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Stated in round numbers, the tonnage of merchant shipping under the English flag is nearly thirteen millions; that of France is about one million; of Russia, less than half a million; of the whole world, a little more than twenty-four millions. It is clearly not in this direction that we must seek a solution of the problem. Still, Governments do not commit themselves to a great and embarrassing expenditure for mere sentiment; and if we may suppose the two nations willing to act in concert for a while, it must be that they have some common object in view. Other separate objects they may have, and agree to forward each other's interests on the principle of mutual accommodation, but it will probably be found that even these have some point in common at which both can aim; for though at different times they have both professed to wage war for an 'idea,' the idea has generally meant some solid advantage.

It may be conceived that France is desirous of breaking down the Triple Alliance, which, as long as it remains firm, is a barrier in the way of her aspirations for revenge, as well as of any wish to remove her neighbours' landmarks. Now the naval power of Italy, though respectable, is by no means equal to that of France; but it is so clearly England's interest that it should not be crushed, that the balance in the Mediterranean should not be upset, that France, if contemplating a maritime war with Italy, must necessarily take into consideration the possibility of being engaged also with England.

It has, too, been often stated that she regards England's power in the Mediterranean as an unwarrantable intrusion into French waters; and we are forced to believe that there is a small but noisy section of French society which looks on the Mediterranean as a French lake, and the presence, or still more the ascendance therein, of any other flag as an insult and an injury. Such conceptions, where they exist, are altogether sentimental, and not to be subjected to the trammels of either history or geography; otherwise it might be pointed out that, historically, France, though often powerful, has never been predominant in the Mediterranean, and that, geographically, the French coast line is small, or that the recently acquired African territories do not carry rights which these territories have never held. This, however, is beside the present question. We in England, desiring to live in harmony with our neighbours and the world, and to follow our commercial instincts in peace, find it difficult to believe or to understand that on the other

side of the Channel we are regarded with jealousy or ill will; and yet there can be little doubt that, quite independent of the friendly attitude of the Government and the protestations of all responsible men in France, there is, scattered through the body of the people, a mixture of such feelings, which may, at any moment, become a source of danger; of which Mr. Balfour, a short time since, at Manchester, spoke in a warning voice, big with very serious meaning. In his presidential address last February to the Royal Historical Society, Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff prettily referred to a remark in the Anuals' of Tacitus, that the Roman State had become so satiated with glory that it 'desired peace and quietness even for foreign nations.'

This,' he continued, is not without its application to the England of our own day, as its converse explains, to a great extent, the unrest of contemporary France. It recalls to my recollection a talk I once had with Prévost-Paradol, who spoke of the confirmed dislike of France for England, and who, on being told that the English people had long got over feelings of the kind, said: “Ah, vous n'êtes pas les derniers vaincus! "'

It is, however, easy to exaggerate the importance of this feeling, which, if it had full weight, would apply to the Germans more strongly than to ourselves; but all available evidence seems to show that whilst the hatred of Germany is yielding to the soothing balm of time, the jealousy of England tends to become more acute, sharpened by the sense of our modern gains rather than by the memory of our ancient victories, and gives rise to a feeling of actual, tangible, ever present loss; a feeling that, by some process which to us may appear natural selection' or the result of superior business aptitude, but which to them appears the outcome of chicanery or intrigue, English commerce tends to grow, French commerce tends to shrink; English merchant ships substitute themselves for French, even in French ports and French colonies. They may conquer or annex outlying realms in even distant parts of the globe, but the advantage is to the omnipresent English trader: for them the burden and heat of the day, for us the profit. It is the old familiar cry of Sic vos non vobis.

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It is thus conceivable that our position in the Mediterranean may seem to the French a very real grievance. It is an accepted maxim that Trade follows the flag;' and the French may be excused if they believe that our commercial predominance in the Mediterranean is in some way due to our naval strength. They do not stop to argue


if it is not rather the vastness of our commercial interests in the Mediterranean which renders it necessary for us to maintain a large fleet there. They remember that the Suez Canal was made by French engineers and with French capital; but the ships that use it are English, and so also is a substantial part of the profit. They may imagine that, if the English fleet were abolished or overawed, the commerce of the East would flow in its natural channel that is, through France. So considered, there is a distinct reason for the French wishing to attain a real and apparent superiority in the Mediterranean, and for their submitting to much financial inconvenience, so long as they believe it may lead to the desired goal.

The primary objects of Russia must be supposed to lie in the direction of Turkey. It is familiarly known that in the last war her aggressive action was wofully hampered by the overwhelmingly superior fleet of her enemy. The only possible line of advance for her armies and stores was by land, subject to all the difficulties, dangers, and delays incidental to land transport, consequent on which her troops suffered much hardship and sustained severe losses. It was therefore to be expected that she would make a strenuous effort to prevent the recurrence of such a state of things; that she would determine that, be the cost what it might, in her next war with Turkey she would not be at this disadvantage. German critics have seen in the extraordinary developement of the Russian Black Sea fleet an intention to attack Constantinople by sea, and have discussed the possibilities for or against such a design with more ability than knowledge. It is argued that the Russian fleet, appearing at the northern entrance of the Bosporus, without warning, without declaration of war, might not improbably find the forts halfmanned, half-armed, and but indifferently provided with ammunition; that what men there were might be asleep; that, steaming at the rate of sixteen knots, with a favouring current of four knots more, the ships would run the gauntlet of the batteries in less than an hour, and might appear off Constantinople before the Grand Porte realised that there was any danger. Once there, the city would be at their mercy, and must surrender at discretion. The picture is prettily drawn, but lacks something of the probable, and even more of the possible.

Captain Stenzel has taken much pains to show that such sudden attacks in time of peace are in accordance with the usage of nations. That in 1801, without any declaration of

war, an English fleet came off Copenhagen, beat down the defences of the town, and forced the Danish Government to conclude a treaty. That in 1807, in time of peace, without any direct cause of quarrel, an English fleet, supported by an English army, again attacked Copenhagen and forcibly carried off the Danish fleet. That in the same 1807, also in time of peace, an English squadron forced the passage of the Dardanelles and appeared before Constantinople, when the city must have submitted had Duckworth been a man of energy and resource even remotely comparable with Nelson. The action of the French in the river Min in 1884, and more recently in Siam, is also adduced as a proof that neither in France nor in England is the old-world, chivalrous declaration of war' considered necessary, or at least so necessary that it may not be dispensed with when the doing so is advantageous. So far as relates to a declaration of war this is all true, except the describing the 'declaration' as a remnant of old-world chivalry. Certainly during the last three centuries, as far as this country has been concerned, actual hostilities nearly always preceded a declaration of war, and were not necessarily followed by

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There can be no question that it would be perfectly in agreement with the usage of civilised nations for Russia to commence a war against Turkey with an attempt to seize on Constantinople by a sudden and unlooked-for attack; though it may very well be questioned whether Constantinople would necessarily fall in consequence of the appearance of a hostile fleet before it. Twelve years ago the English fleet could silence the batteries of Alexandria, but could not take possession of the town. The defences of Constantinople are enormously superior to those of Alexandria, and the Turkish ironclads cannot be left altogether out of the reckoning; but even if these are overcome, the Turkish soldier may be relied on for obstinacy in the defence of a position, and the hostile occupation of a town with a million of inhabitants is not a task which a general on shore would lightly undertake; to an admiral, unsupported by a land force, it is an absolute impossibility. The capture of Constantinople by a coup de main of such a nature is scarcely conceivable; and though, with command of the sea, any number of men might be landed along the beach between Derkos and the Bosporus, it is not with a small army that such an enterprise could be undertaken; and the quantity of shipping required for the transport of a

very modest one would preclude all attempt at surprise. There is certainly not shipping in the Black Sea sufficient for the transport of 40,000 men, a force ludicrously inadequate for the task.


But if not for an attack on Constantinople, to what end is Russia's formidable fleet designed? It cannot be merely to secure the command of the Black Sea against Turkey; for with two exceptions-of second-class ships-the Turkish navy is composed of vessels obsolete alike in their construction, armour, and armament. For the last fifteen years little has been done to maintain the fleet at the point of efficiency to which it was raised by Hobart Pasha. In the Baltic the German navy has to be considered, though there too the Russian force is largely in excess of any needs directly apparent. Everything seems to point to the Mediterranean as the intended sphere of action. The Black Sea fleet, indeed, cannot appear there without setting existing treaties at defiance, or, as Sir William Harcourt prefers to put it, under the ban of Europe,' and after first capturing Constantinople. It is not very creditable for a man in the position of Sir William Harcourt to believe, or to pretend to believe, that Constantinople is any hindrance to the passage into the Mediterranean, or that the ban of Europe' would have any retarding effect on Russia's action, if she felt strong enough to disregard any physical consequences of it. And under modern conditions the passage out of the Black Sea is not exceptionally difficult. The navigation itself is easy, a strong current favours it; and, according to Sir Geoffrey Hornby, than whose no opinion can be more capable, Three times at least, in the last twenty-five years, it has been shown that darkness, either of night or fog, is the ironclads' opportunity when they are wanted for 'service. It is absurd to suppose that the comrades of 'Makarof and the followers of Boutakov cannot profit by that, as anyone else may have done.'


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During these last months the Russians have obtained virtual possession of Poros, an island off the north-east corner of the Morea, where they have had a small depôt ever since Greece was a kingdom. The Greeks had a dockyard there until, a few years ago, they transferred their establishment to Salamis; but the buildings and wharves remain, and will, it is understood, be at the disposal of Russia, should she wish to buy them. The anchorage, between the island and the mainland, is roomy, landlocked, and capable of being easily made secure against an attack

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