dollars, the average being ten cents. During the first year the expenses of the "Scientific Book Depot" were covered by the profits on the sale of four thousand five hundred dollars' worth of books, maps, and charts. During the second year branch depots were opened at Tientsin, Hangchow, and Swatow, and the total sales for the year amounted to six thousand dollars. During the third year depots were added at Pekin, Hankow, Foochow, and Amoy, and the sales of books largely increased, so that about seventeen thousand dollars' worth of books had been sold by the end of 1887, and some of them had found their way to the most distant parts of China, and also to Corea and Japan. At least a hundred and fifty thousand volumes of this scientific and educational literature had been disposed of, in addition to considerable numbers of maps and charts. The demand for Western learning has been greatly augmented during the last year by a remarkable change in the scheme of the competitive examinations whereby successful candidates for literary degrees obtain honors and offices. In the past, only a knowledge of the native classics, with skill in the use of the native hieroglyphics, has been required of the scholar. Now, geography and natural philosophy have been added to the subjects for examination, and this action of the Government has turned the attention of students throughout the empire in a new direction. The indications are that China is to follow Japan in the path of progress in Western science and philosophy, though it may be with the slow step that accords with the magnitude of the nation.
|Adele M. Field.|
|Swatow, China, February, 1888.|
THERE is a decided improvement in this country in favor of what is known as "culture." Between summer schools of philosophy, Chautauqua courses of study, and various other schemes of similar nature, we have an almost embarrassing choice of means for intellectual improvement. Young people all over the country are studying the great masterpieces of literature, ancient and modern. Now it is Dante, now it is Chaucer, now it is Victor Hugo. There is no doubt at all that this is useful work; at the same time there is just one caution, as it seems to us, to be given. In all this study what is supremely wanted is an objective point; otherwise we shall have, as the result of it all, a lot of people taking pride in their literary bric-a-brac, and yet with minds ill furnished for everyday purposes—destitute, that is to say, of a vigorous practical intelligence. We might, perhaps, without danger of falling into serious error, go so far as to say that some of the tasks prescribed by the organizations to which reference has been made are not in every case suited to the minds that attack them. A person of naturally comprehensive mind, capable of taking a wide survey of things, and with daily occupations that tend to promote mental balance, may undertake an exhaustive study of Dante without throwing the general structure of his or her thought and knowledge out of all symmetry; but we should not feel like guaranteeing an equally harmless result in the case of some of those whom we see bending over such tasks, and who, if they take possession of Dante in any real sense, will have something on hand out of all proportion to the volume and mass of all their other mental acquisitions put together. In cases such as we have in view there is Just this alternative: Dante is either learned in some effective fashion, or he is not learned to any purpose worth mentioning. In the former case there ensues a certain lop-sided development of culture, in the other we have a mind more or less spoiled by a mere show of knowledge and the affectations to which superficial acquisitions seldom fail to give rise.
The main point, however, to keep in view, and that toward which our caution is directed, is that all knowledge should be rated in exact proportion to the effect it has in promoting a sound