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but Eastward, that the recent triumphs of Russia have been won; and these triumphs were duly summarised in the presence of many illustrious envoys at the coronation. For the first there was the half-sinister, half-abject figure of Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria. A triumph over pitiful a creature was not, perhaps, worthy of the full magnificence of the occasion. Since he nerved himself, first to get rid of Stambuloff, who had made and mastered him, and next to stand aside while the maker and master was murdered by semi-official agents of his Government, it was quite plain that all the Prince needed was permission to abase himself.

Yet the victory cost nothing, and, poor as it is, is not without a definite promise of advantage for the future. The enmity of Alexander III. towards Prince Ferdinand was rather personal than political it is said that Ferdinand promised the late Emperor that he would in no case accept the throne of Bulgaria, and accepted it three days later. But once the Prince had proved his fidelity after the manner of Judas, and it was plain that all he asked was permission to grovel, there was no political reason why that grace should not be accorded him. When Alexander III. died personal hostility ceased, and Prince Ferdinand was allowed access to the door-mat. Arrangements are accordingly being made to reinstate Russian trade in Bulgaria at the expense of Austria. There is likewise a plot to heal the schism in the Orthodox Church by handing over the Bulgars of Macedonia to the spiritual care of the Greek Patriarch, thereby destroying all hope that this province will ever pass to Bulgaria. We have not heard much lately of this project, which aroused the most

furious opposition in Bulgaria; but because it is in abeyance it by no means follows, where Russia is concerned, that it is given up. It is true that Bulgaria is no longer of prime importance as regards Constantinople, since Prince Lobanoff and M. de Nelidoff have flown at the taller game, and secured the Sultan himself. Yet it must always be of value as an outpost close to the objective: the sea-route to Constantinople might be cut, in conceivable eventualities, by a superior British fleet, and with Bulgaria friendly Roumania might be attacked in front and rear. In any case the submission of Prince Ferdinand means one thing: it puts an end to the scandal of the smallest of European Powers openly defying the greatest. Stambuloff snapped his fingers and bade Russia come on, while Britain and the Triple Alliance stood by and applauded the performance. That is over now. Bulgaria has repented in sackcloth and ashes, and the Emperor of All the Russias is exalted.

Possibly the most sensational of Russia's bloodless victories was personified in the presence of Zia Pasha, envoy from the Sultan tan of Turkey. That Abdul Hamid should have thrown himself bodily into the arms of his ancient enemy and the avenger of his persecuted Christian subjects, came to the general public as a most bewildering reversal of all their ideas. Turkey combining with Russia against England! It was the first step towards the restoration of the Empire of Chaos. But to any one who had penetrated even a little way behind the scenes at Constantinople, the revelation was no way surprising, and was indeed but the accomplishment of the inevitable. They had seen it coming for years, long

before this country finally threw away any shred of influence she still had at Constantinople by her mad campaign for the Armenians. The truth is, that Lord Beaconsfield's Berlin Treaty and Cyprus Convention, instead of being the dawn of a new Anglo-Turkish policy, were the last flicker of the old. The policy of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe and of the Crimean war was dead-killed by the religious intolerance of Great Britain. The fanatic Turk, except in times of especial excitement, tolerates the Armenian, and allows him to wax rich before his eyes. The fanatic Briton found himself unequal to the tolerance of the Turk at the opposite corner of Europe. As soon as Mr Gladstone came into office in 1880, the British Government set itself sedulously to work to destroy British influence in Turkey. The Turk is like all other Orientals you can let him alone, you can bribe him, or you can beat him; but you must do one of the three. Our Government preferred a system of perpetual nagging with a view to reform, backed neither by secret-service money nor by gunpowder. Years before the Sassun massacres the consistent refusal of commercial concessions to Englishmen showed that our influence was dead: it was this attack on our pocketsso Murad Bey, the young Turkish leader, has told us which convinced him that soon or late Great Britain would be avenged on Turkey. Of course that is not the true reason of our intervention after Sassun; but the instructiveness of the explanation lies in the fact that it is the honest belief even of an enlightened Turk. Russia's policy, on the other hand, was clear-sighted and resolute, as always. She began with the advantage of having put pres

sure upon Turkey in the only way Turkey can understand at the cannon's mouth and at the point of the bayonet. Turkey was therefore naturally disposed to turn to her rather than to Britain. She followed up her advantage by buying up any man who was likely to be of use. One of her very first purchases, if we may believe the unanimous report of Constantinople, was Ghazi Osman, the hero of Plevna, to whom in war it would fall to lead the Turkish armies against her.

Thus she was well prepared when the crisis came in the spring of last year. It is perhaps excusable that Sir Philip Currie, new to his place and conditions, should have underrated, as he did, the astuteness of M. de Nelidoff, but it was not the less unfortunate. "I can do what I like with that man," he is reported to have said of the prince of diplomatists; after which the man naturally did what he liked with Sir Philip. How completely Great Britain was befooled we did not know till the Blue books made a clean breast of the dismal muddle. M. de Nelidoff divided his time between the Yildiz and the consultation-chamber of the three protesting Ambassadors: he urged reform with one breath, and advised the Sultan not to grant it with the other. Every step taken by the British Cabinet drove Abdul Hamid further back upon the support of Russia. To what extent the Armenian agitation was semi-officially fostered at Tiflis and in Russian Armenia it is not easy It is possible enough that Russia opened the campaign, but that the general appeal emanating from the Gregorian monastery of Etchmiadzin changed the direction of her policy. In any case, it was heads she won, tails we lost: either the Armenians would appeal to her

to say.

alone, so that she had a pretext for coercing Turkey, or they would appeal to Great Britain, in which case Russia was fully prepared to take her place as the Sultan's defender. It came down tails, which perhaps was the alternative Prince Lobanoff preferred. Then came the exposure. Whether there is a secret treaty or not matters very little; no treaty is needed. Turkey is to all intents and purposes the vassal of Russia, and the only obstacle to an occupation of the so-called Armenian vilayets, or even to a descent upon Constantinople, is now to be found in the somewhat decayed patriotism of the Turkish populace. But for that, the centuries of Russo-Turkish struggle are over, and Constantinople wants only the reconsecration of St Sophia to be Russian in name as well as in fact.

Abbas Mirza, the deputy of Persia, arrived with a numerous suite the day after the ceremony. Persia is habitually a day late, and Russia has not been unobservant of the fact. Persia lies today absolutely at her mercy. She dominates the rich province of Azerbaijan on the north-west from Trans-Caucasia; she threatens Teheran from Ashurada at the southern extremity of the Caspian; her Transcaspian railway gives her indisputable command of Khorasan on the north-east. More than that, her agents are creeping into Seistan, on the British Beluchistan border, and she has more than once attempted to extort a port on the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Sea. The only efficient troops in Teheran are called Cossacks, and are duly officered by Russians. Russian Ministers dictate at Teheran without the barest decencies of diplomatic circumlocution; Russian newspapers openly state that all of Northern Persia is to

be Russian when Russia wills. Years ago a secret treaty is said to have set down the inevitable in black and white. Last autumn one sheaf in the diplomatic harvest came from Persia. A road is to be constructed from Resht on the Caspian to Kasvin: it is to be built by Russian engineers, and the interest on it is guaranteed by Russia. And already the surveys are being made for a Russian railway from Baku (probably) to the great trading city of Tabriz, and thence by Kasvin to the capital.

This was more than a setoff to the British tobacco monopoly of 1890, which had to be cancelled owing to the one successful popular agitation of Persian history. We heard of no popular agitation when Russia decided thus finally to shackle the captive. And if one rivet more was wanted, it came when Shah Nasir-ed-Din was shot down before the mosque of Abdul Azim. The late Shah had yielded much to Russia; yet he was a strong man and kept all he could. His successor is a young man of whom very little is known; but that little is very much to Russia's purpose. He has had no experience of government. He is of a mild and retiring disposition. He has always been counted the friend of Russia as against his elder illegitimate brother, late Governor of Isfahan, who was supposed to favour Britain. It is the disastrous custom of Persia that the Crown Prince is titular Viceroy of Azerbaijan, the one province most completely overshadowed by Russian power: he resides at Tabriz. Shah Muzaffar - ed - Din has seen the mob of Tabriz, after the bread riots of last year, carry the bodies of the slain in protest, not to him, the Viceroy and heir to his father's throne, but to the Russian consul. Has he learnt

his lesson? It would be wonder- Vladivostock in the hardest winter, ful if he had not, and in him but Port Arthur and Port LazaRussia is like to have the most reff were not the less attractive for submissive of all her vassals. that. The Chino-Japanese war gave Russia the needed opportunity, and France and Germany supplied the needed pretext of action in the interests of civilised Europe. Neither of them gained anything they could not have got without irritating Japan-but that is their affair. Russia, on the other hand, was enabled to play with the Sick Man of Asia exactly the same game as she had played with Turkey. It was our traditional policy to support China as a barricade against her. But we neither knew the feebleness of China nor, when the Japanese war revealed it, were we prepared to reinforce it. Again, therefore, we left the way open. We were so apprehensive of the hostility of Russia to our client that we forgot that her friendship was even more to be feared. Thus we gave China into the arms of Russia. The service done to the Son of Heaven by keeping the Japanese off the mainland was clinched by the Franco-Russian loan. Here again we let winning cards slip through our fingers. It is said that the loan had been promised to an English house, but our Government did not insist on the bargain. It is also said that the loan was offered to the Rothschilds, and that Lord Rosebery dissuaded them from floating it. The result was that the money was found in France, and interest guaranteed by Russia on the security of the maritime customs. The result today is, that Russia has an official right to interfere with the maritime customs, which is the creation of Sir Robert Hart, and over which British subjects have exercised from the first a predominant influence. At the same time the

No statelier envoy brought sincere and humble congratulations to the new Emperor than Li Hung Chang. For thirty-five years he has stood for his country in every emergency of peace or war; at the end of a long life he is coming for the first time to visit the barbarians of the West. He has brought his coffin with him, but that he has consigned to London, feeling the impoliteness involved in dying at a coronation. Is not this also an omen, even as the belated advent of Abbas Mirza? And does Li Hung Chang also conceal a secret treaty in his yellow riding jacket? It has been confidently so asserted by those who should know; but here again there is no need to insist on the superfluous. Treaty or no treaty, China also has found her asylum in Russia's hospitable bosom. When once the Siberian railway began to wind round her northern frontier, the fate of China was sealed. It was absurd to ask Russia to tolerate any but a weak and subservient Power on the flank of this railway, said the journalists of Petersburg, and Russophiles in London repeated the cry-as if the Canadian Pacific railway were to justify a British protectorate over the United States. Soon, as the railway crawled from post to post, it became obvious that much expense and trouble would be saved by running the line through a huge corner of Manchuria direct to Vladivostock. Better still were second thoughts: run the line through Manchuria to a Chinese port that is open all the year round. It is true that American ice crushers have now opened

chronic impecuniosity of China affords unlimited opportunities of screwing out of her any concession that may from time to time be desired. The corrupt administration of Peking offers as fatal a field for secret-service money as Turkey itself, and no doubt many eligible mandarins have been bought up already. In a word, Russia holds every card at Peking, and has only to play them out at her leisure.

How many of her trumps she has already played, it is not so easy to say. Great Britain appears to have scored a point or two in the game, but hardly as against Russia. We have secured half a loan of a hundred millions of taels, the issue of which is to be divided between the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and the Deutsch-Ostasiatische Bank. This is a disappointment to the French house which tendered for the loan; but there is nothing official about it, and the security ranks after that of the transaction with Russia. We have secured the opening of the West River, which would counterbalance the concessions granted to France on her Tongking frontier, and help to bring the trade of Yun-nan down to Hong Kong; but the West River, open in theory, is in fact still closed. Sir Robert Hart has been intrusted with the postal service as well as the maritime customs, but before this is greeted as a victory for British influence it might be wise to wait a while and see how the new arrangement works out. It may be such a victory; it may be the prelude to Sir Robert's supersession in the customs by a Russian, as Russian organs have long recommended. We may be sure that Russia on her side has not been idle. The recent assaults upon German

officers are said to have been instigated by her agents, and there is nothing improbable in the story: without doubt we shall soon see Cossack regiments and Russian officers in Peking as in Teheran. The hardly less recent trespass on the rights of British subjects at Chifu is a small thing, but it is Russia's own.

The fact that the Russian Pacific squadron wintered in the bay of Kiao-Chau is interesting as showing the direction of Russian policy and the complaisance of China: the annexation of the position itself is improbable, since it has no inland connection with any Russian base, and is thus defenceless against a superior fleet. Most significant is the admitted fact that the Siberian railway is to be run by Tsitsihar through Manchuria to Port Arthur, or any other more convenient port. This means handing over the vast potential wealth of that country to Russian exploitation, and, once a position is occupied on the Gulf of Pecheli, handing over the keys of the whole stable to the horse - thief. Men of great knowledge and tried honesty have declared positively that this arrangement is down in black and white. This was denied, but Li Hung Chang has more than half confessed it. Secret treaties are made to be denied, though it may be that they are also made to be broken. But the point is, that Russia has it in her power to take what China is said to have given her, and when she wants it she is not likely to hold her hand.

Japan was represented at the Emperor's coronation by Marshal Yamagata, the oriental Moltke who organised the conquest of Korea and the southern regions of Manchuria. But is Japan also among the vassals? Hardly in the same sense as Turkey and Persia

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