Edward Harper Parker.

China, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day online

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trade via Kalgan, but this was subsequently
superseded by another dated 15th April, 1869.
When China was in the throes of the Mussulman
revolt, Russia temporarily occupied the province
of Hi ; but, after Yakub Beg's power had been
broken in 1876, energetic steps were taken by
China to recover from Russia this important
region, and these efforts proved successful in
1880-1. At one time the Manchvi envoy
Ch'unghou had nearly been persuaded, amid the
Capuan delights of Livadia, into abandoning
the territory, and it was largely owing to the
patriotic denvmciations of (the later Viceroy)
Chang Chi-tung that his timorous action was
repudiated by China. During all this long
period of time the Russians had been carefully
kept by the Chinese as far away as possible
from Manchuria, the whole of which region it
had always, since the Albazin affair, been
Manchu policy to maintain as nearly as might
be practicable in the condition of an unoccupied
desert. It was only in 1888, after British con-
sular and military officers had visited and
reported on that fertile region, that China
awoke to the fallacy of this timid policy. Since
then the three Manchurian provinces have been
civilly organised, cviltivated, and populated as
quickly as possible, and were thus being pre-
pared to resist the advance of Russian power
by the development of their own economic
strength. Bvit the utter collapse of the Chinese
and Manchu military efficiency during the
Japanese war gave Russia another opportunity,
which she was not slow to take, in the way now
well known to us all. Moreover, the Russian
idea, first conceived at the time of the Crimean
VV^ar, of constructing a Siberian railway, had
come to sudden ripeness in March, 1891, when
the Czar Alexander III., differing from his

A.D. 1900, A.n. 1300] RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 105

ministers, took a peremptory resolution in
favour of one uninterrupted line ; and the time
was now thought favourable for diverting this
line, as originally planned under Alexander's
ukase, from Nerchinsk, through Manchuria ;
since then, however, the Russians have seen the
wisdom of continuing their " all-Russian " line
to Vladivostock by way of Khabarovka. The
Cassini Convention of September, 189G, secured
railway powers that gave to Russia an over-
whelming predominancy in the north of the
Chinese Empire, as far down as the Liao Tung
peninsula. As a direct consequence of the un-
expected seizure of Kiao Chou by Germany,
towards the end of 1897, the Russians actually
occupied Port Arthur and Ta-lien Wan, as the
Cassini Convention seems to have loosely stipu-
lated, — under certain undefined conditions.
Invents subsequently so shaped themselves that
Russia was now in quasi-possession of all Man-
churia until the " Boxers " began to move.
Following shortly upon that came the Russo-
Japanese war, the result of which was to divide
the railway administration of Manchuria be-
tween Russia and Japan ; and now (1917) the
chivalrous attitude towards each other of these
former rivals has led to a treaty extending
Japanese " rights " up to Harbin, and giving them
in addition sailing privileges on the Sungari river.
The French until very recently did not make
much history in China. Lewis IX. sent the
Franciscan friar Ruysbroek (Rubruquis) to
Mangu Khan in 1254, but the name of France
does not appear in the numerous Mongol allu-
sions to Christians. Between 1289 and 1305
there was some correspondence between the
Mongol khans of Persia and Philip the Fair, and
in 1342 a native of " Fulang " State is recorded
in Mongol history to have brought a present to


Peking of a very fine black liorse with white
" stockings." The same history had already
recorded the death, in about 1312, of a " Fuhn "
man from the West who had served Gayuk and
Kublai Khans as physician, astronomer, and
historian. Amongst this man Aisle's (? Isaiah's)
sons were Elias, Georgius, and Luke ; so that
he was probably at least a Syrian, if not a Frank.
In 1367 and 1375 Fuhn men are heard of at the
Court of the new Ming dynasty. But the name
of France never appears for certain in Chinese
history until the year 1718, when, in enumerat-
ing the Holan (Butch) and other strange Western
nations, the Manchu Emperor observes the
" unusual ferocity " of the Holansi, who are
" of the same race as the Macanese." True,
Lewis XIV. had sent a letter to the Chinese
Emperor in 1688, recommending to him some
French Jesuits ; but no mention whatever is
made of this event in the Manchu history. There
was, apparently, a certain amount of French
trade at Canton, as is evident from the fact that
the United States received French assistance
there in 1785 ; but French interests in China up
to the date of the Second War were almost
exclusively religious, and her missionaries during
all this long period of self-effacement suffered
great persecution. In spite of the noble services
done by Bouvet, Regis, Jartoux, and other
Jesuits in mapping out the empire, Christianity
was prohibited, and many missionaries were
martyred in the provinces. But the limited
toleration of Christianity secured by the Treaty
of Nanking encouraged Louis Philippe to obtain
in 1847 a similar treaty (Whampoa) for France,
whose missionaries were thenceforward allowed
to settle in the five treaty ports.

The great Taiping rebellion of 1850, to which
I recur in a later chapter, had for one of its


ostensible objects the establishment of Chris-
tianity in China. This incongruous mixture of
rebellion and religion naturally led to fresh
persecutions, for the rebel leader claimed a kind
of personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The
torture and judicial murder of Father Chappede-
laine in 1856 gave Napoleon III. a welcome justi-
fication for joining the British in the Second
War, as a result of which further advantages
were secured (in a rather underhand way) to
the missionaries, and the old cathedral at Peking
was solemnly' re-opened. On their way back
from China, the commanders of the French fleet,
in conjunction with the Spaniards, who also had
unredressed grievances against Annam, con-
quered part of Cochin China, and by the treaty
of 1862 Saigon and the surrounding province
was made over to the French. This led to
further conquests and cessions in 1867, partly
as a sequel to the explorations of Gamier and
others in the Shan states and Ylin Nan. Whilst
the Chinese were engaged about this time
in quelling the Mussulman revolt in Yiin Nan,
a sjDcculative Frenchman named Dupuis con-
ceived the idea of supplying them with arms
by way of Tonquin, where the French began to
make " arrangements " in 1870. This led again
to further activity on the part of Garnier, who
had now been to Peking and visited the Yang-
tsze ports ; his career, however, was cut short
by the border bandit Lao Vinh-phuc ' and his
"Black Flags" in 1873. The same thing
happened ten years later to the adventurous
Riviere, and almost on the same spot. A
rebellion in Tonquin, led by a discontented
Chinese general named Li Yang-ts'ai, placed
China in rather a false position with the Black
Flag leader, and also with the Annamese, who

^ Died, honoured, Jan. 1917.


were thus uncomfortably placed between three
fires. But meanwhile the French had been
steadily tightening their hold upon Annam and
Tonquin, and all this naturally made the Chinese
authorities in the Two Kwang provinces feel
very uneasy, not only because Annam was a
tributary, but because their own frontier was
placed in danger. Finally hostilities broke out ;
the Chinese fleet was destroyed at Pagoda
Anchorage ; an attempt was made by the
French to occupy parts of the Pescadores and
Formosa ; and at last, by the Fournier Treaty of
May, 1884, and its sequel of June, 1885, China
agreed to recognise the validity of the treaties
entered into between France and Annam, secur-
ing to the former the protectorate of Tonquin.
Haiphong now became an important centre of
trade, and economical development quickly
followed all over Tonquin. A delimitation of
land frontiers Avas arranged, and one of the
political results has been that several new
treaty " ports " have opened to the French the
inland trade of Kwang Si and Yiin Nan. Lung-
chow (now connected with Langson, in Tonquin,
by railway) was opened to trade on the 1st June,
1889 ; Mengtsz was also thrown open in August
of the same year ; and Hokow (opposite Lao-
kai on the Franco-Chinese frontier) in June,
1895. The new through railway, opened in 1910,
enhances the commercial importance of all these
places, and places the Yiin Nan capital in direct
communication with the sea. Of course France
alone of Treaty Powers is the one that nominally
benefits by all this ; but although it was in-
tended primarily to serve the interests of Franco-
Annamese traders, as a matter of fact the trade, —
so far as it is not throttled by short-sighted
fiscal measures, — is chiefly between the Chinese
of Yiin Nan and the merchants of Hongkong,


By the Gerard Convention of 1895 Esmok was
opened to Tonquin trade, and a like privilege
was secured to the British-proteeted Shan
states by the Burma Convention of 1896. Thus
this last place (Esmok) is the spot where British
and French interests unite. The French availed
themselves of the novel situation created in the
first instance by Germany at Kiao Chou to claim
" compensation " in the shape of the old pirate
haunt of Kwang-chou Wan (Bay) opposite the
island of Hainan, and proceeded to add to it
in petto an undefined Hinterland : a dispute as
to boundaries soon provoked hostilities, and it
was in consequence of this that the French
pushed their way up to and established a political
influence at Yiin-nan Fu, whence, however, they
had to retire precipitately on the breaking out
of " Boxer " troubles. As we have seen, things
have righted themselves once more, and for
many years both sides have shown tact in con-
serving neighbourly relations.

Germany was not even known to China by
name previous to the Second War, although in
1752 Frederick the Great had founded an Asiatic
Company and sent two ships to Canton ; even
in Ricci's time some of the Jesuits were known
to hail from " Germania," but where that place
was no one either knew or cared. After the
British and French had got their treaties finally
settled in 1860, " various smaller states,"
amongst which Prussia, applied for similar
privileges. The Prussian treaty was signed at
Tientsin in September, 1861, but for five years
after that no Prussian envoy was allowed to
reside at Peking. For some time after their
arrival the Germans occupied a rather humble
position in an insignificant tenement, which
now forms a small part of the British Legation
precincts ; and, politically speaking, they were


simply makeAveiglits to Great Britain's general
policy. But after the successful Franco-German
War they began to assume a considerably higher
tone, which sometimes became aggressively
haughty when the Chinese local officials ven-
tured to question the justice of their claims. On
one occasion at Swatow (I think in 1882) they
landed marines and took forcible possession of
a contested piece of ground ; but this violent
action was at once sensibly repudiated by Prince
Bismarck. Notwithstanding all this, even so
late as 1890 the Viceroy at Canton publicly
announced that the Germans were more sub-
missive than the English, and therefore prefer-
able as military instructors. In consequence
of these views, the military education of the
Chinese has often been largely in the hands of
Germans, who have also very naturally taken
the opportunity to " unload " arms and ammuni-
tion. The Germans, who engineered the job,
obtained some credit as joint-deliverers with
France and Russia when the Chinese were help-
less at the feet of Japan. But the culminating
point in Germany's diplomatic influence was
reached when, in piping times of peace, Kiao
Chou and the surrounding territories were taken
by force in ostensible satisfaction for some
injuries done to missionaries, but manifestly
also because China had not showed sufficiently
tangible gratitude for favours received. This
act, unprecedented in the annals of diplomacy
and international comity, undoubtedly set the
evil ball a-rolling which led to the occupation
of Port Arthur and Ta-lien Wan by Russia,
Wei-hai Wei by England, and Kwang-chou Wan
by France : but in all three cases these Powers
at least went through the form of asking before
taking, and exhibited some small consideration
for China's " face." In the long run, perhaps

A.D. 1785-1900J POOR CHINA! Ill

this aggressiveness may redound to the advan-
tage of the Chinese people ; but there is rather
an unsavoury smell about it all, and possibly
we should have done better for our descendants
if we had agreed to put things back upon their
former holiest basis. In any case, the propin-
quity of the Germans to Confucius' sacred district
proved maddening to the Chinese literary mind,
and was of itself enough to account for at least
one of the massacres at Peking, and, unfortun-
ately, elsewhere : at the best this aggressiveness
looked like hitting a weak man when he was
down. Meanwhile Japan in self-defence had
to re-establish herself at the cost of a war
in the Liao Tung peninsula, and to eject
Germany from Kiao Chou on the first good
opportunity. Great Britain's hold on Wei-hai
Wei has been " benevolent," savouring, in
fact, of a " watching " brief : it remains for
France to decide what course of action her
historical chivalry will call for in the early

The United States sent their pioneer trading
ship to China in 1785 ; they were first intro-
duced by the French into the mysteries of the
co-hong or " joint-stock " system at Canton ;
but in those days foreign traders were only
allowed to reside there during the trading season.
For some reason this rule was not enforced so
strictly with the Americans, probably because
they had just emerged from a war with the
aggressive English, and were regarded in the
light of possible allies. The Chinese at first
styled them " New People," not being able at
once to differentiate them from the English.
Then the name " Flowery-Flag " was invented,
and this national name continues in popular
use to our own day. In 1821 the honour of
" Old Glory " was somewhat com.promised by


the surrender to the Chinese for execution of
one Terranuova, a European who had been
inscribed on the articles of an American ship.
By the treaties of Wang-hia of July, 1844, and
Whampoa of October in the same year, the
United States secured the privileges obtained
by England for her subjects after the first
Chinese war. During the progress of the Second
War, the Chinese neglected no effort to use the
United States as a catspaw ; and indeed the
Americans, who perhaps assisted us by putting
moral pressure upon China, had a considerable
amount of influence in arranging the final settle-
ment at Tientsin : consequently they obtained
their treaty in 1858 a week earlier than did
either the British or the French, who had done
all the fighting. There is, however, a tradition
that a small American force gave us active
assistance at Taku, when the celebrated " blood
is thicker than water " episode took place. A
real ground for hostilities furnished by the
Chinese to the otherwise friendly Americans was
the firing into two of their vessels by the forts
of the Bogue on the 17th November, 1856. By
the Treaty of Washington of 1868 the United
States disclaimed all desire to interfere in
Chinese affairs, and arranged for the admission
of immigrants into the United States. The
hostile feeling engendered in the western terri-
tories and states by the overflow of undesirable
Chinese led to a compromise in the shape of the
Commercial Treaty of 1880, and finally to the
Immigration Prohibition Treaty of 1894, which
in 1904 the Chinese envoy at Washington was
instructed to oppose vigorously. The United
States have always been somewhat prone to
pose as the good and disinterested friend of
China, who does not sell opium or exercise any
undue political influence. These claims to the


exceptional status of an honest broker have
sometimes been shaken by the sharp treatment
of Chinese in the United States, Honolulu, and
Manila ; but perhaps the Central Government
at Washington has not always the po\^^^ to
make its just wishes prevail over the biased
decisions of state legislatures, and is not there-
fore to be blamed too severely. The somewhat
loudly advertised return of "part of" the
" Boxer " indemnity (in any case subject to
conditions) simply means that America had
asked for more meat than she could decently
swallow. American policy in Corea, having been
in missionary hands, was very creditable, and
also had a decidedly favourable effect at Peking,
where for many years the United States' influence
was otherwise weak. However, America's ab-
stract virtues in Corea availed her nothing against
the Japanese legions. On the other hand, the
earlier Chinese policy in Manila was for some time
both ungenerous and suicidal : no Chinese except
those who left during the war were allowed to
immigrate, although Chinese labour alone had
developed and can develop the resources of the
islands. At present the Americans themselves
do not seem quite to know what is the best thing
to do with Manila. Mr. Morse is the writer
who gives us the most temperate and just
account of his countrymen's policy in China.

Belgium appeared amongst the minor claim-
ants for a treaty after the second war, and one
was finally concluded in 1865. She had not
been much heard of in China until 1898, when
her name has come prominently forward in
connection with railway and other concessions.
In 1900 M. Joostens pressed for Belgium's
right to an envoy for herself alone, and this was
acceded to in 1905.

In 1862 the Portuguese, with the assistance of


the French, endeavoured, but unsuccessfully, to
obtain a formal treaty with China, but it was
not until 1887 that they were officially recog-
nised as possessors of Macao. From 1582 to
1849 they had regularly paid a rental of 510
taels a year, and the Manchu Government natur-
ally declined to recognise the declaration of
independence which followed upon the assassina-
tion, on the 22nd August, 1849, of Governor do
Amaral. I possess a Chinese copy of a draft
treaty dated 1862, but I do not think it was ever
signed : certainly it was never ratified, nor was
any Portuguese treaty right conceded. It was
to the interest of both parties that this hap-
hazard state of affairs should be rectified. China
required the co-operation of Macao in order to
obtain the full advantages conceded in 1886 by
Great Britain in connection with the opium
revenue ; and in view of what had happened
in Formosa during the 1884 hostilities with
France, both China and Portugal felt nervous
lest any other power- — especially France- — should
appropriate Macao. Portugal therefore under-
took never to alienate it without China's con-
sent, and on these conditions she drags out a
comparatively uneventful existence there. Be-
tween 1901 and 1905 the Minister at Peking,
Senhor Branco, exhibited considerable activity ;
more than one treaty was elaborated, besides
subsidiary agreements ; the knotty points were
Macao's food supply, nationality and naturalisa-
tion, harbour boundaries, smuggling, railway
to Canton, ownership of neighbouring islands,
etc. Disputes were still going on when the
Manchus fell, and so far neither of the two
republics seems to have " ratified."

The Japanese, who are now fairly entitled
alike by right in moral principle and might of
conquest to equal rank amongst the greatest of

A.D. 1853-1883] JAPAN'S RISE 115

Powers, had always been utterly ignored by
the Manchus up to the date of the second war
with Great Britain, and this feeling of proud
aloofness was heartily reciprocated. In 1853
the United States expedition, under Commodore
Perry, led to the circumscribed Treaty of Kana-
gawa in 1854. Similar treaties were concluded
with Great Britain and Russia in 1855 ; and,
after the Anglo-French War of 1858, Lord
Elgin, by the Treaty of Yeddo, obtained the
opening of Japan to British commerce. In
1868-9 took place the great Japanese revolu-
tion, the abolition of the second king, or Shogun,
with the whole superstructure of feudalism,
and the restoration to real power of the Mikado,
or true Emperor. The Japanese now lost no
time in preparing themselves as quickly as
possible for a suitable place in the world's
councils, and never in the history of the universe
has a national transformation been so rapid or
complete. In 1871 they succeeded in concluding
their first treaty with China, w4iich was signed
by Li Hung-chang in the autumn of that year.
The Chinese did not at first take the Japanese
very seriously, feeling rather a contempt for a
nation, of small physique withal, which so
readily threw off its veneer of Chinese civilisation
in favour of new-fangled European notions ;
but the Formosa dispute of 1874 soon awoke
them to the fact that the despised islanders
were not to be trifled with. That same year
Japan, by a stroke of the pen, placed China's
old tributary Loochoo under the control of the
Tokyo Home Office, and all China's expostula-
tions were ignored, as well as the piteous en-
treaties of Loochoo itself. When, in 1883, the
Powers began to conclude treaties with Corea,
it was found that Japan had ancient vested
rights of an unmistakably historical nature at


Fusan, and it was soon evident to all and
sundry therein concerned that she was bent on
developing them in other parts of Corea too.
China, as Corea' s suzerain, was somewhat
puzzled what to do when Japan in 1876 signed a
treaty with the "independent sovereign state"
of Chosen ; the matter became more compli-
cated when the United States and England did
the same thing in 1882-3. The negotiators of
the American treaty kindly admitted to a share
of privileges thus directly obtained China also,
who thus proceeded to conclude a treaty with
her own vassal, and then immediately set to
work to intrigue with a view to substituting her
own active influence in lieu of that of Japan.
This led to sundry revolutions, murders, kid-
nappings, and hostilities, which lasted over a
period of ten years, and finally culminated in
the war of 1894-5, when China received a
thorough thrashing, and lost both Corea and
Formosa : after that for a decade her interests
in Corea were semi-officially looked after by the
British. In December, 1899, China concluded
another treaty with the " Great Emperor " of
Corea, foolishly neglecting, however, to insert
a most-favoured-nation clause.- — To return to
Japan ; the Shimonoseki Treaty and Liao Tung
Convention of 1895 had at once raised Japan
to the status of a Weltmacht, and brought her
into diplomatic collision with European powers
as above described. The Commercial Treaty
of 1896 somewhat unexpectedly placed in the
hands of Europeans many of the advantages
Japan had hoped to secure for herself, and the
new ports of Soochow and Hangchow were as
a sequel opened to the world. Sic vos, non vohis
is the motto applicable to Japan's action ; but
she took her " dishing " with great dignity,
and when in 1900 the declaration by China of


hostilities against the whole world gave Japan
her next great opportunity, we could only expect
that she would not allow herself to be relegated
to a " back seat " again. The Mikado of Japan
took absolutely equal rank with the Czar of
Russia and the Queen of England in settling
up by telegraph the dreadful mess created by
the " Boxer " fiasco. Four years after that
came the unfortunate Russo-Japanese conflict,
which, however, despite the intrigues of a reptile
foe, has left them both mutually respecting
friends of each other and allies of Great Britain.
Corea is now a Japanese province, and doing
well at that. Whatever Japanese past faults
may have been, a courageous fighting race will
always appeal to the sporting sense of fairness
which has in most circumstances our national

Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day → online text (page 11 of 35)