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As a Chinaman saw us : passages from his letters to a friend at home Gratton, Henry Pearson 1904

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The University of British Columbia Library
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Made when the Anglo-Saxon people were
living in caves AS  A CHINAMAN
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Copyright, 1904, by
Published June, 1904
rw<niiminnnimrmr PREFACE
SINCE the publication in 1832 of that
classic of cynicism, The Domestic Manners of the Americans, by Mrs. Trol-
lope, perhaps nothing has appeared that
is more caustic or amusing in its treatment of America and the Americans
than the following passages from the letters of a cultivated and educated Chinaman. The selections have been made
from a series of letters covering a decade
spent in America, and were addressed to
a friend in China who had seen few foreigners. The writer was graduated from
a well-known college, after he had attended an English school, and later took
special studies at a German university.
Americans have been informed of the im-
v iiiliiffimu-jlmlljiil''"'"' !|i   '•'     ^'•i'''''iliir"tTTjt'lffJiT*i'i' "T  '
tf^fm^pmitjuj '""     ■)jUH4Jf.f1
pressions they make on the French, English, and other people, but doubtless this
is the first unreserved and weighty expression of opinion on a multiplicity of
American topics by a Chinaman of cultivation and grasp of mind.
It will be difficult for the average
American to conceive it possible that a
cultivated Chinaman, of all persons,
should have been honestly amused at our
civilization; that he should have considered what Mrs. Trollope called "our
great experiment" in republics a failure,
and our institutions, fashions, literary
methods, customs and manners, sports
and pastimes as legitimate fields for wit
and unrepressed jollity. Yet in the unbosoming of this cultivated "heathen"
we see our fads and foibles held up as
strange gods, and must confess some of
them to be grotesque when seen in this
yellow light,
It is doubtless true that the masses of
Americans do not take the Chinaman seriously, and an interesting feature of this
correspondence is the attitude of the
Chinaman on this very point and his
clever satire on our assumption of perfection and superiority over a nation, the
habits of which have been fixed and settled for many centuries. The writer's
experiences in society, his acquaintance
with American women of fashion and
their husbands, all ingeniously set forth,
have the hall-mark of actual novelty,
while his loyalty to the traditions of his
country and his egotism, even after the
Americanizing process had exercised its
influence over him for years, add to the
interest of the recital.
In revising the correspondence and rearranging it under general heads, the
editor has preserved the salient features
of it, with but little essential change and
practically in its original shape. If the
reader misses the peculiar idioms, or the
pigeon-English that is usually placed in
the mouth of the Chinaman of the novel
or story, he or she should remember that
the writer of the letters, while a "heathen
Chinee," was an educated gentleman in
the American sense of the term. This
fact should always be kept in mind because, as the author remarks, to many
Americans whom he met, it was "incomprehensible that a Chinaman can be educated, refined, and cultivated according
to their own standards."
With pardonable pride he tells how,
on one occasion, when a woman in New
York told him she knew her ancestral
line as far back as 1200 A. D., he replied
that he himself had "a tree without a
break for thirty-two hundred years." He
was sure she did not believe him, but he
found her "indeed!" delightful. The au-
thor's name has been withheld for personal reasons that will be sufficiently
obvious to those who read the letters.
The period during which he wrote them
is embraced in the ten years from 1892
to 1902.
Henry Pearson Gratton.
San Francisco, California,
May 10th, 1904.
I. The American, who he is   .
II. The American Man
III. American Customs
IV. • The American Woman .
V. The Superstitions of the American
VI. The American Press
VII. The American Doctor .
VIII. Peculiarities and Mannerisms   .
IX. Life in Washington
X. The American in Literature
XL The Political Boss
XII. Education in America
XIII. The Army and Navy    .
XIV. Art in America     ....
XV. The Dark Side of Republicanism
XVI. Sports and Pastimes
XVII. The Chinaman in America .
XVIII. The Religions of the Americans
. 261
• 279
• 303
MANY of the great powers believe
themselves to be passing through an evolutionary period leading to civic and
national perfection. America, or the
United States, has already reached this
state; it is complete and finished. I have
this from the Americans themselves, so
there can be no question about it; hence
it requires no little temerity to discuss,
let alone criticize, them.
Yet I am going to ask you to behold
the American as he is, as I honestly
found him—great, small, good, bad, self- s.^ttaM- ?v,~-^ ^^ *•*£ $&-?-" ■;i»'^*2«i-
glorious, egotistical, intellectual, supercilious, ignorant, superstitious, vain, and
bombastic. In truth, so very remarkable,
so contradictory, so incongruous have I
found the American that I hesitate.
Shall I give you a satire; shall I devote
myself to eulogy; shall I tear what they
call the "whitewash" aside and expose
them to the winds of excoriation; or
shall I devote myself to an introspective,
analytical divertissement? But I do not
wish to educate you on the Americans,
but to entertain, to make you laugh by
the recital of comical truths; so without system I am going to tell you of these
Americans as I found them, day by day,
month by month, officially, socially; in
their homes, in politics, trade, sorrow,
despair, and in their pleasures.
You will remember when the Evil
Spirit is asked by the modest Spirit of
Good to indicate his possessions he tucks THE AMERICAN—WHO  HE  IS
the earth under one arm, drops the sun
into one pocket, the moon into another,
and the stars into the folds of his garment. In a word, to use the saying of
my friends, he "claims everything in
sight"; and this is certainly a characteristic of the American: he is all-perspective, he claims to have all the virtues,
and in his ancestry embraces the entire
world. At a dinner at the in Washington during the egg stage of my experience I sat next to a charming lady; and
having been told that it was a custom of
the French to compliment women, I remarked that her cheeks bloomed like our
poppy of the Orient. She laughed, and
responded, "Yes, I get that from my
English grandfather." "But your eyes
are like black pearls," I continued, seeing that I was on what a general on my
right called the "right trail." "I got
them from my Italian grandmother," she
replied. "And your hair?" I pressed.
"Must be Irish," was the answer, "for
my paternal grandmother was Irish and
her husband Scotch." It is true that this
charmingly beautiful and composite goddess (at least she would have been one
had she not been naked like a geisha at
a men's dinner) was the product of a
dozen nations, and a typical American.
The original Americans appear to
have been English, despite the fact that
the Spaniards discovered the country,
though a high official, a Yankee whom
I met at a reception, told me that this was
untrue. His ancestor had discovered
North America, and I believe he had
written a book to prove it. (En passant,
all Americans write books; those who
have not, fully intend to write one.) I
listened complacently, then said, "My
dear , if I am not mistaken the Chinese discovered America." I recalled
4 1
the fact to his mind that the northwestern Eskimos and the Indians were essentially Asiatic in type; and it is true that
he had never heard of the ethnologic
map at his National Museum, which
shows the location of Chinese junks
blown to American shores within a period of three hundred years. I explained
that junks had been blown over to Amer-
ica for the last three thousand years, and
that in my country there were many
records of voyages to the Western land,
ages before 1492.
You see I soon began to be Americanized and to claim things. China discovered America and gave her the compass
as well as gunpowder. The first Americans were in the nature of emigrants;
men and women who did not succeed
well in their own country and so sought
new fields, just as people are doing today. They came over in a ship called
2 5 jMfjjI^ii&j^^
the "Mayflower," and were remarkably
prolific, as I have met thousands who
hail from this stock. At one time England sent her criminals to Virginia—one
of the United States—and many of the
refuse of the home country were sent to
other parts of America in the early days.
Younger sons of good families were also
sent over for various reasons. Women
of all classes were sent by the ship-load,
and sold for wives. I reminded a lady
of this, who was lamenting the fact that
in China some women are sold for wives.
She was absolutely ignorant of this well-
known fact in American history, and forgot the selling of black women. Among
the men were many representatives of old
and noble families; but the bulk, I judge
from their colonial histories, were people of low degree. Very soon other countries began to ship people to America.
Italy, Germany, Russia, Norway, Swe- THE  AMERICAN WHO   HE  IS
den, and other lands were drawn upon
for constantly increasing numbers as
years went by. All tumbled into the
American hopper. Imagine a coffee-
grinder into which have been thrown
Greek, Roman, Jew, Gentile, and all the
rest, and then let what they call Uncle
Sam—a heroic, paternal, and comical
figure, representing the government—
turn the handle and grind out the American who is neither Jew, Gentile, Greek,
Roman, Russe, or Swede, but a new
product, sui generis, and mostly Methodist.
This process has never ceased for an
hour. America has been from 1492 to
the present time, in the language of
the American "press," the "dumping-
ground" of the nations of the world, the
real open door; yet this grinding assimilation has gone on. It is, perhaps, due
to the climate, perhaps the water, or the
7 mm^mwM
air; but the product of these people born
on the soil is described by no other word
than American. It may be Irish-American, very offensive; Dutch-American,
very strenuous, like the Vice-President;1
Jewish-American, very commercial; Italian-American, very dirty and reeking
with garlic; but it is American, totally
unlike its progenitor, a something into
which is blown a tremendous energy, that
is very wearisome, a bombast which is the
sum of that of all nations, and a conceit
like that possessed by  alone.   You
see it is incurable, also offensive—at least
to the Oriental mind. Yet I grant you
the American is great; I have it from
him and from her; it must be so.
You have the spectacle here of the nations of the world pouring a stream, that
is not pactolean, and not perfumed with
1 This passage was written just before the assassination of President
the gums of Araby, flowing in and peopling the country. In time they had
grievances more fancied than real, yet
grievances. They rose against the home
government, threw off the English yoke,
and became a republic with a division
into States, which I will write of when
I tell you of the American politician.
This was the first trust—what they call
a merger—but it occurred in politics.
They have killed off a fair percentage
of the actual owners of the soil, the Indians, swindling them out of the balance,
and driving them back to a sort of ever-
changing dead-line. Without delay they
assumed the form of a dominant nation,
and announced themselves the greatest
nation on the earth.
Immigration was resumed, and all nations again sent their refuse population
to America. I have facts showing that
for years English poorhouses and hos-
.  9 I^p^jlpjjjj^
pitals were emptied of their inmates and
shipped to America. It was a distinct
policy of the anti-home-rule party in Ireland to encourage the poor Irish to go to
America; and now when there are more
Irish in America than in Ireland the fate
of Ireland is assured. Yet the American
air takes the fight out of the Irishman,
the rose from his cheek, and makes a
natural-born politician out of him.
America still continued to receive immigrants, and not satisfied with the natural
flow of the human current, began to import African slaves to a country founded
for the benefit of those who desired an
asylum where they could enjoy religious
and political freedom. The Africans
were sold in the cotton belt, their existence virtually creating two distinct political parties. America long remained
a dumping-ground for nearly all the nations of the world having an excess of
population. Great navigation companies
were built up, to a large extent, on this
trade. They sent agents to every foreign
country, issued pamphlets in every European language, and uncounted thousands were brought over—the scum of
the earth in many instances. There was
no restriction to immigration until the
Chinese were barred out. After accepting the outlaws of every European state,
the poor of all lands, they shut the door
on our "coolie" countrymen.
In this way, briefly, America has
grown to her present population of 80,-
000,000. The remarkable growth and
assimilation is still going on—a menace
to the world, but in a constantly decreasing ratio, which has become so marked
that the leading Americans, the class
which corresponds to our scholars, are
aghast at the singular conditions which
exist.    Non-assimilation shows itself in
11 pHj^^PMQjiJWJW!'^
labor riots, in the murder of two Presidents—Garfield and Lincoln—in socialistic outbreaks in every quarter, and in
signal outbreaks in various sections, at
lynchings, and other unlawful performances. I am attempting to give you an
idea of the constituents of America today; but so interesting is the subject, so
prolific in its warnings and possibilities,
that I find myself wandering.
To glance at conditions at the present
time, about 600,000 aliens are coming to
America yearly. What is the result? I
was invited to meet a distinguished German visiting in New York last month,
and at the dinner a young lady who sat
by my side said to me, "I wish I could
puzzle him." "Why?" I asked, in amazement. "Oh," was her reply, "he looks
so cram full of knowledge; I would like
to take him down."   "Ah," I said. "Ask
him which is the third largest German
city in the world. It is New York; he
will never guess it." She did so, and I
assure you he was "puzzled," and would
scarcely believe it until a well-known
man assured him it was true. There are
more Germans in Chicago than in Leip-
sic, Cologne, Dresden, Munich, or a
dozen small towns joined in one. Half
of the Chicago Germans speak their
own tongue. This city is the third
Swedish city of the world in population.
It is the fourth Polish city and the second Bohemian city. I was informed by
a professor in the University of Chicago
that, in that strange city, the number of
people who speak the language of the
Bohemians equaled the combined inhabitants of Richmond, Atlanta, Portland, and Nashville—all large cities.
"What do you think of it?" I asked.
"We are up against it," was the reply. I
can not explain this retort so that you
would understand it, but it had great significance. The professor, a distinguished
philologist, was worried, and he looked
it. A lady who was a club woman—and
by this I do not mean that she was armed
with a club, but merely a member of
clubs or societies for educational advancement and social aggrandizement—said it
was merely his digestion.
I learned from my friend, the dyspeptic professor, that over forty dialects
are spoken in Chicago. About one-half
only of the total population speak or understand English. There are 500,000
Germans, 125,000 Poles, 100,000 Swedes,
90,000 Bohemians, 50,000 Yiddish, 25,-
000 Dutch, 25,000 Italians, 15,000
French, 10,000 Irish, 10,000 Servians,
10,000 Lutherans, 7,000 Russians, and
5,000 Hungarians in Chicago. You will
be surprised to learn that numbers do
not count. The 500,000 Germans are
not the dominating power, nor are the
100,000 Swedes. The 10,000 Irish are
said absolutely to control the political situation. You will ask if I believe that
this monster foreign element can be reduced to a homogeneous unit. I reply,
yes. Fifty years from to-day they will all
be Americans, and a majority will, doubtless, show you their family tree, tracing
their ancestry back to the Mayflower.
15 MH^iijIjWHlij&l^
HASH—and I do not mean by this
word a corruption of hasheesh—is a term
indicating in America a food formed of
more than one article chopped and
cooked together. I was told by a very
witty and charming lady that hash was a
synonym for E pluribus unum (one from
many), the motto of the Government, but
I did not find it on the American arms.
This was an American "dinner joke," of
which more anon; nevertheless, hash represents the American people of to-day.
The millions of all nations, which have
swarmed here since 1492, may be represented by this delectable dish, which,
after all, has a certain homogeneity. Englishmen are at once recognized here, and
so are Chinamen. You would never mistake one of our people for a Japanese;
an Italian you would (know across the
way; but an American not always in
America. He may be a Swede, a German, or a Canadian; he is not an American until he opens his mouth. Then
there is no mistake as to what he is. He
has a nasal tone that is purely American.
All the old cities, as Boston, New
York, Richmond, and Philadelphia, have
certain nasal peculiarities or variants.
The Bostonian affects the English. The
New Englander, especially in the north,
has a comical twang, which you can produce by holding the nose tightly and attempting to speak. When he says down
it sounds like daoun. It is impossible
for him not to overvowel his words, and
nothing is more amusing than to hear
the true Yankee countryman talk. The
Philadelphian is quite as marked in tone
1 ^^^^^^J^!^^^^*g^tg^S^^ji^^
and enunciation. A well-educated Phil-
adelphian will say where is me wife for
my. I have also been asked by a Phila-
delphian, "Where are you going at?" It
would be impossible to mistake the intonation of a Philadelphian, even though
you met him in the wilds of Manchuria
in the depths of night.
Among the most charming and delightfully cultured people I met in
America were Philadelphians of old
families. The New Yorker is more cosmopolitan, while the Southern men, to a
certain extent, have caught the inflection
of the negro, who is the nurse in the
South for all white children. The Americans are taught that the principal and
chief end of man is to make a fortune
and get married; but to accomplish this
it is necessary first to "sow wild oats," become familiar with the vices of drink,
smoking, and other forms of dissipation,
a sort of test of endurance possibly, such
as is found among many native races; yet
one scarcely expects to find it among the
latest and highest exponents of perfection
in the human race.
The American pretends to be democratic; scoffs at England and other European lands, but at heart he is an aristocrat. His tastes are only limited by his
means, and not always then. Any American, especially a politician, will tell you
that there is but one class—the people,
and that all are born equal. In point of
fact, there are as many classes as there are
grades of pronounced individuality, and
all are very unequal, as every one knows.
They are included in a general way in
three classes: the upper class (the refined
and cultivated) ; the middle class (represented by the retail shop-keepers) ; and
last, the rest. The cream of society will
be found in all the cities to be among the
professional men, clergymen, presidents
of colleges, long-rich wholesale merchants, judges, authors, etc.
The distinctions in society are so singular that it is almost impossible for a
foreigner to understand them. There
are persons who make it a life study to
prepare books and papers on the subject,
and whose opinions are readily accepted;
yet such a person might not be accepted
in the best society. What constitutes
American society and its divisions is a
mystery. In a general sense a retail merchant, a man who sold shoes or clothes,
a tailor, would under no circumstances
find a place in the first social circles; yet
if these same tradesmen should change
to wholesalers and give up selling one
article at a time, they would become
eligible to the best society. They do not
always get in, however.   At a dinner my
neighbor, an attractive matron, was much
dismayed by my asking if she knew a
certain Mr.  , a well-known grocer.
"I believe our supplies (groceries) come
from him," was her chilly reply. "But,"
I ventured, "he is now a wholesaler."
"Indeed!" said madam; "I had not heard
of it." The point, very inconceivable to
you, perhaps, was that the grocer,
whether wholesale or retail, was not
readily accepted; yet the man in the
wholesale business in drugs, books, wine,
stores, fruit, or almost anything else,
had the entree, if he was a gentleman.
The druggist, the hardware man, the
furniture dealer, the grocer, the retailer would constitute a class by themselves, though of course there are other
subtle divisions completely beyond my
At some of the homes of the first people I would meet a president of a university, an author of note, an Episcopal
bishop, a general of the regular army
(preferably a graduate of the West Point
Academy), several retired merchants of
the highest standing, bankers, lawyers,
a judge or two of the Supreme Bench, an
admiral of good family and connections.
I have good reason to think that a Methodist bishop would not be present at such
a meeting unless he was a remarkable
man. There were always a dozen men
of well-known lineage; men who knew
their family history as far back as their
great-grandparents, and whose ancestors
were associated with the history of the
country and its development. The men
were all in business or the professions.
They went to their offices at nine or ten
o'clock and remained until twelve;
lunched at their clubs or at a restaurant,
returned at one, and many remained until six before going to their homes. The
work is intense.   A dominating factor or
characteristic in the American man is his
pursuit of the dollar. That he secures it
is manifest from the miles of beautiful
residences, the shdw of costly equipages
and plate, the unlimited range of "stores"
or shops one sees in large cities. The
millionaire is a very ordinary individual
in America; it is only the billionaire who
now really attracts attention. The wealth
and splendors of the homes, the magnificent tout ensemble of these establishments, suggests the possibility of degeneracy, an appearance of demoralization;
but I am assured that this is not apparent
in very wealthy families.
It is not to be understood that wealth
always gives social position in America.
By reading the American papers you
might believe that this is all that is necessary. Some wealth is of course requisite to enable a family to hold its own,
to give the social retort courteous, to live
according to the mode of others; yet
mere wealth will not buy the entree to
the very best society, even in villages.
Culture, refinement, education, and, most
important, savoir faire, constitute the
"open sesame." I know a billionaire, at
least this is his reputation, who has no
standing merely because he is vulgar—
that is, ill-bred. I have met another man,
a great financier, who would give a
million to have the entree to the very best
houses. Instances could be cited without
Such men and women generally have
their standing in Europe; in a word, go
abroad for the position they can not secure at home. A family now allied to
one of the proudest families in Europe
had absolutely no position in America
previous to the alliance, and doubtless
would not now be taken up by some.
You will understand that I am speaking
now of the most exclusive American society, formed of families who have age,
historical associations, breeding, education, great-grandparents, and always have
had "manners." There are other social
sets which pass as representative society,
into which all the ill-mannered nouveau
riche can climb by the golden stairs; but
this is not real society. The richest man
in America, Rockefeller, quoted at over
a billion, is a religious worker, and his
indulgences consist in gifts to universities. Another billionaire, Mr. Carnegie,
gives his millions to found libraries. Mr.
Morgan, the millionaire banker, attends
church conventions as an antipodal diversion. There is no conspicuous millionaire before the American public who has
earned a reputation for extreme profligacy.
There is a leisure class, the sons of
wealthy men, who devote their time to
hunting and other sports; but in the recent war this class surged to the front as
private soldiers and fought the country's
battles. I admire the American gentleman of the select society class I have
described. He is modest, intelligent,
learned in the best sense, magnanimous^-
a type of chivalry, bold, vigorous, charming as a host, and the soul of honor. It
is a regret that this is not the dominating
and best-known class in America, but it
is not; and the alien, the stranger coming
without letters of introduction, would
fall into other hands. A man might live
a lifetime in Philadelphia or Boston and
never meet these people, unless he had
been introduced by some one who was of
the same class in some other city. Such
strange social customs make strange bedfellows. Thus, if you came to America
to-day and had letters to the Vice-President, you would, without doubt, if prop-
erly accredited, see the yery best society.
If, on the other hand, you had letters to
the President at his home in the State of
Ohio you would iioubtless meet an entirely different class, eminently respectable, yet not the same. It would be impossible to ignore the inference from this.
The Vice-President is in society (the
best) ; the President is not. Where else
could this hold? Nowhere but in
The Americans affect to scorn caste
and sect, yet no nation has more of them.
Sets or classes, even among men, are
found in all towns where there is any
display of wealth. The best society of a
small town consists of its bank presidents,
its clergymen, its physicians, its authors,
its lawyers. No matter how educated the
grocer may be, he will not be received,
nor the retail shoe dealer, though the
shoe manufacturer, the dealer in many
shoes, may be the virtual leader, at least
among the men. Each town will have
its clubs, the members ranging according
to their class; and while it seems a paradox, it is true that this classification is
mainly based upon the refinement, culture, and family of the man. A well-
known man once engaged me in conversation with a view to finding out some
facts regarding our social customs, and I
learned from him that a dentist in America would scarcely be received in the
best society. He argued, that to a man
of refinement and culture, such a profession, which included the cleaning of
teeth, would be impossible; consequently,
you would not be likely to find a really
cultivated man who was a dentist. On
the same grounds an undertaker would
not be admitted to the first society.
With us a gentleman is born; with
Americans it is possible to create one,
though rarely. An American gentleman
is described as a product of two generations of college men who have always
had association wrth gentlemen and the
advantages of family standing. Political
elevation can not affect a man's status as
a gentleman. I heard a lady of unquestioned position say that she admired
President McKinley, but regretted that
he was not a gentleman. She meant that
he was not an aristocrat, and did not possess the savoir faire, or the family associations, that completely round out the
American § or English gentleman. I
asked this lady to indicate the gentlemen
Presidents of the country. There were
very few that I recall. There were Washington, Harrison, Adams, and Arthur.
Doubtless there were others, which have
escaped me. Lincoln, the strongest
American type, she did not consider in
the gentlemen class, and General Grant,
the nation's especial pride, did not fulfil
her ideas of what a gentleman should be.
You will perceive, then, that what some
American people consider a gentleman
and what its most exclusive society accepts for one, comprise two entirely different personages. I found this emphasized especially in the old society of
Washington, which takes its traditions
from Washington's time or even the pre-
Revolutionary period. For such society
a self-made man was impossible. Such
are the remarkable, indeed astounding,
ramifications of the social system of a
people who cry to heaven of their democracy. "Americans are all equal—this
is one of the gems in our diadem." This
epigram I heard drop from the lips of a
senator who was the recognized aristocrat of the chamber; yet a man of peculiar social reserve, who would have nothing to do with the other "equals." In a
word, all the talk of equality is an absurd
figure of speech. America is at heart as
much an aristocracy as England, and the
social divisions are much the same under
the surface.
You will understand that social rules
and customs are all laid down and exacted by women and from women. From
them I obtained all my information. No
American gentleman would talk (to me
at least) on the subject. Ask one of them
if there is an American aristocracy, and
he will pass over the question in an engaging manner, and tell you that his government is based on the principle of
perfect equality—one of the most transparent farces to be found in this interesting country. I have outlined to you
what I conceived to be the best society in
each city, and in the various sections of
the country. In morality and probity I
believe them to stand very high; lapses
there may be, but the general tone is
good. The women are charming and refined; the men chivalrous, brave, well-
poised, and highly educated. Unfortunately, the Americans who compose this
"set" are numerically weak. They are
not represented to the extent of being a
dominating body, and oddly enough, the
common people, the shopkeepers, the
people in the retail trades, do not understand them as leaders from the fact that
they are so completely aloof that they
never meet them. A sort of inner "holy
of holies" is the real aristocracy of America. What goes for society among the
people, the mob, and the press is the set
(and a set means a faction, a clique)
known as the Four Hundred, so named
because it was supposed to represent the
"blue blood" of New York ten years ago
in its perfection.    This Four Hundred
has its prototype in all cities, and in some
cities is known as the "fast set." In New
York it is made up often of "the descendants of old families, the heads of whom
in many instances were retail traders
within one hundred and fifty years ago;
but the modern wealthy representatives
endeavor to forget this or skip over it.
It is, however, constantly kept alive by
what is termed the "yellow press," which
delights in picturing the ancestor of one
family as a pedler and an itinerant
trader, and the head of another family as
a vegetable vender, and so on, literally
venting its spleen upon them.
In my studies in American sociology
I asked many questions, and obtained the
most piquant replies from women. One
lady, a leader in New York in what I
have termed the exclusive set, informed
me with a laugh that the ancestor of a
well-known family of to-day, one which
cuts a commanding figure in society, was
an ordinary laborer in the employ of her
grandfather/ "Yet you receive them?"
I suggested. The reply was a shrug of
charming shoulders, which, translated,
meant that great wealth had here enabled
them to "bore" into the exclusive circle.
I found that even among these people,
the creme de la crime in the eyes of the
people, there were inner circles, and
these were not on intimate terms with the
others. Here I met a member of the
Washington and Lee family, a descendant of Bishop Provoost, the first Episcopal bishop of New York, and friend
of Washington and Hamilton. This latter family is notable for an ancestry running back to the massacre of St. Bartholomew and even beyond. I astonished
its charming descendant, who very delicately informed me that she knew her
ancestry as far back as 1200 A. D., when
I told her that I had my "family tree,"
as they call it, without a break for thirty-
two hundred years. I am confident she
did not believe me, but her "Indeed!"
was delightful. In fact, I assure you I
have lost my heart to these American
women. I met representatives of the
Adams, Dana, Madison, Lee, and other
families identified with American history
in a most honorable way.
The continuity of the Four Hundred
idea as a logical system was broken by
the quality of some of its members. Compared to the society I have previously
mentioned it was as chaff. There was a
total lack of intellectuality. Degeneracy
marked some of their acts; divorce blackened their records, and shameless affairs
marked them. In this "set," and particularly its imitators throughout the United
States, the divorce rate is appalling.
Men leave their wives and obtain a divorce for no other reason than that a
■■I ;v*^:
woman falls in love with another
woman's husband. On a yacht we will
say there is some scandal. A divorce
ensues, and afterward the parties are remarried. Or we will say a wife succumbs
to the blandishments of another man.
The conjugal arrangements are rearranged, so that, as a very merry New
York club man told me, "It is difficult
to tell where you are at." In a word,
the morale of the men of this set is low,
their standard high, but not always lived
up to. I believe that I am not doing the
American of the middle class wrong and
the ultra-fashionable class an injustice in
saying that it is as a class immoral.
Americans make great parade of their
churches. Spires rise like the pikes of
an army in every town, yet the morality
of the men is low. There are in this land
600,000 prostitutes—ruined women. But
this is not due entirely to the Four Hun-
dred, whose irregularities appear to be
confined to inroads upon their own set.
Nearly all these men are club men; two-
thirds are in business as brokers, bankers,
or professional men; and there is a large
percentage of men of leisure and vast
wealth. They affect English methods,
and are, as a rule, not highly intelligent,
but blase, often effeminate, an interesting
spectacle to the student, showing that
the downfall of the American Republic
would come sooner than that of Rome if
the "fast set" were a dominating force,
which it is not.
In the great middle class of the American men I find much to admire; half
educated, despite their boasted school
system, they put up, to quote one of them,
"a splendid bluff" of respectability and
morality, yet their statistics give the lie
to it. Their divorces are phenomenal,
and they are obtained on the slightest
cause. If a man or woman becomes
weary of the other they are divorced on
the ground of incompatibility of temper.
A lady, a descendant of one of the oldest families, desired to marry her friend's
husband. He charged his wife with various vague acts, one of which, according
to the press, was that she did not wear
"corsets"—a sort of steel frame which
the American women wear to compress
the waist. This was not accepted by the
learned judge, and the wife then left her
husband and went away on a six or eight
months' visit. This enabled the husband
to put in a claim of desertion, and the decree of divorce was granted. A quicker
method is to pretend to throw the breakfast dishes at your wife, who makes a
charge of "extreme incompatibility,"
and a divorce is at once obtained. Certain Territories bank on their divorce
laws, and the mismated have but to go
there and live a few months to obtain a
separation on almost any claim. Many
of the most distinguished statesmen have
been charged with certain moral lapses
in the heat of political fights, which, in
almost every instance, are ignored by the
victims, their silence being significant to
some, illogical to others; yet the fact remains that the press goes to the greatest
extremes. No family secret is considered sacred to the American politician
in the heat of a campaign; to win,
he would sacrifice the husband, father,
mother, and children of his enemy. So
remarkable is the rage for divorce that
many of the great religious denominations have taken up arms against it.
Catholics forbid it. Episcopalians resent it by ostracism if the cause is trivial,
and a "separation1' is denounced in the
39 ssgiMfiMin        *immgx%
THE American is an interesting,
though not always pleasant, study. His
perfect equipoise, his independence, his
assumption that he is the best product of
the best soil in the world, comes first as
a shock; but when you find this but one
of the many national characteristics it
merely amuses you. One of the extraordinary features of the American is his attitude toward the Chinese, who are taken
on sufferance. The lower classes absolutely can conceive of no difference
between me and the "coolie." As an
example, a boy on the street accosts me
with "Hi, John, you washee, washee?"
Even a representative in Congress insisted on calling me "John." On pro-
testing to another man, he laughed, and
said, "Oh, the man don't know any
better." "But," I replied, "if he does
not know any better, how is it he is a
lawmaker in your lower house?" "I
give it up," was his answer, and he ordered what they term a "high-ball."
After we had tried several, he laughed
and asked, "Shall we consider the matter
a closed incident?" Many diplomatic,
social, and political questions are often
settled with a "high-ball."
It is inconceivable to the average
American that there can be an educated
Chinese gentleman, a man of real refinement. They know us by the Cantonese
laundrymen, the class which ranks with
their lowest classes. At dinners and receptions I was asked the most atrocious
questions by men and women. One
charming young girl, who I was informed was the  relative of a Cabinet
officer, asked me if I would not sometime put up my "pig-tail," as she wished
to photograph me. Another asked if it
was really true that we privately considered all Americans as "white devils."
All had an inordinate curiosity to know
my "point of view"; what I thought of
them, how their customs differed from
my own. Of course, replies were manifestly impossible. At a dinner a young
man, who, I learned, was a sort of professional diner-out, remarked to a lady:
"None of the American girls will have
me for a husband; do you not think that
if I should go to China some pretty
Chinese girl would have me?" This was
said before all the company. Every one
was silent, waiting for the response.
Looking up, she replied, with charming
naivete, "No, I do not think so," which
produced   much   laughter.     Now   you
would   have   thought   the   young   man
would have been slightly discomfited,
but not at all; he laughed heartily, and
plumed himself upon the fact that he had
succeeded in bringing out a reply.
American men have a variety of costumes for as many occasions. They have
one for the morning, which is called a
sack-coat, that is, tailless, and is of mixed
colors. With this they wear a low hat,
an abomination called the derby. After
twelve o'clock the frock-coat is used,
having long tails reaching to the knees.
Senators often wear this costume in the
morning—why I could not learn, though
I imagine they think it is more dignified
than the sack. With the afternoon suit
goes a high silk hat, called a "plug" by
the lower classes, who never wear them.
After dark two suits of black are worn:
one a sack, being informal, the other with
tails, very formal. They also have a suit
for the bath—a robe—and a sleeping-cos-
43 j5833535&ffiRB^^^^9
tume, like a huge bag, with sleeves and
neck-hole. This is the night-shirt, and
formerly a "nightcap" was used by
some. There is also a hat to go with the
evening costume—a high hat, which
crushes in. You may sit on it without injury to yourself or hat. I know this by
a harrowing experience.
Many of the customs of the Americans
are strange. Their social life consists of
dinners, receptions, balls, card-parties,
teas, and smokers. At all but the last
women are present. At the dinner every
one is in evening dress; the men wear
black swallowtail coats, following the
English in every way, low white vest,
white starched shirt, white collar and
necktie, and black trousers. If the dinner does not include women the coat-tails
are eliminated, and the vest and necktie
are black. Exactly why this is I do not
understand, nor do the Americans. The
dinner is begun with the national drink,
the "cocktail"; then follow oysters on
the half-shell, which you eat with an object resembling the trident carried in the
ceremony of Ah Dieu at the Triennial.
Each course of the dinner is accompanied by a different wine, an agreeable
but exhilarating custom. The knife and
fork are used, the latter to go into the
mouth, the former not, and here you see
a singular ethnologic feature. Class distinctions may at times be recognized by
the knife or fork. Thus I was informed
that you could at once recognize a person of the gentleman class by his use of
the knife and fork. "This is infallible,"
said my young lady companion. If he
is a commoner, he eats with his knife; if
a gentleman, with his fork. This was a
very nice distinction, and I looked carefully for a knife eater, but never saw one.
There is a vast amount of ceremony
and etiquette about a dinner and various
rules for eating, to break which is a social
offense.    I heard that a certain Madam
  gave lessons in "good form" after
the American fashion, so that one could
learn what was expected, and at my first
dinner I regretted that I had not availed
myself of the services of the lady, as at
each plate there were nearly a dozen
solid silver articles to be used in the different courses, but I endeavored to escape by watching my companion and
following her example. But here the
impossibility of an American girl resisting a joke caused my downfall. She at
once saw my dilemma, and would take
up the wrong implement, and when I
followed suit she dropped it and took
another, laughing in her eyes in a way in
which fhe American girl is a prodigious
adept; but completely deceived by her
nearly every time, knowing that she was
amusing herself at my expense, I said
nothing. The Americans have a peculiar
term for the mental attitude I had during
this trial. I "sawed wood." The saying
was particularly applicable to my situation. My young companion was most
engaging, and presently began to talk of
the superiority of America, her inventions, etc., mentioning the telephone,
printing, and others. "Yes, wonderful,"
I replied; "but the Chinese had the telephone ages ago. They invented printing,
gunpowder, the mariner's compass, and
it would be difficult," I said, "for you to
mention an object which China has not
had for ages." She was amazed that I, a
Chinaman, should "claim everything in
There is a peculiar etiquette relating
to every course in a dinner. The soup is
eaten with a bowl-like spoon, and it is
the grossest breach to place this in your
47 n»UTOii)iafijft^Jti|jgj
mouth, or approach it, endwise. You approach the side and suck the soup from
it. To make a noise would attract attention. The etiquette of the fish is to eat it
with a fork; to use the knife even to cut
the fish would be unpardonable, or to
touch it to take out the bones; the fork
alone must be used. The punch course
is often an embarrassment to the previous
wines, and is followed by what the
French call the entree. In fact, while
the Americans boast that everything
American is the best, French customs are
followed at banquets invariably, this being one of the strange inconsistencies of
the Americans. Their clothes are copied
from the English, though they will claim
in the same breath that their tailors are the
best in the world. For wines they claim
to be unsurpassed, producing the finest;
yet the wines on their tables are French
or bear French labels.   Game is served—
a grouse or perhaps a hare, and then a
vast roast, possibly venison, or beef, and
there are vegetables, followed by a salad
of some kind. Then comes the dessert—
an iced cream, cakes, nuts, raisins, cheese,
and coffee with brandy, and then cigars
and vermuth or some cordial. After
such a dinner of three hours a Southern
gentleman clapped me on the back and
said, "Great dinner, that; but let's go and
get a drink of something solid," and I
saw him take what he termed "two fingers" of Kentucky Bourbon whisky—a
very stiff drink. I often wondered how
the guests could stand so much.
The dinner has no attendant amusement, no dancing, no professional entertainers, and rarely lasts over two hours.
Some houses have stringed bands concealed behind barriers of flowers playing
soft music, but in the main the dinner is
a jollification, a symposium of stories,
49 a a 3PyT4*3^V!ilSW'fi?qpg^
where the guests take a turn at telling
tales. Story-tellers can not be hired, and
the guest at the proper moment says
(after having prepared himself beforehand), "That reminds me of a story,"
and he relates what he has learned with
great eclat and applause, as every American will applaud a good story, even if
he has heard it time and again. At
one dinner which I attended in New
York story-telling had been going on for
some time when a well-known man came
in late. He was received with applause,
and when called on for a speech told exactly the same story, by a strange coincidence, that had been told by the last
speaker. Not a guest interfered; he was
allowed to proceed, and at the end the
point was greeted with a roar of laughter. This appeared to me to be an excellent quality in the American character. I was informed that these stories,
forming so important a feature of American dinners, are the product mainly of
drummers and certain prominent men;
but why men that drum &*e more skilful
in story inventing I failed to learn.
President Lincoln and a lawyer named
Daniel Webster originated a large percentage of the current stories. It is difficult to understand exactly what the
Americans mean.
The American story is incomprehensible to the average foreigner, but it is
good form to laugh. I will relate several as illustrative of American wit, and
I might add that many of these have
been published in books for the benefit of
the diner-out. A Cabinet minister told
of a prisoner who was called to the bar
and asked his name. The man had some
impediment in his speech, one of the
hundred complaints of the tongue, and
began to hiss, uttering a strange stutter-
ing sound like escaping steam. The
judge listened a few moments, then turning to the guard said, "Officer, what is
this man charged with?" "Soda-water,
I think, your honor," was the reply.
This was unintelligible to me until my
companion explained it. You must understand that soda-water is a drink that
is charged with gas and makes a hissing,
spluttering noise when opened. Hence
when the judge asked what the prisoner
was charged with the policeman, an
Irishman, retorted with a joke, the storyteller disregarding the fact that it was
an impertinence.
A distinguished New York judge told
the following: Two tenement harridans
look out of their windows simultaneously.
"Good-morning, Mrs. Moriarity," says
one. "Good-morning, Mrs. Gilfillan,"
says the other, adding, "not that I care
a d , but just to make conversation."
This was considered wit of the sharpest
kind, and was received with applause.
In their stories the Americans spare
neither age, sex, nor relatives. The following was related by a general of the
army.- He said he took a friend home to
spend the night with him, the guest occupying the best room. When he came
down in the morning he turned to the
hostess and said, "Mrs. , that was excellent tooth-powder you placed at my
disposal; can you give me the name
of the maker?" The hostess fairly
screamed. "What," she exclaimed, "the
powder in the urn?" "Yes," replied
the officer, startled; "was it poison?"
"Worse, worse," said she; "you swallowed Aunt Jane!" Conceive of this
wretched taste. The guest had actually cleaned his teeth with the cremated
dust of the general's aunt; yet he told
the story before a dinner assemblage,
5 53 FlTRUPl'WUIliUJBlffWP!
and   it   was   received   with   shouts   of
I did not hear the intellectual conversation at dinner I had expected. Art,
science, literature, were rarely touched
upon, although I invariably met artists,
litterateurs, and scientific men at these
dinners. They all talked small talk or
"told stories." I was informed that if I
wished to hear the weighty questions of
the day discussed I must go to the women's clubs, or to Madam 's Current
Topics Society. The latter is an extraordinary affair, where society women who
have no time to read the news of the day
listen to short lectures on the news of the
preceding week, discussed pro and con,
giving these women in a nutshell material
for intelligent conversation when they
meet senators and other men at the various receptions before which they wish
to make an agreeable impression.
The American has many clubs, but is
not entirely at home in them. He uses
them as places in which to play poker or
whist, to dine his men friends, and in a
great measure because it is the "proper
thing." At many a room is set apart for
the national game of poker—a fascinating game to the player who wins. Poker
was never mentioned in my presence that
some did not make a joke on a supposed
Chinaman named Ah Sin; but the obscurity of the joke and my lack of
knowledge regarding American literature caused the point to elude me at first,
which was true of many jokes. The
Americans are preeminently practical
jokers, and the ends to which they go is
beyond belief. I heard of jokes which,
if perpetrated in China, would have resulted in the loss of some one's head. To
illustrate this, in the Spanish-American
War the camps at Tampa were besieged
SS RBssngsss      «*iiii[^|
with newspaper reporters, and one from
a large journal was constantly trying to
secure secret news by entertaining certain officers with wine and cigars; so they
determined to get rid of his importunities, and what is known as a "job" in
America was "put up" on him.   He was
told that Colonel   had a detailed
map of the forthcoming battle, and if he
could get the officer intoxicated he doubtless could secure the map. This looked
very easy to the correspondent, so the
story goes, and he dropped into the colonel's tent one night with a basket of
wine, and began to celebrate its arrival
from some friends. Soon the colonel
pretended to become communicative,
and the map was brought out and finally
loaned to the correspondent under the
promise that it would not be used. This
was sufficient. The correspondent hied
him to his tent, wrote an article and sent
the map to his paper in one of the large
cities, where it was duly published. It
proved to be what dressmakers call a
"Butterick pattern," a maze of lines for
cutting out dresses for women. The lines
looked like roads, and the practical
jokers had merely added towns and forts
and bridges here and there.
The Americans are excellent parents,
though small families are general. The
domestic life is charming. The family
is denied nothing needed, the only limit
being the purse of the head of the family, so called, the real head in many cases
being the wife, who does not fail to assert
herself if the proper occasion opens.
Well-to-do families have every luxury,
and no nation is apparently so well off,
so completely supplied with the necessities of life as the American. One is
impressed by their business sagacity,
their cleverness in finance, their complete
grasp of all questions, yet no people are
easier gulled or more readily victimized.
An instance will suffice. In making my
investigations regarding methods of managing railroads, I not only obtained information from the road officials, but
questioned the employees whenever it
happened that I was traveling. One day,
observing that it was the custom to "tip"
the porters (give money), I asked the
conductor what the men were paid. "Little or nothing," was the reply; "they get
from seventy-five to one hundred dollars
a month out of the passengers on a long
run." "But the passengers paid the road
for the service?" "Yes, and they pay the
salary of the porter also," said the man.
With that in view the men are poorly
paid, and the railroad knows that the
people will make up their salaries, as
they do. If you refused you would have
no service.
This rule holds everywhere, in hotels
and restaurants. Servants receive little
pay where the patronage is rich, with the
understanding that they will make it up
out of the customers. Thus if you go to
a hotel you fee the bell-boy for bringing
you a glass of water. If you order one
of the seductive cocktails you fee the
man who brings it; you fee the chambermaid who attends to your room. Infinite are the resources of these servants
who do not receive a fee. You fee the
elevator or lift boy, or he will take the
opportunity to jerk you up as though
shot out of a gun. You fee the porter
for taking up your trunk, and give a special fee for unstrapping it. You fee the
head waiter, and when you fee the table
waiter he whispers in your ear that a
slight fee will be acceptable to the cook,
who will see that the Count or the ludge
will be cared for as becomes his station.
59 jg83355S3S§l
When you leave, the sidewalk porter expects a fee; if he does not receive it the
door of the carriage may possibly be
slammed on the tail of your coat. Then
you pay the cabman two dollars to carry
you to the station, and fee him. Arriving at the station, he hands you over to
a red-hatted porter, who carries your
baggage for a fee. He puts you in charge
of the railroad porter, who is feed at the
rate of about fifty cents per diem.
The American submits to this robbery
without a murmur; yet he is sagacious,
prudent. I can only explain his gullibility on the ground of his innate snobbery;
he thinks it is the "thing to do," and does
it, and for this reason it is carried to
the most merciless lengths. To illustrate.
In the season of 1902, when I was at
Newport, Mr. , a conspicuous member of the New York smart set, known as
the "Four Hundred," lost his hat in some
way and rode to his home without one.
The ubiquitous reporter saw him, and
photographed him, bareheaded, and his
paper, the New York 1 gave a column the following day to a description
of the new fad of going without a hat.
Thus the fashion started, and the amazing spectacle was seen the summer following of men and women of fashion
riding and walking for miles without
hats. This is beyond belief, yet it attracted no attention from the common people,
who perhaps got the cast-off hats. Despite this, the Americans are hard-fisted,
shrewd, and as a nation a match for any
in the field of cunning.
I can explain it in no way than by assuming that it is due to overanxiety to
do the correct thing. Their own actors
satirize them, one especially taking them
off in a jingle which read, "It's English,
quite English, you know."    It is said of
61 ^VJJj*?*j J¥t*lWH-Wi MiffeM^ia
the men of the "Four Hundred" that,
they turn up their trousers when it rains
in London, special reports of the weather
being sent to the clubs for the purpose;
but I cannot vouch for this. I have seen
the trousers turned up in all weathers,
and found no one who could explain
why he did so. What can you make of
so contradictory a people?
The most remarkable feature of
America is the women. Divest your
mind of any woman you know in order
to prepare yourself to receive my impressions. To begin with, the American
woman ranks with her husband; indeed,
she is his superior in that all men render her homage and deference. It is
accounted a point of chivalry to stand as
the defender of the weaker sex. The
American girl is educated with the boys
in the public school, grows up with them,
and studies their studies, that she may be
their intellectual equal, and there is a
strong party, led by masculine women,
who contend for complete political rights
63 Tr
for women. In some States they vote,
and in nearly all may be elected to
boards of various kinds and to minor
offices. The Government departments
are filled with women clerks, and all,
from the lowest to the highest, are equal;
hence, it is a difficult matter to find a
native-born American who will become
a servant. They all aspire to be ladies,
and even aliens become salesladies, cook
ladies, laundry ladies. They are on their
dignity, and able to protect it from any
point of attack.
The lower classes are particularly uninteresting, for they have no individuality, and ape the class above them, the result being a cheap, ludicrous imitation
of a lady—an absurd abstraction. The
women of the lower classes who are unmarried work in shops, factories, and restaurants, often in situations the reverse
of sanitary; yet prefer this to good situa-
tions in families as servants, service being
beneath their dignity and tending to disturb the balance of equality. I doubt if
a native-born woman would permit herself to be called a servant; indeed, all the
servants are Irish, Swedes, Norwegians,
French, German, or negroes; the American girls fill the factories and the sweatshops of the great cities. When I refer
these girls to the lower classes it is
merely to classify them, as morally and
intellectually they are sometimes the
equal of the higher classes. The middle-
class women or girls are an attractive
type, well educated and often beautiful.
You obtain an idea of them in the great
shops and bazaars of the great cities,
where they fill every conceivable position and receive from five to six dollars
per week.
But it is with the higher classes that
you will be most interested, and when I
say that the American girl, the product
of the first families, is at once beautiful,
refined, cultured, charming physically
and mentally, I have but faintly expressed it; yet the most pronounced characteristic is their "daring," or temerity.
There is no word exactly to cover it. I
frequently met women at dinners. With
few exceptions, it appears impossible for
the American girl to take one of our
race, an Oriental, seriously. She can not
conceive that he may be a man of intelligence and education, and I can not better describe her than to sketch in its detail
a dinner to which I was invited by the
 at Washington.   The invitation was
engraved on a small card and read "The
 and Mrs. request the honor of
the presence of the   at dinner on
Wednesday at eight o'clock, etc."   I immediately sent my valet with an acceptance   and  a  basket  of  orchids   to   the
hostess, this being the mode among the
men who are au fait.
A week later I went to the dinner, and
was taken up to the dressing-room for
men, where I found a dozen or more, all
in the conventional evening dress I have
described—now with tails, it being a
ladies' affair. In a corner was a table,
and by it stood a negro, also in a dress
suit, identical with that of the others. I
was cordially greeted by a guest, who
said, "Let me introduce you to our
American minister to Ijiji and Zanzibar," and he presented me to the tall
negro, who was turning out some bottled "cocktail." I shook hands with
him, and he laughed, showing a set of
teeth like an elephant's tusks, and asked
me "what I would have." He was a
servant dealing out "appetizers," and
this was an American joke. The perpetrator of this joke was a minor official
67 9£53g£g33*3S223! =5555535335 MS
in the State Department, yet the entire
party apparently considered it a good
joke. Fortunately, I could disguise my
real feeling, and I merely relate the incident to give you an idea of the sense
of the proprieties as entertained by certain Americans. All that winter the
story of the American minister to Zanzibar was told at my expense without
Having been "fortified," and some of
the men took two or three "cocktails"
before they became "tuned up," we went
down to the drawing-room, where I paid
my respects to the host and hostess, who
stood at the end of a beautiful room. As
I approached the lady greeted me with
a charming smile, extending her gloved
hand almost on a direct line with her
face, grasping it firmly, not shaking it,
saying, "Very kind of you,  . Delighted, I am sure. General"—turning
to her husband—"you know the , of
course," and the general shook my hand
as he wouM a pump-handle, and whispered, "Our minister to Zanzibar treated
you all right, eh?" and with a wink indescribable, closing the right eye for a second, passed me on. The story had
got down-stairs before me. Americans
of the official class have, as a rule, an
absolute lack of savoir faire and social
refinement; lack them so utterly as to
become comical.
I now joined other groups of officers
and officials, there being about thirty
guests, half of whom were ladies. The
latter were all in what is termed full
dress. Why "full" I do not know. Here
you see one of the most extraordinary
features of American life—the dress of
women. The Americans make claim to
being among the most modest, the most
religious, the most proper people in the
world, yet the appearance of the ladies
at many public functions is beyond belief. All the women in this house were
beautiful and covered with jewels. They
wore gowns in the French court fashion,
with trains a yard or two in length, but
the upper part cut so low that a large
portion of the neck and shoulders was
exposed. I was embarrassed beyond expression; such an exhibition in China
could only be made by a certain class.
These matrons were of the highest respectability. This remarkable custom of
a strange people, who deluge China
with missionaries from every sect under
the sun and at home commit the grossest
solecisms, is universal, and not thought
of as improper. There was not much
opportunity for introspective analysis,
yet I could not but believe that such a
custom must have its moral effect upon a
nation in the long run.
It was a mystery to me how the upper
part of some of the gowns was supported. In some instances there was no
strap over the shoulders, the upper third
of these alabaster torsos and arms being
absolutely naked, save for a band of
pearls, diamonds, or other gems, of a size
rarely seen in the Orient; but I learned
later that the bone or steel corset, which
molds the form, constituted the support
of the gown. I gradually became habituated to" the custom, and did not notice
it.   My friend , an artist of repute,
explained that it all depends on the point
of view. "Our people are essentially
artistic," he said. "There is nothing
more beautiful than the divine female
contour; the American women realize
this, and sacrifice themselves at the altar
of art." Yet the Americans are such
jokers that exactly what my friend had in
mind it was difficult to arrive at.
7i EgBJgWWBM-WW ifflPW)
After being presented to these mar-
velously arrayed ladies we passed into
the dining-room, where I found myself
with one of the most charming of divinities, a woman famous for her wit and
literary success. I have described the
typical dinner, so I need not repeat my
words. My companion held the same
extraordinary attitude toward me that
all American women do; amused, half
laughing, refusing absolutely to take me
seriously, and probing me with so many
absurd questions that I was forced to
ask some very pointed ones, which only
succeeded in making her laugh. The
conversation proceeded something as follows: "I am charmed that I have fallen
to your Highness." "Equally charmed,"
I replied; "but my rank does not admit
the adjective you do me the honor to apply." "No?" was the answer. "Well,
I'll wager you anything that when the
butler pours your wine in the first course
he will call you Count, and in the next
Prince. 'You see, they become exhilarated as the dinner progresses. But tell
me, how many wives have you in China,
you look very wicked?" Imagine this!
But I rallied, and replied that I had none
—a statement received with incredulity.
Her next question was, "Have you ever
been a highbinder?" Ministers of grace!
and this from a people who profess to
know more than any nation on earth! I
explained that a highbinder ranked with
a professional murderer in this country,
whereupon she again laughed, and, turning to General , in a loud voice said,
"General, I have been calling the 	
a highbinder," at which the company
laughed at my expense. In China, as
you know, a guest or a host would have
killed himself rather than commit so
gross a solecism; but this is America.
73 I
The second course was oysters served
in the shell, and my companion, assuming that I had never seen an oyster
[ignorant that our fathers ate oysters
thousands of years before America was
heard of and when the Anglo-Saxon was
living in a cave], in a confidential and
engaging whisper remarked, "This, your
'Highness,' is the only animal we eat
alive." "Why alive?" I asked, looking
as innocent as possible; "why not kill
them?" "Oh, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will not
permit it," was her reply. "You see, if
they are swallowed alive they are immediately suffocated, but if you cut them
up they suffer horribly while the soup is
being served. How large a one do you
think you can swallow?" Fancy the
daring of a young girl to joke with a
man twice her age in this way! I did not
undeceive her, and allowed her to en-
lighten me on various subjects of contemporaneous interest. "It's so strange
that the Chinese never study mathematics," she next remarked. "Why, all our
public schools demand higher mathematics, and in the fourth grade you could
not find a child but could square the circle." |p 1
In this manner this volatile young
savage entertained me all through the
dinner, utterly superficial herself, yet
possessed of a singular sharpness and wit,
mostly at my expense; yet she was so
charming I forgave her. There is no
denying that you become enraged, insulted, chagrined by these women, who,
however, by a look, dispel your annoyance. I do not understand it. I found
that while an author of a novel she was
grossly ignorant of the literature of her
own country, yet she possessed that consummate American froth by which she
could convince the average person that
she was brilliant to the point of scintillation. I fancy that any keen, well-educated woman must have seen that I was
laughing at her, yet so inborn was her
belief that a Chinaman must be an imbecile that she was ever joking at my
expense. The last story she told me illustrates the peculiar fancy for joking these
women possess. I had been describing
a storm at Manchester-by-the-Sea and the
splendor of the ocean. "Did you see the
tea-leaves?" she asked, solemnly. "No,"
I replied. "That is strange," she said.
"I fear you are not very observing. After
every storm the tea-leaves still wash up
all along Massachusetts Bay," alluding
to the fact that loads of tea on ships were
tossed over by the Americans during the
quarrel with England before the Revolution.
The daring of the American woman
impressed me. This same lady asked me
riot to remain with the men to smoke
but go on the veranda with her, where
tete-a-tete she produced a gold cigarette-
case and offered me a cigarette. This I
found not uncommon. American women
of the fast sets drink at the clubs; an
insidious drink—the "high-ball"—is a
common one, yet I never saw a woman
under the influence of wine or liquor.
The amount of both consumed in America is amazing. The consumption per
head in the United States for beer alone
is ten and a half gallons for each of the
eighty millions. My friend, a prohibitionist, a member of a political party
whose object is to ruin the wine industry
of the world, put it stronger, and, backed
by facts, said that if the wine, beer,
whisky, gin, and alcoholic drinks of all
kinds and the tea and coffee drank yearly
by the Americans could be collected it
77 «4WMyflflpfln??TwyiwBSfflBfllffHffl
would make a lake two miles square and
ten feet deep. The alcoholic drinks alone
if collected would fill a canal one hundred miles long, one hundred feet wide,
and ten feet deep. May their saints
propitiate this insatiate thirst!
It would amuse you to hear the American women of literary tendency boast of
their schools, yet when educational facilities are considered the average American is ignorant. They are educated in
lines. Thus a girl graduate will speak
French with a good accent, or she will
converse in Milwaukee German. She
can prove her statement in conic sections
or algebra, but when it comes to actual
knowledge she is deficient. This is due
to the ignorance of the teachers in the
public schools and their lack of inborn
culture. No better test of the futility of
the American public-school education
can be seen than the average girl product
of the public school of the lower class
in a city like Chicago or New York.
Americans affect to despise Chinese
methods because the Chinese girl or boy
is not crammed with a thousand thoughts
of no relative value. China has existed
thousands of years; her people are happy;
happiness and content are the chief virtues, and if China is ever overthrown it
will be not because, as the Americans
put it, she is behind the times, but because the fever of unrest and the craze
for riches has become a contagion which
will react upon her. The development
of China is normal, that of America hysterical. Our growth has been along the
line of peace; that of other nations has
been entirely opposed to their own religious teaching, showing it to be farcical
and pure sophistry.
If I should tell you how many American   women   asked   me   why   Chinese
women bandage their feet you would be
amazed; yet every one of these submitted to and practised a deformity that has
seriously affected the growth and development of the race. I am no iconoclast,
but listen to the story of the American
woman who, with one hand, deforms her
waist in the most barbarous fashion,
while waving the other in horror at her
Chinese sister with the bound feet.
American women change their fashions
twice a year or more. Fashions are in
the hands of the middle classes, and the
highest lady in the land is completely at
their mercy; to disobey the mandates of
fashion is to become ridiculous. The
fashion is set in Paris and various cities
by men and women who have skilled
artists to draw patterns and paint pictures showing the new mode. These are
published in certain papers and issued by
millions, republished in America, and no
woman here would have the temerity to
ignore them. The laws of the Medes
and Persians are not more inexorable.
It is not a suggestion but an order, a
fiat, a command, so we see this free nation really truckling to or dominated by
a class of tradesmen. The object of the
change of style is to create a sale for new
goods, give work for laborers, and enable
the producer to reach the pocketbook of
the rich man; but the "fashions" have
become so fixed, so thoroughly a national feature, that they affect rich and
poor, and we have the spectacle of every
woman studying these guides and conforming to them with a servility beyond
belief. I once said to a lady, "The Chinese lady dresses richer than the American, but her styles have been very much
the same for thousands of years," but I
believe  she  doubted  it.     It would be
futile, indeed impossible, for me to ex-
plain the extravagances of American
fashion. Their own press and stage use
it as a standard butt. At the present time
tablets or plates of fashion insist upon
an outline which shows the form completely, the antipodes of a Chinese woman ; and this is intensified by some of the
women who, when in the street, grasp
the skirt and in an ingenious way wrap
it about so that the outline of the American divinity is sufficiently well defined
to startle one. Such a trick in China
could but originate with the demimonde, yet it is taken up by certain of
the Americans who are constantly seeking for variety. There can be no question but that the middle-class fashion
designer revenges himself upon the beau
monde. They will not receive him socially, so he forces them to wear his
Some years ago women were made to
wear "hoops," pictures of which I have
seen in old publications. Imagine, if you
can, a bird-cage three feet high and four
feet across, formed of bone of the whale
or some metal. This was worn beneath
the dress, expanding it on either side so
that it was difficult to approach a lady.
A later order was given to wear a camellike "hump" at the base of the vertebral
column, which was called the "bustle"
—a contrivance calculated to unnerve
the wearer, not to speak of the looker-on;
yet the American woman adopted it, distorted her body, and aped the gait of the
kangaroo, the form being called the
"Grecian bend." This lasted six months
or more; first adopted by the aristocracy,
then by the common people, and by the
time the latter had it well in hand the
bon ton had cast it aside and were trying
something else.
A close study of this mad  dressing
83 S55395&BGB8SEBS535
shows that there is always a "hump." At
one time it went all around; later appeared only behind, like an excrescence
on a bilbol-tree. At the present time the
designer has drawn his picture showing
it as a pendent bag from the "shirtwaist," like the pouch of the bird pelican.
A few years ago the designer, in a delirium, placed the humps on the tops of
the sleeves, then snatched them away and
tipped them upside down. Finally he
appeared to go utterly mad with the desire to humiliate the woman, and created a fashion that entailed dragging the
skirt on the ground from one to two
Did the American woman resent the
insult; did she refuse to adopt a custom not only disgusting but really filthy,
one that a Chinese lady would have
died rather than have accepted? By no
means; she seized upon it with the ardor
of a child with a new toy, and for a year
the side-paths of the great cities of the
country were swept by women's skirts,
clouds of dust following them. The
press took up the question, but without
effect; the fashion dragged its nauseating and frightful course from rich and
poor, and I was told by an official that it
was impossible to stop it or to force a
glimmer of reason into the minds of these
women. Then they gave it up, and
passed a law making it a statutory offense,
with heavy fines, for any one to "expectorate" on the sidewalk or anywhere
else where the saliva could be swept up
by the trains of the women of nearly all
classes who followed the fashion. The
American woman, as I have said, looks
askance at the footgear of the Chinese—
high, warm, dry, sanitary, yet revels in
creations which cramp the feet and distort the anatomy.    The shoes are made
of leather, inflexible, pointed; and to
enable them to deceive the men into the
belief that they have high insteps (a sign
of good blood here) the women wear
stilt-like heels, which throw the foot forward and elevate the heel from two to
three inches above the ground.
But all this is but a bagatelle to the
fashions in deformity which we find
among nearly all American women.
There are throughout the country numbers of large manufactories which make
"corsets" — a peculiar waist and lung
compressor, used by nearly every woman
in America. These men are as dogmatic
as the designers of the fashion-plates.
They also issue plates or guides showing
new changes, and the women, like sheep,
adopt them. The American woman believes that a narrow waist enhances her
beauty, and the corset-maker works upon
the national weakness and builds crea-
tions that put to shame and ridicule the
bound feet of the aristocratic Chinese
woman. The corset is a lace and ribbon-
decorated armor, made either of steel ribs
or whale-bone, which fits the waist and
clings to the hips. It is laced up, and
the degree of tightness depends upon the
will or nerve of the wearer. It compresses the heart and lungs, and wearing
it is a most barbarous custom—a telling
argument against the assumption of high
intelligence on the part of the Americans, who, in this respect, rank with the
flat-headed Indians of the northwest
American coast, whose heads I have seen
in their medical offices side by side with
a diagram showing the abnormal conditions caused by the corset.
A year ago the fiat went forth that
the American woman must have wide
hips. Presto! there appeared especially
devised machinery, advertised in all the
journals, accomplishing the condition
for those whom nature had not well
endowed. Now the dressmaker has decided that they must be narrow-hipped,
and half a million dollars in false hips,
rubber pads, and other properties are
cast aside. No extravaganza is too absurd
for these people who are abject slaves to
the whimsicalities of the designer, who
is a wag in his way, as has been well
shown in a story told to me. The designers for a famous man dressmaker in
Paris had a habit of taking sketches of
the latest creations to their club meetings.
One evening a clever caricaturist took a
caricature of a fashion showing a woman
with enormous and outlandish sleeves.
It created a laugh. "As impossible as it
is," said the artist, "I will wager a dinner
that if I present it seriously to a certain
fashion paper they will take it up." This
is said to be the history of the "big-
sleeve" fashion that really amazed the
Americans themselves.
The customs of women here are so at
variance with those of China that they
are not readily understood. Our ways
are those culled from a civilization of
thousands of years; theirs from one just
beginning; yet they have the temerity to
speak of China as effete and behind the
times. In writing, the women affect the
English round hand and write across
from left to right, and then beginning at
the left of the page again. They are
fond of perfumes, especially the lower
classes, and display a barbaric taste for
jewels. It is not uncommon to see the
wife of a wealthy man wear half a million pounds sterling in diamonds or
rubies at the opera. I was told that one
lady wore a $5,000 diamond in her garter.
The utterly strange and contradictory
customs of these women are best observed
89 nnnnfflSRQEBE
at the beach and bath. In China if a
woman is modest she is so at all times;
but this is not true with some Americans,
who appear to have the desire to attract
attention, especially that of men, by an
appeal to the beautiful in nature and
art; at least this is the impression the
unprejudiced looker-on gains by a sojourn in the great cities and fashionable
resorts. If you happen to be riding
horseback, or walking in the street with
a lady, and any accident occurs to her
costume whereby her neck, her leg, or
her ankle is exposed, she will be mortified beyond expression; yet the night
previous you might have sat in the box
with her at the opera, when her decollete
gown had made her the mark for hundreds of lorgnettes. Again, this lady the
next morning might bathe with me at
the beach and lie on the sand basking in
the sun like a siren in a costume that
would arrest the attention of a St. Anthony.
Let me describe such a costume: A
pair of skin-tight black stockings, then a
pair of tights of black silk and a flimsy
black skirt that comes just to the knee;
a black silk waist, armless, and as low in
the neck as the moral law permits, beneath which, to preserve her contour, is
a water-proof corset. Limbs, to expose
which an inch on the street were a crime,
are blazoned to the world at Newport,
Cape May, Atlantic City, and other resorts, and often photographed and shown
in the papers. To explain this manifest
contradiction would be beyond the powers of an Oriental, had he the prescience
of the immortal Confucius and the divination of a Mahomet and Hilliel combined.
AMONG the many topics I have discussed with Americans, our alleged superstitions, or our belief in so-called
dragons, genii, ghosts, etc., seem to have
made the deepest impression. A charming American woman, whom I met at the
 Embassy at dinner, told me with seriousness that our people may be intelligent, but the fact that in San Francisco
and Los Angeles they at certain times
drag through the streets a dragon five
hundred feet long to exorcise the evil
spirits, showed that the Chinese were
grossly superstitious.. If I had told my
companion that she was the victim of a
thousand superstitions, she would have
taken it as an affront, because, according
to American usage, it is not proper to
dispute with a lady. The Americans are
the most superstitious people in the
world. They will not sit down to a dinner-table when there are thirteen persons. No hostess would attempt such a
thing, the belief being general that some
one of the guests would die within a
year. I was a guest at a dinner-party
when a lady suddenly remarked, "We
are thirteen." Several of the guests were
evidently much annoyed, and the hostess,
a most pleasing woman, apologized, and
replied that she had invited fourteen, but
one guest had failed her. It was apparent that something must be done, and
this was cleverly solved by the hostess
sending for her mother, who joined the
party, and the dinner proceeded. I do
not think all the guests believed in this
absurd superstition, but they were all
very uncomfortable.    I do not believe I
met a society woman in Washington or
New York who would walk through
a cemetery or graveyard at midnight
alone. I asked several ladies if they
would do this, and all were horrified at
the idea, though strongly denying any
belief in ghosts or spirits.
In nearly every American city one or
more houses may be found haunted by
ghosts, which Americans believe have
made the places so disagreeable that the
houses have been in consequence deserted. So well-defined is the superstition, and so recurrent are the beliefs
in ghosts and spirits, that the best-educated people have found it necessary to
establish a society, called the Society for
Psychical Research, in order to demonstrate that ghosts are not possible. I
believe I am not overstepping the bounds
when I say that this vainglorious people,
who claim to have the finest public-
school system in the world, are, considering their advantages, the most superstitious of all the white races. Out of
perhaps thirty men, whom I asked, not
one was willing to say he could pass
through a graveyard at night without
fear at heart, an undefined nervous feeling, due to innate superstition. The
middle-class woman who stumbles upstairs considers it to mean that she will
not marry. To break a mirror, or receive
as a present a knife, also means bad luck.
Many people wear amulets, safe-guards,
and good-luck stones. Several millions
of the Catholic sect wear a charm, which
they think will save them from sudden
death. All Catholics believe that some
of their churches own the bones of saints,
which have the power to give them
health and other good things. Many
Americans wear the seed of the horse-
chestnut,  and many others wear lucky
95 Tm.
coins. Belief in the luck of the four-leaf
clover, instead of that with three leaves,
is so strong that people will spend hours
in hunting for one. They are designed
into pins and certain insignia, and used
in a hundred other ways.
But more remarkable than all is the
old horseshoe superstition. I have seen
beautifully gowned ladies stop their
driver, descend from the carriage, and
pick up such a shoe and carry it home,
telling me that they never failed to pick
up one, as it brought good luck; yet this
lady laughed at our dragon! In the
country, horseshoes are commonly seen
over the doors of stables, and even of
houses. These same people once hung
women for witchcraft, and slaughtered
women for persisting in certain religious
beliefs. I had the pleasure of meeting
a well-known man, who stated that he
had the power of the "evil eye."    In-
numerable people believe the paw of an
animal called the rabbit to contain sovereign good luck. They carry it about,
and can buy it in shops. Indeed, I
could fill a volume, much less a letter,
with the absurd superstitions of these
people who send women to China to convert the "Heathen Chinee," who may be
"peculiar," as Mr. Harte states in his
poem; but the Chinaman certainly has
not the marvelous variety of superstitions
possessed by the American, who does not
allow cats about rooms where there are
infants, fearing that they will suck the
child's breath; who believe that certain
snakes milk cows, and that mermen are
possible. I stood in a tent last summer
at Atlantic City—a large seaside resort
—and watched a line of middle-class peo
ple passing to see a "Chinese mermaid,"
of the kind the Japanese manufacture so
cleverly.   It was to be seen on the water.
97 nmt
All, so far as I could judge, accepted it
as real. So much for the influence of
the American public school, where physiology is taught. CHAPTER  VI
ONE feature of American life is so
peculiar that I fear I can not present it
to you clearly, as there is nothing like
it under the sun. I refer to the newspapers. If such an institution should
appear in any Oriental country, or even
in Russia, many heads would fall to
the ground for treason or gross disrespect to the power of the throne. The
American must not only have the news
of his neighbor, but the news of the
world every hour in the day, and the
newspapers furnish it. In the villages
they appear weekly, in the towns daily,
in the great cities hourly, boys screaming
their names, shouting and yelling like
demons.   Yesterday beneath the window
99 I na^non
a boy screamed, "The Empress of China
elopes with her coachman!" I bought
the paper, in which a column was devoted to it.   Fancy this in Pekin. Shades
of !   I can not better describe these
papers than to say they have absolute
license as to what to print, this freedom
being a principle, but it is grossly abused
by blackmailers. The papers have no
respect for man, woman, or child, the
President or the Deity. The most flagrant attacks are made upon private persons. Rarely is an editor shot or imprisoned. The President may be called
vile names, his appearance may become
the butt of ridicule in opposition papers,
and cartoonists, employed at large salaries, draw insulting pictures of him and
his Cabinet. One would think that the
way to obtain patronage of a person
would be to praise him, but this would
be considered an orientalism.   The real
way to secure readers in America is to
abuse, insult, and outrage private feelings, the argument being that people wifl
buy the journal to see what is said about
them. All the American press is not
founded upon this system of virtual
blackmail. There are respectable, papers, conservative and honorable; but I
believe I am not overstating it when I
say that every large city has at least one
paper where the secrets of a family and
its most sacred traditions are treated as
lawful game.
The actual heads of papers have often
been men of high standing, as Horace
Greeley, Henry J. Raymond, E. L. God-
kin, Henry Watterson, the late Charles
A. Dana, James Gordon Bennett, and
William Cullen Bryant. But in the
modern newspaper the man in control is
a managing editor, whose tenure of office
depends upon his keeping ahead of all AS  A  CHINAMAN   SAW   US
others. The press, then, with its telegraphic connection with the world, with
its. thousands of readers, is a power, and
in the hands of a man of small mind becomes a menace to civilization and easily
drifts into blackmail. This is displayed
in a thousand ways, especially in politics.
The editor desires to obtain "influence,"
the power to secure places for his favorites, and, if he is slighted, he intimates
to the men in power, "Appoint my candidate or I will attack you." This is a
virtual threat. In this way the editor
intimidates the office-holder. I was informed by a good authority of two journals of standing in America which
he knew were started as "blackmailing
sheets"; and certainly the license of the
press is in every way diabolical, a result
of the American dogma of free speech.
When one arrives in America he is met
with  dozens  of  representatives  of  the
102 m
■ •
press, who ask a thousand and one personal and impertinent questions, which,
if one does not answer, one is attacked
in some insidious way. One man I know
refused to listen to a very importunate
newspaper man, and was congratulating
himself on his escape, when on the following day an article appeared in the
paper giving several libelous pictures of
him, the object being to show that he
had nothing to say because he was mentally deficient. He appealed to the editor, but was told that his only recourse
was to sue. As one walks down the
gangplank of a ship he may become the
mark for ten or fifteen cameras, which
photograph him without permission, and
whose owners will "poke fun" at his resistance.
As a news-collecting medium the press
of the United States is a magnificent organization.    At  breakfast  you   receive
the news of the whole world—social, diplomatic, criminal, and religious. Meetings of- Congress and stories of private
life are alike all served up, fully illustrated with pictures of the people and
events. A corner is devoted to children,
another to women, another to religious
Americans, and a little sermon is
preached. Then there are suggestive
pictures for the man about town, recipes
for the cook, weather reports for the
traveler, a story for the romancer, perhaps a poem, and an editorial page,
where ideas and theories are promulgated and opinions manufactured on all
subjects, ready made for adoption by
the reader, who in many instances has
his thinking done for him. I made a
test of this, and asked a number of men
for their opinion on a certain subject,
and then guessed the name of their favorite paper, and in most instances was
correct. They all claimed that they took
the paper because it agreed with their
political ideas; but I am confident that
the reverse is true, the paper having insidiously trained them to adopt its view.
Here we see where the power of one man
or editor comes in, and worse yet, a
nation which acquires this "newspaper
habit," this having some one to think for
it by machinery, as it were, will lose its
mental power, its facility in analysis. I
made bold to suggest this to a prominent
man, but he merely laughed. As a whole,
the American newspapers are valuable;
they are the real educators of the people,
and have a vast influence. For this reason there should be some restriction imposed on them.
AT a dinner at Manchester in the summer I had as my vis-a-vis a delightful
young American, who, among other
things, said to me: "It is astonishing to
me that so many of your people live
long, considering the ignorance of your
doctors." I assured her that this was
merely her point of view, and that we
were well satisfied with our doctors or
physicians. I wished to retaliate by telling my fair companion a story I had
heard the day previous. An American
physician operated upon a man and removed what he called a "cyst," which he
displayed with some pride to a doctor of
another school. "Why, man," said the
106 ■■HUH
latter, "that isn't a cyst; it's the man's
kidney!" |     |     ~
The Americans have made rapid advances in medicine and surgery, and they
have some extraordinary physicians.
From two to four years of study completes the education of some of the doctors, and hundreds are turned out every
year. Some are of the old and regular
school of medicine, but others are called
homeopathic, which means that they
give small doses of the more powerful
medicines. Then there are those who
practise in both schools. Indeed, in no
other field does ignorance, superstition,
credulity, and lack of real education display itself as among the American doctors or healers. I believe I could fill a
volume by the mere enumeration of the
diabolical and absurd nostrums offered
by knaves to heal men who profess to
hold in ridicule the Chinese doctors.   I
mention but a few, and when I tell you,
as a truth beyond cavil, that the most extraordinary of these healers, the most
impossible, have the largest following,
you can see what I mean by the credulity
of the people as a whole. Christian Science doctors have a following of tens of
thousands. They combine so-called science with religion; leave their God to
cure them at long or short range through
the medium of so-called agents. The
head of this faction is an ignorant but
clever woman, who has turned the heads
of perhaps thirty-three and a third per
cent of the American women whom she
has come in contact with.
Then come the faith curists, who rely
upon faith alone. You simply are to
think you will get well. Of course, many
die from neglect. As an illustration of
the credulity of the average American,
a Christian Science healer was once treat-
ing a sick woman from a distant town,
and finally the patient died. When the
bill was presented the husband said,
"You have charged for treatment two
weeks after my wife died." It was a
fact that the healer had been treating the
woman after she was buried, the husband having failed to give notice of the
death. One would have expected the
"healer" to be thrown into confusion,
but far from it; she merely replied, "I
thought I noticed a vacancy."
Next come the musical curists, who
listen to thrills of sound, a big organ
being the doctor. Then there is the
psychometric doctor, who cures by spirits. The spirit doctor cures in the same
way. The palmist professes to point out
how to avoid the ills of life. Magnetic
I healers have hundreds of victims in every
city. Their advertisements in the journals of all sorts are of countless kinds.
Some cure at short hand, some miles distant from the patient. They are equaled
in numbers by the hypnotists, or hypnotic
doctors, who profess to throw their patients into a trance and cure them by suggestion. I heard of one cure in which
the guileless American is made to lie in
an open grave; this is called "the return
to nature." Again, patients are cured
by being buried in hot mud or in hot
sand. I have seen a salt-water cure,
where patients were made to remain in
the ocean ten hours a day. The plain
water cure has thousands of followers,
with hospitals and infirmaries, where the
patient is bathed, soaked, filled, washed,
and plunged in water and charged a high
Then there is the vegetarian cure, no
meat being eaten; and there are the meat
eaters, who use no vegetables.   There are
over fifty thousand masseurs and osteo-
paths in the country, who cure by baths
and rubbing. You may have a bath of
milk, water, electricity, or alcohol, or a
bath of any description under the sun,
which is guaranteed to cure any and all
ailments. Perhaps the most extraordinary curists are the color doctors. They
have rooms filled with blue and other
colors, in whose rays the patient victim
or the victim patient sits, "like Patience
on a monument." I could not begin to
give you an enumeration of the various
kinds of electric cures; they are legion.
But the most amazing class comprises
the patent-medicine men, who are usually not doctors at all, but buy from
some one a "cure" and then advertise it,
spending in one instance which I investigated one million dollars a year.
Every advantageous wall, stone, or cliff
in  America will be  posted.    You  see
the name at every turn,  and the  gul-
lible Americans bite,  chew,  and swallow.
It is not overstating facts when I say
that three-fifths of the people buy some
of these patent nostrums, which the real
medical men denounce, showing that the
masses of the people are densely ignorant, the victims of any faker who may
shout his wares loud enough. In China
such a thing would be impossible; the
block would stop the practise; but, my
dear   ,   the   Americans   assure   me
China is a thousand years behind the
times, for which let us be devoutly thankful! I have not enumerated a tenth of
the kinds of doctors who prey upon these
unfortunate people. There are companies of them, who guarantee to cure anything, and skilfully mulct the sick of
their last penny. There are retreats for
the unfortunate, farms for deserted infants, and homes for unfortunate women
carried on by villains of both sexes.
There are traveling doctors who go from
town to town, who cure "while you wait,"
and give a circus while talking and selling their cure; and in nine cases out of
ten the nostrum is an alcoholic drink disguised.
In no land under the sun are there so
many ignorant blatant fakers preying on
a people, and in no land do you find so
credulous a throng as in America, yet
claiming to represent the cream of the
intelligence of the world; they are so
easily led that the most impossible person, if he be a good talker, can go abroad
and by the use of money and audacity
secure a following to drink his salt water,
paying a dollar a bottle for it and sing
his praises. Such a doctor can secure the
names and pictures of judges, governors
of States, senators, congressmen, prominent men and women, officers of the vol-
unteer army, artists, actors, singers—in
fact, prominent people of all kinds will
provide their pictures and give | testimonials, which are blazonly published.
These same people go to Chinese drug
shops and laugh at the "heathen" drugs,
and wonder why the Chinaman is alive.
America has a body of physicians and
surgeons who are a credit to the world,
modest, conscientious, and with a high
sense of honor, but they are as a dragon's
tooth in a multitude to the so-called
"quacks," who take the money of the
masses and prey upon them, protected in
many cases by the law. No one profession so demonstrates the abject credulity
of the great mass of Americans as that of
One other incident may further illustrate the jokes these so-called doctors play
upon the common people.    In a country town was  a  "quack"  doctor,  who
114 i
professed to be a "head examiner," giving people charts according to their
"bumps," a fad which has many followers. "This, ladies and gentlemen," said
the lecturer, holding out a small skull,
"is the skull of Alexander the Great at
the age of six. Note the prominent brow.
This [holding up a larger skull] is the
same at the age of ten. This [holding
out another] at the age of twenty-one;
[then stepping out to the front of the
^stage] this is the complete skull of Alexander at the time of his death." All of
which appeared to be accepted in good
Of the best physicians in America one
can not say enough in praise. I was
most impressed by their high sense of
honor. They have an agreement which
they call their "ethics," by which they
will not advertise or call attention to
their learning.   Consequently, the lower
and ignorant classes are caught by the
blatant chaff of the patent-medicine
venders and the quack doctors. What
the word "quack" means in this sense I
do not quite know; literally, it is the cry
of the goose. The "regular doctor" will
not take advantage of any medicine he
may discover, or any instrument; all
belongs to humanity, and one doctor becomes famous over another by his success
in keeping people from dying. The
grateful patient saved, tells his friends,
and so the doctor becomes known. In
all America I never heard of a doctor
that acted on the principle which holds
among our doctors, that the best way to
cure is to watch the patient and keep him
well, or prevent him from being taken
sick. The Americans, in their conceit,
consider Chinese doctors ignorant fakers;
yet, so far as I can learn, the death-rate
among the Chinese, city for city, coun-
116 ~:^
sa   mi t
try for country, is less than among Americans. The Chinese women are longer
lived and less subject to disease. In
what is known as New England, the
oldest well-populated section of the country, people would die out were it not for
the constant accession of immigrants. On
the other hand, the Chinese constantly increase, despite a policy of non-intercourse
with foreigners. The Americans have,
in a civilization dating back to 1492, already begun to show signs of decadence,
and are only saved by constant immigration. China has a civilization of thousands of years, and is increasing in population every day, yet her doctors and
their methods are ridiculed by the Americans. The people have many sayings
here, one of which is, "The proof of the
pudding lies in the eating." It seems
applicable to this case.
One finds it difficult to learn the language fluently because of a peculiar second language called "slang," which is in
use even among the fashionable classes.
I despair of conveying any clear idea of
it, as we have no exact equivalent. As
near as I can judge, it is first composed
by professional actors on the stage. Some
funny remark being constantly repeated,
as a part of a taking song, becomes slang,
conveying a certain meaning, and is at
once adopted by the people, especially
by a class who pose as leaders in all
towns, but who are not exactly the best,
but charming imitations of the best, we
may say.   To illustrate this "jargon," I
took a drive with a young lady at Manchester—a seaside resort. Her father
was a man of good family, an official, and
she was an attendant at a fashionable
school. The following occurred in the
conversation.   Her slang is italicized:
Heathen Chinee: "It is very dull this
week, Miss ."
Young lady, sententiously: "Bum."
Heathen Chinee: "I hope it will be
less bum soon."
Young lady: "It's all off with me all
right, if it don't change soon, and dont
you forget it!"
Heathen Chinee: "I wish I could do
Young lady: "Well, you'll have to get
a move on you, as I go back to school
to-morrow; then there'll be something
Heathen Chinee: "Have you seen	
Young lady: "Yes, and isn't he a
peach? Ah, he's a peacharina, and don't
you forget it!"
Young lady (passing a friend) : "Ah,
there! why so toppy? Nay, nay, Pauline" this in reply to remarks from a
friend; then turning to me, "Isn't she a
jim dandy? Say, have you any girls in
China that can top her?"
These are only a few of the slang expressions which occur to me. They are
countless and endless. Such a girl in
meeting a friend, instead of saying good-
morning, says, "Ah, there," which is the
slang for this salutation. If she wished
to express a difference of opinion with
you she would say, "OA, come off." This
girl would probably outgrow this if she
moved in the very best circle, but the
shop-girl of a common type lives in a
whirl of slang; it becomes second nature,
while the young men of all classes seem
120 H
to use nothing else, and we often see the
jargon of the lowest class used by some
of the best people. There has been compiled a dictionary of slang; books are
written on it, and an adept, say a "rough"
or "hoodlum," it is said can carry on a
conversation with nothing else. Thus,
"Hi, cully, what's on?" to which comes
in answer, "Hunki dori." All this means
that a man has said, "How do you do,
how are you, and what are you doing?"
and thus learned in reply that everything
is all right. A number of gentlemen were
posing for a lady before a camera. "Have
you finished?" asked one. "Yes, it's all
off" was the reply, "and a peach, I
think." It is unnecessary to say that
among really refined people this slang is
never heard, and would be considered a
gross solecism, which gives me an opportunity to repeat that the really cultivated Americans, and they are many, are
among the most delightful and charming
of people.
They have strange habits, these Americans. The men chew tobacco, especially
in the South, and in Virginia I have seen
men spitting five or six feet, evidently
taking pride in their skill in striking a
"cuspidore." In every hotel, office, or
public place are cuspidores—which become targets for these chewers. This is
a national habit, extraordinary in so enlightened a people. So ridiculous has it
made the Americans, so much has been
written about it by such visitors as
Charles Dickens, that the State governments have determined to take up the
"spitting" question, and now there is a
fine of from $10 to $100 for any one spitting in a car or on a hotel floor. Nearly
all the "up-to-date" towns have passed
anti-spitting laws.    Up to this time, or
even during my college days in Amer-
ica, this habit made walking on the sidewalk a most disagreeable function, and
the interior of cars was a horror. Is not
this remarkable in a people who claim
so much? In the South certain white
men and women chew snuff—a gross
In the North they also have a strange
custom, called chewing gum. This gum
is the exudation from certain trees, and
is manufactured into plates and sold in
an attractive form, merely to chew like
tobacco, and young and old may be seen
chewing with great velocity. The children forget themselves and chew with
great force, their jaws working like
those of a cow chewing her cud, only
more rapidly; and to see a party of three
or four chewing frantically is one of the
"sights" in America, which astonishes
the Heathen Chinee and convinces him
that, in the slang of the country, "there
are others" who are peculiar. There are
many manufactories of this stuff, which
is harmless, though such constant chewing can but affect the size of the muscles
of the jaw if the theory of evolution is to
be believed; at least there will be no
atrophy of these parts.
In New England, the northeastern
portion of the country, this habit appeared to be more prevalent, and I asked
several scientific persons if they had
made any attempt to trace the history of
the habit or to find anything to attribute
it to. One learned man told me that he
had made a special study of the habit,
and believed that it was merely the modern expression in human beings of the
cud chewing of ruminating mammals,
as cows, goats, etc. In a word, the gum-
chewing Americans are trying to chew
their cud as did their ancestors.     Any
habit like this is seized upon by manu-
facturers for their personal profit, and
every expedient is employed to induce
people to chew. The gum is mixed
with perfumes, and sold as a breath purifier; others mix it with pepsin, to aid
the digestion; some with something else,
which is sold on ships and excursion-
boats as a cure or preventive for seasickness, all of which finds a large sale
among the credulous Americans, who by
a clever leader can be made to take up
any fad or habit.
The Americans have a peculiar habit
of "treating"; that is, one of a party will
"treat" or buy a certain article and distribute it gratuitously to one or ten people. A young lady may treat her friends
to gum, ice-cream, soda-water, or to a
theater party. A matron may treat her
friends to "high-balls" or cocktails at
the club.   The man confines his "treats"
to drinks and cigars.    Thus five or six
Americans may meet in a club or barroom for the sale of liquors. One says,
"Come up and have something;" or
"What will you have, gentlemen; this is
on me;" or in some places the treater
says, "Let's liquor," and all step up, the
drinks are dispensed, and the treater
pays. You might suppose that he was deserving of some encomium, but not at
all; he expects that the others will take
their turn in treating, or at least this is
the assumption; and if the party is engaged in social conversation each in turn
will "treat," the others taking what they
wish to drink or smoke. There is a code
of etiquette regarding the treat. Thus,
unless you are invited, it would be bad
form among gentlemen to order wine
when invited to drink unless the "treater"
asks you to have wine; he means a drink
of whisky, brandy, or a mixed drink, or
you may take soda or a cigar, or you may
refuse. It is a gross solecism to accept
a cigar and put it in your pocket; you
should not take it unless you smoke it on
the spot.
Drinking to excess is frowned upon by
all classes, and a drunkard is avoided and
despised; but the amount an American
will drink in a day is astonishing. A
really delightful man told me that he did
not drink much, and this was his daily
experience: before breakfast a champagne cocktail; two or three drinks during the forenoon; a pint of white or red
wine at lunch; two or three cocktails in
the afternoon; a cocktail at dinner, with
two glasses of wine; and in the evening
at the club several drinks before bedtime! This man was never drunk, and
never appeared to be under the influence
of liquor, yet he was in reality never
actually sober;  and he is a type of a
large  number in  the  great cities  who
constitute what is termed the "man about
The' Americans are not a wine-drinking people. Whisky, and of a very excellent quality, is the national drink,
while vast quantities of beer are consumed, though they make the finest red
and white wines. All the grog-shops are
licensed by the Government and State—
that is, made to pay a tax; but in the
country there is a political party, the
Prohibitionists, who would drive out all
wine and liquor. These, working with
the conservative people, often succeed in
preventing saloons from opening in certain towns; but in large cities there are
from one to two saloons to the block in
the districts where they are allowed.
Taking everything into consideration,
I think the Americans a temperate people. They organize in a thousand directions to fight drinking and other vices, PECULIARITIES   AND   MANNERISMS
and millions of dollars are expended
yearly in this direction. A peculiar
quality about the American humor is
that they joke about the most serious
things. In fact, drink and drinking afford thousands of stories, the point of
which is often very obscure to an alien.
Here is one, told to illustrate the cleverness of a drinker. He walked into a bar
and ordered a "tin-roof cocktail." The
barkeeper was nonplussed, and asked
what a tin-roof cocktail was. "Why, it's
on the house." I leave you to figure it
out, but the barkeeper paid the bill.
The ingenuity of the Americans is shown
in their mixed drinks. They have cocktails, high-balls, ponies, straights, fizzes,
and many other drinks. Books are written on the subject. I have seen a book
devoted entirely to cocktails. Certain
papers offer prizes for the invention of
new drinks.   I have told you that, all in
129 •^
all, America is a temperate country, especially when its composite character is
considered; yet if the nation has a curse,
a great moral drawback, it is the habit
of drinking at the public bar.
130 ■-■  ■■
ONE of the best-known American authors has immortalized the Chinaman in
some of his verses. It was some time before I understood the smile which went
around when some one in my presence
suggested a game of poker. I need not
repeat the poem, but the essence of it is
that the "Heathen Chinee is peculiar."
Doubtless Mr. Harte is right, but the
Chinaman and his ways are not more
peculiar to the American than American
customs and contradictions are to the
Chinaman. If there is any race on the
earth that is peculiar, it is the "Heathen
Yankee," the good-hearted, ingenuous
product of all the nations of the earth—
black, red, white, brown, all but "yel-
131 SK
low." Imagine yourself going out to
what they call a "stag" dinner, and having an officer of the ranking of lieutenant
shout, "Hi, John, pass the wine!"
Washington can not be said to be a
typical American city. It is the center
of official life, and abounds in statesmen
of all grades. I have attended one of
the President's receptions, to which the
diplomats went in a body; then followed
the army and navy, General Miles, a
good-looking, soldier-like man, leading
the former, and Admiral Dewey the latter, a fine body of men, all in full uniform, unpretentious, and quiet compared
to similar men in other nations. I
passed in line, and found the President,
standing with several persons, the center
of a group. The announcement and
presentation were made by an officer in
full uniform, and beyond this there was
no formality, indeed, an abundance of
republican simplicity; only the uniforms
saved it from the commonplace.
The President is a man of medium
size, thick-set, and inclined to be fleshy,
with an interesting, smooth face, eye
clear and glance alert. He grasped me
quickly by the hand, but shook it gingerly, giving the impression that he was
endeavoring to anticipate me, called me
by name, and made a pleasant allusion
to   of  . He has a high forehead and what you would term an intelligent face, but not one you would pick
out as that of a great man; and from a
study of his work I should say that he is
of a class of advanced politicians, clever
in political intrigue, quick to grasp the
best situation for himself or party; a man
of high moral character, but not a great
statesman, only a man with high ideals
and sentiments and the faculty of impressing the masses that he is great. The
«> 133 AS  A  CHINAMAN   SAW  US
really intelligent class regard him as a
useful man, and safe. It is a.curious fact
that the chief appreciation of President
McKinley, I was informed, came from
the masses, who say, "He is so kind to his
wife" (a great invalid) ; or "He is a
model husband." Why there should be
anything remarkable in a man's being
kind, attentive, and loyal to an invalid
spouse I could not see. Her influence
with him is said to be remarkable. One
day she asked the President to promote a
certain officer, the son of one of the
greatest of American generals, to a very
high rank. He did so, despite the fact
that, as an officer said, the army roared
with laughter and rage.
The influence of women is an important factor in Washington life. I was
presented to an officer who obtained his
commission in the following manner:
Two very attractive ladies in Washing-
ton were discussing their relative influence with the powers that be, when one
remarked, "To show you what I can do,
name a man and I will obtain a commission in the army for him." The other
lady named a private soldier, whose stupidity was a matter of record, and a few
days later he became an officer; but the
story leaked out.
President McKinley is a popular President with the masses, but the aristocrats
regard him with indifference. It is a
singular fact, but the Vice-President,
Mr. Roosevelt, attracts more attention
than the President. He is a type that is
appreciated in America, what they term
in the West a "hustler"; active, wideawake, intense, "strenuous," all these
terms are applied to him. Said an officer in the field service to me, "Roosevelt is playing on a ninety-nine-year run
of luck; he always lands on his feet at
the right time and place." "What they
call a man of destiny," I suggested.
"Yes," he replied; "he is the Yankee Oliver Cromwell. He can't help 'getting
there,' and he has a sturdy, evident honesty of purpose that carries him through.
A team of six horses won't keep him out
of the White House." This is the general opinion regarding the Vice-President, that while he is not a remarkable
statesman, he already overshadows the
President in the eyes of the public. I
think the secret is that he is young and a
hero, and what the Americans call an all-
around man; not brilliant in any particular line, but a man of energy, like
our .
He looks it. A smooth face, square,
determined jaw, with a look about the
eye suggestive that he would ride you
down if you stood in the way.    I judge
him to be a man of honor, high purpose,
as my friend said, of the Cromwell type,
inclined to preach, and who also has
what the Americans call the "get-there"
quality. In conversation Vice-President
Roosevelt is hearty and open, a poor
diplomat, but a talker who comes to the
point. He says what he thinks, and asks
no favor. He acts as though he wished
to clap you on the shoulder and be familiar. It will be difficult for you to
understand that such a man is second in
rank in this great nation. There are no
imposing surroundings, no glamor of
attendance, only Roosevelt, strong as a
water-ox in a rice-field, smiling, all on
the surface, ready to fight for his friend
or his country. Author, cowboy, stockman, soldier, essayist, historian, sportsman, clever with the boxing-gloves or
saber, hurdle-jumper, crack revolver and
rifle shot, naturalist and aristocrat, such
is the all-around Vice-President of the
United States—a man who will make a
strong impression upon the history of the
century if he is not shot by Socialists.
I have it from those who know, that
President McKinley would be killed in
less than a week if the guards about the
White House were removed. He never
makes a move without guards or detectives, and the secret-service men surround
him as carefully as possible. It would
be an easy matter to kill him. Like all
officials, he is accessible to almost any
one with an apparently legitimate object. Two Presidents have been murdered; all are threatened continually by
half-insane people called "cranks," and
by the professional Socialists, mainly foreigners. Both the President and Vice-
President are well-dressed men. President McKinley, when I was granted
an audience, wore a long-tailed black
"frock coat" and vest, light trousers, and
patent leather or varnished shoes, and
standing collar. The Vice-President was
similarly dressed, but with a "turn-down"
collar. The two men are said to make a
"strong team," and it is a foregone conclusion that the Vice-President will succeed President McKinley. This is already talked of by the society people at
Newport. "It is a long time," said a
lady at Newport, "since we have had a
President who represented an old and
distinguished family. The McKinleys
were from the ordinary ranks of life, but
eminently respectable, while Roosevelt
is an old and honored name in New
York, identified with the history of the
State; in a word, typical of the American
aristocracy, bearing arms by right of
I have frequently met Admiral Dewey,
already so well known in China. He is
a small man, with bright eyes, who al-
i39 W
ready shows the effects of years. Nothing could illustrate the volatile, uncertain character of the American than the
downfall of the admiral as a popular
idol. Here a "peculiarity" of the American is seen. Carried away by political
and public adulation, the old sailor's
new wife, the sister of a prominent politician, became seized with a desire to
make him President. Then the hero
lovers raised a large sum and purchased
a house for the admiral; but the politicians ignored him as a candidate, which
was a humiliation, and the donors of the
house demanded their money returned
when the admiral placed the gift in the
name of his wife; and so for a while the
entire people turned against the gallant
sailor, who was criticized, jeered at, and
ridiculed. All he had accomplished in
one of the most remarkable victories in
the history of modern warfare was for-
gotten in a moment, to the lasting disgrace of his critics.
One of the interesting places in Washington is the Capitol, perhaps the most
splendid building in any land. Here we
see the men whom the Americans select
to make laws for them. The looker-on
is impressed with the singular fact that
most of the senators are very wealthy
men; and it is s-aid that they seek the position for the honor and power it confers.
I was told that so many are millionaires
that it gave rise to the suspicion that they
bought their way in, and this has been
boldly claimed as to many of them. This
may be the treasonable suggestion of
some enemy; but that money plays a part
in some elections there is little doubt. I
believe this is so in England, where
elections have often been carried by
The American Senate is a dignified
i'i*>'JR,.?!?T?WT9JWim*!ByuiiJ|4 JIJUOWTSB
body, and I doubt if it have a peer in the
world. The men are elected by the
State legislatures, not by the people at
large, a method which makes it easy for
an unprincipled millionaire or his political manager to buy votes sufficient to
seat his patron. The fact that senators
are mainly rich does not imply unfitness,
but quite the contrary. Only a genius
can become a multi-millionaire in America, and hence the senators are in the
main bright men. When observing these
men and enabled to look into their
records, I was impressed by the fact that,
despite the advantages of education, this
wonderful country has produced few
really great men, and there is not at this
time a great man on the horizon.
America has no Gladstone, no Salisbury, no Bright. Lincoln, Blaine and
Sumner are names which impress me as
approximating greatness; they made an
142 w
impression on American history that will
be enduring. Then there are Frye,
Reed, Garfield, McKinley, Cleveland,
who were little great men, and following
them a distinguished company, as Hanna,
Conkling, Hay, Hayes, and others, who
were superior men of affairs. A distinctly great national figure has not appeared in America since Daniel Webster,
Henry Clay, and Rufus Choate—all men
too great to become President. It appears to be the fate of the republic not
to place its greatest men in the White
House, and by this I mean great statesmen. General Grant was a great man,
a heroic figure, but not a statesman. Lincoln is considered a great man. He is
called the "Liberator"; but I can conceive that none but a very crude mind,
inspired by a false sentiment, could have
made a horde of slaves, the most ignorant people on the globe, the political
143 IS5S
equals of the American people. A great
man in such a crisis would have resisted
popular clamor and have refused them
suffrage until they had been prepared to
receive it by at least some education.
Americans are prone to call their great
politicians statesmen. Blaine, Reed,
Conkling, Harrison were types of statesmen; Hanna, Quay, and others are politicians.
The Lower House was a disappointment to me. There are too many ordinary men there. They do not look great,
and at the present time there is not a
really great man in the Lower House.
There are too many cheap lawyers and
third-rate politicians there. Good business men are required, but such men can
not afford to take the position. I heard
a great captain of industry, who had been
before Congress with a committee, say
that he never saw "so many asses to-
gether in all his life"; but this was an
extreme view. The House may not compare intellectually with the House of
Commons, but it contains many bright
men. A fool could hardly get in, though
the labor unions have placed some vicious
representatives there. The lack of manners distressed a lady acquaintance of
mine, who, in a burst of indignation at
seeing a congressman sitting with his feet
on his desk, said that there was not a
man in Congress who had any social position in Washington or at home, which,
let us trust, is not true.
As I came from the White House some
days ago I met a delegation of native
Indians going in, a sad sight. In Indian
affairs occurs a page of national history
which the Americans are not proud of.
In less than four hundred years they
have almost literally been wiped from
the face of the earth; the whites have
waged a war of extermination, and the
pitiful remnant now left is fast disappearing. In no land has the survival of
the fittest found a more remarkable illustration. But the Indians are having
their revenge. The Americans long ago
brought over Africans as slaves; then, as
the result of a war of words and war of
fact, suddenly released them all, and, at
one fell move, in obedience to the hysterical cries of their people, gave these
ignorant semisavages and slaves the
same political rights as themselves.
Imagine the condition of things! The
most ignorant and debased of races suddenly receives rights and privileges and
is made the equal of American citizens.
So strange a move was never seen or
heard of elsewhere, and the result has
been relations more than strained and
always   increasing  between   the  whites
and the blacks in the South.   As voters
146 i     51
the negroes secure many positions in the
South above their old masters. I have
seen a negro j sitting in the Vice-President's chair in the United States Senate;
while white Southern senators were
pacing the outer corridors in rage and
disgust. There are generally one or more
black men in Congress, and they are
given a few offices as a sop. With one
hand the Americans place millions of
them on a plane with themselves as free
and independent citizens, and with the
other refuse them the privileges of such
citizenship. They may enter the army
as privates, but any attempt to make them
officers is a failure—white officers will
not associate with them. It is impossible
for a negro to graduate from the Naval
Academy, though he has the right to do
so. I was told that white sailors would
shoot him if placed over them.   Several
1 Probably Senator Bruce.
negroes have been appointed as students,
but none as yet have been able to pass the
examination. Here we see the strange
and contradictory nature of the Americans. The white master of the South
had the black woman nurse his children.
Thousands of mulattoes in the country
show that the whites took advantage of
the women in other ways, marriage between blacks and whites being prohibited. When it comes to according
the blacks recognition as social equals,
the people North and South resent even
the thought. The negro woman may
provide the sustenance of life for the
white baby, but I venture to say that any
Southern man, or Northern one for that
matter, would rather see his daughter die
than be married to a negro. So strong is
this feeling that I believe in the extreme
South if a negro persisted in his addresses
to a white woman he would be shot, and
no jury or judge could be found to convict the white man.
In the North the negro has certain
rights. He can ride in the street-cars, go
to the theater, enter restaurants, but I
doubt if large hotels would entertain him.
In the South every train has its separate
cars for negroes; every station its waiting-room for them; even on the streetcars they are divided off by a wire rail
or screen, and sit beneath a sign, which
advertises this free, independent, but
black American voter as being not fit to
sit by the side of his political brother.
This causes a bitter feeling, and the time
is coming when the blacks will revolt.
Already criminal attacks upon white
women are not uncommon, and a virtual
reign of terror exists in some portions of
the South, where it is said that white
women are never left unprotected; and
the negro, if he attacks a white woman,
is almost invariably burned alive, with
the horrible ghastly features that attend
an Indian scalping. The crowd carry
off bits of skin, hair, finger-nails, and
rope as trophies. In fact, these "burnings" are the most extraordinary features
in this "enlightened" country. The papers denounce them and compare the
people to ghouls; yet these same people
accuse the Chinese of being cruel, barbarous, insensible to cruelty, and "pagans." It is true we have pirates and
criminals, but the horrible features of
the lynchings in America during the last
ten years I believe have no counterpart
in the history of China in the last five
In Washington the servants are blacks;
irresponsible, childlike, aping the vanities of the white people. They are
"niggers"; the mulattoes, the illegitimate
offspring of whites,  form another and
totally distinct class of colored society,
and are the aristocracy. Rarely will a
mulatto girl marry a black man, and vice
versa. They have their clubs and their
functions, their professional men, including lawyers and doctors, as have the
white people. They present a strange
and singular feature. Despised by their
fathers, half-sisters, and brothers, denied any social recognition, hating their
black ancestry, they are socially "between the devil and the deep sea." The
negro question constitutes the gravest
one now before the American people.
He is increasing rapidly, but in the years
since the civil war no pure-blooded
negro has given evidence of brilliant attainments. Frederick Douglas, Senator
Bruce, and Booker T. Washington rank
with many white Americans in authorship, diplomacy, and scholarship; but
Douglas and Bruce were mulattoes, and
Booker Washington's father was an unknown white man. These men are held
in high esteem, but the social line has
been drawn against them, though Douglas married a white woman.
Balls are a feature of life in Washington. The women appear in full dress,
which means that the arms and neck are
exposed, and the men wear evening dress.
The dances are mostly "round." The
man takes a lady to the ball, and when
he dances seizes her in an embrace which
would be considered highly improper
under ordinary circumstances, but the
etiquette of the dance makes it permissible. He places his right arm around
her waist, takes her left hand in his, holds
her close to him, and both begin to move
around to the special music designed for
this peculiar motion, which may be a
"waltz," or a "two-step," or a "gallop,"
or a "schottische," all being different and
having different music or time, or there
may be various kinds of music for each.
At times the music is varied, being a
gliding, scooping, swooping slide, indescribable. When the dancers feel the approach of giddiness they reverse the
whirl or move backward.
Many Washington men have become
famous as dancers, and quite outshadow
war heroes. All the officers of the army
and navy are taught these dances at the
Military and Naval Academies, it being
a national policy to be agreeable to
ladies; at least this must be so, as the
men never dance together. To see several hundred people whirling about, as
I have seen them at the inaugural of the
President, is one of the most remarkable
scenes to be observed in America. The
man in Washington who can not dance
is a "wallflower"—that is, he never leaves
the wall.    There is a professional cham-
pion who has danced eight out of twenty-
four hours without stopping. A yearly
convention of dancing-school professors
is held. These men, with much dignity,
meet in various cities and discuss various
dances, how to grasp the partner, and
other important questions. Some time
ago the question was whether the "gent"
should hold a handkerchief in the hand
he pressed upon the back of the lady, a
professor having testified before the convention that he had seen the imprint of
a man's hand on the white dress of a lady.
The acumen displayed at these conventions is profound and impressive. Here
you observe a singular fact. The good
dancer may be an officer of high social
standing, but the dancing-teacher, even
though he be famous as such, is persona
non gratia, so far as society is concerned.
A professional dancer, fighter, wrestler,
cook, musician, and a hundred more are
not acceptable in society except in the
strict line of their profession; but a professional civil or naval engineer, an organist, an artist, a decorator (household),
and an architect are received by the elect
in Washington.
I have alluded to the craze for joking
among young ladies in society. At a dinner a reigning beauty, and daughter of
 , who sat next to me, talked with me
on dancing. She told me all about it,
and, pointing to a tall, distinguished-
looking man near by, said that he had received his degree of D. D. (Doctor of
Dancing) from Harvard University, and
was extremely proud of it; and, furthermore, it would please him to have me
mention it. I did not enlighten the
young lady, and allowed her to continue,
that I might enjoy her animation and superb "nerve" (this is the American slang
word for her attitude).   The gentleman
was her uncle, a doctor of divinity, who
was constitutionally opposed to dancing;
and I learned later that he had a cork leg.
Such are some of the pitfalls in Washington set for the pagan Oriental by
charming Americans.
Dancing parties, in fact, all functions,
are seized upon by young men and
women who anticipate marriage as especially favorable occasions for "courtship." The parents apparently have
absolutely nothing to do with the affair,
this being a free country. The girl "falls
in love" with some one, and the courtship
begins. In the lower classes the girl is
said to be "keeping company" with so
and so, or he is "her steady company." In
higher circles the admirer is "devoted to
the lady." This lasts for a year, perhaps
longer, the man monopolizing the young
lady's time, calling so many times a week,
as the case may be, the familiarity be-
tween the two increasing until they finally
exchange kisses—a popular greeting in
America. About now they become
affianced or "engaged," and the man is
supposed to ask the consent of the parents.
In France the latter is supposed to give
a dot; in America it is not thought of.
In time the wedding occurs, amid much
ceremony, the bride's parents bearing all
the expense; the groom is relieving them
of a future expense, and is naturally not
burdened. The married young people
then go upon a "honeymoon," the month
succeeding the wedding, and this is long
or brief, according to the wealth of the
parties. When they return they usually
live by themselves, the bride resenting
any advice or espionage from her husband's mother, who is the mother-in-law,
a relation as much joked about in America as revered in China.
Sometimes the "engaged" couple do
157 ^B^HffiBRRSESQ
not marry. The man perhaps in his long
courtship discovers traits that weary him,
aifci he breaks off the match. If he is
wealthy the average American girl may
sue him for damages, for laceration of
the affections. One woman in the State
of New York sued for the value of over
two thousand kisses her "steady company" had taken during a number of
years' courtship, and was awarded three
thousand dollars. The journal from
which I took this made an estimate that
the kisses had cost the man one dollar
and a half each! Sometimes the girl
breaks the engagement, and if presents
have been given she returns them, the
man rarely suing; but I have seen record
of a case where the girl refused to return the presents, and the man sued for
them; but no jury could be found to decide in his favor. A distinguished physician has written a book on falling in love.
It is recognized as a contagious disease;
men and women often die of it, and commit the most extraordinary acts when
under its influence. I have observed it,
and, all things considered, it has no advantages over the Chinese method of
attaining the marriage state. The wisdom of some older person is certainly
better than what the American would
call the "snap judgment" of two young
people carried away by passion. One
might find the chief cause of divorce in
America to lie in this strange custom.
I was invited by a famous wag last
week to meet a man who could claim
that he was the father of fifty-three children and several hundred grandchildren.
I fully expected to see the Gaikwar of
Baroda, or some such celebrity, but
found a tall, ministerial, typical American, with long beard, whom introduced to me as a Mormon bishop, who,
he said, had a virtual conge d'elire in
the Church, at the same time referring
to me as a Chinese Mormon with "fifty
wives."    I  endeavored  to  protest,  but
 explained to the bishop that I was
merely modest. The Mormons are a sect
who believe in polygamy. Each man has
as many wives as he can support, and the
population increases rapidly where they
settle. The ludicrous feature of Mor-
monism is that the Government has
failed to stop it, though it has legislated
against it; but it is well known that the
Mormon allows nothing to interfere with
his "revelations," which are on "tap" in
Utah.        ■   i m
I was much amused at the bishop's remarks. He said that if the American
politicians who were endeavoring to kill
them off would marry their actual concubines, and all Americans would do the
same, the United States would have a
Mormon majority the next day. The
bishop had the frailties and moral lapses
of prominent people in all lands at his
fingers' ends, and his claim was that the
whole civilized world was practising
polygamy, but doing it illegally, and the
Mormons were the only ones who had
the honor to legitimatize it.    The joke
was on  , who was literally bottled
up by the flow of facts from the bishop,
who referred to me to substantiate him,
which I pretended to do, in order totally
to crush , who had tried to make me
a party to his joke. The bishop, who invited me to call upon him in Utah, said
that he hoped some time to be a United
States senator, though he supposed the
women of the East could create public
sentiment sufficient to defeat him.
I once stopped over in Utah and visited the great Mormon Temple, and I
must say that the Mormon women are
far below the average in intelligence,
that is, if personal appearances count. I
understand they are recruited from the
lowest and most ignorant classes in Europe, where there are thousands of
women who would rather have a fifth of
a husband than work in the field. In the
language of American slang, I imagine
the Americans are "up against it," as the
country avowedly offers an asylum for all
seeking religious liberty, and the Mormons claim polygamy as a divine revelation and a part of their doctrine.
The bishop, I believe, was not a
bishop, but a proselyting elder, or something of the kind. The man who introduced me to him was a type peculiar to
America, a so-called "good fellow."
People called him by his first name, and
he returned the favor. The second time
I met him he called me Count, and
upon my replying that I was not a count
he said, "Well, you look it, anyway," and
he has always called me Count. He
knows every one, and every one knows
him—a good-hearted man, a spendthrift,
yet a power in politics; a remarkable
poker player, a friend worth knowing,
the kind of man you like to meet, and
there are many such in this country. *
I HAVE been a guest at the annual dinner of the  , one of the leading literary associations in America, and later
at a "reception" at the house of  ,
where I met some of the most charming
men and delightful women, possessed of
manners that marked the person of culture and the savoir faire that I have seen
so little of among other "sets" of well-
known public people. But what think
you of an author of note who knew absolutely nothing of the literature of our
country? There were Italians, French,
and Swedes at the dinner, who were
called upon to respond to toasts on the
literature of their country; but was I
164 E*~
wggm ^mm.
called upon? No, indeed. I doubt if in
all that entourage there was more than
one or two who were familiar with the
splendid literature of China and its antiquity.
But to come to the "shock." My immediate companion was a lady with just
a soupqon of the masculine, who, I was
told, was a distinguished novelist, which
means that her book had sold to the
limit of 30,000 copies. After a toast and
speech in which the literature of Norway and Sweden had been extolled, this
charming lady turned to me and said, "It
is too bad, , that you have no literature in China; you miss so much that is
enjoyed by other nations." This was too
much, and I broke one of the American
rules of chivalry—I became disputatious
with a lady and slightly cynical; and
when I wish to be cynical I always quote
Mr. Harte, which usually "brings down
the house." To hear a Chinese heathen
quote the "Heathen Chinee" is supposed
to be very funny.
I said, "My dear madam, I am surprised that you do not know that China
has the finest and oldest literature known
in the history of the world. I assure you,
my ancestors were writing books when
the Anglo-Saxon was living in caves." |
She was astonished and somewhat dismayed, but was not cast down—the clever
American woman never is. I told her
of our classics, of our wonderful Book
of Changes, written by my ancestor Wan
Wang in 1150 B. C. I told her of his
philosophy. I compared his idea of the
creation to that in the Bible. I explained
the loss of many rare Chinese books by
the piratical order of destruction by Emperor Che  Hwang-ti,  calling attention
1 As a frontispiece to this volume, the cover design used on one of
these old Chinese books is shown.
to the fact that the burning of the famous
library of Alexandria was a parallel. I
asked her if it were possible that she had
never heard of the Odes of Confucius,
or his Book of History, which was supposed to have been destroyed, but which
was found in the walls of his home one
hundred and forty years before Christ,
and so saved to become a part of the literature of China.
Finally she said, "I have studied literature, but that of China was not included." "Your history," I continued,
"begins in 1492; our written history begins in the twenty-third century before
Christ, and the years down to 720 B. C.
are particularly well covered, while our
legends run back for thousands of years."
But my companion had never heard of
the Shoo-King. It was so with the
Chun Tsew \ of Confucius and the Four
1 Spring and Autumn Annals.
Books—Ta-he-o,1 Chung-yung,2 Lun-yu?
Mang-tsze.4 She had never heard of
them. I told her of the invention of
paper by the Marquis Tsae several centuries before Christ, and she laughingly
replied that she supposed that I would
claim next that the Chinese had libraries
like those Mr. Carnegie is founding. I
was delighted to assure her that her assumption was correct, and drew a little
picture of a well-known Chinese library
founded two thousand years ago, the
Han Library, with its 3,123 classics, its
2,706 works on philosophy, its 2,528
books on mathematics, its 790 works on
war, its 868 books on medicine, 1,318
on poetry, not to speak of thousands of
I could not but wonder as I talked,
where were the Americans and their lit-
1 Great Learning.
3 Confucian Analects.
8 Doctrine of the Mean.
* Works of Mencius. THE   AMERICAN    IN    LITERATURE
erature when our fathers were reading
these books two thousand years ago!
Even the English people were wild savages, living in caves and huts, when our
people were printing books and encyclopedias of knowledge. I dwelt upon our
poetry, the National Airs, Greater Eulogies, dating back several thousand years.
I told her of the splendors of our great
versifier, Le-Tai-Pih; and I might have
said that many American poets, like
Walt Whitman, had doubtless read the
translations to their advantage. I had
the pleasure at least of commanding this
lady's attention, and I believe she was the
first American who deigned to take a
Chinaman seriously. The facts of our
literature are available, but only scholars
make a study of it, and so far as I could
learn not a word of Chinese literature is
ever taught in American schools, though
in the great universities there are facili-
ties, and the best educated people are
familiar with our history.
The American authors, especially novelists, who constitute the majority of
authors, are by no means all well educated. Many appear to have a faculty
of "story-telling," which enables them to
produce something that will sell; but
that all American authors, and this will
surprise you, are included among the
great scholars, is far from true. Some,
yes many, are deplorably ignorant in the
sense of broad learning, and I believe this
is a universal, national fault. If one
thing Chinese more than another is ridiculed in America it is our drama. I met
a famous "play-writer" at the dinner, who thought it a huge joke. I heard
that his income was $30,000 per annum
from plays alone; yet he had never heard
of  our  "Hundred  Plays  of  the  Yuen
Dynasty," which rests in one of his own
city libraries not a mile distant, and
he laughed good-naturedly when I remarked that the modern stage obtained
its initiative in China.
A listener did me the honor to question my statement that Voltaire's "UOr-
phelin de la Chine" was taken from
the Orphan of Chaou of this collection,
which I thought every one knew. All
the authors whom I met seemed surprised to learn that I was familiar with
their literature and could compare it
synthetically with that of other nations,
and even more so when I said that all
well-educated Chinamen endeavored to
familiarize themselves with the literature
of other countries.
I continually gain the impression that
the Americans "size us up," as they say,
and "lump" us with the "coolie." We
are "heathen Chinee," and it is incomprehensible that we should know any-
thing. I am talking now of the half-
educated people as I have met them.
Here and there I meet men and women
of the highest culture and knowledge,
and this class has no peer in the world.
If I were to live in America I should
wish to consort with her real scholars,
culled from the best society of New York,
Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, and other cities. In a word, the
aristocracy of America is her educated
class, the education that comes from association year after year with other cultivated people. I understand there is more
of it in Boston and Philadelphia than
anywhere; but you find it in all towns
and cities. This I grant is the real American, who, in time—several thousand
years perhaps—as in our own case, will
demonstrate the wonderful possibilities
of the human race in the West.
I would like to tell you something
172 m
about the books of the literary men and
,women I have met, but you will be more
interested in the things I have seen and
the mannerisms of the people. I was told
by a distinguished writer that America
had failed to produce any really great
authors—I mean to compare with other
nations—and I agreed with him, although appreciating what she has done.
There is no one to compare with the
great minds of England—Scott, Dickens,
Thackeray. There is no American poet
to compare with Tennyson, Milton, and
a dozen others in England, France, Italy,
and Germany; indeed, America is far
behind in this respect, yet in the making
of books there is nothing to compare with
it. Every American, apparently, aspires
to become an author, and I really think
it would be difficult to find a citizen of
the republic who had not been a contributor to some publication at some time,
or had not written a book. The output
of books is extraordinary, and covers
every field; but the class is not in all
cases such as one might expect. The
people are omnivorous readers, and "stories," "novels," are ground out by the
ton; but I doubt if a book has been produced since the time of Hawthorne that
will really live as a great classic.
The American authors are mainly collected in New York, where the great publishing houses are located, and are a fine
representative class of men and women,
of whom I have met a number, such as
Howells, the author and editor, and
Mark Twain, the latter the most brilliant
litterateur in the United States. This
will be discovered when he dies and is
safe beyond receiving all possible benefits from such recognition. Many men
in America make reputations as humorists, and find it impossible to divest their
more serious writings from this "taint,"
if so it may be called. They are not
taken seriously when they seriously desire it; a fact I fully appreciate, as I am
taken as a joke, my "pigtail," my "shoes,"
my "clothes," my way of speaking, all
being objects of joking.
The literary men have several clubs
in New York, where they can be found,
and many have marked peculiarities,
which are interesting to a foreigner.
Several artists affect a peculiar style of
dress to advertise their wares. One, it is
said, lived in a tree at Washington. It
is not so much with the authors as with
the methods of making books that I
think you will be interested. I met a
rising young author at a dinner in Washington who confided to me that the "book
business" was really ruined in America
by reason of the mad craze of nearly all
Americans to become writers.   He said
that he as an editor had been offered
money to publish a novel by a society
woman who desired to pose as an authoress. This author said that there were
in America a dozen or more of the finest
and most honorable publishing houses in
the world, but there were many more in
the various cities which virtually preyed
upon this "literary disease" of the people.
No country in the world, said my acquaintance, produces so many books every
year as America; so many, in fact, that
the shops groan with them and the forests of America threaten to give out, and
the supply virtually clogs and ruins the
market. So crazy are the people to be
authors and see themselves in print that
they will go to any length to accomplish
He cited a case of a carpenter, a man
of no education, who was seized with the
desire to write a book, which he did.   It
176 BH39 I '»-      BBE
was sent to all the leading publishers,
and promptly returned; then he began
the rounds of the second-class houses, of
which there are legion. One of the latter wrote him that they published on the
"cooperative" plan, and would pay half
the expenses of publishing if he would
pay the other half. Of course his share
paid for the entire edition and gave the
clever "cooperative" publisher a profit,
whether the edition sold or not. And my
informant said that at least twenty firms
were publishing books for such authors,
and encouraging people to produce
manuscripts that were so much "dead
wood" in the real literary field. He
later sent me the prospectus of several
such houses which would take any manuscript, if the author would pay for the
publishing, revise it and send it forth.
I was assured that thousands of books are
produced yearly by these houses, who are
really "printers," who advertise in various ways and encourage would-be authors, the idea being to get their money,
a species of literary "graft," according to
my literary informant, who assured me
I must not confuse such parasites with the
large publishers of America, who will
not produce a book unless their skilled
readers consider it a credit to them and
to the country, a high standard which I
believe is maintained.
Perhaps the most interesting phase of
literature in America is found in the
weekly and monthly magazines, of which
there is no end. Every sport has its "organ," every great trade, every society,
every religion; even the missionaries sent
to China have their organs, in which is
reported their success in saving us and
divorcing us from our ancient beliefs.
The  great  literary  magazines   number
perhaps a dozen, with a few in the front
rank, such as the Century, Harper's,
Scribner's, The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan,
McClure's, Dial, North American Re-,
view, Popular Science Monthly, Bookman, Critic, and Nation. Such magazines I conceive to be the universities of
the people, the great educators in art, literature, science, etc. Nothing escapes
them. They are timely, beautiful, exact,
thorough, scientific, the reflex of the best
and most artistic minds in America; and
many are so cheap as to be within the
reach of the poor. It is interesting to
know that most of these magazines are
sources of wealth, the money coming
from the advertisements, published as a
feature in the front and back. These notices are in bulk often more than the literary portion, and the rate charged, I was
told, from $100 to $1,000 per page for a
single printing.
The skill with which appeals are made
to the weaknesses of readers is well
shown in some of the minor publications
not exactly within the same class as the
literary magazines. One that is devoted
to women is a most clever appeal to the
idiosyncrasies of the sex: There are articles on cooking, dinners, luncheons, how
to set tables, table manners, etiquette
(one would think they had read Confucius), how to dress for these functions; and, in fact, every occupation in
life possible to a woman is dealt with
by an extraordinary editor who is a man.
Whenever I was joked with about our
men acting on the stage as women, I retorted by quoting Mr.  , the male
editor of the female , who is either a
consummate actor or a remarkably composite creature, to so thoroughly anticipate his audience. The mother, the
widow, the orphan, the young maiden,
the "old maid," are all taken into the con-
fidence of this editor, who in his editorials has what are termed "heart to
heart" talks.
I send you a copy of this paper, which
is very clever and very successful, and a
good illustration of the American magazine that, while claiming to be literature,
is a mechanical production, "machine
made" in every sense. One can imagine
the introspective editor entering all the
foibles and weaknesses of women in a
book and in cold blood forming a.department to appeal to each. I was informed
that the editors of such publications were
"not in business for their health," but for
money; and their energies are all expended on projects to hold present readers and obtain others. The more readers
the more they can charge the "advertiser" in the back or side pages, who here
illustrate their deadly corsets, their new
dye for the hair, their beauty doctors,
freckle eradicators, powders for the
toilet, bustles, and the thousand and one
things which shrewd dealers are anxious
to have women take up.
The children also have their journals
or "magazines." One in -New York
deals with fairies and genii, on the
ground that it is good for the imagination. Another, published in Boston, denounces the fairy-story idea, and gives
the children stories by great generals,
princes of the blood, captains of industry, admirals, etc.; briefly, the name of
the writer, not the literary quality of the
tale, is the important feature. There are
papers for babes, boys, girls, the sick and
the well.
The most conspicuous literary names
before the people are Howells, Twain,
and Harte, though one hears of scores of
novelists, who, I believe, will be forgotten in a decade or so. As I have said
182 u
^H I     ^Eff!
previously, I am always joked with
about the "Heathen Chinee." I have
really learned to play "poker," but I seldom if ever sit down to a game that some
one does not joke with me about "Ah
Sin." Such is the American idea of the
proprieties and their sense of humor; yet
I finally have come to be so good an
American that I can laugh also, for I am
confident the jokers mean it all in the
best of feeling.
There are in America a class of litterateurs who are rarely heard of by the
masses, but to my mind they are among
the greatest and most advanced Americans. They are the astronomers, geologists, zoologists, ornithologists, and
others, authors of papers and articles in
the Government Reports of priceless
value. These writers appear to me, an
outsider, to be the real safety-valves, the
real backbone of the literary productions
of the day. With them science is but a
synonym of truth; they fling all superstition and ignorance to the winds, and
should be better known. Such names as
Edison, Cope, Marsh, Hall, Young,
Field, Baird, Agassiz, and fifty more
might be mentioned, all authors whose
books will give them undying fame, men
who have devoted a lifetime to research
and the accumulation of knowledge; yet
the author of the last novel, "My Mule
from New Jersey," will, for the day,
have more vogue among the people than
any of these. But such is fame, at least
in America, where erudition is not appreciated as it is in "pagan" China.
At an assembly-room in New York I
met a famous American political "boss."
Many governors in China do not have
the same power and influence. I had letters to him from Senators and .
I expected to meet a man of the highest
culture, but what was my surprise to see
a huge, overgrown, uneducated Irishman, gross in every particular, who used
the local "slang" so fiercely that I had
difficulty in understanding him. He had
been a police officer, and I understand
was a "grafter," but that may have been
a report of his enemies, as he commanded
attention at the time of the election.
This man had a fund of humor, which
was displayed in his clapping me on the
back and calling me "John," introducing
me to a dozen or so of as hard-looking
men in the garb of gentlemen as I have
ever seen. I heard them described later
as "ward beetles," and they looked it,
whatever it meant. The "Boss" appeared much interested in me; said he
had heard I was no "slouch," and knew
I must have a "pull" or I would not be
where I am. He wished to know how
we run elections on "the Ho-Hang-Ho."
When I told him that a candidate for a
governmental office never obtained it
until he passed one of three very difficult literary examinations in our nine
classics, and that there were thousands
competing for the office, he was "paralyzed"—that is, he said he was, and volunteered the information that "he would
not be 'in it' in China." I thought so
myself, but did not say so.
I told him that the politicians in China
186 jB5?
were the greatest scholars; that the policy
of the Government was to make all offices,
competitive,   as   we   thus   secured   the
brightest, smartest, and most gifted men
for officials.    "Smart h !"  retorted
the "Boss." "Why, we've got smart men.
Look at our school-teachers. Them guys1
is crammed with guff,2 and passing examinations all the time; but there ain't
one in a thousand that's got sense enough
to run a tamale3 convention. The State
governor would get left here if all the
boys that wanted office had to pass an examination. We've got something like it
here," he said, "that blank Civil Service,
that keeps many a natural-born genius
out of office; but it don't 'cut ice with
me.' I'm the whole thing in the
Despite his rough exterior,   was
1 Slang for citizens. a Slang for information, facts.
3 Mexican hash in corn-husk.
a good-hearted fellow, as they say, no
rougher than his constituents, and I was
with him several days during a local election with a view to studying American
politics. Much of the time was spent in
the saloons of the district where the
"Boss" held out, and where I was introduced as a "white Chinee," or as a "white
Chink," and "my friend." I wish I had
kept a list of the drinks the "Boss" took
and the cigars he smoked per diem. Perhaps it is as well I did not; you would
not believe me. I was always "John" to
this crowd, that was made up of laboring
people in the main, of whom Irish and
Germans predominated. The "Boss"
was what they called a "bulldozer." If
a man differed with him he tried to talk
or drink him down; if it was an enemy
and he became too disputatious, he would
knock him out with his fist.   In this way
he had acquired a reputation as a "slug-
188 HE*   ■
ger," that counted for much in such an
assemblage, and he confided to me one
evening that it was the easiest way to
"stop talk," and that if he "laid down,"
the opposition would walk off with all his
"people." He was "Boss" because he was
the boss slugger, the best executive, the
best drinker and smoker, the best "persuader," and the best public speaker in
his ward. So you see he had a variety of
talents. In China I can imagine such a
man being beheaded as a pirate in a few
weeks; this would be as good an excuse
as any; yet men like this have grown and
developed into respectable persons in
New York and other cities.
"For ways that are dark and tricks that
are vain, the Heathen Chinee is peculiar," but I doubt if he is more so than
the political system of the United States,
where every man is supposed to be free,
but where a few men in each town own
everything and everybody politically.
The American thinks he is free, but he
has in reality no more freedom than the
Englishman; in fact, I am inclined to
think that the latter Is the freest of them
all, and I doubt if too much freedom is
good for man. Politics in America is a
profession, a trade, a science, a perfect
system by which one or two men run or
control millions. Politics means the attainment of political power and influence, which mean office. Some men are
in politics for the love of power, some for
spoils ("graft" they call it in slang), and
some for the high offices. In America
there are two large parties, the Republican and the Democratic. Then there
are the Labor, Prohibition (non-drinking), and various other parties, which,
in the language of politics, "cut no ice."
The real issues of a party are often lost
sight of.   The Republicans may be said
to favor a high tariff; the Democrats a
low tariff or free trade; and when there
is not sufficient to amuse the people in
these, then other reasons for being a Democrat or a Republican are raised, and a
platform is issued. Lately the Democrats
have espoused "free silver," and the Republicans have "buried" them. The
Democrats are now trying to invent some
new "platform"; but the Republicans
appear to have included about all the desirable things in their platform, and
hence they win.
In a small town one or two men are
known as "bosses." They control the situation at the primaries; they manage to
get elected and keep before the people.
Generally they are natural leaders, and
fill some office. When the senator comes
to town they "escort" him about and advise him as to the votes he may expect.
Sometimes the ward man is the postmas-
ter, sometimes a national congressman,
again a State senator; but he is always in
evidence, and before the people, a good
speaker and talker and the "boss." Every
town has its Republican and Democratic
"boss," always striving to increase the
vote, always striving for something. The
larger the city, the larger the "boss," until
we come to a city like New York, where
we find, or did find, Boss Tweed, who
absolutely controlled the political situation for years.
This means that he was in politics, and
manipulated all the offices in order to
steal for himself and his friends; this is
of public record. He was overthrown or
exposed by the citizens, but was followed
by others, who manipulated the affairs
of the city for money. Offices were sold;
any one who had a position either bought
it or paid a percentage for it. Gambling-
dens and other "resorts" paid large sums
192 1^,
to "sub-bosses," who become rich, and if
the full history of some of the "bosses" of
New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, or
any great American city could be exposed, it would show a state of affairs that
would display the American politician
in a dark light. Repeatedly the machinations of the politicians have been exposed,
yet they doubtless go on in some form.
And this is true to some extent of the
Government. The honor of no President has been impugned; they are men
of integrity, but the enormous appointing power which they have is a mere
form; they do not and could not appoint
many men. The little "boss" in some
town desires a position. He has been a spy
for the congressman or senator for years,
and now aspires to office. He obtains
the influence of the senator and the congressman, and is supported by a petition
of his friends, and the President names
him for the office, taking the senator for
his sponsor. If the man becomes a
grafter or thief, the President is attacked
by the opposition.
In a large city like New York each
ward will have its "boss," who will report
to a supreme "boss," and by this system,
often pernicious, the latter acquires absolute control of the situation. He names
the candidates for office, or most of them,
and is all powerful. I have met a number of "bosses," and all, it happened, were
Irish; indeed, the Irish dominate American politics. One, a leader of Tammany in New York, was a most preposterous person, well dressed, but not a
gentleman from any standpoint; ignorant so far as education goes, yet supremely sharp in politics. Such a man
could not have led a fire brigade in
China, yet he was the leader of thousands, and controlled Democratic New
York for years. He never held office, I
was told, yet grew very rich.
The Republican "boss" was a tall, thin,
United States senator. I was also introduced to him—a Mephistophelian sort of
an individual—to me utterly without any
attraction; but I was informed that he
carried the vote of the Republican party
in his pocket. How? that is the mystery. If you desired office you went to
him; without his influence one was impotent. Thousands of office-holders felt
his power, hated him, perhaps, but did
not dare to say it.
The "boss" controls the situation, gives
and "takes," and the other citizens get
the satisfaction of thinking they are a
free people. In reality, they are political
slaves, and the "boss," "sub-boss," and the
long line of smaller "bosses" are their
masters. Very much the same situation is
seen in national politics.    The party is
controlled by a "boss," and at the present
this personage is a millionaire, named
Hanna, said to be an honest, upright
man, with a genius for political diplomacy, a puller of wires, a maker of Presidents, having virtually placed President
McKinley where he is. This man I met.
Many of the politicians called him "Uncle Mark." He has a familiar way with
reporters. He is a man of good size,
with a face of a rather common type,
with very large and protruding ears, but
two bright, gleaming eyes, that tell of
genius, force, intelligence, power, and
executive talents of an exalted order. I
recall but one other such pair of eyes,
and those were in the head of Senator
James G. Blaine, whom I saw during my
first visit to America. Hanna is famous
for his bonhomie, and is a fine storyteller.    Indeed,  unless  a man can tell
stories he had better remain out of poli-
196 ■
tics, or rather he will never get into politics.
As an outsider I should say that the
power of the "boss" was due to the fact
that the best classes will have none of
him, as a rule (I refer to the ordinary
"boss"), and as a consequence he and his
henchmen control the situation. I think
I am not overstating the truth when I
say that every city in the United States
has been looted by the politicians of various parties. It is of public record that
Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, and
New York citizens have repeatedly risen
and shown that the city was being robbed
in the most bare-handed manner. Bribery and corruption have been found to
exist to-day in the entire system, and if
the credit of the republic stands on its
political morale this vast union of States
is a colossal failure, as it is being pillaged by politicians. Every "boss" has
14 197 Ill
what are termed "heelers," one function
of whom is to buy votes and do other
work in the interest of "reform." A
friend told me that he spent election day
in the office of a candidate for Congress
in a certain Western town, and the candidate had his safe heaped full of silver
dollars. All day long men were coming
and going, each taking the dollars to buy
votes. By night the supply was exhausted, and the man defeated. I
expressed satisfaction at this, but my
friend laughed; the other fellow who
won paid more for votes, he said. I was
told that all the great senatorial battles
were merely a question of dollars; the
man with the largest "sack" won.
On the other hand, there are senators
who not only never paid for a vote but
never expressed a wish to be elected.
The foreign vote—Italians and others—
are swayed by cash considerations; the
198 m
^SUHI       i^^^H
negroes are bought and sold politically.
The "bosses" handle the money, and the
senators consider it as "expenses," and
doubtless do not know that some of it has
been used to influence legislators. The
Americans have a remarkable network of
laws to prevent fraudulent voting. Each
candidate in some States is required to
swear to an expense account, yet the wary
politician, with his "ways that are dark,"
evades the law. The entire system, the
control of the political fortunes of 80,-
000,000 Americans, is in the hands of a
small army of political "bosses," some of
whom, had they figured as grafters in
"effete" China, would have been beheaded without mercy.
A FUNDAMENTAL idea with the American is to educate children. This is carried to the extent of making it an offense
not to send those above a certain age to
school, while State or town officers,
called "truant police," are on the alert to
arrest all such children who are not in
school. The following was told me by
a Government official in Washington,
who had obtained it from a well-known
literary man who witnessed the incident.
The literary man was invited to visit a
Boston school of the lower grade, where
he found the teacher, an attractive woman, engaged in teaching a class of "youngsters," the progeny of the working class.
After   the  visitor  had   listened   to   the
recitations for some time, he remarked
to the teacher, "How do you account for
the neatness and cleanliness of these children?" "Oh, I insist upon it," was the
reply. "The Board of Education does not
anticipate all the desiderata, but I make
them come clean and make it a part of
the course;" then rising and tapping on
the table, she said, "Prepare for the sixth
exercise." All the children stood up.
"One," said the teacher, whereupon each
pupil took out a clean cloth handkerchief. "Two," counted the teacher, and
with one concerted blast every pupil blew
his or her nose in clarion notes. "Three,"
came again after a few seconds, and the
handkerchiefs were replaced. At "four"
the student body sank back to their seats
without even smiling, or without having
"cracked a smile." You could search the
world over and not find a prototype.   It
goes without saying that the teacher was
a wit and wag, but the lesson of handkerchiefs and their use was inculcated.
Education is a part of the scheme to
make all Americans equal. A more
splendid system it is impossible to conceive. Every possible facility is afforded
the poorest family to educate their children. Public schools loom up everywhere, and are increased as rapidly as
the children, so there is no excuse for
ignorance. The schools are graded, and
there is no expense or fee. The parents
pay a tax, a small sum, those who have no
children being taxed as well as those who
have many. There are schools to train
boys to any trade; normal free schools
to make teachers; night schools for working boys; commercial schools to educate
clerks; ship schools to train sailors and
engineers. Then come the great universities, in part free, with all the splendid
paraphernalia, some being State institu-
202 Z3&*
tions and others memorials of dead millionaires. Then there are the great technical schools, as well as universities
(where one can study Chinese, if desired). There are schools of art, law,
medicine, nature, forestry, sculpture;
schools to teach one how to write, how to
dress, how to eat, and how to keep well;
schools to teach one how to write advertisements, to cultivate the memory, to
grow strong; schools for shooting, boxing, fencing; schools for nurses and
cooks; summer schools; winter schools.
And yet the American is not profoundly educated. He has too much
within his reach. I have been distinctly
surprised at crude specimens I have met
who were graduates of great universities. The well-educated Englishman,
German, and American are different
things. The American is far behind in
the best sense, which I am inclined to
think is due to the teachers. Any one can
get through a normal school and become
a teacher who can pass the examination,
and I have seen some singular instances.
If all the teachers were obliged to pass
examinations in culture, refinement, and
the art of conveying knowledge, there
would be a falling of pedagogic heads.
The free and over education of the poor
places them at once above their parents.
They are free, and the daughter of a
ditch laborer, whose wife is a floor scrubber, upon being educated is ashamed of
her parents, learns to play the piano, apes
the rich, and is at least unhappy.
The result is, there remains no peasant
class. The effect of education on the
country boy is to make him despise the
farm and go to the city, to become a clerk
and ape the fashions of the wealthy at
six or eight dollars a week.   He has been
educated up to the standard of his "boss"
204 ^
and to be his equal. The overeducation
of the poor is a heartless thing. The
women vie with the men, and as a result
women graduates, taking positions at
half the price that men demand, crowd
them out of the fields of skilled labor,
whereas the man, not crowded out,
should, normally, marry the girl. In
power, strength, and progress the American nation stands first in the world, and
all this may be due to splendid educational facilities. But this is not everything. There result strife, unhappiness,
envy, and a craze for riches. I do not
think the Americans as a race are as
happy as the Chinese. Religious denominations try to have their own schools,
so that children shall not be captured by
other denominations. Thus the Roman
Catholics have parochial schools, under
priests and sisters, and colleges of various grades.   They oppose the use of the
Bible in the public school, and in some
States their influence has helped to suppress its use. The Quakers, with a following of only eighty thousand, have colleges and schools. The Methodists have
universities, as have the Presbyterians,
Episcopalians, and others. All denominations have institutions of learning.
These schools are in the hands of clergymen, and are often endowed or supported
by wealthy members of the denomination.
A remarkable feature of American life
is the college of correspondence. A man
or firm advertises to teach by correspondence at so much a month. Many
branches are taught, and if the student is
in earnest a certain amount of information can thus be accumulated. Among
the people I have met I have observed a
lack of what I term full, broad education, producing a well-rounded mind,
which is rare except among the class that
stands first in America—the refined, cultured, educated man of an old family,
who is the product of many generations.
The curriculum of the high school in
America would in China seem sufficient
to equip a student for any position in
diplomatic life; but I have found that a
majority of graduates become clerks in
a grocery or in other shops, car conductors, or commercial travelers, where
Latin, Greek, and other higher studies
are absolutely useless. The brightest
educational sign I see in America is the
attention given to manual training. In
schools boys are taught some trade or are
allowed to experiment in the trades in
order to find out their natural bent, so that
the boy can be educated with his future
in view. As a result of education, women
appear in nearly every field except that
of   manual   labor   on   farms,   which   is
performed   in   America   only  by   alien
The richest men in America to-day,
the multi-millionaires, are not the product of the universities, but mainly of
the public schools. Carnegie, Rockefeller, Schwab, men of the great steel combine, the oil magnates, the great railway
magnates, the great mine owners, were
all men of limited education at the beginning. Among great merchants, however, the university man is found, and
among the Harvard and Yale graduates,
for example, may be found some of
America's most distinguished men. But
Lincoln, the martyred President, had the
most limited education, and among public men the majority have been the
product of the public school, which suggests that great men are natural geniuses,
who will attain prominence despite the
lack of education.    The best-educated
208 ■
men in America to my mind jire the graduates of West Point and Annapolis, the
military and naval academies. These two
institutions are extremely rigorous, and
are open to the most humble citizens.
They so transform men in four years that
people would hardly recognize them.
The* result is a highly educated, refined,
cultivated, practical man, with a high
sense of honor and patriotism. If America would have a school of this kind in
every State there would be no limit to
her power in two decades.
Despite education, the great mass of
the people are superficial; they have a
smattering of this and that. An employer of several thousand men told the
Superintendent of Education of the District of Columbia that he had selected
the brightest boy graduate of a high
school for a position which required only
a knowledge of simple arithmetic.   The
graduate proved to be totally unfit for
the position and was discharged. Later
he became the driver of a team of horses.
America abounds in thousands of educational institutions, yet there is not one
so well endowed that it can say to the
world we wish no more money. It is
singular that some multi-millionaire'does
not grasp this opportunity to donate one
hundred millions to a great national
school or university, to be placed at
Washington, where the buildings would
all be lessons in architecture of marble
after the plans of a world's fair. Instead they leave a few thousands here and
a few there. Carnegie, the leading millionaire, gives libraries to cities all over
the States, each of which bears the name
of the giver. The object is too obvious,
and is cheap in conception. In San
Francisco some years ago a citizen tried
the same experiment.    He proposed to
give the city a large number of fountains.
When they were finished each one was
seen to be surmounted by his own statue.
A few were put up, how many I do not
recall, but one night some citizens waited
on a statue, fastened a rope to its neck,
and hauled it down. So peculiar are the
Americans that I believe if Mr. Carnegie
should place his name on ten thousand
libraries, with the object of attaining undying fame, the people, by a concerted
effort, would forget all about him in a
few decades. Such an attempt does not
appeal to any side of the American character. I have known the best Americans,
but Mr. Carnegie has not known the best
of his own countrymen or he would not
attempt to perpetuate his memory in this
AMONG the most delightful people I
have met in America are the army and
navy officers, graduates of West Point
and Annapolis, well-bred, cultivated
men, patriotic, open-hearted, and chivalrous. They are like our own class of
men who answer to the American term
of gentlemen. I am not going to tell you
of their splendid ships, their training or
uniform, but of a few of their idiosyncrasies. There is no dueling in the
army. If two men have trouble at the
academies they fight it out with bare
fists, and in the army settle it in some
other way, dueling being forbidden.
Owing to the fact that all men are equal
in America, the attitude of the officer to
212 nn     '»*
the civilian is entirely different. If a
civilian strikes an officer in Germany the
latter will cut him down with his saber
and be protected in it, but here the man
would be arrested and treated as any
other criminal; in a word, the officer is
a servant of the people, and stands with
them. He has been trained to treat his
men well, and they respect him. But
while the officer is the people's servant
and his salary in some part is paid by the
humblest grocer's clerk, laborer, or artisan, the officer has a social position
which, in the eyes of himself and the
Government, makes him the social equal
of kings and emperors; and here we see
a strange fact in American life.
When a garrison is ordered to a town
or city, people call to pay their respects.
The grocer, who in being taxed aids in
paying the officer's salary, is persona non
gratia.    The grocer, milk dealer, shoe
15 213 AS  A  CHINAMAN   SAW  US
dealer, and retail dealers in general might
call, but would not be received on cordial
terms. The wife of the colonel might return the call of the grocer's wife if she
made a good appearance, but the latter
would under no circumstances be invited
to a function at the camp or post. The
undertaker, the dentist, the ice-man, the
retail shoe man are under the ban. Certain kinds of business appear to have
certain social rights. Thus a dentist
would not be received, but the man who
manufactures dentists' tools may be a
leader among the "Four Hundred."
Strange complications arise. A young
officer fell in love with a sergeant's
daughter, and married her, as I learned
from a well-known officer at the Army
and Navy Club. This was serious
enough, as there could be no intimacy
between a commissioned and non-commissioned officer. The young man and
214 MFF^^^^^S
his bride were ordered to a distant post,
where the story of course followed them.
All went well for a time. The bride sank
her social inferiority in the rank of her
husband, and the ladies of the post called
on her, not as the sergeant's daughter but
as the officer's wife. The mother of the
bride finally decided to visit her, and
thus became the guest of the officer, who
was a lieutenant. Under ordinary circumstances it was the duty Of all the
ladies to call on the mother of the lieutenant's wife; but it so happened that she
was the wife of a sergeant, and hence to
call was impossible.   No one did so.
The young wife felt herself insulted,
and the ubiquitous reporter seized upon
the situation, until it was taken up by
every paper in the country. The pictures
of mother, daughter, and sergeant were
shown, and columns were written on the
subject.   Almost to a man the editors de-
nounced what they termed the snobbishness of the army, and denounced West
Point for producing snobs, claiming that
the ladies of the post, had they been real
ladies, would have called on a respectable
laundress even if she had been the sergeant's wife. I refer to this to show the
intricacies of American etiquette. The
point is that nearly all the editors who
knew anything, believed that the ladies
were right, but did not dare to say so on
account of the fact that the majority of
their readers felt themselves the equals
of the army officer; hence the cry of
snobbery that went whistling over the
land. The lieutenant committed a gross
mistake in marrying the girl; he married
out of his class. But in America I am
told there are no classes, and I am constantly forgetting this.
In the army there are several black
regiments • (negroes).    They have black
216 *»*
chaplains, and attempts have been made
to find black officers, but the social difficulties make this impossible, though the
blacks are free and independent citizens
and help pay the salaries of the white
men. It would be impossible to force
white soldiers to.admit to their regiment
black soldiers. No white man would permit a black officer to be placed over him,
even by inference.
In the navy we see an entirely different situation. On every ship are negroes
in the crew, sleeping on the same gun-
decks with the white men, and no fault
is found; but a negro officer would be
an impossibility. Though several have
been sent to the Naval Academy, none
have "gone through." Even in these almost perfect institutions favoritism exists.
To illustrate: the son of a prominent
man was about to fail in his examinations, when the powers that be passed the
word that he must pass, nolens volens.
The professor in whose class he was and
who had found him deficient resented
this, and when he learned that it was the
intention to pass the boy over his head
he resigned and was ordered to his regiment. The young man was graduated,
entered the army and, aided by influence,
jumped many of his class men and finally
acquired rank at the request of the wife
of one of the Presidents. This was a very
exceptional case, the result of strong national sentiment that favored the father.
The management of the army does not
seem rational to a foreigner. To preserve the idea of republican simplicity
and equality, army men are not rewarded
with orders, as in other countries, which
is a great injustice. Few officers, though
veterans of many wars, wear medals, and
when they do they were not given as rewards for bravery, but are merely corps
badges, showing that the officer belongs
to this or that army corps. But if an
officer does a brave deed he may be promoted several points over his fellows, as
brave as he, but who did not have the
same opportunity to show bravery. Ill
feeling may be the result. Every man
is expected to be brave, and extraordinary
examples of bravery are recognized in
other nations by the presentation of
medals, the possession of which creates
no ill feeling. The actual head of the
army is the Secretary of War, a political
appointment, an adviser selected by the
President, who, usually, has no military
knowledge. This officer gives all the orders to the general of the army, and, as
in a recent instance, a vast amount of
friction has been the result. Intense feeling was occasioned by the elevation of
certain officers, who were supposed to
possess remarkable executive ability.
Civil war veterans at the Army and
Navy Club complained to an acquaintance of mine that when they arrived at
the seat of war in Cuba they found their
superior officers to be, first, General
Wheeler, an ex-Confederate, against
whom they had fought in the civil war;
second, Colonel Wood, who had been a
contract army surgeon under nearly all
of them; and finally, Lieutenant-Colonel
Roosevelt, who was a babe in arms when
they were fighting the battles of the civil
war. This story serves to illustrate the
point that political "pulls" and favoritism
are rampant in the service, and are the
cause of much disgust among officers.
General Funston affords an illustration
that has incensed many officers. Funston
was an unknown man, who captured
Aguinaldo by a clever ruse, a valuable
and courageous  piece of work,  which
should have been rewarded with a dec-
220 ^^g
oration and some promotion: but he was
jumped over the heads of hundreds,
landing at the top of the army in one
"fell swoop." I judge the policy of the
Government to be to promote officers so
soon as they show evidence of extraordinary capability.
It would be an easy matter for any
one to obtain photographs of plans and
sketches of American fortifications. One
of my friends hired a photographer to
get up what he called a scrap-book of
pictures to take home to his family in
Tokio in order to "entertain his people."
The photographer sent him a wonderful
series, showing the forts overlooking New
York harbor, interiors and exteriors;
and those in Boston, Portland, Baltimore,
Fort Monroe, Key West, and San Francisco were also obtained. Photographs of
guns and charts, which can be purchased
everywhere, were included,  as well as
Government reports. If Japan ever goes
to war with the Yankees my friend's
scrap-book will be in demand. I do not
believe the American War Department
makes any secret of the forts. They are
open to the public. Even if a kodak
were not permitted, pictures could be secured. My friend said his photographer
had a kodak which he wore inside his
vest, the opening protruding from a button-hole. All he had to do was to stand
in front of an object and pull a cord.
Such a kodak is known as a "detective
camera." There are several designs, all
very clever. I once saw my face reproduced in a paper, and until I heard about
this camera it was a mystery how the
original was obtained, as I had not
"posed" for any one.
The possibility of America going to
war with another nation is remote. From
what I see of the people and their tre-
222 HI
ar m
mendous activity they could not be defeated by any nation or combination of
nations.    They are like Senator  's
Malay game-cock, of which the senator
has said that there is only one trouble
with him—the bird never knows when
he is licked, and if he does he does not
stay licked. America could raise an
army of ten or twelve millions of the
finest fighters in the world for defense
against any combination, and she would
win. The senator told me a story, which
illustrates the situation. One of the
American men-of-war in a Malay port
had an old American eagle aboard as a
mascot and pet. When the men got liberty they went ashore with the eagle, and
showed it as an "American game-cock."
The natives wanted to arrange a match,
and finally one was planned, the eagle
cock against a black Malay.   When the
fight began, the black cock put its spur
into the eagle several times, the latter
doing nothing but eye the cock, first with
one eye, and then with the other. Once
more the black cock stabbed the eagle,
bringing blood, whereupon the eagle
leaned forward, and as the cock thrust
out its head, seized it with one claw,
pressed it to the ground, and with the
other tore off its head and began to eat
it. This is what would happen if almost
any nation really and seriously went to
war with the United States. But the
country was ill prepared for the war with
Spain. If Cervera had reached the New
England coast he could have shelled Boston and then New York.
Service in America is not compulsory.
It is merely made popular, and as a result, every part of the country has State
militia of splendidly drilled men, ready
to be called on at a moment's notice.
They receive no pay, considering it an
224 BB
honor to be in the militia service. In the
regular army old names are perpetuated.
The great generals and admirals have
sent sons into the service. Our Government would do well to send young men
to West Point and Annapolis. The Japanese did this for years, and received the
best of their ideas from those sources.
There is but one thing in the way.
Chinamen are tabooed in America, and
doubtless would reach no farther than
the port of entry. The only way to get
in now wotdd be for a new minister or
diplomat to bring over ten or a dozen
young men as members of the suite and
then distribute them among the schools
and universities — a humiliation that
China will probably resent.
Our trade with America is extremely
valuable to her. The cotton, flour, and
other commodities we import represent
a vast sum, and I believe if we refused
at once to buy anything from America
we could make our own terms in less
than two years. This could be accomplished very gradually. The Americans
would find it out first through their consuls, who are all instructed to report on
every possible point of vantage that can
be taken in China by their merchants.
They would report a decreased demand.
American merchants would then demand
an explanation from the Department of
State, and finally we could announce that
we preferred to buy from our friends,
American treatment of the Chinese being
inimical to good feeling. Knowing the
American business men as I do, you
could count on a wail coming up from
them. An appeal would be made to
Congress through representatives and
senators, the American business men demanding that the "Chinese matter" be
arranged upon a "more liberal basis."
When you touch the pocketbook of "Uncle Sam" you reach his earthquake center; yet for defense, for the preservation
of the national honor, this people will
spend untold sums. The American Government bond is the best security in the
world. It is founded on the rock of
honor and patriotism.    And there is no
repudiation like that of , and none
like the pretended one of 1 We have
our faults, and it is well to recognize
them; but I never saw them until I mingled with tne English and Americans.
There is of course a large foreign element in the American army—thousands
of Irish and Germans; but this does not
signify, as I learn that in the State of
Massachusetts, the stronghold of Americans, the Irish hold a third of the official positions,  the native-born Yankees
1 China has  twice repudiated  its  Government  bonds within four
about one-fourth. This is particularly
exasperating to old families in New England, as it is notorious that the Irish come
directly from the very dregs of the poverty-stricken peasantry — the "bog-trotters." I was much impressed by the
high standard of honor in the army and
navy, and am told that it is the rarest
of occurrences for a regular army officer
to commit a crime or to default. This is
due to the training received at the military and naval schools, where young men
are placed on their honor.
IT is seldom that I have been complimented in America, but a lady has told
me that she envied our "art sense." She
said the Chinese are essentially artistic,
that the cheapest thing, the most ordinary
article, is artistic or beautiful. I wished
that I could return the compliment, but
a strict observance of the truth compels
me to say that the reverse is true in
America. If one go into a Chinese shop
and ask for any ordinary article, it will
be found artistic. If one go into an
American shop, say a hardware "store,"
there will not be found an article that
would be considered decorative, while
everything  in  a  Chinese  shop   of  like
character would fall under this head.
16 229 AS  A  CHINAMAN   SAW   US
The conclusion is that the Chinese are
artistic, while the Americans are not.
The reason lies in the fact that the Chinese are homogeneous,, while the Americans are a mixed race, that is injured by
the continual introduction of baser elements. If immigration could be stopped
for fifty years, and the people have a
chance to acquire "oneness," they might
become artistic. The middle class, however, is, from an artistic standpoint, a
horror; they have absolutely no art sense,
and the nouveaux riches are often as bad.
The latter sometimes place their money
in the hands of an agent, who buys for
them; but all at once a man may break
out and insist upon buying something
himself, so that in a splendid collection
of European names will appear some
artistic horror to stamp the owner as a
The Americans have not produced a
great painter. By this I mean a really
great artist, nor have they a great sculptor, one who is or has been an inspiration. But they have thousands of artists,
and many poor ones thrive in selling
their wares. You may see a man with
an income of thirty thousand dollars
having paintings on his walls that give
one the vertigo. The poor artist has
taken him in, or "pulled his leg," to use
the latest American slang. There are
some fine paintings in America. I have
visited the great collections in Boston,
New York, Philadelphia, Washington,
Chicago, and those in many private galleries, but the best of the pictures are always from England, France, Germany,
and other European countries. Old masters are particularly revered. Americans
pay enormous sums for them, but sometimes are deceived.
They have art schools by the hundred,
where they study from the nude and
from models of all kinds. There are
splendid museums of art, especially in
Boston and New York. The art interests
are particularly active, but not the people; there are a few art lovers only, the
people in the mass being hopeless.
Cheap prints, chromos, and other deadly
things are ground out by the million and
sold, to clog still deeper the art sense of
an inartistic people. They laugh at our
conventional Chinese art, but the extreme of conventionality is certainly better than some of the daubs I have seen
in American homes. Americans have
peculiar fancies in art. One is called Impressionist Art. As near as I can understand it, painters claim that while you
are looking at an object you do not really
see it all, you merely gain an impression; so they paint only the impression.
In a museum of art I was shown several
232 BBI W
rooms full of daubs, having absolutely
nothing to commend them, weird colors
being thrown together in the strangest
manner, without rhyme or reason, but
over which people went mad. The great
masters of Europe appeal to me strongly.
In America, marine painters attract me
the most, for example, Edward Moran,
who is a splendid delineator of the sea.
Bierstadt is a noble painter, and so is
Thomas Moran. There are half a hundred men who are fine painters, but half
a thousand men and women who think
they are artistic but who are not.
Americans have developed no individual architecture. You see semipagoda-
like effects in the East, and old English
houses in the South. They steal the latter and call them Colonial. They steal
the architecture of the Moors and call
it Mexican. They borrow Roman and
Grecian effects for great public build-
ings. At one time they went mad over
the French roof, or mansard. Nowhere
have I seen purely American architecture. The race is not possessed of sufficient unity. So all their art is from
abroad, and notably is French and English. They make broad effects, and
give them an American name; but they
are copied from the Dutch or Germans.
All the furniture designers in America are Europeans. You will find a
splendid house with a Chinese room,
having teak inlaid with ivory, etc.; a
Japanese room, a Moorish room, and
an Italian room, all splendidly decorated; but the family lives in an "American room," that is commonplace and
subversive of all art digestion and assimilation. The average middle-class
American knows absolutely nothing
about art; the lower classes so little that
their homes are hopeless. Knowing this,
234 §§§= ^•^pij^^^^^g
they are preyed upon by thousands of
foreign swindlers. There are hundreds
of articles manufactured in Europe to
sell to the American tourist. I have seen
Napoleonic furniture enough to load a
fleet. I can only compare it to the pieces
of the true cross and the holy relics of
the Catholics, of which there are enough
to fill the original ark which the Bible
tells the Americans landed on Mount
Ararat in a great flood.
The houses of the best people I have
told you about are as far removed from
the commonplace as the equator from
the poles. They are rich in conception,
sumptuous in detail, artistic in every way,
and filled with the art gems of the world.
But these people have descended from
refined people for several generations.
They are the true Americans, but make
up a small number compared to the inartistic whole.   I believe America recog-
nizes this, and with her stupendous
energy is doing everything to educate the
masses in art. They are building splendid museums; rich men give away millions. There are hundreds of art schools,
free to all, and art is taught in all the
schools. Fine monuments are placed in
public squares and parks, and beautiful
fountains and memorials in these and
other public places. Their buildings,
though foreign in design, are beautiful.
In Boston one may see marvelous work
in frescoes, etc., and in the Government
buildings at Washington. The Capitol,
while not American in design, is a
pile worthy of the great people who
erected it.
The questions I know you will wish
answered are, Whether this stupendous
aggregation of States is a success? Does
it possess advantages beyond those of the
Chinese Empire? Does it fulfil the expectations of its own people? Frankly,
I do not consider myself competent to
answer. I have studied America and the
Americans for many years during my
visits to this country and Europe, and
while I have seen many accounts of the
country, written after several months of
observation, I believe that no just estimate of the republican form of government can be formed after such experience. My private impression, however,
is that the republic falls far short of what
the men in Washington's time expected,
and it is also my private opinion that it
has not so many advantages as a government like that of England.
It is too splendid an organization to
be lightly denounced. The idea of the
equality of men is noble, and I would
not wish to be arraigned among its critics.
There is too much good to offset the bad.
I have been attempting to amuse you by
analyzing the Americans, pointing out
their frailties as well as their good qualities. I tell you what I see as I run, always, I hope, remembering what is good
in this spontaneous and open-hearted people. The characteristic claim of the
people is that the Government offers freedom to its citizens; yet every man is quite
as free in China if he behaves himself,
and he can rise if he possesses brains.
Any native-born citizen in the United
States may become the head of the na-
238 m
■nm-   -^m_
tion has he the courage of his convictions, the many accomplishments which
equip the great leader, and should the
hour and the man meet opportunity.
This is the one prize which distinguishes
America from England. The latter in
other respects offers exactly as much freedom with half the wear and tear; in
fact, tome the freedom of America is
one of her disadvantages. Every one
knows, and the American best of all, that
all men are not equal, never were and
never can be. Yet this false doctrine is
their standard, and they swear by it,
though some will explain that what is
meant is political freedom. Freedom accounts for the gross impertinence of the
ignorant and lower classes, the laughable
assumptions of servants, and the illogical
•pretenses of the nouveau riche, which
make America impossible to some people.    Cultivated Americans are as thor-
oughly aristocratic as the nobility of
England. There are the same classes
here as there. A grocer becomes rich and
retires or dies; his children refuse to associate with the families of other grocers; in a word, the Americans have the
aristocratic feeling, but they have no
peasant class; the latter would be, in their
own estimation, as good as any one. One
class, the lower and poorer, is arraigned
against the upper and richer, and the gap
is growing daily.
But this would not prove that the republic is a failure. What then? It is,
in the opinion of many of its clergymen,
a great moral failure. No nation in history has lasted many centuries after having developed the "symptoms" now
shown in the United States. I quote
their own press, "the States are morally
rotten," and you have but to turn to these
organs and the magazines of the past dec-
ade, which make a feature of holding
up the shortcomings of cities and millionaires, to read the details of the tragedy. Thieves — grafters — have seized
upon the vitals of the country. St. Louis,
Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, great
representative cities—what is their history? The story of dishonesty among
officials, of bribery, stealing, and every
possible crime that a man can devise to
wring money from the people. This is
no secret. It has all been exposed by the
friends of morality. City governments
are overthrown, the rascals are turned
out, but in a few months the new officers
are caught devising some new "grafting"
I have it from a prominent official that
there is not an honest State or city administration in America. What can a nation say when for years it has known that
a large and influential lobby has been
maintained to influence statesmen, a
lobby comprising a corps of "persuaders" in the pay of business men? How
do they influence them? The great fights
waged to defeat certain measures are well
known, and it is known that money was
used. Certain congressmen have been
notoriously receptive. I have seen the
following story in print in many forms.
I took the trouble to ask a well-known
man if it was possible that it could be
founded on fact; his reply was, "Certainly it is a fact." A briber entered the
private room of a congressman.    "Mr.
 , to come right to the point, I want
the bill to pass, and I will give you
five hundred dollars for the vote and
your interest." The congressman rose to
his feet, purple with rage. "You dare
to offer me this insulting bribe? You
infernal   scoundrel,   I   will   throw  you
out."    "Well, suppose we make it one
242 '
thousand," said the imperturbable visitor. "Well," replied the congressman,
cooling down, "that is a little better put.
We will talk it over."
The American Government had been
attempting, since 1859, to build a canal
across the Isthmus. I believe surveys
were made earlier than that, but bribery
and corruption and "graft" enabled the
friends of transcontinental railroads to
stop the canals. It would be a disadvantage to the railroads to have a canal
across the Isthmus. So in some mysterious way the canal, which the people
wished, has not been built, and will not
be until the people rise and demand
it. Corruption has stood on the Isthmus
with a flaming sword and struck down
every attempt to build the canal. The
morality of the people is low. Divorce
is rampant, the daily journals are filled
with accounts of divorces, and daily lists
of crimes are printed that would seem
impossible to a nation that can raise millions to send to China to convert the
"heathen." If they would only divert
these Chinese missionaries from China to
their own heathen and grafters, but they
will not. The peculiar freedom of the
country, which is nothing less than the
most atrocious license, tends to drag it
The papers have absolutely no check
on their freedom. Men and women are
attacked by them, ruined, held up to
scorn and ridicule, and the victim has no
recourse but to shoot the editor and thus
embroil himself. That it is a crime to
ridicule a man and make him the butt of
a nation or the world seems never to occur to these men. Certain statesmen have
been so lampooned by the "hired" libel-
ers that they have been  ruined.    The
press hires a class of men, called cartoon-
ists, usually ill-bred fellows of no standing, yet clever, in their business, whose
duty it is to hold up public men to ridicule in every possible way and make
them infamous before the people. This
is called the freedom of the press, and its
attitude, or the sensational part of it, in
presenting crime in an alluring manner,
is having its effect upon the youth of the
country. Young girls and boys become
familiar with every feature of bestial
crime through the "yellow journals," so
called, and that the republic will, reap
sorely from this sowing I venture to
I asked one of the great insurance men
why it was that great financial institutions took so strong an interest in politics. He laughed, and said, "If I am not
mistaken, not long since your country
repudiated its Government bonds, and
they are not negotiable to any great ex-
I 245 ii
tent among your people." Hearing this
I assumed the American attitude and
"sawed wood." "We take an interest in
politics," he continued, "to offset the
professional blackmailer and thief. Now
in the case of your repudiation I understand all about it. The Chinese Government was in straits, and suddenly some
seemingly patriotic citizen started a petition, stating to the Government that the
subscribers offered their Government securities to the Government as a gift. By
no means all the bondholders signed,
but enough, I understand, to have justified your Government in repudiating the
bonds—'at the request of the people'—
thus destroying the national credit at
home and abroad. Now in America
that would be called 'graft.' The act
would be done by a few grafters in the
hope of reward, or by some unscrupulous
statesmen to save the Government from
246 irfflBnip
bankruptcy during their term of office.
I conceive this to be what was done in
China. If we do not keep eternal watch
we shall be bled every day. It is done
in this way: a grafter becomes an assemblyman, and with others lays a plan of
graft. It is to get up a bill, so offensive
to our corporation that it would mean
ruin if passed. The grafter has no idea
that it will pass, but it is made much of,
and of course reaches our ears, and the
question is how to# stop it. We are
finally told that we had better see Mr.
 , in our own city.   He is accordingly
looked up and found to be a cheap and
ignorant politician, who, if there are no
witnesses, tells our agent plainly that it
can be stopped for ten thousand dollars.
Perhaps we beat him down to eight
thousand, but we pay it. Hundreds of
firms have been blackmailed in this way.
Now we keep an agent in the State Cap-
itol to attend to our interests, and we take
an interest in politics to head off the election of professional grafters."
One of the most serious things in this
phase of national immorality is showing
itself in what are termed "lynchings";
that is, a negro commits a crime against
a white woman, and instead of permitting the law to run its course, the people
rise, seized with a savage craze for revenge, batter in the jails, take the criminal, and burn him at the stake. This
burning is sometimes attended by thousands, who display the most remarkable
abandon and savagery. Some African
chiefs have sacrificed more people at one
time, but no savage has ever displayed
greater bestiality, gloated over his victim with more real satisfaction, than these
free Americans in numerous instances
when   shouting  and  yelling  about  the
burning body of some unfortunate whose
crime has aroused their ferocity to the
point of madness.
Not one but many clergymen have denounced this. They compare it to the
most brutal acts of savagery, and we have
the picture of a country posing as civilized, with the temerity to point out the
sins of others, giving themselves over to
orgies that would disgrace the lowest of
races. I have it from the lips of a clergyman' that during the past twelve years
over twenty-five hundred men have been
lynched in the United States. In a single year two hundred and forty men were
killed by mobs in this way, many being
burned at the stake. If any excuse is
offered, it is said that most of these were
negroes, and the crime was rape, and the
victims white women; but of the number
mentioned only forty-six were charged
with this crime and but two-thirds were
black.   Many confessed as the torch was
applied, many died protesting their innocence, and in no case was the offense
legally proved. This lynching seems to
be a mania with the people. It began
with the attack of negroes on white
women. The repetition of similar cases
so enraged the whites that they have become mad upon the subject. The feeling is well illustrated by the remark of
a Southerner to me. "If a woman of my
family was attacked by a negro I must
be his executioner. I could not wait for
the law." This man told me that no
lynching would ever have taken place
had it not been for the uncertainty of
the law. Men who were known to be
guilty of the grossest of crimes had been
virtually protected by the law, and their
cases dragged along at great expense to
the State, this occurring so many times
that the patience of the people became
exhausted.    This  man  forgot that  the
250 w v
law was instigated for the purpose of
The negro is an issue in America and
a cause of much crime, a vengeance on
the people who held them as slaves.
The negro has increased so rapidly that
in forty years he has doubled in number,
there now being over nine millions in the
country. At the present rate there will
be twenty-five millions in 1930—a black
menace to the white American.
The negro is a factor in the national
unrest. They outnumber the whites in
some localities, and hence vote themselves many offices, while the few whites
pay eighty or eighty-five per cent of the
taxes and the negroes supply from eighty
to ninety per cent of the criminals.
While this is going on in the South and
the whites are rising and preparing to
disfranchise the blacks in many States,
the people of Boston and Cambridge are
discussing the propriety of the whites
and blacks marrying to settle the question of social equality. Such proposals
I have read. Reprinted in the South,
they added fuel to the flame.
Another element of distress in America is the attitude of labor, the policy of
the Government of letting in the lowest
of the low from every nation except the
Chinese, against whom the only charge
has been that they are too industrious and
thus a menace to the whites. The swarms
of people from the low and criminal
classes of Europe have enabled the anarchists to obtain such a foothold that in
this free country the President of the
United States is almost as closely guarded as the Emperor of Russia. The White
House is surrounded and guarded by
detectives of various kinds. The secret-
service department is equal in its equipment to that of many European nations,
and millions are spent in watching criminals and putting down their strikes and
riots. The doctrine of freedom to all appeals so well to the ignorant laborer that
he has decided to control the entire situation, and to this end labor is divided
into "unions," and in many sections business has been ruined.
The demands of these ignorant men
are so preposterous that they can scarcely
be credited. The merchant no longer
owns his business or directs it. The laborer tells him what to pay, how to pay
it, when and how long the hours shall
be—in fact, undertakes to usurp entire
control. If the owner protests, the laborers all stop work, strike, appoint guards,
who attack, kill, or intimidate any one
who attempts to take their place. In this
way it is said that one billion dollars
have been lost in the last few years. Contracts  have  been broken,  men  ruined,
localities and cities placed in the greatest
jeopardy, and hundreds of lives lost.
Every branch of trade has its "union,"
and in so many cases have the laborers
been successful that a national panic
comes almost in sight. Never was there
a more farcical illustration of freedom.
Irrational, ignorant Irishmen, who had
not the mental capacity to earn more
than a dollar a day, dictated to merchant
princes and millionaire contractors. In
New York it was proved that the leaders
of the strikers sold out to employers, and
accepted bribes to call off strikes.
The question before the American people is, Has an American citizen the right
to conduct his own business to suit himself and employ whom he wishes? Has
the laborer the right to work for whom
and what rate he pleases? The imported
socialists, anarchists, and their converts
among Americans say no, and it will re-
quire but little to precipitate a bloody
war, when labor, led by red-handed murderers, will enact in New York and all
over the United States the horrors of the
French Commune.
The republic for a great and enlightened country has too many criminals. I
am told by a prohibition clergyman that
the curse of drink and license has its
fangs in the heart of the land. He tells
me that the Americans pay yearly $1,172-
000,000 for their aJcoholic drink; for
bread, $600,000,000; for tobacco, $625,-
000,000; for education, $197,000,000; for
ministers' salaries, $14,000,000. It has
been found that the downfall of eighty-
one per cent of criminals is traceable to
drink. He said: "Our republic is a
failure morally, as we have 2,550,000
drunkards and people addicted to drink.
We have 600,000 prostitutes, and many
more doubtless that are not known, and
in nine cases out of ten their downfall
can be traced to drink."
I listen to this side of the story, and
then I see wonderful philanthropy, institutions for the prevention of crime,
good men at work according to their
light, millions employed to educate the
young, thousands of churches and societies to aid man in making man better.
When I listen to these men, and see tens
of thousands of Christian men and women living pure lives, building up vast
cities, great monuments for the future, I
feel that I can not judge the Americans.
They perhaps expect too much from their
freedom and their republican ideas. I
shall never be a republican. I believe
that we all have all the freedom we deserve. It is well to remember that man
is an animal. After all his polish and
refinement, he has animal tastes and desires, and if he makes laws that are in
direct opposition to the indulgence which
his animal nature suggests, he certainly
must have some method of enforcing the
laws. Like all animals, some men are
easily influenced and others not, and the
human animal has not made progress so
far but that he needs watching in order
to make him conform to what he has decided or elected to call right.
You will expect me to compare the
American to the Chinaman, but it is impossible. Some things which we look
upon as right, the American considers
grievous sins. The point of view is entirely at variance, but I have boundless
faith in the brilliant and good men and
women I have met in America. I say
this despite my other impressions, which
also hold.
The great political scheme of the people is poorly devised and crude.   It is so
arranged that in some States governors
are elected every year or two and other
officers every year, representatives of the
people in Congress every two years, senators every six, Presidents every four
years. Thus the country is constantly in
a whirl, and as soon as the rancor of one
national election is over begins the
scheming for another. The people have
really little to do with the selection of a
President. A small band of rich and influential schemers generally have the
entire plan or "slate" laid out. A plan,
natural in appearance, is arranged for
the public, and at the right time the
slated program is sprung. Senators
should be elected by the people, congressmen should be elected for a longer period, and Presidents should have twice
the terms they do. But it is easy to suggest, and I confess that my suggestions
are those of many American people themselves which I hear reformers cry abroad.
258 sa
The vital trouble with America to-day
is that she can not assimilate the 600,000
debased, ignorant, poverty-stricken foreigners who are coming in every year.
They keep out the one peaceful nation.
They exclude the Chinese and take to
the national heart the Jew, the Socialist,
the Italian, the Roumanian and others
who constitute a nation of unrest. What
America needs is the "rest cure" that you
hear so much about here. She should
close her seaports to these aliens for ten
years, allow the people here to assimilate; but they can not do it. The foreign transportation lines under foreign
flags are in the business to load up America with the dregs of Europe. I know of
one family of Jews, four brothers, who
wished to come to America, but found
that they would have to show that they
were not paupers. They mustered about
one thousand dollars.    One came over,
and sent back the money by draft. The
second brought it back as his fortune,
then immediately sent it back for another
brother to bring over, and so on until
they all arrived, each proving that he was
not a pauper. Yet these same brothers,
each with several children, became an expense to the Government before they
were earners. The children were sent to
industrial homes, and later entered the
sweat-shops. In America there is not a
Chinaman to-day in a workhouse, or a
pauper1 at the expense of the Government; yet the Chinese are not wanted
1 This is doubtful.—Editor.
260 ■■a©F-i ■'Ws
I HAD not been in Washington a month
before I received invitations to a "country club golf" tournament, to a "rowing
club," to a "pink tea," to a "polo game,"
to a private "boxing" bout between two
light-weight professionals, given in Senator  's stable, to a private "cockfight" by the brother of 's wife, to
a gun club "shoot," not to speak of invitations to several "poker games." From
this you may infer that Americans are
fond of sport. The official sport—that is,
the game I heard of most among Government officials, senators, and others—-
was "poker," and the sums played for at
times I am assured are beyond belief.
There are rules and etiquette for poker,
18 261 AS  A  CHINAMAN   SAW  US
and one of the most distinguished of
American diplomatists of a past generation, General Schenck, emulated the
Marquis of Queensberry in boxing by
writing a book on the national game, that
has all the charm claimed for it. It is
seductive, and doubtless has had its influence on the people who employ the
"bluff" in diplomacy, war, business, or
poker, with equal tact and cleverness.
Middle-class Americans are fond of
sport in eviiry way, but the aristocrats
lack sporting spontaneity; they like it, or
pretend to like it, because it is the fashion, and they take up one sport after
another as it becomes the fad. That this
is true can be shown by comparing the
Englishman and the American of the
fashionable class. The Englishman is
fond of sport because it is in his blood;
he does not like golf to-day and swimming to-morrow, but he likes them all,
262 effo nn ■;lml j j *j jj I.:
and always has done so. He would never
give up cricket, golf, or any of his games
because they go out of fashion; he does
not allow them to go out of fashion; but
with the American it is different.
Hence I assume that the average American of the better class is not imbued with
the sporting spirit. He wears it like an
ill-fitting coat. I find a singular feature
among the Americans in connection with
their sports. Thus if something is known
and recognized as sport, people take to
it with avidity, but if the same thing is
called labor or exercise, it is considered
hard work, shirked and avoided. This
is very cleverly illustrated by Mark
Twain in one of his books, where a boy
makes his companions believe that whitewashing a fence is sport, and so relieves
himself from an arduous duty by pretending to share the great privilege with
No one would think of walking steadily for six days, yet once this became
sport; dozens of men undertook it, and
long walks became a fad. If a man
committed a crime and should be sentenced to play the modern American
game of football every day for thirty days
as a punishment, there are some who
might prefer a death sentence and so
avoid a lingering end; but under the
title of "sport" all young men play it, and
a number are maimed and killed yearly.
Sport is in the blood of the common
people. Children begin with tops, marbles, and kites, yet never appreciate our
skill with either. I amazed a boy on the
outskirts of Washington one day by asking him why he did not irritate his kite
and make it go through various evolutions. He had never heard of doing that,
and when I took the string and began to
jerk it, and finally made the kite plunge
264 m
downward or swing in circles, and always
restored it by suddenly slacking off the
cord, he was astonished and delighted.
The national game is baseball, a very
clever game. It is nothing to see thousands at a game, each person having paid
twenty-five or fifty cents for the privilege. In summer this game, played by
experts, becomes a most profitable business. Rarely is any one hurt but the
judge or umpire, who is at times hissed
by the audience and mobbed, and at
others beaten by either side for unfair
decisions; but this is rare.
Football is dangerous, but is even more
popular than the other. You might imagine by the name that the ball is kicked.
On the contrary the real action of the
game consists in running down, tripping
up, smashing into, and falling on whomever has the ball.   As a consequence, men
wear a soft armor.   There are fashions in
sports which demonstrate the ephemeral
quality of the American love for sport.
A while ago "wheeling" was popular,
and everybody wheeled. Books were
printed on the etiquette of the sport;
roads were built for it and improved; but
suddenly the working class took it up and
fashion dropped it. Then came golf, imported from Scotland. With this fad
millions of dollars were expended in
country clubs and greens all over the
United States, as acres of land were necessary. People seized upon this with a
fierceness that warmed the hearts of
dealers in balls and clubs. The men
who edited wheel magazines now
changed them to "golf monthlies." This
sport began to wane as the novelty wore
off, until golf is now played by comparatively few experts and lovers.
Society introduced the automobile, and
we have the same thing—more maga-
zines, the spending of millions, the building of the garage, and the appearance
of the chaufeur or driver. Then came
the etiquette of the auto—a German navy
cap, rubber coat, and Chinese goggles.
This peculiar uniform is of course only
to be worn when racing, but you see the
American going out for a slow ride
solemnly attired in rubber coat and goggles. The moment the auto comes
within reach of the poor man it will be
given up; but it is now the fad and a
most expensive one, the best machines
costing ten thousand dollars or more, and
I have seen races where the speed exceeded a mile a minute.
All sports have their ethics and rules
and their correct costuming. Baseball
men are in uniform, generally white,
with various-colored stockings. The
golfer wears a red coat and has a servant
or valet, who carries his bag of clubs,
designed for every possible expediency.
To hear a group of golfers discuss the
merits of these tools is one of the extraordinary experiences one has in America. I have been made fairly "giddy,"
as the Englishmen say, by this anemic
conversation at country clubs. The
"high-ball" was the saving clause—a remarkable invention this. Have I explained it? You take a very tall glass,
made for the purpose, and into it pour
the contents of a small cut-glass bottle or
decanter of whisky, which must be
Scotch, tasting of smoke. On this you
pour seltzer or soda-water, filling up the
glass, and if you take enough you are
"high" and feel like a rolling ball. It is
the thing to take a "high-ball" after
every nine holes in golf. Then after the
game you bathe, and sit and drink as
many as your skin will hold.   I got this
from    a   professional    golf-teacher   in
268 lK:£
links, and hence it is
charge of the —
The avidity with which the Americans
seize upon a sport and the suddenness
with which they drop it, illustrating
what I have said about the lack of a national sporting taste, is well shown by
the coming of a game called "ping
pong," a parlor tennis, with our battledores for rackets. What great mind
invented this game, or where it came
from, no one seems to know, but as a wag
remarked, "When in doubt lay it to
China." Some suppose it is Chinese, the
name suggesting it. So extraordinary
was the early demand for it that it appeared as though everybody in America
was determined to own and play ping
pong. The dealers could not produce it
fast enough. Factories were established
all over the country, and the tools were
ground out by the ten thousands.   Books
were written on the ethics of the game;
experts came to the front; ping pong
weeklies and monthlies were founded, to
dumfound the masses, and the very air
vibrated with the "ping" and the "pong."
The old and young, rich and poor,
feeble and herculean, all played it. Doctors advised it, children cried for it, and
a fashionable journal devised the correct
ping-pong costume for players. Great
matches were played between the experts
of various sections, and this sport, a game
really for small children, after the fashion of battledore and shuttlecock, ran its
course among young and old. Pictures
of adult ping-pong champions were blazoned in the public print; even churchmen took it up. Public gardens had
special ping-pong tables to relieve the
stress. At last the people seized upon
ping pong, and it became common. Then
it was dropped like a dead fish.   If some
cyclonic disturbance had swept all the
ping-pong balls into space, the disappearance could not have been more complete. Ping pong was put out of fashion.
All this to the alien suggests something,
a want of balance, a "youngness" perhaps.
At the present time the old game of
croquet is being revived under another
name, and tennis is the vogue among
many. Among the fashionable and
wealthy men polo is the vogue, but
among a few everything goes by fads for
a few years. Every one will rush to see
or r31ay some game; but this interest soon
dies out, and something new starts up.
Such games as baseball and football,
tennis and polo are, in a sense, in a class
by themselves, but among the pastimes
of the people a wide vogue belongs to
fishing, and shooting wild fowl and large
game.   The former is universal, and the
Americans are the most skilled anglers
with artificial lures in the world, due to
the abundance of game-fish, trout, and
others, and the perfect Government care
exercised to perfect the supply.
As an illustration, each State considers hunting and fishing a valuable asset
to attract those who will come and spend
money. I was told by a Government
official that the State of Maine reckoned its game at five million dollars per
annum, which means that the sport is so
good that sportsmen spend that amount
there every year; but I fancy the amount
is overestimated. The Government has
perfect fish hatcheries, constantly supplying young fish to streams, while the business in anglers' supplies is immense.
There are thousands of duck-shooting
clubs in the United States. Men, or a
body of men, rent or buy marshes, and
keep the poor man out. Rich men acquire hundreds of acres, and make pre-
serves. Possibly the sport of hunting
wild fowl is the most characteristic of
American sports. This also has its etiquette, its costumes, its club-houses, and
its poker and high-balls. I know of one
such club in which almost all the members are millionaires. A humorous paper
stated that they used "gold shot."
As a nation the Americans are fond of
athletics, which are taught in the schools.
There are splendid gymnasiums, and
boys and girls are trained in athletic exercises. Athletics are all in vogue. It
is fashionable to be a good "fencer." All
the young dance. I believe the Americans stand high as a nation in all-around
athletics; at least they are far ahead of
China in this respect.
I have reserved for mention last the
most popular fashion of the people in
sport, which is prize-fighting. Here
again you see a strange contradiction.
The people are preeminently religious,
and prize-fighting and football are the
sports of brutes; yet the two are most
popular. No public event attracts more
attention in America than a gladiatorial
fight to the finish between the champion
and some aspirant. For months the papers are filled with it, and on the day of
the event the streets are thronged with
people crowding about the billboards to
receive the news. No national event,
save the killing of a President, attracted
more universal attention than the beating of Sullivan by Corbett and the
beating of Corbett by Fitzsimmons, and
"Fitz" in turn by Jeffries. I might add
that I joined with the Americans in this,
as the modern prize-fighter is a fine animal. If all boys were taught to believe
that their fists are their natural weapons,
there would be fewer murders and sudden deaths in America. I have seen
^j5*""^%* rrsapnp
several of these prize-fights and many
private bouts, all with gloves. They are
governed by rules. Such a combat is by
no means as dangerous as football, where
the obvious intention seems to be to break
ribs and crush the opponent.
Rowing is much indulged in, and
yachting is a great national maritime
sport, in which the Americans lead and
challenge the world. In no sport is the
wealth of the nation so well shown.
Every seaside town has its yacht or boat
club, and in this the interest is perpetual.
Even in winter the yacht is rigged into
an "ice-boat." I have often wondered
that fashionable people do not take up
the romantic sport of falconry, as they
have the birds and every facility. I suggested this to a lady, who replied, "Ah,
that is too barbaric for us." "More barbaric than cock-fighting?" I asked, knowing that her brother owned the finest
game-cocks in the District of Columbia.
Among the Americans there is a distinct love for fair play, and such sports
as "bull-baiting," "bull-fights," "dogfights," and "cock-fights" have never attained any degree of popularity. There
are spasmodic instances of such indulgences, but in no sense can they be included, as in England and Spain, among
the national sports, which leads me to the
conclusion that, aside from the many peculiarities, as taking up and dropping
sports, America, all in all, is the greatest
sporting nation of the world. It leads in
fist-fighting, rifle-shooting, in skilful angling, in yachting, in rowing, in running, in six-day walking, in auto-racing,
in trotting and running horses, and in
trap-shooting, and if its champions in all
fields could be lined up it would make a
surprising showing. I am free to confess and quite agree with a vivacious
lr a
young woman who at the country club
told me that it was very nice of me to
uphold my country, but that we were
"not in it" with American sports.
The Presidents are often sportsmen.
President Cleveland and President Harrison both have been famous, the former
as a fisherman, the latter as well as the
former as a duck-shooter. President McKinley has no taste for sport, but the
Vice-President is a promoter of sport of
each and every kind. He is at home in
polo or hurdle racing, with the rifle or revolver. This calls to mind the national
weapon—the revolver. Nine-tenths of
all the shooting is done with this weapon,
that is carried in a special pocket on the
hips, and I venture to say that a pair of
"trousers" was never made without the
pistol pocket. Even the clergymen have
one.    I asked an Episcopal clergyman
why he had a pistol pocket.   He replied
19 277 AS  A  CHINAMAN   SAW  US
that he carried his prayer-book there.
The Southern people use a long curved
knife, called a bowie, after its inventor.
Many people have been cut by this
weapon. The negro, for some strange
reason, carries a razor, and in a fight
"whips out" this awful weapon and
slashes his enemy. I have asked many
negroes to explain this habit or selection.
One replied that it was "none of my
d  business."    Nearly all the others
said they did not know why they carried it.
The average Irishman whom one
meets in America, and he is legion, is a
very different person from the polished
gentleman I have met in Belfast, Dublin, and other cities in Ireland; but I
never heard that the American Irishman,
the product of an ignorant peasantry
crowded out of Ireland, had been accepted as a type of the race. Peculiar
discrimination is made in America
against the Chinese. Our lower classes,
"coolies" from the Cantonese districts,
have flocked to America. Americans
"lump" all Chinese under this head, and
can not conceive that in China there are
cultivated men, just as there are culti-
vated men in Ireland, the antipodes of
the grotesque Irish types seen in America.
I believe there are seventy-five or
eighty thousand Chinamen in America.
They do not assimilate with the Americans. Many are common laborers, laun-
drymen, and small merchants. In New
York, Chicago, San Francisco, and other
cities there are large settlements of them.
In San Francisco many have acquired
wealth. The Chinese quarter is to all intents and purposes a Chinese city. None
of these people, or very few, are Americanized in the sense of taking an active
part in the government; Americans do
not permit it. I was told that the Chinese were among the best citizens, the
percentage of criminals being very small.
They are honest, frugal, and industrious
—too industrious, in fact, and for this
very reason the ban has been placed upon
them.   Red-handed members of the Ital-
280 frng i ,
HP:-     "^H^ggl-      ^r            pm            11P:             J^p
ian Mafia—a society of murderers-
-the                        ■
most ignorant class in Ireland, Wales,
and England, the scum of Russia, and
the human dregs of Europe generally
are welcome, but the clean, hard-working Chinaman is excluded.
Millions are spent yearly in keeping
him out after he had been invited to
come. He built many American railroads ; he opened the door between the
Atlantic and the Pacific; he worked in
the mines; he did work that no one else
would or could do, and when it was completed the American laborer, the product
of this scum of all nations, demanded
that the Chinaman be "thrown out" and
kept out. America listened to the blatant demagogues, the "sand-lot orators,"
and excluded the Chinese. To-day it is
almost impossible for a Chinese gentleman to send his son to America to travel
or study.    He will not be distinguished
from laundryman "John," and is thrown
back in the teeth of his countrymen;
meanwhile China continues to be raided
by American missionaries. The insult is
rarely resented. In the treaty ratified by
the United States Senate in 1868 we read:
"The United States of America and
the Empire of China cordially recognize
the inherent right of man to change his
home and allegiance, and also the mutual
advantage of the free immigration and
emigration of their citizens and subjects
respectively from the one country to the
other for purposes of curiosity, of trade
or as permanent residents."
Again we read, in the treaty ratified
under the Hayes administration, that the
Government of the United States, "if its
labor interests are threatened by the incoming Chinese, may regulate or limit
such coming, but may not absolutely prohibit it." The United States Govern-
ment has disregarded its solemn treaty
obligations. Not only this, our people,
previous to the Exclusion Act, were
killed, stoned, and attacked time and
again by "hoodlums." The life of a
Chinaman was not safe. The labor class
in America, the lowest and almost always
a foreign class, wished to get rid of the
Chinaman so that they could raise the
price of labor and secure all the work.
China had reason to go to war with
America for her treatment of her people
and for failure to observe a treaty. The
Scott Exclusion Act was a gratuitous insult. I hope our people will continue to
retaliate by refusing to buy anything
from the Americans or sell anything to
them.   Let us deal with our friends.
•Then came the Geary Bill, which was
an outrage, our people being thrown into
jail for a year and then sent back.    I
might quote some of the charges made
against our people. Mr. Geary, I understand, is an Irish ex-congressman
from the State of California, who, while
in Congress, was the mouthpiece of the
worst anti-Chinese faction ever organized
in America. He was ultimately defeated, much to the delight of New England and many other people in the East.
Mr. Geary's chief complaint against the
Chinese was that they work too cheaply,
are too industrious, and do not eat as
much as an American. He obtained his
information from Consul Bedloe, of
Amoy. He says the average earnings of
the Chinese adult employed as mechanic
or laborer (in China) is fivt dollars per
month, and states that this is ten per cent
above the average wages prevailing
throughout China.
The wages paid, according to his report, per month, to blacksmiths are $7.25;
carpenters,   $8.50;   cabinet-makers,   $9;
glass-blowers, $9; plasterers, $6.25;
plumbers, $6.25; machinists, $6; while
other classes of skilled labor are paid
from $7.25 to $9 per month, and common
laborers receive $4 per month. In European houses the average wages paid to
servants are from $5 to $6 a month, without board. Clothing costs per year from
75 cents to $1.50. Out of these incomes
large families are maintained. He says:
"The daily fare of an Amoy working man
and its cost are about as follows: 13/2
pounds of rice, 3 cents; 1 ounce of meat,
1 ounce of fish, 2 ounces of shell-fish, 1
cent; 1 pound of cabbage or other vegetable, 1 cent; fuel, salt, and oil, 1 cent;
total, 6 cents.
"Here," said Mr. Geary, "is a condition deserving of attention by all friends
of this country, and by all who believe in
the protection of the working classes.   Is
it fair to subject our laborer to a com-
petitor who can measure his wants by an
expenditure of six cents a day, and who
can live on an income not exceeding five
dollars a month? What will become of
the boasted civilization of our country
if our toilers are compelled to compete
with this class of labor, with more competitors available than twice the entire
population of France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland,
Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain?
"The Chinese laborer brings neither
wife nor children, and his wants are limited to the immediate necessities of the
individual, while the American is compelled to earn income sufficient to maintain the wife and babies. There can be
but one end to this. If this immigration
is permitted to continue, American labor
must surely be reduced to the level of the
Chinese    competitor — the    American's
wants measured by his wants, the Amer-
ican's comforts be made no greater than
the comforts of the Chinaman, and the
American laborer, not having been educated to maintain himself according to
this standard, must either meet his Chinese competitor on his own level, or else
take up his pack and leave his native
land. The entire trade of China, if we
had it all, is not worth such a sacrifice."
Mr. Geary forgets that when Chinamen go to America they adapt themselves to prevailing conditions. Chinese
cooks in the States to-day receive from
$30 to $50 per month and board; Chinese laborers from $20 to $30, and some
of them $2 per day. In China, where
there is an enormous population, prices
are lower, people are not wasteful, and
the necessities of life do not cost so
much. The Chinaman goes to America to obtain the benefit of high wages,
not to reduce wages.   I have never seen
such poverty and wretchedness in China
as I have seen in London, or such vice
and poverty as can be seen in any large
American city. Mr. Geary scorns the
treaties between his country and China,
and laughs at our commercial relations.
He says, "There is nothing in the Chinese trade, or rather the loss of it, to
alarm any American. We would be better off without any part or portion of it."
In answer to this I would suggest that
China take him at his word, and I assure
you that if every Chinaman could be recalled, if in six months or less we could
take the eighty or one hundred thousand
Chinamen out of the country, the region
where they now live would be demoralized. The Chinese control the vegetable-
garden business on the Pacific Coast;
they virtually control the laundry business ; and that the Americans want them,
and want cheaper labor than they are get-
ting from the Irish and Italians, is shown
by the fact that they continue to patronize
our people, and that in various lines
Chinamen have the monopoly. Even
when the "hoodlums" of San Francisco
were fighting the Chinese, the American
women did not withdraw their patronage, and while the men were off speaking
on the sand-lots against employing our
people their wives were buying vegetables from them.
Why? Because their hypocritical husbands and brothers refused to pay higher
prices. America is suffering not for
want of the cheapest labor, but for a
laborer like the Chinese, and until they
have him industries will languish. With
American labor and American "union"
prices it is impossible for the American
farmer or rancher to make money. The
vineyardist, the orange, lemon, olive, and
other fruit raisers can not compete with
Europe. Labor is kept up to such a high
rate that the country is obliged to put on
a high tariff to keep out foreign competition, and in so doing they "cut off the
nose to spite the face." The common
people are taxed by the rich. The salvation of industrial America is a cheap,
but not degraded, labor. America desires
house-servants at from $10 to $12 per
month; this is all a mere servant is
worth. She wants good cooks at $12 or
$15 per month. She wants fruit-pickers
at $10 to $12 per month and board. She
wants vineyard men, hop-pickers, cherry,
peach, apricot and berry pickers, and
people to work in canneries at these
prices. She wants gardeners, drivers,
railroad laborers at lower rates, and, to
quote an American, "wants them 'bad.'"
When in San Francisco I made a thorough investigation of the "house-servant"
question, and learned that our people as
cooks in private houses were receiving
from $30 to $50 per month and board.
A friend tells me there is continued protest against this. Housekeepers on the
Pacific coast are complaining of the
lack of "Chinese boys," and want more
to come over so that prices shall go down.
The American wants the Chinaman, but
the American foreign laborer, the Irishman, the Italian, the Mexican, and others
who dominate American politics, do not
want him and will not have him. As a
result of this bending to the alien vote
the Americans find themselves in a most
serious and laughable position in their
relations to domestic labor.
I am not overstating the fact when I
say that the "servant-girl" question is
going to be a political issue in the future.
The man may howl against the Chinese,
but his wife will demand that "John" be
admitted to relieve a situation that is be-
coming unbearable. As the Americans
are all equal, there are no servants among
them. The poor are as good as the
"boss," and won't be called servants.
You read in the papers, "A lady desires
a position as cook in a small family, no
children; wages, $35." "A young lady
wishes a position to take care of children; salary, $30." "A saleslady wants
position." "A lady (good scrubber) will
go out by the day; $2." When you meet
these "ladies," in nine cases out of ten
they are Irish from the peasant class—
untidy, insolent, often dissipated in the
sense of drink. When they apply for a
position they put the employer through
a course of questions. Some want references from the last girl, I am told. Some
want one thing, some another, and all
must have time for pleasure. Few have
the air of servants or inferiors, but are
often offensive in appearance and man-
ners. I have never been called "John"
by the girls who came to the door where
I called to pay a visit, but I could see that
they all wished so to address me. In
England, where classes are acknowledged
and a servant is hired as a servant, and is
one, an entirely different state of affairs
holds. They are respectful, having been
educated to be servants, know that they
are servants, and as a result are cared for
and treated as old retainers and pensioners of the family.
The whole story of exclusion is a blot
upon the American national honor, and
the most mystifying part of it is that intelligent people, the best people, are not
a party to it. The railroads want the
Chinese laborer. The great ranches of
the West need him; people want cooks at
$15 and $20 a month instead of $30 or
$50.    In a word, America is suffering
for what she must have some time —
20 293
cheap labor; yet the low elements force
the issue. Congressmen are dominated
by labor organizations on the Pacific
slope, and there are hundreds of Dennis
Kearneys to-day where there was one a
few years ago. To make the case more exasperating, the Americans, in their dire
necessity, have imported swarms of low
Mexicans to take the place of the Chinese on the railroads, against whom there
seems to be no Irish hand raised. The
Irish and Mexicans are of a piece. I
know from inquiry everywhere that the
country at large would welcome thousands of servants and field-workers in
vineyards and orchards which can not be
made to pay if worked by expensive
The Americans try to keep us out, but
they also try to convert those who get in.
They have what they call Chinese missions, to which Chinamen go.    To be
converted? No. To learn the language?
Yes. I am told by an American friend
that here and in China over fifty thousand Chinese have embraced Christianity. On the Atlantic coast I am assured
that eight hundred Chinamen are Christians, and on the Pacific slope two thousand have embraced the faith of the
Christians. There is a Christian Chinese
evangelist working among our people in
the West, Lum Foon, and I have met the
pastor of a Pacific coast church who told
me that nearly a third of his congregation were Chinamen, and he esteemed
them highly. But the most conclusive
evidence that the Americans are succeeding in their proselyting is that in one year
a single denomination received as a donation from Chinamen $6,000. The
Americans have a saying, "Money talks,"
which is much like one of our own.
On the other hand, a clergyman told
me that it was discouraging work to
some, so few Chinamen were "converted" compared to the great mass of
them. The Chinese of California have
sent $1,000 to Canton to build a Christian church, and the Chinese members
of the Presbyterian Church of California sent $3,000 in one year for the same
purpose. I am told that the Chinese
Methodists of one church in California
give yearly from $1,000 to $1,800 for the
various purposes of the church. The
Christians have captured some brilliant
men, such as Sia Sek Ong, who is a
Methodist; Chan Hon Fan, who ought
to be in our army from what I hear;
Rev. Tong Keet Hing, the Baptist, a
noted Biblical scholar; Rev. Wong, of
the Presbyterians; Rev. Ng Poon Chiv,
famous as a Greek and Hebrew reader;
Gee   Gam   and   Rev.   Le   Tong   Hay,
Methodists; and there are many more,
suggestive that our people are interested
in Christianity, against the moral teachings of which no one could seriously
I dined some time ago with a merchants' club, and was much pleased at
the eulogy I heard on the Chinese. A
merchant said, "My firm deals largely
with the Chinese and Japanese. When
I make a trade with the Japanese I tie
them up with a written contract, but I
have always found that the word of a
Chinese merchant was sufficient." This
I found to be the universal feeling, and
yet Americans exclude us at the bidding
of "hoodlums," a term applied to the
lowest class of young men on the Pacific
coast. In the East he is a "tough" or
"rough" or "rowdy." "Tough nut" and
"hard nut" are also applied to such people, the Americans having numbers of
terms like these, which may be called
nicknames," or false names. Thus a
man who is noted for his dress is a
"swell," a "dude," or a "sport."
The United States Government does
not allow the Chinese to vote, yet tens
of thousands of poor Americans, "white
trash" in the South, ignorant negroes,
low Irish and Italians who can not speak
the tongue, are welcome and courted by
both parties. It is difficult for me to
overlook this insult on the part of America. There is a large settlement of Chinese in New York, but they are as isolated as if they were in China. In San
Francisco there is the largest settlement,
and many fine merchants live there, and
also in Los Angeles.
In the latter city told me that the
best of feeling existed between the Chinese and Americans; and at the American Festival of the Rose the Chinese
joined in the procession.    The dragon
298 m
was brought out, and . all the Chinese
merchants appeared; but these gentlemen
are never consulted by the Americans,
never allowed to vote or take any interest in the growth of the city, and —— informed me that none of them had ever
been asked to join a board of trade. It is
the same everywhere; the only advances
the Americans make is to try and "convert" us to their various religious denominations. While the Chinese are not allowed to vote or to have any part in the
affairs of government, they are taxed.
"Taxation without representation" was
the cause of the war of the American
Revolution, but that is another matter.
Yet our people have ways of influencing the whites with the "dollar," for
which some officials will do anything,
and, I regret to say, all Chinamen are
not above bribing Americans. I have
heard that the Chinese of San Francisco
for years were blackmailed by Americans, and obliged to raise money to fight
bills in the Legislature. In 1892 the
Six Companies raised $200,000 to defeat
the "Geary Bill." The Chinese merchants have some influence. Out of the
110,000 Chinamen in America hardly ten
per cent obeyed the iniquitous law and
registered. The Chinese societies contracted to defend all who refused to
Our people have a strong and influential membership in the Sam Yup, Hop
Wo, Yan Wo, Kong Chow, Ning Ye-
ong, and Yeong Wo companies. These
societies practically control everything
in America relating to the Chinese, and
they retain American lawyers to fight
their battles. I have met many of the
officers of these companies, and China
has produced no more brilliant minds
than some, and, sub rosa, they have been
pitted against the Americans on more
than one occasion and have outwitted
them. Among these men are Yee Ha
Chung, Chang Wah Kwan, Chun Ti
Chu, Chu Shee Sum, Lee Cheang Chun,
and others. Many of these men have
been presidents of the Six Companies in
San Francisco, and rank in intelligence
with the most brilliant American statesmen.   I regret to see them in America.
Chun Ti Chu especially, at one time
president of the Sam Yuz, should be in
China. I met this brilliant man some
years ago in San Francisco. After dinner he took me to a place and showed
me a placard which was a reward of $300
for his head. He had obtained the
enmity of criminal Chinamen on the
Pacific coast, but when I last heard of
him he was still alive. There are many
criminals here who do not dare to return
to China, who left their country for their
country's good. These are the cause of
much trouble here, and bring discredit
upon the better class of our people. Our
people in America are loyal to the Government. It was interesting to see at one
time a proclamation from the Emperor
brought over by Chew Shu Sum and
posted in the streets of an American city:
"By order of his Imperial Majesty, the
Emperor of China." The President, the
mayor of San Francisco, was not thought
of; China was revered, and is to-day
holding her government over the Chinese in every American city where they
have a stronghold. So much for the
loyalty of our people.
THOMAS J. GEARY, the former congressman, is an avowed enemy of the
Chinese and the author of' the famous
Geary bill, but I condone all he has said
against us for one profound utterance
made in a published address or article,
in which he said: "As to the missionaries
(in China), it wouldn't be a national loss
if they were required to return home. If
the American missionary would only
look about him in the large cities of the
Union he would find enough of misery,
enough of suffering, enough people falling away from the Christian churches,
enough of darkness, enough of vice in all
its conditions and all its grades, to fur-
nish him work for years to come." This
is a sentiment Americans may well think
of; but there are "none so blind as those
who will not see." There will always be
women and men willing to spend their
time in picturesque China at the expense
of foreign missions. China has never attempted to convert the Americans to her
religion, believing she has all she can do
to keep her people within bounds at
In my search for information in America I have had some singular experiences.
I have made an examination of the many
religions of the Americans, and they have
been remarkably prolific in this respect.
While we are satisfied with Taoism,
Buddhism, but mostly with Confucianism, I have observed the following sects
in America: Baptists of two kinds, Con-
gregationalists, Methodists, Quakers of
three kinds, Catholics, Unitarians, Uni-
versalists, Presbyterians, Swedenbor-
gians, Spiritualists, Christian Scientists
(healers), Episcopalians (high and low),
Jews, Seventh-Day Adventists, and
many more. Nearly all are Christians,
as we are nearly all Confucians. Unitarians, Universalists, Jews, and several
others believe in the moral teachings of
Christ, but hold that he was not of divine
origin. America was first settled to supply room for religious liberty, which perhaps explains the remarkable number of
religions. They are constantly increasing. Nearly all of these denominations
hold that their own belief is the right
one. Much proselyting is going on
among them, with which one would take
no exception if there was no denouncing
of one another. Our religion, founded
in the faith of Confucius, seems satisfying to us. Some of us believe that at
least we are not savages.
Some American friends once invited
me to go to a negro church in Washington. Upon arriving we were given a
seat well down in front. The pastor was
a "visiting evangelist," and in a short
time had these excitable and ignorant
people in a frenzy, several being carried
out of the church in a semicataleptic
condition. Suddenly the minister began
to pray for the strangers, and especially
"for the heathen in our midst," for the
unsaved from pagan lands, that they
might be saved; and I could not but wonder at the conceit and ignorance that
would ask a believer in the splendid
philosophy of Confucius to throw it aside
for this African religion. This idea that
a Chinaman is a "pagan" and idolator is
found everywhere in America, and every
attempt is made to "save" him.
I very much fear that many of our
countrymen go to the American missions
and Sunday-schools merely to learn the
language and enjoy the social life of
those who are interested in this special
work. I was told by a well-to-do Chinaman that he knew Chinamen who were
both Catholic and Protestant, and who
attended all the Chinese missions without reference to sect. They were Methodist when at the Methodist mission,
Catholic when at mass, and when they
returned to their home slipped back into
Confucianism. Let us hope this is not
universal, though I venture the belief
that the witty Americans would see the
humor of it.
I was told by a prominent patron of
the Woman's Christian Union that she
felt very sorry I did not have the consolation of religion, coming as I did from
a heathen land. Some "heathens" might
have been insulted, but I had come to
know the Americans and was aware that
she really felt a kindly interest in me. I
replied that we could find some consolation in the sayings of our religious teachers, as the great guide of our life is,
"What you do not like when done to
yourself do not do to others."
"Why," said the lady, "that is Christian doctrine, our 'Golden Rule.' "
"Pardon me," I answered, "this is the
golden rule of Confucius, written four
hundred years or so before Christ was
"I think you must be mistaken," she
continued; "this is a fundamental pillar
of the Christian belief."
"True," I retorted; "but none the
less Christians obtained it from Confucius."
She did not believe me, and we referred the question to Bishop , who
sat near us.   Much to her confusion he
agreed with me,  and then quoted the
well-known lines of one of our religious
writers who lived twelve hundred years
before Christ: "The great God has conferred on the people a moral sense, compliance with which would show their
nature inevitably right," and remarked
that it was a splendid sentiment.
"Then you believe in a God," said the
lady, turning to me.
"I trust so," was my answer.
Now this lady, who believed me to be
a "pagan" and unsaved, was a product of
the American school system, yet she had
never read a line of Confucius, having
been "brought up" to consider him an
infidel writer.
I have seen many of the great Western
nations and observed their religions. My
conclusion is that none make so general
and united an attempt to be what they
consider "good and moral" as the Americans; but the Americans scatter their
21 p
efforts like shot fired from a gun, and the
result is a multiplicity of religious beliefs beyond belief. I do not forget that
America was settled to afford an asylum
for religious belief, where men could
work out their salvation in peace. If
Americans would grant us the same privilege and not send missionaries to fight
over us, all would be well. No one can
dispute the fact that the Americans are
in earnest; the greater number believe
they are right, and that they possess true
zeal all China knows.
The impression the convert in China
obtains is that the United States is a sort
of paradise, where Christians live in
peace and happiness, loving one another,
doing good to those who ill-treat them,
turning the cheek to those who strike
them, etc.; but the Chinaman soon finds
after landing  in  America  that  this  is
often    "conspicuous   by   its    absence."
These ideas are preached, and doubtless
thousands follow them or attempt to do
so, but that they are common practises
of the people is not true. There is great
need of Christian missions in America as
well as in China. I told a clergyman that
our people believed the Christian religion was very good for the Americans,
•and we had no fault to find with it, nor
had we the temerity to insinuate that our
own was superior.
A Roman Catholic young lady whom
I met spoke to me about burning our
prayers, our joss-houses, and our dragon,
which she had seen carried about the
streets of San Francisco. "Pure symbolism," I answered, and then told her
of the Christian dragon in the Divine
Key of the Revelation of Jesus Christ as
Given to John, by a Christian writer,
William Eugene Brown. This dragon
had nine heads, while ours has only one.
I believe I had the best of the argument
so far as heads went. This young woman,
a graduate of a large college, wore an
amulet, which she believes protects her
from accident. She possessed a bottle of
water from a miraculous spring in Canada, which she said would cure any disease, and she told me that one of the
Catholic churches there, Ste. Anne de
Beaupre, had a small piece of the wrist-
bone of the mother of the Virgin, which
would heal and had healed thousands.
She had a picture of the church, showing
piles of crutches thrown aside by cured
and grateful patients. Can China produce such credulity?   I think not.
All nations may be wrong in their religious beliefs, but certainly "pagan
China" is outdone in religious extravaganza by America or any European
state.   Our joss-houses and our feasts are
nothing to the splendors  of American
—i-Miritfr.r-HiMM-niir   —— THE  RELIGIONS  OF  THE  AMERICANS
churches. An American girl laughed at
the bearded figures in a San Francisco
joss-house, but looked solemn when I referred to the saints in a Catholic cathedral in the same city. If I were "fancy
free" I should like to lecture in America
on the inconsistencies of the Caucasian.
They really challenge our own. Instead
of having one splendid church and devoting themselves to the real ethics of
Christianity, these Christians have divided irrevocably, and so lost strength
and force. They are in a sense turned
against themselves, and their religious
colleges are graduating men to perpetuate the differences. No more splendid
religion than that expounded by Christ
could be imagined if they would join
hands and, like the Confucians, devote
their attention not to rites and theological differences but to the daily conduct
of men.
The Americans have a saying, "Take
care of the pennies and the dollars will
care for themselves." We believe that
in taking care of the morals of the individual the nation will take care of
itself. I took the liberty of commending
this Confucian doctrine to a Methodist
brother, but he had never been allowed
to read the books of Confucius. They are
classed with those of Mohammed, Voltaire, and others. So what can one do
with such people, who have the conceit of
the ages and the ignorance of all time?
Their great scholars see their idiosyncrasies, and I can not begin to describe
them. One sect believes that no one can
be saved unless immersed in water;
others believe in sprinkling. Others, as
the Quakers, denounce all this as mummery. One sect, the Shakers, will have
no marriages. Another believes in having as many wives as they can support—
the Mormons. The Jews and Quakers
oblige members to marry in the society;
in the latter instance the society is dying
out, and the former from constant intermarriage has resulted in conspicuous and
marked facial peculiarities. These different sects, instead of loving, despise
one another. Episcopalians look down
upon the Methodists, and the latter denounce the former because the priests
sometimes smoke and drink. The Unitarians are not regarded well by the
others, yet nearly all the other bodies
contain Unitarians, who for business
and other reasons do not acknowledge
the fact. A certain clergyman would
not admit a Catholic priest to his platform. All combine against the poor
So strong is the feeling against this
people among the best of American citizens that they are  almost completely
ostracised, at least socially. In all the
years spent in America I do not recall
meeting a Jew at dinner in Washington,
New York, or Newport. They are disliked, and as a rule associate entirely
with themselves, having their own
churches, clubs, etc. Yet they in large
degree control the finances of America.
They have almost complete control of
the textile-fabric business, clothing, and
many other trades. Why the American
Christians dislike the American Jews is
difficult to understand, but the invariable
reply to this question is that their manners are so offensive that Christians will
not associate with them. I doubt if in
any of the first circles of any city you
would meet a Jew. In the fashionable
circles of New York I heard that it
would be "easier for a camel to pass
through the eye of a needle" than for a
Jew to enter these circles.   Many hotels
will not receive them. In fact, the ban
is on the Jew as completely in America
as in Russia. I was strongly tempted to
ask if this was the brotherly love I heard
so much about, but refrained. I heard
the following story at a dinner: A Chinese laundryman received a call from a
Jew, who brought with him his soiled
clothing. The Chinaman, glancing at
the Jew, refused to take the package.
"But why?" asked the Jew; "here's the
money in advance." "No washee," said
the Christian Chinaman; "you killed
Melican man's Joss," meaning that the
Jews crucified the Christ.
The more you delve into the religions
of the Americans the more anomalies
you find.    I asked a New York lady at
Newport if she had ever met Miss ,
a prominent Chinese missionary. She
had never heard of her, and considered
most missionaries very ordinary persons.
^^^isa^^^;,;^ AS  A  CHINAMAN   SAW   US
This same lady, when some one spoke
about laxity of morals, replied, "It is not
morals but manners that we need"; and I
can assure you that this high-church lady,
a model of propriety, judged her men acquaintances by that standard. If their
manners were correct, she apparently did
not care what moral lapses they committed when out of her presence. Briefly, I
looked in vain for the religion in everyday life preached by the missionary.
Doubtless many possess it, but the meek
and humble follower of the head of the
Christian Church, the American who
turned his cheek for another blow, the
one who loved his enemies, or the one
who was anxious to do unto others as
he would have them do unto him, all
these, whom I expected to see everywhere, were not found, at least in any
In visiting a certain village I dined
with several clergymen. One told me he
was the Catholic priest, and invited me
to visit his chapel. Not long after I met
another clergyman. I do not recall his
denomination, but his work he told me
was undoing that of the Catholic priest.
The latter converted the people to Catholicism, while the former tried to reclaim
them from Catholicism. I heard much
about our joss-houses, but they fade into
insignificance when compared with the
splendid religious palaces of the Americans, and particularly those of the Catholics and Episcopalians. Their religious
customs are beyond belief. As an illustration, their religion teaches them that
the dead, if they have led a good life,
go at once to heaven, though the Catholics believe in a purgatory, a half-way
house, out of which the dead can be
bought by the payment of money.
Now   the   simple   Chinaman   would
naturally believe that the relatives would
be pleased at the death of a friend who
was immediately transported to paradise and freed from the worries of life,
but not at all; at the death of a relative
the friends are plunged into such grief
that they have been known to hire professional mourners, and instead of putting on clothes indicative of joy and
thanksgiving array themselves in somber
black, the token of woe, and wear it for
years. Everything is black, and the more
fashionable the family the deeper the
black. The deepest crape is worn by the
women. Writing-paper is inscribed with
a deep band, also visiting cards. Women
use jet as jewelry, and white pearls are
replaced by black ones. Even servants
are garbed in mourning for the departed,
who, they believe, have gone to the most
beautiful paradise possible to conceive.
Contemplating all  these inconsistencies
320 g^ssssg
one is amazed, and the amazement is
ever increasing as one delves deeper into
the ways of the inconsistent American.
The credulity of the American is
nowhere more singularly shown than in
his susceptibility to religion. At a dinner given by the of in Washington, conversation turned on religion,
and Senator , a very clever man, told
me in a burst of confidence, "Our people
are easily led; it merely requires a leader,
a bright, audacious man, with plenty of
'cheek,' to create a following." There
are hundreds of examples of this statement. No matter how idiotic the religion or philosophy may be, a following
can be established among Americans. A
man of the name of Dowie, "ignorant,
impertinent, but with a superabundance
of cheek" (I quote an American journal), announced himself as the.prophet
Elijah,   and   obtained   a   following   of
thousands, built a large city, and lives
upon the credulity of the public.
Three different "healers" have appeared within a decade in America,
each by inference claiming to be the
Christ and imitating his wanderings and
healing methods. All, even the last,
grossest, and most impudent impostor,
who advertised himself in the daily press,
the picture showing him posing after one
of the well-known pictures of Christ, had
many followers. I hoped to hear that
this fellow had been "tarred and feathered," a happy American remedy for
gross things. This fellow, as the Americans say, "went beyond the limit." I
asked the senator how he accounted for
Americans, well educated as they are,
taking up these strange impostors.
"Well," he replied, puffing on a big
cigar,  "between  you   and  me  and  the
lamp-post it's on account of the kind of
schooling they get. I didn't get much
myself—I'm an old-timer; but I accumulated a lot of 'horse sense,' that has
served me so well that I never have my
leg pulled, and I notice that all these
'suckers' are graduates from something;
but don't take this as gospel, as I'm
always getting up minority reports."
The religion of the Americans, as
diffuse as it is, is one of the most remarkable factors you meet in the country.
Despite its peculiar phases you can not
fail to appreciate a people who make
such stupendous attempts to crush out
evil and raise the morals of the masses.
We may differ from them. We may resent their assumption that we are pagans
and heathens, but this colossal series of
movements, under the banner of the
Cross, is one of the marvels of the world.
Surely it is disinterested. It comes from
the heart.    I wish the Americans knew
more of Confucius and his code of
morals; they would then see that we are
not so "pagan" as they suppose.
324 ■
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