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that the claim was not maintainable, on the ground that the property of a neutral permanently situated within the territory of our enemy is, from its situation alone, liable to damage from the lawful operations of war, which this cutting is conceded to have been, as no compensation is due for such damage. ... That is a rule applying to property of a neutral which he has placed within the territory of our enemy, which property our necessary military operations damage or destroy. It takes no account of the character of the property, but only of its location. .'. . It argués nothing that cables have not heretofore been the subject of any discussion of this rule. The same might be said of many kinds of property, either because they happened not to be injured, or because the rule was so well understood that a discussion was deemed superfluous. . ; . It is said that the whole utility of the cable is destroyed for many miles by a cutting within territorial waters; in other words, that the damage extends outside of territorial waters. But is this true ? Undoubtedly the interruption of traffic over it does or may extend for many miles; but the interruption of traffic is not the basis of the claim.' When repaired, it was repaired, as it had been cut, within territorial waters, and was then the same as before the injury. It was possible to take up the outer end and operate the cable to Hong-Kong from the time it was cut; and it was the sealing of the cable at Hong-Kong, and not the cutting, which prevented this from being done. ... The obvious difference between a cutting within and a cutting without territorial waters, however it may be equally troublesome to the owner, goes to the foundation of the rule authorising the destruction of property because it is within the territory. '6
These reasons are highly technical, and are not convincing. They do not accord with the equity of plain men. The property of an innocent subject of a neutral State-property which he could not remove when war broke out—had been injured. The whole line from Hong-Kong to Manila was rendered for a time useless to the company. It is conceived that a proper system of compensation should provide for such cases and others pretty certain to arise in maritime warfare. It is somewhat a waste of time and ingenuity, I fear, to attempt to determine beforehand with great detail the precise limits of action to which in this matter belligerents may be expected to conform. More pressing is the preparation of a carefully thought-out scheme of compensation.
The reluctance to speak positively as to the use by neutrals on the high seas or on neutral territory of wireless telegraphy is intelligible. Its utility in warfare has yet to be determined. It was absurd to describe, in the language of the Russian note, the telegraphists on board the Haimun as 'spies'-a term defined in every military manual.?
• Opinions of Attorney-Generals, xxii. p. 315. I gather from the Secretary of the Company that the claim is still under consideration,
See Bismarck's famous note of November 19, 1870, as to the treatment of aeronauts in time of war.
If there is any doubt as to its meaning, it arises from the modern tendency to greater leniency towards a class of men performing duties which every soldier considers honourable. In these days Major André might not have been executed. He probably would not have experienced the humiliation of being hanged. Wireless apparatus on shipboard could not by any stretch of reason be classed, according to the threat in the Russian note, as contraband; every requisite is absent. Nor is there a recognised doctrine according to which neutrals may be excluded from the sphere of military operations' outside the belligerents' territory—a somewhat novel phrase covering a novel doctrine. But all cause for complaint by belligerents is not removed by vessels with wireless telegraphy keeping outside the three-mile line. That for some purposes is a sufficient zone of safety, while it is not so for others; it is a popular error that international law draws a hard-and-fast line as to this. Operation by wireless telegraphy might be on such a scale and in such circumstances as to amount to assisting the enemy. It would be unreasonable to expect a belligerent to look on while a vessel equipped with this apparatus cruised seven or eight miles 'off shore, collecting military information and transmitting it, directly or circuitously, to the other belligerent; this might be lending aid, and of a most valuable kind, to the enemy. What is at present a small matter might conceivably become by some future development and organisation so serious as to be a breach of neutrality and an offence to be taken cognisance of in an amendment to Section 8 (4) of the Foreign Enlistment Act. What is to be insisted upon as to this and many other points which have arisen in this war is that there is no consensus of nations as to them, and that no one is entitled to say, • International law condemns this.' That holds good even of such a matter as what is contraband by the law of nations.
One minor matter of some novelty may be mentioned. It is a nice question of casuistry how far it is legitimate to set troops of wholly different degrees of civilisation to fight against each other; and it is a question as to which opinion is apt to be inconsistenti The employment of black troops by the United States was applauded by those who, borrowing Chatham's invectives against the use of the Red Indians in war, denounced the employment of the Turcos in 1870. The Russian Government appear to have done something which is almost as questionable as the conduct of the French. Certain of the convicts detained in the Island of Sakhalin—a particularly bad class of criminals--are, it is said, to be used as soldiers ; a revival of a practice not known, so far as I am aware, since in France in 1793 was formed a legion of forçats. These recruits are to be employed on what is akin to police duty. But should the tide of war roll in their direction, deplorable things may happen; and in any case it is an unfortunate precedent.
THE Whitsuntide recess, and Ascot, not to speak of the ordinary gaieties of the season, have interfered to some extent with the course of politics during the past month. Possibly, also, our politicians have been glad of any excuse for absenting themselves from the House of Commons. At all events, it has hardly been in the Parliamentary debates that the political interest has centred of late. And yet it is difficult to recall a time when the political situation was at once more difficult and more interesting than it is at this moment. The life of the Ministry and of Parliament seems to hang by a thread. At any moment it may be cut short. But the thread is a tough one, and has successfully withstood so many shocks that wise men have given up speculating upon the precise moment at which it will at last be severed. For the mere partisan the situation is quite simple. The thick-and-thin advocate of the Ministry sees in Mr. Balfour the most adroit of Parliamentary tacticians, and he looks to him to juggle successfully, possibly for a couple of years to come, with the successive difficulties which he has to face. The resolute Liberal, on the other hand, whilst admitting Mr. Balfour's cleverness, maintains, first, that the cleverness is not in itself very reputable; secondly, that, after all, the Prime Minister is not a free agent, but is compelled to keep measure to the tune played by Mr. Chamberlain ; and, finally, that it does not matter a rap with what skill Mr. Balfour glides over thin ice, so long as public feeling out of doors rises daily and perceptibly against him. These, however, are only the crude outward features of the situation. Beati possidentes ! No doubt it gives much comfort to the average Ministerialist to know that his party is still in possession of power, and that no day for its ejectment has as yet been fixed. No doubt, also, the sturdy member of the Opposition is equally satisfied by the testimony of the by-elections, and the proof forthcoming on all hands of the grotesque failure of the raging and tearing agitation which he feared so greatly twelve months ago. But behind these obvious facts lie others of greater importance, which the events of last month have forced into prominence.
To begin with, it looks, at the moment at which I write, as though there must be an early end to what has been widely, but not inaccurately, described as the farce of Mr. Balfour's fiscal policy. The Prime Minister has successfully evaded every attempt made in the House of Commons to extract from him à frank and intelligible definition of that policy. He still sits triumphantly upon the fence, and neither the reproaches of his opponents nor the entreaties of his friends have caused him to descend from it. But apparently pressure has been brought to bear upon him from another quarter, and it is pressure to which he may yet have to yield. The Duke of Devonshire has been formally ejected from the Presidency of the Liberal Unionist Association, and his place, we are now told, is to be taken by Mr. Chamberlain. No one can reasonably object to this step. Mr. Chamberlain is, without doubt, the most powerful and important person left in the Liberal Unionist party, and he is certainly entitled to succeed the Duke in the office of President. But with him are to be associated as Vice-Presidents two members of the Cabinet, the Marquis of Lansdowne and the Earl of Selborne. This in itself is a quite unobjectionable arrangement. But if it be true, as semi-official announcements declare, that the first step of the reorganised Liberal Unionist Association will be to pronounce strongly in favour of Mr. Chamberlain's fiscal policy, it is difficult to see how an acute crisis is to be avoided in the Ministerial ranks. The Free Traders in those ranks are hardly likely to accept with equanimity a declaration in favour of Protection from a body two of whose officials are Cabinet Ministers of the first rank. The bland assurances which have hitherto sufficed to avert an open rupture among the majority in the House of Commons will scarcely carry weight in face of the capture by the Protectionists not only of the Liberal Unionist organisation, but of members of the Cabinet so distinguished as Lords Lansdowne and Selborne. I have never, in these pages, dwelt upon the gossip which at all times runs riot in the lobbies at Westminster. Most of it is foolish, and it is generally based upon the slightest of foundations ; but it is impossible for anyone to close his ears to the rumour which asserts that this new step on the part of Mr. Chamberlain in the reorganisation of the Liberal Unionist Association is the result of a determination on his part to force the running, and to commit, so far as he can, the whole Ministerial party to his fiscal policy. He has had to submit to many mortifications of late, and his is by no means a nature that loves to kiss the rod. It must be bad enough for him to see election after election resulting in the return of those who are opposed tooth and nail to his food-tax; but what must be infinitely worse is the fact that his own chosen candidates resolutely shrink from being publicly identified with his policy. The Balfour umbrella, to revive an illustration of old Gladstonian days, furnishes them with a shelter of which they eagerly avail themselves--not, apparently, with great success so far as electoral results are concerned. It is easy to understand that this is not a state of things pleasing to the exColonial Secretary. In his eyes, those who are not for him are against him, and no one can be surprised if he should have resolved that a farce which has been somewhat unduly prolonged should be ended with as little delay as possible. It thus seems ņot impossible that before another month has passed over our heads we shall be brought face to face with a change in the political situation which may alter many things. ... : It is not to the current and open events of the past month that we have to look for real light upon the great political movements of the time. So far as these events are concerned they are almost wholly unfavourable to Mr. Chamberlain.. The by-elections have proved once more that the masses of the electors have not only been unaffected by his strenuous appeals, but are still resolutely opposed to his reactionary ideas. Fiscal reform has even, it is said, ceased to be popular in smart society, where a year ago it was the fashionable cult. The Cobden centenary celebrations, though they may have had the defects common to all popular celebrations of the kind, have undoubtedly shown how strong a hold Cobdenism has secured upon the nation. Mr. Chamberlain's Tariff Commission, it is true, is still at work, and I am told by those who ought to know that the new Protectionists expect much from the result of its labours. But for the present it conducts its proceedings with a decorous privacy, and the bomb which it is to launch against Free Trade has still to be fashioned, But behind the labours of the Cobden Club on one side, and of the Tariff Commission on the other, the real forces are silently at work; and among these none is more potent than the personality of Mr. Chamberlain himself. Whatever he may have lost in prestige by his abortive agitation in the country, he has certainly not lost the unique power which he wields within the Ministerial ranks in Parliament. The Government depends for its continued existence upon his support, and though it is natural to conclude that he would be loth to pass sentence of death upon an Administration of which his son is a member, no outsider can venture to predict when the psychological moment may arrive when he will decide that, for the benefit of his cause, the curtain ought to be rung down upon the present act in the drama. His speech at the City dinner to the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggests that he has already framed a new plan of campaign, and that his present idea is to ask the country for its confidence on the strength of his assumed ability to provide it with new sources of revenue, the burden of which will fall, not upon us, but upon the stranger outside our gates. That we shall have to discover new sources of revenue, if our trade does not improve and there is to be no reduction of our expenditure, is only too certain ; but that we are in a position to compel other people to provide us with the money, we need is a pro