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China and Lower Bengal

Excerpt from China and Lower Bengal: Being the Times Correspondence From China I have, in these letters, introduced no elaborate essay upon Chinese character. It is a great omission. No theme coq be more tempting, no subject could afford wider amps for ingenious hypothesis, profound generalization, and trium phant dogmatism. Every small critic will, probably, utterly despise me for not having made something out of such opportunities. The truth is, that I have written several very fine characters for the whole Chinese race, but having the misfortune to have the people under my eye at the same time with my essay, they were always saying something or doing something which rubbed so rudely against my hypothesis, that in the interest of truth I burnt several successive letters. I may add that I have often talked over this matter with the most eminent and candid sinologues, and have always found them ready to agree with me as to the impossibility of a Western mind forming a conception of Chinese character as a whole. These difficulties, however, occur only to those who know the Chinese practically: a smart writer, entirely ignorant of the subject, might readily strike off a brilliant and antithetical analysis, which should leave nothing to be desired but Truth. Some day, perhaps, we may acquire the necessary know ledge to give to each of the glaring inconsistencies of a Chinaman's mind its proper weight and in uence in the general mass. At present, I at least must be content to avoid strict definitions, and to describe a Chinaman by his most prominent qualities. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works."
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