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THE CONTRIBUTION OF FOREIGNERS TO CHINESE DISCONTENT
By Arthur H. Smith
SPECIAL COMMISSIONER FOR THE OUTLOOK IN CHINA
Y the Treaty of Tientsin, signed in as of that of the French Consul and a K October, 1860, the Empire of Russian gentleman and his wife.
China was introduced, by no wish The Chinese officials were well informed of her own, and against her will, into what of what was going on, but took no steps was termed the “sisterhood of nations”- to stop it—a condition of things always a relationship of which the rulers of China construed by the people as a license to do knew nothing and for which they cared as they list. The Roman Catholic catheless. But, having been forced into it, the dral, built on a site of ground once set Chinese, with their native pliability, pro- apart for Imperial use, was burned down, ceeded to adapt themselves to their new and the ruins left standing for twentyenvironment. The forty years between seven years. At the expiration of that the signing of the Treaty of Tientsin and time the cathedral was rebuilt " by Impe. the Boxer uprising in the spring of 1900 rial command" under French pressure, may for convenience be divided into five and rededicated amid loud mutterings of principal periods, the close of each marked discontent on the part of the people. with some event of capital importance to Tales of the kidnapping of Chinese chil China and to foreigners. Of these peri- dren by foreigners were at that juncture ods the first extends from 1860 to the again in circulation, and doubtless believed Tientsin massacre in June, 1870. During as implicitly as they had been a generathe first half of this decade China was tion previous. The writer had formerly still struggling with the Taiping rebellion. lived in Tientsin for ten years, and had In the second half the Burlingame Mission some notion of the traits of the people, was despatched to Western lands to em- yet with a party of friends he was caught phasize and expand the “sisterhood of unawares in passing along the Grand nations" idea, but the death of its princi- Canal in an eddy of this whirlpool, and pal agent, for whom it was named, put an but for the prompt action of the officials, end to the hopes built upon it. The high and low, the party would all have been Tientsin massacre was important as the killed by a howling mob with which there first of a series, with the phenomena of was no more reasoning than with a pack which foreign residents in China have of hyenas. This incident is important as become familiar. The people of Tientsin clearly showing that gradual enlightenhad always hated foreigners on general ment does not necessarily ensue merely principles rather than for specific causes. upon the lapse of time, and that there are There is there, as in large cities in other constant forces resident in the Chinese lands, a special class of ruffians always character of which foreigners often perready for violence. Wild rumors in regard ceive no trace, and of which, until an to Chinese children decoyed into an or- explosion occurs, they take no acc unt. phanage, that their eyes might be extracted “Underneath their practical and sensible to be used in transmuting lead into silver, exterior," wrote a traveler in China thirty culminated in the murder of all the Cath- years ago (Mr. T. T. Cooper), who had olic sisters with peculiar atrocities, as well learned to know the Chinese well, “there
lurks a sleeping demon of the blindest Copyright, 1900, the Outlook Company, New York. This is the third article of a series written for The superstition, which requires only the
OT; slightest touch to change them into insenArthur H. Smith, author of " Village Life in China" and - Chinese Characteristics." The first article appeared in The Outlook for October 27 last, the second in She issue of December 8.
as wild beasts; and this dreadful curse
Outlook by its Special Commissioner in China, Dr.
is not only common among the unedu- tive Taotais who wished to make them cated, but among the literati and goy- realize that their newly acquired foreign erning classes also."
notions could not and would not be tolerThe second of the five periods named ated in old China. Their subsequent was from 1870 to 1875, when the murder career was disappointing alike to themby the criminal connivance of local Chi- selves and to the promoters of the Misnese mandarins, of a young British officer sion. Many of them did good service in named Margery, on an official tour through a limited way, but not one enjoyed the Yunnan to the border of Burmah, almost opportunities or exerted the influence brought about a rupture between China which had been justly expected. One of and Great Britain. Sir Thomas Wade the most courageous and hopeful of the hauled down his Legation flag and left number, Mr. Kin-Ta-T'ing, was shot, probPeking for Chefoo, where he was followed ably by mistake, during the attack on the not long after by Li-Hung-Chang, upon foreign settlement of Tientsin. whom for a quarter of a century the bur- There can be little doubt that one den of “peace-talking" under difficult lamentable and unforeseen effect of this conditions has been thrust. Sir Thomas promising effort to enlighten the darkness was an “old China hand” of long experi- of China was to make a large circle of ence and great knowledge of the country influential Chinese officials perceive with and its language, but he was violent in increased clearness the “ irreconcilable temper and often eccentric in judgment. conflict " of ideas between the East and It is vain now to raise questions as to the West, and to increase the bitterness the might-have-beens, yet, in view of the of their feelings toward the domineering prestige of Great Britain at that time, and Occidentals. This was recognized to the absence from the diplomatic stage as some extent, although imperfectly at the important factors of several Powers which time, and later became still more evident. have since become influential, not to say The end of this period was marked by dominant, it is difficult to resist the con- a long and desultory war with France, clusion that an invaluable opportunity caused on the Chinese side by the aggresto sow the seeds of great changes and sions of France, and on the side of reforms in China was lost, with almost no France by Chinese obstinacy and deceit. gain but the opening of a few more treaty The Chinese for the first time learned to ports. It was in this period that the discriminate one nationality from another famous Educational Mission was sent to while hostilities were in progress, but the United States, mainly through the in- protected all non-combatants alike, even fluence of Mr. Yung-Wing, who was at once the French. By agreement of the Powers a Chinese and an American, a graduate Shanghai was left undisturbed, and hos. of Yale University, and a true lover of his tilities were confined to ports of minor people. The plan was that a select body importance. The Chinese lost their naval of young Chinese should be educated in fleet in a few moments in the Min River Western fashion so as to be ready to take off Foochow. The French, however, tried prominent places in the regeneration of the to take a coal-mining town in northern new China. It was carried out with zeal, Formosa called Kilung (Chicken Coop), discrimination, and success, but this very and failed. To the Chinese this prosuccess was eventually an allotropic form tracted scuffle with France was of imporof failure. The young men became tance as showing that foreigners were no Americanized, clearly recognized the error longer irresistible and invincible, while of Chinese traditional ideas, and were impartial spectators were agreed that filled with enthusiasm for at once perme- China had much just ground for national ating the inert mass of Chinese conserva- resentment. After the ensuing peace, tism with the leaven of their new concep- China muddled on in the old way. Influentions and convictions. As soon as this tial memorials insisted upon railways, the was clearly perceived by a new commis- telegraph having already been widely exsioner, all the students were straightway tended a few years previous. Other influordered home, where they were literally ential memorials presented counter conyoung men without a country, the butt of siderations, and although formal Imperial the tyranny of narrow-minded and obstruc- permission was given about this time for a railway from Tientsin to Peking, action the revelation of her hopeless corruption. and reaction just balancing and neutral- (This was not true, however, of them all. izing each other, nothing was done. But The late Professor Park defended his the few miles of railway from the Fang- former views on the ground that he had shan mines to the head of a canal con- always maintained that, in the long run, the necting with the Peiho, under the wary Chinese would come out ahead!) It is a and sagacious management of Mr. Kinder, time-honored saying that Experience keeps the British engineer in charge, gradually a dear school, but fools will learn in no developed into a line covering the whole other. Despite the past, there seemed distance to Tientsin, superseding the canal, every reason to suppose that now at last and teaching a valuable object-lesson. If this would be true of China. No one has other introducers of Western innovations written an autobiographical account of into China had been as patient, as re- the sensations and emotions of a whale sourceful, and as tactful as Mr. Kinder, the with a harpoon in its back and a boatresultant friction would have been far less load of whalers at the end of the rope. and the forward progress far greater. In the case of China there were several
In the summer of 1891 occurred a series boats' crews all bent on large consignof terrible riots in the Yangtzu Valley, ments of oil from the stranded monster. which destroyed several foreign lives (not Formosa was lost, an enormous indemall the victims being missionaries) and nity was to be paid in “ spot cash," and a much property. The events of that year greater peril than either or both was just have an important bearing upon the great coming into clear sight. Some able men outbreak nine years later, most of the in China clearly perceived the root of her underlying causes being general and per- troubles, and numerous memorials sugmanent. It is not necessary to refer to gested many remedies, or rather alleviathem in detail at this time, but it is well tions, of her ills. It is not difficult to see to note that in the copious discussion where a boat took the wrong channel and which ensued among well-informed resi- drifted into rapids; but to be able against dents in China there was great diver- the irresistible current to get it out is gence of opinion both as to the causes another matter. and as to the true significance of the This, then, was the outcome of thirtyevents themselves. This fact is of special five years of the compulsory “ sisterhood interest as illustrating the extraordinary of nations” business. From the standdifficulty of comprehending the complex point of the wise and impartial foreigner phenomena of Chinese contemporaneous (if there is such a one) China's calamities history and the necessity for a cautious “served her right.” She should have kept suspense of judgment.
her treaties, listened to reason, and taken The war with Japan (1893-94), which sound advice while it was yet time. marks the close of a fourth period, was of From the point of view of the Chinese, momentous results to China. It pricked most of her troubles had themselves come “ the China bubble," and demonstrated, directly through treaties which she did to such Chinese as knew the facts, that not want but could not escape, the their country was fitly symbolized by the meshes of which were steadily becoming forty-eight wooden shutters to the ports of smaller in size and more closely drawn. the towers over the massive gates of Is it surprising that, from Chinese premPeking, which are decorated with the ises and with Chinese limitations of experipainted muzzles of large cannon.
ence, knowledge, foresight, and insight, China was shown to be a hollow sham, they should hate the very name “treaty," a painted gun on a wooden background, and be filled with wrath and bitterness a giant manacled by a race of “pygmy toward those who had chained China to dwarfs." Her unpaid, ill-fed, ill-armed, the bond-service of this capacious and ill-drilled, and badly led troops were sim- rapacious tyrant, always demanding what ply forced to fly. What else could they was impossible to grant, and then extortdo? All the best friends of China, who ing more because something had been had hoped for her own sake to see her refused or left unfulfilled ? “Who yield rally, were grievously disappointed, and nothing to reason and everything to fear," most of them speechless with disgust at were the pregnant words of Lord Elgin,
already cited—comprising within them- treaty of Shimonisaki are replete with selves the entire future history of China events directly conducing or indirectly to the end of the century.
contributing to the late cataclysm. To The brief but important years since the these I shall refer at another time.
A Nineteenth Century Crusade
By Professor H. B. Hulbert, F.R.G.S.
and what have the seven Great stretch of territory which the British
Powers to count on in the strug- troops were unable to hold ? So it is with gle that is upon us? It may be that the China. Her territory is so vast that it bubble will burst, and that the Chinese will will prove an almost superhuman task to shrink from the consequences of their strike an effective blow at the far interior atrocities, but the greater probability is that and still keep communications open with the whole Chinese people will make this the coast, which is the only possible base the great and final test of the possibility of of supplies. The population of China is continuing as a separate and independent so vast that foreign armies are liable to be people. We speak of the Chinese people, overwhelmed by the mere mass of hostile not simply of the so-called “ Boxers," for numbers. How, for instance, could an that term includes all whose sympathies army of a hundred thousand men penemay lead them to join in the anti-foreign trate to the Province of Honan, leaving campaign. In other words, the term behind them a hostile population of twenty “ Boxer " includes the overwhelming ma- or thirty million people who would weljority of the Chinese people; not that come an opportunity to rise in arms and they are formally enrolled in the “society," cut off the intruders from the coast, and but because their sympathies are wholly then harry them at leisure? Would it not engaged, and because, when it comes to require garrisons in every section to keep the matter of war for the preservation of the people quiet? If so, the vastness of Chinese institutions, the “ Boxers ” can the population would soon absorb the whole count upon a numerical backing that will foreign army simply in the work of police. make the foreign allied forces seem a In the third place, we must reckon with mere handful.
the obstinacy and perseverance, not to say In the first place, we must recognize patriotism, of the Chinese people. They that China is a self-sufficient country. have not been noted for their love of She can easily supply herself with food country, but this is a serious mistake; for and with all the other necessities of life. there is a wide difference between loving She is fairly well prepared to manufacture one's country and loving one's government. her own ammunition, and it has long been The Chinese have never had cause to love known that there is an abundance of arms their central government, for it never has within the Empire to carry on a war. Of loved them. It has been looked upon as course these arins are inferior to those a sort of necessary evil which must be which the allies are likely to carry, but endured. When, however, it comes to the this inferiority is more than compensated matter of love of country and attachinent for by the overwhelming superiority in to immemorial customs and traditions, the numbers. It is said that to-day there are Chinese are capable of even fanatical a million “ Boxers ” in and about Peking, devotion. But, more than that: in China probably all of whom are armed in some the individual is almost wholly swallowed manner or other. And they represent but up in the clan, and there is a most intricate a fraction of the available fighting force system of social interdependence, which if of this great political party in China. disturbed would cause a vastly greater
In the second place, the vast territory financial loss than a disturbance in the within which war may be waged is all social life of any Western people. The on the side of the Chinese. Who believes population of China is so dense, and the that the United States ever would have margin between living and starving is so
narrow, that we may compare China to a difficulty of co-operation on the part of the measure of wheat which has been shaken allies is one of China's strong defenses down and packed together, each kernel to-day. This difficulty of continued coso adjusted as to take up the very least operation rests upon the great dirference room possible. It is plain that to disturb in kind, not in quantity, of the different that even measure of wheat will mean an Powers' interests in China. England's overflow of its contents; while in such a interest is one, Russia's is another Gercountry as the United States, where fine many's still a third-all equally intense, adjustments have not been made, and but so various in their nature that a final where a man can change his occupation adjustment satisfactory to all is almost imor his place of residence without fear possible. These interests are not merely of loss, agitation, social or political, is different, they are opposite and mutually more likely to result in shaking down the incompatible. Russia wants territory measure of wheat and making a more com- whereon to re-establish a market " prepact and homogeneous mass. We of the serve ” in order to foster her infant indusWest can gain no adequate conception of tries at home. England wants an open what a disturbance of the social equilibrium door everywhere because she does not would mean to the Chinese. The social fear competition. When did the best system of China, while far inferior to ours sprinter ever favor a handicap? But in many particulars, is far more delicately next to an open door Britain would prefer adjusted than ours. You may pull a stick to take a portion of China's territory, not out of a woodpile without greatly disturb- for the purpose of territorial aggrandizeing the pile, but you cannot pull a wheel ment, but to assure herself an open door out of a chronometer watch so easily. in a portion, at least, of the Chinese EmThe Chinese are well aware of the danger, pire. And so it is with each of the Powers and, just as the American or the English- involved. Their interests are all different man will fight for his “ fireside," so the enough to render final co-operation exceedChinese will fight for his system, for his ingly difficult. Whether it will render furclan, and all that goes to keep his intricate ther military co-operation difficult remains social running gear in operation. Self- to be seen. In all probability the revolting interest is at the bottom of it all, whether atrocities that have been perpetrated will, in the United States or in China. It is for the time being, cause a sufficient denot selfishness, but self-defense. There gree of unanimity among the allies to can be no graver error than to suppose keep them moving in a direct line toward that because the Chinese are not patriotic the chastisement of China, forgetful of in our sense they are not patriotic in any their mutual incompatibilities. equally substantial sense. The failure to These four factors, then, seem to be in estimate the enormous centripetal force of China's favor in the struggle: (1) Her a civilization that has been self-sufficient material self-sufficiency ; (2) the extent of for three thousand years or more lies at her territory and the vastness of her popthe bottom of all our mistakes with China. ulation ; (3) the intrinsic patriotism of her
The fourth factor in China's favor is people; (4) the diversity of elements in the diversity of the elements represented the allied forces. in the forces of the allies. We have seen It will be in order now to look at the how successfully Chinese statesmanship factors which work in favor of the foreign has pitted her enemies against one another. allies.
There can be no doubt that the practically T he first of these is their (at least temequivalent claims on China by the four porary) unanimity. China's great mistake European Powers, Russia, England, France, has been in shocking the foreign Powers and Germany, are a result of astute states into forgetfulness of their mutual jealousies. manship in Peking. Each of these four She could have forced the war upon Powers has been so handled that at the them by diplomatic methods that would present moment their separate interests in have emphasized these jealousies rather China are so nearly equivalent that it is than eclipsed them. But the unspeakvery difficult to see how they can come to able atrocities that have been attempted an amicable division of the spoils, even if by the connivance of the Peking GovernChina is subdued by their forces. The ment elevate the allies to the rôle of the