- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 20 Jan 1998, p. 1-20
- Foster, Hon. G.E., Speaker
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- Item Type
- All we have ever had with reference to the East as little more thorough or more exhaustive than glimpses. The fascination that the East holds for us. From where those glimpses come. The East as the cradle of our race. The East, seeing the advent of those who have founded the four great religious systems of the world, which today embrace within their beliefs the great majority of living people. The East associated with great civilizations and great empires. The East in later periods as a source of renewed interest to Englishmen, and perhaps to Europe generally. Reasons for that renewed interest. Ways in which these countries that were formerly so distant and remote have been brought nearer. Enforcing the lesson that we are neighbours and destined to be still closer neighbours with the peoples of the East. Time that we lost a little of the superabundant pride in ourselves and commenced to seriously study the history, the civilization and the conditions of that great eastern world so that we may better understand the East and rid ourselves of prejudices. The immense trading potential with the East. Some dollar figures as an indicator of that trade. This trade now only just commencing. Population and characteristics differences between the East and the West. Factors to consider for the future. The desirability of actually travelling somewhere in order to understand it better. The attractions and fascinations of the islands of the Pacific. A few words of our sister colon, the great Commonwealth of Australia: population, its strategic geographic position and features, climate, solutions for irrigation, natural resources, etc. Imperial sentiment among the Australians. Differences between Canada and Australia; comparing politics. A description of Hong Kong and Shanghai. Going into the interior of China. The speaker's journey to Canton and a picture of life there. The unremitting and ceaseless toil of the Chinese peasant. Cultivating every inch of soil available. Feeding the Chinese population. A visit to the new Chinese Assembly in Pekin. Rules of assembly. China not yet ready for republican institutions.
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- 20 Jan 1998
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- GLIMPSES OF THE EAST
An Address by HON. G. E. FOSTER, D.C.L., LL.D., Minister of Trade and Commerce, Ottawa, before the Empire Club of Canada, Oct. 16, 1913.
Mr. President and Gentlemen,
The chairman and myself are at one on two points
First, he said you knew all about me; I come pretty near to occupying the same position, I know a good deal but not quite all about myself. Then, he said, he did not know anything about what I was going to say, and on that point we are pretty nearly on a par. The trouble seems to be that whenever you are good enough to invite me, I always say yes, and then the trouble commences. Now, I am not going to make a speech today of any set character. It will be diversified whatever there is in it; it will be scrappy; it may be a little bit interesting, especially to those who have not lately travelled the same route that I have traversed, and -it may help us-not so much in the particular -,abundance of information-by way of suggestions, and impel us to implement the information which we already possess of eastern countries, information which is, I fear, somewhat circumscribed with the most of us. The chairman asked me for a heading to indicate the line of my talk, and I gave him
"Glimpses of the East."
All we have ever had, even the best read amongst us, with reference to the East--and that taken from books--is little more thorough or more exhaustive than glimpses. People who have lived in China, and Japan, and India, for practically the whole of their natural lives, and lave had much to do with these peoples, and by confessing that with all their living association and knowledge they do not yet understand the people amongst whom they have been living, and find it difficult to get far inside the Oriental mind. I think most of us can say that the East has always had a fascination for us; from our studies in the Sunday Schools, and from our reading of the Old and New Testament history our minds have drawn towards the East with more than ordinary interest. The East is the cradle of our race. The East has seen the advent of those who have founded the four great religious systems of the world, which today embrace within their beliefs the great majority of living people. The East has been associated with great civilizations; great empires, which have now long since passed away and lie buried, fruitful subjects for exploration in this and future ages, for those who wish to dig down to the foundations of these old buried civilizations and interpret to us anew something of their history, part of which we have lost, and part of which we never knew at all. From the East have come these great outpourings of humanity, that have carried fire and sword to the very middle of Western Europe. The East in later periods has become to Englishmen, and perhaps to Europe generally, a source of renewed interest, because Great Britain has through a series of years gradually assumed the position of being almost as much an Asiatic as she is a European Empire. Her vast possessions in Egypt, in India, and her paramount interests in and around China and Japan, with the Pacific islands, large and small, which belong to her,--these all are eloquent proofs that the roots of the Empire have struck deep and wide into the eastern world, where Great Britain has taken upon herself trusts of profound importance; trusts which she is bound in her own honour to fulfill; the nonfulfillment of which would cause immense confusion and disaster to vast multitudes in the eastern world. The means of communication with the East have greatly improved. How distant and remote they were in the olden time from the point of view of an overland passage, or even of a passage by the sea around the Capes. The vast navigable highways had to be sought out, and the passage made with less knowledge of the craft, and with far less machinery of navigation than we possess at the present time. Later the Suez Canal opened a new route; another through America is now being opened to the East, and Britain has to guard her vessels plying on those routes from Liverpool and London through the Mediterranean, through the Indian Ocean, and through the Pacific. The development of late years has drawn us into closer neighbourhood with the great mass of people in the Orient; by immigration into our own country; and into the United States. Our undeveloped continents of fifty and a hundred years ago have become highways for great national railway organizations; they have made communication from the East to the West; whilst out from the great ports of the West have been gradually built up the modern steamship services which provide regular transportation and communication to every great port and city of the eastern world. And so, gradually, by the very force of progress and expansion, these once far distant and almost mythical regions have been brought closer and closer to us. The Atlantic has not lost the interest which it has long had for us on this continent, but we have been forced to turn our faces in another direction, to look towards the future, as it will be affected by the East, from our western continental shores.
And so it is that those countries that were formerly so distant and remote have been brought nearer. The advance has been gradual from both ends of the prospect, and the people of these two great regions, here in America, there in Asia, are now side by side, looking into each other's faces, and hearing each other's voices, and listening to what each has to say. They are close neighbours now, and will be closer neighbours in the future; first, by geography, as we get a better understanding of it; and, secondly, by the improvements in navigation and the mean's of communication, and the spread of trade and commerce. My only plea for bringing these matters before you at all is that I wish to enforce the lesson, which cannot be too strongly enforced, that we are neighbours, and are destined to be still closer neighbours, since we are being drawn nearer to each other as the years pass by, it is high time that we in the West set ourselves to study and understand the peoples of the East. It is high time that we lost a little of the superabundant pride in ourselves, and commenced to seriously study the history, the civilization and the conditions of that great eastern world, and find out whether or not there is something there which we do not yet understand, but which, if we knew it as we ought to know it, would dispel our prejudices and incline us more to fair and reasonable views, and make us more appreciatory of the mighty East with all its powers and possibilities. I am not going to trouble you much with figures, but venture to press one consideration upon you. On that vast Pacific Ocean which extends from the northern regions of Alaska down past Cape Horn on the one side, and on the other with China and the Australian Archipelago direct of approach,--on that great, vast, mighty Pacific Ocean there is an immense trade. Australia has a sea-borne trade today of $700,000,000--do not go away with the idea that Australia and New Zealand are not in the Asiatic sphere; they lie there, and must loom large in our study of this question. New Zealand has a sea-borne trade of $200,000,000. The United States' dependencies,--the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska together, have a sea-borne trade of $200,000,000; China $560,000,000; Japan $460,000,000; the United States' Pacific coast $150,000,000; Canada, on the Pacific coast, from $30,000,000 to $40,000,000; and Latin America, as indicated by the various Republics and States of the south, of hundreds of millions more, altogether making up the almost astonishing total of nearly $3,000,000,000 of ocean-borne trade which passes in and out, whatever its ultimate destination may be; of ports in regions bordering upon the Pacific Ocean. Now, that is a mighty factor in itself, but it is mightier when you take some other things into consideration. But I have given you an idea of the one in order that you may have something by which to judge of the possibilities of all. This trade is now only just commencing; future years will see it rolling up and rolling up to proportions which we cannot now commence to figure out. But that is not all of it. There is also this additional factor. On this line of coast in Australia; in New Zealand; in Latin America; in the United States and Canada, you have about 150,000,000 people of the Anglo-Saxon or Latin races. On the other hand, in the Orient, you have 300,000,000 in India; 400,000,000 in China; 65,000,000 in Japan, and you have probably somewhere near 100,000,000 Orientals in other Asiatic settlements, making in all something like 900,000,000 of the population bordering the Pacific strictly and purely Oriental, as compared with 150,000,000 of Anglo-Saxon and Latin races. These are the human factors, but the mere preponderance of numbers does not show yet the entire analysis. The Oriental population of 900,000,000 works for infinitely less, spends infinitely less; the cost of living to those in these parts of the world is infinitely less-for food, for clothing, for shelter, for fuel, they are hampered but little in comparison with the other races I have spoken of. More than that--and this runs counter to an idea that too many of us have-I take it upon myself to say that for pure human labour, labour unassisted by mechanical devices, the Chinese and-the Japanese are, man for man, equal to the other races-for pure unremitting lust and enjoyment of labour. You must add that to the sum of what I have stated. Of course the white man will take a machine, and with the machine, added to his own power, he will turn out a mighty lot of stuff. But I am resting upon the human factor for the moment--what for? I have heard the statement, we have all heard the statement, that the Anglo-Saxon races are not reproducing their kind to the extent they should; they are either on the stationary line, or actually retrogressive. The Oriental peoples on the contrary produce rapidly, and if it were not for their lack of sanitation and of the science of medicine, and good health conditions, their increase would be very much multiplied. But make no mistake. As in Japan at the present time, so in China of the future, sanitary methods of living, and medical science, will come into their own and the lamentable loss of young life in these regions will gradually diminish. It is true, and no one who studies the question will doubt it, that if the same sanitary methods had been in vogue in China during the last thirty years, that exist in European countries and America, China today would be almost smothered by the overplus of population upon the soil, which is taxed now almost to its uttermost to provide its 400,000,000 with food. So that you have to look into the future, when some of these improvements I have mentioned, have been in whole or in part adopted by these Orientals, and conjure up to yourself what is going to happen when in the future years these improvements take place, as they absolutely will take place. Now, you have the human factor, and that I have mentioned so as to make you take into account what should give us reason for thought and consideration as to what will happen when in the future, something more or less than 400,000,000 of the population of China will have advanced as far as the 65,000,000 of Japan have now advanced, in organization, systematization of work, in the perfection of mechanical devices brought to their aid, and in all that makes for industrial progress and development--What will happen in the world's history? One thing is sure. Economic, political, and social factors are gradually shaping themselves, and will come ultimately into concrete and practical form, which may cause at the first confusion, and possible disaster, in the wide range of the world's economic, industrial, and political. development. But why have I said all this? To just simply enforce the remark I am going to make here: that we people living on this side of the Pacific do not advance the question one single iota by standing here and inveighing against the Hindoo; the brown and Oriental races on the Pacific coast. Vehement denunciation, and equally vehement assertions of what we are, of what we have done, and of what we will do are all very well for home consumption, but they do not in the least degree tend to solve that world problem which is before us. Equally futile the remarks of the Japanese, the Chinese, or other Orientals, standing on the opposite shore of the Pacific, and telling us how little they think of us, and what they are going to do with us some of these days. Both these attitudes are equally futile. But what I have adduced from my observations and the information I have gathered has enforced on me this lesson: that the sooner we get down to hard pan the better, and the hard pan is the study of each other's conditions-ideals, modes of thought, methods of progress, which lie back in the mind and bear on practical work and development, so that as neighbours--and we are bound to be neighbours--we may have a better understanding of each other. We may avoid disagreements and work for the peace of humanity, for ultimate human happiness, and human development--(loud applause). It was impossible not to have profited in the varied journeys I made-and which I just take occasion to say here has been absolutely the greatest privilege of my whole life. I do not know anything in my lifetime that I consider has been a greater privilege and a greater advantage to me than my thirty-five thousand mile trip in these countries of the Pacific Ocean. It is a privilege, indeed, to be allowed to make such a tour of observation, even though it was a more or less cursory and hurried examination of conditions as they exist in these countries. What we gather from books and in the study of geography is in no way to be compared to what we learn by travel and actual inspection. No man who has ever gone outside his own country but knows how much he has had to unlearn. How he has had to widen his field of vision and fill in impressions that never are given you in books or geographies. So, I say, men in public life, men in professional and private life, should omit no opportunity of visiting and learning something of their fellow men in other climes, of other countries, and living under other conditions. Thus it is we learn by a close inspection of the personal element more than by any other means.
The islands of the Pacific have their attractions and their fascinations. As one sails on these deep blue seas, dotted with innumerable small islands that lie as mere specks on a limitless ocean, with the white surf beating upon their coral shores, and the deep green lagoons lying within their narrow rims-fringed with tropical verdure, topped by stately cocoanut palms, and other tropical trees, the fascination grows and one wishes to land at and linger in each. Each one of these islands holds something of interest to the traveller, has some mystery in it, of people or products, and it must be remembered that there are thousands of these islands, each with its mysteries; its hidden past, its strange peoples, its odd forms of life, plant and animal, or whatever it may be, of strange customs and strange ideals. And so one feels when he is well launched on the Pacific that he is caught and held by a mysterious fascination which grips his imagination and softly infuses its influence into his blood. Passing along the six channels from atoll to atoll, from large island to large island, it suffices just to look, and see, and watch, and perchance to find out what lies therein. One feels that they have been there so long, and that they provide a field for such interesting observation and discovery.
But we must pass from this and say just a few words of our sister colony, the great Commonwealth of Australia: Australia is a country large in area and in possibilities, and pretty close up to ours in both. But there are differences between Australia and Canada which are strongly marked, and one of these is found in the populations of the two countries. In Australia 96 percent of its population today has been born either in Australia or in' the United Kingdom. There you have an almost pure British race eight thousand miles away from the Mother Country, and equally distant from their nearest blood neighbour on this side-the Dominion of Canada. Lying away down there in the southern corner of the Pacific Ocean, fringed from the middle of their western boundary, all round their northern and northeastern boundary, not by Anglo-Saxons, but by the dark races which in dense numbers peer out from their swarming abodes upon them, little wonder that Australia is influenced by a feeling which we, in Canada, under different conditions, can hardly understand-a feeling of disquiet and impending menace. So when you hear now and then that the Australian nation is somewhat sensitive as to its position geographically, or strategically, you must bear in mind that that four and a half million people are fringed round with eight or nine hundred million people close to their borders, and of races and with ideals of civilization that they do not understand, and that in the main that are alien to them. Australia with its great possibilities has also its great disadvantages compared with Canada in this respect, that they lack there the everlasting glint and flow and sparkle of the abundant water which in Canada is our crown of rejoicing, and our great vivifying agency. Their rivers are mostly fed from the rains falling in the eastern coast range of mountains and consequently their courses are mostly short, and their flow intermittent, long and strong, and strong flowing rivers they have none. They have rivers which, in the flood season, tear and rush towards the sea with destructive force, and then for months gradually dwindle away by outflow and evaporation. Australia is a cuplike basin, the highest rim of which is on its north and northeast coast, rising to an elevation of seven thousand feet in some cases, not far removed from the sea, and sloping gradually down into the great central basin of Australia until at Lake Eyre it is below the sea level, and then rising somewhat towards the western and northwestern boundary again. 500,000 square miles of Australian territory are embraced within this flat basin, and 1,000,000 square miles of Australian savannahs never get beyond an average of 10 inches of rain per year, running down in some cases to 5 and 2. When you come on to the upper rim of the northeast they get from 150 to 160 inches of rain in the year, but the mountains are close to the sea, and so the flow on either side is short in comparison to the flow of rivers in Canada, and consequently the portions of this vast area of land which is sufficiently fed by the rains is comparatively limited. But there is one thing that helps. As you come down from that rim towards the central basin you pass what is called the great artesian district, and it was thought at one time it might be possible to irrigate by means of this artesian water the vast tracts of land, and great stretches of country all through Australia, the idea being to utilize this subterranean lake of moisture and make the country through that region fairly inhabitable. Well, investigations have been made, and they do not quite bear out the hope. There are all sorts of theories for these artesian wells in this basin of Australia. As a member of the Royal Commission I heard some interesting discussions on them. Every man has his own theory of their origin, and has some version of the scientific investigations that have teen made, but they seem never to have been able to get at the bottom of the question. One man, however, was absolutely positive he had solved the difficulty. The reason you find water, he said, in that great central basin is this: In the bottom of the Bay of Biscay, off the French coast, there is a large hole which goes far down and is thence conducted by a subterranean channel to the centre of Australia and is then forced to the surface by the pressure of so great a current.
He was positive that he had solved the question. I could not prove the contrary. I could not say that there was not a hole in the bottom of the Bay of Biscay. So far, however, as we can see, the most plausible theory is this, that the northeastern rim of this central basin, which comprises some 500,000 square miles, forms a series of intake beds and the rains falling therein gradually filter down by a slow rate of progress towards the centre until they form these internal reservoirs of moisture which are tapped by bores and become artesian or sub-artesian wells. Some 1,650 bores have been sunk in that region, running from Zoo feet to 5,000 feet deep, and the water in some cases rises and jets out above the surface, and in other cases rises to a certain height in the bore and is then pumped up the rest of the way. Wells bored or driven are established which at the present time give some 620,000 gallons daily, drawn from these artesian bores. But what is that to such an immense area of territory? And What makes it more disappointing is that although this water may be used for stock, and although it is invaluable for sheep running on territory which suffers at periods from a certain type of drought, and whilst it may be drunk without bad effect by people, it is absolutely destructive to vegetable life, and lands which have been watered by it suddenly loose their verdure and refuse to produce. So that making the best that can be made of these parts of Australia; by irrigation, by the conservation and economic use of her supplies of moisture, the supply in these central regions is at best scanty. Now, do not think because I have said this that Australia does not amount to much. Australia does. She has the most wonderful resources. Recollect that Australia is-five-thirteenths of it-tropical. We seldom think of that; but in that territory can be raised everything that can be raised in tropical countries. The only trouble is in the wherewithal of labour to till the soil. The country has adopted the motto, "A white Australia." This is not only the idea of the Labour party, but is embedded equally strongly in the minds of all political parties. Whether they can by this means develop their tropical country or not is for them to solve. But they are going straight at it. When once they solve that question, five-thirteenths of Australia will raise anything that can be raised in tropical countries: Sugar, Cotton, all kinds of tropical products, all in abundance and of the best quality. Outside of that area, the extent of agricultural territory is immense in itself. The thing that strikes you in Australia is the illimitable resources pitted against a scanty population of only four and onehalf million people. Owing to the disadvantage of distance, from those allied most closely to them by ties of blood and social aspirations, their immigration has not been strong and plentiful. Today the crying need of Australia is labour--labour everywhere--labour to cope with and overcome, and bring into commercial productiveness the rich natural resources she has in every shape and form. Her climate is in many respects delightful; almost too delightful. But when they commiserated me because we had snow, and frost, and ice in Canada, I told them that take it all in all, maybe our snows, and frosts, and ice, and perhaps other trying conditions in Canada, would tend to build up a nationality of vigourous fibre, of greater vigour and more enterprising than ever they,--with their mild and easy climate, could hope to develop in the future. Some advantages Australia has over us that we never can overcome; certain advantages Canada has which Australia can never hope to enjoy, so we will look at our mutual advantages and make little of our differences of advantage; being assured that in each case a strong and progressive people is being moulded for future nationhood in the British Empire. Some people ask me whether or not I found any imperial sentiment among the people of Australia. Why, yes, Sir, I did. They toast the King just as often and as loyally as we do; they sing God Save the King just as often and with as strong a fervour and--if I may be permitted that comparison, because the Australians are probably a more musical people than we--they sing God Save the King more musically than we do here. No, there is in Australia no party that stands for severance from the Empire. They have too much common sense (loud applause), but if they did not have the necessary amount of common sense their interests, anxiety for their security and safety would teach them to remain under the wings of the Empire for their defence, and for that peace which is necessary for their development. But they do not look at it in that way. The difference between Canada and Australia lies principally in the view in which the provinces in our country, and the states in Australia regard the Federal authority. The states were everything in Australia until a very few years ago, and each state was tremendously patriotic for itself, if anything it was inclined to boast over its neighbour in this respect, each claiming a great advantage for itself over other states. That is good, if it does not go too far. And so a strong state patriotism and strong state feelings were ripe at the birth of the Federation. The difference between Australia and Canada in one word is: that we have been happy in being an older Federation and having time enough to develop a strong national feeling. Our provincial differences have shaded off until now every province in Canada is proud of the whole of Canada, and does not depreciate any other portion of it. That strong national feeling that Confederation has developed here for Canada is worth more to us than all the natural resources of Canada put together; worth more to us as an element in nation building. That dominating national feeling has not yet been strongly developed in Australia; the Commonwealth is of too recent origin. The set views of the state in Australia was so strong that it is difficult to modify that feeling, and there is more jealousy between states of the Commonwealth than there is between the provinces of the Dominion in this respect. But the comparatively weak national feeling they have now will strengthen as they grow, and you must give them time to grow. But they make up in a strong imperial feeling what they may lack in a national sense, and I would say the imperial feeling in Australia is stronger even than the imperial feeling in Canada. The Empire bulks larger with them than it has in the past with us, and the desire to stand by work as a part of a common Empire shows no lagging in spirit, no hesitation on their part, and is as strong or stronger, I think, with them than it is with us. That, however, is only my personal analysis. They have politics in Australia as we have here, quite as militant and as uncertain. It was not comfortable for one to go down there to talk about preferential arrangements, and just as you had everything in good shape for an election to come along, for yourself to play the part of an interested spectator for two months, then to find that the government you were working with suddenly defeated and yourself left without an audience; the old government gone, and a new government striving for birth. Once born this new government found itself in this peculiar condition. , As a result of the election the Labour Party which had held the reins of government for three years, had been defeated, and the Liberal Party had been placed in power, but with a majority of only one in the House of Representatives. When Mr. Cook, the new Premier, had elected his Speaker then the forces were equally divided--37 on each side. But the position was worse still in the Upper House. Oh, these recalcitrant Upper Houses! In the Upper House the Labour Party has three to one against the Liberal Party, so that whatever is passed in the House of Representatives runs up against a stone wall in the Upper House. What are they going to do-ask Sir Wilfrid Laurier what he would do with a majority of one in the House of Commons, and an adverse majority in the Upper Chamber. Ask if any man would like to administer the affairs of Canada under these conditions, and you know just exactly what they are trying to do down there in Australia. An amusing thing happened. The Labour Party in opposition said: "We will give you Liberals the time of your life." Before the government had even brought down its policy a vote of want of confidence was moved, no pairs were given and all the members had to be on hand and in waiting. They could attend no functions, not even a wedding or a funeral. How could they? A vote might be suddenly brought on during absence, and the party to which the absentee belonged would be in serious jeopardy. The smallpox broke out in Sydney and vaccination, which in Australia is compulsory--was vigourously resorted to. One of the Labour members had conscientious scruples against vaccination, resisted its application and as a consequence was hustled into quarantine, whilst his party in the House was in dire distress by the reduction of this one vote which of course on a division would increase the government majority by one hundred per cent. Imagine the mutterings on the one side and the demoniac gleam of delight on the countenances of members of the other side. And so the merry war of obstruction goes on, the government ekes out a precarious existence from day to day by the casting vote of the Speaker. Now, from this impossible situation there seems to be only one way of escape. The senators are elected for a term of six years and one-half of those are elected every three years. As a result of the last election all the senators are in for either six years or for three years. For the government therefore to dissolve the House of Representatives would not affect the situation in the Senate where they are in a minority of one to three. But, if they pass a Bill in the Lower House and send it to the Senate, and it is rejected there or amended, within three months it can be sent up again, and if it is rejected again the Governor-General can be asked to consent to a dissolution not only of the Lower House but also of the Senate: So the six-year term senators and the three-year term senators are wondering what is going to happen if they twice reject a government measure. They will, of course, do all they can to prevent dissolution, as they do not wish to lose the unexpired balance of their terms. The whole effort therefore of the opposition will be directed towards preventing the passage of any contentious measure in the Lower House. But a double dissolution will have to come before political conditions in Australia settle down into working shape. Now, you are all busy men and probably want to get back to your offices.
THE MEMBERS PRESENT: Go on, go on, and loud cheers.
MR. FOSTER: I think I will have to stop here
SOME MEMBERS: Go on, go on, and loud applause.
MR. FOSTER: If you say so, and if the chairman will give me his permission
THE CHAIRMAN smiled angelically.
MR. FOSTER: Well, Sir, no greater contrast can be imagined than to go from Australia and enter the borders of China. You do not notice it so much when you go into Hong Kong or Shanghai. Hong Kong is a British colony; one of the greatest British seaports; one of the many seaport outposts of Empire scattered throughout the wide world. Hong Kong is on an island entirely of British occupancy, under British control, although the vast majority of the people are Chinese. There they have modern improvements; railways on the streets; the conveniences of electricity everywhere, and all the modern aids to comfortable living. But if one wishes to see China do not visit Hong Kong and Shanghai alone with the idea that you will thereby see China as it is. You will not. Nor will you even get a glimmering idea of what it is. In order to get an idea of China you must go into the interior of the country. And so I went to Canton, taking the railway up to Canton some one hundred miles, passing through a most beautiful country region, where every foot of soil seemed to be under a high state of cultivation, carried on by the most intensive method, with cultivation, men and women workers everywhere. The deep green rice fields that were then growing up, the hills in the distance, treeless everyone, and yet covered everywhere to their very tips with a verdure which smiled in the bright sunshine. Everywhere through hill and dale, on every escarpment and in every valley of the country were to be seen the workers of the fields--men and women, toiling from early morning till late at night, and through this hundred miles of cultivated beauty I come to the great city of Canton. Canton has two and one-half million people; it is a walled city, as all Chinese cities are; vast, huge, broad walls, which must, when built in olden time, have taxed the labour capacity of their people almost beyond computation to build in those times when mechanical helps were not so well developed as now. Arrived at the station, you must not forget it is Canton and call for a carriage, for no carriage is available, no, not even for a rickshaw--for there is no such modern development as rickshaws in Canton. The only means of trans. ports in Canton is to trust to your two feet, or, take the ubiquitous Sedan chair slung on bamboo poles in which you are carried on the shoulders of two or four porters through the multitudinous streets of the vast city. Everybody and everything has to go that way; every pound of commercial wares, every pound of raw material, every pound of manufactured stuff; every pound of everything has to be borne by human carriers in this same way. There is neither horse, nor mule, nor donkey, nor cart-none of these; all is borne by human labour and travail and every man, and every pound of goods that has to be carried has to be carried in that way. Then the streets of Canton! When you strike a street that is six feet wide you are in Broadway, Pall Mall, or Picadilly, but generally you get into smaller streets running about four to four and a half feet wide, and that is where you see Chinese life in action. Everybody going in every direction; every mortal thing you can think of being carried; an exhaustless mass of humanity, some gaily clad, more nude to the waist, hustling and bustling through these narrow crowded byways of Canton. And so you will pass through endless streets and continuous sweltering hordes of humanity where countless humans make and sell every conceivable thing by the old primitive handicraft methods, from the crudest of toys to the most beautiful of silks. The mass is good natured, noisy in its babel of call and chatter, assiduous in evil for there are no Sundays and half holidays in Canton.
But when you go to Canton you should have at ready call handkerchiefs well saturated with Eau-de-Cologne and easy of approach to your olfactory nerves. For Canton, like other Chinese cities, has no sewage system -none. Of the two and a half million people who live there every drop of liquid or other human excreta is taken out in buckets and baskets slung on bamboo poles and borne on the shoulders of the patient, willing, human carrier, all destined for the land as a precious and priceless offering. The whole mass of humanity slipping and sliding-on they go, and you go with them. Every drop of that human excreta is a valuable asset and provides the means of fertilizing their farms and gardens, and is treasured up and used with a care unthought of in our own country, and is dealt out to the soil which is thereby fertilized to an extent that no soil in any other country is fertilized. It is rather hard on the smelling organism of a Britisher, but this careful domestic economy is at the bottom of the commercial stamina of Japan and China. Now, I will allude to a personal incident if the reporters will promise not to take it down-it was rather in the nature of a take down to myself. The Chinese interpreter with his bearers preceded me in his Sedan chair, and behind us were three or four other travellers like myself; all of us making quite an attractive procession. As we were being hurried along to the peculiar sing song chant of our bearers we caught up to a cavalcade in front, and they and we joining our forces made so imposing a procession and our bearers raised so loud a chant that I thought we were in the wake of some great Mandarin or perhaps of Yuan Shi Kai himself. As we proceeded the singing gained in volume and we were attracting a great deal of attention. But in a little while the head of the procession branched off, and on raising my curtain to catch a glimpse of the high dignitaries behold instead there was being carried in the usual manner a number of the biggest and blackest live hogs I ever saw in my life. Imagine my surprise and disenchantment at discovering the quality of the gentry which had been heading my procession through the streets.