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sidered necessary for the security of the Amoor. The Japanese, it is said, after much procrastination, positively refused to relinquish it, but the Russian Government will probably before long take possession of the coveted territory, as a 'material guarantee' for the satisfactory adjustment of some diplomatic 'difficulty.'*
It is doubtful whether the port of Nicholaivsk will be retained as the naval station of Russia in the Pacific, since its position is disadvantageous and approach difficult. The Strait of Tartary possesses several excellent harbours, one or two of which were discovered by the English squadron in the Pacific during the last Russian war. These harbours, the shores of which will doubtless become the sites of considerable towns, are admirably sheltered, and one or two only are closed by ice during winter. Those to the south have the advantages of a better climate and a more fertile country. The oak, beech, and walnut there grow luxuriantly, and the vine thrives well on the shores. Rumours were recently in circulation that Nicholaivsk was speedily to be abandoned in favour of De Castries Bay, which was to be connected with the Amoor either by a canal or a railway. The Bay of Olga, six hundred miles further to the south, has also been named as the future position of the chief settlement. The harbour is said to be peculiarly good, open throughout the year, and to have the advantage of being opposite Japan, and much nearer to China. A road or railway of 150 versts would connect it with a large river-the Usuri-a navigable tributary of the Amoor, and the probable future line of communication had already been surveyed by engineers. The great advantage of the Amoor to Russia is the navigable highway it opens into Central Asia. The possession of the extensive coast-line is at present regarded as valuable not so much with a view to immediate colonization or commercial advantages, as a means of excluding other nations and giving to Russia a future commanding position in the Chinese seas. Port St. Vladimir (43° 84' N., 135° 27′ E.) is described by M. Ravenstein (whose work is by far the most complete and comprehensive that we have met with on the Amoor) as opening between the rocky promontories of Baliuska and Vatovsky, 1870 yards apart, with a depth of ten fathoms at the entrance, and the port as one of the finest on the coast of Manchuria. It consists of three inlets, of which the
* We have heard, since the above was written, that Russia has now acquired the whole of Saghalien.
†The allied squadron failed in every attempt to navigate the intricate channels of the Liman during the last war, and to discover the mouth of the Amoor.
southern is the most capacious, and offers great advantages for building, refitting, and arming ships.
We do not apprehend any immediate result from the annexation of so considerable a portion of Chinese Tartary to the Russian empire, beyond the necessity of increased vigilance, and perhaps of strengthening our naval force in the Japanese and Chinese waters. The policy which the Czar has marked out for himself appears for the present to be the consolidation of his empire and the encouragement of foreign trade, as forming the basis of that maritime greatness which is a traditional object of Russian ambition. Whenever the mercantile and maritime development of Russia shall be in any degree proportioned to its colossal empire, it is impossible that such a country should not become an object of apprehension to all independent States.
England has immense interests at stake in the maintenance of her commercial ascendency in the East; and if Russia should ever acquire the power to control British trade, or become a successful competitor for the supply of the principal markets of Asia, a heavy blow will have been struck at our political greatness.
As connected with this subject, we must refer to some suggestions of Mr. Atkinson on the policy of establishing great fairs, similar to that of Novgorod. The distances and the difficulty of communication, the concentration of manufactures within a few districts, together with the scarcity of commercial towns, give to fairs in Russia an importance which they do not now possess in other countries, although there was a period when they were necessary in all parts of the continent of Europe, as well as in England. The system of credit was too limited, and mutual confidence too rare, to allow much trade except that which consisted of barter or was carried on by ready money. In Russia fairs are still the centres of all commercial enterprise, and besides the great one of Nijni Novgorod there are a hundred and twenty-eight others, at which an immense amount of business is annually transacted. Mr. Atkinson suggests that fairs should be opened at places near the passes of the Himalaya, or one great fair established as far up the Indus as practicable. This he considers preferable to the plan in practice of consigning English goods to agents in Yarkand, Kokhan, or Tashkend. When such fairs are established, he is of opinion that the Tartar and other merchants of Asia will attend regularly for the purchase of the goods required by the people whose wants they are accustomed to supply, and that the influence of these fairs would be sensibly felt at Novgorod, since the distance of the Indus from Semipalantinsk, the
principal Russian establishment in the Steppe country, is but little more than half of that to Novgorod. If agents for English houses were settled in any of the Tartar towns, he thinks they might create jealousy, as the merchants would consider such a course as an attempt to deprive them of their legitimate profits; but as these enterprising traders are in the habit of travelling thousands of miles with their caravans, they necessarily know every part of the country and in what part of it the tribes are located at every season of the year. It is by the agency of these merchants that Russia distributes her merchandise over Central Asia. Mr. Atkinson furnishes a list of the commodities which are likely to be most in request by the Kirghis and other tribes, for the details of which we must refer to the pages of his important and interesting work. England, in the possession of the Indus, has a natural facility for carrying on a profitable commerce with Central Asia; and it rests with our manufacturers and merchants to determine whether the millions of that vast region shall be supplied with the European commodities which they require from the banks of the Mersey, the Clyde, and the Thames, or from Moscow and Novgorod. It is not the population of these great plains that would alone benefit from a free access to British productions if placed within their reach at some spot high up the Indus, but such wares will also find their way to the Mongolian tribes on the north of the great Gobi desert, and to the countries beyond the Selenga and the sources of the Amoor. The inhabitants of Siberia will, in Mr. Atkinson's opinion, eagerly avail themselves of the advantages of this commerce; the Kirghis, as soon as fairs shall be opened, will send numbers of excellent horses to India, and the precious metals being abundant in their country will in time also be exported freely in exchange for the articles which they desire.
We have in former numbers of this Review repeatedly directed attention to the aggressions of Russia in Asia.* We announced a few years since that, in the Chinese province of Manchouria, Russia had contrived to establish a military station at the mouth of the river Amoor, the outlet of Siberia. We now learn that the most extensive preparations had been long in progress at Irkutsk for the annexation of the territory which has recently been added to the empire. Mr. Atkinson, who spent two winters in the capital of Siberia, and two summers in the regions to the south, saw the preparations which were in progress for the annexation of the Amoor district; and he had an opportunity, he says, of.
* See Numbers 191 and 192 of the Quarterly Review.' † No. 192, p. 590.
judging of their efficiency. Chests of arms for new regiments of Cossacks were constantly arriving, as well as batteries of artillery fully equipped, which could be needed for no other purpose than to overawe the Chinese Government. He estimates the force of Cossacks then ready for active service in Eastern Siberia as amounting to between thirty and forty thousand men. The dockyard and arsenal on the banks of the Angara were in full activity preparing material of war and a steam flotilla; and the Government evidently felt that the time had arrived to take the first step towards the dismemberment of China. That policy has resulted in a complete success, without the expenditure of an ounce of gunpowder or one drop of blood, and has been carried out in a manner strictly conformable to the most approved diplomatic precedents. A Russian squadron of no contemptible strength now displays its flag in the Strait of Tartary or rides in safety in the harbours of the Sea of Japan; and as wherever Russia has once planted her foot the next object has always been to make that footing sure, it may not be long before we hear of the erection of enormous fortifications. The naval power of Russia has never been much considered in estimating her political strength. Shut in for a great part of the year by a frozen sea, her ships have never encountered those of any Power which had the free range of the ocean. As yet perhaps her Government regards the rising naval establishment in Eastern Asia more as a school of naval instruction than an immediate addition to her maritime strength; but its value in reference to the future, and to her well-understood objects, must nevertheless be great. In a tract, the title of which we have prefixed to this article, and which was generally attributed to Sir John M'Neill, that able and experienced diplomatist truly said, 'the avidity with which Russia has sought, and the pertinacity with which she has clung to every acquisition of territory even when it could be maintained only at the cost of large pecuniary sacrifices, shows that she desires those acquisitions with reference to some other consideration than the mere intrinsic worth of the property acquired.' Her ambition, as we said in 1854, is enormous. The last of her acquisitions in a part of the world where she is peculiarly free from European surveillance, and where her machinations for an extension of territory have been long carried on, affords an instructive warning to the Western nations that they can never abate their distrust or rely on her moderation. We are inclined to think that, when the Chinese Government becomes fully aware of the artifices which were employed to obtain the formal cession of so large a portion of its territory, and that portion the cradle of the Mantchoo dynasty, indignation at having been deluded into
so important a concession without any substantial equivalent will take the place of gratitude for supposed services in an hour of extreme distress. The systematic occupation of the left bank of the Amoor in defiance of the repeated protests of the Chinese Government was as indefensible by the law of nations as any of those aggressions to which we are in the habit of referring as some of the worst results of popular government in the New World, and proves that a low sense of international morality is the characteristic alike of democracy and despotism. The free navigation of the Amoor as the outlet of her Siberian possessions is all that Russia could in reason and justice have sought from the Chinese Government. The habitual feeling of the Government of China towards Russia has been recently revealed in a remarkable document. A State paper, purporting to be a memorial addressed to the Emperor of China by the President of the Board of Civil Office and twenty-three other leading statesmen, was found in the Summer Palace. It is a remonstrance against the intended flight of the Emperor into Tartary. "Where,' say these sagacious councillors, can your Majesty's personal safety be better assured than at the capital? Beyond the Hoo-pe-kow Pass is the haunt of numbers of Russian barbarians, and these have been constantly pretending to deliver communications to the Government at Pekin for the furtherance of some treacherous design.'* That design was manifest enough when the Russian Minister sought a conference with the Prince of Kung on the approach of the allied forces to the capital. Nor is it less instructive to observe the anxiety manifested by Russia to confine other Powers in their diplomatic intercourse with China to the governors of the provinces, while by the means of a resident embassy she has been able to communicate directly with the Court. In a leading journal -the Abeille du Nord' of St. Petersburg-an article appeared at the commencement of the late war, the object of which was to prove that the British Government had often acted unjustly towards the 'Celestial Empire.' 'What,' said this Government organ, can European nations want in China but security and liberty of commerce in the seaports? It is there that the power of European nations can be sensibly felt without being exposed to considerable losses of men and money. Would it not be better, instead of treating directly with an impotent government, to make arrangements with the local authorities?'t Suggestions of this kind, as our Minister at Pekin has justly observed, are founded on a misapprehension-he might have said a misrepresentation-of the position and influence of the Chinese
*Correspondence, p. 263.
† Ibid., p. 39.