Frodsham_The First Chinese Embassy to the West

Frodsham_The First Chinese Embassy to the West - The First...

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Unformatted text preview: The First Chinese Embassy to the West i, _, JOURNALS ; QB, KUO ‘FSUNG—T’AO, LIU ,rHsgégUNG . AND CHANG TETYL‘ si 5, TRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED BY J. D. FRODSHAM g: g, CLARENDON PRESS - OXFORD I974- Oxford Universigy Press, Ely House, London WJ GLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE WELLlNGTON CAPE TOWN IBADAN NAIROBI DAR ES SALAAM LUSAKA ADDIS ABADA DELHI BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS KARACHI LABORE DACCA KUALA LUMPUR SINGAPORE HONGKONG TOKYO © OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 1974 9,, . . .. , , 1 MIG. no. 3 I 1 am e» acc. a; 5 5g: fuss no. 3 mg )AUTHOR no. f? 2,, in .. _..._._____E . fiEEOUND «wwm w m"... w. u. .. PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY WILLIAM CLOWES & SONS, LIMITED LONDON, BECCLES AND COLGHESTER TO PROFESSOR LIU TS’UN-YAN This book is afiecdonately dedicated 96 Kuo’s Memorial on Foreign Afiizirs quiet just to avoid trouble. So I have been audacious enough to submit my opinions. I know that what I have to say is bluntly and clumsily framed, and I feel most perturbed at this. But I have nevertheless disclosed all that I know on the subject of foreign affairs. I beg Your Majesty, the Empress Dowager, to read this and to send me your instructions. N OTE: At that time the British envoy, Wade, left the capital, and the case of the murder of Margary, which the Court had ordered Li Hung-Chang and Shen Pao-chen to discuss with him, could not be concluded. I was then trying to avoid being sent abroad, and, ‘ considering the difficulty of the case, sought to apply myself to it. In submitting my Memorial on the occasion of the termination of my leave, I discussed the handling of foreign affairs quite thor- oughly, in order to prevent criticism. But an officer in the Board of Punishments, Liu Hsi—hung, kept the Memorial for three days, and so prevented it from reaching Her Majesty.1 Later I found out that Sir Thomas Wade went to Shanghai and asked for armed intervention, but the British Government refused. When Li Hung—Chang went to the meeting at Yen—t’ai, he was able to obtain what I had asked for, receiving a Court order to send me to Shanghai to negotiate with the foreigners in order to help improve the situation. Liu Hsi—hung tried very hard to go along as a member of the party. There were then many discussions concerning the case at the capital, and the Central Government found it hard to see who was right. Liu argued that such a Memo- rial, if submitted, might provoke displeasure, and even affect him, if he went abroad. He was fearless in all he did, and quite selfish. On account of his actions, I was prevented from making manifest my sincere intention of serving the country. I very much regret that I allowed him to betray me. When I reached Shanghai, I attempted to submit the Memorial anew, but the propitious moment had passed, and nothing I said could have any more effect. 1 This incident would appear to have marked the beginning of the feud between Kuo and Liu. {3 4 Kuo’s London Letter to Li Hung-Chang (1877)1 I BELIEVE you have received my third letter, written on the eighth day of the second month [March 22, 1877]. Here, the ad— ministration, education, and social customs manifest every day many signs of change and renewal. If we study the origin and development of the [English] state, we find out that in the begin— ning there was a struggle for power between the King and the people which caused much bloodshed, and disturbances which lasted dozens and even hundreds of years. These were settled only after a period of confusion. They did not, at first, have a long and accumulated tradition of high virtue and culture [as does China]. For over a century now, their officials and their common people have collaborated in the discussion ofgnationalwgcggies, have re- portethesettheJGng and put them into application, theiEB—y making daily progress. And now their sovereign is beloved for her wisdom, and their way of life becomes better and better. And yet, if we look back, the work of building up their national strength really began only after the Ch’ien—lung period Steamships were first built during the Ch’ien-lung period, but at first they were not very profitable. Not till I801 did they begin to use them on the sea.2 From “18,13 onwards they followed the same method in buildi,ng,r_a_ilma,ys.3 From then on, they promoted 3'2“ H 1 Yang-chi]: shu—wu yi—chi (wen—chi), XI, pp. Ia—Ira. 2John Fitch of Connecticut produced the first working steamboat in 1787. By 1790 he had a boat that ran to a printed schedule between Trenton and Phila— delphia. The first practical steamboat in the British Isles was the Charlotte Dundas (1802). Robert Fulton produced the famous Clermont in 1807. See J. T. Flexner, Steamboat: Come True. 3 The world’s first public railway was opened in 1803 . It ran from Wandsworth to Croydon. The first carriage of passengers took place in 1807, on the Oyster- mouth railway. The first public railway to use steam traction was opened in 182 5. The Liverpool and Manchester railway, which may be called the first modern railway in operation, was opened in I830. Kuo’s choice of the year 1813 for the opening of the railway system is inexplicable. Possibly he had learned that this was the year in which William Hedley built the famous ‘Pufling Billy’, the first locomotive to run on smooth wheels along smooth rails. 98 Kuo’s London Letter the science of electricity, first using magnetic machines to trans— mit messages, and then, in 1838, establishing a tglegraglmrvice in their capital,"L extending it gradually until it reached India in 1865. With the Opium War (1839—42), their steamships came to the east of Kuangtung, while the war of 1860 saw their telegraph service extended from India to Shanghai. Hence, although the enterprise was only invented a few decades ago, the British have been able to take advantage of our weak political position to come to us as if instantly over a distance of some seventy thousand If. This is enough to show that the process of the lllCWmLQf the iiiiivmmmgm, cannot be stopped. Our Chinese - gentry, who rely on themselves, and seek to put a stop to this, have not been able to do so. Since my arrival here a few months ago, I have actually seen the congenience of having these trains, which can make a round trip of three or four hundred 11' in half a day. The local gentry here also advise us to build railways, saying that marked the beginning of the foundation of British power, though originally they too had been suspicious of these railways and tried to stop their construction, fearing that they would be detrimental to the people’s livelihood. For example, thirty thousand horses were formerly used to maintain communication between the port of Southampton and London. However, with the opening of the railway, over sixty or seventy thousand horses are now used. This has happened because the convenience of the railway has led to a daily increase in trade, and since the railway only follows a route, people from a distance of several dozen [1' or less, who come to take the train, must first travel by horse to get there, and do so in increasing numbers. Last winter, on my way through Shanghai, I saw a railway map in the Academy of Natural Sciences, showing railroads from India to Yunnan, one going out east of Lin—an to Canton, one coming out north of Ch’u—hsiung, proceeding through Szechwan to Hankow, and then heading out from Canton across the (Five) Mountains to come out into Human, meeting the other branch at Hankow. Another one ran fron Nanking to Chen-chiang, coming out east in Shang- hai. From Shanghai it branches off in two directions: one coming east to Ningpo, the other going north to Tientsin to reach the capital. I was very surprised to see that no sooner had trade rela— 1 The first telegraph line was installed between Paddington and Drayton by the Great Western Railway Company in July 18 39. Kzio’s London Letter 99 tions with Yunnan been opened than the railways were already planned. Afterwards, when I came across this map in London, I found out that it had been made ten years ago, which proves how far—reaching are the foreigners’ plans. The railway in India only goes as far as Assam. To reach China, it can take two routes: going north or south around the mountains. The northern route would run from Assam directly to the [upper reaches of the] Irrawaddy. The southern route would run through Burma, turn northeast, go to the Irrawaddy, and from there continue to Man— yiin. Generally speaking, these two railways are to be built a year or two after the opening of trade in Yunnan. The Japanese Minister,1 on meeting me, remarked that Westerners know how to exploit nature. They have done the hard part; we should do the easy part. How can we therefore continue to neglect such mat- ters? Other countries, he went on, envy our vast territories and our numerous population, and pity us when they hear that up to now we have not yet made efforts to strengthen ourselves. On hearing such words, and could find no answer. Last year, when I came to the capital, I had the intention of examining the events of the past and the present, in order to find out differences and similarities, successes and failures. Since the time of the Sui (581—618) and the Tang (618-917) we have been trading with the West for some thirteen hundred years. The prohibition of the opium trade led us into war, obliging us to open many ports which lead into the Yangtze River. The foreigners’ power has become more and more oppresswe and harmful. We should carefully investigate the origins and develop— ment of such events, and the reasons why these foreign nations became rich and strong, as well as their intentions towards us. We must also find out for ourselves how our country should face this crisis and deal with others. We can find out everything that needs to be known about these matters, and use them to compile a book which can be submitted to the Tsungli Yamen and distributed to the schools of the Empire, in order to clarify the doubts of our scholar-officials. Government policy towards foreigners has a great deal of foresight and magnanimity about it, 1 Ueno Kagenori (1844—88) was one ofjapan’s earliest diplomats. In 1868, after the Meiji Restoration, he was made Commissioner of Foreign Affairs. Later he was sent as High Commissioner and Minister Plenipotentiary to several countries in Europe as well as to the U.S.A. IOO Kuo’s London Letter which should be made known to our people. Once this is clari— fled, the long—term foundation of our state—policy, which should enable our country to continue for millions of years, could then be certainly established. I had already spoken to you about this when} passed through Tientsin; but when I reached the capital, I did not dare mention it, on account of the noisy discussions and criticisms which I encountered. Personally, I think that there is something about the Chinese mind which is absolutely unintelligible. I refer here to opium— smoking. Nothing the West has done has been more harmful to us than opium. Even English gentlemen themselves are ashamed of the fact that they have used this harmful trade as an excuse for provoking hostilities with China, and are making a serious effort to eradicate the evil. Yet our Chinese scholar-officials compla— cently degrade themselves by smoking opium, and do so without remorse. This has been for several decades already our national disgrace, exhausting much money and manpower, and poisoning the lives of our people. And yet there is not one man who feels ashamed of it. At present, every home possesses such [Western] articles as clocks, watches and toys, while Western textiles and woollens are to be found even in the remote countryside. In Kiangsu and Chekiang it is even the practice to neglect our own currency and to make use of foreign money, the value of which is even raised, without any thought whatsoever of [right and] wrong. And yet, when our people hear of the building of railways and the spread— ing of telegraphy, they become enraged and crowd together to create difficulties. There are even people who stir up public anger when they set eyes on foreign machines. When Tseng Chi—kang (Chi—tse), on account of the death of his parent, took a small steam boat from Nanking to Ch’ang—sha, many officials and im— portant men raised a hue and cry which lasted for several years Without cease. Such people willingly allow others to harm us and squeeze the marrow from our bones, and yet with their whole strength close up the sources of our national revenue. It is really difficult to understand their motives. After thirty years of foreign relations our provincial authorities still know nothing. All they ‘can do is to impose their ignorant ideas on the Court and call this public opinion’ as a cover for their own purposes. Sad to say, the common people have long been denied an outlet which would Kuo’s London Letter 101 permit them to submit their complaints to higher authorities. And yet, the ignorant have been made use of and the unemployed have been stirred up to the attainment of purely selfish ends, all this with the help of many of our officials. The weakening of the Sung (960—1276), and the downfall of the Ming (I368—~1644), were both the outcome of the actions of such irresponsible and ignorant people. I am a man of Ch’u (i.e., Hunan and Hepeh) who grew up in the backward and foolish countryside. I know nothing about trade, nor have had contact with foreigners. Nevertheless, I have studied a little, and have reflected upon the principles of things. My investigations into past and present events have given me insights, which, in spite of the criticism and con— tempt of the whole world, I still maintain as principles for the defence and the government of the country, to help us to become independent and strong. I have openly spoken of this without fear, but have never encountered real understanding, being obliged to come here, seventy thousand 11' away from my own country. After less than two months here, having been twice impeached, and considerable reflection, I have come to regret my previous behaviour. However, though at first I did not dare to say anything more, still there are certain things which I have seen and heard that I must tell you. Japan has sent over two hundred people here to learn special skills. They are living in different ports, about ninety being in London. Of the twenty and more I have met, all know English, and one, called Nagaoka Ryonosuke, was a former feudal lord, who governed a fief. He has now been degraded to the status of a hereditary nobleman, and has come here to study law. Their Minister of Finance, En—lou—ou—mu (Inoue Kaoru), has been sent here to study the management of such (financial) affairs, and hopes to imitate and put into practice all that he learns here.1 The telegraph oflices which the Japanese have established afford another practical example of what these people have learned in London. Only very few are here as military 1Inoue Kaoru (1835—19I5) was one of the five elder statesmen of the Meiji period. In 1863 he left Japan secretly and made his way to England as a sailor. On learning of the bombardment of his native fief, Choshfi, in September, 1864, he hurried home to urge that peace be made, earning only a savage heating from a group of reactionary samurai for his pains. With the overthrow of the Toku— gawa in 1867, Inoue became a leading member of the government and held im— portant posts in the ministries of finance, industry, and foreign affairs. In 1877, at the time of his visit to England, he was Minister of Finance. 102 Kuo’s London Letter cadets. After all, war is the most minor of sciences, while the ~ establishment of systems is the root and foundation of the state. You wish especially to have others receive military training, since you are in charge of defence. But it is my opinion that the military system in the provinces lacks an effective method of re—organiza— tion, while the recruitment of volunteers cannot be relied 011 as a constant practice. For the next few decades there will be no danger of war with the West, and this can be seen both by reason— ing and by close observation of the present trends. As to the system of military recruitment in London, I have discovered that all recruits must first study and understand military science, be— fore they are selected. Doctors are sent to feel their pulse and examine their health and make sure that their bones are solid, before they are taught systematically to jump and climb and to handle guns and cannons, after which they are organized in army units. Hence their military power rests on a very good founda— tion, which is more than ours does. One man cannot do very much, however skilful. I am afraid that we may waste much money in ‘learning how to kill dragons’,l complete this training, and never be able to use it. I would like to tell the Government— sponsored students who went abroad with Li Tan—ya, to learn instead how to survey and refine coal and iron, how to build railways and understand the science of electricity, in order to be able to put their knowledge into practice. I recommend that we ask our viceroys and provincial governors to select talented youths, give them financial help, and send them first to Tientsin, Shang- hai, and Fukien, to learn the skills of the technical officer and study languages, and then have them sent abroad, to learn various skills according to their different abilities and dispositions. Our techni— cal oflices should also employ two or three more teachers each, to wait for the increasing number of students. Once this has started it may be possible to influence the public to do more things of this nature. There is a man here named Stephenson,2 who says that he has built many railways in different countries. He is very earnest, and advises us to do this quickly. I therefore submit a summary of his plans. For, according to my opinion, we cannot always ask foreigners to do everything for us.a We 1 An expression denoting the acquisition of completely useless knowledge. 2 Sir Rowland'Macdonald Stephenson (1808—95) was a noted railway engineer. He was for many years managing director of the East Indian Railway Company. Kuo’s London Letter 103 ought to order our own people to learn these methods. For ex— ample, the country of Egypt, which is in Africa, first sent men to learn railway building in England, and then asked them to do this in their own country. This is a good example for us. I beg there— fore for your instructions, in order to discuss this matter with Li Tan~ya. I feel that of the many necessary things which would help us to govern our country well and establish a solid base for national wealth and strength, these two [railways and telegraphs] would enable us to establish a state which would remain strong for a thousand years without any degeneration. It is hardly necessary to mention the great and far—reaching advantages involved. Among these advantages, there are two which are easily seen. Firstly, China is a vast country of over ten thousand [1' in area, because of which it is necessary to wait for many weeks to get a letter from a distant place, and people often suffer for lack of news. With these two things [railways and telegraphs], places ten thousand 11' away become as the hall or threshold of one’s house. In times of flood, or drought, or robbers, incidents occur- ring in the morning will be known by the evening. So we need not worry about disloyal subjects who might exploit such situa— tions to cause trouble. Secondly, there is too much of a distance between our officials and the common people. Yet both these groups seek to hide things from the Court in order to promote their private interests. Hence people often have complaints which they cannot submit to higher authorities. When we have railways and telegraphs, our wealthier citizens would be obliged to make contributions to the service of the country, and would do so with ent...
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