They are a harmless race when white men either let them alone
or treat them no worse than dogs; in fact they are almost entirely harmless
anyhow, for they seldom think of resenting the vilest insults or the cruelest
injuries. They are quiet, peaceable, tractable, free from drunkenness, and they
are as industrious as the day is long. A disorderly Chinaman is rare, and a
lazy one does not exist.
- Roughing It
Why, I was offered an office in that ancient time, by the California
Senators, -- minister to China. Think of that! It wasn't a time when they hunted
around for competent people. No, only one qualification was required: You must
please Andy Johnson and the Senate. Nearly anybody could please one of them,
but to please both -- well, it took an angel to do that. However, I declined
to toy for the prize. I hadn't anything against the Chinese, and besides, we
couldn't spare any angels then.
- Mark Twain in interview by W. A. Croffut titled "Mark Twain Smoked Out" published in Harrisburg (PA) Daily Patriot, June 4, 1889, p. 3.
Another prophecy: that by 1935 we shall have Chinamen coming to
us as missionaries. But I think that that was not really intended as a prediction,
I think it merely embodied a hope; a hope that some day those excellent
people would come here and teach us how to be at peace and bloodless for thousands
of years without the brutal help of armies and navies. But that gentle dream
is dead: we have taught them to adopt our sham civilization and add armies and
navies to such other rotten assets as they may possess.
- Manuscript dated 16 July and 12 September 1908. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 3 (University of California Press, 2015)
Mark Twain's "The Treaty with China" first published August 4, 1868 in the New York Tribune
with analysis by Martin Zehr.
Poster from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
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