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Behold the woes of our fatherland.
The Americans of Nanking, Messrs. Macklin, Garrett, Blackstone, Bowen, believed in the Chinese saying “Chiu Ming” (save blood). They pleaded with the victorious republican generals Hsu and Hwang Shing for the first humanitarian surrender in Chinese civil war, as a thrilling example for all time that Chinese revolutionists, like George Washington's and Oliver Cromwell's men, were patriots and gentlemen at heart, and nor mere feudists fighting under the name of a great cause. Generals Ling, Hsu, Li, Hwang, etc., and of course Foreign Minister Wu Ting Fang, rose to the high level. They agreed to a surrender with honors. The panting troops held enthusiasm in control. Behind the walls the Imperialists breathed hard as well they might, seeing what they deserved, and the great populace of shopkeepers eagerly waited. Hurrah! A shout went up that lives would be guaranteed; yes, honor too. Fling open the pounded, riddled iron “Great Peace!” The steel muzzles of the hot Armstrongs; the deadly four-point-sevens; the spitting rapid fire, the 3-inch Krupp guns on Purple, Lion and Tiger hills held their smoky breath like good hounds in leash, but straining. The generals and captains marked time; the troops craned their heads; the Cantonese artillery hitched up the limbers to the gun carriages for their work of war was over. The American missionaries thanked God, and led on the way of peace for a China that would never forget the moving scene, where forgiveness towered over revenge.
Not all of us in the Occident had moved as fast as progress moved in China. Even in December some of the American journals surprisingly opposed the republic, despite Washington's recommendation in his farewell address that Americans should recommend their form of government to "the applause, the affection, and the adoption of every nation.” For instance, on the very day that Dr. Sun Yat Sen was named President, the New York Outlook December 30, 1911, (the writer of the article was not Colonel Roosevelt) stated that a Chinese republic could, would and should not be set up at present, and further that “Americans would do well to throw all their influence on the side of a monarchy.” Nine-tenths of the Outlook's readers doubtless thought that if Homer could sometimes nod, such surprisingly retrogressive words as these might be forgiven the generally progressive Outlook. Similarly in England, mother of books and sons of liberty, the large London banking house of Montagu, which has been prominent in China, issued a circular stating its “satisfaction” when the republicans lost Hankow to General Feng under atrocious circumstances of almost unforgivable massacre and monumental arson. Memoria longa; lingua brevis! So far, the strongest move in the rebellion was the declaration of Foreign Minister Wu Ting Fang at Shanghai that if Britain joind certain monarchical powers in loaning the north money, a trade boycott would be instituted in the southern and central provinces against foreign trade, of which Britain held the largest share. This won Hong Kong, and Hong Kong was able to hold British diplomacy on Downing Street, London. It was a master move, as brilliantly effective as Napoleon's Berlin decree of November 21, 1806, blockading British commerce. Whatever comes in the next few years, this cry surely is forever in the heart of Lincoln's America: “Long live the republican idea of distributed wealth and distributed liberty in good old China, America's yellow brother across the narrowing purple Pacific.” The harmony which prevailed between the missionaries and the republicans was inspiring. In a village of Hupeh province (Taiping), the people insisted that Mr. Landahl of the Netherlands Mission should head the local safety league which was maintaining order, and they pushed that astonished gentleman to the head in what was novel to him, of the successful pursuit of notorious pirates. The official birth of the Chinese republic came on Lincoln's birthday (think of it, America), February 12, 1912. On February 15 the Christian Chinese Provisional President, at Nanking, Sun Yat Sen, performed a remarkable act of self-sacrifice to win the north for republicanism, and induce doughty Yuan to join the great cause. He was also able to induce the vehement south to accept the former reactionary, Yuan. Here was the man who largely had achieved republicanism laying by all its honors at the climacteric moment in favor of the man who had most powerfully withstood republicanism. Yet Sun was happy. China was happy. Yuan was happy. With the least bloodshed ever known on a field of liberty, Sun and his cabinet had achieved the widest revolution ever known. They had established a republic of twenty-one republics four times the population of America. They will be managed by a combination of the British and American systems, as their bulk is too great in the aggregate for the strong centralization which is now becoming popular in America to correct certain evils for the time being. The provincial republics will develop largely as units, until the individual is educated sufficiently for greater cohesion. For a while, the republic may seem to work out like the Mexican system, but a dictator-president is not the final aim. Sun Yat Sen will go down to history as the greatest dreamer, prophet, organizer, altruist and political philosopher, the modern world has known; not that he is brainier than the white man, but being a yellow man, he has been able to accomplish more than any white man.
His reception to the hearts of all men, at least the reception of his cause, should be enthusiastic. He stands not alone. The scores of idealists and fighters of his cabinet, made the way for the constructive men who will now take hold, and some of these men are now our guests in America. Above all, Sun converted Yuan by his self-obliteration, and Yuan converted the obstructionist north. What if the Honanese Yuan is at the head of affairs for a while instead of the Kwangtungese Sun. They are both Chinese and now both are republicans. China now has the center of the world's stage, and America has built the Panama Canal to quickly reach a front seat at the stage. The actors will have long and strenuous parts, and the house is filling up rapidly to hear, and see, and applaud, if all is done well, as it should be. When the Assemblies succeed each other, Dr. Sun's turn as Premier or President will doubtless come. A bas with personal jealousies, antipathies, or overleaping ambitions. Surely there is room for all in twenty-one republics, which are bound as one commonwealth. As Macaulay said: “All under the flag should serve the state.” It is repression of individual resentment and ambition which has made England and America so governable, and it is something that China will learn as the years of stress surge about the ship of state. The title of captain or president amounts to very little in the light of patriotism; all aboard the ship are equal when it comes to manning the pumps and shortening or letting out sail according to the winds that blow. Parties will arise like Sun's new party the Tung Men Hwei (Sworn Brother); provincial feeling will be recrudescent and assertive; leaders and their followings will clash at times, but the Chinese must learn, as we all have to learn, that the striving must be one way o' the rope, and not a tug against each other because of personal greed, low ambition, or unruliness. In hundreds of documents issued during the rebellion, the republicans held up two men, Washington and Napoleon as representing successful protest against tyrants. But Washington laid the sword by the minute statesmanship could win. Napoleon used his sword to advance himself, and crush every will except his own: the way of an egotist. If China needs a foreign model to occasionally look at, let it be that of Washington, with his eminent moderation, his unselfishness, his charity, his honor, his true republicanism which sees in every citizen (man or woman) a king equal to himself, for the ballot and tax receipt have made all men equal kings. Do not think that all the severity you hear of in disturbed China at present is unnecessary and forebodes dark days. I will instance one parallel. Before the days of direct primary nominations in America we suffered from the machine system which advanced the incompetent sometimes and sometimes debarred the eminent and efficient from service in the state. A saloon keeper, who brought 2000 votes would demand for instance the position of Secretary of State. “But you're not fitted for it; you're a hoodlum,” The ward heeler would answer: “I must have it; I have to pay my 2000 brigands the 'graft,' which we say is ours; otherwise remember our revenge next election.” The parallel! One, Shek Kam Chuen, a young stone cutter and human hair hawker of Canton was very successful in smuggling arms for the revolution, and on the declaration of independence he led a following of 2000 non-descript men who did effective work in fighting. They were men who loved a fight more than liberty, not liberty more than life, like Nathan Hale. When the republic was victorious, and his troops were disbanded and paid, Shek was unsatisfied. He, a hawker, wanted high office when even President Sun turned his brother down from politics back to business in Canton, because he was not eminent for political ability. Shek made demands for himself and his men that the State could not consistently grant. He smuggled arms to take up piracy in reprisal on the harassed State. The way the governor of Canton treated Shek and his legal adviser Chang Han Hing should be engraved on tablets in every city hall of every municipality over the round world. The governor under the constitutional pressure of public opinion, captured the men at their headquarters, and under military law, or the application of the popular "recall,” he had them both shot to the great rejoicing of good citizens and tax payers. That ended one instance of heelerism, bossism, packed primary, professional office holding, “public office a private graft,” piracy, or whatever you like to call it, in modern China. The “popular recall” was a success, despite the cynicism of the standpatters in Canton, and one of those standpatters was Shek's wily lawyer Chang, who shared his fate much to his disgusted surprise. I am sorry William Dean Howells was not in Canton at that time to write A Modern Instance. At times cables may come to us that may make it seem that in troubled China Confucius has abdicated to Confusion. The solution largely lies in three things: railways, education and a real republican congress,