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relinquished until the end of July of this year, when military considerations of another kind prompted its hurried evacuation.
In this connection it may not be inappropriate to recall briefly some incidents illustrative of Russia's high-handed proceedings concerning the Chinese railway joining Peking with Shanhaikwan and Newchwang
On the 8th of July, 1900, the Russians seized this railway at Tientsin, and turned out Mr. Claude W. Kinder and his staff. Eight days afterwards, on the 16th of July, at a Council of Admirals convened on board H.B.M.S. Centurion at Taku at the instance of Admiral Alexeieff, it was decided by the majority that the railway between Tongku and Tien-tsin should be managed and guarded by the Russians, who were then in occupation, on condition that it should be given over to the former administration as soon as military circumstances would permit. It should not be forgotten that the construction of the Peking and Newchwang line of railway was chiefly provided for by British capital, and British interests were therefore largely involved —the line is, indeed, with some exceptions, mortgaged to British bondholders-and it is, moreover, a fact that Russia recognised this at the very outset.
The British Government, however, expressed to the Russian Government its acquiescence in the above-mentioned decision of the Council of Admirals on the ground that it was an arrangement resorted to solely in compliance with the demands of military exigency.
Previously to this the Russians had, on the 18th of June, occupied that part of the foreign settlement in which are situated the railway offices. Thence they removed and shipped to Port Arthur a quantity of tools and appliances that were the property of the railway administration, and, not content with having done this, they broke open the safes, causing the loss of a considerable sum of money, and destroyed the archives. Finally, on the 28th of the month, they set fire to the offices, and the premises were entirely consumed in the flames.
Russia's next step was to claim the right herself to reconstruct the railroad from Tien-tsin to Peking, declaring that the whole of the line had been turned over to her by the above-mentioned Council of Admirals. This was totally at variance with fact, as the minutes of that meeting distinctly proved, for the action of Russia was expressly limited to the section between Tien-tsin and Tongku. To prefer an unjust claim and immediately to act upon it was the normal course of procedure to be expected of the Russians, and accordingly we find that they began forthwith to occupy various points on the route and even to occupy the terminus at Peking the moment that the Chinese capital was entered by the allied relieving forces on the 14th of August. In short, as the British and Chinese Corporation justly complained, the Russian occupation of the northern railway was progressing so rapidly at that time and in such a manner as to give rise to the most serious apprehensions that there was a design to make the line a permanent Russian possession.
When, on the 30th of August, the British troops occupied Feng-tai railway station, and proceeded, in conjunction with the Japanese, to repair the line between Feng-tai and Yang-tsun, the Russians objected to this being done, and posted a detachment in front of Feng-tai depot. Three weeks afterwards, on the 23rd of September, they went so far as to tender a formal protest and request for the withdrawal of the British forces on the ground that the entire line had been handed over to the Russians, the Russian commander assuring the British General, Sir A. Gaselee, that an Imperial (Russian) decree had been received to construct'the railway to Peking, and that he, the Russian commander, had given orders accordingly.
The Russians' pretensions to a right to the whole line were simply a sham, as already shown. Of course the English officer did not yield to so transparent an artifice. On the contrary, he told the Russian commander that Russia was in the wrong. The dispute waxed warm, and the situation became acute, but in the beginning of October Count von Waldersee, who had arrived on the scene shortly before, took the matter up and decided that the construction and control of the railway from Tongku should as far as Yang-tsun be Russian, and from Yang-tsun onwards to Peking the line should be worked by Germany with the assistance of other Powers, and thus · curtailed the Russian pretence; but at the same time he suggested that the section of railway between Tongku and Shanhaikwan should also be handed over to the Russians. The British had good reason to consider this suggestion as unjust.
As regards the practical repair and working of the line it had by this time become quite clear that the object sought would be more effectively attained by entrusting it to the former administration
der Mr. Kinder and his staff, and on the 6th of October the commanders of the British, American, and Japanese troops suggested this to Count von Waldersee, but without effect. Previously to this, on the 30th of September, a British officer with eighteen men had occupied Shanhaikwan Station and there hoisted the British flag. Two days later, on the 2nd of October, a numerous body of Russian troops went there, by land and sea, and refused to acknowledge any rights but those of conquest, which they assumed, and laid claim to all the railway from Tongku throughout to Newchwang, solely on these grounds, as being Russian. On the 6th of October they occupied the Ying-Kow terminus of the Chinese railway and hoisted over it the Russian flag, fifty miles of railway material being simultaneously seized and sent off to Port Arthur.
At home in England telegraphic reports had reached the Government in quick succession from its diplomatic representative, general, and admiral, and from many other sources, and as the acts thus com
mitted by the Russians in the Far East were entirely at variance with the assurances which had been given by the Russian Government, and there could be no rights of conquest, the Marquis of Salisbury took up the matter strongly and repeated protests were lodged at the St. Petersburg Foreign Office by the British Embassy at his direction. At the same time the attention of the German Government was also called to the unfairness of Count von Waldersee's decision, he having been led astray, as it seemed, by the exceeding astuteness of the Russians.
The Russian replies were, as is usual, invidious and inconsistent all through. But at last the false position which Russia had taken up had to be relinquished, and she sought to discover a way of escape, which she found in withdrawing her troops from Peking, and subsequently from Tien-tsin, as described in a previous page, and thus, on the 13th of November, Count Lamsdorff was able to assure Sir Charles (then Mr.) Hardinge, the British Chargé d'Affaires at St. Petersburg, that
the section from Tongku to Shanhaikwan, on the one hand, and from Tongku to Tien-tsin, on the other, were of special military importance to Russia only so long as Russian troops remained to occupy the province of Pe Chih-li. On the 30th of October, however, the Russian Emperor ordered a reduction of the troops in Pe-Chih-li, and on their withdrawal from Peking to Tien-tsin the Yangtsun-Peking section was placed at the disposal of Count von Waldersee. On the retirement of the Russian troops from the Pe-Chih-li province the whole line from Yangtsun to Shanhaikwan would also be given over to the Field-Marshal.
As to the line joining Shanhaikwan with Newchwang, Count Lamsdorff indulged in further procrastination on the pretext of the economical and geographical gravity of the problems involved, and declared that its complete restoration to its former owners could not take place before all the outlays incurred in the re-establishment and exploitation of the whole line between Peking and Newchwang had been fully repaid to the Russian Government.
This claim to reimbursement was on the part of Russia wholly unwarranted, because, as was demonstrated on the 23rd of November by Lord Lansdowne, who had succeeded Lord Salisbury in the conduct of Great Britain's Foreign Affairs, Russia had no right to be placed in a preferential position in regard to the repayment of such outlays, inasmuch as all expeditionary expenses, including outlays of this description, were ultimately to be indemnified by China, and, for another thing, Russia was not the only country that had incurred expenditure of this nature, for the Japanese had in reality themselves repaired a considerable length of the line, and when their railway battalion' began work the Boxers were still in force in the vicinity, and it was necessary to disperse them as they worked, which resulted in the loss of an engineer officer and several noncommissioned officers and men, and it put Japan to much expense
Vol. LVI-No. 331
in many ways, for railway materials, being unobtainable on the spot, had to be sent over from home. The British, and to some extent the Germans, were also engaged in similar repair works. Hence diplomatic negotiations were carried on with unabated vigour, but, as Russia is not a country that is at all scrupulous in regard to the introduction of side issues and fresh pretexts for delay when it suits her, it is easy to understand that a long time elapsed before the matter was settled.
Before the excitement relating to the “Railway Incident' above described had hardly subsided there arose what was termed the Tientsin Incident,' which was equally, if not more, serious in its character.
At the beginning of November 1900 the Russians seized land on the left bank of the Pei-ho, extending from the railway station as far as Messrs. Meyer's petroleum depot, and planted a number of Russian flags and notice boards at different points, and on the 6th of that month the Russian Acting Consul, M. Poppé, issued a circular to the Consuls of the Powers notifying them that the land in question had become the property of Russia by act of war. Comically enough, the Belgian Consul, in imitation of his Russian colleague, next day issued a notice to the Consular body which began by saying, 'In accordance with instructions from his Belgian Majesty's Legation at Peking I have this day occupied the territory situated, &c. &c.,' and going on to describe its exact situation, which was contiguous to the extensive area appropriated by Russia. The Russian circular was one so truly audacious that I give its text in full :
His Excellency Lieutenant-General Linévitch, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian expeditionary corps in Pe-Chih-li, instructs me to inform you that, as on the 4th (17th) of June of this year the Imperial Chinese troops joined the rebels in attacking the foreign concessions and the railway station occupied by Russian troops, and as on the 10th (23rd) Russian reinforcements relieved these troops, swept the left bank of the Pei-ho from above the railway station to beyond the petroleum depot of Messrs. H. Meyer & Co., and occupied it by right of conquest, having seized it by force of arms and at the cost of Russian blood spilt in order to prevent the Chinese returning there and reopening fire on the Concessions, his Excellency therefore considers the whole of this space, from above the railway station to beyond the petroleum depot, as property of the Russian troops from this day (10th (23rd) of June of this year) by act of war. Russian flags have been planted and notices posted on boards placed at many points in this territory, which has been occupied and patrolled under orders of the Russian military authorities.
Consequently, his Excellency cannot and will not be able to recognise any cession, unless with his special authorisation, of land included in this territory, of which he has taken full and complete possession.
It is, of course, understood that all proprietary rights, duly registered in tho name of foreigners (other than Chinese) before the 4th (17th) of June of this year, will be safeguarded.
The land claimed by Russia embraced practically the whole of the left bank of the river opposite the foreign settlement, and was a mile and a half in length, by 500 yards wide. In it was comprised a portion belonging to the railway administration's property and others belonging to the private property of some British firms, but the Russian flags waved over all. Apart from that, the Russians' contention that they had cleared the area by their own troops was one of which the accuracy was most doubtful, for it was a well-known fact that when the Russians were attacked by the Chinese near the railway station, the assistance gallantly rendered by the Japanese troops went very far towards the repulse of the assailants, and, indeed, saved the Russians from being routed. In truth, it is believed that the fighting ability of Russian troops was really measured by the Japanese on this occasion. In the battle of the 23rd of June the international forces were collectively engaged on a common footing, the British on that occasion playing a very conspicuous part in effecting a clearance from the quarter in question of the Chinese forces. Commander Cradock, in a memorandum specially drawn up for the British authorities, in refutation of the Russian pretensions, went so far, indeed, as to assert that 'on the whole of the advance our (the British) left flank touched the river, and the right was well extended towards the railway. No Russian or German troops had anything whatever to do with clearing the left bank of the river.' Besides, the Russians enjoyed no special right of conquest, if there ever was such a right conferred upon the participators at large by that campaign, inasmuch as in their occupation of that or any other place the Russians could not but have been executing the tasks assigned to them as part and parcel of that war which was in process. of being waged by the international relief forces in common. Again,.. the Russians, a little later on, systematically removed vast quantities. of machinery and stores from the railway works at Tong-Shan to, Port Arthur and elsewhere for their own use, and they deprived the. Bridge Works Stores at Shanhaikwan of fifty thousand pounds' worth of material, the premises being completely denuded of all portable property. The Russians even took away the steam cranes and machinery of every description, having, as an expert's report states, seized * everything they could lay hands on.'
All these outrageous proceedings were, of course, stoutly challenged not only by the British authorities and the interested individuals in the East, who at every successive stage protested to the Russian authorities, but by the British Government, who time after time briskly remonstrated with the Russian Government. America also, contended that forcible appropriation under claim of conquest was. in conflict with the declared purposes of the Powers and disturbed their harmonious action. On the 16th of November the Russian Minister at Peking wrote to the American Minister that if the communication of Mr. Poppé contained any expressions suggesting any question of acquiring territory by conquest they had been certainly erroneously used by him, and that the object of the Russian
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