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more than enough in China to produce a revolution, but of the constructive elements required to evolve a new and stable order of things out of the chaos which a revolution would produce, there are as yet but few indications. Remembering, therefore, as I do, that under far more favourable conditions Japan had to pass through fifteen years of dangerous travail and sometimes sanguinary strife between the beginning of the end of the old régime in 1853 and the final inauguration of the new régime in 1868, I have, you will admit, some reason for looking forward with the gravest apprehension to what the near future may bring to China and indirectly to my own country, since nothing can happen in China without closely and directly affecting Japan.'
One of the most pregnant points made by Prince Ito is, I think, the contrast between the imperviousness of the Chinese mind to all Western influences until within the last few years, in spite of more than half a century of contact, however reluctant, with Western nations, and the spontaneous stirring of the waters in Japan long before foreign intercourse was actually forced upon her. The history of the intellectual life of Japan during the second half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century has never yet received in Europe the attention which it deserves. When, in the seventeenth century, the Shoguns proscribed Christianity on political rather than religious grounds, and penalised all intercourse with Western nations, the only exception made was in favour of Dutch traders, who were allowed, under very humiliating restrictions, to maintain a small station, visited once a year by their ships, on the rocky islet of Deshima in the great land-locked harbour of Nagasaki. This was the one chink through which, for two centuries, the Japanese were allowed to peer across the seas into the outside world. Yet this policy of exclusion never implied in Japan the contempt for Western learning which was universal amongst Chinese literati. There is illumination as well as pathos in the story of the small band of Japanese scholars, chiefly students of medicine and natural sciences, who laboured in the eighteenth century, often at great risk, to teach themselves Dutch, out of a few Dutch books which they succeeded in getting smuggled into Nagasaki, in order to
acquire the rudiments of Western knowledge. Not only had these studies borne fruit by the beginning of the nineteenth century in several scientific works based upon Dutch text-books, but in 1811 an official Translation Bureau was sanctioned by the Tokugawa Government, and European doctors such as the great German Von Siebold, to whom in his day the West owed its chief knowledge of Japan, were allowed to lecture more or less openly to Japanese students at Nagasaki. At the same time, Japanese presses began to produce works on scientific and philosophical subjects, and even on political, economic and military questions, more or less informed with Western learning; and gradually the way was opened up to the study of English and French as well as of Dutch. Shindo Tsuboi, who died in 1848, five years before Admiral Perry appeared in Japanese waters, left behind him 2000 pupils who had learnt something of the value of Western knowledge in the school he had founded at Fukagawa. Thus, when the ban was finally removed from intercourse with the West, the soil was already prepared for the wonderful harvest which has ripened in Japan during the last fifty years under the influence of unrestrained contact with Western civilisation.
In China, on the other hand, during half a century of constant intercourse with foreign nations, there was scarcely a movement, even of curiosity, towards foreign learning and foreign methods until they were discovered to afford a convenient vehicle for political agitation. In Prof. Reinsch's Intellectual and Political Currents in the Far East'-a work imbued with the deepest sympathy for the awakening of Asia-there is a particularly interesting, if somewhat optimistic, chapter on the Reform Movement in China. He rightly draws attention to the elevating influence of such modern thinkers as Ku Hungming, who urged their fellow countrymen to look for salvation in a revival and new interpretation of the old creeds. Indeed, according to Ku Hung-ming, 'little as the Englishman suspects, Confucianism, with its Way of the Superior Man, will one day change the social order and break up the civilisation of Europe.' At the same time, Buddhism, restored to a purer form of worship and thought, must recover its hold and exert a more wholesome and stimulating influence upon the masses. But
less philosophic souls turned wholly towards the West. Some sought to make Western science and literature accessible to their fellow-countrymen by supplying a comprehensive library of translations from Western authors, ranging from Spencer and Huxley to Dickens and Dumas. Others were chiefly anxious to familiarise the Chinese mind with Western methods of government and administration; and amongst these there were earnest advocates of constitutional evolution in the direction of representative institutions by no means altogether alien to Chinese traditions. But the majority, it must be feared, preferred to turn to the revolutionary literature of the West and look to the French Revolution for their models.
'By them' (Prof. Reinsch himself admits) 'national advance is interpreted as the direct result of forcible action and bloodshed; and it is entirely overlooked that the modern progress of Europe rests upon the peaceful development and quiet labour of centuries; that it is the result of that combination of tendencies and structural faculties which we call Western civilisation; and that the bloody movements, while indeed outbursts of great energy, were useful only in that they removed obstacles, but were not in themselves the source of sustained strength and progress. This theory of the beneficence of revolutions, originating from a superficial reading of history, has taken a deep hold in China. . . . It has been condensed into a proverb: "Blood must flow before any improvement can come."'
Be it noted, too, that Sun Yat-sen himself, who moreover has lived most of his life abroad, appears to have been the chief apostle of this doctrine.
After the Boxer calamity the old Empress herself was fain to allow and even to encourage the young Chinese to go and study abroad in increasing numbers, chiefly in Japan and America. There they came into contact with the survivors of the Chinese Reform movement of 1898, who carried on an active propaganda amongst them. But the younger generation, in contact with still more advanced elements amongst their foreign surroundings, soon outstripped their masters; and as, year after year, these young students returned to their own country fired with the strong wine of new ideas, they hastened to raise more or less openly the standard of revolt against the old order of things. They founded newspapers, they estab
lished 'patriotic' clubs and committees, they controlled the schools which were being hastily opened, here, there and everywhere, on the Western model; they penetrated even into the official yamens and into the counting-houses of the rich merchants; and, wherever their influence reached, they found responsive elements in the general discontent provoked by the bankruptcy of the old régime. The widespread movement against opium-smoking and the foot-binding of women and the stimulus given to popular education were amongst the healthier results of this powerful ferment. Far less wise was the display of chauvinistic nationalism' in the outcry against the Treaty rights of foreign nations in China, and against the privileges enjoyed by the foreign settlements in the Treaty Ports-privileges of which the more fiery spirits were the first to avail themselves for the purposes of a revolutionary propaganda they dared not carry on within the immediate jurisdiction of Chinese authority.
But, however intensely 'nationalist' the patriotism of Young China claimed to be, it remained at bottom essentially provincial. For what it most successfully appealed to was the ancient and deep-seated antagonism between the provinces and Peking. In so vast an Empire as that of China, with the slenderest means of communication, with such marked differences of dialect that the spoken tongue of one region is often unintelligible in another, with equally marked differences of climate and of natural resources and even of character and of temperament, the ties which held the loose fabric of Empire together were only tolerable so long as the Central Government subjected the provinces to no new strain that lacked the sanction of ancient custom and tradition. So little confidence has the Central Government ever had in the loyalty of the provinces that, not only was a Manchu force under a Tartar general always maintained in the chief centres, but the Viceroys and high provincial officials were never allowed to hold office in the province to which by birth they belonged. Even so, the provincial authorities, though alien to the provinces they administered, were often obliged to make a strong stand for provincial interests against the Central Government lest they should strain provincial patience beyond even the limits of Chinese endurance and thereby jeopardise Vol. 216.-No. 431.
their own position. For, whilst the Central Government left them free to fill their own pockets with the spoils of the provinces on condition that a proper share found its way ultimately into the bottomless purse of the Peking Mandarins, the one official sin for which there was no forgiveness in Peking was to drive provincial discontent to such a pitch that it translated itself into active disorder. How little any community of national interests was acknowledged in the provinces received a startling, if somewhat humorous, illustration during the war between China and Japan, when the Canton Government petitioned the Japanese to release some Cantonese ships captured at Wei Hai Wei, on the ground that Canton was not concerned in the war, and that the southern fleet had proceeded north under a misapprehension.
The most delicate point in the relations between the provinces and the Central Government was, of course, finance. For Peking had to live; and, whilst it fulfilled practically none of the most elementary functions of government in regard to the provinces, it was dependent upon the provinces for the revenue which it selfishly squandered. The distribution of revenue and expenditure between Peking and the provinces had therefore been, from time immemorial, a constant bone of contention; but, so long as what we may call Imperial expenditure was kept within customary bounds and the Imperial Exchequer retained a certain primitive elasticity, the old rule of thumb, applied to the adjustment of the rival claims of Peking and of the provincial treasuries, sufficed to work out an accommodation. Moreover, Peking had an ingenious way of playing off one provincial treasury against another by robbing Peter to pay Paul, and conceding to one specially clamorous province a call upon the revenue of another province.
The old chaotic system was bound to break down as soon as an entirely novel strain was placed upon it. That strain occurred when, after the Japanese War, China began to pile up foreign loans of which the service had to be made with inexorable Western punctuality. At the beginning of 1894 China owed abroad the trifling sum of 115,0801. To-day the foreign indebtedness of China amounts altogether to close upon 130,000,000l., of which barely a quarter has been contracted for reproductive