Over The Bar and The Pacific Monthly

Jack London’s Martin Eden (1908) | Picnic Wit
Pacific Monthly 1909-12
Magazine Data File

Letter To The Governor of Oregon

Dear Governor Kotek;

President Biden will be in Japan this weekend attending the G-7 Summit. Japan is un-willing to accept the rights of LGBTQ people. The History of Oregon and Oakland California can contribute to the solution and enhancement of the American-Japanese Culture. Joaquin Mill and his brother George lived in Coburg. Joaquin had a Bohemian retreat in the Oakland Hills where I was born. Miller befriended several Japanese Poets. One came t dwell in Carmel that was founded by George Sterling, Jack London, and Charles Stoddard – who was openly gay. It is alleged he quit the Catholic church because of their intolerant stance against LGBTQ people. Charles had a famous affairs with the Japanese poet Yoni Noguchi who lived with Joaquin Miller.

George Miller married Elizabeth Maude “Lischen” or “Lizzie” Cogswell who was the foremost literary woman in Oregon. On Feb. 6, 1897, Idaho Cogswell, married Feb. 6, 1897, Ira L. Campbell, who was editor, publisher and co-owner (with his brother John) of the Daily Eugene Guard newspaper. The Campbell Center is named after Ira. George and Lizzie were the editor of the Pacific Monthly that published London’s Martin Eden in a serial. They were going to publish his adventures of the Snark, after it was built and set sail. But, Jack was shanghaied by his Bohemian friends, and drank to access. John Barleycorn had his way with the Snark. In 1987 I came to Eugene from Oakland to get sober. I graduated from the New Hope Program at Serenity Lane. My children friend, Nancy of yogurt fame, got me on the bus with Ken Kesey in the Eugene Celebration parade. I believe she wanted me to do a intervention.

Governor, I am blessed by the Muse of Literary Endeavors, and can save Jack’s legacy, as well as intervene in the controversy surrounding the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I am kin to Shakespeare via the Webb family who lived at Windsor and backed the Puritan expedition of of their kin, John Wilson, who was the leaders of Massachusetts Bay Colony. John appears in Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, His father was a head of the Church of England that played a huge role in the coronation of King Charles.

Several years ago I contacted the Austrian embassy and made them aware of the large painting at the Sweitzer galley titled The Last Audient of the Hapsburgs. The Austrian government does does not want this painting back. I contacted Karl Schwarzenberg from who the Webb family descends, and he did not want this painting – along with a hundred castles the society Union stole. I never heard from him. He descend from John Dee who was a favorite at Queen Elizabeth’s court. I began a novel about the Webb Family in America, titled ‘A Rose Amongst the Wodehouse’ I want to bequeath this history to the State of Oregon, along with the Pre-Raphaelite history I already informed you of. Ashland would be a perfect home for this history, as there appears to be many good historians at work here. The history of Charles and Yoni can be at home in Ashland where a new cultural exchange can be made with Japan. Do the Japanese people have a love for Shakespeare – the poet of the West?


John Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press

May 17, 2023


Joaquin Miller and Yoni Noguchi

Photo of Joaquin Miller, George Sterling, and Charles Goddard






They became “Honorary Aryans,” apart from other Asians and now western in many ways.  The World’s Fair in Philadelphia, in 1876, heralded this distinction: the Chinese were declared a dying race; Japan was praised.” (P. 182)

Over the Bar, by Lischen M. Miller:

A wistful 19th-century short story of a maritime mystery that left an old sea-captain wondering, for the rest of his life, what happened to his two beloved sons. (This story was originally presented in Pacific Monthly as a work of fiction.)

A 1920s hand-tinted postcard showing a massive storm-driven surf
pounding a beach.
By Lischen M. Miller — October 1898

Downloadable audio file (MP3, 96 Kbps)

Editor’s note: Lischen M. Miller was a Eugene resident and wife of Joaquin Miller’s brother Melvin. She was a writer and novelist with a nationwide reputation, and the assistant manager of Pacific Monthly Magazine.

On the loneliest of lonely shores, on the very verge of the continent, nestled close against the base of the grassy headland, stands, or used to stand, a little cabin built of driftwood.

From its low doorway one looks out over a stretch of sand and surf and wind­swept sea to the place where the sun goes down. Northward the view is shut off suddenly by the frowning cliff, upon whose rugged front the waves beat ceaselessly. it is a quiet and restful spot in spite of its solemn grandeur, and one grows into closer kinship with Nature there. in those days travelers did not often come that way, for there was no road, only a narrow trail winding in and out among the hills and along the brow of the beetling cliff. The nearest human habitation was a good 10 miles away to the south.

A postcard from the 1910s features a painting of a storm at sea.

 One stormy night in November we gathered about the driftwood fire that blazed upon the generous hearth in the little cabin. Outside the wind shrieked and howled, and the roar of the surf was something awful to hear. The rain beat furiously against the one small window and fell in sheets upon the “shakes” overhead.

 At every fresh outburst of the tempest we shivered, not from fear or cold, but with a delicious sense of contrast — the fury without, the warmth within.

 “If it had happened on such a night as this,” said the captain, breaking through the easy silence. “If it had happened on such a night, I could better have understood the loss.” His deep, full voice had an unaccustomed ring of sadness, and his face, showing like a splendid bronze in the ruddy firelight, wore a retrospective look as he gazed into the leaping flames.

The crew of a stricken schooner tries to flee in a lifeboat in this fanciful
painting, which appears on a 1910s postcard. It’s no wonder that
schooner’s mainmast has snapped, since she has all her sails unfurled in
the middle of an obvious gale.

 “What was it that happened on a night not like this?” asked Neja, saucily, from her sea-lion pelt in the corner. Neja did not share our respect for the captain. She stood in no awe of him, or of anyone, in fact. She was a law unto herself.

The captain looked up at her question.

“I was thinking of my boys,” he said. “I must have spoken my thought unconsciously.” The captain’s wife leaned over and slipped her white hand into his strong brown one. “Tell them about it, dear,” she said, softly.

“Yes, tell us,” we urged, for we bad never heard the story, though we knew that in some sad and unaccountable way the two young men in question had met their fate.

 “It was three years ago,” began the captain, looking again into the fire. “Three years ago. There were not more than a dozen white settlers on the river then, though the country was full of Indians. There was, it is true, the salmon cannery at the mouth of the river where Neja has her claim, but the men who worked there were brought in by the company at the beginning of the season, and taken out at its close. They were in no sense settlers.

A postcard painting showing a ship, which appears to be in some
distress, off a rocky coast.

“We had come up, my boys and I, a few months before, and located our land and built our cabins, making the improvements necessary to establishing claims. My wife was still in the city, and I did not then propose to bring her into this wilderness. The boys were enthusiastic over the evident resources of the country, the excellence of the harbor which they had in a sense discovered, and were full of plans for the future.

 “Well, as I said, we had our cabins up and fairly habitable, and as winter was coming on, and it was unnecessary for us all to remain here, Harold decided to return to San Francisco to look after our interests there till spring. A vessel bad come in to carry out the season’s results in salmon, and it seemed a good chance for Harold to return home without the difficulties and delays incident to the journey overland. Besides, the master of the Mist was short of men and offered him a berth, which in itself was an inducement, for our funds wore running low.

 “A few nights before the vessel was to sail, as I lay wrapped in my blankets before my cabin fire, I had a disturbing dream. It made so strong an impression upon me that I urged Harold to give up his intended voyage. He only laughed at my fears, and, indeed, I had to confess them to myself foolish and ungrounded.”

Here the captain lapsed into silence, seeming to forget his audience in retrospection.

“Tell us the dream,” ventured Neja, softly, and the captain, always responsive to her voice, whether grave or gay, continued:

“It was this: I dreamed that, standing upon the shore, I watched the Mist, with my two boys on board, sail out across the bar. As I looked, a great wave lifted her upon its mighty crest, held her suspended thus a single instant, then, as if she had been a painted toy, snapped her beams asunder, and her parted decks went down forever out of sight in the gulfs of the sea.

“Well, the cargo was all stowed, the water-casks filled and everything made ready for departure. The weather was fine, the bar as smooth as I have ever seen it. The Mist was to sail in the morning at flood tide, which would occur about 10 o’clock. Harold was on board, and late in the afternoon Fred took a small boat and pulled out to the ship where she lay anchored in the bend of the river just opposite the cannery. He meant to spend the night on board and take leave of his brother in the morning.

 “As I came down the coast and climbed the hills above the cannery in the red glow of the setting sun, I saw my brave boys leaning over the ship’s rail, and waved my hand to them. They answered gaily, and Fred laughingly called out that he was going, too. Their words came to me clearly and distinctly in the stillness of the evening, and as I rode along the shore I heard the voices of the sailors and the shuffling of their feet as they passed to and fro about their work.

“Late that night the people at the cannery saw the ship’s lights shining quietly, and thought as they retired to rest that all was well with her. At break of day, when they looked out, she was gone.

 “ ‘Strange,’ they said, ‘that she should attempt the bar ln. the night, and at low tide, too,’ and went about their work.

“A bank of fog lay close alongshore and hid the white surf line and the bar. not half a mile distant, whereat the men grumbled, for it was a rare sight to see a vessel sailing by, and they had looked forward for days to the mild excitement of watching the Mist cross the bar and fade away into the distance down the coast. They speculated variously about the absent boat and her unaccountable movements, commenting severely upon the captain in braving a practically unknown bar in the darkness of night and at a stage of tide considered unsafe even in broad day.

 “Along toward noon the fog cleared away, and there, not more than a mile to the southward and just outside the breakers, lay the Mist, motionless, with her sails still furled, evidently riding at anchor.

 “All day she lay there, and the men on shore cast many a wondering glance toward her, but she sent no signal or sign of distress, only at irregular intervals, in the breathless stillness, a long­ drawn, walling cry came up from the sea, the like of which they had never heard before. Whether it came from the ship, or from the sands or further out they could not tell. Sound carries strangely in the dead October calms that hold these lonely regions as in a spell.

“ ‘Sea lions, likely,’ they said, and yet they were mysteriously moved by it.

“The sun went down and the stars came out, and the Mist faded to a dimly discernible shadow. She hung out no lights, which was in itself a thing to cause comment. Something must be wrong, and they resolved that if she still lay there when morning came they would try to discover what it was.Their vague uneasiness would not let them sleep very soundly that night. As soon as it was light someone brought a glass and they observed her long and carefully, only to report that not a soul was to be seen on board.

“Some of the men took a boat and rowed across the river, and, walking over the sand spit, came down to the shore within hailing distance of the vessel rocking idly just beyond the breakers. They called and shouted themselves hoarse, but elicited no response, nor caught sight of any living thing on board.

But as they turned away, above the roar of the surf rose a cry so wild, so weird and mournful that their very hearts stood still. Just once they heard it, and they could have sworn that it came from the deck of the deserted ship.

“No one thought of sleep that night. The mystery surrounding the vessel out there in the darkness was a thing that oppressed them heavily.

 “The morning of the third day found them ready for action. It was out of the question to carry any one of the heavy fishing boats across the sands and launch it through the always boisterous surf, but the day was calm, with not a breath of wind, and the bar lay as smooth as a mountain lake. It would be an easy matter to pull out and back before there should be any change in the weather. Six of the best oarsmen in the place, therefore, set off on the last of the tide in the gray dawn. They pulled a steady stroke, and the swiftly ebbing tide seemed to fairly shoot them along and out across the bar. When well outside they turned southward, and those watching from the shore could note the small boat rise and fall with the swell of the sea.

“As for the men themselves, a silence fell upon them as they turned toward the ship, that was unbroken till they came within a cable’s length of her bows. Then they rested upon their oars and hailed. There was no answer. Again they shouted, and a low, whining cry thrilled the morning air. They rowed slowly all around her. There was not another sound heard from her decks, nor had they sight of anything, human or alive.

“The red and blue shirts of the sailors were hanging aloft as if to dry. Her lifeboats were undisturbed. Everything looked as it had looked when she lay in the bend of the river three days before, save that she seemed a little lower in the water as she swung there in dangerous proximity to the breakers, held only by her kedge anchor. From her stern dangled a rope, evidently the painter of Fred’s boat. This rope showed a clean cut, as if it had been severed by a sharp knife.

“They boarded her without difficulty. As the first man stepped over the rail the meaning of that weird cry was clear, for there bounded to meet him Dis, the captain’s handsome St. Bernard, gaunt with hunger and wild with joy.

“They searched from stem to stern; they went down into her hold; they looked high and low, everywhere. Not a soul was to be found. Save for Dis, the ship was deserted. How, when or where it was beyond them to determine. Nothing but the men was missing. The sailors’ stormcoats and caps were lying in the empty bunks, as if but a moment since discarded; the ship’s log, the captain’s private papers, the compass, all things, in fact, were in place. If master and men had left that ship alive, they had left it empty-handed. Their fate, the strange and sudden disappearance, and the manner of it, are shrouded in impenetrable mystery.

 “I never saw my boys again. But —” The captain paused and glanced toward his wife. There were tears glittering on her long, dark lashes.

“Is there nothing more?” asked Neja softly. “Did you never hear or find even the least little hint or trace, nothing that gave you any clue?”

“No,” replied the captain; “nothing, at least nothing that I could be sure of. It is true that some six months later the headless body of a man was picked up on the beach 20 miles to the north; that was thought by many to be that of the captain of the Mist, from a peculiarly-chased gold ring found on the little finger of the left hand, but no one ever really knew. No; there was nothing, but —” The captain looked again at his young wife. She shook her head and smiled through her tears.

“That is another story, my dear,” she said; “another story altogether, and tonight is not the time to tell it.”



 Stoddard served co-editor of the Overland Monthly with Bret Harte and Ina Coolbrith.

In 1891, Stoddard spent the summer aboard the yacht “Ramona” owned by Bohemian Club darling Harry Gillig and his wife, heiress Aimee Crocker sailing the Atlantic Coast. Other guests of the pleasure boat were painter Theodore Wores, playwrights Augustus Thomas and Clay Greene, editor Jerome Hart, and actor Henry Woodruff.

. According to literary historian Roger Austen has written that the real reason behind Stoddard’s decision was the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality

Stoddard was homosexual.[13] He praised South Sea societies’ receptiveness to homosexual liaisons and lived in relationships with men.

From San Francisco, late in 1866, Stoddard sent his newly published Poems to Herman Melville, along with news that in Hawaii he had found no traces of Melville. Having written even more fervently to Walt Whitman, Stoddard had been excited by Typee, finding the Kory-Kory character so stimulating that he wrote a story celebrating the sort of male friendships to which Melville had more than once alluded. From the poems Stoddard sent, Melville may have sensed no homosexual undercurrent, and the extant draft of his reply in January 1867 is noncommittal.

4] Amy Sueyoshi additionally traces Stoddard’s affair with Yone Noguchi through their passionate correspondence to one another.[15]

In the film Leonie, Stoddard (portrayed by Patrick Weathers) is shown being flirtatious with the character Yone Noguchi.[16]



The Pacific Monthly was a magazine of politics, culture, literature, and opinion, published in Portland, OregonUnited States from 1898 to 1911, when it was purchased by Southern Pacific Railroad and merged with its magazine, SunsetSunset still carries the subtitle “The Pacific Monthly.”[1][2]

The magazine earned praise from a number of contemporaneous publications, both locally and from as far as the east coast, for the quality of its literary content, as well as details like paper quality and illustrations. In a 1905 book, it was described as the “badly needed” “great Western magazine.”[3] During its years as an independent publication, The Pacific Monthly’s most frequent contributor was Charles Erskine Scott Wood. From 1905 to 1911 Portland journalist Fred Lockley was general manager and frequent writer. Other contributors included Leo TolstoyGeorge SterlingJoaquin MillerSinclair Lewis, and Jack London, whose novel Martin Eden first appeared in serialized form in the magazine.[4]



Martin Eden is a 1909 novel by American author Jack London about a young proletarian autodidact struggling to become a writer. It was first serialized in The Pacific Monthly magazine from September 1908 to September 1909 and then published in book form by Macmillan in September 1909.

Living in Oakland at the beginning of the 20th century, Martin Eden struggles to rise above his destitute, proletarian circumstances through an intense and passionate pursuit of self-education, hoping to achieve a place among the literary elite. His principal motivation is his love for Ruth Morse. Because Eden is a rough, uneducated sailor from a working-class background[5] and the Morses are a bourgeois family, a union between them would be impossible unless and until he reached their level of wealth and refinement.


The Brother and Sisterhood of Oregon Artists and Writers

Posted on May 14, 2023 by Royal Rosamond Press

I just sent another message to Governor Tina Kotek that is published below.

Above are two works by my late sister, Christine Rosamond Benton, who signed her work by her middle name, Rosamond. She gave me credit for her amazing success, by allowing her to look over my shoulder while I painted, and by showing her books on my favorite artists, The Pre-Raphaelites.


Office of Oregon Governor
Tina Kotek

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OSMOZ, Pleats Please's Issey Miyake
Siddal is best known for her appearance in John Everett Millais' famous work "Ophelia," further casting her in a tragic light.

Siddal is best known for her appearance in John Everett Millais’ famous work “Ophelia,” further casting her in a tragic light.

The exhibition places works by Siddal and Rossetti side-by-side to demonstrate her influence on his work. Madeleine Buddo/Photo © Tate© Provided by Africanews

Clerk Saunders by Elizabeth Siddal, 1857

Clerk Saunders by Elizabeth Siddal, 1857

Dear Governor.

I implore you to send me to the Tate Gallery in London so I can see the show ‘The Rossetti’s. This would be the climax of my long study of the Pre-Raphaelites, began in 1969 when I declared myself a New Pre-Raphaelite and let my hair grown long as did members of the Brotherhood in imitations of the Nazarene Artists if Germany. I have been posting on your Facebook as John Nazarite. I was named after John the Baptist who was a Nazarite as was Samson, who let his hair grow long.I am nt sure you can see these posts from my newspaper ‘Royal Rosamond Press’ “A newspaper for the arts” that may be the largest blog in the world. I get no monies or funding. If you can contact funded art groups in Oregon, and have some of them look at my latest post, then they will agree I have an astounding legacy to bequeath to the State of Oregon, so it can be preserved from the dark forces that have gone after Disneyland. Lat night on MSNBS there was an item on Governor DeSantis being inspried by Viktor Borgan. May I suggest an alliance with Governor Neusome who is close to the Getty family who have ammased a huge art collection. My late brother-in-law, Garth Benton, did the murals at the Getty Villa.

It would be wonderful if you could contact the Tate Gallery and arrange for the Rossetti show to come to the Schnitzer gallery. The Road to England begins near Coburg, where Joaquin, and George Miller grew up. Joaquin graduated from Columbia college in Eugene and wrote for this cities first newspaper. George married Lizzie Cogswell and owned a magazine that was going to carry Jack London’s diary of The Snark. Oregon can be the new home for the sober Jack.

Joaquin Miller had dinner at the home of Dante Gabrielle Rossetti and proposed marriage to the muse, Emma Brown. Miller dedicate his book of poems To The Rossetti’s. This is a shoe-in a real Glass Slipper that will bring much European Culture to Oregon including the work of J.R. Tolkien that was insprie by William Morris a co-founder of the Pre-Rapahelite Brotherhood, that is also a Sisterhood.

I own a mountain of information that needs to become a book sponsored by the Governor of Oregon. I implore you to put together a team of artists and writers so this creative legacy can be secure and protected for generations to come. I just founded a guilt…

The Brother and Sisterhood of Oregon Artists and Writers


John Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press




London’s Tate Britain opened a new exhibition last week entitled The Rossettis. It includes works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the Pre-Raphaelite group of English artists and poets still usually dubbed a “brotherhood.”

But the show turns the spotlight on an overlooked female member of the artistic circle, Elizabeth Siddal. According to the curators, The Rossettis is the most comprehensive exhibition of her work for 30 years

Tate Britain’s latest major exhibition charts the romance and radicalism of the Rossetti generation – Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth (neé Siddal) – showcasing their revolutionary approach to life, love and art. Moving through and beyond the Pre-Raphaelite years, the exhibition features over 150 paintings and drawings as well as photography, design, poetry and more.

Although the Tate has a collection of Rosetti paintings, this is the first time they’ve held a Rosetti exhibition, and it looks beyond the familiar paintings to the poetry and campaigning work, and the other less famous members of the family.

This is also the first retrospective of Elizabeth Siddal for 30 years, featuring her rare surviving watercolours and important drawings.

A handful of Japanese decided it was better to get with the program than be co-opted by the Europeans.  Bradley refers to this group as the Japanese “founding fathers.”  These men, coming from the southern island of Kyushu, fought their way to the royal capital of Kyoto.  On January 3, 1868, they stormed the royal compound and took control of the young emperor – renaming him Meiji. (P. 180)

These founding fathers knew that the westerners felt that the Asians were inferior – so they decided to craft an identity separate from other Asians.  They developed a western-styled military; they wore western clothes; they strung telegraph wire; they practiced using knives and forks.  They opened Japan to western teachers and missionaries.  The sent their children to western schools. Most importantly, they developed the western attitude of colonization through conquest.  (P. 182)

They became “Honorary Aryans,” apart from other Asians and now western in many ways.  The World’s Fair in Philadelphia, in 1876, heralded this distinction: the Chinese were declared a dying race; Japan was praised. (P. 182)

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, by James Bradley

This “gift” is described well in this book by Bradley:

In the summer of 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt – known as Teddy to the public – dispatched the largest diplomatic delegation to Asia in U.S. history: Teddy sent his secretary of war, seven senators, twenty-three congressman, various military and civilian officials, and his daughter on an ocean liner from San Francisco to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, Korea, then back to San Francisco. (P. 1)

Roosevelt was confident that the future of the United States would be determined more by its position facing China than in its position facing Europe.  Certainly, the position in Europe already had a strong foothold, via the Anglo-American empire and America’s emerging role in it.

Roosevelt’s held a superior view of the great Anglo race – emerging from the Caucasus, moving through central Europe (the Germanic tribes), on to England then the eastern fringe of North America.  From there, an entire continent was conquered.  Roosevelt saw the next steps to the west, meaning the entire Pacific, even unto China.

And for this, he sent the delegation, led by William Howard Taft.  Their purpose was to secure the continuation of this tribal wandering to the west.

What is the tie to this statement, referenced above, by Pilger?

…behind [Roosevelt’s] Asian whispers that critical summer of 1905 was a very big stick – the bruises from which would catalyze World War II in the Pacific, the Chinese Communist Revolution, the Korean War, and an array of tensions that inform our lives today.  The twentieth-century American experience in Asia would follow in the diplomatic wake first churned by Theodore Roosevelt. (P. 4)

To gain a foothold in Asia, Roosevelt felt it necessary to gain an ally in the region – one to do the that Japan must recognize “its Christian obligation to join the family of Christendom.” (P. 176) heavy lifting.  His problem – there was no Anglo presence capable of the task, unlike the migrating tribes that ended up reaching the Pacific coast of the New World.  Japan was to play the part of “Anglo” – don’t ask, I will come to this later.

As early as 1790 (yes, you read that right) and continuing through the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the United States reached out to Japan via the US navy at least 27 times.  The Japanese steadfastly refused the American advances.  This did not sit so well with representatives of the “superior race”:

In an 1846 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Thomas Hart Benton noted that Asians were inferior to the American Aryan and, “like all the rest, must receive an impression from the superior race whenever they come in contact.” (P. 175)

American ministers played their part:

The missionary Samuel Wells Williams wrote, “I have a full conviction that the seclusion policy of the nations of Eastern Asia is not according to God’s plan of mercy to these peoples, and their government must change them through fear or force, that his people may be free.” (P. 176)

In 1852, the Secretary of the Navy, John Kennedy, wrote that Japan must recognize “its Christian obligation to join the family of Christendom.” (P. 176)heavy lifting.  His problem – there was no Anglo presence capable of the task, unlike the migrating tribes that ended up reaching the Pacific coast of the New World.  Japan was to play the part of “Anglo” – don’t ask, I will come to this later.

…secretary of state, Daniel Webster, argued that Japan had “no right” to refuse the U.S. Navy’s “reasonable” request to commandeer Japanese sovereign soil for its coaling stations because the coal at issue was “but a gift of Providence, deposited, by the Creator of all things, in the depths of the Japanese islands for the benefit of the human family.” (P. 176)

All around Japan through eastern and Southeast Asia, western powers were taking control: China was being dismembered. Additionally, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, and India all were controlled by one or another European power. (P. 180)

A handful of Japanese decided it was better to get with the program than be co-opted by the Europeans.  Bradley refers to this group as the Japanese “founding fathers.”  These men, coming from the southern island of Kyushu, fought their way to the royal capital of Kyoto.  On January 3, 1868, they stormed the royal compound and took control of the young emperor – renaming him Meiji. (P. 180)

These founding fathers knew that the westerners felt that the Asians were inferior – so they decided to craft an identity separate from other Asians.  They developed a western-styled military; they wore western clothes; they strung telegraph wire; they practiced using knives and forks.  They opened Japan to western teachers and missionaries.  The sent their children to western schools. Most importantly, they developed the western attitude of colonization through conquest.  (P. 182)

They became “Honorary Aryans,” apart from other Asians and now western in many ways.  The World’s Fair in Philadelphia, in 1876, heralded this distinction: the Chinese were declared a dying race; Japan was praised. (P. 182)

By this time, the Americans sent a capable instructor to the Japanese founding fathers,Charles LeGendre, known as “General.”  He offered the following advice as to how Japan should move the rest of Asia from barbarism to civilization:

LeGendre recommended Anglo-Saxon methods: “Pacify and civilize them if possible, and if not…exterminate them or otherwise deal with them as the United States and England have dealt with the barbarians.” (P. 188)

Japan exercised this method of civilization against Taiwan – an island previously subservient to both Japan and China. (P. 190) Next, they looked to Korea.  Dressed now in Western suits and top hat, the Japanese came via an American-made warship, bearing an American-style treaty of friendship.  After all, it worked for Perry! Given the backbone provided by China, the Koreans didn’t budge.  (P. 192)

In the background, the Americans gave verbal assurances to the Korean King Gojong regarding independence, all the while pushing Japan to aggress against this neighbor. (P. 195, 213)

Japan’s western methods further developed: Japan declared war on China on August 1, 1894. (P. 197) According to the New York Times:

“The war is often called a conflict between Eastern and Western civilization.  It would be more accurate to call it a conflict between civilization and barbarism.” (P. 197)

The birthing of the “Honorary Aryans” was a success!

Many expected that China would make short work of the upstart Japanese.  Instead, China ended up suing for peace:

In the resulting Treaty of Shimonoseki, China was forced to cede Taiwan and the Liaodong Peninsula, pay a large indemnity, accept that Korea was truly independent, and accord the Japanese the same unequal diplomatic and commercial privileges enjoyed by White Christians in China. (P. 198)

Japan further finalized a treaty with Great Britain – the treaty was seen as a dagger aimed at Czarist Russia.  The US would also have liked to join Britain and Japan in this treaty, but Roosevelt felt there was no chance to get such a treaty through Congress.

Japan’s propaganda machine went into full force.  Baron Kentaro Kaneko was sent to the US in 1904 to woo the American public, and to further influence Teddy Roosevelt.

He took the country by storm. (P. 218)  He also convinced Roosevelt of the necessity that Japan be allowed a free hand in the Far East, to include Korea.  All American promises regarding support for that country fell by the wayside.

War between Japan and Russia was soon to come – with Japan striking a surprise attack without a war declaration (imagine that). (P. 214) The Russians protested; Roosevelt cheered (as did his distant cousin 37 years later for another “surprise” attack).  Roosevelt warned France and Germany against coming to Russia’s aid. (P. 216)

The clergy in the US got in on the act; Reverend Robert MacArthur, the pastor of New York City’s Calvary Baptist Church for 35 years, delivered a sermon entitled “Japan’s Victory – Christian Opportunity”:

The Great Master said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.”  Apply that standard, and you will find that the nominally heathen Japan is more Christian than ‘Holy Russia.’ …The victory of the Japanese is a distinct triumph for Christianity. (P. 236)

I don’t believe this is what the “Great Master” meant to suggest.

In any case, Japan had made it to the pinnacle of civilized society.  An American newspaper reported:

Ever since the Chicago Exposition [of 1892-1893] foreigners have gradually acquired some knowledge of Japanese culture, but it was limited to the fact that Japan produces beautiful pottery, tea and silk.  Since the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War last year, however, an attitude of respect for Japan may be felt everywhere, and there is talk of nothing but Japan this and Japan that… (P. 199)

Militarism made Japan civilized and respectable:

“Japan is the only nation in Asia that understands the principles and methods of Western civilization…. All the Asiatic nations are now faced with the urgent necessity of adjusting themselves to the present age.  Japan should be their natural leader in that process.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 1905 (P. 217)

Roosevelt would broker a treaty between Japan and Russia; during this time, he first offered the idea of a “Japanese Monroe Doctrine” for Asia. (P. 243)

This is the background for “The Imperial Cruise” and for Taft’s trip to Asia.

Within a few short years, Japan’s militarism would terrorize much of the Far East:

“The average Westerner…was wont to regard Japan as barbarous while she indulged in the gentle arts of peace: he calls her civilized since she began to commit wholesale slaughter in the Manchurian battlefields.” Okakura Kakuzo, 1906 (P. 167)

Ultimately, Japan’s militarism would lead it into a deadly conflict against that same US government.  The propaganda machine now turned the Japanese into pariahs.

The key event in this history – the culmination of the American advances that preceded it and the legitimization of the Japanese militarism that followed it – was crafted by Teddy Roosevelt.  He sent Taft on the “Imperial Cruise,” with the objective of getting Japan to play a role – an Aryan puppet:

Taft was Roosevelt’s secretary of war, and he led the delegation.  He was carrying secret oral instructions from Roosevelt.  These instructions were kept secret from both Congress and the State Department.  (P. 168) A few Japanese leaders knew that the president had a secret plan for Japan – including Emperor Meiji: Roosevelt would grant Japan a protectorate in Korea in exchange for Japan’s assisting the American penetration of Asia. (P. 170)

Taft knew he could not make any formal commitment – the Constitution and Congress stood in his way.  However, he offered to his Japanese counterpart:

“Without any agreement at all…just as confidently as if a treaty had been signed…appropriate action by the United States could be counted upon” to support Japan’s sphere of influence in Asia… (P. 249)

With this commitment, Korea was subjected to 45 years of Japan’s tortuous subjugation.  China was made a continuous war zone.  One of the most militaristic regimes of the first half of the twentieth centuries was birthed.  The US, if not the father, was certainly the mid-wife.

It is easy to see World War II in Europe as a continuation of the Great War.  In Asia, the connections stretch back even further.  And in both cases, the United States government played a leading role.


The brownie’s sword is as a snake,
A sudden, sinuous copperhead:
It makes no flourish, no mistake;
It darts but once—the man is dead!
’Tis short and black; ’tis never seen
Save when, close forth, it leaps its sheath
And, snake-like, darts up from beneath.
But oh, its double edge is keen!
It strikes but once, then on, right on:
The sword is gone—the Russ is gone!—From the Century.

Russia su engaged in the war; at first, to await the outcomes of certain naval battles, and later to preserve the dignity of Russia by averting a “humiliating peace”. The war concluded with the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt. The complete victory of the Japanese military surprised world observers. The consequences transformed the balance of power in East Asia, resulting in a reassessment of Japan’s recent entry onto the world stage. Scholars continue to debate the historical significance of the war.

ffered numerous defeats by Japan, but Tsar Nicholas II was convinced that Russia would win and chose to remain

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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