Page images


scarce an exception they were, Times'' heavy admonition, when they came, pro-Japanese. Japan is in the right of it. To-day, with scarce an excep- Baron Komura did not go to tion, they have come under Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Russian influences—not wholly, merely to hear the applause of course, but to a certain ex- of 120 Press representatives. tent. Nine-tenths of the news Even if the 120 insult him they have been able to send with one voice, it cannot injure has come from Russian sources. his cause, since peace or war Is it strange that their feeling is decided, not by the newstowards Russia is kindlier than papers, but by the ministers of before?” We quote this amazing Russia and Japan. Diplomacy pronouncement in humble ad. by journalism is at present no miration. It is a frank confes- more than a vain dream, and sion, which reveals the vices of until the dream becomes the special correspondent in far reality we need not trouble clearer terms than the harshest our heads about the opinion of critic would dare to use. When those who, by the confession of the Press representatives went the most distinguished among to Portsmouth, they were one them, give their sympathy and all pro-Japanese. But the where they find their news. Japanese refused to give them Meanwhile, the Japanese, unthe news to which they be- deterred by pressure from outlieved themselves entitled, side, are upholding the interests while the Russians broke a of their country, and it is imsolemn pledge rather than possible that in the last resort disappoint them. And the M. Witte's patronage of the Press representatives soon en- Press should win him a single tertained a kindly feeling to- point. But there is one warnwards their benefactors. Was ing which all nations may

take ever a more monstrous bargain from the proceedings at Portshinted at ? Truth and honour mouth, New Hampshire: never are as nothing. You give me hold a Congress upon American news, says the correspondent, soil. A country which cannot and I will sing your praises. protect two august plenipoWithhold news from me, and I tentiaries from the unwelcome will transfer the sympathy I feel attention of 120 “representafor you to the other side. We tives of the Press” is no place cannot but be grateful for the for a diplomatic conference. cynicism which thus admits When, more than thirty years us to the innermost secrets of ago, a Congress met at Berlin, journalism, and our readers the whole of Europe had an will share our surprise when interest in the result. But the we remind them that the pass- members of the Congress were age we have cited is taken not permitted to do their duty from a flagrant example of without blackmail or scandal,

, America's Yellow Press, but and M. de Blowitz's escapade from the stately columns of was the only blot upon our own Times.

perfectly dignified proceeding. And yet, in spite of The However, the last strongholds

[ocr errors]


are surrendering one by one, if M. Witte is not using the and to-day not even ambassa- Press to conceal his real purdors can exclude the encroach- pose, the Conference of Portsing enemy from their walls. In mouth will end, as it began, in old times a frivolous crowd of farce. One thing is perfectly courtiers gave an air of gaiety certain, which is, that Japan to the deliberations of states- will sacrifice none of the admen, and while they relieved vantages she has gained for the the tedium of discussion, they sake of a premature peace. were incapable of surprising Russia is beaten by land and secrets or of betraying their at sea ; her Baltic fleet, which friends. “Le Congrès

was to retrieve the disasters marche pas,” said the Prince of her army, is destroyed ; de Ligne at Vienna, “il danse.” and Japan, strong in the skill And is it not a thousand times and courage of her soldiers, better to dance than to listen strong in the support and affecat doors or to hang upon the tion of her people, has no indiscretions of a secretary ? motive to sign a peace, except

M. Witte, though trained in upon her own terms. the strictest school of diplomacy, does not assume the digni- But the Conference at Portsfied attitude of Baron Komura. mouth has not been held in From the very beginning he vain. It has proved that the has made what use he might old world may pay too high a of the 120 Press representa- price for the gratification of tives. He has encouraged them Mr Roosevelt's vanity, and to play his own game of bluff, it has raised the question and they have had no difficulty once again of the part which in picking up the rules. In the Press should play in peace the first place, they announced and war. During the last half to the whole world, “on the century the power of the news

, highest authority,” that Russia paper


enormously in would neither pay a kopeck creased, and it is as well that, nor cede an inch of territory. from time to time, we should If this were true, it is difficult realise the risks that we are to see why M. Witte crossed running. Once upon a time the the Atlantic-unless, indeed, he Press was the servant of the wished to pay a delicate com- people. It sold the news which pliment to Mr Roosevelt, who, it collected, and was content. by inviting the plenipoten- Now it aspires to be our master, tiaries to America, has stolen and, as we have pointed out, a long march upon William II., openly boasts that it will a . his one and only rival. For favour those who give it inif Russia declines to acknow- formation. Japan, then, deledge herself beaten, then she serves the gratitude of the will assuredly obtain no peace whole civilised world for exat the hands of Japan; and if cluding war correspondents she wants no peace, she might from her camps, and for foras well have kept her repre- bidding her journalists at home sentatives at home. In truth, to give any other than official

That army

news. She has shown that war legislation. With one voice may be conducted without the the country is demanding a intervention of inexperienced reformed army. reporters and the other camp- will be of small profit to us if followers of falsehood. And our journals inform the enemy she has spared her soldiers the how large it is, and where it risk of being sacrificed to the may be most readily surprised. enemy through

through information To legislate in a hurry upon supplied by her own journal- so grave a question will not be ists. Of Japan's wisdom there easy, and we trust that memcan be no doubt. It would be bers of Parliament will be better that every newspaper in found disinterested enough to the country should perish for press it consistently upon our lack of copy than that one sol- Ministers. It will not be a dier should fall into the hands popular enterprise, for the of the enemy through informa- journals have a simple method tion hastily gathered and in- of revenge upon those who discreetly printed. The Russ- would curtail their privileges. ians, in their desire to be the But we are sanguine enough friends of all men, have not to believe that the example of matched the Japanese in dis- Japan has not been set in vain, cretion. The disposition of and we have every confidence their army in Manchuria, its that the wiser of our journals strength and its weakness, will act in good faith, when have recently been described once their editors understand by a French correspondent the impending danger. with a minuteness that was Not long since Lord Ellensurely of the greatest service borough called attention in the to Japan, and it is difficult to House of Lords to this risk exaggerate the wickedness of of disseminating news in time such outspoken criticism. War- of war, but his warning fell fare is not a game of cricket. upon deaf ears. Lord Selborne, It is a serious pursuit, upon admitting that the problem which depend the lives of men was of the greatest difficulty, and the existence of empires. declared that it could only be What, then, shall we say of solved with the collaboration the levity, the curiosity, or the of the Press. We might just as greed of those who, for the well undertake a revision of our sake of an exclusive telegram, criminal law on the advice of will endanger the lives of their the professional housebreaker. fellows and the supremacy of If penalties are to be imposed their fatherland ?

upon the Press, the GovernThe warning which we re- ment must discover those ceived in South Africa should which it deems suitable, and range us upon the side of not ask the possible culprit Japan. But it is not enough what punishment he would to hold a strong opinion; we prefer. Moreover, the case must insist that, if ever we go against the journals is overto war again, the Government whelming.

Ever since the shall safeguard our soldiers by Napoleonic wars our British



armies have suffered from the the advantages it gives to the recklessness of the Press. enemy in all their operations." They have been forced to That is excellent sense. If meet not only the open enemy the people insists upon news in the field but the subtler to which it has no right, let foe of curiosity at home. it know what it pays in blood The examples of indiscretion, and money for the ill-omened collected with praiseworthy privilege. candour by The Times,' In Wellington's time jouritself an old offender, should nalism, as know it tomake us blush for our news- day, did not exist, and he papers. Nelson and Welling- never knew its full possibilities ton were both victims, and of evil. It was the Crimean had the Press had its way War which first discovered the the battle of Trafalgar would danger in all its naked horror. never have been fought. In Sebastopol was fortified in a letter written in September obedience to the French and 1805, Nelson urged that the English Press, and all the publisher of The Gibraltar hardships of that heroic siege Gazette’ should be forbidden may be put down to the levity to mention his force. “I of newspapers. But it is idle much fear,” said he, “that if to multiply examples. At the enemy know of our in- Sedan, as in South Africa, creased numbers, shall there is the same story to tell never see them out of Cadiz.” of recklessness and indiscretion. But the harm was done, Blood is spilt and lives are The Gibraltar Gazette' had wantonly sacrificed for this babbled; and but for the per- miserable itch of curiosity. emptory orders of Napoleon, The aid of telegraphy has the French Admiral would not increased the danger twentyhave risked the battle. Wel- fold, and we trust that when lington complained yet more the affairs of the army are bitterly and with better reason. next considered by Parliament, While he was fighting in the our soldiers will be protected Peninsula he sent a newspaper against the well-meant treachto Lord Liverpool, which gave ery of our journals. an account of his works, "the have said, the example of Japan number of men and guns in is of first-rate importance. In each, and for what purpose war, as in peace, she has deconstructed.” Lord Liverpool fended herself against babblers does not seem to have taken and eavesdroppers. And nobly a sufficiently grave view of is she justifed of her caution. the outrage, and Wellington At Portsmouth she has saved protested again with some herself from a farce ; in Man

be very churia her wisdom has avoided right,” said he, "to give the a tragedy.

a tragedy. It is not enough British public this informa- to praise her prudence and tion; but if they choose to fortitude. Let us take courhave it, they ought to know age ourselves and follow her the price they pay for it, and example.

As we


6. It may



ECCE ITERUM- are not forward as originating the conreferring to Crispinus, but troversy. (2) The reply of the only to Mr Brodrick, who has Government of India, dated appeared a second time in his March 23, 1905. (3) A minute favourite rôle of Army Re- by his Excellency the Comformer. This time his field of mander-in-Chief, dated January action is in India. At the 1, 1905, in which Lord Kitchinstance of Lord Kitchener the ener narrates his griefs and Governor - General - in- Council sets forth his proposals. (4) A has been summarily overruled, minute by the Military Member and a serious, and, as we believe, of Council, Major General Sir dangerous change made in the E. R. Elles, dated January 24, Constitution of the Indian 1905, answering Lord Kitchener. Government. The indifference (5) A minute by Lord Curzon, with which the matter has dated February 6, 1905, conbeen passed by in the House demning Lord Kitchener's of Commons has been almost scheme. (6) A minute of disequalled by the perfunctory sent by his Excellency the Comconsideration given to it by mander-in-Chief, expressing his most of the public journals in disagreement with the Governthis country. This is hardly ment of India's letter, of March to be wondered at. Lord 23, 1905. (7) The Secretary Kitchener's is a name to con- of State's orders, dated May jure by; and to understand 31, 1905, giving the decision of the effect of Mr Brodrick’s his Majesty's Government on reforms, one ought to know the case. To these have now something of the Constitution been added the reports of the of the Government of India and Committee appointed in May its working. Notwithstanding last, at which the Secretary of Lord Curzon's resignation we State for India presided. cannot, however, regard the We asked, we question as finally disposed of. hardly be expected, in the face It is sure to be opened up again of Lord Bath's statement in the before long. It may be useful, House of Lords on the first of therefore, to explain the case to August and of the telegraphic our readers as fully and clearly correspondence between Lord as our space will permit. Curzon and Mr Brodrick re

The correspondence as laid cently made public, to believe originally before the Houses of that the question was raised Parliament contains the follow- for discussion by the Secretary ing papers : (1) The despatch of State of his own motion, from the Secretary of State for on December 2, 1904. An atIndia to the Governor-General tempt is made to connect it of India in Council, dated De- with the correspondence which cember 2, 1904, which is put led to the transfer of the con



« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »