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to call an extra session of Congress. I feel proud of my country for the record she has established on this occasion, not only taking her place among the Great Powers who have interests as wide as the world, but showing that her arms are long enough to protect and rescue her people in all parts of the globe.
INDEMNITY FOR NATIVE CHRISTIANS.
The curtain has not yet fallen on the last scene of this tremendous drama. The Empress and her court fled the city almost at the moment when our troops entered it, and she has taken refuge at an old capital in one of the northwestern' provinces. Whether the government will be reëstablished at Pekin is highly problematical. For my own part, I think the restoration of the young Emperor, who might carry out his progress ive measures under the supervision of the Great Powers, offers the best solution. The integrity of the empire would then be maintained and possible conflicts between European claimants averted.
China must, of course, pay a heavy war indemnity. It is understood that not only the foreign nations, but individual foreigners, will be indemnified; but no assurance is given that any compensation
will be made to native Christians, whose houses have been burned and whose relations have been slaughtered. Diplo matists and military men have joined in acknowledging that but for the bone and muscle supplied by those native Christians, the defense of the legations would have been impossible. Though they performed the humble office of navvies in building barricades, digging trenches, and countermining against the enemy, their services were indispensable to the common safety.
I cannot believe that any Christian country will consent to the gross injustice which is involved in excluding them from the provisions of the indemnity clause.
The greatest enemy to the orderly and profitable intercourse of nations is heathen darkness. No restriction, therefore, should in any way be placed on the operations of missionary bodies who seek to dispel that darkness, and to diffuse the light of science as well as religion. Without these our railway and mining. enterprises will be insecure, and we can have no assurance that that monster, the dragon, who has now been cast down before the Soldiers of the Cross, will not again raise his head and bring about another catastrophe similar to that which has so lately horrified the world.
SINGAN-THE PRESENT CAPITAL OF THE
YINGAN owes to its position the distinction of being for at least the fifth time the capital of the Chinese Empire. The mountain valley in which it is situated is marked out by nature to be the center of the national life. Through it flows the Weiho, along whose banks lies the great road which leads
from northern China into Central Asia. Near the city the river is joined by a northern tributary, the Kingho, and then, running east, it breaks through the mountains by the "gate of Tung-kuan,” where there is a famous fortress of the same name. This gives an easy access to the eastern and coast provinces. In
this valley also are the only practicable passes, two in number, over the Tsin-ling Mountains, which form the barrier between northern and central China.
In consequence of these unrivaled advantages, trade routes from every direction have converged here from time immemorial and made it a place of great commercial importance, famed for the enterprise and wealth of its merchants. It is the trade center from whence the silk of Chekiang, the tea of Honan and Hupeh, and the silk and sugar of Szechuan are distributed to the markets of Mongolia, Turkestan, and Russia in exchange for rhubarb, musk, medicinal plants, opium, wool, and furs.
The valley of the Weiho is one of the granaries of China, and the city itself is in the midst of a vast wheat field. The traveler approaching from the east passes through a country "like one continued splendid park, with knolls and lawns and winding paths."
The road is a "fine highway-for China, with a ditch on either side, rows of willow trees here and there, and substantial stone bridges and culverts over the little streams which cross it." The city is surrounded by a high wall, said to be forty miles in circumference, with four huge gates flanked by magnificent towers. The principal streets are well paved, and full of good shops, together with palaces, imposing temples, and government buildings.
One of the few European travelers who have visited Singan, the Rev. A. Williamson, says that it appeared to be "densely filled with houses, having little or no vacant ground or gardens as in other cities." At that time, 1866, it was the residence of a Roman Catholic bishop, who claimed that there were about 20,000 Christians in his diocese. Its population is variously estimated from five hundred thousand to a million souls. Michaelis, who visited it in 1879, writes of the courteous treatment which he received wherever he went from the crowds which thronged the streets.
Though Singan contains no buildings of great antiquity-a mosque built in the ninth century is probably the oldest structure the famous Pei-lin, or "Forest of Tablets," is the most valuable archæological and historical museum or library in China. Here are tablets which chronicle events of five dynasties from B. C. 100. Others are apparently mere specimens of elegant calligraphy and drawings of well-known mountains and historical scenes. There are also emblematical animals, sacred birds, and likenesses of their great men. Among these is a full-sized portrait of Confucius and several of his disciples. The most celebrated of all are the Thirteen Classics, cut in stone, dating from the Han dynasty, far anterior to those in Pekin, now so famous. The most interesting monument of past times to the Occidental visitor, however, is the Nestorian tablet, commemorating the introduction of Christianity into China. On it is an inscription in Syriac and Chinese characters giving first a vague abstract of Christian doctrine, and then follows this passage:
"In the time of the accomplished Emperor Taitsung, the illustrious and magnificent founder of the dynasty, among the enlightened and holy men who arrived was the most virtuous Olopun, from the country of Syria. Observing the azure clouds, he bore the true sacred books; beholding the direction of the winds, he braved difficulties and dangers. In the year A D. 635 he arrived at Chang-an; the Emperor sent his Prime Minister, Duke Fang Hiuenling, who, carrying the official staff to the west border, conducted his guest into the interior. The sacred books were translated in the imperial library, the sovereign investigated the subject in his private apartments; when, becoming deeply impressed with the rectitude and truth of the religion, he gave special orders for its dissemination."
The imperial proclamation, which is
given, commends the principles of this new religion and closes with these commands: "Let it be published throughout the Empire, and let the proper authority build a Syrian church in the capital in the I-ning Way, which shall be governed by twenty-one priests." Then comes a summary of prominent events connected with the "Illustrious Religion" and a recapitulation of them in an ode in octosyllabic verse. At the end is the date of its erection, A. D. 781, "in the second year of Kiengchung, of the Tang dynasty, on the 7th day of the 1st month, being Sunday," and the names, possibly of donors, of sixtyseven priests in Syriac characters and sixty-one in Chinese.
The tablet, which is said to be the oldest Christian inscription yet found in Asia, was discovered in 1625 and is now in a brick inclosure outside the city walls amid heaps of stones, bricks, and rubbish. Its preservation is due, strangely, to the care of a Chinese, as an inscription on the edge of the stone shows. It is to the effect that, in 1859, a man named Han-tai-wha, from Wu-lin, had come to visit it, and had found the characters and ornamentation perfect, and that he had rebuilt the brick covering in which it stood. The last words are: "Alas! that my friend Woo-tze-mi was not with me, that he also might have seen it. On this account I am very sorry."
The tablet is, or was—for it may have been destroyed in the fanatical hatred of all that is foreign which has taken possession of the people—a striking witness of the power which the Christian faith had over the Chinese a thousand years ago and in the nineteenth century, for this restorer and his friend must have been native Christians.
It is remarkable that Singan is identified with the greatest men whom China has produced and with the most glorious epochs of Chinese history. This is especially true of the time, B. C. 1122, when it was first made the capital of
the Middle Kingdom by Wu-wang, the founder of the Chau dynasty.
"No period of ancient Chinese history," says Dr. Wells Williams, "is more celebrated among the people than that of the founding of this dynasty, because of the high character of its leading men, who were regarded by Copernicus as the impersonation of everything wise and noble." The Emperor, with his father and brother, ranked "among the most distinguished men of antiquity for their erudition, integrity, patriotism, and inventions." It was then known, and for many centuries afterwards, as Changan, or "Perpetual Peace "—a name still preserved as that of one of the quarters of the modern city. In B. C. 246 one of the greatest rulers China ever had chose it for his residence. This was Chi Hwangti, the "first universal emperor." Though a boy of but thirteen years of age when he ascended the throne, he speedily showed great capacity for governing and as a warrior. To improve the communication between his capital and the provinces he constructed magnificent roads and bridges, some of which remain to the present day. This work was carried on by his successor, who is said to have spanned the valleys of the neighboring mountains with suspension or "flying" bridges, thus anticipating western science by twenty centuries.
But the "universal emperor's" fame as conqueror of the Tatars and the builder of these public works and the Great Wall is eclipsed by his unwise efforts to secure certain reforms. He had become convinced that the fanatical worship of the past which characterized the teaching of the scholars was fatal to progress and full of danger to the state. He determined therefore to break once and for all with the past, and ordered that all books having reference to the past history of the Empire should be burned. This decree, which was almost universally obeyed, and with considerable loss of life, apparently but strength