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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/629

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619
MODERN MONGOLS.

burst of intellectual vigor that has lifted Japan to the front rank of civilized nations. It is merely a revival, analogous to the dambreak of pent-up energies that followed the collapse of mediƦval despotism. Instead of having to work out their salvation by tentative efforts, the Japanese, it is true, had the advantage of ready-made patterns, but that difference has perhaps been more than offset by achievements affecting the reforms of four centuries in as many decades, and by modifications which, in more than one instance, have improved upon Caucasian models.

"The organization of the Japanese transport system," says a press dispatch from Taku, "was a revelation to western staff officers; bodies of troops, with their equipments of stores and camping outfit, were landed without a hitch, in quick succession, and moved to the front without a moment's loss of time. No delay, no confusion, no blockades of wharf-boats and baggage carts; everything worked in smooth grooves and in evident conformity with a prearranged and oft-rehearsed plan."

And in 1897, after the affront of the Russian intervention, the victorious islanders, compelled to forfeit half the rewards of their valor, proceeded to make the very best of the other half, and their provoked diplomats managed to preserve their dignity, as well as their complete presence of mind. The Japanese police enforces law and order without waging Blue-Law wars against harmless amusements; there are no associations for the prosecution of bathing youngsters, no anti-concert crusades, no suppression of outdoor sports on the day when ninety-nine of a hundred wage-earners find their only chance for leisure.

The 'Yankees of the Orient' have a code of honor without duellos, trade syndicates without 'trusts', giant cities and ghetto suburbs without anarchists. Their labor riots are settled by a dispassionate court of appeal. Their schools, Professor Arnold informs us, are hampered by 'fads' and experiment committees, but not by boards of bigot trustees. In spite of Buddhist conventicles, the emergence of the educated classes from the shadows of religious feudalism is a complete emancipation. The Japanese 'Council of Finance' has adopted American custom-house methods and Belgian systems of graded taxation. There is, indeed, a good deal of eclecticism in the supposed surrender of indigenous institutions; foreign methods have been adopted only on the evidence of their efficiency, and always with a view to making them subservient to national purposes. The key to the distinctive characteristics of the North Mongols can be found in Sir Edwin Randall's definition of 'perseverance combined with shiftiness.' The Asiatic Yankees can turn, dodge and deviate while keeping a pre-determined aim steadily in view, and it is by no means improbable that Mongol influences have impressed similar peculiarities on the character of the northeastern Slavs. Muscovy was a Tartar Khanate for a number of centuries, and