« PreviousContinue »
No effort will be spared to build up the waste places desolated by war and by long years of misgovernment. We shall not wait for the end of strife to begin the beneficent work. We shall continue, as we have begun, to open the schools and the churches, to set the courts in operation, to foster industry, and trade, and agriculture, and in every way in our power to make these people whom Providence has brought within our jurisdiction feel that it is their liberty and not our power, their welfare and not our gain, we are seeking to enhance.
OUR FLAG EVER WAVES IN BLESSING.
Our flag has never waved over any community but in blessing. I believe the Filipinos will soon recognize the fact that it has not lost its gift of benediction in its world-wide journey to their shores.
Since the above message was written, the islands have been almost wholly tranquilized, and civil government is rapidly being established.
The firmness and wisdom with which the President met the trouble with Spain did not end his experiences in foreign warfare. The crisis in the affairs of the Chinese empire, which threatened its dismemberment, engaged his attention. Here, as on all other great occasions, the firmness and honesty of the President was displayed, and to it is in no small measure due the settlement of questions which threatened the peace of the civilized world. For a recital of the events attending the rebellion in China, we turn again to the President's own words. In his message oi December 3, 1900, he said:
"In our foreign intercourse the dominant question has been the treatment of the Chinese problem. Apart from this our relations with the powers have been happy.
"The recent troubles in China sprang from the anti-foreign agitation which for the past three years has gained strength in the northern provinces. Their origin lies deep in the character of the Chinese races and in the traditions of their government. The Tai-Ping rebellion and the opening of the Chinese ports to foreign trade and settlement disturbed alike the homogeneity and the seclusion of China.
Meanwhile foreign activity made itself felt in all quarters, not alone on the coast, but along the great river arteries and in the remoter districts, carrying new ideas and introducing new associations among a primitive people which had pursued for centuries a national policy of isolation.
"The telegraph and the railway spreading over their land, the steamers plying on their waterways, the merchant and the missionary penetrating year by year farther to the interior, became to the Chinese mind types of an alien invasion, changing the course of their national life and fraught with vague forebodings of disaster to their beliefs and their self-control.
"For several years before the present troubles all the resources of foreign diplomacy, backed by moral demonstrations of the physical force of fleets and arms, have been needed to secure due respect for the treaty rights of foreigners and to obtain satisfaction from the responsible authorities for the sporadic outrages upon the persons and property of unoffending sojourners, which from time to time occurred at widely separated points in the northern provinces, as in the case of the outbreaks in Sze-Chuen and Shan-Tung.
"Posting of anti-foreign placards became a daily occurrence, which the repeated reprobation of the imperial power failed to check or punish. These inflammatory appeals to the ignorance and superstition of the masses, mendacious and absurd in their accusations and deeply hostile in their spirit, could not but work cumulative harm. They aimed at no particular class of foreigners; they were impartial in attacking everything foreign.
"An outbreak in Shan-Tung, in which German missionaries were slain, was the too natural result of these malevolent teachings. The posting of seditious placards, exhorting to the utter destruction of foreigners and of every foreign thing, continued unrebuked. Hostile demonstrations toward the stranger gained strength by organization.
"The sect commonly styled the Boxers developed greatly in the provinces north of the Yang-Tse, and with the collusion of many notable officials, including some in the immediate councils of the throne itself, became alarmingly aggressive. No foreigner's life, outside of the protected treaty ports, was safe. No foreign interest was secure from spoliation.
"The diplomatic representatives of the powers in Peking strove in vain to check this movement. Protest was followed by demand and demand by renewed protest, to be met with perfunctory edicts from the palace and evasions and futile assurances from the tsung-li-yamen. The circle of the Boxer influence narrowed about Peking, and, while nominally stigmatized as seditious, it was felt that its spirit pervaded the capital itself, that the imperial forces were imbued with its doctrines, and that the immediate counselors of the empress dowager were in full sympathy with the anti-foreign movement.
"The increasing gravity of the conditions in China and the imminence or peril to our own diversified interests in the empire, as well as to thosa of all other treaty governments, were soon appreciated by this government, causing it profound solicitude.
AMERICAN RELATIONS WITH CHINA.
"The United States, from the earliest days of foreign intercourse with China, had followed a policy of peace, omitting no occasions to testify good will, to further the extension of lawful trade, to respect the sovereignty of its government, and to insure by all legitimate and kindly but earnest means the fullest measure of protection for the lives and property of our law-abiding citizens and for the exercise of their beneficent callings among the Chinese people.
"Mindful of this, it was felt to be appropriate that our purposes should be pronounced in favor of such course as would hasten united action of the powers at Peking to promote the administrative reforms so greatly needed for strengthening the imperial government and maintaining the integrity of China, in which we believed the whole western world to be alike concerned.
"To these ends I caused to be addressed to the several powers occupying territory and maintaining spheres of influence in China the circular proposals of 1899. inviting from them declarations of their intentions and views as to the desirability of the adoption of measures insuring the benefits of equality pi treatment of all foreign trade throughout China.
EARLY NEGOTIATIONS SUCCESSFUL.
"With gratifying unanimity the responses coincided in this common policy, enabling me to see in the successful termination of these negotiations proof of the friendly spirit which animates the various powers interested in the untrammeled development of commerce and industry in the Chinese empire as a source of vast benefit to the whole commercial world.
"In this conclusion, which I had the gratification to announce as a completed engagement to the interested powers on March 20, 1900, I hopefully discerned a potential factor for the abatement of the distrust of foreign purposes which for a year past had appeared to inspire the policy of the imperial government, and for the effective exertion by it of power and authority to quell the critical anti-foreign movement in the northern provinces most immediately influenced by the Manchu sentiment.
"Seeking to testify confidence in the willingness and ability of the imperial administration to redress the wrongs and prevent the evils we suffered and feared, the marine guard, which had been sent to Peking in the autumn of 1899 for the protection of the legation, was withdrawn at the earliest practicable moment, and all pending questions were remitted, as far as we were concerned, to the ordinary reports of diplomatic intercourse.
"The Chinese government proved, however, unable to check the rising strength of the Boxers and appeared to be a prey to internal dissensions.
TUAN THE LEADER.
In the unequal contest the anti-foreign influences soon gained the ascendency under the leadership of Prince Tuan. Organized armies of Boxers, with which the imperial forces affiliated, held the country between Peking and the coast, penetrated into Manchuria up to the Russian border, and through their emissaries threatened a like rising throughout northern China.
"Attacks upon foreigners, destruction of their property, and slaughter of native converts were reported from all sides. The tsung-li-yamen, already permeated with hostile sympathies, could make no effective response to the appeals of the legations. At this critical juncture, in the early spring of this year, a proposal was made by the other powers that a combined fleet should be assembled in Chinese waters as a moral demonstration, under cover of which to exact of the Chinese government respect for foreign treaty rights and the suppression of the Boxers.
The United States, while not participating in the joint demonstration, promptly sent from the Philippines all ships that could be spared for service on the Chinese coast. A small force of marines was landed at Taku and sent to Peking for the protection of the American legation. Other powers took similar action, until some 400 men were assembled in the capital as legation guards.
"Still the peril increased. The legations reported the development of the seditious movement in Peking and the need of increased provision for defense against it. While preparations were in progress for a larger expedition, to strengthen the legation guards and keep the railway open, an attempt of the foreign ships to make a landing at Taku was met by a fire from the Chinese forts.
"The forts were thereupon shelled by the foreign vessels, the American admiral taking no part in the attack, on the ground that we were not at war with China and that a hostile demonstration might consolidate the anti-foreign elements and strengthen the Boxers to oppose the relieving column.
"Two days later the Taku forts were captured after a sanguinary conflict. Severance of communication with Peking followed, and a combined force of additional guards, which was advancing to Peking by the Pei-Hn was checked at Lang Fang. The isolation of the legations was complete.
"The siege and the relief of the legations have passed into undying history. In all the stirring chapter which records the heroism of the devoted band, clinging to hope in the face of despair, and the undaunted spirit that led their relievers through battle and suffering to the goal, it is a memory of which my countrymen may be justly proud that the honor of our flag was maintained alike in the siege and the rescue, and