Moreover, an early recognition will help us a good deal to calm the overcharged suspension of mind, and thus enable the people to forget the Revolution and to settle down to business. Like the cheering from the football bleachers or the applause in the gallery, there is perhaps nothing substantial in the recognition, but it is the only thing that makes a team put in its last ounce of grit and the actor double his spirit. After seeing what China has done, we feel that she deserves at least some such mild sign of appreciation.
An early recognition will also help China in her relations with other nations. The recognition itself may not mean much, but at this critical moment, when China has the remaking of herself in hand, and when not every nation is too glad to see China become strong and peaceful, every little help means a good deal. Indeed, a little help shown us to-day means a thousand times the value of the same help if it is shown us in a year to come. We need help and encouragement. We need help now.
Then the delay of public recognition always casts a baleful influence upon the minds of all concerned, and hence invariably hinders the progress of a new nation. Therefore, by delaying recognition, you are not only refraining from helping us, but you are doing a positive injury to our cause. History tells us that the refusal of recognition has contributed its share in bringing about the failure of former revolutions, and has obstructed progress in China herself. Such delay has since been lamented. In speaking of the refusal of the Powers to recognize the Tai-ping Rebellion, which bears no comparison to our Revolution of last year, Dr. W. A. P. Martin, one of the best American authorities on China, said several years ago, 'Looking back at this distance of time, with the light of all subsequent history upon the events, we are still inclined to ask whether a different policy might not have been better....Had the foreign Powers promptly recognized the Tai-ping chief on the outbreak of the second war, might it not have shortened a chapter of horrors that dragged on for fifteen more years, ending in many other revolts and causing the loss of fifty millions of human lives....More than once, when the insurgents were on the verge of success, the prejudice of short-sighted diplomats decided against them, and an opportunity was lost such as does not occur once in a thousand years.'
We hope that the nations are not so prejudiced as to think that our Revolution is even worse than the Tai-ping Rebellion, and we also hope that the regrettable short sightedness of the diplomats may not obtain in our case, so that posterity may not have to lament our loss of the present opportunity, as we lament the lost opportunity of our forefathers of sixty years ago.
Then again, to give the deserved recognition will be of mutual benefit by preventing many mutual embarrassments. The recent International Congress of Commerce at Boston, and the Panama Exposition, are two instances. In both cases the American people were interested, and, so far as we can see, the American government also, were anxious to have China participate. In return, China was glad also to come. But in the absence of that official recognition, both parties had to go at the matter in the most roundabout way conceivable, so as to make people believe that the one in inviting the other, and the other in accepting the invitation, were, at the same time, having nothing to do with each other.