This book of Qiang Chih-tung, which we have translated into English from the original Chinese text, was written soon after China had been beaten to her knees by the doughty little warriors of the Sunrise Kingdom. It represents the result, in part, of the Chino-Japanese war, and the persistent pressure of other issues by European nations. Had the Viceroy not been so powerful in men and arms, he would have lost his head for the bold advocacy of Reform exhibited in this volume. But he carefully measured his ground before publishing it. He was convinced that a change in Chinese affairs was desperately necessary, and at the same time realized that the Chinese officials and people clung with unyielding tenacity to their ancient ideas and institutions.
To steer successfully a middle course between Scylla and Charybdis required an unwavering courage and a steady hand.