NEWS OF THE WEEK.
NOTHING of importance has been received this week from Constantinople. The Sultan refuses to yield about Thessaly, and the Ambassadors are considering how to compel .him, but as yet have come to no decision. The rumours are -endless, and include statements that if Bulgaria attacks Turkey, Roumania will attack Bulgaria, that Turkey is going -to war with Persia, and that the Holy Synod has informed the Czar that it would be contrary to religion to give up Thessaly, The latter statement is important, if true, but it is wise to believe nothing from Eastern Europe until it is confirmed. It la, we fancy, certain that the Sultan is afraid, if he quits Thessaly, of being deposed, as a Khalif who has broken the -Sacred Law, under which a country won by Islam cannot be -surrendered, except to the pressure of actual force. There is a curious consensus of the Press, English and Continental, as to a naval demonstration, in which England is to blockade the Dardanelles, and Russia the Bosphorus, while France threatens Smyrna, and Austria Salonica ; but it is probably nothing but a project. As yet Abd-ul-Hamid, extirpator of Armenians, is victor in the struggle with Europe. He is not afraid to act, and Europe is.
The Sultan has evidently some idea in his head about 'Crete. He has never, be it remembered, ceded it to the Powers, or to any single Power, and he is now trying to exercise sovereign authority within the island. He has this week ordered the Turkish fleet there, he has proposed in writing to send additional troops, and he has appointed Djevad Pasha to the supreme command of the troops within the island. Suppose Djevad gives a gentle hint to the Mahomme- dans that the Christians of Crete require "a lesson." It will be said that the Sultan would be afraid to take such a course, because the Powers are bound to protect the Christian Cretans ; but so they were bound to protect the Christian Armenians, and they did not do it. If the Powers were afraid to fire on Turks for the one object, they will be afraid to fire on them for the -other. The troops in the island are highly excited by the reports of victories in Thessaly, and they will have the hearty support of the best organised third of the population. The Admirals, of course, will object ; but what can they do three miles from the shore P Though the United States Government have decided not to publish at present the correspondence on the Behring Sea question, the New York Tribune of Wednesday prints the prin- cipal despatch,—one sent by Mr. Sherman to the Ambassador in
London. We have always desired to speak with respect of the American Government and its official utterances, but we cannot refrain from declaring that the despatch in question is an international outrage. Because the British Government does not agree to do what it is admitted they have a perfect right to refrain from doing, Mr. Sherman scolds them as if they were a set of mean, underhand, and thieving scoundrels. After, in effect, accusing our Govern- ment of jockeying the evidence of the experts, the despatch employs language of a distinctly minatory character. It is not easy, it remarks, to understand "bow Lord Salisbury can reconcile the refusal to entertain the proposals of the President with the interests of his countrymen, to say nothing of the friendly relations which he desires to maintain with the United States, Russia, and Japan." This and other passages of a similar kind are not inaptly described by the New York Times as "a string of insults." We have no prejudices in re- gard to the sealing question, and should certainly lean to any reasonable and fair proposals for preventing the extermination of the seals. It is, however, essential that Lord Salisbury should now refuse to consider the question in any shape or form until he has received an apology for these wanton im- putations of bad faith.
There will be a grand scandal yet about the Panama bribes. The Committee of Inquiry have sent two delegates to inter- view Dr. Cornelius Herz at Bournemouth, and that person has agreed, if the majority of the Committee will visit him in England, to tell all he knows. He told the delegates, one of them says, that he had tremendous revelations to make, and certain State secrets to reveaL The Committee must decide whether they will accept this offer or not. If they consent, as they probably will not, they will have to try a great many eminent persons at present not implicated, and possibly not guilty ; while if they refuse, all Paris, and all peasant share- holders in the Panama Company, will believe that they are shielding rogues in the Chamber and the Senate. It is not probable that the corruption was very extensive in area, but it is possible, nay, certain, that those hitherto assailed or punished are only scapegoats for a more numerous body.
Austria survives every trouble, but the agitation now going on in Bohemia is assuming a really dangerous form. The recent decrees which deprive the German language of its ascendency appear to have been altogether too much for the loyalty of the Germans. The people of that nationality in Bohemia, Moravia, and the old Austrian States are declared to be warmly in accord, and they are expressing sentiments which imply a resolution to join Germany on Bavarian terms rather than lose their " right " in the Empire, that is, their ascendency. In a recent demonstration at Eger ten thousand of them, headed by great nobles, sang the " Wacht am Rhein," and actually crossed the Bavarian frontier, in order that they might express their senti- ments in peace. The situation appears, in fact, to be that existing in Ireland when the emancipation of the Catholics was voted. The Germans hold the Slays around them to be men of an inherently lower civilisation, and though their bitterness may not matter much just now, it may make constitutional government impossible, and create, should the Hohenzollerns and Hapsburgs ever quarrel again, a strong party in Austria which at heart would not wish the Hapsburgs to win. It must not be forgotten either that as against Slavic influences the Germans and Magyars of the Dual Empire are strictly allied.
The South African Committee presented their Report in dummy on Tuesday afternoon. Though as we write it has not been officially published, a more or less complete summary has been issued by the Press Association. All the members of the Committee, with the exception of Mr. Blake, who withdrew, and of Mr. Labonchere, who makes a minority Report, agree in declaring that the Colonial Office must be held to be entirely free from any complicity in the Raid, and they also exonerate Lord Rosmead and the "show" directors of the Chartered Company from this charge. Though they censure Mr. Rhodes for organising the conspiracy, they hold that the evidence confirms Mr. Rhodes's statement that Dr. Jameson went in without his authority,—surely a very lenient view of the evidence. Sir Graham Bower and Mr. Newton are censured for not having put the High Commissioner in possession of the facts, though apparently there is no condemnation of Mr. Rhodes for the trick by means of which he closed Sir Graham Bower's mouth. The Committee hold that the stock-jobbing accusations as to the origin of the Raid have no foundation, but that, grievances or no grievances, there was no excuse for the conduct of Mr. Rhodes, and they strongly denounce the lamentable proceed- ings connected with the incursion. The Committee also hold that Mr. Rhodes was the person who ought to have been com- pelled to produce the telegrams. It was not, however, worth while to delay the Report till he could be fetched home. TIosl who have followed the evidence will be astonished that so weak a document should have been put forward by the Committee. Still, it is no good to cry over spilt milk. In English politics, when the leader of the Opposition acts with the representatives of the Government it is utterly useless to protest and suggest other courses of action. The closure is complete.
We do not profess to any great admiration for Mr. Labonchere, but it cannot be denied that his Report is a far wore statesmanlike document than that to which his official leaders and the representatives of the Government have put their hands. Mr. Labouchere practically comes to much the same conclusions as the majority. The only difference is that while he pushes them to their reasonable and inevitable con- . lesions, they seem unwilling to do so, but prefer to shrink back. Mr. Rhodes is in Mr. Labonchere's Report accused of had faith, and the Chartered Company is declared to be re- sponsible to a very considerable extent owing to the active co- operation of some of its directors, and the culpable negligence of others. The Colonial Office and the Imperial Government are exonerated from any complicity in the Raid. Mr. Rhodes, again, is declared to have deceived (1) his Sovereign, (2) the Secretary of State for the Colonies, (3) the High Com- missioner, (4) his colleagues in the Cape Cabinet, (5) the Board of the Chartered Company, and (6) his instruments " in his nefarious designs." This of course sounds very hostile, but apart from the rhetoric it is not really much stronger than the majority Report. Their censure, in fact, carries with it all this. Mr. Labonchere makes also the suggestion that the officers should have their commissions restored to them. No doubt they were deceived like the rest, but we cannot see how it is possible to condone in a soldier dis- obedience to a lawful order.
In the House of Lords on Monday a curiously fierce little debate on the Associations of voluntary schools under the new Act was raised by Lord Wantage, supported by Lord Spencer, Lord Heneage, and Lord Kimberley. These noble lords were in what can only be described as a "fuss." They had got it into their heads that the Bishops were somehow or other capturing the new Associations, and were going to use them to oust the non-clerical element. The Bishops were insisting upon having Diocesan instead of County Associations. The Bishops of Oxford and Lincoln and the Archbishop of Canterbury retorted with no little acrimony, intimating that if they were acting as alleged, which they did not admit, they were only doing it in the interests of religions education. The House of Lords was thus treated to a regular parson-and- squire squabble such as is known in a hundred vestries,—a quarrel in which confusion and bitterness were equally blended. The Duke of Devonshire finally rose on behalf of the Depart- ment, and showed that the whole thing was a misapprehension. It was impossible for the Bishops to capture the schools unless they wished to be captured, and if the schools wished to be captured there was no preventing them. The Department asked each school to say what kind of Association it proposed to join. If enough answered "A Diocesan Association" a Diocesan Association was formed, but if, at the same time and in what was virtually the same area, enough schools said they wished to form a County Associatio4of Church and Nonconformist schools a County Association would be formed. The Associations would have no control over the education given in its schools. There would be no grievance about isolated schools, because the Department would deal with them separately. The Duke's answer seems to us com- plete. The Lords-Lieutenant were calling out before they were hurt, and the Bishops were defending action they could not take.
The proceedings of the House of Commons during the week did not become interesting till Thursday. On that day Mr. Balfour made the statement usual at this period of the Session in regard to the course of public business. To begin with, he asked for the whole time of the House for Govern- ment measures. Next, he announced that the Bills to be passed at all costs were the Compensation Bill, three Scotch Bills, the Prison-made Goods Bill, the London Water Bill, and the Naval Works Bill. He greatly hoped, also, that the Government would not be prevented from passing the Military Manoeuvres Bill and the Land Transfer Bill,—two measures which we venture to think should have been included in the " at all costs " list. In regard to one or two other Bills of lesser importance Mr. Balfour expressed a certain amount of hope. If, he ended, his views in regard to the course of business were generally shared by the House, he hoped that they might be able to rise by the beginning of (August. Sir William Harcourt in his friendly reply expressed, we are glad to see, his personal desire that the Military Manoeuvres Bill and the Land Transfer Bill should become law.
On Thursday, after the discussion on public business, the House occupied itself with the third reading of the Compen- sation Bill. Mr. Asquith, in a speech which Mr. Chamberlain described as "damning with faint praise," but which might perhaps be better described as " willing to wound but yet afraid to strike," did his best—as of course he had a perfect right to do as a member of the Opposition—to injure the Bill. Though nominally friendly, his speech was evidently intended to put heart into the high Tory and Whig opposition to the measure, and to suggest to them damaging arguments. In this he was quite successful, for his speech was loudly cheered by the Unionist opponents of the Bill. Mr. Chamberlain followed in a moderate and persuasive speech, in which little or no attempt was made to score off his opponents. Even in the case of the coal industry the extra burden imposed would only be:Id. per ton. Sir Edward Clarke also made an able defence of the Bill, but the speech of the evening came from Mr. Balfour. His defence of the measure shows that it has his most complete sympathy. " We have found a scheme absolutely in conformity with the Tory traditions of legislation on this subject, violating no: principle which this party has ever accepted."
The friends of the project for cutting a tunnel under the- sea between Britain and Ireland make, we think, a mistake in asking from the Treasury any kind of guarantee, or even assistance, in the actual construction. Time enough for that matter when it is settled, first, that the work is possible, second, that it is desired by the two countries, and third, that the cost will be within reasonable compass. What is at present needed is that the State should defray the cost of a speedy but strictly scientific inquiry as to those three points.. The expense of such an inquiry, even if of a full and final kind, ought not to exceed £200,000, and we quite agree with Mr. Arnold Forster that the object ought to have the warm approval and support of a Unionist Government. Three things divide Britain from Ireland,—differences of race, creed, and geography. The race differences have been overcome in the Highlands and in Wales, the creed differences are losing their importance, and the geographical differences would be- extinguished if the tunnel succeeded. Mr. Ritchie makes a fuss about the "unprecedented character" of such an under- taking, but all great mechanical triumphs have been unpre- cedented. Mr. Arnold Forster, in his letter published in last Saturday's Times, states that tunnels for mining already exist under 900 ft. of sea-depth, and if they did not, there is no proof that a tunnel below a shallow sea is more difficult than a tunnel under the Alps. At all events, what we ask for is a thorough official State inquiry.
A most interesting statement comes this week from Mexico. It is reported that Chinese inscriptions two thousand years old have been discovered in the State of Sonora, and have been deciphered by Chinese experts, who say that they indicate the arrival about that time of Chinese exploring parties. It is quite possible that the statement is a hoax, but it is also possible that it is strictly true. The evidence collected by Mr. E. P. Vining, and published in his exhaustive, though tedious book, " An Inglorious Columbus," seems to demonstrate Chinese influence upon Mexican civilisation. Great is coincidence, but that six names of the signs of the Zodiac should in two countries be identical, though there never was any connection between them, is a coincidence which approaches the miraculous. So also is the fact that the civilisation of Peru is an exact reproduction of the theory of the Chinese organisation of a State. There must, of course, be much further inquiry yet, but if it can once be proved that Chinamen at an early period reached Spanish America, many of the apparently insoluble mysteries of American civilisation will at once be solved. The explanation, be it remembered, does not explain the early peopling of the Americas, but the form assumed by the higher developments -of their aboriginal organisation.
The contest between the Amalgamated Society of Engi- neers and the Federation of Engineer Employers has begun, and threatens to be a bitter one. The Society turned out its men in London on Wednesday, and the Federation responded by a lock-out, that is, in practice, by notices of dismissal to all hands connected with the Society. The numbers affected are variously given, but it seems clear that in London alone, where the Federation is not at its strongest, the number locked out will shortly rise to twenty thousand. The men contend that they are fighting for an eight-hour day, and that the lock-out is an oppression; but the masters answer that this is nonsense, inasmuch as the men are willing to do overtime on double pay, and only wish for more hours to do it in. Such a demand may be extended indefinitely, and the masters have therefore combined for resistance. It appears from a statement published in the Times that the engineers generally earn about 8/d. an hour, or -8s. 2d. a day, or 37s. a week, not enormous wages for a very highly skilled form of labour. The men as yet reject arbi- tration, and it is to be feared that the fight will continue until the spare funds of the Union are exhausted. These are large, but the Society seems inclined to grant the strike-pay of 15s. a week to non-union men who side with them,—a bold but expensive policy. We have a sympathy with the eight-hour movement, believing leisure to be essential to civilisation, but there is an insincerity in pressing this plea and still allowing overtime.
The long-expected "Sayings of Jesus," translated from a papyrus discovered by Messrs. B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt at Oxyrhynchus, on the borders of the Libyan Desert, have been published this week. The papyrus is believed to have been written between 150 A.D. and 300 A.D., probably about the year 200 A.D. There are eight Sayings, of which five are un- important, one is a curiously poetic variant on the teaching usually ascribed to our Lord, and two are new, and would, if believed to be words of Christ, be universally discussed in the Christian world. We have dwelt on them elsewhere, but must mention here that there is too much readiness in the Press to accept these " Logia " as genuine utterances of Christ. It is more probable, experts tell us, that all the Sayings are from a page in one of the heretical Gospels known to have been in circulation. These Gospels were full of in- ventions mixed with Sayings traditionally ascribed to Jesus, only the latter being in accord with the Sacred Canon. It is necessary to remember this, because otherwise the Churches might be flooded with Sayings found on very ancient papyri, bat, nevertheless, not authentic. It is safer, for the present at all events, to study them as literary curiosities only.
On Saturday last, at a dinner held at the St. George's Club to entertain five of the Colonial Premiers, Mr. Goschen made the very important as well as very gratifying announcement that on that day he had received the present of an ironclad at the hands of a British Colony. Sir Gordon Sprigg had come to him, as First Lord, and told him that the Cape Colony was prepared to place an ironclad of the first class at the disposal of the Empire. The gift was accompanied by no conditions. Mr. Goschen, while applauding the patriotism of the Cape, did not, however, forget to acknowledge the fact that the Australian Colonies were the pioneers in the new principle of contribution. The gift is a very splendid one, and is made in the best way possible, for the Cape trust the Admiralty to dispose of the ship, not to the special advantage of either the Cape or of England, but of the Empire as a whole. We hope the example may be followed. The Colonies should be assured that such gifts will not diminish our own shipbuilding activity, but will be always treated as extra naval luxuries. The Cape's present is also an excellent answer to the accusations of disloyalty sometimes levelled against the Cape Dutch. Without their hearty approbation the gift could not have been made.
At the dinner given to the Colonial Premiers by the London Chamber of Commerce at the Hotel Metropole on Friday, July 9th, Mr. Reid, the Premier of New South Wales, made a speech which will, we trust, be carefully noted by the advocates of Imperial Federation. It was a speech thoroughly loyal to the Empire ; but it pointed out in plain terms how determined the people of Australia are to retain the management of their own affairs. " They gloried in their equality with the people of England, and any attempt to bring the Colonies back to a relative position which would make them insignificant—which would make them some indefinite minor quantity at Westminster — would never succeed in Australia." That needed saying, and we are glad Mr. Reid had the pluck to say it. We must never forget here that a nominally equal partnership between a populous and a small community cannot really be equal. Mr. Reid also dealt with the question of trade within the Empire. He urged his hearers to throw aside all idea of meeting foreign competition by fiscal strategy. The moment they were beaten in their own ports and had to put up barricades, that instant the commercial supremacy of England wouli be destroyed. Those are the words of a true statesman, as again was his warning to the English people not to get anxious about closer ties, and to think twice before they disturbed arrangements which gave,. such excellent results.
The Times of Saturday last contains a most interesting translation of an article written in an Arab paper by the son of one of Arabi's most noted followers. The article is a reply to the attacks made on the English occupation by one of the hostile native papers. Previously the State asked nearly £5 an acre in the way of taxes. Now they ask about 30s. " The Mamonrs could insult, flog, and imprison the Omdeha with impunity." Now the poorest labourer is free from molestation by the greatest official. Formerly, the official world, from the Chief of the State down to the lowest employe of the Administration, despoiled the fellaheen of all that they possessed ; but in these days, thanks to the occupation, "the inviolability of property is assured, and the Khedive himself cannot take a feddan of laud unless he buys it with the owner's consent and pays for it in full." The officials and their friends monopolised the Nile water to irrigate abundantly their own lands ; now the poorest fellah enjoys the same right of water as does the highest State dignitary. Then men were at the mercy of the administrative authority, which put them to death or exiled them without any form of law. " Now no one is above the law." Forced labour used to exist all the year round. Now it is only used in case of public danger,—i.e., the bursting of an embank- ment during flood. "Such are the benefits of British occupa- tion." All this is, of course, literally true ; but it is pleasant to see it realised by a native as the results of our rule. They too often accept them as if they were the outcome of mere luck.
Bank Rate, 2 per cent. 111.
New Consols (21) were on Friday, 112,