The Future of China And Our Relation To It
IS THERE A YELLOW PERIL
WILL China ever be able to menace the nations of the West? This is the startling question that many sober-minded men are asking. Some writers, indeed, make light of the "yellow peril," characterizing it "a mere bugaboo of an excited imagination," because, as they allege, China has neither the organization nor the valour to fight Europe, and because, if it had, it could not transport its army and navy so vast a distance.
But surely organization and valour can be acquired by the Chinese as well as by any other people. Their present helplessness before the aggressive foreigner is rapidly teaching them the necessity for the former. As for the latter, it is well known that the most dangerous fighter is the strong but peaceably- disposed man who has been goaded to desperation by long- continued insult and injustice. Americans may discreetly remember that they themselves were once sneeringly described as "a nation of shopkeepers who wouldn't and couldn't fight."
It is easy to be deceived by the result of the China-Japan War of 1894. The Japanese were successful, not because they are abler, but because they had more swiftly responded to the touch of the modern world and had organized their government, their army and their navy in accordance with scientific methods. More bulky and phlegmatic China was caught napping by her enterprising enemy. Despising the profession of arms, China gave her energies to scholarship and commerce, and filled her regiments and ships with paupers, criminals and opium fiends, who were as destitute of courage, intelligence and patriotism as the darky who explained his flight from the battle-field by saying that he would rather be a live coward than a dead hero. As for the men above them, a Chinese officer admitted to a friend of mine that at the outbreak of the war with Japan, the army contractors bought a lot of old rifles in Germany, which had long before been discarded as worthless by the German army, paying two ounces of silver for each gun, and thriftily charging the Government nine ounces. Then they bought a cargo of cartridges that did not fit the guns and that had been lying in damp cellars for twenty years, and put the whole equipment into the hands of raw recruits commanded by opium-smokers.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the Chinese were worsted before the onset of the wide-awake Japanese, and that the unorganized mobs with which they blindly tried to drive out foreigners in 1900 were easily crushed by the armies of the West. But it would be folly to imagine that this is the end. It takes a nation of 426,000,000 phlegmatic people longer to get under way than a nation of 43,000,000 nervous people, but when they do get started, their momentum is proportionately greater. China has plenty of men who can fight, and when they are well commanded, they make as good soldiers as there are in the world, as "Chinese Gordon" showed. Was not his force called the "Ever Victorious Army," because it was never defeated? Did not Lord Charles Beresford, of the English navy, say, after personal inspection of many of the troops of China:--"I am convinced that properly armed, disciplined and led, there could be no better material than the Chinese soldiers"? Did not Admiral Dewey report that the fifty Chinese who served under him in the battle of Manila Bay fought so magnificently that they proved themselves equal in courage to American sailors and that they should be made American citizens by special enactment? During my tour of Asia, I saw the soldiers of England, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Russia, America and Japan. But the Chinese cavalrymen of Governor Yuan Shih Kai, whom I have described elsewhere, were as fine troops as I saw anywhere. They would be a foe not to be despised. When Bishop Potter returned from his tour of Asia, he declared that "when Japan has taught China the art of war, neither England nor Russia nor Germany will decide the fate of the East."
It is odd that any intelligent person should suppose that distance is an effectual barrier against an aroused and organized Asia. It is no farther from China to Europe than from Europe to China, and Europe has not found the distance a barrier to its designs on China. England, Germany, France, Russia, and even little Holland and Portugal, have all managed to send ships and troops to the Far East, to seize territory and to subjugate the inhabitants. Why should it be deemed impossible for China, which alone is larger than all these nations combined, to do what they have done?
The absorption of China by Russia or any other single European power is not possible for the reason that the attempt would be resisted by all the other Powers, including the United States and Japan. The world will never permit one of its nations to make China what Great Britain has made India. A half dozen Powers are determined to have a share if the break up comes.
The real partition of the Empire, however, is hardly probable as the case stands to-day. The Powers dread the task of administering a population that is not only huge but of such a stubborn character that enormous military expenditures might be required to prevent constant rebellions. A still more potent reason lies in the fact that the European nations that covet portions of China could not agree among themselves as to the division of the spoil. There is, indeed, apparent acquiescence in Russian influence in Manchuria, German in Shantung, British in the valleys of the Yang-tze and the Pearl, and French in Tonquin. But no one nation is quite satisfied with this division. Each has thus far taken what it could get; but Germany, France and Russia are far from pleased to see Great Britain take the lion's share that she has marked out for herself. Moreover, there are important provinces that are now common ground, like the imperial province of Chih-li, or unappropriated, like several of the interior provinces. Actual partition would mean a scramble that would precipitate a general war, and such a war would involve so many uncertainties not only as to the result in China but as to possible readjustments in Europe itself, that the Powers wisely shrink from it. So they prefer for the present, at least, the policy of "spheres of influence" as giving them a commercial foothold and political influence with less risk of trouble.
Besides, Great Britain, the United States and Japan are all opposed to partition. England's chief interest in China is commercial, and it quite naturally prefers to trade with the whole of China rather than be confined to a particular section of it, for it knows that there would be little trade with any parts of China that Russia, France and Germany absolutely controlled. So England insists on the integrity of China and the open door."
The United States has the same commercial interest in this respect as Great Britain, with the added motive that partition would give her nothing at all in China; while Japan feels the most strongly of all for she has both the reasons that actuate the United States and also the vital one of self-preservation. The Hon. Chester Holcombe says that several years ago, in an interview with an influential member of the Japanese Cabinet in Tokio, the conversation turned upon the aggressions of European Powers and the weakness of Korea, which had recently declared its independence.
"The Japanese Minister was greatly disturbed at the prospect for the future. He insisted that the action taken by Korea, under the guidance of China, would not save that little kingdom from attack and absorption. Holding up one hand, and separating the first and second fingers as widely as possible from the third and fourth, he said:--`Here is the situation. Those four fingers represent the four great European Powers, Great Britain, Germany, France and Russia. In the open space between them lie Japan, China and Korea.' Then, with really dramatic force, he added: `Like the jaws of a huge vise, those fingers are slowly closing, and unless some supreme effort is made, they will certainly crush the national life out of all three.' "
So Japan must be reckoned with in any plans which the western nations may make for China, and that Japan is a factor not to be despised, the Russians have learned to their sorrow. Japan believes that she has found the way to make her opposition so formidable that all Europe cannot overcome it. Beyond any other people in the world, the Chinese furnish the raw materials for a world power. All they need is capable leadership. This is the gigantic task to which Japan has set herself. The alert and enterprising Islanders have entered upon a career of national aggrandizement. They realize that with their limited territory and population, they can hardly hope to become a power of the first class and make headway against the tremendous forces of western nations unless they can ally themselves with their larger continental neighbour. They clearly see their own superiority in organization, discipline and modern spirit, and they see also the stupendous power of China if it can be aroused and effectively directed. The Japanese have never been accused of undue modesty and they firmly believe that they are just the people to do this work. This is not simply because they are ambitious, but because they see that unless Asia can be thus solidified against Europe, the whole mighty continent will fall under the control of the white men who already dominate so large a part of it. Accordingly the Japanese have entered upon the definite policy of not only absorbing Korea, but of cultivating the closest possible alliance with their former foe.
The Hon. Augustin Heard, formerly United States Minister to Korea, represents Japan as whispering to the sorely beset Celestials:--
"Why shouldn't we work together? I hate the foreigner as much as you do, and should be as glad to get rid of him. Together we can do great things; separate we are feeble. I am too small, and you are, so to speak, too big. You are unorganized. Let us join hands and I will do what I can to help you get ready; and when we are ready we will drive these insolent fellows into the sea. I have a big army and navy and I have learned all the foreigners have to teach. This knowledge I will pass on to you. We have great advantages over them. In the first place they are a long way from their supplies, and every move they make costs a great deal of money. Our men can fight as well as theirs, if they are shown how, and there are a great many more of them. They can march as well, will require to carry almost no baggage, and do not cost half as much to feed. Our wounded men, too, in their own country and climate will get well, while theirs will die."
To this suggestion China listens and ponders:--
"What are the objections? There is, first, the contempt which our people feel for them; but that is rapidly dying out. The Japanese showed in our last war that small men can fight as well as big ones; and a rifle in the hands of the small man will carry as far and as true as in the hands of a larger one. Then, when we have once got rid of the foreigner will Japan not try to keep the leadership and supremacy? Very likely but then we shall be armed and organized; we have as able men as they and with our overwhelming numbers shall we not be capable of holding our own--nay, if we wish, of taking possession of her?"
Undoubtedly this imaginary conversation voices the ambition of the Japanese and the inclination of an increasing number of Chinese. At any rate, the possibilities which such an alliance suggests are almost overwhelming. Japan undoubtedly has the intelligence and the executive ability to organize as no other power could the vast latent forces of China. If any one doubts her fitness to discipline and lead, he might obtain some heartfelt information from the Russians. Says Mr. George Lynch in the Nineteenth Century:--
"I know of no movement more pregnant with possibilities than this now in progress which makes towards the Japanization of China. There will be great changes in the government and life of that great Empire just as soon as the Empress Dowager dies, and she is now an old woman. In the upheaval of change, if the industrious, persistent, far-sighted efforts of her neighbours bear fruit, we may witness quite a rapid transformation in the life of the Empire. That clever conspirator, Sen Yat Sen, said to me that, once the Chinese made up their minds to change, they would effect in fifteen years as much as it has taken Japan thirty to accomplish. There are some men in the East who affect to regard this rapprochement between Japan and China with alarm, as carrying in its development the menace of a really genuine `yellow peril.' "
It certainly needs no argument to prove that if the 426,000,000 Chinese are once fairly committed to the skillful leadership of the Japanese, a force will be set in motion which could be withstood only by the united efforts of all the rest of the world.
The task to which Japan has set herself, however, will not be easily achieved. To say nothing of other nations, the Russians are not at all disposed to sit quietly by while their foes cajole the Chinese. Russia has some designs of her own on China. Half Asiatic and semi-barbarous herself, past master in all the arts of Oriental diplomacy, patient, stubborn and untroubled by scruples, she is a formidable competitor for the leadership of China. In Persia, the Russian political policy works largely through the missionaries of the Greek Church, whose propaganda is political as well as religious. The same tactics are now being employed in China. The Chih-li correspondent of the North China Herald reports that the Holy Russian branch of the Greek Church is becoming suspiciously active in North China.
"Their work is spreading, and the methods adopted are such as to attract all the worst characters of the districts in which they operate. In a little town near the Great Wall, where in June there were about a dozen converts to the Greek Church, there are now over eighty. Any and all are welcome. Their families no less than the men themselves are reck- oned as belonging to the Church. The priest has made a round of several towns, and, though he speaks no Chinese, by unhesitatingly giving protection and assistance in any case of dispute or litigation, he has made it clearly evident that for any man in any way under a cloud there is nothing better than to join the Greek Church.... The impression among European onlookers is that Russia is preparing to extend her arms over Chih-li, and is beginning to smooth her way by gaining over the people in the eastern marches of the province. It is a significant fact that the Greek Church is known among the people as a `Kuo Chiao' (National Church), a charge from which the Protestants are considered to be entirely, and the Roman Catholics partially, free."
China, moreover, will be slow to respond to the overtures of Japan, partly because her bulk and phlegmatic disposition and lack of public spirit make it difficult for her to act quickly and unitedly in anything, partly because Chinese pride and prejudice will not easily yield to the leadership of the haughty little island whose people as well as whose territory have long been contemptuously regarded as dwarfish and inferior.
But the shrewd Japanese are making more progress than is commonly supposed. Not only have they already obtained the great island of Formosa, but they have for years been quietly making their commercial interests paramount in Korea. Their first move in the war with Russia was to occupy that strategic peninsula with a large military force and to secure a treaty with the Emperor which gives Japan a virtual protectorate over the Land of the Morning Calm. The promise to respect the independence of Korea of course deceives no one. It is probably sincere, as diplomatic promises go; but he is innocent indeed who imagines that Korea will be free to do anything that Japan disapproves. The freedom will doubtless be of the kind that Cuba enjoys--a freedom which gives large liberty in matters of internal administration, which relieves the protecting country of any trouble or responsibility that it may deem inconvenient, but which does not permit any alliance with a third nation, and which, for all important international purposes, especially of a military character, regards the "independent" nation as really dependent. It is quite safe to predict that no European power will be unsophisticated enough to assume that Korea is "a free and independent nation." The arrangement will be in every way to the advantage of the Koreans, who have suffered grievously from the pulling and hauling of contending powers and from many evils from which the abler and wiser Japanese will, in a measure at least, protect them.
For a long time, too, the Japanese have been strengthening the ties which bind them to China. The brainy Japanese can be seen to-day in almost all the leading cities of the Middle Kingdom. There is a Japanese colony of 200 souls in Chefoo and of 1,400 in Tien-tsin. Already the Japanese are advising China's government, reorganizing her army, drafting her laws and teaching in her university. Even more distant countries are not beyond the range of their ambition. The leaders of India, restive under British rule, are beginning to look with eager sympathy to Japan as the rising Asiatic power. Even the Grand Vizier of Persia has paid a state visit to Japan. Any hopes of India and Persia are likely to be vain, for Britain has a hold upon the former and Russia upon the latter which it would be Quixotic in the Japanese to attempt to break. The Islanders are not fools. But the Siamese, helplessly exasperated by the encroachments of the French, would doubtless be glad enough to enter into an alliance with Japan and China. In 1902, the Crown Prince of Siam visited Japan, where he was most graciously welcomed, and increasing numbers of Japanese who know what they are about are obtaining increasing influence in the Land of the White Elephant.
Nor is it simply by sending Japanese to neighbouring countries that Japan is extending her power. She is encouraging Chinese students to come to her shores. Dr. David S. Spencer of Japan declares that 300 Chinese are studying the art of war in Japanese barracks. Dr. Sydney L. Gulick says that 5,000 Chinese are being trained in the schools of Japan for positions of future power in their own country. It is significant that Viceroy Yuan Shih Kai, the ablest and most far-seeing statesman in China, is reported in the telegraphic despatches of February 5, 1904, as having memorialized the Throne in favour of an offensive and defensive alliance with Japan to regain Manchuria from the Russians, while the North China Daily News represents Prince Su, Prince Ching, Na Tung, President of the Wai-wu-pu, and Tieh Liang as in favour of the same policy. Mr. Holcombe is of the opinion that "the brightest spot in the outlook for China is in the increasing probability of alliance and affiliation with Japan. . . . Together these two great nations of the Far East may, and it is confidently hoped will, safely confront those Governments whose schemes are hostile to both, and prove their right to manage their own affairs and determine their own destinies."
But whatever the immediate future may be, it is not probable that so huge and virile a population as the Chinese will be permanently led by a foreign nation. Even if partition should come, it would only hasten the development of those teeming millions of people, for foreign domination would mean more railway, telegraph and steamship lines. It would mean the opening of mines, the development of the press, the complete ascendency of Western ideas. Though China as a political organism might be divided, the Chinese people would remain-- the most virile, industrious, untiring people of Asia, and perhaps, after due tutelage, a coming power of the world. China's assimilative power is enormous. The black man may be dominated by the white and the Hindu by the English, but China is neither Africa nor India. It is true that the present dynasty is Manchu, but the Manchus are more akin to the Chinese than either the Russians or the Japanese. Moreover the Manchus have not tried to rule China from the outside, but have permanently settled in China, and while they have succeeded as a rule in maintaining a separate name, they have not made the Chinese Manchus, but instead they have themselves been prac- tically merged into the engulfing mass of China. "Those who imagine that the vast population of the Empire will submit quietly to the partition of their country, or that any military force of moderate size could force it to acquiesce in such a scheme, know but little of the Chinese character, of their intense love of country, or of their unconquerable tenacity of purpose." The foreign nation that gets the Chinese, or even any considerable portion of them, will probably find that it has assumed a burden in comparison with which the Egyptian trouble with the Israelites was insignificant, and it is not improbable that the conqueror will some day find himself conquered.
 Chester Holcombe, article in The Outlook, February 13, 1904.
At any rate, portentous possibilities are conjured up by the contemplation of this mighty nation! There are upheavals compared with which our revolutions are but spasms. There are religions whose adherents outnumber ours two to one. There is a civilization which was old before ours was born. Are we to believe that these swarming legions were created for no purpose? Are their generations to appear and fall and rot unnoticed, like the leaves of the forest? Degraded, superstitious, many of them still are. But they need only to be organized and directed to do untold mischief. More than once already has a similar catastrophe occurred. Some prodigy of skill and genius has seized such enormous forces, given them discipline and coherency and hurled them like a thunderbolt upon Christendom. Sometimes the shock has been frightful, and before it the proudest of empires and the stateliest of institutions have reeled and fallen. This was the Titan-like achievement of Alaric, of Genseric, of Attila, and of Mohammed. Yet Goths and Vandals, Huns and Mohammedans, combined, had not half the numbers upon which we now look. Give the 426,000,000 Chinese the results of modern discovery and invention, and imagination falters. They have the territory. They have the resources. They have the population and they are now acquiring the knowledge. China will fight no more like the barbarians of old with spears and bows and arrows, for despite the treaty of 1900 prohibiting the importation of arms, the Chinese are buying repeating rifles and Maxim guns, while in their own arsenals they are turning out vast quantities of munitions of war. The American consul at Leipsic, Germany, reports to the State Department that an Austrian company has just received an order for so large a number of small arms for the Chinese Government that it will take several years to fill it, even with additional forces of men to whom it has given employment. This is only one of many reports received in Washington within recent months that the factories of both Germany and Austria are busy supplying the Chinese with modern arms and ammunition. The armies of China will soon be as well equipped as the armies of Europe.
Incredible as it may seem, up to the year 1901, promotion in the army was often determined by trials of strength with stone weights, dexterity in sword exercises and skill in the use of the bow and arrow. But in that year, an Imperial Decree declared that such tests "have no relation to strategy and to that military science which is indispensable for military officers," commanded that they be abolished and that military academies should be established in the provincial capitals in which the science of modern war should be diligently studied. Not content with this, forty young men were sent to Europe in 1903 for the express purpose of studying the latest military and naval methods of the white man. And now Sir Robert Hart proposes not only a reorganization of China's civil service but the building of a first-class navy of thirty battleships and cruisers, and he thinks that the enormous sum of $200,000,000 a year can be obtained for this purpose by an increase in the land tax. Then, he declares, China will be enabled "not only to make her voice heard, but to take an effective share in the settlement of questions in the Far East." The London Times rather contemptuously asserts that "the entire project in its present shape is visionary from beginning to end." But Sir Robert Hart has spent fifty years in China, having entered the British consular service in 1854 and become Inspector-General of Maritime Customs in 1863. During the greater part of this long period, he has been an adviser of the Chinese Government and the most influential foreigner in the Empire. The recommendation of such a man is not to be lightly dismissed as "visionary," especially when it is made to a people who have been taught by bitter experience that a modern armament is their only hope of defense against the foreigner. As late as the beginning of the year 1904, Russia ridiculed the idea that Japan could do anything against a western power, and all the rest of Europe as well as America, while admiring the pluck of the Japanese, confidently expected them to be crushed by the Slav. Wise men will think twice in the future before they sneer at the yellow race. If Japan in half a century could go from junks and cloisonne to battleships and magazine rifles, and to the handling of them, too, more scientifically and effectively than they were ever handled by a white man, why should it be deemed chimerical that China, with equal ability and greater resources and certainly no less provocation, should in time achieve even vaster results, particularly as Japan is not only willing but eager to teach her? "We do not lack either men of intellect or brilliant talents, capable of learning and doing anything they please; but their movements have hitherto been hampered by old prejudices," said the Emperor Kuang Hsii. Precisely, and the stern, relentless pressure of necessity is now shattering some of those "old prejudices." "You urge us to move faster," said a Chinese magistrate to a foreigner. "We are slow to respond for we are a conservative people; but if you force us to start, we may move faster and farther than you like."
Some things may yet occur undreampt of in all our philosophy. We observe the changing march of world powers, the majestic procession in which the pomp and glitter of thrones are mingled with the tears and blood of calamity and war. What a pageant! Yesterday, Chaldea, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome! To-day, England, Germany, Russia, Japan, the United States! To-morrow, what? What, indeed, if not some of these now awakening nations! It is by no means impossible that some new Jenghiz Khan or Tamerlane may arise, and with the weapons of modern warfare in his hands, and these uncounted millions at his command, gaze about on the pygmies that we call the Powers! Christendom has too long regarded heathen nations with a pity not unmingled with contempt. It is now beginning to regard them with a respect not unmingled with fear. There is not a statesman in Europe to-day who is not troubled with dire forebodings regarding these teeming hordes, that appear to be just awakening from the torpor of ages, and some thoughtful observers fear that a movement has already begun which will lead to great wars whose issue no man can foresee, and to stupendous reconstructions of the map of the world. The Emperor of Germany has painted a picture which has startled not so much by its art as by its meaning. "On a projecting rock, illuminated by a shining cross, stand the allegorical figures of the civilized nations. At the feet of this rocky eminence lies the wide plain of European culture, from which rise countless cities and the steeples and spires of churches of every denomination. But ominous clouds are gathering over this peaceful landscape. A stifling gloom o'erspreads the sky. The glare of burning cities lights up the road by which the barbaric hordes of Asia are approaching. The Archangel Michael points to the fearsome foe, waving the nations on to do battle in a sacred cause. Underneath are the words--`Peoples of Europe, keep guard over your most sacred treasures!' "
Making all due allowance for the exuberance of Emperor William's imagination, the fact remains that his picture represents the thought that is uppermost to-day in the minds of the world's thinkers. All see that the next few decades are big with possibilities of peril.
"The rudiments of Empire here Are plastic yet and warm, The chaos of a mighty world Is rounding into form."
One thinks instinctively of the words of Isaiah: "The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together; the Lord of hosts mustereth the hosts of the battle." Plainly, the overshadowing problem of the present age is the relation of China to the world's future. Whether recent events have lessened the danger, we shall see in the next chapter.
FRESH REASON TO HATE THE FOREIGNER
OF course, the victorious march of the Allies upon Peking, the capture of the city, the flight of the Emperor and the Empress Dowager and the humiliating terms of peace taught the Chinese anew their helplessness before the modern equipment of western nations and the necessity of learning the methods of the white man if they were ever to hold their own against him. But defeat, while always hard to bear, does not always embitter the conquered against the conqueror. On the contrary, there are evidences that the Chinese respect and like the Japanese far more since they were soundly whipped by them in 1894 and 1895. In considering, therefore, the effect upon the Chinese of the suppression of the Boxer uprising, we must bear in mind not so much the fact of victory by the Allies as the treatment which they accorded their prostrate foe. Was that treatment dignified and just? Did the soldiers of alleged Christian nations behave with the sobriety and fairness which so eminently characterized the Japanese troops after the China-Japan War? Have the Chinese reason to regard foreigners in the future as men who will sternly punish injustice and treachery, but who are at the same time as moral and humane and trustworthy as might be reasonably expected of the representatives of a higher civilization and a purer religion? For answer, let us turn to the conduct of the allied armies, led by experienced officers of high rank and working in harmony with diplomatic officials who were supposed to incarnate the spirit and methods of the most enlightened nations of the earth. The testimony of witnesses will be interesting.
Dr. Arthur H. Smith, who was in Peking at the time, writes:--
"Bating all exaggerations, it remains true that scores of walled cities have been visited by armed bodies of foreign soldiers, the district magistrate-- and sometimes the Prefect--held up and bullied to force him to pay a large sum of money, with no other reason than the imperative demand and the threat of dire consequences on refusal. In one case the Russians kidnapped the Prefect of Yung-ping-fu and carried him off to Port Arthur. At Ting-chou the French did the same to the sub-prefect, the only energetic magistrate in all that region, bearing him in triumph to Paoting-fu and leaving the district to Boxers and to chaos. At Tsang-chou the Germans came in force, looted the yamen of General Mei, the only Chinese officer of rank who had been constantly fighting and destroying Boxers for nearly a year, drove him away and released all the Boxer prisoners in the jails of the city, plundering the yamen of the friendly and efficient sub-prefect who had saved the lives of the foreign families close by the city. Is it any wonder that General Mei complained that s on eight sides he had no face left.' . . . The robbery of Chinese on the way home with the avails of their day's work has been systematically carried on by some of the soldiers from Christian lands. Even foreigners are `held up' on the street by drunken soldiers, and it is becoming necessary never to go out without one's revolver--a weapon generally quite superfluous in almost any part of China."
Bishop D. H. Moore, of the Methodist Church, who hurried to Peking as soon as the way was open, wrote:--
"You can hardly form any conception of the exposure and hardships under any but the American and Japanese flags. The English have scarcely any but the Sikhs, who are lustful and lootful to a degree. The Russians are brutal and the Germans deserve their reputation for brutality. With Lowry and Hobart, I responded to the agonizing appeal of a husband to drive out a German corporal who, on duty and armed, had run him off and was mistreating his wife. The instance is but one of hundreds of daily occurrence. The French are very devils at this sort of outrage. On the advance to Peking, beyond Tung-chou, they found married families-- men, women and children--cowering in barges on the canal and volleyed into them. Every man, every cart, every boat must fly a flag. Coolies are cruelly impressed and often cruelly mistreated. The great Christian nations of the world are being represented in China by robbing, raping, looting soldiery. This is part of China's punishment; but what will she think of Christianity? Of course, our soldiers are the best behaved; but there are desperate characters in every army."
Captain Frank Brinkley, the editor of the Japan Weekly Mail, penned the following indignant paragraph:--
"It sends a thrill of horror through every white man's bosom to learn that forty missionary women and twenty-five little children were butchered by the Boxers. But in Tung-chou alone, a city where the Chinese made no resistance and where there was no fighting, 573 Chinese women of the upper classes committed suicide rather than survive the indignities they had suffered. Women of the lower classes fared similarly at the hands of the soldiers, but were not unwilling to survive their shame. With what show of consistency is the Occident to denounce the barbarity of the Chinese, when Occidental soldiers go to China and perpetrate the very acts which constitute the very basis of barbarity?"
When I asked the Rev. Dr. D. Z. Sheffield, for many years a missionary of the American Board in Tung-chou, whether this statement was accurate, he replied that it was not only true, but that it was an understatement of the truth.
Fay Chi Ho, an intelligent and reliable Chinese Christian, gives the following account of what he personally saw:--
"I travelled with a British convoy going by boat, occupying quarters on a Major's boat with his Sikh soldiers and cook. I know that the Major was not a Christian man, for he smoked and drank all day long and was constantly cursing, striking and kicking his men, especially his cook. He also gave his orders in loud tones, with fierce mien and glaring eyes, and we all feared him exceedingly. Every day at noon the Major would take four Sikhs and go to villages several miles from the river for loot, always compelling me to accompany him as interpreter. He would catch the first man whom he saw in a village and compel him to act as guide to the homes of the rich. So successful was he on these raids that by the time he reached Tung-chou, he had three new carts, three donkeys, five or six sheep, and much clothing and bric-a-brac.
"One day about noon, we reached a village from which most of the people had fled, and entering a home of wealth found there only a man about fifty or sixty years old who received us very courteously. Immedi- ately the Major demanded money, and the old man replied that though he had money it was not at hand. The Major then commanded his soldiers to bind him, while he himself went into the house to search for money. He found several weapons, among them a revolver and a sword with a red scarf bound on the handle. So he insisted that the old man must be a Boxer, and shot him with his own hand as he lay bound. As usual he impressed ten or more young men in the village to carry his loot, then compelled the strongest of them to remain and drag his boats.... Later, my brother told me in detail how some Sikhs had come to the village one day, and, seizing him and several neighbours, had tied a rope to their queues, then stringing them together like mules, with men leading in front and driving behind, had taken them to the river bank to drag boats. My brother had never done such work before. Wading in mud and water, sometimes up to his waist, with the whip lash to urge him on, he had dragged until nightfall, and then, not being allowed to sleep on the boat, had lain down on the wet river bank."
During my own visit in north China in the summer of 1901, I visited the hospital of the London Mission in Tien-tsin, immortalized by John Kenneth Mackenzie. I found that it was being used as a hospital for British soldiers who were suffering from venereal diseases. What a spectacle for the Chinese! What a coarse travesty of the religion of the pure Nazarene that the land from which the great British missionary came should crowd with foul white men the hospital that he had built with faith and love and prayer! In the same city, the fine Y. M. C. A. building was almost deserted by the Chinese because it was so situated that to reach it they would have to pass through the Taku Road in the Foreign Settlement, a street which was a cesspool of vice, lined with saloons, dance halls and gambling hells, and its sidewalks so crowded with fast women--French, German, American and Japanese--and with drunken, quarrelling foreign soldiers, that no respectable Chinese, or for that matter no decent foreign woman, could traverse it without fear of insult or abuse.
In Peking for several months after the relief of the legations, even respectable American ladies, to say nothing of Chinese women, could not prudently ride out except in closed carts, so great was the probability of indignity at the hands of foreign soldiers; while at the entrance of famous palaces, the "public is politely requested not to kick the Chinese attendants because they decline to open doors which they are forbidden to unlock" --a request that the conduct of foreigners had shown to be far from unnecessary.
In the pillaging of property, savages could not have been more lawless than the white men from "the highly civilized nations of the West."
"It is not literally true that every house in Peking was looted. There were some places in obscure alleys, and in many of the innumerable and almost impenetrable cul-de-sacs with which the capital abounds, that escaped. But persistent inquiry appears to leave no doubt of the fact that practically every yamen in the city has been rummaged, and practically there is nothing left of the contents of any of them."
Words fail me to describe the beauties of the famous Summer Palace outside the city. With its gardens, temples, pagodas, bridges, lotus-ponds, statues, colonnades, walks and drives, it would do credit to the most highly civilized nation of Europe. A barbarous people could never have made such a paradise. The British and French in 1860 burned a considerable part of it, but the enclosure is so vast (twelve square miles) and the buildings are so numerous that the destroyed section appears almost insignificant. Within the grounds is a beautiful lake, fed by great springs and bordered by temples and avenues of trees and the yellow-roofed palaces of the Emperor, while near by rise the Western Hills.
This Palace is the favourite residence of the Empress Dowager and she spends long summers there. Here, too, the Emperor loves to come during the heated term and both have followed the example of their imperial predecessors in lavishing great sums upon its adornment.
After the siege the Russians occupied it at first, and when they left, the British and Italians took possession. Between the three so little was left that I found devastation reigning in that once splendidly-furnished Palace. All the rare and costly bric-a-brac had been carried away, the mirrors had been broken and the permanent ornaments defaced. A noble bronze statue of Buddha, in the temple crowning the summit of the hill, was lying ignominiously on the floor among a pile of debris, one dark hand stiffly pointing into the air. In a stately pavilion, I saw two superb golden statues of Buddha standing upright and looking unusually dignified, but on going behind them, I found that great holes had been punched in their backs.
Even the places dedicated to science and religion were not spared. At the celebrated Astronomical Observatory not an instrument was left. Every one had been carried off by the orders of men high in authority at the French and German Legations, and the whole place was totally wrecked. What possible excuse could there have been for destroying a place for studying the heavens? At the Examination Grounds, consecrated for centuries to learning and memorable for the myriads of China's brightest men who have there demonstrated their fitness, according to China's methods, for high preferment--at these Examination Grounds, most of the 8,500 cells had been stripped of their woodwork to cook the rations of the European armies, roofs had been torn off and even stone walls had been injured in sheer wantonness.
The Temple to the Gods of Land and Grain and the Temple for Rain are sacred places to the Chinese. To the latter the Emperor comes in solemn state in time of drought to pray for rain, or, if he cannot come, he sends the highest official of his realm. It is in a spacious park and the buildings must have been stately and handsome before the Boxer outbreak. But when I saw them, they were sadly defaced. The stone balus- trades and ornaments had been broken off, the walls had been injured and one of the buildings was in ruins.
It was, of course, inevitable that much havoc should be wrought in the tumult of war. It was necessary that supplies for half-naked and famished besieged thousands should be taken from deserted grain and clothing-shops. It was expedient that certain public buildings should be destroyed by order of the allied generals as a warning for the future. But why were soldiers and thieves allowed to steal the bric-a-brac and furniture and break the mirrors of the Emperor's personal apartments, wantonly to shatter beautiful columns, deface rare works of art, punch holes in gilded statues, maliciously smash the heads of thousands of exquisitely-carved figures and lions, and wreck venerable places associated with learning and art? The world is poorer for some of this havoc, and it will be a generation before it can be remedied, if indeed, some of the edifices are ever restored to their former beauty. Can we wonder that the Chinese continue to hate and fear the foreigner? The New York Times declared that "every outrage perpetrated on foreigners in China has been repaid tenfold by the brutalities perpetrated by the allied armies. It is," added the editor, "simply monstrous that the armies of Christian nations, sent out to punish barbarism and protect the rights of foreigners in China, should themselves be guilty of barbarism. Revenge has been accompanied by mean and cruel and flagrant robbery. The story is one to fill all rational minds with disgust and shame."
The exasperation of the Chinese has not been diminished by the virtual fortifications which the foreign Powers have erected in the imperial capital since the crushing of the Boxer uprising. Most of the Legations took advantage of the panic and confusion which followed the raising of the siege, to seize large tracts adjoining their former compounds. The native buildings upon them were demolished. Massive walls were erected and cannon mounted upon them. Over the water-gate in the city wall, through which the allied troops entered the city, the Powers have cut a new gateway which they hold and guard. In addition, they have taken possession of all that part of the city wall which commands Legation Street, made barricades and built a fort upon it opposite the German Legation. Foreign soldiers patrol that wall night and day. On the other side of the Legations, a wide space has been cleared by destroying hundreds of Chinese dwellings and shops, and no buildings or trees or obstructions of any kind are allowed on that space, which can thus be swept by rifle and Gatling-gun fire in the event of any future trouble. Within, ample stores of arms, ammunition and food have been stored so that if another outbreak should occur, the Legations cannot be besieged as they were in the memorable summer of 1900.
All this, of course, is perfectly natural and perhaps necessary. The Legations would be deemed lacking in ordinary prudence if they did not guard against the repetition of their grievous experiences during the Boxer uprising. But looking at the matter from the view-point of the Chinese, can we marvel that it is resented? Would not a European government be stung to the quick if other nations were to fortify themselves in that fashion at its capital? Would Americans endure it for a day at Washington?
Altogether, it must be admitted that the writer of "Letters of a Chinese Official" has all too much reason to arraign western civilization as sordid, arrogant and cruel and to assert that Europeans and Americans, while pretending to follow the teachings of Christ, are really ignoring them. His words are bitter:--
"Yes, it is we who do not accept it that practice the gospel of peace; it is you who accept it that trample it under foot. And irony of ironies! --it is the nations of Christendom who have come to us to teach us by sword and fire that Right in this world is powerless unless it be supported by Might. Oh, do not doubt that we shall learn the lesson! And woe to Europe when we have acquired it. You are arming a nation of four hundred millions, a nation which, until you came, had no better wish than to live at peace with themselves and all the world. In the name of Christ you have sounded the call to arms! In the name of Confucius we respond!"
And he closes the book as follows:--
"Unless you of the West will come to realize the truth, unless you will understand that the events which have shaken Europe are the Nemesis of a long course of injustice and oppression; unless you will learn that the profound opposition between your civilization and ours gives no more ground why you should regard us as barbarians than we you, unless you will treat us as a civilized power and respect our customs and our laws; unless you will accord us the treatment you would accord to any European nation and refrain from exacting conditions you would never dream of imposing on a Western power--unless you will do this, there is no hope of any peace between us. You have humiliated the proudest nation in the world; you have outraged the most upright and just; with what results is now abundantly manifest."
Whether the author is really a Chinese official as he claims to be, or a European resident in China writing under a Chinese pseudonym, there can be no doubt that he fairly represents the opinions of the old, conservative, ferociously irreconcilable mandarin class regarding the white man. Western nations, in their plans regarding the future of China, must take into consideration the existence of that spirit and the acts which, while not creating it, have intensified and inflamed it till it has come to be something to be reckoned with. Undoubtedly, one of the lessons that the Chinese have learned from defeat is bitterer hatred of the alien whose vandalisms and atrocities were so shameful as to nullify, in part at least, the benefit that might otherwise have resulted.
I am glad to report that, with the single exception of the Japanese who were universally assigned the first place from the view-point of good behaviour, I heard fewer complaints regarding the American troops than any other. One Colonel, indeed, lamented that his regiment "was thoroughly demoralized," and there were some instances of intemperance and lawlessness, in one case a Japanese patrol bringing in several American soldiers who had been found at midnight in a Chinese house. But as a whole, the conduct of the Americans was much better than that of most of the Europeans. That the Chinese felt the difference was apparent in the number of American flags that they raised over their houses and shops. It was significant, too, that the districts of the city that were occupied by European regiments were avoided, as far as possible, by the Chinese, while the district controlled by the Americans was thronged.
Nor need any American be ashamed of the policy of his Government. It is true that the majority of the Americans in China believe that our national policy, prior to and during the Boxer uprising, was weak and short-sighted. They spoke highly of Minister Conger and several of the American Consuls, particularly of Consul John Fowler, at Chefoo. But I was repeatedly told that our Government did not appear to realize that there were any other American citizens or properties in China than those in the Peking Legation; that it did practically nothing to rescue its citizens in the prefecture of Paoting-fu and the province of Shan-si; that, while Americans condemn the policy of the European Powers, they have been for years sponging benefits secured by them for all foreigners; and that, if it had not been for their control of the situation, not an American could have lived in China. The opinion was well-nigh universal that the Washington Administration was too much influenced by the astute Chinese Minister, Wu Ting- fang, who was believed to be an adept in "the ways that are dark and the tricks that are vain," and whose alleged success in "hoodwinking the Government and people of the United States" provoked the average foreigner in the Far East to the use of strong language.
Though I confess that I am not able satisfactorily to explain the course of our Government in some important particulars, it seems to me that these sweeping criticisms are too severe. During the dark days of the siege of Peking, I was brought into frequent correspondence with President McKinley and Secretary of State Hay, and I vividly and gratefully remember the sympathy and cooperation which they invariably gave. They were as anxious as any one, and tried to do their best in circumstances new, strange and of extraordinary difficulty. As for the Chinese Minister to the United States, of course he did what he could to "save face" for his country. That was an essential part of his duty. But while we cannot always agree with him, we should, as friends of China recognize the fact that by his ability and tact, he largely increased popular interest in and respect for the Chinese people.
Taking our Government's policy as a whole, I believe that it has been more in accord with Christian principles than that of any other nation. If our Government has erred in trusting the Chinese too much, that is ,at least better than erring by trusting them too little. If it has failed to do for its own citizens all that it ought to have done, it has not wronged or humiliated the Chinese Government. There is no blood of Chinese women and children on the hands of Americans in China. No record of outrage and iniquity blackens the page on which the American part of the Boxer outbreak is written. If our nation has been unjust to any, it has been to its own. Generations will pass before the northern provinces will forget the bitterness of resentment which they now feel towards the European Powers. But already the Chinese are beginning to understand that the American Government is a friend; that it does not seek their territory; that it will not be a party to extortion; that it does not want to destroy China but to save her; that its object is not to rule her, but to fit her to rule herself, and that it desires only freedom for its citizens to trade and to communicate those ideas of religion which we ourselves originally received from the East, which have brought to us inestimable blessings, and which will, in China as in America, result in the noblest character for the individual and the most stable institutions for the state.
The Chinese keenly appreciate the fresh evidence of America's spirit of justice in connection with the payment of the indemnity. When, before the payment of the first installment in 1902, the fall in the value of the silver tael led the European Powers to insist that China should pay in gold, thereby virtually increasing the indemnity, it was the United States again which did everything in its power to moderate the demands of the European nations. If the legislative branch of the American Government would only deal as justly with the Chinese in the United States as the State Department deals with the Chinese in China, the era of good feeling would be greatly promoted.
But America is not prominent enough in China to make her example a determinate factor in the attitude of the Empire towards foreigners, nor are the people as a whole likely to discriminate in favour of a few Americans among the hosts of aggressive, grasping, domineering Europeans.
Moreover, the majority of the Chinese hear only what their scholars and officials tell them, and these worthies are careful to adjust the account to suit their own purposes, and to save the national "face." They blandly assure the credulous people that the foreign armies did not follow the court because they dared not; that the alien troops left the capital because they were driven out by Chinese patriots; and that the Boxers inflicted crushing defeat upon their foes. During my visit in Tsing- tau, the Germans were digging sewers, broad and deep, with laterals to every house and public building, and many of the Chinese actually believed that these sewers were intended to be underground passageways, down which the foreigners could flee to their boats when they were assailed by the redoubtable Boxers! The best-informed men I met in China, from Sir Robert Hart down, were fearful that the end was not near, and that an official order might repeat the whole bloody history. At a conference with forty representative missionaries of all denominations in Shanghai, August, 1901, a very large majority agreed with the Rev. Dr. Parker, of the Southern Methodist Church, in the statement: "We are not out of the trouble yet; the reactonaries are in the minority, but they are in power. They have learned nothing and they will try again to drive us out unless the Powers unseat them and reinstate the Emperor and the Reform Party."
THE future is not necessarily so doubtful as the facts and opinions cited in the preceding chapter might in themselves seem to indicate. It is true that the daily press often contains accounts of tumults and revolutions in China. But an Empire a third larger than all Europe, with an enormous population, a weak central Government, corrupt local officials, few railroads and frequent floods, famines and epidemics, is certain to have uprisings somewhere most of the time. A European reading in the daily despatches from the United States of strikes, riots, martial law, the burning of negroes, the mobbing of Chinese and the corruption of cities, might with equal justice get the impression that our own country is in continual turmoil. The Imperial Government in China pays little attention to what is going on in other parts of the country.
"Each province has its own army, navy, and system of taxation. . . . So long as the provincial government sends its Peking supplies, administers a reasonable sop to its clamorous provincial duns, quells incipient insurrections, gives employment to its army of expectants, staves off foreign demands, avoids rows of all kinds, and, in a word, keeps up a decent external surface of respectability, no questions are asked; all reports and promotions are passed; the Viceroy and his colleagues `enjoy happiness,' and every one makes his `pile.' The Peking Government makes no new laws, does nothing of any kind for any class of persons, leaves each province to its own devices, and, like the general staff of an army organization, both absorbs successful men, and gives out needy or able men to go forth and do likewise."
In these circumstances, the governors of provinces have considerable independent power in internal affairs, and a rebellion even of formidable proportions is often ignored by the Imperial Government in Peking as a purely local matter to be dealt with by the provincial authorities, much as the United States Government leaves riots and mobs to the State officials.
Moreover, to a greater extent than any other people, the Chinese are led by their officials, and some of the highest officials in Peking and the coast provinces have learned that massacres of foreigners result in the coming of more foreigners, in the capture and destruction of cities, in humiliating terms of peace, in heavy indemnities, in large losses of territory and in the degradation and perhaps the execution of the magistrates within whose jurisdiction the troubles occur.
There are, moreover, unmistakable indications of a new movement among the Chinese. One reason why they have been so ignorant of the rest of the world and even of distant parts of their own country was the lack of any facilities for transmitting mail. The only way that the missionaries in the interior could get their letters was by employing private messengers or availing themselves of a chance traveller. But now a modern post-office system, superintended by Sir Robert Hart, already includes 500 of the principal cities of the Empire and is being rapidly extended to others.
Teu years ago, there were practically no newspapers in China except those published by foreigners in the ports, all of which were in English save one which was in the German language. The only periodicals in Chinese were a few issued by the missionaries with, of course, a very limited circulation, chiefly among the Christians. There was no such thing as a Chinese press in the proper sense of the term. Now, besides a French, a Russian and a second German paper, there are nearly a hundred Chinese newspapers, many of them edited by the Chinese themselves and others by Japanese, and all, aided by the railway, the telegraph and the post-office, bringing new ideas to multitudes. On the basis of a joint report to the Throne by Viceroy Chang Chih-tung and Chang Pei-hsi, chancellor of the Peking University, an imperial decree has ordered the inauguration of a new system of education. The plan is to have a university in the capital of each province, with auxiliary prefectural and district colleges and schools and the whole system to culminate in the Imperial University in Peking. In all these institutions western arts and sciences are to be taught side by side with the old Confucian classics. "The Viceroys and Governors of provinces are commanded to order their subordinates to hasten the establishment of these schools. Let this decree be published through the Empire."
Nor have the new imperial decrees stopped here. A few decades ago, ambitious Chinese youths who sought an education abroad at their own expense were imprisoned on their return to their native land. One whom I met in Shantung gave me a vivid account of his arrest and incarceration in a filthy dungeon as if he had been a common criminal. But a recent edict of the Emperor directs the provincial Governors to select young men of ability and send them to Europe for special training with a view to their occupying high posts on their return.
One of the most firmly rooted customs of old China was the examination essay for literary degrees on some purely Chinese subject relating to a remote past. But August 29, 1901, to the amazement of the literati, an imperial edict abolished that time-honoured custom and directed that in the future candidates for degrees as well as for office should submit short essays on such modern topics as Western science, governments, laws, and kindred subjects. The following extracts from the examination questions for the Chu Jen (M. A.) degree in 1903 will indicate the extraordinary character of this change.
Honen-- "What improvements are to be derived from the study of foreign agriculture, commerce, and postal systems?
Kwang-sg and An-huei--"What are the chief ideas underlying Austrian and German prosperity? How do foreigners regulate the press, post-office, commerce, railways, banks, bank-notes, commercial schools, taxation--and how do they get faithful men? Where is the Caucasus and how does Russia rule it?
Kiang-si--"How many sciences theoretical and practical are there? In what order should they be studied? Explain free trade and protection. What are the military services of the world? What is the bearing of the Congress of Vienna, the Treaty of Berlin and the Monroe Doctrine on the Far East? Wherein lies the naval supremacy of Great Britain? What is the bearing of the Siberian Railway and Nicaragua Canal on China?
Shuntung--"What is Herbert Spencer's philosophy of sociology? Define the relations of land, labour and capital. State how best to develop the resources of China by mines and railway? How best to modify our civil and criminal laws to regain authority over those now under extra-territoriality privileges? How best to guard land and sea frontiers from the advance of foreign Powers?
Fukien--"Which Western nations have paid most attention to education and what is the result? State the leading features of the military systems of Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and France. Which are the best colonizers? How should tea and silk be properly cultivated? What is the government, industries and education of Switzerland which, though small, is independent of surrounding great powers?
Kwang-tung--(Canton)--"What should be our best coinage, gold, silver and copper like other Western countries, or what? How could the workhouse system be started throughout China? How to fortify Kwang-tung province? How to get funds and professors for the new education? How to pro- mote Chinese international commerce, new industries and savings-banks, versus the gambling houses of China?
Hunan--"What is the policy of Japan--only following other nations or what? How to choose competent diplomatic men? Why does China feel its small national debt so heavy, while England and France with far greater debts do not feel it?
Hupch--"State the educational systems of Sparta and Athens. What are the naval strategic points of Great Britain and which should be those of China? Which nation has the best system of stamp duty? State briefly the geological ages of the earth, and the bronze and iron ages. Trace the origin of Egyptian, Babylonian and Chinese writings."
 Report of the Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge Among the Chinese, Shanghai, 1903.
The result of these edicts is that the Chinese are buying Western books as never before. Examinations cannot be passed without them. The mission presses, though run to their full capacity, cannot keep up with the demand for their publications. Dr. Timothy Richard of Shanghai reports that a quarter of a million dollars' worth of text-books were sold in that city in 1902, a single order received by the Presbyterian Press involving a bill of $328 for postage alone, as the buyer insisted that the books should be sent by mail. Mission schools that teach the English language are thronged with students, many of them from the higher classes, and every foreigner who is willing to teach Western learning finds his services eagerly sought.
China cannot be reformed by paper edicts even though they are written by an Emperor. Many reforms have been solemnly proclaimed in former years that accomplished little except to "save face" for the Government. We need not therefore imagine that the millennium is to come in China this year. But it is impossible to doubt that the reform decrees that have been issued since the Boxer uprising mean something more and are achieving something more than any other reform movements that China ever saw before. Dr. Arthur H. Smith, who knows China and the Chinese as thoroughly as any other living man, writes:--
"We behold the kernel of the reforms ordered by His Majesty, Kuang Hsum in 1898, and which led to his dethronement and imprisonment, substantially adopted less than three years later by the Empress Dowager and her advisers. . . . The bare notation of the tenor of these far-reaching edicts gives to the Occidental reader but a vague notion of the tremendous intellectual revolution which they connote. Never before was there such an order from any government involving the reconstruction of the views of so many millions, by the study of the methods of government in other nations. . . . It is obvious to one who knows anything of the Chinese educational system of the past millennium that the introduction of the new methods will involve its radical reconstruction from top to bottom. Western geography, mathematics, science, history, and philosophy will be everywhere studied. The result cannot fail to be an expansion of the intellectual horizon of the Chinese race comparable to that which in Europe followed the Crusades. This will be a long process and a slow one, but it is a certain one. . . . All signs indicate that China is open as never before."
Undoubtedly the most powerful present factor in the policy of the Empire, and at the same time one of the best types of the educated Chinese, is Yuan Shih Kai, Viceroy of Chih-li and Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese army. He is not a Manchu, like many of the high officials of China, but a pure Chinese like Li Hung Chang. Born in the Province of Honan, he quickly developed unusual abilities. After a brilliant record for a young man in his native land, he was sent to Korea as the representative of the Emperor of China and for nine years he was a conspicuous member of the diplomatic corps of the Korean capital. Returning to China in 1895, he was made commander of a division of the "New Imperial Army"--a post in which he manifested high military and administrative qualities. He organized and equipped his troops after the best foreign models and they speedily became so effective that, if they had been more numerous and if he had been given a free hand in using them in Peking, the history of 1900 might have been different. I have had occasion elsewhere to give some account of the soldiers who escorted me through the interior. December, 1900, he was appointed Governor of the great province of Shantung. It was here that I met him, residing at Chinan-fu, the capital of the province. As soon as possible after my arrival, I sent my card and letters of introduction to the famous Governor, and he promptly replied that he would receive me at one o'clock the following day. At the appointed hour, we called. With true courtesy, he met us at the entrance of the palace grounds and escorted us into his private room, which was neatly but very plainly furnished. He impressed me as a remarkable man. He was then forty-one years of age, of medium height, rather stout, with a strong face, a clear, frank eye, and a most engaging manner. He would be considered a man of striking appearance anywhere.
He was very cordial, and we had a long and interesting conversation. He surprised me by his familiarity with America, especially as he spoke no English and had never been out of Asia.
Partly at this interview and partly from other sources, I heard more of his plan to start a daily newspaper, a Military Academy and a Literary College. His idea was to have in each institution two students from each of the 108 counties in the province, and thus train a body of men who would be able to carry "light and learning" into their respective districts. He appeared to feel that the only hope of averting such catastrophes as the Boxer uprising lay in enlightening the people. In answer to a question as to the teaching of foreign languages, he said that English, French and German would be taught, but that German would probably be the most useful of the foreign tongues on account of the number of Germans in the eastern part of the province.
The Governor had shown the breadth of his intelligence, and at the same time his appreciation of the high character of Protestant missionaries, by inviting one of them, the Rev. Dr. Watson M. Hayes, then President of the Presbyterian Mission College at Teng-chou, to become the President of the Literary College. I may anticipate so far as to state that Dr. Hayes accepted the invitation and began his work with every promise of large success. But unfortunately the rigid requirement of the Government that each student should worship the tablet of Confucius at stated intervals and the refusal of Yuan Shih Kai's successor to exempt Christian students made Dr. Hayes feel that he had no alternative but to resign. Whether Yuan Shih Kai, if he had remained in Shantung, would have been more lenient, it is, of course, impossible to say. I cherish the hope that he would have been, for he is a large-minded man and he discerns the signs of the times more clearly than many of his countrymen. But he is nevertheless a loyal disciple of Confucius and he might also have felt that questions of state policy were involved. It is suggestive, however, that in the spring of 1898 Yuan Shih Kai had selected a Protestant minister, the Rev. Herbert E. House, D. D., (now of the Canton Christian College) as the tutor of his own son, Yuen Yen Tai. Dr. House says, by the way, that he found the youth "wonderfully pure in his thought, high in his ambition and intense in his passion for knowledge--the most patient and diligent student I ever knew."
But to return to the interview with Yuan Shih Kai. The only other Chinese present was Tang Hsiao-chuan, a man of about thirty-five, who was in charge of the Provincial Foreign Office with the rank of Tao-tai. He had spent two years at Columbia University in New York City, spoke English fluently and impressed me as a fine man. Like the Governor, his manners were courtly and refined. He appeared to be a man of the diplomatic type and worthy of the promotion that he will doubtless receive.
Early the next morning Captain Wang came on behalf of the Governor to return our visit. He was the translator of the Foreign Office and the tutor of one of the Governor's sons whom he was teaching English grammar, arithmetic, geography and history. I was interested to find that he had spent eight years at Philips Academy, Massachusetts, and that he spoke English with the grace of a cultured gentleman.
The policy of Yuan Shih Kai during the Boxer troubles indicated the wisdom and the courage of the man. Disturbances had already begun when he assumed office. It was not far southwest of Chinan-fu that Brooks, the devoted English missionary, was murdered by the Boxers. Yu Hsien was then Governor of Shantung but about that time was transferred to Shan-si, Yuan Shih Kai taking his place. If the notorious foreign-hating Yu Hsien had remained in Shantung, probably he would have massacred the Shantung missionaries as he did those of Shan-si, where he invited them all to his yamen, and then began the butchery by killing three missionaries with his own hand. But Yuan Shih Kai foresaw the inevitable result of such barbarity and determined to restrain the Boxers and protect foreigners. He succeeded with the foreigners, not one being killed after he took control, and all being helped as far as possible to escape. As soon as the storm had passed, he officially wrote to the missionaries who had taken refuge at the ports:--
"Everything is now quiet. If you, reverend sirs, wish to return to the interior, I would beg you first give me word that I may most certainly order the military everywhere most carefully to protect and escort."
This apparently pro-foreign policy brought upon the Governor, for a time, no small obloquy from the fiercely-fanatical conservatives who wanted to murder every foreigner within reach. Indeed the fury of the populace was so great that he was bitterly reviled as "a secondary devil," and his life was repeatedly threatened. But despite the clamour of the mob and the opposition of his associates in the government of the province, he maintained his position with iron inflexibility. Afterwards, however, the people as well as his official subordinates realized that he had saved them from the awful punishment that was inflicted upon the neighbouring province of Chih-li, and his power and prestige became greater than ever.
During my visit in Chining-chou, in the remote southwestern part of the province, an incident occurred which illustrated at once the power of Yuan Shih Kai's name and the heroic devotion of the missionaries. The day after our arrival, a friendly Chinese official brought word that Governor Yuan Shih Kai's mother had died the day before. Chinese custom in such circumstances required him to resign his office and go into retirement for three years. Now Consul Fowler and all the foreigners whom I had met in the ports had declared that the safety of foreigners in Shantung depended on the Governor, that as long as he was in power white men were safe, but that his death or removal might bring another tumult of anti-foreign fury. On the strength of his known friendship, mission work was being resumed and the missionaries were returning to the interior.
Now this man, on whose continuance in office so much depended, was apparently to retire and the future made all uncertain again. The Empress Dowager might give the post to a foreign-hater. An indifferent or even a weak pro-foreign Governor would be little better, for a strong man was needed to hold the population of Shantung in hand. The Chinese quickly take their cue from a high official and even a suspicion that he would not interfere might again loose the dogs of war. True, we had seen no signs of enmity, but appearances are deceptive in Asia. The smile of the mighty Governor meant a smile from every one. But what fires were smouldering beneath no one could know. Even in America, there are lawless men who would mob Chinese in a minute if they knew that the police were weak or indifferent.
I did not fear for myself, for my plans compelled me to journey on to Ichou-fu anyway. But I did not like to leave Mr. Laughlin and Dr. Lyon, who had come with the intention of remaining to reopen the mission work at Chining-chou. But with the true missionary spirit, they bravely decided to stay. A week later, they learned that in view of the importance of the province and his confidence in the great Governor, the Emperor had by a special dispensation shortened the period of official mourning from three years to one hundred days. During that time, the Fan-tai (treasurer) would be the nominal head of the province, though it was quietly understood that even then the Governor would be the "power behind the throne." But as this was not known when the decision to remain was made, the heroism of the missionaries was none the less striking.
The attitude of Yuan Shih Kai is fairly indicated in the regulations which he caused to be widely published after the Boxer outbreak. Some of these were as follows:--
"In order to protect foreigners from violence and all mission property from burning and other destruction, all civil and military officials with all their subordinates (including literati, constables, village elders, et al.), must use their utmost endeavours to insure their protection. Persons refusing to submit to officials in these matters may be instantly executed without further reference to the Governor, and any one who rescues foreigners from violence will be amply rewarded.
"Any persons having been found guilty of destroying mission property or using violence to foreigners shall be severely dealt with according to the laws which refer to highway robbers, and in addition to this their goods and property shall be confiscated for the public use.
"If injury to missionaries or destruction of property occurs in any district whatever, both civil and military officials of said district shall be degraded and reported to the Throne.
"The elders, constables, et al., of every village shall do their utmost to protect missionaries and their property. If in the future there occurs in any village destruction of property or violence to a missionary, the headmen of such village shall be dealt with according to the edict issued during the twenty-second year of the present Emperor. And, in addition to this they shall be required to present themselves to the yamen and make good all losses. The constables of such villages shall be severely dealt with and expelled from office forever.
"All civil and military officials in whose districts none of these offenses named above occur in one year shall be rewarded with the third degree of merit, and three years of such freedom shall entitle the same officials to promotion.
"Rewards will also be given to village elders and constables in whose district no disturbance occurs."
These are rather remarkable words from a high Chinese official. Now their author occupies a position of even greater authority, for after the death of Li Hung Chang, he was appointed to succeed him as Viceroy of Chih-li in November, 1901. Chih-li is not only one of the greatest provinces of the Empire with a population of 20,937,000, but it includes the imperial city of Peking and the ports of Tong-ku and Tien- tsin, the gateways to the capital. The Viceroy thus controls all avenues of approach to the Throne and is, in a sense, charged with the protection of the royal family. He has free access at all times to the Emperor and the Empress Dowager with whom he is a prime favourite. It was this position of high vantage which enabled Li Hung Chang to become well-nigh omnipotent in China. Yuan Shih Kai is not such a wily schemer as his distinguished predecessor and he is not likely to use his position for self-aggrandizement to the extent that Li Hung Chang did. But he is quite as able a man and more frank and reliable. He has enemies, as every public man has, especially in Asia. Some can never forgive him for his supposed part in the virtual dethronement of the Emperor several years ago. It is alleged that the Emperor counted on the army of Yuan Shih Kai to support him in his reform policy, but that Yuan consulted with Jung Lu, who was then the Viceroy of Chih-li, and that that worthy promptly laid the whole matter before the Empress Dowager; the result being that the young Emperor awoke one morning to find himself practically stripped of his imperial power. Yuan has been freely charged with treachery in this coup d'etat. Others hold that he did not intend treachery but only consultation with his superior officer as to what ought to be done in a grave crisis which was in itself revolutionary in character. Yuan was far from being a reactionary, but he was wise enough to see that China could not be suddenly transformed, and he naturally hesitated to lend himself to an enterprise which he believed to be premature and to be destined to result in certain failure. The soundness of his judgment is now generally recognized, and the Emperor himself is said to be almost as friendly towards him as the Empress Dowager, who counts him one of her ablest supporters.
 Cf. Imperial Decree of Sept. 22, 1898, quoted in Pott, "The Outbreak in China," pp. 55sq,
In the present critical condition of far eastern politics, much depends upon the policy of Yuan Shih Kai. With exalted rank, the ear of the Empress Dowager and the command of the only real soldiers that China possesses, he can do more than any other man to influence the course of the Empire. Of course, one official, however powerful, cannot absolutely control national conditions. The forces at work both within and without the Empire are too vast and too complicated. Nevertheless, the fact that such an able and far-seeing man as Yuan Shih Kai is now the most influential Viceroy in China, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and the trusted adviser of the Empress Dowager may be fairly included among the hopeful signs for the future.
Most significant of all is the development of missionary work since the Boxer outbreak. Not only have all the destroyed churches and chapels been rebuilt, but they are, as a rule, crowded with worshippers. In the Wei-hsien station field in Shantung, where every missionary was driven out and all the mission property destroyed, 569 Chinese were baptized last year. In Peking, the large new Presbyterian church, though erected near that great cistern in which nearly 100 bodies were found after the siege, is filled at almost every service and the churches of other denominations are also largely attended. At a single service, Dr. Pentecost preached to 800 attentive Chinese young men. Even in Paoting-fu, where every remaining missionary and scores of Chinese Christians were killed, and where one might suppose that no Chinese would ever dare to confess Christ, even in bloodstained Paoting-fu, the missionaries are preaching daily to throngs of attentive Chinese in the city, while at the spacious new compounds outside the walls the schools and hospitals and churches are taxed to care for the hundreds who go to them. In the Canton field, long known for its anti-foreign feeling, 1,564 Chinese were baptized last year by the Presbyterians alone and the missionaries are importunately calling for reinforcements to enable them to meet the multiplied demands upon them. Even the province of Hunan, which a decade ago was almost as inhospitable to foreigners as Thibet, now has half a hundred Protestant and Catholic missionaries developing a prosperous work. Bishop Graves, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, returned recently from an episcopal visitation with this inspiring message:--
"The condition and outlook of the Church's work in the province of Kiang-su are more encouraging than ever before. Hitherto we have had to persuade people to be taught. Now they come to us themselves, not one by one, but in numbers. . . . That there is a strong movement towards Christianity setting in is evident."
Not only has the old work been resumed with vigour but much new work has been opened. Within a year and a quarter after the relief of the Legations by the Allies, twenty-five new mission stations had been opened and 373 new missionaries had entered China, and each succeeding year has seen considerable additions to the number. The Rev. Dr. George F. Pentecost, who visited China in 1903, writes--
"The outlook seems to me most encouraging. I find the more thoughtful missionaries enthusiastic in their forecast for the future. My own judgment is that the cause of missions, so far as foundation work and increased power for work, has been advanced at least twenty-five years by the massacres of 1900. I think the common people are thoroughly convinced that missions cannot be destroyed, and I am equally convinced that the authorities are also convinced that it is vain for them to rage and set themselves against Christianity. The one thing which an Asiatic recognizes is power and facts accomplished, and in the rebuilding of our missions and the awakening already begun and the reinforcement of the missions in men and material means they see and recognize power. Their own temples are falling into decay and ruin and our new buildings are rising in prominence and beauty. Their ignorant priesthood is sinking deeper and deeper into degradation, while our missionaries are every where known and recognized as men of `light and learning.' . . . It seems to me from all I can learn that there is no fear of another anti- foreign outbreak."
And these are but a few of the many illustrations that could be given. Everywhere, the doors are open and Chinese are now being baptized by Protestant missionaries at the rate of about 15,000 a year, while a far larger number are enrolled as inquirers or catechumens. The interdenominational conference of missionaries at Kuling, August 7, 1903, declared:--
"It is now a fact that there is not one of the more than nineteen hundred counties of China and Manchuria from which we are shut out, and before the hundredth year of our work begins, we can say that if the gospel is not preached to every creature in China, the reason must be sought outside China. The opportunities of work are varied in their kind, vast in their extent. Never before have men crowded to hear the gospel as they are crowding now in the open air and indoors; in our chapels and in our guest-rooms we have opportunities to preach Christ such as can scarcely be found outside China. Never before has there been such an eager desire for education as there is now; our schools, both of elementary and of higher grades, are full, and everywhere applicants have to be refused. Never before has there been such a demand for Christian literature as there is now; our tract societies and all engaged in supplying converts and inquirers with reading material are doing their utmost, but are not able to overtake the demand; and the demand is certain to increase, for it comes from the largest number of people in the world reading one language. The medical work has from the first found an entrance into hearts that were closed against other forms of work. Its sphere of influence grows ever wider and is practically unlimited. Unique opportunities of service are afforded us by the large number of blind people, by lepers, and those suffering from incurable diseases; by the deaf and dumb, the insane and other afflicted people. In China the poor are always with us, and whensoever we will we may do them good."
Not least among the hopeful signs for the future is the new treaty between the United States and China which was signed at Shanghai, October 8, 1903, and unanimously ratified by the United States Senate December 18, 1903. It not only secured an "open door" in China for Americans, but, if the veteran "most favoured nation" clause is again pressed into service, a priceless benefit to the whole civilized world as well as to China herself. For this treaty abolished the exasperating "likin" (the inland tax heretofore exacted by local officials on goods in transit through their territories); confirmed the right of American citizens to trade, reside, travel, and own property in China; extended to China the United States' copyright laws; gained a promise from the Chinese Government to establish a patent office in which the inventions of United States' citizens may be protected; and made valuable regulations regarding trade-marks, mining concessions, judicial tribunals for the hearing of complaints, diplomatic intercourse, and several other matters which, though sanctioned by custom, were often abridged or violated.
The treaty, moreover, called for the opening of two additional treaty ports, one of which is at Feng-tien-fu, more generally known as Mukden, important not only as a city of 200,000 inhabitants but as the capital of Manchuria and with both rail and river connection with the Gulf of Pe-chi-li and the imperial province of Chih-li. The other is at An-tung, which is important because of its situation on the Yalu River opposite the Korean frontier. Of course, the Russia-Japan War has post- poned the opening of these ports, but the recognition of China's right to open them by treaty with the United States is none the less significant.
Most important of all, the treaty removes, so far as any such enactment can remove, the last barrier to the extension of Christianity throughout China. In Article XIII of the English treaty with China, September 5, 1902, Great Britain agreed to join in a commission to secure peaceable relationships between converts and non-converts in China. But the American treaty goes much farther, as the following extract (Article XIV) will show:--
"The principles of the Christian religion, as professed by the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches, are recognized as teaching men to do good and to do to others as they would have others do to them. Those who quietly profess and teach these doctrines shall not be harassed or persecuted on account of their faith. Any person, whether citizen of the United States or Chinese convert, who, according to these tenets, peaceably teaches and practices the principles of Christianity shall in no case be interfered with or molested therefor. No restrictions shall be placed on Chinese joining Christian churches. Converts and non-converts, being Chinese subjects, shall alike conform to the laws of China, and shall pay due respect to those in authority, living together in peace and amity; and the fact of being converts shall not protect them from the consequences of any offense they may have committed before or may commit after their admission into the church, or exempt them from paying legal taxes levied on Chinese subjects generally, except taxes levied and contributions for the support of religious customs and practices contrary to their religion. Missionaries shall not interfere with the exercise by the native authorities of their jurisdiction over Chinese subjects; nor shall the native authorities make any distinction between converts and non-converts, but shall administer the laws without partiality, so that both classes can live together in peace.
"Missionary societies of the United States shall be permitted to rent and to lease in perpetuity as the property of such societies, buildings or lands in all parts of the Empire for missionary purposes and, after the title-deeds have been found in order and duly stamped by the local authorities, to erect such suitable buildings as may be required for carrying on their good work."
This gives new prestige to American missionary effort and legally confirms the opening of the Empire from end to end to missionary residence, activity and toleration. All that France harshly obtained for Roman Catholic missions by the Berthemy convention of 1865 and by the haughty ultimatum of M. Gerard at the close of the war with Japan, the United States has now peacefully secured with the apparent good-will of the Chinese Government.
THE PARAMOUNT DUTY OF CHRISTENDOM
IT would be unwise to underestimate the gravity of the situation, or to assume that the most numerous and conservative nation on the globe has been suddenly transformed from foreign haters to foreign lovers. The world may again have occasion to realize that the momentum of countless myriads is an awful force even against the resources of a higher civilization, as the Romans found to their consternation when the barbarian hordes overran the Empire. We do not know what disturbances may yet occur or what proportions they may assume. It may be that much blood will yet be shed. Inflamed passions will certainly be slow in subsiding. Men who are identified with the old era will not give up without a struggle. It took 300 years to bring England from pagan barbarism to Christian civilization, and China is vaster far and more conservative than England. The world moves faster now, and the change-producing forces of the present exceed those of former centuries as a modern steam hammer exceeds a wooden sledge. But China is ponderous, and a few decades are short for so gigantic a transformation.
Meantime, much depends on the future conduct of foreigners. It is hard enough for the proud-spirited Chinese to see the aliens coming in greater numbers than ever and entrenching themselves more and more impregnably, and a continuance of the policy of greed and injustice will deepen an already deep resentment. The almost invincible prejudice against the foreigner is a serious hindrance to the regeneration of China. "This fact emphasizes the need for using every means possible for the breaking down of such a prejudice. Every careless or willful wound to Chinese susceptibilities, or unnecessary crossing of Chinese superstitions, retards our own work and increases the dead wall of opposition on the part of this people."
The proper way to deal with the Chinese was illustrated by the Rev. J. Walter Lowrie of the Presbyterian Mission at Paoting-fu when, as a token of appreciation for his services to the city in connection with the retaliatory measures of the foreign troops shortly after the Boxer outbreak, the magistrate raised a special fund among wealthy Chinese, bought a fine tract of sixteen acres and presented it to the mission as a gift. The tract had been occupied for many years by several families of tenants who had built their own houses, but who were now to be evicted. Of course, Mr. Lowrie was not responsible for them. But he insisted that they should be dealt with fairly, and be paid a reasonable price for their homes and the improvements that they had made so that they could rent land and establish themselves elsewhere. In addition, he was at pains to find work for them until their new crops became available. Their affectionate greeting of Mr. Lowrie as we walked about the place clearly showed their gratification. There is not the slightest trouble with the Chinese when they are treated with ordinary decency as brother men.
At any rate, in the name of that civilization and Christianity which we profess, as well of common humanity, let foreign nations abandon the methods of brutality and rapine. If we expect to convert the Chinese, we must exemplify the principles we teach. It is not true that the Chinese cannot understand justice and magnanimity. Even if it were true, it does not follow that we should be unjust and pitiless. Let us instruct them in the higher things. How are they ever to learn, if we do not teach them? But as a matter of fact, the Chinese are as amenable to reason as any people in the world. Their temperament and inertia and long isolation from the remainder of mankind have made them slow to grasp a new idea. But they will get it if they are given reasonable time, and when they do once get it, they will hold it. Whether, therefore, further trouble occurs, depends in part upon the conduct of foreign nations. Justice and humanity in all dealings with the Chinese, while not perhaps wholly preventing outbreaks of hostility, will at least give less occasion for them.
But however trying the period of transition may be, the issue is not for a moment doubtful. Progress invariably wins the victory over blind conservatism. The higher idea is sure to conquer the lower. With all their admixture of selfishness and violence, the fact remains that the forces operating on China to-day include the vital regenerative element for human society. It is futile to expect that China could ever regenerate herself without outside aid. Spontaneous regeneration is an exploded theory in society as well as in biology. Life always comes from without.
The spirit of China's new system of education shows that there is imminent danger of the misuse of modern methods, even when they have been adopted. All her institutions are conducted on principles which virtually debar Christians either as students or professors. Infidelity, however, has free entrance as long as it conforms to the external forms imposed by the State. "Anti-conservative but anti-Christian," the educational movement has been characterized by Dr. W. M. Hayes of Teng-chou. Dr. W. A. P. Martin, so long President of the Imperial Chinese University, declares that "if Christians at home only knew what a determined effort is being made to exclude Christian teachers and Christian text-books from Chinese Government schools, from the Imperial University down, they would exert themselves to give a Christian education to the youth of China." A single mission institution, like the Shantung Protestant University, with its union of the best educational methods and the highest ideals of Christian character, will do more for the real enlightenment of China than a dozen provincial colleges where gambling, irreligion and opium smoking are freely tolerated and a failure to worship the tablet of Confucius is deemed the only cardinal sin.
In view of all these things, the regeneration of China becomes a question of transcendent importance, a question demanding the broadest statesmanship and the supremest effort; a question involving the future destinies of the race. "On account of its mass, its homogeneity, its high intellectual and moral qualities, its past history, its present and prospective relations to the whole world, the conversion of the Chinese people to Christianity is the most important aggressive enterprise now laid upon the Church of Christ." It would be a calamity to the whole world if the dominant powers of Asia should continue to be heathen. But if they are not to be, immediate and herculean efforts must be made to regenerate them. Sir Robert Hart declares that the only hope of averting "the yellow peril" lies either in partition among the great Powers, which he regards as so difficult as to be impracticable, or in a miraculous spread of Christianity which will transform the Empire. Beyond question, Sir Robert Hart is right. It is too late now to avoid the issue. The impact of new forces is rousing this gigantic nation, and Western nations must either conquer or convert. Conquering is out of the question for reasons already given. The only alternative is conversion. In these circumstances "the yellow peril becomes the golden opportunity of Christendom."
And by conversion is not meant "civilization." Here is the fundamental error of the pseudonymous writer of "Letters From a Chinese Official." He evidently knows little or nothing of the missionary force or of the motives which control it. He writes as a man who has lived in a commercial and political atmosphere, and who feels outraged, and with some justice, by the policy which European nations have adopted towards China. From this view-point, it was easy for the quick- witted author to satirize our defects and to laud the virtues, some of them unquestionably real, of his native land. But it does not follow that his indictment holds against the Christian people of the West, who reprobate as strongly as the author the duplicity and brutality of foreign nations in their dealings with China. The West has something more to offer China than a civilization. As a matter of fact, the best people of the West are not trying to give China a civilization at all, but a gospel. With whatever is good in Chinese civilization, they have no wish to interfere. It is true that some changes in society invariably follow the acceptance of Christianity, but these changes relate only to those things that are always and everywhere inherently wrong, irrespective of the civilization to which they appear to belong. The gospel transformed "the Five Points" in New York not because they were uncivilized but because they were evil. It will do in China only what it does in America--fight vice, cleanse foulness, dispel superstition. Christianity is the only power which does this. It has transformed every people among whom it has had free course. It has purified society. It has promoted intelligence. It has elevated woman. It has fitted for wise and beneficent use of power. Of those who deny this, Lowell says:
"So long as these very men are dependent for every privilege they enjoy upon that religion which they discard, they may well hesitate a little before seeking to rob the Christian of his faith and humanity of its hope in that Saviour who alone has given to man that hope of eternal life which makes life tolerable and society possible, and robs death of its terrors and the grave of its gloom."
No degradation is beyond the reach of its regenerating power. Witness the New Hebrides, Metlakatla, the Fiji, Georgia and Friendly Islands. Even England, Germany and America themselves are in evidence. Christianity lifted them out of a barbarism and superstition as dense as any prevailing among the heathen nations of this age. It can effect like changes in China if it is given the opportunity.
But it is said that the Chinese do not want to be converted. A distinguished General of the United States army declared, after his return from Peking in 1900:--"I must say that I did not meet a single intelligent Chinaman who expressed a desire to embrace the Christian religion. The masses are against Christianity." It is pleasant to know that it is so common for unconverted Americans to go to that army officer for spiritual guidance that the failure of the Chinese to do so disappointed him. Most men would hardly have expected a people who were smarting under defeat to open their hearts to a commander of the conquering army. But hundreds of other foreigners in China, myself included, can testify that they have heard intelligent Chinese express a desire to embrace the Christian religion, and the fact that there are in China to-day over a hundred thousand Chinese, to say nothing of myriads of enrolled catechumens, who have publicly confessed their faith in Christ and who have tenaciously adhered to it under sore persecution is tangible evidence that some Chinese at least are disposed to accept Christianity.
Do they want Him? "It would please you," a missionary writes, "to see these poor people feeling after God, and their eagerness to learn more and more." It is not uncommon for converts to travel ten, fifteen and even twenty miles to attend service. The Sunday I was in Ichou-fu, I met a fine-looking young man, named Yao Chao Feng, who had walked sixteen miles to receive Christian baptism, and several other Chinese were present who had journeyed on foot from seventeen to thirty-three miles. In Paoting-fu, I heard of a mother and daughter who had painfully hobbled on bound feet thirteen miles that they might learn more about the new faith. In another city, 800 opium-smokers kneeled in a church and asked God to help them break the chains of that frightful habit. Surely He who puts His fatherly arms around the prodigal and kissed him was in that humble church and answered the prayer of those poor, sin-cursed men. It would be easy to fill a book with such instances.
But suppose the Chinese do not want Christ. What of it? Did they want the distinguished General? On the contrary, he had to fight his way into Peking at the mouth of the cannon and the point of the bayonet, over the dead bodies of Chinese and through the ruins of Chinese towns. Do "the masses" desire Christ anywhere? Mr. Moody used to say that the people of the United States did not want Christ and would probably reject Him if He came to them as He came to the Jews of old.
The question is not at all whether the Chinese or anybody else desire Christ, but whether they need Him, and a man's answer to that question largely depends upon his own relations to Christ. If we need Him, the Chinese do. If He has done anything for us, if He has brought any dignity and power and peace into our lives, the probabilities are that He can do as much for the Chinese.
"Be assured that the Christ who cannot save a Chinaman in longitude 117'0 East is a Christ who cannot save you in longitude 3'0 west. The question about missions would not be so lightly put, nor the answer so lightly listened to, if men realized that what is at stake is not a mere scheme of us missionaries, but the validity of their own hope of eternal life. Yet I am bound to say that the questions put to me, on returning from the mission field, by professedly Christian people often shake my faith, not in missions, but in their Christian profession. What kind of grasp of the gospel have men got, who doubt whether it is to-day, under any skies, the power of God unto salvation?"
It passes comprehension that any one who has even a superficial knowledge of the real China can doubt for a moment its vital need of the gospel. The wretchedness of its life appalls an American who goes back into the unmodified conditions of the interior or even into the old Chinese city of proud Shanghai. As I journeyed through those vast throngs, climbed many hilltops and looked out upon the innumerable villages, which thickly dotted the plain as far as the eye could reach, as I saw the unrelieved pain and the crushing poverty and the abject fear of evil spirits, I felt that in China is seen in literal truth "The Man with the Hoe."
"Bowed by the weight of centuries, he leans Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground, The emptiness of ages in his face, And on his back the burden of the world.
"What gulfs between him and the seraphim, Slave of the wheel of labour, what to him Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades? What the long reaches of the peaks of song, The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose? Through this dread shape the suffering ages look; Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop."
This is the need to which the churches of Europe and America are addressing themselves through the boards and societies of foreign missions. These boards are the channels through which the highest type of Christian civilization is communicated to pagan peoples, the agencies which gather up all that is best and truest in our modern life and concentrate it upon the conditions of China. From this view-point, foreign missions is not only a question of religion, but a problem of statesmanship, and one of overshadowing magnitude. As such, it merits the sympathy and cooperation of every intelligent and broad-minded man, irrespective of his religious affiliations. Its spiritual aims are supreme and sufficient for every true disciple of Christ, but apart from them its social and educational value and its relation to the welfare of the race justly claim the interest and support of all. In this work the Church is saving both individuals and nations, and for time as well as for eternity. It holds no pessimistic views of the future. It denies that the development of the race has ended. It frankly concedes the existence of vice and superstition. But it believes that the gospel of Jesus Christ is able to subdue that vice, and to dispel that superstition. So it founds schools and colleges for the education of the young; establishes hospitals and dispensaries for the care of the sick and suffering; operates printing-presses for the dissemination of the Bible and a Christian literature; maintains churches for the worship of the true God, and in and through all it preaches to lost men the transforming and uplifting gospel of Him who alone can "speak peace to the heathen."
But some are saying that the Boxer outbreak has destroyed their confidence in the practicability of the effort to evangelize the Chinese. They are asking: "Why should we send any more missionaries to China?"
I reply: "Why send any more merchants, any more consuls, any more oil, flour, cotton? Shall we continue our commercial and political relations with China and discontinue our religious relations; allow the lower influences to flow on unchecked, but withhold the spiritual forces which would purify trade and politics, which have made us what we are, and which alone can regenerate the millions of China?"
Is disaster a reason for withdrawal? When the American colonists found themselves involved in the horrors of the Revolution, did they say that it would have been better to remain the subjects of Great Britain? When, a generation ago, our land was drenched with the blood of the Civil War, did men think that they ought to have tolerated secession and slavery? When the Maine was blown up in Havana Harbour and Lawton was killed in Luzon, did we demand withdrawal from Cuba and the Philippines? When Liscum fell under the walls of Tien-tsin, did we insist that the attempt to relieve the Legations should be abandoned? Or did not the American people, in every one of these instances, find in the very agonies of struggle and bloodshed a decisive reason for advance? Did they not sternly resolve that there should be men, that there should be money, and that the war should be pressed to victory whatever the sacrifice that might be involved?
And shall the Church of God weakly, timidly yield because the very troubles have occurred which Christ Himself predicted? He frankly said that there should "be wars and rumors of wars"; that His disciples should "be hated of all men"; that He sent them "forth as sheep in the midst of wolves," and that the brother should "deliver up the brother to death and the father the child." But in that very discourse He also said: "He that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me." "Go, preach," He commanded. "Woe is me if I preach not," cried Paul. Hostile rulers and priests and mobs and the bitter Cross did not swerve Him a hairbreadth from His purpose; nor did the rending of the early disciples in the arenas of Nero, the burning of a Huss and a Savonarola, the pyres of Smithfield, the dungeons of the Tolbooth and the thumb-screws of the Inquisition quench the zeal of His followers.
And in the like manner, the ashes of mission buildings and the blood of devoted missionaries and the tumult of furious men have led multitudes at home to form a high and holy resolve to send more missionaries, to give more money and to press the whole majestic enterprise with new faith and power until all China has been electrified by the vital spiritual force of a nobler faith. God summons Christendom to a forward movement in the land whose soil has been forever consecrated by the martyrdom of the beloved dead. Instead of retreating, "we should," in the immortal words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, "be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."
It may be said that this is a purely sentimental consideration. But so may love for country, for liberty, for wife and children, be called a sentiment. God forbid that the time should ever come when men will not be influenced by sentiment. The intuitions of the heart are as apt to be correct as the dictates of the head. I candidly admit that as I stood amid the ruins of the mission buildings in China, as I faced the surviving Christians and remembered what they had suffered, the property they had lost and the dear ones they had seen murdered,--as I stood with bared head on the spot where devoted missionaries had perished, I was conscious of a deeper consecration to the task of uplifting China. And I am not willing to admit that such a dedication of the living to the continuance of the work of the dead is a mere sentiment.
We are not wise above what is written when we declare that the eternal purpose of God comprehends China as well as Europe and America. He did not create those hundreds of millions of human beings simply to fertilize the soil in which their bodies will decay. He has not preserved China as a nation for nearly half a hundred centuries for nothing. Out of the apparent wreck, the new dispensation will come, is already coming. Frightened men thought that the fall of Rome meant the end of the world, but we can see that it only cleared the way for a better world. Pessimists feared that the violence and blood of the Crusades would ruin Europe, but instead they broke up the stagnation of the Middle Ages and made possible the rise of modern Europe. The faint-hearted said that the India mutiny of 1857 and the Syria massacres of 1860 ended all hope of regenerating those countries, but in both they ushered in the most successful era of missions.
So the barriers which have separated China from the rest of the world must, like the medieval wall of Tien-tsin, be cast down and over them a highway for all men be made. No one sup- posed that the process would be so sudden and violent. But in the Boxer uprising the hammer of God did in months what would otherwise have taken weary generations. Some were discouraged because the air was filled with the deafening tumult and the blinding dust and the flying debris. Many lost heart and wanted to sound a retreat because some of God's chosen ones were crushed in the awful rending. But the wiser and more far-seeing heard a new call to utilize the larger opportunity which resulted. Up to this time we have been playing with foreign missions. It is now time for Christendom to understand that its great work in the twentieth century is to plan this movement on a scale gigantic in comparison with anything it has yet done, and to grapple intelligently, generously and resolutely, with the stupendous task of Christianizing China.
But we are sometimes told that the churches should not be allowed to go on; that one of the conditions of good feeling will be the exclusion of missionaries from China. On this point, I venture three suggestions:--
First,--No administration that can ever be elected in the United States will thus interfere with the liberty of the churches. It will never say, in effect, that arms' manufacturing companies can send agents to Peking and distilleries send drummers to Shanghai, but that the Church of God cannot send devoted, intelligent men and women to found schools and hospitals and printing-presses and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will never say that American gamblers in Tien-tsin and American prostitutes in Hongkong shall be protected by all the might of the American army and navy, but that the pure, high-minded missionary, who represents the noblest motives and ideals of our American life, shall be expatriated, a man without a country.
This is, however, a problem for the nation, rather than for the boards. The American missionary went to Asia before his Government did, and until recently he saw very little of the American flag. European nations have protected their citizens, whether they were missionaries or traders. In the United States Senate Mr. Frye once reminded the nation that about twenty years ago England sent an army of 15,000 men down to the African coast, across 700 miles of burning sand, to batter down iron gates and stone walls, reach down into an Abyssinian dungeon and lift out of it one British subject who had been unlawfully imprisoned. It cost England $25,000,000 to do it, but it made a highway over this planet for every common son of Britain, and the words, "I am an English citizen," more potent than the sceptre of a king. And because of that reputation American missionaries have more than once been saved by the intervention of British ministers and consuls who have not forgotten that "blood is thicker than water." Shall we vociferously curse England one day and the next supinely depend upon her representatives to help us out when our citizens are endangered?
This is not a question of "jingoism," whatever that may be. It is not a question of making unreasonable complaints to home governments. It is not a question of religion or of missions. It is a question of treaties, of citizenship, of national honour and of self-respect. Let the nation settle it from that viewpoint. The missionary asks no special privileges. He can stand it to go on as before, if the nation can stand it to have him.
Second,--If China should ever make such a demand in repudiation of the treaties which she herself has expressly acknowledged to be valid, and if all the Powers should support her in that demand, does anybody doubt what the missionary would say? We know at any rate what he has said in similar circumstances. When Peter and John were scourged and forbidden to preach any more in the name of Jesus, friendless and penniless though they were, they ringingly answered: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." When Martin Luther was arraigned before the most powerful tribunal in Europe, he declared: "Here I stand. God help me. I can do no other." When the Russian Minister in Constantinople haughtily said to Dr. Schauffler, "My master, the Czar of all the Russias, will not let you put foot on that territory,"--the intrepid missionary replied: "My Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, will never ask the Czar of all the Russias where He shall put His foot." Scores of missionaries have not hesitated to say to hostile authorities: "I did not receive my commission from any earthly potentate but from the King of Kings, and I shall, I must go on."
Some will say that this is madness. So of old men said of Christ, "He hath a demon"; so they said of Paul, "Thou art beside thyself." If magnificent moral courage and unyielding devotion to duty are "madness," then the more the world has of it the better.
The effort to minimize the significance of the missionary force in China will be made only by those who, destitute of any vital religious faith themselves, of course see no reason for communicating it to others, or by those who are strangely blind and deaf to the real issues of the age. In the words of Benjamin Kidd, "it is not improbable that, to a future observer, one of the most curious features of our time will appear to be the prevailing unconsciousness of the real nature of the issues in the midst of which we are living."
"No more did the statesmen and the philosophers of Rome understand the character and issues of that greatest movement of all history, of which their literature takes so little notice. That the greatest religious change in the history of mankind should have taken place under the eyes of a brilliant galaxy of philosophers and historians who were profoundly conscious of decomposition around them; that all these writers should have utterly failed to predict the issue of the movement they were then observing; and that during the space of three centuries they should have treated as simply contemptible an agency which all men must now admit to have been, for good or evil, the most powerful moral lever that has ever been applied to the affairs of men, are facts well worthy of meditation in every period of religious transition."
Does any sane man imagine that the Church could cease to be missionary and remain a Church? It has been well said that the Christian nations might as well face the utter futility of any hypothesis based upon the supposition that they can remain away from the Orient. The occurrences of recent years have made changes in their relation to the world which they can no more recall than they can alter the course of a planet. It is idle for doctrinaires to tell us from the quiet comfort of home libraries, that we should "keep hands off." We can no more keep hands off than our country could keep hands off slavery in the South, no more than New York could keep hands off a borough infected with smallpox. The world has passed the point where one-third of its population can be allowed to breed miasma which the other two-thirds must breathe. Both for China's sake and for our own, we must continue this work. If this is true in the political and commercial realms, much more is it true in the religious. Chalmer's notable sermon on the "Expulsive Power of a New Affection" enunciates a permanent principle. When a man's soul is once thrilled with the conviction that he has found God, he must declare that sublime truth,
"To doubt would be disloyalty, To falter would be sin."
I confess to a feeling of impatience when I am told that all missionary plans for China must be contingent "upon the settlement of political negotiations," "the overthrow of the Empress Dowager and her reactionary advisers," "the reestablishment of the Emperor on his rightful throne," "the continuance in power of Viceroy Yuan Shih Kai," "the mainte- nance of a strong foreign military and naval force in China," "the thwarting of Russia's plans for supremacy," and several other events.
All these things have been said and more. Is the Church then despairingly to resign her commission from Jesus Christ and humbly ask a new one from Caesar? Not so did the apostolic missionaries, and not so, I am persuaded, will their modern successors do. They cannot, indeed, be indifferent to the course of political events or to their bearing upon the missionary problem. But, on the other hand, they cannot make their obedience to Christ and their duty to their fellow men dependent upon political considerations. For Christian men to wait until China is pacified by the Powers, or "until she is enlightened by the dissemination of truer conceptions of the Western world," would be to abdicate their responsibility as the chief factor in bringing about a better state of affairs. Is the Church prepared to abandon the field to the diplomat, the soldier, the trader? How soon is China likely to be pacified by them, judging from their past acts? The gospel is the primary need of China to-day, not the tertiary. The period of unrest is not the time for the messenger of Christ to hold his peace, but to declare with new zeal and fidelity his ministry of reconciliation. To leave the field to the politician, the soldier and the trader would be to dishonour Christ, to fail to utilize an unprecedented opportunity, to abandon the Chinese Christians in their hour of special need and to prejudice missionary influence at home and abroad for a generation.
But the numbers at work are painfully inadequate. To say that there are 2,950 Protestant foreign missionaries in China is apt to give a distorted idea of the real situation unless one remembers the immensity of the population. A station is considered well-manned when it has four families and a couple of single women. But what are they among those swarming myriads? The proportion of Protestant missionaries to the population, which is commonly quoted, needs revision. There is one to about every 144,000 souls. But that, too, requires modification, for it counts the sick, the aged, recruits who are learning the language, wives whose time is absorbed by household cares, and those who are absent on furloughs, the last class alone being often about ten per cent. of the total enrollment. The actual working force, therefore, is far smaller than the statistics suggest.
Of China as a whole, it is said that "some of the missionaries and some of the converts are to be found in every one of the provinces, both of China and Manchuria. But in the 1,900 odd counties into which the provinces are divided, each with one important town and a large part of them with more than one, there are but some 400 stations. That is to say, at least four-fifths of the counties of China are almost entirely unprovided with the means of hearing the gospel." Of all the walled cities in the Empire, less than 300 are occupied by missionaries. There are literally tens of thousands of communities that have not yet been touched by the gospel. Plainly, the missionary force must be largely augmented if the work is to be adequately done. The home churches have gone too far to stop without going farther. "Those who undertake to carry on mission work among great peoples undertake great responsibilities. We have no right to penetrate these nations with a revolutionary gospel of enormous power, unless we are prepared to make every sacrifice and every effort for the proper care and the wise training of the organization of the Christian community itself which, while it must become increasingly a source of revolutionary thought and movement, is also the only body that can by the help and grace of God give these far-reaching movements a healthy direction and lead them to safe and happy issues."
Grant that the work of evangelization must be chiefly done by Chinese preachers; there is still much for the missionary to do. Allowing for those who, on account of illness, furlough or other duties, are temporarily non-effective, 10,000 missionaries for China would not give a working average of one for every 50,000 of the population. In these circumstances, the union conference of missionaries at Kuling, August 7, 1903, was surely within reasonable bounds when, in urging the Protestant churches to celebrate in 1907 the one hundredth anniversary of the sending forth of Robert Morrison, it declared:--
". . . In view of the vastness of the field that lies open before us, and of the immense opportunities for good which China offers the Christian Church--opportunities so many of which have been quite recently opened to us and which were won by the blood of the martyrs of 1900-- we appeal to the boards and committees of our respective societies, and individually to all our brethren and sisters in the home churches, to say if we are unreasonable in asking that the last object of the Three Years' Enterprise be to double the number of missionaries now working in China."
The time has come to "attempt great things for God, expect great things from God." When in 1806, those five students in Williamstown, Massachusetts, held that immortal conference in the lee of a haystack, talked of the mighty task of world evangelization and wondered whether it could be accomplished, it was given to Samuel J. Mills to cry out: "We can if we will!" And the little company took up the cry and literally shouted it to the heavens: "We can if we will!" "A growing church among a strong people burdened by a decadent Empire--the spirit of life working against the forces of death and decay in the one great Pagan Empire which the wrecks of millenniums have left on the earth--surely there is a call to service that might fire the spirit of the dullest of us." The obstacles are indeed formidable, but he who can look beneath the eddying flotsam and jetsam of the surface to the mighty undercurrents which are sweeping majestically onward can exclaim with Gladstone:--
"Time is on our side. The great social forces which move onward in their might and majesty, and which the tumults of these strifes do not for a moment impede or disturb--those forces are marshalled in our support. And the banner which we now carry in the fight, though perhaps at some moment of the struggle it may droop over our sinking hearts, yet will float again in the eye of heaven and will be borne, perhaps not to an easy, but to a certain and to a not distant victory."
In a famous art gallery, there is a famous painting called "Anno Domini." It represents an Egyptian temple, from whose spacious courts a brilliant procession of soldiers, statesmen, philosophers, artists, musicians and priests is advancing in triumphal march, bearing a huge idol, the challenge and the boast of heathenism. Across the pathway of the procession is an ass, whose bridle is held by a reverent looking man and upon whose back is a fair young mother with her infant child. It is Jesus, entering Egypt in flight from the wrath of Herod, and thus crossing the path of aggressive heathenism. Then the clock strikes and the Christian era begins.
It is a noble parable. Its fulfillment has been long delayed till the Child has become a Man, crucified, risen, crowned. But now in majesty and power, He stands across the pathway of advancing heathenism in China. There may be confusion and tumult for a time. The heathen may rage, "and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord." But the idol shall be broken "with a rod of iron," and the King upon his holy hill shall have "the heathen for `his' inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for `his' possession."
For a consummation so majestic in its character and so vital to the welfare not only of China but of the whole human race we may well make our own the organ-voiced invocation of Milton:--
"Come, O Thou that hast the seven stars in Thy right hand, appoint Thy chosen priests according to their order and courses of old, to minister before Thee, and duly to dress and pour out the consecrated oil into Thy holy and ever burning lamps. Thou hast sent out the spirit of prayer upon Thy servants over all the earth to this effect, and stored up their voices as the sound of many waters about Thy throne. . . . O perfect and accomplish Thy glorious acts; for men may leave their works unfinished, but Thou art a God; Thy nature is perfection. . . . The times and seasons pass along under Thy feet, to go and come at Thy bidding; and as Thou didst dignify our fathers' days with many revelations, above all their foregoing ages since Thou tookest the flesh, so Thou canst vouchsafe to us, though unworthy, as large a portion of Thy Spirit as Thou pleasest; for who shall prejudice Thy all-governing will? Seeing the power of Thy grace is not passed away with the primitive times, as fond and faithless men imagine, but Thy kingdom is now at hand, and Thou standing at the door, come forth out of Thy royal chambers, O Prince of all the kings of the earth; put on the visible robes of Thy imperial majesty, take up that unlimited sceptre which Thy Almighty Father hath bequeathed Thee; for now the voice of Thy bride calls Thee, and all creatures sigh to be renewed."