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ART. VIII.-1. China. No. 3 (1900). Correspondence re
specting the Insurrectionary Movement in China. Pre
sented to both Houses of Parliament, &c. July 1900. 2. China the Long-lived Empire. By ELIZA RUHAMAH
SCIDMORE. New York: Macmillan & Co., 1900. 3. China and the Present Crisis. By JOSEPH WALTON, M.P.
London : Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1900. 4. The New Far East. By ARTHUR Diósy. London:
Cassell & Co., 1898. 5. World Politics at the End of the Nineteenth Century as
influenced by the Oriental Situation. By Paul S. REINSCH, Asst. Professor in the Wisconsin University. New York:
Macmillan & Co., 1900. A few hurried prefatory remarks are all that need be
devoted to the books enumerated in the foregoing list. Events have followed each other too rapidly in China for any book written a few months ago to be of much use to those who investigate the present situation. Their authors - those who have personal experiences to narrate-depict the conditions prevailing up to the time of the recent outburst of anti-foreign animosity, but they neither describe the latter nor prepare us to expect it. Mrs. Scidmore's book is an interesting account of what she saw and heard in China, and has the merit of being the work of one who has frequently visited the country. Mr. Joseph Walton presents us with a brief and clearly written narrative of a journey through China, which was much too rapidly made to give him time for close observation. The book is to some extent a party pamphlet, in which Lord Salisbury is charged with weakness and negligence as Minister for Foreign Affairs. As no attempt is made to prove the charges, their formulation must be taken as merely a statement of Mr. Waiton's opinion on very intricate questions, to the study of which he does not pretend to have devoted any very special attention. Mr. Diósy's New Far East'is a much more important work. He exhibits signs of a very unusual capacity for understanding the genius of the Far Eastern nations. As is natural and becoming in a founder and vice-president of the Japan Society, he shows himself to be an admirer of the Japanese and a believer in the grandeur of their future; but he does not allow his admiration to obscure his judgement or prevent his pointing out defects
where they exist. Professor Reinsch's little volume on • World Politics '--a literal but not very convenient translation of Welt-Politik,' an expression made in Germany-is a work of great value. Indeed, small as the volume is, it deserves to have a whole review to itself. It is an attempt, and we may say a successful attempt, to put before us a plain and striking survey of international politics at the present day. The importance of the questions now raised in China is perceived and explained by the author, who tells us that the whole material of the book is focussed upon the Chinese problem.'
In one respect the history of the recent troubles in China conforms to that of other great catastrophes. Till the very eve of the outbreak it had been as unforeseen by those most nearly concerned as the sequel of his feast had been by Belshazzar the King, ‘his princes, his wives, and his • concubines,' or as the great earthquake of Lisbon by the dwellers on the banks of the Tagus. Alarming predictions were, indeed, printed* in some English newspapers published in China; but no importance either was, or need be, attributed to them. Similar predictions had appeared in the same quarter year after year for a long period, and nothing had come of them; whilst those who made them gave the best proof of their disbelief in their own predictions by abstaining from taking any special measures for the security of their families, their property, or themselves. In a country like the Chinese Empire, with its effete and corrupt government, every prediction of trouble is necessarily invested with some appearance of plausibility; and nearly every foreigner feels himself invited to pose as a prophet, though he may be without any authentic information and not given to observing closely the progress of affairs.
Travellers who have lately visited Peking give an account of the life of the foreign community in that city, which in no way indicated any apprehension on the part of its members that they were living, and indeed dancing, above a volcano. ' They have their club, the tennis-courts of 'which are flooded and roofed over as a skating rink, their • spring and autumn races at a track beyond the walls, ' frequent garden parties and picnics in the open seasons, and a busy round of State dinners and balls all winter.it
* It may be mentioned that they were derided at the time in a . German paper, the . Ost-Asiatische Lloyd.'
† China the Long-lived Empire, pp. 145-6.
In his recently published work, 'The “ Overland” to China,' Mr. Archibald Colquhoun let us know till how late a date life in Peking was thus conditioned. Mr. Walton more than once noted the civil demeanour of the people towards foreigners.* The most remarkable confirmation of the general feeling of security is to be found in official documents. It is hardly too much to say that the authors of these draw an idyllic picture of the prosperity and tranquillity of North-Eastern China in the first half of the current year. The publications of the Imperial Maritime Customs are as a rule rather prosaic in style than poetic, but the following extract from the 'Report on the Foreign Trade
of China for the Year 1899' suggests a comparison with a pastoral poem :
• The foreign trade of China during the year 1899 was characterised by an astonishing developement, and merchants, both foreign and native, made handsome profits in almost every branch. The political situation, although still unsettled, gave rise to no immediate fears; exchange remained remarkably steady; the rice crop was abundant; the spring weather during the critical period for the silkworms was unusually favourable; and except for a recrudescence of piracy on the West River [in the South], there were no disturbances to check trade. The gratifying result was that the year beat all previous records, and showed an advance without precedent. . .. The internal trade of the country was also unusually brisk, and the important changes which will be brought about by the extension of railways have already been proved. Newchwang and Tientsin have promptly responded to the stimulus of better means of communication, and the trade at those ports has leapt forward, although the former suffered from a severe outbreak of plague. It is found that immediately trains begin to run, districts through which there was comparatively little traffic, such as between Paoting and Peking, suddenly commence to hum with life and activity, and there suddenly springs up a flourishing trade which was formerly undreamt of and impossible for want of cheap transport.'
The above is dated March 6, 1900. The report of H.M. Consul at Tientsin on the trade of that port, though couched in less glowing terms, is equally cheerful. It was presented to Parliament in July last, having been received at the Foreign Office on June 19, and having apparently been written in May 1900-a date which, in view of what has occurred since, is worth remembering.
*The trade of Tientsin,' says the Consul, shows a very satisfactory advance in every direction . In 1899 the improvement on 1889 was more than 150 per cent. It is astonishing to see the move
* China and the Present Crisis, pp. 36, 143.
ment of goods and passengers which has followed on the construction of the railroad which was built mainly for military purposes to Shanhaikwan and Chinchou. The long trains on the line are packed with Chinese passengers,
carry many trucks of miscellaneous produce, in addition to the coal put out from the mines at Tangshan and Liu Si. .. The increase in the trade has naturally extended to the shipping trading to this port, and the total tonnage for 1899 is 250,000 tons over that of 1898.
The picture was not without its shadows, though these were believed to be due to only passing clouds. Brigandage
generally exists in autumn and winter.' In the previous year (1898) the brigands had been unusually bold and active.
'Eventually the leaders were captured, and at least 100 of their followers were put to death. The institution of train hands in the villages under the supervision of the military officers did much to affect this result.' Other shadows were reported :
A sect known by foreigners as the “ Boxers” had spread from the neighbouring province of Shantung into Chihli, wrecking chapels and the houses of converts, and demanding ransom for prisoners and their property.' The Boxers are considered to be actuated by patriotic motives and in some way to be opposing foreign encroachments on their country.'
Even the shadow cast by them was thought likely to pass away soon :
• The spread of the sect is undoubtedly due in a large measure to the absence of rain, which is ascribed to the evil acts of foreigners, and owing to which the country people are without occupation, as they have been unable to get any seed into the ground for spring crops. There is reason to hope that the fall of rain may send the people to their farms and prevent the movement assuming any serious proportions.
The proceedings of the Boxers had forced themselves on the attention of the representatives of foreign Powers in Peking. On December 30, 1899, Mr. Brooks, an English missionary in Shantung, was attacked and wounde.
band of red-turbaned “ Boxer” rebels '— the being that adopted by the Tsung-li-Yamên-a following day was murdered by them. Strong tions having been addressed to it by Sir Claude supported by the Ministers of France, Gern United States, the Chinese Government to
the punishment of the perpetrators of this outrage. The foreign Ministers were not, however, satisfied of the sincerity of the Chinese authorities as regarded their duty of putting an end to outrages and menaces directed against Christians and foreigners, and further representations were made. On April 16 Sir Claude MacDonald telegraphed and wrote that in his opinion the Central Government was at last showing a genuine desire to suppress the Anti-Christian Society of Boxers. In this he seems to have had the concurrence of his colleagues, and, up to this point, and apparently till a considerably later date, the representative of every foreign country in Peking had no apprehension of an approaching convulsion.
It is of importance that this be borne in mind. It shows that every legation in China was without information as to the real state of affairs, and that all were equally in the dark as to the future, even the near future. In the first half of March the Ministers of Great Britain, the United States, France, Germany, and Italy had agreed to recommend that a naval demonstration should be made in North Chinese waters; but, as it was to be confined to a few ships of each
nationality,' it is evident that the object was rather to put pressure on the Chinese Government to suppress the antiforeign secret societies which were causing disturbances in Shantung and Chihli, than to give security against serious general danger. The recommendation was not submitted in a form suggesting urgency. Our own Government hesitated to comply with it, and that of the United States declined to associate itself with any such action.
If there were any foreigners in China who might have been credited with a knowledge of imminent popular movements, it would have been the missionaries of the different Christian sects. They were, however, but little better, or, at any rate, but little earlier informed than the consuls or the diplomatists. As far back as January, indeed, Bishop Scott communicated to Sir Claude MacDonald the contents of a telegram which he had received from one of his clergy, who reported the 'outlook very black,' and that there was
constant danger.' As far as can be seen, however, the anti-Christian movement, serious as it was, was not expected to assume greater dimensions than earlier agitations-for example, that of the so-called Vegetarians, some six or seven years ago. In May the French Roman Catholic missionaries became seriously alarmed. On the 19th of that month Mgr. Favier, Vicar-Apostolic of Peking, addressed to