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stead. ... If the Emperor were to die, there is no knowing what might happen.'
He quotes letters emanating from, refers to proclamations issued by Sun-Yat-Sun, all to this effect—freedom, unity, and reform; freedom from foreign control — from the Manchu dynasty first of all; unity, in opposition to the threatened dismemberment of the empire; reform, as throwing the country open to the trade of the world.
• If,' he says, 'if, as there is good reason to believe, this southern revolt is extending into the Yang-tsze Valley, the consequences to Europe in the stoppage of trade and the difficulty of restoring anything like stability of government in the interior may be so momentous as to bring about an entire reversal of the present political equilibrium in the East—a reversal from which China may emerge as capable of standing by herself, of resisting foreign dictation as Japan now is. . . . The Chinese have quite as much aptitude as the Japanese, and the latter declare that the former would have gone through a like process of regeneration at the same time that they, the Japanese, did, if Great Britain had not interfered to put down the Tai-ping rebellion. . . . The more enlightened of the Chinese hope that their country may yet, like Japan, show itself capable of assimilating Western civilisation. They do not believe that China, with its vast mass of people knit together by a common written language, by the same historic traditions, by common religious beliefs, can ever be effectually broken up. . . . The Western nations, they say, may conquer China, may rend it asunder, but in time they will be driven out, and the Chinese will become once again the same great and undivided people.'
But if this view of the present position of China is correct —and, on the whole, we think it agrees better with the facts as we know them—a tremendous change is about to take place, not only in what Mr. Colquhoun neatly calls * the centre of commercial activity,' but in the centre of political activity, and even in the centre of military energy. Is it likely that the rousing of China and its hundreds of millions of inhabitants will be a peaceful awakening? We think that more probably it will be a dawn red with blood, not of Chinese alone, but of many others who have disturbed their repose.
Mongol hordes have before now spread terror over the East of Europe, and have made of Russia a land of bondage. What may happen if they again overflow their bounds, and back their overwhelming numbers with modern arms and modern science, it will be for the historians of the twentyfirst century to moralise on. The bloody wars which the Chinese have waged among themselves when, from time to time, they have broken loose from the artificial restraints imposed by their Government, give sufficient proof that they are not altogether the devotees of peace that they have been supposed to be; and, though they have been stigmatised as cowards because, when armed with bows and arrows, spears and matchlocks, they made but a feeble stand against Enfield rifles and shrapnel shell, it is conceivable that, in similar circumstances, the men of Crecy and Agincourt would not have made a much better show.
And in the realm of commerce the wonderful success of the Japanese seems to foreshadow what may be achieved by a kindred people, differing in many respects, but with much in common—a similar ingenuity, a similar artistic taste, a similar keenness in business. Here surely are possibilities that—if we may use the French expression—'donnent a 'penser furieusement.'
And Russia? To all present appearance it is Russia that threatens to engorge China. It is possible, even as the Manchus did; but such an end might even intensify the foregoing prognostics. China would still be China; Mongols would be Mongols; but instead of forming part of an Empire whose traditional policy has been peace, they would become subjects of the most grasping Empire that the world has known. What will be the future of Russia, of Asia, of Europe, if the Russian Government has the absolute command of some five hundred millions of people who, in the most literal sense, do not care half a depreciated dollar for their lives. And the trade? Up to the present our experience of Russian methods is not promising. With an extension, such as is here supposed, these might be changed; but the whole subject becomes much too vague for further speculation. The only thing certain is that enormous changes may be expected, but in what direction or by what agency produced—whether by a revivified and autonomous China, by a Russianised China, or by a China broken up into spheres of influence and partitioned among the Western Powers—we will not prophesy till we know.
So far we have been considering the Pacific solely in its relation to the Asiatic fringe, and it is unquestionably this that gives the subject its present absorbing interest; but the part that Great Britain is to play there in the future may be expected to depend not so much on herself as on the continental dominion in North America, on the island-continent in the South Pacific, and on the relations which the several colonies of Australia and New Zealand bear to the mother country and to each other. During these last years Australasia has loomed very large in the domestic politics of the Empire. The noble part which the colonies have taken in the war—now happily ended—has brought their names prominently before even those people who prefer to stand aloof from politics, as matters with which they have no concern. But to those who believe that 'the proper study of mankind is man,' and that the history of the present, illustrated by the history of the past, is the study of man, to them the colonies during the past two years have been most attractive as living studies in constitutional history, which it is impossible to avoid comparing or contrasting with those other great colonies from which we so wretchedly parted company five quarters of a century ago. And there are many, perhaps the majority, of our countrymen, who, without troubling themselves too much about the political details, have still been conscious that our great colonies in Australia were passing through a crisis in their history, that the crisis was happily past, that the Prince of Wales—or rather the Duke of Cornwall and York—had visited them in state to launch them on their new course, and that they now form a federated, self-governing, and practically independent unit of the British Empire.
To those who, with little practical knowledge of geography, know Australasia only from the map, it was and is a matter of much wonder that there should have been any difficulty in forming a union between the different colonies, and that eventually New Zealand refused to join that union. In the first place, they do not realise the size of Australia, and the enormous distances which separate the colonies; that the distance from Sydney to Perth, for instance, in a straight line, exceeds the distance from London to Constantinople; that the distance from Sydney to New Zealand exceeds that from London to Gibraltar. With these great distances are associated differences in climate, as between temperate Tasmania and tropical Queensland; differences in soil, in products, in social and economic relations, all giving rise to differing interests and to political questions of the greatest importance.
The geography of Australia and, in connection with it, the several causes of these differing interests and separating tendencies, are, perhaps, better and more clearly explained by Mr. Colquhoun than has ever been done in anything like the same space. In Australia itself, and in Tasmania with it, these difficulties have been overcome for the time being, and we may feel sure that many of them, by force of habit, will eventually cease to appear as difficulties; others may tend rather to increase than to diminish, and may possibly give much trouble in the future. In New Zealand they could not be overcome; that colony has remained apart from the union, and will probably continue to do so. The case is thus summarised by Mr. Colquhoun:—
'As regards the political side of the question, it has been decided by New Zealand that she has nothing to gain and much to lose by union with the Commonwealth. Neither as regards legislative independence, finance, postal and telegraph services, the administration of justice, agricultural, industrial, and commercial interests, nor the social condition of the working classes and coloured labour, would New Zealand be assisted by federation. She would, moreover, suffer by the enforced absence for six months of the year of some of her abler citizens, who would be attending the Commonwealth Parliament. Politicians in the colonies are a professional class by themselves, as a rule, and the number of really capable men is very limited in such a young community.'
He passes on to speak of two considerations which have been thought to render the correctness of her decision doubtful. The first is that of defence:
'It is obvious that New Zealand is weakened strategically in the case of attack by her isolated position, but in answer to this the New Zealanders make two points. First, while they remain in their present status, they are entitled to the protection of the British fleet, and are therefore spared the expense, hardly to be borne by such a community, of providing warships of their own. So long as Britain retains her maritime supremacy they feel safe. Secondly, in case of an attack on New Zealand, Australia would for her own sake, as well as by reason of ties of kinship, afford her every help and protection. Lest this should seem a selfish policy, New Zealand expresses her readiness— of which she has given practical proof during the South African war —to help in the work of imperial defence, and she expresses an equal willingness to assist Australia in any difficulty, her interests being bound up with those of the Continent.
The point is, of course, one that has to be considered, if only in deference to vulgar apprehensions; but it cannot be overlooked that until the downfall of Britain is an accomplished fact—that is, till some other nation or coalition has obtained the command of the sea *—no serious attack on
* It may be necessary to say that ' command of the sea' is defined to be that absolute superiority which permits the party having it to send out comparatively defenceless expeditions without fear of their being interrupted.
either Australia or New Zealand is possible, though there may be casual raids, which the local forces of any one of the colonies ought to be, and we believe would be, quite capable of dealing with. The other consideration, that of the Federal tariff, appears to us of more practical importance, though Mr. Colquhoun thinks, or at least hopes, that it may not prove so.
'The freedom of intercolonial commerce is of great importance to New Zealand, whose principal Australian trade is with Sydney, which has been for some years past a free port. The Federal Ministry, divided upon many questions, is unanimous in its determination to maintain a protectionist tariff outside the Federation. The tariff is not a hide-bound system on the American pattern, but rather a compromise between that and one desired purely for revenue purposes. The whole question is one that is likely to be keenly fought in the future, since New South Wales has a strong party of ardent free-traders. . . . It is to be hoped that the statesmen of Australia will not be blinded by the apparent exigencies of the moment to the advantages of that wide and generous policy which has been the characteristic of British trade in all quarters of the globe.'
But in Australia itself, among the federated States of the Commonwealth, there are at least two questions which, from the very beginning, tend to disintegration. The first is the construction of a trans-continental railway from Sydney to Perth, the pro and contra of which appear in very different lights to West Australia and South Australia. By reason of its magnificent harbour and its position on the east coast, where no other can at all compare with it, Sydney is the natural outlet for Australian trade in the Pacific. Hence the importance of the railway to Western Australia.
'There are difficulties in the way, however, for this railway is opposed by some of the Eastern States and South Australia. If a line be made from Perth to Sydney across the continent, it is apparent that Adelaide must suffer very considerably; indeed, the raison (Tetre for its existence would almost disappear. Now the Commonwealth Act forbids the Federal authority to build a railway in any State without its consent. South Australia is very unlikely ever to give its consent unless some compensating advantage can be found, and the position is therefore certain to become more and more strained. . . . On the other hand, the Western Australians threaten to break up the Federal Government unless they get their railway and are thus brought into close contact with the rest of the Commonwealth, and this view is likely to become much stronger as the value of the Pacific becomes realised. . . . The difficulty is, therefore, a very serious one, and is likely to test the Federal Government severely.'
That it will be surmounted we have no doubt, though the