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mankind, as well as in reference to everything else, in the sub-idea of a vital organic unity, to which men incline naturally, most usually, and for the most part. This is the means by which the Celestials have solved, in so far as they have done so, the problem of reconciling individual freedom with general interests, and local with imperial government. It is an utter mistake to suppose that, either in theory or practice, the Emperor, or any of his subordinates, have much liberty of enforcing their decrees. Confucius and all the sages of China are at one with Plato when he said, Κακός μεν εκών oúseis—“No one does evil willingly”— though they entirely shirked the question as to how evil exists at all; and, consequently, they held that, usually at least, good government would in itself secure willing obedience from the people. I have already noticed what the • Historical Classic' says about a prince being able to harmonise with his inferiors. In the 'Great Learning' a perfect ruler is thus described : “Profound was King Wan. With how bright and unceasing a feeling of reverence did be regard his resting-places! As a sovereign, he rested in benevolence. As a minister, he rested in reverence. As a son, he rested in filial piety. As a father, he rested in kindness. In communication with his subjects, he rested in good faith.” So in the third part of “The Great Oath," in the 'Historical Classic,' a proverb more ancient than the book itself is quoted : “He who soothes me is my prince; he who oppresses me is my foe, the abandoned of heaven and men 1” In the same work, in “The Announcement to K’hang,” the crime of a father failing “to soothe (or harmonise) his son,” is coupled with that of a son who does not "respectfully subject himself to his father;" and that of an elder brother becoming unfriendly to a
younger, with a younger being “unmindful of Heaven's clearly-displayed relationships.” A familiar proverb in China runs: “The Emperor offending the laws is the same crime as the people doing so ;” and it would be easy to quote innumerable passages from the Classics, and from the decrees of the Government itself, illustrating the great Chinese doctrine, that the harmony of all relationships is to be found in an adaptation of the higher existence to the lower, as well as in submission of the lower to the higher.
As the mystic doctrine of Harmony-fit only for Sages to discuss—becomes more definite in that of vital unity, which the Worthies may perhaps appreciate, so the latter ought to be understood and obtemperated even by the Worthless, as it manifests itself in the five relationships—of ruler to ruled, of father to son, of husband to wife, of brother to brother, and of friend to friend. On the one side the ruler must act with benevolence and in good faith ; while on the other, the people must exercise reliance and submission; and it is held, so great is the confidence of the Chinese in the goodness of human nature, that if either act fitly, the other will act fitly also. When Ke K’ang asked Confucius about inflicting capital punishment, the Master replied (Ana-. lects, xii. 19): “In carrying on your government, why should you use putting to death at all? Let your desires be for what is good, and the people will be good.” In book îi. 2, 3, he expressly deprecates the notion of upholding government by force, saying, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but will bave no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and it is sought to harmonise them by the rules of propriety, they will have a sense of shame,
CHINESE DEPENDENCE ON MORAL FORCE.
and moreover will become good.” In the 'Great Learning' the commentator (ch. x.) thus answers what is meant by making the empire peaceful and happy. through government: “When the sovereign behaves to his aged as the aged should be behaved to, the people become filial; when the sovereign behaves to his elders as elders should be behaved to, the people learn brotherly submission ; when the sovereign treats compassionately the young and helpless, the people do the same. Thus, the ruler has a principle with which, as with a measuring square, he may regulate his conduct. . The ruler will first take pains about his own virtue. Possessing virtue will give him the people. Possessing the people will give him the territory. Possessing the territory will give him its wealth. Possessing the wealth, he will have resources for expenditure. Virtue is the root; wealth is the result. If he make the root his secondary object, and the result his primary, he will only wrangle with his people, and teach them rapine.” So likewise in family relationships, moral influence is regarded as the appropriate ruling power. Of the great Emperor Shun, we read in the Shoo King,' that he was elevated from the position of a husbandman because “he went forth into the fields, and daily cried and wept to the soothing heavens on account of his father and mother: he bore the blame, and drew upon himself the reproach ; while he was respectful in business, and waited on his sire Kow-Sow, penetrated with veneration and awe, until Kow also sincerely conformed to virtue." And it is recommended that this almost Christian principle should be acted upon with regard to the rebellious people of Meaou.* Similar admiration is given by the Chinese to a father for harmonising his children by moral suasion,
* The Meaoutsze or aborigines of China
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHINESE STATE.
though children regardless of filial piety might perhaps be regarded as more blameworthy than fathers neglecting their parental duties. In the celebrated “Sacred Edict” of the Emperor Kang-he, the second maxim is, “Respect kindred, in order to display the excellence of barmony.” It is a mistake to suppose, as many European writers have done, that the idea of paternal authority is that on which the Chinese State has been based. The conceptions of a certain complete harmony for all relationships, and of a graduation of authority from Heaven downwards, have determined their views, in regard both to fatherhood and to the government, to such an extent that their peculiar institutions might have sprung up had the black-haired race, by some mysterious means, been brought into existence without the aid of parents at all.
There is some difficulty in determining how far, according to the Chinese system, the employment of force is lawful and expedient in preserving the due medium of relationships. Heaven is never spoken of as vindictive, seldom even as moved to anger, but it is considered capable of terrible punitive judgment; and this prerogative, somewhat inconsistently with passages I have quoted, is spoken of as shared by its representatives, the heavenly-appointed rulers of mankind. Against unjust rulers Heaven becomes incensed, decrees their ruin, and sends down calamities on the people as a mark of its displeasure. Even so early as in the “Military Completion," in the 'Shoo King,' we read of “Heaven's exterminating decree" against an offending prince being delivered to "au insignificant one." Up to this hour the Imperial edicts conclude with the admonition, “tremblingly obey;" and it is sufficiently obvious that, con- . stituted as men are, even among so easily-governed a
RESPECT FOR AGE AND LEARNING.
race as the Chinese, authority could not be sustained, and order preserved, without a very considerable use of punishment and military force. Roughly speaking, proper relationship is sometimes so far departed from that punishment becomes a duty; and it is worthy of note that, according to Celestial ideas, the great sign of incapacity or wickedness in a ruler is great calamities befalling the people. Heaven is then displeased beyond endurance, and all the people are in expectation that some one will arise to put in execution the exterminating decree. Hence in all Chinese political movements the declarations of both sides that they are divinely commissioned, and their frequent references to examples of
To the further understanding of the system of the Chinese, it is well to note their respect for learning, their respect for age, and the universal diffusion of education among them. In the 'Great Learning' (text iv.) Confucius expresses the convictions of almost every Chinaman when he says, “ The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the empire, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge.” It is this relation between learning and harmony, between knowledge and the sage, that has afforded the principle of competitive examination on which governmental officers are chosen, and which has opened up the way to the very highest offices for the son of any Chinese peasant or coolie. Apart also from