of an image when they are doing anything unseemly, nay, they
even borrow their neighbours' saints if they have proved themselves
particularly successful."[409]

There are Protestant missionaries who will agree that in tolerating
superstitions of this kind the Roman Catholics and the Greek Church
are as bad or nearly as bad as the Chinese themselves--and they will
not hesitate to let their Chinese "enquirers" know what their opinions
on the subject are. The Rev. J. Edkins, in describing a great Roman
Catholic establishment at Shanghai, remarks that "it caused us some
painful reflections to see them forming images of Joseph and Mary
and other Scripture personages, in the same way that idol-makers in
the neighbouring towns were moulding Buddhas and gods of war and
riches, destined too to be honoured in much the same manner."[410]
Elsewhere the same writer remarks that "unfortunately, Catholicism
must always carry with it the worship of the Madonna, the masses for
the dead, the crucifix and the rosary. Some of the books the Jesuits
have published in Chinese contain the purest Christian truth; but it
is an unhappy circumstance that they must be accompanied by others
which teach frivolous superstition."[411] It is interesting to observe
with what comfortable confidence the Protestant missionary tacitly
assumes infallibility as to what does and what does not constitute
_the purest Christian truth_ and what is and what is not _frivolous
superstition_. Noah's ark and Jonah's whale would no doubt come under
the former heading, the doctrine of the Real Presence under the latter.
Yet Dr. Edkins might have remembered that Roman Catholicism and the
Eastern (Greek) Church embrace, after all, an exceedingly large part
of Christendom, and are just as confident of their own possession of
the truth as he was. As for Protestants, if they have refrained from
worshipping pictures and images, have they not come perilously near
worshipping a Book?

No wonder Emergency Committees and English University officials are
bestirring themselves to find means for the education of China when
they are told, for example, that the people of that country from the
Emperor downwards believe that an eclipse signifies the eating of the
sun or moon by a celestial dog or a dragon. Perhaps it may be worth
while to dwell a little on this particular superstition. I will not
venture to deny that this quaint belief is honestly held by many, but I
may say that after questioning very many Chinese, mostly ignorant and
illiterate, on this threadbare subject I have only discovered one who
appeared (after cross-examination) sincerely to believe that eclipses
are caused by a hungry beast. That person was an old woman (only half
Chinese by race) who kept a tea-house near Tali in western Yünnan. Her
confession of belief, I may add, was greeted with roars of laughter by
the crowd of Chinese coolies who were sipping their tea close by and
who heard my question and the woman's reply.

In Dr. Tylor's great work we read that the Chiquitos of South America
"thought" that the moon in an eclipse was hunted across the sky by
huge dogs, and they raised frightful howls and lamentation to drive
them off; the Caribs "thought" that the demon Maboya, hater of light,
was seeking to devour the sun and moon, and danced and howled all
night to scare him away; the Peruvians "imagined" that a monstrous
beast was eating the moon and shouted and sounded musical instruments
to frighten him, and even beat their own dogs in order to make them
join in the general uproar. Other similar theories existed in North
America also.[412] It is curious to find such customs existing in both
Asia and America. Some have thought that Fu-sang,[413] the mysterious
land of bliss and immortality, which according to song and legend lay
very far away in the eastern ocean, was a portion of the American
continent;[414] and it has even been held that an ambassador from
Fu-sang (or a Chinese who had visited Fu-sang and had safely returned)
was received at the Chinese Imperial Court, where he gave an account
of the strange land. China's possible knowledge of the existence of
the American continent in prehistoric days is a fascinating subject
that we cannot pursue here, but with reference to the accounts of the
American eclipse-theories one feels inclined to ask whether the peoples
named were as a matter of fact convinced of the truth of the dog or
demon theory while they were beating tom-toms and shouting themselves
hoarse, or whether the practices referred to by Dr. Tylor did not
merely represent the survival in comparatively civilised times of a
custom which in a ruder age had been based on a real belief. This would
not of course mean--either in China or America--that the belief might
not still be vaguely held by ignorant women and children and even in
a thoughtless way by many average men. They would "believe" that some
horrid beast was eating the sun just as a modern child--the Victorian
child, at least, if not the Edwardian--usually "believed" that Santa
Claus was a benevolent old gentleman who entered people's houses by way
of the chimney.

There are always people to be found in every race whose minds are of
the receptive but unanalytic order--people who continue to believe
anything they have been told in childhood simply because it does not
occur to them to ask questions or to think out problems for themselves.
Whether such a mental attitude is worthy of being called an attitude
of "belief" is another matter. What makes it suspiciously probable
that the shouting and uproar among certain American tribes was merely
a ceremonial survival from a primitive age is the fact that entirely
different and much more reasonable theories of the cause of a lunar or
solar eclipse were known and apparently assented to by the very people
who nominally believed in the hungry-dog theory. "Passing on from these
most primitive conceptions," says Dr. Tylor, "it appears that natives
of both South and North America fell upon philosophic myths somewhat
nearer the real facts of the case, insomuch as they admit that the sun
and moon cause eclipses of one another."[415] A further significant
observation is made that the Aztecs, "as part of their remarkable
astronomical knowledge, seem to have had an idea of the real cause of
eclipses," yet "kept up a relic of the old belief by continuing to
speak in mythologic phrase of the sun and moon being eaten."

It is the old story, that to introduce changes into religious
ceremonial is considered impious or sacrilegious, even when the advance
of knowledge renders such ceremonial meaningless. One hears of stone
knives being used by priests for sacrificial purposes long ages after
metal has come into common use, simply because a kind of sanctity is
attached to the form of instrument that was used when the sacrificial
rite itself was young: though it had only been selected originally
because in the stone age nothing better was available. One of the
stone knives of some Western Churches is the so-called Creed of St.
Athanasius. There are many other stone implements in the ecclesiastical
armouries of the West, but some of them are cunningly carved and
regilded from time to time so that as long as no one examines them too
critically they are regarded without disfavour. But the carving and
gilding will not hide their imperfections for ever.

Writing of events at Canton, Dr. Wells Williams says that "an almost
total eclipse of the moon called out the entire population, each one
carrying something with which to make a noise, kettles, pans, sticks,
drums, gongs, guns, crackers and what not to frighten away the dragon
of the sky from his hideous feast ... silence gradually resumed its
sway as the moon recovered her fulness."[416] Dr. Williams does not
say so, but the fact was that the townspeople were simply availing
themselves of a recognised and legitimate opportunity to have what
English schoolboys might call a "rag." If he had scrutinised the
faces of the gong-beaters he would have observed that the prevailing
feelings were those of mirth and good-humour, not of terror at the
occurrence of a distressing celestial calamity. The stereotyped
nature of the official ceremonies (in which every action is carefully
prescribed) that take place during an eclipse, not to mention the fact
that eclipses have for centuries been regularly foretold by the Court
astronomers, ought to be sufficient to show that the noisy ceremonial
is merely a rather interesting survival from an age of complete
scientific ignorance and perhaps barbarism.

It seems very possible, indeed, that the eclipse-theory supposed to be
generally held in China is not a traditional inheritance of the Chinese
race but came to them in comparatively recent times from some less
civilised neighbour, possibly an Indian or a central Asiatic race. It
is hardly likely to have come from America; for even if the Fu-sang
stories are not mere fairy-tales it is not probable that China can
have borrowed her superstitions from so distant a source. If China was
foolish enough to borrow the beast-theory from India, she may at least
retort that it was borrowed by Europe too: for the same theory, with
or without variations, has existed even on the Continent and in the
British Isles.[417]

It is noteworthy that the oldest books extant in the Chinese language
mention eclipses but give no hint of the beast-theory, and the
philosopher Wang Ch'ung (first century A.D.), whose delight it was to
demolish foolish superstitions, mentions several explanations (wise
and foolish) of eclipses without directly or indirectly referring to
that which we have been considering. He would certainly have referred
to it if it had been known to him. Whatever may have been the date of
their first observance, the official eclipse-rites (which are said to
have been recently abolished by order of the Prince-Regent) continued
to exist through the centuries simply because, partly from political
motives, Chinese Governments have always been very reluctant to
interfere with established customs. Much of the imperial ritual carried
on at the present day in connection with the worship of Heaven and
Earth is a pure matter of form so far as religious belief goes. If the
Emperor gave up the grand ceremonials conducted annually at the Altar
of Heaven it would doubtless be interpreted to mean that he had lost
faith in his own divine right to rule and that the Manchu dynasty was
about to abdicate the throne.

On the whole, then, we may conclude that in spite of appearances
the Chinese do not, as a nation, hold that when the moon is passing
through the earth's shadow it means that the moon is being devoured
by a hungry dragon. That very many Chinese will profess belief in the
dragon, if suddenly asked about the cause of an eclipse, is perfectly
true. Somewhat similarly, many an Englishman, if suddenly asked what
became of Red Riding Hood's grandmother, would probably reply without
hesitation that the wretched old lady was eaten by a wicked wolf.

A missionary writer already quoted states that though the Chinese
are gifted with a keen sense of humour, "when they come to deal with
the question of spirits and ghosts and ogres they seem to lose their
reasoning faculties, and to believe in the most outrageous things
that a mind with an ordinary power of the perception of the ludicrous
would shrink from admitting."[418] That the Chinese (like multitudes
of Europeans) do believe in some outrageous and ridiculous things I
am quite ready to admit, but it is necessary again to emphasise the
undoubted fact that many Chinese (like multitudes of Europeans) seem to
believe in a great deal more than they really do, and that what seems
like active belief is often nothing more than a passive acquiescence in
tradition. Let us remember that in China, as in our own Western lands,
relics of early barbarism hold their own through ages of civilisation
"by virtue of the traditional sanctity which belongs to survival
from remote antiquity."[419] As time goes on and knowledge grows
(especially among the mothers of the race) many of the unreasonable
forms of traditional belief and many of the crude ideas which are
accepted in China because traditional, though not really believed in,
will gradually decay and disappear; arms and heads will fall off clay
images and will not be replaced; temple-roofs will fall in and will
not be repaired; annual processions and festivals will be kept up
because they provide holidays for hard-working adults and are a source
of delight to the children, but will gradually become more and more
secular in character; while ghosts and devils will be relegated to the
care of lovers of folk-lore or (perhaps with truer wisdom) submitted
as subjects of serious study to a future Chinese society for psychical

It often happens that a writer on matters connected with religion in
a "heathen" land will tell little stories intended to illustrate the
unsatisfying nature of the "heathen" rites, thus leaving the inference
to be drawn that what the unhappy "pagans" are unconsciously in want
of is Christianity with its crystallised statements of truth. Such a
little story is the following, told by a writer upon whose pages I have
drawn more than once.[420] "'What have you gained to-day in your appeal
to the goddess?' I asked of a man that I had seen very devout in his
prayers. He looked at me with a quick and searching glance. 'You ask me
what answer I have got to my petition to the goddess?' he said. 'Yes,'
I replied, 'that is what I want to know from you.' 'Well, you have
asked me more than I can tell you. The whole question of the idols is
a profoundly mysterious one that no one can fathom. Whether they do or
can help people is something I cannot tell. I worship them because my
fathers did so before me, and if they were satisfied, so must I be. The
whole thing is a mystery,' and he passed on with the look of a man who
was puzzled with a problem that he could not solve, and that look is a
permanent one on the face of the nation to-day."

Perhaps there are a good many Englishmen and Americans who on reading
this instructive little dialogue may be tempted to sympathise not
a little with the idol-worshipper. A profound mystery that no one
can fathom! I worship them because my fathers did so before me! Are
there not thousands and thousands of Western people who might in all
sincerity use those very words? For in spite of everything that all
the Churches and all the prophets and all the philosophers have done
for us, in spite of all we have learned from dogmas and revelations
and sacred books, we are still groping in darkness. _The whole thing
is a mystery_, and the man who can solve it is wiser than any man who
has yet lived. Yes, inevitably replies the Protestant missionary, but
God can solve it: and he has done so, for to us He has revealed the
Truth. Not to you, but to Me! cries the Holy Catholic Church. Not to
you, but to us! cry the Anglican and the Baptist and the Unitarian and
the Quaker and the Theist and the Swedenborgian and the Mormon and the
Seventh Day Adventist and the Christian Scientist and the Plymouth
Brother and the Theosophist. Not to you, but to us! cry the Jew and
the Mohammedan and the Brahman and the Sikh and the Bábist and the

What is Truth?

The Castle of Religion is guarded by an ever-watchful band of armoured
giants called Creeds and Dogmas. When a lonely knight-errant rides
up to the castle gate eager to liberate the lady Truth who he knows
lies somewhere within, he is met by the giant warders, who repel him
with menaces and blows. "You seek Truth?" they exclaim. "You need go
no further. We are Truth." Some think that if the giants were slain
the lordly castle itself would fade like a dream. Why should it fade?
More likely is it that nothing but their defeat and death can save
the time-battered walls from crumbling to utter decay; that only then
the drawbridge will fall and the darkened windows blaze into lines
of festal light; that only by stepping across those huge prostrate
forms shall we ever come face to face with the Lady of the Castle--no
more a manacled captive, but free and ready to step forth, gloriously
apparelled and radiant with beauty, to receive for the first time a
world's homage. From the lips of Truth herself will the question of the
jesting Pilate at last be answered.


[401] See pp. 183-4.

[402] Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. ii. p. 122.

[403] For other examples of the "extraordinary survival of pagan
fancies amidst Christian worship" see Gomme's _Folk-lore Relics of
Early Village Life_, pp. 138-44; and the works of Tylor, Frazer and
other anthropologists _passim_.

[404] See Max Müller's _Lectures on the Origin of Religion_ (1901 ed.),
p. 312.

[405] The Rev. T. Macgowan, _Sidelights on Chinese Life_, p. 83.

[406] See above, pp. 335 _seq._

[407] 1 _Corinthians_, chap. xiv. 34-5.

[408] _Lectures on the Origin of Religion_ (1901 ed.), p. 106 Cf. also
Farnell's _Evolution of Religion_, pp. 41-8.

[409] _Lectures on the Origin of Religion_ (1901 ed.), p. 106.

[410] _Religion in China_ (1893 ed.), p. 169.

[411] _Op. cit._ p. 14.

[412] Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ (4th ed.), vol. i. pp. 328 _seq._

[413] See pp. 21, 24-5. To the Japanese Fu-sang is known as _Fusō_.

[414] See _Mémoire sur Fou-sang_, by M. le Marquis d'Hervey de
Saint-Denys. (Paris, 1876.)

[415] _Op. cit._ p. 329.

[416] _The Middle Kingdom_ (1883 ed.), vol. i. p. 819.

[417] Tylor, _op. cit._ vol. i. pp. 333-4. The superstition exists
throughout Indo-China and the Malay Peninsula. See, for instance,
Skeat's _Malay Magic_, pp. 11-13.

[418] Rev. J. Macgowan, _op. cit._ p. 67.

[419] Tylor, _op. cit._ vol. ii. p. 167.

[420] Rev. J. Macgowan, _op. cit._ pp. 92-3.



The past history of Weihaiwei is not such as to justify very high
expectations of a dazzling future. It has never tasted the sweets of
commercial prosperity and perhaps it is hardly likely to do so in days
to come. Its situation near the eastern extremity of Shantung is such
that the ports of Chefoo and Tsingtao are almost inevitably bound to
intercept the greater part of the trade that might otherwise reach
it from west or south, while ocean-borne merchandise is not likely
to find its way into the northern provinces of China through the
gateway of Weihaiwei when there are ports, more favourably situated as
distributing centres, a few scores of miles further westward. Weihaiwei
has a valuable asset in its harbour, which is superior to that of
Chefoo, though its superiority is hardly so great as to neutralise
its several disadvantages. Yet the very unsuitability of the port
for purposes of commerce tends to increase its potential value as a
naval base--if, indeed, all naval bases do not become obsolete in the
rapidly-approaching era of aerial warfare. The Chinese naval officer of
the future may congratulate himself on the fact that here can arise no
conflict of naval and mercantile interests, such as is bound to occur
from time to time in ports like Hongkong. The deep-water anchorage of
Weihaiwei is not large enough to accommodate a squadron of battleships
as well as a fleet of ocean liners, and if Weihaiwei were to develop
into a great naval port it is difficult to see how in any circumstances
it could show much hospitality to merchant shipping.

The naval authorities of China, therefore, would have it "all their
own way" in one of the best harbours of north China. They could build
forts, carry out big-gun practice in the neighbouring waters, land men
and guns for martial exercises at all points along the coast, establish
naval depôts and dockyards on the island and the mainland, all at a
minimum of cost and without in any appreciable degree interfering
with vested interests ashore. All this was recognised by the Chinese
Government long ago, when Weihaiwei was, as a matter of fact, a
military and naval station second only in importance to the Manchurian
fortress of Port Arthur.

The conspicuous and not inglorious part played by Weihaiwei during
the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-5 has already been mentioned. Many of
the guns which, it was vainly hoped, would effectually protect the
approaches to the eastern entrance to the harbour, are still lying amid
the ruins of a chain of forts extending from the village of Hai-pu to
that of Hsieh-chia-so. The fine military road that connected the forts
is now in many places barely traceable, for its masonry has been carted
away by unsentimental Chinese farmers for use in the construction of
dwelling-houses, and here and there the road itself has actually been
ploughed up and made to yield a scanty crop of sweet potatoes,--for
even so does the prosaic spirit of agricultural enterprise avenge
itself upon the pomps and vanities of wicked warfare. But forts can be
reconstructed, heavier and more modern guns can be purchased, military
roads can be rebuilt; and this is what doubtless will take place when
China has decided to undertake the task of creating a fleet of warships
and of re-establishing Weihaiwei as a naval base.

But, the bewildered reader may ask, where does Great Britain come
in? Is not Weihaiwei a British Colony? If forts are to be built, will
they not be British forts; if war-fleets are to ride at anchor in the
harbour of Weihaiwei, will they not be British fleets? The answer to
this is that the British Government had given up all idea of fortifying
Weihaiwei even before the result of the Russo-Japanese war and the
fall of Port Arthur had drawn attention to the merely temporary nature
of the occupation of Weihaiwei. Moreover, Weihaiwei is not officially
recognised as an integral portion of the King's "dominions beyond
the seas"; it is occupied and administered by Great Britain, but its
inhabitants--as we have already seen[421]--are not, with technical
accuracy, to be described as British subjects. Weihaiwei has never
been ceded to the British Crown, and when it is restored to China the
British Crown will suffer no diminution of lustre, though doubtless
unjustifiable murmurs will be heard concerning the damage to British
prestige. As to when rendition is to take place, this is entirely a
matter for international agreement; though it will be remembered that
the date of the expiration of the original Russian lease of Port Arthur
will not take place until March 1923.[422]

As the trade of Weihaiwei is (at least from the point of view of
European mercantile interests) almost a negligible quantity, it may be
said that the place is useful to Great Britain only as a summer resort
for her warships stationed in Far Eastern seas: and it may be observed
that as the port is totally unfortified the interests of the British
Navy would hardly suffer if the whole of the mainland territory were
unreservedly restored to China and only the island of Liukung and the
right to use the waters of the harbour retained in British hands. An
arrangement of this kind, however, would only be welcomed by China so
long as she was without a navy of her own.

A question that is often asked by Western visitors to Weihaiwei is one
that does not directly concern the Government either of China or of
Great Britain. Are the people of Weihaiwei pleased with British rule?
Would they be glad or sorry to pass once more under the yoke of Chinese
administrators? That the people appreciate the benefits directly or
indirectly conferred upon them by the British occupation there is no
reason to doubt.[423] That trade--external and internal--is brisker,
that the people are more prosperous, that money circulates more freely
and more abundantly, that roads and other means of communication have
been greatly improved--all these things are fully realised. But though
the shopkeepers and contractors on the island and in Port Edward
would undoubtedly vote--if they had the chance--for the perpetuation
of present conditions, I have no doubt that if the matter were to be
decided by a secret ballot among all the people of the Territory a
very great preponderance of votes would be given for the resumption of
Chinese rule.

It is perhaps unnecessary to cast about for reasons why this should
be so. Many Europeans ridicule the notion that the Chinese possess
the virtue of patriotism. Even if there be no patriotism (a very
rash assumption after all) there is certainly a strong racial
feeling in China: and when race and nation are one it may perhaps
be plausibly argued that racial sentiment and patriotic sentiment
come to be interchangeable terms. Granting that patriotism or some
analogous sentiment does exist among the people of China, surely
no Englishman need look further for a reasonable cause why the
evacuation of Weihaiwei should be welcomed by the people.[424] The
Chinese of Weihaiwei do not like to be ruled by foreigners any more
than the average Englishman would care to see Spanish rule--let us
say--established in the Isle of Wight, quite irrespective of the merits
or demerits of the foreign rulers and their system of government.

Too much stress should not be laid on the alleged racial antipathy
between White and Yellow, inasmuch as there is no strong basis for the
too common view that the people of East and West are so differently
constituted that they must always remain spiritually and intellectually
sundered. What is often mistaken for a barrier of race is in many
cases, I believe, merely a barrier of language. The number of
men--Chinese or English--who can be said to have a scholarly knowledge
of the two languages is still astonishingly small.[425] Yet there is
unfortunately little doubt that the antagonism between Europe and Asia,
whether the causes be racial or merely political, is in some respects
steadily growing stronger, and it is difficult to see how we can expect
that antagonism to diminish so long as present political conditions
subsist. Asiatics, rightly or wrongly, are acquiring the notion that
European dominion in the East has been due not to any intrinsic
superiority (biological, intellectual or moral) of the white races,
but chiefly to temporary and (speaking unphilosophically) accidental
circumstances that will soon cease to exist. One noble Asiatic nation
has definitely and probably for ever freed herself from "the White
Peril," and it is not unnatural that other nations in Asia should
aspire to do the same.

  "The real cause of unrest," it has been recently said,[426] "is not
  Indian at all, but Asiatic. The unrest is the most visible symptom of
  that resentment of prolonged European domination which is affecting
  the whole continent of Asia. For 300 years the tide of European
  dominion has flowed eastward, but the ebb has now set in. Liao-yang
  and Mukden, the driving back of the legions of the Tsar, gave it a
  stimulus far more potent than if Bengal had been administratively
  divided into forty pieces. It would probably have arisen even if
  Japan had still remained in chain-armour, and had never emerged from
  the control of her Tycoons and her Samurai. It became inevitable
  from the day that steam and quick transit broke down the barriers of
  India's isolation, and her yielding people began to cross the seas.
  It is part of a great world-movement, the end of which no man can
  foresee. No concessions, however sweeping, will conjure it. We have
  to reckon with its continued--and most natural--increase and growth,
  and to shape our course accordingly."

This is not very pleasant reading for English--or indeed for
European--ears, but if the facts are as stated there is nothing to be
gained by ignoring them.

Setting patriotism and racial prejudices aside, there are other reasons
why British rule could never become really popular in Weihaiwei or
in any part of China. With every wish to rule the people according
to their own customs and their traditional systems of morality, it
is not always possible to do so without a surrender of much that a
European considers essential to good order and a proper administration
of justice. The different views of East and West on a matter so
fundamental as the rights and duties of individuals as compared with
the rights and duties of the family or clan are alone sufficient to
give rise to a popular belief that the foreign courts do not always
dispense justice. Then the Chinese believe that our courts are much
too severe on many offences that they consider venial, and not severe
enough on offences such as burglary, piracy and armed robbery.
They also detest our insistence, in certain circumstances, of the
_post-mortem_ examination of human bodies. Again, they totally fail
to understand why men who have been charged with a crime and whose
guilt in the eyes of the "plain man" is a certainty should sometimes
get off scot-free on account of some technicality or legal quibble. If
Englishmen are sometimes driven to think that "the law is an ass," we
may be sure that the Chinese are, at times, even more strongly inclined
to the same opinion.

If one were to ask a native of Weihaiwei what were the characteristics
of British rule that he most appreciated one would perhaps expect
him to emphasise the comparative freedom from petty extortion and
tyranny, the obvious endeavour (not always successful) to dispense
even-handed justice, the facilities for trade, the improvement of means
of communication. It was not an answer of this kind, however, that I
received from an intelligent and plain-spoken resident to whom I put
this very question. "What is it we like best in our British rulers?
I will tell you," he said. "Our native roads are narrow pathways,
and very often there is no room for two persons to pass unless one
yields the road to the other. When our last rulers--the Japanese--met
our small-footed women hobbling along such a path they never stepped
aside to let the women pass, but compelled them to clamber along the
stony hillside or to stand in a ditch. An Englishman, on the contrary,
whether mounted or on foot, always leaves the road to the woman. He
will walk deliberately into a deep snowdrift rather than let a Chinese
woman step off the dry pathway. We have come to understand that the men
of your honourable country all act in the same way, and this is what we
like about Englishmen."

It may seem strange that a native should draw attention to a trivial
matter of this kind rather than to some of the admirable features--as
we regard them--of British administration, yet there is very little
just cause for surprise. A year or two ago the correspondent of a
great newspaper indulgently referred to Weihaiwei under British rule
as affording a conspicuous example of the ability of individual
Englishmen to control--without fuss or display of force--large masses
of Orientals. Let it be granted that the English people, or rather some
Englishmen, are endowed with the twin-instincts to rule with justice
and integrity and to serve with industry and loyalty--for it is only
the union of these two instincts or qualities in one personality that
distinguishes the good administrator: but to regard Weihaiwei as an
example of the English power of successfully ruling hordes of alien
subjects shows a misapprehension of the facts. Englishmen, Irishmen
and Scotsmen have carried out such splendid administrative work in
other parts of the world that there is no need to give them credit
for work which they have not done. What makes the people of Weihaiwei
law-abiding, peaceful, industrious, punctual in the payment of taxes,
honest in their dealings one with another is not some mysterious
ruling faculty on the part of the three or four foreign administrators
who are placed over them, but something that has existed in China
from a time when the ancestors of those administrators were painted
savages and England was not even a name: it is filial piety, it is
reverence for law and respect for those in authority, it is the cult
of ancestors,--it is, in short, Confucianism. "The same readiness with
which we serve our father," says one of the Chinese classics, "we
should employ in serving our Ruler, and the reverence must be the same
for both. To honour those who are in a high position and to respect
those who are in authority is our first duty." Again, we are told that
"Confucius said, the Ruler is served with observance of _hsiao_ [filial
piety] and elders are served with such submission as is due from a
younger brother to his elder brothers, which shows that the people
should make no distinction."[427]

HORSE (see p. 434).]

[Illustration: A ROADSIDE SCENE (see p. 196).]

If the Weihaiwei Government deserves any commendation at all it is
only for its acceptance of Confucian principles as the basis of
administration. Confucianism, indeed, is the foundation of the civil
law that is administered in the British Courts, Confucian customs
are wherever possible upheld and enforced by the officials in their
executive and judicial capacities, and it is by the recognition of
Confucianism that the Government has been able to dismiss its armed
force. Philostratus, about seventeen hundred years ago, wrote a book in
which he tells us how Apollonius of Tyana was one day walking with his
friend and disciple Damis when they met a small boy riding an enormous
elephant. Damis expressed surprise at the ease and skill with which
the youngster could control and guide so huge a beast; but Apollonius
succeeded in convincing him that the credit was due not to the small
boy's skill, but to the elephant's own docility and self-control.
Should we be far wrong if we were to regard the people of Weihaiwei as
the elephant and the local Government as the little boy that rode it?
Perhaps, indeed, the parallel might be applied to British dependencies
greater and more important than Weihaiwei.

The people of this corner of China are so ill-acquainted with the
politics of their country--for there is no local newspaper, and if
there were it would have but few readers--that they possess but the
haziest notion of the probable destiny of their port in the event of
its rendition to China and the creation of a modern Chinese navy.
But indeed even Europeans could hardly enlighten them as to the
probabilities of the future of Weihaiwei unless they were furnished
with some clue to the solution of a much vaster problem--the future of
China herself.

It is most earnestly to be hoped for China's own sake that her rulers
do not seriously intend, at present, to place naval expansion in
the forefront of their numerous schemes for reform. The subject is
one upon which a section of the native Press has become somewhat
enthusiastic, and the recent visit to England of a Chinese Naval
Commission, under the leadership of an Imperial prince, naturally leads
one to suppose that the Government is actually about to undertake the
exceedingly difficult, dangerous and most costly work of securing
for China a place among the Naval Powers. Many of China's Western
sympathisers--especially those who have not lived in the East--probably
regard this as the best possible proof that China is "pulling herself
together" and is already far advanced on the road of regeneration. But
there is hardly a man among China's foreign friends and sympathisers
resident in the East who does not regard the navy scheme with dismay
and disappointment. At some future date the Chinese may be fully
justified in acquiring a great navy, but to build a really serviceable
modern fleet at the present time is to invite a financial and political
disaster of appalling magnitude. Even if the project comes to nothing
it is a bad omen for the future that the Chinese Government should give
it serious consideration at a time when all the energies and resources
of the Empire should be devoted to internal reform and development.
If China's responsible rulers do not realise the precarious position
into which the country has drifted and the pressing necessity of
administrative reform, they are not fit to hold the helm of the
State. Common sense--if they are devoid of the higher qualities of
statesmanship--should tell them that until the existing departments of
Government have been thoroughly reorganised, corruption stamped out,
and a spirit of loyalty and patriotism infused into all ranks of the
Civil Service, the creation of a great spending department, such as an
Admiralty or Naval Board, will merely add enormously to the financial
burdens of the country without providing it with any reliable safeguard
or protection in the event of war.

The unfortunate thing is that every warning of this kind received
by China from her foreign friends is received by her with doubt and
suspicion. She has realised that in one foreign war after another
her military and naval weakness has led her--or has helped to lead
her--through the dark shadows of defeat and humiliation, and she is
intensely desirous of making such provision for her own protection
that in future foreign wars she may not be foredoomed to disaster.
When she is advised to content herself, for the present, with a
small though well-equipped army and the most modest of coast-defence
fleets, she suspects that her advisers wish to keep her in a state of
perpetual weakness, so that they may continue to help themselves, from
time to time, to treaty-ports, trade privileges, sites for churches
and other missionary buildings, mining and railway concessions and
cash-indemnities. At the present time the Power which she regards
with a more friendly eye than any other is undoubtedly the United
States of America--the only Great Power that has occupied none of
her territory and the one against which she believes herself to have
least reason for complaint. A few years ago many Western dwellers in
China were inclined to predict that a powerful offensive and defensive
alliance would be entered into by China and Japan, or that Japan would
assume the hegemony of the Far East and having created a reformed
China would draw upon the immense resources of that country to help
her in establishing the supremacy of the Yellow Race in the Eastern
hemisphere. One does not often hear this view expressed to-day, not
only because of the repeated occurrence of serious disputes between the
Chinese and Japanese Governments with reference to Manchurian and other
problems, but also because it is now seen that the growth of a really
strong and progressive China cannot be regarded without grave alarm by
the far-seeing statesmen of Japan. The whole of the Japanese Empire,
be it remembered, might be packed into one of China's provinces; the
population of Japan is only about one-tenth that of China, and her
natural resources are meagre compared with those of her huge neighbour.
If the development of China proceeds on the same proportionate scale
as that of Japan (and the Japanese themselves realise that this is no
impossibility), it is difficult to see how Japan can reasonably hope to
maintain her present international position.

We have heard a great deal lately about the momentous change in the
European balance of power caused by the great advance of Germany in
population and wealth: let us give a loose rein to our imaginations and
suppose that the German Empire by skilful diplomacy or other means has
further succeeded in annexing Austria, Denmark, Belgium and Holland,
and by successful warfare has reduced France, Italy and Russia to a
state of military imbecility. The position of Great Britain in these
circumstances would, to say the least, be precarious and unenviable.
If she did not become the "conscript appanage" of a "stronger Power"
(to use the warning words of a British Cabinet Minister) she would
at least be in a state of chronic peril, and subject to periodical
panics that might end in the disorganisation of all industry and the
demoralisation of the people. England's position as opposed to that of
a vastly-magnified Germany would be similar in many ways to that which
Japan would occupy relatively to a reformed, united and progressive
China. Indeed, Japan would be in a worse case than England: for England
has beaten one Napoleon, and, by again championing the cause of the
down-trodden states of a heterogeneous Europe, she might conceivably
beat another; whereas Japan would perhaps find herself faced not by
a single powerful tyrant, under whose dominion vassal states writhed
and groaned, but by a vast homogeneous people who through careful
discipline and wise statesmanship had learned to sink provincial
rivalries in a splendid realisation of racial solidarity and national

Thus we need not be surprised if during the years of China's education
and growth Japanese diplomacy in respect of Chinese affairs is to
some extent characterised by petulance, hesitation, vacillation,
and occasional displays of "bluff."[428] The policy of Japan must
necessarily hover between two extremes: she does not wish to see China
partitioned, for this would mean a strengthening of European influence
in Asia which might be disastrous to Japanese interests; nor does she
wish to see China become one of the Great Powers of the world, for this
would inevitably lead to her own partial eclipse. China is now well
aware of the delicate position of the Japanese Foreign Office, and it
is on the whole improbable that she will readily consent to a Japanese
alliance, even if she finds herself seriously menaced by the armed
strength of Europe--happily a most unlikely event. She knows that the
differences of opinion between Japan and the United States are not yet
a forgotten chapter in international politics,[429] and this fact,
perhaps, will make her all the readier to throw herself into the arms
of the great American Republic. It is well to remember, however, that
racial and industrial rivalries between China and America may some
day become dangerously acute. Even now, while such rivalries loom no
larger in the political firmament than a man's hand, there are whispers
of storms to come. Meanwhile, China is beginning to realise that the
most wide-awake of modern states does not propose to hamper her own
freedom by watching over a nation that has hitherto been regarded as
the most somnolent in the world. Even the strong matronly arms of the
United States might grow weary of carrying about so bulky an infant as
a China that only woke up in order to experience the luxurious delight
of going to sleep again. The Chinese dimly understand that until they
have raised themselves out of their present condition of political
helplessness they cannot expect to get more from the United States or
from any other Great Power than amiable professions of goodwill.


But China has not yet fully grasped the truth that military and naval
strength is not the only qualification--or the principal one--that
will win the respect and support of the Western Powers. If she will
honestly devote herself to the work of internal reform, to the thorough
reorganisation of her administrative, judicial and fiscal systems, and
to the loyal fulfilment of her treaty obligations, it is as certain
as anything in politics can be that she will be doing far more for
her own protection against foreign interference than if she were to
construct a dozen coast-fortresses and naval bases and a fleet of
thirty "Dreadnought" battleships. Her military weakness will not invite
aggression: it might do so if she were friendless, and matched against
a single ruthless strong Power or group of allied Powers, but the state
of international politics at the present day is such that an orderly
and progressive China is absolutely certain to find herself backed by
at least two mighty friends the instant that her legitimate interests
are wantonly attacked by any aggressive or adventurous foreign state.

On the other hand, if the Government adheres to its present course of
alternate radicalism and conservatism and continues to play with reform
schemes as if they were ninepins and foreign treaties as if they were
packs of cards, the new fleet and naval bases will not only be of no
avail to the country in her hour of need but will serve to hasten a
catastrophe in which the dynasty, at least, will in all probability be
overwhelmed and foreign intervention will once more become a painful
necessity. We saw in a former chapter that to charge the Chinese, as a
people, with a proclivity to untruthfulness, or at any rate to assign
such untruthfulness, if it exists, to Confucianism, is erroneous and
unjust. But let it be admitted at once that the charge of insincerity
in politics is one that can without unfairness be brought against the
Chinese Government--as, indeed, it can be brought against some other
states that have had less excuse for their conduct than China.

In her transactions with Western Powers she has too often shown want
of straightforwardness, duplicity, even treachery. Not only does she
try to play off one Power against another (a game that is played with
more or less assiduity by every government in the world) but she makes
promises which she does not intend to fulfil except under compulsion,
she adopts an attitude that is now arrogant and now cringing, she is
alternately dilatory and hasty, she is often hypocritical, and her
perpetual changes of external and internal policy are a source of the
greatest embarrassment to the governments and merchants of foreign
lands and a source of gravest danger to herself. Nothing distresses
the sincere friends and well-wishers of China so much as the manner in
which she palters with her international obligations, unless it be her
haphazard and erratic attempts at administrative reform--now hesitating
and half-hearted, now extravagant and ultra-progressive.

As regards her foreign relations one is tempted to assert that
Obstruction, Prevarication and Procrastination seem to be the three
leading principles of Chinese statesmanship. Those who know how sound
China is at heart, how able, industrious and intelligent are her
sons, and how well fitted their great country is in many ways to play
a grand part in the history of the world and in the development of
civilisation, are perhaps even more ready than others to denounce the
Manchu government of China for its gross mismanagement of the internal
and external affairs of the nation, its pitiful misuse of splendid
material and its shameful waste of magnificent opportunities.

It is obvious to every foreigner who knows China well that the first
and most urgent necessity is the thorough reform of the entire Civil
Service in all its branches. So long as offices are bought and sold,
so long as salaries are so meagre that they must necessarily be
supplemented in irregular ways, so long as revenue and expenditure
accounts go through no proper system of audit, so long as bribery and
the "squeeze" system are practically recognised as necessary features
of civil administration--so long will it be utterly futile to attempt
far-reaching reforms in other directions. When these abuses have
become things of the past the general progress of the country will
be swift and sure, but not till then. It may be that they will never
be abolished until the new Provincial Assemblies--the most striking
development of Chinese political life that has been witnessed since
the opening of the country to foreign intercourse--have compelled the
central government to admit the popular representatives to an active
share in the real business of administration.

A question was recently asked in the British House of Commons[430] as
to whether the Chinese Government had taken any steps to carry out
the provisions of Article VIII. of the Mackay Treaty relating to the
abolition of the _Likin_ system. The reply was that China had not yet
done anything in the matter except in so far as to express a desire to
enter into negotiations for an increase of the Customs tariff in return
for the abolition of likin.[431] "In view, however, of the failure of
the Chinese Government to carry out other important provisions of the
Treaty of 1902, His Majesty's Government are not at present disposed
to give this proposal their support; more especially in view of the
fact that new likin stations are being established in China, and
that foreign trade is being subjected to likin exactions of greater
frequency and amount."

Probably the most important of the other unobserved provisions of the
Mackay Treaty, to which Mr. McKinnon Wood referred, was the second
article, in which China undertook to reform her currency. Financial
reform (including a reorganisation and readjustment of the system of
internal taxation as well as the establishment of a uniform national
coinage) is, next to the thorough cleansing of the whole machinery
of administration, the most urgently necessary of all the tasks that
confront the Government, yet though nearly eight years have elapsed
since the Mackay Treaty was signed, the only indications that the
Chinese Government has given any serious consideration to this vitally
important problem have consisted in the despatch of a costly Mission
to enquire into the financial systems of other countries and in the
periodical issue of Imperial Edicts which promise the standardisation
of the coinage and other useful reforms but have not as yet been
followed up by practical measures. Not to dwell upon the commercial
interests of the great foreign communities of Hongkong, Shanghai and
Tientsin, which are most seriously hampered by the apathy of the
Chinese Government in the matter of currency reform, there can be very
little doubt that if the present policy of "drift" is adhered to, the
country will be gravely menaced by the peril of bankruptcy. The wiser
heads among the Chinese officials know perfectly well that an inability
to meet their foreign liabilities will inevitably result in the loss
of the economic independence of their country, yet they hesitate to
introduce the drastic financial reforms without which China cannot hope
to make real progress or to assume a dignified position in the councils
of nations.

Provincial independence in matters affecting currency and finance is
still to a great extent unchecked; local officials still make large
temporary profits out of the excessive issue of copper coin; the
most elementary laws of economics are ignored; innumerable native
banks are allowed to issue notes against which are held cash reserves
that are generally inadequate and sometimes (so it is whispered)
non-existent.[432] If China would declare her intention of engaging
the services of a European or American Financial Adviser--the best
and ablest she could get--the mere announcement would do more to
re-establish her financial reputation than a hundred plausibly-worded
Imperial Decrees. Yet even the ablest of advisers would accomplish
little of permanent value unless he were given a free hand to deal
with official corruption in high places and safeguarded against petty
jealousies and underhand intrigues; and judging from the present temper
of Chinese officialdom it is very doubtful whether any satisfactory
guarantees of this kind would or could be given.

The Chinese, not unnaturally, resent the suggestion that they should
apply to a foreign government for the loan of a guide and teacher,
or that among all their millions of population they possess no able
statesmen of their own; but what they should understand is this, that
though there may be and probably are hundreds of Chinese officials
who in intellect, energy, and devotion to duty (if not in actual
experience) are quite as fully qualified to reorganise the finances of
the country as any foreigner could be, yet it is inconceivable in the
present state of Chinese politics that any native official, however
capable and energetic, would be able to withstand and overcome the
conservative forces that would certainly oppose him as soon as he began
to assail the fortresses of corruption. A foreign adviser might be
denounced to the Throne in memorial after memorial and yet possibly
retain his position and authority; a Chinese minister who attempted
to initiate reforms worthy of the approval of foreign experts would
probably be overwhelmed by his enemies before a single important
measure had been carried into effect.

One of the strongest reasons why the Chinese Government is reluctant
to invoke the assistance of a foreign Financial Adviser is that such a
step might lead to the introduction of foreign capital on an immense
scale, and its gradual monopolisation of industry and exclusive
exploitation of the national resources. Many recent events have shown
that the Chinese people--even more than the Government--are exceedingly
averse from throwing China freely open to foreign capital, even when
the want of capital obviously retards the material development of
the country. This attitude, though naturally enough it excites the
indignation of foreign financiers and traders, who are apt to regard
the matter solely from the economic standpoint, is probably only
temporary, and not unjustifiable when we remember the enormous power
wielded by capital in these days, not only in commerce and industry
but also in international politics. Sir Alfred Lyall truly points out
that the European money-market is to Asia a "most perilous snare,"
and that the more any Asiatic Government runs into debt with European
financiers, or has permitted the investment of foreign capital within
its territory, the more it falls under the stringent, self-interested
and inquisitive "political superintendence" of the capitalist

That China cannot expect to develop her resources fully and rapidly
without the help of European and American capital is doubtless true
enough: but in view of her somewhat precarious political condition it
may be that she is acting not unwisely in restricting the inflow of
foreign capital to the irreducible minimum, and if she has reason to
believe that the recommendations of a Financial Adviser would include
the free admission of alien capital, her hesitation to avail herself
of foreign expert advice may perhaps be easily explained. Chinese
apprehensions on this subject might perhaps remain for ever unrealised,
but at least they can hardly be said to be totally unreasonable.[434]

Next to finance there is perhaps no department that calls more
peremptorily for foreign supervision than that of forestation. The
dearth of timber throughout the greater part of north China has caused
a serious deterioration of the climate within historic times, and
is largely responsible for the denudation of once fertile lands and
the periodical recurrence of famines. Forestry is an unknown science
in China, and without foreign expert assistance it is unlikely that
reforestation will be undertaken seriously and methodically. In legal
and judicial matters, education, railways, municipal government, the
army, hospitals, technical institutions, and other important matters,
some considerable progress has already been made with or without direct
foreign assistance, though it seems obvious that until the national
finances and the Civil Service have been thoroughly reorganised every
effort made in the direction of other reforms must to some extent be

The Chinese are naturally most anxious to secure the abolition of
the foreign rights of extra-territorial jurisdiction. They feel very
keenly the undignified position of their country in respect of the fact
that they alone, of the great nations of the world, have no judicial
authority over the foreigners who reside within their territorial
limits, and they know that the reasons why they are in this undignified
position are that their laws are to some extent inconsistent with
Western legal theories, that many or most of their judicial officers
are corrupt, that torture is sometimes resorted to as a means of
extorting confessions, and that their prisons are dens of filth and
disease. Knowing that until these matters are remedied it will be
impossible to persuade the Western Powers to relinquish jurisdiction
over their own nationals, the Chinese have devoted a good deal of
attention during recent years to the reform of their judicial procedure
and--under Japanese and other foreign advice--to the production of
a new legal code.[435] Time will show whether the importation of a
brand-new legal system into a country like China will effect all the
good that is expected of it. There is a very serious danger that by
adapting Western legal notions to a country in which the native legal
system (however faulty in practice in some respects) has for many
centuries been closely intertwined with the traditions and customs that
govern the lives of the Chinese people, the Government may be applying
a treatment that will act as a solvent of the bases of the entire
social organism. Even the abolition of foreign consular jurisdiction
might be bought too dearly if it necessitated a surrender of doctrines
and principles which, as we have seen in the foregoing chapters, have
formed the foundation of the social and political system of China
throughout the whole of her known history.

If in the matter of finance the Chinese Government would unquestionably
do well to act on the advice of the best foreign expert it can get,
it is by no means so certain that it would be wise to follow foreign
counsel, with tacit obedience, in all matters affecting social,
administrative, or even judicial reform. That changes are urgently
needed in certain directions goes without saying; but in view of the
impossibility of carrying out extensive legal reforms in China without
simultaneously affecting the social organism, perhaps in serious
and unexpected ways, it will be well for the stability of the State
if amid the contending factions into which the intelligent sections
of the country are sure to be divided there may always be one party
in the land whose programme will be summed up in the words "Back to
Confucius!" That such a call will ever be literally obeyed is quite
improbable and certainly undesirable; but it is earnestly to be hoped
that however drastic may be the social and political changes that
China is destined to undergo her people may never come to regard
Confucianism, with all that the term implies, merely as a fossil in the
stratum of a dead civilisation.

In the course of the foregoing chapters an attempt has been made to
show that there is much fundamental soundness in many of China's
social institutions, much that it is to the interest of China herself
and of the whole world to respect and conserve. It is difficult to
say whether China stands at present in greater danger from her own
over-enthusiastic revolutionary reformers or from her well-meaning
but somewhat ignorant foreign friends who are pressing her to accept
Western civilisation with all its political and social machinery and
its entire religious and ethical equipment. If ever a State required
skilful guidance and wise statesmanship, China needs them now: but wise
statesmanship will not consist in tearing up all the old moral and
religious sanctions that have been rooted in the hearts of the Chinese
people through all the ages of their wonderful history.


[421] See p. 85.

[422] In Article iii. of the "Port Arthur and Talienwan Agreement"
between Russia and China it is provided that "the duration of the lease
shall be twenty-five years from the day this treaty is signed [March
27, 1898], but may be extended by mutual agreement between Russia and
China." It may be noted that the British, German and Russian treaties
with respect to the leases of Weihaiwei, of the Kowloon Extension
(ninety-nine years), of Kiaochou (ninety-nine years) and Port Arthur
(twenty-five years), all stipulate that Chinese war-vessels, whether
neutral or not, retain the right to the free use of the several leased
harbours. It is a right that seems to be seldom exercised. The ultimate
"sovereignty" of China over the various leased territories is specially
safeguarded in the treaties relating to Kiaochou and Port Arthur, and
has been admitted in respect of Weihaiwei.

[423] See pp. 93 _seq._

[424] It has been urged in some quarters that the occupation of
Kiaochou by Germany and that of Weihaiwei by Great Britain are
specially objected to by the Chinese on the ground that Shantung,
through its associations with Confucius, Mencius, Chou Kung and other
ancient sages, is China's Sacred Province, and one that ought to remain
inviolate. There is no reason to suppose that this notion has any
basis in fact. The Chinese undoubtedly regard certain districts in the
south-west of Shantung with immense reverence, more particularly the
district of Ch'ü-fou, which contains the temple and tomb of Confucius,
but no pre-eminent sanctity attaches to the province as a whole. The
province of Shantung, indeed, did not exist as such in Confucius's
time. If China's provinces were to be arranged in order of sanctity
or inviolability it is probable that both Honan and Shensi would, for
historical reasons, take precedence of Shantung.

[425] There are many Chinese who speak English fluently, and the
number is increasing daily, but as a rule such persons have devoted
so much time to the acquirement of a totally alien tongue, and
"Western learning" generally, that they have been obliged to neglect
the culture of their own country. (One of the greatest dangers ahead
of China is the possibility that her foreign-educated students may,
through ignorance, grow contemptuous of the intellectual achievements
of their ancestors, and that Chinese culture may consequently suffer
a long, though probably it would not be a permanent, eclipse.) There
are also some Englishmen who can speak Chinese fluently, but very few
of them have had the time or inclination to acquire a sound knowledge
of Chinese literature. Thus it too often happens that an educated
Englishman and an educated Chinese whose natures are such that they
might become intimate friends, fail to become so through inability to
exchange ideas in the region of politics, philosophy, literature or
art. A German and an Englishman, even if they disagree on the subject
of naval armaments, may find themselves at one in the matter of the
music of Mozart or the psychological condition of the mind of Hamlet.
Between an Englishman and a Frenchman a friendship may spring up on
the basis of a common admiration for the prose of Flaubert or Anatole
France or the philosophy of Bergson. But though there are now many
Chinese who can discourse fluently on evolution or the conservation
of energy, how many Western students of Chinese would bear themselves
creditably in a conversation with a Chinese scholar on the ethics of
Chu Hsi or the poetry of Su Tung-po? In the vast majority of cases,
conversation between a Chinese and an Englishman (unless the relation
between them is that of teacher and pupil) is very apt to degenerate
into the merest "small talk" and exchange of civilities, and it is
obvious that friendships can hardly be built up on so slender a
foundation as this. But among those Europeans and Chinese who have
successfully surmounted the barrier of language there is, I believe,
nothing to prevent the growth of sincere friendships. Yet it should
be observed that a recognition of the possibility of intimate social
intercourse between European and Chinese does not necessarily imply
an acceptance of the view that the races may safely and successfully
intermarry. This point must be emphasised, for my own views on the
subject have been to some extent misapprehended by a very friendly
critic in _The Spectator_ (August 22, 1908, p. 268). This question is
really one for biological experts, and no definite answer has yet been
given to it, though Herbert Spencer, we know, was strongly of opinion
that the white and yellow races should not mingle their blood. From
the physiological point of view the question is, of course, in no way
concerned with any fanciful theories as to one race being "higher" than
another. (For Herbert Spencer's views see the Appendix to Lafcadio
Hearn's _Japan: an Interpretation_.)

[426] See an able article on "Britain's Future in India," in _The
Times_ of June 28, 1909.

[427] These translations are from Dr. De Groot's _Religious System of
China_, vol. ii. p. 508.

[428] In her purely commercial relations with China, Japan's policy
will of course continue to be consistent and strenuously active. It
is a vital necessity to Japan that she should enjoy a large share of
China's foreign trade.

[429] "It is, I think, an error to assume that elimination of the
school and immigration questions will mean complete restoration of the
former Japanese-American _entente_. This never can be restored in the
shape which it previously assumed. Conditions never will revert to the
situation which gave it vitality. It is perhaps not going too far to
say that relations of America and Japan are only now becoming serious,
in the sense that they directly include propositions about which modern
nations will, upon due provocation, go to war.... The genesis of a
collision between Japan and the United States of America, if it ever
occurs, will be found in conditions on the mainland of Asia." (_The Far
Eastern Question_, by T. F. Millard (T. Fisher Unwin, 1909), pp. 60-61.)

[430] The question was asked by Captain Murray, M.P., and answered by
Mr. McKinnon Wood, in September 1909.

[431] The "Mackay" Commercial Treaty between Great Britain and China
was signed at Shanghai on September 5, 1902. _Likin_ is an internal tax
on merchandise in transit.

[432] A good general view of the nature of the grave difficulties that
stand in the way of currency reform may be gained from a perusal of
H. B. Morse's _The Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire_
(Shanghai, 1908). See especially pp. 166-9. Another recent work well
worth consulting is T. F. Millard's _The Far Eastern Question_ (T.
Fisher Unwin, 1909), pp. 316 _seq._

[433] _Asiatic Studies_ (Second Series, 2nd ed.), pp. 374-5, 376-7.

[434] The following remarks by Lafcadio Hearn on the question of the
admission of foreign capital into Japan are not inapposite. "It appears
to me that any person comprehending, even in the vaguest way, the
nature of money-power and the average conditions of life throughout
Japan, must recognise the certainty that foreign capital, with right
of land-tenure, would find means to control legislation, to control
government, and to bring about a state of affairs that would result in
the practical domination of the Empire by alien interests.... Japan
has incomparably more to fear from English or American capital than
from Russian battleships and bayonets." (_Japan: An Interpretation_, p.
510.) Urgent economic considerations have, of course, compelled Japan
not only to admit foreign capital in enormous amounts, but even to make
heavy sacrifices in order to obtain it: but if any other course had
been open to her she would gladly have adopted it.

[435] Article xii. of the Mackay Treaty reads thus: "China having
expressed a strong desire to reform her judicial system and to bring
it into accord with that of Western nations, Great Britain agrees to
give every assistance to such reform, and she will also be prepared to
relinquish her extra-territorial rights when she is satisfied that the
state of the Chinese laws, the arrangement for their administration,
and other considerations warrant her doing so."


[Chinese words that appear in the text of this book and in the index
have been given their Pekingese sounds in accordance with Wade's system
of transliteration.--R.F.J.]

  Aberdeen (Hongkong), Scare at, 366

  Aboriginal tribes of Shantung, 38 _seq._

  Aden, Weihaiwei compared with, 17

  _Adiantifolia Salisburia_, 168, 381

  Administration of Weihaiwei, 7-9, 28, 80 _seq._, 429 _seq._

  Adoption of heirs, 151, 203, 205, 231, 284 _seq._

  Africa, Suicide of Widows in, 225

  Agriculture, 16, 56, 79, 90, 91, 153-4, 164, 166, 180 _seq._

  Ai-shan-ch'ien (village), 54

  Ai-shan Miao (temple), 54 (1), 385-6

  _Alceste_, H.M.S., 1, 156

  Allen, Grant, _quoted_, 251, 287 (2), 319, 365 (1), 379 (5), 384

  Amitabha Buddha, 404

  Amputations, Chinese superstitions regarding, 281

  Ancestor-worship, 119, 126, 134-5, 186-7, 192, 196, 251-2, 258
  _seq._, 263, 276 _seq._, 301 _seq._, 318 _seq._, 328 _seq._, 331
  _seq._, 342

  Ancestral spirits not malevolent, 286-7, 341 _seq._

  Ancestral tablets, 135, 236-7, 277 _seq._, 277-9, 282 _seq._, 339-40

  Anhui, Province of, 334

  Annals, Chinese official, of Weihaiwei and neighbourhood, 26, 35-6,
  37, 46, 52 _seq._, 56, 58, 59 _seq._, 168-9, 289 _seq._, 300, 362-3,
  390-1, 402

  Appeal Court of Weihaiwei, 100-1

  Armadas sent against Japan, 44-5

  Arnold, Matthew, _quoted_, 329

  Ashtoreth, Moon-goddess of Hittites, 191 (4)

  Aston, Dr., _quoted_, 319, 341, 373, 388

  Astronomical knowledge in early China, 40 _seq._, 59 _seq._

  Australia, Folk-lore of, 299

  Aztecs, 420

  Barbarians of eastern Shantung, 38 _seq._, 42

  Barnes, Lt.-Col., 83

  Barton, Mr. S., 79

  Bat'uru, a Manchu military distinction, 71

  Beacon-fires, 19

  Beehive tombs, 257-8

  Bernard, Mr. E. R., quoted, 308 (_footnote_)

  Betrothals, 203 _seq._

  Bishop, Mrs., _cited_, 377 (2)

  Black's _Folk-Medicine_ quoted, 287-8, 291 (1), 375 (1), 377

  Bohemia, Folk-lore of, 298-9, 376 (1), 382

  Bower, H.M., _cited_, 379 (5)

  Box, Rev. A., _quoted_, 180 (3), 183 (2), 185 (3), 366 (1), 371 (1)
  377 (1)

  Boy Scouts of the Weihaiwei School, 90

  Brenan, Byron, _quoted_, 15 (1)

  Bridge to Fairyland, 21-3

  Brigands, 55, 60, 62, 90

  British and Chinese officials, Relations between, 87-9

  British Columbia, Betrothal customs in, 206

  British rule at Weihaiwei, 1 _seq._, 7-9, 77 _seq._

  Brooms, Demons afraid of, 190 (1), 296

  Bruce, Major (now Lt.-Col.), 83

  Buddha, Images of, 397, 400-2, 406

  Buddhism, 10, 334, 351, 352, 357, 381, 398 _seq._

  Burial customs, 6-7, 254 _seq._, 276 _seq._, 367

  Burial-grounds, 135, 254-75

  Burial of evoked souls without the body, 281 _seq._

  Burial of the living, 225, 274, 367

  Burma, 156 (2)

  "Burning of the Books," 20

  Burton's _Anatomy of Melancholy_ quoted, 164

  Caird, Edward, _quoted_, 329

  Canal suggested at Shantung Promontory, 19

  Canonisation of saints and deities, 335, 337, 338 _seq._

  Canton, 421

  Capital, Foreign, in China, 446-7

  Carlyle, Thomas, _quoted_, 328

  Cats, Beliefs regarding, 292-4

  Ceylon, 80

  Chang-chia-shan (village), 18, 382, 398

  Ch'ang-fêng (village), 97

  Ch'ang-kuang prefecture, 44

  Chao-shih-shan (hill), 21

  Character of people of Weihaiwei, 168 _seq._

  Charities in China, 70, 73-4

  Charms, 173-4, 187, 188, 194, 198, 346, 358

  Chatterton Hill, G., _quoted_, 224, 306 (1)

  Chefoo, 14, 24, 78, 426

  Chemulpo, 14

  _Chên-jên_ of Taoism, 355

  Chêng-ch'i Shan, _see_ Mount Macdonald

  Ch'êng Huang (city god), 364-71

  Ch'êng-shan-tsui, _see_ Shantung Promontory

  Ch'êng-shan-wei, 46 _seq._, 51, 53, 63

  Chi-ming-tao ("Cock-crow Island"), 25, 52

  _Chi-t'ien_ (sacrificial land), 122, 135, 258-9

  Chiang-chia-chai (village), 158

  _Chih-hui_, 47 _seq._, 70

  Children of Weihaiwei, 129, 179, 183-4, 245-53

  Chin dynasty, 59

  _China's Millions_ (missionary journal), 316-7, 336

  Chinan-fu (capital of Shantung), 407

  Chinese drama, 130 _seq._

  Chinese Regiment, The, 28, 82-7

  Ching-hai-wei, 53

  Ching-wei (a mythical bird), 38

  Ch'i Ch'ung-chin, 70

  Ch'i K'uang (village), 18

  Ch'i, State of, 17, 42 _seq._

  Ch'iao-t'ou (village), 14, 53, 129

  _Ch'ien-hu_, 47

  Ch'ien Li-k'ou (village), 18

  Ch'ien Lung, Reign of, 65

  Ch'in dynasty, 20, 43

  Ch'in Shih Huang-ti (the "First Emperor"), 20 _seq._, 42, 43

  Ch'ing dynasty, 62

  Ch'ing Chou (one of the nine provinces of Yü), 39

  Ch'ing-chou-fu, 407

  Ch'ing-fêng-t'êng, a Chinese medicinal herb, 177

  Ch'ing-ming Festival, 70, 185-7, 255-6

  Cho-ch'i Shan, _see_ Mount Macdonald

  Chou dynasty, 20, 43

  Christendom, Pagan survivals in, 182 _seq._, 186

  Christianity, 104, 157, 302-3, 305 _seq._, 314 _seq._, 333, 407, 412,
    _and see_ Missionaries

  Christian Science, 176

  Chronicles, Chinese, _see_ Annals

  Chrysanthemum wine, 192

  Chuang Tzŭ (Chinese philosopher), 351 (1), 354

  _Ch'un Ch'iu_ (the "Spring and Autumn Annals"), 34

  Ch'ü Yüan (ancient statesman of Ch'ü), 188

  Cicero _quoted_, 174 (4)

  Cinderella of the British Empire, The, 2

  City-god, 364-71,
    _and see_ Ch'êng Huang

  Civil authority, Chinese respect for, 47, 434-6

  Civil Service of Weihaiwei, 97-101

  Climate of Weihaiwei, 28, 63, 81-2

  Club, United Services, at Weihaiwei, 25

  Coffins, 121, 290-1

  Coffin-nails, Superstitions regarding, 290-1

  Coffin-wood, Chinese and other superstitions regarding, 290-1

  Cold Food, Festival of, 185-6

  Comets, 59, 62, 63, 65, 66, 67

  Commercial probity of Chinese, 138

  Commissioner of Weihaiwei, 28, 79, 80, 81, 98

  Concubinage in China, 169, 214 _seq._

  "Confucian Pencil," 31

  Confucianism, 10, 11, 109, 116, 123, 300-50, 434-6, 449,
    _and see_ Confucius

  Confucianism not unreligious but untheological, 330

  Confucius, 11, 34-5, 42, 271, 272, 300, 301 _seq._, 311 _seq._, 321,
  324 _seq._, 347, 352-4, 430, 449, _and see_ Confucianism

  Conservatism of Weihaiwei, 6-11

  Convention relating to Weihaiwei, 2, 29-30, 57, 77-8, 428

  Conybeare, F. C., _quoted_, 320 (2)

  Cook, A. B., _cited_, 378 (2)

  Corpses, Superstitions regarding, 292 _seq._, 295 _seq._

  _County Folk-lore_ quoted, 176 (1), 179 (1), 180 (3), 291 (1), 294,
  379, 386 (1), 387(2)

  Courtesy of Orientals, 169 _seq._

  Cox, Rev. Sir G. W., _quoted_, 374

  Crime and lawlessness, Comparative freedom from, 87, 99, 158 _seq._,

  Cross-roads, Superstitions regarding, 376-7

  Currency question, 443 _seq._

  Cypress trees, 262, 263, 264,
    _and see_ Evergreen trees

  Dalny, 14 (_footnote_)

  Davenport's _China from Within_ quoted, 316 (2), 336 (1)

  Davis, O. K., _quoted_, 348

  Davis, Sir John, _quoted_, 331

  Davison, Charles, _quoted_, 67 (1)

  Dead, Festivals of the, 191, 192, 292, 369

  Dead, Marriages of the, 6, 204 _seq._

  Dead men and ghost-lore, 276 _seq._

  Deer in Weihaiwei, 166

  Dennys's _Folk-lore of China_ quoted, 27, 175 (2), 177 (1), 191 (4),
  287 (2), 291 (1), 292 (2), 294 (1), 377 (1), 380(2)

  Devils, 173 _seq._

  Devonshire folk-lore, 291 (1)

  Diodorus Siculus _quoted_, 402 (1)

  District headmen, 95, 156, 289

  District magistracies, 15 _seq._, 53

  District Officer's Department, 53, 54, 97,
    _and see_ Wên-ch'üan-t'ang _and_ South Division

  Divisions, North and South, of Weihaiwei, 97-8, 104, 114 _seq._, 129

  Dog, Heavenly, 174

  Dogs, Superstitions regarding, 292-3

  Doolittle's _Social Life of the Chinese_ cited, 291 (1)

  Dorward, Maj.-Gen. Sir A., 79

  Douglas, Sir Robert, _quoted_, 104, 312, 313, 352 (2), 387 (3)

  Dragon, Chinese, 36, 37, 385-91,
    _and see_ Lung Wang

  Drama in China, 130 _seq._

  Driver, Prof. S. R., 365 (1)

  Drought-demon, 295-9

  Droughts, 16, 52, 60 _seq._, 81, 90, 297, 346

  Drowning, Superstitions regarding, 287-8

  Du Bose _quoted_, 331, 348

  "Dwarf-catchers," 49

  "Dwarfs," _see_ Wo-jên _and_ Japanese

  Dyaks of Borneo, 376 (1)

  Dynastic histories of China, 35

  Earthquakes, 55, 60, 61, 63, 64, 66, 67

  Eclipses, 68, 418-22

  Edkins, Dr., _quoted_, 334, 417-8

  Education, 172 _seq._, 195, 333

  Egypt, 318, 320, 387 (2)

  Egypt, Funeral trees in, 264 (1)

  Eliot, Sir Charles, _quoted_, 329, 335 (2), 341

  Elixir of Life, 20, 22, 24, 32

  Epidemics, 56, 64, 67

  Ethics, Confucian, 301 _seq._, 307 _seq._, 328 _seq._, 352-3

  Ethics, Taoist, 352 _seq._, 354 _seq._

  Ethnography of Weihaiwei, 38 _seq._

  Evergreen trees, Significance of, 121-2, 262-4, 378

  Evil spirits, 289 _seq._, 292

  Excalibur, A Chinese, 362-3

  Export trade of Weihaiwei, 90, 164 _seq._

  "Expulsion from the clan" (_ch'u tsu_), 159

  Expulsion of disease, Magical, 183, 192, 375 _seq._, 384

  Extra-territorial jurisdiction, 447-8

  Fairs, Country, 129 _seq._

  Family organisation, 112 _seq._, 135 _seq._

  Families, Antiquity of Chinese, 134 _seq._

  Famines, 16, 36, 55, 56, 59 _seq._

  Fang Chi (village), 401

  Farnell's _Evolution of Religion_ cited, 321, 338, 416 (2)

  Feathers and rain, Supposed connection between, 295 _seq._, 298-9

  _Fên-chia_ (Family division), 149 _seq._, 218-9

  Fên-shu_ (deed specifying details of division of family property),
  149 _seq._

  Fêng-lin (village), 129

  Fêng-shui (geomantic superstition), 119-20, 181, 198, 203, 251,
  264-70, 333, 387

  Ferguson's _Tree and Serpent Worship_ cited, 379 (5)

  Festivals at Weihaiwei, 178 _seq._

  Fichte _quoted_, 329

  Fiji Islanders, Religious ideas of, 251 (3)

  Filial Piety, 196, 199, 200, 272-5, 342 _seq._,
    _and see_ Ancestor-worship

  _Filial Piety, Classic of_, quoted, 271-4

  Financial position of China, 443 _seq._

  Fir-trees, 121-2, 167, 262-4, 378,
    _and see_ Evergreen trees

  "First Emperor, The," 20 _seq._, 43

  Fish, Large, seen at Weihaiwei, 24, 26, 27, 62, 65

  Fitzgerald Range, 31

  Five Sacred Hills, 71, 73, 74, 391 _seq._, 396

  Fleet, Ships of British, at Weihaiwei, 25-6, 81-2, 429

  Floods, 16, 36, 52, 55, 56, 59 _seq._, 81

  Flora of Weihaiwei, 167

  Flowers' Birthday, 185

  Flying corpses, 295 _seq._

  Fo-erh-ting (Buddha's Head), 32

  Folk-lore, 34 _seq._, 155 _seq._, 173 _seq. and passim_

  _Folk-lore_ quoted, 183 (2), 184 (1), 281 (1), 298 (3), 299, 377 (2),
  379, 380

  _Folk-lore Journal_ quoted, 264 (1), 291 (1), 294, 298 (2), 379

  Food of the people, 164 _seq._

  Foot-binding, 195

  Forestation, 17, 447

  Forke's translation of _Lun Hêng_ cited, 40 (2), 271 (1), 297 (3)

  Fortifications of Weihaiwei, 27, 56, 78, 426-9

  Foundation Sacrifices, 365 _seq._

  Four Famous (Buddhist) Mountains, 394

  Frazer's _Golden Bough_ quoted, 183 (2), 186 (1), 187 (3), 294 (2),
  295, 375 (1), 376 (1), 377 (3), 379

  _From Peking to Mandalay_ cited, 47

  Frugality of people of Weihaiwei, 79

  Fruit, Magic, 25

  Fruit-growing in Weihaiwei, 164-5

  _Fu_ (Prefecture), 15, 16

  _Fu-mu-kuan_ (father-and-mother officials), 9, 15, 98, 122-3, 345-6

  Fu-sang (name of mythical land in the East), 21, 24-5, 419

  Fusō, Japanese name for Fu-sang

  Fustel de Coulanges _cited_, 142, 319 (2)

  Future of China, 125-6, 135 (5), 138 (1), 240 _seq._, 307, 426 _seq._

  Gambling, 171

  Game-birds, 165-6

  Gardiner, S. R., _quoted_, 200-1

  Garrison of Weihaiwei, 82 _seq._

  German action in China, 57, 58

  Ghosts, 173 _seq._, 276 _seq._, 286 _seq._, 289 _seq._

  Gibbon's _Decline and Fall_ quoted, 182 (2)

  Gibraltar, 80

  Giles, Prof. H. A., _quoted_, 188, 301-2, 305, 308, 313, 348 (2),
  349, 351

  Giles, Lionel, _quoted_, 303, 305, 311, 327

  Ginkgo tree, _see_ Maidenhair tree

  Gloucestershire, Dragons in, 387 (2)

  Glover, T. R., _cited_, 319 (2), 320 (2, 3), 378 (1)

  God, Definition of, 330-1

  God of the City, 364-71

  God of War, _see_ Kuan Ti

  God of Wealth, 360-1

  Goddess of Mercy, _see_ Kuan Yin

  Goh, D., _cited_, 319 (4)

  Golden Age of China, 39

  _Golden Bough, The_, _see_ Frazer

  Golden Rule, The, 352

  Golf links at Weihaiwei, 25, 29

  Gomme's _Folk-lore Relics_ quoted, 186 (2), 193 (1), 293, 365 (1),
  412 (1)

  Government of Weihaiwei, British, 7-9, 28, 80 _seq._, 429 _seq._

  Grape-cultivation, 165

  Graveyards, 254-75

  Great auk, China not a, 307

  Great Wall of China, The, 21, 365

  Greece, Ancient, 373, 396-7

  Griffis, Dr. W. E., _quoted_, 304, 307, 322, 379 (5), 387 (4)

  Groot, Dr. De, _quoted_, 6, 7, 17, 174 (3), 185 (1), 192 (1), 219,
  262, 263, 271, 277, 278, 279, 280, 283, 287 (1), 291 (1), 292, 298
  (1), 380 (2), 387 (3, 4), 435

  Ground-nuts, 164

  Guisers, 184 (1)

  Hachiman (Japanese deity), 362

  Hai Chuang (village), 78

  Hai-hsi-t'ou (village), 289

  Hailstorms, 59, 61-2

  Hallam _quoted_, 310

  Halley's comet, 59, 63

  Han dynasty, 59, 79 (1)

  Han Fei Tzŭ (philosopher), 351 (1)

  Han Kao Tsu, (Emperor Kao Tsu of the Han dynasty), 43

  Han Wu Ti (Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty), 23

  _Han-pa_ (drought-demon), 295 _seq._

  Happy marriages in China, 195-6, 244-5

  Harbour of Weihaiwei, 25 _seq._, 28, 78, 426 _seq._

  Hare, Mr. G. T., 79

  Harriers, Weihaiwei, 82

  Headmen, 155, 289, 336, 371-7, 382, 386

  Hearn, Lafcadio, 341, 349, 431, 447 (1)

  Hearth-god, 193, 372

  Hebrews, Serpent-worship among, 387

  Hegel _quoted_, 329

  Hell, Christian attitude towards idea of, 323-4

  Hells of Buddhism, 402

  Hemp, Folk-lore connected with, 179

  Herd-boy and Spinning Maiden, Chinese legend of, 190

  Herodotus _quoted_, 315, 316, 365 (1)

  Heroes and other celebrities of Weihaiwei, 69 _seq._

  High Court of Weihaiwei, 99-100

  Hill-Tout's _British North America_ cited, 206

  Hills of Weihaiwei, 30-3, 78-9, 391-8

  Hills, Sacred, of China, 71, 73, 74, 116, 391 _seq._, 396

  _Historians' History of the World_ quoted, 35

  History of Weihaiwei, 38 _seq._

  Ho the Astronomer, 43

  Ho Ch'ing (village), 391

  Holcombe, Chester, 352 (4)

  Holidays at Weihaiwei, 178 _seq._

  Hongkong, 77, 80, 81, 366

  Honour, Commercial, among Chinese, 138 _seq._

  Hooker _quoted_, 330

  Hot springs, 29, 98, 400

  Hotels at Weihaiwei, 26, 28

  House of Lords, The Chinese, 349-50

  Hsi and Ho (astronomers), 40-2

  Hsi-yü-ting (hill), 31

  _Hsien_ (magisterial district), 14 _seq._, 48, 53

  _Hsien-jên_ (mountain recluses), 32

  _Hsün-chien_ (Chinese deputy-magistrate), 30, 53-4, 367-8

  Hua Shan (one of the Five Sacred Hills), 73

  Huai Nan Tzŭ (philosopher), 351 (1)

  Huai-ts'ui-lou (tower on city walls), 30, 31

  Huang Ch'êng-tsung, 75-6

  Huang K'o Ssŭ (temple), 401

  Human flesh, Eating of, 61, 64

  Human sacrifices, 365-6

  "Hundred-grass lotion," 189-90

  Hunting at Weihaiwei, 82

  Huo Ch'ien (village), 391

  Hydrophobia, 176-8

  Idolatry, 320-1, 335 _seq._, 337, 340, 348, 412, 414 _seq._

  India, Unrest in, 432

  Individualism, 135 _seq._, 344

  Insincerity in politics, Chinese, 441

  Irish folk-lore, 281 (1), 296 (1), 375

  Isis and Horus, 320

  Isles of the Blest, 24-5

  Jade-Imperial-God, 32, 391 _seq._, 396, 398

  Jamaica, 80

  James, Prof. William, _cited_, 324

  Japan and Japanese, 40, 44, 48, 56, 70, 87 (1), 348, 373, 375-6, 379,
  387 (4), 432, 438-9

  Japan, Abortive Chinese attempts at invasion of, 44-5

  Japan, Confucianism in, 304-5

  Japanese ancestor-worship, 341-2, 348

  Japanese "spiritualism," 175 (2)

  _Jên-chieh_ (Festival of Living Men), 192, 369

  Jesuits in China, 334

  Jih-tao (Sun Island), 30

  _Jih-yüeh-ho-pi_ (atmospheric appearance), 64

  Joan of Arc, 338 (1)

  _Ju Hsüeh_ (Director of Confucian studies), 47

  Jung-ch'êng city and district, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 24, 43, 44, 47,
  51, 53, 98, 180 (1), 301, 369-71, 390

  _Jung-ch'êng hsien chih_ (Annals of Jung-ch'êng), 37, 56, 168-9, 402

  Jurisdiction of courts in Weihaiwei, 98-101

  Juristic Person (_Persona ficta_), Evolution of, 156 _seq._

  Kakasu Okakura _cited_, 356

  K'ang Hsi, The Emperor, 51

  K'ang Hsi Dictionary, 40, 297 (2)

  Kempson, Rev. F. C., _quoted_, 324

  Khond tribes of India, 382-3

  Ki-ming island, _see_ Chi-ming-tao

  Kiaochou, 14, 17, 57, 58, 428

  Kingsmill, T., _quoted_, 352 (3)

  Kitchen-god, _see_ Hearth-god

  Knox, Prof. G. W., 353-4

  _Kojin_ (Japanese deity), 193 (1)

  Korea, 1, 20, 39, 40, 183 (2), 377

  Kowloon, 77, 428 (2)

  Ku Hung-ming _quoted_, 311

  Ku-mo Shan, 31

  Ku Shan (hill and temple), 399-402

  Ku-shan-hou (village), 129

  Ku Shêng-yen, 70

  Ku-yü hills, 78-9

  Kuan Ti (God of War), 27, 338, 362-4

  Kuan Yin, 336, 357, 385, 404, 414-5

  Kublai Khan, 44-5

  _Kuei Chieh_ (Festivals of the Dead), 191, 192, 292, 369

  _La-pa-chou_ (Twelfth-month gruel), 192

  Lai-tzŭ, 43

  Lancashire folk-lore, 377

  Land-tax, 64, 65, 96-7

  Land-tenure, 55, 127-54

  Lang, Andrew, _quoted_, 318 (1)

  Lantern-dances, 184

  Lantern Festival, 182-4, 409

  Lao Chün, 391

  Lao Mountains, 73

  Lao Tzŭ (The Old Philosopher), 40 (1), 351 _seq._, 391

  Lao-ya Shan, 31

  Laoism, 356

  Lawyers, Absence of, 102, 104

  Le Roy _cited_, 326 (1)

  Lease of Weihaiwei to Great Britain, 29, _and see_ Convention

  Legal system of China, Reform of, 448

  Legge, Professor, _cited_, 39, 41 (1), 271 (1), 297 (1), 300 (1), 302
  (2), 311, 312, 313, 316, 321, 340, 345 (2), 353

  _Li Ch'un_ (Beginning of Spring), 180 _seq._

  Li Hung-chang a serpent-worshipper, 387 (3)

  Li-k'ou hill, 32

  Li Tzŭ-ch'êng, 50

  Lighthouses, 19

  Likin tax, 443

  Lin-chia-yüan (village), 165, 381, 383

  Lincolnshire, Folk-lore of, 176 (1), 179 (1), 379, 387 (2)

  Literature, God of, 361-2

  Litigation, 98 _seq._, 102-26

  Liu, Mr. and Mrs., 26-8

  Liukungtao, 12, 25 _seq._, 30, 47, 48, 50, 78, 79

  Lockhart, Sir James H. Stewart, 79

  Locusts, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 396

  Lowell, Percival, _Occult Japan_ by, _quoted_, 175 (2)

  Lu, Earl of, 69

  Lu, the native state of Confucius, 42

  Luchu Islands, 1

  Lucky and Unlucky days, 295 (2)

  _Lun Hêng_ of Wang Ch'ung _cited_, 40 (2), 271 (1), 297, 347 (1)

  Lung Wang (Dragon King), 289, 336, 385-91

  Lyall, Sir Alfred, _cited_, 339, 365 (1), 446

  Lyra, H.M.S., 1, 56

  Ma-t'ou, _see_ Port Edward

  Macdonald, Mount, 32, 166, 397-8

  Macgowan's _Sidelights on Chinese Life_ quoted, 109, 201 (2), 342
  (2), 414, 423, 424

  Mackay Treaty, 443-4, 448 (1)

  Mad dogs, Cures for bites of, 176-8

  Madagascar, Mirror superstition in, 295

  Magdalen College, May Day at, 413

  Magisterial courts at Weihaiwei, 98 _seq._

  Maidenhair tree, 168, 381

  Maine's _Ancient Law_ cited, 136 (1)

  Malay States, Superstitions and folk-lore of, 175 (1), 298 (1), 379,
  422 (1)

  Manchu dynasty, 50-1

  Manchu invasion of China, 50-1

  Mandalay, 365

  _Mang-shên_, 180-2

  Mang-tao village and tree, 383-4

  Market villages, 129

  Marriage customs, 169, 203 _seq._, 232 _seq._

  Marriages between the dead, 6, 204 _seq._

  Martin, W. A. P., _quoted_, 332-3, 352

  Maspero _cited_, 356, 379 (5)

  McKibben, Rev. W. K., _quoted_, 354

  Meadows _quoted_, 321

  Mencius, 34, 300, 343 (1), 430 (1)

  Mêng-chia-chuang (village), 134

  Mexico, Religious customs and beliefs in, 186, 375, 388

  Micius (Chinese philosopher), 347 (1)

  Middlemen in Chinese marriages, 204, 206

  Midsummer, Folk-lore relating to, 189

  Military precautions against Japanese, 44 _seq._

  Milky Way, Different names for, 318 (1)

  Millard, T. F., _quoted_, 440 (1), 445 (_footnote_)

  Ming dynasty, 31, 44, 46, 50-1, 6

  Mirage, 30

  Mirrors, Superstitions regarding, 294-5

  Missionaries, 11, 57, 58, 122, 123-4, 302 (2), 315 _seq._, 331
  _seq._, 336, 353 _seq._, 407, 412

  Mo Tzŭ, _see_ Micius

  Mock suns (parhelia), 60

  Modernists, 326 (1), 413

  Mohammedanism, 407

  Mongol dynasty, 44, 257-8, _and see_ Kublai Khan

  Montaigne's Essays _quoted_, 312 (2), 322

  Montesquieu _quoted_, 344 (1)

  "Moon" (month) in China, 59-60

  Moon-worship, 182 _seq._, 191

  Morse, H. B., cited, 444 (1)

  Mortgages of Land, 145 _seq._

  Mou Chou (district), 44

  Mou-p'ing, Marquisate of, 43

  Mou-tzŭ country, 43

  Mountain-shrines, 395-8, _and see_ Hills

  Mountain-worship, 391-8

  Mountains, Celebrated, of China, 35-6, 71, 73, 74, 391 _seq._

  _Mu yü_ (Buddhist "wooden fish"), 190-1

  Mugwort, Magical use of, 188-9

  Müller, Max, _cited_, 319, 321, 334 (2), 352 (2), 353, 414, 416-7

  Mutilations of human body, Chinese abhorrence of, 281

  Nagasaki, 14

  Nai-ku-shan (hill), 30, 76

  Names of persons and villages, 163-4

  Nature, Chinese love of wild, 32-3, 393 _seq._

  Navy, The Chinese, 426 _seq._, 436 _seq._

  "New Fire," 186

  New Guinea, Treatment of children's corpses in, 251

  New Territory of Hongkong, 77

  New Year Festivities, 178-9, 193-4

  New Zealand Hearth-god, 193 (1)

  Newman, Cardinal, 328

  Newspapers, Absence of, in Weihaiwei, 436

  Ning-hai city and district, 14, 16, 44, 53, 180 (1), 301

  _Ning-hai-chou Chih_ (Annals of Ning-hai), 37, 300, _and see_ Annals

  Nobushige Hozumi _quoted_, 341, 348, 373

  North Division of Weihaiwei, 97 _seq._, 129

  Northumberland folk-lore, 180 (3), 185 (2), 293

  Nun, Story of a Buddhist, 405-6

  Ocean spirits, 21-2

  "Oie-hai-oie," 1

  Oman's _Cults, Customs and Superstitions of India_ quoted, 225

  Opium in Weihaiwei, 171-2, 357

  Order-in-Council, Weihaiwei, 8, 99, 100

  Ordinances of Weihaiwei, 80-1

  Orkney and Shetland folk-lore, 184 (1), 293, 294

  _Orpheus_ of S. Reinach _quoted_, 379 (5)

  Oxford, Rev. A. W., _quoted_, 315 (1), 319, 378 (2)

  _Pa kua_ (mystic diagrams), 181

  Pai-hu, 47

  Palestine, Human sacrifices in, 365 (1)

  Pao-hsin (village), 382

  Parhelia (mock-suns), 60, 63, 67, 68

  Parker, Prof. E. H., _quoted_, 137 (1), 334 (2), 335, 355 (1)

  _Patria potestas_, 149 _seq._

  Patriarchal theories, 15, 16, 149, 156, 209 _seq._, 252-3

  Patriotism in China, 429 _seq._

  Peasantry of Weihaiwei, Hardihood of, 68-9

  Pedigree-scrolls, 279

  Pei k'ou Pass (also village and temple), 18 (1), 168 (1)

  Peking, 81, 392

  Pennant's _Tour in Scotland_ cited, 293

  Persecutions by Christians, 308-9

  Peru, Religious and other customs in, 186, 225, 418

  Pestilences, 55, 64, 68, _and see_ Epidemics

  Petitions to officials at Weihaiwei, 114 _seq._

  P'êng-lai (name of fairy islands), 21, 24-5

  Philanthropy shown by Chinese, 70, 73-4

  Philostratus _quoted_, 435-6

  Philpot's _The Sacred Tree_ cited, 379 (5), 380

  Pi Kao, 70

  Pine-trees, 262, _and see_ Evergreen trees

  Pirates, 44 _seq._, 48 _seq._, 52, 55, 61

  _Planchette_ in China, 174 _seq._

  Poets and poetry of Weihaiwei, 30, 72, 73, 74

  Poisonous influences of the fifth month, 188-9

  Police of Weihaiwei, 83, 98, 101, 158 _seq._

  Polygamy in China, 214

  Pootoo (sacred island), 394, 414

  Population of Weihaiwei, 28, 29, 79, 128-9

  Port Arthur, 2, 14, 56, 57, 428

  Port Edward, 27, 28, 29, 79, 97, 172, 385, 429

  Prayer, Confucius's attitude towards, 327

  "Pro-Chinese," 125

  Promontory, _see_ Shantung Promontory

  Prosperity of Weihaiwei under British rule, 90, 94-5

  Psychic research, 175

  Pu-yeh city and district, 43

  Public works at Weihaiwei, 93-4

  Queen of Heaven, The Chinese, 336, 385

  Rain, Curious superstitions regarding, 295-9

  Rain, Prayers for, and rain-charms, 31, 187, 336, 346

  Rainfall, 16, 18, 81

  Rationalism in China, 334

  Recluses, Taoist, 32, 393 _seq._

  Recreation, Means of, at Weihaiwei, 26, 29

  Red, a lucky colour, 174, 178, 179, 376

  Reform movements, 9-11, 173, 436 _seq._, 449

  Regiment, Weihaiwei, 28, 82-7

  Reinach's _Orpheus_ cited, 379 (5)

  Religion, Definitions of, 328-30

  Religions of China, 23, 27-8, 31, 32, 69-70, 129 _seq._, 254 _seq._,
  276 _seq._, 300, 351, 385, _and see_ Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism,

  Revenue and expenditure of Weihaiwei, 93-7

  Ritchie, D. G., _quoted_, 135, 317 (1)

  Rivers, _see_ Streams

  Robbers and brigands, 55, 62, 90

  Robertson, J. M., _quoted_, 186

  Rome, Church of, in China, 334 _seq._

  Rome, Religion in, 373, 378

  Russian action in China, 57

  Sacred Edict, The, 123-4

  Sacred hills of China, _see_ Hills, Sacred

  Sacred trees, 375, 377-81

  Sacrifices, Human, 365 _seq._

  Saints of Christendom, 335, 337, 381-2

  _San Chiao_ (Three Religions of China), 407

  _San Kuan_ (Taoist divinities), 361

  Sati, 224-5, _and see_ Widows

  Scenery of Weihaiwei and neighbourhood, 17, 18, 25, 395 _seq._

  Schleiermacher _quoted_, 329

  Scholarly hermits of China, 72-3, 393 _seq._

  School, European, at Weihaiwei, 28, 90

  Scolds, Female, in Weihaiwei, 197 _seq._

  Scott, Sir Walter, 314

  Scottish folk-lore, 184 (1), 291 (1), 293, 294, 296, 298

  Sea-monsters in Chinese legend and history, 24, 26, 27, 62, 65

  Secretary to Government of Weihaiwei, 79, 98

  Seoul (Korea), Spring customs at, 183 (2)

  Serpent-worship, 387 _seq._

  _Shan Hai Ching_ ("Hill and Sea Classic"), 38, 40 (2), 42, 297

  Shan-shên (mountain-spirits), 166, _and see_ Hills, Sacred, of China

  Shansi (Shan-hsi), Province of, 346

  Shang Chuang (village), 18

  Shanghai, 14 (1), 142 (2)

  Shanghai folk-lore, 180 (3), 183 (2), 185 (3), 371 (1), 377 (1)

  _Shang Fên_ ("Going up to the Tombs"), 187, _and see_ Ancestor-worship

  Shang Ti, 392, 395

  Shantung, Area and subdivisions of, 16

  Shantung Promontory, 14, 18-25, 40 _seq._, 53, 56, 60, 78

  Shantung Province, Alleged special sanctity of, 430 (1)

  _Shantung T'ung Chih_ (official Annals and Topography of Shantung), 56

  Shên, an ancient worthy of Wên-têng, 69

  Shên-nung, The Emperor, 39, 180

  Shêng-chia-chuang (village), 69

  Shêng-tzŭ (village), 14, 53

  Shetland Islands, Folk-lore of, 184 (1), 291 (1)

  _Shih Ching_ quoted, 206, 297

  Shih Huang Ch'iao (Bridge of the "First Emperor"), 19 _seq._

  Shinto, 319 (4), 341

  _Shu Ching_ (a Confucian classic), 34-5, 39, 40, 41

  Shuang-tao (village), 97

  Shun, The Emperor, 39, 392

  Sidney, Sir Philip, 314

  Silk industry, 59, 141 (1), 162, 166

  Sino-Japanese war, 2, 56, 87 (1), 428

  Skating, 81

  Skeat's _Malay Magic_ quoted, 175 (1), 298 (1), 379 (1, 5), 422 (1)

  Small-pox in Weihaiwei, 193

  Smith, A. H., _quoted_, 225 (2), 321-2, 331-2, 334

  Snipe, 165-6

  Sociological interest of Weihaiwei, 133 _seq._, 155 _seq._, 195 _seq._

  Solomon, King, 22

  _Sophora Japonica_, 168, 381, 383

  Souls, Festivals of, 191, 292, 369

  South Division of Weihaiwei, 97 _seq._, 104, 114 _seq._, 129

  _Spectator_, _The_, quoted, 333, 431

  Spencer, Herbert, 315, 316, 341, 431

  "Sphere of Influence," British, 78

  Spiders, Folk-lore connected with, 191

  Spiritualism, Chinese, 174 _seq._

  Sport at Weihaiwei, 82, 165-6

  Spring Festivals, 180 _seq._

  Spring Ox, 180-2

  Ssŭch'uan, Chinese official Annals of, 36

  Ssŭ-ma Ch'ien (Chinese historian), 35

  St. George and the Dragon, 387 (2)

  St. Helena, 80

  Straits Settlements, 80

  Streams of Weihaiwei, 18

  Su-mên-tao (island), 42

  Suicides, 219, 221 _seq._

  Sulphur springs at Weihaiwei, 29

  Summer at Weihaiwei, 66

  Sun, Chinese legends relating to the, 21, 40 _seq._, 60-1

  Sun-worship, 185

  Sung dynasty, 44, 59

  Sung-lin-Kuo-chia (village), 163

  Sung Ting hill, 31

  Swettenham's _Malay Sketches_ quoted, 175 (1)

  Switzerland, Holy trees in, 379

  Sympathetic magic, 176, 416

  _Ta-jên_ (term of respect), 15, 16, 106-7

  Taku, 14

  Ta K'un-yü hills, 79

  Ta-lan-t'ou (village), 78

  _Ta lao-yeh_ (term of respect), 15, 106 (2)

  Ta-sung-wei, 53

  T'ang dynasty, 44, 59, 398-9

  _T'ai P'ing Huan Yü Chi_ quoted, 21, 22, 43, 46

  _Tao_, Meaning of, 352, 354-5

  _Tao Tê Ching_, 351 _seq._, 355

  _Taoism_, 10-11, 32, 173 _seq._, 333, 351-84

  Taoism, Supreme God of, 32, 391 _seq._

  Taoist "Pope," 358

  Taoist priesthood, 357 _seq._

  T'ao Lang-hsien, 50

  Taxation under British rule, 93-7

  Temperature of seasons at Weihaiwei, 81-2

  Temples, 23, 26, 27, 60, 78, 79, 129 _seq._, 135, 258, 279, 301, 357
  _seq._, 391 _seq._, 399 _seq._

  Tengu, _see_ T'ien Kou

  Têng-chou, 16, 40, 44

  Tennyson, 411-12

  Tertullian, 323

  Thackeray _quoted_, 325 (1)

  Theatricals, 130 _seq._, 183-4

  Thermal springs, 29, 98, 400

  _Ti_, a Chinese word for God, 339-41

  Tiao-wo hill, 31

  Tiger, Manchurian, 160

  _Times_, _The_, quoted, 432

  Ting, Admiral, 2

  Ting Pai-yün, 73

  _T'ien Hou_, Queen of Heaven, 336, 385

  _T'ien Kou_ (Heavenly Dog), 174

  Tombs, Festivals of, 186-7, 255-6, _and see_ Ch'ing-ming

  Torture in Chinese courts, 309-10

  Tou Shan Ssŭ (Buddhist temple), 402

  Trade of Weihaiwei, 28, 94-5, 129, 164 _seq._, 426 _seq._

  Transmigration of souls, 403-4

  Tree-worship, 261-2, 375, 377-81

  Trees, 17, 18, 167-8

  Truthfulness, Chinese and Confucian conceptions of, 105, 108-12,

  Tsai Li Sect or Society, 358

  Ts'ai Shên (God of Wealth), 360-1

  Tsao Shên, _see_ Hearth-god

  Ts'ao-miao-tzŭ, 129

  Tsingtao, 426

  _Tso Chuan_, 35

  _Ts'un Kuei_ (village regulations), 160 _seq._

  Tung-lai Prefecture, 43, 44

  Tutelary local deities, 364-77

  T'u Ssŭ, 47

  T'u Ti (local deity), 155, 336, 371-7, 382, 386

  Tylor's _Primitive Culture_ quoted, 177, 186, 251 (3), 252, 261, 287
  (2), 319 (2), 320, 341 (2), 365 (1), 375, 377, 378, 381, 382, 403,
  411, 418, 419, 420, 422, 423

  Tyrell, George, _quoted_, 326 (1), 329

  Uji-gami of Japan, 373

  United States and China, 440 _seq._

  Untruthfulness of Chinese, Alleged, 108-12, 310-17

  Upanishads of India, 330

  Urn-burial, Sir Thomas Browne's, _quoted_, 239 (1), 264 (1)

  Vaeddas of Ceylon, 252

  Vampires, 298

  Vedas of India, 330-1

  Vientian, Dances at, 131-2

  Village-life and Land tenure, 127 _seq._, 155 _seq._

  Village tutelary gods, 155, 336, 371-7

  Villages of Weihaiwei, 79, 127 _seq._, 155 _seq. and passim_

  Vine-cultivation, 165

  Vivian, Philip, _quoted_, 304-5

  Wade, Sir Thomas, _quoted_, 329

  Walter, Mr. R., 79

  Wang-chia-k'uang (village), 18

  Wang Ch'i-jui, 74-5

  Wang Ch'ung (Chinese philosopher) _quoted_, 40 (2), 271 (1), 297, 347
  (1), 422

  Wang Hsien-wu, a Pirate, 50

  Wang Yüeh, 71

  War, God of, _see_ Kuan Ti

  Water, Lack of running, 18

  Watters, T., _quoted_, 183 (2)

  Wealth, God of, 360-1

  Weather, Methods of forecasting, 179

  Weeping over corpses, Superstition regarding, 295 _seq._

  _Wei_, meaning of, 12-13

  _Wei_ (military district), 12, 13, 46 _seq._, 52-3, 54, 55

  Wei _Chiang-chün_, 70

  Wei To (Buddhist divinity), 404

  Weihaiwei Convention, 2, 29-30, 57, 77-8, 428;
    meaning of name, 12-3;
    Order-in-Council, 8, 99, 100;
    scenery of, 17, 18, 25, 395 _seq._

  _Weihaiwei Chih_ (Chinese Annals of Weihaiwei), 37, 46, 168, 289
  _seq._, 362-3, 390-1

  Weihaiwei City, 29, 47, 78, 129, 362, 367-8

  Weihaiwei, Future of, 426 _seq._

  Weihaiwei Police, 83, 98, 101, 158 _seq._

  Weihaiwei Regiment, 28, 82-7

  Weihaiwei School, 28, 90

  Wên-ch'ang (Taoist divinity), 361-2

  Wên-ch'üan-chai, 53, 54, 382

  Wên-ch'üan-t'ang, 53, 54, 70, 98, 165, 400

  Wên-têng city and district, 13, 14, 16, 23, 43, 44, 48, 53, 63, 69,
  98, 180 (1), 301

  Wên-têng, Legendary origin of name, 23

  Wên-têng Magistrate, 30, 61, 64

  Wên-têng, Marquis of, 69-70

  Wên-têng Shan (hill), 23, 69

  _Wên-têng Hsien Chih_ (Annals and Topography of Wên-têng), 36, 37,
  46, 56, _and see_ Annals

  White-clouds, Mr., 73

  Widow-immolation, 204 _seq._, 219 _seq._, 225 _seq._

  Widows, 217 _seq._

  Wild-fowl at Weihaiwei, 165-6

  Williams, Dr. Wells, 316 (2), 331, 334 (2), 335, 336, 421

  Willow-wreaths as rain-charms, 187, 346

  Wiltshire, Folk-lore of, 281 (1)

  Winter at Weihaiwei, 81-2

  Witches, Chinese, 21-4, 174, 176

  Wives, Purchase of, 211 _seq._

  Wo-jên ("Dwarfs," a term applied to Japanese), 46, 48, 70

  Wo Lung Shih (names of rocks), 19

  Wolves, 56, 57, 166

  Women, Chinese, 103, 112, 113, 150 _seq._, 168-9, 195-216, 217-45

  Wordsworth _quoted_, 394

  _Wu fu_ (five degrees of relationship), 143

  _Wu Yüeh_ or _Wu Yo_, _see_ Hills, Sacred

  Wylie's _Notes on Chinese Literature_ cited, 313 (3)

  Yamêns, Chinese, 55

  _Yang_ and _Yin_, _see_ Yin-yang

  Yang Ku (the Valley of Sunlight), 41-2

  Yang-t'ing (village), 129, 385

  Yao, The Emperor, 39, 40, 392

  Yao-yao hill, 31

  Yellow and White races, Alleged antipathy between, 430 _seq._

  Yin-ma-ch'ih ("Drink-horse-pool"), 24

  Yin-yang (in ancient Chinese philosophy), 262 _seq._, 276, _and see_

  York Powell, F., _quoted_, 319-20

  Yorkshire, Graveyard superstitions of, 291, 386 (1)

  Yorkshire, Holy trees in, 379

  Yung Lin, Suicide of, 223 (1)

  Yü, The Emperor, 20, 39, 392

  Yü-chia-k'uang (village), 18, 398

  Yü I (earliest recorded inhabitants of eastern extremities of Chinese
  Empire), 38 _seq._

  Yü P'êng-lun, 70

  Yüan (Mongol) dynasty, 44, 45, 59, 257

  Yüan Shu-fang, 72

  _London. John Murray._


Transcriber's Notes

Obvious errors of punctuation and diacritics repaired.

Inconsistent hyphenation fixed.

P. 351: Taoism and Buddism -> Taoism and Buddhism.

P. 404: pecular sanctity -> peculiar sanctity.

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