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40: Conclusion

"Surely it is manifest enough that by selecting the evidence, any society may be relatively blackened, and any other society relatively whitened."[*] We hope that no such principle of selection can be traced in the preceding pages. Irritation against traducers of China and her morality[+] may have occasionally tinged our views with a somewhat rosy hue; but we have all along felt the danger of this bias, and have endeavoured to guard against it. We have no wish to exalt China at the expense of European civilisation, but we cannot blind ourselves to the fact that her vices have been exaggerated, and her virtues overlooked. Only the bigoted or ignorant could condemn with sweeping assertions of immorality a nation of many millions absolutely free, as the Chinese are, from one such vice as drunkenness; in whose cities may be seen--what all our legislative and executive skill cannot secure--streets quiet and deserted after nine or ten o'clock at night. Add to this industry, frugality, patriotism,[:] and a boundless respect for the majesty of office: it then only remains for us to acknowledge that China is after all "a nation of much talent, and, in some respects, even wisdom."[!]

[*] Spencer's Sociology: The Bias of Patriotism.

[+] "The miseries and horrors (?) which are now destroying (?) the Chinese Empire are the direct and organic result of the moral profligacy of its inhabitants."--_Froude's Short Studies on Great Subjects_.

[:] "Every patriotic Chinese--and there are millions of such."--_Dr Legge to London and China Telegraph_, July 5, 1875.

[!] Mill's Essay on Liberty.