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liament, go and come, in the hope of deciding
whether there is a German peril, or a Japanese
peril. What could be more hopeless ? The rea-
son they are at sea is the simple one, that the
German peril and the Japanese peril are just as
much a fact as the law of gravitation.

The man who jumps out of a window falls to
the ground. No man who lives in the three di-
mensions of space, with which we are familiar,
can escape that law. No man who lives in Eng-
land and America can escape the vital necessity of
Germany and Japan to expand or to go to the wall.

The trouble has been and is, that we are
looking at the question as one of malice, of di-


plomacy, of choice. It is nothing of the kind.
There is no blame, no right or wrong in the
matter. It is life or death. For Great Britain
and the United States, two nations already enor-
mously rich, it is simply a question of more
wealth. For Germany, for all Europe indeed,
and for Japan, it is a matter of life and death.

The phrase "Yellow peril," "German peril,"
"Japanese peril," is unfortunate, for the word
"peril" implies something terrible and immi-
nent. The situation exists, but, as I hope to
show later on in these pages, neither the "Yel-
low peril" nor the "Japanese peril" is imminent
nor of war-threatening danger to us in America,
unless we provoke it by exaggerated sentimen-
tality. I use the phrase because it is a familiar
one, but I disassociate myself from any advocacy
of nervous and self-conscious talk or action.

To talk of friendly Japan, or of friendly Ger-
many, however, is childish. No commercial rival
armed to the teeth is friendly.

Who knew in 1860 that Germany was soon to
be the dominant power in Europe ? Who knew
that she would defeat Austria in 1866 ? Who
dreamed in 1868 that in two years she would
crown her emperor at Versailles ? \Nho dreamed
in 1888 that she was to be Great Britain's rival
on the sea ? Certainly no Englishman cried


"\Yolf" at the appropriate time. What Eng-
lishman to-day explains why Germany smashed
Denmark, humiliated Austria, ruined France,
defies England on the sea, squeezes Holland
commercially, and backs Austria in tearing up
a treaty in order to make a grab in the Bal-
kans ? What childish nonsense to call this cry-
ing "Wolf"! It is an insult to that great power
not to adiliit that it is a very fine, full-grown
wolf, and just now very much on the prowl.
That is the fundamental factor to be remem-
bered in any discussion of this much-discussed
question. It is not to be wondered at that the
nations whose lives are at stake consider the
matter more seriously than nations which have
only pounds or dollars at stake.

Germany has a territory smaller than the State
of Texas, and a population of over 60,000,000,
and Germany can no longer feed herself. She
can feed herself for about two hundred and fifty
days of the year. \Miat about the other one
hundred and fifteen days ? That is the German
peril, and that, on a smaller scale, is the Japanese
peril, and to discuss the question as to whether
it exists or not, is mere beating the air. It is
not in the least an ethical problem, it is German
policy, it is Japanese policy, and in both cases
forced upon them, and war is sometimes an in-


strument of policy. You can no more wall in a
nation, cramp it, confine it, threaten it with star-
vation, without a protest and a struggle, than
you can do the same to an individual. Whether
a man will fight for his life or not is not a ques-
tion, it is a fact. Japan has already given the
lie to our advocates of peace at any price in this
coun-try by annexing Korea and occupying
Manchuria by force and in spite of our treaty
with Korea, one article of which reads: "If
other Powers deal unjustly with either govern-
ment, the one will exert its good offices, on be-
ing informed of the case, to bring about an
amicable arrangement, thus showing its friendly

The reader will understand the situation bet-
ter with these comparisons at hand. The United
States has a population of about 28 persons per
square mile, Japan has a population of 317 to
the square mile, while Europe, with an area in
square miles not much larger than the United
States, has a population of 390,000,000, or a
density of 101 to the square mile. Great Britain
has a smaller area than Colorado and a density
of 470, while England alone has a density of 605.
Belgium is less than one and a half times as large
as Massachusetts, and has a density of 616.
Canada has a density of only 1.75. Italy is not


much larger than Nevada, but Nevada has less
than one person to the square mile, and Italy 293.
Rhode Island, our most densely populated State,
has a population of 407 to the square mile; next
comes Massachusetts with 348.

Neither Germany nor Japan has created or
fostered this situation. The mischief and the
malice begin when they are accused of what
they cannot help. But to say the situation does
not exist is ignorant, silly, or sentimental, de-
pending upon the person who speaks. Nor am
I putting words into the mouth of Germany
or Japan when I say that both Germany and
Japan must find outlets for their surplus popu-
lation; I am only quoting such authorities as the
Prime Minister of Japan, and the distinguished
German historian Professor Hans Delbriick.

The interesting problem to put to oneself is,
how is the hydra-headed democracy in England
and America, easy-going and money-making, to
face Germany, governed by its wise men, and
Japan, now as much as a century ago, governed
by a group of feudal nobles, with the mikado,
who is not merely obeyed but worshipped by
the great mass of the Japanese, at their back.

I made bold, not long ago, to publish a serious
study of the internal and domestic situation in
England; and the following pages attempt to


deal with the external and imperial relations of
Great Britain, because as Americans we are
vitally interested to know how soon, and to what
extent, we are to be involved in imperial mat-
ters in an even graver measure than now.

Great Britain, with its 11,500,000 square miles
of territory to protect, with its 400,000,000 of
people to govern, must necessarily invite the
scrutiny of Americans interested in the welfare
of their own country. One need hardly pay
heed to those foolish or sensitive persons who
look upon such scrutiny as an impertinence.

In 1907 the official figures show that the
United Kingdom purchased $900,000,000 of
food, drink, and tobacco in foreign countries;
$850,000,000 of raw materials and partly manu-
factured articles; $650,000,000 of manufactured
articles. Great Britain, with its population of
some 45,000,000 odd, is supporting foreign in-
dustries, and enriching foreign nations, ourselves
among the number, to the extent of $2,400,-
000,000 annually. Her self-governing colonies
bought foreign goods to the amount of $500,000,-
000, and her crown colonies to the amount of
$125,000,000. Here is a customer who buys
over $3,000,000,000 worth of goods annually,
and yet cannot find sufficient employment at
home for her own people, who are emigrating


to other countries. Here is a customer who per-
sists in fooling himself with the belief that he is a
free trader, when his net receipts from customs
are $1,402,500,000 a year, and his net receipts
from excise are $1,514,000,000, or a total taxation
of food and drink amounting to $2,916,500,000.
In addition to this he has the highest, the most
costly, and the most pernicious tariff in the world
in his trades-unions, which put a tax on every
laborer's time and every laborer's hand and arm.
Men are only allowed to work so many hours, and
to produce so much. This is the tariff which is
ruining England slowly but surely. America is
really a free-trade country as compared with my
delightfully dull friend John Bull, who goes to
the extreme length of taxing time and taxing
energy, thus adding enormously to the cost price
of everything he sells, and thus building a tariff
wall against his own workmen in their attempts
to compete with the foreigner. It is the most
cruel of all forms of taxation.

British railways also add to this burdensome
tariff by declining to quote, as do German and
American railways, low rates for goods destined
for export. There is much criticism of Ameri-
can railway finance, but w hat should we think of
such a situation as the following.^ A German
manufacturer can send goods from Hamburg


to Birmingham via London at a much less rate
than a London manufacturer can send goods di-
rect to Birmingham. Goods can be deUvered
in Birmingham from New York at a less price
than from Liverpool. The British manufact-
urer pays from twenty to thirty per cent higher
freight rates on goods sent to West Africa, South
Africa, Australia, and in many cases New Zea-
land, than do German or American shippers.
At any rate, this was the case as late as April,
1909. It is worth noting in this connection that
the railway rates in the United States are much
lower than anywhere else in the world. The
average railway rate per ton per mile in this
country in 1909, was 7.63 mills; and the rates on
the roads having great density of traffic, or
handling mainly cheap and bulky commodities,
are even lower. The average rate per ton per
mile on all traffic of the Pennsylvania Railroad
is 6.3 mills; of the Illinois Central, 5.8 mills;
of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, 5.27
mills; and of the Chesapeake and Ohio, 4.33
mills ; while the average rate per ton per mile on
the railways of France is 14 mills; and on those
of Germany, 13 mills.

The cost per mile of American railways av-
erages $54,421; of the railways of the United
Kingdom, $273,438; of the German Empire,


$102,435; of France, $133,871; of Belgium,
$162,236; and the present capitalization of Amer-
ican railroads on a mileage basis is shown to be,
by the most recent investigations of the Inter-
state Commerce Commission, only slightly more
to-day than it was twenty or thirty years ago/

As I write, in June, 1910, the Chancellor of
the Exchequer is presenting his year's budget
in the House of Commons, and I have just
heard that House cheering the statement that
Great Britain's next year's expenses will amount
to nearly $1,000,000,000, or X198,000,000; that
between 1899 and 1909 the expenditure on the
navy increased from $120,000,000 to $200,000,-
000; on the army from $100,000,000 to $140,-
000,000; on the civil service from $185,000,000
to the enormous sum of $330,000,000, or an in-
crease of seventy-eight per cent. Great Britain's
expenditures on army, navy, civil service, pau-
pers, old-age pensioners, the insane, the feeble-
minded, are a tribute to her wealth indeed.

No other country could drive her workingmen
to emigrate, could tax her productive power by
trades-unions regulations, see her birth-rate di-
minishing, and cheer her Chancellor of the Ex-

' " Waterways — Their Limitations and Possibilities." An address
before the National Rivers and Harbors Congress of the United
States, 1910, by Frederic A. Delano. " Cost, Capitalization and
Estimated Value of American Railways," by Slason Thompaon,


chequer as he cracks jokes on the subject of these
figures. Nothing is put back into the sinking
fund, nothing is taken off the income tax, ex-
penditure has almost exactly doubled between
1890 and 1910, and the national debt stands at
$3,800,000,000, or $86 per head of the popula-
tion. I may add that the gross national debt
of the United States in the same year stood at
$2,735,815,000, or $32 per head of the popula-
tion; the national debt of Germany at $1,078,-
375,000, or $16.50 per head of the population;
the national debt of Japan at $1,162,074,850, or
$25 per head of the population; the colossal
national debt of France at $6,032,344,000, or
$153 per head of the population.

As an admirer of John Bull, I wish to call
attention to the good health and good spirits,
to the cheery, damn-the-consequences optimism,
which this situation illustrates.

Other countries are being taxed; we in the
United States are being taxed, but we are bor-
rowing on our motor-cars, our aeroplanes, our
pianos, ®ur jewelry, our luxuries, in short. To
phrase it differently, and perhaps to some people
more cogently, we are merely pawning our easily-
done-without toys; but Great Britain, with her
income tax at war figures, and her wine and
spirits tax larger than ever, is pawning John


Bull's coat and shoes! In the United States we
have not even scratched the surface of our tax-
able possibilities, while in Great Britain it looks
as if Mrs. Bull's shawl will have to go next, and
they have dreary weather for coatless men and
shawlless women in Great Britain.

To the American who has heard overmuch of
the extravagance of America and of Americans
of late years, it is a relief to hear Great Britain's
present Chancellor of the Exchequer expounding
jauntily an expenditure of a thousand million
dollars. He and his followers evidently regard
thrift as a dreary virtue.

If an American returns from nearly a year's
journey through the Far East, where Germany,
Russia, Japan, China, India, Egypt, and Amer-
ica are all keenly interested in this condition of
the British Empire, and finds the Imperial Parlia-
ment apparently oblivious of these matters, but
engrossed in playing a game on the steps of the
throne, with a handful of Irishmen who represent
four million people only, he may be pardoned
for thinking it is business to tell his countrymen
what he can of the situation. If your neigh-
bor's house is on fire, it w ould be silly indeed not
to study the way the chimneys were built, dis-
cover if possible how the fire started, and who
was careless or who mischievous. He would be


a sensitive householder indeed if lie considered
such an investigation impertinent. If the Brit-
ish Empire is not on fire, no one will deny that
there is much smoke and smouldering both at
home and in India, in Egypt, in Persia, in South
Africa, and elsewhere.

Oh, we have heard this cry of " Wolf" so often !
reply a certain class of Englishmen. Yes, they
heard it in Spain, in Holland, they heard it in
France shortly before 1870, and heeded it not.
That fable of the cry of "Wolf" has done much
harm, because it is misinterpreted. He who
cries "Wolf" continually may be silly, but what
of him who does not listen when the real wolf
appears ? Better listen every time the cry is
heard than lose all one's sheep.

Colonels Stoppel and Lewal cried "Wolf"
about the French army before 1870, and were
met with the reply from the Minister of War Le
Boeuf: "Nous sommes archipret — jusqu' au
dernier bouton!" and shortly after, Germany
crowned her emperor in Versailles.

There are several hungry wolves about now,
and one can almost see the ironical grin when
they hear those martial heroes, Stead, and Car-
negie, and William Jennings Bryan, telling the
sheep: "Oh, it is only the old cry of Wolf!"
One is tempted at times to agree with Herbert


Spencer that "the ultimate result of shielding
men from the effects of their folly is to fill the
world with fools," but he lacks virility and pa-
triotism who succumbs to that Capuan tempta-
tion. Sir Frederick Maurice writes that of the
one hundred and seventeen wars fought by Eu-
ropean nations, or the United States, against civ-
ilized powers from 1700 to 1870, there are only
ten where hostilities were preceded by a declara-
tion of war.

Three hundred millions of Great Britain's pop-
ulation are in India; let us go there and have a
look at her biggest problem, and at the neighbors
of India in China, Japan, Manchuria, Siberia,
and Russia.

"The true fulcrum of Asiatic dominion seems
to me increasingly to lie in the Empire of Hin-
dustan. The secret of the mastery of the world
is, if they only knew it, in the possession of the
British people." So writes Lord Curzon. When
one has travelled the length of the Mediterranean
Sea, and then across it from IVIarseilles to Port
Said, through the Suez Canal and across the
Arabian Sea to Bombay from Aden, one needs
no convincing and would listen to no arguments
to the contrary that Great Britain, with India,
is the greatest empire the world has seen, but that
Great Britain without India, and the military


and trade route to India, would soon be a negli-
gible quantity, a Spain, or Portugal, or Holland.

To read through a geography is dull business,
but to travel through your geography is enlight-
ening indeed.

The first thing that excites one's curiosity is,
that there seems to be little free trade in this
journey to Bombay. The Peninsular and Ori-
ental Steamship Company practically monopo-
lizes the passenger traffic. I was informed that
there was some arrangement with other com-
panies which left the P. and O. Company a mo-
nopoly. As a consequence of this, British gas-
tronomies have full play.

I have eaten stewed dog with the Sioux Ind-
ians in our Northwest; I have eaten indescrib-
able stuff in Mexico; I have lived for weeks
in the middle of summer on a war-ship off the
coasts of Cuba and Porto Rico on canned food;
I have, I believe, eaten rats in Manchuria; I
have, alas! overeaten in Paris; I have labored
with the stodgy, heavy food of English country
inns, and no harm has resulted; but wdien I
landed from that P. and O. steamer at Bombay
my stomach w^as in tears. My fellow country-
men will find it hard to believe, but it is a fact,
that on that same steamer on her way to some
of the hottest weather in the world, in the Suez


Canal and the Red Sea, there was only one kind
of mineral water to be had, and that only in
pints ! Can pig-headed stupidity go further ?
The linen on my breakfast tray in the morning
was, for the first two mornings, so besmeared
and spotted with egg and coffee stains that I
threatened to go to the captain. Remember,
too, that the fares on these steamers are high,
and that we were travelling as comfortably as
the accommodations of the ship permitted. No
wonder they are losing their trade. But what
business is it of mine ? Why not go by some
other line ? I will be frank, also, in my admira-
tion, and say that when I travel with my women
folk on the water, I am happier to think that
x\mericans or Englishmen are in command.
Both they and I will have a fair chance, and the
American or the English captain will not be
found among the saved if their passengers are
not saved too. I am bound in honor to add
that the agent of this same P. and O. line in Cal-
cutta rendered me every service in his power,
for which I shall never cease to be grateful, when
I sought his good offices to help me in getting an
invalid home. What do food and drink matter,
after all, if one may count upon efficiency and
kindness in the hour of distress and danger ? But
even then, if it is not my business, and perhaps


it is not, to criticise, this is no answer to the
hordes of houseless, hungry men that one sees
any night on the Embankment in London, nor
to the rapidly increasing hundreds of thousands
supported by the state there, nor to the hundreds
of thousands who are emigrating because there
is no work for them. They have a right to ques-
tion the muddling, unenterprising methods of
those in control, whose sole gauge of food, drink,
and dirt is a thirteen per cent dividend.

Even as we leave the quay at Marseilles the
three races — the English, the Indian, and the
French — are exploiting themselves. The Ind-
ians, three of them doing one man's work, and
physically awkward, are loading and unloading
under the governing finger of a silent English
officer. Half a dozen French girls between the
ages of seven and twelve are dancing the can-can^
as though they w^ere in the Jardin de Paris, and
soliciting the pennies of the passengers.

A distinguished French physician has ex-
plained the attitude of France toward con-
scription and race suicide by saying that France
is hundreds of years in advance of the rest of the
world in civilization, and that the unruliness and
selfishness and, as I should term it, their ma-
tured frivolity, are marks of a higher civilization.
Some of us call it decadence. In India we are


to see a civilization, old when the French were
in skins. There too ambition is dead, and three
hundred millions are powerless in the hands of
a few Englishmen. Perhaps civilization always
ends by giving up the problem of life as insolu-
ble, and settles down to the studied frivolity of
Paris, or to the calm despair of India.

Our fellow passengers are almost all English,
with here and there a returning Parsi merchant,
or a French, German, or American globe-trotter.
There are also a number of women, some young,
some of an uncertain, twilight age, who are go-
ing out to be married. It was one of the features
of travel all through the East, I found. On al-
most every ship, under the wing of the captain,
one met one or more of these women going out
to marry men whose duties did not permit them
to go in search of their brides. So far as I could
see, the protection of the captain was altogether
unnecessary. If one may judge of the loneliness
of the bachelors in the East by the brides who
go out to marry them, it must be distressing.
There are more than a million more women than
men in England alone; the women outnumber
the men in Scotland also; only in Ireland is
there anything like an equality of numbers.
Such w^ealth of choice would lead, one would
suppose, to a certain sesthetic discrimination, but


apparently in these matters the East has the ef-
fect of hurrying the white man, though in turn
the East is not hurried by him.

"Now it is not good for the Christian's lieallh to hustle

the Aryan brown,
For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles, and he

weareth the Christian down;
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the

name of the late deceased.
And the epitaph drear: 'A fool lies here who tried to

hnstle the East.'"

So writes Mr. Rudyard KipHng, who easily sur-
passes any man of our breed, in his power of im-
aginative analysis.

Tell me no more of the American twang! It
is distressing, if you please, but having travelled
many days in the atmosphere of the English
voice, I much prefer the rank infidelity of the
American whining twang to the guttural, not to
say catarrhal, sing-song of Anglican vocal con-
formity. Some of the more piercing English
voices may be likened unto diminutive steam-
whistles sufi'ering from bronchitis.

He is a fussy traveller indeed who pays much
attention to such matters as these when he is
sailing through the ^Mediterranean to the land
of the Great Mughal for the first time. These
are mere comments to put away in the card-


catalogue of one's brain for possible future

What an embroidered sea it is! Fringed by
Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Persia, Palestine,
Egypt, Arabia. We see the land of the Phar-
aohs, of Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Alexander,
Caesar, Hannibal, Napoleon. We sail through
the religions, the law, the literature, the art, the
traditions that ruled, and rule, the world.
Here are the Pentateuch, the Psalms, Job, the
Gospels, the Greek drama and comedy, the
Koran, the Epic of Antar, the literature and law
of the Latins and the Italians, and the greatest
of comedies, Don Quixote. If the Avon emp-
tied into this sea, it could claim all the greatest
names in literature. And what a literary gamut
it is from Don Quixote to the thirteenth chapter
of I Corinthians!

We sail past Rome, Athens, Carthage, Alex-
andria, Jerusalem, Mecca, and through that nar-
row blue ribbon of the Suez Canal, which binds
together the greatest empire of them all, the Brit-
ish Empire. It is the sea of all the most poig-
nant associations of the world. No one's mem-
ories are complete without it. Not to know the
Mediterranean and its associations is not to be
educated, is not to be a man of the real world,
is not to know the history of the world, for the


tides of this sea are the pulse-beats of the heart
of history. We Americans are merely ethnologi-

Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 2 of 29)