17 APRIL 1880, Page 3

Prince Gortchakoff, the Russian Chancellor, is believed to be stricken

with a mortal illness, paralysis of the bowels. Although

he may linger for some time, there is no hope of his recovery. The event is of European importance, for although the Prince's health has lately been failing, he has still directed foreign affairs, there was great unwillingness openly to disregard his views, and his influence was very great, both with the Emperor, and with the Departments, in which many of the high officials owed their high position to his friendship. His retirement will be the signal for many changes. The bitter enmity, moreover, which of late years has been manifested by Prince Bismarck towards the Russian Chancellor has been of European import- ance, and has helped to keep open a quarrel between the Governments, if not the Courts, of St. Petersburg and Berlin. There is always the chance, too, of an abler successor. The time has not arrived for an estimate of Prince Gortchakoff, but it is difficult not to suspect that his real capacity lay in the management of men with whom he came in contact. His diplo- macy, though supposed to be so astute, was certainly not a success, unless it be success to gain paper advantages at the cost of a feeling of distrust in every Court in Europe. The Prince must have had great abilities, or he could not have gained his position ; but his abilities were injured by his love of finesse, and by an extreme desire for personal success in the war of despatches. That is the temptation of most diplomatists, who cannot bear to be effaced in their country, and who are often as jealous of each other as clerks at the two ends of a telegraph wire. They are always wanting to " reply " successfully, when assent or silence would be victory.