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presence of the authorities, the army, the English officer, Bigham, and a large crowd of people. The High Priest Konoploff said: “Now is the Cross raised on that bank of the Amur which yesterday was Chinese. Mouravieff foretold that sooner or later this bank would be ours.' In a beautiful speech General Gribsky congratulated the victorious troops. (September 7.]
Let us now see what Russia was doing all this time in the devious paths of her diplomacy.
When, in July, the idea of concentrating the general command of the international forces was mooted on the Continent, an idea which crystallised into the determination to despatch the German general, Count von Waldersee, to China, Russia, referring to the importance of the ulterior military measures, and expressing herself as averse to the selection of a commander either on account of his seniority of rank among the generals in command, or the greater size of the contingent that he might control, invited the opinion of the interested Powers. The trend of her lurking motive was sufficiently obvious, and any effort on my part to expose it would now be superfluous. When, moreover, further explanations were sought from Count Lamsdorff by Great Britain concerning the ulterior military measures that Russia appeared to have in mind, and as to the suggested scope of the authority to be delegated to this generalissimo, the British Ambassador was informed that the field of action of the international forces might in practice be roughly defined as the province of PeChih-li, and that as regards other parts of China where dangers might equally be present, it was clear that the direction of any necessary military measures would have to be undertaken independently. * For instance, Russia would have to undertake independent military action in the North of China bordering on her own territory and on her railway, and it was to be assumed that other Powers would act similarly in the south and centre of China where their own territorial and special interests were more immediately concerned.'
At a casual glance this proposal seemed to be very fair, but it was not difficult to perceive the specious nature of the arrangement that was veiled by these suggestions. Nevertheless, one thing was certain—namely, that if independent action should be taken, no matter in what part of China, it could not but be subject to the restrictions involved in the application of the broad line of policy which Russia had herself enunciated under the head of fundamental principles,' and to which she stood committed in the eyes of all the world.
On the 14th of August, 1900, the international forces entered Peking, and the Legations were relieved. Eight days later, on the 22nd of the month, Sir Charles Scott, by the direction of Lord Salisbury, inquired of Count Lamsdorff about the affair at Newchwang, concerning which certain information, implying Russian aggression, had reached the British Government on the 20th. Count Lamsdorff at once replied that any steps taken could only be of a provisional and temporary nature, but at the same time he promised to 'inquire what were the real facts of the case.' But with what result?
On the 28th of August, and during the next few days, identical communications were addressed by Russia to all the interested Powers, and the text of these despatches reads very like an attempt 'to kill two birds with one stone.' It began with a repetition of the timehonoured declaration that she remained faithful to the 'fundamental principles ' which she had proposed to the Powers as a basis of common action, and announced her intention strictly to adhere, in the future, to the programme laid down therein. The despatch went on to state that the occupation of Newchwang and the sending of troops into Manchuria had been forced upon Russia by the progress of events, such as the attack by the rebels on Russian troops at Newchwang and the hostilities begun by the Chinese along the Russian frontier, and had been dictated solely by the absolute necessity of repelling the aggression of the Chinese rebels, and not in any way with interested motives, which were absolutely foreign to the policy of the Imperial Government.'
Directly the pacification of Manchuria was attained (the communication continued], and the necessary measures had been taken to ensure the security of the railroad, Russia would not fail to withdraw her troops from Chinese territory, provided that such action did not meet with obstacles caused by the proceedings of other Powers.
The communication then proceeded to state that in occupying Peking the first and most important object-namely, the rescue of the Legations and of the foreigners besieged in Peking—had been attained. The second object-namely, that of rendering assistance to China in the restoration of order and the re-establishment of regular relations with the Powers--had been hindered by the absence of the Chinese Court from Peking. In these circumstances the Russian Government saw no reason for the Legation to remain in Peking, and proposed to withdraw it to Tien-tsin, together with the Russian troops, whose presence in Peking now became useless in view of the decision taken not to exceed the limits of the task which, it was alleged, Russia had undertaken at the beginning of the disorders.
This communication served mainly to augment on all sides the growing suspicion regarding Russia's sincerity of purpose. It was all very well for her to repeat, as she did so often, the avowal of her 'fundamental principles, but the vital question was whether or not she honestly intended herself to be bound by them.
The phrase ' unless she is prevented by the action of other Powers,' which was more than once employed, was one to engender a certain amount of distrust. It could not receive any interpretation other than, as the sequel proved, the truly justifiable one of being an artful provision of a way of escape from the obligations of her pledges, for what other Power could there be disposed to hinder Russia so long as her own object should remain purely that of faithfully carrying out her own promises ?
As to the proposal to withdraw her Legation as well as her troopswhich, by the way, she promptly did, without waiting for the other Powers' concurrence-Peking had only a fortnight or so previously been rescued from a terrible fate, and the views entertained by other Governments were that there was still a great risk to be run in a too speedy evacuation of the Chinese capital; but Russia held to her own course with great tenacity. Her attitude towards the restoration of the Chinese Government, moreover, was almost inconsistent with the principles to which she ostentatiously professed, in the earlier part of the communication, to adhere, and in sober truth her behaviour cannot be considered otherwise than as having purposely protracted the unsettled state of things in Central China in order that she might gain time for the establishment of a firm hold upon Manchuria.
Diplomatic correspondence was, of course, entered upon with alacrity, and I may here give the essence of the American reply to Russia's communication, for it seems to have embodied precisely the sentiments that were generally entertained among the Powers. It expressed satisfaction with the reiterated declaration of Russia that she entertained no design of territorial aggrandisement at China's expense, and also that assurances were forthcoming about the occupancy of Newchwang, which Russia had explained was merely incidental to military steps, so that the Russian troops would be withdrawn from the treaty port as soon as order should be re-established. It referred to the important tasks yet remaining, such as the restoration of order, the safety and general peace of China, and the preservation of the Chinese territorial and administrative entity, protection of all rights guaranteed by treaty and international law to friendly Powers, and the safeguard for the world underlying the principle of equal and impartial trade with all parts of the Chinese Empire, and it proceeded to state that these purposes could best be attained by continuing the joint occupation of Peking. Next it laid stress upon the importance of the Powers maintaining their concord, thus indirectly expressing disapproval of Russia's attitude.
On the 29th of August, just after Russia had sent round the abovementioned communication to the Powers, Count Lamsdorff, in a long conversation with the British Ambassador, spoke most forcibly of the Russian determination to adhere to the so-called fundamental principles, and went on to remark that "it had been assumed that Russia was taking advantage of the present crisis to extend her territory and influence at the cost of China by permanently occupying territory on the right bank of the Amur in Manchuria, and at Newchwang, and by seizing control of the Customs and lines of railway in which foreign capital was interested. This was entirely incorrect. Russia had no such intention, and any places which she had been obliged by the attack of Chinese rebels on her frontier to occupy temporarily, she intended, when the status quo ante and order were re-established, to restore to their former position.'
One may well be reminded of Ben Jonson's lines :
The dignity of truth is lost
On the 11th of September Sir Charles Scott announced, by Lord Salisbury's direction, to Count Lamsdorff, that in the opinion of her Majesty's Government the time when it would be expedient to withdraw the British forces from Peking had not arrived. It would appear that about this period public comment grew in intensity with the deepening of the obscurity in which the Russian motives and designs were enshrouded, and it was, we may fairly assume, with a wish to allay this increasing uneasiness that Count Lamsdorff begged Sir Charles Scott to make it clear to the British Government that the different course Russia had decided upon was not in any way to be taken as indicating the slightest intention of separating herself from the general action of the Powers, and that she had chosen that course on her part as she considered it desirable to have her troops as well as her Minister as soon as possible in a position where communication with their Government would be easy and rapid. He also asserted that the Emperor (of Russia) was more firmly determined than ever to continue in loyal co-operation with all the other Powers, and to abide by his agreement with them as to common aim and direction, and the Russian action and aims would be faithfully kept within the limits of the statement made in Count Lamsdorff's own circular, and, further, that there was nothing more foreign to the Emperor's mind than to entertain the selfish aims or motives for his action with which certain foreign newspapers had credited him.
When, on the 13th of September, the British Ambassador called the attention of Count Lamsdorff to the report of the celebration of the so-called "relief of Blagovestchensk,' described in a preceding page, criticising it as contrary to the expressed views of Russia, Count Lamsdorff begged the British representative to take no further notice of that action on the part of a military commander, and went on to confirm the assurances of the Russian Government's intention not to make territorial acquisitions in China. He urged in explanation of the proceedings at Blagovestchensk that distances were so great and means of communication so few that it was not easy to keep the authorities in distant parts of the Empire in touch with the views of the Central Government.
Truly this was explanation à la Russe !
While discussions of this kind were taking place in St. Petersburg, more audacious acts were continually being perpetrated in Manchuria itself. On the 17th of August a code of rules and regulations was published in the Amur Gazette, in the name of Lieut.-General Gribsky, the Military Governor, by which the Manchu territory of the TransZeya, and the territory that had been occupied by the Russian troops on the right bank of the Amur, were proclaimed as having passed into the jurisdiction of the Russian authorities. The Chinese who had quitted the river bank for the Trans-Zeya region were forbidden to return, and their lands were appropriated to the exclusive use of Russian colonists. All private individuals were absolutely forbidden to settle in the former towns of Ai-gun and Sakalin-both on the Manchurian side of the frontier—as also in their vicinity. The reestablishment of these towns was interdicted, and the Chinese buildings which had remained in them undemolished were to be devoted to the warehousing of military stores and the quartering within their walls of Russian troops.
Such being the case, it was surely not to be wondered at that in some of the Continental organs it was declared that Russia had annexed the conterminous Manchurian territories. An official denial was published on the 1st of October, in the Messager Officiel, to the effect that the report of the annexation was entirely devoid of foundation. It is possible that some of the acts of the military authorities had not obtained the full concurrence of the Foreign Office at St. Petersburg, but the general trend of Russian policy was sufficiently clear, and in the first week of October the whole of Manchuria was in the possession of Russia, including the palace of Mukden and the Ying-Kow terminus of the Shanhaikwan Railway, over which the Russian flag was hoisted, not to speak of most public offices and all telegraph wires and establishments.
It may be worth remembering that when the Russian troops occupied Newchwang and hoisted the Russian flag at the Customs flagstaff, the consuls of Great Britain, America, and Japan sent a formal notice to the Russian authorities that it was presumed this step had been taken as a temporary measure only, and was due to military exigencies, and that they claimed the reservation of all rights and privileges which their countries enjoyed. Admiral Alexeieff officially replied that the temporary administration which Russia was about to establish there was in the interests of the foreign residents in general, as well as the Russians, and that the rights and privileges they had enjoyed in the settlement (Ying-Kow) would not be infringed. The administration was established, but it was neither of a temporary character nor dictated by considerations of military expediency. It did not cease until long after even a pretence of its necessity could with decency be put forward-in fact, it was never