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Well, if I at all understand and know the people of this nation, I can see but one end to it, and it will be the end that we hope for and have looked for. (Cheers.)
But I would warn every man who takes an interest in this subject not to imagine that war can be carried on like a game of chess or some other game in which the most powerful intellect wins from the first. War is a game of ups and downs, and you may rest assured that it is impossible to read in history of any campaign that it has been a march of triumph from beginning to end. Therefore, if at the present moment we are suffering from disappointments, believe me, those disappointments are in many ways useful to us. We have found that the enemy who declared war against usmfor they are the aggressors are much more powerful and numerous than we anticipated. But at the same time, believe me, that anything that may have taken place lately to dishearten the English people has had a good effect-it has brought us as a nation closer together. The English-speaking people of the world have put their foot down, and intend to carry this thing through, no matter what may be the consequence. (Cheers.)
I have the greatest possible confidence in British soldiers. I have lived in their midst many years of my life, and I am quite certain of this, that wherever their officers lead they will follow. If you look over the list of our casualties lately, you will find that the British officer has led them well. Certainly he has not spared himself; he has not been in the background. [Cheers.) He has suffered unfortunately, and expects to suffer, and ought to suffer; and I hope most sincerely and truly, whatever may be in store for us, whatever battles there may be in this war, that when we read the list of casualties there will be a very large proportion of officers sufferers as well as men. It would be most unworthy of our Army and of our nation if our officers did not lead, and if they lead they must suffer as well as those who follow. I am extremely obliged to you for the compliment that has been paid to me. It has been a very great pleasure for me to come here. I had no idea I was to listen to such an admirable speech from your Chairman. I thank you sincerely for having listened to me, and hope you will make every allowance for any defect in a speech which certainly had not been prepared. [Loud cheers.)
CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES
(Speech of Wu Ting-Fang, Chinese Minister to the United States, at the annual dinner of the New York Southern Society, New York City, February 22, 1899. William M. Polk, the President of the Society, occupied the chair. Minister Wu responded to the sentiment, “ To our newest and nearest neighbor on our Western border, the most ancient of Empires, which until now has always been in the Far East, and to her distinguished diplomatic representative persona grata to our Government and to this Society."]
MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN: It is never too late to learn, and since I have been here I have learned that my ancient country, which has always been known as an Eastern country, has now turned to be a Western country. I do not regret to hear this, because Western countries have always been looked on as very powerful nations. [Applause.) In that sense I would not be sorry to see my own country assume the position that your Western countries have always taken. I do not know whether you would wish to have your great Nation become an Eastern country in the sense in which Eastern countries are popularly known.
When the invitation to dine with you on this occasion was conveyed to me I gladly accepted it because the occasion occurred on the anniversary of the birth of George Washington, who is widely and popularly known as the Father of your country. Long before I came to the United States as the representative of my country, even when I was a boy, I had heard of George Washington, and from what I could learn about him I formed a profound respect for his name and memory. At this banquet you appropriately recall to mind the noble character of your Washington, his great deeds, and his unselfish devotion to his country.
It is interesting to know that time changes not only the opinions of individuals and parties, but also the traditional policy of a nation. I understood when I was a boy that the policy of George Washington was to confine his attention and his ambition to the country in which he governed. That policy has been followed by all of his successors up to very recently. (Laughter and applause.) But the recent momentous events have necessitated a new departure. You have been driven to a position that you never dreamed of before. You have entered the path of Expansion, or, as some call it, Imperialism.
If I understand your chairman correctly, Imperialism practically means the power and wisdom to govern. This is not the first time that I have heard such a definition of imperialism. I once heard an eminent American divine say that imperialism meant civilization--in an American sense. (Laughter.] He also added the word liberty, and with your permission I would like to make a still further addition: that is, fairness, and just treatment of all classes of persons without distinction of race or color. [Cheers.] Well, you have the Philippines ceded to you, and you are hesitating whether to keep them or not. I see in that very fact of your hesitation an indication of your noble character. Suppose a precious gift entailing obligations is tendered to a man; he would accept it without any thought or hesitation if he were wholly lacking in principle; but you hesitate because of your high moral character, and your sense of responsibility. I express no opinion as to whether or not you should keep the Philippines. That is for you to decide. I am confident that when this question has been thoroughly threshed out, you will come to the right decision. I will say this: China must have a neighbor; and it is my humble opinion that it is better to have a good neighbor than an indifferent one.
Should your country decide to keep the Philippines, what would be the consequences? A large trade has been carried on for centuries between those islands and China. Your trade would be greatly increased and to your benefit. Aside from this the American trade in China has been increasing largely in the last few years. I have often been asked whether we Chinamen are friendly to America. To show you how friendly we are, I will tell you that we call your nation a "flowery flag" and that we call your people
handsome.” Such phrases clearly show that we are favorably disposed toward you. If we did not like you, we would not have given you such nice names. The officials of China, as well as the people, like Americans, and our relations, officially and commercially, are cordial.
There is, however, one disturbing element-one unsatisfactory feature—I refer to your Chinese Immigration law. Your people do not know and do not understand my people. You have judged all of my people from the Chinese in California. Your Chinese exclusion law has now been in operation for fifteen or sixteen years, but it cannot be said to have been satisfactory even to yourselves. Those laws were intended to keep the Chinese cheap labor out of your country, but they have also kept out the better class of my countrymen whom I am satisfied the laws did not intend to exclude. I desire to throw no blame on any of your officials for their zeal in enforcing the laws. They simply do their duty. But I want to point out to you that those laws do not bring about the results intended by your legislators. Besides, their existence gives the impression in our country that your people do not like our people. I personally know that is not so, but I would like to see this disturbing element removed by a modification of the laws. Once remove that disturbing element and our people would welcome your Americans to China with open arms.
As to the character of our people I can refer you only to those who have been in China. I will refer you to the opinion of a man who for a great many years was in China at the head of the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Bank. After twenty-five years' service, he resigned, and on the eve of his departure he was given a banquet by foreigners, not by Chinese, mind; and in the course of his speech he went out of his way to speak of his relations with Chinese merchants. As I remember, the substance of his speech was that during all those years in China, he had had dealings with Chinese merchants aggregating hundreds of millions
of dollars, and he said that, large as were those dealings, he had never lost a cent through any Chinese merchant. That testimony was given unsolicited by a man long resident in China, and shows indisputably the character of our merchants.
Now that you have become our neighbor, and if you want to deal with China, here is the class of people you have to deal with; and if you see your way clear to modify the only obstacle that now stands in the way of respectable Chinese coming here, and doing away with the false impression in the minds of our people, I have no doubt that such a step would redound to the benefit of both parties. If you look at the returns furnished by your consuls or by our customs returns, you will find that your trade in China has increased to a remarkable degree. China is constructing a railway from north to south, and she is practically an open door for your trade purposes. There is a great field for you there; and with all our people favorably disposed toward you, I am sure you will receive further benefits through the means of still further increased trade. [Loud applause.]