Zhang in official robes
|Viceroy of Liangguang|
|Preceded by||Zhang Shusheng|
|Succeeded by||Li Hanzhang|
4 September 1837|
Xingyi Prefecture, Guizhou Province, Qing Empire
|Died||October 5, 1909
Beijing, Qing Empire
Just now, Christianity is in the ascendant. Buddhism and Taoism are decadent; their influence cannot long hold its own. Buddhism has long since passed its meridian; Taoism has only demons, not gods.
Examine the history of China for 2,000 years back, and then compare it with the Western history of fifty years! Does the government of these foreign countries present such a record of generosity, benevolence, loyalty, and honesty as ours?
Let us display our loyalty and love and embrace every opportunity to become wealthy and strong; let our first object be the veneration of the Imperial Court, which vouchsafes its protection to the commonwealth, and let those who hold the reins of government consider the general good.
In order to defend the Chinese race, one must first defend the Confucian culture; and in order to defend the Confucian culture, one must first defend the State. This is because what preserves the race relies upon intelligence, which is in turn nurtured by Confucian education.
The dependencies of inner and outer Mongolia are the bulwarks of China. The desert of Gobi, stretching for ten thousand li, is a barrier set by Heaven to the Russians, and if they seek to invade our borders, they will find it everywhere along the Northern frontier difficult and troublesome.
If a Chinese student does not know Chinese learning, it's like a person without a surname, a horse without a bridle, a boat without a helm. The more Western learning he possesses, the more hateful of China he will become. Even if he becomes a capable man of vast learning, how can he be of any use to the state?
We would here state that there are now three things necessary to be done in order to save China from revolution. The first is to maintain the reigning Dynasty; the second is to conserve the Holy Religion; and the third is to protect the Chinese race.
Today our books are numberless, and one man cannot master them in a lifetime. Now that the sea-waves are dashing upon our shores, unless we keep pace with the times and acquire Western learning, we shall be left in the lurch.
Chinese learning is an internal learning, but Western learning is an external one; Chinese learning is for the cultivation of oneself, just as Western learning is for the handling of worldly affairs.
In the schools of the Western countries, there is always the subject 'Religion.' The Classics are China's religion.
Americans resident in China inform us that the ballot box in their country is greatly abused for personal ends, and Chinese admirers of the American Republic have not minutely examined its defects.
If, in the schools, the classical language would no longer be taught, whom could we entrust with the writing of memorials, documents, letters and notes in the public service? How could we possibly assign important offices and heavy responsibilities to someone who cannot even write fluently?
Sincerity is the norm of Heaven and the law of our nature. China and the West agree on this point, for without sincerity, no human prince could ever found a state, and no earthly teacher could ever establish a religion.
Primary education was in the first place to teach people to be good people. Only secondary education teaches people to also be useful people.
The navigation of our inland waters has for years been sought in vain by foreign countries, and if we grant the privilege to Russia, other States will be guided in their demands by her example.
Without knowing about flexibility, one cannot work out strategies to deal with the enemy and prepare for changes, and without knowing about the foundation of one's own culture, one would be contemptuous of the Confucian ethical codes.
If the Chinese will not learn the true principles of government, all else will be useless. Knowledge is power, and although a country may be weak, still, if it possess but a modicum of knowledge, the enemy will not be able to completely overthrow it; although that country may be in danger, the race will not be extirpated.
With foreign officials come foreign merchants, and with foreign merchants come foreign soldiers. They will usurp our authority and influence to begin with, and in the course of time, our guests will have become our hosts.
People who have got to know Western educational methods always claim that the reading of the Classics was a useless waste of time and should be abolished. Such chatter is to be heard from hundreds of people and cannot be stopped. But it is a serious mistake.
How can we make sure that Confucianism is to be practiced? One must enforce it with power, and to have power, one must have a strong army.
We must assent to the will of Heaven above and conform to the wishes of men on earth below, but the government should assert the majesty of its warlike might in order to drive away the hordes of fierce and cruel men. We know that the dispositions of these outer barbarians are as ravenous as those of wolves.
Foreigners can only fight with success in the summer. We can fight during any of the four seasons, so we have the weather on our side.
Although China is not so wealthy and powerful as the West, her people of whatever condition – rich or poor, high or low – all enjoy a perfect freedom and a happy life. Not so all the inhabitants of Western lands.
There never yet has been a country which became powerful without knowledge. A man by his own strength alone cannot successfully combat a tiger, but by his intelligence, he can devise means to entrap him.
Without numerous schools offering hands-on opportunities, no commander will be cultivated.
If, by one determined purpose, the hearts of all the graduates, the officials, and the men of China were united, our country would rest upon a great rock, and we could defy the world to overthrow us. To attain this object, it is necessary first that every man should fulfill his duty to his parents and elders. The country would then be at peace.
I understand that the tendency of foreign countries in recent years has been to establish particularly close relations with one or two others among all the countries which have general relations. In time of peace, they make secret treaties in advance, and in wartime, they aid one another with military provisions and armaments.
The imperial province should have a university, the prefectures should have colleges, and the counties should have day schools.