Excerpt from The Chinese Repository, Vol. 7: May, 1838
Anxious as we are, and ever have been, tliht friendly intercourse be Opened and maintained with the Chinese, and that to all the inha bitants ofthe empire the glad tidings' be Speedily proclaimed, we would not have the work undertaken without due preparation - such preparation as will lead to success; nor, when undertaken, would we have it prosecuted in a manner or by means, sure to end only in disap pointment, disgrace, and ruin. One of the chief causes of failure in gaining access to the Chinese, in holding intercourse with them, and in exercising any good inﬂuence over them, has consisted hither to in our ignorance of their character. They are not made up entirely of peculiarities. When they see a thing to be good and useful to themselves, they know how to appreciate it, and are eager enough to obtain it. 'in modern times, ' say they, 'there have come in from foreign countries three good things vaccination, fire-engines, and a constant ﬂow of rice. Many approaches to the Chinese have failed for want of proper regard to circumstances of time, place, and per sons. There has been here, sometimes, not only a failure in 'suiting the action to the word, and the word to the action, ' but both word and action have been wrong. And sometimes what was de farlo good and well-intentioned on the part of the foreigner, has, through his own ignorance, proved nugatory nay even worse; kindness has been regarded as hostility, and friendly attention deemed an outrage. There are a great many inﬂuences acting on the minds of this people, which he almost beyond our observation, and of which we know little more than their mere existence. Hence it frequently happens that prejudices are excited, and are to be encountered, where we least intended or expected them.
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