From the Foreword.
"THE proper study of mankind is man." This remains true even when the man is yellow.
Altruism, too, is making progress in the world, albeit her pace seems slow. There is a world-spirit abroad among men-a feeling of kinship, and consequently of interest. Even the world-interest of trade or science exhorts us to increase of knowledge and intercourse. What shall we say, then, of our interest in man -any man, anywhere-when we behold in him not a prospective customer or a scientific subject, but a man-body and soul and spirit-to be transformed into an heir of incorruptible glory?
Undoubtedly the best means of obtaining a satisfactory acquaintance with a people is by residing in the country or by extensively traveling in it. But to the vast majority this is impossible. Very well, then. Let us have books. Ever since Marco Polo "drew the longbow" before his astonished Venetian friends, China has been a magnet for writers, travelers and traders, and last and best, for Christian teachers. The catalogue of works on subjects pertaining to China makes a closely-printed volume half as large as Webster's Dictionary. But most of these are obsolete or inaccessible. New works appear each year. They are needed. China is an inexhaustible mine. Through ages she has well guarded the Delphic Oracles of her own mysteries. And now, the glinting rays of the new century's rising sun are but reflected back from the Oriental's millenniums-old thought-proof armor, to blind the vision of the eager observer.
But progress is a skillful archer, and has already found some joints in the armor. Even after the "opium" war China was largely a terra incognita, and remained almost as a sealed book until the treaty of Nankin.
To some, an awakened China is fraught with danger to the rest of the world. Anything great and dimly known is likely to excite fear. So the "Yellow Terror" is the legitimate child of the "Yellow Mystery..."..show more