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military authorities had been to prevent the seizure of, and speculation in, land by certain parties within the radius occupied by the Russian troops for military purposes since the preceding June. What a groundless insinuation! At last, when the Russians were no longer able to sustain their unjust designs, they endeavoured, as usual, by their craft and subtleties to provide a loophole for escape. They procured from Li Hung-Chang the cession-made public on the 6th of January, 1901, in a circular from the Acting Russian Consul at Tien-tsin-of a piece of land for a new Russian settlement which was practically identical with the area that they had so audaciously invaded. True, the part in which were the private premises of British firms was this time excluded, but in respect of that belonging to the railway administration there was ambiguity; as a matter of fact, in the Concession Agreement, when it came to light, it was discovered that the exact delineation of the boundary had been left over for future arrangement.
Although England disdained to challenge the validity of the concession, though she entertained some doubt as to the mode in which it had been obtained, it was palpable that the ground already owned by the railway administration could not suddenly be wrenched from them in such a fashion, and that in fact the Agreement could not be held to comprise those lands, so there immediately arose upon this point a most serious controversy.
As to the machinery of all sorts and the stores and materials which Russia took away from the railway, they were eventually restored to the rightful owners, the Russians putting forward the extraordinary plea that, as there were no workshops, no stores, and no materials to the north of Shanhaikwan, it would be impossible to work this northern section of the line after the southern section should have been handed over to Count von Waldersee, and that therefore Russia had 'borrowed' the plant and stocks in question; but now that an arrangement was made that the Russians might use the Shanhaikwan workshops for the working of the northern section, they restored the borrowed materials to the parties to whom they belonged. The memorandum of the Russian Government on the subject expressly declared that they had restored everything, but the report of the expert went to show that only a part of the whole was ever disgorged, and that in a very badly damaged and scattered condition.
Early in 1901 the railway near Tien-tsin was handed over by Count von Waldersee to the British contingent, which thereupon proceeded to construct a siding in the common interest of the international forces, beginning it on the 7th of March, on land which belonged to the railway administration. The Russians made objection to this on the basis that by the concession derived from Li Hung-Chang the ground belonged to Russia. They also greatly impeded the transfer of certain railway property at Tien-tsin, Tongku, and Shanhaikwan, contrary to the terms of the railway convention entered into the pre
ceding month at Count Waldersee's instance. On the 15th of March the Russians placed sentries on the piece of land where the British were making the siding, in order to prevent the work being continued, and at the same time General Wogack, the Russian general, practically demanded the withdrawal of the British sentries from the ground. Naturally this sort of behaviour quickly brought matters to a crisis, and Russia and Great Britain were on the verge of hostilities, so much so that next day, on the 16th of March, the India Office telegraphed to General Gaselee, giving him instructions, and added, 'In the meantime do not use force except to repel aggression, and do not eject the Russian sentries.' At the same time vigorous, but still conciliatory, protests were lodged by the British Government at St. Petersburg, and in the end an understanding was reached whereby the dispute about proprietary rights was left for future settlement,1 and in the interval the British as well as the Russian troops were required to evacuate the plot of land in question. This arrangement was embodied in an Agreement that on the 21st of March was signed in the presence of Count von Waldersee by General Barrow, representing England, and General Wogack, representing Russia-Count von Waldersee adding his own signature to the document-whereby it was stipulated that both the Russian and British guards should be simultaneously withdrawn at 5 A.M. the next day.
The guards were duly withdrawn on both sides, but before the day was out, to the genuine surprise of everybody, save perhaps the Russians themselves, the Russian flags were replanted on the siding itself, and work was recommenced by the Russian soldiers with such energy that three days later, on the 25th of March, the British military authorities had to telegraph home that the Russians are working on the disputed ground at Tien-tsin in such a way as to render untenable the British position.' Surely there could never be a more flagrant instance of Russian insincerity and duplicity! Protests were made, of course, by the British Government to that of St. Petersburg, and as a result the Russian flags gradually and grudgingly disappeared from the property, the last of them being displaced on the 4th of April following. Even while these high-handed proceedings were taking place at Tien-tsin Count Lamsdorff actually expressed his surprise'as he termed it at the temporary measures taken by the Russian authorities being regarded as in any way inconsistent with the assurances given that Russia would not make any territorial acquisitions in China.'
Whilst the 'Railway Incident' above described was attracting the attention of the Powers concerned, an Agreement was signed by Great Britain and Germany, on the 16th of October, 1900, in which it was
'The dispute was referred to a joint commission, who called upon Mr. Detring to arbitrate on two points whereon the two commissioners were not agreed, and the whole matter was recently settled mainly in favour of the British contention.
mutually recognised that (a) it was a matter of joint and permanent international interest that all Chinese ports on the rivers and littoral should remain free and open for all nations, and the two Governments undertook to uphold the dictum for all Chinese territory, as far as they could exercise influence; (b) the two Governments, on their part, would not make use of existing complications to obtain any territorial advantages, and would direct their policy towards maintaining undiminished the territorial conditions of the Chinese Empire; (c) should another Power make use of that complication to obtain, under any form whatever, such territorial advantages, the two Governments reserved to themselves to come to a preliminary understanding as to the steps to be taken for the protection of their own interests in China; and (d) other Powers would be invited to accept the principle thus recorded.
Accordingly the Powers were invited, and Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, and America all expressed in due course their acceptance. In the case of Japan she specially asked the contracting Powers what was to be the effect of expressing acceptance, and having been told that an acceptor would stand in precisely the same position as an original signatory, she forthwith announced her acceptance in due form. It was plain, therefore, that other Powers also which accepted, though they may not have put the question, stood pari passu in the same position as the signatory Powers.
The best part of the joke, if I may be allowed to use this expression, lay in the situation in which Russia thus unexpectedly found herself. When the Agreement was communicated to her for her acceptance, the British representative in Russia was instructed by the Marquis of Salisbury to state-should any complaint be made of Russia not having previously been consulted-that the Russian Government had given many assurances, but little attention had been paid to the avowed policy of the Russian Government by its officers on the spot, and that this was how England was deterred from making a fuller communication.
The Russian Government, however, accepted the Agreement without wincing, in a communication which, briefly, was as follows:
(a) The first part of the Agreement can be favourably entertained by Russia, as this stipulation does not in any way infringe the status quo established in China by existing treaties.
(b) The second point corresponds all the more with the intentions of Russia, seeing that from the commencement of the present complications she was the first to lay down the maintenance of the integrity of the Chinese Empire as a fundamental principle of her policy.
(c) As regards the third point, relating to the eventuality of an infringement of this fundamental principle, the Russian Government can only renew the declaration that such an infringement would oblige Russia to modify her attitude according to circumstances.
When one reflects that, to judge from the then existent situation,
there was absolutely no Power but Russia herself that was in any way likely to infringe the fundamental principle which she had enunciated, her lofty acquiescence in and expressed readiness to adhere strictly to the Anglo-German Agreement cannot but give rise to a smile and a chuckle over the manifest intention she thus betrayed of throwing dust in the eyes of Europe and America.
Russia's reckless and high-handed infractions of solemn pledges and treaties have been in the preceding pages but partially laid bare to the light of day, and unhappily there are still more serious counts in the indictment that must be reserved for a future article. As I shall have to show, the tenets upheld by Russian politicians, and particularly as exemplified in their treatment of Far Eastern Questions, are nothing short of a peril to the world at large, for they are of a character which must tend in time to sap the foundations of diplomatic intercourse and constitute a permanent menace to the peace of nations.
[To be concluded.]
THE COMING REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA
IN stating a confident opinion that an upheaval of the present condition of affairs in the Empire of the Tsar is nearer than is generally anticipated, I recognise the fact that it is incumbent on me to show some solid reasons for the pessimistic (or should I rather say optimistic?) views which I hold on this subject. In order to do this it is necessary to glance briefly at the social conditions of the country, and to trace in outline the events which have given rise to the present state of affairs.
That a nation consisting of more than a hundred million souls can for ever be kept in a condition entirely at variance with the destiny of the human race is obviously an impossibility. The question which arises is, to what point can a system be carried which imposes disabilities on those who live beneath it, which are not consistent with the dignity and natural aspirations of the human race?
The answer is to be found in the ability of the people to appreciate their condition, and therefore in education and enlightenment. So long as a man does not realise that his lot is less desirable than that of his neighbour, he does not greatly trouble himself about it. He is downtrodden and wretched, and he supposes that it is the normal condition of mankind, and he does not actively resent it. But show him others more advantageously placed than himself, and he will begin to long for a better condition, and to strive to attain to it. That is the case with the Russian nation. For centuries the people have been kept in ignorance of their plight. A rigid censorship of news from the outside world has hidden from them the more favourable circumstances under which other nations work out their destinies. This blinding of the eyes of the people has been deliberately carried on for the purpose of upholding an autocracy which assumes to itself a divine right, raising it above the level of ordinary, failing human nature. This fantastic conception of divine personality has become a part of the creed of a Tsar of Russia. He no longer regards himself as a mere man, and his subjects are instructed to look upon him as a demigod. It is a