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and dislike us, and when I write "us" I mean
the whole West. There are, of course, a minute
few who speak and understand a European lan-
guage, and who have travelled, but they are
least of all converted to our ways or our ideals.
They admit our superiority in one respect only:
that we can throw bigger broadsides of lead and
iron; that we can spend more on gunpowder
and dynamite; and that we are better organized,
martially and commercially, than they are. The
Japanese war with Russia has led them to believe
that even this superiority is open to question,
and passing, not permanent.

Of our great divisions of peoples, the Russians
are the most sympathetic to them, the English
the most respected, the Germans most distrusted
(particularly in Japan), the Americans the least
known and considered, in the East.

British rule in India is the greatest blessing


and the most splendid service ever rendered to
one people by a stranger nation. Unrest is not
new in India. Many people seem to think that
there were peace and harmonious interests in
India before the British took control. The
readers of these pages will discover this error.
The continuous unrest of centuries is only now
whipped anew into froth by a subtle use of re-
ligious and racial prejudice, in order to stiffen
the demand of India for the Indians; the real
meaning of which is India policed by the British,
for the benefit of the Brahman hierarchy and
the Babu.

There are no signs to-day that India can of
itself throw off or rid itself from British rule.
That may come, but only through the moral
and political demoralization of the British at
home; and a war which will so engage her
whole strength that she cannot hold India from
a combined attack from the outside, assisted by
the Indians inside. Even that calamity would
only mean India controlled by Russia or Japan,
or by some arrangement between them for a
sphere of influence there. India is no more for
the Indians, than is Korea for the Koreans, for
ages to come.

There is greater danger to the present benev-
olent control of India from London than from


Bengal. If political socialism is to have control,
with its doctrine broadly stated that all success
is per se suspect and personal prowess to be re-
warded with no quarter, then we shall all be
delivered into the hands of the Yellow Peril and
the Brown Peril.

I have dealt at some length upon the situation
and conditons in India, because British predomi-
nance in the East is, after all, our first Eastern
question. Great Britain saved us from our great-
est danger in our war with Spain, by declining
to listen to overtures, made to her by the Euro-
pean powers, to intervene in behalf of Spain.
Our lamentable unreadiness and blundering,
were only saved from disaster by the weakness
of our foe. Had Europe demanded that we
cease firing and submit the matter at issue to an
European court, we would have been as impo-
tent to refuse such an order as was Japan after
her war with China, when all the spoils were
taken from her.

Japan learned her lesson, and in ten years
made herself strong enough on land and sea to
take again, and to keep, the Liao-tung peninsula
and southern Manchuria. For years to come,
even at the breakneck speed she is working
now, the control, settlement, and exploitation of
this new territory will absorb all her energies.


Nothing but some almost unthinkable affront to
her dignity from our unwary national ignorance
can divert her attention to us. She has nothing
to fear from us. She is beating us out in the
race for the Pacific carrying trade, and she will
soon have all the machinery for a similar suprem-
acy in China. I am not a believer in the per-
manent achievements and control of any Eastern
race ; and I find no arguments except of a hypo-
thetical sort to bolster up, much less to prove,
such a thesis; but I am bound to admit that
Japan, whether permanently or not, has become
a factor to be considered in all international
problems of the day.

China is far more puzzling than either India
or Japan. The Chinese are the independent,
virile, and mentally superior race in all the East.
To the Westerner it is inconceivable that power
should not wish to express itself, that ability
should not wish to proclaim itself, that force
should not wish to stamp its will on others. It
is just because the Chinese are the most Ori-
ental of the Orientals, the stanchest believers
in themselves, that this fitness to prevail, and
this inertia, exist side by side.

The East is spiritual, the West secular. The
East still obeys spiritual beliefs, the West obeys
only so far as it is convenient and consistent


with personal independence and comfort. In
the West secular law is above the Church, in
the East spiritual faith is above the law. The
West looks forward to personal consciousness
even after death, as witnessed by our belief in
immortality; the East seeks loss of conscious-
ness, and looks upon reincarnations as punish-
ments. The East abhors impersonal law and
its cold neutrality, and loves personal autocratic
rule. Most of the best things of the West —
honesty, justice, mercy, impartiality and sym-
pathy — the East dislikes, and would rather be

The East is fatigued and disgusted by the
rules, demands, exigencies of the social inter-
course of the West. To be on time, to answer
letters, to pay visits, to dress at certain times, and
in a certain manner, to be severely accurate in
money matters, to do day after day certain pre-
scribed duties, the Oriental shrinks from as from
slavery; and even though persistent painstaking
bring prosperity, he will not drive himself that
far. This accounts for the fact that the East
5 ubmits to cruelty, to conquest, flood, and famine,
to being trampled to death by elephants, buried
alive in a wall, cut to pieces while alive, and to
infanticide on a colossal scale. He will exert
himself tremendously on occasion, he will fasten


his will upon some object of vengeance or pos-
session, and hang on till death; but he must be
free to choose his own time and place. Regu-
larity seems to him, of all things, the worst
tyranny. His patience is monumental, because
his whole creed and philosophy of life teach
that what he wants must come, and that it is
better to wait for it than to strive for it. I be-
lieve the power of accomplishment throughout
the East, and particularly in China, is tremen-
dous ; but they will not exercise it at the cost of
mechanical persistence. Symptoms of a similar
kind we find in our own race. Men capable of
the most tremendous mental and moral labor
seem to be mentally and physically torpid at
times. They shrink from any exertion whatever
as from pain. I see no signs that these broad
differences are lessening. Japan whipped into
exertion by maltreatment has armed herself, but
even Japan rests what she has accomplished
upon quite other moral and religious sanctions
than ours.

What, then, is to be our attitude; what the re-
sults of the increasing intercourse between West
and East.^ Either the English and the Ameri-
cans, to speak only of our own case, believe their
own civilization is superior to that of the people
they govern, and that therefore they have a


righteous cause in keeping them subordinate,
or tliey are mere plunderers. If they have this
faith they are bound to defend themselves from
Indian, Japanese, or any other civilization tliat
they consider dangerous to their own, whether
in their dependencies or at home.

We should not boast nor bluster; nor should
we seek peace by hanging the halter of defence-
lessness about our necks, with the end dangling,
as an invitation to pull us into war. We may
maintain our preferences at home, but we may
not enforce our prejudices abroad, is about the
stage at which we have arrived. Internationally,
we must now live ''answerable lives," not only
because the East is growing powerful enough to
demand answers, but because as our knowledge
of other peoples increases by speedier means of
intercourse, sympathy ought to increase as well.

No successful imperialism is possible to a
nation of men who are without charity, without
toleration and without recognition of their own
ignorance and limitations. They must strive
for an intellectual magnanimity, which enables
them to detect the good in manners, morals,
governments and beliefs, built upon traditions
worlds apart from their own. They must not
})e turned aside from the responsibilities of gov-
erning and protecting the alien races in the de-


pendencies they control by that sentimentality
of the day which twists truth to make traps for
fools. They must not be led astray by the temp-
tations to immediate gain and the temporary
defeat of a commercial rival by the "drummer"
diplomacy which a selfish industrialism would
foist upon them. The man who only watches
his feet is quite as likely to stumble as the man
who is looking at a distant steeple. The future
as well as the present, then as much as now,
must be kept in mind. No nation ever lost
anything, not even its trade, by holding to high
ideals, and by insisting upon them for its ser-
vants. Only thus can the West give a confident
"No" to the question being asked in the East:

"Is civilization a failure,
And is the Caucasian played out.'^"


,DS508 C6 1911
;Collier, Price, 1860-1913
The West in the East fro^ an
American point of

VI ew

001 427 032

3 1210 00476 2868

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