15 JULY 1905, Page 17


lately came across the following passage in Sir Henry Maine's "Popular Government" :—

" There are few things more remarkable and, in their way, more instructive than the stubborn incredulity and disdain which a man belonging to the cultivated part of Chinese society opposes to the vaunts of Western civilization which he frequently hears ; and his confidence in his own ideas is alike proof against his experience of Western military superiority and against that spectacle of the scientific inventions and discoveries of the West which overcame the exclusiveness of the undoubtedly feebler Japanese."

The book was written before the war between China and Japan, and at the present day the words which I have italicised certainly sound strange. Here I will subjoin a comment on the yellow races which has nothing in common with the foregoing one, except, indeed, that it proceeds from a writer who, like Maine, was anything but an optimist. Your readers should compare the instructive letter in the Spectator of June 17th on "The Advance of the Yellow Race" with the views propounded in the late Mr. Charles Pearson's eminently original work on "National Life and Character." Early in the " nineties " Jowett told me that when he considered the enormous population of China he sometimes feared that if her soldiers were trained by European officers the white races might one day be exposed to a yellow invasion. Mr. Pearson, on the other hand, thought that the real peril lay, not in the chance of such an invasion, but in the superior industry and thrift of the yellow races, which might enable immigrants from those races, after settling in European capitals, to undersell their European competitors.—I am, Sir, &c.,