Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/97

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THE ETHICS OF CONFUCIUS.

In connection with the several obscure but remarkable instances of correspondences between the American shores of the Pacific and the remoter islands of Melanesia, it is interesting to note that the only other well-defined discovery of this mesh was made in British America upon the Pacific shore. Prof. George Davidson, of San Francisco, a most accurate student of the life of the native races with whom he had to deal, in prosecuting the survey of that coast, found nets of this peculiar mesh manufactured by the Tchin-cha-au Indians of British Columbia in the vicinity of Port Simpson, and described it in the proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, of which body he was for many years the president. The writer has been informed that a similar mesh has been noticed in the textile remains of the lacustrine period of Switzerland, but he has been unable to identify the reference in any of the figures contained in the usual authorities upon that prehistoric society.


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THE ETHICS OF CONFUCIUS.

By WARREN G. BENTON.

IN former papers on the Chinese religions I referred to Confucianism as a religion, following the generally accepted view of the matter. But in this paper I shall treat it as in no legitimate sense a religion, but simply and purely a system of moral or ethical philosophy.

Religion has to do primarily with the existence of a deity and with the question of man's immortality, and the relationship existing between the two. Morality may grow out of man's effort to sustain an acceptable relationship to the Deity and the future life but if so, it is incidental to and not a part of religion. The ages most noted for religious enthusiasm, and in which human fife and liberty were most freely sacrificed for orthodoxy in religious opinions and forms, were notoriously immoral. And at the present day, in many countries, the most religious are not the most moral^ communities. At Panama, a few years ago, I went to a cockpit on a Sunday afternoon, and among the spectators were several gentlemen in clerical cloth; and after the various battles were ended I observed that these clerically clad gentlemen were exchanging coin on the result. During the same afternoon, while "taking in" the sights of that town of cathedrals and churches, I saw more than one woman, around whose neck was suspended an image of the Virgin Mary, but whose manner of life indicated that a less appropriate symbol could not well be imagined. It is equally significant that rarely does a criminal ascend the gallows