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THE LIBRARY

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THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



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An Eastern Miscellany



An Eastern Miscellany



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BY



THE EARL OF RONALDSHAY, M.P.

AUTHOR OF 'ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF EMPIRE IN ASIA,'

'sport and POLITICS UNDER AN EASTERN SKY,'

' A WANDERING STUDENT IN THE FAR EAST '



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William Blackwood and Sons

Edinburgh and London

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INTEODUCTION.



GO



The greater number of the chapters which follow
have already seen the light of day. Written at



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different times, they possess no conscious con-

:j nection beyond a common setting — that of the

East. Such kinship only may they claim as

may be properly attributed to the possession of

a common source of inspiration — Asia. It may

be, therefore, that some interest will be found

3' to be attached to the fact that, regarded as a

^ whole, the collection has unconsciously developed

"^ a moral.

1^ The political theme running through the earlier

chapters is the rivalry of European Powers.

They were written at a time when interest

still centred in the plots and counter-plots, the

^intentions and ambitions, the hopes and fears

^of the pro-consuls of Western nations deeply

^absorbed in different phases of empire building

on eastern soil — in the planning of extensions



.'58o7'i4.



VI INTRODUCTION.

or in the strengtheuiug of edifices already raised
up. How to infuse new strength into a chain
of moribund buffer states was the question of
moment for Great Britain : how to sap the
vitality of the same states the problem which
possessed a never - ending fascination for the
pioneers, who worked and intrigued on the
outermost fringe of the Russian advance across
the steppes of Central Asia. Had not Russia's
strength been dissipated and her purpose
weakened by the immense length of her line
of advance, the buffer states might well have
collapsed and a different turn been given to
history. But Russia had always pushed East
as well as South, and Fate decreed that it should
be on the shores of the Pacific and not of the
Indian Ocean that the course of her hitherto
unarrested advance should be stayed.

Nor were Great Britain and Russia the only
Western Powers manoeuvring upon the Eastern
stage. In the south-east corner of the continent
a great pro-consul of France — M. Paul Doumer —
was finding a congenial field for the play of
his activity, while Germany and other Powers
nibbled fitfully at the coast-line of China. So
largely did the rivalries of European Powers bulk
in the picture at the close of the nineteenth cen-
tury, that the Eastern peoples themselves fell into
the background and attracted a very small share



INTRODUCTION. Vll

of attention to their own doings. In 1900 China
stirred uneasily ; but it was not until the eyes
of Europe were opened by the collision between
Russia and Japan that it became generally
recognised that an Eastern revival was at hand,
and that the Powers of Europe were about to
be called upon to look at the Eastern question
from a wholly different point of view.

European rivalries became of necessity sub-
ordinated to more pressing problems arising
out of the new attitude of the East towards
the West. As a result of pourparlers between
Great Britain and Russia, an agreement with
regard to their respective interests in Persia,
Afghanistan, and Tibet was arrived at in 1907 ;
and from the safeguarding of India from aggres-
sion from without the question of interest for
Englishmen became the readjustment of rela-
tions with the 300 million subject people within.

Thus it comes about that the later chapters
display Asia in a different light. They deal
with the military achievements and the com-
mercial and industrial prospects of an Eastern
Power — Japan ; and they discuss some of the
problems which arise out of the growing ambi-
tions which have been awakened in India.

The moral then is obvious. The nations of
Europe can no longer afford to regard Asia as
a convenient arena in which to tilt at one another.



viii INTRODUCTION.

What the East can do in modern war has
already been amply demonstrated : what she
may do in other directions is already being
dimly outlined. The Chinese steel -works at
Hankow — which were in process of construction
when I visited that town in 1907 — are already
exporting pig-iron to America.^ The magnitude
of the undeveloped mineral resources of China
can only be adequately grasped by the expert
geologist : the immense latent power stored away
in her population of 400 millions, by those who
possess personal knowledge of the thrift, industry,
business aptitude, and adaptability of the Chinese
character. The thought of the results of the
application of the prodigious force represented
by the latter when scientifically organised to
the exploitation of the former, may well stagger
the imagination. The excise duty imposed upon
the Indian Cotton Industry bears eloquent
testimony to the terror inspired by Eastern
industrial competition in the breasts of those
who have even faintly experienced it ; yet no
one who is acquainted with the political situa-
tion in India will deny that the task upon
which British statesmanship is even now begin-

1 The company have recently concluded a contract with an
American corporation to supply them for fifteen years with not
less than 36,000 tons and not more than 100,000 tons of pig-iron
at gold $18 per ton, inclusive of freight and the American
import duty.



INTRODUCTION. IX



ning to concentrate, is that of directing the
growing force generated by the spread of
Western education from political into industrial
channels. The Indian and Chinese empires
between them account for little short of half
the population of the world. What is going
to be the effect of the coming industrial
organisation of the East upon the wages and
standard of living of the working classes of
the West? A large question, indeed, and
one opening up an ever - expanding vista of
controversy and speculation upon which it would
be impossible to embark here, yet one which
must occupy the attention of economists and
statesmen in a steadily increasing degree.

It must not be supposed, because in this preface
I have laid stress upon the political aspect of
the pages which follow, that they are exclusively
of a political character. On the contrary, with
the hope of attracting the attention of the
o-eneral reader to the varied interests of his
country in the Eastern hemisphere, I have
included in this collection chapters wholly
destitute of any moral either political or com-
mercial. If this bait should prove successful
in exciting the interest of any casual reader
in the more important matters touched upon
in other parts of the volume, I shall feel duly
gratified.



X INTRODUCTION.

In conclusion, I desire to express my thanks
to all those to whom I am indebted for per-
mission to make use of material which has al-
ready been published. Chapter III. is included
by kind permission of the Northern Newspaper
Syndicate. Chapter XI. is an enlarged and
revised edition of a paper written for, and pub-
lished in, the ' Saturday Review Political Hand-
book.' Other chapters are included by kind
permission of the editors of 'Blackwood's Maga-
zine,' the ' National Review,' and ' Travel and
Exploration.'

RONALDSHAY.

House of Commons,
March 1911.



The strong hot breath of the land is lashing
The wild sea-horses, they rear and race ;

The plunging bows of our ship are dashing
Full in the fiery south wind's face.

And onward still to the broadening ocean

Out of the narrow and perilous seas,
Till we rock with a large and listless motion

In the moist soft air of the Indian breeze.

And the Southern Cross, like a standard flying,

Hangs in front of the tropic night,
But the Great Bear sinks, like a hero dying.

And the Pole-star lowers its signal light ;

And the round earth rushes toward the morning,
And the waves grow paler and wan the foam.

Misty and dim, with a glance of warning,
Vanish the stars of my northern home.

— From "■A Night in the Red Sea,'
by Sir Alfred Ltall.



CONTENTS.



PART I.
GENERAL.

CHAP.

I. THE CALL OF THE EAST

II. MODES OF ASIATIC TRAVEL

IIL A SIBERIAN MYSTERY ....

IV. ACROSS THE HIMALAYAS IN MID-WINTER.



3
20
36
45



PART II.
THE MIDDLE EAST.

V. THE RUSSIAN OIL-FIELDS, AND THE VISITATION OF

• 1905

VI. THE NUSHKI-SISTAN TRADE ROUTE .
VII. 8ISTAN AND KHURASAN .
VIII. NOTES ON A JOURNEY ACROSS ASIA
IX. THE ANGLO-RUSSIAN AGREEMENT
X. THE AWAKENING OF THE EAST



73

89
114
143
164
182



PART IIL
INDIA.

XI. INDIA AND POLITICAL REFORM

XII. SOME THOUGHTS ON INDIAN UNREST

XIII. INDIA AND IMPERIAL RECIPROCITY .

XIV. INDIA AND IMPERIAL RECIPROCITY continued



191
230
261

279



XIV CONTENTS.

PART IV.
THE FAR EAST.

XV. THE OLD AND THE NEW IN JAPAN . . . 305

XVI. JAPAN AFTER THE WAR ..... 326

XVII. KOREA, AN APPANAGE OF JAPAN .... 349

XVIII. COMMERCE AND RAILWAYS IN CHINA . . . 369



APPENDIX I. : CONVENTION BETWEEN THE UNITED KINGDOM
AND RUSSIA RELATING TO PERSIA, AFGHANISTAN,

AND THIBET 399

APPENDIX II. : INDIAN COUNCILS ACT, 1909 . . . 408

APPENDIX III. : APPOINTMENTS TO HIGH OFFICE IN INDIA . 415

APPENDIX IV. : JAPAN AND KOREA 419



PART I.
GENERAL



AN EASTEEN MISCELLANY.



CHAPTER I.

THE CALL OF THE EAST.

(A Speech delivered at a Banquet at the Authors' Club in October 1909.)

It is a great honour that you have done me In
inviting me to be your guest at this the opening
banquet of your session, and believe me I am
keenly appreciative of your kindness. At the
same time I am fully conscious of the responsi-
bility which you have placed upon me in asking
me to open a discussion in the presence of so
distinguished a company of writers. I do so
with all deference, and not without some secret
misgivings as to the wisdom of the choice of topic,
which in your courtesy you have permitted me
to make. It is not every one who has known the
" Call of the East," and to endeavour to conjure
up for these even some faint semblance of the
illusive witchery of Eastern scenes must prove



4 AN EASTERN MISCELLANY.

a task beyond the power of my poor prose. On
the other hand, there are many for whom the
" Call of the East " has long since lost its appeal,
— for whom, indeed, under stress of long and en-
forced familiarity with the prosaic actualities of
daily life in Eastern lands, it has assumed a note
of hollow — even sardonic — mockery. I am not
unmindful, you see, of the scornful derision to
which the penetrating pen of Kipling was able
to subject that unfortunate gentleman, Pagett,
M.P. "Pagett, M.P.," as you will perhaps re-
call, " was a liar, and a fluent liar therewith,
who spoke of the heat of India as the Asian
solar myth : went on a four months' visit to
study the East in November," and was persuaded,
apparently by an apocryphal Indian civil servant,
to lengthen his stay till September. I find little
to encourage me in my task to-night in the lines
with which Pagett's apocryphal host apostrophised
him on his departure —

"And I laughed as I drove from the station, but the mirth

died out of my lips
As I thought of the fools like Pagett who write of their

Eastern trips,
And the sneers of the travelled idiots who duly misgovern

the land.
And I prayed to the Lord to deliver another one into my

hand."

Yet another poet has described in trite verse
the unpleasant passage from illusion to reality



THE CALL OF THE EAST. 5

which has too often to be trodden by those who
have responded to the '* Call of the East," and
have thenceforth found themselves prisoners in
her inexorable grip. First we have the spell of
the Siren —

" From the East came the breath of its odours,

And its heat melted soft in the haze
While we dimly descried thy Pagodas,

O Cybele, ancient of days ;
Heard the hum of thy mystic processions,

The echo of myriads who cry,
And the wail of their vain intercessions

Through the bare empty vault of the sky."

Then come the uneasy questionings which provide
the prelude to complete disillusionment—

" Has he learnt how thy honour's are rated,

Has he cast his accounts in thy school,
With the sweets of authority sated

Would he give up his throne to be cool ?
Doth he curse Oriental romancing

And wish he had toiled all his day
At the Bar, or the Banks, or Financing,

And got damned in a commonplace way ? "

Finally we have reality —

" Thou hast racked him with duns and diseases

And he lies as thy scoi'ching winds blow
Recollecting old England's sea breezes

On his back in a lone bungalow ;
At the slow coming darkness repining,

How he girds at the sun till it sets,
As he marks the long shadows declining

O'er the Land of Regrets." i



1 <



Verses written in India,' Sir Alfred Lyall.



6 AN EASTERN MISCELLANY.

I do not know whether there be any such
present here to-night : if there be they will per-
haps smile pityingly — but I hope indulgently —
at the enthusiastic idealism of one who has been
permitted by circumstance to taste the delights
of Eastern travel, without havinof to swallow the
bitter dregs which too often lurk at the bottom
of the draught of those who drink not at their
own discretion, but at the imperious bidding of
a remorseless Fate.

Yet even to such I would suggest that for
many the "Call of the East" has existed, exists,
persists, not always seductive perhaps, but always
insistent ; and a moment's reflection will surely
show that this same " Call of the East " has been
one of the governing factors in the making of
modern history. From the day when the daring
and enterprise of the great Sea Captains of
Portugal solved the riddle of the Southern seas,
an unbroken and ever -swelling volume of ex-
plorers, soldiers, and traders has poured from
Europe into Asia, attracted irresistibly to her
vast and mysterious shores. Nor has her attrac-
tion been felt solely in individual breasts : states
and kingdoms have been drawn, willingly or un-
willingly, in the wake of individual pioneers.
Nations have risen and fallen on the tide of the
Asian sea. Portugal, Spain, Holland, France, and
Great Britain have each been borne in rapid sue-



THE CALL OF THE EAST. 7

cession to the loftiest pinnacles of their greatness
upon the crest of an eastern wave.

The day of conquest has sped by, the Curtain
of Mystery, behind which the now familiar out-
line of Asia loomed darkly to the pioneers of
four centuries ago, has been rolled aside ; Asia
stands to-day a world revealed ; yet the spell
which she laid upon the traders and adventurers
of four centuries ago she casts over an infinitely
wider community at the present time. There is,
no doubt, still work for the soldier and the ex-
plorer ; the merchant may still find ample oc-
cupation in spreading over the entire continent
the warp and woof of a vast commercial web ;
but with the gradual filling in of the mosaic of
European ascendancy, the monopoly of trader
and soldier has gradually passed away, and the
early bands of fighting and trading pioneers have
been swelled by a vast army of travellers and
students who have been attracted in ever increas-
ing numbers to the limitless and fascinating fields
of Eastern study and research.

This shifting of the seat of gravity from West
to East, if remarkable, is, nevertheless, neither
inexplicable nor unnatural, for the very vastness
and variety of the countries and peoples of the
East have endowed the Continent of Asia with
a manifold and inexhaustible charm. Philosopher
and Historian, Litterateur and Artist, Archae-



8 AN EASTERN MISCELLANY.

ologist and Traveller, Politician and Diplomatist,
will one and all find ample scope within her
boundaries for the exercise of their activities and
the practice of their powers.

In the world of thought and metaphysics the
purest and most elevating aspirations of which
humanity has so far proved capable have been
born and fostered in the minds of the men of
the devout and contemplative East. The ad-
mission of the essayist, Emerson, that "Europe
has always owed to Oriental genius its divine
impulses," is a mere generalisation of the great
and indisputable truth that the three great
religions which sway the world — Christianity,
Mohammedanism, Buddhism — have without ex-
ception been born upon Asian soil.

Her contributions to literature and art provide
worthy monuments to the varied genius of her
peoples ; the absorbing chronicles of her empires
and her kings constitute some of the most en-
chanting pages in world history ; the names of
her conquerors stand emblazoned among the
rulers of the world. Who, among those to
whom world history is an open book, do not
linger in wonder or in admiration at the
achievements of a Cyrus, a Darius, or a Xerxes,
of Zengis Khan the Mongol, of Tamerlane the
Tartar King, of Mahmud of Gazni, of Baber,
of Akbar, and indeed of many more ? Again



THE CALL OF THE EAST. 9

in the world of Eastern literature the man of
letters will find food of many flavours. He may-
ponder on the wisdom of Confucius, the Chinese
sage, he may revel in the outpourings of the
Persian poets, of Firdusi or of Sadi, or again in
the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam ; and if per-
chance he has himself been fortunate enough to
experience the unique sensations produced by
toiling from dawn to sunset over the sand-strewn
waste of an Eastern desert, he will appreciate
as never before the incomparable word-paint-
ing of the Old Testament writers. Was it
not Isaiah who wrote of " rivers of water in
a dry place, the shadow of a great rock in a
weary land " ? and Jeremiah who tells of "a
land of deserts and of pits, a land of droughts
and of the shadow of death, a land that no man
passed through and where no man dwelt " ? If
we turn to the domain of art, we find in Asia's
array of pavilions, tombs, and temples faithful
expression of the artistic spirit of his oflspriug.
What could be more brilliant than the Shwey
Dagone of Burma or the Temple of Heaven at
Peking ; what more ingenious in conception than
the Japanese temples at Nikko or Tokio ; what
more delicate in workmanship and design than
the beautiful Jain temples at the summit of
Mount Abu ; what more lovely than the Taj
Mahal at Agra ; what more superb than the



10 AN EASTERN MISCELLANY.

great bronze image, the Great Buddha at Kama-
kura ; what more amazing than the stupendous
structures which still survive and are the glory
of Samarkand ?

In the fascinating field of archaeology, the sand-
strewn wastes of Assyria and Chaldsea, the stately
ruins of Susa and Persepolis, the jungle -covered
cities of Anaradjapuraand Polanaruwa have yielded
a rich store from the treasure-house of the past,
while there still exist wide fields for exj)loration
and research in the buried depths of the forbidding
deserts of Taklamakan or in the unsolved riddle of
the massive masonry of Angkor Thome. For my-
self, I confess that when standing amid the debris
which marks the sites of Nineveh and ancient
Babylon I have been assailed with an over-
whelming desire " to wind the mighty secrets of
the past and turn the key of time." Indeed, as
I have wandered among these haunts of bygone
empires and trodden the Courts of Esarhaddon
and Nebuchadnezzar, I have seemed to hear in
imagination the hum of mighty workings come
echoing from a remote antiquity down the dim
corridors of time. Amid such surroundings, too,
the remorseless march of Time the Destroyer is
thrust naked into view. "Time," in the words
of Sir Thomas Browne, " sadly overcometh all
things . . . while his sister Oblivion reclineth
semi-somnous on a I*yramid, gloriously triumph-



THE CALL OF THE EAST. 11

ing, making puzzles of Titanian erections, and
turning old glories into dreams. History sinketh
beneath her cloud. The traveller as he paceth
through those deserts asketh of her who builded
them ? And she mumbleth something, but what
it is he heareth not."

And as to the Wanderer — the man stricken
with that strange complaint which the Germans
call der Wanderlust — what is the prospect which
Asia holds out to him ? To such an one the
varied scenery which she boasts is the source of
an infinite and abiding charm. No contrast is too
great for her, no antithesis too profound. Sights,
scenery, sounds, peoples, religions, customs, and
climates, characteristic of every division upon the
physical, ethnical, religious, or climatic scale be-
tween the equator and the pole, are included in
the bounteous catalogue of her wonderful and
diversified store, and each according to its kind is
possessed of a supreme and inexplicable power to
attract. If the voluptuous luxuriance of her
tropical vegetation is full of a seductive appeal,
the vast voids of her limitless and sun-scorched
wastes exercise upon the mind of man an im-
perious and irresistible command. It is here, in
the infinite depths of the wilderness, that the
mind bends before the incomparable magnificence
of desolation and shrinks abashed before the over-
whelming grandeur of emptiness, of immense



12 AN EASTERN MISCELLANY.

silence, of illimitable space. Throughout the
Continent, from Scutari to Tokio, and from
Colombo to the Arctic seas, nature delights to
display the peculiarities and characteristics of
her manifold attributes to a superlative and un-
exampled degree. The most stupendous mountain
ranges gird illimitable plains, a profuse abund-
ance stalks hand in hand with penury and want,
immense wealth rubs shoulders with the extremes
of poverty and indigence. The scourge of an
Indian summer is only equalled in severity by
the rigour of a Siberian winter ; the awful aridity
of Persia and Arabia by the luxuriant verdure
of Indo-China, Burma, or Ceylon. The colossal
highland plateau of Thibet, with an average
altitude of 16,000 feet, presents a geographical
freak entirely in keeping with the varied phe-
nomena of Asia. The apotheosis of desolation
itself, it pours forth a wealth of life-giving
waters, which find an outlet in the ocean at
points so far apart as the ice -fringed shores of
the Yellow Sea and the torrid waters of the
Indian Ocean. Of the four great rivers which
here find their source — the Salwin, the Mekong,
the Hwang-ho, and the Yang-tsze — I have, in the
course of a single journey, crossed the first three
and travelled for 1500 miles on the bosom of
the fourth, passing with characteristic suddenness
from the broad unruffled waters of the lower



THE CALL OF THE EAST. 13

reaches to the swirling races and majestic gorges
of the upper Yang-tsze.

Contrast is alike the keynote of her physical
and her social phenomena. In Asia may still be
seen in startling juxtaposition the two extremes
in the scale of social evolution. Side by side
with squalor and poverty, with plague, famine,
and pestilence, the inevitable progeny of the
great teeming cities of India and China, where
are massed together in extravagant profusion the
multifarious entities of a toiling and struggling
humanity, still flourish the luxury and splendour,
the pomp and pageantry, the unfettered and
illimitable egoism of an irresponsible and un-
challenged absolutism. We in Europe have had
some examples of autocratic arrogance. It was
a European autocrat who boasted, " L'etat c'est
moi ! " — and it was the Tsar Paul of Russia who
pompously declared, " There is no man of con-
sequence in this Empire but he with whom I am
actually speaking ; and so long only as I am
speaking to him is he of any consequence."
But it was a Burmese potentate who out of sheer
caprice butchered eighty of the royal princes
on his accession to the throne — a holocaust
perpetrated, to make use of his own words, " in
accordance with custom." It was a Siamese mon-
arch who, wearied by the importunity of certain
worthy missionaries, handed over 3000 slaves to



14 AN EASTERN MISCELLANY.

be taught religion, with the gracious permission
that " they might make Christians of these
people " ; and it is only in China that the
occupant of the throne may write " Tremble and
Obey " at the foot of his merest written whim,



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