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failed in her policy of Germanization in Slesvig; she has also estranged all three of the Scandinavian countries, not merely Denmark, but Sweden and Norway. If Pan-Germany would ever have been practicable, if the Scandinavian countries ever could have been included of their free will, the mistreatment of the Danes in Slesvig would have kept out Norway and Sweden as well as Denmark.

THE ATTITUDE OF THE GERMAN LIBERALS

But that

German liberals, both in Prussia and elsewhere in the empire, have often criticized Prussia for her mistreatment of the Danes. But these liberals do not wish the application of the plebiscite as promised in 1866. They do not wish to have Prussia lose territory, they merely urge that the repressive measures be stopped and the Danes given greater freedom. solution will never satisfy the Danes in Slesvig or in Denmark. The North Slesvig question has never been prominent during the Great War, but the recently reported action of the Danish King has brought the matter to the attention of allied statesmen, and if there is to be an application of the spirit of justice and fairness to small nations everywhere there must also be a reconsideration of the wrong done Denmark in 1864, and the people of North Slesvig must be given the right to vote on their political destiny. There can be no question as to the outcome; North Slesvig will vote to return to Denmark.

THE DEMOCRATIC BACKGROUND OF CHINESE CULTURE

By BENOY KUMAR SARKAR

NEW YORK CITY

N spite of the generally acknowledged importance of historic tradition as a pre-disposing force in the political developments of a people, it may be safely asserted that the democratic ideals and republican institutions of Asia in ancient and medieval times, such as they were, can, for all practical purposes, exert no influence on her present-day experiments in nationalism and democracy. The political achievements of the Old Orient are, in fact, of no greater efficacy to the New Asia than the Periclean city-state of twenty thousand free men served by two hundred thousand slaves, the Roman jus gentium, the "law of nature" of the Stoics, the Patristic doctrine of spiritual equality, the Frankish Champs de Mars, the Visigothic officium palatinum, the Vehmgerichte of the Teutons, or the Council of Toledo can possibly be in helping modern Eur-America solve the problems of universal suffrage, the ethics of representation, referendum and recall, public ownership, and sovietic governments. But now that world-reconstruction is being consciously attempted on all hands, and old values are being revalued in every line of human endeavor, it is of the deepest import to practical statesmen and students of culture-history to recognize that the political psychology of the Orientals has been pragmatically uniform with that of the Occidentals both in its strength and limitations. In approaching the East, therefore, in the future the West should not attitudinize itself as to an antithesis, as it was the custom during the last few decades, but as to a "double" or replica and analogue.

The points of affinity between Asia and Eur-America do inIdeed lie on the surface. Let us confine ourselves to China for the present. On this sub-continent, a veritable museum of humanity, no traveller could have failed to notice, here and there and everywhere, the little nuclei of sturdy self-rule, the so-called village communities. The local authorities of these rural communes entirely administer the affairs of the village or township, metropolitan or provincial officers being conspicuous by their absence. The village council is composed of all the heads

of families. Sometimes its constitution is based on the choice of elders by lot. These folk-moots often exercise the greatest influence in "national" politics. Thus when in 1857 the Imperial Government of China opened the port of Canton to the British it had to encounter the utmost tooth-and-nail opposition of the city council to the measure.

The Chinese have been used to this system of local selfgovernment since the earliest times. The elementary details of such municipal or rural institutions are given in the "Chouli," the text-book of politics compiled from still older sources in the twelfth century B.C. All through the ages the elders of Chinese communes have been elected by local meetings and have held office during good behavior. Even to-day the salaries of these officials are fixed by their peers of the neighborhood, and they are removable whenever the principal persons of the community are displeased with their conduct.

The alderman of the townships has, generally speaking, twofold functions to discharge. First, he is the connecting link between the local people and the higher authorities in matters of administration. He supervises the police, is responsible for the common weal, and enforces the necessary regulations in regard to streets, tanks, markets, festivals, collection of taxes, etc. Secondly, he is a judicial officer, the lowest in the rung of the system for the whole country. The Manchu code provided that all persons having complaints must address themselves in the first instance to the lowest tribunals of justice in the district. The petty questions arising between the men of the locality are thus attended to by the headman, and he is authorized to mete out the proper punishments.

Not less remarkable as testifying to the age-long capacity of the Chinese for collective life in order to promote joint interests are the religious fraternities, secret revolutionary societies, industrial gilds, and trade corporations. The constitution of some of the modern gilds of China is democratic with vengeance. Thus, for instance, the tea-gild at Shanghai has at its head an annually elected committee of twelve. Each committeeman acts in rotation for one month as chairman or manager. No gild member may refuse to serve on this committee. Another gild, that of the millers at Wenchow, is composed of sixteen mill proprietors. A committee of four is selected by them in such a way as to bring each member in his turn on the committee. But the ruling price of the flour each month is settled by the entire craft in conference.

The gilds make their own rules and modify them whenever

necessary. And since they are all voluntary associations owing their origin to no charter or governmental license, one can guess from the gild-rules to what a powerful extent the merchants of China are willing to be bound by the laws of their own making. One of the rules of the tea-gild at Shanghai is thus worded: "Pending litigation with a foreign firm, members of the gild shall transact no business with the delinquent firm; relations are not to be resumed till the case is adjudicated." These ultrademocratic corporations do not in reality stop short of enforcing on their members the greatest possible solidarity of interest. "It is agreed," as we read among the rules, "that members having disputes about money matters shall submit their case to arbitration at a gild meeting, where every effort will be made to arrive at a satisfactory settlement of the dispute. If it prove impossible to arrive at an understanding, appeal may be made to the authorities; but if the complainant resorts to the courts in the first instance he shall be publicly reprimanded, and in any future case he may bring before the gild he will not be entitled to the redress.' 991

The autonomies and immunities enjoyed in this way by the trade-gilds and rural communes of China in matters of legislation and adjudication would be easily recognized as some of the privileges and liberties of the craft gilds and gemots of medieval Europe. One must not suspect, however, that the political genius of the Chinese displayed itself solely in the administration of such parochial entities, the atomistic units of government. The forte of the people lay in centralization and unified control as well. In the study of Chinese polity we are familiar not only with the phenomena of feudalistic disintegration, provincial autonomy, laissez faire, and home rule, but also with pan-Chinese nationality, federation de l'empire, and real Weltherrschaft.

Solid political homogeneity was achieved on the Chinese continent on several occasions. The "Son of Heaven" did then become de facto, as he always was de jure, the hwangti or Bartolus's dominus omnium, of the whole empire. The supreme government of the Manchus, for example, consisted of two Imperial Councils of deliberative character and six administrative boards. One of the councils, called the general council, organized first about 1730 was composed of any grandees, as princes of the blood, chancellors, presidents and vice-presidents of the six boards, and chief officers of all the other metropolitan courts.

1 Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1886, New Series, Vol. XXI., pp. 133–192.

The various branches of government were consolidated and their harmonious action facilitated by this agency. It served further to make up for the shortcomings of a degenerate ruler and act as a check on the arbitrary measures of a tyrant. The government and direction of the entire civil service of the Manchu empire were left to the care of one of the boards, called the Board of Civil Office. Similarly the other boards were entrusted with duties concerning all the people of the empire. All this contributed no doubt to administrative unification.

The eighteen provincial governments had, as Williams calculates in the "Middle Kingdom," about 2,000 officers above the rank of the assistant district magistrate. Personal touch with the supreme government was ensured by the rule that every high grade officer had to report himself in writing twice every month. Appeals from the lowest courts of the village elders to the higher tribunals of the provinces and the empire served also as strong centripetal influences. Besides, the system of literary examinations by which all officers were appointed to important posts was thoroughly imperialized. The hierarchy of teachers and examiners from Peking to the villages was complete. The "literary chancellors" of the provinces were, like the civil and military governors, appointed by the emperor himself. Altogether, we have here the picture of a France centralized under the Intendants of Richelieu for an area five or six times as large.

It must not be surmised, however, that the king's power in China was a pure despotism. The Chinese polity was never without a conciliar element, the acts of the king being always subject to the control of the chief ministers. No individual could be appointed to a high post by the emperor alone. The ministers had the right to recommend or present a fit person. The king might indeed reject him, but even this prerogative appears to have been controllable, as may be gathered from Werner's "Chinese Sociology" (p. 52), by the united voice of ministers.

The restraints on the power of the king and the value of the council of ministers in the constitution of the state are strongly borne out by Chinese tradition which can be traced back to hoary antiquity. Thus from the earliest times it has been taught, both by examples and precept, says Meadows in "The Chinese and their Rebellions," that no man whatever had a hereditary divine right to the throne, nor even any son of its last occupant. The "five legendary rulers" (B.C. 2852-2255), whom Confucius has immortalized for his countrymen in the

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