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Yes, it is true. China is the country of the future-for the Chinese, not for the foreigner. The day of the latter is passing, if indeed it has not already passed.
Lest so sweeping a statement be misunderstood, it will be advisable to devote some little attention to existing conditions and probable eventualities so far as the foreigner is affected. At the present moment the internal affairs of the empire are in a state of chaos; and it must be remembered, too, that apart from the actual armed revolution, with its disastrous effects upon trade and other activities, several of the great provinces have been experiencing all the horrors of one of the ghastliest famines which China has ever known. The distress has been rendered all the more acute owing to the financial condition of the Government. In April it was estimated that in North Kiangsu alone there were 800,000 people facing death by starvation, and that only about 10 per cent. of the suffering throughout the faminestricken districts was being relieved.
It will readily be seen that any process of social and economic recovery must necessarily be extremely slow, and that the present is hardly the time for foreigners upon their own initiative to embark upon doubtful enterprises in the Far East. The day of the foreigner is passing, passing in so far as the mere potential acquisition of wealth, the concession of indeterminate rights, and the exploitation for his own ends of territory and people are concerned. And this assertion is made despite the reiterated statements of pessimists, in the Press and elsewhere, that China is now no more than a carcase around which the vultures are gathering. But there is need, and will be for many years to come, of men who are experts, not amateurs, in certain lines of work, and are prepared loyally to work with the Chinese, having ever in view the great future which lies before that nation. The recognition of this need, too, is fully shown by the nature of the speech delivered by the President Yuan Shih-kai to the Advisory Council in May last; by the recent appointment of Dr. G. E. Morrison as Political Adviser to the Government; and by the suggested appointments of Sir Francis Piggott and Professor J. W. Jenks, of Cornell University, in similar advisory capacities.
But while expert foreign assistance is needed, China has already acquired and utilised to good purpose an extensive knowledge of modern science and art. And this is a factor which is apt to be overlooked. An instance of such practical application
3 The Yangtze Ports Trade Statistics of 1911 show a decrease upon the previous year of approximately forty million taels, due almost entirely to the Revolution, famine, and plague. Latest advices, however, from Hankow indicate a welcome resilience; that the rice harvest throughout the Yangtze Valley is abundant and that other crops give excellent promise, sufficient to compensate for the losses inflicted by the recent stagnation of trade.'
will be found in the construction of the Peking-Kalgan Railway referred to earlier in this article. Another may be found in the reorganisation of the Yun-nanese Army. This province will, in a very few years, be able to place in the field a force of 30,000 men-an army which, in discipline, in training, in equipment, and in war material will challenge comparison with that of any other nation in the world. The officers have studied the arts of war and organisation in the best schools of Europe; the men, one and all, are imbued with that spirit of imperialism and implicit trust in their country's future which renders an army invincible.
If China has not for the moment acquired the right to a further demand upon the peoples of the West, the day is close at hand when she will not only demand but be in a position peaceably to enforce acceptance. And that demand will be for comity in the Council of the Nations. To-day she seeks but one little thing; one little gift, so easy to bestow and yet of such value-sympathy; and we should be proud in the realisation that it is to Great Britain more than to any other nation that China looks for its bestowal. And in this connexion two telegraphic despatches transmitted to Peking by His Britannic Majesty's Government at the close of last year would appear to deserve a wider publicity than they have yet received, for they undoubtedly in no small measure favourably affected the negotiations then pending :
From Sir Edward Grey to Sir John Jordan.
November 15th, 1911.
We have conceived very friendly feelings and respect for Yuan Shih-kai. We should wish to see a Government sufficiently strong to deal impartially with foreign countries, and to maintain internal order and favourable conditions for the progress of trade, established in China as a consequence of the revolution. Such a Government would receive all the diplomatic support which we could give it.
December 26th, 1911.
We desire to see a strong and united China under whatever form of Government the Chinese people wish.
Expressions of sympathy such as these are naturally highly valued, but Great Britain is a long way from China, and the Chinese from the nature of things desire some more practical and immediate token of understanding. To refer to one point only. It is the deplorable fact that no sooner does the Britisher or the German, or any other national, set foot in China than he is inclined to assume all the haughtiness and proud bearing of a feudal over-lord-a supreme being, as it were, looking down with majestic tolerance upon a world of Lilliputians.
But in China the exercise of force majeure is out of place. The British can win the respect of the natives, as indeed British
merchants have ever done all the world over, by fair and just business dealings. But in ordinary every-day intercourse, in the street and in public generally, the contempt with which the foreigner so frequently treats the native is intolerable, and is very justly resented by the latter. It is a most commonplace incident for a foreigner in the Shanghai street to push a respectable Chinese off the pavement into the road, simply because the former will not trouble to walk a yard out of his way. And this in a settlement where Chinese and Europeans live side by side. It would be interesting to note the result if a foreigner adopted the same tactics in a town in the interior.
It may be urged that the Chinese have only themselves to blame for such treatment; that the foreigner has vivid recollections of past excesses, fanatical outbreaks, unspeakable tortures. The other side of the question is conveniently forgotten. It was Europe, or America, and not China, who was primarily the aggressor. And as for Western civilisation, how few are the generations which link us with the Holy Inquisition of Spain, the barbarism of thumbscrew and rack, the 'little-ease' and other ingenuities of the Star Chamber.
Germany owes no little of her commercial success in China not merely to a nice appreciation of Chinese requirements, but also to a friendly intercourse with the Chinese outside business hours. The Britisher prefers his club and his sports, and he loses trade in consequence. But the Germans as a nation are distinctly unpopular with the Chinese; the British merchant is always liked. If, therefore, from no other motive than that of patriotism it would seem desirable for us to adopt less insular methods and evince a genuine desire to meet our Chinese neighbours half-way.
It is unnecessary at this stage to emphasise the now universally recognised axiom that the future of the Chinese Empire is the concern of every great nation to-day. Modern civilisation is thrusting upon that people of four hundred million souls not only those marvels of modern science and luxury which are part of our everyday life, but also the most terrible weapons of destruction that the brain of man can devise. Modern civilisationChristianity if you will-has yet by precept and example to inculcate upon this Eastern nation, which in thought is as the Poles asunder from the West, those doctrines of forbearance by the observance of which alone can China achieve greatness.
REMINISCENCES OF THE LATE EMPEROR OF JAPAN
THE EMPEROR MUTSU HITO, who died on the 30th of July last, was the 121st sovereign of Japan in a direct line from the Emperor Jimmu, who founded the Empire in the year 660 B.C. It was not till a thousand years later that the annals of Japan began to be worthy of the name of history, but from the time they did so the same family has reigned in unbroken succession, and it is therefore, beyond all cavil, the oldest reigning family in the world. The late Emperor was the only son of the Emperor Komei, who died on the 3rd of February 1867, after a reign of twenty years. He was born at Kioto on the 3rd of November 1852, nominated Prince Imperial eight years later, and in the fifteenth year of his age succeeded his father on the throne. His reign extended over forty-five years, and the changes which it witnessed in the country he governed may, both in their rapidity and vitality, be said to be unique in the history of the world.
At his accession Japan was in the throes of a revolution-a revolution which is often described in Europe as bloodless, but which was so far from being so that it was only finally accomplished after nearly ten years of bitter civil war; one incident in which was a fiercely-fought battle at the palace gates, when the late Emperor within them was a child of twelve years. The national civilisation, high and cultured as it was, was still that of the Middle Ages. The people were ignorant of all the elements of modern European science. The peasants, artisans, and traders were practically serfs, rigorously excluded from all share in political administration, and mere hewers of wood and drawers of water for a privileged aristocratic class, numbering one-fifteenth of the whole population, whose members lived in ease and luxury on the means that were wrung from the toiling masses. All, both aristocrats and plebeians, were bound with the fetters of an iron system of feudalism, the aggregate burthens of which, though they never included wardship, marriage, or seignorial rights, were no less onerous than those of our own ancestors under the Plantagenets. There was neither peace nor good order in society.
There were no uniform systems of law or currency. There was neither a national army nor a navy. There was no imperial revenue. After three centuries of rigid isolation treaty relations had just been cemented with some of the Great Powers of the world, but the ministers of the Government were wholly ignorant of the principles of international law or comity. A large and influential section of the dominant class was bitterly opposed to foreign intercourse of any kind, and was clamouring for the annulment of the treaties and the forcible expulsion of the Europeans who, under these treaties, had already taken up their residence in Japan. The flames of civil war were still burning, and the hereditary antagonisms of the great nobles and their followers rendered any common action for the national welfare impossible. Bankrupt in finance, impotent for defence, equally destitute of any consciousness of political rights and of all capacity for industrial organisation, disunited, saturated with the most narrow conservatism and the arrogant pride that springs from it, ignorant of all the achievements of modern science, no nation seemed to have a more unpromising future than did the ancient Empire of Japan when the Emperor, who has just died, came to the throne. We need not describe Japan as it is now. The change which took place in the brief space of one reign, from a negligible Asiatic principality into a Great Power of the world, might be compared to the transformation of England during the Wars of the Roses into the United Kingdom of the present day.
The Revolution, which was the herald of this change, is more Porrectly described as the Restoration than by the term which is usually applied to it, as its culmination was a reversion to an old order of affairs, which had been in abeyance for centuries, rather than the establishment of an entirely new system. The Shogunate in Japan was founded at the close of the twelfth century. Prior to it the political constitution was a pure monarchy, of which the Emperor was the executive head. In the twelfth century the first Shogun, Yoritomo, succeeded in establishing a military dictatorship, and, though it was an inherent principle of the constitution that all the land in the Empire was the property of the Emperor, Yoritomo used his power to distribute it among his own followers on the basis of a feudal tenure, the feudatories who were thus created looking on the Shogun as their suzerain rather than on the sovereign who was their legitimate lord. The system thus originated was, four hundred years later, perfected, from the point of view of the interests of the usurpers, by Iyeyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty of the Shoguns, and the Shogunate continued to be vested in his descendants until the year 1868. All the land in Japan was parcelled among feudal chiefs (Daimio), who rendered either a