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                        A Few Comments to Commemorate the Historic Role of Xu Jiyu and the 140th Anniversary of the Establishment of China's Modern-Style Education         ★★★ 【字体:
对纪念徐继畬的历史贡献及中国现代教育
作者:龙夫威    文章来源:本站原创    点击数:25128    更新时间:2008-6-15    

 

Fred W. Drake

University of Massachusetts/Amherst

    It gives me great pleasure to attend this gathering to remember and discuss the contributions of Governor Xu Jiyu to China's modernization and to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the creation of the Tongwenguan, China's first modern-style institution of higher learning. I wish to extend special thanks to Vice-Governor Wang Xin for her help in making it possible to bring attention to the bold initiatives that began China's march toward modernization, a program that was heavily influenced by the new world view of a native son of Shanxi, Governor Xu Jiyu. Also, I wish to express appreciation for Mayor Zhang Huaiwen's support in commemorating perhaps Governor Xu's most important contribution, the establishment of the Tongwenguan nearly one-and-one-half centuries ago. Last but not least, I wish to thank Mr. Ren Fuxing, President of the Xu Jiyu Research Society for his dedication to restoring to memory the pivotal role played by Governor Xu in the early stages of China's search for new directions. And thanks to all of you for allowing me the great honor of participating in this celebration.
    On this occasion we have an unusual opportunity to consider many
intriguing questions that adhere to Governor Xu's endeavors as an advocate of more effective policies to meet new challenges from maritime Europe and America. Indeed, in Governor Xu's story we are inevitably led to consider fundamental questions regarding the nature, processes, and results of introducing foreign ideas and institutions from one culture to another. To be sure, Governor Xu's conservative opponents in the Neo-Confucian-influenced world of Qing scholarship and officialdom were understandably worried that foreign-inspired technology and scientific education would cause China to abandon its humanistic traditions and lead her down a disastrous path of political, social, and finally cultural change. Xu Jiyu also undoubtedly recognized these dangers, but his experiences on the maritime frontier of the Chinese world convinced him that China must take radical steps to save herself from a fate like that of India.
     Molded by failure on the battlefield and driven by concern for China's long-term survival as a culture-state, Xu's outlook remarkably was not clouded by bitterness or hatred. This quality of open-mindedness impressed his Western contemporaries along the China coast, and they were attracted to him. Likewise, Governor Xu recognized that some of these Westerners were men of culture and education. For example, his acquaintance in Fujian with the American missionary, David Abeel, helped persuade him that such people might provide useful information on the nature of the outside world. In their periodic encounters, Xu found Abeel to be a decent and well-informed man. So, with an open mind shared by few of his contemporaries, he found  Abeel's knowledge of world history and scientifically-derived geography of immediate use as he plumbed for answers to new questions: Why was China with its age-old superior culture unsuccessful in stemming the invading tide of western maritime power? Why were the European states capable of concentrating such potent power in far-flung places around the globe? What should China do to adapt to such unprecedented conditions? How was the threat from powerful European states different in kind and quality from that which China had experienced during an earlier age in its encounters with the Mongols and the Nuchens, for example?
    Governor Xu correctly saw that China's salvation lay in education to better understand the nature of the outside world and how to deal with it.
    Himself a scholar within the tradition of Confucian humanism who believed in rational examination of problems to find workable solutions, he courageously moved beyond Chinese knowledge to embrace new sources of information. He labored intensively for many years, even while carrying the heavy burdens of official duties in Fujian, to produce his path-breaking political-geography, the YINGHUAN ZHILUE (1848), which would begin that process of educating Chinese readers to new realities.
    This objective of educating Chinese to better comprehend and use the new forces shaping the world brought Governor Xu in the 1860s to support and eventually lead an institution of higher learning capable of training scholars in foreign languages and in foreign subjects. By 1862 yet another Western invasion of China had convinced sufficient numbers of leaders that the world view introduced by Xu at such personal expense in 1848 was essentially correct. It was a matter of survival that new institutions and methods of strengthening China be devised. Thus, the Tongwenguan came into being as one of the first examples of Chinese modernization.
      As China's first modern-style institution of higher learning, the Tongwenguan was a great gamble from the point of view of the Confucian establishment, and consequently in its early years it had extremely limited objectives. However, when Governor Xu assumed its direction in 1867, what had been a simple school for interpreters became a modern-style college, equal to or better than most of its contemporary Western counterparts. Now offering a full array of the most up-to-date academic subjects, the institution under Xu's aegis served as an early model for China's development of an entire system of higher education. When it was finally disbanded in the early 20th century, its influence had spread far to inspire the creation of a series of top-notch colleges and universities which now can be found all over China. (Thus, the Tongwenguan in some ways played a role for China, though in a much shorter span of time, comparable to that of America's first institution of higher learning, Harvard College. It too began as a rather primitive school, whose primary aim in the early 17th century was to prepare its students for the Christian ministry. However, by the mid-19th century it too exerted an influence on the development of American higher education that, to one degree or another, is felt to this very day.)
    I would suggest that this celebration of Governor Xu's influence in the creation and development of the Tongwenguan serves at the same time as a celebration of China's great modern achievements. Today's China has emerged again as a state with great wealth, power, and promise. It is blessed with academic institutions that produce some of the world's most capable scientists, engineers, and specialists in all fields. Such success was not guaranteed; indeed, effective response has failed in numerous other places of the world that faced a similar onslaught of Western power and influence.
Instead, I believe, China's achievement is derived, to one extent or another, from the vision of a few great men like Xu Jiyu who understood that China was being left behind. They therefore became dedicated pioneers in leading their country and people into an uncharted future by utilizing what the Confucian world perhaps did best, namely to foster human development through education.
    As a student of history, I wonder: Without a Xu, how much longer would China have waited to create a more accurate vision of the world beyond and effective policies to engage it? Without a Tongwenguan, or something like it, how could China have prepared to make the giant strides of recent history?
    If Governor Xu were able to join us here today, how would he respond to jet planes, electricity, telephones, computers, e-mail and the myriad of other technologies that now bind the entire world in their web? Would he lament the extremely high price China has had to pay for entry into this modern world? Perhaps. But at the same time I have no doubt that he would generally approve of China's retrieval of her prestigious position in the world order. And for his role in that we owe Governor Xu thanks and appreciation.
 
(美)龙夫威:对纪念徐继畬的历史贡献及中国现代教育
开创140周年的若干理解
 
美国马萨诸塞大学阿默斯特分校教授   龙夫威
 
      论述徐继畬巡抚对中国现代化的历史贡献和中国第一所现代高等学校同文馆开创140周年,给了我极大的乐趣。徐继畬巡抚作为一个山西的儿子,他的全新的世界观极大影响了中国,从此中国开始了向现代化的进军。而(山西省)王昕副省长提供条件,帮助人们把重新关注这一重要历史问题的希望变成现实。因此我要对她表示特别的感谢。同时,我还要感谢(忻州市)张怀文市长,支持人们纪念很可能是大半出于徐氏的、在将近一个半世纪以前创立了同文馆的重要贡献。最后的但不是最少的,我愿意感谢徐继畬研究会会长任复兴先生,是他唤起人们纪念徐巡抚在探索中国新的方向的舞台上,所扮演的关键角色。

      在这个场合,我们有不平常的机会,去考虑那些令人感兴趣的问题。这些问题,与徐继畬做为一个领导者,是如何努力制定更多有效的政策,去迎接海上来的欧洲人和美洲人的挑战相关联。确实,在徐巡抚的故事中,我们不可避免地被导向去仔细思考那些基本问题,当从一种文化向另一种文化引进外来的思想和制度的时候,在自然,加工,和各种成果方面的变化。当然,从国外为源泉的技术和科学的教育,必将使中国放弃文化传统,并引起她在政治和社会上的悲惨的沉沦,并在另外的文化上发生变化,徐氏在晚清学术界和官场上的新儒家的守旧的对手们,对此是可以理解地被惊呆了。徐继畬当然深知这种众所周知的危险,但是经过中国海疆的实践使他坚信,为了把中国从印度那种厄运中拯救出来,中国必须采取彻底的措施。被沙场的失败所陶冶,为使中国这个历史悠久的文化国家生存下去的责任感所驱策,徐氏的视野引人注目地并不被苦难和憎恨所笼罩。这种思想开放的品质,对他同时代的、到中国沿海的西方人,留下深刻的印象。同样,徐巡抚坚信,这些西方人中有一部分可以被视为西方文化教育的载体。例如,他在福建与美国传教士大卫·雅裨理的相识,使他认识到这样的人士可以提供域外世界的第一手的有用信息。在他们的多次接触中,徐继畬深感雅裨理是一位品德优良的博学的人士。这样,做为他同时代几个有开放思想的人士之一,他从雅裨理获得关于世界历史和源自科学方法的、直接有用的地理学知识之后,探寻如下新问题的答案:为什么具有古老和高傲文化的中国,抵挡不住海上来的西方列强的侵袭?为什么欧洲各国能够聚集起冲击环球每个遥远角落的如此强大的力量?例如,欧洲列强在品质和种类上,和中国早先遭遇过的蒙古和女真人到底有何不同?徐巡抚正确地看到,在教育方面拯救中国之路,在于更好地了解外部世界的本质,并如何处理好与之的关系。

  作为一个具有儒家理性主义传统的学者,他坚信对某些问题的理性考察,可以找到(解决问题的)可操作的方案,他勇敢地从远离中国文化的地方引来新的信息的源头活水。他为此严谨而热烈地探索多年,甚至在他担任福建的繁重公务期间也是如此,去完成他那跨越障碍的政治地理著作。1848年出版的《瀛环志略》,开始了教育中国领导者去了解世界的新的真相过程。

  这个教育中国人去了解和运用世界新知的初衷,终于导致徐氏在1860年代支持并最后领导一所造就懂得外国语言和外国知识的高等学校。直到西方再一次入侵中国之后,至1862年,迫使中国领导者中足够的人士认识到,徐氏在中

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