Ferdinand Heinrich Grautoff.

Banzai! by Parabellum online

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the pursuing Japanese cruisers: this was the torpedo-destroyer _Barry_,
commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Dayton, who had been in command of the
torpedo flotilla attached to Admiral Perry's squadron. He had attempted
twice, advancing boldly into the teeth of the gale, to launch a torpedo
in the direction of the _Satsuma_, but the sea was too rough and each
time took the torpedo out of its course.

The badly damaged destroyer entered the harbor of Buenaventura on the
coast of Colombia on May eleventh, followed closely by the Japanese
steamer _Iwate_, which had been lying off the coast of Panama. Grinding
his teeth with rage, Dayton had to look on while a Colombian officer in
ragged uniform, plentifully supplied with gilt, who was in the habit of
commanding his tiny antediluvian gunboat from the door of a harbor
saloon, came on board the _Barry_ and ordered the breeches of the guns
and the engine-valves to be removed, at the same time depriving the crew
of their arms. The Japanese waiting outside the harbor had categorically
demanded this action of the government in Bogota. This humiliating
degradation before all the harbor loafers and criminals, before the
crowds of exulting Chinese and Japanese coolies, who were only too
delighted to see the white man compelled to submit to a handful of
marines the entire batch of whom were not worth one American sailor, was
far harder to bear than all the days of battle put together. And even
now, when Admiral Dayton's fame reaches beyond the seas and the name of
James Dayton is in every sailor's mouth as the savior of his people,
yes, even now, he will tell you how at the moment when, outside the
Straits of Magellan, he crushed the Japanese cruisers with his
cruiser-squadron, thereby once again restoring the Star Spangled Banner
to its place of honor, the vision of that grinning row of faces exulting
in the degradation of a severely damaged American torpedo-boat appeared
before him. It is only such men as he, men who experienced the horrors
of our downfall to the bitter end, who could lead us to victory - such
men as Dayton and Winstanley.

[Footnote 1: Perry, the American commodore, with a fleet of only eight
ships, forced Japan to sign the agreement of Kanagawa, opening the chief
harbors in Japan to American trading-vessels, in the year 1854.]

_Chapter XII_


The bow of the English freighter _Port Elizabeth_ was plowing its way
through the broad waves of the Pacific on the evening of the fourteenth
of September. The captain and the first mate were keeping a sharp
lookout on the bridge, for they were approaching San Francisco. The
steamer had taken a cargo of machinery and rails on board at Esquimault
for San Francisco, as was duly set forth in the ship's papers. In
Esquimault, too, the second mate enlisted, though the captain was not
particularly eager to take a man who carried his arm in a sling. Since,
however, he could find no one else to take the place of the former
second mate, who had gone astray in the harbor saloons of Victoria, the
captain engaged the volunteer, who called himself Henry Wilson, and thus
far he had had no cause to regret his choice, as Wilson turned out to be
a quiet, sober man, thoroughly familiar with the waters along the
Pacific coast.

Wilson was in the chart-room, carefully examining the entrance to San
Francisco; suddenly he turned and called through the open door to the
captain on the bridge: "Captain, we are now eight miles from the Golden
Gate; it's a wonder the Japs haven't discovered us yet."

"I should think they would station their cruisers as far out as this,"
answered the captain.

"After all, why should they?" asked Wilson, "there's nothing more to be
done here, and the allies of our illustrious government can scarcely be
asked to show much interest in an English steamer with a harmless

Wilson joined the captain and the first mate on the bridge, and all
three leaned against the railing and tried through their glasses to
discover the fires of the Golden Gate through the darkness; but not a
gleam of light was to be seen.

"I don't believe we'll be allowed to enter the harbor at night," began
the first mate again, "more especially as our instructions are to reach
the Golden Gate at noon."

"Yes, but if the engines won't work properly, how the devil can they
expect us to be punctual!" grumbled the captain.

"Look," cried Wilson, pointing to the blinding flash of a searchlight in
front of them, "they've got us at last!" A few minutes later the
brilliant bluish white beam of a searchlight was fixed on the _Port

"We'll keep right on our course," said the captain rather hurriedly to
the man at the helm, "they'll soon let us know what they want. Wilson,
you might get the ship's papers ready, we'll have visitors in a minute."

Scarcely had Wilson reached the captain's cabin when a bell rang sharply
in the engine-room, and soon after this the engines began to slow down.
When he returned to the bridge, the masts and low funnels of a ship and
a thick trailing cloud of smoke could be seen crossing the reflection of
the searchlight a few hundred yards away from the _Port Elizabeth_. Then
a long black torpedo-boat with four low funnels emerged from the
darkness, turned, and took the same course as the freighter. A boat was
lowered and four sailors, a pilot and an officer stepped on board the
_Port Elizabeth_.

The captain welcomed the Japanese lieutenant at the gangway and spoke a
few words to him in a low tone, whereupon they both went into the
captain's cabin. The Jap must have been satisfied by his examination of
the ship's papers, for he returned to the bridge conversing with the
captain in a most friendly and animated manner.

"This is my first mate, Hornberg," said the captain.

"An Englishman?" asked the Japanese.

"No, a German."

"A German?" repeated the Jap slowly. "The Germans are friends of Japan,
are they not?" he asked, smiling pleasantly at the first mate, who,
however, did not appear to have heard the question and turned away to go
to the engine-room telephone.

"And this is my second mate, Wilson."

"An Englishman?" asked the Jap again.

"Yes, an Englishman," answered Wilson himself.

The Japanese officer looked at him keenly and said: "I seem to know

"It is not impossible," said Wilson, "I have been navigating Japanese
waters for several years."

"Indeed?" asked the lieutenant, "may I inquire on which line?"

"On several lines; I know Shanghai, I have been from Hongkong to
Yokohama in tramp steamers, and once during the Russian war I got to
Nagasaki - also with a cargo of machinery," he added after a pause. "That
was a dangerous voyage, for the Russians had just sailed from

"With a cargo of machinery," repeated the Japanese officer, adding, "and
you are familiar with these waters also?"

"Fairly so," said Wilson.

"Have you any relatives in the American Navy?" asked the Jap sharply.

"Not that I know of," answered Wilson, "my family is a large one, and as
an Englishman I have relatives in all parts of the world, but none in
the American Navy, so far as I know."

"Mr. Wilson, you will please take charge of the ship under the direction
of the pilot brought along by the lieutenant. Mr. Hornberg's watch is
up," said the captain, and went off with the Jap to his cabin.

Five minutes later the captain sent for the first mate, who returned to
the bridge almost directly, saying: "Mr. Wilson, I am to take your place
at the helm. The captain would like to see you."

"Certainly," answered Wilson curtly. The captain and the Jap were
sitting together in the cabin over a glass of whisky. "The lieutenant,"
said the captain, "wants to know something about Esquimault; you know
the harbor there, don't you?"

"Very slightly," answered Wilson, "I was only there three days."

"Were there any Japanese ships at Esquimault when you were there?"

"Yes, there was a Japanese cruiser in dock."

"What was her name?"

Wilson shrugged his shoulders and answered: "I couldn't say, I don't
know the names of the Japanese ships."

"Won't you sit down and join us in a glass of whisky?" said the captain.

"What did you do to your arm?" asked the Japanese.

"I was thrown against the railing in a storm and broke it on the way
from Shanghai to Victoria."

A long pause ensued which was at last broken by the Jap, who inquired:
"Do you know Lieutenant Longstreet of the American Navy?"

"I know no one of that name in the American Navy."

The Jap scrutinized Wilson's face, but the latter remained perfectly

"You told the captain that you've been in San Francisco often," began
the Jap again; "on what line were you?"

"On no line, I was at San Francisco for pleasure."


"The last time was two years ago."

"May I see your papers?"

"Certainly," said Wilson, getting up to fetch them from his cabin.

The Japanese studied them closely.

"Curious," he said at last, "I could have sworn that I've seen you

Then he glanced again at one of the certificates and looking up at
Wilson suddenly, over the edge of the paper, asked sharply: "Why have
you two names?"

"I have only one," returned Wilson.

"Winstanley and Wilson," said the Jap with a decided emphasis on both

"I'm very sorry," said Wilson, "but I don't know anyone of the name of
Winstanley, or whatever you called it. The name cannot very well be in
my papers."

"Then I must be mistaken," said the Jap peevishly.

Wilson left the captain's cabin and went up to the bridge, where he drew
a deep breath of relief.

The pilot gave directions for the ship's course, and the torpedo-boat
steamed along on her port side like a shadow.

"I wonder why we have a wireless apparatus on board?" asked Hornberg.

"It never occurred to me until you mentioned it. I imagine it's merely
an experiment of the owners," answered Wilson. Then they both lapsed
into silence and only attended to the pilot's directions for the ship's

Wilson presently looked at his watch and remarked: "We must be about
two miles from the Golden Gate by this time."

"It's possible," said Hornberg, "but as all the ships use shaded lights,
it's a difficult thing to determine."

"Can we enter the harbor by night?" he asked of the Japanese pilot.

"Yes, sir, whenever you like, under our pilotage you can enter the
harbor by day or night."

"How's that?"

"You'll see directly."

At this moment the torpedo-boat's siren bellowed sharply three times,
and immediately the red lights at the masthead and the side of a steamer
about half a mile off became visible, and the bright flash of her
searchlight was thrown on the _Port Elizabeth_. The pilot sent a short
signal across, which was immediately answered by the Japanese guardship.

"Now you'll see the channel," said the pilot to Wilson, "it's really an
American invention, but we were the first to put it to practical use. We
can't possibly lose our way now."

"Yes, captain, you'll see something wonderful now," said the lieutenant,
as he came on the bridge with the captain. "You'll open your eyes when
you see us steering through the mines."

Suddenly a bright circle of light appeared on the surface of the water,
which was reflected from some source of light about ten yards below the
surface. "It's an anchored light-buoy," explained the lieutenant, "which
forms the end of the electric light cable, and there to the right is
another one. All we have to do now is to keep a straight course between
the two rows of lantern-buoys which are connected with the cable, and in
that way we'll be able to steer with perfect safety between the mines
into the harbor of San Francisco." And indeed, about a hundred yards
ahead a second shining circle of light appeared on the water, and
further on a whole chain of round disks was seen to make a turn to the
left and then disappear in the distance. The same kind of a line
appeared on the right. Half an hour later three bright red reflections,
looking like transparent floating balls of light filled with ruby-red,
bubbling billows, marked a spot where the helm had to be turned to port
in order to bring the ship through a gap in the line of mines. Thus the
_Port Elizabeth_ reached San Francisco early in the morning. She did not
make fast at the quay, but at the arsenal on Mare Island, her crew then
being given shore leave. When the last man had gone, the _Port
Elizabeth_, unloaded her cargo of machinery and rails which, in the
hands of the Chinese coolies, was transformed into gun-barrels,
ammunition and shells in the most marvelous manner. "_Le pavilion couvre
la marchandise_, especially under the Union Jack," said Hornberg
sarcastically, as he watched this metamorphosis, but the captain only
looked at him angrily.

That was the second time during the war that Captain Winstanley of the
United States Navy, and late commander of the battleship _Georgia_, saw
San Francisco, whence he had escaped by night from the naval hospital
two months before. The Japanese lieutenant was the same who had received
the word of honor of the officers on board the hospital ship _Ontario_
on May eighth, and to whom Winstanley had refused to give his. Two
months after his voyage as second mate on board the _Port Elizabeth_,
which enabled him to gather information concerning the Japanese measures
for the defense of San Francisco, Winstanley stood on the bridge of the
battleship _Delaware_ as commander of the second Atlantic squadron. And
four months later the name of the victor in the naval battle off the
Galapagos Islands went the rounds of the world!

_Chapter XIII_


The more one examined the complicated machinery of the Japanese plan of
attack, the more one was forced to admire the cleverness and the energy
of the Mongolians in preparing for the war, and the more distinctly
these were recognized, the clearer became the wide gulf between the
Mongolian's and the white man's point of view concerning all these

We might have learned a lesson in 1904, if we had not so carelessly and
thoughtlessly looked upon the Russo-Japanese war as a mere episode,
instead of regarding it as a war whose roots were firmly embedded in the
inner life of a nation that had suddenly come to the surface of a rapid
political development. The interference of the European powers in the
Peace of Shimonoseki in 1895 robbed Japan of nearly all the fruits of
her victory over China. Japan had been forced to vacate the conquered
province of Liaotung on the mainland because she was unable to prevail
against three European powers, who were for once agreed in maintaining
that all Chinese booty belonged to Europe, for they regarded China as a
bankrupt estate to be divided among her creditors. When, therefore,
after the second Peace of Shimonoseki, Japan was compelled to relinquish
all her possessions on the mainland and to console herself for her
shattered hopes with a few million taels, every Japanese knew that the
lost booty would at some time or other be demanded from Russia at the
point of the sword. With the millions paid by China as war indemnity,
Japan procured a new military armament, built an armored fleet and
slowly but surely taught the nation to prepare for the hour of revenge.
Remember Shimonoseki! That was the secret shibboleth, the free-mason's
sign, which for nine long years kept the thoughts of the Japanese people
continually centered on one object.

"One country, one people, one God!" were words once emphatically
pronounced by Kaiser Wilhelm. But with the Japanese such high-sounding
words as these are quite unnecessary. In the heart of all, from the
Tenno to the lowest rickshaw coolie, there exists a jealous national
consciousness, as natural as the beating of the heart itself, which
unites the forces of religion, of the political idea and of intellectual
culture into one indivisible element, differing in the individual only
in intensity and in form of expression. When a citizen of Japan leaves
his native land, he nevertheless remains a Japanese from the crown of
his head to the soles of his feet, and can no more mix with members of
another nation than a drop of oil can mix with water: a drop of oil
poured on water will remain on its surface as an alien element, and so
does a Japanese among another people. While the streams of emigrants
passing over the boundaries of Europe into other countries soon adapt
themselves to new conditions and eventually adopt not only the outward
but also the inward symbols of their environment, until finally they
think and feel like those round about them, the Japanese remains a Jap
for all time. The former sometimes retain a sentimental memory of their
former home, but the Mongolian is never sentimental or romantic. He is
sober and sensible, with very little imagination, and his whole energy,
all his thoughts and endeavors are directed towards the upholding of the
national, intellectual and religious unity of Japan. His country is his
conscience, his faith, his deity.

Ordinary nations require hundreds and even thousands of years to inspire
their people with a national consciousness, but this was not necessary
in Japan, for there patriotism is inborn in the people, among whom an
act of treason against the fatherland would be impossible because it is
looked upon as spiritual suicide. The inner solidarity of the national
character, the positive assurance of the fulfillment of all national
duties, and the absolute silence of the people towards strangers - these
are the weapons with which Japan enters the arena, clothed in a rattling
ready-made steel armor, the like of which her opponents have yet to
manufacture. The discretion shown by the Japanese press in all questions
relating to foreign policy is regarded as the fulfillment of a patriotic
duty just as much as the joyous self-sacrifice of the soldier on the
field of battle.

From the moment that Marquis Ito had returned from Portsmouth (in 1905)
empty-handed and the Japanese had been sorely disappointed in their
hopes through President Roosevelt's instrumentality in bringing about
peace, every Japanese knew whose turn would come next. The Japanese
people were at first exceedingly angry at the way in which they had been
deprived of their expected indemnity, but the government only allowed
them to let off steam enough to prevent the boilers from bursting. Here
and there, where it could do no harm, they let the excited mob have its
way, but very soon both government and press began their new work of
turning the people's patriotic passions away from the past to prepare
for the future control of the Pacific. When in return for the
prohibition of Chinese immigration to the United States, China boycotted
our goods, and the ensuing panic in Wall Street forced the government
in Washington to grant large concessions, Japan did not attempt to make
use of this sharp weapon, for one of their most extensive industries,
namely the silk industry, depended upon the export to the United States.
Japan continued to place orders in America and treated the American
importers with special politeness, even when she saw that the beginning
of the boycott gave the gentlemen in Washington a terrible scare,
prompting them to collect funds to relieve the famine in China and even
renouncing all claim to the war indemnity of 1901 to smooth matters
over. But Japan apparently took no notice of all this and continued to
be deferential and polite, even when the growing heaps of unsold goods
in the warehouses at Shanghai made the Americans ready to sacrifice some
of their national pride. Since Japan wished to take the enemy by
surprise, she had to be very careful not to arouse suspicions

"Never speak of it, but think of it always," was the watchword given out
by the little Jewish lawyer in the president's chair of France, when the
longing for revenge filled the soul of every Frenchman during the slow
retreat of the German army after its victorious campaign; "never speak
of it, but think of it always," that was the watchword of the Japanese
people also, although never expressed in words. It was nine years before
the bill of exchange issued at Shimonoseki was presented on that
February night in the roads of Port Arthur; for nine years the Japanese
had kept silence and thought about it, had drilled and armed their
soldiers, built ships and instructed their crews. The world had seen all
this going on, but had no idea of the real reason for these warlike
preparations on a tremendous scale. It was not Japan who had deceived
the world, for everything went on quite openly, it being impossible to
hide an army of over a million men under a bushel basket; but the world
had deceived itself. When ships are built and cannon cast in other parts
of the world, everyone knows for whom they are intended, and should
anyone be ignorant, he will soon be enlightened by the after-dinner
speeches of diplomats or indiscreet newspaper articles. The military and
naval plans of the old world are common property, and this political
indiscretion is characteristic of America as well as of Europe. In
striking contrast thereto are the cool calculation, the silent
observation and the perfect harmony of the peoples of Asia and Africa,
all of whom, without exception, are inspired by a deep and undying
hatred of the white race.

You may live for years among disciples of Mohammed, know all in your
environment, penetrate into their thoughts and feelings, and still be
utterly incapable of judging when the little spark that occasionally
glows in their eyes in moments of great enthusiasm, will suddenly
develop into an immense flame, when a force will make its appearance of
the existence of which you have never dreamed, and which will, without a
sign of warning, devastate and destroy all around it. But when this does
happen and the corpses of the slain encumber the streets, when the
quiet, peaceful, apparently indolent Moslem who for years has worked
faithfully for you, is transformed in a few hours into a fanatical hero,
whom thousands follow like so many sheep, then, at the sight of the
burning ruins you will be forced to admit that the white man will
forever be excluded from the thoughts and the national sentiment of the
followers of Islam.

You walk across a sandy plain in the heat of the midday sun and you
return the same way the next morning after a rainy night - what has
happened? The ground which yesterday looked so parched and barren is now
covered with millions of tiny blades. Where has this sudden life come
from? It was there all the time. There is always latent life beneath the
surface, but it is invisible. And as soon as a fertilizing rain comes,
it springs up, and everyone perceives what has been slumbering beneath
the crust.

In the dense jungles from which the sacred Nile receives its waters,
there stands a tent and before it a saddled horse. From the tent steps
forth a man with large glowing eyes, dressed all in white, who is
greeted by his followers with fanatical cries of Allah, Allah! He mounts
his steed, the camels rise, and the long caravan swings slowly out of
sight and disappears in the bush. Once more dead silence reigns in the
African jungle. Whither are they going? You don't know; you see only a
rider dressed in a white burnoose, only a few dozen men hailing a
prophet, but in the very same moment in which you see only a sheik
riding off, millions know that the Caliph, the Blessed of Allah, has
started on his journey through the lands whose inhabitants he intends to
lead either to victory or to destruction. In the same moment millions of
hearts from Mogador to Cape Guardafui, from Tripoli to the burning salt
deserts of Kalahari, rejoice in the thought that the hour of deliverance
has come for the peoples of Islam. A victorious feeling of buoyant hope
arises in the hearts of the Faithful simply because a plain Arabian
sheik has started on the road pointed out by Allah. How they happen to
know it and all at the same time, will forever remain a mystery to the
white man, as much of a mystery as the secret inner life of the yellow
races of Asia.

"Never speak of it, but think of it always," had been the watchword, and
everything that had transpired, even the apparently inconsistent and
senseless things, had been ruled by it. The world could not be deceived
about the things that were plainly visible; all the Japanese had to do
was to make sure that the world would deceive itself as it had done
during the preparations for Port Arthur. A perfectly equipped army could

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Online LibraryFerdinand Heinrich GrautoffBanzai! by Parabellum → online text (page 14 of 23)