Confucius is one of the few supremely great figures in the world's history. A man's greatness must always be measured, in the first place, by the consensus of opinion in his own country; the judgment of foreigners can only be allowed to have a secondary value. Especially is this true when the critics are not only foreigners, but belong to a totally different order of civilisation from the men whose greatness they would appraise. For even if they can keep their minds free from purely national bias of the unreasoning sort, they will naturally look for such attributes as are highly prized among themselves, and feel disappointed if these are not much in evidence. They will be apt to see certain defects too plainly, whereas they may easily overlook or fail to appreciate to the full those very qualities on which the title to greatness is mainly based. These errors and prejudices will, doubtless, tend to disappear as more intimate knowledge is gained and the essential unity of human nature shows itself beneath the accidents of custom and environment. But the process will always be slow. The name of Confucius may be deemed sufficiently familiar in the West to render unnecessary any revision of the popular verdict which has already been passed on him. But are his judges equally familiar with the teaching which his name represents? The name of Shakespeare was well enough known to Frenchmen in the time of Voltaire. Yet how many generations had to pass ere they began to recognise his true greatness? The parallel between dramatist and social reformer may seem strained, but it is not drawn at random. In both cases, wide differences of language and the inadequacy of translations to bridge the gap, lie at the root of the trouble.