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ARTICLE I.-CHINA AND THE WEST.
IN a former Number of this Journal* we presented to our readers a sketch of the history of China, and a brief and comprehensive view of Chinese institutions. Our design was, by thus exhibiting the character and culture of the Chinese nation in their whole historical development, to lead to more intelligent and juster views of their value, and so to help in solving one of the great questions which must suggest itself to every one who takes even an ordinary interest in the historical events of the day—namely, what is to become of China now, when she is no longer left to work out her own destiny undisturbed, but is forced to feel the potent influence of Western ideas, commercial, social, and religious, backed by Western arms and diplomacy? It is in fulfillment of a half-promise made at the close of the former Article-and which circumstances have prevented us from fulfilling earlier that we revert at present
See Volume XVII, p. 111, etc., Feb., 1859.
to the general subject, and take up a portion of the evidence affecting it which we then purposely left untouched—the history of the intercourse hitherto carried on between China and the West, and the influence already exerted by the latter upon the former.
It is only with the nations of the West that we have now to do. Toward the North, the East, and the South, China has always maintained the position of an acknowledged superior, in arms, in culture, or in both. We have seen, while reviewing the annals of Chinese history, that the irruptions of the northern and northwestern barbarians into the Great Central Flowery Kingdom have indeed repeatedly led to their political supremacy, but have also always ended in their intellectual and social subjection. As for Japan and Farther India, they have borrowed from their powerful and enlightened neighbor letters and arts, and have given little or nothing in return. None of these nations stands now in any such relation to China as should lend importance to the history of their former dealings with her. With the remoter West, the case is far otherwise; it has become a matter of no small moment to trace downward, through more than twenty centuries, the successive steps of that intercourse by which the races of our own Indo-European stock-beginning with its most eastern representative, the Indian, and ending with its most western, the Englishhave affected, and are threatening yet more powerfully to affect, the fates of the great Oriental empire.
The determining motives of intercourse between the West and the extreme East have been from the earliest times, as they are even now, of two kinds, commercial and religious. There was the exhaustless wealth of the empire to be shared in by the rest of the race; there were the teeming millions of its population to be converted to a new faith and a better life. The two motives have operated, sometimes together, more often independently of each other; we shall, in treating of them, follow simply the order of time, tracing their joint and separate workings from the beginning down to the present age.
As commerce has ever been wont to serve as the pioneer of missionary effort, so was it with respect to China also. The