“The Qing empire” in Patricia Buckley Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 2nd ed (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 223.
Consider the following passage written by Feng Guifen:
Books on mathematics, mechanics, optics, light, chemistry, and others all contain the ultimate principles of understanding things. Most of this information is unavailable to people in China. . . . I have heard that with their new methods the Westerners have found that the movements of the earth conform closely to those of the heavens. This can be of assistance in fixing the calendar. . . . I have heard that the Westerners’ method of clearing sand from harbors is very effective. . . . This can be of assistance to keep the water flowing. Also, for agricultural and sericultural tools, and things required for the various crafts, they mostly use mechanical wheels, which require little energy but accomplish much. . . . There are many intelligent people in China. Surely there are some who, having learned from the barbarians, can surpass them. . . .
Questions for discussion: