Page:Christianity in China, Tartary, and Thibet Volume II.djvu/249

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MEMORIAL AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS. 235 humiliated in a conference on a religious question that he had held with the Doctors Paul and Michel: he planned, therefore, a scheme of vengeance against the Christians; and before he had matured his plan, he learned that two of the principal magistrates had pre- sented a petition to the emperor to have all the best European books translated into Chinese by the mission- aries, with a view of enriching the national literature. He had, too, hopes of becoming Colao^ or prime minister, and thought it would serve the purposes of liis ambition to put himself forward openly in the character of zealous defender of the faith of antiquity, and opponent of foreign innovations. These motives might nevertheless have not been sufficient to make the assessor declare open war to Christianity, but, unfortu- nately for the missions, there was soon added to them another motive which it is always very difficult for a Chinese to resist. The Bonzes of Nankin, terrified at seeing their pagodas more and more forsaken and despised, resolved on making a vigorous effort to save themselves from complete ruin. They levied a contri- bution on themselves, and made a collection among the devout Buddhists, and from the proceeds offered the assessor a bribe of ten thousand ounces of silver to procure the expulsion of the missionaries. The hatred and wrath of Kio-Tchin against the Christians were then at their height, and the temptation of such a sum as this thrown into the same scale completely turned it. The assessor laid his plan of attack very skilfully. Before accusing the missionaries formally before the emperor, he got the Bachelors of Xankin to draw up a memorial, in which they requested his intervention to

drive from the country these dangerous strangers, who