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signo vinces was the Crusader's battlecry, and when the helpless Catholics of Zara huddled in terror behind their own holy cross, the Crusaders, thirsting for plunder, cut them down.
We new crusaders run true to the form of the Fourth Crusade. Our "interests" are "united" by our high ideals. We do not "listen" to those who have "scruples."
For Mohammedan, Japanese, and Jewish reasons, we bear no uplifted cross; but we carry banners emblazoned with the golden words "Down with Autocracy," "Up with Republics," "No more Militarism," "Democracy," "Sanctity of Boundaries," "Nationality," "Self-determination," "Freedom of Weak Nations."
For some obscure advantage to our President and for some gigantic profit to England and France we have awarded Shan-tung to Japan.
We have sold to sword and whip, we have sold into perpetual slavery, China, our own brother in arms, whom we drew to our aid in war by our own pledges and promises. Ray Baker says that the President's sleep was broken by his anxiety about China.
Our battle-cries prove to have been devised by our leaders with fraudulent intent. We know now what to expect from our partners and our rulers.
In international politics there is no morality, says Emil Reich of Paris. Marquis Okuma says:
International relations are quite unlike those of individuals. Morality and sincerity do not govern diplomacy, which is guided by selfishness. It is the secret of diplomacy to forestall rivalry by every crafty means.
Nations, like thieves, do whatever will pay. Among private thieves, however, the Shan-tung award would be thought subversive of gang ethics. Hans, a lonely desperado, steals my valuables, including the key to my safe-deposit vault. Jimmy the Jap takes them from his corpse. The gang of which Jimmy and I are members meet to divide plunder. The gang awards the stolen treasure to Jimmy.
Befog the villainy as we may with
talk of leases, concessions, treaties, the twenty-one demands, economic reservations, and all the other smoke screens of diplomatic chicanery, that is the sum and essence of the deal. What France and England are to get is a secret. It may be that they do not intend to get from China as much as Japan will in coal, iron, copper gold petroleum, labor, and trade. Credat Judæus.
"Like wolves," wrote a Chinese viceroy, "the powers of Christendom close in about us." Three of the wolves Romanoff, Hohenzollern, and Hapsburg, have torn one another to pieces. They are dead dogs, no more to be thought about in Asia. Wise old Japan has carefully entered into their illimitable Asiatic possessions, and added to her own their nefarious spheres of influence. China is now bounded on the south and west by two insatiable imperial appetites, France and England, and on the north and east by the Japanese oligarchy, in desperate need, which must expand or sink into a decline.
Kiao-chau is a city and district, and Tsing-tau a port, both in Shan-tung, a province of thirty odd millions. To China the loss of these is what ours would be if the Paris partitioners had awarded to Liberia for her war services (she was one of the Allies) Chicago, Cook County, and the Illinois railroads. Our pain would not be lessened if the Liberians should kindly offer to limit themselves to the Lake Front and to share the railroads with us, particularly if they owned the police of the railway towns and held Mississippi and Massachusetts, and had already got control, sometimes secretly, sometimes openly, of our finances, of our best ironmines and steel works, and of such of our cabinet and Congress as might be bribable. Japan, moreover, is one of the powers that control China's tariffs and maritime customs and her salt gabel.
Few of us know Kirin and Fu-chau. One is far up toward the frigid north, and the other is down by the bamboos and camphor-trees; but both are rich, both are inhabited by Chinese republicans, both belong to China, and both are held by Japan. Shan-tung is be
tween the two, a halfway-house of conquest. There the German robbers built their pirate town. There the Japanese have made permanent improvemnts, among them a yoshiwara of fifty houses and a glorious Shinto temple.
Few Americans will deplore the sufferings of the Germans of the China missions, who with their wives and children were horribly packed into a sort of slave-ship and sent off through the Red Sea, where their Jehovah, despite frequent German prayers, performed no miracle for their relief.
Few will deplore the yoshiwara. is a dull tourist who does not prefer a yoshiwara to a Lutheran chapel. We have no houses of worship that can be frequented with such daily delight as the temples of Japan, and no houses of pleasure so beguiling as even those new houses in Tsing-tau. I myself prefer any Japanese, even geisha girls, to any Germans, even German missionaries. The Chinese do not. The Germans beat them with whips, but the Japanese scourge them with scorpions.
My money still goes into the plate for China missions, but, while the music of the offertory thrills through the aisles, I wonder at the circuity of action which takes my Sunday money to build churches and hospitals in China and my income tax to maintain in China Shinto temples and yoshiwaras. If we did not pay our income taxes, those fifty enticing houses would be empty.
It is true that Shan-tung is China's Holy Land. Japanese roughs, rough with a Japanese perfection of technic, whose mission it is to stimulate "disorder," terrorize the region of the birth and burial of the placid Confucius, and harry the meek pilgrims that climb the fairy heights of Tai Shan, the sacred mountain. But why complain? We left our Holy Sepulcher to infidels, and are now planning to intrust it to the descendants of Caiaphas.
The new lords of Shan-tung will touch the Chinese in a more vital spot. The German robbers were strategists. Shan-tung lies athwart two great channels of Chinese commerce, the railroad from Shanghai to Peking, and the Grand Canal, which carries rice to the North. Thus the Japanese "police"
have a grip on China's windpipe and carotid artery.
The Japanese hold Port Arthur and as much as they have had time to digest of Manchuria. Across the narrow entrance of the Gulf of Petchili, the Chinese Mediterranean, they hold Shantung. These are two jaws closing on Peking, Tientsin, and northern China. The German pirates built their railway, now awarded by us to Japan, strategically, through Shan-tung, pointing westward toward Shen-si and Shansi. These three provinces, with Chi-li and Manchuria, already in the invader's grip, hold deposits of coal and iron so rich that they will equip navies when the miner's pick is silent in Pennsylvania, and when young New-Yorkers are rickshaw coolies for Japanese gentlemen. This is not a fantastic prophecy. In Frankfort Japanese push German barons off the sidewalk. It has been asserted that in Fiume Chinese soldiers, under the orders of French officers, have shot down Italians. If I had prophesied those things five years ago, you would have smiled. Above all, these northern provinces are the world's finest reservoir of labor.
Shan-tung is about one fifth of the field of campaign in the Japanese conquest of China. Shan-tung is the center of the attack. Manchuria and Fuchau are the right and left flanks. With the Shan-tung attack pushed home, the conquest or partition of China will be completed with disastrous speed.
A voice from the grave, Mr. Taft, the Ben Gunn of the Republican party, says we exaggerate China's plight, and that Japan has promised to surrender Shantung. That promise was made with the expectation that, through control by the associated governments of news and opinion, nobody would give any more thought to it than we gave to Japan's aggressions in Fu-chau. That promise could not come home to roost unless our Senate took it up. The powers counted on our Senate's becoming preoccupied with nearer difficulties, as it will be. Japan will use the disseisor's best friend, time. She will so confuse our President, our editors, and us with concessions, withdrawals, reservations
of economic interest, surrenders of political power, reservations of commercial interest, and distinctions between settlement and conquest, between soldiers and police, that, overburdened with our own sorrows, we shall leave it all to "experts," and finally Japan will take such steps as she desires, with Chinese "railway guards" and Chinese official permits. She will give assurance of the "integrity" of China in the modern European fashion. She always assures beforehand the "integrity" of what she is about to swallow. It is her grace before meat.
England and Japan guaranteed the integrity of Korea. Then Hayashi induced Lansdowne to agree that Japan "is interested in a peculiar degree" in Korea. Then Japan marched to war across Korea. Then "disorders." Then military occupation.
The process of absorbing China is ludicrously and tragically the same. In the treaty between England and Japan in 1902 "the High Contracting Parties declare themselves to be entirely uninfluenced by any aggressive tendencies" in China and Korea. In the Russo-Japanese agreement of 1907 "the High Contracting Parties recognize the territorial integrity" of China. This was the prelude to concerted aggressions on China by both nations. "High contracting parties," says Anthony Trollope, "do sometimes allow themselves a latitude which would be considered dishonest by contractors of a lower sort."
In 1908, in the Elihu Root and Takahira agreement, those humorists agreed that Japan and the United States are "determined" to support "the independence and integrity of China."
The second move was in 1916, when Ishii induced Lansing to "recognize" Japan's "special interest" in China, a "region contiguous to" Japan's "possessions." The Lansing-Ishii agreement follows the rule of the thrifty farmer who said, "I'm not greedy, but I want what jines me."
The third, fourth and fifth moves, violation of neutrality, disorders, and military occupation, have been made almost simultaneously.
Shan-tung should be as free from
Japan and Japanese as if no predatory German had ever landed on her coast. Short of that, Japan's withdrawals, promises, and compromises will deceive no one who has watched France's acquisition of Morocco, or who has seen how, after modest beginnings, small investments, the purchase of canal shares, and repeated denials of ambition and repeated promises to retire, England has become the owner of Egypt.
The Chinese Government, lonely, starving, friendless, and helpless, may assent to twenty or thirty "demands," and may notify us that the Japanese in Shan-tung are heartily welcome. Jefferson Davis, in 1863, if he had thought it worth while, could have sent Lincoln a protest signed by half the blacks in the South against the misdirected zeal of the Abolitionists.
Avarice, ambition, fear of being forestalled by France and England, and the need of food, coal, and iron, and the very natural wish to get raw materials without paying for them, drive Japan to extend her "interests" on the mainland. It is suggested that this extension will pay her for her war services. For Japan, the joy of putting down autocracy and militarism should be reward enough. Her captured Pacific islands, indeed, are worth more than she spent on the war.
A more altruistic pretext is offered by Japan and her accomplices: "China is in disorder; she cannot manage her own affairs; her officials have become too corrupt to be trusted with railroads and mines; bogus patriots set themselves up, like feudal chieftains, with armies, and obstruct commerce; solid central authority exists."
China's disorders, weakness, and corruption are temporary diseases, traceable, in their present form and degree, to the malign activities of Europe and Japan. China during the larger part of some thousands of years has managed her affairs better than Europe has managed hers, and can do it again if left to herself.
If I lock up and starve and drug an opulent relative, the time soon comes when I can persuade my accomplices that he has become unable to manage his estate, and that we should move in
and take charge of his property, and, for the improvement of his mind, make him, in his own house, a scullion for us.
Pretext or no pretext, Japan is bent on making herself strong on the mainland, because she has no faith in the League of Nations.
To Asiatics all Europeans look alike. Few Asians lament the wreck of Europe. They see that the old concern is to be reorganized under a new name as a league. The chief bankrupts have the preferred stock, a majority of the directors, and most of the recently acquired real estate. The confiding old gentleman who was the largest creditor puts up all the new money. Japan sees, therefore, that she must be ready for the next break-up. She knows also that a committee is not more virtuous than its organizers or its members. She distrusts each of the new council. England, her old ally, sits at the head of the council. England's colonies, however, hate Japanese. Japan has seen England betray China to please Japan, and she fears that England may betray Japan to please somebody else. Iago's advice is well understood in Japan.
France is second on the council. She is one of the three that stole Port Arthur from Japan. In the Russo-Japanese War, particularly at Nossi-Bé and Kamranh Bay, France broke her treaties with Japan. These wrongs have not been forgotten, and do not inspire confidence. America sold her high ideals to Japan, and Japan fears that America may sell out again to some other customer. She thinks she cannot leave it to old foes and commercial rivals to say how much coal and iron she shall have. No requests of the league will relax her grip. To the league she will answer:
We hold your covenants and awards, secret and open. Our Shan-tung is a fait accompli, beloved accomplices, like your Madagascar, Morocco, Egypt, and Ireland. We fought to set the world right, but it was understood that it was not the intent of any of us to redress any wrongs other than those perpetrated by our depraved enemies. Holland and China have shown that the world is not safe for weak nations. We must be strong and we must grow great at China's expense. Will you leave
Tientsin, Hankow, Wei-hai-wei, Kwangtung, Kwangri, Szechuen, Tunnan, the Yangtse Valley, and Tibet? We will leave China, in fact, if you Christians will do the same.
Japan, to carry forward her invasion, must break through a lofty barricade, built, perhaps not impregnably, of Mr. Wilson's words and American ideals.
Wilson demands, and the league is to insure
the settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangements, or of political relationship, upon the basis of the full acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of the material interests or advantage of any other nation.
Throwing open the last great gate of China before the Japanese is the most extensive violation of this rule that has ever been possible.
With pathetic zeal Presbyterians and Methodists are pouring out new millions in a "drive" for China missions, while Japanese soldiers stamp out Korean Christianity; while the mission boards receive Viscount Uchida's congratulations on their "cordial and friendly spirit" and his advice that they "continue" their "moderate attitude" lest the "press of foreign countries rashly" "invite additional excitement," which might "seriously interfere with❞ "reforms"; and while Mr. Wilson extends the Japanese dominions so that Japanese torturers may cross over from Korea into Shan-tung and apply their skill to Chinese Christians, Chinese Christians deserve our thought, even if they have escaped the all-seeing eye of Mr. Wilson.
Many Chinese, it is true, are humorously agnostic as to the various gods of the Christians and as to their own. Chinese can be, however, fanatic devotees. Ancient and modern persecutions have proved their faith. An everincreasing multitude of Chinese Christians follow the ideals of Chinese martyrs, whom in the Boxer War neither foment nor reward could shake. These Christians we sell to the only remaining pagan empire.
Nor should Chinese patriots be sold without some protest. Breathes there an American boy whose heart does not stir before the statues of Nathan Hale and the Minute-Man? Young hearts
and old hearts beat with the same emotion, against an alien tyrant on the other side of this round world. China is a land of patriots-patriots whom ruthless massacre and excruciating agonies devised by Oriental ingenuity have not put down.
Westward the star of empire takes its way-the star of Japanese empire, the star to which Mr. Wilson has hitched his obedient wagon, and before it sinks a true democracy.
China has always had her kings and emperors. It has, however, been the practice of her governments, ancient and modern, even under monarchs theoretically absolute, to act in substantial obedience to law, precedent, custom, and public opinion. In China there are no feudal lords, no caste, and, with small exceptions that do not affect the structure of society, there is no hereditary nobility. The poorest boy in China can rise to wealth and power. Until the withering hand of Europe fell on China, the machinery for finding talent among the poor and putting it on the path of ambition was singularly ingenious and effective.
The highest positions in the state have always been open to the humblest peasant. Intellectual training is at the disposal of the poorest.
China has always been at the highest rung of the democratic ladder.
Local self-government, democratic equality of opportunity, and decentralization have always been the rule in China.
The secret of China's prolonged existence as a nation has been her democracy and freedom.
An imperial decree of 1122 B. C. ordered that in admitting students to examination for degrees no distinction should be made between high and low, rich and poor. The emperor's own son was sent to a common school.
I do not find in the England of the twelfth century B.C. any such democratic ideals, or even in her subsequent history. There are only two great
democracies, China and the United States. If each of these great democracies were independent and unhampered by the encroachments and alliances of selfish aliens, and if they were sympathetic with each other, and working together, without leagues and covenants, by the development of their own wealth and their own citizens and their own art, they would be impregnable.
Korea has shown that where the Japanese conquers a foreign country he abstracts with skill new riches from the land, but that under the cold tyranny of Japanese colonial officials men decay. Under them these Chinese democrats will become actually slaves and will decline in civilization. We bind the most democratic of democracies to a highly organized aristocracy, an oligarchy operating under the forms of autocracy.
The Japanese conquest is carefully arranged to fit in with the partitioning process begun by England and France before 1840, on the theory that China is "backward" and that it is for us to take her apart and enlighten her insides and abstract her valuables. would have been better, if, instead, Chinese had been sent to put Europe together-Europe, in politics, is herself a "backward" continent. We have learned to think of the Indian peninsula, with its entanglements of races, languages, and religions, collectively, as India. It will tend to clearness of thought if we study in the same way the small disorderly peninsula of Europe. The inhabitants of Tahiti used to think about themselves as the "world." Europe has had a similar barbarous illusion. Most of our own statesmen, when small boys, were taught from Swinton's "History of Civilization and the World's Progress." That book is a literary curiosity. It contains no reference to Japan or China.
The time is not so far distant when European wars will be known only to special students, as are now the wars of the fighting Cheyennes. To them Europe's brilliant achievements in art and science will gleam as flashes in the darkness. Politically she will interest them chiefly as the mother hive of the American swarms and by reason of her raids on Asia.