Page images
[blocks in formation]

Once that far-off phantom shore

Seemed a lonely fearful place,
Now our dead are gone before

It will be no stranger face
Our reopened eyes shall trace.

George Ires The Saturday Review,

For here's the seat beside the fire Where some mid sit and teżke their





J Weekly Magazine of Contemporary Literature and Thougbt..

[blocks in formation]

What shall it profit a nation if it adequately maintained. To Japan the gain the whole world and lose its own gain by the alliance was largely a senintegrity? This is a question which is timental one, since it demonstrated to a very pertinent one to all citizens of all the world the fact that Japan had the British Empire at the present mo made so great a progress that an alliment. On January 30th, 1902, the ance with a great European Power Anglo-Japanese treaty of alliance was was possible. Beyond this the alliance signed in London, and was the result, partook rather of the nature of a to quote Lord Lansdowne's words, of shadowy assurance against attack by the discovery that the Far Eastern two Powers. For Great Britain the policy of the two nations "was identi- gains, even before the Russian war, cal.” The British Foreign Minister were much more substantial. British also referred to the treaty as "an in- diplomacy assumed a new importance ternational contract of binding valid at Peking when backed by Japan, and ity." Since January, 1902, how bas amongst other results, the Tibetan this alliance, entered into as “of mutual expedition was rendered possible. advantage to the two countries,” been Since the beginning of the Russoobserved by the contracting parties? Japanese war and the consequent reveUp to the outbreak of the war with lation of Japan's power, the advantages Russia there was little test of the sin- to British diplomacy in Europe have cerity of the two Powers, and, although been very considerable. If the advanGreat Britain seemed content to view tages accruing to one and the other be with comparative indifference Russian compared, there can be no doubt that aggression in Manchuria and Korea, Great Britain got the best of the barthe alliance may be said to have been gain. Should any one feel inclined to

dispute this let him travel around Eu- was, the traffic was carried on openly rope, especially in the small Balkan and shamelessly, without any real at. States, and their attitude towards tempt by the Government or by public Great Britain alone and Great Britain opinion to prevent it. The case of the and Japan allied will speedily afford destroyer Caroline, which sailed down him sufficient proof. Great Britain is the Thames past the Houses of Parliaenvied her good fortune in having seen ment, en route to Libau, under the clearly enough to ally herself to the charge of British subjects, is more coming Power before the world knew serious from the point of principle than Japan's worth. The opinion of the of actual and material damage. But Continent on this subject is very much since the builders of the Caroline have that of a mining camp towards a miner publicly stated that they warned the who has staked out his claim in an im- Admiralty that the ship had been sold, mensely rich diamond field before any it seems difficult to exonerate the one else knew diamonds were there. Government from at least tacit conni. This Continental envy is convincing vance at this open assistance of the proof of the alliance with Japan, were opponent of our ally. British ships such proof needed. But, after all, it have taken coal to the Baltic Fleet, is not a question of relative advantage and thus deliberately assisted the pas. or disadvantage; it is simply a question sage of a hostile fleet towards Japan, of fact. The treaty was made and our ally. A very flagrant case was that stands; how has it been kept? The of the Roddam, which openly conveyed record of British policy during the war coal to Suda Bay for the Baltic Fleet, is such as to cause any thinking Eng without calling down any of the punlishman seriously to question the moral ishments legally enforceable against adequacy of our foreign policy. Do we her owners or her crew, of whom at make treaties to keep them, or is it least a certain proportion are British. permissible to break both the spirit presumably. The enthusiastic weland the letter of a treaty when urged to come of the Baltic Fleet by the author. do so by a senseless fear? And there ities in Egypt contrasts very curiously is reason for such a query, except, alas! with the reception accorded to the that it must be added that business has Spanish Fleet under Admiral Cervera proved as potent a charm as b'as in 1898, when it was attempting to fear. Great Britain has not even been pass through the Canal to reach the neutral-certainly not benevolently Philippines. In the words of Cervera's neutral-towards her ally. Without own despatch, "after waiting four going into details, there are several days for the decision of the Egyptian flagrant examples of Great Britain's Government as to trans-shipping coal lack of good faith towards Japan. The to the Pelayo, this trans-shipment has trade with the Russian Government been forbidden, and we have been and the Russian Baltic Fleet in Welsh ordered at once to leave all Egyptian coal could probably only have been ports." This treatment was at the prevented by an individual sense of time ascribed to British benevolent rectitude too great to be hoped for in neutrality to the United States during any nation where civilization has been her war with Spain. All the more redeveloped along individual rather than markable appears, then, the permission along national lines. But the Govern- given to the Baltic Fleet to take in coal ment might well have assisted the na- at Port Said. Is there one kind of tional conscience by making the path benevolent neutrality when it only of money-earning more difficult. As it calls for action against a smaller Power, and quite another when a first the unnecessary truckling to Russia im. class Power is in question? The idea plied by the change in the wording of is bardly very creditable to us, and yet the convention, the whole arrangement the United States was not allied to is a distinct breach of the fourth article us, while Japan is. Not content with of the treaty of alliance with Japan. allowing the ships to coal, special ar- This states that, "The High Contractrangements were made to secure the ing Parties agree that neither of them safety of the Baltic Fleet, while pass- will, without consulting the other, ing through the Canal. Great Britain enter into separate arrangements with did not only break neutrality, but she another Power to the prejudice of the also broke the convention with Japan, interests described in the foregoing in which it is decreed that :


How ever British diplomats could If either Great Britain or Japan, in have allowed themselves to be enticed the defence of their respective interests into this Russian trap passes compreas above described, should become in

hension. Quite apart from the breach volved in war with another Power, the

of good faith with Japan in connection other high contracting party will maintain a strict neutrality and use its ef- with

with the North Sea incident, it is inforts to prevent other Powers from teresting to note the effect which was joining in hostilities against its ally. produced by the devious course of

British diplomacy on the smaller EuroTo grant such valuable assistance to pean States and on the Asiatic peoples. Russia as against Japan by enabling These saw in the incident an opportuthe Russian Fleet to proceed towards nity for Great Britain to raise her that country, is as clear an infraction prestige without running any risk of of the treaty as can be imagined. And a war with Russia. Although these what must not be forgotten is that the countries close their eyes too easily perContinent looks at all these incidents haps to moral arguments, it is well for in a way derogatory to British prestige, us not to ignore what was the effect and as signs of British fear of Russia. of the fatal half-strong, half-weak Along this line was the announcement policy adopted by the British Governof the Russian Admiral that the British ment. The first few days the prestige Fleet had “protected" the Baltic Fleet of Great Britain went up, but by the during part of its journey, and the time the convention was announced it presentation of a cup by the Tsar to had fallen so low as to be quite invisia British naval officer. The latter is a ble. A case in point is to be found in disgrace to Great Britain, and it must Persia. The Russian reverses had have come as a surprise to many that strengthened the hands of Sir Arthur the traditions of the British Navy could Hardinge in Teheran, but the British happily submit to such a studied insult. retreat before Russia, as it appeared The British action in connection with to the Persians, led the Shah at once the North Sea incident is perhaps the to send a special mission of friendship worst of all the crimes against our ally. to St. Petersburg. So little trouble The North Sea Convention, as it finally does Great Britain take to maintain her emerged from the St. Petersburg prestige, that at the present moment mould, bears every sign of being a it is not too much to say that British treaty to try Japan-our ally-for an prestige is upheld by Japan. Espeoffence with which nobody, not even cially is this the case with Asiatic those Russians who affirm it, believe countries. An Englishman from the Japan had anything to do. Apart from Far East recently wrote an excellent

article on this subject in the St. James's connection with the Baltic Fleet's Gazette. He said :

journey to the Far East which would

force the nations having ports in the It is Japan alone that has saved us and the British Empire from a reduc

south of Asia to come to a definite de tion to impotence in the China Seas.

cision upon the possibility of allowing ... Instead of the Alliance producing facilities to one belligerent and not to a feeling of satisfaction that we possess the other. Suppose, as is quite possithe friendship and support of a nation ble, that Admiral Togo decided to go which has shown itself superior in or- and meet the Baltic Fleet in the Maganization to all the rest of the world,

layan Archipelago, and in the pursuance an utterly illogical apprehension tends to drive them

of this policy were to put into Saigon into the opposite extreme. Such people cannot see that or Singapore to repair and coal. Would our international position minus the the French and British authorities be Alliance would be hazardous in the prepared to grant to the Japanese ships extreme, and that if there is one factor the same facilities as were granted to which has furthered our European

the Baltic Fleet in French harbors and policy more than another, it has been

in Egypt? the alliance with Japan. The backing of Japan, especially in Asian politi

The net result of the attitude of the cal questions, has strengthened our

European Powers during this war has diplomacy immensely, and increasingly been to call up very considerable so ever since the world was forced to doubts as to the existence of any recognize the brilliant efficiency of the international morality amongst them. Mikado's naval and military power. Of course it is well known that inter

Japanese statesmen have not by any national law is very backward, and means overlooked the British laxity in consists of a few great conventions, neutrality, as is evidenced by the fol- such as the Geneva and Hague conlowing statement made by Baron ventions, and local treaties affecting Suyematsu :

only parts of the community. But

there is, besides these international It is strongly felt that the nations of laws, an international morality, just Europe are assisting Russia in a way as in private life there are many things never contemplated by us. I do not

governed by sentiments or public opinsuggest that England is not fulfilling

ion and not by law. Gradually the her duty as an ally, but even in this country much indirect assistance is system of international morality was being rendered to Russia by individ. to develop into a system of internauals.

tional law, binding upon all the world But for the assistance of the sub -such was the desire of all progresjects of neutral States, the Baltic Fleet

sive people. All nations are unanicould never have put to sea, and it

mous in declaring themselves desirous could not have gone far without Eng. lish coal. Probably this sale is not

for peace, and as abhorring war. effected directly, but Russia is receiy. Therefore they might have been exing very material assistance.

pected, if not actually to work for When contraband trade is carried on peace, not to work against it. And yet, in the present wholesale and open what is the case to-day? Instead of fashion, the Government of the coun

working for peace, the European natry in question should take steps to

tions are urging on the war. Two men prevent the continuance of action prejudicial to another nation, especially

are fighting in the street in a private when that nation happens to be an ally. quarrel, and instead of attempting to

i dissuade them from their fisticuffs, the There might easily arise a case in spectators are handing now one a

« PreviousContinue »