Lord Rosebery, for one task, will have a most difficult
nego- tiation with China on his hands. The statesmen of Pekin say, and say truly, that the King of Ava was a feudatory of theirs, and sent tribute ; and demand, if we cannot give tribute, a compensation. There is some reason in the demand ; but they ask excessive compensation, namely, the cession not only of Bhamo and the strip of wild country between that and Yunnan, but also of the whole course of the Shweley to the Irrawaddy, and the big loop of territory it encloses. That is too much to ask. Even if we could cede the territory, and so allow China a post on the Irrawaddy, there is the difficulty of the railway, which would be completely commanded by the Chinese. It might, no doubt, be carried straight westward from Mandelay into Arracan, and so up northward ; but the expense would be enormous, and the old Burmese pro- vinces would be cut off from the new acquisition, which would trade with the sea direct. China is terribly persistent about her suzerain rights; Lord Dufferin does not want a Tonqnin affair on his hands ; and the problem is to find a tertium quid acceptable to Pekin. Help towards a loan would be best; but it might be possible to assist China in other ways. We do not envy Lord Rosebery that puzzle, of which we may be destined to bear much more.