Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

of avoiding combinations with other powers. It is contrary to the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, which was a protest against the operations of the old Holy Alliance in America. It is contrary to our policy in regard to the Panama canal: this country admitted no European partner in that great enterprise. It is contrary to our economic interest, which is for a productive China.

Nor is it necessary for the United States to dictate to China in behalf of its own money power. It is no time for us, when we are trying to curb corporations which menace the existence of democratic government in America, to go out into the Orient to use the authority of the United States in aid of the projects of similar aggregations of capital. The old Holy Alliance failed, and the New Holy Alliance is destined to a like failure, because it is unnatural and topheavy. The United States through the Monroe Doctrine precipitated the collapse of the old combination and should stand by its doctrine of the independence of nations.

It is not for us to dictate to other peoples what their government shall be; we are not entirely successful in orderly and popular government here at home. Is it likely that by joining with five other powers, not one of which is sincerely sympathetic with our idea of government, we can help the Chinese to set up a solid government? To my mind the serious question and issue of the moment is: what kind of government will be most advantageous to the Chinese? No nation, no group of nations, has a right to insist that the commercial affairs of another nation shall be regulated for the benefit of outsiders.

The whole scheme really rests upon the supposed fundamental incapacity of the Chinese. That comes with ill grace from such moderns as we are. Many of the Chinese were living in cities with an elaborate civilization when our Teutonic ancestors were pursuing the aurochs for an evening meal and had not so much as heard of the Romans. The antiquity of the Chinese is a proof that they have some power to make a government for themselves. For their isolation they have had excuse: other nations have not been kind to them. The Chinese wall, typical in our speech of an unreasoning and hurtful barrier, is one of the world's greatest achievements because it was successful, because for centuries it did keep out those mounted neighbors that were such a scourge to China.

In the long run the six-power system is against the interests of the six powers. What will be the effect on China if this week or next the European powers are swept into a general war? If it were impossible to reinforce the present scanty European garrisons how long would Tsintau remain German or, Kowloon English, or the Shanghai concessions European? If I were a Chinese I would stand as long as I lived for the doctrine that my country is entitled to its own territory and to its own control.

So far as the ability of the Chinese to maintain a government is concerned it is not within the compass nor the province of allied nations to alter their circumstances or character. Doubtless the governmental conditions are crude, clumsy and imperfect; but they will not be improved by a six-part tutorship. The Chinese deserve to be taken on their merits, as shown by experience; upon their ability or inability to maintain a government.

Hence it would seem in accordance with American policy to recognize the republic of China, instead of joining in embarrassing it. I do not claim that the Chinese are perfect people, or even that they are capable of maintaining a republican government; but they have become the greatest potential power in Asia. I predict that there will be a Chinese nation, a Chinese language and literature, and a Chinese influence, quite as long as there is an English or an American nation, language and literature. I believe that China is one of the prime forces in the world. It is simple morality that the United States of America should consider the interests of the Chinese in dealing with them as well as the interests of our citizens. Proper trade between any two nations is mutually profitable and hospitable. America ought to be the helpful nation to China, an uplifting and sustaining influence in the present great difficulties of that government. I believe that it is not our business to be part and parcel of a combination founded in part for the protection of Europeans in China, but essentially based in selfishness. The commercial organization of the present Holy Alliance is at bottom a movement for making money out of the Chinese by Europeans and Americans. As a money-making enterprise the six-power financial scheme lies outside of our legitimate national interests.

A PLEA FOR FAIR PLAY AND THE RECOGNITION

OF THE CHINESE REPUBLIC

By Major Louis Livingston Seaman, M.D., LL.B., F.R.G.S.,

President of the China Society of America

The problem of the Orient is the problem of the twentieth century, and today, China is its key. The most eventful year of modern times in the life of the Chinese people has just passed into history. They have escaped from the despotism of a corrupt monarchy to the freedom of a republic. The problems which now confront them are the recognition of their government as a republic by foreign nations, and the adjustment of their finances. Unless these are arranged to the satisfaction of a powerful syndicate of bankers, backed by the diplomats of their various countries, it has been intimated that the partitioning of the country may be apprehended as a probable eventuality.

It might have been hoped that the carnival of territorial lust, which for centuries caused untold bloodshed the world over, had culminated in the partitioning of Africa—the last of the continents to be parceled off by the world's looters, who in the division of the spoils, followed, as the robber barons of feudal times.

The good old rule, the simple plan,
That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can.

But look at China today—that grand old country, with its great wall which for over twenty centuries protected it from the hordes of Tartars and Mongols on the north, while its Thibetan ranges on the west, and impenetrable forests on the south, permitted it to live in peace and tranquillity thousands of years, with no fear of molestation by “foreign devils," from land or sea. And in this time the beautiful but fallacious philosophy of Confucius, which taught the

a

[ocr errors]

rule of moral suasion rather than that by might, grew until its essence was expressed in the proverb, "Better have no child than one who is a soldier”—this, too, in a land where it is considered a disgrace to die childless.

And what was the natural result: A condition of insecurity, of defencelessness, of inability to enforce that first law of nature self-protection-followed, which, when realized by the Occidental nations, resulted in their seizing great sections of her domains upon trivial excuses, and wringing most valuable concessions from her rulers.

As a direct result of this spoliation, the worm at last turned, and the Boxer uprising of 1900 followed, having for its declared purpose the forcible expulsion of all foreigners from the country, and the recovery by China of her despoiled possessions. I say, without fear of contradiction by those who are familiar with that issue and I was there), that that uprising was one of the most splendid exhibitions of patriotism witnessed in modern times. The methods pursued by the Chinese, due to the ignorance of their misguided leaders, and the horrors that followed, have afforded the theme for many a tragic tale and numberless explanatory theories. But the plain fact cannot be gainsaid, nor too strongly emphasized, that the essential motive of that propaganda was the freeing of the land from the hated foreigners, who, in current phrase, had “robbed the people of their country.”

It was then, that in reprisal and revenge, the so-called civilized world turned against them. The eight allied armies of the "great powers” marched to their capital, slaughtered their people, raped their women, looted their temples, their treasure and their habitations, committed brutalities that would have made Nero envious, and created a sentiment in China which fairly crucified Christianity, and which should redound to the shame and humiliation of the Christian nations whose forces participated in the outrages; but which, instead, secured monstrous indemnities and subjected China to the most humiliating terms of peace that were ever inflicted upon a nation, and that have kept her povertystricken ever since. America, however, has reasons for pride in that she waived claims to over half the indemnity, whilst

« ForrigeFortsæt »