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At the close of the year the railway mileage in operation was : Government lines, 959 miles; private lines, 2,905 miles.
Some correspondence took place between the Japanese and British Governments on the subject of emigration to Australia. The language test clause of the Australian Alien Immigration Bill had the effect of excluding Japanese, and this discrimination was much felt in Japan.
A new iron foundry, erected at a cost of 10,500,000 yen, was opened at Wakamatsu in November. It reduces ore procured in the country and in China, and it is hoped that Japan will become independent of foreign importation of iron, which costs her some 20,000,000 yen annually.
In the autumn Marquess Ito started on a tour, going via America and visiting Russia, Germany, England and other countries. He was received with great honour wherever he went, but it was not known that any political results had followed.
Early in the year fears existed that a plot was being laid for the extermination of foreigners and Christians—the outcrop of the anti-foreign movement in China. The foreign representatives warned the Government, and no outbreak occurred.
In March the Corean Government came to a decision to send representatives to the principal foreign Powers.
Several attempts were made to oust Mr. J. McLeavy Brown from his position as Chief Commissioner of Corean Customs. He was ordered to vacate his premises and given his congé, but he ignored the messages and remained at his post. The intervention of the British, Japanese and American representatives put a stop to these intrigues. The object of Mr. Brown's opponents was doubtless to obtain the control of the considerable balance of Customs funds standing in his name. In April a French syndicate negotiated terms for a loan of 5,000,000 yen to the Corean Government, secured on the Customs revenue ; but the affair fell through owing to the opposition of some of the foreign representatives.
An outbreak occurred in May on the island of Quelpart in which several hundred Catholic converts lost their lives. The riots arose out of some land tax disputes in which the converts intervened. French vessels of war repaired to the island, and order was restored.
Both the Russians and the Japanese obtained concessions of land at the port of Masanpo, where the two Powers watched each other's proceedings with a jealous eye.
In May a concession was granted to a company of Coreans and Japanese to construct a railway from Seoul to Fusan, a distance of 287 miles. A treaty between Belgium and Corea was ratified in October.
IV. HONG-KONG (BRITISH). In March the offices of Colonial Secretary and Registrar General, which had been held conjointly since 1895, were again separated. In the same month the Waglan Lighthouse, erected by the Chinese Government in 1893, was taken over by the Colonial Government.
Bubonic plague, which recurs each year with regularity, appeared in the month of May and continued for some months. It claimed this year a greater percentage of European victims than in former years. The residents of Hong-Kong presented a petition to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, praying that in view of the regular appearance of the plague a commission wholly unconnected with the Colony should be appointed to report on its sanitary condition. The Colonial Office acceded to this prayer.
The population of Hong-Kong at the census of 1901 was 284,000.
V. WEI-HAI-WEI (BRITISH). On January 1 Wei-hai-wei passed from the control of the War Office to that of the Colonial Office. In April the Colonial Office gave instructions for the application of the Ceylon mining laws to Wei-hai-wei. In May Major-General Dorward was appointed Commissioner of Wei-hai-wei and its dependencies.
In July was published an order in Council appointing a Commissioner to administer the government of Wei-hai-wei. Under the order any of the laws and ordinances of Hong-Kong may be applied mutatis mutandis. The order also establishes a High Court of Wei-hai-wei. In civil cases between natives the court is to be guided by native law and custom. All residents within the walled city of Wei-hai-wei are to remain under Chinese jurisdiction. A Land Commission is also constituted under the order.
VI. KIAOCHOW (GERMAN). Captain Jaeschke, Governor of Kiaochow, died of typhoid in January. He was succeeded by Captain Truppel of the Imperial German Navy.
The Estimates for 1901 amount to 552,5001., of which 537,5001. is put down as State grant-in-aid. Receipts from local sources amount to 15,0001.
The Kiaochow-Kaomi Railway was opened in September, and in November the line was extended as far as Changling in the province of Shantung, a distance of 128 kilometres from Tsingtau, the seaport of Kiaochow.
VII. TONGKING (FRENCH). Under the auspices of M. Doumer, Governor-General of French Indo-China, a company was formed in June with a capital of 70,000,000 francs for the construction of a railway from Laokai on the frontier to the city of Yunnan, a distance of 290 miles. The Indo-Chinese Government guarantees an annual payment of 3,000,000 francs for interest and sinking fund.
Prince Henry of Orleans died at Saigon on August 9.
VIII. SIAM. Siam passed through a year of prosperity. Under the able guidance of the King much progress is being made : a cleanbanded officialdom is being created; the finances are flourishing; there is no public debt; the revenue is increasing; crime is decreasing, and an excellent provincial gendarmerie is effecting a great change in law and order. The foreign relations of the country are not in such a happy state owing to the constant fear of aggression at the hands of France. Siam claims that all the stipulations of the treaty of 1893 have been loyally fulfilled by her, and that in consequence France should now carry out her promise of evacuating the port of Chentabun; but before consenting to do so France is trying to obtain further concessions. She asks for an extension of her territory across the Mekong, for certain commercial privileges in the Mekong Valley, and for the employment of Frenchmen in the Siamese Government service. Siam, on her part, asks that there should be a reconsideration of the registration system under which thousands of natives obtain French protection; and also that Siam should resume jurisdiction in the twenty-five kilometre neutral zone along the Mekong and in the Angkor-Battambang district.
A political question of some importance was raised by the granting by the Sultan of Kelantan of a mining concession to a British company. The Siamese Government disputed the validity of the concession until after it had been ratified by Siam. On behalf of the English company it was argued that by an old treaty still in force Siam had recognised the independence of the Sultan. It was believed that Siam was merely using the mining concession as a pretext for reviving her claim to suzerainty over Kelantan.
A considerable falling off in British mercantile interests is to be noted. In former years 80 per cent. of the shipping was British ; gradually the German flag has been gaining until in the year under review it has overtaken the British flag.
Siam's first railway line—that from Bangkok to Koratwas opened by the King in January. The line is only 165 miles long, but it has taken eight years to complete. The original estimate was 600,0001., but in the end it cost 1,200,0001. It has proved a most costly line in time, litigation and life; thirtyfive Europeans and 7,000 Asiatics have died while employed on construction work. The litigation arose out of a contract with
Mr. Campbell, who had contracted to construct the line for the equivalent of 600,0001. It was in 1896, after he had been four years on the work, that Mr. Campbell's contract was cancelled, whereupon the matter went to arbitration, and in the end the Siamese Government had to pay 160,0001. damages.
The land law of Siam has been reformed by the adoption of a new registration system. The main feature lies in the issue to holders of land of new title-deeds based on actual survey and the registration of all changes of ownership subsequently made. It is a modification of the well-known Torrens system, adapted to Siamese laws and customs.
The rice crop was unusually abundant, and the steps now being taken by the Government to improve the system of irrigation will in the near future bring much more land under cultivation.
A copyright law was issued in August bringing Siam into line with English law, and thus giving protection to authors for forty-two years.
The year has seen an immense increase in the trade between the Chinese province of Yunnan and Northern Siam, as also between the British Shan States and Siam. It is all carried on by caravan.
On May 5 the King and Queen left Bangkok on a visit to Java. They returned on July 24.
M. Rolin Jacquemyns, who had been for many years political adviser to the Government, retired in April. Admiral de Richelieu of the Siamese Navy retired in August.
AFRICA (WITH MALTA).
I. SOUTH AFRICA.
THE hopes cherished in the latter part of 1900 that the year 1901 would bring with it a restoration of peace and a revival of prosperity in South Africa were bitterly disappointed. A sketch of the history of the war, which follows this general introduction, comprises the leading facts of the military operations in the Transvaal, the Orange River Colony, Cape Colony and Natal. Within this article we shall endeavour to compress a statement of the political situation and of such South African affairs as can be detached from the doings of the contending armies. The salient fact to notice is that throughout the year Parliamentary Institutions were in abeyance. The extent and ramifications of rebellion among Dutch British subjects rendered necessary the application of martial law to the entire area of Cape Colony, including Cape Town; but there was no formal suspension of the Constitution other than that implied by martial law. Ministers continued to hold their portfolios, to conduct their departments, and to give advice to the Governor on matters of policy ; but as Parliament was successively prorogued they acted without its authority, and will therefore need to be indemnified by the Cape Parliament, or by the Imperial Parliament should the local Legislature withhold indemnification. The position may be expressed by saying that the Colony was not deprived of selfgovernment, but that the system has been in a state of suspended animation.
Outside the two self-governing Colonies no progress could be made, owing to the continuance of the war, in carrying into effect the policy announced by the Home Government, which was to substitute for the purely military administration of the annexed territories a civil administration, with a Legislative Council in each new Colony, consisting of the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor, members of the Executive, and unofficial members nominated by the Crown-this method of rule to give place, “as soon as circumstances permit,” to full selfgovernment. Commissions were issued making the High Commissioner, Lord Milner, Administrator of the two new Colonies, the Governorship of Cape Colony being given to Sir W. Hely Hutchinson. On February 6 Lord (then Sir A.) Milner reviewed the situation, military and political, in an important despatch (referred to also on p. 99). It was no use denying, he said, that there had been retrogression. Cape Colony had been perfectly quiet; the southern half of the Orange River Colony was settling down ; in a considerable portion of the Transvaal the people seemed to have definitely accepted British authority; but when he wrote the scene had completely altered. He foresaw a longer period of recuperation both for the mining industry and for agriculture, and especially for the latter, than was thought would be needed ; and what was more serious than the material destruction, was the moral effect of the recrudescence of the war. The general rising at the back of our army, necessitating the return of troops to districts thought to be secure under the oath of neutrality taken by their inhabitants, had developed into a guerilla war, ever assuming a more embittered character, and leading to a “carnival of mendacity” which had brought the commandoes invading Cape Colony recruits and other assistance from Dutch subjects of the Crown who had been nominally loyal.
The situation described by Lord Milner continued throughout the year with little variation, and the record for Cape Colony in particular is one of varying degrees of gloom, for though De Wet's invasion was frustrated, the year closed with a few scattered bodies of the enemy still roaming about notwithstanding the pursuing columns. The loyalists responded nobly