Copyright
Price Collier.

The West in the East from an American point of view online

. (page 1 of 29)
Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 1 of 29)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^




THE WEST IN THE EAST

FROM AN AMERICAN POINT OF VIEW



THE WEST IN THE EAST

FROM

AN AMERICAN POINT OF VIEW



BY

PRICE COLLIER



DUCKWORTH & CO.
LONDON : : : : 1911



Copyright, 191 1, by Charles Scribner's Sons, for the
United States of America



Printed by the Scribner Press
New York. U. S. A.



Co
MY WIFE, KATHARINE

TO WHOSE SOUND CRITICISM AND KINDLY FEELING A

RECENT VOLUME OWES THE QUALITIES FOR

WHICH IT WAS CHIEFLY COMMENDED



INTRODUCTION

Much ridicule is dealt out to the author who
writes of a people, and a country, which he has
visited for only a short time. On the other
hand, it is the universal and sound opinion that
the history of an individual, or of a nation, can
only be written impartially by one who stands
apart, and at a distance, and whose impressions
and opinions are not smothered by details or
prejudices.

"My wanderings in the East have been spread
over ten years, but what one gains in insight
during a long stay one loses in the power of con-
veying. The most illuminating books on India
have been written by people who pass through
seeing everything with a fresh eye," writes Ed-
mund Candler; and what he writes of India
might well be supported by the evidence of such
writings as those of Ford, De Amicis, Daw^son,
Hammerton, and others.

vii



vili INTRODUCTION

This is not by way of being a defence of my
own audacity in this and other volumes, but
an explanation.

I imagine that a writer who knew the Rev.
Mr. Skeat's dictionary by heart would cease to
write, and die of verbal suffocation. He would
know so much of words, that he would deem
them too dangerous to handle. A little knowl-
edge may be a dangerous thing, but too much
knowledge is often exile from activity. They
were right in the Garden of Eden.

A year's travel may mean many years of pre-
liminary study, steadied and corrected by ob-
servation. I permit myself to say as much for
the following pages.

I regret that the list of the names of those
who, by their friendliness and hospitality, have
made even these slight sketches in the East
either possible or profitable is too long to give.
I might be accused, too, of gilding the frame of
my picture over much. Edward Fitzgerald was
much bored one evening in the smoking-room
of a certain house in the country by the familiar
talk about people of title. He said good-night
and left the room. A few minutes later he put
his head in at the door, holding his candle in his



INTRODUCTION ix

hand, and said in a solemn voice: "I knew a
lord once, but he is dead now!" I should be
sorry to offer such another opportunity at my
study door.

Fortunately, those who gave me letters, and
those who honored them, and many hosts be-
sides, are not of a class who look to the mention
of their names for the assurance of my feeling
of gratitude and indebtedness. The book, such
as it is, is theirs, and with it go my apologies to
them for its un worthiness.



CONTENTS

PAGE

I. On the Way to the East . . 1

II. The Gateway to India ... 46

III. The Great Mughal .... 92

IV. From Mughal to Briton . . 135
V. Religion and Caste in India . 192

VI. His Highness the Maharaja . 240

VII. BuNiAвАФ Pani . 288

VIII. A Visitor's Diary 321

IX. John Chinaman and Others . 365

X. Japan 409

XI. Things Japanese, Korean, and

Manchurian 463

Conclusion 518



THE WEST IN THE EAST

I

ON THE WAY TO THE EAST

IT was less than a century ago that the sar-
castic question, "Who reads an American
book ?" was posed in the Edinburgh Review.
The Review was young, light-hearted, and care-
less of the feelings of others in those days. When
it was about to be issued, Sydney Smith sug-
gested as an appropriate motto the line from
Virgil: Tenui Musam meditaviur avena, trans-
lating it: "We cultivate literature on a little
oatmeal!"

Nor Sydney Smith, nor any other Englishman
at that time, dreamed that well within the cen-
tury two books at any rate, by American au-
thors, dealing directly with the British Empire,
would be given a prominent place in the library
of every serious-minded Englishman. Captain
Mahan, of the United States Navy, and Mr.
Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard Univer-
sity, have written volumes that no Englishman
cares to neglect.

1



2 THE WEST IN THE EAST

What was playful condescension when the
question, *'Who reads an American book?" was
asked, has become a criticism of English patriot-
ism to-day, for no Englishman may pass by these
two books when he studies his own empire.

This marks a great change, but it is a change
that is often misunderstood. These books were
not written to instruct, or to counsel, the Eng-
lishman about his own affairs, but to serve as
commentaries for Americans, in the study of
their own internal and external affairs. There
is no suggestion of the smallest labial lapse in
the grandmotherly method with eggs, on the
contrary, it is a study of the old method, not a
hint that there exists a better of which we are
the inventors.

This newly awakened interest in the affairs of
Great Britain is not an attempt on the part of
the American to patronize the English. It is the
direct result of our colossal wealth, of our new
territorial responsibilities, and of our enforced in-
terest in the policies, affairs, failures, and suc-
cesses of the great empire. We can no longer
avoid this concern in the empire's affairs if we
would. It is not an impertinent nor an idle curi-
osity and criticism, it is a new burden.

It is no longer a question of whether or no it
is an impertinence for an American to deal with



ON THE WAY TO THE EAST 3

the British Empire; let me be frank, since I have
been guihy, and explain that I, at least, consider
it a necessity. It is our business, nowadays, to
know as much of the internal and external con-
ditions of the British Empire as possible, and to
study these conditions from an American point
of view for our own benefit, even if for no other
reason. Next to our own affairs, the affairs of
Great Britain are of most importance to us.

Should Great Britain lose India, lose the Suez
Canal, lose the supremacy of the sea, become an-
other Venice, Spain, Holland, or Denmark, the
one hundred million inhabitants of the United
States would find themselves with new and far
heavier burdens. We are no longer troubling
ourselves as to whether an i^merican book will
be read, since it has become a patriotic duty for
the American who is blessed with the opportu-
nity, to study the social, moral, and economical
conditions of the very people who, less than a
century ago, good-naturedly laughed out the
question: "Who reads an American book.^"
Times have changed; we have changed.

An intelligent public opinion about foreign
affairs needs fostering in America, for the time
is not far distant when America will need the
backing of knowledge, experience, and of the
travelled information of her wisest men, to meet



4 THE WEST IN THE EAST

the problems that are even now preparing for
her.

As an example, I might add, if I were not the
friend and admirer of both Mr. President Taft
and Mr. Knox, that uninformed diplomacy has
"dished" us in the East. The suggestion com-
ing from Washington, that the six great powers
should control together the railway situation in
northern and southern Manchuria, was received
coldly in St. Petersburg and in Tokio, and with
amused condescension in London, Paris, and
Berlin. I was in the East at the time, and at
more than one ambassadorial table it was not
easy to explain our motives. It is the sane and
the fair solution of a ticklish problem if we are
to have an open door in China, but as diplomacy,
as a means to an end, it w^as a lamentable failure.
It drove Russia and Japan together, and on the
fourth of July, 1910, an agreement was signed
between them, which provides for "friendly co-
operation with a view to the improvement of their
respective railway lines in Manchuria and the
perfecting of the connecting services of the said
lines, and to abstain from all competition preju-
dicial to the realization of this object."

In undiplomatic language this means hands
off in Manchuria, a sign to other powers to keep
off the grass.



ON THE WAY TO THE EAST 5

The Japanese are building at great cost a rail-
way bridge across the Yalu River, and a broad-
gauge railway from thence to Mukden. The
Russians control the Trans-Siberian Railway,
with a branch line from Harbin to ^Mukden,
which has thus far been operated at a loss.

This great valley, stretching up from the Gulf
of Pechili and the Gulf of Liao-tung for hundreds
of miles, only needs improved agricultural ma-
chinery and cheap labor, which is at hand, to
develop into a grain-growing territory equal to
the feeding of all Japan.

If ]Mr. Knox had been with me on my tortuous
and tiresome journey through this fair land, he
would not have dreamed of suggesting that Japan
and Russia should share these Chinese spoils
with other countries, or admit a participating
influence in a land watered by their blood, and
into which they were pouring money.

A suggestion to us from France and Russia on
the fourth of July, 1776, that they should share
in our hardly won opportunity, would have been
considered by us as fantastical as was the pro-
posal of Mr. Knox by Russia and Japan.

We have by this agreement between Russia
and Japan not only closed the door on ourselves,
but we have put England in a difficult position.
We have done even more than that. We have



6 THE WEST IN THE EAST

made it still easier tor Japan to gobble Korea/
though she is pledged not to do so, and to turn
her attention to the consolidation of her recent
conquests and to the Pacific. Japan need no
longer be uneasy in the East, and both Russia
and Japan may now turn their eyes to matters
of more serious import to them. Russia becomes
free again to study the situation in India and the
Persian Gulf; and Japan may become less suave
in contemplating the exclusion of her citizens
from Australia, the Philippines, San Francisco,
and Vancouver.

As a diplomatic move this affair was as ill-con-
sidered and as embarrassing in its consequences
as can well be imagined. If Mr. Knox had been
in the employ of the Japanese government he
could not have aided them more successfully.

Our government was probably not kept in
touch with the situation in the East. Our de-
plorable system of choosing men to act as our
diplomatic and sensitive antennae abroad, be-
cause they have been successful in the manip-
ulation of ward, city, or state voters at home,
will ere long, and fortunately, bankrupt itself.
Whether the reward-seeking politician likes it or

' Ttiis was written before the recent annexation of Korea by the
Japanese. When I was in Tokio and in Seoul, I was told solemnly,
by officials of high standing, that there was no intention of annex-
ins Korea.



ON THE WAY TO THE EAST 7

not, we must soon begin to appoint men who are
travellers, linguists, and more or less socially ac-
complished, if we are to hold our own, or even to
know w^hat is going on in Europe and in the East.

Such commercial, industrial, and financial dis-
turbances as are now our lot in America, are due
to some extent to the fact that our productive
powers along many lines are now greater than
the demands of home consumption. Our agents
abroad, whether ambassadors, ministers, or con-
suls, have the new burden of blazing the way for
an increase of our foreign trade. The best men
that we can get for such posts will find compet-
itors from Germany, Belgium, England, France,
and Japan, well worthy of their steel.

I have not only spent a year in the Far East,
but I have also been for a short visit to South
America. I cannot say too much to my fellow-
countrymen of the successful labors of the new
type of men who are gradually, but all too slowly,
being tempted into our diplomatic and civil ser-
vice. I have seen many of them now all over
the w^orld, men who are making this work their
profession, men who speak and write the lan-
guage of the country they are sent to, and men
who can speak and write their own, men who
represent the United States worthily. I have
also seen the less worthy and seen at close



8 THE WIEST IN THE EAST

quarters the harm they do. I regret that I must
forbear to mention names, but if the people of
the United States knew what I know of the mere
dollar and cents gained for them, to mention
nothing else, by the better-class men of our new
civil service, and by the men representing us
these days in the great capitals, they would wreck
the reputation of any man, or any party, which
attempted to revert to the spoils system in the
appointment of our civil servants abroad. It
should be considered a misdemeanor to appoint
men to these posts in payment of services ren-
dered to persons or parties at home. I take it
that the accomplished and scholarly Mr. Knox
knows this already, and he could spare his fellow-
countrymen unnecessary humiliation if he would
always act upon it.

At the beginning of the last century the West
Indies were responsible for one-fourth of all
British commerce. The sugar of the West Ind-
ian Islands, and the colonies of Spain, were in
those days what the valleys of Manchuria and
the Eastern question are to-day. Great Britain
was our rival at our own doors. To-day she has
practically withdrawn her fleet from the Carib-
bean Sea.

It is acknowledged by everybody except per-
haps Germany, that the Monroe doctrine is not



ON THE WAY TO THE EAST 9

a theory, but a fact, with a fleet behind it. We
have undertaken to do justice, to keep the peace,
and to safeguard property in South America,
largely through the good will of the various
states there. We do this, for their benefit and
for our own, lest any nation should make it an
excuse for the use of force in that region, that
order is not preserved there, and that therefore
their citizens and their property need protec-
tion. This method of opening the door to a for-
eign military power has been so successful along
these same lines elsewhere, that we cannot afford
to give the smallest excuse for such an argument.
That is the pith of the Monroe doctrine, and
what foreign nation has not adopted it, and
fought for it in some part of the world ? The
actual words of President Monroe were: "As a
principle in which the rights and interest of the
United States are involved . . . the American
continents . . . are henceforth not to be con-
sidered as subject for future colonization by any
European power. . . . W'e owe it, therefore, to
candor and to the amicable relations existing be-
tween the United States and those powers to de-
clare that we should consider any attempt on
their part to extend their system to any portion
of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace
and safety."



10 THE WEST IN THE EAST

Americans must accept the responsibilities of
the new situation whether they like them or not.
They may not shirk the trust imposed upon
them, whether for the present or for posterity.
By our control in Cuba and Porto Rico, by the
building of the canal, by the assertion that the
whole of the South American continent is more
or less within our sphere of influence, and by the
taking over of the Philippines, we have made
ourselves, to some extent, responsible for what
goes on in the East. The Washington dictum
of "no entangling alliances" is a thing of the
past. We cannot play the game single-handed.
We must have a partner or partners, and we
must look on at the game of Eastern politics
and policies, not only with interest, but with a
keen desire to know which partner to choose
when the time of choosing comes. Above, all we
should have diplomatic agents in the East com-
petent to advise us in such matters.

One of the best-informed students of Asian
questions, Sir William Hunter, wrote, just be-
fore his death : "I hail the advent of the United
States in the East as a new power for good, not
alone for the island races that come under their
care, but also in that great settlement of European
spheres of influence in Asia, which, if we could
see aright, forms the world problem of our day."



ON THE WAY TO THE EAST 11

The inherited prejudices and quarrels of for-
eign-born, or of parent-foreign-born Americans,
must be swept up in the dust-pan of provin-
cial national housewifery and thrown away, that
America as a whole may profit. No man is
truly naturalized as an American who persists in
grafting his particular Old World enmities or
prejudices upon his new citizenship. Now that
we are taking part in the world game, no faction
in the body politic ought to be permitted to im-
pede our progress, to hamper our strength, or to
confuse our judgment.

Let Irishmen send funds to back a political
party in Great Britain; let Germans make pres-
ents to the German emperor; let Italians send
thousands in savings back to Italy ; let Poles hate
both Czar and Kaiser; but let none of these en-
mities have the slightest bearing upon our foreign
relations or our foreign alliances. In them the
Irish must cease to be Irish, the Germans to be
Germans, the Italians to be Italians, and the
Poles to be Poles, and all must recognize their
fundamental citizenship, which is American.
America, with imperial tasks on her hands, can
recognize no tribes within her own borders,
among her own citizens.

It requires no long disquisition, and no argu-
ments more convincing than the mere state-



12 THE WEST IN THE EAST

ment of the facts, to show America's changed
position as regards the European and the East-
ern powers. Manihi is forty-eight hours' jour-
ney from Hongkong, Japan's island of Formosa
is fifteen hours steaming from our island of
Luzon, and we have large sums invested in
Eastern trade, in Japanese bonds, and we are
preparing to assist in the building and in the con-
trol of a railway which will parallel a portion of
Russia's Trans-Siberian and Japan's Southern
Manchurian railways. Seventy-five miles from
Tokio, and at the extreme western point of
Japan, is a wireless telegraphy station at Choslii.
The steamer Korea when five hundred miles off
Hawaii communicated with Choshi, and now in
Japan they are planning to connect Choshi with
Hawaii by wireless, by increasing the motor
power at Choshi, which is now only fifty watts.
This makes Japan indeed very much our neigh-
bor. It may be added that Hawaii has, even
now, three Japanese to one American, and Peru
has a numerous colony of Japanese. Our great
wealth, our energy, and our policy of an open
door in China, force us to a participation in im-
perial affairs, though there are those in America
who, through geographical ignorance, or on ac-
count of parochial notions as to international
amenities, imagine that these enterprises can be



ON THE Wx\Y TO THE EAST 13

undertaken without ample provisions for a force
on sea and land to back up these pretensions.

The people of Oriental descent, and of
Oriental customs of life, number between
800,000,000 and 900,000,000, or more than
half the total population of the world. India
and China alone furnish, India 300,000,000,
and China 400,000,000, of this total popula-
tion. Their imports are estimated at some
$^2,000,000,000 a year. The chief importers
are:

India $450,000,000

China 300,000,000

Japan 250,000,000

Hongkong 200,000,000

Straits Settlements 200,000,000

East Indian Islands 150,000,000

About one-third of this trade is between them-
selves, while roughly $1,400,000,000 comes chiefly
from Europe and the United States. Sad to re-
late, the American share is only about six per
cent, practically all the remaining ninety-four
per cent being supplied by Europe.

The chief imports of the Orient are cotton
goods to the value of $400,000,000, manufact-
ures of iron and steel, meat and dairy products,
medicine, drugs, and dyes, tobacco, leather, ag-
ricultural implements, vehicles for transporta-



14 THE WEST IN THE EAST

lion, and articles of household and domestic
use. The most important item is cotton goods,
of which Europe supplies ninety-seven per cent,
though it buys its raw material from the chief
cotton-producer of the world, the United States.

It is not our intention to neglect this commer-
cial opportunity. We have reminded both Eu-
rope and the East officially, on several occasions
of late, that we must be considered as having a
stake in the East, and that our claims and opin-
ions must be respected. In certain quarters at
home our assertion of claims and our assump-
tion of responsibilities in the East are looked
upon with dislike and with distrust. After many
months of travel and study in Europe and in the
East, an American looks upon this expansion of
interest and responsibility, not only with com-
placency, but with the feeling that it is unavoid-
able. Even if we were not in control in the West
Indies, and in the Philippine Islands, our posi-
tion as guardians of the Panama Canal, and
as sponsors for the safety from aggression of the
South American republics, and our position on
the Pacific Ocean, force us to play a part in the
East.

A nation, like an individual, must grow or die.
It is true that our first concern is with matters
at home. How a man will run, how he will



ON THE WAY TO THE EAST 15

think, even, depends not a little upon the con-
dition of his heart. Our progress and prowess
in the East depend, as is the case with England,
upon our moral fibre at home.

There are two respectable and useful influ-
ences, of far-reaching importance in these days,
both in England and America, falling under the
general head of Social Reform, which are not
without portents and promises of evil in this
matter. One is a senseless and undiscriminat-
ing charity, whether backed by individuals or
officially by the state; and the other is a weak-
ening of the willingness to accept responsibility,
to take charge, to govern, to work out along
big lines the national destiny, the latter being in
some sort a consequence of the former. The
Little Englanders, and those who oppose the
building of the canal, and a ship subsidy and a
powerful navy, are types of those who hang
back in England and in America. It is a symp-
tom of the weakening of the very finest char-
acteristics of the race.

The reader of the most elementary sketch of uni-
versal history can tell of the cessation of growth,
and then of the decay, of Bagdad, of Venice, of
Bruges, of Spain, Portugal, and Holland. France
is at the cross-roads now. Let the duties and re-
sponsibilities, and the wealth and its problems,



16 THE WEST IN THE EAST

come, problems by no means easy of solution,
and the individual and the nation which stands
up to them lives, or, shirking them for ease and
safety, dies! In spite of all that is preached by
the uninformed provinciality of the day, even by
respectable men such as Carnegie, a fierce fighter
for his own hand in other days, nothing is more
disastrous to civilization than purposeless Peace.
War against environment is the essential con-
dition of all life, whether animal, vegetable, indi-
vidual, or national. The cow and the lap-dog
are fruits of peace, useful and ornamental if you
like, but not sufficient, not ideal. The cow is
sacred in India, the lap-dog an idol in certain
houses, but they are not a protection worth con-
sidering.

"La guerre," wrote von Moltke, *'est une in-
stitution de Dieu. En elle les plus nobles vertus
trouvent leur epanouissement. Sans la guerre le
monde se perdrait dans le materialisme." Joseph
de Maistre writes: "Lorsque I'ame humaine a
perdu son ressort par la mollesse, I'incredulite,
et les vices gangreneux qui sont I'exces de la
civilisation, elle ne pent etre retrempee que dans
le sang." I am not sure that both history and
experience do not prove him to be right. I re-
peat, I am not sure, but I am by no means an
advocate of war for war's sake, and I am con-



ON THE WAY TO THE EAST 17

vinced that defencelessness in face of the armed
forces all about us is practically an invitation to
war.

He travels with eyes and ears sealed, who does
not become convinced that this century is not
concerned, as were the sixteenth and seventeenth
with religious struggles, as was the eighteenth
with the rights of man, as was the nineteenth
with questions of nationality. The twentieth
century even now is characterized by a strug-
gle for existence in the field of commerce and
industry. Peripatetic philosophers in caps and
blouses, or in white chokers, or deputations
of journalists, merchants, and members of Par-



Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 1 of 29)