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THE ALASKAN BOUNDARY.
The thanks of the British nation are due to two eminent public servants, Sir Michael Herbert and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, for the skilful and statesmanlike way in which they have carried out the negotiations that have ended in the signing of the Treaty to refer the question of the Alaskan boundary to a Commission of six members. 'Three of these members are to be American and three British, and their duty will be to give the true interpretation to the clauses of the Russian Treaty with Britain which lays down the line dividing Alaska and British Columbia. If, as we trust, the Treaty is ratified by the Senate of the United States, the thanks of the people of the United States will be equally due to that body and to the State Department at Washington for their share in the work. We on this side are naturally delighted at the prospect of getting rid of a tiresome and difficult question which has repeatedly threatened to throw a shadow over AngloAmerican relations; but the satisfaction at the prospect of a settlement should be, and we do not doubt is, no less real in America. The Americans are justly tenacious of their rights, but they are, we believe, sincerely anxious to get rid of all causes of dispute with this country. They regard the chance of embroilment between the two nations with quite as great a dislike as we do, and are quite as anxious to put an end to all causes of illfeeling. But if the Alaskan boundary is once finally determined, and a full solution of the problem discovered, there will practically remain nothing of a positive nature, such, for instance, as a boundary dispute, over which the two countries can quarrel. We do not, of course, suggest that all grounds of VOL. LXXVIIJ. 487
dispute between the two nations will be eliminated-that is never possible -but, at any rate, there will be nothing so definite as a quarrel about frontiers to keep the two peoples apart. Granted that the Alaskan boundary is finally agreed upon and laid down, Canada will be able to proceed with the development of her limitless natural resources without fear of interruption. Canada is naturally anxious that nothing which is rightly hers shall be lost in the determination of the frontier, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that she is most vitally interested in getting the matter put outside the region of controversy. We sincerely trust, then, that a spirit of hearty goodwill, and an intention to finish the business once and for all, will inspire both the British and the American members of the Commission. Till the Senate has ratified the Treaty the Commissioners on either side will not be appointed, but we may safely presume that one at least of the British members will come from the United Kingdom. That would seem the wisest plan to adopt, for the interests of the Mother-country are vitally concerned in the settlement. is true that if the failure to settle the boundary should ever unhappily lead to war, the chief brunt of such a war must fall on Canada, and that she would be the prime sufferer; but, nevertheless, the United Kingdom and the whole Empire must, whatever the ultimate result, be deeply involved.
As the matter is now, if not sub judice, at any rate about to become sub judice, we shall not attempt to enter into the details of the boundary dispute; but we may without injury point out the nature of the problems in
4. With reference to the line of demarcation laid down in the preceding article, it is understood, first, that the island called Prince of Wales Island shall belong wholly to Russia; second, that wherever the summit of the mountains, which extend in a direction parallel to the coast from the 56th degree of north latitude to the point of intersection of the 141st degree of west longitude, shall prove to be of a distance of more than ten marine leagues from the Ocean, the limit between the British possessions and the strip of coast (la lisière de côte), which is to belong to Russia as above mentioned, shall be formed by a line parallel to the windings of the coast, and which shall never exceed the distance of ten marine leagues therefrom (et qui ne pourra jamais en être éloignée que de 10 lieues marines).
we possessed in 1867 the British Empire possesses now, and is part of the Dominion of Canada. The third, fourth, and sixth clauses in the articles agreed to between the Russian and British Governments in 1825-articles the third and fourth of which were incorporated in the Russo-American Treaty of 1867-run as follows (we quote the words as given by Mr. Hodgins, a Canadian lawyer, in his article in the Contemporary Review, lately reprinted as a pamphlet by Messrs. W. Tyrrell and Co., of Toronto):—
6. It is understood that the subjects of His Britannic Majesty, from whatever quarter they may arrive, whether from the Ocean, or from the interior of the Continent, shall, for ever, enjoy the right of navigating freely, and without any hindrance whatever, all the rivers and streams which, in their course towards the Pacific Ocean, may cross the line (traverseront la ligne) of demarcation upon the strip of coast described in Article III. of the present Convention.
3. The line of demarcation between the possessions of the High Contracting Parties upon the coast of the continent, and the islands of North America to the north-west, shall be drawn in the manner following: Commencing from the southernmost part of the island called Prince of Wales Island, which point lies in the parallel of 54° 40m. north latitude and between the 131st and the 133rd degrees of west longitude (meridian of Greenwich), the said line shall ascend to the north along the channel called Portland Channel, as far as the point of the continent where it strikes the 56th degree of north latitude; from the lastmentioned point the line of demarcation shall follow the summit of the mountains situated parallel to the coast, as far as the point of intersection of the 141st degree of west longitude (of the same meridian); and finally, from the said point of intersection, the said meridian line of the 141st degree, in its prolongation as far as the Frozen Ocean, shall form the limit between the Russian and British possessions on the continent of America to the north-west.
This is the Treaty to which the Commission will have to find the interpretation. It is evident that the real crux of the problem is to determine what is the ocean and what the coast to whose windings, at thirty miles distance inland, a line shall be drawn parallel. The Treaty evidently intended to give to the Russians as a maximum a strip of territory parallel to the windings of the coast thirty miles broad. If the coast had consisted of wide stretches of sand, it would have been easy enough to draw a line inland parallel thereto and thirty miles broad. But unfortunately the coast is deeply indented with arms of the sea. When are the shores of these arma part of the coast, and when do they
cease to be coast? Are we first to lay down, as it were, a kind of artificial coast-line, cutting the mouths of the estuaries, and measure from that thirty miles inland, or are we to follow up the arms of the sea in all their windings, and measure the thirty miles inland from, say, where the salt water ceases, as the place where the shore ends? We will not attempt to answer any of these questions, but will only say again that everything will depend on the interpretation of the word "coast." It does seem to us, however, difficult to imagine that when the Treaty asserts that the coast is the place from which the measurement is to be taken, it means anything but actual mainland,-i.e., conterminous land, and excluding all islands. Again, it seems to us that the prime object of the Treaty was to give the Russians a strip-lisière, or fringe, is the word in the Treaty-of not less than thirty miles broad, the whole way along the shore of the mainland. If this was not intended, why should Article VI. have so carefully protected British subjects in the right of free navigation of all the rivers and streams, which but for that stipulation would have been barred by the strip of Russian territory. As we understand the Treaty, the idea of the coast in the minds of the diplomatists who drew it up was not political but geographical. They did not go into questions like those of territorial waters or of the distances between headlands, but simply thought of the Russian territory as a strip thirty miles broad, following the coastline as nearly as it could. The fact that the phrase "the The Spectator.
windings of the coast" was used seems to us to indicate that the diplomatists who made the Treaty did in the case of the big inlets mean to follow them round with a thirty-mile radius.
But we are losing touch of our determination not to discuss in detail the merits of the dispute, and will say no more on such matters. Before, however, we leave the subject we must ask the Canadians, and especially the statesmen of the Dominion on both sides in politics, to look at the matter in the broadest possible way, and not, if they can help it, to allow public opinion to drift into the attitude of expecting that, merits or no merits, the Mother-country must stand up for her daughter-land. The problem must, in our view, be approached in the interests of Canada in the most reasonable spirit, and the Canadians must not expect the British Commissioners to act in any but a strictly judicial capacity. The same spirit must be looked for from the Americans. If the Commissioners on both sides will only adopt such an attitude, a satisfactory solution ought to be arrived at. But to enable the Commissioners to do their work in such a spirit, they must be able to feel that if they arrive at any definite decision, either unanimously or by a majority, such decision must be loyally accepted and acted on by both sides. Nothing takes the heart out of Commissions, and spoils their work, more than the suspicion that the work in hand, when it is accomplished, may possibly be thrown over by the principals.
TRULY FORGIVEN TRULY FORGIVES.
Brother, forgive to-day,
Lest, having made delay,
"What peace can I allow?
My peace is nothing now:
God's peace is on his brow."
THE REIGN OF TERROR IN MACEDONIA.
whom was assigned his separate beat. But the hopes founded on this reversal of Russia's traditional policy have not been justified by the results. The Slavs of the Balkans pant for visible and tangible tokens of her goodwill as the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, and having asked for the bread of the San Stefano Treaty are disappointed and dissatisfied with the stone of the Russo-Austrian Convention. During the past few years they have received little from Russia except cold counsel and occasionally veiled threats. Latterly, indeed, a slight improvement took place and a sop was thrown to Servia in the shape of the confirmation of the election of the Patriarch Firmilian, and a bone to Bulgaria in the form of the visit of the Russian squadron, the Shipka festivities and a sorely needed loan. But sweet words butter no parsnips, and although promises may make friends, performance alone can keep them. Those slight tokens of goodwill then, to which the appointment of a Consul in Mitrovitsa has since been added, were but as dust in the balance. Little by little mistrust of Russia began to sour the sentiments of the Slavs towards their powerful elder brother, and the Macedonians in particular determined to help themselves, seeing that nobody else would
Extreme reserve and seeming unconcern have for some years past characterized Russia's policy in the Balkan Peninsula. After having intervened in the internal affairs of Servia and Bulgaria, almost as if these States were provinces of her empire, she suddenly withdrew her hand and let things take their own course there. This new line of policy was struck out almost immediately after the retirement of her two energetic and enterprising representatives, MM. Hitrovo and Persiani, whose aim it had been to copy in Bulgaria and Servia the methods employed by General Ignatieff in Turkey. And in truth it was high time, for excess of solicitude had defeated its own ends, and the two Slavonic States were being irresistibly drawn within Austria's sphere of attraction. Moreover, the centre of gravity of Russia's interests had meanwhile swung round from the Near to the Far East, and the attention theretofore given to the Balkan Peninsula was thenceforward claimed by the Gulf of Petchili. But in order effectually to prevent awkward surprises, which might cause a sudden explosion in the powder-magazine of Europe, Russia signed a convention with Austria-Hungary in virtue of which the two States were to play the part of policemen, to each of
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help them. And, what was still worse, a strong party was formed eleven years ago in the three Provinces of Ueskub (Kossovo), Salonica and Monastir, whose members, turning away from the Serbs and Bulgarians by whom they had been abandoned to their fate, inscribed upon their banner the strange device: "Macedonia for the Macedonians." For the first six years this party carefully prepared the masses, enrolling every able-bodied man in its ranks, creating secret tribunals, appointing an all-powerful executive and inaugurating a régime which, were it not voluntarily accepted, might aptly be termed a reign of terror. During the five ensuing years purely "practical" needs were studied; arms were smuggled in, the peasants were drilled, funds collected, and now at last, all preparations being completed, the insurrection was announced for Spring this year.
It was then that Count Lamsdorff set out for Sofia and Belgrade to calm the excitement, dispel the misgivings and restore the faith of the Slavs in Russian friendship, to awaken hopes for the down-trodden Christians, and to hinder the outbreak in Macedonia. And it is only fair to say that the Russian Foreign Minister has accomplished in a large measure the first part of the task he had set himself. The Serbs are now relatively quiet, the Bulgarians apparently patient, and Turkey seemingly pliant. If the situation only continues one might almost yield to the temptation to believe that the stormcloud will disappear, and peace, if not plenty, prevail once more in Macedonia.
One factor, however, seems to be forgotten in all these hopeful forecasts of semi-official and official organs; a factor, too, whose attitude may easily upset the most careful calculations of diplomatists. Macedonia, whose fate is in the balance, must be pacified as well as Servia and Bulgaria, and on
the Macedonians Count Lamsdorff has no effective means of putting pressure. Perhaps the promised reforms would, if they were speedily enough embodied in working institutions, content the Christians of the disturbed provinces? Precisely there lies the kernel of the matter. If the promises lately lavished upon that ill-starred people can indeed be carried out, and if they really make for peace, justice and prosperity, then the problem will be successfully solved and the Spring rising adjourned sine die. And as the political outlook depends solely upon these two conditions it is well worth while inquiring what chances they stand of being realized.
Genuine reforms in the administration of the three provinces known as Macedonia were promised by Turkey and guaranteed by the Powers that signed the Berlin Treaty over twentyfour years ago. That promise was not fulfilled by the Porte nor seriously insisted upon by the Powers. This neglect doubtless constituted a gross breach of faith from an ethical point of view, but regarded in the light of international politics it was a stern necessity. For the clause of the Berlin Treaty dealing with the Christians of Macedonia may well be likened to the compact on which a so-called "American Duel" is based: it compels one of the two principals to take his own life and is therefore null and void. In truth, Turkey could not make existence easy for her Christian subjects in the provinces of Macedonia without entirely losing her hold upon them, as she lost her grip on Eastern Roumelia and on Crete. The one thing follows upon the other as necessarily as a physical effect upon a physical cause. And Turkey knowing this refused to make a move, while the Signatory Powers, equally well aware of it, shrank from compelling her. Diplomatic pressure was indeed tried and found unavailing, while armed inter