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ed in putting an end to the Manchu-Tartar dynasty. In one of its aspects, it was a crusade against Confucianism, organized by a small band of men who had adopted a morbid and spurious Christianity. The large following which these leaders gathered around their banner knew nothing whatever of genuine Christianity, and very little of the docirines offered them by the soi-disant Brother of Christ, afterwards known as the Heavenly King. As matters turned out, the shock to Confucianism was a mere nothing; for, although the Heavenly King succeeded in capturing some six hundred cities in sixteen out of the eighteen provinces, so soon as the rebellion was crushed (1864) Confucianism at once and completely regained the ground it can hardly be said to have lost. It suffered most, perhaps, through the destruction of many printing establishments containing the blocks of now priceless editions of valuable works on the classics. On the other hand, it can be shown that Confucianism is sometimes extremely sensitive. It had been enacted that the Sacred Edict, mentioned above, should be publicly read to the people on the ist and 15th of each month, at every important centre all over the empire. This practice had been allowed to fall very much into desuetude at Canton. But about the year 1850 a number of educated Chinese, taking alarm at the open activity of Protestant missionaries, actually formed themselves into a society for reading and studying the Sacred Edict among themselves,
No one, of course, could maintain that the mere study of Confucian doctrines would suffice to turn out men of high character, unless the seed were sown in minds, as Confucius said, “fit for the reception of truth.” As a counterpoise to Commissioner Lin, we may cite the case of Governor Yeh, whose action in the Arrow affair led to the bombardment and capture of Canton in 1857. When sent a prisoner to Calcutta, Yeh was asked why he never read, to pass the time. “All the books which are worth reading,” he replied, “I already know by heart." He was alluding to the Confucian canon, his intimate acquaintance with which had placed him high on the list of candidates for the coveted third degree. Yet this man was, as an official, little more than a blood-thirsty tyrant. He is said to have put to death, first and last, no fewer than seventy thousand Tai-ping rebels. He had also become so unwieldy from self-indulgence that, although disguised for flight, he was unable to make the necessary effort to evade his pursuers.
In 1861 the emperor, who smoked opium to excess, died at Jehol, whither he had fled to escape from the English and French forces, then at the gates of Peking, and his son, Tung Chih, reigned in his stead. Coming to the throne as a mere child, the latter remained during his thirteen years of rule entirely under the guidance of the empress dowager, so that almost the first that was heard of him as an emperor was that he had fallen a victim to small-pox. He could not have learned much good about foreigners from his Confucian tutors, one of whom openly expressed his daily and nightly longing “to sleep on their skins.” Meanwhile, with the ratification of the treaty of Tientsin, a shadow fell across the path of Confucianism. Since the days of the opium war and the partial opening of China, the missionary question had gradually entered upon the acute stage in which it may be said to have remained ever since, and it had become needful to insert in the new treaty a clause protecting not only the Christian religion and its exponents, but its converts. This was, and always has been, resented by Confucianists as withdrawing the converts from their allegiance; but it is difficult to say what other arrangement could have been made. Neither can it be fairly alleged that Protestant missionaries have ever abused their opportunities.
With the close of the Tai-ping rebellion, with a settled government, and with more prosperous times generally, the production of books showed marked signs of increase. Clearly printed editions of the classics and kindred works were issued from Wu-chang, the capital of Hupeh; on execrable paper it is true, but at a price which placed them easily within reach of the masses.
In 1872 Tsêng Kuo-fan died, at the comparatively early age of sixty-one. He had worn himself out in the service of the state, first as a successful military commander and afterwards as a successful administrator. He was, further, a successful Confucianist, in the sense that his pure and incorrupt life was a happy exemplification of what Confucianism may lead to, if only its seed is dropped upon propitious soil. Though saturated with the principles and teachings of Confucianism, and undoubtedly hostile to foreigners, yet his memory is hardly more honored among his own countrymen than by those whom he felt it his duty to oppose. After the Tientsin massacre of 1870 he advocated a policy of peace with foreign nations, thereby incurring the odium of the more fanatical of the literati. At his death it was reported to the throne that, “when his wardrobe was examined to find some suitable garments for the last rites, nothing new could be discovered. Every article of dress had been worn many times; and this may be taken as an example of his rigid economy for himself and in all the expenditure of his family.”
In 1875 another child-emperor, known to us as Kuang Hsu, was placed upon the throne by the empress dowager. This unfortunate youth has been severely battered by the shocks of doom. The story of the reform movement, and of his virtual deposition in September, 1898, is fresh in the minds of all. Since then we have heard rumors of abdication, and again of restoration. Had he remained in power, Confucianism would have been forced to reconsider its attitude to foreign standards of thought and education. But upon his suspension it was determined that the old examination system, which had prevailed almost unaltered for nearly six centuries, with its roots extending back to the Christian era, should be restored in its integrity. The introduction of “new, depraved, and erroneous subjects,” by which we must understand modern scientific teaching, was to be strictly prohibited under various pains and penalties. Thus, the occupation of the newly inaugurated Peking University was gone. For the time being, Confucianism is triumphant; and if the tablets of women are ever admitted to the Confucian temple, that of the empress dowager should be the first. Actuated, probably, by selfish motives, her anti-reform zeal has been invaluable to those who would maintain the paramountcy of Confucian education, with all its immediate influences upon the governing classes of the country.
A glance at a few questions actually set some few years ago at these public examinations will afford a good idea of the educational level to which Confucianism has raised the Chinese. The following were subjects for essays:
“ (1.) To hold a middle course, without deviation, is as bad as holding an extreme.
“ (2.) Of suspended bodies, none can exceed in brightness the sun and the moon.
" (3.) In the time of the Hsia dynasty (B. C. 2205-1766), the imperial drum was placed on feet; during the Shang dynasty (B. C. 1766-1122), it was supported on pillars; under the Chou dynasty (B. C. 1122 - 255), it was hung by a cord.”