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or a compromise, instead of preparing a very taste of the beautiful peace with plan by which a scandal might be avert, which she would have filled the air, if ed, she gave herself, in her sentient soli- only something might have been that tude, up to a mere fairy tale, up to the could never have been.
CHINA AND THE WESTERN WORLD.
A RETROSPECT AND A PROSPECT.
future historian; but, like the ripples
and the foam on the flanks of a wave, it WHILE crossing any of the great oceans covers from ordinary view that mightier by steamer, and watching the dance of motion which really made the event. the waves that lift and swing the vessel, Surges which break thrones or wreck you sometimes become conscious of un- civilizations are seldom considered in der movements much larger than those themselves at the moment of their passof the visible swells, — motion of surgings ing: The sociologist may divine ; but too broad to be perceived from deck. the average reader will overlook the proOver these unseen billowings the ship founder meaning of the movement, beadvances by long ascents and descents. cause his attention is occupied with surIf you carefully watch the visible waves,
face aspects. you will find that each one repeats the The foreign press-comments upon the same phenomenon upon a very small war between Japan and China have fur. scale. The smooth flanks of every swell nished many illustrations of this tendency are being rapidly traversed by currents to study the ripples of an event. Proof little waves, or ripples, running up bably no good history of that war - no and down. This surface-rippling is com- history based upon familiarity with complicated to such a degree that it can be plete records, and upon a thorough knowaccurately noted only by the help of in- ledge of the social and political condistantaneous photography. But it is so tions of the Far East anterior to 1893 interesting to watch that if you once be- can be written for at least another gin to observe it, you will presently for fifty years. Even the causes of the war get all about the dimension and power of have not yet been made fully known; the real wave, the huge underswell over we have only official declarations (which which the foaming and the rippling play. leave immense scope for imagination)
In the study of those great events and a host of conflicting theories. One which are the surges of contemporaneous theory is that Japan, feeling the neceshistory, that which corresponds to the cur- sity of opening her territories to foreign rents and countercurrents on the wave trade, and fearing that China might take surface is apt to occupy public attention advantage of the revision of the treaties much more than the deeper under mo- to flood the country with Chinese emition. All the confusion of details and grants, declared war for the purpose of theories furnished by official reports, by being able to exclude China from the local observation and feeling, by the en- privileges to be accorded to Western naterprise of trained newspaper correspond- tions. Another theory is that war was ents, may have special value for some declared because ever since 1882, when
Li-Hung-Chang presented his Emperor considering is that only by doing what with a memorial about plans for the “in- no Western power would have liked to atvasion of Japan,” China had been pre- tempt single-handed has Japan obtained paring for an attack upon her progres- the recognition of her rights and of her sive neighbor. A third theory is that place among nations. She tore away Japan declared war in order to divert that military scarecrow of Western manunational feeling into less dangerous chan- facture which China had purchased at so nels than those along which it had begun great a cost, and exposed the enormous to flow. A fourth is that the declara- impotence which it had so long shielded. tion of war was designed to strengthen the hands of certain statesmen by creating a military revival. A fifth is that The spectacle of the power of Japan Japan planned the conquest of China and the helplessness of China startled merely to display her own military force. the Western world like the discovery of And there have been multitudes of other a danger. It was evident that the Japan theories, some of them astonishingly in- of 1894 could execute without difficulty genious and incredible ; but it is safe the famous menace uttered by Hideyoto say that no single theory yet offered shi in the fourteenth century : “ I will contains the truth. Nevertheless, it has Nevertheless, it has assemble a mighty host, and, invading
, been altogether on the strength of such the country of the great Ming, I will fill theories that Japan's action in declaring with the hour frost from my sword the war has been criticised ; and many of whole sky over the four hundred prothe criticisms have been characterized by vinces.” The idea of a China domiextraordinary injustice.
nated by Japan at once presented itself Now, the critics of Japanese motives to English journalists. It would be and morals have been in the position of quite possible, they declared, for Japan persons studying only the currents and to annex China, since the subjugation cross-currents upon the surface of a swell. of the country would require little more For the ideas of statesmen, the diplomacy than the overthrow of an effete dynasty of ministers, the vague rumors suffered to and the suppression of a few feeble reescape from cabinet councils, the official volts. Thus China had been conquered utterances, the official correspondence, by a Tartar tribe ; she could be subdued the preparations, the proclamations, - much more quickly by the perfectly disall were but the superficial manifesta- ciplined armies of Japan. The people tions of the fact. The fact itself was that would soon submit to any rulers able to the vast tidal wave of Occidental civili- enforce law and order, while not interzation, rolling round the world, had lift- fering too much in matters of ancient ed Japan and hurled her against China, custom and belief. Understanding the with the result that the Chinese Empire Chinese better than any Aryan conqueris now a hopeless wreck. The deep, ir- ors could do, the Japanese would be able resistible, underlying forces that set the to make China the most formidable of war in motion were from the Occident; military empires; and they might even and this unquestionable fact once recog- undertake to realize the ancient Japanese nized, all criticisms of Japan from the prediction that the Sun's Succession was moral standpoint become absurdly hypo- destined to rule the earth. On this subcritical. Another indubitable fact worth ject the St. James Gazette was particu
1 Especially those made by a portion of the English journal declared ten thousand Chinese London press. How little the real condition of troops could easily conquer Japan because of Japan was known up to the time of the war the absence of national feeling in the latter counmay be inferred from the fact that a leading try!
larly eloquent; and a few of its observa- civilization would exist : we have not tions are worth quoting, as showing the yet learned to look upon the Mikado as fancies excited in some English minds a civilized monarch, as we look upon the by the first news of the Japanese tri- Czar. Yet such he is, undoubtedly. And umphs :
under him the dreams of the supremacy “The Japanese dynasty would make of the yellow race in Europe, Asia, and no startling changes ; China would still even Africa, to which Dr. Pearson and be China, but it would be • Japanned others have given expression, would be China.' An army and a navy, an organ- no longer mere nightmares. Instead of ization by land and sea, would grow up speculating as to whether England or under the hand of the Mikado. In ten Germany or Russia is to be the next or fifteen years' time a Chino-Japanese world's ruler, we might have to learn that government would have an army of two Japan was on its way to that position.” millions of men armed with European The reference to Dr. Pearson shows, weapons. In twenty-five years the avail- as we shall see hereafter, that his views able force might be five times as great, had not been carefully studied by the and the first couple of millions could be writer. But the possibilities suggested mobilized as quickly, let us say, as the by the Gazette may be said to have realarmies of Russia. If such a power ly existed, presupposing non-interference chose to start on a career of conquest, by Western powers. Interference was, what could resist? Nothing at present of course, inevitable ; but the danger in Asia, not even Russia, could stand imagined from Japan reappears in anagainst it, and it might knock at the other form as a result of the interference. door of Europe. The combined West China under a Russian domination would ern powers might resist the first shock, be quite as dangerous to the Occident as
– might overcome the first five millions under a Japanese domination. Russia of Chinese riflemen and Tartar cavalry; is probably a better military organizer but behind that would come other five than Japan, and would scarcely be more millions, army after army, until Europe scrupulous in the exploitation of Chinese itself was exhausted and its resources military resources. If the Japanese be drained. If this seems a wild dream, lieve that their dynasty will yet hold consider what a Japan-governed China universal sway, not less do Russians bewould be. Think what the Chinese are; lieve that the dominion of their Czar is think of their powers of silent endur- to spread over the whole world. For the ance under suffering and cruelty ; think Western powers to allow Russia to subof their frugality ; think of their patient jugate China would be even more danperseverance, their slow, dogged persist- gerous than to suffer Japan to rule it. ence, their recklessness of life. Fancy But while it would have been easy to this people ruled by a nation of born or- prevent the annexation of China by Jaganizers, who, half allied to them, would pan, it will not be easy to prevent the understand their temperament and their same thing from being done by Russia. habits. The Oriental, with his power A host of unpleasant political problems of retaining health under conditions un- have thus been brought into existence der which no European could live, with by the late war. What is to be done his savage daring when roused, with his with China, now practically at the merey inborn cunning, lacks only the superior of Russia ? Is her vast territory to be knowledge of civilization to be the equal divided among several Western powers, of the European in warfare as well as in as Russia desires ? Is her empire to be industry. In England we do not real- repropped and maintained, like that of ize that in a Japanese dynasty such a Turkey, so as to preserve peace? No body can answer such questions just now. the fact that a majority of the reviewers Nothing is even tolerably certain except had failed to notice the most important that China must yield to Western pres- portions of the argument. The rude sure, and that she will be industrially ex- shock given by the book to the Westploited to the uttermost, sooner or later. ern pride of race, to the English sense Meanwhile, she remains a source of peril, of stability in especial, to that absolute - the possible cause of a tremendous self-confidence which constantly impels conflict.
us to the extension of territory, the creMomentous as all this may seem, the ation of new colonies, the development new political questions stirred up by the of new resources reached by force, withfall of China from her position as the out any suspicion that all this aggrangreatest of Far-Eastern nations are real- dizement may bring its own penalty, ly surface questions. The most serious provoked a state of mind unfavorable to problem created by the late war is much impartial reflection. The idea that the broader and deeper. No international war white races and their civilization might or any other possible happening is likely perish, in competition with a race and a to prevent the domination of China by civilization long regarded as semi-barbasome form of Occidental civilization ; rous, needed in England some philosophand when this becomes an accomplished ical patience to examine. Abroad the fact we shall be face to face with the conditions were otherwise. Far-seeing real danger of which Dr. Pearson's book men, who had passed the better part of was the prediction. All future civiliza- their lives in China, found nothing atrotion may be affected by such domina- cious in Dr. Pearson's book. It only tion; and even the fate of the Western expressed, with uncommon vigor and races may be decided by it. The great breadth of argument, ideas which their Chinese puzzle to come is neither polit- own long experience in the Far East ical nor military; it cannot be solved had slowly forced upon them. But of either by statecraft or by armies; it can such ideas, it was the one that most imbe decided only by the operation of pressed the Englishman in China which natural laws, among which that of phy- least impressed the Englishman in Lonsiological economy will probably be the don. A partial reason may have been chief. But just as English critics of the that Dr. Pearson's arguments in 1893 late war ignored the real cause of that appeared to deal with contingencies incalwar, the huge westward surge of forces culably remote. But what seemed exthat compelled it, so do they now ignore tremely remote in 1893 has ceased to the fact that the same war has set in seem remote since the victories of Japan. motion forces of another order which The fate of China as an empire can may change the whole future history of scarcely now be called a matter of doubt, mankind.
although the methods by which it is to III.
be decided will continue to afford food The Far-Eastern question of most im- for political speculation. China must pass portance was first offered for English under the domination of Western civilisociological consideration in Dr. Pear- zation ; and this simple fact will create son's wonderful volume, National Life the danger to which Dr. Pearson called and Character, published about three attention. years ago. While reading a number It is true that the author of National of criticisms upon it, I was struck by Life and Character did consider the pos
1 By Macmillan & Co. In the Revue Bleue able writers, but in so different a manner that and other French periodicals some phases of the whole of Dr. Pearson's work appears as a the question bad been previously treated by totally original presentation of the subject.
sibility of a military awakening of China; duce some of Dr. Pearson's opinions but he also expressed his belief that it about this peril, and also to say a few was the least likely of events, and could words about the delusion, or superstihardly be brought about except through tion, which opposes them. This delusion the prior conversion of all China to the is that all weaker peoples are destined warrior-creed of Islam. Recent events to make way for the great colonizing have proved the soundness of this be- white races, leaving the latter sole maslief ; for the war exposed a condition of ters of the habitable world. This fiatofficial cowardice and corruption worse tering belief is without any better founthan had ever been imagined,
dation in fact than the extermination of dition which could not fail to paralyze some nomadic and some savage peoples any attempt to rouse the race out of leth- of a very low order of capacity. Such argy
With the close of the campaign extinctions have been comparatively rethe world felt convinced that no military cent, and for that reason undue imporregeneration of China was possible un- tance may have been attached to them. der the present dynasty. Spasmodic at- Older history presents us with facts of tempts at revolution followed ; but some a totally different character, with numerof these exhausted themselves in the ous instances of the subjugation of the murder of a few foreign missionaries civilized by the savage, and of the deand in foolish attacks upon mission sta- struction of a civilization by barbarian tions, with the usual consequences of force. It would also be well to rememChristian retaliation, — executions and ber that the most advanced of existing big indemnities; and other uprisings, races is
far from being the highest even in the Mohammedan districts, have race that has ever existed. One race, failed to accomplish anything beyond at least, has disappeared which was imlocal disorder. Nothing like a general mensely superior, both physically and revolution now appears possible. With morally, to the English people of to-day. out it the reigning dynasty cannot be I quote from Francis Galton : "The overthrown except by foreign power ; average ability of the Athenian race was, and under that dynasty there is not even on the lowest possible estimate, nearly the ghost of a chance for military re- two grades higher than our own, that forms. Indeed, it is doubtful if the West- is, about as much as the ability of our ern powers would now permit China to race is above that of the African negro. make herself as strong as she was im- This estimate, which may seem prodiagined to be only two years ago. In gious to some, is confirmed by the quick her present state she will have to obey intelligence and high culture of the Athethose
powers. She will have to submit nian commonalty, before whom literary to their discipline within her own bor works were recited, and works of art ders, but not to such discipline as would exhibited, of a far more severe characenable her to create formidable armies. ter than could possibly be appreciated by Nevertheless, it is just that kind of dis- the average
- the calibre of cipline which she will have to learn that whose intellect is easily gauged by a is most likely to make her dangerous. glance at the contents of a railway bookThe future danger from China will be stall. ... If we could raise the average industrial, and will begin with the time standard of our own race only one grade, that she passes under Occidental domi- what vast changes would be produced ! nation.
... The number of men of natural gifts
equal to those of the eminent men of the For the benefit of those who have not present day would be increased tenfold read his book, it may be well to repro- [2433 to a million, instead of 233].”
of our age,