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in 1855, summarily annexed the lower Amur; for having, in 1858, secured by treaty the left bank up to the Ussuri; and for having, in 1860, secured by a second treaty the parts between the Ussuri and the sea. The Americans were able to appear in a more friendly capacity, but the Chinese regarded their motives as jealous and self-interested, none the less. Treaties with nearly all the Powers now followed, and General Gordon lent his services towards propping up the Manchu throne, though it is well known that he later on considered China's best hopes to lie in the extinction of that Dynasty.
And so things went on. The first rat to leave the sinking ship was Siam, which discontinued sending tribute. The French put Saïgon in their pockets as they sailed home; but although the legal owner, Annam, was a vassal of China, Saïgon was a province too far south to matter much for the moment. In 1865 Bhutan was placed under our official ken; but in this case, too, China had the Nepaul precedent, and did not mind much so long as the two Himalayan states were not occupied by our troops. The next thing was the temporary occupation of Ili by Russia in 1871, after the Chinese had been expelled from Kashgar in 1863, and Yakub Beg's power had gradually become threatening to his neighbours. In 1874 disputes with the Japanese touching shipwrecked seamen led to the temporary occupation by the latter of Formosa, whence they were coaxed out partly by the good offices of Sir Thomas Wade. The same year the Loochoo Islands were summarily placed under the Japanese Home Office, though for many centuries they had sent regular tribute to China, and had kept up relations with Foochow. By the treaty of 1874, Annam opened Tonquin to French trade, and the Chinese now found to their horror that they had the French knocking at their very gates. In 1880, after first beguiling the Manchu envoy Ch'unghou into surrendering Ili, Russia thought better of it in view of the threatening attitude of progressive China, and ultimately gave back that province
THIRD SERIES. VOL. X.
in consideration of expenses paid. It has been said that this action was inspired by fear, which is very possible; but, none the less, Russia is fairly entitled to the credit of an honest fulfilment of her promise, no matter what her motives may have been, which there is no title in others to question. The French now began to push their way up to the Chinese frontiers in Yün Nan and Kwang Si. This gradually led to hostilities, French attacks upon Formosa and the Pescadores, the French disaster at Langson, and finally the arrangement of a "drawn" peace by Sir Robert Hart. Corea next slipped away, and China, instead of being her Suzerain, condescendingly receiving exclusive homage, now found herself merely primus inter pares, intriguing for her rights at Söul in company with a miscellaneous assembly of foreign officials of all countries, whose diplomatic status was as vague as that of her own "resident." During these interludes Great Britain suddenly occupied Upper Burma, and claimed to trade with Tibet, compensating China, as pretended Suzerain, with promises of a periodical Burmese "mission with presents," which never came off once, and never will come off. Little nibblings of territory by ourselves and the Russians in the Hunza and Aktash directions also caused a slight flutter of Chinese feathers, and in 1890 we obtained from China a protectorate over Sikkim. For three or four years after this poor China did pretty well, nothing more alarming taking place than a few British, French, Swedish, or Russian missions of inquiry into Manchuria and Tibet. But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked aggressively during this short respite the result was the war with Japan, which severed Formosa and the Pescadores definitely from the Empire, made Corea independent, and very nearly cost. China Liao Tung as well.
Thus, from the Tonquin frontier town of Monkai, on the Gulf of Tonquin, to the mouth of the Yalu, in Liao Tung, the whole of the fringe of subject territory bordering upon China proper has been lopped off piecemeal since,
forty years ago, she agreed to make treaties with European Powers. No wonder the trunk begins to twinge when the extremities have all gone. Tonquin, French and British Shans, Burma, Manipur, Bhutan, Sikkim (Nepaul as well as Assam already practically ours), Hunza, Wakhan, Badakshan, the Pamir, Kokand; then, at the other end of the Russian frontier, the Ussuri province; Corea, Loo-choo, Formosa-all gone within one short generation-"all my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop." The useless deserts of Tibet, Kashgaria, and Mongolia, together with the ancestral wastes of Manchuria, were all that was left of colonial dominion to the Manchu rulers of China after forty years of militant Christianity, with innumerable missionary “rows," and extravagant demands for compensation thrown in at intervals. No doubt the conduct of China has been bad, but it cannot be denied that European behaviour to her has not been calculated to inspire confidence in the Christian purity of our motives. In spite of her bad finance, she never borrowed a cent until we Europeans induced her to do so, and she has always been most scrupulous in paying us her debts. Not to speak of Turkey, how do the Christian states of Portugal, Greece, or the Argentine Republic compare with her for financial honour? In spite of her corruption, the population—even allowing 300 per cent. (i.e., three times) on the collected revenue for roguery and squeezes-has never paid 3s. a head in taxation including local charges, against 3 a head in Western Europe exclusive even of rates and octroi. Her traders are qitue as honest as ours, and often more capable-the first statement is universally admitted, the second is selfevident.
Her literature ranks among the first in the world, even though her educational system may be antiquated. If she has unhappily debauched and weakened herself by opium indulgence, she has not yet degraded her manhood below the level of the drunken idlers who infest all our own British towns, or below that of the masses of Russian peasantry; so that we Europeans live in glass houses in this respect.
Chinamen have been the making of all the European colonies in the Eastern seas. If they are not welcome in America or Australia, it is not entirely on account of inherent faults of their own, but partly because white men cannot compete with them on equal terms. They were not only welcome, but eagerly sought for when they were indispensable; now they are kept out. No heat or cold, no conditions of atmosphere, come amiss to a Chinaman; he is quiet, industrious, patient, never gets drunk, makes an orderly husband. In a word, with all his vices and defects, the Chinaman is one of the finest all-round citizens in the world.
In thus stating a reasonable case for China, I by no means condone her faults collectively and individually; and as for the Manchu Dynasty, I am not alone in the opinion that it has largely forfeited its right to exist. The fault most offensive to us is arrogance, and for that she paid dearly when Japan gave her the thrashing she so richly deserved. But at this stage three Great Powers appear upon the scene. Not one of these Powers had ever ventured to try a fall with Japan alone when she was in full bloom of strength; but now that she was exhausted with the effort of crushing single-handed a presumptuous enemy for the common benefit of all Treaty Powers, they fell upon her in combination, and deprived her of the fruits of her victory, under pretext of there being danger to the world in a Japanese occupation of part of Liao Tung. The following are the exact Russian words, translated: "The cession of Liao Tung to Japan raised reasonable objections on the part of the European Powers. Taking up its position on the northern shores of the Yellow Sea, Japan would thus dominate the north-east of China, and so destroy the political balance of the Far East. By virtue of this, Russia, France, and Germany, upon the initiative of the Russian Government, advised Japan, in the interest of maintaining peace in the Far East, to withdraw from its claims to the peninsula of Liao Tung."
this view at the time, and if she had stood manfully up to Japan, and either argued or enforced her own case in courageous independence, no one could have disparaged her action. Even for France, as squire-in-ordinary to the Russian knight-errant, the plea of humble duty might be admitted. But in the case of Germany there was nothing in the way of local interest to account for this unexpected attendance upon Russia, hat in hand; and no one saw through the move more clearly than China, who never even pretended to show gratitude for the gratuitous aid proffered. Of course, the negative policy of neutralizing the power of the Dual Alliance by getting indirect admittance into it as a tertium quid was the next best thing to the difficult task of positively weakening it, even though this involved a temporary disclaimer of common interest with the Power which had nursed both Germany's navy and Germany's trade into being, in favour of the other two Powers who always done everything they could to check it by severe tariffs. This deliberate sacrifice to "interest" may be in accordance with modern diplomacy, but it scarcely appeals to the now dormant sense of chivalry. As a matter of fact, it may be rather a good thing for Europe to draw off a little of Germany's electricity to the Far East; but that does not make the action any the more admirable.
That Russia should expect some quid pro quo was not unreasonable, for she had never come to serious blows with China since she was ejected from Albazin 200 years ago; and her territorial acquisitions, if sometimes of a rather doubtful kind, at least were ultimately conceded to her by treaty. Accordingly Russia obtained the permission of China to winter her fleet in the harbour of Kiao Chou, and also, in certain eventualities, to anchor in Port Arthur and Talien Wan, which last two places, however, might not be alienated by China to any other Power. The Cassini Convention also arranged for railways through Manchuria under Russian auspices. France obtained as her reward, at the expense of Great Britain, certain concessions of