13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 1

In none of the actions did the Japanese suffer any

loss in men or ships. Thus the war opens with loss or serious damage to nine of the Russian ships, the greater number of these being first-class battleships. At the .same time, the Russians seem to have lost a considerable number of men and officers, and it is further stated that Japanese emissaries have blown up a bridge on the Siberian Railway, killing thirty men and cutting communications for the time. Whether the Russians will be able to recover the ground thus lost at the beginning of the war remains to be seen, but the Japanese have certainly shown themselves vigilant and efficient on the sea in a high degree. They have realised and acted on the essential maxim of war, which is to assume the offensive,— to spring at the enemy's throat the instant war is deter- mined on. The Russians, on the other hand, appear to have waited to be attacked,—a blunder always fatal in war. It is alleged in addition that the Russians did not show even common 'Vigilance, that they took few or ' no precautions to protect'

their ships from torpedo attacks, and that the majority of the officers on Monday night were actually on shore witnessing a performance at a circus while the Japanese torpedo-boats were getting among their battleships. Be this as it may, it is clear that we must now recognise the existence of an Asiatic Power possessed of great naval strength,—a fact almost without parallel since the battle of Lepanto, or at any rate since the decline of the Turkish Fleet in the earlier part of the eighteenth century.