THE object of this book is to describe the operation upon and within old, conservative, exclusive China of the three great transforming forces of the modern world--Western trade, Western politics and Western religion. These forces are producing stupendous changes in that hitherto sluggish mass of humanity. The full significance of these changes both to China and to the world cannot be comprehended now. There is something fascinating and at the same time something appalling in the spectacle of a nation numbering nearly one-third of the human race slowly and majestically rousing itself from the torpor of ages under the influence of new and powerful revolutionary forces. No other movement of our age is so colossal, no other is more pregnant with meaning. In the words of D. C. Bougler, ``The grip of the outer world has tightened round China. It will either strangle her or galvanize her into fresh life.''
The immediate occasion of this volume was the invitation of the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary to deliver a series of lectures on China on the Student Lectureship Foundation and to publish them in book form. This will account in part for the style of some passages. I have, however, added considerable material which was not included in the lectures, while some articles that were contributed to the Century Magazine, the American Monthly Review of Reviews and other magazines have been inserted in their proper place in the discussion. The materials were gathered not only in study and correspondence but in an extended tour of Asia in the years 1901 and 1902. In that tour, advantage was taken of every opportunity to confer with Chinese of all classes, foreign consuls, editors, business men and American, German and British officials, as well as with missionaries of all denominations. Everywhere I was cordially received, and, as I look at my voluminous note-books, I am very grateful to the men of all faiths and nationalities who so generously aided me in my search for information.
No one system of spelling Chinese names has been followed for the simple reason that no one has been generally accepted. The Chinese characters represent words and ideas rather than letters and can only be phonetically reproduced in English. Unfortunately, scholars differ widely as to this phonetic spelling, while each nationality works in its own peculiarities wherever practicable. And so we have Manchuria, Mantchuria and Manchouria; Kiao-chou, Kiau-Tshou, Kiao-Chau, Kiau- tschou and Kiao-chow; Chinan and Tsi-nan; Ychou, Ichow and I-chou; Tsing-tau and Ching-Dao; while Mukden is confusingly known as Moukden , Shen-Yang, Feng-tien-fu and Sheng- king. As some authors follow one system, some another and some none at all, and as usage varies in different parts of the Empire, an attempt at uniformity would have involved the correction of quotations and the changing of forms that have the sanction of established usage as, for example, the alteration of Chefoo to Chi-fu or Tshi-fu. I have deemed it wise, as a rule, to omit the aspirate (e. g, Tai-shan instead of T'ai-shan) as unintelligible to one who does not speak Chinese. Few foreigners except missionaries can pronounce Chinese names correctly anyway. Besides, no matter what the system of spelling, the pronunciation differs, the Chinese themselves in various parts of the Empire pronouncing the name of the Imperial City Beh-ging, Bay-ging, Bai-ging and Bei-jing, while most foreigners pronounce it Pe-kin or Pi-king. I have followed the best obtainable advice in using the hyphen between the different parts of many proper names. For the rest I join the perplexed reader who devoutly hopes that the various commit- tees that are at work on the Romanization of the Chinese language may in time agree among themselves and evolve a system that a plain, wayfaring man can understand without provocation to wrath.
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