Page images

point they would stand fast. As the velly bad man, master," he said to me; late German Minister to China said on "I go home.” This curious inter-bahis return, the action of England has tred is conspicuous where Chinese from been consistent in nothing except its different parts of China meet together, vacillation. Now a determined and as, for example, in Bangkok, or on the consistent policy must be based upon plantations in Malaya or the Dutch certain accepted truths, as essential to Indies. Savage faction-fights are of the resolution of our Chinese question, constant occurrence. Consequently it as the axioms are to the solution of a is easy to raise a force of Chinese in problem in Euclid. What, then, are one place to fight Chinese in another. the axioms founded in fact or inculcat- It is because there is no such thing as ed by experience, of a British Far East- "China" that the military caste of the ern policy? I put forward the follow- Manchus, comparatively infinitesimal ing as affording a basis for discussion: in numbers, have been able to impose

1. There is no such thing as China." their rule upon the enormous masses -We are accustomed to speak of of Chinese. Thus it is unwise to predi"China" and "the Chinese people" as if cate anything of China as a whole, or they were distinct entities. This is an to believe that what suits one part will error at the bottom of many of our necessarily suit another. To this extent mistakes and confusions. We may use the partition of China would rest upon the word China as a convenient expres- a scientific and practical basis. sion to connote a certain vast portion 2. “Chinawill not reform itself in of the earth's surface, but in no more any way.—This axiom arises naturally exact sense. What figures as China on from the preceding. Over the heterothe map is a number of districts, often geneous and conflicting masses of China separated from each other and from there has never been any effective centhe centre by immense distances, dif- tral control, and what control there has fering widely in climate, resources and been has steadily grown weaker. The configuration, inhabited by people of “Vermilion pencil” makes a faint mark largely varying race, temperament, in the south, while in the southwest habit, religion and language. The Mo- and extreme northwest it has little hammedans, of whom there are thirty but an academic influence, and on the millions, regard the Buddhists as irre- Tibetan borders none at all. “Respect ligious foreigners. “The inhabitants of this!" appended to every imperial rethe central and northern provinces,” script in the Peking Gazette, is as far says Mr. Keane, “scarcely regard those from actuality as the “Oyez" of the of the extreme southeast districts as usher with us, or the challenge of the fellow-countrymen at all." A native Queen's champion at the Coronation. of Shanghai was heard to say, “There There is, therefore, not the slightest were seven Chinamen and two Canton- possibility of the establishment by Chiese." A man from Tientsin and a man nese authority of a national army, or from Canton can no more talk to each navy, or civil service. And the corrupother than can a Frenchman and a tion which is the fatal curse of China Dutchman. Moreover, there exists be- is directly due to the fact that there is tween them a virulent race-hatred. I not, and cannot be, any central authorlost the best Chinese servant I ever had ity to exercise control over local offibecause, being from the north, nothing cials, in the absence of this, to pay would induce him to accompany me in them. The Chinese people in the lanthe south of China where his speech guage of physics, is a mechanical mixwould have betrayed him. “Cantonese ture and not a chemical compound, and

slip from her grasp quite as easily as she did the Amur and Ussuri Channels, and the provinces upon their northern and eastern banks.

therefore it is irresponsive to the action of any single re-agent, and incapable of exhibiting any common property.

It follows that the bogey of the "yellow peril,” the conquest of Europe by the Chinese, and such-like anticipations, have no basis in fact. The late Mr. Charles Pearson started this in recent years, and the present Commander-inChief is said to share his view. When horses and dogs mutiny, and harness and muzzle men, China will invade Europe, and not before. The same fundamental misconception which invented this nightmare has led other writers into similar errors of predication. For instance, when war broke out between China and Japan, Mr. Curzon, at the end of two long and carefully reasoned letters to the Times, reached this imposing conclusion:

China pours upon the enemy an inexhaustible volume of men; her resources are almost illimitable; her patience is loth colossal and profound. In a war in which her entire prestige and her continued domination of Eastern Asia were at stake, she would fight on and on, through defeat to victory, and would sooner perish than capitulate.

Recent events add a pathos to the striking inaccuracy of this forecast.

Under the present régime what is true of the Chinese Government is true also of individual Chinamen. Many will recollect the remarkable paper signed (not written) by the Marquis Tsêng, in the Asiatic Quarterly Review, about fourteen years ago, called “The Awakening of China,” in which he declared that the feet of China were at last upon the path of progress. When I was in Peking, Tsêng himself was regarded as little better than a “foreign devil," and he had not enough influence to procure me admittance to an ordinary temple. That arch-humbug, Li Hung-chang, after throwing dust in the eyes of generations of foreigners, is probably found out by everybody at last. If Russia succeeds in establishing herself in Peking, his day of reward will have dawned. His former secretary and interpreter, the remarkably able and accomplished Chinaman who now represents the Son of Heaven at the Court of St. James, is doubtless rejoicing that he is not in Peking at this moment, since, except under the wing of his old patron, his head would not be safe on his shoulders. For-and this might almost stand as an axiom by itself-every

Chinaman who professes Liberal ideas and sympathy with Western nations is either assuming a convenient mask for a time, or else he has cut himself off so completely from his own people that they distrust and dislike him almost more than they do the foreigner himself. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred the former is the case. Generations of education in China, combined with a strong band and just treatment, will produce a class of Chinese as loyal to Western methods

The war, it will be remembered, did not proceed along these lines. This misconception, however, is very widespread, and Mr. Curzon again fell a victim to it in his interpretation, in his well-known work upon the Far East, of the sudden enthusiasm for a complete railway system professed a few years ago by Chinese statesmen, for he wrote:

The entire scheme, in fact, is China's reply to the Trans-Siberian Railway of Russia to Vladivostok-the prodigious effect of which upon the future of Asia, at present but scantily realized in this country, is clearly realized by a few Chinese statesmen--and is a warning to the Tsar that China does not mean to let Manchuria and the Sungari River

as the Chinese of Singapore, who re- ing sarcastic despatches and making gard the British flag as their greatest rude speeches, and then meekly acceptasset-political, not commercial-but ing her fact accomplished to our injury. until then the attitude of the Chinese That is the policy of the boy who puts will be that of the coolie on the labor his finger to his nose and runs awayship in Hong Korg harbor, who made and it has been ours for too long. an obscene remark about the Protector There is no mystery whatever in Rusof Chinese as this official passed, and sian ambition in the Far East. It is to who, when the latter turned and gave become the protector of China-to begin bim a sound rating in faultless Chinese, with. Given twenty years of that and remarked to his neighbor with genuine she would be irresistible. This ambisurprise, “It talks like a human being!” tion was plainly announced by the great Any and every "reform" in China must Muravieff-Amurski himself, the wondraw its motive power and its guid- derful man who gave Russia the Amur ance from outside.

and led her to the Pacific, almost in 3. Russian ambition has no limits.- spite of herself. And a prohibitory tarThis is an important axiom-and not iff towards the trade of other countries alone in the Far East-for we have follows her flag, wie die Thräne auf die hitherto acted in the belief that if Rus- Zwiebel. British trade she has delibersia were conceded her immediate ob- ately destroyed wherever she has come jects she would rest and be thankful. in contact with it. A very frank utterYou might as well expect only half the ance on this point relieves anybody else stream to run down hill. Not until all from the need of making assertions peoples that on earth do dwell are safe about her objects in China. Prince within the fold of the Orthodox Greek Ukhtomsky, head of the last Russian Church, and the gaze of the double- Commission in Peking, director of the headed eagle of Byzantium encircles Russo-Chinese Bank, editor of the St. the equator and the meridian of St. Petersburg Viedomosti, travelling comPetersburg, will Russian ambition be panion and intimate friend of the Tsar, gratified. For her an imperative Di- has stated that the policy of Russia is, vine command and a congenital terri- first, to absorb China, under the ægis torial ambition point the same way. No- of the present dynasty; second, to exbody can ave studied Russian diplo- clude British trade; and third, to form macy for years without conceiving a a continental alliance with the object profound admiration of the skill and of crushing England.? Dignity dethe patriotism which inspire it. And mands that we should deceive ourselves no contemporary sentiment is so foolish no longer. If it be indeed our lot to as that blind Russophobia unhappily be wiped out by the “glacial movement" not yet extinct among us. Russia will of Russia, let us, at least, like the soltake all she can possibly get, and, like

dier who desires to be shot with unthe rest of us, what she cannot get she bandaged eyes, perish looking steadily will do without. Instead of abusing upon our fate. her it would be wiser to emulate her 4. Japan is face to face with a lifequalities and so seek to put a barrier

and-death issue in the Far East.- The in her way at the points where the future of Japan rides upon a dial's interests of our own country become point at this moment, and well she imperative. It is easy for a strong na

knows it. If Russia once consolidate tion to come to a durable understanding her position in northern China, and in with her-witness Germany and Aus

? Quoted by Mr. Geoffrey Drage, M. P., in an tria. But we shall never do it by writ

interesting speech in the House of Commons.

another year this will be done, Japan under the control of a Council of reprehas lost the future of her brightest sentatives of the Powers. The suggeshopes and may await the fulfilment of tion that the capital should be removed her worst fears. For a year to come to Nanking is probably a wise one, but Russia will do everything to conciliate Russia would exert all her influence her-even, I believe, going so far as to to prevent it. promise her the domination of Korea. 2. The whole of China must be If Japan strike at all, the blow must thrown open to the foreign trade. be delivered not later than six months 3. This can only be done when forbence. Then, with an army admirable eign troops, or foreign-led Chinese in equipment, warlike in spirit, and troops, are prepared to defend foreign half a million strong, and a fleet begin- merchants from molestation. Therening with six battleships as powerful fore, the open door policy being dead as any in the world, six new first-class beyond resuscitation, and the partition cruisers, the best that European ship- of China in a limited sense inevitable, yards can turn out, and an ample sup- each Power should undertake to keep ply of second-class cruisers, destroyers order in its own sphere. These spheres and transport, she may reasonably are already overtly or tacitly agreed hope for victory. But the crisis is a upon. Korea would form the sphere terrible one for her, and a truly fearful of Japan, and any Power unwilling to responsibility rests upon her statesmen. accept this would have to make a difIt is needless to point out what an op- ferent arrangement by force of arms. portunity this situation gives to the 4. Every Power would enter into a statesmen of any Power on terms of formal engagement with all the others cordial friendship with Japan, whose that no duties beyond those agreed objects in the Far East are sure before- upon by all should be levied, that no hand of Japanese sympathy.

preferential or differential railway rates These axioms, hastily and inade- should be imposed in its sphere, that quately as they are set down here, no force should be raised beyond that must underlie, I venture to submit, any necessary to keep order, and that all successful British policy in the Far East. matters of intercommunication should And if this be so, it should not be diffi- be decided by the Council of foreign cult to deduce from them the broad representatives. outlines of such a policy. How the 5. England should invite the United fast-rising flames of anti-foreign States to address a communication to fury to be subdued, and the the Powers simultaneously with herself old semblance of order re-established in this sense. The United States would in China, is a problem past my solving. probably not desire a sphere of their But when this is accomplished, be the own, as there would be no advantage time near or far, a more difficult task in having one under this scheme, except will await the statesmen of the West. the prevailing use of one's own lanSo far as I can see, the solution will guage in it, and the United States have to be sought along some such lines would find this advantage in the British as these:

sphere and be in the same position as 1. China can only be ruled through other nations in all the other spheres the Chinese. Therefore, the Empress and in the general control. As the Dowager being deposed and deported, American elections would be over by the Emperor must be replaced upon the the time this proposal would be under throne, to rule by the advice of a discussion, there would be less difficulty Council of Chinese Ministers acting in inducing an American administration


to take action. Moreover, if America aware of the difficulties in the way of should ever desire to relieve herself of such a policy as is here outlined, espespecial responsibility in the Philippines, cially in the working of a condominium these islands could be included in this on so large a scale, and in the fact that Chinese union as the American sphere. Russia, apart from the sincerely pacific

6. As there is nobody at the Foreign and conscientious aspirations of the Office or in the diplomatic service with Tsar himself, would rather keep China any expert knowledge of China, as our corrupt and weak than have her reConsuls, who are experts, are far away, formed and strong, and I am under no and as British dealings with the Far illusion as to my own lack of claims East have formed an almost unbroken to formulate it, but I see no other alseries of blunders for some time past, ternative to international quarrels, and a number of gentlemen possessing spe- what I have written may, perhaps, cial qualifications for the task, begin- serve as a basis for discussion, for only ning, I would suggest, with Professor by open discussion and the consequent Douglas, should be invited to form an growth of a strong public opinion will advisory committee to be consulted anything be accomplished and British when necessary by the Secretary of interests saved from the wreck which State for Foreign Affairs.

inept statesmanship has made of them.

At any rate, even this cursory glance at The idea at the bottom of these pro- our miserable record should be enough posals is that they would compel every to show that something must be done nation to show her own hand, and place by us at once, and something totally in the position of the common enemy

different from what we have done the Power that would not co-operate

hitherto. for the equal common good. I am well

Henry Norman, The Nineteenth century.


Does any one now read Mrs. Radcliffe, memory of man, has been extremely or am I the only wanderer in her windy popular. The thick, double-columned corridors listening timidly to groans volume in which I peruse the works of and hollow voices, and shielding the the Enchantress belongs to a public flame of a lamp, which, I fear, will library. It is quite the dirtiest, greasi. presently flicker out, and leave me in est, most dog's-eared and most bescribdarkness? People know the name of bled tome in the collection. Many of “The Mysteries of Udolpho;" they the books have remained during the know that boys would say to Thacker- last hundred years, uncut, even to this ay at school, “Old fellow, draw us day, and I have had to apply the paper Vivaldi in the Inquisition.” But have knife to many an author, from Alcithey penetrated into the chill galleries phron (1790) to Mr. Max Müller, and of the Castle of Udolpho? Have they Dr. Birkbeck Hill's edition of Bozzy's shuddered for Vivaldi in face of the “Life of Dr. Johnson." But Mrs. Radsable-clad and masked Inquisition? cliffe has been read diligently, and coCertainly Mrs. Radcliffe, within the piously annotated.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »