大鱼:马戛尔尼使团访华——中西方对抗的开始

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(一)同一个世界,不同的梦想

1799年世界上发生两件大事,美国总统华盛顿和大清王朝乾隆皇帝都在这一年病逝。

功成引退的华盛顿在遗嘱中提到,希望用他捐赠的资金建立一所大学,即今天的华盛顿大学;开疆拓土的乾隆在遗嘱中叙述,自己惟艰数十年,在“敬天、法祖、勤政、爱民”上尽心尽力,嘱咐后人不要荒废“天地宗庙、社稷之祭”。

220年前这个时间上的巧合,暗衬着东西方文明的第一次交集。

这一年还发生的大事包括拿破仑发动雾月政变,巴尔扎克出生,权臣和珅被赐自缢等等。

在大航海时期,西班牙、葡萄牙和荷兰站在先列。荷兰是当时的海上马车夫,是大航海时期第一代赢家。今天荷兰虽然面积没有中国的宁夏大,仍然是世界排行前几名的农产品出口国之一。

英国在1760年代发生工业革命,蒸汽机得以大规模使用,各项技术革新层出不穷,逐渐走上繁荣富强,取得霸主地位,打下日不落帝国基础。

清朝受益于世界海洋贸易的发展,逐渐引进量产土豆、马铃薯、茄子、南瓜、玉米等多种农作物,花生成为皇亲国戚的贡果小食品。有一种说法认为,清朝入关时中国人口6000多万(一说过亿),到乾隆年间已经达到3亿左右,和引进这些农作物有关。

整个清朝疆域峰值达到1316万平方公里。大清朝用丝绸、茶叶、瓷器等换取了大量的白银,是当时妥妥的世界GDP第一大国,甩第二足有几条街。

稍后会发现,GDP第一大国却远远不是世界强国。

乾隆搞千叟宴时,白莲教起义闹得正凶。强大的是朝廷和权贵,民众生活并不富裕,各项权利更无从谈起,官府对百姓完全是一种牧羊状态。

当社会财富分配不均时,就会出现“金樽美酒千人血,玉盘珍馐万民膏;烛泪落处民泪落,歌声高处怨声高”的现象。

正是在这种背景下,早已经实现君主立宪制一百多年的英国政府,在欧洲民间对东方大国充满想象和好奇之下,派出一个庞大使团,由马戛尔尼带队,准备对大清朝进行访问,以探虚实。

乾隆年间的1793年,清廷接到讯报,英国人马戛尔尼率领使团将要来大清朝贡。

历史学家认为,这次不成功的访问是后来东西方走向对抗的起因;同时也有研究者认为,如果这一次外事活动能够让清朝和英国联起手来,会大大加速中国步入现代文明社会的进程。

(二)万邦来朝,具表纳贡?

马戛尔尼使团访问清朝,是英国策划已久的一次行动。他们希望通过这次访问,加强对东方大国的了解,评估清朝实力,加深两国之间的贸易关系,扩大销售市场和原料供应。

因此在准备上英国是下了长足的功夫,单单对礼物的选择就煞费苦心。他们特意寻找来过大清的传教士、旅行家和商人,仔细询问大清可能缺少的东西,以期受到大清王室注重。

英国人想把他们最新的发明介绍给中国,如蒸气机、棉纺机、梳理机、织布机,并猜想准会让中国人感到惊奇而高兴。英王还特意赠送了当时英国规模最大并装备有110门大口径火炮的“君主号”战舰模型。

这套既想利诱又暗藏威胁的礼物清单,没有现在的发明专利概念,是一种两手抓、两手都要硬的试探。

当时在美国独立战争中使用的武器英国人都给中国带来了,迫击炮、步枪、连发手枪,还有一种当时英国最先进的气步枪——这东西带有压缩气钢瓶,装填13毫米铅弹,500名气枪手可持续发射4.5万发,有效射程100米,这样的密集火力在当时的战场上是很可怕的,杀伤力大约相当于现在的普通手枪。当然这种枪后来被威力更大的纯火药枪和类似马科沁机枪这样的大杀器替代。

礼品清单中还包括天体运行仪等一大堆仪器,代表了欧洲最先进的科学研究成果和技术。

使团船队共由一艘装有64门火炮的战舰、一艘装有礼物的1200吨货船和两艘补给供应船组成。

按照大清朝惯例,万邦来朝,尤其这样带有火炮的战船不允许在京畿重地登陆。当时的广州巡抚不敢自作主张接待,上奏朝廷后经允许,船队在舟山首次登陆,检验放行后先逗留澳门,再沿海岸线北上。

估计英国对港澳地区的感情就是这样建立起来的。

此时的清廷对这样大规模的西夷来朝是很欢迎的。乾隆帝认为英使远涉重洋是前来祝寿的,“具表纳贡”,实属好事。为此他连颁数道谕旨,亲自确定了体恤优礼的接待方针。他不仅破例允许使团从天津上岸,而且命令沿海各省地方官做好接待工作,还向使团提供丰富的免费的食物供应。

随后的接触中,东西方文明的冲突开始显现出来。

自乾隆至以下文武百官,一直认为世界各国向中国来使,乃是应该应分的蕞尔小国万邦来朝,不存在平等关系;善待外国使节不过是皇恩浩荡,还要回赠若干倍的礼品,表示一下大清皇帝的抚恤之情。

这和英国准备和大清建立外交关系、发展贸易,简直是鸡同鸭讲,完全不着边际。

马戛尔尼使团一行人在舟山一上岸,就被迎接他们的大清官员插上几面标志外邦前来进贡的彩旗,上书“英吉利贡使”,礼物也被披红挂绿当成“贡物”,还让装备长枪马刀的清兵列队迎接。一下子把英国人搞得丈二和尚摸不着头脑。

乾隆皇帝好奇心还是很盛的,打开他使用的那个版本地图,在大臣帮助下没有找到英吉利国,那个位置只有几个面积对于大清来说可以忽略的海岛。清朝使用的地图一直是蒙古人留下的地图,那里对蒙古铁蹄曾经踏过的地方大小城池都标示得非常清楚,再远一点的地方,只能根据历朝历代遗留下的地图和曾经“进贡”过的使节、来华教士描述加以补充。没有英吉利也属正常。

根据接待英使的官员奏报情况看,这个英吉利国船坚炮利,似乎来头不小。定海总兵马瑀盛宴招待部分英使,请他们看了戏剧表演,派人备办牛、羊、鸡、鸭、米、面、柴、炭、茶、烛等送至使团船队,并应马戛尔尼要求,沿途安排人领航到达天津港。

1793年6月,马戛尔尼使团到达天津。此时乾隆帝正在热河行宫避暑,于是决定由大臣护送使团赴热河谒见皇帝。

(三)礼节之争和递交国书

在乾隆帝和文武百官看来,普天之下,莫非王土;率土之宾,莫非王臣。外邦进贡,谒见皇帝行三跪九叩之礼当属必然。

当时的英国已经成为西方第一强国,马戛尔尼认为英国的尊严不能被侵犯,跪倒尘埃是国家的屈辱,对东方大国这个未接触就先高高在上、主导地球、设计世界发展的要求觉得不可思议。

乾隆帝闻报很生气,下令降低接待规格。经双方最后协商,在乾隆八十大寿庆典上英使可以和其他国使节一起谒见皇帝。
马戛尔尼带来了英王乔治三世的国书。这份国书被通译(翻译)搞成了向乾隆谄媚取宠的文案,实是一个可悲的笑话。

乾隆朝有太多太多的传统一直流传到今天没有任何改变,这封国书的翻译是比较典型的一个。

关于英语和汉语的互译,今天这样的笑话丝毫不比过去少,所以看外国书、听外国人讲话尽量看原文,有些译文不删改一下不能出版露面。

学过英语的都知道,英语的语序和汉语不太一样,直到今天中国翻译英语时仍然经常故意或无意忽略一些重要的定语、状语和补足语。“如果把战争扩展到中国,就是在错误的时间、错误的地点、同错误的敌人打仗”——这句话被大国翻译成“美国和中国是在错误的时间、错误的地点、同错误的敌人发生战争”,直到今天还有几亿人相信不疑。

马戛尔尼后来在著作中说:英国和大清没能建立友好平等的外交关系,当时的翻译水平极低是主要原因之一。这一次访问没能使乾隆认可英国的海上霸主地位,没能结成中英友好关系,反倒形成东西方隔阂,后来的大清皇帝不敢逾越乾隆的祖制,中英很难达成共识。

事实上大鱼认为,东方文化和西方文化的冲突在乾隆年间表现比较明显,朝廷与子民是一种牧羊关系,没有建立起英国《权利法案》下的权力限制(议会高于王权)和公民平等意识。这种冲突直到今天,依然没有什么本质改变。

为了不曲解原意,把这封国书及当时的译文照录如下,可见双方这种沟通的障碍有多大。不喜欢英文或觉得累赘的看官可以快速翻过:

His Most Sacred Majesty George the Third, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Sovereign of the Seas, Defender of the Faith and so forth, To the Supreme Emperor of China Kien-long worthy to live tens of thousands and tens of thousands thousand years, sendeth Greeting.

英吉利国王热沃尔日敬奏

中国

大皇帝万万岁:热沃尔日第三世,蒙天主恩英吉利国乔治三世国王、海主,恭惟

大皇帝万万岁,坐殿万万年。

The natural disposition of a great and benevolent Sovereign, such as is Your Imperial Majesty, whom Providence has seated upon a Throne for the good of Mankind, is, to watch over the peace and security of his dominion, and to take pains for disseminating happiness, virtue and knowledge among his subjects, extending also the same beneficence with all the peaceful arts, as far as he is able, to the whole human race.

本国知道中国地方甚大,管的百姓甚多,大皇帝的心里长把天下的事情、各处的人民时时照管,不但中国地方,连外国的地方都要保护。他们都心里悦服,内外安宁。各国所有各样学问、各样技艺,大皇帝恩典都照管他们,叫他们尽心出力,又能长进生发、变通精妙。

Impressed with such sentiments from the beginning of Our Reign when We found Our People engaged in War We granted to Our enemies, after obtaining Victories over them in the four quarters of the World the blessings of Peace upon the most equitable condition. Since that period not satisfied with promoting the prosperity of Our own subjects in every respect, and beyond the example of any former times We have taken various opportunities of fitting out Ships and sending in them some of the most wise and learned of Our Own People, for the discovery of distant and unkown region, not for the purpose of conquest, or of enlarging Our dominion which are already sufficiently extensive for all Our wishes, not for the purpose of acquiring wealth, or even of favoring the commerce of Our Subjects, but for the sake of increasing Our knowledge of the habitable Globe, of finding out the various production of the Earth, and for communicating the arts and comforts of life to those parts where they were hitherto little known; and We have since sent vessels with the animals and vegetables most useful to Man, to Islands and places where it appeared they had been wanting.

本国早有心要差人来,皆因本境四周地方俱不平安,耽搁多时。如今把四面的宿敌都平服,本境平安,造了许多大船,差了许多明白人,漂洋到各处。并不是想要添自己的国土,自己的国土也够了,也不是为贪图买卖便宜,但为着要见识普天下各地方有多少处,各处事情物件可以彼此通融,别国的好处我们能得着,我们的好处别国也能得着。恐各处地方,我们孤陋寡闻。从前的想头要知道,如今蒙天主的恩可办成了,要把各处的禽兽、草木、土物各件都要知道,要把四方十界的物件,各国相互交易,大家都得便宜。是以想着要将各国的风俗礼法明了。

We have been still more anxious to enquire into the arts and manners of Countries where civilization has been perfected by the wise ordinances and virtuous examples of their Sovereigns thro a long series of ages; and above all, Our ardent wish had been to become acquainted with those celebrated institution of Your Majesty’s populous and extensive Empire which have carried its prosperity to such a height as to be the admiration of all surrounding Nation –

如今闻得各处惟有中国大皇帝管的地方,一切风俗礼法比别处更高,至精至妙,实在是头一处,各处也都赞美心服。故此越发想念着来向化输诚。

And now that We have by prudence and Justice avoided the calamities of War into which discord and ambition have plunged most of the other Kingdoms of Europe, and that by engaging Our Allies in Hindostan to put an end to hostilities occasioned by the attack of an ambious Neighbour, even when it was in Our power to destroy him, We have the happiness of being at peace with all the World, no time can be so propitious for extending the bounds of friendship and benebolence, and for proposing to communicate and receive those benefits which must result from an unreserved and amicable intercourse, between such great and civilzed Nation as China and Great Britain.

此时不单大西洋都平安,就是小西洋红毛邻国的人,他没有理,同本国打仗,也都平复。如今本国与各处全平安,所以趁此时候,得与中国大皇帝进献表贡,盼望得些好处。

Many of Our subjects have also frequented for a long time past a remote part of Your Majesty’s dominion for the purpose of Trade. No doubt, the interchange of commodities between Nation distantly situated tends to their mutual convenience, industry and wealth, as the blessings which the Great God of Heaven has conferred upon various soils and climates are thus distributed among his Creatures scattered over the surface of the Earth.

从前本国的许多人到中国海口来做买卖,两下的人都能得好处。

But such an intercourse requires to be properly conducted, so as that the new Comers may not infringe the laws and Customs of the Country they visit, and that on the other hand they may be received on terms of hospitality and meet the Justice and protection due to Strangers. We are indeed equally desirous to restrain Our Subjects from doing evil or even of shewing ill example in any foreign Country, as We are that [they] should receive no injury in it.

但两下往来,各处都有规矩,自然各守法度。惟愿我的人到各处去,安分守规矩,不叫他们生事。但人心不一样,如没有一个人严厉管束他们,恐不能保其不生事。

There is no method of effecting so good a purpose, but by the residence of a proper Person authorized by Us to regulate their conduct and to receive complaints against them whenever they should give occasion for any to be made against them, as well as any they might conider as having just cause to make of ill treatment towards them.

By such means every misunderstanding may be prevented, every inconveniences removed, a firm and lasting friendship cemented and a return of mutual good offices secured between our respective Empires.

故此求与中国永远平安和好,必得派一我国的人,带我的权柄,住在中国地方,以便弹压我们来的人。有不是,罚他们,有委曲,亦可护他们。这样办法,可保诸事平安。

All these conideration have determined Us to depute an Embassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Your Court, and willing to make choice for this purpose of a Person truly worthy of representing Us and of appearing before Your August Presence We have fixed upon Our right trusty and well-beloved Cousin and Counsellor the Right Honorable George Lord Viscount Macartney, Baron of Lissanoure and one of Our most honorable Privy Council of Our Kingdom of Great Britain, Knight of the most honorable order of the Bath and of the most ancient and royal order of the White Eagle, and Fellow of Our Royal Society of London for the promotion of natural knowledge, a Nobleman of high rank and quality, of great virtue, wisdom and ability, who has filled many important offices in the State of trust and honor, has already worthily represented Our Person in an Embassy to the Court of Russia, and has governed with mildness, justice and success, several of Our most coniderable possession in the Eastern and western Parts of the World, and appointed to the Government General of Bengal, to be Our Embassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Your Imperial Majesty with credentials under Our Great Seal of Our Kingdoms and Our Sign Manual, to whom We entreat Your Majesty to grant a gracious reception, as well as a favorable attention to his Representation.

我如今为这些缘故,特差一个人到中国来照管这些事情。要得一妥当明白的人,又有才学,又有权柄,又要到得大皇帝跟前对答上来的。故此我所派的马戛尔尼等,是本国王的亲戚,忠信良善,议国事的大臣,身上带有两个恩典的凭据,从许多博学人里挑出来一个大博学的人。他从前办过多少大事,又到俄罗斯国出过差,又管过多少地方办事,又到过小西洋本噶拉等处属国地方料理过事情。这就是此次派的正贡使,到大皇帝驾前办事。因他能办差使,表文上有本国的印信为凭。所以叫他将表文呈进。在大皇帝驾前说话,如自己说话一般。如今求大皇帝见他,即同见我,与他说话,即同与我说话一样,施恩典看待他。

And in order to avoid every possibility of interruption in this amicable communication which we wish to establish and maintain with Your sublime Person and Court, and which might happen after the departure of Our said Embassador Extraordinary whose presence may be necessary to Our Affairs elsewhere or in case of his death or ocassional absence from Your Capital, We have appointed Our trusty and well beloved Sir George Staunton, Bart., honorary Doctor of Laws of Our University of Oxford, and Fellow of Our Royal Society of London for the promotion of natural knowledge, whom We have appointed Our Secretary of Embassy under the direction of Our Embassador as a Gentleman of wisdom and knowledge who hath already served us with fidelity and zeal as a Member of Our honorable Council and Colonel of Militia in some of Our Dominion in the West Indies, and appointed by Us Our Attorney General in the same, and hath since exercised with ability and success the Office of Commissioner for treating and making Peace with Tippoo Sultaun, one of the most coniderable Princes of Hindostan, to be also Minister Plenipotentiary to Your August Person, with Credentials likewise under Our Great Seal, and for whom, in case of the death departure or occasional absence of Our said Embassador Extraordinary, We entreat in like manner Your Majesty’s gracious reception and attention to his Representation in Our name.

我又恐正贡使或有别的缘故,所以又派一副贡使临时替他,也与正贡使一样。他是个体面人,他的博学会办事,与正贡使一样的。故此从前派他在海岛平复过许多的事情,又到小西洋痕都斯坦国与那第博苏渥尔当王讲和过事。因他能办这些事,能出力,故此派他同去,预备着好替正贡使办事。再求大皇帝也与正贡使一样恩待他。

We rely on Your Imperial Majesty’s wisdom and Justice and general benevolence to Mankind so conpicuous in Your long and happy reign that You will please to allow Our Ambassador and Representative at Your Court to have the opportunity of contemplating the example of Your virtues and to obtain such information of Your celebrated institution as will enable him to enlighten Our People on his return; He, on Our part being directed to give, as far as Your Majesty shall please to desire it, a full and free communication of any art, science, or observation, either of use or curiosity, which the industry ingenuity and experience of Europeans may have enabled them to acquire:

如今我国知道大皇帝圣功威德、公正仁爱的好处,故恳请将所差的人在北京城切近观光,沐浴教化,以便回国时奉扬德政,化道本国众人。至所差的人,如大皇帝用他的学问巧思,要他办些事,做些精巧技艺,只管委他。或在内地办不出来,还好寄信来,在大西洋各地方采办得出来的。

And also that You will be pleased to allow to any of Our Subjects frequenting the Coasts of Your dominion, and conducting themselves with propriety a secure residence there, and a fair access to Your Markets, under such laws and regulation, as Your Majesty shall think right, and that their lives and properties shall be safe under Your Imperial protection: that one Man shall not suffer for the crime of another, in which he did not participate, and whose evasion for Justice he did not assist, but that every measure shall be taken on the part of your Government as Our Embassador is instructed strictly to direct to be taken on the part of Our People to seize and bring to condign Punishment, any of Our Subjects transgressing the laws or good order of Your Empire, or disturbing the Peace and friendship subsisting between Us.

我本国的人,或是在中国管的地方住着,或是来做买卖,若是他果能安分小心,求大皇帝加恩,他们都好仗着鸿福承受厚恩。他们若得了不是,即该处治。若并无不是,自然常受大皇帝的恩典。

We have particularly instructed Our Embassador to take every method in his Power to mark Our regard and friendly disposition to Your Imperial Majesty, and it will give Us the utmost satisfaction to learn that Our wishes in that respect have been amply complied with and that as We are Brethren in Soverignty, so may a Brotherly affection ever subsist between Us.

贡使起身,亦详细嘱咐他在大皇帝前小心敬慎,方显得一片诚心,能得大皇帝喜欢,下怀亦得喜欢。

May the Almighty have you in his holy protection!

Given at Our Court at St. James’s in London

And in the 32nd Year of Our Reign.

Imperator Augustissime

Vester bonus grater et Amicus

Georgius R

惟有祷求全善天主保护大皇帝常享太平之福,庇佑英吉利国永远平安受福。

Augustissimo Principi

Kien Long

Sinarum Supremo Imperatori

英吉利国王热沃尔日三十二年

有些词汇估计当时的通译也确实是译不出来或者没看明白,反正稀里糊涂地乾隆大概地明白了英吉利海夷宾服天朝的意思,并且给英吉利国王下了一道圣旨,大致意思是:

我天朝地大物博,无需与小国进行贸易往来,若是丝巾、瓷器、大黄等物是尔等小国的必需之物,天朝加以体恤,每年赏赐若干,尔等小国处在偏海之地,只需心向天朝即可。

据说乔治三世看到乾隆这道圣旨,笑了。这一段英国使团的访问就此告一段落。

后来嘉庆上台,英国也派了使臣前来祝贺,但没想到嘉庆见都不见。鸦片战争前大清与西方的民间商贸已经如火如荼地发展起来。中国从海外进口的不止有大烟、鼻烟,还有当时欧洲美国流行的很多商品,都已漂洋过海,进入中国。

40多年后鸦片战争爆发时,清兵使用的仍然是乾隆时的武器,不能移动的大炮和炮台,火铳、大刀、长枪、弓箭。而马戛尔尼访问时送来的那批武器仍然被遗落在宫廷仓库的角落里,做为奇技淫巧的贡品收藏,灰尘满满。

历史不能假设。当时的美利坚刚刚独立不久,英国寻找大清交好,如果中英能够求同存异,或者乾隆的后来者能够对世界多了解一点,也许不会有后来的颟顸落后。

(四)国门敞开,谁喜谁忧?

康雍乾叫清三代,被认为是清朝最强大的时期。

正是这一时期,乾隆宠信大贪官和珅,一个和珅贪墨的财富相当于清朝十多年的财政收入,这样养成了一个上下一体的腐败体制,国势衰微已经不可避免。

中国人的文化里,总是试图寻找明君清官,甚至找佛祖神仙,狐仙小鬼,根子里的奴性文化绵延千年,却从没想过制度性改变。王朝轮替,不过是走了孙悟空来了一个猴,换汤不换药。

事实上不管哪个朝代,当贪腐形成一种习惯后,就会形成一种逆淘汰机制,即使有清官,也会被搞下去,不是同流合污就是与体系决绝,碌碌无为的官僚已经算是对得起百姓了。

在乾隆会见马戛尔尼47年后,鸦片战争爆发。这里不去讨论这场战争的起因,因为仔细查一下历史资料就会知道,大清朝和外国打交道的过程,就是一次又一次违约,一次又一次战败的过程。翻一翻当年外国列强对大清朝的要求,和今天的特朗普所要求的没有本质上区别,不过是开埠、通商、减税。也正是这个原因,历史书上说鸦片战争敲开了中国的国门。今天我们的国门打开了吗?

国门敞开,谁喜谁忧?喜的是平头百姓,忧的是王公权贵。跪拜的奴才除了锁链还有什么可以失去?所以朝廷要不遗余力地打鸡血要奴才们爱大清国,抵制新生事物。

1851年到1864年,太平天国运动。

1867年底,临近大清和西方列强“修约年”时,大清仍然固守着乾隆年间的礼仪不变——“华夷外交观”下的觐见仪式,需要驻华使节们跪拜皇帝;但在“条约外交观”下,让西方驻华使节跪拜中国皇帝,无异于痴人说梦。

清廷终于明白了这一点,但又不愿意放下架子,就采取逃避措施,一拖再拖,以各种理由始终对皇帝接见西方驻华使节一事不做安排。这种缓兵之计岂能长久?

在“修约年”即将到来之际,清廷不得不向西方派出自己的外交使团。这时的大臣们想出了一个绝好的办法:聘请一个外国人担任中国的使节,这样可以规避礼仪上的问题。同时,他们选到的这位外国人是一位对中国感情很深的美国人,一位司徒雷登式的大使。

他叫蒲安臣。这位负责交涉大清和外国事务大臣上任后,不负重望,率领清廷使团走遍了欧美。

中国使团从上海港出发,第一站抵达华盛顿。在旧金山,蒲安臣发挥了演说家的特长,向听众们宣称:他的出使,意味着中国已经走上了和平与进步的道路,希望这个伟大民族向西方文明光辉的旗帜伸出双手的日子不远了,这个时机已经降临,这样的日子已经来到。

近代以来中国与西方国家所签订的第一个相对平等条约就是《蒲安臣条约》。从这个条约签订开始到1949年,中国人可以向美国自由移民。从那时起越来越多的中国人开始接触美国。

也是从那时起,大清开始往欧美派遣留学生。

今天的美国哥伦比亚大学汉学系就是由一百多年前一位中国劳工叫丁龙的捐款兴建,胡适、冯友兰、徐志摩、宋子文、马寅初、陶行知、陈衡哲、潘光旦、闻一多等在这里留下足迹;顾维钧、张学良、李宗仁、张国焘也同这里有过交集。当地把一条马路命名“丁龙路”纪念他。

蒲安臣出使之前,特意为中国制作了一面黄色的国旗:“蓝镶边,中绘龙一尺三长,宽二尺,与使者命驾之时以为前驱。”由此,龙旗成为晚清中国的一个象征,中国第一次以主权国家的面目出现在国际社会中。

蒲安臣后来又率使团抵达伦敦、巴黎、瑞典、丹麦、荷兰、柏林、圣彼得堡等欧洲各国和城市,对外宣传中国文化和加深了解。不幸的是,他因劳累过度,猝然死亡在访问途中。

那么对于大清的这段外交历史,今天的中国人是怎样看的呢?

在《中国外交史》一书中,有过这样的描述:

“由于蒲安臣多年来凭其狡狯伎俩骗得了他们的信任,他们竟认为这个美国侵略分子是‘处事和平,能知中外大体’,‘遇有中国不便之事,极肯排难解纷’,因而是十分恰当的人选。 赫德在得到这个消息后,立即到总理衙门,极力表示赞同。于是就在美英侵略分子合谋怂恿下,清政府竟委派蒲安臣为“钦派办理中外交涉事务大臣”, 出使各国。……这样组成了一个光怪陆离的使团。”

这个口吻和《别了司徒雷登》差不多。一百年后的中国对这位致力于中西交流的外交家的评价就是这样。这表明,中国对西方的了解二百年间没有什么本质变化。

(五)温故知新

……(这里省略1000字)

温故知新。西方国家二百多年前从乾隆那里得不到的,今天仍然不会得到。今天的中国人民,比当年的义和拳更同仇敌忾,对敞开国门更忌惮恐惧。

当然,结果也会一样。

—— 原载: 大鱼说小事儿

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