Wednesday, September 19, 2012
281 Confucius in North America around the Revolution
Confucius “dominated early American perspectives Chinese worship." In colonial bibliophile James Logan's collection works of Confucius were found. In 1733, Logan "acquired for his personal library a copy of the first European printing of Confucius philosophy. In May 1788, an article carried in the Columbia Magazine introduced its readers to Confucius’s filial piety.
John Bartram, the well-known American scientist, showed his interest in the personality of Confucius." Another influential magazine in New England, the New Hampshire Magazine in its September 1793 issue published "an outstanding tribute to Confucius and Chinese religion." A writer using Confucius Disciple as a pen name wrote "a concise History of Confucius, a famous Chinese philosopher," in which he demonstrated his belief that Confucius was "a Character so truly virtuous."
In 1796 Jedidiah Morse, the author of American Universal Geography cited Daxue (Great Learning), the new French translation, and Zhongyong (the Doctrine of the Mean) two of the four classics of Confucius philosophy. Morse praised the two works as "the most excellent precepts of wisdom and virtue, expressed with the greatest eloquence, elegance and precision." In his word, Confucius "is very striking, and which far exceeds, in clearness, the prophecy of Socrates."