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were close to Peking, and early on the 14th the gates were attacked and the city entered during the day. The Ministers and the other surviving foreigners were rescued. The legations had withstood a long and terrible siege. The total loss nearly equalled a fourth of the whole number of foreigners in the city. There were 11 civilians and 54 marines and seamen killed ; 19 civilians, 112 marines and seamen, and 2 foreign ladies had been wounded. A more heroic defence, in circumstances so terribly discouraging, than that maintained during two months by the legation guards and the valiant civilians who aided them has seldom, if ever, been recorded. The city had suffered heavily. The following account by Reuter's correspondent, dated August 15, 1900, is impressive :
• The aspect of Peking is now one of absolute desolation. The destruction which has taken place is simply appalling. What used to be Legation Street is completely unrecognisable. All the houses of foreigners have been burned, riddled with shells, or blown up. The French Legation, which was one of the finest“ compounds” in the city, now shows only a few portions of the walls standing; and even these are like sieves from the fire which was directed against them. The city wall of this legation was first undermined and blown up, and then fired upon. Further along, the Italian Legation is only recognisable from parts of the boundary walls which remain standing. Hundreds of acres of native houses bave been burned, and few of those which remain fail to show marks of shot and shell.' *
We may here break off the narrative which it has been necessary to present to our readers to enable them to understand the state of affairs in China and the possibilities, or indeed probabilities, by which the civilised Powers find themselves confronted. One event, perhaps of great importance as regards future results, has still to be recorded. On August 14—the day on which the rescue expedition entered Peking--General Grodekoff, commanding the Russian forces operating in Manchuria, telegraphed to the Minister of War at St. Petersburg: ‘After hard fighting we have taken possession of the right bank, thus consoli
dating the great enterprise of annexing the whole of the • Amur to Russia's dominions, and thus making of that • river an internal waterway, and not a frontier stream.'t The Official Gazette,' in which this despatch was published, contained the statement that, when presented to the Tsar,
ment did not arrive till a day or two after the capital had been entered and the rescue of the legations effected.
* Times, August 29, 1900. † Ibid. August 20, 1900.
his Majesty noted on it: 'I sincerely thank the troops for • their plucky action.' It has to be mentioned that a formal state of war between Russia and China had not been announced, and that the Chinese envoy was still in Russian territory.
Before we can reach any reasonable conclusion on the Chinese question we must recognise one or two facts. The first of these ought to be apparent from the record of occurrences which has been given above. It is that'Occidentals, even those most favourably situated for the acquisition of knowledge, have not found it possible to fathom the intentions of Chinese officials or discover what is really working in the public mind. The late terrible eruption of fanatical hatred and hostility was sudden only in the sense that those against whom it was immediately directed did not discern its approach till it was upon them. As Sir Edward Grey said in the debate in the House of Commons of August 2:
One cannot but feel how enormously wrong has been the estimate of the state of affairs, with regard to China, which has been made-I do not say by her Majesty's Government alone—but by all the Governments who have been mostly concerned with the question. ... One cause has been the wrong estimate that has been formed of the condition of China, the idea that China was ripe for partition, that great liberties could be taken, and that large slices of territory could be acquired. That,' he added, 'has brought its own Nemesis.' It has indeed! The best that can be said for the missionaries, even the Roman Catholic missionaries, is that they made out the danger a few hours sooner than their fellowOccidentals. Yet it is perfectly certain that the tempest had been long brewing. To mark on the map the places at which disturbances and assaults on native Christians and foreigners, or the latter's property, occurred would be to cover a wide
The crowds of Boxers who swarmed to Peking and the neighbourhood of the route thence to Tientsin could not, by any permissible figure of speech, be described as drawn from the local population. Many came from places at a considerable distance. The hostile movements of Chinese in Manchuria and the menace of similar movements in Mongolia, which seemed aimed at making the Russian line of railway communication insecure, were simultaneous with the attacks on the Peking-Tientsin line and the assemblage of riotous bands in Chihli.
Serious observers have remarked the inscrutability of the Chinese and the failure of Occidentals to penetrate it. Mrs. Scidmore frankly avows that, during seven visits
to China in the last fifteen years, the mystery of its
people and the enigma of its future have only increased.' Mr. Arthur Diósy * tells us how little information of value is to be got from the foreign residents at the treaty ports.
There are, probably, no communities,' he says, 'residing out of their own countries, so absolutely isolated from the people amongst whom they live, so completely out of touch with native feeling and aspirations, as the European, and to a less extent the American, colonies in the Far East.'
The least acquainted with what is going on around them are, necessarily, the foreign diplomatists. Perhaps it may seem unnecessary to say this after what we have already recorded ; but it is so important that some reiteration is excusable. In the immense majority of cases the foreign diplomatist does not make personal acquaintance with China till he has reached a mature age.
He spends in it only a few years, a mere fraction of his official career. During his sojourn his chief desire, probably, is to leave it for a more congenial station as soon as he can. He is dependent for information about the country and the people on those whom we have seen know very little about either. The consuls, it is true, spend most of their lives in China; but there is nothing in, the history of the last few months to show that they have got to understand the Chinese ; whilst it is certain that prolonged residence in China does tend to impair recollection of the fact that there are other countries in the world. We have found how little the missionaries of any sect know of native feeling. This is not surprising when we remember the general principles governing their methods. They work almost exclusively amongst the poorer classes. With the intellectual life of China, except to arouse hostility, they come in contact scarcely at all. There are still, it may be said, the members of the Imperial Maritime Customs' Service. One of the most discouraging features of the late troubles has been the completeness with which the Chinese have ignored the benefits which this great service has conferred on their country. Even those immediately benefited -- the Imperial Family and the ruling Mandarins-have exhibited little desire to preserve it. The members of the service foresaw the speedy approach of calamity as little as the other foreign residents.
The problem in China which we have to solve is in its essence double. There are, in truth, two distinct problems.
* The New Far East, p. 18.
In the first are involved our relations with the Chinese; in the second, our relations with the other Powers having interests in China. In attempting a solution, we should consider the problems separately. It has been explained how completely foreigners failed to discern what coming, and how impenetrable by them Chinese inscrutability proved to be. Are we then, as long as we remain in China, to continue to live on a volcano which may burst into eruption suddenly and destroy the great interests which have grown up in the country? Not if we go to work in the right way. Inscrutable as he is, the Chinaman is a human being after all. He has hands, organs, dimensions, * senses, atfections, passions. He may well ask, “If you
prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not * laugh? If you poison us, do we not die ? ' another question, to which an answer in lurid characters has been written in advance across the conventions and concessions'extorted from him of late years. There is now no mistaking the tone in which he asks, ' If you wrong ‘us, shall we not revenge?' As Sir Edward Grey has told us, neglect of facts brings its own Nemesis. The facts of human nature being what they are, and the Chinese being human, the broad and general effect of our behaviour to them can be predicted with reasonable certainty.
As a people, the Chinese are not in the least opposed to commercial intercourse with foreign nations. The increase of trade, as shown in the Customs returns, proves this beyond dispute. As long as we confine ourselves to pure trading with them they are ready to meet us half-way. Here and there a Mandarin, or a member of the literate class from which the Mandarins come, may show his dislike of the intercourse ; just as an official of some public department farther west may show his dislike of a movement likely to bring with it a cry for reform. The objector, however, gets little support from the trading public. As a people, too, the Chinese have a national self-consciousness which is but a form of patriotism. The recent outburst, which has caused so much bloodshed and material loss, was undoubtedly a display of ill-directed patriotic feeling manifested as extreme animosity against foreigners. Till recently the Chinese despised rather than hated the foreigner. It is easy to make out the cause of the change. Five years ago China was reeling from a blow
1: at her by an enemy whom she had held in extreme
it. A fable popular in Occidental circles in the Far
East ascribes to the great mass of the Chinese people indifference to, and, indeed, ignorance of the result of the complications in which the empire has been involved. This fable has been refuted by recent occurrences. The defeat of their country by Japan was received with emotions of shame and anger by multitudes of Chinese. What is more, they saw that this defeat was largely due to the inefficiency of their Government. Whilst still prostrate after her encounter with Japan, China seemed a fair object of plunder to Western Powers. Mr. Charles Denby,* formerly Secretary of the United States' legation in Peking, tells us thatas the result of the action of Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France-China has not a single deep-water
harbour for herself except that of Amoy. All have been taken from her.
The immediate excuse made for their annexations-disguised as 'leases' of territory—by Germany and France was the murders of German and French missionaries.
As outrages on missionaries of nearly every nationality are followed by demands, not only for the punishment of the guilty, but also for compensation in coin, in concessions, or in leases' which are indistinguishable from territorial cession—it is no wonder that the Chinese regard Christian missions as organisations for facilitating the exploitation and dismemberment of their country.t They are quite able to distinguish between German and French Roman Catholics on one side, and English and American Protestant missionaries on the other; and, though they may not associate the latter with schemes of partition, they have—or, from their particular point of view, the upper classes havegrounds for being suspicious of their activity. The missionaries consort almost exclusively with the lower classes f of the population. A recently published map, on which the stations of the China Inland and other Protestant missions are indicated, will astonish even those who know the Far East when they see how numerous and widespread these stations are. To the educated and wealthier classes
* The Forum, July 1900, p. 576.
† Signor Enrico Fossataro, who is not at all unfriendly to the Germans in Shantung, says : "Sono stati i missionari tedeschi di quella provincia chi hanno preparato l'occupazione di Kiaou-tschou.' (Nuova Antologia,' July 16, 1900, p. 343.)
I Miss Gordon-Cumming, in her eulogium of a missionary—the Rev. W. H. Murray-says (p. 7), “Throughout China almost all Christian converts are illiterate persons.'