through their territories. They would also take into immediate consideration the measures necessary to preserve an independent state between the main body of the British dominions and those of France. This is a provision which they have always believed to be in accordance with the views, as it certainly is with the declarations, of the French Government, and one which they deem to be absolutely necessary for peaceful and good relations between the two countries.

In other words, the remainder of Siam and its Shan States would be placed under British protection. To carry out this protection effectively, the Burmah-Siam-China Railway is an indispensable necessity. That the words can mean nothing less is evident from Lord Rosebery's first speech in the House of Lords as Premier, where he stated that

Her Majesty's Government are fully aware of the responsibility imposed upon them by the fact that the commerce of Siam is almost entirely British, and we have taken due note of the assurances of the French Government, made not less to myself than to my predecessor in office, that the boundary of French and English influence is divided by the Mekong River.

That the French in Indo-China are aware of the consequences of the bursting of the Buffer State bubble is shown by an extract from the Courrier de Saigon contained in the Homeward Mail on the 17th of June, where, referring to Siam, it is stated that England has long coveted this country, which, added to Burmah, would prevent for ever a French rapprochement with Russian Asia. The English have already taken possession of Siam commercially; the telegraph is under their control; and most of the commercial houses of Bangkok are in their hands.

The Courrier goes on to complain of the fault committed by the French Foreign Minister in not acting with greater firmness. While our forces are mobilised in Madagascar, a giant's step will be made in Siam by our rivals.'

'A French rapprochement with Russian Asia' means, in other words, a partition of China between France and Russia, a design fully treated by me in my article in this Review of March 1894.

That Russia has not left her part of the prospective plunder out of view is evidenced by the letter dated June 7 from the Tokio correspondent of the Times, which appeared in its issue of the 13th of July, where he ably treats with and exposes Russian action. Since the letter was written, Russia has gained a hold over China by guaranteeing its loan. This hold it will not improbably endeavour to turn into a protectorate. The word 'protectorate'is, according to the French political officials, hard to define; it is wonderfully elastic, and means with them the first step towards annexation. A Russian protectorate of China would certainly mean, eventually, the turning of China into a Russian possession—the loss to us of that great market containing about one-fourth of the population of the world— and the danger to India portrayed in my former article.

With France and Russia in alliance, and engaged in hatching such schemes in the Far East, Lord Rosebery had good reason for his statement at the Royal Academy Banquet on the 4th of May that

We have hitherto been favoured with one. Eastern question, which we have always endeavoured to lull, as something too portentous for our imagination; but of late a new Eastern question has been superadded to that of which we were already aware, which, I confess, to my apprehension is, in the dim vistas of futurity, infinitely graver than even that question of which we have hitherto known.

We have been lately warned by & very able foreign statesman that ninety times out of a hundred France would aid Russia in its projects of aggrandisement, and that Russia would aid France but ten times out of a hundred. However much they might squabble over the subsequent division of the plunder, we can but expect that their recent alliance in the Far East will sooner or later end in an attempt to partition Eastern Asia between them. Such an alliance should be met by an alliance of all other commercial nations having business relations with the East, who would save the great neutral market of China from absorption and closure against their goods by France and Russia.

It is well that we have once more a strong and skilful pilot at the helm, to whom we can safely trust the guidance of our ship through the storms now gathering in the Far East. But more is required. The pilot must be strenuously backed by the crew. Without the backing of the British public, Lord Salisbury could not have saved Upper Burmah for our trade. Our great markets in Siam and China are at stake, markets which we largely depend upon for the future expansion of our industries and trade. This is a question more vital to the poor than to the rich. If they have not the grit to strive for new markets and to save the markets they at present possess, they will have only themselves to blame when they cease to find work, and are penniless, starving, and on the threshold of the workhouse. The defence of our old markets and the development of new fields for our commerce, for our trade and industries, are bread-and-butter interests of the first importance, and should be the chief aims of the statesmen and people of the British nation.


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The rapidity with which the more inaccessible parts of the earth's surface are being thrown open to the explorer, politician, missionary, and trader, is almost bewildering, and, in the case of Tibet, events have followed one upon another so closely that the latest but most important rapprochement between that hermit kingdom and the outer world has passed almost unnoticed. We refer to what has been called The Sikkim-Tibet Convention, but might more appropriately be called . The Anglo-Chinese Convention for the regulation of trade between India and Tibet.' It is little more than twenty years since Prejevalsky (the pioneer of a series of explorers, among whom the Indian Pandits, Nain Singh and Kishen Singh, Carey, Dalgleish, Rockhill, Bower, and Miss Taylor, have achieved equally brilliant fame) made a plucky but unsuccessful attempt to reach Lhasa, the holy capital of Tibet. Repeated knockings at the closed door have not been without effect, and our right to commercial intercourse with Tibet is now not only unquestioned, but officially recognised. It will be some little time, though, before any European will succeed in making his way to Lhasa, for Captain Bower's experiences prove that the approach from the north is as jealously guarded as ever, while, on the southern confines, England is now playing the part of watch-dog. For the recent treaty, be it noted, is purely commercial; hence, neither private travellers nor missionaries will be at liberty to cross the frontier, and the Indian authorities are now interested in seeing that these conditions are not violated. This is apparent from a speech of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, Sir C. Elliott, in which he explained the circumstances that had rendered necessary the turning back of two Scotch missionaries in May last, who, with more zeal than discretion, had attempted to push their way into Tibetan territory.

It is a convenient time, therefore, to take stock of the recent contributions to our knowledge of this interesting country, and in doing 80 I must give foremost place to the hitherto unpublished journal of a highly intelligent native employé in the Bengal Educational Department, Sarat Chandra Das, who, both by knowledge of the Tibetan language and by his Buddhistic religious views, proved a persona gratissima in the country. This was seen in the course of the first Tibetan mission in 1879, in which he was accompanied by Ugyen Gyatsho. The full account of this journey, I believe, was never published, but Chandra Dass second trip in 1881 was more fortunate. The admirably written account of this journey covers over 200 closely printed folio pages, and some extracts will be sure to interest my readers.

Sarat Chandra Das started on his Tibetan exploration on the 7th of November, 1881, from Darjeeling. His outfit and equipment must have been of the slenderest, as he and his companions at first camped out in the open. The very first night in the Rungit Valley,

he says:

We spread our rugs to sleep in the long grass. Various kinds of insects crept over my clothes and shirt and made me uncomfortable. The prickly points of brambles and other weeds and the long grass penetrated through the thin rug on which I lay. At 3 A.M. slight showers of rain fell, which wetted our clothes and blankets as we lay on the bare ground and broke our sleep.

As they ascended the slopes of the mighty Himalayas the climbing became more arduous and bivouacking sub Jove frigido less pleasant, till, on the summit of the Kangra-la-chen Pass, the col of the great dividing range, the best camping-ground was between two rocks, on the edge of an abyss, with an ocean of snow around them. Here these exhausted but plucky Hindoos managed to steal a few hours of sleep lulled by the roar of distant avalanches. Fortunately the snow, which fell thickly on their blankets, froze there and kept them warm. A few hours' journey further on they came in sight of a long wall, a miniature counterpart of the Great Wall of China, which was raised by the Tibetans during the Nepalese war, and which, in spite of the lapse of years, was still in good condition. In one day about five miles of this wall was erected, the general having commanded each soldier to construct a fathom's length in the twenty-four hours. Here the frontier guards—that dreaded obstacle of explorers—were lax, for not a dog barked and not a guard awoke. The same good fortune befell them later, on entering the holy city of Lhasa, and we incline to think that it was due to their trusty guide, Phurchung, who boldly carried the war into the enemy's country by questioning every one he met as to who they were, whence they came, and whither they were bound, thus dispelling all suspicions of his own character and business. It is by their vigilant system of frontier pickets, stationed at the various passes dotted along their stupendous mountain barrier, that the Tibetans have been enabled to maintain their exclusive political existence. Had Tibet owned a seaboard, its history would have been far different.

The first important town reached was Tashi-Lhunpo, the Teshu Lumbo of Bogle and Turner. The former, while protesting his inability to describe places, manages to convey an intelligible picture.

Teshu Lumbo is built on the lower declivity of a steep hill. The roof of the palace, which is large, is all of copper gilt. The building is of dark-coloured brick. The houses of the town rise one above another; four churches with gilt ornaments are mixed with them, and altogether it presents a princely appearance. Many of the courts are spacious, flagged with stone, and with galleries running round them. The alleys, which are likewise paved, are narrow. The palace is appropriated to the Lama and his officers, to temples, granaries, warehouses, &c. The rest of the town is entirely inhabited by priests, in number about four thousand.

Here Sarat Chandra Das and his companion, Ugyen Gyatsho (about whom, by the bye, he is perpetually grumbling in his diary), arrived on the 9th of December, and were provided with accommodation in a spare house belonging to their friend, the Minister, who happened to be away for a few days at his native town of Dong-tse. The exact rank and position of the Minister we are not told, but he was a dignitary of very high rank. The opportunity was taken to revisit several of their old friends, with whom they chatted about the topics of the day. One of these was the compulsory currency of debased coin in Shigatze, and another burning subject was the recent riots and the commission of inquiry then sitting,

A few days afterwards a great event occurred.

All the alleys of Shigatze, the courtyards and adjoining gardens, were filled with about 15,000 persons, eagerly waiting to see the tamasha of the arrival of the Kashmir

envoy with his guards and escort in military uniform. The Maharajah's envoy, with about fifty sowars, or troopers, besides a hundred followers, were all mounted on ponies. Among these could be distinguished a few Sikhs, Muhammadans with their flowing beards and white turbans, Ladakhis in their clumsy lambskin dress, Murmis from Nepal, Dukpas from Chang, a few Nepalese, and some Tibetans from Kirong. The Kashmir Government, we were told, sends an envoy to Lhasa every three years with presents, under the name of tribute, to the grand Lama.

The origin of this custom appears to date from the invasion of Rudok and Gar, the two rich wool-producing provinces of Tibet, by Zorwar Sing, the famous Sikli general of the Maharajah Golab Sing, in 1840–41. The same two provinces are said to contain the richest (?) and most sacred monasteries of Tibet. This invasion naturally excited the wrath of the Lhasa Government, who applied to their suzerain, the Emperor of China, by whom more than 10,000 soldiers were despatched into the field. Zorwar Sing underrated the strength of his foes, and in a pitched battle he and his troops were cut to pieces. The Chinese threatened the conquest of Ladak, but the Maharajah sued for peace, and a treaty was concluded between his envoy and the Dalai Lama, one of the conditions being the payment of a triennial tribute. Readers of Chinese history will recollect that Lord Macartney travelled throughout the breadth of the Celestiał

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