27 OCTOBER 1894, Page 1


LORD ROSEBERY on Thursday delivered a highly in- teresting speech at Sheffield on foreign politics. After au exceedingly graceful reference to the illness of the Czar, and u most important statement that for two years past the French Government and our own had not even mentioned Mada- gascar, he proceeded to explain the recent negotiations about the war in the Far East. He declared in cautious and diplomatic phrases, but still declared, that China had asked him to signify to Japan the terms she was ready to offer. He consented, being moved by fear of the horrors which would follow an overthrow of government in China ; but in order to increase the weight of his mediation, and save the pride of Japan, he consulted "one or two" European Powers. They thought the time had not arrived, and declined the overture. But in his judgment that was not a "rebuff." He then pro- ceeded to say that all the Powers suspected Great Britain; that it would have been madness to excite suspicion by acting alone; and that he would have been "most blameable" if he had not endeavoured to secure a "concert of the Powers." That etatement is Barely a little confused. If Lord Rosebery was actuated by humanitarian feeling, why did he not act alone P and if he feared the suspicions of the Powers and wished for their concerted action, what does his talk about one or two Towers mean P Russia, France, Germany, and the United States are all concerned in the fate of China, and it is at least -curious that all were said by the bulletin-makers to have been 'consulted, and to have declined. Moreover, if Lord Rosebery did not at last act alone, how did Japan become officially cognisant of the terms suggested P The truth of the matter, on his own showing, is that Lord Rosebery did wish to mediate, but did not like to run the risks of mediation. If that is strong diplomacy, what is weak ?