Hyndman October 1916.
Source: Fortnightly Review, October 1916;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.
The change in the relations between Europe and Asia in the last thirty years has been so marked, and yet so rapid, that we scarcely understand the effect which has been produced already and will be still more noticeable in the near future. One result of this terrific war, ending, as it must, in the serious weakening of all the European Powers which have possessions in the Eastern Continent, will be to increase the relative power of Asia and to secure for her, at an earlier date, that greater influence in world policy which she would have obtained later in any event.
We are slowly returning, it would seem, to something near the estimate of Asiatic importance which was formed by the old voyagers and ambassadors. After 400 years of successful commerce, piracy, and conquest, from the date of the foundation of the short-lived Portuguese Empire of Goa, in 1508, the tide is now fuming in favour of the older civilisations. China, Japan, and India, with a population nearly double that of all Europe, including Russia, can no longer be regarded as the happy hunting-ground for adventurous individuals or grasping nations of the white race. This possibility has long presented itself to the more far-sighted politicians. In the early ‘fifties Mr. W.H. Seward, whose statesman-like management of the Trent affair averted war between England and America ten years later, directed the attention of his countrymen to China as the Empire which would play a decisive part in the destinies of the human race. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 Sir Henry Maine conjured up a vision of 40,000,000 Chinese, raised, trained, and armed on the Prussian model, inviting the Western barbarism to try conclusions with them in an Armageddon of the East. Mr. John Delane also, as my friend Mr. Louis Jennings told me, frequently spoke of all European rivalries and struggles as trifling compared with the antagonism which might easily arise between Europe and the Eastern populations.
But this was far from being the common view. Even now most European nations think and act as if our Western superiority could be maintained permanently, in spite of all recent developments on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. It is interesting to compare this arrogance with the attitude of the English, the French, the Dutch, and Portuguese three centuries ago, and even far more recently, towards the Indian and Chinese rulers of their day. Though Sir Thomas Roe was the accredited Ambassador of the King of England and upheld his dignity, as a genial pirate and pioneer of trade, with a firmness, intelligence; and courage which command all respect, it is quite clear that; while despising the methods of the Emperor Jehangir’s Ministers and favourites, he felt himself the representative of a small and poverty-stricken folk when in the presence of that monarch. For many a long day our traders pleaded very humbly with Indian potentates of high and low degree to be granted facilities taking wealth out of their subjects, though English, Dutch, Portuguese, and French never hesitated to use violence when they thought it safe and profitable to do so.
When, also, the French and English were struggling for predominance in Hindostan, Warren Hastings and Clive on the one side, and Dupleix and Bussy on the other, never at any time assumed those airs of white superiority over rulers of ancient race and ancient culture which far less capable men have since considered it quite natural to adopt. Possibly the remembrance of successive Asiatic invasions of the West and the belief in the inexhaustible wealth of India may have influenced their minds and generally softened their manners. Certainly, the present scarcely-veiled contempt and rudeness of our own contemporaries in India itself to Indians is the growth of little more than two generations. Earlier records bear witness to a much better tone than that which prevails to-day. Even during this great war when Indians of high rank and long descent are fighting side by side with English officers, for the same cause, they have been treated with considerable rudeness. Colour prejudice has become the rule, and is growing stronger as Englishmen reside less and less in India and more and more lose touch with Indians.
It was for a long period much the same with China That great people, whose civilisation and power pervaded the whole East for centuries and spread to Africa, to whom we are indebted (even more than we are to India) for the ideas, discoveries, and inventions which underlie our own material development and moral conceptions, were approached by Europeans, in the earlier stages of their intercourse, as a race in many respects more capable and more powerful than themselves. Though the Jesuits obtained for a time great influence over the Manchu Emperor of Pekin, their teaching scarcely touched the surface of the huge Chinese population below. Their simple family life, material religions, and their queer superstitions, their competitive bureaucratic system, and universal education went on as they had gone on for generations.
Not until we English discovered that the whole of these intelligent 400,000,000 of Chinamen were organised solely for industry and peace, possessing no armies in the least capable of resisting aggression, did we resort to the truculent brutality which so shamefully forced the sale of opium upon the country in the face of the protests of its Government; a policy fitly illustrated by the seizure of Hongkong and the sacking of the Winter Palace. Englishmen thought at the time that Gordon’s uncalled-for interference in support of the Manchu Dynasty against the great rising of the Tae-Pings and the career of his. Ever-Victorious Army would provide-them with another India in the Flowery Land. Thereafter, for many years, the Chinese, who, by their honesty in trade, social courtesy, and general culture, had good grounds for regarding us as Western barbarians, were likewise considered an inferior people. Their bows and arrows and cutlasses and sailing-junks, being of no avail against rifles and heavy guns and ironclads, their whole standard of national development was estimated on the same scale.
Our missionaries’ claims for the infinite superiority of their Asiatic religion, which made no impression upon the Chinese at all in proportion to their own efforts or to the risks which this country had to run on their behalf to protect them, afforded further evidence of European arrogance. They did not disguise their low opinion of the Chinese cults, nor did they, like the Catholics, adapt themselves in dress and daily life to the customs of the people. Even the late Lord Salisbury, a devotee of Christianity, complained of their inconvenient ardour and uncongenial methods of proselytism. The wonder is not that their conduct at times inflamed popular hatred against them, but that they should have been allowed to continue in China at all. What would be the fate of a body of Chinese propagandists who occupied themselves in publicly denouncing the faith of common Englishmen, and were insistent in pointing out what seemed to them the absurdities of the Trinity, and their doubts as to whether the founder of the creed now dominant in Europe ever existed, to the people of this island? Unless the police and the soldiery were called in to protect them, we might trust the followers of the Prince of Peace to give these enterprising Mongol fanatics a very rough time. But Western peoples seldom look at these matters except from their own point of view. In the same way, having discovered that Li Hung Chang, the real author of the ruinous Japanese war, was as unscrupulous in diplomacy as he was dishonest in finance, we assume that all mandarins are of similar character. Yet the great majority of the literati who govern China are beyond reproach in money matters, and the integrity of Chinese men of business and compradors has long been the admiration of the East.
All this time, too, the kidnapping of Chinamen in the great cities was going on as a regular business. The horrors of the barracoons of Macao, in which these coolies were stored before being shipped off for life-long toil and torture, were only equalled by the fate awaiting these unfortunates when they were landed as hopeless slaves on the Guano Islands off the coast of Peru. There they had no hope of humane treatment nor of any external interference on their behalf. Protests by the Chinese Government were as unavailing in this matter as in the case of the importation of opium. The old chattel slaves at Laurium or in Sicily, the modern victims of Russian tyranny in the mines of Eastern Siberia, never suffered from more frightful cruelty than did these harmless Asiatics forced to work themselves to death amid an atmosphere which it was a pain even to breathe.
Yet the first evidence of the latent power of Asia’s hundreds of millions of inhabitants came from the industrial countrymen of those sufferers in quite a peaceful way. I visited Australia for the first time nearly fifty years ago. At that time Little Bourke Street was one of the shows of Melbourne. There I saw Chinamen with their great, broad hats and rough Asiatic petticoat garb, lying sandwiched on trays, to sleep head and tail like herring in a barrel. How they continued to exist in such a confined-space, packed together as they were, was a mystery. But exist they did. Moreover, they contrived to make a good living out of washing for gold on diggings abandoned by white men, out of laundry-work which they did better than anybody else, by growing vegetables in that dry and thirsty land where no one else could then make a success of market gardening, and, lastly, by competing with Europeans in certain trades and for rough work.
This last it was which brought them into difficulty. For the Chinamen not only worked ungodly long hours, but, living on a lower standard of life than their white competitors, they were able to underbid them in the matter of wages to an extent which threatened to drive European labour out of some occupations altogether. This might be all very well for capitalists, who were accused then and thereafter of fostering the trade in the importation of Chinese coolies in order to keep down the demands of their own working countrymen and make more profit for themselves. But it did not suit the views of the Caucasian wage-earners at all. They soon learned that competition of this kind could not be met in the ordinary way. I made up my mind on this then, and I am as firmly convinced of it now. Under the system of capitalist production and competition for wages, regulated, in the main, by the standard of life in various trades Europeans, even in a temperate climate, cannot hold their own, in the long run, with these hard-working Asiatics; in the tropics they have no chance at all against industrious coolies from the Southern Provinces of China. Of course, there were all sorts of other objections raised when this primary drawback was conclusively established. Thus the Chinese were immoral themselves; they corrupted white women and indulged in loathsome vices; they herded together and lived a life of their own apart from the rest of the Colony; they were not clean in their habits, and had among them some horrible Asiatic diseases – leprosy for one; they smoked opium and were introducing the practice among Colonial workers; they “made their pile” in the colony, and then went off with it to their own country; they traded exclusively with their own merchants, and when they died in the land where they had worked, they did not even leave their bodies to fertilise the soil, but took care that they should be sent back to China and buried in the earth sanctified by countless generations of dead Chinamen before them.
These were the specious arguments against their further admission into Australia. But the real reason for the hostility of colonists to the Chinese coolies was undoubtedly their economic competition. The “Yellow Peril” loomed large at that period. Professor Charles Pearson’s book on the subject, now almost forgotten, made a great impression. The activity, too, of the Chinese emigrants at the time was surprising. They pervaded the Pacific. I well remember, when staying on the leeward side of Viti Levu (Fiji), then quite an uttermost part of the earth (1869), a large barque entered Naedi Bay. In the first boat that came ashore was a well-dressed Chinaman. I was astonished to see him there, as he had obviously nothing to do with the crew, nor, as I learned, was he interested in the cargo. It appeared, however, that the vessel had come from Tahiti, where 3,000 of his people serving as indentured coolies were out of their time. He had come to Fiji, where European plantations were being started, to see if there was any outlet for them there. The man himself talked intelligible “pidgin” English and altogether seemed a very capable, observant fellow.
In the Sandwich Islands also I found them in considerable numbers, not only on the sugar estates, but in the towns. The same, of course, in California. There the feeling against “The Heathen Chinee” was even stronger than in Australia. China Town in San Francisco, with its practically self-governing community and underground communications, was already an extraordinary development for an American city. China Town, in fact, has since been used as the groundwork for many a strange tale of truth and fiction. Bret Harte’s famous verses had just appeared, the Central Pacific Railway had lately been completed by Chinese labour, and the possibility of the Pacific slope of North America being overrun by these industrious and pacific but persistent, intelligent, and organised Mongolians was ever before men’s eyes. The same causes were producing the same effects here as elsewhere. Racial animosity grew steadily keener and more keen.
In 1879 the Government of the United States yielded to the pressure brought to bear from the Pacific slope, fearing the serious trouble which might have arisen between the races had the Chinese immigration into California continued at its then rate: It is impossible for anyone who saw what was going on to deny that the white workers had a strong case. Phrases about universal philanthropy and the cry of “the Great Republic free to all comers” had no effect upon Trade Unionists, who saw their organisations threatened by the influx of educated Asiatics who could and did combine in their Hooeys just as well as Americans, but who undercut the current rate of wages in all directions and never became citizens of the country. It was, no doubt, contrary to all international rule and order that Americans should claim the right to travel, trade, and settle freely in China, and yet that the Chinese, quite as industrious workers and fully as competent merchants in their own line as Americans, should be excluded from the United States. Moreover, the law became operative a few years after the Chinese had been of great service, in the development of California and the other States of the Pacific coast. But the thing was done. After the passage of that enactment the Chinese were shut out from North America and the Australasian Colonies. A little later British Indians, were liable to a heavy fine for landing in Australia, and the embargo of £100 on the famous Rajpoot cricketer, Ranjeetsinghi, the Jam of Ramnuggar, was removed by special ordinance of the Parliaments in the colonies where he was to play. It would have been better had this Indian of the most ancient lineage in the whole of Hindostan refused to be thus exceptionally favoured. However, the fact that British Indians should be thus treated in the British Empire proves that the prejudice against Asiatics was and is by no means confined to the dislike of the Chinese.
But the new movement in Asia, which may yet have a tremendous influence on the whole world, began, in a manner to be appreciated by Europeans, not in India and China but in the island kingdom of Japan. It seems almost inconceivable today that barely forty years ago Sir Rutherford Alcock, then recently returned from Japan, should have spoken to an old friend of the Japanese as “highly intelligent children.” The Japanese themselves had at that time no conception at all of their “manifest destiny.” With their great political revolution, however, and the sacrifice of their rights by the Samurai, a new era commenced, which had been watched with amazement, though scarcely, perhaps, with full comprehension, by the whole world. In forty years an almost unknown country outside the sphere of international affairs has passed from a belated feudalism to a highly-developed capitalism – a transition which it took us English four centuries to accomplish. Japan has assimilated with marvellous intuition the most effective portions of European civilisation and has established itself as one of the Great Powers of the world.
The entire transformation came as a surprise even to many Europeans who were well acquainted with the peoples of the Far East. The first clear evidence that a new factor had appeared in the struggle for the control of the Pacific Ocean, and all which this implies, was afforded when, in her war with China, Japan crushed that huge Empire with a rapidity and completeness that left nothing to chance. By the use of European ships and European appliances, with a skilful adaptation of European discipline and military methods, Japan defeated the Chinese as hopelessly as any European Power could have done. The acquisition of the island of Formosa, the claim of large “spheres of influence” on the adjacent mainland, and the demand for a heavy money indemnity at the peace of Simonosaki (1895) showed the whole East that the most modern ideas of extension of territory and commercial control had been combined with all the persistence and astuteness which Asiatics can possess. Yet so slow were we to appreciate the changed conditions that, when the war began, it was quite commonly believed, not only in the West, but in the East, that the “little Japs” had undertaken a task far beyond their capacity, and that the huge, unwieldy bulk of China, controlled by the imposing figure of Li Hung Chang, would overwhelm the adventurous islanders.
Even when the war was over and the victors had gathered in their spoils, Europe still failed to appreciate the significance of what had occurred. The contempt for Japan with which the Chinese had continued to imbue foreigners in the Treaty ports along their coast faded but slowly. That contempt did not trouble the Japanese and their rulers at all. They had decided upon a certain policy, and they proceeded to carry it out without haste and without rest. As they became more closely intimate with Europeans they decided that they were people to use and not be used by English, American, and other merchants dealing with Japan soon found out that they were face to face with artificers, manufacturers, and traders who were as efficient in the field of industrial and mercantile competition as they had proved themselves in warfare. The Japanese raised money in Europe, built vessels in Europe, ordered machinery in Europe, sent students to Europe and America. But all with one object: to dispense as soon as possible with European and American aid and to rival the white men in every department of human effort. Capitalism of the most ruthless description, controlling, perhaps, the cheapest and most easily-trained labour on the planet, obtained complete domination of the Japanese workers, who were handled from the commencement as the German working-class have been handled to further the projects of their Government. So far as social conditions were concerned, Japanese statesmen, so careful to make use of the most perfect scientific knowledge for the benefit of their troops, have been quite indifferent to Western legislation in favour of their new wage-earning class. The Chinese were organised by peace for peace; the Japanese were organised by war for war.
They proved this to demonstration in their war against Russia, which was their next serious step towards the attainment of the position at which they aimed. Even then there were still Europeans who failed to estimate their chances of success aright. The French, in particular, could not believe that their great Ally, Russia, would fail to hold her own against these presumptuous upstarts of yesterday, who imagined that because they had defeated China and later had sent a contingent to Pekin side by side with the European divisions, they could cope successfully with the best resources of the Muscovite Empire and the indomitable courage of her soldiery. But the unexpected again happened. Whether by refusing to entertain proposals of peace and holding on after the battle of Mukden Russia could have worn Japan out need not now be discussed. The Treaty of Portsmouth settled that. Thus, in a manner which could not be explained away, the Russian Empire, long the dread of Western Europe, was thoroughly beaten by a comparatively small Asiatic State, and Japan became still more formidable on the mainland as well as upon the ocean. The final addition of Korea to the Japanese possessions in 1910 gave the Mikado a total population of between 70,000,000 and 80,000,000 inhabitants under his direct rule. With a constantly growing Army and Navy kept up to the highest point of efficiency; with a rapidly expanding commerce and fine lines of steamers; with a future for her manufactures not confined to Asia, and holding an international position which enabled her statesmen to enter upon Treaties with Great Britain whose meaning has hardly been fully apprehended by her co-signatories – Japan took her place in the forefront of civilisation.
All Asia felt the blow. For the first time since the decay of the Ottoman Turks an Asiatic State had, single-handed, defeated a European Empire of at least three times its own population and of vastly greater extent. No wonder the Japanese said, “We have been sending you our works of art, our silks, our joinery and decorations for generations, and you still regarded us as mere barbarians. We show ourselves at least your equals in scientific butchery, and at once we are admitted to your council tables as civilised men.” There is not an educated Asiatic from the Black Sea to the Sandwich Islands who does not understand the meaning of that.
Now turn and read the two Treaties with England just referred to – England is herself a great Asiatic Power controlling 315,000,000 of the human race. Nevertheless, she binds herself to Japan in the two instruments of 1905 and 1911, both based upon the agreements of 1902, and probably supplemented by other secret agreements – as the custom of our Foreign Office is – which are not disclosed to the English people. These, within certain limits, constitute an offensive and defensive alliance up to the year 1921. Even at that date there is no finality. The objects of this alliance are set forth in the preamble as: (a) The consolidation and maintenance of the general peace in the regions if Eastern Asia and of India. (b) The preservation of the common interests of all Powers in China by insuring the independence and integrity of the Chinese Empire and the principle of equal opportunities for the commerce and industry of nations in China. c) The maintenance of the High Contracting Parties in the regions of Eastern Asia and of India, and the defence of their special interests in the said regions. Remembering that Japan had, and has, to all appearance, nothing whatever to gain by upholding our domination in India, the broad language here used is capable of the interpretation put upon it in many quarters, that, in return for this at least probable support from our Ally, in case of an Indian rising, some other considerations are involved. Article II., which speaks of common action in case of war, has been read in that sense in more than one quarter. Japan is at the time of writing acting as the good and loyal Ally of England the great war, and has rapidly swept Germany out of her corner of China. But when the House of Lords cheered Lord Lansdowne so enthusiastically for his Treaty of 1905 while the Russo-Japanese War was still going on, its members appear to have overlooked some other elements in the arrangement which can scarcely fail to lead this country into a difficult situation in the near future.
However that may be, it is quite clear that these serious diplomatic instruments place Japan on at least an equal footing with England in the Far East. They also give the impression that, should we be unable for any reason to maintain our Empire in Hindostan, then we are entitled to look to Japan until 1921, and probably for a longer period, to assist us in keeping up an alien rule in India. It is a strange position, indeed, for a proud country such as England: especially strange when we remember the attitude of British Colonies to Japanese immigrants.
But this brings us back to the extremely complicated and awkward question of Asiatic emigration generally and the claims made by Japan that Japanese immigrants should be treated on equal terms with American citizens in the United States. Things are very different from what they were in 1879, when, as already said, the United States and the British Colonies carried matters with a high hand against Chinese immigrants. China itself has undergone a complete political transformation. The Mongols have gone. Pigtails, the sign of subservience to the Tartars, have disappeared. The Chinese race proper is in control of its own territory. Western knowledge, largely owing to the influence of Yuan Shi Kai and his opponent, Sun Yat Sen, is being substituted for the old interminable literary studies at which the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, with their devotion to Latin and Greek, can scarcely afford to smile. Railways, chiefly constructed with foreign capital, and for the time under foreign control, now connect many of the great cities and their ports. But Chinese engineers and managers are steadily replacing the outsiders, and projected lines, deprived by the war of their skilled superintendents from Belgium and other European countries, are now being carried forward by Chinese engineers. Mines and other industries are being developed. Armies, also, are being raised and armed and trained according to European systems. The movement is slow as compared with what has been witnessed in Japan, but all capable observers are of one mind as to its being very sure. Even what we call anarchy, the stir in the various Provinces against the domination of Yuan Shi Kai from Pekin, is evidence of new life and proof of fresh vigour. Left alone, they can settle their own affairs far better than we Europeans or the Japanese can arrange them for their benefit.
The eagerness for progress is being manifested in all directions. Much as they dislike the Japanese, the Chinese are ready to learn from them, and thousands of Chinese students flock to Japan for that purpose. Thus, 400,000,000 of this remarkable people, all reading the same language, are now moving along the same lines which have brought the very differently constituted island empire to its dominant position. Whether China acts under Japanese leadership or under the guidance of her own educated class, the whole question not only of Chinese emigration but of Chinese influence generally must ere long be seriously considered by Western nations.
At the time of. the Tae Ping Rebellion a sort of proverb was current in the Chinese cities. First, the Tae Pings; then the Mohammedans; lastly, the Foreign Devils. The Tae Pings and Mohammedans have long since been swept away. It is quite possible the turn of the Foreign Devils may be close at hand. Fifteen years ago the head of the Banque Russo-Chinoise in Paris, who had lived more than twenty years continuously in China, who had travelled all over the Empire with special advantages and spoke and read Chinese well, told me that, in his opinion, there would be no Europeans in China except as Ambassadors or servants within twenty years. This prediction may anticipate events somewhat, but the tendency is unmistakable, useful as foreigners may still be to the Chinese.
Meanwhile, Japan has the lead and seems likely to keep it. The majority of Englishmen, and even the majority of Americans, who are still more closely concerned than its Ally the English with the policy of this powerful and ambitious State, have but a superficial idea of the possible spread of its influence in the near future. Yet this is not for want of warning. Americans in particular have been told by their own countrymen, military officers as well as civilians who have specially studied the subject, about the sort of antagonism which lies ahead. Germans, also, who regard the problems of the Far East and the Pacific Ocean from a totally different point of view have gone into the matter with their customary thoroughness, and express virtually the same opinion. They believe that Japan is preparing, with the same relentless efficiency which she displayed in making ready for her campaigns against China and Russia, to deal with the United States when time and opportunity offer.
Americans themselves freely admit that the still rising Power of Asia has ample grounds for declaring war against the Great Republic. Breaches of international law and national pledges have been committed by the United States Government time after time. The 200,000 Japanese – mostly trained soldiers, by the way – who have taken the place of the Chinese on the Pacific slope are regarded with the same hostility as their forerunners from the mainland of Asia. Before the war my friend, the well-known Japanese Socialist, Katayama, wrote me a long letter expressing serious alarm as to what might occur to himself and his countrymen in California should the antagonism between the two races become more pronounced. A massacre of the Japanese immigrants before they could organise and defend themselves seemed to him quite a possibility. Since then the Japanese Government has itself checked the emigration of its subjects to America, and a settlement has been temporarily arrived at. But, if we are to judge these able and far-seeing people and their statesmen by what we ourselves should do in a similar case, it seems very unlikely that they will submit permanently to such a badge of inferiority as this arrangement implies, especially since the Californians make no secret of their contempt and dislike for their unwelcome guests. Moreover, not only racial but commercial, antagonisms are at work. It is well known that the great American manufacturing trusts have need of the outlet offered by the markets of China, where Japanese influence and Japanese cheapness are already gaining ground in rivalry with them. There is a little Socialism in Japan and more in America; but its votaries will not be numerous or powerful enough in either country to stave off a capitalist war, sooner or later, unless other circumstances render them almost miraculous assistance. The policy of the Japanese in Mexico and the South American States also threatens American capitalist interests.
Recent events have strengthened Japan without increasing the power of the United States. An Asiatic State with an army kept up on the modern European scale, and a navy thoroughly ready for any emergency, faces a peace-at-any-price Republic, practically without an army, possessed of a navy which has been, allowed to run down into the danger zone, and holding points for attack which give enormous advantages to a capable and; adventurous enemy, such as the Philippines, the Sandwich Islands, and the Panama Canal. The Japanese would be more than human in their self-control and caution if they failed to obtain a diplomatic or forcible victory from such a state of affairs. They have concluded, rightly or wrongly, from the conduct of the United States Government during the war that Americans, as at present organised and ruled, will put up with any insults and outrages and surrender anything demanded of them rather than directly threaten or put themselves in a posture to threaten hostilities. It does not need the shrewdness and first-rate information which the Japanese possess to see what this means to them. Nor does the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which would render British intervention on the side of the United States very difficult, if not impossible, improve the outlook for the Republic, even if the exhaustion of our nation did not preclude us from any action in this sense.
Asia is awakening indeed. We ourselves must not imagine that India is still asleep because perfect peace reigns throughout Hindostan, and – as they tell us – Indians are eager that British rule should endure for ever – so eager that they voluntarily supply fighting forces in the field to the extent of tens of thousands of men. This is not so. India is stirring too. The Andaman Islands, our modern counterpart of Van Diemen’s Land, are overflowing with political prisoners, shipped off there without trial, and even without accusation, under an obsolete law. The wholesale hangings at Lahore, solely on police evidence, have been strongly condemned by Anglo-Indian officials themselves. Bengalis were long derided by us English as a people incapable for centuries of resisting oppression in any shape. We have contrived to rouse such a spirit among them that anarchists and assassins are openly cheered when living, and treated as martyrs when dead, even in Calcutta itself. There can be no doubt whatever that disaffection is growing throughout Hindostan, though, the population being entirely deprived of arms, any organised insurrection is not to be anticipated. But India demands self-government, and requires that the drain of £30,000,000 yearly to England from the poorest population on the planet, without any commercial return, should be stanched. When the high-minded and noble philanthropist, Lajpat Rai, who has suffered frequent and unreasonable persecution from the British Indian Government, publishes a quiet but crushing indictment of the whole spirit of our rule and declares that self-government is the only remedy; when that widely-circulated, but very moderate, paper, the Amrita Bazaar Patrika, cannot refrain from stringent criticisms of our unsympathetic and harmful domination; when every Hindoo shrine and Mohammedan mosque in Hindostan is a centre of secret propaganda against the foreigner, Hindoo and Mohammedan being of the same race and suffering under the same oppression – when all this is going on and anarchical outbreaks are steadily growing, statesmen ought to look facts in the face and give fair play to our vast subject peoples before these symptoms of continuous unrest are followed by an irresistible conspiracy. An empire which declares that it is fighting a world-war for the maintenance of national rights and national freedoms cannot in decency keep one-fifth of the human race in subjugation to foreign despotism and liable to the exaction of a foreign economic tribute on a huge scale. If England persists in a fatal policy there can be little doubt as to the ultimate result. Not even the legions of Japan will suffice to keep India permanently enslaved. The movements in China and Japan itself have already had their influence throughout Hindostan. However desirable it may seem to the great Indian feudatories to exhibit their loyalty to the dominant Power to-day, it is inconceivable that they can fail to know what is taking place around them, or that they fail to share in the general Asiatic feeling against the supremacy of the white race.
When the war is at an end and peace is at last proclaimed, all the leading European nations will be well-nigh bled to death, alike in men and in money. Asia will not have suffered; Japan will have actually gained in means and influence. The lessons of the terrific struggle will not have been lost upon the East. The relative positions of the two continents will have been modified still farther in favour of the yellow races against the white. These are facts which can neither be overlooked nor explained away. The assumed superiority of Europe will ere long be definitely challenged. The Awakening of Asia in the most important feature in the world-politics of our time.