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found in- the ordinary calculations
In a case like this, it surveys the actual conditions in which the Russian Government stood when the rescript was issued. What the domestic outlook; what the financial situation relative to it, and to the demands of a prodigious expansion scheme; at what stage that scheme now stands; what the facts as to armamentswhether complete in Russia and whether as complete elsewhere; what the Russian need (or no-need) of rest, cash accommodation, and the confidence of other countries,-such foundation-facts as these being arrayed as fully and clearly as may be, the business of political imagination is to trace their natural effect upon the mind of any Government, and then of the Russian Government as known by experience. By that effect the meaning of the rescript is then judged; but not till imagination takes account of possible new influences, powerful enough (though not, perhaps, so readily estimated) to give the rescript an independent, a different, or In most modified meaning. cases of a like character the possibility that new, strange, unseen influences may be at work is admitted, and searchlights are thrown out into the dark accordingly.
Here appearances are more simple and explicit. The incursion of a very remarkable influence is alleged, and it is said to give the rescript an origin and a meaning of its own, entirely independent of
of imagination-the literary; the poetic and romantic; not of the earth; all of the skies; glamorous and not enlightening; and this they enthusiastically choose for guidance in the business going on at The Hague. Now, in following out the old line of treatment that is to say, while closely inquiring into what the peace proposals spring from, what is intended by them, what is likely to come of them with or without intention-it is good and pleasant to indulge the hope that all's right, and that the door is about to be opened to a better state of things. Carry the hope into expectation, and all you risk is disappointment as long as you withhold no test where there is every reason for wariness, no glory in self-deception, no advantage in being deceived.
But that is just where the Utopians rise in opposition, again finding moral grounds for disagreement and denunciation. I have just said that there is every reason for wariThe word should have been, every warrant for suspicion; but the sentimental terror makes cowards of us all. There is every warrant for suspicion, and it is as much a right and a duty to act upon it as when a lawyer scrutinises a statement drawn up by the other side. Not to do so would be wrong, and ridiculously wrong. But competing with the millennium itself and anticipating it, our sentimentalists set up a new code of morals in these affairs, and damn us by it just as if we were not under the old dispensation. In
nocent and indispensable as they are under this régime, the whole proceedings of the political imagination are condemned as offensive to fine feeling and obnoxious to human progress. It is base to raise any doubt about the gifts of the Greeks-base to investigate Russian peace-proposals from the ground upward. For even in diplomacy suspicion itself is here. It irritates; it annoys. If English, it damages the character of the nation that harbours it, and fixes upon that nation the guilt of postponing the reign of universal trust,which will not begin unless some great country begins it. It is clear to the literary imagination that England is the country that should trust, and that Russia is the country to be trusted; clear also that what stands in the way of this being done is not what we suppose it to be. We fancy it the usual difficulty of trusting a rival who agrees that all's fair in love and war, and has ever acted on that sufficiently tenable view. But no. What we take for reasonable caution, practised everywhere and everywhere necessary, is in great part a peculiar British weakness for making a "bogey" of a particular nation abroad! For the rest, it is nothing else than hate. We hate Russiaknow we do; and our hate is the hate of a selfish and baseless fear.
All this is in some ways ridiculous and in every way wrong. There is nothing strange, or even unusual, in the relations of Russia and England, which repeat what
order to insinuate half a doubt.
As to that, however, the
A Tyranny of Sentiment.
has been seen so many times on
All this is so plain that there
that there must be some established formula for arriving at compulsory arbitration; and the word has taken so much charm that it is doubtful whether the Government can afford to resist any scheme that comes under it. The truth meanwhile is that every conceivable cause of quarrel, of whatever magnitude, of whatever character, can be submitted to arbitration if the Governments concerned choose to resort to it; that compulsion upon one or both would be intolerable, unless where claims for damages are advanced or in such other disputes as are commonly settled by private arbitration; and that engagements approaching to obligation are not unlikely to have all the effect of a snare. Be it
also remembered that if they are likely to have that effect for one Government more than another, it is the one that makes no alliances and is least given to private understandings. Much I wish that our sentimentalists had fixed their hearts on some other point in the conference programme instead of on this; for, seeming the most promising, it is likely to import as long a train of embarrassments as any. If only less pains were taken to bring the millennium to premature birth, if only the friends of progress could be more content with such sure means of advancement as are acknowledged at the beginning of this article, how much more hope there would be of "getting forrarder."
THE NEGATIVE RULER OF FRANCE.
FIVE years ago an obscure artillery captain, of whom although he had a good professional record-no one outside a very limited circle had ever from heard, was deported France to the other side of the world and placed in circumstances of isolation so appalling in their suggestion of hopeless cutting off from all that a man holds dear, that the words "living death" are weak to describe them. In going to his place of despair he had to carry with him the memory of a day of torture, not indeed physical, one but more unbearable to worthy to be called a man than the rack or the boot of Middle Age cruelty. For an officer who had served his country, and gained a good repute for zeal, ability, and diligence, to be made a spectacle of degradation to his army comrades,—his insignia of rank stripped from his clothing, his sword taken off him, broken, and thrown at his feet, and the name "traitor" loudly proclaimed over him, must be an ordeal almost beyond the bounds of human to inflict It is endurance. upon him that which, whether he be guilty or not, must him fill with an anguish such as mere physical torture could never cause to wring the spirit of a man of courage. The more brave the man, the more terrible the horror of the trial, the more deep and lacerating the penetration of the iron into the soul. No one read the story of it without a shudder of
pain, no soldier who stood on
Picture him, then, on his barren islet in a tropical sea, with no relief from the deadly his palisaded monotony of patch of ground, exposed to a deadly climate and a burning sun, watched by silent guards, learning nothing of the world's doings, having no communi