[FROM MUNSEY'S MAGAZINE - WRITTEN BY CHARLES DENBY, FORMER MINISTER TO CHINA IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE 20TH CENTURY]
"At the point of the bayonet the foreign powers in 1858 forced China to sign, seal, and conclude certain treaties. There had been treaties made before, but they were not satisfactory to England and France. The new treaties were repudiated by China, and in 1861 French and English soldiers marched to Pekin to force their ratification.
Then commenced for China the difficult lesson of learning how to manage foreign affairs. The foreign ministers came to reside permanently in Pekin. The Tsung-li Yamen was organized, and foreign affairs were controlled by this new board. The foreign trade of China began to increase rapidly. It has now reached the figure of about three hundred millions of dollars annually..
Great Britain has 75 per cent. of China's foreign trade, and two-thirds of the foreign population. It must be said that the policy of England in the far East is just to other nations. She asks nothing but equal rights, and grants equal rights to all nations. She opens treaty ports where all flags are equal. She can readily afford to do this, because she is sure of holding 75 per cent. of all the trade that is developed. Even in Cochin-China, a French province, England does nearly as much trade as France.
Much has been written about our relations with England in the far East. I am glad that those relations are friendly, and on proper and suitable occasions this country and England should act together. They should both protest against the further partition of China. It must be remembered, however, that the American merchant finds in the East no stronger competitor than the British merchant..
It is idle to say China can grant mining or railroad concessions to whom she pleases. That is exactly what she cannot do. In her unpreparedness for war, she must do whatever any other nation demands of her. The inclination of China has always been to turn to America in all industrial enterprises. The recommendations of Sheng Taotai in this regard could not be carried out because the competition of the European powers was too serious and influential.
Let the world assist the most ancient of nations in her efforts to enter worthily into the family of civilized peoples. Let the world respect her autonomy, and she will pay back its services by giving to its commerce the boundless riches of her mines, and the hoarded wealth of centuries."
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