Page images
PDF
EPUB

Another interesting sight in these spector rides up to one end of the parts is the Kaiping Colliery, which I sewer, which, as every one knows, has made a point of visiting in June last. been blocked up with filth for scores I descended the mine and inspected the of years, and a coolie is solemnly deworkings, and was much gratified at spatched to enter and proceed right what I saw. The number of persons through, so as to demonstrate visibly employed underground is about 3000, the practicability of the passage. The and the output from the Tong-shan inspecting party then ride round to pit alone was 446,000 tons in 1896 and the further end, whence a coolie is seen 425,000 in 1897. The coal is mainly to emerge ! No more searching exused by the steamboat traffic and for amination or infallible test could surely internal consumption. None can be be required, and the majesty of Chinese spared for export ; and were the out- officialdom rides away perfectly satisput twenty times as great as it is, it fied. Again, the roadway inside the would find ready market, for its quality Tartar city is lined on both sides with is better than that of Japanese coal. many hundreds of booths where ChiThe colliery has its own foundry, ma nese families reside and keep shops. chine shop, brick inaking, and other This encumbering of the public highworks, and altogether is a very signifi. way is contrary to law, and is only cant instance of what Chinese enter- winked at by the police in consideraprise is capable of. A new shaft-as tion of heavy blackmail being forthgood a piece of work as any I have ever coming, extorted from the tenants. seen-has just been sunk, and the Whenever, however, the Emperor anaggregate output will be largely in nounces his intention of riding abroad, creased in a few months.

a complete clearance is made, so that Pekin struck me as extraordinarily no unauthorized structures or other backward after the evidences of prog obstructions may offend the imperial ress I had seen and heard of in other eye. When his Majesty re-enters his parts of China, even in such places as palace, all the booths and stalls are reChang-sha, the capital of Hunan, placed in statu quo. where no European resides. In the T he extraordinary thing about Pekin latter town electric light has been in- is that the Foreign Ministers seem quite stalled by the Chinese themselves in content, if not to prefer, that the several dwelling-houses. In Pekin the capital should remain in its present best thoroughfares are practically un disgraceful condition. Not long since lighted and almost impassable for some correspondence took place bepedestrians ; while the dust, mud, and tween the Tsung-li-Yamen and the stenches defy description. It would Foreign Ministers on the proposal that almost seem as if diplomatic indiffer- Legation Street and its vicinity, which ence and Chinese corruption had con- amounts to about one twenty-fifth of spired together to make the capital as the aggregate superficial area of the loathsonie and repellent as possible, for city, should be made over as a foreign fear that if rendered attractive the in- concession, on the condition that one vasion of foreign enterprise would on twenty-fifth of the revenue raised from the one hand give the European repre- the people for the up-keep of the street sentatives of the Powers a deal of extra should be handed over to the Ministers trouble, and on the other hand open to devote actually and legitimately to the eyes of the people and seal the that object. The Chinese authorities doom of Chinese official corruption. favored the idea, but had to confess The contract for lighting the public that the money was not really spent on streets is, so I am told, a most lucrative the object for which it was raised, and one, and brings in vast profit to the nothing was done in consequence ; but concessionnaire, and a large sum is no it is impossible to believe that a comdoubt netted siinilarly by the Mandarin promise could not have been hit upon, responsible for the main sewerage. A if Ministers had been in real earnest yearly official inspection is made of the to improve matters and bring the conCloaca Maxima of Pekin in a character- dition of the capital of the largest Emistically Chinese manner. The in- pire of the world up to the level of the humblest of its treaty ports. Even ritory and calling for revocation. I do the modest proposal to start a water- not look upon these leases or quasicart for Legation Street by means of annexations as altogether unmixed voluntary subscriptions had to be aban- evils. It was necessary in the first indoned because only one contribution stance to bring forcibly home to the was obtained, i. e., £2 from the Ger- Chinese mind, to the perception of the man Minister! Water is very bad and literati* — who, I believe, constitute dear in Pekin, yet it is easily obtain the nucleus of the future public opinable from the hills thirteen miles away; ion of the Celestial Empire- the gravand the remains of the old works, as ity of the danger that menaces their well as the ruins of the sewers, which independence, and at the same time to were all in good order 350 years ago, furnish points d'appui and visible are still to be seen, and could be util. evidences of the locus standi of those ized again if it was anybody's business Powers who are most interested in the to see to the matter.

future of China ; but it would be a The truth is that corruption in China grave mistake, in my judgment, to exis so rank, and the ves.ed interests tend the experiment to the point of that have grown up are so widespread creating spheres of influence, which and all-embracing, that the policy would merely mean partition in diswhich would seek to reform effectually guise, and which could not be determust come from without and have, as mined without the arbitrament of war. well, a strong international backing. As I have remarked before, Great BritThere are, no doubt, here and there ain's sphere of influence in China is honest Chinamen high in office, but co-extensive with the whole of that they are almost lost and powerless amid Empire, and she could not in honor those who, while their official salary is relinquish her treaty rights therein, or about equal to that of a junior clerk in abandon those of her subjects who Europe, manage to amass a vast for- have embarked their capital in prov. tune by“ squeezing."

inces now coveted by other Powers. It To cleanse this Augean stable must would be well for Germany in her own be a work of time, but I am perfectly interests to follow the advice tendered convinced that an important begin to her by those of her people who have ning might and should be set on most knowledge of the East, and throw foot at once. The aim should be to in her lot with us in our Chinese policy. strengthen, develop, and enrich China But, whether or no, I have no fear for through the instrumentality of those the result, if only “ England to herself Powers who will suffer most loss if she be true.” be permitted to fall a victim to the Our policy is the only one by which rapacity of others. To do this, Eng. the commercial world may hope to land, the United States, and Germany build up a trade with China; and Ger- the nations most interested in keep- many and the United States are our ing the door open-should make com- natural auxiliaries in the furtherance mon cause, as I have contended above. of that policy, which has in addition China has already availed herself of the cordial approval of Japan. In the German military instructors to drill case of the United States the value of and reorganize her army in some of their trade with China has nea the provinces, and she has applied to trebled since 1890, and we may rest England to reorganize her navy. The assured that this development is still two Powers, if united in this purpose, in its infancy, especially as the annexare quite strong enough to carry this ation of Hawaii and the proposed reorganization of armaments into effect throughout the Empire, and thus en * In connection with this it is very signifisure that the territorial integrity of cant that an Imperial Edict has been recent. China shall be respected against further ly issued enjoining the Board of Examinainroads. In this I do not wish to

tions to set papers of practical utility in

future, instead of the abstract literary imply that the cessions of Port Arthur,

theses formerly propounded. The reform is Kiao-Chow, and Wei-hai-wei are steps one that will probably be far-reaching in involving inexcusable violations of ter its effects.

acquisition of a coaling station in the of the national sentiment that is workPhilippines, to say nothing of Cuba ing so powerfully on both sides of the and the Ladrones, shows the expansion Atlantic. But, whether such a closer that the United States are about to union is destined to be speedily fulundergo. Westwards this expansion filled or not, there can be no doubt is destined to bear important fruit, for that, for the sake of her unborn milthe trade between the fast-growing lions and marvellously expanding communities on the Pacific coasts of country, America is bound to see that Canada and the United States with the great markets of the world are not China and Japan bears evidence of shut against her, and to support our rapid growth, as well as that between commercial aim and policy in China. Australia and China. In the latter And in stipulating for a renunciation the United States will probably partic of the mistaken notion of creating ipate if she decides to retain the “spheres," whether of influence or inPhilippines, for these islands occupy a terest, and resolutely adhering to the most advantageous intermediate posi- principles of the Treaty of Tientsintion between Australia and the Far re-stated as that of the “ open door" East. It is not necessary here to dwell and equal commercial advantages for on the question of an Anglo-American all alike-we are gaining strong symalliance, because the details of a politi. pathies that may ripen into alliances cal union or understanding of that and make our views and policy prevail character are best evolved automati- sooner than the world thinks. The cally, in obedience to the promptings Nineteenth Century.

ROMANCE OF THE FUR TRADE: THE COMPANIES.

GOLD) and furs have colonized the opened up America west of the MissisAmericas. Wherever they were to be sippi to settlement by the States of the found or sought, Europeans have sub- south and the seaboard. From the jugated or exterminated the native first, the fur-hunters have pursued a races. In the quest of gold the Span- gainful but desperately speculative ish conquistadores led the way in the traffic, in the face of unparalleled hardtorrid south, and De Soto in bis hunt ships and perils. As the capitalists after the fabled El Dorado found a who financed the trade staked their grave in the waters of the Mississippi hopes of fortune on contingencies they which he bad discovered. He was fol- could neither foresee nor control, so lowed by Raleigh and the English ad. each separate career of the retainers in venturers who went to Guiana on the their service was one of suffering, same bootless errand. The gains of cheered and enlivened only by adventhe later gold-seekers were great, and ture. Familiarity with death became they enriched the world at the cost of second nature. For the fur-bearing cruelties and sufferings unspeakable. animals were to be found only in reSince Pizarro pillaged the Incas and gions of lonely desolation, stretching Cortez freighted the galleons with the northward toward the Arctic circle, treasures of the Montezumas, down to where the musk-ox barely got a living the shooting at sight in the mining in the winter by scraping for lichens camps and gambling saloons of the Far beneath the snow; or, farther to the West, the gold hunters bave always held south, in a wilderness of mountains and lives cheap, indifferent to their own and waters, swarming with hostile savages, careless of those of others. But per- who fiercely resented their intrusion, haps the great fur trade has been at where they scaled stupendous ranges, least as lucrative, and there is a broader threaded gloomy gorges almost imvariety of wide romance in it. Cer- practicable, or in frail canoes followed tainly it has done more for civilization the course of rivers raging over an and exploration, for it was the making alternation of shoals and cataracts. of the great Canadian Dominion, as it We say nothing now of the rigors of the northern climate, though some- signs of Christianity ; but for themtimes, so far south as the Saskatche. selves they were vowed to self-sacrifice, wan, the temperature falls to -62', or and rather ambitious than otherwise of 94° of frost-and the blast of a bliz- the crown of martyrdom. Not a few zard is sudden death.

expired in cruel tortures, chanting It was the French in Canada who with their last breath the litanies of originated the fur trade. We must their Church, and praying like their own that France has had ill luck in Saviour for the forgiveness of their colonization : she did much in days tormentors. Yet it must be rememwhen her population was more redun- bered that all those Catholic missions dant, and she has some reason to be were supported by the profits of the jealous of British successes. We fur trade. The convents and their shouldered her out of India, when, generals, with the governors of the with the genius of a Dupleix, the result State, were active promoters of fur of the struggle seemed a toss-up ; and companies. On the other hand were after Montcalm had fallen gloriously on the secular adventurers, pure and the Heights of Abraham, we entered simple, of whom La Salle was the least into the fruits of her spirited enterprise selfish and the most ambitious. Perin the Canadas. Colbert and other haps we may compare him to Cecil French Ministers at home, with such Rhodes, for he chiefly valued wealth as statesmen as Talon and the Marquis de the stepping-stone to power or fame. Frontenac, when sent abroad to admin. But the missionaries and statesmanlike ister the great transatlantic colony, heroes alike paved the way for the saw that the Indian traffic must be the trafficking explorers, as bold as themfoundation of its prosperity. Agricul. selves, who trode emulously in their ture was to come in due course, but for footsteps. The governors, who looked long it could be barely self-supporting to the furs to fill their coffers, and who Meantime the sole exports from the were in a manner responsible for the unexplored Indian country were its lives of those adventurous men, began peltries. There are no more exciting to establish fortified posts on the lakes or pathetic stories of adventure than for their protection and for the due those of the exploring missionaries of regulation of the trafficking. The the French occupation. La Salle, commandants had a difficult and danafter a hundred years, re-discovered the gerous task. For when the whites and Mississippi. Joliet and Marquette had the half-breeds met the savage Indians, traced the chain of the Great Lakes, bringing canoe-loads of peltries from and Father Hennepin had been the distant regions, among the first articles first European to hear the roar of Ni- of barter were spirits, powder, and agara. La Salle confidently believed knives. The carouses beginning in that the Mississippi would lead him to good-fellowship were apt to end in the Californian Gulf, whence he could bloodshed, and so there were endless sail to China, which shows how little vendettas beyond the frontier, which these daring pioneers knew of the ad- were forever renewing the eternal strife. ventures they courted. There were The trade was virtually a close motwo contlicting influences ever at work, nopoly. The licenses were to be oband it is hard to say which of the two tained from the governor, and they inspired the more indomitable resolu- were granted on his own terms, either tion. The Church had asserted its for hard cash or from political considsupremacy over the State both at Que erations. At first they were given bec and Montreal. The priests had only to traders who personally conLouis XIV., Madame de Maintenon, ducted the expeditions, afterward they and the zealous rivalry of contending came to be sold to the middlemen, who orders behind them. Like modern retailed them at an enhanced price. French missionaries in China, they But the result was that all the manwent to America—or at least the rank hood and spirit of the colony either and file—with a single-minded longing hired themselves to the capitalists or for the conversion of the heathen. I went adventuring on their own account, is true they were content with faint Agriculture and lumbering were almost

a chalished. Char.company in cement,

brought to a standstill. It was even a When the settlers of La France more serious consideration that the Nouvelle were developing their fur settlements around the cities were left trade under official encouragement, exposed to the attacks of the Indians. the Hudson Bay Company had been The Government was driven to severe established. Charles IÍ. had granted measures, yet arbitrary legislation only a charter to his cousin Prince Rupert, made matters worse. Moreover, other giving away a vast territory which was causes were simultaneously at work. not his to bestow. In 1670, when the The Catholic Church has generally Company was founded, Charles had been supposed to encourage gayety and no legal rights in America. By the innocent dissipation. But it is a cu- treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye in 1632 rious fact that at that time the rule of the English had conceded to the French the priests in Quebec and Montreal was all their claims on New France. So almost as austere as that of the Puri. late as 1697, by the treaty of Ryswick, tans in Boston and Philadelphia. the cession of these claims was conChiefly, and not without very good firmed. It is true that “ spheres of reason, the Church set its face against influence” beyond the Atlantic were the drinking habits, which were uni- little respected in those days, for versal among men suffering habitually France herself had encroached on the from cold and hardships. License was rights of Spain, though solemnly sanconly tolerated, and involuntarily toler- tioned by papal bull. Virtually, neverated, in Montreal at the great annual theless, the Hudson adventurers were fur fair, when all the townsfolk with trespassers. Yet for a time the Govtheir savage guests had been in the ernment of the Canadas did not move habit of getting drunk from time im- in the matter. With limitless terrimemorial. But neither the trappers tories of their own to exploiter, with a when they came home to squander European population of scarcely 60,000 their gains in holiday-making, nor the souls, it could hardly have seemed loafers of the cities to whom they will worth while. The cold of the Ca. ingly stood treat, could suffer these nadian winter is intense, but it is little intolerable restrictions. Consequently, to that on the inhospitable shores of and in spite of edicts and penalties, Hudson Bay, enveloped in fogs and there was a general stampede of the darkness for three-fourths of the year. male population to the woods. It was The very name was of sinister omen, then, as we are inclined to believe, that for Hudson had come to unknown for the first time the French trappers, grief in the gulf he had discovered. hunters, and canoe-men got the name Wonderful were the courage and selfof coureurs de bois, which they retained denial of the handful of hardy pioneers ever after when in the service of the who first stockaded a fortalice on that companies. In fact, the woods and forbidding coast, where they had to the back.waters began to swarm with fetch the timber by ships from afar bands of lawless vagabonds who were and bore into the frozen ground with literally bushrangers, and who dare gigantic gimlets. The illimitable not show their faces in the settlements wastes around, still known as the under pain of arrest and punishment. Barren Grounds, were intensely deOutlawed and desperate, they infested pressing. The silence was seldom the precincts of the frontier posts, broken, save by the screams of the uniting the worst vices of civilization to seafowl flying land ward before a storm. the savagery of their Indian allies. So The musk-ox-more of a sheep by the it was that French Canada had been way-was the only animal of any size rather embarrassed than helped by her that made its home there. The wolf, best manhood when Montcalm suc- the moose, or the reindeer would somecumbed to Wolfe, and England effected times stray thither in the short sumthe conquest. Then began the embit mer, but they were always prompt to tered rivalry of two great fur com- quit with the first sprinkling of the panies, when free-fighting went on far snows. The settlers had cut thembeyond reach of the law, and crimes selves loose from society and civilizacould be perpetrated with practical tion. Still the cominunications with impunity.

the depots at Fort York, Fort Albany,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »