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was only a question of time." Thenceforward we see in each chapter of the first volume that Bismarck's master-mind and iron will controlled everything. Where he did not directly or indirectly originate, he guided the course of events. Subtle as strong, adroit and unscrupulous, he had the best of the game of diplomacy throughout. At first, realising the peril of the stake, he seems to have shrunk from precipitating the war with Austria. He knew that war was inevitable, but he was inclined to wait. He would have been content to annex Schleswig-Holstein, which would have given Prussia important naval stations, and he would have paid liberally in cash. When he saw that Austria would listen to no proposals of the kind, he was resolved to fight for something worth the having. He resolved to raise the whole question of the suppresion of the antiquated Confederation and of the military supremacy of Prussia to the north of the Main. The king, with his old-fashioned ideas of divine right, was slow to be persuaded, and only reluctantly yielded when irritated by the Austrian rejection of his amicable advances. The Chancellor had a free hand, and he carried his resolution into effect. Lord Augustus relates a memorable incident :—
I was with Count Bismarck late on the evening of June 15. We had been walking and sitting in his garden till a late hour, when, to my astonishment, it struck midnight. Count
Bismarck took out his watch and
said, 'À l'heure qu'il est, nos troupes sont entrées en Hanovre, Saxe, et Hesse Cassell.' He added, 'The
struggle will be severe. Prussia may lose, but at all events she will have fought bravely and honourably. If we are beaten, Count Bismarck said, 'I shall not return here. I shall fall in the last charge. One can but die
once, and if beaten it is better to die.'
Every one knows that the seven weeks were over before the neutrals had time to think or interfere. Lord Augustus suggests that the result might have been different had Austria grasped the situation and departed from her traditions of procrastination. She knew that Italy had sent an envoy to Berlin to arrange an alliance. She learned in April 1866 that a formal treaty was signed. Only then did she offer to give up Venetia in exchange for neutrality. "Had the offer been made before the signature of the treaty, the distrust then entertained of Prussia would probably have induced General La Marmora to accept it. But it was too late, and he was too honourable a man to violate his pledge." The result was that Austria parted with many of her staunchest soldiers to fight the Italians, while mutinous Italian regiments swelled the forces of Benedict. The Prussian artillerymen were surprised and delighted at the murderous effect of their cannonade. Whole ranks of the enemy fell prostrate. As it proved afterwards, the fallen were Lombards and Venetians, who had no mind to be killed for a cause they detested.
No one was more taken aback by the sudden cessation of hostilities than the Emperor of the French. It seems to have been
his policy to create a moderately strong Italian confederation which would owe him gratitude and rely on him for support, and to set Central Germany by the ears. No one will probably ever know what actually passed between him and Bismarck at Paris and Biarritz. There is little doubt that Bismarck befooled him with delusive promises, which he had neither the
sions grew steadily, till they became aggressively intolerable; and he declares that the Ems incident, used with such calamitous effect in the French Chamber, was the shameless invention of imaginative audacity. Throughout the war England's neutrality was regarded with distrust, if not with resentment, by both the combatants; and Lord Stanley's diplomatic advances for mediation were coldly or contemptuously received. From which Lord Augustus draws the moral, that we are generally far too eager to proclaim our neutrality. We should do more good if we went on the golden maxim of keeping silence, leaving it to be inferred that upon occasion we should be willing to strike in. And if France paid a terrible penalty for her folly, England by no means escaped scot-free. She lost the best part of the fruits which had very inadequately repaid her for all the blood and the treasure expended in the Crimea. Before the Franco-Prussian war broke out, Prince Gortschakoff had paid an unofficial visit to Berlin. Lord Augustus could learn nothing precise at the time as to the matters in discussion between the Chancellors. He understood it better when, before the surrender of Paris, Prince Gortschakoff repudiated the treaty which had guaranteed the neutrality of the Black Sea. Bismarck wished He that his too astute friend had
power nor the wish to keep. Yet
waited, when he might have dealt
The treaty was drafted in foolish with him as he had dealt with the confidence by Benedetti, though very probably at the dictation of Bismarck. As to who was responsible for the French war, Lord Augustus assures us that Bismarck never desired it. On the contrary, both he and his royal master went to great lengths in the way of reasonable concession. that the French preten
Emperor of France. The Germans then had more on their hands than they could well manage, and England might perhaps make trouble. But England in her isolation was content to acquiesce, and so the treaty was torn up.
Transferred after the peace from Berlin to St Petersburg, the position of Lord Augustus was still
mained that, both in Europe and Asia, Russia and England were invariably antagonistic. Prince Gortschakoff used courteous language to conceal his thoughts, and answered expostulations with piquant epigrams. The Emperor was always complaining of the unfriendly mistrust of his intentions displayed by the English Cabinet and press. On one occasion he placed Lord Augustus in sore embarrassment by begging him to explain a satirical cartoon in 'Punch. Undoubtedly the mistrust was too well founded. The discouraging prospect in our relations with Russia is, that there seems no rational possibility of putting them on a satisfactory footing. Lord Augustus is optimistic in the extreme, and hopes good things for the future. Unfortunately, all that he says goes to dispel such fond illusions. regard the Czar as an absolute autocrat; but, setting Nihilism and Socialism aside, there are other forces which even his authority cannot control. It was religious fanaticism and the enthusiastic sentiment of Pan-Slavism which forced him reluctantly into the last Turkish war. Had he fol
lowed his instincts, he would never have reared a barrier of free Danubian and Balkan States to block any future advance by land on Constantinople. He always protested that he did not covet Constantinople-a declaration which may be received as a pious opinion, and taken in any case for what it is worth. For Lord Augustus acquits the Czar and his War Ministers of any deliberate design of aggressive Asiatic ambition. He says they always ridiculed the idea of a Russian invasion of India, and that may be very true. The fact remains that they are always keeping us on the alert, and forcing us into vast expenditure, by stirring up troubles among the frontier tribes and making dangerous demonstrations. The explanation is, according to Lord Augustus, that they are bound to keep their enormous army in goodhumour. Central Asia is to Russia what Algeria was to France, and aspiring officers covetous of fame and advancement are not to be controlled. They might be coerced were they to be disgraced in place of being promoted and decorated, but that is a step on which neither the Czar nor his Ministers dare venture. So it seems that we must still stand on our defence on the fortified line of the Indus, with Herat and the highlands of Afghanistan as outlying bastions which may be betrayed to the enemy at any time or carried with a rush.
THE NEW AFRICAN CRISIS WITH FRANCE AND GERMANY.
It appears to be hardly appreciated in this country how very serious is the difficulty with Germany and France which has arisen over the Anglo-Congolese agreement recently concluded. The Franco-German war arose from a less serious dilemma, and the tone of the Ministerial announcement read in the French Chamber-previously carefully prepared-proves that France considers that she has very serious grounds of complaint, and means to act with vigour and decision to "defend her rights" -even should that involve a conflict with Great Britain. While France has thus declared before Europe that she considers the treaty "null and void," and has voted without discussion a sum of £80,000 to reinforce her posts on the Oubanghi, and has ordered the despatch of gunboats to support them, the attitude of the authorities in England appears to be one of comparative indifference. The situation has evoked remarkably little discussion in Parliament, and the whole British press unites in scoffing at French sensitiveness, and in asserting without investigation that the arguments urged in the Continental press are quite valueless. It is well, therefore, that the British public should hear how the matter really stands, and should understand that the difference is one which has arisen over a question of very great political importance, and not merely concerning a "few square miles of African desert or swamp," so that
independent public opinion may be formed on the matter, since we are already committed to a grave international crisis.
VOL. CLVI.-NO. DCCCCXLV.
The reasons which led to the conclusion of this treaty are as follows: Great Britain in 1890 claimed the Nile valley as part of her African "sphere of influence," Egypt having withdrawn from it. The value of the Nile waterway, and of the Sudan as a recruitingground and a territory rich in ivory and other products, was overshadowed by the political importance of its relation to Egypt and the Red Sea ports, and the predominant influence which the Power in control of the Upper Nile would necessarily exercise in the Delta provinces. In the treaty with Germany (July 1, 1890) England, as we have said, notified her claims, to which Germany (having in return for Heligoland shut herself out from any extension northwards) of course agreed. France did not protest, as she did in the matter of the Zanzibar protectorate established by the same treaty. But the treaty was not with France, and it is feasible for her to argue that she reserved her rights; and as there was no idea of a British occupation of the Nile valley, it was not imperative upon her to raise any disclaimer, since she was not a party to the treaty. Great Britain, then, having excluded Germany and Italy from the Nile valley by treaty, found that King Leopold had despatched an expedition thither from the Congo State, and had occupied certain points on the Nile. The king was fully justified in doing this, for, anterior to the German treaty, an agreement had been drawn up, signed, and ratified, between himself and Sir William Mackinnon (President of
the Imperial British East Africa Company), by which access to the Nile was permitted to him, in return for the cession of a strip of territory connecting the north of Lake Tanganyika with the British sphere. Lord Salisbury, however, forbade the Company to acquire sovereign rights, as representing England, though he had no objection to their acquiring a lease of a private nature purely as a Company. For, as now appears, Germany in the treaty of 1890 expressly stipulated that her frontier should march with the Congo State. "The British Government," says the 'Cologne Gazette' (15th June), "strove with great persistency in 1890 to obtain the cession of a strip of country in this same region, and Germany absolutely refused it, as involving a serious detriment to her Colonial interests." Lord Salisbury's veto to the Company, however, did not cancel the right the king had acquired under the agreement of extending towards the Nile. No sooner, however, had the king (availing himself of our assertion that we would "raise no objection" if he went to Lado) acted on the implied permission, than he was met by protests from the Foreign Office. Lord Kimberley in his letter to Mr Hardinge (recently published as a Blue-book) states officially that these protests were made and renewed from time to time. The king, however, preferred not to show his hand, but temporised, and meanwhile pushed on his forces into Equatoria. This, then, was the position in the beginning of 1894. We had spent two years in vacillating as to whether or not we would retain Uganda, and had sent up a commissioner to acquire
information on the spot, at a cost which would have gone a long way towards occupying the Nile Valley. The information was not required, even the basis on which the Commissioner formed his conclusions was not accepted, for the railway is not to be made, and (subsequent to the receipt of his despatches in England) a policy of extension into Unyoro was adopted contrary to his recommendations. Having thus continued absolutely inactive, and having done nothing whatever to substantiate our claims in the Nile Valley between 1890 and 1894, when the commander in Uganda could with ease have done what was required at small cost, the Government suddenly awoke to find that a large French expedition massed at Abiras (junction of the Wellé and Mbomu rivers), and its destination was apparently the Nile Valley. Something had to be done, unless we were to be con
tent to see our assertion of suzerainty in the Nile Valley set aside, and France, our rival in Egypt, obtain possession of the Hinterland of Egypt. A forward policy
the despatch of an expedition from Uganda-would not be tolerated by the Radical supporters of Government, and so once more, as in the case of East Africa and Uganda, a timid compromise had to be accepted to save a few thousand pounds, and it has landed us in a serious quarrel with France, and a difficulty with Germany and Turkey. Such are Radical methods of economy!
King Leopold was supposed to be in effective occupation up to Lado. It was decided to reverse our policy, withdraw our protests, and ask his assistance to secure our sovereign rights. Since it was England herself who had laid