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WILL JAPAN EVER BE CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY?
THE astounding and sudden changes which have in recent times taken place in the polity and social conditions of Japan lead one to the momentous and interesting inquiry whether its people may not adopt the prevailing religion of the western- nations. Count Vay de Vaya and Luskod, the celebrated Hungarian Catholic prelate and traveler, writing in the Deutsche Revue, discourses interestingly and at length upon Japan's spiritual past, present, and possible future.
The moral growth of the leading Power of the Far East, says this churchman, is not only an extremely interesting problem; it is one of the utmost importance, "for may not the influence of its spiritual strivings make itself felt throughout the Eastern Hemisphere?"
markable since a superficial view gives us a directly contrary impression, that of a people is true, the country is dominated by utilitarian with a purely material spirit. Just at present, it interests; the ruling classes are filled with utilitarian ideas, but they do not constitute the bulk of the nation.
It is the task of the future, he goes on to say, to free Japan of her materialism. When the physical work of national reorganization shall have been completed, the spiritual education of the new Power will be the work of the coming generations.
ligion has been evinced by the people, ChrisThough so far but little enthusiasm for retianity thrives and is free from persecution. Although religious liberty was granted but a few decades ago, there are now more than 100,000 Christians in Japan. It is not as difficult to overcome the people's apparent lack of religious feeling as to wean them from their deeply rooted customs, which, leading to irregularities, the Church cannot sanction.
The Count reviews the growth of Christianity in Japan in the sixteenth century and its ruthless extirpation in the course of a hundred years. At the opening of the seventeenth century Japan contained more than a million Catholics; in 1650 but a few Christian families survived. For over 200 years Japan was closed to all foreign intercourse. In 1858 its ports were again opened to European civilization and friendly relations entered into with foreign nations.
The impression that the Japanese are a fundamentally material people is an almost universal one; that, brilliant as their ideas and vigorous as their deeds may be, they aim only at earthly profit and fame, and are entirely devoid of spiritual ideals. Most of the recent works on Japan either sustain this view or are discreetly silent upon the subject; so that, unfortunately, the outside world is left in the dark regarding the inner life and the metaphysical powers of this strong, energetic people. It is unfair to judge a nation of nearly 50,000,000 by the traits of a certain portion of it, or to draw In their efforts to adopt European culture conclusions as to the national characteristics the Japanese have hitherto been concerned by observing the events of a few decades. To really comprehend the spiritual nature of such a vast mass of humanity, Count Vay de Vaya reminds us, it is absolutely necessary to follow the history of its civilization from the beginning; and the past is the surest guaranty of the possibilities of the future. An analysis, in the light of history, of the religious beliefs which have influenced the masses in Japan,-Shintoism, Confucianism," Taoism, and Buddhism,-brings this Catholic writer to the conclusion that the Japanese, far from being a materialistic people, are really intensely spiritual in their inner life. We quote his words at this point:
The more we study the spiritual life of the Japanese people the more we are astonished at their longing for higher things. This is re
with its material advantages without availing themselves of its moral blessings.
But a society which is held together by the mere forms and does not possess the essential part of Christian civilization cannot endure; a people which adopts only its tools and murderous weapons and not its divine attributes of human love is condemned to bring about its own down
A nation where in the beginning of its existence Buddhism was made a national religion by an imperial mandate and where Shintoism was decreed by Parliament, concludes Count Vay de Vaya, may one day reach the point of recognizing the truth of the Christian religion, which will then take such hold of the people that they will accept its divine verities as one man.
THE SEASON'S NEW BOOKS.
NOTES ON RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS.
EXPLORATION, TRAVEL, AND DESCRIPTION.
The revived interest in Arctic discovery engendered by the Peary and Wellman expeditions is likely to be still further stimulated by a notable book, "Fighting the Polar Ice," by Anthony Fiala (Doubleday, Page & Co.). This writer, it will be recalled, was the commander of the last Ziegler polar expedition, which spent two years above the eighty-first parallel. The remarkable photographs obtained by Commander Fiala form in themselves an exhibit of polar life such as no author in recent times, with the possible exception of Nansen, has been able to present. Although unsuccessful in his quest of the Pole, the brilliant young leader of this expedition is to be congratulated on his distinct addition to the general fund of knowledge concerning the Arctic regions.
The third edition of Maj.-Gen. A. W. Greely's "Handbook of Polar Discoveries' (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.) gives in a nutshell a summary of the really significant achievements in Arctic exploration down to the present time.
That indefatigable traveler and illustrator, Mr. Clifton Johnson, recently made a tour of the Mississippi Valley, which has resulted in a new volume in his "Highways and Byways" series (Macmillan). Beginning at New Orleans, Mr. Johnson conducts the reader up the great river, through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ar
Photograph by Dampf, Brooklyn.
kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, picturing with sympathy the daily life of the people in those varied regions. All of Mr. Johnson's books are illustrated with photographs taken by himself.
Dr. Edward Everett Hale's book of "Tarryat-Home Travels" (Macmillan), is full of entertaining personal reminiscence and historic allusions recalled by journeys to various American regions. Most of the incidents to which Dr. Hale refers in these pleasantly rambling and discursive chapters occurred within his own lifetime, and concerning many of them he had personal knowledge. Perhaps no living American has had a larger or richer personal acquaintance.
We have heard much of the high, lofty quality of the Japanese standard of morality, the ideals of Bushido. We now have the corrective for a perhaps too warm admiration in Dr. James A. B. Scherer's little volume "What Is Japanese Morality?" published by the Sunday-School Times Company. Dr. Scherer, who is author of a number of works on Japan, points out the noteworthy aspects of the Japanese moral code, and, while admitting its lofty idealism in many re
an exceedingly interesting trip through western what he calls a definition and analysis of modern Canada in search of big game. The 350 pages of the volume are illustrated by 70 full-page pictures from photographs taken by Mr. Hornaby's companion on the trip, Mr. John M. Phillips, of the Pennsylvania State Game Commission. Mr. Phillips' illustrations are unusually fine and Mr. Hornaday takes back to the New York Zoölogical Park, of which he is director, some unusual specimens of western Canadian fauna. There are two excellent maps of British Columbia, that portion of the Dominion which is the habitat of the white mountain goat.
A picturesque study from first-hand information of the Canadian West is presented by Mr. H. R. Whates, under the title "Canada the New Nation". published in London by Dent and imported by Dutton. Mr. Whates says that his book has been written for the settler, the emigrant, and the politician. He traveled from Liverpool in the steerage of an ocean liner to St. John, New Brunswick, and followed the immigration stream westward and northward until he reached the Pacific Ocean. He took up a homestead in the Saskatchewan Valley. and writes freely and frankly of his experiences and impressions. Added to these he has presented
more natural close for the work is the account of the final restoration of home rule in the South after the inauguration of President Hayes in 1877. In actual lapse of time the period covered by Mr. Rhodes' history is a brief one, but in dramatic interest no other quarter-century in our national history compares with it. The sustained moderation that characterizes Mr. Rhodes' treatment of the era of the Civil War also marks his account of the reconstruction measures which occupies the greater part of the two volumes just issued. Although his active life up to the time when he entered on the writing of this history had not been cast in academic lines, Mr. Rhodes was always a student, and seems to have been peculiarly fitted for the special task which he has just carried to so brilliant a conclusion. His fairness in dealing with political topics has impressed men of all shades of belief. Perhaps no part of the history has been more difficult to write than that embodied in the last two volumes; yet we believe that they will successfully meet the test already applied to their predecessors in the series.
A remarkable collection of family letters. which until recent years had been kept under lock and key, has made possible a full and authentic record of society at the national capital during its first four decades. The writer of these extremely interesting letters, Mrs. Samuel Harrison Smith, was the wife of the founder and first editor of the National Intelligencer. She came to Washington with her husband in the year 1800, and there she spent the rest of her life. A volume of her letters, appropriately entitled "The First Forty Years of Washington Society" (Scribners), appears under the editorship of Mr. Gaillard Hunt. Mrs. Smith's letters abound in intimate pictures of many of the most notable political characters of her time. This period in Washington history has been very imperfectly treated by most historians,perhaps because of the paucity of original materials like these 'letters.
"Charleston: The Place and the People", by
JAMES FORD RHODES.
Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel (Macmillan), has more to do with the ante-bellum Charleston than with the city of to-day. A great store of local history and tradition has been freely drawn upon in the preparation of this work, while the artist, Vernon Howe Bailey, has co-operated ably with the author in picturing the distinctive architectural features of South Carolina's stately and dignified capital.
In the excellent Grafton Historical Series (New York: The Grafton Press), we have new
"A VIEW OF THE EAST FRONT OF THE PRESIDENT'S HOUSE, WITH THE ADDITION OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH PORTICOS."
(From a drawing made in 1807 by B. H. Latrobe, surveyor of the public buildings, Washington.)
Illustration (reduced) from "The First Forty Years of Washington Society."
volumes on "Historic Hadley", by Alice Morehouse Walker, and 'King Philip's War", by George W. Ellis and John E. Morris. The facts contained in both of these books, while not unknown to historical students, have thus far been exploited chiefly in local histories and in the proceedings of the various historical societies of New England. The material has been gleaned from the New England colonial archives, published and unpublished, and much of it seems to be of sufficiently broad interest to justify a historical series such as this.
Senator Henry Cabot Lodge has collected some of his historical essays, under the general title
"A Frontier Town and Other Essays", which have been brought out by Scribners. The other essays are on the Senate, Samuel Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Senator Hoar, the United States at Algeciras, and other American historical subjects.
Under the title "Twenty Years of the Republic" (Dodd, Mead & Co.), Prof. Harry Thurston Peck, of Columbia University, summarizes the most significant events that occurred in our country's history between the time of President Cleveland's first inauguration, in 1885, and the end of the McKinley-Roosevelt administration, in 1905. This history has been running during the past year in the pages of the Book
The fourth volume in John W. Foster's series on diplomacy has just appeared from the press
'THE CORNER," BROAD AND CHURCH STREETS, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. (Center of the oid walled town.)
of Longmans, Green. We have already in our editorial pages noted the excellent and comprehensive character of this work. The second volume maintains the high scholarly standard set by the first. It deals especially with the establishment of territorial sovereignty and contains a number of maps and helpful tables. Dr. Hill's work will be a monumental history of diplomacy, not in a purely technical sense, perhaps, but as a powerful influence affecting international life and international relations.
In 1003 pages we have the story of "The Thirty Years' War", which is volume IV. of "The Cambridge Modern History (Macmillan), planned by the late Lord Acton and edited by Drs. Ward and Prothero and Mr. Stanley Leathes. This single work is the essence of hundreds of volumes, and may be assumed to be the last word on the subject of that perhaps greatest of European conflicts.
Real Soldiers of Fortune" (Scribners) is the title given by Richard Harding Davis to a book that deals with several personalities whose traits were hinted at in the story of similar name which Mr. Davis wrote several years since. Among these "soldiers," some living and some dead, there is the widest range of character and environment. They are: Maj.-Gen. Henry Ro ald Douglas MacIver, Baron James Har Hickey, Winston Spencer Churchill, Capt. P Norton McGiffen, Gen. William Walker, the of the filibusters, and Major Burnham, chi scouts. One would not at first be inclined group Winston Spencer Churchill, the dis guished son of a distinguished father, with men who fight merely for pay or for the love of adventure. Mr. Davis defines "soldier of fortune" in the bigger sense as "the kind of man who in any walk of life makes his own fortune, who, when he sees it come, leaps to meet it and turns it to his advantage." And it is certainly true that the men of Mr. Churchill's age are very few indeed to-day who have met more varying fortunes or have more frequently bent them to their own advancement. Davis' study of Walker, the filibuster king, has resulted in a real contribution to our knowledge of that strange character, and many Americans, young and old, will read this new estimate of Walker with a fresh interest.
An elaborate, dispassionate study of "The Polish Jew", in which special attention is paid to the part taken by the Hebrews in the Russian
and the People."
of Houghton, Mifflin. It is entitled "The Practice of Diplomacy" as illustrated in the foreign relations of the United States. This work is intended, primarily, to show the part taken by American diplomatists in the elevation and purification of diplomacy, and only secondarily to give the rules of procedure of diplomatic intercourse. The volume is certainly a welcome description and summing-up of the duties and daily routine of the world's diplomatic machinery. It cannot fail to be of much interest to every American who takes an active interest in the affairs of the world.
The second volume of Dr. David Jayne Hill's "History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe" has come from the press
Beatrice C. Baskerville. This volume ("The Polish Jew", Macmillan), is the result of eight years' residence and study in all parts of the former Polish commonwealth. The author declares that she was led to investigate the social and economic value of the Polish Jew because of the rapidly increasing number of immigrants of that race coming to the shores of the Englishspeaking peoples.
There is a good deal of fascination, historical and literary, in a recent volume of description. "The Stones of Paris in History and Letters' (Scribners), by Benjamin Ellis Martin and Charlotte M. Martin. In this volume, illustrated from photographs and pen sketches, we have a good deal more of the real social and political history of the French capital than is found in many a more pretentious historical