As A Chinaman Saw Us

Passages from his Letters to a Friend at Home

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Author: Anonymous
Published: 1904
Language: English
Wordcount: 48,432 / 144 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 58.3
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 2,725
Added to site: 2007.10.06
mnybks.net#: 18379
Origin: gutenberg.org

Since the publication in 1832 of that classic of cynicism, The Domestic Manners of the Americans, by Mrs. Trollope, perhaps nothing has appeared that is more caustic or amusing in its treatment of America and the Americans than the following passages from the letters of a cultivated and educated Chinaman. The selections have been made from a series of letters covering a decade spent in America, and were addressed to a friend in China who had seen few foreigners. The writer was graduated from a well-known college, after he had attended an English school, and later took special studies at a German university. Americans have been informed of the impressions they make on the French, English, and other people, but doubtless this is the first unreserved and weighty expression of opinion on a multiplicity of American topics by a Chinaman of cultivation and grasp of mind.

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. About one-half only of the total population speak or understand English. There are 500,000 Germans, 125,000 Poles, 100,000 Swedes, 90,000 Bohemians, 50,000 Yiddish, 25,000 Dutch, 25,000 Italians, 15,000 French, 10,000 Irish, 10,000 Servians, 10,000 Lutherans, 7,000 Russians, and 5,000 Hungarians in Chicago. You will be surprised to learn that numbers do not count. The 500,000 Germans are not the dominating power, nor are the 100,000 Swedes. The 10,000 Irish are said absolutely to control the political situation. You will ask if I believe that this monster foreign element can be reduced to a homogeneous unit. I reply, yes. Fifty years from to-day they will all be Americans, and a majority will, doubtless, show you their family tree, tracing their ancestry back to the Mayflower.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] This passage was written just before the assassination of President McKinley.

CHAPTER II

THE AMERICAN MAN

Hash--and I do not

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