Mr. Williams to Mr. Seward
My Dear Sir: I long since received your note of June 4th, 1866, informing me that you had directed a portrait of Washington to be sent out for presentation to Sen Ki-yu, a member of the foreign office of this government, who had written a eulogy upon him.
As it has not yet come, and I have heard nothing from Shanghai of its arrival there, I have thought it advisable to inform you, and no longer delay to send you the translation of the notice (in duplicate) given by Sen in his geography of the life and character of Washington. It is very brief, and, as you will perceive, has many errors; but it is noteworthy as being the first attempt by a native scholar and high official to give his countrymen an account of foreign countries and their great men. He cannot read a word of any other language than his own, and collected the details in his geography by personal inquiries among the few foreigners whom he met at Amoy and Fuh-Chow in 1844-49, who could talk Chinese. Naturally enough, the mistakes throughout the work are numerous; but his desire to show the educated men of China that the people of other lands, who had recently compelled the Emperor’s envoy to sign the treaty of Nanking, were not the barbarians they were thought to be, is apparent throughout. For his favorable notices of them, he was dismissed from his high post of governor of Fuhkien when the Emperor Hienfung acceded to the throne in 1850, and remained in private life till he was called last year to fill a vacancy in the foreign office, an appointment given him on account of having published this same work.
I am, respectfully, yours, very truly,
Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.
- It is also called Collected Nations of America, Confederated Countries of America, United Leagued Nations, and United all States, (i. e., these different Chinese names have been used.)↩
- This flag is an oblong banner with red and white stripes alternating; in the right-hand corner is a small square of a black color, wherein are drawn many white spots arranged in a form resembling the constellation of the Dipper.↩
- This is a vague expression for a vast distance; three li are usually reckoned to equal an English mile.—Translator’s note.↩
- Sometimes the lieutenant governor is a single officer; in other cases several persons aid the governor.↩
- They are also changed biennially, and sometimes annually.↩
- When he has held the office for eight years, he cannot be re-elected.↩
- Chin Shing and Han Kwang were two patriotic generals, who endeavored to overthrow the Tsin dynasty (B. C. 208} and restore the feudal system, and re-establish their own prince in his state. Tsau Tsau and Liu Pi were rival chieftains (A. D. 220;) the first of whom destroyed the great Han dynasty, and the second, after surviving all his own efforts to uphold it, founded a small state himself in the west of China. The “four-foot falchion” is an allusion to the celebrated sword of Liu Pang, the founder of the Han dynasty (B. C. 202,) with which he clove in twain a huge serpent that crossed his path. The three monarchs, Yau, Shun, and Yu, were among the earliest Chinese rulers (B. C. 2,357—2,205,) and were chosen to fill the throne on account of their virtues.—Translator.↩