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THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW. Bagdad, is it to be extended to Bussorah, of which the situation has been already described ? If so, then is German influence to extend to the mouth of the joint river and to the coast of the Persian Gulf? This is, indeed, a grave question for Britain; inasmuch as any participation by a European Power in the control of the Persian Gulf is a distinct derogation from the British position as heretofore maintained in that quarter.
In the Far East, the consolidation of Japan, the settlement of her political constitution, the development of her forces by sea and land, are all favorable to British interests. In the Japanese Britain has a really friendly Power, on the eastern flank quite able to hold its own against Russia or other ambitious European Power.
The appearance of the United States of America in the Philippine Islands is convenient and apparently beneficial to British interests, and may serve in part as a counterpoise to any possible combination of Russia, France and Germany. Although Germany has in some instances acted excellently well with Britain, yet in the transactions following on the peace after the war between Japan and China she acted with France and Russia, while Britain withheld approbation.
Further, it is now understood that American diplomacy has secured the recognition by all the European Powers of the policy of the “open door” in China, implying that they all agree to keep all ports of which they may have the control within Chinese limits quite free, and without any duties, differential or other, levied against any one. If this really be secured, without any reservations or countervailing hindrances, it will be a boon to British interests. Indeed, it is the very thing for which British merchants throughout China have long been contending. Although they may obtain by far the largest commercial sphere of all—if China were to be partitioned out into .spheres—they do not wish to have a sphere at all. For then they would have certain access to their own sphere only; in neighboring spheres they might be hindered; indeed, according to the heretofore established policy of other nations, they positively would be. They say in effect that British trade runs throughout all parts of China without exception; that, wherever British trade is, there is the sphere of Britain! Thus they will see in the general recognition of the "open door," by other nations, a blessed relief from disputes with
GREAT BRITAIN IN ASIA.
903 their European neighbors, and from embarrassments without end. This will be especially the case with British affairs in Manchuria, in which province Russia has so entirely superseded Chinese authority, in many respects, that she might easily, if so minded, oppose obstacles to long established British enterprises, commercial and industrial, in that quarter. Much trouble was apprehended in this respect, as British merchants in Manchuria were not likely to submit to the usual Russian procedure. But, if there is to be the “open door” in Manchuria, Britain may be glad, for really the prospect was almost too good to hope for.
There is, also, one particular trouble with France looming on the horizon of Southern China. Britain is establishing a through line of imperial communication from the Bay of Bengal to the Chinese waters on the Pacific Ocean; that is from Rangoon, at the mouth of the Irrawaddy of Burma, to Shanghai, near the mouth of the Yangtse Kiang of China. This route is to pass through Burmese railways to the borders of the Chinese province of Yunnan; negotiations are in progress with China for carrying on the line through Yunnan; thus the province of Czechuen would be reached, and then the lower course of the Yangtse Kiang, which would be controlled by gunboats from Shanghai. Whatever lines in China may be marked out by other Powers, this is par excellence the British line, and nobody knows this better than the French Government. The fact has been recognized by Russia, who gave Britain an agreement not to promote any railways near this line, in return for an agreement by Britain not to promote any railways in Manchuria. Nevertheless, France is striving to set up, as it were, a fence across this very line, just as she did across the line of British advance up the Nile at Fashoda. She is now asserting some shadowy rights in Yunnan; and she has recently, according to common report, been dispatching surveyors and other agents to search out the land in that quarter. All this on her part is incompatible with the maintenance of the British line. We are ready to respect whatever portions she may have acquired or may yet fairly acquire in China: but we expect her to do the same by us.
From this summary review of the British position in Asia, it is manifest that Britain from her imperial watchtower ought to be perpetually on the lookout to descry, discern, detect the beginning of future trouble. Transactions are undertaken by the
European Powers, who, though they be friendly in a national sense, are yet commercially and politically jealous of British predominance, and would rejoice at any reduction or weakening of the British position. Often such transactions may, to a cursory or short-sighted view, appear innocuous at first, and yet may ultimately lead to evil conjunctures and complications. Britain, looking far behind her to see how often in Asiatic history this has happened to her, should look far before her, to beware in time before matters have gone too far for retrieval.
Whether the present is a fitting time for other Powers to try any contests with Britain, is a question for them to determine. Britain is at the acme of her “puissance"; never has she displayed such resourcefulness as she has recently displayed in South Africa, and yet her resources are very far from exhaustion; indeed, they have not even yet been adequately called forth. She is still ready to meet any combination that could reasonably be anticipated, and if the present war shall be speedily terminated, then she will have forces available in a strength never before equalled in all her eventful history. She can afford to regard other nations quite complacently, whatever they may say, realizing what her rights are throughout the world and knowing well how to guard them.
The tend ture
ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTIETH VOLUME
North American Review.
Abbott, LYMAN. The Power of Mr. in South Africa, 168; Military Problems
in South Africa, 192; The Dutch in South
Africa, 198; The Afrikanders in Natal,
212; The Danger of Personal Rule in
South Africa, 225; Realities of the South
Transvaal Dispute, 312; The Doom of
and America, 240; American Misgovern titude Toward England, 332 ; Could the
men Condemn the War, 518; A French
England Should Stop the War, 6-16; How
Boers, 812; Cecil Rhodes's Future, 857.
BOULGER, DEMETRIUS C. Antagonism of
in the Church of England, 87.
British and Russian Diplomacy, 871,
British Army, The, 1.
British Workmen, Why They Condemn the
BROOKS, SYDNEY. Congress and Parlia-
ment, 78; America and the War, 337.
Volunteer System, 745.
Power and an Imperial Tariff, 433.
the War, 6; England and the Transvaal, Census of 1900, The, 99.
gation of Empire, 493.
China, 634; The American Policy in | Far East, The-Eastern Commerce: What
is it Worth? 295; The Great Siberian
Far East, 609; The Powers and the Par-
icy in China, 642; Great Britain in Asia,
Fiction-Some Novels of 1899, 253; Disap-
pearing Authors, 393; “ David Harum,”
States, A, 54.
Puerto Rico, 464.
France, 420; The Exposition of 1900,
General's Defense of the Boers, 538 ; The
Powers and the Partition of China,
vaal and the European Powers, 25. Future of the National Guard, The, 730.
Germany - German Feeling Toward Eng-
land and America, 246; Our European
Great Britain in Asia, 897.
Gosse, EDMUND. Sir Redvers Buller, 109.
Governed, We are Too Much, 367.
Gower, G. LEVeson. The British Army, 1.
Great Britain on the War Path, 34.
and the Transvaal, 9; England, the Trans- Transvaal, 9.
South Africa, 192.
HUTTEN, THOMAS C. The Doom of the
and the, 25.
India, Chief Causes of Discontent in, 381.
Issue in the Presidential Campaigu, The, 753.