...Today the world is 90,000 li around. There is no place boats
and vehicles do not travel or human power does not reach....
According to Westerners' maps, there are at least one hundred
countries in the world. Of the books of these hundred countries,
only those from Italy from the time of the end of the Ming and
from present-day England, numbering in all several tens, have
on mathematics, mechanics, optics, light, chemistry, and others
all contain the ultimate principles of understanding things.
Most of this information is unavailable to people in China...
have heard that with their new methods the Westerners have found
that the movements of the earth conform closely to those of
the heavens. This can be of assistance in fixing the calendar....
I have heard that the Westerners' method of clearing sand from
harbors is very effective.... This can be of assistance to keep
the water flowing. Also, for agricultural and sericultural tools,
and things required for the various crafts, they mostly use
mechanical wheels, which require little energy but accomplish
much. These can assist the people to earn their living. Other
things beneficial to the national economy and the livelihood
of the people should also be used...
are many intelligent people in China. Surely there are some
who, having learned from the barbarians, can surpass them...
principles of government are derived from learning. In discussing
good government, [the famous historian] Sima Qian (Ssu-ma Ch'ien)
said, "Take the later kings as models," because they
were closer to his own time, and customs, having changed, were
more alike, so that their ideas were easy to implement because
they were plain and simple. In my humble opinion, at the present
time it is also appropriate to say "Learn from the various
nations," for they are similar to us and hence their ways
are easy to implement. What could be better than to take Chinese
ethical principles of human relations and Confucian teachings
as the foundation, (ti) and supplement them with the techniques
(yong) of wealth and power of the various nations?
from J. Mason Gentzler, Changing China (New York, Praeger Publishers,
1977) pp. 70-71