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and more laboriously, but it did not in any perceptible or obvious way tend to make them happier or better. They were satisfied before they began to trade, and would seem to have been as a rule more bewildered and vexed than delighted with what we did for them. For obvious reasons this applied to the Daimios and their retainers more than to other classes of society; and in the case of the Daimios a new cause of irritation was introduced. They were anxious enough in some cases to trade on their own account, and for their own profit; but the Tycoon prevented them, apparently for political reasons. Thus the whole system of foreign trade, the questions to which it gave rise, the persons by whom it was carried on, the treaties by which it was originally introduced, were all alike hateful to the Japanese, at all events to their Government and to the aristocracy. The way which they took of showing their dislike is sufficiently well known. They did all they could to restrain foreign trade, to evade the provisions of the treaty, and to impose restraints on the exercise by the foreigners of the privileges which the treaty secured to them. Besides and beyond all this they resorted to something very like systematic assassination. It may reasonably be doubted whether the Government was itself a party to the horrible crimes which, from the first admission of foreign residents down to the present day, have been constantly committed. Probably they were not, but the constant and systematic repetition of such offences shows, beyond all doubt, that they were something more than mere accidental results of a rough state of society. There can be no doubt that they were the natural results of a deep-seated, and what might almost be called a calculated animosity against foreign intrusion.
Perhaps the simplest way of showing the length to which violence in its worst form was carried, is to give a list of the murders referred to by Sir R. Alcock and the chargé d'affaires, Colonel Neale, who supplied his place in his absence.
1. August, 1859.-A Russian officer, sailor, and steward murdered at Kanagawa without provocation.
2. October, 1859.-The servant of the French vice-consul murdered.
3. 29th January, 1860.-The linguist of the English embassy murdered.
4. February, 1860.-Reported arrest of fifty men on their way to massacre the foreigners at Yokohama.
5. 26th February, 1860. -Two captains of Dutch vessels murdered at Yokohama.
6. A servant of the French minister severely wounded.
7. January 14th, 1861.-Murder of Mr. Heuskin of the American embassy. This was preceded by threats of a general massacre of foreigners.
After Mr. Heuskin's murder the representatives of four of the treaty powers struck their flags and put themselves under the protection of ships of war until the Japanese Government undertook to provide for their better security.
8. July 4th, 1861.-General attack on the British embassy, in which four persons were killed and nineteen wounded.
9. 26th June, 1862.-Two marines on guard at the British Legation murdered.
10. 14th September, 1862.-Murder of Mr. Richardson; attempt to murder Messrs. Clark and Marshall (both seriously wounded) and Mrs. Borradaile.
Several other murders besides these, of Europeans of various nations have taken place since the publication of Sir R. Alcock's book; indeed, news of two or three such events has arrived within the last few weeks.
In no one of these cases was any person punished for the crimes thus committed; and there is no reason to believe that the Japanese Government ever made any serious effort to discover the criminals.
The murder of Mr. Richardson and the wounds inflicted on his friends led to the measures of retaliation inflicted on Kagosima. The crime was committed by the re
tainers of the Prince of Satsuma, the second of the Daimios in point of revenue. His influence must be even greater than his revenue, as he is not only absolute master of the south-west extremity of Japan, but also of the Loochow Islands. The offence given by Mr. Richardson and his party consisted exclusively in the fact that they were taking a ride on the Tocado or great high-road of Japan when Prince Satsuma's procession passed by. The right to use the Tocado was specially reserved to British residents at Kanagawa, and there was nothing offensive in the conduct of our countrymen on this occasion, as they turned back and tried to avoid the Daimio's procession when it came in their way. They were however overtaken, attacked, one of them cut down, two badly wounded, and the lady was cut at though she contrived to escape unhurt. Mr. Richardson appears to have been cruelly murdered some time after he had been disabled, and as he lay wounded on the road. One of his hands was cut off: his throat was cut, and he was almost hacked to pieces. After a good deal of negotiation in order to obtain redress, in the course of which the Government at Yeddo declared that they had no power over Prince Satsuma's retainers unless he gave them up, Admiral Kuper and his squadron went to Kagosima, Satsuma's capital; and on being refused redress carried off several steamers belonging to him. They were fired into by his batteries, and in the course of the action which followed the town of Kagosima (said to contain 150,000 people) was set on fire and left burning. How far this act was done on purpose, how far by accident, it is impossible to form a satisfactory opinion upon the evidence as it stands. However this may be, there can be no doubt as to the broad fact. We force our company and our commerce on the Japanese against their will. They find the relation a thoroughly unpleasant one, full of the seeds of bad feeling, and they show their view of the case by systematic assassination.
VOL. LXIX. NO. CCCCIX.
Failing to get redress we send a fleet and burn down one of their principal towns. What this will lead to, where it will end, and what state of things it will produce in Japan, it is almost impossible to guess. We have broken up their most characteristic and cherished laws; we have aggravated the dissensions which obviously enough existed between the Tycoon and the Daimios before we came; we have in all probability given very great offence to the aristocracy by our attack on one of the most prominent members of their body; and by introducing a number of changes we have probably given the bulk of the people, in so far as they know anything about us, reason to view us with dislike. On the other hand we have succeeded in establishing a certain amount of trade. Both tea and silk are to be had in Japan in considerable quantities; and there are also coals and metals, which would be convenient if they could be got at. Such, in a few words, is the answer to the question, What we have done with the Japanese, and they with us? Let us return to the question with which we set out, What is the moral character of all this conduct? what principles of morality can be applied to it?
Several distinct views may be taken of the subject: some of them at least are both plausible and simple. The whole question may be treated as one of international law. 'You-the Japanese,' we may say-have made a treaty with us. We do not know, and are not bound to trouble ourselves with the motives which may have induced you to make it; but now that it is made we have an unquestionable right to see it carried out. By your weakness or negligence in protecting lifewhich is the first duty of every government you have practically rendered useless the right which you conceded to English subjects of living at the treaty ports, and going where they pleased for thirty miles round. Under these circumstances we must protect ourselves; and we shall do so by inflicting military
chastisement either on the Tycoon or on the Daimios, whom the Tycoon ought to keep in proper order. This is the ordinary language of international law. With variations adapted to the special condition of Japan, it is what we should undoubtedly say to any Christian nation which broke through its treaty obligations to us-provided always that we thought ourselves strong enough, and thought the object in dispute worth fighting for. It is, no doubt, perfectly intelligible; but it tacitly assumes a state of things which does not exist in any part of the East, although it forms the basis of all that we describe as international law in Europe. The essence -the specific peculiarity of law in all its forms, whereby it may be distinguished from every other set of rules and principles is force. To be a law at all, a rule must, as Hobbes says, 'be living and armed.' It must impose its own terms upon those who live under it; and there must be the means of compelling their obedience, if they are inclined to withhold it. It has frequently and truly been observed that even between European states this ingredient is to a great extent wanting in international law, which has accordingly been denied to be law in the proper sense of the term. If there be a dispute between two great European nations, as there is no common superior to decide between them and enforce his decision, there can be no law in the true sense of the word, to which both are subject. This, no doubt, is true; but it is also true that though even in Europe the phrase international law is not strictly correct, it approaches to correctness. It does so happen in fact that there are a certain number of nations-Russia, France, England, Austria, Prussia, Italy, Spain, to which may be added the United States sufficiently powerful and sufficiently united in a joint interest to be able to enforce something very like laws on each other. No doubt the check is an imperfect one, but it is a check. There are things which no European nation, however
powerful, would venture to do. It required infinite management and contrivance to get Savoy added to France; and it will no doubt require much more to carry out the same design as to Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine. Such things may no doubt be done, if the power which wishes to do them can get itself into what may be called a good legal position. If it can manage to have some ostensible justification for what is really and substantially an act of violence, it may be able to make its violence triumph; but the velvet glove is as indispensable in such enterprises as the iron hand. The hand is the agent: no weak state, be its cause ever so just, could act in Europe as France acts; but on the other hand no nation, neither France, Russia, nor England, is strong enough to be able to do such acts as the annexation of Nice and Savoy with a high hand, and without any other excuse than sic volo sic jubeo.
Thus the true nature of international law, even as between Christian states is, that it is a restraint which a few powerful nations are able to impose on each other, because it so happens that they are all of nearly equal power, and all have interests of the same kind, on which the rules of international law are based. The notion that international law has an abstract existence of its own; that it would be just what it is if the only nations in the world were the United States, the republic of San Marino, and the kingdom of Greece, is a mere delusion. It is a special system rendered possible by the condition of modern Europe; and in other states of society-for instance, in the old Roman empire-it did not exist. Neither the jus gentium nor the jus fetiale had any resemblance to what since the time of Grotius we have understood by the phrase international law.
East of the Cape of Good Hope, and west of the coast of America, the materials for international law do not exist. The preponderance of strength on the part of the European
nations, and especially on the part of our own country, which has played the principal part in the introduction of western notions into those countries, is so enormously great that the restraining force on our side is not fear, but simply our own notions of duty or interest, whilst the resource of the countries with which we treat is not that consciousness of strength available for the purpose of backing reasonable demands, which enables every European nation to stand up for its own rights, but artifice, falsehood, evasion, and every now and then, when circumstances appear to be favourable, a desperate resort to what always looks like treacherous violence. Even in our own highlycivilized community the disproportion of strength between people of different classes is sometimes so great that they cannot legally contract with each other. A child cannot contract with a grown-up man, nor can a married woman contract with her husband, or with others except as his agent. Nay, under some circumstances and for some purposes a client cannot contract with his attorney. In all these cases the principle is the same. It is supposed that the relation between the parties is such that there cannot be fair play between them. A certain degree of equality of force is essential to a contract; for the contract supposes that each party is aware of his rights, is able to use them for his own advantage, and is not disabled by mental or bodily infirmity from doing so fully.
If we consider the relative strength and knowledge of the two nations, a treaty between England and Japan is very much like a contract between an infant and a grown man. Perhaps we should not have gone to war with them if they had refused to have anything to do with us; and, according to Sir R. Alcock, the Americans most undoubtedly would not. This, however, was not their view of the case. They no doubt received kind and courteous treatment from Lord Elgin; but, admirable as his qualities were, it is obvious that it was not to them, but
to the ships and armies which they supposed to lie behind them, that they really gave way. Talk about peace, commerce, civilization, and the like, is plausible enough; but the practical application of the sermonits convincing power-lies in a silent glance over the shoulder to the war steamers anchored in the bay or known to be within call. In short, what we called agreement to a treaty of commerce was in reality submission to superior force, and what we call breaches of the treaty were in substance partial, fretful, and ignorant attempts to shake off what the Japanese regarded and could not but regard as a foreign yoke forcibly laid on their necks.
To these general considerations which apply to almost all our relations with Eastern powers, some others must be added which have a special application to Japan. In European diplomacy it may always be ascertained who is the sovereign, and who has a right to make treaties and bind the nation. No one would think of accepting a treaty with England signed by the Speaker of the House of Commons, nor would any one be content with the consent of the President of the United States, unless he acted with the approbation of the Senate. It is hardly possible to say, with respect to Japan, who is the proper person to make a treaty or what are the parties whose consent is required to make it valid. Even now, after the country has been opened for three years, in a sort of way, it is by no means clear what are the respective rights of the Mikado, or Spiritual Emperor; the Tycoon, whose technical position appears to be that of an officer appointed by the Mikado; the Council of the Daimios, and the individual Daimios themselves; some of whom, like our antagonist the Prince of Satsuma, are obviously very like independent potentates. This being so, it must be owned that from their own point of view the Japanese may very probably be right. For what we can tell, they may be under nothing which they would recognize as an obligation to
allow of our presence in their territory at all; and this renders our position far more intricate than it was before. We do not know with whom we have made our bargain, with whom we are fighting, or with whom we are at peace.
For these reasons the international law view of the question appears an unsatisfactory one in every way. It assumes a state of things as its basis, which does not exist. What then are we to fall back upon? It may be said that the question may be viewed as one of private morals. What business had we, directly or indirectly, to force our society on those who did not want it? What right had we to make them trade with us against their will? Ought we not to leave the place altogether and allow them, as far as we are concerned, to live as they have lived for the last two centuries?
This may be described as the ascetic or repentant view of the subject. It appears plausible enough at first sight, but when examined it will be found to involve assumptions, as arbitrary in their nature as those which form the objection to what we have described as the legal view. No doubt in all civilized countries, every man is king of his own property. Charbonnier,' say the French, 'est mâitre chez lui;' and we all know that an Englishman's house is his castle. It does not however follow that a nation can in the same way be viewed as an isolated individual, having power to cut itself off absolutely from all other nations, without exposing itself thereby to any interference. The absolute power which we all wield within our own houses upon a variety of subjects, is just as much conferred upon us by the public, and derived from the law of the land, as the power to vote at an election. When I say that I have the right to live by myself if I please, and to exclude the rest of the world from my house, I mean no more than that the law gives me that power, and will enforce it if need be. Indeed it does not give the power absolutely. I cannot turn
my wife out of my house; she has by law as much right to be there as I have myself. If there were no law there would be no property, and if there were no property there could be no proprietary rights. Now as has been already shown, there is no law, in any proximately exact sense of the word, as between England and Japan. This is an inconvenience for both parties. It prevents us from appealing to international law when the Japanese violate their treaty with us; it prevents them from appealing to international law when we come without leave upon their territory and force them to make a treaty. Nations may be regarded either as forming members of a sort of community, as is the case with the Christian nations, or they may be regarded as mere strangers. In the first case it is a question of fact what rights they have. In the second case they have no rights at all. They are out of relation to each other; and until some system of relations between them has grown up, some other way of regulating their conduct must be discovered than the attempt to adjust to it metaphors derived from the systems prevalent between
countries the circumstances of which are totally different.
The question then is how is. this to be done? and the answer, though not a very ambitious one, is not difficult to find. A large proportion of the intolerance, the quarrelling, and the wars-especially the civil wars - which are the staple of history, arises from the vague notion that somewhere or other there is to be found some definite system of general law or morals, by which all the relations between nations and individuals can be regulated. There is nothing which people are more reluctant to admit in any of the more important departments of life, than the truth that there are no such things to be found as sets of general propositions absolutely and universally true; or that if they are found in any department of knowledge, they can be found only by laborious pro