The International Relations of the Chinese Empire - Vol. 2

The International Relations of the Chinese Empire - Vol. 2

The International Relations of the Chinese Empire - Vol. 2

The International Relations of the Chinese Empire - Vol. 2

Excerpt

On finishing, in 1910, the first volume of this history I labelled it "The Period of Conflict" for two reasons. I was not, at the time, fully assured that I should be able to continue it beyond the year, 1860, then reached, and was consequently reluctant to mark it as the first of a series which might not be completed. Besides this, however, I was so strongly impressed by the continuity of the conflict between China and the West, from the day of Lord Napier's arrival in 1834 to the final settlement made by the several conventions of Peking in 1860, that to me, as I wrote, the sub-title seemed an essential part of the title.

I have now carried the history of the International Relations of the Chinese Empire more or less completely to the downfall of the empire in 1912. As I wrote it, I was impressed, as strongly as in writing the first volume, by a marked division into two periods. In the first, from 1860 to the outbreak of the war between China and Japan, the Chinese government accepted submissively the results of the treaty settlement of 1858 and 1860; the semiautonomous provinces might, and did, try to regain, by interpretation of treaties, rights of taxation and administration which had been lost by war and negotiation; but, on the whole, the central administration accepted the treaties and tried to carry out their provisions. On the other hand, during those twenty-five years, no national attempt was made to reform the administration of the empire, to organise its resources, or to strengthen its defences; and, when the empire came to the test, it was found wanting. The second volume, covering the history of these years, I have felt impelled to label "The Period of Submission."

After this the downward progression of the empire was . . .

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