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PROBABLE EFFECTS OF ExTENDED INTERCOURSE. 599

sons for thinking that these changes may take place without general convulsion and disorganization; but they will, almost necessarily, be attended with many evils. The internal condition of the country is now so bad that the people are restive under their misgovernment and oppression; how much more intractable will they be when they see the antidotes of their calamities, and find that their rulers will not adopt them 1 On the other hand, the result of these powerful principles working upon the rulers first, and leading them to propose new measures before the people are ready for them, is almost as likely to work disturbance. It is not easy, nor is it necessary, to speculate upon the chances of the peaceable or violent introduction of such mighty causes of change into the social and political system of China, for in practice there are so many modifying causes to alleviate the shock upon existing institutions, and weaken the power of resistance of the various parts of society, that nothing can be predicated. It may be safely asserted that the extension of these principles will carry with them in some degree their own safeguards; and that those who are most fully imbued with the true spirit of Christianity, and best instructed in the real welfare of their country, will prove the best preservers of peace and the guardians of life and property. There is more to fear from the insensate anger of the excited, ignorant populace stirred up by designing men, than from the indiscreet acts of those who are desirous to benefit their country. Connected with the opium trade as likely to prove a source of collision, is the presence of an armed force at Hongkong. The nearness of this force is a matter of annoyance to the Chinese authorities, and tends to restrain their free action. They are afraid to act against the opium vessels on the coast, most of whom sail under English colors, lest the governor of that colony demand reparation for the seizure, and require that those who insulted the British flag be condignly punished. It is difficult for the Chinese officers to oppose force to force in putting down this traffic, and when they resort to cunning and deceit to compass their ends, they are very likely to transgress some of the “laws of nations,” and straightway down comes the vengeance of England to teach them their meaning. It is the settled policy of that government to strain every nerve to extend her manufactures and trade; and if it is believed that the possession of another island on the coast

of China, or a lodgment on the mainland, will benefit their trade, the “occasion for amending their position,” as an English editor terms it, will not long be wanting. There are so many motives operating to excite another war with China, if the English government find that the trade does not rapidly increase, such as the ambition of the governors of Hongkong, who feel cramped in that rocky islet; the haughty bearing of many towards the Chinese in their personal intercourse, which of course begets like feelings in the minds of the weaker; the expectation of war and further conquests in China on the part of British subjects, growing out of their past successes, and consciousness of immense power, which leads them to look with less consideration upon the mistakes and ill temper of the Chinese government and people; the great difference in the habits, opinions, motives, and energy of two races so unlike as the Saxon and Chinese, leading to assumption and encroachment on the one hand, and fear, treachery, and resistance, on the other: that such a contest may be regarded as not improbable. The desires and efforts of a few honorable, philanthropic rulers could not stay such an event long, if the people of China became irritated; and past experience does not hold out much hope that future intercourse, in its constant round of daily events, will be conducted in a different manner from what it has been. The signing of a treaty containing certain stipulations is a mere form, embodying present feelings; the effectiveness of such a paper depends wholly upon the ideas, wishes, and conduct of the subjects of the respective nations. The provisions of a treaty may be broken, when there is not the least probability of a collision in consequence, because both parties see that it is for their mutual advantage to disregard, what experience has proved to be unwisely written; and the articles of such a paper may be rigidly observed, in order to avoid a contest, which would be inevitable from the state of feeling between the two people. There may be no intention on the part of England to bring about such a morbid state of feeling, for the danger is on the other side; it is misapprehension of her purposes, fear of her power, and impatience at her supposed dictation, which are the causes most likely to arouse the wounded pride of the Chinese officers, and urge them to resistance. There are, however, some restraining causes of great influence found in the Chinese character and habits, which in such an

RESTRAINING INFLUENCES. 601

emergency would be called into action. On the part of the emperor and his council, a consciousness of their inability to cope with the power from which they have suffered so severely, will restrain them, and more or less their underlings, from doing many things they might wish to do, and once thought they could do with impunity. Trade, too, by strengthening mutual interests and advantages, tends to lessen the ill feelings nations may have had for cach other at first; and among the Chinese especially, the love of country, dislike of others, or gratification of revenge, are all weaker, and will give way to the hope of profit. The chances of a war are materially less among a people so devoted to traffic and gain, than among such nations as the Japanese or Persians, more accustomed to arms, and ambitious of martial renown. This predilection for traffic, and the esteem in which the arts of peace and pursuits of literature are held, will prove a strong conservative influence, among the Chinese, operating against the causes for war already mentioned. They usually think it better to trade than fight, and are unwilling to risk the former for the doubtful chance of success in the latter. The sufferings which come upon all classes of valuable citizens from an interruption of peace in so thickly settled a country, arising from the failure of sufficient supplies of food, and demand for labor, and the consequent calamities of banditti, beggars, and lawlessness, still further indispose them to hazard its safety, and will tend somewhat to restrain all classes from outrageous conduct. The chances of foreign rupture are lessened by this consideration; but it will do still more to preserve internal peace, by inclining the wealthy, the learned, and the industrious, to throw all their influence into the scale of good order and good government, that they may save what they have. Even in case of a contest between the adherents of the old order of things and those who are seeking to reform the principles of government, on the high grounds of liberty of conscience and equity of administration, the same knowledge of the unhappy consequences of civil war to all parties, would do much to reduce it to a persecution of individuals, until their principles had made such progress that they could dictate a new law; and if the reformers were such men as they ought to be, there would then be no danger of further disorganization. There are, it must be confessed, in looking at this dispute, WOL. II. 27

which is almost unavoidable, more grounds for fear than hope, as to its first results, though no doubts need be entertained as to the final triumph of religion and knowledge. Some minor grounds for hoping that the integrity of the empire, at least of the eighteen provinces, will not be impaired, nor the present government overthrown, in consequence of the spread of liberal opinions, are to be found in the little intercourse of mind and interchange of opinion between the people in distant parts of these provinces. There may be a very serious commotion in Sz'chuen or Shantung, for instance, which hardly excites any notice in Canton or Ningpo; it is almost as much a mere matter of news to the citizens of those towns as if it were in India or Luçonia. A discussion on important questions in morals and politics may therefore arise and make considerable progress along the coasts of the empire, while the central and western provinces know and care little about the points at issue. This circumscribed field, however, offers greater facilities for the government to act with energy at first to put down the dispute and punish the reformers; and the diffusion of these new principles will be more rapid, perhaps, than is here contemplated. The literary examinations are sure to become scenes of hot debate among the students on these engrossing topics, and their discussions cannot fail to attract the attention of the whole empire. Another ground of hope lies in the matter-of-fact habits of the Chinese, their want of enthusiasm and dislike of change, which are rather favorable than otherwise. The presentation and reception of the highest truths and motives the human mind is capable of, always excites thought and action, and the fear is of going too fast in the schemes of reform and correction, and demolishing the fabric before its elements are ready for reconstruction. The non-existence of caste, the weakness of a priesthood which cannot nerve its persecuting arm with the power of the state, the little influence religion has over the Chinese, the simplicity of the ancestral worship, and the absence of all the enticing allurements of art, painting, gorgeous temples, splendid ritual, gay processions, and above all, sanctified licentiousness, to uphold it, and make it enticing to depraved human nature; the popular origin of the officers of government, and lastly, the degree of industry, loyalty, and respect of life and property characteristic of this people; all of these furnish some grounds for thinking that the regeneration of China will be ac

GROUNDS FOR HOPE AND PERSEVERANCE. 603

complished, like the operation of leaven in meal, without shivering the vessel. The real grounds of trust as to the ultimate issue of this controversy, however, lie chiefly in the promises of the Bible. The progress of civil and religious liberty throughout the world has been greater since 1815, than ever before during the same period in its history. This progress has, generally speaking, been unattended with convulsions. Madagascar and Abyssinia have shut themselves up within their own borders, refusing to allow the further dissemination of Christian truth; while in India, Turkey, Egypt, and North America, the power or fear of the Saxon race has restrained persecution. In China, this fear may also curb the arm of opposition. The purposes of God go on to their accomplishment in the way best calculated to glorify him; and there, too, the wrath of man, which is likely to arise to oppose them, will be made to glorify him. He infinitely loves the race he has done so much to bless and redeem, and will direct all things to fulfil the end he had in view in commencing his designs of mercy. The reasons just adduced for supposing that the extension of religion, science, and justice, may be unattended with disturbance, are of a mixed character; all of them present something unfavorable as well as favorable, some good influences mixed with many bad ones. It affords the greatest encouragement to look through and beyond them all to the sure and final result. The evangelization of the people of China is far more important than the form of their government, the extent of their empire, or the existence of their present institutions. They can live as happily under other rule as under that of their own princes; they cannot find either security or liberty while the principles of their government remain as illiberal as they now are. Many influences will be called in to begin and direct this desirable work; but the greatest portion of the labor and suffering in accomplishing it, will doubtless be done by natives, by Chinese of intelligence, piety, learning, and judgment. Diffusion of sound learning, improvement in the arts of life, increase in domestic comforts, elevation of the female character, reconstruction of the social system by giving woman her rightful place in it, interchange of thought with other nations and with themselves, —in a word, everything that can make them happier and better will flow from the progress of the religion of the Cross. The

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