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Ferdinand Heinrich Grautoff.

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and wherever they did not go of their own accord, they were told in
pretty plain language that the yellow man's day in Australia was ended.

Australia, up to this time merely an appendage of the Old World, a
colony which had received its blood from the heart of the British Empire
and its ideas from the nerve-center in Downing Street, which had
hitherto led a purely dependent existence, now awoke and began to
develop a political life of its own. And this development, born of the
outbreak of Mongolian hostilities, could not be restrained. The time had
passed when the European nations could say: The world's history is
created by us, other nations are of no account.

Once before Australia had taken an active part in politics. That was
when the Union Jack was threatened, when British regiments were melting
away before the rifles of a peasant people at Magersfontein, Colenso and
Graspan, when Ladysmith was being besieged, and Downing Street trembled
for the safety of the empire. Then, in the hour of dire need, a cry for
help went out to all the peoples dwelling beneath the Union Jack, whose
flagstaff was being shaken by sturdy peasant hands. And the colonial
troops heard the call and responded nobly. Australian and Canadian
heroism was ushered into being on the grassy plains and kopjes of the
Transvaal. They may not have been good to look at and their manners were
not those of the drawing-room, but England opened her arms to those
splendid fellows from the Australian bush and was glad to use them in
her hour of need - but afterwards she forgot them. But those days were
not so soon forgotten in Australia; there are too many men still going
around with one arm or a wooden leg. The gentlemen in Downing Street,
however, have short memories, and the debt of thanks they owed the
colonies quickly slipped their minds.

For the sake of her bales of cotton, her export lists, and her Indian
possessions, the London government threw all the traditions of the
British world empire overboard and forgot that Old England's problem of
civilization was the conquest of the world for the Anglo-Saxon race. For
the sake of her London merchants, Old England betrayed Greater Britain,
which in the calculations of the London statesmen was only a
geographical conception, while the nations without credulously accepted
the decisions of English politics as the gospel of British power.

England offered the hand of fellowship to the Japanese parvenu simply
because she wanted some one to hold her Russian rival in check.

What the Manchurian campaign cost England can be figured out exactly,
to the pound and shilling. She simply purchased the downfall of Russia
with the loan of a few hundred millions to Japan - an excellent bargain.

But Sir Charles Dilke was beginning to open the people's eyes. "Another
Japanese loan," he cried, "will slip a sharp dagger into the hand of our
greatest commercial rival."

England, however, would not listen, and after the war she only drew the
bonds of the alliance closer for fear of the Japanese ants who were
creeping secretly into India and whispering into the people's ears that
the dominion of a few hundred thousand white men over three hundred
million Indians was based solely on the legend of the superiority of the
white race, a legend which Mukden and Tsushima had completely nullified.

After all, London was at liberty to adopt any policy it liked; but in
this particular case the colonies were expected to bear the entire
costs. And this was the gratitude for the aid given in South Africa for
customs favors extended to English goods at Ottawa, Cape Town, and
Melbourne. Deliberately disregarding the warnings of Sir Wilfred
Laurier, of Seddon, and of Deakin, who clearly recognized the proximity
of the danger, the gentlemen in London insisted upon unrestricted
Japanese immigration into the colonies, although Hawaii furnished an
eloquent example of how quickly coolie immigrants can transform an
Anglo-Saxon colony into a Japanese one.

In South Africa, too, England was sowing trouble with Mongolian miners,
until the Africanders took it upon themselves to rid their country of
this yellow plague.

In consideration of the existing alliance with Japan, Downing Street
demanded of Canada and Australia that the Japanese settlers should be
granted equal privileges with the white man. New Zealand's prime
minister, Seddon, a resolute man whose greatness is not appreciated in
Europe, brought his fist down on the table with a vengeance at the last
Colonial Conference in London and appealed to Old England's conscience
in the face of the yellow danger. All in vain. Although he persisted in
proclaiming New Zealand's right to adhere to her exclusive immigration
laws, it was several years before Australia and Canada awoke to a
realization of the dangers which the influx of Japanese coolies held in
store for them, and before they began to prepare for an energetic
resistance.

Then, in August, 1908, came the American fleet. Great was the rejoicing
in all the Australian coast towns, and the welcome extended to the
American sailors and marines proved to the world that hearts were
beating in unison here in the fear of future catastrophes. Never has the
feeling of the homogeneousness of the white race, of the Anglo-Saxon
race, celebrated such festivals, and when the Australians and Americans
shook hands at parting, the former realized that a brother was leaving
with whom they would one day fight side by side - when the crisis came
and the die was cast which was to decide whether the Pacific should be
ruled by the Anglo-Saxon or the Mongolian race.

And now the danger that had been regarded as likely to make itself felt
decades hence had become a terrible reality in less than no time. The
joint Japanese foe was actually on American soil, the American dominion
over the Philippines and Hawaii had been swept away at the first onset,
and the great brother nation of the United States was struggling for its
existence as a nation and for the future of the white race.

What had become of Great Britain's imperialism, of the All-British idea,
for the sake of which Australia, Canada, and New Zealand had sent their
sons to South Africa? England, whose grand mission it was to protect
the palladium of Anglo-Saxon dominion, stood aloof in this conflict.

The cabinet of St. James had sent a warning to Ottawa not to permit
Canadian volunteers to enter the United States, and similar instructions
had been forwarded to Melbourne and Wellington.

But when England, at Japan's instigation, tried to persuade the European
powers to compel Mexico to prevent American volunteer regiments from
crossing the frontier by concentrating her army opposite El Paso,
Germany frustrated this plan by declaring that the acknowledgment of the
Monroe Doctrine as a political principle in 1903 rendered it impossible
for her to meddle in America's political affairs. In spite of this
failure, the cabinet of St. James continued to play the rôle of
international watchman, and employed the influence secured by _ententes_
in previous years to carefully prevent other European governments from
violating the laws of neutrality towards Japan. It was, of course, the
worry over India which made the English government, generally very
elastic in its views regarding neutrality, all at once so extremely
virtuous.

London felt very uncomfortable when, in July, a Canadian paper published
an alleged conversation between a Japanese and an English diplomatist.
"What will Great Britain do in case of war?" the Japanese is said to
have asked, whereupon he received the ambiguous answer: "Her duty."
Then, with the daring candor assumed by these people when they feel that
they are masters of the situation, the Japanese had declared: "The
London government must bear in mind that the continuation of British
rule in India depends absolutely on the wishes of Japan; that England,
in other words, can support the United States only at the price of an
Indian insurrection."

This conversation, which was published by a curious act of indiscretion,
and of course at once denied in London, nevertheless threw a flood of
light on England's political situation. Japan did not directly ask for
military aid, which, as a matter of fact, she had no right to expect
under the terms of the second Anglo-Japanese agreement, but she did
demand favorable neutrality on the part of Great Britain as the guardian
of the mobile forces of the Anglo-Saxon world-empire; in other words,
Japan insisted that England should betray her own race for the sake of
India.

This political trick of the Japanese government was the yellow man's
revenge for the half promises with which England had driven Japan into
the conflict with Russia, and then; after the outbreak of the war, had
offered only meager messages of sympathy instead of furnishing the
expected military assistance.

England's destiny now hung in the balance; the threads reaching from
Ottawa, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Wellington to Downing Street were
becoming severed, not by a sword-cut, but by England's own policy.

If imperialism should leave no room for a "white" policy, then Australia
and Canada must throw off the burdensome fetters which threatened to
hand over the white man under the Union Jack, bound hand and foot, to
the Mongolians.

It was not easy to come to such a decision, and it was months before it
was finally reached. But one day, towards the end of August, the entire
Australian press advertised for volunteers for the American army.
Thousands responded, and no one asked where the large sums of money came
from with which these men were provided with arms and uniforms.

A vehement Japanese protest, sent by way of London, only elicited the
reply that the Australian government had received no official
notification of the enlistment of volunteers for the United States, and
was therefore not in a position to interfere in any such movement.

A feeling of joyous confidence reigned among the volunteers; they were
going to take the field and fight for their big brother. The racial
feeling, so strong in every white man, had been aroused and could
withstand any Mongolian attack. By October the first steamers of
volunteers left for America. As there were no Japanese or Chinese spies
left, and as the government kept a strict watch on the entire news and
telegraph service, the departure of the steamers remained concealed from
the enemy. As Japanese ships were cruising in the Straits of Magellan,
the route via Suez was chosen, and in due course the steamers arrived
safely at Hampton Roads.

Wherever the conscience of the Anglo-Saxon race was not wrapped in bales
of cotton and in stock quotations, wherever the feeling of Anglo-Saxon
solidarity still inspired the people, there was a stir. And so the
objections of the London government were not heeded in the colonies.

Why should the citizen of Canada, of British Columbia, care for Downing
Street's consideration for India, when he was suffering commercially
from the yellow invasion just as much as the citizen of the United
States, and when he realized that he would surely be the next victim if
the Japanese should be victorious this time?

In this epoch-making hour of the world's history, England had neglected
her bounden duty, because she was indissolubly bound to Japan. By the
same right with which George Washington had once raised the flag, crowds
of men streamed across the frontier from Canada and British Columbia,
and by that same right Ottawa now categorically demanded the removal of
the Japanese ships from the harbor of Esquimault. "They must either
lower their flag and disarm, or they must leave the harbor!" wrote the
Canadian papers, and the Canadian Secretary of State, William Mackenzie,
couched the protest which he sent to London in similar terms. It was
recognized in London that threats were no longer of avail in the face of
this spontaneous enthusiasm. England had staked much and lost.

Canadian and Australian regiments were soon found fighting side by side
with their American brothers. And now at last, with the united good-will
of two continents behind us, there was a fair prospect of the early
realization of the boastful words uttered by the American press at the
beginning of the war: "We'll drive the yellow monkeys into the
Pacific."




_Chapter XXI_

DARK SHADOWS


Autumn had come, and all was serene at the seat of war, except for a few
insignificant skirmishes. Slowly, far more slowly than the impatience of
our people could stand, the new bodies of troops were prepared for
action, and before we could possibly think of again assuming the
offensive, winter was at the door.

In the middle of November, three Japanese orderlies, bearing a white
flag of truce, rode up to our outposts, and a few days later it was
learned from Washington that the enemy had offered to make peace, the
terms of which, however, remained a mystery for a short time, until they
were ultimately published in the capital.

The States of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California were to become
Japanese possessions, but at the same time continue as members of the
Union. They were to have Japanese garrisons and to permit Japanese
immigration; the strength of the garrisons was to be regulated later. In
the various State legislatures and in the municipal administration half
the members were to be Americans and half Japanese. If these terms were
accepted, Japan would relinquish all claim to further immigration of
Japanese to the other States of the Union. The United States was to pay
Japan a war-indemnity of two billion dollars, in installments, exclusive
of the sums previously levied in the Pacific States. San Francisco was
to be Japan's naval port on the Pacific coast, and the navy-yard and
arsenals located there were to pass into the hands of the Japanese. The
Philippines, Hawaii and Guam were to be ceded to Japan.

A universal cry of indignation resounded from the Atlantic to the
Rockies in answer to these humiliating terms of peace. To acknowledge
defeat and keep the enemy in the country, would be sealing the doom of
American honor with a stroke of the pen. No! anything but that! Let us
fight on at any price! At thousands of mass meetings the same cry was
heard: Let us fight on until the last enemy has been driven out of the
country.

But what is public opinion? Nothing more than the naïve feeling of the
masses of yesterday, to-day and perhaps the day after to-morrow. The
terrible sacrifices claimed by the war had not been without effect. Of
course there was no hesitation on the part of the old American citizens
nor of the German, Scandinavian and Irish settlers - they would all
remain faithful to the Star Spangled Banner. But the others, the
thousands and hundreds of thousands of Romanic and Slavonic descent, the
Italian and Russian proletariat, and the scum of the peoples of Asia
Minor, all these elements, who regarded the United States merely as a
promising market for employment and not as a home, were of a different
opinion.

And these elements of the population now demanded the reëstablishment of
opportunities for profitable employment, insisting upon their rights as
naturalized citizens, which had been so readily accorded them. Scarcely
had the first storm of indignation passed, when other public meetings
began to be held - loud, stormy demonstrations, which usually ended in a
grand street row - and to this were added passionate appeals from the
Socialist leaders to accept Japan's terms and conclude peace, in order
that the idle laborer might once more return to work.

And this feeling spread more and more and gradually became a force in
public life and in the press, and unfortunately the agitation was not
entirely without effect on those elements of the population whose
American citizenship was not yet deeply rooted. However indignant the
better elements may have felt at first over this cowardly desertion of
the flag, the continual repetition of such arguments evoked
faint-hearted considerations of the desirability of peace in ever
widening circles.

The fighting of our troops on the plateaus of the Rocky Mountains no
longer formed the chief topic of conversation, but rather the proffered
terms of peace, which were discussed before the bars, on the street, at
meetings, and in the family-circle.

Scarcely a fortnight after the presentation of the Japanese offer of
peace, two bitterly hostile parties confronted each other in the Union:
the one gathered round the country's flag full of determination and
enthusiasm, the other was willing to sacrifice the dollar on the altar
of Buddha.

And other forces were also at work. Enthusiastic preachers arose in
numerous sects and religious denominations, applying the mysterious
revelations of the prophet of Patmos - revelations employed in all ages
for the forging of mystic weapons - to the events of the time. In the dim
light of evening meetings they spoke of the "beast with the seven heads"
to whom was given power "over all kindreds, tongues and nations," and
fanatical men and women came after months of infinite misery and
hopeless woe to look upon the occupant of the White House as the
Antichrist. They conceived it their bounden duty to oppose his will, and
quite gradually these evening prayer-meetings began to influence our
people to such a degree that the Japanese terms were no longer regarded
as insulting, and peace without honor was preferred to a continuance of
the fight to the bitter end. Had God really turned the light of his
countenance from us?

While the enemy was waiting for an answer to his message, the voices at
home became louder and louder in their demands for the conclusion of
peace and the acceptance of the enemy's terms. The sound common-sense
and the buoyant patriotism of those who had their country's interests
close at heart struggled in vain against the selfish doctrine of those
who preferred to vegetate peacefully without one brave effort for
freedom. Our whole past history, replete with acts of bravery and
self-sacrifice, seemed to be disappearing in the horrors of night.

And while the socialist agitators were goading on the starving workmen
everywhere to oppose the continuation of the war, while innumerable
forces were apparently uniting to retire the God of War, who determines
the fate of nations on bloody fields, there remained at least one
possibility of clearing the sultry atmosphere: a battle. But how dared
we continue the fight before our armies were absolutely prepared to
begin the attack, how dared we attempt what would no doubt prove the
decisive battle before we were certain of success? The battle of Hilgard
furnished an eloquent reply. The War Department said no, it said no with
a heavy heart; weeks must pass, weeks must be borne and overcome, before
we could assume the offensive once more.

The Japanese terms of peace were therefore declined. At the seat of war
skirmishes continued to take place, the soldiers freezing in their thin
coats, while restless activity was shown in all the encampments.

* * * * *

Extras were being sold on the streets of Washington, telling of a naval
engagement off the Argentine coast. They were eagerly bought and read,
but no one believed the news, for we had lost hope and faith. Excited
crowds had collected in front of the Army and Navy building in the hope
of obtaining more detailed news; but no one could give any information.
An automobile suddenly drew up in front of the south side of the long
building, before the entrance to the offices of the Committee on Foreign
Affairs.

The Secretary of State, who had not been able to get the President by
'phone at the White House but learned that he was somewhere in the naval
barracks, had decided to look him up. Scarcely had he entered his car,
before he was surrounded by hundreds of people clamoring for
verification of the news from Buenos Ayres. He declared again and again
that he knew nothing more than what he had just read in the extras, but
no one believed him. Several policemen cleared the way in front of the
puffing machine, which at last managed to get clear of the crowd, but a
few blocks further on the chauffeur was again compelled to stop.

An immense mob was pouring out of a side street, where they had just
smashed the windows of the offices of a socialist newspaper, which had
supplemented the Argentine dispatch with spiteful comments under the
headlines: "Another Patriotic Swindle."

The Secretary of State told the chauffeur to take a different route to
the naval barracks, and this order saved his life, for as he bent
forward to speak to the chauffeur, the force of an explosion threw him
against the front seat. Behind him, on the upper edge of the rear seat,
a bomb had exploded with a burst of blinding white light. The secretary,
whose coat was torn by some splinters of glass, stood up and showed
himself to the multitude.

"Murder, murder," yelled the mob, "down with the assassin." And the
secretary saw them seize a degenerate-looking wretch and begin pounding
him with their fists. After a little while he was thrown to the ground,
but was dragged up again and at last, as the chauffeur was guiding his
car backwards through the crowd, the secretary heard a man say:

"Thank God, they've strung him up on a lamp-post!"

The mob had administered quick justice.

Utterly exhausted by this experience, the Secretary of State returned to
his home, where he gave orders that the President should be informed at
once of what had occurred.

The servant had scarcely left the secretary's study when his wife
entered. She threw her arms passionately around his neck and refused to
be quieted. "It's all right, Edith, I haven't been scratched."

"But you'll be killed the next time," she sobbed.

"It makes but little difference, Edith, whether I die here on the
pavement or out yonder on the battle-field: we must all die at our posts
if need be. Death may come to us any day here as well as there, but,"
and freeing himself from his wife's embrace, he walked to his desk and
pointed to a picture of Abraham Lincoln hanging over it, saying, "if I
fall as that man fell, there are hundreds who are ready to step into my
shoes without the slightest fuss and with the same solemn sense of
duty."

A servant entered and announced that the British Ambassador asked to be
received by the secretary. "One minute," was the answer, "ask His
Excellency to wait one minute."

The sound of many voices could be heard outside. The secretary walked to
the window and looked out.

"Look," he said to his wife, "there are some people at least who are
glad that the bomb failed to accomplish its purpose." His appearance at
the window was a signal for loud cheers from the people on the street.
Holding the hand of his faithful wife in his own, he said: "Edith, I
know we are on the right road. We can read our destiny only in the stars
on our banner. There is only one future for the United States, only one,
that beneath the Stars and Stripes, and not a single star must be
missing - neither that of Washington, nor that of Oregon, nor that of
California. We had a hard fight to establish our independence, and the
inheritance of our fathers we must ever cherish as sacred and
inviolable. The yellow men have won their place in the world by an
inexorable sense of national duty, and we can conquer them only if we
employ the same weapons. I know what we have at stake in this war, and I
am quite ready to answer to myself and to our people for each life lost
on the field of battle. I am only one of many, and if I fall, it will be
in the knowledge that I have done my duty. Let the cowardly mob step
over my corpse, it won't matter to me nor to my successor if he will
only hold our drooping flag with a firm hand. The favor of the people is
here to-day and gone to-morrow, and we must not be led astray by it. The
blind creatures who inspired that miserable wretch to hurl the bomb
regard us, the bearers of responsible posts, with the same feelings as
the lions do their tamer when he enters the cage. If he comes out alive,
well and good; if he is torn to pieces it makes no difference, for
there'll be some one else to take his place the next day. It is my duty
to fight against desertion in our own ranks and to shield American
citizenship against the foreign elements gathered here who have no
fatherland, and to whom the Stars and Stripes have no deeper meaning
than a piece of cloth; that is the duty, in the performance of which I
shall live or die."


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Online LibraryFerdinand Heinrich GrautoffBanzai! by Parabellum → online text (page 21 of 23)