20 JANUARY 1900, Page 2

On New Year's Day (old style)—i.e., January 13th—the Emperor of

Russia issued a Rescript to Count Muravieff, a document chiefly noticeable for its pacific tone. The Foreign Minister is praised highly, but if Monarchs ever indulged in irony in addressing their Ministers, one might think the Emperor not unversed in the art. The Emperor dwells with special emphasis on the acquisition of an ice-free port in the Far East, which "fulfils the evident necessities of Russia as a great maritime Power, and will create in the Pacific Ocean a new centre for the commercial and industrial enterprises of the entire world." This further evidence of the Emperor's strong personal interest in the acquisition of an ice-free port in the Pacific makes the dog-in-the-manger policy played by us two years ago look all the more foolish. We did not stop the E mperor getting his port though we growled and barked, and so, on our Russophobes' own showing, reaped a double disadvantage,— though personally we entirely disbelieve that Russia's advance in the Far East has injured us in the slightest degree. The Emperor ends his Rescript with compliments to his Minister as to the Hague Conference, and as to his "brilliant execution of my directions and views with the object of securing a pacific settlement of the complex problems of external policy." Count Muravieff has certainly received a pretty strong hint as to the road he is to follow in the future. While the war lasts we cannot, of course, do anything to meet Russia half- way in matters in dispute, for such action would look like weakness. When, however, things have settled down again, we trust that our nervousness and panic about "sinister Russian designs" and the like will be cured. It is really too foolish to make an artificial enemy of a Power for whose industrial development we might, if we only acted with a little common-sense and friendliness, provide the chief instruments.