3 SEPTEMBER 1898, Page 1

We have dealt elsewhere at length with this pathetic pro-

posal,—one which does the greatest possible honour to the youthful and generous Sovereign from whom it comes. Like his father, the Emperor shrinks with horror from the responsibilities which belong to a ruler whose soldiers are counted by the million. Here we can only express our doubts as to any serious improvement arising in the European situation from the Emperor's project for a Conference. If all the Powers were satisfied with the status quo nothing would be easier than a universal league of peace, which no one would break because no one would wish to break it. But the world is not satisfied with the status quo. France will not abandon the hope of redeeming Alsace and Lorraine. Germany has vast designs upon the two dying Empires of Turkey and China. Russia herself has no desire to maintain the integrity and independence of the Chinese, Persian, and Turkish Empires. England, obeying the instinct for expansion, is continually extending her sway, and so interfering with the status quo. Possibly the poorer nations might agree to limit the competition in armaments

of offence and defence, but is it likely that the wealthier Powers will give up their advantage ? The only hope that we can see is that Russia should abandon her alliance with France, greatly reduce her Army and Navy, and so relieve Germany and Austria of all anxiety, and do nothing in the Far East which can alarm Japan or England. If she did, the other Powers might possibly follow her example. Bat is it likely that she will do so? One has only to ask the question to answer it. We shall, perhaps, be called cynical and cold-blooded for placing the problem in this light, but what is the use of ignoring facts ?