Life, Character, Writings, Doctrines And Influence Of Confucius. -- By: Ira Tracy
BSac 3:10 (May 1846) p. 284
Life, Character, Writings, Doctrines
And Influence Of Confucius.
Formerly Missionary in China.
As that great nation, which has from the earliest ages, occupied the eastern part of Asia, is becoming more and more an object of admiration and interest to us, it is natural to inquire what are its peculiarities, and by what process did it come to possess them. Its greatness, recluseness and singularity, conspire to awaken our curiosity and attract our attention. This curiosity and inte-
BSac 3:10 (May 1846) p. 285
rest it is well to cherish. We should have little reason to laugh at the sons of Han for supposing that China is “all under heaven,” if we, in the plentitude of our knowledge, should practically and habitually regard it as one of the less important nations of the earth. Our error would be more unpardonable, and of more injurious tendency, than theirs. It includes probably one third of the great family, of which we and they are, in common, members, and for the well-being of the whole of which we should care.
To the welfare of this great family, the Chinese have contributed perhaps more largely than is generally supposed. If they had sent to western nations nothing but their tea, our debt to them would not have been small. How many the pleasant hours it has made around the tables of the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant. How different the social visits of our female ancestry, and of our own mothers and sisters too, from what they would have been, had the stupifying ale, or the maddening punch passed around their circles, instead of the mildly cheering beverage which China gave them.
Silk, which is acknowledged to be of Chinese invention, has had not a little to do in refining the manners and cherishing the industry and ingenuity of the western world.
The manufacture of white earthern ware, for the first knowledge of which we are indebted to the Chinese, has also done much to increase our comforts, and improve our sentiments as well as our habits. But for the Chinese, we should, for aught we know, have been using brown earthen to this day.
And not to dwell on many things of less importance that China has done for us, it is worthy of notice and remembrance, that the art of printing, gunpowder and the mariner’s compass, which have wrought such general and beneficent changes in the condition of nations and the state of society here, made their appearance in Europe soon after Marco Polo had published his travels in China, where they were all in use.
The Chinese have more peculiarities than any other portion of the human family, except, perhaps, the Japanese, who are probably m...
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