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within two years. The contracts were awarded after a thorough consideration of plans submitted by European builders, the Japanese commissioners having first visited. the various shipbuilding yards in this and other countries.
The two vessels will cost about $3,000,000. Each will have a displacement of 4,760 tons. Their length over all will be 374 feet, with a breadth of 48 feet, an extreme depth of 30 feet, and a draught of 17 feet 9 inches. In point of speed they will outstrip any vessel in the American navy except the Minneapolis, which steams a trifle more than 23 knots an hour. The new vessels will make 224 knots under forced draught, which is a fraction faster than the Columbia, the sister ship of the Minneapolis.
They will be constructed with longitudinal and transverse bulkheads, divided into compartments, with an armored conning tower. The engine and boiler rooms will be protected underneath by a double bottom. Their batteries will consist of two 8-inch guns, with secondary batteries of ten 12-centimetre guns, twelve 12-pounders, and six 24-pounders. They will also have five torpedo tubes. The vessels will be built of the best quality of American steel and represent the newer types-of American construction. The engines will be tripleexpansion, with cylindrical boilers. Some of the guns will be manufactured in England, and the remainder in the imperial yards of Japan.
It is said that a similar contract will be given to an English shipbuilding firm, with a view to testing the relative merits of American and English skill.
Earl Li Hung-Chang reached Pekin October 20 on his return from his tour around the world. A few days later, October 26, came dispatches announcing one of those anomalies which seem to be characteristic of Chinese life in general. It was stated that Li had been appointed to a newly created office in the empire--that of minister of foreign affairs-and, in the same breath, that, for some breach of etiquette in connection with a visit to the empress dowager, he had been punished by fine and deprival of his honors.
Various accounts are given of the "breach of etiquette" committed. According to one, Li "presumed" to enter the forbidden ground of the precincts of the summer palace while visiting the empress dowager; according to another, his offense was in paying his respects to the empress dowager before presenting himself to the emperor. Whatever the pretext was, it is generally believed that the emperor was jealous of the influence of the empress dowager over the great viceroy.
As minister of foreign affairs Li Hung-Chang has been ordered to remove from Tien-tsin to Pekin. It is not yet
clear what powers will attach to his new post, or in what relation he will stand to the Tsung-li-Yamen, the board of ministers who have heretofore managed the foreign affairs of the empire.
A general revolt against the suzerainty of China is said to be now in progress in Thibet, the last of the outlying tributary states of the empire. The earliest advices reached us at the end of September.
Like the rebellions in Kan-Soo and Kiang-Peh (p. 694), the present trouble is partly traceable to the moral effects upon the subjects of China of their country's defeat in war with Japan. Like the Koreans, the Thibetans hope to regain their independence, and their hopes have been fostered by priests of the Dalai-Lama. Again, China has given direct offenses by opposing seriously the bands of Thibetan robbers which have begun to infest southern China. The result has been a wide uprising of the warlike mountaineers, which is now draining to some extent the military resources of the empire.
An incident of considerable interest from the point of view of international law, was the arrest and detention as a prisoner, at the Chinese legation in London, Eng., of Sun Yat-Sen, a medical student, well known in Hong Kong and said to be a member of the famons "White Lily" society, one of the most revolutionary of the numerous secret societies with which the Chinese empire is infested. Sun was arrested at the legation on October 11. On October 24 he was released on the peremptory demand of the British government.
The construction, now under way, of a railroad from Bangkok to Korat, marks, it is thought, the entrance of Siam upon an important era of development. A short narrow-gauge line to Paknam is the only other railway in the kingdom, and the new road is intended to be only the first of a large system of lines designed to open up communication with the most remote parts of the country. It will be 163 miles long, and will traverse a vast plain of alluvial soil reaching away to the Mekong river.
A dispatch of December 22 announced an attack by Siamese soldiers upon Mr. Kellett, vice-consul-general of the United States at Bangkok, who was wounded. The outrage followed a demand by the Siamese for the release of a consular clerk who, it was alleged, had been unjustly arrested. Mr. Barrett, United States minister, protested against the outrage, and the incident was under investigation at the close of the year.
The deadlock between the upper and lower houses of the Queensland legislature on the subject of the Federation Enabling bill (p. 695), has ended in the extinction of
the bill in that colony. The deadlock was caused by the claim of the legislative council to be associated with the lower house in the election of delegates to the convention which it was proposed to hold early in 1897.
It will be remembered that the intention of the bill agreed upon at the conference of premiers at Hobart (Vol. 5, p. 203), was to vest the power of electing delegates in the people of each colony on the basis of the existing franchise. The Queensland government, however, decided to depart from this principle, and to commit the election of delegates to the parliamentary representatives of the people. A bill to this effect passed the assembly; but the upper house, as a branch of parliament, insisted on its right to a voice in the selection of delegates, and amended the bill accordingly. Several conferences between the houses failed to adjust the difference; and the government of Sir Hugh Nelson finally decided to proceed no further with the measure. The ostensible reason given was that the end of the session was so near that no time remained for the carriage of a modified bill through the house; but it is hinted that the decision was based on a growing feeling manifested in influential commercial quarters, that the local interests of the colony would not be furthered by federation.
This action on the part of Queensland does not necessarily involve a stoppage of the federation movement. Western Australia has provisionally joined with New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria in an agreement to send representatives to a convention; and nothing need prevent Queensland, if it sees fit to modify its present attitude, from accepting by a subsequent parliamentary vote any scheme of federation approved by the other colonies.
A general election held in New Zealand, December 6, esulted in the return to power of the liberal government of Hon. R. J. Seddon, but with a considerably strengthened opposition. The general result was as follows: Government, 38; opposition, 27; labor party, 5. Great numbers of women voted; but the prohibitionists were everywhere defeated.
The leading issue in the contest concerned finance. Between April, 1893, when Mr. Seddon assumed office, and the end of the fiscal year 1895-6, the public debt of the colony increased from £38,144,070 to £42,271,889, and a further increase of £1,000,000 has been authorized by a loan bill for public works. This increase of expenditure has been in accordance with the progressive socialistic program of the liberal party, which has borrowed money for advances to settlers, for land settlement and improvements, and for the purchase of native lands. The opponents of the government do not approve of an application of the powers of the state to such uses, but at the same time generally recognize that the results of the experiment cannot be fairly judged in the short period for which it has been tried.
A bill establishing female suffrage and abolishing
plural voting was passed by the assembly of Victoria early in December. Its fate in the council is in doubt, there being a strong sentiment there that so vital an alteration ought to be submitted to the electors.
The total wheat crop of the six Australian colonies for 1896 is estimated at 18,643,000 bushels, a deficiency of over 7,000,000 bushels.
The Philippine Revolt.-Considering the difficulty of obtaining reliable information of the movements of the Spanish and insurgent forces in near-by Cuba, it is not strange that conflicting reports of the causes and progress of the revolt in the Philippine islands make it still more difficult to sum up clearly the exact state of affairs in those regions, which form the last important colonial possession of Spain in the old world, as do Cuba and Porto Rico in the new. A special correspondent to the New York Herald, writing from Manila December 12, gives his opin
"The rebellion is rather social than political, and is largely directed against the Spanish friars, who have over-educated the na tives, filling them with new aspirations, which, after the example of the Japanese successes, have stimulated the Filippinos to throw off the yoke of the Europeans."
Another writer says:
"The statements that have been made to the effect that the na tives were groaning under a burden of priestly oppression and extertion, are gross falsehoods originating among those who have reason to know that the friars will not sit silently by and allow the people to be ground down and squeezed dry by officials and traders, or be used to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for revolutionary malcontents. * * The originators of the revolution are those who are desirous of severing the Philippine islands from Spain and creating a republic there. They have hatched their plots in secret conclaves, and they have experienced no difficulty in finding men to carry out their base designs, but the relations of the natives with the friars remain practically unchanged."
Probably the immediate cause of the outbreak was the increase by almost thirty per cent of existing land and agricultural taxes, which are borne entirely by the native population, the avowed object of this increase being to provide resources for the continuation of the war in Cuba. This led to the withdrawal of the head men of the towns and villages responsible for the collection of the taxes, to the mountains; and the native troops commanded by Spaniards, sent out against them, killed their officers and joined themselves to the insurgents. When the news
reached Madrid, peremptory orders were issued by Prime Minister Canovas del Castillo for the wholesale arrest of foreign and native members of the secret societies which abound in the Philippines and are regarded by the Spanish authorities as centres for the spread of revolutionary ideas. At Manila, the capital, alone, over 400 citizens were arrested and jailed August 23; but, instead of suppressing the revolutionary feeling, this action rather added fuel to the flames.
At the opening of the quarter, the insurgents were but poorly organized; and the attacks in the vicinity of Manila, it is affirmed, were made by men classed as banditti, to whom plundering and outrage is second nature, most of them half-breeds in foreign employ and without political aspirations. The Spanish defenses, October 1, comprised six warships chiefly occupied in defending the dockyards and arsenal at Cavite, about four miles from Manila, some three or four thousand Spanish marine infantry dispatched from Barcelona and Cadiz, one batallion of Spanish artillery, one regiment of native infantry commanded by Spanish officers, a few companies of native cavalry and carbineers, and about a thousand volunteers. During October the town of Nasugdu was taken by the Spanish with a loss to the insurgents of 114 killed. The discovery of a conspiracy against the government in the Sooloo islands, the arrest of several Japanese suspected of secretly aiding the rebels in Manila, and the sending of a warship to Manila by the Japanese government, were also reported.
On November 11 the Spanish were repulsed with a loss of 200 men at Novaleta. Other dispatches during the month announced the defeat of 4,000 insurgents at Santa Cruz with heavy losses, including the insurgent leader Abad and the capture of San Juan after severe fighting. At the close of November, Don Ramon Blanco the generalin-chief of the Spanish troops in Manila, for culpable indifference and apathy, was removed, and his place filled by General Polavieja, who sailed from Barcelona with a large staff of officers early in the month.
Advices from Manila at the beginning of December stated that the revolt had extended to all the provinces of Luzon. The active insurgent forces were then estimated at 100,000, one-quarter armed and used to solid earthworks, the remainder possessing only barbarous weapons. The provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna were counted rebel strongholds. On December 11 an entire native column deserted to the insurgents at St. José, Bulacan, and the same day the Spanish troops were reinforced by the arrival of 2,000 troops from Spain. Some rebel prisoners at Cavite overpowered and killed six of the guards, December 6, and escaped into the city. They were, however, recaptured, and 170 of them shot. On the 17th, the British cruiser Spartan left Hong Kong to reinforce the Daphne, Pigmy, and Pique at Manila; and the Japanese cruiser Yoshino arrived at Manila about the same date. The statement made byfa Madrid paper that the Japanese are assisting the rebels with men and munitions of war, has been officially denied.
The quarter closed with reports that the insurgents had been defeated at San Mateo by Colonel Marina's column, and that there had been heavy fighting at Balinag and Nueva Ecija. General Rios drove the insurgents from the latter place with great slaughter. This victory was followed by a fierce battle at Santa Maria in the province