National Geographic : 1902 Sep
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE 340 over Jervis and New Nantucket until 1889, when H. M. S. Cormorant sailed by, gorged the former at a gulp, and thrust a clinging claw through the strong Yankee aroma of the name half shielding the latter; other footholds were forgotten, and the American flag inclined homeward-until Alaskan op portunities and Hawaiian appeals re kindled the earlier flush of normal growth, and the Star-spangled Banner was again unfurled to the outer world. During the lost decades Russia reached out to Pacific ports, Germany grasped some oceanic gems, Japan jumped into the foreground of the national stage, while our insatiate cousinly-cozenly? neighbor pursued the tiresome tactics of the Forty-ninth parallel, the Maine line, the seal islands, the Alaskan boundary, and all the rest-in the words of the down - south camp - meeting, "Jes' inchin' along, inchin' along, inchin' along to'a'ds Glory." So began, and so ended, the first era of American expansion in the province of the Pa cific. Meantime other, albeit feebler, forces were at work ; other, albeit softer, races than the Caucasian were pursuing the paths of human destiny, paths leading ever from lower planes to higher-for of such is the course of human progress. The black men of the Austral subcon tinent and of the insular bridge lead ing thence from man's primordial cradle on Asian and African coasts retreated before exuberant Nature, shrank from the touch of higher intelligence, fled the beast-gods of their own mystic creation ; for as glimpsed by Kipling, This is the story of Evarra-man- Maker of Gods in lands beyond the sea. The brown men of the islands and shore lands pressed forward in physical de velopment until the Samoan excelled the Greek in bodily vigor and statuesque beauty; but since the end of the brown man's ambition was ease and comfort, with but occasional spurts of strenuous exercise, the world was not rewrought at his hands. The yellow man of the shorelands studied in a severer school and learned to spare no toil or effort, so that he rewrolght his own fraction of the world in his own patient way, and raised his Flowery Kingdom to the high est rank of empire, only to stop at his own walls of exclusion. Meantime and after, a strain of brown and yellow blent, and, invigorated in the mixing after a curious law of human develop ment, found lodgment on an island prov ince; and there the generations were pent and trained in Nature-conquest until they developed a vigor and prepo tency of blood and brain which, in the fullness of time, enabled them to take rank among the world-makers-for in this class the Japanese must ever stand. The story of China through her un counted cycles of steady growth, through her slow but certain rise from barbaric faiths to a practical cult of the Golden Rule, through the tedious stages of germinant letters and arts, was well summarized in our course of lectures on Asia a year ago; the more acute ac tivity and swifter progress of Japan, with the peculiar senses of humanity and artistic perfection so well developed among her folk, were clearly protrayed in the initial lecture of this course by Professor Fenollosa; while other facts and features of oriental progress are too many for easy telling. The brown and the yellow and the mixed strain were still on their upward course when the white stock pushed across the great ocean; the contacts and interactions soon brought up a series of problems for solution by the hard pro cesses of living experience; yet the greatest of these problems, the greatest, indeed, in all human history, remain un solved today-and their name is Legion.