The largest of the continents is Asia. Its area is greater than that of both North and South America combined. Its population exceeds that of all the rest of the globe. There civilization had its earliest development, so far as investigation has been able to ascertain. The close of the Nineteenth Century sees it the scene of a conflict of the great powers a conflict at present peaceful but which may at any moment become warlike and Europe waits for Asia’s complete subjection to its political control. Europe already dominates Asia by virtue of the superior intelligence of the Occident to that of the Orient.
From the ancient history of Asia to the modern is a great gap. The ancient history of the great Oriental peoples who there laid the foundations of the system that now threatens the political extermination of their descend-ants, has been sketched in the volume, “Ancient and Medioeval History.”
A new epoch in Asia’s history began after the development of European navigation, when Portuguese ships, rounding the Cape, founded the first European colonies in India. They were soon followed by the Spaniards, the Dutch, the French, the Danes, and the British, all endeavoring to seize the richest colonies in Asia, and all involved in interminable struggles for preponderance in her lands and on her seas; while Russia, in the course of a few centuries, conquered and partly colonized the best parts of the immense cold prairies and forest lands on the north-western slope of the high plateau, and crossing its narrow extremity in the northeast, reached the Pacific. Great Britain established herself in India, and expelling thence her competitors from all but a few spots on the sea-coast, she took possession of the whole of the peninsula, and extended her powers over the western parts of the Indo-Chinese peninsula. The Portuguese retain in India only Din, Daman, and Goa; and the French keep Chandernagore, Yanaon, Pondicherry, Caricai, and Mahé. The next colonial power in Asia is the Dutch, who have under their dominion most of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Celebes, the Moluccas, and the small Sunda Islands. British and French interests are rivals in the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and while Burmah has become English, the annexation by France of Tonquin and of Siamese territory east of the Mekong has consolidated French power in Indo-China. The joint intervention by Russia and France in Chinese affairs, after the Japanese war of 1894-95, has further extended both French and Russian influence in Asia. China, till then regarded as forming with Britain and Russia, the third great power in Asia, has assumed temporarily at least, a quite subordinate place; while Japan has become the foremost native Asiatic power.
It will be seen that Asia is gradually coming under European influence. This influence has reached its highest development in the British dependency of India of which Queen Victoria is Empress. India has been easy prey for many conquerors. The influence of the Greek conquest ( see volume “Ancient History”) was swept away by the Scythians, who poured in many waves from 126 B. C. and 544 A. D. over Northern India. Their inroads, as well as the existence of ancient aboriginal tribes in India, left a lasting influence on the character of the population, and profoundly modified the religious beliefs and domestic institutions of the Hindus.
So early as A. D. 664 Arabs began to make predatory expeditions against Guzerat and Sind. The conquest of Persia, toward the middle of the Seventh Century, at length brought the successors of Mohammed to the Indus, and in the Northwest of India they made some temporary acquisitions during the ensuing 100 years. However 200 years more were to pass before the foundations of a durable Mohammedan Empire were laid. It was in the year 999 that Mahmud declared the independence of the Kingdom of Ghazni in Afghanistan a proceeding which he followed with at least twelve expeditions into India, one of which carried him beyond the Jumna, and another ended in the occupation of Guzerat. Later, in 1024, he conquered and annexed to his Kingdom, the provinces of Lahore and Mooltan. The succeeding dynasties of Afghan Kings held power in India for 500 years; but the advance of their power was gradual, for it was not until 1206 that Delhi was taken, and the greater part of Hindustan was annexed by Kubt-uh-din, with whose memory is connected the Kubt-minar, near Delhi; and the first Mohammedan invasion of the Dec-can took place in 1294.
From this time onward the history of India is the history of invasion, dynasty following dynasty, while the Mongol hordes again and again swept into the country. At length, during the reign of the last monarch of the Toghlak line, the famous Tamerlane burst into India at the head of a mighty host and captured and sacked Delhi in 1398: he left behind him Khizr Khan, who thenceforward held the reins of power. A period of misrule, tyranny, and anarchy ensued, and fittingly paved the way for the total conquest of the country by the Mogul Emperors. Under Shah Jehan (1628-58), the Mogul Empire reached its zenith. Many public works and grand buildings testify to his magnificence and taste, among others the Taj Mahal at Agra, which is said to have been the work of a French architect Austin of Bordeaux. The close of Shah Jehan’s reign was embittered by the rivalries of his four sons. Aurung-Zeb (1658-1707) defeated his brothers and put them to death; his father he kept a prisoner for the rest of his life. Aurung-Zeb, had great ability and courage, and was a master of dissimulation; but bigotry and distrust were the bane of his policy, and the decline of the Mogul Empire dates from his reign. Four sons disputed the right of succession; at last Bahadur Shah gained the coveted crown, but only for five years. Dying in 1712 he was succeeded by his son, Jehundar Shah, who was cruelly murdered by one Farokshir, a great-grandson of the famous Aurung-Zeb who seized on the crown. He in turn was himself put to death six years later, and Muhammed Shah, grandson of Bahadur, came to the throne. The viceroys of his own appointment grew uneasy and rebellious, and all unconsciously aided in the growth of the Mahratta power. One of them refused his aid to his Sovereign, and the Mahrattas in consequence subdued the Deccan. In 1738, to avenge an alleged insult, Nadir Shah of Persia invaded India, captured Delhi, and gave the city over to the mercy of his terrible followers, who are said to have slain more than 100,000 of the inhabitants, and to have levied as contribution and carried off as plunder treasure equal to more than $250,000,000. In spite of this enormous sacrifice, peace was only obtained by giving up to the conqueror all the country west of the Indus. On the death of Muhammad (1748), the country was fast going to decay it was in fact only waiting for a fresh conqueror. The Mahrattas were there ready for the work to be done. About 1724, the Deccan, Oudh, and Bengal became practically independent under Nizam-ul-Mulk (ancestor of the present Nizam), Sadat Khan, and Aliverdi Khan respectively.
Simultaneously with the decline of the Moguls rose the power of the Mahrattas. They were Hindus, and the country from which they came may be roughly described by drawing two lines from Nagpur to Surat and Goa on the west coast. The founder of their power was Sivaji (1627-1680), a chieftain of the family of Bhonslah. The Mahratta Empire, containing within itself the seeds of disintegration, was fated to bend before the superior sway of European adventurers, who, either from love of adventure or thoughts of gain, had been attracted in increasing numbers to the shores of India.
From time immemorial the trade of Europe with India, the farther East, has been the most lucrative branch of the world’s commerce, and has enormously enriched in turn each Nation that has carried it on. In the Fifteenth Century it was mainly possessed by the Venetians at its European end, and by the Arabs, the successors of the old Phoenicians, in its Eastern portion; the chief centers of the trade of the Arabs were Calicut, Ormuz, Aden, and Malacca. Seing the large profits to be derived from this trade, the rising Nations of Europe in the Fifteenth Century sought to obtain a share. Hence the ardor of the navigators who set out to discover an ocean route to India. The sea route round the Cape of Good Hope was discovered by Vasco da Gama, who anchored before Calicut on the 20th of May, 1498. From that time until they lost their naval supremacy the Portuguese may be considered to have enjoyed the monopoly of Indian trade. The first Portuguese Viceroy, Francis of Almeida (1505-1509), established numerous factories and fortresses, and took possession of Ceylon and the Maldive Islands; while his successor Alfonso de Albuquerque, captured Goa (1510), and extended the Portuguese dominion in various places, but notably on the Malabar and Malacca coasts. This dominion had in 1542 practically amounted to an entire regulation of the Asiatic Coast trade with Europe from the Persian Gulf to Japan, and for nearly sixty years afterward the King of Portugal was the virtual Suzerain of the southern coast of Asia. When the Portuguese crown fell into weak hands its power in the Eastern seas began to decline; and it was almost annulled in 1580 when the crowns of Spain and Portugal were united under Philip II, and the Asiatic interests of Portugal were subordinated to the European interests of Spain. The Portuguese were content to bring the exports of India to Lisbon; they left it to the Dutch to carry them thence to the other ports of Europe. When Phillip II, on account of the revolt of the United Provinces, shut the harbor of Lisbon against them, the Dutch (1580) were driven either to forego the trade or seek it in the East themselves. The enterprise of the Nation decided the question, especially as the Spanish naval supremacy had been shattered by the defeat of the “Invincible Armada” in 1588. In 1602 “The Dutch East India Company” was formed by the amalgamation of the previously existing trading societies, and between 1602 and 1620 the principal Portuguese settlements in the East were captured. In 1661 the Portuguese possessed only those remnants of their Indian possessions which they still hold. The Dutch Eastern Empire, situated mainly in the Malayan Peninsula, and contiguous islands passed with the mother country under the dominion of France in 1810. Attacked in consequence and conquered by the English in 1812, it was surrendered again to the Dutch in 1816, since which date it has remained in Dutch hands.
At the close of the Sixteenth Century the English also began to feel the necessity of freeing themselves from dependence on others for the supply of Indian produce, and to desire a share in the profits of Indian commerce. After the success of some smaller ventures, the English East India Company was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth by royal charter 0n the 31st of December, 1600. Quarrels with the Portuguese ensued, and no footing of any kind was obtained until the year 1615, when Captain Best, with 400 English ships, won a great victory over the Portuguese squadron off Surat, where a settlement was established, and a satisfactory treaty concluded with the Emperor Jehangir. England having entered upon the war of the Austrian succession in 1744, the rival companies of England and France came in collision in 1746, the immediate result being the capture of Madras in that year. Had Dupleix received continuous support from home, he might have succeeded in founding a French Empire in India. The first reverses of the English were retrieved by Clive, whose gallant defense of Arcot (1751) was followed by a series of brilliant movements culminating in the utter defeat of the French army at Wandewash in 1760, and in the capture of Pondicherry in 1761; which completed the ruin of the French. The territory retained by the French in India since that date is insignificant, and in these possessions they are forbidden by treaty to hold any considerable military force. The tragedy of the Black Hole of Calcutta (1756) summoned Clive from Madras, and the victory of Plassey in the following year made British influence predominant in Bengal. Clive was appointed first Governor of Bengal in 1758. In 1763, in his absence, the English were again embroiled in Bengal, but completely defeated their opponents at Buzar (1764). As a result of this battle they received from the Emperor at Delhi the diwani or fiscal administration of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, and the jurisdiction over the Northern Circars. Clive returned a second time to Bengal as Governor, and before he left finally in 1767, he succeeded in reforming the services, in which great abuses existed. After an interval of misrule Warren Hastings (1772-85) was appointed President of Calcutta, and then Governor-General in 1774, on the creation of that office under the Regulating Act of 1773. He not only greatly increased the power and territory of the Company notwithstanding the opposition of a hostile Council, of which Sir Philip Francis, the reputed author of Junius, was a member, but was also the first great administrative organizer of the British possessions in India. He repelled Hyder Ali’s memorable invasion of the Carnatic (1780) and defeated the triple alliance of the Nizam, the Mahrattas, and Hyder Ali. In doing so he probably saved British India.
In 1790 Lord Cornwallis, being British Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, was obliged to make war on Tippoo, Sultan of Mysore, who had invaded Travancore, then under British protection. Half the dominions of Tippoo passed to the East India Company by a treaty dictated to the defeated Sultan at Seringapatam. In 1798 Lord Mornington (afterward Marquis Wellesley) became Governor. Tippoo intrigued now both with the French and with native Princes with England, and in 1799 Seringapatam was captured, and Tippoo slain. In the famous battle of Assaye,* Colonel Wellesley (afterward the Duke of Wellington) defeated the Mahrattas under Scindia, while the victories of General Lake in Northern India extended the dominion of the Company. When the Earl of Moira (afterward the Marquis of Hastings) became Governor-General (1813) the Pindaris and Ghourkas were suppressed, and British rule became supreme in India. Earl Amherst’s administration (1823-28) was marked by a Burmese war, and that of Lord William Bentinck (1828-35) by the suppression of the custom of Sutti (widow-burning) and of the Thugs. In 1836 the Earl of Auckland became Governor-General. In 1842 the terrible massacre of British troops at Khyber Pass took place, for which retribution was exacted when Kabul was sacked, during the administration of Lord Ellenborough. Sir Charles Napier conquered and annexed Scindia under the last named Governor. In 1844 Sir Henry Hardinge was sent out, and then followed the first Sikh war, when the desperate battles of Moodkee, Ferozeshah, Aliwal, and Sobraon resulted in the subjugation of the Sikhs. In 1848 Earl Dalhousie commenced an administration marked by great improvements in government and vast social progress. A second Sikh war terminating in the victory won at Guzerat by Sir Hugh Gough (1849), then occurred, while the four Kingdoms of Pegu, Nagpur, Oude, and Punjab were annexed. Viscount Canning was Governor-General when the great storm of 1857 broke forth. The Indian Mutiny had its commencement in a massacre at Meerut, and it quickly spread to Delhi, where there were no European troops. At Cawnpore, which fell into, the hands of Nana Sahib, Maharajah of Bithur, a terrible massacre of Europeans, both men and women, took place, and a similar fate seemed to await those who were besieged in the Residency at Lucknow. After a heroic defense of eighty-seven days, the city was relieved by Havelock and Out-ram. In 1859 Oude was entirely reduced. During the Mutiny much assistance was gained from native chiefs, such as Scindia, Holkar, and the Nizam, who were rewarded with honors, but the last of the great Moguls, the King of Delhi, was transported as a felon, and died in 1862 in Pegu. The result of the Mutiny was the transfer of the Government of India from the Company to the crown. Since that event the most memorable incidents in the history of India have been the assassination of Lord Mayo, Governor-General, in the Andaman Islands in 1872, and the second Afghan war in 1878. In 1882 a detachment of Indian troops did excellent service for England in Egypt, and in November, 1885, Upper Burmah was annexed to the British Empire.
Lord Lansdowne’s administration was responsible for a change in the currency law by which the Mints were closed to free coinage of silver, and the rupee currency cut away from its silver basis to be eventually, it was intended, attached to a gold standard. The reconstruction of the Legislative Councils introduced a more popular element in the government of India, while the opening of the public service more widely to the natives of India gave them a larger share in the work of administration. With the years 1894 began the Viceroyalty of the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, which was full of events, particularly in 1897; frontier wars, famine, earth-quakes, plague, seditious agitations, boundary settlements, financial embarrassments, and peaceful reforms. In 1895 a rising in Chitral and the danger to a beleaguered British garrison made necessary a formidable military expedition which was conducted with rapidity, precision, gallantry, and success. In 1897 Lord Elgin had to face, in addition to troubles on the frontier, the internal calamities of famine, earthquake, and plague. The rains of 1896 failed after the middle of August over a large area in India. Grain riots occurred at the end of September, and before the end of October, 1896, 50,000 persons were receiving State relief, the numbers rapidly increasing until they reached nearly three and a. quarter millions in the beginning of March, 1897. In September, 1896, came the first reports of the bubonic plague in Bombay. The total number of deaths re-ported up to October, 1897, was 11,000 in Bombay, and about 36,000 in the rest of the Presidency. About 70 per cent of the cases reported resulted fatally. Lord Curzon, whose wife is an American woman, became Viceroy in 1899.
Contiguous to British India and Russian Asia are the States of Afghanistan and Persia, whose Sovereigns have been a constant source of contention between Russia and England both in war and diplomacy. By agreement with the Amir, Afghanistan has no relation with other powers except the Government of India. In all other respects Afghanistan is independent, and the rule of the Amir despotic. In the Eleventh and Thirteenth Centuries the Afghan Empires of the Sultans Ghazni and Ghor, and in the last century that of Ahmed Shah, extended over the Punjab. In 1838 the country was occupied by British troops, but three years later a national revolt broke out at Kabul, which resulted in the destruction of an English army and the abandonment of the country to its native rulers. A second invasion by the English in 1879 led to the temporary occupation of Kabul and Kandahar, and to the annexation to the Indian Empire of the chief passes between Afghanistan and India.
Something of the ancient and medioeval history of Persia has been told in the first volume of this work. The Sassanian Kings raised Persia to a height of power and prosperity such as it never before attained, and more than once imperiled the existence of the eastern Empire. The most notable Kings of the dynasty were Shahpur I, or Sapor (240-273), who routed the Romans, and took the Emperor Valerian captive at Edessa; his grandson, Shahpur II, who also maintained an equal conflict with the Romans, and Chosroes I and II, the latter of whom was ultimately crushed by Heraclius in 628. The last Sassanian King, Yazdigerd (Yazdajird), was driven from the throne, after a great battle at Nahavend (639), by the Arabs, who now began to extend their dominion in all directions, and from this period may be dated the gradual change of character in the native Persian race, for they have been from this time constantly subject to alien races. During the reigns of Omar (the first of the Arab rulers of Persia) Othman Ali, and the Ommiades (634-750) Bagdad became the capital, and Khorassan the favorite province of the early and more energetic rulers of this race, and Persia consequently came to be considered as the center and nucleus of the califate. But the rule of the Caliphs soon became merely nominal, and ambitious Governors, or other aspiring individuals, established independent principalities, in various parts of the .country. Many of these dynasties were transitory, others lasted for centuries, and created extensive and powerful Empires. The Moguls under Genghis Khan swept them away. Afterward they fell prey to the Turks in the Fifteenth Century. The Turks were expelled in 1605 by Shah Abbas the Great. Afghanistan and Beluchistan finally separated from Persia, and the country was split up into a number of small independent States till 1755, when Kerim Khan, the Kurd, reestablished peace and unity in Western Persia, and by his wisdom, justice, and warlike talents acquired the esteem of his subjects and the respect of neighboring States.
The history of Persia from 1789 to 1830 is mainly a struggle against Russia. Aga Mahommed, who founded the present royal dynasty, became King in 1795, and subdued Khorassan and Georgia, but his successor, Futteh Ali, was drawn into war with Russia and compelled to cede Georgia to that power. ,Another war was followed by the treaty of Gulistan (1813), which gave away further territory and allowed the Russians to navigate the Caspian. In 1826-29 a third war cost Persia Armenia. In 1834 Mahommed Shah obtained the throne, and tried to assert the old Persian supremacy over the Afghans and the Beloochees. He accordingly proceeded to annex Herat, but was prevented by England. In 1848 Nazir-ed-Din (assassinated in 1898) pursued a similar course, and finally, in 1856, the Persians took the city. A British army was forthwith sent against them, under Outram and Havelock, who gained repeated victories and compelled the restoration of Herat. Since then Persian aggression has left Herat alone, and developed itself in other places, causing frequent disputes with the Amir of Afghanistan and the Khan of Khelat, from the latter of whom a large slice of territory was obtained in 1872. The Caspian Sea, which bounds Persia on the north, is wholly under Russian influence, the Persian Gulf on the south is dominated and policed by the British Government. The northern frontiers of Persia are in contact with the Russian provinces, its eastern with Afghanistan and Beluchistan, which are within the sphere of British influence, and its western with Turkey. Railways are practically non-existent, and the Shah has bound himself not to allow the construction of railways in Persia before the end of the century.
The Kingdom of Siam lies between the British Indian province of Burmah and its dependencies on one side, and the territory of French Indo-China on the other. By the Anglo-French agreement of May, 1896, the main central part of Siam, including the basins of the rivers Menam, Petcha Bouri, and Petriou, was neutralized, the two Governments agreeing not to send troops into it, or to obtain an exclusive advantage in it.
The French Indo-China consists of Cochin China, Tonquin, Annam, and Cambodia. Since the union created in 1887 they have been under a single Governor-General, with a Lieutenant-Governor for Cochin China, and Residents-General for the other three divisions. The first cession of Cochin China was in 1862; its western provinces were occupied in 1867. Cambodia recognized the French protectorate in 1863; its present status is, however, regulated by a convention of June 17, 1884; the effective protectorate. over Annam dates from 1874, but present relations are determined by a convention of June 6, 1884. Tonquin may be said to have been finally conquered when peace had been concluded with China in 1885. The Lao country up to the Mekong was added to the French protectorate as a result of a dispute with Siam in 1893, and the Mekong was finally fixed as a boundary between French and British dominions in 1896. Cochin China is wholly annexed and directly administered by French officials. Annam is governed by a King, with his court at Hué. Subject to the control of the French Resident, the Annamese Kingdom is an absolute despotism, after the Chinese type, and the administration is in the hands of the King’s officials. In Cambodia the French Resident presides over the State Council, and French interference in internal administration is greater than it is in Annam; but Government is carried on in the name of the King of Cambodia. In Tonquin there is a native Regent, who is head of the native administration. But he does not rule. The direction of affairs is in the hands of the French Resident and his subordinate officials.
The most important English Asiatic possession outside of India is the Island of Ceylon. In 1507 the Portuguese landed in Ceylon and formed settlements along the coast; but about 150 years later they were deposed by the Dutch. In 1796 the British took possession of the Dutch settlements on the island, and annexed them to the Presidency of Madras; but six years after, in 1801, Ceylon was erected into a separate crown colony. In 1815 the King of Kandy was deposed and banished, and his dominions, which had up to that time maintained their independence of European rule, were annexed to the British crown.
In 1602 the Dutch created their East India Company. This Company conquered successively the Dutch East Indies, and ruled them during nearly two centuries. After the dissolution of the Company in 1798 the Dutch possessions were governed by the mother-country. Java, the most important of the colonial possessions of the Netherlands, was formerly administered, politically and socially, on a system established by General Johannes Graaf Van den Bosch in 1832, and known as the “culture system.” It was based in principle on the officially superintended labor of the natives, directed so as to produce not only a sufficiency of food for themselves, but a large quantity of colonial produce best suited for the European market. The “culture system” comprised the forced labor of the natives employed in the cultivation of coffee, sugar, indigo, pepper, tea, tobacco, and other articles. At present, the labor of the natives is only required for the produce of coffee, which is sold by the Government partly in the colonies, but mostly in the Netherlands. By the terms of a bill which passed the Legislature of the Netherlands in 1870, the forced cultivation of the sugar-cane is now totally abolished.
The most important native power of the East and, in fact, the only one that is independent of Europe, is Japan, whose wonderful progress in the arts of peace and war during the last generation has amazed all the world. At international expositions Japan has shown the skill of her workmen, while during the war with China she proved that in future she was to be reckoned with in the division of Asia. Though the newest of the powers, Japan is one of the oldest in history. The Japanese claim a written history extending over 2,500 years, and its Sovereigns claim to have formed an unbroken dynasty since 660 B. C., the present Emperor being the 121st of his race. But the early history of the Nation is of slight importance in a history of the world. The Generalissimo, or Shôgun, seized the supreme authority in 1192, although the Mikado continued, as always, the nominal ruler. The next four centuries, until 1603, were a period of bloodshed during which the feudal system became well established.
Japan became first known to Europe under the name of Zipangu, through Marco Polo. The Portuguese, in 1542, established a lucrative trade, which continued until their final expulsion in 1640. From this date the Japanese government maintained the most rigid policy of isolation. No foreign vessels might touch at Japanese ports under any pretense. Japanese sailors wrecked on any foreign shore were with difficulty permitted to return home; while the Dutch, locked up in their factory at Deshima, were allowed to hold no communication with the mainland; and the people lived like “frogs in a well,” as the Japanese proverb has it, till 1853, when they were rudely awakened from their dream of peace and security by Commodore Perry’s steaming into the harbor of Uraga with a squadron of United States war vessels. He extorted a treaty from the frightened Shôgun, 31st March, 1854, and Japan, after a withdrawal of 216 years, entered once more the family of Nations. Other countries slowly followed the example of the United States, until sixteen in all had obtained the same privileges. By signing the treaty, however, the Shôgun gave offense to the daimyos, or the territorial Princes, and a long period of confusion ensued. In 1868 he was completely overthrown, and the Mikado left his enforced seclusion. The daimyos very few of whom were more than mere weaklings under the direction of strong-willed retainers, resigned their fiefs, and were pensioned by the Government. Since 1868 the leading men of Satsuma and Chôsho, forming what is called the Sat-cho combination, have held the important portfolios of State. The new period, commencing with the Emperor Mutsuhito’s accession, has been named Meiji, “enlightened peace.”
Japan, during the Meiji period, has striven to make her influence felt as a powerful factor in Asiatic politics. Her expedition to Formosa in 1874 to punish piracy, her annexation in 1879 of the Loo Choo Islands, not withstanding China’s remonstrances and threats, her spirited policy in Corea in 1873, 1882, 1894, and 1895, her conscription law of 1883, and subsequent army reorganization, her development of a strong navy, her coast-defense scheme of 1887, subscribed to liberally by wealthy private individuals, proved her assertive spirit. A rebellion in 1877 of the fiercer Satsuma men under General Saigo was promptly crushed.
During the last few years, especially since the reconstruction of the cabinet and the administration in 1886, the court has emerged entirely from its seclusion. The Emperor and Empress have visited all the chief institutions, and are present at public spectacles. The crown Prince, Haru, was the first in the long dynasty to be educated at a public school. A new nobility was created in 1884, drawn partly from the old feudal baronage and partly from the new one of 1868. By the constitution of 1889, February 11th, voluntarily granted by the Mikado, the succession to the throne was definitely fixed in the main line. The Emperor appoints his cabinet, whose members are responsible to him; there is also a Privy Council whom the Emperor may consult. The Emperor declares war, makes peace, and concludes treaties. The Imperial Diet, formed on the German system, consists of two houses, one of nobles, and one of representatives. The house of nobles contains about three hundred members, and the house of representatives the same, or about one member to 128,000 population. Voting is by scrutin de liste and secret ballot. The Diet must assemble every year. Japan enjoys also an admirable system of local home rule, provinces, districts, cities, and villages having their local Governors, and councils. As has been shown, the progress which has been made by the Japanese is remarkable. Young men of exceptional promise have been sent to the great universities of Europe and America, to return, upon the completion of their education, and mingle with the people as a leavening factor of the most potent quality. The hasty assimilation of Western ideas due to Japan’s previous entire isolation from the rest of the world occasioned many small extravagances and imprudences, still the patriotic spirit of the Nation has triumphed in spite of these, and her administration is now (1899) in a highly satisfactory condition. By the new constitution, absolute freedom of religious belief and practice is secured, so long as it is not prejudicial to peace and order. Education is general and compulsory. There is a complete system of local elementary, middle, and normal schools, and a central university in the Capital, with five higher middle schools as feeders. There is also a higher normal school at Tokio. Education is perfectly free from class restriction. The printing-press is active. Newspapers are comparatively dearer than in the United States. The Japanese police is a most efficient force. The convict system is an excellent one, and the establishments are so conducted as to be a source of revenue to the Government. Penal and civil codes have been drafted on a European basis. Taxation mostly falls upon the land and upon the wine, which is called saké. The one thing needed to prove Japan’s power was a war, and the opportunity came in 1894.
Open hostilities between Japan and China commenced in July, 1894, in Corea, before war between the two countries had been declared, and were continued until the signing of the treaty of peace in April 17, 1895. Corea for many years had acknowledged the suzerainty of China. Japan, for commercial reasons, desired Corean independence. The war arose because of the desire of Japan for supremacy in Corea. During an insurrection in Corea, China and Japan each sent troops to the seat of trouble. This precipitated matters and a declaration of war soon followed. The Japanese were uniformly successful, both on land and at sea. Their armies were finely trained, and their ships and soldiers were armed with the latest improved guns. The Chinese knew practically nothing about modern warfare.
Many American and European naval officers were in command of the war vessels of the Japanese. The principal engagements were at Ping-Yang, and at the mouth of the Yalu River, where the Chinese fleet was almost totally destroyed. Japan soon had possession of all of Corea, and later captured Moukden and Port Arthur. From the most authentic reports obtainable, the Japanese fighting force taking part in the campaign numbered a little over 600,000. This does not include large reserves at various points. The same report gives the Japanese loss as 4,113, of which 734 were killed in battle, 231 died of wounds, and 3,138 died of disease. The Chinese losses cannot be accurately ascertained, but they are variously estimated at from eight to twelve times that of the Japanese.
The unquestioned superiority of the Japanese in war caused the Chinese to sue for peace, and by a treaty made April 17, 1895, Formosa and the adjacent Pescadores Islands were ceded to Japan. The treaty also provided for the temporary occupation of Port Arthur and Wei-Hai-Wei on the Chinese Coast, and for the independence of Corea, which was to be virtually under Japanese protection.
Alarmed at the success of the Japanese, and fearing to have so powerful a neighbor in control of the Yellow Sea near the Siberian ports, Russia interfered and brought the powers to insist upon the evacuation of the ports by the Japanese. By treaty of March 23, 1898, Port Arthur passed into the hands of the Russians, while Wei-Hai-Wei was occupied by the British May 20, 1898. Meanwhile Germany, to secure its share of the spoil, obtained a lease of Kia-Chou Bay on the Shang-Tung peninsula from China, December 3, 1897. These arrangements have aroused great animosity in Japan, where the people are indignant that they have been defrauded of the fruits of their victory. There have been constant cabinet changes, which seem full of peril for the political future of the islands, and insurrections have continued in Formosa while Japan has been forced to allow Russia to share in the protectorate of Corea.
During the “Boxer” troubles in China (1900) the Japanese troops were earliest on the scene and ranked among the best in the allied army that effected the release of the beleaguered legations in Peking.
So perfect was their discipline that their officers easily restrained them from the pillage and wanton bloodshed such as was charged against the Russians and even the French. One result of this studied observance of the rules of civilized warfare was the formal recognition of Japan as a power on an equal footing with European nations. This new status was still further emphasized by the alliance with England, in 1902, to resist Russian aggressions in Manchuria. In this Japan had also the assurance of support by the United States the only other power that had not wished to profit financially or otherwise by China’s helplessness.
The aim of Japanese statesmanship to-day is to pre-vent the partition of China. In 1898 Marshal Yamagata visited Pekin and tried to secure the cooperation of the Chinese Government, but met with no success. The European powers in the meantime are slowly absorbing Chinese territory Manchuria is under Russian influence, while each of the powers have more or less well defined “spheres of influence.” The Chinese Government has lost whatever independence it had in the past, while the the beginning of the new century sees its total dismemberment near. It is an enormous territory the most populous, and, excluding Siberia, the largest Empire in Asia. China proper is remarkable as the most compact nationality in the world, having an area of 1,336,841 square miles, with a population of 386,-000,000. The rest of the Empire includes Manchuria, Mongolia, Thibet, Zungaria, and East Turkestan, which cover an area of about 2,881,560 square miles, and contain about 18,000,000 souls. China has strong claims to rank high in the family of Nations in the extent of her territory, the multitude of her people, their industry, and the antiquity of her history. The Government of the country is in theory most carefully organized, although in practice it is to be feared it is far otherwise. At its head is the Emperor, Supreme Priest and King, whose name is Kuang Hsu. The Nei-ko, or Cabinet, which includes two Manchu members, two Chinese, and two assistants from the Han-lin, or Great College, administers the Empire under the supreme direction of the Privy Council. Seven boards, or councils, each presided over by a Manchu and a Chinese, are entrusted in subordination to the Nei-ko, with all civil appointments, with all financial matters, with the direction of rites and ceremonies, with military affairs, with public works, with criminal jurisdiction, and with the conduct of naval affairs. The board of Censors is theoretically superior to the central administration, and in practice possesses considerable power, through its right of access to the Sovereign. But the real rule is in the hands of the Dowager Empress and her premier. The eighteen provinces are divided among a certain number of Governor-Generals, who are assisted by Governors of districts, and by the “taotais” of the cities. Agricultural pursuits occupy the majority of the people, the chief products being tea, silk, cereals, and sugar. There is also much coal in all the provinces. The greater part of the country is only very partially developed, and much benefit would accrue to native and foreign trade if a proper system of railways could be established. Very little has been done in this direction at present, although Russia is making beginnings which are jealously watched by the powers. Various ports, called the treaty ports, which number twenty-four in all, have been thrown open to European trade, and about 10,000 Europeans reside in these ports, of whom about 4,000 are British subjects. Shanghai is the great foreign center, more than half of the Europeans residing here.
The ancient history of China has been dealt with in the first volume of this work. From that period until the opening of European intercourse there is nothing of interest and, in fact, China has made no real progress from that day to this. It was not till after the Cape of Good Hope was doubled, and the passage to India discovered by Vasco da Gama in 1497, that intercourse between any of the European nations and China was possible by sea. It was in 1516 that the Portuguese first made their appearance at Canton; and they were followed at intervals by the Spaniards, the Dutch, and the English in 1635. The Chinese received none of them cordially; and their dislike of them was increased by their international jealousies and collisions with one another. The Manchu Sovereignty of the Empire, moreover, was then in the throes of its birth, and its rulers were the more disposed to assert their own superiority to all other potentates. They would not acknowledge them as their equals, but only as their vassals. They felt the power of the foreigners whenever they made an attempt to restrict their operations by force, and began to fear them. As they became aware of their conquests in the Philippines, Java, and India, they would gladly have prohibited their approach to their territories altogether. In the meantime trade gradually increased, and there grew up the importation of opium from India and the wonderful eagerness of the multitude to purchase and smoke it. Before 1767 the import rarely exceeded 200 chests, but that year it amounted to 1,000. In 1792 the British Government wisely sent an Embassy under Lord Macartney to Peking with presents to the Emperor, to place the relations between the two countries on a secure and proper footing; but,’ though the Ambassador and members of his suite were courteously treated, the main objects were not accomplished. In 1800 an imperial edict expressly prohibited the importation of opium, and threatened all Chinese who smoked it with condign punishment. It had been before a smuggling traffic, and henceforth there could be no doubt of its real character. Still it went on and increased from year to year. A second Embassy from Great Britain in 1816 was dismissed from Peking suddenly and contumeliously be-cause the Ambassador would not perform the ceremony of San kwet chiû k’au (“the repeated prostrations”), and thereby acknowledge his own Sovereign to be but a vassal of the Empire.
So things went on till the charter of the East India Company expired in 1834, and the head of its factory was superseded by a representative of the Sovereign of Great Britain, who could not conduct intercourse with the Hongkong merchants as the others had done. The two Nations were brought defiantly face to face. On the one side was a resistless force, determined to prose-cute its enterprise for the enlargement of its trade, and the conduct of it as with an equal Nation; on the other side was the old Empire seeming to be unconscious of its weakness, determined not to acknowledge the claim of equality, and confident of its power to suppress the import of opium. The Government of China made its grand and final effort in 1839, and in the spring of that year the famous Lin Tsêh-shü was appointed to the Governor-Generalship of the Kwang provinces, and to bring the barbarians to reason. Out of his measures came the first war, which was declared by Great Britain against China in 1840. There could be no doubt as to the result in so unequal a contest; and we hurry to its close at Nanking, the old capital of the Empire, where a treaty of peace was signed August 29, 1842, on board Her Majesty’s ship Cornwallis. The principal articles were that the Island of Hongkong should be ceded to Great Britain; that the ports of Canton, Amoy, Fu-Chau (in Fu-Chien), Ning-po (in Cheh-chiang), and Shang-hai (in Chiang-su), should be opened to British trade and residence; and that thereafter official correspondence should be conducted on terms of equality according to the standing of the parties. Nothing was said in the treaty on the subject of opium, but the smuggling traffic in it went on as before.
Before fifteen years had passed away, because of troubles at Canton, not at all creditable to Great Britain, and the obstinacy of the Governor-General Yeh Ming-chin, in refusing to meet Sir John Bowring, it was thought necessary by the British Government that war should be commenced against China again. In this undertaking France joined. Canton was taken December 29, 1857, when Yeh was captured and sent a prisoner to Calcutta. Canton being now in the possession of the allies, arrangements were made for its government by a joint commission, and in February, 1858, the allied plenipotentiaries, accompanied by the commissioners of the United States and Russia as non-combatants, proceeded to the north to lay their demands before the Emperor at Peking. There was not so much fighting as there had been in 1842, and (June 26th) a second treaty was concluded at Tien-tsin, renewing and confirming the former, but with many important additional stipulations, the most important of which were that the Sovereigns of Great Britain and China might, if they saw fit, appoint ambassadors, ministers, or other diplomatic agents to their respective courts; and that the British representative should not be required to per-form any ceremony derogatory to him as representing the Sovereign of an independent Nation on an equality with China. Other stipulations provided for the protection of Christian missionaries and their converts; for liberty for British subjects to travel, for their pleasure or for purposes of trade, under passports, into all parts of the interior of the country; for the opening of five additional ports for commerce Niu-chwang (in Shing-king, the chief province of Manchuria), Tang-chau (with port of Che-foo in Shan-tung), Tai-wan (Formosa), several ports of Ch’aochau (with port of Swa-tau, in Kwang-tung), and Chi’ung (Kiung-chan in Hai-nan)and for authority for merchant ships to trade on the Yang-tsze river, ports on which would be opened when the rebellion should have been put down and peace and order restored. (The river was not opened to steamer traffic until 1888.) Treaties on the same lines were concluded with the United States, France, and Russia. A revision of the tariff regulations of 1842 was to take place subsequently in the year at Shanghai. This was done in October, and then opium was entered among the legitimate articles of import, and the arrangement confirmed that the Government should employ a foreign official in the collection of all maritime duties.
It might seem that these treaties secured everything which foreign Nations could require, and that the humiliation of the Chinese Government was complete. But they were nearly wrecked by one concluding stipulation in all of them but that of the United States, that the ratifications of them should be exchanged at Peking within a year. The Emperor and his advisors, when the pressure of the force at Tien-tsin was removed, could not bear the thought of the embassies entering the sacred capital, and foolishly cast about to escape from the condition. The forts at Ta-ku, guarding the entrance to the Pei-ho, and the approach to Tien-tsin and thence to Peking were rebuilt and strongly fortified. When the English, French, and American ministers returned to Shanghai with the ratified treaties, in 1859, the Chinese commissioners who had signed them at Tien-tsin were awaiting them and urged that the ratification should be exchanged there. The French and English ministers then insisted on proceeding to Peking as the place nominated for the exchange. But when they arrived at the mouth of the river, with the gunboats under their command, they were unable to force the defenses. A severe engagement ensued, and the allied forces sustained a repulse with a heavy loss. It was the one victory gained by the Chinese. The British and French Governments took immediate action. A third expedition under the same plenipotentiaries as before, with a force of nearly 20,000 men, was at the same place in little more than a year. The forts were taken on August 21st, and on the 25th the plenipotentiaries were again established in Tientsin. We can only refer to their march in September on Peking, with all its exciting details. The Emperor, Hsien-fung, fled to Jeh-ho, in the north of Chih-lî, the imperial summer retreat; and his brother, Prince Kung, whose name is well known, came to the front in the management of affairs. On October 13th he surrendered the northeast gate of the city; and the 24th the treaties were exchanged, and an additional convention signed, by which, of course, an additional indemnity was exacted from the Chinese, and an arrangement made about the emigration of coolies, which had become a crying scandal, while a small piece of the continent of the Empire opposite to Hongkong was ceded to that colony. So it was that the attempt of China to keep itself aloof from the rest of the world came to an end, and a new era in the history of the Empire was initiated.
Hsien-fung died at Jeh-ho in August, 1861, leaving the Empire to his young son, only six years old. A cabal at Jeh-ho tried to keep the boy in their possession, but his uncle, Prince Kung, succeeded in getting him to Peking, and along with the young Emperor’s mother and the Empress Dowager, by whom Hsien-fung had had no child, loyally and successfully administered a regency in accordance with the new conditions of the Government. The style of the reign was Tung-chi, or Government in Union; February 23, 1873, the Emperor announced publicly, and specially to the foreign ministers, that he had taken the Government into his own hands. This brought up a question of an audience, but, after a good deal of protocoling and negotiating, it was finally settled, on June 29th, by the Emperor’s receiving all the ministers then in Peking without the ceremony of prostration. His reign did not last long, for he died in January, 1875. As he left no son, and had designated no successor, the members of the imperial house, according to the rules in such a case, appointed as his successor Tsai-Tien, the son of Prince Shun, a younger brother of Prince Kung. The new sovereign was a child of four years old, and began to reign under the style of Kwang Hsu, or “The Illustrious Succession.” He assumed the government in March, 1887. Affairs in China proceeded peaceably under the domination of Li Hung Chang,* who was wise enough to realize the foolishness of a war with a European power, until the war with Japan over Corea. For several years the cry, “China for the Chinese,” has been growing louder. In 1900 the “Boxer” rising against American and English missions awakened the civilized world to the realization that a genuine and deep-rooted patriotic movement had declared itself. Missionaries, converts and foreign traders were massacred by wholesale, and the German Minister was assassinated. The Empress was said to have prompted the rising, and though the governing class protested, the degree of their sincerity remains doubtful. But the Dowager Empress and her viceroys were not sufficiently instructed by the past to avoid a repetition of its humiliations. Their connivance with the “Boxer” leaders in-creased the dangers of resident foreigners and magnified a political outbreak against missionaries into a national revolt against all foreigners. The rescue of the European embassies besieged in their legation buildings required an army of 50,000 men, furnished by the United States, Great Britain, Japan, France, Germany and Russia. When the imperial city had capitulated and all opposing forces were dispersed the time for China’s dismemberment seemed nigh. But for the moderation of the three first named powers her provinces would have been parcelled out among the victors like so much spoil of war! As it was, a money indemnity of 450,000,000 taels ($338,000,000) was accepted, and this sum was divided among the allies in proportion to the expenses of their contingents. The negotiation of this treaty was Li Hung Chang’s last diplomatic victory, as the old statesman died November 7, 1901, some months before the full extent of Russia’s intrigues had been discerned.