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none of the three to be interfered with by either a riotous or office-greedy army. There can be no doubt that the action of the ninety generals of the northern army in forcing the National Assembly at Peking in July, 1912, at the sword's point, to accept certain appointments against their will, was inimical to the vitality of constitutionalism in China. Macaulay's words should be remembered forever that “a constitution however faulty, is better than the best despot.” The day however is bright, and despite Tennyson's dictum a “cycle of Cathay” will be as good as any other cycle, and to add Roosevelt's homely epigram, one's nation should be made as good for all of us as it has been for some of us—Manchus! The promise that America will help the new republican China is surely written on all our hearts.
So acute a historian as Macaulay (essay on Milton) has pointed out that the destinies of the human race are sometimes staked on the same cast with the destinies of a particular people. So much the more reason why we, like all other nationals, should be keenly and warmly interested in the present and future of China, because so many American affairs (the Panama Canal and the Pacific being the bonds) are wrapt up in Chinese affairs.
THE WESTERN INFLUENCE IN CHINA
By Edward W. Capen, Ph.D., Hartford School of Missions; recently on special sociological and missionary research
in the Far East
The striking changes that have occurred within a twelvemonth in the oldest, the most populous and potentially the most powerful nation of the Orient and of the world, are of profound significance to us of the West. We are in large measure responsible for what has occurred. Besides this, the political and social movements in China, which culminated last February in the abdication of the Manchu dynasty after a rule of nearly 270 years, and the inauguration of what has been characterized as the Imperial Republic of China, place upon western nations new obligations and open to them new opportunities. It is therefore fitting that the topic “Western Influence in China” should have a place upon this program.
The discussion of this paper falls into four divisions: I, What western influence has accomplished; II, What western influence should not destroy; III, Where China can learn from the West; IV, How the West can be most helpful.
There are four principal channels through which western influence has reached China. The governments of Europe and America have exerted a direct pressure upon the government of China and forced changes in its treatment of foreigners and those under their influence. For three hun
. dred years western merchants tried to open China to foreign
These efforts culminated during the nineteenth century in wars between China and the European powers, chiefly Great Britain, as a result of which China was opened to western influence as exerted by the trader and his agents. A third channel through which China has been influenced from the West may be called simply western example. Especially in these later years, say within the last generation, a considerable number of Chinese, chiefly students and diplomatic representatives, have visited the West for longer or shorter periods, have thus become more or less familiar with western institutions and ideals, and have on their return taught many of these ideas to their friends and associates. The experiences of the Chinese who have settled in western lands, chiefly along the western shores of the American continent, and still more recently the introduction of western books and the publication in China of books and periodicals that give the facts about western life, thought and achievements, have spread the knowledge and influence of things western, especially among students and the progressive classes. To the influence of Chinese who have visited or resided in the West or who have become familiar with its life, should be added that of the personal example of the westerners who visit or live in China. This influence, though largely centered in the port cities, is by no means to be disregarded. Finally, perhaps the most important of all channels, is the Christian missionary. He has been the first to penetrate to the more remote parts of the country. He has come closest to the life of the people, and unlike many a trader or government official, has for the most part stood resolutely as the embodiment of the best elements in the life of the West. His—and I should add specifi
. cally her-quiet and pervasive personal influence has had very much to do with laying the foundations for the new regime.
Such are some of the channels through which western influence has reached China. What have been the results? The answer to this question forms our first point.
I. WHAT WESTERN INFLUENCE HAS ACCOMPLISHED
In general, the chief effects of the influence of western governments and commerce have concerned the industrial development of China. Those of western example have modified the educational and political systems of the country, while those of missionary work have affected the educational, philanthropic, and ethical ideals.
Until the middle of the last century, the Chinese government confined all its commercial relations with foreigners to the frontier. Canton was the center of the trade with Europe and America until the treaty of Nanking in 1842, which closed the so-called Opium War with Great Britain, ceded Hongkong to England and opened five treaty ports, Canton, Amoy, Foochow, Ningpo, and Shanghai. As a result of subsequent wars or pressure otherwise exerted, the number of these ports has increased to forty-nine, located on the frontiers, along the coast, and on the navigable rivers. With the development of foreign trade came the adoption in 1854 of rules by which the collection of customs was placed in the hands of foreigners. Starting with the organization in 1861 of a department for the transmission of its own postal matter, the Customs Department began in 1876 to open its service to the public, and twenty years later the Imperial Post was organized and grafted upon the Customs. It was transferred in May, 1911, to the Chinese Board of Communications. While the government and large merchants had always had means of transmitting letters, the ordinary Chinese had none. The statistics for 1910 give the number of post-offices as 5,357, the articles transmitted 355,000,000, including 3,750,000 parcels and 25,500,000, registered articles. The money order system transported $10,000,000. The postal routes covered 13,000 miles by railways and steamers, and 87,000 miles by regular couriers. The telegraph system, which has been independent of the customs service, has developed less rapidly, but during the year 1909 over 600 miles of new lines were constructed and twenty-two new offices opened. There are now 560 offices and 28,000 miles of telegraph lines connecting the principal cities and the neighboring countries.
Just about the time when the postal service was instituted, foreigners in 1875 opened the first railway in China from Shanghai to Wusung. Within two years the line, which had come into possession of the government, was torn up, everything, including engines and cars, dumped upon the shores of Formosa, and a temple erected upon the site of the station. Such were the unpropitious beginnings
of the attempt of foreigners to improve the transportation facilities of China. Later, under foreign stimulus, the Chinese took up the railway question again, but made little progress until the era of foreign concessions that succeeded the close of the war with Japan in 1895. So rapid was the construction that within sixteen years 5500 miles have been opened to traffic and 2800 miles of trunk lines are under construction, and these figures do not include the Japanese and Russian railways in Manchuria. The projected lines will connect all parts of the country, including even Thibet, with the political and commercial centers. The Chinese are as rapidly as possible taking over these railways and bringing them under complete Chinese control.
Added to the railways are the steamer lines along the coast and the internal waterways of the country. The Yangtse system alone furnishes 12,000 miles of water navigation, and in general there are 8000 miles of rivers in China navigable by steamers. Since 1898 the internal waters have been opened to vessels flying foreign flags. While this permission would not have been granted by a nation able to resist, it has resulted in securing for the chief river routes comfortable and speedy steamers that sail under the British German, French, Japanese and Chinese flags.
These improvements in means of communication have made possible the new China. When the unwieldy junk, the man or woman propelled river or canal boat, with a sail as auxiliary power, the sedan chair, the wheelbarrow or cart moving slowly over the egregious roads, were the swiftest means of communication, the virtual independence of the provinces was inevitable. The increasing unity of thought and action brought about by improved means of communication made it possible for the entire empire to throw off the rule of the Manchus within a few months. The effects of floods and famines can now be mitigated and speedy relief secured. On the other hand, thousands, or even millions, of river boatmen, chair coolies, carters and the like have lost their means of support. Important.cities and towns situated on the old routes are losing business and population, while new towns and cities are developing at the new distributing points.