1 OCTOBER 1881, Page 1

The French are about, it is believed, to embark in

an enter- prise which may turn oat as difficult as the conquest of Tunis. Reinforcements are being sent to Cochin China, and it is expected that the King of Anam will be required to sign a Treaty, binding him to submit himself in all things to the advice of a French Resident. The pretext is said to be piracy, but the object is to control an exceedingly rich country, full of mines, and with a swarming population, 44)0,000 of whom are Catholics. In pressing forward, how- ever, the French are encountering what is now the serious risk of a long war with China. There can be no doubt what-

ever that Anam is a tributary State of China ; that the Court of Pekin is determined that its feudatories shall not be withdrawn ; and that since the revindication of Kuldja, the Ministers have ceased to deem resistance to Europe impossible. They may march Tso's army south- ward through Yunnan, where it can find its way by the graves itself has made, and, descending the rivers, enter Cochin China. The French could, no doubt, defend themselves ; but they would have to dispatch 10,000 men to protect their subjects, and 10,000 more for a demonstration against Pekin itself. Invading China on behalf of a single Power and with- out the support of Europe is a very serious undertaking, if only for the diplomatic complications it is sure to produce. An American Colonel Gordon may make the defence very formid- able, and just now the French are unlucky.