Saturday, August 29, 2015

408. Gouverneur Morris, Woronzow and Macartney's Mission to China

On April 8, 1792, five months before the Macartney's mission started its journey to China. Morris had a conversation with Count Woronzow, Russian ambassador at London. Morris recorded in his diary, "that the British Government have spread all over Europe the most unfavorable impressions respecting America. ...He says the object of Lord Macartney's mission to China is to get some exclusive right to the trade, and that money well employed at Pekin will insure success, the Chinese being the most corrupt, as well as the most cowardly wretches in existence. He says that a leading character in the administration of India affairs was heard to say, in the time when they expected to learn every hour of the fall of Seringapatam, that now was the time to turn their arms against China. "

It is very interesting. The diary shows two important things, the British government planned to bribe the Chinese officials and had prepared for a war against China if the strategy didn't work.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

407. Dr. Dave Wang's Lecture Poster: St. Johns University

One of my readers found the St. Johns University poster that promotes Dr. Dave Wang's lecture on Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy in 2007. This poster reminds me of the history that Dr. Dave Wang's examination of the US founder's connection with Chinese civilization. 2006 marked the 300th-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth (1706-2006) and also marked the national celebration honoring the life and enduring legacy of one of our most remarkable founding fathers. Dr. Dave Wang's Paper Benjamin Franklin and China---A Survey of BenjaminFranklin’s Efforts at Drawing Positive Elements from Chinese Civilization during theFormative Age of the United States was published by the office website of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary.
In 2009,  Tom Kuntz, the writer of 30 years for the New York Times, wrote "We think of Benjamin Franklin as sage transmitter of the Western European tradition to the early American way of life. But, a Chinese-American academic writes, his correspondence and papers suggest lifelong influences from Chinese culture, “from Confucius philosophy to industrial technologies.” [ResetDoc]

Saturday, August 8, 2015

406. The Dry Rice and Jefferson's Efforts to Improve Slave's Life

In his paper, Asian Dry Rice and the Slave's Living Environment: Thomas Jefferson's Efforts to Transplant the Rice to the United States, Dr. Dave Wang examined the efforts that Thomas Jefferson made aiming to improve slave's working and living condition.
While summarizing what he considered to be his greatest contribution to the world, Thomas Jefferson ranked his effort to introduce dry rice from East Asia into South Carolina in as high regard as his drafting of the Declaration of Independence. One author pointed out that Thomas Jefferson‘s interests in introducing Asian plants ―tied up with the agricultural and horticultural needs of the United States.  This is partially true because the author failed in realizing or ignored the more important reasons of Thomas Jefferson‘s efforts to bring Asian dry rice into North America. Indeed, Jefferson was an agriculturalist. However, Dr. Dave Wang’s recent research on Jefferson and Asian plants has revealed the fact that the introduction of dry rice reflected an important message: Jefferson had social value in his mind when he made his commitment to introduce the Asian plants into the United States.

Jefferson‘s efforts to transplant the dry rice revealed his determination to have it succeeded in the new nation, similar to how the other founding fathers, worked tirelessly to draw nourishments from Chinese civilization. However, Dr. Dave Wang’s examination of Jefferson‘s efforts to introduce Asian dry rice to the United States had led to his  finding of new reasons why the founding father worked hard to borrow from Asian cultures. There was an important agenda in Jefferson‘s mind to uplift the life quality of slaves. He had stated that one of his intentions of obtaining dry rice was ―for the purpose of improving the living conditions of the slaves and saving them from the ravages of disease that swept the Low Countries.

Jefferson‘s long term effort was driven by his following thinking: if the wet rice was replaced by dry rice, ―it would be a great happiness, as it would enable us to get rid of those ponds of stagnant water, so fatal to human health and life. In the meantime, Jefferson‘s connecting the transplanting Asian plants with his effort for bettering slaves working condition reveals another function of Asian civilization in the United States--help improve slave's life quality.