Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/35

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9
ACROSS TONKING

so unpopular that it spelled political ruin to the man most identified with it, Jules Ferry, "l'homme de Tonking."

The real history of Tonking dates from the administration of M. Doumer, Governor-General of Indo-China from 1897 to 1902. During these five years the Parisian printer, turned Radical politician and administrator, showed what one able and determined man could do. When he arrived in the East, piracy and brigandage were rife, there was an annual deficit of some three million francs, and the feeble administration had done nothing to develop the possibilities of the country. When he left, the colony was upon its feet, lawlessness had been suppressed, the administration reformed, and the deficit turned into a substantial surplus. He had built towns and telegraphs, encouraged the native industries of rice planting and silk culture, and by offering special inducements to French enterprise had developed tea, coffee, and rubber growing.

Nor did the energetic imperialist stop here. Believing that "a nation to be great should be always striving to be greater," he began to develop a vigorous forward policy which seemed to have as its goal nothing less than the control of Yunnan and Southeast China. Colonial expansion was necessary to the continued existence of France, he declared. In his last report, looking back to the achievements of a past