United States and China trade history



[THE FOLLOWING ARE THE COMMENTS OF GENERAL JOSEPH WHEELER, A CONGRESSMAN FROM ALABAMA, TAKEN FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.]

It is true that within certain limitations human nature has been found to be the same in all places and during all ages, but the important question in dealing with the people of China, is to realize in the beginning that their training and the training of their ancestors running back for centuries has been different from ours. Ignoring this truth accounts in a great measure for the difficulties in our dealings with the people of China. This is well explained by A. R. Colquhoun in his work entitled "China in Transformation."

On page 265, he says:

"Almost every conceivable action of a Chinaman's life is prescribed by a minute etiquette which no one dreams of disregarding. Being unintelligible to foreigners, this necessarily creates friction in their mutual relations. But in addition to this the Chinese, even the most reasonable and most practicable, are under the dominion of sorcerers and fortune-tellers and the reign of luck to such an extent, that they are in constant apprehension of doing or saying things at the wrong time, the wrong place, in the wrong way, or in company with the wrong people. A promising combination may be spoiled by some occult warning, and a Chinaman may often have bad faith imputed to him when he is really under the constraint of some influence which he dare not avow, and which causes him to make a shuffling and mendacious excuse."

So it is, in a measure, with the Filipinos. We must consider that for years these people have been constant sufferers from Spanish duplicity, and for two years they have been repeatedly told that Americans have come to the Islands to inflict hardships and impose burdens far more unendurable than anything they had suffered under the Spaniards. Constant efforts have been made to convince them that the only purpose Americans have in view is to rule the islands for their own benefit and to the detriment of the Filipinos.

No greater mistake can be made than to attempt the enforcement of American ideas and customs upon our new people. France has been very unfortunate in her late efforts at colonization. Her possessions in Asia are rich and prosperous countries. She has Cochin-China with an area of 22,000 square miles and nearly 2,000,000 people, Cambodia with 62,000 square miles and 1,000,000 people, Annam, including Tongking, with 250,000 square miles, and 20,000,000 population; and yet the total trade is only about 250,000,000 francs, and much of this is monopolized by England. Colquhoun gives one reason.

He says, pages 330-331:

"But they have not the power of adapting themselves to new peoples and to new countries.

"The majority of the colonial officials, according to Chailley-Bert, set about the work of governing by bringing with them that passion for uniformity, that mania for routine, that love of making regulations, that dread of initiative and of responsibility which crush the mother-country as well as the most vigorous of her colonies. The French codes are applied without change in every quarter of the world, and in the modern Eastern possessions exactly as they were in the old colonies of France."





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