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Having no voice in the controversy leading to the war, Germany should have remained neutral throughout the bitter Russo-Japanese conflict. Germany was neutral so far as official proprieties went; but in sympathy and numberless unofficial acts she aided and abetted Russia to a degree unsurpassed by the Bear’s plighted ally, France. It is a fact incontrovertible that from the commencement of hostilities the German Emperor was as pro-Russian as any wearer of the Czar’s uniform, and most German bankers and ship-owners found it easy to take the cue from Berlin and view situations of international procedure in a manner permitting them to reap golden benefits. Teuton bankers took the lead in financing the Russian cause, and whenever Russia was forced to purchase ships to augment her fleet, these were always found in Germany. When the Czar despatched his squadrons to the Far East, they were coaled practically throughout the long journey from German colliers. And in other helpful ways Germany officiated as the handmaiden of Russia.

The Kaiser’s favoritism was infectious throughout his empire, and had the contending armies and fleets in the Far East been equally matched, with the outcome hanging in the balance, the influence of William II could have swayed the continent of Europe in Russia’s favor, and a great moral advantage would thereby have accrued to Russia that would have been difficult to overcome. Why? Because the Kaiser is the strongest, most influential, and cleverest potentate in Europe. Splendid exemplar of the war-lord idea, he is really the peer of diplomatists, a ruler whose utterances are to-day weighed and discussed as are those of none other. Understanding the value of words, and a coiner of subtle phrases, an epigram from the Kaiser contrasting the destiny and rights of the “white man” and the “yellow man” would probably have isolated the British as Japan’s only sympathizers in the Old World, had it been made at an opportune time.

But the psychological moment never came there was a hitch somewhere in Asia, and Kuropatkin’s genius was expended in masterly retreats; all the triumphs on land and sea were those of the little men under the sun flag. Finally came a mighty engagement, and William hastened to decorate the Russian loser and the Japanese victor. But the point was strained; the public perceived this. As a result, the incident fell flatter than the anticlimax of a melodrama played to empty seats.

The Kaiser’s chagrin was great. But it need not have been, for the march of events in the East was proving him simply to be mortal he had failed to pick the winner, and was gradually becoming aware of it. A plunger in a sporting event perceives an error of judgment in a few minutes, usually. With the War-Lord of Germany it required the lapse of months to convince him of the sad fact that Japan would win in the great struggle.

Why War-Lord, as an appellation for the august William? Adept in the art of warfare he surely is; but have not the Fatherland’s victories under his rule been those of peace, and those only? Has Germany been involved in strife possessing the dignity of war since he came to the throne? Has she not, on the other hand, made headway in trade and sea transportation under his guidance that has no parallel in the history of a European state? Yes, emphatically. And are not the words “Made in Germany” so painfully familiar throughout two thirds of the globe, especially in Great Britain and her possessions, that they strike terror to Britons who study with apprehension the statistics of England’s waning trade? This is true, also. And Suez Canal returns prove that the users of the waterway under Britain’s red flag are yearly less numerous, while the number of German ships is steadily growing.

Then why not Trade-Lord, for this is what the German Emperor is? It is the better appellation, and more truthfully descriptive. It surely is creditable to the German people that their national progress is due to habits of industry and thrift, rather than to military display: the artisan, not the drill-master, is making Germany great.

And could Trade-Lord William be honestly called “astute” if he overlooked the fact, obvious as a mountain, that one of the stakes in the Russo-Japanese conflict would be the privilege amounting almost to right, to commercially exploit the most populous country on God’s footstool China? More than one fourth of the people of the earth are Chinese, and their country at the present time is more primitive, in the scarcity of railways, telegraphs, public utilities, and every provision conducing to comfort and common-sense living, than any other land pretending to civilization. It is a fact that outside of Shanghai, Canton, Pekin and Tientsin, the people do not want many of the products of the outer world; but it is a truism that much profit accrues from teaching Asiatics to “want” modern products.

The German Emperor foresaw that China could not much longer resist the invasion of outside enterprise and trade; and to his mind there could have been no suspicion of doubt that the victor in the awful contest could and would dictate trade terms and privileges everywhere in the Celestial Empire. If Japan won, the Japanese would surely exploit commercially their great neighbor, whose written language is nearly identical with their own this would be but natural to the Mikado’s people, teeming with aptitude as manufacturers and traders, and recognizing the necessity for recouping outlay in the war.

If Russia were successful, her reward would be the validating of her hold upon Manchuria, the bundling of the Japs out of Korea, and the attainment to a position of controlling influence in China’s political affairs. The supplying of articles of general manufacture and commerce to the 400,000,000 people of China could have been no part of Russia’s aspiration, for the reason that Russia is not a manufacturing country and has but little to sell. Her enormous tea bill to China is paid yearly in money, even. A nation seeking in time to control the whole of Asia couldn’t bother with commercial matters, certainly not. Yet, one of the fruits of victory in the war would have been the splendid opportunity to exploit trade everywhere in China a privilege of priceless value.

What country was to benefit through this, with Russia’s moral support and permission, had the Czar’s legions been successful?

France? Hardly; for the French were bound by hard and fast alliance, and it had never been the policy at St. Petersburg to give anything material to France. Uncle Sam, whose people had financed half the war loans of Japan, could scarcely hope to extend his business in China with Russia’s cooperation; nor could Japan’s ally and moral supporter, John Bull.

Who, then, could stand in a likelier position to become legatee of this valued privilege than the Trade-Lord of Germany? The Emperor William had been Russia’s “best friend” from the inception of the war, and was admittedly an adept in promoting trade, for his people had attained in a few years to an envied position in the commerce of the world. A quarter of the trade of “awakened” China would make Germany a vast workshop, a hive of industry. And this was precisely what the astute Hohenzollern saw through the smoke of battle in far-away Manchuria. He saw a prosperous Germany if the Slav crushed the yellow man. To say he did not would be a libel upon a giant intellect.

Any one disposed to review practically certain incidents in the recent history of Germany may develop a dozen reasons why the Emperor should seek to make his country all important through trade conquest. Let it be remembered that the Kaiser chafes at barriers of every kind, and that there is a boundlessness in his nature at times trying to his patience. He looks at the map of the German Empire and painfully admits that the present frontiers and area are practically those bequeathed by the great William. To a divine-right monarch this is exasperating. The loftiest ambition of a sovereign is to have the national area expand under his rule.

William’s medieval temperament shudders at the crowded condition of the earth in this twentieth century, when all frontiers appear immovable. Had he lived in the days of the Crusaders his valiant sword would probably have brought all Palestine under German control; and had he been a free agent when Bonapartism collapsed he most likely would have carried the German standard to the Mediterranean, perhaps to Stamboul. The ironical fact is that the German Emperor has had rebuffs and disappointments in his efforts to expand his realm. The Monroe Doctrine, excluding his empire from even a coaling station in this hemisphere, is to the Kaiser a perpetual nightmare. Sturdy sons of the Fatherland control the trade of more than one republic in South and Central America, but nowhere is it possible to unfurl the standard of Germany over “colony” or “sphere of influence.” To forcibly back up his subjects’ pecuniary rights in the American hemisphere, even, the approval of the government at Washington has first to be obtained. In his heart the Kaiser loathes the doctrine of Monroe; that is obvious.

It is twenty years since Germany began to build up a colonial empire in Africa, and the net result is that, after spending some hundred million dollars, she has acquired over a hundred million square miles of territory, with a sparsely scattered German population of between five and six thousand souls. A third of the adult white population is represented by officials and soldiers. Militarism is rampant everywhere, with the result that the white settler shuns German colonies as he would the plague. The keen-witted Kaiser long ago saw that empire-building in the Dark Continent could produce nothing but expense during his lifetime.

“To perdition with the Monroe Doctrine, and with African tribes blind to the excellence of German-made wares,” the Kaiser might have said ten years ago: “I’ll have sweet revenge upon all and sundry by capturing trade everywhere I’ll make Germany the workshop of the universe. Keep your territory, if you like; I’ll get the trade! Bah, Monroe Doctrine! Bah, grinning Senegambians!”

The resolute Trade-Lord then turned his face to the bountiful Orient, pregnant with resource beyond the dreams of avarice, teeming with hundreds of millions of people. The East had made England dominant in the world’s affairs. Keeping his soldiers at home, the Kaiser hurled a legion of trade-getters into the Far East, planting commercial outposts in Ceylon, sending a flying column of bagmen and negotiators to India and the Straits Settlements, and distributing a numerical division of business agents throughout China. The Empire of the Celestials was made the focal point of a great propaganda, openly espoused by the Emperor.

It was readily demonstrated that Great Britain had no permanent control of commerce in the East, not even in her own possessions. The Teuton, for a time content with trifling profit, underbid all rivals and orders and contracts poured into Germany. Belgian products competed only in price; and American manufacturers seemed too busy in providing goods for home use to seriously try for business in Asia they booked orders coming practically unsought, that was about all. The Chino-Japanese conflict of a dozen years ago, although disastrous to China’s army, stimulated the absorbing power of the Chinese for goods of western manufacture, and Germany sold her wares right and left.

Important steamship lines were then subsidized by the German government to maintain regular services between Germany and the Far East, carrying goods and passengers at reasonable charges: and it was known that in his personal capacity the Emperor had become a large shareholder in one of them. Germany was prospering, and the Trade-Lord and his lieutenants were happy. All recognized the possibilities of Oriental business. China was preparing to throw off the conservatism and lethargy of centuries, and trade was the key-note of everything pertaining to Germany’s relations with the Pekin government. German diplomatists on service in China were instructed to employ every good office to induce German business, and the Kaiser himself selected and instructed consular officials going to the Flowery Kingdom. Able commercial attaches, with capacity for describing trade conditions, were maintained there, and required to be as industrious as beavers. For trade-promoting capacity German consuls in China have no equal and they all know that the Kaiser’s interest in Chinese trade amounts to mania.

The assassination in the streets of Pekin, in 1900, of Minister von Kettler, Germany’s envoy, and the subsequent sending of an imperial prince of China to Berlin to express the regrets of the Chinese government, strengthened materially the Kaiser’s hold upon Chinese affairs. Reiteration from Washington of the “open door” in China struck no terror to the Kaiser, justified in believing he could hold his position against all comers. As proof of this belief he might point to German steamers in Hong Kong and Shanghai literally vomiting forth each week thousands of tons of goods “Made in Germany,” penetrating every section of China even to the upper waters of the Yang-tse. A few years ago nearly all this trade was exclusively British.

The question of Chinese exclusion and the threatened boycott of American goods by China was the occasion of anxiety in this country but none in Germany. It is well appreciated that the spread of the sentiment in the East that the United States is unjust to Chinamen of the better class might undo the splendid work of Secretary Hay in cultivating the friendship of the Celestial Empire by standing fast for China’s administrative entity and insisting on the “open door” policy.

Knowing that the “awakening” of China would be one of the results of the war, the Master Mind in Berlin had not long to consider where the interest of Germany lay, for he well knew that if they conquered, the Japs might in a few years supply the kindred Chinese with practically every article needed from abroad.

If Russia won, then “Best Friend” William of Germany, one of the most irresistible forces in the world, would have a freer hand in China than ever and this would mean a prosperous Germany for years to come.

By directing the sympathies of the German people to the Russian side, the Kaiser played a trump card in statecraft, certainly. As a soldier, William II must have known the fighting ability and prowess of the little men of Japan, for German officers had for years been the instructors of the Mikado’s army but the public attitude of the head of a government must ever be that which best serves the State. Whatever the chagrin at Berlin over Russia’s defeat, a battle royal will be needed for Japan to overcome Germany’s lead in Chinese trade; but in time Japan will have this, provided she is well advised and has the tact to play fair with Uncle Sam and his commercial rights.

What of the German colony in China Kiau-chau, on the east coast of the Shan-tung peninsula, whose forts frown upon the Yellow Sea? Is there anything like it, strategically and trade wise, in the East? When the Kaiser’s glance falls upon the map of Kiau-chau, and he recalls the ease with which he segregated from Pekin’s rule a goodly piece of old China, he may be irreverently moved to the extent of again snapping his fingers at the Monroe Doctrine, and at millions of simple Africans who refuse to eat German foods and wear not a stitch of German fabrics. Kiau-chau represents the cleverest feat of colony-building the world has seen since the great powers declared a closure to land-grabbing in the East.

When some German missionaries were murdered a few years since in China, the Kaiser, ever an opportunist, was justly angry, and Pekin shuddered at the possibility of national castigation. “Could the Mighty One at Berlin condone the offense if China gave Germany a harbor to be used as coaling station and naval headquarters?” “Possibly; but how can China bestow territory, in view of the American government’s certainty to insist that there be no parceling of China, none whatever!”

“Easily managed,” was the reply. “It need not be a transfer of territory, but a ‘lease,’ say for ninety-nine years. This would save China’s ‘face,’ and not disturb the powers.”

Hence a “lease” was prepared for all the territory bounded in a semi-circle drawn fifteen miles from Kiau-chau bay a goodly piece in all conscience. Then came pourparlers for greater German authority, and more territory. As a consequence, in a supplementary document signed at Pekin, it was additionally agreed that “in a further zone thirty miles from all points of the leased territory the Chinese government shall no longer for a space of ninety-nine years be entitled to take any step without previous authorization from the German government.”

This amounted in substance to saying farewell on China’s part to a slice of domain in all more than twice the size of the state of Rhode Island. The “sphere of influence,” so-called, measures 2,750 square miles. Germany was given as well the equivalent of sovereignty over the harbor of Kiau-chau, no end of mining and railway rights, and other privileges. The lease dates from March 6th, 1898. England was to give Wei-haiwei back to China should Russia retire or be driven from Port Arthur, but has not done so. In all probability Germany, as well as Great Britain, is located on the Yellow Sea under a tenure that will be found to be permanent.

Kiau-chau harbor is one of the most spacious and best protected on the coast of China. The small native town of Tsing-tau, admirably situated on the harbor, was adopted by Germany as the seat of government, and all the appurtenances of a military and naval station have there been erected. A look of permanency characterizes every structure. The house of the naval governor is even pretentious. The capital is laid out with generous regard to broad streets, designated on name-plates as “strasses.” A bank and hotels await the coming of business. The harbor has been dredged, and two miles of the best wharves in Asia constructed of masonry. Warehouses, barracks, hospitals, administrative buildings and coal sheds are there, all in German style, and intended to last hundreds of years.

Tsing-tau as a seat of deputed government may not have found its way into school-books but the inquisitive traveler in Northeast China readily learns of its existence. Perhaps it is meant to be complimentary to China to retain the name Tsing-tau but that is all about the place that is Chinese, save the coolies executing the white man’s behest. There are 3,000 Europeans, almost exclusively Germans, in William II’s capital on Kiau-chau Bay. Soldiers and officials predominate, of course, but merchant and industrial experts are in the pioneer band in conspicuous number.

And what of the “hinterland,” compassed by the 45-mile semicircle, dotted with thirty odd native towns, the whole having a population of 1,200,000? This patch of China is surely in process of being awakened: there are numerous schools wherein European missionaries are teaching the German language, and enterprise greets the eye everywhere. Locomotives “Made in Germany” screech warnings to Chinese yokels to clear the way for trains heavy with merchandise of German origin and this is but an incident in the great scheme of Germanizing the Chinese Empire. Incidentally, it is provided by the agreement between the Pekin and Berlin governments that a native land-owner in the leased section can sell only to the German authorities. This ruling conveys a meaning perfectly clear.

Less than a hundred miles up-country are the enormous coal fields of Weihsien and Poshan, by agreement worked with German capital, and connected with the harbor by railways built with German money and so devoted to Teutonic interests that the name of the company is spread on the cars in the language of the dear old Fatherland. The whole is a magnificent piece of propagandism, surely.

And what is back of it? What is the purpose of the appropriation of 14,000,000 marks for Kiau-chau in last year’s official budget of the German government? Trade, little else; and Trade spelled best with a large T. Kiau-chau is a free port, like Hamburg. Why not make it the Hamburg of the East? is the question asked wherever German merchants foregather and affairs of the nation are discussed. From the standpoint of German trade, an Eastern Hamburg is alluring and laudatory but few American manufactures, let it be plainly stated, will penetrate China through a gateway so controlled.

America’s seeming indifference to Chinese trade, let it plainly be stated, is the only solace that commercial Europe is finding in our wonderful national growth. The subject is almost never referred to in the columns of British journals, nor in those of Germany, France, or Belgium. But manufacturers and exporters of these countries need no spur from their newspapers without the accompaniment of beating drums all are seeking to make the Chinese their permanent customers. And, buttressed by undeniable advantages, Japan takes up the quest and means to spread her goods, largely fabricated from Uncle Sam’s raw products, wherever the tenant of the earth be a Mongol.

Could a human being be more complaisant, more materially philanthropic, than the United States manufacturer or other producer? He surely cannot be blind to the undebatable fact that America cannot always wax opulent on home trade alone; he must know that in time we are certain to reach a period of overproduction, when it will aid the nation to have alien peoples for customers of our mills and workshops. Every land in Asia east of Singapore can be commercially exploited by the United States more easily, and with greater success, than by any other people, if the task be gone about systematically and practically.

The Chinese envoy of a few years ago to Washington, Minister Wu, said many wise things, and no epigram fell from his lips containing a profounder sermon for the American people than when he remarked that two inches added to the length of the skirts of every Chinese would double the market value of every pound of cotton.

Small as it was, our commerce in China was severely lessened last year, not alone by the boycott, but through the enterprise shown by other nations having a share in Celestial trade. The cotton cloth exports of the United States to China and Manchuria for the nine months ending September 30 fell off by over ten million dollars as compared with the same period of 1905. The respective amounts were $15,416,152 and $25,566,286. The Chinese buyers gave preference to the British, taking $34,245,129 worth of cotton fabrics from the United Kingdom for the first nine months of 1906, a decrease of $3,770,584 from last year. The British loss on bleached and gray goods was about half that of America’s total loss, but the English exporters made up a large part of the shortage by much larger sales of printed and dyed goods. But while America remained almost stationary last year in selling cotton manufactures to the world, Great Britain made a tremendous stride. Her cotton fabric exports for the first nine months of 1906 were valued at a little more than two hundred and seventy-six million dollars, an increase of about twenty million dollars over the same period of 1905, and of nearly fifty million dollars over the first nine months of 1904. This was accomplished almost wholly by marketing wares wrought from fiber grown in our Southern States, let it be remembered.

And what would happen to British trade, let us inquire, were America to cease exporting raw cotton, to permit our staple to emerge from our land in a manufactured state, only?

The mere suggestion of the thing is sufficient to cause a cold shudder to play down the spinal column of John Bull. But the American people will never play the game of commerce in that way.