18 AUGUST 1900, Page 1


AS we write on Friday the official news has just been received, yid, Berlin, that the Allied troops have entered Pekin without fighting; that the Legations have been relieved, and the foreigners liberated. The relief felt throughout the world can hardly be exaggerated, but we must leave all comment on this most happy turn in affairs till more details are received, and till the mystery of the Legation telegrams is solved. Meantime we must record that the composite force of British, Indian, American, and Japanese troops met much less resistance on the road to Pekin than was expected. The losses from the extreme heat have, according to the American General Chaffee, been rather serious, but the casualties, except in the first fight at Pei-tsang, have not been heavy. The Chinese infantry showed themselves unable to resist the charge either of the British, the Indians, or the Japanese, while the Tartar cavalry fled before the Bengal Lancers. Those broad facts are much more important than details of skirmishes, for they imply that the Chinese, though better armed than in previous wars, are not yet fully dis- ciplined, or able to contend in the open with any hope. Whether this inferiority is universal, or may be found to be partial if there is further fighting, which it must be remem- bered is quite possible, remains to be seen, but it looks for the present as if China had acted prematurely, and before her rulers' idea of making an army had been sufficiently carried out.