CHAPTER SEVENTEEN The Other Powers

THE thought of another American Perry voyaging the perilous seas of the Far East, ready to open doors with a broadside, would in 1885 have seemed preposterous. In the spring of 1906, word was passed round in the Ports that America meant to send 40,000 troops to China in case of disorders.1 A decade more, and an American clergyman said in his pulpit: "The God of Israel has anointed us to champion the cause of the poor, the weak, and the downtrodden. We also shall struggle for world power."2

In qualification of the U.S.A.'s stay-at-home habits in our period, a curious similarity might be pointed out between Russia's advance across Asia and the U.S.A.'s advance across America. Each was hurrying towards the Pacific, each, with scientific weapons, was crushing thin and backward nations, each had frontier trouble with a neighbour, in each case that neighbour was the British Empire. It was because we were less anxious over Canada than over India that we saw the two processes with such different eyes. But the Civil War broke down the Slave States' plans of expanding into Latin America, and the discovery of enormous resources at home made the United States content to occupy themselves with a colossal, if jagged and uneven, industrial progress. During the Civil War they lost most of their interest and trade in China. It was not until the end of the century that manufacturers began to talk seriously of a need for Asiatic markets.3 In our years such thoughts occurred only spasmodically. Economic progress

____________________
1
Putnam Weale, Truce in the Far East, 414.
2
Bedborough, Arms and the Clergy, 106.
3
Yakhontoff, Russia and the Soviet Union in the Far East, introd. Dennett ( Americans in Eastern Asia, 461) refers to Washington's somewhat casual interest in its Corean Treaty.

-274-

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