The Government of China (1644-1911)

By Pao Chao Hsieh | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
POLICIES OF THE GOVERNMENT: CONCLUSION

By sheer force of arms the Manchus invaded and conquered China; at the point of the bayonet, the vanquished Chinese unwillingly submitted to the newly founded dynasty. Void of ancient and advanced civilization, 1 totally ignorant of the art of politics and the Chinese political institutions, the Manchus, after their hard-fought conquest, found themselves confronted with the task of ruling over a civilized people with 21,068,609 adult males, 2 who might at any moment turn against their new conquerors and drive out the invaders. It was indeed a difficult task, so much more so when force, their instrument of conquest, could not be applied to the delicate art of government. With the early emperors' unqualified admiration of the Chinese civilization, their diligence in quest of its secret, their untiring efforts towards the processes of assimilation, and the help of the Chinese ministers, they soon learned the secret and were converted into Chinese emperors in thought and action as well as in name.

But, unfortunately, the political institutions of China were then at their lowest ebb: the institution of emperor was more corrupted than ever before. Huang Li Chou, one

____________________
1
It can be safely said that the Manchus had little or no civilization when they conquered China. The Tsing Chien I Chi Lu records that there was no written Manchu language until 1623, Emperor Tai Tsu, grandfather of Shun Chi ordered to have the Mongol system of writing adopted to the Manchu dialect and made a written Manchu language.
2
The first complete census of the Manchu Dynasty was taken in 1661. These records show that there were 21,068,609 adult males. By adult is meant a male subject between 16 and 60. See Huang Chao Wen Hsien Tung Kao, v. 19.

-376-

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