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EXPLANATION OF PLATE 0111.
F10. 1. Flower of willow, bearing one stamen, and one pistil. (Magn) ,, 2. Normal male flower of the same species. (Mag.)
3. Capsule of poppy, surrounded by secondary capsules, resulting
from the substitution of pistils for stamens. (Nat. Size.)
,, 4. Stamens of gourd, bearing ovules (after Berkeley). (Nat. Size.)
5. Pistil of Baeckea, bearing stamens in the interior in place of
,, 6. Scale from double hyacinth, bearing an anther above, and two ovules beneath. (Mag)
,, 7. Filament of a rose, bearing below two imperfect polliniferous ovules, and two-celled anther, and terminating in a dilated stigma» (Mas)
,, 7A. Ovule from the above, compressed, and showing the partial conversion of its tissues to those of an anther. (Mag)
,, 7B. Pollen-cells from ovule. (Maga)
,, 70. Spiral anther-cells from ovule. (Mag)
,, 71). Normal ovule of rose.
,, 8. Hop, bearing male and female flowers on the same inflorescence. THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE IN CHINA.
BY ROBERT K. DOUGLAS,
Or rrnn BRITISH Musnum.
N no instance has the truth of the French proverb “ Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien ” been more clearly shown than in the case of modern Japan and China. The progress made of late years by the people of the former country has been so rapid and astounding that the more modest advances made by their neighbours have appeared too insignificant for notice. With their national power of acquisitiveness the Japanese have without hesitation imported wholesale all the knowledge and science of the West with as much ease as though they were ordering a consignment of shirtings. They have founded universities and established schools, where foreign professors of every branch of European learning deliver lectures to young gentlemen in black cloth coats and patent leather boots. They have constructed railways and introduced telegraphs, and have gone to a vast expense to obtain an accurate geological survey of their country. For these and all their other efforts to Europeanise Japan they are ‘looked upon as the pioneers of civilisation in ‘ the East. They are held up as models of what intelligent Easterns should be, and any doubt thrown on the stability of the movement is laughed to scorn. And certainly, if other Oriental States are to be judged by the standard of rapid progress thus set up, the Chinese, when put into the balance, cannot but be found wanting. Perhaps one reason why they have not rushed with such headlong speed into the scientific market of the West is that they have less need of foreign instruction than the Japanese, their scientific knowledge, such as it is, being more advanced than that possessed by their neighbours. Some allowance must doubtless be made for their deeply-rooted old-fashioned prejudice in favour of walking in the paths which their forefathers have trod. It is, moreover, always more difficult to set a large body in motion than a small one; and even
if the Chinese were as impressionable as the people of the “ land of the rising sun,” the effect of a movement among them would, for a long time, be less observable than would be the case in the latter country.
But though when we turn to China we cannot point to any such surprising results as those which have transformed Yedo and Yokohama into the similitude of European cities, it would be a mistake to suppose that Western science has not of late years been making its way slowly—and perhaps all the more surelybecause slowly—among the 400,000,000 inhabitants of the “ middle kingdom.” It is true that they have neither adopted railways nor established telegraphs. They have not founded colleges, except one in the capital, neither have European professors met with any demand for their services outside the walls of Peking. But many of the most thoughtful men of the Empire have been carefully comparing the state of scientific knowledge in China with that existing in Western lands; and intellectually proud though they be, they have eagerly set themselves to werk to make up for the time which they have lost during the many centuries of stagnation which, until the foundation of the present dynasty, overshadowed the land. It is no exaggeration to say that at the close of the Ming Dynasty (1644) Chinese science was at a lower ebb than it was 2,000 years before that date. From whence the ancient Chinese acquired their learning it is difficult to say, but there can be no doubt but that certain sciences were more studied and better understood by Chinese scholars in the time of King David than at any subsequent period prior to the accession of the Tatar Emperors.
On these and kindred subjects the histories of China reveal origins so ancient as to dwarf into insignificance the greatest antiquity of which western Europe can boast. If we trace, for instance, the history of the science of numbers, as known to the Chinese, we are carried back nearly 4,000 years, to the time of the Emperor Hwang-ti, who, we are told, instructed his minister to form “ nine arithmetical sections ” under the following headings: l. Plane mensuration; 2. Proportion; 3. Fellowship ; 4. Evolution ; 5. Solid mensuration ; 6. Alligation; 7. Surplus and Deficiency; 8. Equation; and 9. Trigonometry. To the same emperor is attributed the formation of the sexagenary cycle, and this belief derives some confirmation from the fact that the present chronological era of cycles dates its commencement from the sixty-first year of his reign. In the “ Book of History” mention is made of the existence, in the time of the Emperor Yao (13.0. 2300), of an astronomical board, the members of which were employed in watching the motions of the heavenly bodies, in marking the solstices and equinoxes, and in forming the Imperial Calendar. Later, again, in the Chow-pi, a work on trigonometry (3.0. 1100), we trace a great advance in the knowledge of mathematical principles, as may be seen from the following translation of the first section, which may be said to contain an epitome of the whole work, taken from “ The Chinese and Japanese Repository” of April 1864 :—“ I, formerly Chow-kung, addressing Shang-kaon, said, ‘ I have heard it said, my lord, that you are famous at numbers ; may I venture to ask how the ancient Fo—hi established the degrees of the celestial sphere? There are no steps by which one may ascend the heavens, and it is impracticable to take a rule and measure the extent of the earth ; I wish to ask, then, how he ascertained these numbers?’ Shang-kaon replied, ‘ The art of numbering originates in the circle and quadrangle. The circle is derived from the quadrangle. The quadrangle originates in the right angle. The right angle originates in the multiplication of the nine digits. Hence separating a right angle into its component parts, if the base be equal to 3, and the altitude to 4, a line connecting the farther extremities will be 5. Square the external dimension, and half the amount will give the area of the triangle. Add together all the sides, and the result will equal the sum of 3, 4, and 5. The square of the hypothenuse being 25, is equal to the squares of the two short sides of the triangle. Thus, the means by which Yu restored order throughout the empire, was by following out the principles of these numbers.’ Chow-kung exclaimed, ‘ How truly great is the theory of numbers! May I ask what is the principle of the use of the rectangle?’ Shang-kaon replied, ‘The plane rectangle is formed by uninclined straight lines. The direct rectangle is used for observing heights. The reversed rectangle is used for fathoming depths. The flat rectangle is used for ascertaining distance. By the revolution of the rectangle, the circle is formed. By the junction of rectangles, the square is formed. . . . The numbers of the square being the standard, the dimensions of the circle are deduced from the square. . . . This knowledge begins with the straight line, the straight line is a component part of the rectangle, and the numbers of the rectangle are applicable to the construction of all things.’ Chow-kung exclaimed, ‘ Excellent indeed I’ ”
And we may well echo the exclamation. But unfortunately this promise of great scientific results was doomed, during many succeeding ages, to be obscured. Evil days overtook the lovers of literature and science. Their books were burnt, many of their number were put to death, and the remainder,
“Neglected and oppress’d,
In succeeding ages there were partial revivals in scientific research, and during the Yuen Dynasty (A.n. 1280—1368), an algebraic system, possibly derived from the Arab traders who at that time began to visit China, was introduced by a native writer in a work entitled, “The Mirror of the Mensuration of Circles.” But with the accession of the Ming Emperors (AJ). 1368) darkness again covered the land, and so completely during the following two hundred years were the works of the earlier native scholars forgotten, that when the Jesuit missionaries laid bare their stores of European science at the court of their patron Kang-hi, the message sounded in the ears of their hearers not'only as an improvement on the native methods of computation and system of astronomy, but as something quite new and startling. The road to honour and advancement thus thrown open to the missionaries was eagerly trodden by them. The Astronomical Board was placed under their direction, and the young Emperor, himself a youth of learning and scientific attainments, treated them with marked consideration and favour. The stimulus, however, thus given to the study of the science of numbers led to the reproduction of the native works of which we have been speaking, and others of a similar kind; and though it was universally acknowledged that the missionaries had supplied much that was wanting in the native scientific systems, they from that time ceased to hold the pre-eminently high position they had formerly occupied. Latterly, the spirit of scientific enquiry has become very general throughout the empire, and the Jesuits have found worthy successors in the native authors, who have enriched the literature of their country with many learned and valuable works on astronomy and mathematics. Quite recently, also, translations of several European works on these subjects, notably Mr. Wylie’s edition of De Morgan’s “Treatise on Algebra,” Loomis’ “Elements of Analytical Geometry, and of the Differential and Integral Calculus,” Herschel’s “ Outlines of Astronomy,” as well as several original works on mathematics, have been published in China, the joint work of foreigners and natives, and have met with much favour and support from the literary classes. New editions of several of these works have been brought out by wealthy natives, among whom Euclid is now almost as much studied as among ourselves.
As was the case with the Egyptians of old, the scientific knowledge, properly so called, Of the Chinese is confined almost entirely to arithmetic and geometry. Of geology, mineralogy, pneumatics, electricity and chemistry, they know nothing. In antiquity the medical art vies with the knowledge of numbers ; but it has been from the beginning, and is now, an art and not a science. The voluminous native works on medicine which