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French nation is misled into the expectation of a fresh military adventure with a strong ally at its side. There is a new Orleanist Pretender now to the fore, and the Republic had better watch him.
Though the Russian government may be in no mood to begin a war for the sake of the beautiful eyes of France, or for the object of helping her to the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine, the mere fact of the closer relations between Paris and St. Petersburg perpetuates, and, so far as Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Italy are concerned, unfortunately necessitates, the increase of military and naval forces. It must be remembered that in Russia such increase is ordered by a stroke of the pen. In France all parties are agreed to vote anything government asks for in that direction almost without discussion. Heavy burdens are thus laid upon the populations of central and southern Europe, which are far less able to bear them than wealthier France or despotically governed Russia. Now, the never-ceasing accumulation of what in the end becomes really an easily inflammable material, constitutes a terrible peril both to the prosperity and the peace of the Continent.
The Czar is usually regarded as omnipotent in his vast Empire. Still, it stands to reason that he, too, like other arbitrary rulers, is dependent on court, military, and bureaucratic cliques which gain his ear. He cannot supervise, he cannot ordain, everything. No human frame could stand such strain. In foreign politics, more especially, the main lines of aggressive tendencies in Europe as well as in Asia have for a long time past been laid down under the predecessors of the present Autocrat. And he evidently means, or is made, to follow them, though as yet he has done so without an appeal to arms.
Constantinople and India are manifest aims and objects of Russian policy. Thanks to the imprudence with which Lord Salisbury allowed himself to be led into a trap, in the Armenian question, by Mr. de Nelidoff, the wily Russian ambassador at the Porte, England's old ally has come almost under the protection of the Czar. In the Balkan States, where Bulgaria formerly made a strong stand against Muscovite pretensions, Russia has evidently, since the assassination of Stambuloff, and since Prince Ferdinand's turn towards the Orthodox Church, recovered a good deal of ground. In Asia it has been the steady endeavor of
Russian policy since Peter I. to come nearer and nearer to India. The so-called “Last Will of Peter the Great” is a proved forgery, but the ideas contained therein have mainly guided the course of the Czars for more than a century and a half. By force and fraud and false promises made to England, whenever a new attack was prepared against one of the Central Asian Khanates, Russia has made her way gradually through an immense stretcb of territory from the Caspian Sea ap to, and even beyond, the frontier of Afghanistan. Ever renewed breaches of the most solemn assurances-occasionally even given to Queen Victoria by a Czar “on the word of a gentlemen ”-have been the regularly recurring incidents in these modern “Alexander Expeditions" towards India. For my part I believe that in India England acts the useful part of a guardian of peace between contending races and creeds, as well as a protector of the security of the country against possible attack from the north.
She has, moreover, done away, by her legislation, with some of the worst abuses which were the outgrowth of Indian superstition. She has conferred upon multitudes of Indians the boon of a better system of instruction. She has recently made also some honorable efforts in the direction of popular self-rule within her Asiatic Empire. Let the hand of England be withdrawn, and to-morrow the bitter feuds of races and religions would throw India into a sad convulsion. Then, a despotic power, detested by the best intellects in all its own chief cities, would presently step in as a conqueror, with an oppressive military organization, with a host of semi-barbarous hordes as its retinue, and with an administration more corrupt than that of any Oriental tyranny. Could progress thus be furthered ?
Yet is it not strange that a fellow-exile of Alexander Herzen—who himself was a preacher of the destiny of Russia to "regenerate the corrupt blood (!) of the Germano-Romanic world”_ namely, Iwan Golowin, whom I knew personally years ago, should have written the following, in his “ Russia under Alexander II. ” (Leipzig : 1870):
“Injustice towards a ruler who has so great a task, who bears so heavy a burden, as the Emperor of All the Russias, would be unpardonable, even for an exile
But even if I were to say that the Emperor Alexander II. had invented the gunpowder, it would not better my position. I may, at all
events, write this : that he has only entered upon the footsteps of Alexander the Great as far as Samarcand, and that it remains reserved to Alexander IV. to conquer India.”
Since that was written Alexander III. has come and gone. Samarcand has long been passed. A new ruler is on the Russian throne, not called Alexander IV., but Nicholas II. That, however, as the French saying is, is merely a detail. Nay, the Russian approach to India has since then been effected also from the Pamir side ; and England has not dared to offer any opposition. In vain have there been warnings, for many years, by men who have studied the state of affairs most intimately, such as Sir Henry Rawlinson, Colonel Malleson (“ The Russo-Afghan Question, and the Invasion of India'), Mr. Charles Marvin, and others. On their part, the most prominent Liberal and Conservative statesmen of England have too often sneered at far-seeing and monitory covnsels by speaking airily of “that standing hobgoblin of Russia,” “that political nightmare," " that terror of old women," and so forth ; meaning the possibility of a close approach to, and a final invasion of, India by the Muscovite Power. One of those statesmen, years ago, satirized the warners by telling them to “buy very large maps, in order to see how far Russia still is from the Indian frontier,” To-day he could not repeat that exploded fallacy.
At Constantinople and at Sofia, at Paris and at Pekin, the influence of Russia has latterly made itself felt. The relations she has now with Turkey and China are a distinct damage to the prestige of England. Even the more or less underhand, but very persistent, opposition offered by France to the maintenance of the English occupation of Egypt, has a kind of reserve support now at St. Petersburg. Time will show that, in the East, Russia and England cannot play the part of two kings at Brentford, smelling at one rose. Yet there are English Liberals who have become untrue to the traditions of their party in foreign affairs ; misguided Conservatives who have not seen, and will not see, the real aim of Russian policy in the East; and, last but not least, ritualistic High Churchmen who dream of a “unification” of the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches with their own : all of these parties constituting, so to say, a triple parallelogram of forces in favor of Muscovite aggrandizement. Thus the trend of the situation is towards the
very brink of a great danger, and those who do not live politically from hand to mouth are anxiously watching the signs at the horizon.
Postscript.-On the day after the above had been sent off there came from Moscow the news of the terrible disaster which marred the coronation festivities by a loss of life equal to that of a great battle.
To those who study with an unbiased mind the reports of the ghastly Moscow "crush ” and “rout,” there is something unspeakably painful in the description of the brutishness and the callousness of the masses of besotted mujiks, who, for the sake of a tinsel cup, & sausage, a piece of bread, and a few sweetmeats, trampled each other to death in their hundred-thousands ; the survivors coming afterwards back, in the most unconcerned manner, to continue enjoying the sorry amusements offered to them, while heaps of disfigured corpses were still lying about. Next to the horrors of this spectacle of inhumanity, the foreign observer notes the shocking contrast of the uninterrupted festirities at court. Nor can he help being disgusted by the heartless way in which the Moscow journals were made, evidently by government order, to restrict their report of the unparalleled event to a hundred words, couched in the coldest language, without a syllable of sympathetic commiseration.
The barbarousness of the condition of Russia, in spite of the outward glitter of pompous ceremonies, is thus brought home to the slowest understanding. It would be a fortunate day for a nation whose peasantry is so degraded, and whose educated classes are disinherited from all legislative representation, if at last a beginning were made with home reforms in a parliamentary sense, instead of the energy of the country being incessantly used for new territorial conquests and a policy of aggression which in the end may lead to one of those tremendous and sudden collapses not infrequent in Muscovite history. Thousands have, this time, “ died for the Czar.” Let Nicholas II. beware lest, by persisting in the autocratic course of his namesake and his predecessors, he should bring danger upon the unwieldy empire and provoke for himself the fate of Alexander II.
SOME INTERNATIONAL DELUSIONS.
BY THE REV. FRANCIS E. CLARK, D.D., PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOR.
In a peculiarly leisurely fashion the steamers of the Messageries Maritimes go circling around the Mediterranean coast from Alexandria to Constantinople, forming numberless little loops as they stop by day to discharge their cargo at some insignificant port, and then sail on when evening comes to the next place of call.
Among my fellow-passengers recently on one of these good but very slow ships, the “ Irrawadie,” was a little curly-haired English boy, who had evidently been brought up in the strictest sect of the aristocracy-an embryonic Englishman of the Englishmen.
“Do you speak French, little boy ? " said a good lady to him, who was trying to scrape acquaintance with the youthful Briton.
“Oh, naow,” said the little chap.
“But wouldn't you like to learn American ?” persisted the lady.
“Oh, naow, thanks," answered this sturdy little patriot. “It is very, very nahsty to speak American.”
The verdict of this terrible infant is the one that would, very likely, be given by many Englishmen and English women of a larger growth. It is taken for granted by a great number of otherwise most intelligent and respectable citizens of the mother country, without any special investigation of what it is to speak American” or “act American," that it is a “very, very nahsty thing" to do. And it is only fair to say that there is a large class