possesses all the external graces which the Englishman lacks, or he can adorn himself with them at will, which is the same thing for practical purposes. He shines in society with all the advantages derived from wit, versatility of manner and mind, the desire and the talent to please. Superior to the Frenchman, who is shallow, blinded by offensive conceit and always on personal exhibition for the sake of gloriole, he is armed with deep purpose, tact and penetration. Thus, he has in his make the elements of the diplomatist par excellence. His reputation as such is absolutely justified. The Russian diplomatic service is one of the most formidable machines in existence, comparable in many respects to the Jesuit organization. It exhibits the same deeply planned and unswerving purpose, the same discipline, the same merciless elimination of worthless elements, the same spirit of sacrifice, the same resourcefulness. The Russian Government knows exactly what it wants, forms plans for a distant future and carries them out with a steadfastness and tenacity of purpose to be secured only by the conditions of autocracy. From its agents it demands success, and does not care how it is obtained. The practice of Russian diplomatic agents in places where it pays to do so, as in the East and in the Balkan countries and maybe others, is to inquire not only into the political conditions of the State, but also into the workings of Society, written with a capital S. There is no household of importance into which his curiosity does not throw a searching glance. Domestic troubles, the relations of husband to wife, the morality of both, a loss at cards, the amount owing to the butcher—all these items of information and many others are greedily collected, some by the agent himself, the greater part by his subordinates, whose mission it is to be watchful and report everything they see and hear. This information is classified, docketed and combined so as to be turned to account for political purposes at a favorable moment. How far unscrupulousness of method is carried by these arch-diplomatists it is unnecessary to specify. Recent events in China and in the Balkan peninsula are sufficiently eloquent.

The result of such an organization is evident. Russia triumphs everywhere. Her interests in Turkey are as important as those of England, and though she is in a far better position than her rival to carry out threats she has recourse to this means only in the last extremity, always preferring the insinuating and unctuous

methods of diplomacy which spare pride and vanity, the two deepest motives of humanity. It is wonderful to watch her tactics in the East, where she knows that success is a question mainly depending on the art of ingratiation. With admirable skill she lays herself out to win the good graces, not only of persons in actual power, but of any and every individual whom a jerk in the balance of imperial favor may some day invest with important functions—that is to say, everybody. She neglects no one, and is "aux petits soins" with every native to whom her caresses and flatteries are all the more delightful because the European world is generally so contemptuous, indifferent or brutal to him. She follows the careers of native officials with jealous attention, recommends and pushes those who show the dispositions that suit her, puts obstacles in the way of the others. Not only does she excel in taking advantage of opportunities, but she is unsurpassable in the art of creating them. In a word, she is masterful in the highest degree and proportionately successful.

This comparison between Great Britain and Russia in the walks of diplomacy has not been undertaken to give expression to a preference for the former or criticism of the latter. Neither is its object to censure the methods of diplomacy or to approve of them. It is simply a statement of facts, meant to serve as a contribution to the comprehension of the political action of States in the busy and complicated struggle which secretly rages between them, until it breaks out into the flames of war.

Before concluding, I should like to correct the impression which may possibly be derived from the foregoing pages as to the personal character of diplomatists. Outsiders should not forget that the diplomatist is a dual personality. He is an official and, as such, a machine, acting according to the laws of movement and not according to those of the human heart and conscience. Details lose their importance in the magnitude of his object, just as the miseries of war are overlooked by a statesman working for the greatness of his country. But he is also a private individual, and, in this capacity, he may be, and generally is, a gentleman and a human being, endowed with sensibilities often sharpened by the necessity of a reaction from the turpitude of official work. Family and social life is to him what a plunge in a clear stream is to the miner after the accomplishment of some grimy task in the bowels of the earth.




The fated moment seems at hand when the rivalry of England and Russia will be subjected to the stern arbitrament of war, and when the God of Battles will decide which of the two Imperial competitors is the stronger. Despite the Russian Emperor's desire for peace and the restraining influences exercised in high places, too many critical questions have reached maturity at the same moment to leave much room for hope in the diplomatic appeasement of conflicting interests. The Persian Gulf question in itself might be composed; that relating to Herat might be held over, and Russia's high-handed proceedings at Talien-wan might be tolerated a little longer; but when taken together they constitute an attack on the British position in Asia to which Britons should be mad to show themselves indifferent.

That a conflict between England and Russia in Asia is inevitable has been clear for the last sixty years. The British have done nothing to provoke or justify the aggressive schemes which Russia has long cherished, and which her military men to-day think they can realize, and they have allowed Russia to reach unmolested the Afghan frontier and to absorb northern China. But their forbearance, far from moderating the animosity and hostile schemes of Russia, has served only to inflame them, and to inspire Russian military authorities with the ridiculously mistaken idea that the British Nation is afraid to oppose them. One of these gentlemen has allowed himself to give expression to the opinion that England is in decay and helpless, and he concludes with the following self-satisfied prediction:

“When the Russian avalanche, rolling from the height of the Pamirs, or elsewhere, shall fall on India with an elemental force, all will be over with the British domination in that vast Empire of the Far East. And, as a matter of fact, it may be asked, How will England, which has had so much difficulty in overcoming the different insurrections of the badly-armed and half-starved Hindus, attempt to repulse a Russian army of invasion, composed of two or three hundred thousand men-troops of elite-and susceptible of being increased to one million?"

This quotation represents the practically unanimous opinion of Russian officers, who, forgetful of Alma, Inkerman and Sebastopol, infer from a misunderstanding of the causes of the delay in crushing the Boers that “the English army will always be beaten when fighting an European army.” These unflattering opinions have passed from the mess-room to the cabinets of the civil departments at St. Petersburg; for it is only on the assumption that the Russian Government has come to the conclusion that it may treat England as a quantité negligeable that its late proceedings at Teheran and Moukden can be explained. Something is known by the public as to the concessions extracted from the Shah; but it is currently believed in the best-informed circles that, on the occasion of his approaching visit to Russia, a treaty will be signed placing him in a state of open dependence on that Power. Severe as will be that shock to British equanimity and prestige, I question whether in true importance it will not be surpassed by the imminent and perhaps already accomplished seizure of the northern section of the British-built railway to Moukden.

The preliminary point which it is desirable to make clear is that Russia, in an inexcusable and wanton manner, has at the present time offered Great Britain more than one affront which that nation should be justified in regarding as a challenge. In Persia, where she had the chance of coming to a friendly arrangement with England, she has preferred to act in defiance of the right of England to have a voice in the fate of a kingdom of whose independence England is one of the guarantors by the Treaty of Paris. In Manchuria she has torn up British rights with the same effrontery with which her engineers talk of tearing up the British-built railway, if they have not already done so. There is consequently no room left for hope of an amicable arrangement with Russia. She is bent on injuring Great Britain to the full extent of her power and opportunities, from the Caucasus to Corea. She is preparing for the operations of open war by maneuvres aiming at British humiliation, and at the lowering of British prestige; while her press and politicians are fanning the public animosity toward England to a flame with stories of

the ease and immense recompense that must attend a Russian invasion of India. No one who reads the Russian papers, or studies the several works by Russian officers that have recently appeared on the subject of the invasion of India, can doubt any longer that a hostile collision between England and Russia is inevitable. Nor can there be any uncertainty that, at this very moment, Russia has offered and is offering sufficient justification for a casus belli. The practical question alone remains: Shall England pick up the challenge that Russia has thrown in her face?

The reply to that important question can only be given after a more careful consideration of the relative importance of the questions at issue, and of the British interests imperiled. But it must be remembered that war itself, just as much as preparation for war, is a matter of insurance. An avowed and implacable enemy, aiming at England's overthrow, can only be brought to reason by the confession of superior force; and the employment of that force becomes legitimate and even necessary as soon as it is made clear that the other side will develop a strength that may give it in time the moral certitude of success. It seems to me that Anglo-Russian rivalry has reached this stage, and that every year which now passes will strengthen Russia's position and chances of victory, while England's will proportionally diminish. But at this moment there is still time to nip the danger in the bud, and by a vigorous effort to relegate Russia's dreams of Asiatic dominion to the stage they held in the days of the Cossack Irmak and Peter the Great. The Crimean War stopped Russia in the Black Sea for thirty years, and with wiser statesmen would have done more; and a war now would not only save India for another half-century from external attack and avert the dissolution of China, but it would also eliminate a dangerous factor from the complicated and menacing problem raised by Continental hostility to England. It is made clearer every day that the British Empire has become a mark of envy to the rest of Europe, and that that empire can be preserved only by the strong right arm of military power. The special grounds of rivalry and quarrel with Russia would justify England in bringing the question to a clear and speedy issue, from the result of which would flow, in all probability, a simplification of the major problem in England's favor, as well as the immediate relief of British anxieties on the score of India and China.

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