Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/756

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they have become injurious. The paternal system, which in a small and rude society was of the greatest benefit, is now so strongly inherent in the Chinese character as to be an injury to society by retarding its development; and perhaps, also, by preventing the introduction of Western knowledge and arts.

That vital relation which exists between the mind and the body would of itself lead us to expect the operation of the same general laws in social development which control the evolution of organisms. We are led to the same conclusion by an examination of the history of the past and by the social condition of the present. Their operation in the future follows as a necessary corollary. The union of the civilizations of China and America, which differ as their races differ, would produce a society with parts so fundamentally antagonistic that permanent national existence—for which homogeneity is necessary—would be impossible. Assimilation could be effected only by the gradual and slow change of the more yielding characters of each. In the involuntary conflict ensuing, those characters which originated before the dawn of an ancient history, and have been strengthened through the inheritance of unnumbered generations, would persist with greater force than those new and changing characters which seem by comparison like the fashions of a season. The manners and customs which were described by the Arabs in the ninth century the same as they are by the travelers in the nineteenth century would be little affected by the changing forms of the society around them. The new society would assume more the character of its persistent than of its more yielding part. Intense conservatism would check the progress of reform and improvement. That liberty of personal thought and action, the assertion and exercise of which have secured the freedom and independence of governmental or religious control we now enjoy, would receive a severe shock, were our society composed in part of a people whose first and highest duty has always been to obey and depend implicitly upon an authority, and who have no word for liberty in their language.[1]

If the further development of our civilization is to be desired, it must be guarded from the retarding influence of a different race. If our institutions and governmental principles are worthy of preservation, they must be protected from a people who represent in all the instincts of their nature different feelings and forms. If we ignore the plain teachings of history upon the effect of the mingling of societies composed of different races, or having different civilizations, and, as is commonly the case with individuals, will learn only from our own experience, the experience is likely to come too late for us to profit by it.

The permanence of a civilization and of a nation depends upon their homogeneity. The Chinese present their uniform and unparalleled

  1. Williams, "The Middle Kingdom," vol. i, p. 321.