Page images
PDF

just retribution to the oppressors of his ancestors. Most soldiers agree with me that the infamous “sacks of Pekin" in the name of Christianity should cost Christendom dear. Our rulers should hasten to emulate the United States, and secure the friendship of the Chinese before it is too late. Japan and China and Further India, and numerous gorgeous and surpassingly rich isles, are on the one side of the Pacific. The principal topographical and strategical differences between Asiatic and American coasts of the Pacific can be seen by a glance at any good map. On one side are vast alluvial plains, on the other are lofty mountains. On the right, south of the Canadian frontier, are few great rivers or peninsulas or islands or bays. On the left are mighty rivers, numerous peninsulas, multitudinous islands, and not only many large bays, but also considerable inland seas. Canada, the United States, and the Spanish-American Republics are on the other side, 47.oo miles away. It is easier now to get from England to Hong Kong, and thence to Esquimalt, than it was to get to Hong Kong only in the days of the Crimean War. Yet sea power has dominated both coasts during the days of the Dutch ascendency, during the time of the Buccaneers, during the Seven Years-War in 1762, in the Chilian War, 1891, as well as more recently in 1894, 1898, and 1904. Not only did the Muscovites succeed in re-establishing their rule and their religion all over the district known as Russia in Europe, in spite of Mongols and Crimean Khans, but the Cossack Jermak, between 1570 and 1583, passed the Ural Mountains and annexed Siberia as far as the River Irtysh. He was surprised by the Tartar Kutchum and drowned in this river in 1584. The Cossacks penetrated to the Amur and fought the Chinese at Albazin in 1686; but they retired, by the treaty of Nertchinsk, not to return for 150 years. During the Crimean War Muravioff clearly saw the importance of the mouth of the Amur and of the Saghalien Islands, and annexed both, in spite of some dissatisfaction at St. Petersburg. In 1860, when the French and English were “sacking” Pekin, Muravioff compelled the Chinese to cede the maritime district south of the Amur and north of Korea, including Vladivostok and Possiet Bay. When the Russians occupied Manchuria, their geographical position was exactly that of Zenghis Khan and his “golden horde” of Mongols in 1224. After the close of the Crimean War the crushing defeats of Schamyl and his Circassians opened routes into Asia over the Caucasus, and on both sides of the Caspian Sea. Failing to gain possession of the old realms of the Porte and of the Greek Empire, and of the house of Alexander, owing to the action of England and France, the Russians looked eastwards again. Following the footsteps of the immortal pupil of Aristotle, between 1860 and 1880, Kaufmann and Skobeleff reached the Oxus, and a Russian chief soon administered the capital of Tamerlane (Samarkand). Then, in spite of all the clamour of Russophiles in 1878 that it would take them a hundred years to reach the Hindu Kush and the frontier of Afghan'stan, in 1884 they entered Merv. Some of you, gentlemen, helped, by the campaign of Chitral, to close against them the Baroghil exit from the “roof of the world,” and that famous Dora Pass whereby Alexander is said to have marched on Lahore. I have no doubt that some of you also learred the game of polo from the descendants of his warr101’S. Nevertheless, foiled of an exit to the Sea of Marmora and the Levant, the Russians went ever eastward. When Muravioff with daring foresight secured from the Chinese the whole left bank of the Amur, 1858, railways began to link Moscow to Lake Baikal, and on to the Jaxartes. In 1872 Vladivostok was established as the commercial metropolis, railway terminus, and naval entrepôt of the northernmost FargEast, and by the marvellous negligence of our rulers Port Arthur was leased in 1898. You will see some of the historic results of this negligence in the war news of this week. Manifestly the Russians have now realised what Lord Bacon taught Britons in the days of Elizabeth, when we began to seek for empire on the other side of the Atlantic, that he who possesses command of the sea can take as much or as little of a war as he pleases. States wholly inland, without navies and ports, are “cabined, cribbed, confined.” Turkey objected with force and success to the seizure of Constantinople even as late as 1878; but Port Arthur and Dalny were good substitutes for Salonika and Stamboul, and the wealth of one Chinese province outweighs twenty-fold all the resources of all the Balkan peninsula and Asia Minor put together. There is a hundred times more coal available in Shansi and Honan than in all England, and the tonnage engaged in the internal commerce of China surpasses that of all the ocean-going mercantile marine of Continental Europe and of the United States. Moreover, in addition to the Trans-Siberian railway, which traverses a territory containing more undeveloped wealth than would purchase all the capital of Central Europe ten times over, another railway is being made by Chinamen, guarded by Cossacks, through Mongolia, over the Gobi Desert, which would enable the Russians to advance on Pekin from the west, in conjunction with an advance through Manchuria. If the Russians could control the Chinese they would rule the Old World— nothing could stop them ; they would also rival the United States; and hence the Japanese, pagans though they be, are fighting for Christianity, for civilisation, for the United Kingdom, and if these were only wise enough to see their real interests, are also fighting for the expansion of the commerce of the Germans and of the French. There is gold in other lands, but the Pacific is literally gold rimmed, and its shores could support five times their present population in lavish abundance. As for our party leaders of both sides of the House of Commons, well, they do not even affect to be provident ; catching votes pays better than lofty aspirations; a rhetorical or dialectical speech seems to them better value than the wisdom of ancient philosophers or of modern strategists. They allow the Japanese to fight our battles at present, although but for their policy, in spite of all their “bluff” about “open doors,” the Russians would not have been in Manchuria or on the Yalu at all. I do not blame the Russians in the least, any more than I blame Napoleon or Nadir Shah or Zenghis Khan. They naturally aim at wealth or glory, as did Napoleon a hundred years ago, when he yearned to gain command of the sea. He had unlimited land power, as had Tamerlane, but his power stopped at the shore. In vain his corps, real corps and plenty of them, watched the “white cliffs"; in vain his legions crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula. Sea power closed his avenues to greatness, and “the Spanish ulcer ruined him.” Perchance, I may some time illustrate my doctrine that the Japanese isles are to Eastern Asia in 1904 what the British Isles were to Western Europe in 1804, and that Korea has from a strategical point of view many points of resemblance to Spain and Portugal. You all know how British sea power played havoc with French interests in these countries, 1808–1813, and enabled Wellington to invade France in 1814. In point of fact a mighty land power, even with an admirable military system far better than Russia's, when it stretches its arm into a peninsula is always liable to have its elbow broken by its adversary's command of the sea. More than a century before Yermak the Cossack moved into Siberia, a far more daring leader's enterprises conducted Western Europeans across the Atlantic in ships that were mere cock-boats as compared with the liners which carried you, gentlemen, even a greater distance from Southampton to Cape Colony. The labours of Columbus and Cabot and Diaz and de Gama, transferred the focus of sea power from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, and opened up new avenues for Europeans in both Indies, East and West. The sea being mastered, a fell series of invincible European invaders struck down the old and prosperous and marvellously wealthy civilisations of Mexico and Peru. The worthlessness of mere wealth and of mere material resources, however unbounded, to a nation which has lost the art of war, were illustrated from the Atlantic at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and from the Pacific at the end of the nineteenth. The Spaniards, under Pizarro and Cortes, ruined America from the Atlantic coast, and Vasco Nunez de Balbao caught sight of the Pacific. Then commenced a new era which ended in 1898 at Manilla and Havana. Keats mistook Cortes for Balbao; the boy poet opened the Elizabethan Chapman's translation of the immortal poem in which Homer detailed the first invasion by Europeans of the Asiatic coast, whence came all European cultures and religion. He was enraptured : Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken, Or like stout Cortes, when with eagle eyes He stared at the Pacific, and all his men Looked at each other with a wild surmise, Silent upon a peak of Darien.

The vision of the stout Vasco Nuñez de Balbao—famous freebooter and servant of the King of Spain and of God—plunderer and baptizer of Indians—from the peak of Quarequa, was destined to open up a new era of the reign of gold and of the ruin of empires. The pious hero thanked God, and, armed as he was, rushed down into the ocean and, waving his sword, claimed everything eastward for his Sovereign, September 25, 1513, and forthwith seized a pearl island and massacred the natives. His master the Emperor of Germany, Charles V., suggested a Panama canal in the reign of our Henry VIII. Spain soon ruled all the coast from Chili to California; and the half-breed descendants of the old folk and of the new Spaniards hold all the land from Texas and Arizona to Terra del Fuego even now. All this coast and its hinterlands are reeking with agricultural and mineral wealth untold, and only awaiting development. Here is wealth—boundless, inexhaustible—but from which the far-reaching Monroe doctrine excludes European control. The State of Colombia, even when shorn of Panama, could support 40,000,ooo of people, if properly managed, as easily as Belgium could support 4,000,ooo. In the northern part of America British and French were settling on the Atlantic coast from north of Florida to the St. Lawrence, and it is with their expansion to the Pacific that we are next concerned. Till the middle of the last century neither touched the Pacific. Mr. Pitt, the younger, with whom the foresight of British Cabinets died, inasmuch as British statesmen, after the fall of Napoleon, dropped into the ignoble sleep from which not even the South African surprise has awakened them—Mr. Pitt, I say, was so clearly convinced of the value of a port and a strategic position on the Pacific that he would have gone to war with Spain for Vancouver Island, had it been refused to him. At the close of the American War of Revolution, 1783, his predecessors had given away a large part of the territory of Canada which his father and Wolfe and Amherst had won. The surrender of the North-Western Provinces, from Ohio to Michigan inclusive, to the bluff of Franklin, gave the new United States, our disloyal children, a vast increment of territory, and changed their position at once at the expense of our loyal children the Canadians, who had fought and bled for our Empire, 1775–1782. This surrender brought the United States a long stage on their first march to the Pacific, but the purchase of the whole basin of the Mississippi from Napoleon, 1802, gave them all that remained to the French in North America, and, as Napoleon said when selling it, with a sigh, “The valley of the Mississippi may in due time mean the mastery of the world.” The purchase included all the territory from New Orleans to the Rocky Mountains and as far north as Dakota and Montana. I can only shortly indicate at what a cheap rate the active and enterprising leaders of the United States, the descendants of persecuted English and of hardy colonists, whose people became solid and daring after long-continued fights against the desperate Red Indians and against Frenchmen and Britons, secured an enormous empire. The United States were not based on ignoble and treacherous defeats of pacific unsuspecting Montezumas or Atahualpas ; they were based on agriculture, not on gold, though gold came in due time ; the people were energetic, adventurous, brave to fight, earnest to toil, rejoicing VOL. XLIII 18

« PreviousContinue »