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by [?]

This then is from the pen of Edward Carpenter, the Church of England curate who was so great a friend and admirer of our own Walt Whitman that he made a trip across the sea to join hands with him in preaching the doctrine of democracy and the religion of humanity.

In the interior of China, along low-lying plains and great river-valleys, and by lake-sides, and far away up into hilly and even mountainous regions,

Behold! an immense population, rooted in the land, rooted in the clan and the family,

The most productive and stable on the whole Earth. A garden one might say–a land of rich and recherche crops, of rice and tea and silk and sugar and cotton and oranges;

Do you see it?–stretching away endlessly over river-lines and lakes, and the gentle undulations of the low-lands, and up the escarpments of the higher hills;

The innumerable patchwork of civilization–the poignant verdure of the young rice; the somber green of orange-groves; the lines of tea-shrubs, well hoed, and showing the bare earth beneath; the pollard mulberries; the plots of cotton and maize and wheat and yam and clover; the little brown and green tiled cottages with spreading recurbed eaves, the clumps of feathery bamboo, or of sugar-canes;

The endless silver threads of irrigation canals and ditches, skirting the hills for scores and hundreds of miles, tier above tier, and serpentining down to the lower slopes and plains–

The accumulated result, these, of centuries upon centuries of ingenious industry, and innumerable public and private benefactions, continued from age to age;

The grand canal of the Delta plain extending, a thronged waterway, for seven hundred miles, with sails of junks and bankside villages innumerable;

The chain-pumps, worked by buffaloes or men, for throwing the water up slopes and hillsides, from tier to tier, from channel to channel;

The endless rills and cascades flowing down again into pockets and hollows of verdure, and on fields of steep and plain;

The bits of rock and wildwood left here and there, with the angles of Buddhist or Jain temples projecting from among the trees;

The azalea and rhododendron bushes, and the wild deer and pheasants unharmed;

The sounds of music and the gong–the Sin-fa sung at eventide–and the air of contentment and peace pervading;

A garden you might call the land, for its wealth of crops and flowers,

A town almost for its population.

A population denser, on a large scale, than anywhere else on earth–

Five or six acre holdings, elbowing each other, with lesser and larger, continuously over immense tracts, and running to plentiful market centers;

A country of few roads, but of innumerable footpaths and waterways.

Here, rooted in the land, and rooted in the family, each family clinging to its portion of ancestral earth, each offshoot of the family desiring nothing so much as to secure its own patrimonial field,

Each member of the family answerable primarily to the family assembly for his misdeeds or defalcations,

All bound together in the common worship of ancestors, and in reverence for the past and its sanctioned beliefs and accumulated prejudices and superstitions;

With many ancient, wise, simple customs and ordinances, coming down from remote centuries, and the time of Confucius,

This vast population abides–the most stable and the most productive in the world.

* * * * *

And Government touches it but lightly–can touch it but lightly.

With its few officials (only some twenty-five thousand for the whole of its four hundred millions), and its scanty taxation (about one dollar per head), and with the extensive administration of justice and affairs by the clan and the family–little scope is left for government.

The great equalized mass population pursues its even and accustomed way, nor pays attention to edicts and foreign treaties, unless these commend themselves independently;

Pays readier respect, in such matters, to the edicts and utterances of its literary men, and the deliberations of the Academy.