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Preface

As China has now fairly taken her place in the family of nations, it is unnecessary to elaborate an argument in support of even the humblest attempt to elucidate her history. It is a subject to which we can no longer remain indifferent, because circumstances are bringing every day more clearly into view the important part China must play in the changes that have become imminent in Asia, and that will affect the security of our position and empire in that continent. A good understanding with China should be the first article of our Eastern policy, for not only in Central Asia, but also in Indo-China, where French ambition threatens to create a fresh Egypt, her interests coincide with ours and furnish the sound basis of a fruitful alliance.

This book, which I may be pardoned for saying is not an abridgment of my original work, but entirely rewritten and rearranged with the view of giving prominence to the modern history of the Chinese Empire, may appeal, although they generally treat Asiatic subjects with regrettable indifference, to that wider circle of English readers on whose opinion and efforts the development of our political and commercial relations with the greatest of Oriental States will mainly depend.

D. C. BOULGER, April 28, 1893.