Puslapio vaizdai

ern powers. That would have been true even if there had been no FourPower Treaty. It is increasingly true because of the treaty. One cannot, therefore, confine his scrutiny to the actions in the future of China and Japan and Siberia. Nor is the future of China dependent exclusively on what Japan does. Less only by a degree is it affected by the attitude Europe and America will assume.

It needs no demonstration that they, too, must abandon the unscrupulous exploitation of China. They, too, must abandon political ambitions for purely commercial ends. And in fairness I should say that I am skeptical also as to how far they on their part have seen the need for that or, seeing it, are far-sighted enough to accept the temporary self-denials it implies. Nor does it need demonstration that, specifically, Great Britain must abrogate its alliance with Japan in spirit as well as in name. It must throw off the old rôle of "America's friend, but Japan's ally." "Japan's ally, but America's friend," is the phrasing Britons usually employ. Great Britain already has, Britons will affirm stoutly. They so affirmed also five years ago, but there was no concrete evidence of it. The war, they explained, prevented the divorce from being made public. After the war— well, we would see. Then the peace conference prevented the break from being made openly because of the treaties signed during the war. But after that-well, we should see. Then the fact that the alliance was still in being stood in the way. But after the alliance expired-we should see. And in the interval Great Britain was adhering to its old principles of action and supporting Japan. Then the alliance

expired, and there was the conference. At the conference we should see. What we saw at the conference was that in no single instance did Great Britain support any American proposal that conflicted vitally with Japan's interests or the old system of exploitation. But after the conference was over, we were told in Washington, after the conference was over and the stage was cleared for a new setting, then we should see. Well, we shall see. In the meantime I permit myself a robust skepticism of Great Britain's intentions—a skepticism grown out of long and close observation; but I am willing, nay, eager, to be convinced. For I do not believe that the Far East can become a market-place instead of a spoils-ground and a battle-field until England, too, changes its historic rôle in China; for until England does, Japan will not and cannot.

As for the other powers, they must not only change their objects, but scale down their hopes, or at least temper them with patience. We need China's resources; that is true. And probably we shall get them, even if we have to take them, China willing or unwilling. Shall we take them by force, if that compels fighting for them, and therefore paying for them more than they are worth, or shall we wait until China is able to develop them herself and sell them to us? A rhetorical question, seemingly; but in the illogic of human events the greater likelihood is that we shall do the former, for the reason that the latter entails loss; and that no aggregation of human beings called nations has the vision to endure, even if the alternative entails greater loss.

It is time to stop expecting miracles in China. It is time to take stock of

the bankrupt hopes of the last ten or twenty years and write off damaged illusions. Neither revolutions nor republic, nor parliament nor periodic awakenings, so-called, nor student movements nor consortiums nor Shanghai banking groups will contrive any magical short-cuts across cycles. I have lived in China and have watched these radiant-hued hopes blaze up one by one, and one by one fade. I expect to see many more fade. There will be slow "reconstruction" of China, agonizingly slow, and disintegration and chaos during the process. And the impatient world of factories and mines and banks and export and import agencies and Christian missions may as well resign itself to that.

[ocr errors]

The making over of China is a task for Sisyphus. Its very physical size and mass in numbers are reasons enough. Moreover, it has a civilization rooted twenty-five centuries down in time, and it has as justification for its inertia to rapid change the fact that it alone of its contemporaries has worked out in itself the capacity for survival. Aside from the question of the higher abstract qualities that China may or may not have my own purely personal opinion is that in the arts of life it has reached as high as any branch of the white race-it has success to its credit. A civilization like that will not be transformed through all its depths by "movements" and in a flitting of moments, as race time is measured. It will not be transformed by foreign bayonets. It will be transformed, if at all, and probably it will be-it will be transformed in fundamentals in its own way and at its own pace, though here and there

on its surface it may be pulled out of step and ahead by the attraction of external forces. When we realize this not only as an abstraction, but in all its implications, we shall have reached a firmer foundation of understanding on which to lay our end of the bridge between East and West, which is one of the foremost tasks of the next two or three generations, a task unsurpassed in its appeal to the imagination. And not until we do realize this.

The first implication is that we shall have to leave China free to have its chaos, as it is called, for as long as chaos is necessary in the stages of working itself out. And we shall have to bear whatever temporary sacrifice follows from that. We shall have to see through the fallacy and resist the easy temptations of foreign intervention, international control, and support to native dictators. Above all, we must separate ourselves from the strong man delusion that besets so many of the foreign diplomatic minds in China. To part with those forever it is necessary only to read Chinese history. No dictator has ever ruled China for more than a generation, not even Ch'in Shih Huang, and he is the only one who lasted even so long, and that was two thousand years ago; nor did Kublai Khan's rule extend for long over the whole of China. Nothing could be more calamitous than the coming of a Chinese Diaz. It would merely postpone the forces of transition in all their chaos, and by repressing them cause them to burst forth in a few years deformed and malignant. The result would even be worse than the original chaos.

It is arguable also that both for China and ourselves it is best that China's development be slow. You

have only to imagine conditions favorable for rapid development: a network of railroads spread suddenly over the country, mines dug everywhere, oilwells drilled, and a million times a million wheels whirring in a bedlam of countless factories. You would have, first, the most hideous exploitation of cheap labor the world has ever seen, vastly worse than in the first days of the industrial revolution in England. You would have millions of coolies, ignorant, docile, unorganized, unable to protect themselves, dazzled by their sudden whisking into an alien existence, their even, leisurely twelvehour workday in the fields become twelve madly driven hours at machines, without chance for physical or nervous adjustment to the change. It would be an inferno of enslavement. Equally important, you would have a frenzied inrush of foreign capital, a struggle of foreign chancelleries for prizes with the largest political attachments, a battle of intrigue of international banking syndicates for the fattest monopolies; and then warwar as inevitably as the working of the law of gravity. Even without a fardrawn hypothetical setting, even under more normal conditions, the forced speeding up of China for the benefit of other countries probably would end in war. It always has in parallel cases. Better by far the slower development, until China can adjust itself to the new régime, until it is strong enough either to undertake its own development or to insure effective control over foreign interests entrusted with its development, if that shall be. China's resistance to rapid change, though not

consciously motived, may be for the protection not only of herself, but of the rest of the world. To wait with patience and suffer whatever reduction of profit comes is not only the part of wisdom and morality, but good economics, dollars-and-cents policy; for good economics takes reckoning of the margin of costs. In the end it will be cheaper to leave China's resources in the soil for a few more years, not only because in that way they will eventually be disemboweled more quickly, and therefore more profitably to ourselves, but because the war costs brought about by the effort to speed them and the quarrel over them will be greater than they are worth. The temporary waiving of profits, therefore, is in the nature of an investment.

The immediate danger of war in the Far East has been alleviated. The deeper war causes remain. In a sense it works to the general benefit that we have formally raised the Far East to the dignity of a world problem. Looking distantly to the highest and final good of mankind, one may say that the closer binding of all races by a firmer interweaving of the relations between East and West is of the greatest beneficence. And in so far as the conference has simplified those relations by setting forth more clearly the directions they may take, it has worked for good. But if it has only given wider play to man's greed, then there is greater danger than before. The mutual adjustment of East and West is the outstanding problem of the next two hundred years. We are about to begin on it. I have tried to sketch the different lines we may take.


The Wake at Ardee

Being the Second Part of "The Wind Bloweth" 1


HE feeling that was uppermost in her, there would be rain to-morrow:

Thim as he sat outside the thatched the wind was sou east, they would

cottage in the moonlight, while the wake was within, was not grief at his wife's death; not a shattered mind that his life, so carefully laid out not twelve months before, was disoriented; not any self-pity; not any grievance against God, such as little men might have: but a strange dumb wonder

There she lay within, in her habit of a Dominican lay sister, her hands waxy, her face waxy, her eyelids closed. And six guttering candles were about her, and women droned their prayers with a droning as of bees. There she lay with her hands clasped on a wooden crucifix. And no more would the robins wake her, and they fussing in the great hawthorn-tree over the coming of dawn. No longer would she rake the ash from the peat and blow the red of it to a little blaze. No longer would she beat his dog out of the house with the handle of the broom. No longer would she forgather with the neighbors over a pot of tea for a pleasant vindictive chat. No longer would she look out to sea for him with her half-loving, halfinimical eyes. No longer in her sharpish voice would she recite her rosary and go to bed.

lower her, gently as though she were alive, into a rectangular slot in the ground, mutter alien prayers in an alien tongue, pat the mound over as a child pats his castle of sand on the sea-shore, and leave her there in the rain.

A month from now they would say a mass for her, a year from now another, but to-morrow, to-day, yesterday even, she was finished with all of life-with the fussy, excited robins of dawn; with the old dog that wanted to drowse by the fire; with the young husband who was either too much or too little of a man for her; with the clicking beads she would tell in her sharpish voice; with each thing; with everything.

And here was the wonder of it, the strange dumb wonder, that the snapping of her life meant less in reality to him than the snapping of a stay aboard ship. The day after to-morrow he would mount the bridge of Patrick Russell's boat, and after a few crisp orders would set out on the eternal sea, as though she were still alive in her cottage, as though indeed she had never even lived, and northward he would go past the purple Mull of Cantyre; past the Clyde, where the

And to-morrow they would bury Ayrshire sloops danced like bobbins

1 Synopsis of Part I in "Among Our Contributors."

« AnkstesnisTęsti »