Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/40

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survey of the Empire and reformed the calendar, Verbiest causing no small chagrin to the native astronomers by his remark, "It is not within my power to make the heavens agree with your diagrams!"

Although during the earlier portion of Kang-hsi's reign of sixty years he had heaped favours upon the Jesuits, had built a magnificent church for them in Pekin, and written with his own hand an honorific tablet in their favour, the strife between the followers of Loyola, Dominic, and Francis as to the word wherewith to translate "God," and concerning the true significance of ancestral worship, etc., led eventually to an impasse between the Emperor and the Pope. On the one hand, the Pope required all missionaries proceeding to China to sign a formula promising obedience to the orders of the Vatican on these points, while the Emperor on his part forbade any missionary to remain in the country unless willing to accept his interpretation.

Bulls almost contradictory in their instructions were issued by various popes, and special legates were despatched to China—one of whom died there in prison, without the attainment of a satisfactory settlement. In some respects the controversy may be said to have largely arisen through the unworthy compromises and ambition for imperial favour which characterised the Jesuits' policy. With the death of Kang-hsi in 1722 the period of favour passed away and one of decline set in. An edict was almost immediately issued (1724) by Yong-ching, Kang-hsi's successor, closing all provincial churches and limiting the residence of missionaries to Peking and Canton; while in 1744 the next Emperor, Kien-lung, whose reign lasted nearly sixty years, and under whom the Empire attained its zenith both in power and extent, encouraged a general persecution throughout the country, hundreds of Chinese Christians and some ten Europeans being put to death.

The suppression of the Jesuits by Clement XIV. in 1773, the overbearing attitude of the Portuguese traders at