Korea's Fight for Freedom eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 277 pages of information about Korea's Fight for Freedom.
bettering of conditions, but soon it was seen that no genuine reforms were intended and the people had been deceived.
“One of the gravest evils that will follow a protectorate by Japan is that the Korean people will lose all incentive to improvement.  No hope will remain that they can ever regain their independence.  They need the spur of national feeling to make them determine upon progress and to make them persevere in it.  But the extinction of nationality will bring despair, and instead of working loyally and gladly in conjunction with Japan, the old-time hatred will be intensified and suspicion and animosity will result.
“It has been said that sentiment should have no place in such affairs, but we believe, sir, that sentiment is the moving force in all human affairs, and that kindness, sympathy, and generosity are still working between nations as between individuals.  We beg of you to bring to bear upon this question the same breadth of mind and the same calmness of judgment that have characterized your course hitherto, and, having weighed the matter, to render us what aid you can consistently in this our time of national danger.”

[Private Seal of the Emperor of Korea.]



Marquis Ito was made the first Japanese Resident-General in Korea.  There could have been no better choice, and no choice more pleasing to the Korean people.  He was regarded by the responsible men of the nation with a friendliness such as few other Japanese inspired.  Here was a man greater than his policies.  Every one who came in contact with him felt that, whatever the nature of the measures he was driven to adopt in the supposed interests of his Emperor, he yet sincerely meant well by the Korean people.  The faults of his administration were the necessary accompaniments of Japanese military expansion; his virtues were his own.  It was a noble act for him to take on himself the most burdensome and exacting post that Japanese diplomacy had to offer, at an age when he might well have looked for the ease and dignity of the close of an honour-sated career.

The Marquis brought with him several capable Japanese officials of high rank, and began his new rule by issuing regulations fixing the position and duties of his staff.  Under these, the Resident-General became in effect supreme Administrator of Korea, with power to do what he pleased.  He had authority to repeal any order or measure that he considered injurious to public interests, and he could punish to the extent of not more than a year’s imprisonment or not more than a 200 yen fine.  This limitation of his punitive power was purely nominal, for the country was under martial law and the courts-martial had power to inflict death.  Residents and Vice-Residents, of Japanese nationality, were placed over the country, acting practically as governors.  The police were

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Korea's Fight for Freedom from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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