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filial piety, this reverence for wisdom has afforded the principle of reverence for old age ; for, with their confidence in the goodness of human nature, the Celestials cannot but regard the older man, with all his past studies and experiences, as superior to the younger,

and specially deserving of veneration. The Throneless King (Confucius) himself said (Analects, ii. 4): “At fifteen, I had my mind, bent on learning. At thirty, I stood firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ. At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired without transgressing what was right.” This respect for learning and for age is fostered among the Black-haired People by their system of education. It is expressly asserted in the Classics that a knowledge of the doctrine of the due medium may be obtained even by common persons busily occupied in the affairs of life, if their hearts are only right; and it is obvious that a very considerable portion of the sacred writings may be understood and appreciated by persons whose minds are not very highly developed, and who have not devoted the time to study which would be required to gain what is considered a good education in European countries. "Among the countless millions that constitute the empire," says Sir John Davis, “almost every man can read and write sufficiently for the ordinary purposes of life, and a respectable share of these acquirements goes low down in the scale of society.” And it must be observed that this education is not devoted to inflating the mind with false accounts of contemporary events, with falsifications of history, appeals to class-prejudices, and galvanic attempts at sharpness, such as constitute the intellectual pabulum offered by their newspapers to the labouring classes of America, but to the laws and other institutions of the

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country, the principles on which these laws are based, and to great moral and social truths, having an immediate bearing on practice, and expressed in a beautiful simple way, in sentences of wbich the mind cannot easily get rid. Hence the ordinary Chinaman takes an interest in the theory, as well as in the practice, of his government; and all the officials of the empire feel themselves in face of an intelligent, and sometimes exceedingly intelligent, public opinion, which they dare not disregard in the absence of a priesthood and of a standing army of any size or value. It is also obvious that this power of the people, this general information existing among

them -their respect for learning, their reverence for sages, and their belief that knowledge affords a key to the harmony of relationships—are the real supports of the principle of choosing only able men for office, to which Mr Meadows attaches so much importance:

Also proceeding from their ideas in regard to harmony, we have next the Chinese ideas and practice in regard to gradations of rank, mutual responsibility, and mutual surveillance. The Emperor, representing Heaven, is Tien Tsz, Son of Heaven ; Kwa Jen, the Solitary Man; Chin, Ourself; Hwang Te, August Sovereign; Hwang Shang, August Loftiness; Tieng Hwang, Celestial August One ; Shing Te, Sacred Sovereign ; and Wan Sui Ye, Father of Ten Thousand Years. But this is in virtue, not of his office, but only of the manner in which he fulfils that office. So far from his being of necessity pater atque princeps, Mencius boldly says: “ The people are the most important element in a nation; the spirits of the land or grain are the next; the sovereign is the least." Elsewhere he quotes approvingly

* Book II. part ii chap. xiv. in the second volume of Legge's edition of the Chinese Classics.

the words of the Great Declaration in the 'Shoo King' -“ Heaven sees according as my people see; Heaven hears according as my people hear.” In the Historical Classic,' Thang exclaims in his “Announcement,” “Should any of you myriad states transgress, let the blame rest on me, a single individual; but should I, a single individual, offend, let it not involve you, the multitude of states.” In the “ Announcement at Lo,” it is said that “the people come to meet a well-balanced government." Confucius, who was very fond of inculcating subordination, counterbalanced his advice by his repeated assertion that good government requires no force for its support; and, as Dr Legge says, “he allowed no jus divinum independent of personal virtue and a benevolent rule.” When asked (Analects, B. xii. 8) whether sufficiency of military equipment, sufficiency of food, or the confidence of the people, was most necessary to sustaining a government, he selected the last as most essential, and he declared that the government of a personally correct prince would be effective without the prince issuing orders. Thus the Emperor is properly not so much an absolute ruler as the embodier, recorder, and declarer of the wants and legitimate wishes of his people.

And the whole machinery of government may be viewed not so much as a means for carrying out the Emperor's will, as an organisation by which the wants of the people may be met, and those of their designs which require the exercise of supreme authority be placed in Imperial hands. It is quite true that China, as a nation, may be compared to a vast army under one generalissimo, the Son of Heaven, and that this army is elaborately divided into corps, regiments, and companies paying, or called on to pay, implicit obedience to their immediate leaders; but it is still more necessary to look .


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at the matter in a reverse light, and to consider each leader as only such in so far as he represents the natural action of those over whom he is placed. Hence a peculiarity in Chinese government wbich has frequently been alluded to without being properly understood. Each family, clan, village, district, department, and province, is expected to harmonise itself; and, strictly speaking, it is no part of the business of supreme authority to interfere, unless when called upon by the parties themselves, with the affairs of minor circles. If quarrels or crimes arise in a family, then the head of the family must settle these, or take the consequences, and to that end he has very great power committed to him. If a village is at war with itself, the head men have power to settle the dispute, and have practically almost unlimited power of punishing. So in the district, the department, the province. Each circle being called upon to harmonise itself, has immense power committed to it for that end, and must take equal responsibility. Hence the rationale, if not the rationality, of the Chinese system of punishing a parent for the sins of his children, and of holding a village or a district responsible for the crimes of its individual members. The whole arrangements of the nation, public as well as private, are based on a system of mutual responsibility, which of course involves a system of mutual surveillance. Even the Emperor, though nominally supreme, stands in awe of the Censorate, and of a popular revolution; the Futai, or governor of a province, has to stand well with his subjects, as well as at Peking; and the Magistrate of a district is nothing more than the recorder and executor of sentences passed by local juries.





Of course the Chinese State has fallen very far short of the theory on which it was founded; but I have indicated that theory, which hitherto has been overlooked by European scholars, because some comprehension of it is absolutely necessary to a proper understanding of Chinese rebellions and revolutions. Every people has certain traditionary and religious ideas, sustained by spirit-stirring stories, which underlie its institutions, and limit the work. ing of the national mind, however despised by individuals, and imperfectly conformed to in the national life. Despite our modern disregard of tradition, and even amid the innumerable influences affecting modern civilisation, each nation of Europe, of any strength, moves within a charmed circle of its own; and an instinctive feeling of the limits of that circle is necessary to the great statesman, even to the great warrior. But when religious, social, and political ideas are inextricably interwoven, springing from one common root, as in the case of the

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