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Rondeau of Regret. By Isabel
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Sermon to the Colonial Troops. By J. E. C. Welldon
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THE LIVING AGE:
A Weekly Magazine of Contemporary Literature and Thought.
(FOUNDED BY E. LITTELL IN 1844.)
When announcement was made the other day that the Triple Alliance had been renewed for the fourth time, the question which seemed to agitate the public mind most was whether the terms of the Treaty were or were not the same as those originally subscribed. It is now established beyond reasonable doubt that the Treaty was in no way modified, at least so far as the 1891 and 1896 texts are concerned.' Nevertheless, the public have remained perplexed and perturbed. Even with the Treaty unaltered, there is a vague suspicion that the circumstances of the Alliance are no longer what they were. Things are happening which did not happen when Prince Bismarck governed Europe, and although everybody is protesting that everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, the thinking politician is far from reassured.
THE SHIFTING FOUNDATIONS OF EUROPEAN PEACE.
As a matter of fact, the question of the actual text of the Treaty is of very little essential importance. It is so with all treaties of offensive or defensive alliance, for no one can ever be certain that their obligations will be observed in the contingencies for which they are supposed to provide, or, that if they are not repudiated or evaded, their inter
ОСТ. 4, 1902.
1 It was in 1891 that the military protocols were first left out of the Treaty.
FROM BEGINNING Vol. CCXXXV
pretation will, at the critical moment, assume a given form. The essence of such documents lies in the motives and intentions of the contracting parties. This is all the truer of the Triple Alliance because the text of its treaty has never been officially divulged. The con fidence of the public has been won by the conduct of the Allies, by their known psychology and by the fact that their cooperation, whatever its documentary basis, has been attended by a very solid preservation of the peace. Moreover, the Triple Alliance has connoted in the public mind a certain mechanism of European peace which has not always been confined to its own members. At one time it took the form of a veritable European edition. At another it presented itself as a balance of alliances. Now, to-day there are distinct signs of a change in both the psychology of the Powers and the general mechanism of peace. The Triple Alliance has been renewed, but with very ominous difficulty. The outward semblance of an equilibrium of alliances has been preserved, but with the elimination of the mechanical principle of mutual counteraction. How will this novel experiment work? What are the motives and intentions of its authors? These are the questions which are more or less consciously occupying the public