Camps and Trails in China eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 274 pages of information about Camps and Trails in China.

Our work in the north had brought us a collection of thirteen hundred mammals, as well as several hundred birds, much material for habitat groups, and a splendid series of photographic records in Paget color plates, black and white negatives, and motion picture film.  But what was of first importance, we had covered an enormous extent of diverse country and learned much about the distribution of the fauna of northern Yuen-nan.  The thirteen hundred mammals of our collection were taken in a more or less continuous line across six tremendous mountain ranges, and furnish an illuminating cross section of the entire region from Ta-li-Fu, north to Chung-tien, and west to the Mekong River.

It is apparent that in this part of the province, which is all within one “life zone,” even the smallest mammals are widely spread and that the principal factor in determining distribution is the flora.  Neither the highest mountain ridges nor such deep swift rivers as the Yangtze and the Mekong appear to act as effective barriers to migration, and as long as the vegetation remains constant, the fauna changes but little.



During our work in Fukien Province and in various parts of Yuen-nan we came into intimate personal contact with a great many missionaries; indeed every traveler in the interior of China will meet them unless he purposely avoids doing so.  But the average tourist seldom sees the missionary in his native habitat because, for the most part, he lives and works where the tourist does not go.

Nevertheless, that does not prevent the coastwise traveler from carrying back with him from the East a very definite impression of the missionary, which he has gained on board ships or in Oriental clubs where he hears him “damned with faint praise.”  Almost unconsciously he adopts the popular attitude just as he enlarges his vocabulary to include “pidgin English” and such unfamiliar phrases as “tiffin,” “bund” and “cumshaw.”

This chapter is not a brief for the missionary, but simply a matter of fair play.  We feel that in justice we ought to present our observations upon this subject, which is one of very general interest, as impartially as upon any phase of our scientific work.  But it should be distinctly understood that we are writing only of those persons whom we met and lived with, and whose work we had an opportunity to know and to see; we are not attempting generalizations on the accomplishments of missionaries in any other part of China.

There are three charges which we have heard most frequently brought against the missionary:  that he comes to the East because he can live better and more luxuriously than he can at home; that he often engages in lucrative trade with the natives; and that he accomplishes little good, either religious or otherwise.  It is said that his converts are only “rice Christians,” and treaty-port foreigners have often warned us in this manner, “Don’t take Christian servants; they are more dishonest and unreliable than any others.”

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Camps and Trails in China from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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