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eent conviction, that under his wise and manly reign the vast lands' and kingdoms' bequeathed to him by his ancestors have received impulses so strong and varied as to ensure the existence of AustriaHungary for a great many more generations, not only as the indispensable international complement to the rest of Europe, but as a realm firmly rooted in a vitality of its own.
THE FUTURE OF MANCHURIA
Away on the extremely opposite end to ours of the great Eurasian continent is a country to which only too little attention has as yet been paid, and which, on account of its wealth, its favourable natural position, and the intelligence of its inhabitants, will attract to itself a yearly-increasing notice from Europe, and play no insignificant part in the history of the next few decades. The recent march of events has shown two rising Powers pressing round Manchuria, and threatening to contest its possession with the seemingly dormant Chinese. And here in distant India short scraps of stirring news from the rich and promising country which, with Mr. James, I had explored a dozen years ago, bring forward in flashes of startling clearness the changes which that short interval of time have brought about.
First came the astonishing intelligence that the Japanese had occupied Port Arthur, the principal harbour in the country, and afterwards established their control over all the southern coast of the province. Then the Japanese had withdrawn to one small point upon the coast, and the Russians were next heard of. The former had gained a temporary footing in Manchuria by the arts of war; the Russians had gained a permanent footing in the country by the devices of diplomacy. That which the country most needed—a railway-was to be constructed from Russian territory by Russians and with Russian money. Kirin, the central point of Manchuria, which when Messrs. James, Fulford, and I visited it in 1886 was almost unknown to Europeans, was in 1897 the head-quarters of thirty Russian officers of the railway staff. And lastly comes the news that Port Arthur, the principal harbour in the country, is to be used by the Russians as a winter port for their fleet; and that Russian officers are to be used for the instruction of the Chinese
If Manchuria were such a wretchedly poor country as, for instance, Khiva, Merv and Turkestan, and others which have fallen to the lot of the Russians, comparatively little attention need be paid to the progress of events in that distant quarter of the world. It would matter but little to other European nations whether the Russian or Japanese did or did not take the country. But Manchuria is no Vol. XLIII--No. 253
such desert country. It is, on the contrary, a country of exceeding richness, and of promise scarcely less than that of the Transvaal itself, and compared to which the whole of Central Africa, from Uganda to Khartoum, is of paltry insignificance. Its soil is not barren, but of surpassing fertility. Its inhabitants are not listless semi-nomads, nor fanatical barbarians, but the most industrious agriculturists in the world. And they do not number a few hundreds of thousands, but a score of millions.
Whether, therefore, this country remains practically closed to European enterprise, as at present, or partially opened, as it might be expected to become under Russian or Japanese control, or fully open, as most European nations would hope for, is a matter of interest to all who realise the importance to their country of acquiring a footing in those markets of the world which offer the best promise for the future,
I propose then, in the first place, to establish the physical advantages, not omitting to mention the corresponding disadvantages, which the country affords. I will then shortly describe the leading characteristics of the inhabitants, and show how these physical surroundings, together with the pressure of neighbouring peoples, have affected their welfare and tended towards their advancement. I will, with these data upon which to found my calculations, estimate the probability of the country maintaining its integrity; and, lastly, will attempt a forecast of its future development.
The climate of Manchuria has often been compared to that of Eastern Canada, which lies at approximately the same latitude. Situated, like the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, at the extremity of a continent, and exposed to those great changes of temperature caused
the action of the sun's rays on vast expanses of land, and unmodified by any alleviating breaths of wind wafted from temperate ocean currents, the climate of Manchuria is one of extremes, ranging in the northern districts from 40° to 45° below zero Fahrenheit in winter to 90° F. in the summer, and in the southern part from 15° to 20° below zero F. in winter to 95° to 100° F. in the summer. Yet the cold is dry and clear, and the summer heat not oppressive. The rainfall is plentiful but not too abundant. In the winter the country is covered deep in snow, and in the summer rain falls in sufficient quantity to mature the crops. I will not delay here to point out the effects of such a climate upon the physique and temperament of the inhabitants, or upon the natural productions of the soil, but I will pass on to rapidly delineate the leading features in the configuration of the country.
And first I would draw attention to the favourable juxtaposition of land and water. The Russians have already in 1860 lopped off that part of Manchuria which had a coast line on the north, and the ports of Vladivostock and Possiet Bay legitimately belong to Manchuria. But besides this Manchuria still possesses a coast line on the south not less than 600 miles in length, and including ports such as Newchwang, Port Arthur, and Ta-lien-hoang Bay, of which the two latter are open all the year round. And the country is still further favoured by possessing large navigable rivers running far into the heart of the land, as well as along its northern boundary. The greater part is hilly, and in one case these hills reach the height of 8,000 feet above sea-level; but for the most part they do not attain a greater altitude than 3,000 or 4,000 feet, and in the south and central portion there are vast fertile plains. The fertility of the soil in every part can, indeed, scarcely be equalled in any other part of the world.
With so rich a soil, protected as it is in winter from the severe cold by a deep blanketing of snow, and favoured in summer alternately by gleams of life-producing sunshine and by showers of refreshing rain, one need not be astonished at seeing the magnificent forests of pine, and oak, and elm, and the marvellous crops of wheat, millet, barley, rice, and hemp which are produced in every part of Manchuria. The timber alone in the vast virgin forests which clothe the hill-sides over thousands of square miles must be worth many millions; for this timber is of the most valuable kind, and besides the ordinary pines, which are common all over the world, and which being fastgrowing are easily replaced when cut down, there are immense quantities of hard timber-of oak, and elm, and walnut—to replace which a century is required, and the quantity of which in the world is rapidly diminishing. Moreover these forests are in hilly country, everywhere intersected with streams and rivers containing plenty of water, so that the timber may be easily floated down, first in separate logs and afterwards in rafts, to the sea. When I was in Delagoa Bay a short time ago an American timber merchant, who had imported to the Transvaal hundreds of thousands of tons of timber from so distant parts as British Columbia and Puget Sound, asked me if I knew of any place where there were forests of hard-wood timber still remaining. I naturally at once referred him to those great forests of Manchuria in which we had spent so many dreary weeks, and I spoke of the view I had had from the summit of the Ever White Mountain, where I had looked down from a height of 8,000 feet upon unbroken forest extending away as far as the eye could reach in every direction. And I told my American friend how, from the slopes of that central mountain, there radiated three great rivers on which I had seen huge rafts of timber gliding noiselessly towards the sea. With political obstacles removed Manchuria could compete with British Columbia in the timber trade of the world.
Manchuria is equally rich in its production of cereals, and in the southern portion of such crops as indigo and tobacco. The shortness of the season prevents two crops being raised, but the single harvest
that is reaped is exceptionally heavy, and an autumn
of vegetables is often produced on land planted earlier in the year. Beans are grown in immense quantities, and the oil extracted from them carried to the coast for export.
With ample pasture on the neighbouring plains of Mongolia, and with an abundant supply of grain and fodder in the agricultural districts of Manchuria, it is possible for the people to raise and keep domestic animals in more than requisite numbers. Ponies, donkeys, and mules, of a strong, hardy stamp, are freely obtainable for transport and agricultural purposes. I estimate that on a single day in the height of the traffic season I passed from 3,000 to 3,500 transport animals. The pack mules carry a load of 300 lbs. from twenty to twenty-five miles a day; and a light travelling cart, carrying a load of 1,300 lbs., is drawn by three mules at the rate of thirty miles a day. Oxen are plentiful. Sheep are reared in vast numbers. Pigs and fowls as big as English fowls are found in every farmyard.
Again, the mineral resources are such as furnish adequate hope that by these also its development may be not less furthered than by its magnificent vegetable and animal productions. Until mining on some considerable scale is actually commenced estimates of the mineral wealth must necessarily be hazardous and vague; but this much may be said with certainty, that gold, copper, iron, and coal are found in several separate districts of the country. In one place we found gold, silver, coal, and iron within a few miles of one another. There was scarcely a part which we visited where we did not hear of gold; and we found coal obtained from the neighbourhood exclusively used in the native arsenal at Kirin. That little has so far been heard of the mineral production of Manchuria is due to the fact that the Chinese Government absolutely prohibit mining by private individuals.
Such being the climate, the nature of the country, its soil and productions, the inhabitants, as might be expected, are a strong, hardy, vigorous race, and from the glens of Manchuria have issued three successive waves of conquest which have overrun the whole of China. The numbers of the original inhabitants have been augmented by streams of immigrants from China proper, and these, though slightly less robust than the original Manchus, are yet of good and sound physique. They are the very reverse of impulsive-cool, calculating, provident, and so economical that not even the manure from off the roads is allowed to be wasted, and the heat of the fire required for cooking purposes is carefully utilised by means of fues to warm the whole house. Their industry is apparent in the care bestowed upon their fields. In the summer they work from dawn till sunset, with a brief interval for the midday meal, and in the winter they start hours before daybreak on their long carrying journeys. They are grave and little given to mirth ; on the whole law-abiding, amenable