Imagens da página

talent, not knowledge; they are conferred by the state, without the intervention of school or college; they carry with them the privileges of official rank; and they are bestowed on no more than a very small ! percentage of those who engage in competition. With us, on the contrary, they give no official standing; they attest, where they mean any. thing, acquirements rather than ability; and the number of those who are "plucked” is usually small in comparison with those who are allowed to “pass." But, after all, the new-fledged bachelor of an occidental college, his head crowned with the outlines of universal knowl. edge, answers quite as nearly to the sprightly siu-tsai,

" Whose soul proud science never taught to stray

Far as the solar walk or milky way," as does a western general to the chief of an undisciplined horde of so-called soldiers.

The following report of Panszelien, chancellor of the province of Shantung, though somewhat vague, will give us an idea of the official duties of the chief examiner and the spirit in which he professes to discharge them :

" Your majesty's servant,” says the chancellor, “has guarded the seal of office with the utmost vigilance. In every instance where frauds were detected he has handed the offender over to the proper authorities for punishment. In reëxamining the successful, whenever their handwriting disagreed with that of their previous performances he at once expelled them from the hall, without granting a particle of indulgence. He everywhere exhorted the students to aim at the cultivation of a high moral character. In judging of the merit of compositions he followed reason and the established rules. At the close of each examination be addressed the students face to face, exhorting them not to walk in ways of vanity, nor to concern themselves with things foreign to their vocation, but to uphold the credit of scholarship and to seek to maintain or retrieve the literary reputation of their several districts. Besides these occupations, your servant, in passing from place to place, observed that the snow has everywhere exercised a reviving influence; the young wheat is beginning to shoot up; the people are perfectly quiet and well disposed; the price of provisions is moderate; and those who suffered from the recent floods are gradually returning to their forsaken homes. For literary culture, Hinchen stands preëminent, while Tsaochen is equally so in military matters."

This is the whole report, with the exception of certain stereotyped phrases, employed to open and conclude such documents, and a barren catalogue of places and dates. It contains no statistical facts, no statement of the number of candidates, nor the proportion passed ; indeed, no information of any kind, except that conveyed in a chance allusion in the closing sentence.

From this we learn that the chancellor is held responsible for exam. inations in the military art; and it might be inferred that he reviews

3 сн

the troops and gauges the attainments of the cadets in military history, engineering, tactics, &c.; but nothing of the kind; he sees them draw the bow, hurl the discus, and go through various maneuvres with spear and shield, which have no longer a place in civilized warfare.

The first degree only is conferred by the provincial chancellor, and the happy recipients, fifteen or twenty in each department, or 1 per cent. of the candidates, are decorated with the insignia of rank and admitted to the ground floor of the nine storied pagoda. The trial for the second degree is held in the capital of each province, by special commissioners, once in three years. It consists of three sessions of three days each, making nine days of almost continuous exertion — a strain to the mental and physical powers, to which the infirm and aged frequently succumb.

In addition to composition in prose and verse, the candidate is required to show his acquaintance with history, (the history of China,) philosophy, criticism, and various branches of archæology. Again 1 per cent. is dec orated; but it is not until the more fortunate among them succeed in passing the metropolitan triennial that the meed of civil office is certainly bestowed. They are not, however, assigned to their respective offices until they have gone through two special examinations within the palace and in the presence of the emperor. On this occasion the highest on the list is honored with the title of chuang yuen or“ laureate," a distinction so great that in the last reign it was not thought unbefitting the daughter of a chuang yuen to be raised to the position of consort of the Son of Heaven.

A score of the best are admitted to membership in the Academy, two or three score are attached to it as pupils or probationers, and the rest drafted off to official posts in the capital or in the provinces, the humblest of which is supposed to compensate the occupant for a life of penury and toil.

In conclusion, this noble institution - the civil service competitive system - appears destined to play a conspicuous part in carrying forward an intellectual movement the incipient stages of which are already visible. It bas cherished the national education, such as it is; and if it has compelled the mind of China for ages past to grind in the mill of barren im · itation, that is not the fault of the system, but its abuse.

When the growing influence of western science animates it with a new spirit, as it must do ere long, we shall see a million or more of patient students applying tbemselves to scientific studies with all the ardor that now characterizes their literary competition.

Six years ago the viceroy of Fuhkien, now a member of the imperial cabinet, proposed the institution of a competition in mathematics. The suggestion was not adopted; but a few days ago it was brought up in a new form, with the addition of the physical sciences, by Li Hung.Chang, the famous governor of the metropolitan province. When adopted, as it must be, it will place the entire examination system on a new basis and inaugurate an intellectual revolution whose extent and results it would be difficult to predict.

In remodelling her national education, Japan has begun with her schools, and, however reluctant, China will be compelled to do the same. Thus far ber efforts in that direction have been few and feeble, all that she has to show being a couple of schools at Canton and Shanghai, with forty students each, three or four schools in connection with the arsenal at Fuhchow, with an aggregate of three hundred, and in the capital an Imperial College for Western Science, with an attendan ce of about a hundred.*

The proposed modifications in the civil service examination system will not only invest each of these schools with a new importance, and give a higher value to every educated youth; it will have the effect of creating for itself a system of schools and colleges on the basis of an existing organization.

In every department and district there is a governinent school with two or more professors attached. The professors give no instruction, and the students only present themselves at stated times for examination. With the introduction of science these professors will become teachers, and each of these now deserted schools a centre of illumination.


HARTFORD, Conn., March 17, 1876. DEAR SIR: Inclosed herewith I beg to hand you a brief report of our Chinese students in this country. I should have written it much earlier had not my time been well taken up by other duties connected with the mission. Should you have any inquiries to make about our students, do not hesitate to put them. I remain, your obedient servant,

YUNG WING. Hon. J. Eaton,

Commissioner of Education, Washington, D. C.

Since the statement of January 7, 1873, respecting the arrival in September, 1872, of the first detachment of Chinese government students in this country was published, we have had three more detachments, of thirty students each, who came in succession in the years 1873–74-75; thus completing the whole number of one hundred and twenty, as originally determined upon by the Chinese government. These students

* The number of students in this institutiou is limited by the fact that they are on government pay and training for government service. The faculty of instruction consists of eleven professors, seven foreign and four Chinese.

A printing office with six presses has lately buen erected in connection with the college, with a view to the printing and circulation of scientific works. These are expected to be supplied in part by the professors and students, who are at present largely occupied with the translation of useful books.

+ Mr. Yung Wing is an alumnus of Yale College, (class 1876,) and has received the honorary degree of LL. D.

are located in towns in Connecticut and Massachusetts all along the Connecticut Valley.

The first detachment has been here about three years and a half, up to the 1st of March, 1876; second detachment has been two years and a half; third, one year and a half; and the fourth, only four months.

Most of the first detachment have joined classes in public schools and academies, a nd are now studying algebra, Greek, and Latin.

It is expected that about three years from now [March, 1876] they will be able to enter colleges and scientific schools. Those of the second and other detachments are still prosecuting their English studies, such as arithmetic, geography, gram mar, and history. A few of them have exhibited decided taste for drawing and sketching Specimens of these, together with manuscripts of written examinations in all their studies, were sent to Hon. B. G. Northrop for the Centennial Exhibition. These papers may be taken as fair evidences of their progress in the different studies since they have been here.

Our students, ever since their arrival, have been favored with good health in a remarkable degree. With the exception of one case of death from scarlet fever in 1875, they have on the whole enjoyed excellent health. Besides the one who died a year ago, we have dismissed four, thus leaving us only one hundred and fifteen students.

There have been some material changes in the mission during the past year. Mr. Chin Lan Pin, one of the commissioners, who returned to China more than a year ago, has been succeeded by Ugen Ugoh Liang; Mr. Kwong Ki Chin has taken the place of Mr. Chan Laisun, translator; and Lin Yun Fong, a young tutor in Chinese, has been added to the staff of teachers.



No. 2-1877.




« AnteriorContinuar »