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Speech on Education
Tenney, Charles Daniel

ms-number: ms794-012

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Young Gentlemen:
I am very glad [gap: tear][guess (MKR): to] [gap: tear][guess (MKR): meet] you today,
because I am [gap: tear][guess (MKR): interested] in schools and
scholars. I have been connected with
the the word repeated [gap: tear][guess (MKR): U.S.] Legation [gap: tear][guess (MKR): in] China for many
years, but I do [gap: tear][guess (MKR): not forget] that my first
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): responsibility] [gap: tear][guess (MKR): was in connection] with
teaching. I [gap: tear][guess (MKR): was] a teacher in [gap: tear][guess (MKR): my]
country for several years before I went
to China and in China I had to do
with schools before I entered upon
diplomacy. I [gap: tear][guess (MKR): organized] my first school
in China more than 36 years ago, and
in 1895 I allowed this school to merge
into the first University, of which I was
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): President] for 10 years. The experience
which [gap: tear][guess (MKR): scholars] had in teaching, on
both sides of the Pacific Ocean make
me feel competent to pass judgment on
the relative capacity of Chinese and
American students. Without hesitation[gap: tear][guess (MKR): ,]
I say that as students the Chinese
need give no odds to the Americans.
There is a foolish notion abroad that
the Chinese excel in [gap: tear][guess (MKR): memory]only, but
are weak in mathematics and in
the reflective and deductive faculty.
Nothing could be more false. The

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special training which they have received in
memory has [gap: tear][guess (MKR): not] been at the expense
of the other [gap: tear][guess (MKR): faculties]. [gap: tear][guess (MKR): I] have found the
proportion of [gap: lacuna][guess (MKR): boys who have] a natural
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): gift] for [gap: tear][guess (MKR): mathematics] fully as high in
China as in [gap: tear][guess (MKR): America]. [gap: tear][guess (MKR): Before] modern
schools were organized in China several
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): young men were sent] to the British
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): naval College] at [gap: tear][guess (MKR): Greenwich for training]
as naval officers. Two of these young
men led their classes in mathematics.
I remember discussing this with a
British naval [gap: tear][guess (MKR): officer] who was a
classmate of one of these Chinese. He
said "He not only led his class, but
the rest of us were not within sight
of him." Viscount Brice [gap: tear][guess (MKR): says in]
"Modern [gap: tear][guess (MKR): Democracies]" [gap: tear][guess (MKR): Europe] has
been wont to think of the Chinese as
semi-civilized. It might be truer to
say that they are highly civilized in
some respects and barely civilized in
others." This is a correct judgment.
The Chinese civilization dates back for
four or five thousand years. They were
discussing [gap: tear][guess (MKR): philosophical] doctrines 3000
years ago about which our ancestors,
had not begun to think a few centuries
ago. What causes the confusion about

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the Chinese [gap: tear][guess (MKR): civilization] is that until
recently the Chinese [gap: tear][guess (MKR): have] taken no
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): part] in the [gap: tear][guess (MKR): extraordinary] development
of natural science in which our world
has made such [gap: tear][guess (MKR): progress] during the
past two hundred years. The average
Chinese has the same mixture of
civilized thought and [gap: tear][guess (MKR): superstitious]
nonsense which our ancestors
carried about a few hundred years ago.
It should not surprise us that cranial
measurements show that the average
Chinese has greater brain development
than the average Westerner. It is
what we should expect from the
longer duration of the Chinese civilization. [below]It is 5000 against 500.
I confess that I tremble for the results
of the progress which we are making
in the natural sciences. The Great War
seems to indicate that we may use our
discoveries to kill one another off.
We fight now on the land air the sea
under the land, under the sea and
in the air, with high explosives and
with poison gas. What the end will
be no man can tell.
To my mind the highest proof which
the Chinese have given of the excellence
of their ancient civilization is in the

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very reasonable religion which has
been handed down from ancient
times. All [gap: tear][guess (MKR): educated] men in China
are Confucianists. You find scattered
about China [gap: tear][guess (MKR): Buddhist] temples brought
in from India and Tauist temples
representing a degraded cult native to
the [gap: tear][guess (MKR): country], [gap: tear][guess (MKR): but these] do not
represent the religion of the higher class
Chinese. They only gratify the natural
craving for superstitious indulgence
on the part of the ignorant.
So, today, I wish to tell you something
about Confucius, the great moral
and religious leader of the Chinese.
1. Confucius differed from other founders
of religions in that he claimed no special
revelation and made no revelationstaught nothing
regarding the life beyond. He was
strangely silent about the life after death
and about spiritual beings generally.
He worked no miracles, but confined
himself to discussing the relation, of
living men with one another.
[illegible: One] of his disciples asked about death.
Confucius replied "not yet understanding
life, how can you understand death" XI,XI
Another disciple asked about wisdom. Confucius
replied "To devote oneself earnestly to one's duty
is humanity and, while respecting the spirits, to

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avoid them may be called wisdom." VI,XX.
Again we read "The master would not discuss
prodigies, feats of strength, disorders or the
supernatural," VII,XX.
When a disciple asked about his duty to the
spirits the master replied "While still unable
to do your duty to the living, how can you do
your duty to the dead," XI,XI.
From these facts about the teachings of Confucius
many have sprung to the conclusion that
Confucianism is only a code of morals and
not a religion. This is hardly true, because
Confucius did endorse the ceremonies
of sacrifice to spirits and particularly
the sacrifice to one's ancestors. The fact
that he avoided discussing these matters
and especially because he admitted hishis admission of
ignorance regarding them has left
Confucianists free to believe as they like
about the spirits and about life after
death. I remember discussing the
ceremonies in honor of Confucius with a
scholar of high rank. He said "It is absurd
to charge us with worshiping Confucius. We
Confucianists do not believe in the immor-
tality of the soul. Confucius has ceased to
exist. How can we worship what does
not exist?" In spite of what this scholar
said I am of the opinion that very many
of the Confucianists do believe in the

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immortality of the soul. It is true, however,
that on this subject which looms so
large in the teaching of most founders
of a religion Confucius was silent.
It is very remarkable that 500 years before
Christ when founders of religions generally
claimed to know a great deal about the
gods and the future life this man should
have been honest enough to confess
that he knew nothing about either, and
that he was interested only in the
relation of living men with one another.
I will point out now a few of the
principles which he laid down for the
control of the intercourse of men with
other men. Of course you must not
expect to find republicanism in the
teaching of Confucius. He lived in a
monarchy and looked with reverence
upon the records of the [illegible: monarchies]
extending over more than 2000 years
before his time. In his time the influence
of the Emperor was slight. China was
divided up into princedoms, and the
princes made war upon each other
just as the military leaders in the
different provinces do now under the
republic. The emperor had little more
power than the President has now.
The teaching of Confucius in regard to

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the Emperors differed from that of
other religious leaders in that he taught
that when an Emperor [gap: lacuna][guess (MKR): became] so corrupt
and degenerate that the people no longer
respected him they were justified in
rebelling against him and setting up a
new ruler.
The cardinal principle of Confucianism
was respect for parents. With us "Honor thy
father and mother" is only one of the 10
Commandments. With the Chinese it is
the 1st and great Commandment. In
America more used to be made of it than
now and I confess to a feeling of shrinking
at the evidences of the lack of filial
respect which I see everywhere. I remember
the horror which one of my little girls felt
at something she heard in a department
store in San Francisco in one of her trips
home. Another little girl was selecting
some article of dress when her mother
made some suggestion, about it. The
other little girl retorted "Oh you keep still,
mother. I know what is becoming to me."
My little girl had been brought up in the old-
fashioned way and it had not occurred to her
that a girl could speak to her mother in
that way. In China two or three years before
the Empire was changed to a Republic
we had a surprise. When the Manchus

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seized the government of China in the
middle of the 17th century they were
considered by [gap: lacuna][guess (MKR): the] Chinese as only half-
civilized. Confucius had taught that
the mourning period for a father or mother
was three years. The Chinese scholars
had conventionalized this into the
enforced retirement of every official
from his official post for three years.
The Manchus originally had one
year's mourning for a parent and
this gave the Manchus who held
office an advantage over the Chinese
for they had to retire only for one year.
During the latter years of the Empire
the Manchus felt that they had made
a mistake keeping too [gap: tear][guess (MKR): separate] from
the Chinese. They abolished the rule
which forbade a Manchu from
marrying a Chinese and now they
proposed to make the mourning
period of Manchus and Chinese the
same. A committee was appointed
to consider the matter and we foreigners
supposed that the Manchu rule of
one year's mourning would be adopted
for both races. To our surprise the
committee decided that the Chinese

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rule of three years retirement should
apply also to the Chinese Manchus.
> The over-emphasis given to filial
piety in the Chinese system of morals
has had the practical effect of making
the Chinese a very conservative race.
They have always exalted the idea
of family. One of the Dukes said to Confu-
cius "In my part of the country there is a
man so honest that when his father
stole a sheep he bore witness to it."
"The honest in my part of the country,"
replied Confucius, "are different from
that, for a father will screen his son
and a son his father - and there is
honesty in that."
> Filial [gap: tear][guess (MKR): notions about] respect for elders are
the very foundation of an unselfish life - I 2
The followers of Confucius are not agreed
as to whether he recognized a supreme God
or not. He certainly believed in a Power
that makes for righteousness which he
calls Heaven. Some of the Confucian
scholars claim that when he speaks of
Heaven he means right principle and
not God. It is hard to accept this
view. For example one of the Dukes
intended to give him the hint that

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he would find it profitable to look to
him, the Duke for favors and preferment.
He said to [gap: lacuna][guess (MKR): Confucius] "What do you think
of the saying It is better to show
attention to the Kitchen god than to the
tablets of the ancestors?" Confucius replied
"Not so. He who offends against Heaven
has none to whom he may pray."
It is undoubtedly true, however, that the
allusions of Confucius to Heaven are
cold. There is nothing approaching the
doctrine of Jesus that God is our
Heavenly Father.
As I have said already, some
maintain that Confucius taught only
morality and not religion. We come
now to consider [gap: lacuna][guess (MKR): what was the]
morality which he taught.
One of his disciples asked if there
was only one word which might govern
his relations with his fellow men.
The master replied "Yes, the word
sympathy. What you are unwilling
that others should do to you, do not
to them.[ending " should be placed here] This is the Golden Rule of
Jesus put negatively. In the remark
that Confucius makes upon the conduct
of a young man, he says

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[gap: tear][guess (MKR): When one of] his [gap: tear][guess (MKR): disciples asked the meaning]
of virtue [gap: tear][guess (MKR): Confucius replied] "Love your [gap: worn_edge][guess (MKR): fellow men.]
When he asked [gap: tear][guess (MKR): the] meaning of [gap: worn_edge][guess (MKR): knowledge,]
the master [gap: tear][guess (MKR): replied] "[gap: tear][guess (MKR): Know your fellow men.]
Once when [gap: tear][guess (MKR): several] of the disciples were
telling their [gap: lacuna][guess (MKR): wishes] they suddenly asked
Confucius to tell [gap: tear][guess (MKR): his] ambitions. He said
"[gap: lacuna][guess (MKR): What] I hope for [gap: tear][guess (MKR): is] to comfort the aged, to be
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): faithful to] unable to decipher entire sentence due to damage [gap: tear][guess (MKR): to friends] and to
cherish the young.
Perhaps I have quoted enough of the sayings
of Confucius to show his [gap: tear][guess (MKR): attitude] toward his
fellow men. [gap: tear][guess (MKR): You] must [gap: tear][guess (MKR): remember], however,
that [gap: tear][guess (MKR): the Chinese] sage was a [gap: tear][guess (MKR): very moderate]
man and did not indulge in any [gap: tear][guess (MKR): hyperboles].
Thus when a disciple someone asked "What
do you think of the principle of rewarding
curiosity with kindness?" he said "With
what, then, would you reward Kindness?
Reward curiosity with just treatment and
Kindness with Kindness."
Confucius was above all a shrewd
observer and it is because of this that the
his sayings form a storehouse of practical
wisdom. Thus he says "Artful speech and
an insinuating manner are seldom associated
with [gap: tear][guess (MKR): true] virtue."
He said "When I first began to deal with
men I listened to their words and gave them
credit for their actions, but after more experience

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"[gap: tear][guess (MKR): When] a [gap: tear][guess (MKR): youth is at home let] him [gap: tear][guess (MKR): be filial]; when
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): abroad] respectful to his [gap: tear][guess (MKR): elders]. Let [gap: tear][guess (MKR): him] be circumspect [gap: tear][guess (MKR): prudent]
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): and] truthful, and while [gap: tear][guess (MKR): exhibiting] love for all men
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): let him] ally [gap: tear][guess (MKR): himself with the] good. Having so
acted, if he have energy to [gap: tear][guess (MKR): spare], let him employ
it in polite studies" I 6.
Many of the remarks of [gap: tear][guess (MKR): Confucius] relate to
government. He taught that [gap: tear][guess (MKR): men] ought to be
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): influenced] by the good examples of their rulers
and not [gap: tear][guess (MKR): roughly] [gap: tear][guess (MKR): dwindled] by [gap: tear][guess (MKR): military] [gap: tear][guess (MKR): force].
Once when he was [gap: tear][guess (MKR): travelling] he was [gap: tear][guess (MKR): offended]
because [gap: tear][guess (MKR): one] of the Dukes wished to consult
him about military tactics and left the
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): court] [gap: tear][guess (MKR): without] delay. One of his disciples
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): once] [gap: tear][guess (MKR): asked] [gap: tear][guess (MKR): him] what were the essentials
[gap: tear][guess (MKR): of] government. He replied "Sufficient [gap: tear][guess (MKR): food],
sufficient forces and the confidence of the people."
His questioner asked "[gap: tear][guess (MKR): If] I had to give up one
of the three which should it be?" "Give up the
forces" replied Confucius without hesitation.
"But suppose I could not even furnish the
other two, which should I give up?" persisted
the questioner, "Give up the food" replied
Confucius, "for all men must die, but
without faith a people cannot stand."
In another passage he says "He who governs by
his moral excellence may be compared to the
Pole Star which abides in its place while all
the stars bow towards it" [inline]At another time he said "Virtue never dwells alone, it always has neighbors" IV 25
The teaching of Confucius is summed up in one passage as "Conscientiousness to self and consideration for others" IV 15
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