Western Views of China - .gj. 2' Merriam VIEW 5 of <...

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Unformatted text preview: .gj. 2' Merriam VIEW 5 of < {'1 “I‘ve-1 INTRODUCTION Summary of Iihsteni Vistas gt” Chit—w. Whether Marco Polo in fact visited lChina or not, much of his book concerns China, and thus commences the first great age of 'Sinophiles and Sinophobes’. Polo was extremely positive about China, writing in glowing terms of its governance and cities, notably Beijing and Hangzhou. Abm'e all, he describes China as a land ofgreat prosperity and flourishing commerce and claims that the emperor took a personal interest in the well—being of his subjects. Because of his account, north China, or Cathay, became famous for over two centuries as synonymous with El Dorado, ‘a fabulous land of Wealth on the far side of the world‘.E In the fourteenth century also, the popes were sending clerics east to the Mongol court to try to enlist its support against Islam, and missionaries went to lIllliina to convert the people to Christianity. They tended strongly to confirm and continue the enthusiastic view of Marco Polo. By far the most important was Odoric of Pordenone {c 1235—1331}, who lived in China during the 13203. The first‘i'i-‘estern observer to suite of the custom of foot- binding, he remained extremely positive about China and was greatly impressed by the magnificent cities he saw. Shortly after lICIIdoric’s visit, contacts between China and Europe were cht ofi‘, among other factors by the great plague epidemic in Europe, known as the Black Death, which killed about one-third of its population between 1343 and 1351. The first great age of ‘Westeni views of China‘ was over. The next age was roughly the second half of the sixteenth century, ‘the century of discovery‘. Although this age was initially mostiy concerned with Asian countries other than China, it saw the publication oi" the first great cornpendia about that country, especially Juan Gonzalez de Mendoza‘s Histon of the Giant and Mighty Kingdom of Chi-nu, published in Spanish in Rome in 1585. Dominated hy the Spaniards and Portuguese, the Western writers of the sixteenth century were also positive about China, though somewhat less so than during the ‘first great age’. This second age fused with the third period, which focuses on the work of the priests of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. The contribution that the Jesuits, especially those of France, made to the history of stnology remains of enormous importance. At the head of this line of Jesuit missionaries and scholars stood the rrii {Your-n S [A “flip/5 lesrji‘toéas ‘ Cb l tl’t INTRODUCTION M k6 I" V545 Italian Matteo Ricci, who actually lived in the Chinese capital of Beijing in the first decade of the seventeenth century, dying there in 1510. This age saw works of great sinologists likeJ. B. Du Halde, who influenced a range of important thinkers, especialiyVoltaire I:le 4-1'F'F8j , towards a positive view of China. Although the Jesuit writers and Voltaire were also extremely positive about lIShina, this period was much more complicated than the ones which preceded it, with titanic political struggles and theological debates being fought over issues involving the nature of China and its 7 government and society. Many did not share the en thusiasrn oi" the Society of Jesus, notably the Dominicans; the Papacy adopted this latter view, ultimately suppressing the Jesuits in 1TB. in the second half of the eighteenth century, the trend moved away from the dominantly positive view that had characterised this third great age to a fourth, decisively more negative period, which lasted until the beginning of the twentieth century. This fourth age saw the Industrial Revolution in Britain and elsewhere. A sense of confidence and nationalism resulted in imperialist approaches to China and much of the rest of the worid. The dominant countries of this period were Britain and France, with the United States asserting itself as a major player from about the middle of the nineteenth century, especially with the publication in 1843 of Samuel Wells Williams’s {13124341} magisteria! Theflfiddts Kingdom. This negative age featured missionaries, diplomats, scholars, and adventurers among those whose ‘u't'esteni perspectives contributed to the views held in their countries about China. These people, formed a wider range of observers than had existed in earlier centuries. The climax of this fourth, negative age came with the ' Boxer Uprising in 190D. The first fifty years of the twentieth century can be taken as the fifth age of 1i'I.-'estern views of China. In lChina, this century saw the fall of the Manchu {Qing} Dynasty in 1911, the I'iSE of the Nationalist Party under Chiang Kai-she}; {ISM—19%} in 1925', and the War of Resistance Against Japan, which lasted from 193'? to 1945. Finally, it saw the victory of the Chinese Communist Party {(381)} over the Nationalists and Chiang Kai-shelt in 19-4-9. In terms of Western images, it saw a much more positive view of lChina, an attitude which became more enthusiastic when China became an ally of the “test during Iiltlorld “Tar II. It was above all in the United States that this view prevailed, and it was there that the media work niii INTRODUCTION of the strongly pro—Chiang Kai-slick Henry Luce {1893—19537}, based on the widely read periodical Time, had its greatest influence. Luce was born into a missionary family in China and was a passionate supporter of missionary work. In the first half of the nventieth century, the United States established itself as the most important Western country to engage and view China, a dominance which increased in the second half and looks set to persist into the twenty-first century. In Europe, Britain and France also produced missionaries, scholars, diplomats, and others who wrote on China. Their perceptions also underwent a clear movement towards a positive view of China. Europe, however, seems to have retained a more vociferously hostile, even racist camp than existed in the United States, probably due to the continuing impact of colonialist thinking. The sixth period of ‘ii-‘estem views of China spans from 1949 to 19?? and, apart from his last four years, coincides with the rule of Mao Eedong {1893—19376}. During this period, Western views of China were generally very negative indeed. This was the height of the Cold War, when Westerners tended strongly to view countries ruled by communist parties as oppressed and unfortunate, and communism as a wrong, even evil ideology. The height of the totalitarian era was the Cultural Revolution of the late 19595, when a Chinese government curtailed the freedom of its own people more satagely than at any other time in the twentieth century. At the same time, this sixth period also saw a group of ii'esterners prepared to sympathise with the People’s Republic of China and even with its government. This counter-trend gathered momentum in the 19695 because it was associated with opposition to American military intervention in Vietnam aimed at a leftist revolution there. In February lQTE, United States President Richard Nixon, who had been a major advocate of America’s miJitary effort in Vietnam, actually visited China for a week and met the dictator Mao Eedong. This visit gave a major boost to the cause of those who had been prepared to see some good in Communist China and led on to the seventh period of ‘Sinophiles and Sinophobes". This period was distinctly more positive than its predecessor. ICl'nce again, 'Westerners not only visited China but actually lived there in numbers far greater than had been the case since the 19595. Most suppressing ntiv INTRODUCTION Westem countries established diplomatic relations with China in the early 19’Ffls, and the United States followed suit at the beginning of 19T9. The period of positive images was also one In which, on the whole, relations between China and the 1West improved greatly. I l The last, or eighth, main period of Western mews ofCIuna dates from the middle of 1989. At that time, the Chinese government suppressed a large-scale student movement by_moving tanks and other armoured vehicles into the centre of BEljlng. The result was aviolent incident which killed a number of people in the capital, in front of many W'estern observers. The impact of this incident pr. ‘Western views of China was profound. It led to a period of restraint during which most Western countries placed far more emphasis on human rights and China’s shortcomings in tins area, During the 1999s, China‘s economic performance unprovedglts ahilitv to withstand the worst effects of the economic crisis which swepf most of East and South-East Asia from the middle of 1997 won China great credit from 1Western governments and observers. However, this was balanced by a rather critical view of Cinna's government and social development. The view of the West was more complicated and mixed during the last decade of the twentieth century than it had been before. It can be summed up as follows: ‘Economic performance, very good, human ngbts, popr, not a very nice place, really’ . Diplomatically, China's relations with Western countries generally improved. The Cold War was no more, though China stood out as one of the last remaining states still ruled by a communist party. Ideas on l-lr'esiem Warns {yr Claim Studies have noted the existence of a pendulum between positive and negative images of China, an excellent example being the shift from the highly laudatory views pushed by the Jesmt writers 1n the seventeenth and first part of the eighteenth century, to the extremely negative t—‘iews predominant in the nineteenth century. A caution needs to beraised, however, about this theory; it 1s 1n no sense absolute or exclusive. 1iv’iews opposite to the dominant trend may coexistwith the more fashionable and prevailing views, and in a particular 1ilt’estern country, different views may be found in greater profusion than in another. Yet this relativist pos1t1on does INTRODUCTION not seem to undermine the validity 1Western views of China.3 , The peiiods of positive and negative views normally blend into each other. There are cases , however, where the opposite is true. One specific example is the break occasioned by the visit of Richard Nixon to China in February JQTE, which swung the pendulum quickly from negative to positive. A swing in the opposite direction became very evident when the Chinese government suppressed the student movement in early-'june 1989. ' The periods of positive and negative are sometimes unclear and may vary greatly in length. On the whole, the more recent the period of favourable or unfavourable views, the shorter it is likely to be. The positive period following Nixonls visit lasted less than two decades. In contrast, the era of negative views which focused on the nineteenth century lasted well over 100 years. The dominant images of a period seem to accord roughly with the interests of the main Western countries of the day. In the 1950s and idiifls, the West saw Communist China as a aggressive enemy, and thus the dominant images were extremely negative. But correspondingly, the desire to bring China into the world forum of nations in the early lg'ifls saw a rapid and thorough ' swing in images from negative to pon'tive. As with the “pendulum” theory, this idea that societies influences views on other countries cannot as absolute, because there are e Moreover, the theon carries no implication of any political conspiracies influencing the way people in the West see China. The fact that there are so oft en views alternative to the dominant ones is mnple proof that 1Western societies have virtually always been able to generate a range of perceptions on all issues, including those of moment concerning other civilizations. But it nevertheless remains true that Western views of China have political overtones and implications, even when they appear to be entirely neutral. The extracts in this hook should make this clear. of the pendulum theory of dangerous, power within be interpreted )tceptions and complexities. PART I EARLY ADVENTURES as! SINGPHILES hND SINGPHUB£S hat matters ah out Marco Polo is not whether he ac tualhr visited China but that he left an account of it which has become famous throughout the world. He can claim to have been the first ii’esterner to leave a detailed record about China, one which, with exceptions, accords with what we know from other sources. It justly occupies an important place in the history of ‘Sinophiles and Sinophobes’. Marco Polo claimed to have lived and travelled in China For some seven teen years. After his return to Italy he was a nasal ofiicer and became a prisoner ofwar during the years 1298—99; at this time he dictated his claimed experiences to a fellow prisoner, Rusu'chello of Pisa. Marco Polo’s account became popular immediateiy and the majorpart of it entered theiiteratnre of the period. 1 THE WONDERS 0F KIN—SN LEAKED POLO TRANSLATED BY iiiILLLAIt'I It'IARSDEN in the foilolnrig extracts Marco Polo continents on the city he calls Kirhsoi. it had been the capital of thejust—conquered Chino ofthe Southem Song disiosg' {11126—79}, it-‘illtii lie coils Margit, and is in the some location as present-day Hangzhou, capitol ofzheiiong Prentice. Under the Mongols, whose emperor Marco Polo coiled the grand khan, Kin-sol remained :1 great tit}! and much impressed Marco Polo for its size and splendour and for the l-flil'lEljt and prosperity of its food economy: Of the Noble and. li-iognfi'irent City of Kin—mi t the end of three days you reach the nohie and Amagnificent city of Kin—sai, a name that signifies “the ceie stial city,‘ and which it merits from its preeminence to all others in the world, in point of grandeur and beauty, aswell as from its abundant delights, which might lead an inhabitant to imagine himself in paradise. According to common estimation, this city is a hundred miles in circuit. its screen and canals are extensive, and there are squares, or marketplaces. which, being necessarily proportioned in site to the prodigious concourse of people by whom they are frequented, are exceedinglyr spacious. It is situated between a lake of flesh and very clear water on the one side, and a river of great magnitude on the other, the waters of which, by a number of canals, large and small, are made to run through everyr quarter of the city, carrying with them all the film into the lake, and ultimaterr to the sea. This, whilst it contributes much to the purity of the air, furnishes a communication bywater, in addition to that by land, to all parts of the town; the canals and the streets being of sufficient width to allow of boats on the one, and carriages in the other, com-'enientljr,r SINQPHILES AND SJNOPHUBES passing, with articles necessary for the consumption of the inhabitants. It is commonly said that the number of bridges, of all sizes, amounts to twelve thousand. Those which are thrown over the principal canals and are connected with the main streets, have arches so high, and built with so much skill, that vessels with their masts can pass under them, whilst, at the same time, carts and horses are passing over their heads, so well is the slope from the street adapted to the height of the arch. If they were not in fact so numerous, there would he no convenience of crossing from one place to another. . . . There are within the city ten principal squares or marketplaces, besides innumerable shops along the streets. Each side of these squares is half a mile in length, and in front of them is the main _ street, forty paces in width, and running in a direct line from one extremity of the city to the other. It is crossed by many low and convenient bridges. These market—squares {two miles in their whole dimension} are at the distance of four miles from each , other. In a direction parallel to that ol" the main street, but on the opposite side of the squares, runs avery large canal, on the nearer bank of which capacious warehouses are built of stone, for the accommodation of the merchants wllo arrive from India and other parts, together with their goods and eFfects, in order that they may be conveniently situated with respect to the marketplaces. In each of these, upon three days in ever week, there is an assemblage of from forty to fifty thousand persons, who attend the markets and supply them with every article of provision that can be desired. There is an abundant quantity of game of all kinds, such as roebucks, stags, fallow deer, hares, and rabbits, together with partridges, pheasants. fiancolins, quails, common fowls, capons, and such numbers of ducks and geese as can scarcely be expressed; for so easily are they bred and reared on the lake, that, for the value of a Venetian silver great. you may purchase a couple of geese and two couple of ducks. There, also, are the shambles, where they slaughter cattle for food, such as oxen, calves, kids, and lambs, to furnish the tables of rich persons and of the great magistrates. As to people of the lower classes, they do not scruple to eat every other kind of flesh, however unclean, without any discrimination. At all seasons there is in the markets a great variety of herbs and fruits, and especially pears of an extraordinary sire, weighing ten pounds each, that are white in the inside, like paste, and have a ver THE HI'ONDERS OF KIN-SAI fragrant smell. There are peaches also, in their season, both of the yellow and the white kinds, and of a delicious flavour. Grapes are not produced there, but are brought in a dried state, and very good, from other parts. This applies also to wine, which the natives do not hold in estimation, being accustomed to their own liquor prepared from rice and spices. From the sea, which is fifteen miles distant, there is daily brought up the river, to the city, a vast quantity of fish; and in the lake also there is abundance, which gives employment at all times to persons whose sole occupation is to catch them. Marco Polo claims to hate tinted the city of Kin—sot" many times. He nos most impressed with several stits social aspects, which he desmbss below The streets connected with the market-squares are so numerous, and in some of them are many cold baths, attended by servants of both sexes, to perform the offices of ablution for the men and women who frequent them, and who from their childhood have been accustomed at all times to wash in cold water, which they reckon highly conducive to health. At these bathing places, however, they have apartments provided with warm water, for the use of strangers, who, from not being habituated to it, cannot hear the shock of the cold. Allan: in the daily practice of washing their persons, and eSpecially before their meals. In other streets are the habitations of the courtesans, who are here in such numbers as I dare not venture to report: and not only near the squares, which is the situation usually appropriated for their residence, but in every part of the city they are to be found, adorned with much finely, highly perfumed, occupying well— fumished houses, and attended many female domestics. These women are accomplished, and are perfect in the arts of blandislunent and dalliance, which they accompany with expressions adapted to every description of person, insomuch that strangers who have once tasted of1heir charms, remain in a state of fascination, and become so enchanted by their meretricious arts that they can never divest themselves of the impression. Thus intoxicated with sensual pleasures, when they return to their homes they report that they have been in Kin-sai, or the celestial SINDPHILES AND SiNDPHOBES city, and pant for the time when they may be enabled torrevisit paradise. In other streets are the dwellings of the physicians and the astrologers, who also give in sanctions in reading and writing, as well as in many other arts. They have apartments also amongst those which surround the market—squares. {in opposite sides of each of these squares there are two large edifices, where ofiicers appointed by the grand khan are stationed, to take immediate cognisance of any differences that may happen to arise hem'een the Foreign merchants, or amongst the inhabitants of the place. Motto Polo continues with a discussion of the economy and occupations of the people. He then comments on their nature, especioll I their hiendiiness and tore ofpence in retrosped this is ironian considering the fear offilino which pretniled in inter centuries. There is a sting in the toil of this passage, for it is obvious thotMorco Polo nus (In-ore of the resentment the Chinese halt at being under Mongol doriiinotion. The inhabitants ofthe city are idolaters, and they use paper money as currency. The men as well as the women have fair complexions, and are handsome. The greater part of them are always clothed in silk, in consequence of the vast quantity of that material produced in the territonyr of Kin-sai, exclusively of what the merchants import from other provinces. Amongst the handicraft trades exercised in the place, there are twelve considered to be superior to the rest, as being more generally useful; for each of which there are a thousand workshops, and each shop furnishes employment for ten, fifteen, or twenty workmen, and in a few instances as many as forty, under their respective masters. The opulent principals in these manufactories do not labour with their own hands, hut, on the contrary, assume airs ofgentility and affect parade. Their wives equally abstain from work. They have much beauty, as has been remarked, and are brought up with delicate and languid habits. The costliness of their dresses, in silks and jewellery, can scarcely be imagined. Although the laws of their ancient kings ordained that each citizen should exercise the profession of his father, yet they were allowed, when they acquired wealth, to discontinue the manual labour, prodded they kept up the establishment, and THE WONDERS OF KIN—5M employed persons to work at their paternal trades. Their houses are well built and richly adorned with carved work. So much do they delight in ornaments of this kind, in paintings, and fancy buildings, that the sums they lavish on such objects are enormous. The natural disposition of the native inhabitants of Kin-sai is pacific, and by the example of their former kings, who were themselves unwarlilte, they have been accustomed to habits of tranquillity. The management of arms is unknown to them, nor do they keep any in their houses. Contentious hroils are never heard among them. They conduct their mercantile and manufacturing concerns with perfect candour and probity. They are friendly towards each other, and persons who inhabit the same street, both men and women, from the mere circumstances of neighbourhood, appear like one family. In their domestic manners they are free from jealousy or suspicion of their wives, to whom great respect is shown, and any man would be accounted infamous who should presume to use indecent expressions to a married woman. To strangers also, who visit their city in the tray of commerce, they give proofs of cordiality, inviting them freely to their houses, showing them hospilahle attention, and furnishing them with the best advice and assistance in their mercantile transactions. 0n the other hand, they dislike the sight of soldiery, not excepting the guards of the grand lthan, as they preserve the recollection that by them they were deprived of the government of their native lungs and rulers, s h'WELL—RUN AND PROSPERDUS LAND jUAN GONE-ALEE. DE I'u-[ENDGZA TRANSLATED BY ROBERT PARKE the first attempt to collect together in one worlr all that the West knew about China was loan Gonzalez de Mendoza’s The History of the Great and Mighty Kingdom of China, published in Spanish in i535. Mendoza's worli was based on the accounts otGaleote Pereiro, Gaspar do Cruz, and Martin de Roda, as Hell as on a range of other material However; according to C R. Borer, Mendoza’s account favoured the more positiveI View at China oi-er that put tanvarrl by the Spaniard de Roda, Iehose 'asperities are there either omitted or watered don-n“. Th is made Mendoza's account generally i-ery enthusiastic, presenting China as ‘an enviable country, where Jiustire was well administered, where the people were all prosperous and hard—noticing, peaceable and self—controlled." Mendoza nos a Spanish Augustinian priest in USU King Philip it at Spain, who had read de Rada’s anginalacconnt with great interest, decided to send an embassy to the Chinese Emperor and to invite Mendoza, who nould take gifts such as pictures, clocks and notches, arms, and clothing. Mendoza’s route to {hina passed through Mexico, where he had already lived for severolyears. For various reasons the embassy was aborted and 'Mendoza never got to China, but he did find much additional material about China in Mexico ii'hid'r he included in his book. Mendoza returned to Spain and neat an to Rome, where he completed and published his great History. The book Ii-ns a great best-seller. by the end at the sixteenth century, it had been translated into all the main European languages and published in numerous editions. it nos the basis of a new admiration for China in Europe, and of the great n-orh which the Jesuits were to undertake. it can be considered the beginning of the first great age of l-l’estern sinolagy. ’16 A 'INEll-RUN AND PROSPERDUS iAND indeed, it was so positive about China that the English printer telt called on to disavow any rapansibility for offence given “to the Christian reader’ by__ the excessive zeal of the Spanish friars, arguing that these Catholic priests had a way of extolling their own actions, ’even to the setting forth ofrnargr untruths and incredible things? The edition used is that translated by Robert Parke and printed in London in 1533. The title page gives the title at the book as The Historie of the Great and Mightie Kingdoms of China and the Situation Thereof, Togither with the great riches, huge cith'es, politiice gouernemeot, and rare inuentions in the sarneand states thatcopies Here ‘Fiinted byl. Waite for Edward White, and are to be sold at the little North doore ofPaules, at the sigma at the Gun". in the extracts below; i have replaced the original spelling with more contemporary spelling, but have athenrise left the language exadlyas it was in the i583 edition. this country, is a great help on to the goodness and fertility thereof, and is so much that they do neither spare nor lease mountains nor valleys, neither rivers, but they do sow and plant all such things as they perceive, that the place will yield, according unto the goodness thereof: as orchards with fruit1 great fields of wheat, barley, rice, flax, and hemp, with many other things: all rs'hich narail unto them is very easy, remembering with what great liberty they do enjoy Lhcir goods, and the great and infinite number of people that there is, as well for handicrafts as for to rill and cultivate the ground. In all this mighty country they do not suffer Tragahonds nor idle people, but all such [over and above that they are grievoust punished}, they are holders for infamous: neither do they consent nor permit any of them that are naturally horn lhere to go out of their countries into other strange countries; neither have they any wars at this present, which was the thing that in times past did consume much of their people. The king doth content himselfonly with his own kingdom {as one that is held the wisest in all the world) . Beside all this, they are naturally inclined to eat and drink well, and to maize much of themselves in apparel, and to have their houses well furnished with household f I Ihe great travail and continual labour of the inhabitants of ii SINGP‘HILES AM [J SIMOPHDBES stuff, and to the augmenting hereof, they do put themselves in great labour and await, and are great dealers and traffickers: all which, with the fertility of the country above said, is the occasion that justify it might have the name to be the most fertilest in all the whole world. Mendoza was impressed with the women air China, who": he describes as uttrndii-e and intelligent He discusses the practice other.er feet which, in the marginal paragraph summaries so common in the sixteenth century the printer has labelled “an ill use and custom“. They that be not married do difier from those that be married, in that they do curl their hair on their forehead, and wear higher ham. Their women do apparel themselves ver curiously, much after the fashion of Spain: they use many jewels of gold and precious stones: their gowns have wide sleeves; that wherewith they do apparel themselves is of cloth ofgold and silver and diverse sorts of sill-ts, whereof they have great plenty, as aforesaid, and eaceilent good, and good cheap: and the poor folks do apparel themselves with velvet, unsliorn velvet. and serge. They have very fair hair, and do comb it with great care and diligence, as do the women of Genoa, and do bind it about their head with a broad sill: lace, set full of pearls and precious stones, and they say it doth become them very well: they do use to paint themselves, and in some place in escess. . Amongst them they account it for genttlity and a gallant thing to have little ieet, and therefore lEttim their youth they so straddle and hind them very straight, and do suffer itwith patience: for that she who hath the least feet is accounted the gallantest dame. They say that the men hath induced them unto this custom, for to bind their feet so hard, that almost they do lose the form of them, and remain halflarne, so that their going is very ill, and with great o‘avail: which is the occasion that they go but little abroad, and few times do rise up from Iheir work that they do; and was invented only for the same intent. This custom hath endured many years, and will endure many more, for that it is established for a law: and that woman which doth break it, and not use it with her children, shall 13 A i't'ELLsRUN AND PRUSPERDUS LAJH'D be counted as evil, yea shall be punished for the same. They are very secret and honest, in such sort that you shall not see at any time a woman at her window nor at her doors: and if her husband do invite any person to dinner, she is never seen nor eateth not at the table, except the guest he a kinsman or a ver friend: when they go abroad to visit their father, mother, or any other kinsfolk, they are carried in a little chair by four men, the which is made close, and with lattices round about made of gold wire and with silver, and curtains of silk,- that although they do see them that be in the street, yet they cannot be seen. They have many servants waiting on them. So that it is a great marvel when that you shall meet a principal woman in the street, yea you will think that there are none in the city, their keeping in is such: the lameness of their feet is a great help thereunto. The women as well as the men he ingenious; they do use drawn works and carved works, excellent painters of flowers, birds, and beasts, as it is to be seen upon beds and boards that is brought from thence. ' The rationing passage paints a rather mild picture of prisons. although more horrific nspett are considered later, the system was pmhabhr no worse and no more unjust than the one which prer—niled in Mendoza's own country at the time. Even as the judges and ministers are severe and cruel to punishing, even so are they in putting them in prisons, the which are as terrible and as cruel, with the which they do keep in peace and justice this mighty kingdom: and as there is much people, so have they many prisons and ve1y great. There are in every principal city throughout all these provinces thirteen prisons, enclosed and compassed about with high walls, and of so great largeness within, that besides the lodgings of the keeper and his ofl'icers, and for a garrison of soldiers that are there continually, there are fish ponds, gardens, and courts, whereas the prisoners do walk and recreate themselves all the day: such as are in for small matters. Likewise there are victualling houses and shops, whereas is sold all manner of such things as the prisoners do make for to sustain themselves; which ifthey did not use, their whole substance were not sufficient t9 SIHOPHILES AND SJNUPHUBES for their maintenance, the time is so long that they be there, although it be for a small matter: the occasion is [or that the judges take deliberation in their sentences: and again, their cities are great and full of other matters. Likewise they are slow in the execution of any sentence. So that many umes it doth fall out, that men being condemned to die, do remain so long in prison after their condemnation, that they die with pure age, or some other sickness or infirmity, or by the cruelty of the straight and asper prison. Of these thirteen prisons aforesaid, always four of them are occupied with prisoners condemned unto death, and in every one of them there is a captain over one hundred soldiers which are _ reparted, and doth keep watch and ward day and night: every one of these condemned prisoners hath a board tied about his neck that hangeth down unto his knees, a third ofya yard broad; it is made white with a certain whiting, and written upon it the occasion wherefore he was condemned to die. The keeper of the prison ' hath a book, wherein is written all the names of them that are condemned, and the occasion wherefore: for to be accountable of them at all times when they shall he demanded of him by the judges or viceroys. They are shackled and inanacled, and put in wards that do answer into the court, whereas the officers of the prison do make them to lie with the face downward upon afloor made of boards for the same purpose, and. do draw over them iron chains; drawn through great iron rings that are placed betwixt prisoner and prisoner, wherewith they are so straight crushed that they cannot move our turn there from one side to another: also they do lay on them a certain covering of timber, wherein remaineth no more space of hollowness than their bodies doth make: thus are they used that are condemned to death. This prison is so painful and grievous, that many do despair and kill themselves because they cannot suffer it. In the day time they do take them forth and. take 0E their manacles. that they maywork for to sustain themselves; all such as have nothing to maintain themselves, nor any other that will help them, them the king doth give a pittance of rice to sustain them. Likewise they do work what they may to better the same. ii] A 'WELl-RUN AND PROSPERDUS LAND Mendoza siren-s iiimseitaaore attire examination syston through which officials were chosen. His emphasis is on the grandeur oftire ceremonies associated with it, but the ffliifltt’iflg passage shows that he had some idea of is significance. 'Ihese visitors of whom we have spoken, the king and his council do send them to visit his provinces; and amongst the greatest things that are given them in charge, is the visitation of the colleges and schools which the king hath in all the principal cities, as is said; the which visitor hath a particular authority for to commence or graduate such studenu as have finished their course, and are of ability and sufficiency to perform the same. They do make them gentiemen, if they be capable of any charge of justice or government. . . . At such time as the visitor hath concluded the visitation of his province, and hath punished the malefactors, and rewarded the good; in the metropolitan cities, he doth straightaway cause proclamation to be made that all students and scholars that do find themselves suflicient, and have a courage to be examined to take the degree of Loytia, the which, although amongst them is understood to be made a gentleman, yet amongst us is a doctor. The day appointed being come, flley are ail presented before the visitor, who taketh all their names in a scroll, and appointeth another day for their examination. This day, for honour of the feast, the visitor doth invite all the learned Loytias that are in the city, who jointly with him do make the examination with great rigour, always putting foiwards and preferring those that are skilful in the laws of the country, by which they do govern all other faculties whatsoever, and that they be therewithal good, and virtuous. And all those that they do fuid with these properties, they do write their names in another scroil, and do appoint the day of commencement, the which is done with great ceremonies and much people, in whose presence the visitor, in the name of the king, doth give unto them the ensigns of degree dignity to be a Loytia; that is, a waist or girdle hossed with gold or silver, and a hat with certail as shall be shown you in Ihe chapter following; token that doth make the difference from the vu the which none can show himselfin public. 1 things on it, which is a sign and lgar people, without 21 SINCII‘HlLES AND SINGPHUEES he thinkers of the age of the Enlightenment, which reached its height in the eighteenth century, placed greater emphasis on reason as an instrument for arriving at truth than their predecessors of the Renaissance, let alone of the Middle Ages. The Enlightenment profoundly,r influenced philosophy and the arts, and saw the beginnings of die modern social sciences. There was intense debate over government, society, and economic matters. 0n the whole, eighteenth-century thinkers were well disposed towards China, appreciating its secular approach to govern ment and admiring its prosperity. However, there was also a strong trend opposite to the prevailing one. 34' ,.. SPLENDiD SECULAR GOVERNANCE VULTAIRE- The most important memberot what we might term ‘the pro—China lohhv' was Voltaire {r5947 L733}. He was undouhtedl r the most influential ofthe French philosophers and historians of his dry and his role in Healing a positile image of China in the eighteenth century was of the utmost significance. Among l-t'oltoire's prodigious output Here several dramas, including L’orphéiin de la Chine [Orphan of China}, firstpmduced in WEE. This was hosed an the Chinese drama lhaoshi gu'er {Urph an of the Ehao Family]r part atitrhich had been translated into French anaT puhlished in L736 in the English translation in Volume 3 of Du Halde’s great Ill-'Crrlt. It’hat impressed i-‘oltaire most at all was the secular nature at Confircionisrn, and the fact that the clergy were not allotted to take part in goremment This point comes through stronglyr in the following extract, from a wool: which Voltaire published in i356 in londan and which closet}r reflects his attitudes towards life and reality. ever was the religion of the emperors and the tribunals N dishonored with impostures; never was it troubled with quarrels between the priests and the empire; never was it burdened with absurd innovations, which are supported one against the other hr arguments as absurd as themselves, the rage of which has at length placed the poignard in the hands of fanatics led on by the factions. Here the Chinese are palticularls' superior to all the nations of the universe. Their Confucius framedgeither new opinions nor new rites. He neither pretended to be an inspired man, nor a prophet. He was a magistrate, who taught 1he ancient laws. little sometimes say, verj.r improperly, ‘the religion of Confucius’; he had no other than that of all the emperors and all the tribunals; no other than that of the 35 SINOPHJLES AND SINGPHDBES first sages; he recommends nothing but virtue, preaches no mysteries; he says, in his first book, that in order to learn to govern, we should pass our whole life in correcting ourselves; in the second, he proves that God has himself graven virtue in the heart of man; he says that man is not born wicked, and that he becomes so by his own fault; the third is a collection of pure maxims, where we can meet with nothing that is mean, not any ridiculous allegories. He had five thousand disciples, he might have put himself at the head of a powerful party; but he rather chose to instruct men, than to govern them. . . . The magistrates conceived that the people might have difierent religions from that of the state. as they live upon gi'osser alimentj. they suffered the bonaes, and continued them. In almost every other country, those who carried on the trade of bonzes, had dle principal authority. lhe following extract is from a substantial entry on Union in lt'altaire’s maltievoltime Dictionnaire philosophique While it contrasts the li’est fol-baroth n-‘itli China in some respects, the entry praises Chino myth the assertion thotits civilization compares Peni favourably indeed with those of other nations, in particular Europa Were it worth our while, we might here compare the great wall of China with the monuments of other nations, which have never even approached it; and remark that, in comparison with this extensive work, the pyramids of Egypt are only puerile and useless masses. We might dwell on the thirty-two eclipses calculated in the ancient chronology of China, twenty—eight of which have been verified by the mathematicians of Europe. ‘We might show that the respect entertained by the ' Chinese for their ancestors is an evidence that such ancestors have existed; and repeat the observation, so often made, that this reverential respect has in no small degree impeded, among this people, the progress of natural philosophy, geomeny, and astronomy. It is sufliciently known that they are, at the present day, what we all were three hundred years ago, very ignorant reasoners. The most learned Chinese is like one of the learned of Europe in the fifteenfli century, in possession of his hristotle. But itis possible to HE SPLENDID SECULAR GOVERNANCE he a very bad natural philosopher, and at the same time an excellent moralist. It is, in fact, in moralinr, in political economy, in agriculture, in the necessary arts of life, that the Chinese hay made such advances towards perfection. All the rest dtey have been taught by us: in these we might well submit to become Iheir disciples. . . . 0f the Pretended Atheism of China The charge of Atheism, alleged by our theologians of the west, against the Chinese government at the other end of the world, has been frequendy examined] and is, it must be admitted, the meanest excess of our follies and pedantic inconsistencies. It was sometimes pretended, in one of our learned faculties, that the Chinese tribunals or parliaments, were idolatrous', sometimes that they acknowledged no divinity whatever: and these reasoners occasionally pushed their logic so far as to maintain that the Chinese were, at the same time, atheists and idolaters. In the month of October, l’fill] the Sorbonne declared every proposition, which maintained that the emperor and the Colaos [mandarinsj believed in God, to be heretical. Bulky volumes were composed in order to demonstrate, confonnably to the system of theological demonstration, that the Chinese adored nothing but the material heaven. Nil praeter nuhes et coeli numen adorant. They worship clouds and firmament alone. But if they did adore the material heaven, thatwas their God. They resembled the Persians, who are said to have ad resembled the ancient Arabians, who adored neither worshippers of idols nor atheists. . . . _ The celebrated Wolfe,2 professor of mathematics in the University of Hallef’ delivered once an excellent discourse in praise of the Chinese philosophy. He praised that ancient species of the human race, differing, as jsdoes, in respect to the beard, the eyes, the nose, the ears, and even the reasoning powers themselves; he praised the Chinese, I say, for their adoration of a supreme God, and their love of virtue. He did that justice to the emperors of China, to the tribunals, and to the literati. The justice done to the ored the sun: they the stars. They were 3]" SINDPHHES AND SFNUPHOEES SPLENDID secumn GOVERNANCE houses was of a difierent kind. _ The successor of Cam-hi IKangsi] prohibited the practice of the his necessml" to “men—'3 that this meeSSOI “Ii-life had atfiadfid : Christian religion, but permitted Islam and the different kinds of aroundhim a tho‘iSE-“d Pupils“ “£311 “atmm- In the same “Diver-Sit? 7 houses. But this same court, in the belief that mathematics was as there was also a professor of theology, who attracted no one. This necessafir as the new religifln “m dangerous, kept the manr maddene‘i at the flmught 0f freezing [‘3 death in his 0W“ mathematicians, imposing silence on the remainder and expelling deserted hall, formed the design, which undoubtedly was only ; the missionariea This Emperor, named gongfh'mg'[Tfimgflmn‘g], fightand mamnaille- [if desufll’ing the maflmmal-lcal PrGfESSOT- HE i said to them the following, which they have had the good faith to scrupled not, according to the practice of persons like himself, to ' report in their letters entitled writ,” and waging: accuse him of not believing in God. Some European writers, who had never been in China, had whanmuld Emu sarif] manta group Ufbflnzes and lamas mm pretended that the government ofPekin was atheisticai. Wolfe had 7 mm munmg HOW would you receive them? fall 1mm, 110“. m praised the philosophers of Felon; therefore i‘r'olfe was an atheist." r J ‘ deceive my father, but don’t hope to deceive me as well. ihu want the Chinese to embrace your law. Your cult tolerates no other, I know that. In that case what would we become? The Voltaire goes on to explain that ibe excellent Professor Wall was offered the - subjects of your princes. The disciples you make know ooh-F choice of leasing Hall at a day's notice or be hanged. He chose the farmer you, and in a time of trouble they would listen to no voice alterrmtr've. Voltaire obsenres drilv that This case should convince 0‘11?! than EI'UUI'S- I k110i" that at PFEEEHL 1116“? is nothing [0 sovereigns that they ought not to be over read}.r to listen to column}; and : Ear; Eh; Shipi come in mail" thousands! thfirfi Could socriiioe a great man to the madness of a fool." The number of students E PD 11 15m er" It'llflm Professor Wolf altraded, apparentl}r in large part for his sensible The same Jesuits who have taken account 01: these wmds admit tries-s on China, gives a good idea afrvbere Voltaire believed intelligent and with all others that this emperor was one of the wisest and most generous princes who has ever reigned. He was always concerned with alleviating the plight of the poor and putting them to work. '_ He observed the lav.r carefully, he curbed the ambitions and deceits educated opinion to lie on this matter. One of Voltaire-’5 main historical works, Essai sur la moeurs et I’esprit des nations, can prabalrl r claim to be the first in an}r language to attempt . I _ _ of the honzes, maintaining peace and prosperity, encouraging all m ml er the 11mm} 0f the Ill-hale “wild Ifllflmu‘qh fuming Hers .filflflr useful skills and arts, and above all the cultivation of the land. From coverage than anyotber continent, Voltarre included chapters on lndra, the his time Public buildings. largficale highwam' canals {fining a” Mlfillm "Wide and 3mm- )‘lild 9f mum”— lhfi'm a“? 55mm; dlflPlEFS '5'” the rivers of this great empire, were maintained with a splendour China. _ ' and thrift which has no equal other than among the ancient in the Following extract, Voltaire comments on the reign and person of _ 331113113- tbe l’ongzbeng Emperor (r. WEE—.35}. ris the reader can see, the Chinese emperor scares lu'gl] marirs from Voltaire, despite his policies of hostility towards the Christian missionaries. Apparenibr the comments are intended to applyto Cbinesegarernance generalist As cinemehr recent lu'stargroi the F lime Voltaire was writing, this section comes near the end of bis remarkable historical work it is notable that he quotes from the Letlres édifiantes et curieuses of the Jesuits. a-«fl «WW-Immpr 33 3g ENLtGHTENED DESPGTISM ' S Land generally yields three harvests a year, the first rice, the ENLEGHTENED DESPUTISM second what has been sown before the rice is han rested, and the third hroadbeans or some other grains. The Chinese spare no FRANGUIS QUESNAY pains to collect all sorts of refuse proper to fertilizing their land, TRANSLKTEI] BY COLIN LHCKERRAS 2 which has the added advantage of keeping their towns clean. All grains we know in Europe, such as wheat, rice, oats, millet, peas, broadheans, grow also in China. ' The custom is for the owner of the land to take half the crops and that he pay the taxes. The other half stays with the labourer for his expenses and his work. In that counn Almost exactlycontemparog'uith Voltaire was Francois Quesoay {1694— ll' the lands are “Dr Fifi}, who worked as a physician at the court at King tools It" at ' encumbcre'd “id! ecflfismsfica] tithes" The labourer‘s portion is . . . . . , , , about in the same proportion as the farmer’s in this country, in the Versailles. Guesnny hecame interested in economics and in his sixties . . ' _ _ I ‘ . provinces where the lands are well cultlvated. hogan publishing on that suhyert He was the main founder and leader of In China farm labourers are 3 Sim"? limm’” ‘15 m"? Pill’Slflimfi merchants or artisans. . . . Agriculture has always been venerated The plgsioooh are regarded as the first scientific school of economiis. and mose who carry it out have always merited the particular Their main idea ans that economiis should foilow the rate afnahire. The attention if the empemm- implication was that golenimerlts should not inten‘ere in th regarded as higher in status than e econong; “rill-Elli Sl-lfll-lifl' he flilflli'flj fl? follow I'll-'3 moral lfl'll’s Dir nature. 'ITII‘E'JJI [Ilsa ngsnfl}r had Eff-6mg iq'EfliS an HIE gut—fed gfdgspaflsnigl HE Ifigm hEl'El’E'j land m be the mum? “fall "'Eflml- into the good and the had; China was daspotic but a good country Qaesnoyadniired [him erionnousltr. hr panic-eta]; China was a kind at newfljidm model for his ideas on the economic importance of agriculture. in the toltawing passage he deieiaps his notions concerning the prosperity and . . . We can conclude that the Chinese government fairness otClanese agnculhire. because the sovereign of this empire unites all su in himself alone. flasher means master or , . . , , extend to sovereigns who exercise absolute power ruled by laws, he small people of Chma Irve almost entirely on grain, ‘ . . . ‘ . . and to sovereigns who have usurped arbitrary power, winch they herbs, or vegetables, and in no place 1n the world are ' ‘ kitchen gardens commoner or better cultivated. There is no exercise for better or worse over nations the governments ofwhich . , . are not assured by basic laws. Thus there are le 'tirnate des ots. unculuvatcd land near the towns, no trees. hedges or ditches, ior ' gl 9 {ear that even the smallest plot oi land would remain useless. and arbitrary and illegitimate despots. . . . _ , The emperor of China is a despot. But in what sense can we give In the southern prownces, the land never remains fallow, even the hills and mountains are c . , _ turn this name? It seems to me dial, generally speaking, we In Europe ulnvated horn foot to summit. There . . . ' , _ _ _ . . have very unfavourable views on this empire 5 government. But on ts nothing more admirable than a long row of hills, surrounded . . _ . . . . the contrary I have come Ineealtae from accounts about China that and. as d crowned by a hundred terraces, which contract to sue as . . . . . . . 1. us consutunon 1s hased on wise and irrevocable laws, which the one nears the top. With so rise one can see here mountains which - - m emperor enforces and whlch he himself observes exactly. is a despotism, preme authority lord: so this title can elsewhere would scarcely produce brambles or thickets, become a laughing image of fertility. an ...
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Western Views of China - .gj. 2' Merriam VIEW 5 of &amp;lt;...

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