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the organising of the German reception of the Viceroy ; who also played an effective part in the international combination which saved the Chinese mainland from dismemberment last year.
On some other occasions on which Li Hung Chang encountered British diplomacy he was not the ostensible negotiator, but was behind the scenes pulling the wires. The principal transaction was the Burman treaty of 1885, which was also a surrender to China. Territory which had been undoubtedly Burmese, which made an excellent natural frontier with China,' was given up for nothing to China, making such a patchwork frontier that to this day nobody has been able to mark it out. Were it the custom to give black instead of white marks to the signatories of treaties, on the presumption that they were injudicious, there would be fewer instances of giving away the material interests of the empire by officials in a hurry. We should have done better without any such treaty.
Our newspapers have been twitting the Germans about their attentions to Li Hung Chang not being disinterested, while in the next sentence they deprecate English attentions on the ground that he is now powerless and unable to return favours. Between German interestedness and British disinterestedness there would appear to be little to choose. If the Germans really thought that the great Chinaman had brought bags of gold to scatter among them like confetti at the carnival, they were naïve. But Germans are not fools, as anyone may satisfy himself who tries a fall with them in business. They know on which side their bread is buttered as well as any race under heaven, with the possible exceptions of the Jews and the Scots, and stand little in need of our condolence. The over-done cordiality of Germany and the insular rigidity which is recommended by some of our leading organs are curiously illustrative of the respective national modes of conducting their commercial competition. The stiff and stand-off attitude suggested to the public for the reception of Li Hung Chang represents too accurately the attitude of British manufacturers in their dealings with customers and potential customers. They refuse to budge or bend an inch from their routine in order to promote trade. This is the universal and continuous report of observers of every class and in every corner of the world. The spirit was typified in a London optician's shop the other day, where a lady had brought a prescription for glasses to be made. Calling attention to the fact that her skin was sensitive, she asked that the bridge should be made so as not to hurt the nose. The optical gentleman, in his downright English manner, on which he no doubt prides himself, merely answered, “Oh, we can't make
· The Burmese have always had a good strategic eye, and their frontiers were scientific.' Had we been well advised we should have adhered to them instead of carvir out imaginary frontier on paper, irrespective of terrestrial configuration. Vol. XL-No. 234
glasses that will not hurt the nose.' Possibly not, but he might have attached a customer for life by merely promising to do his best.
Now the Germans, if they have not booked any contracts with Li Hung Chang, as it would have been childish to expect they would —that is not the way things are done—have at least made themselves favourably known to their guest, and thus prepared the way for future business. It is impossible to deny that a powerful stimulus has been given to German commerce in China, that on the one hand the Germans have been roused in a way they have never been before, and, on the other, the Chinese, as represented by their chief contractmonger, have been deeply impressed with the importance of things German. There was never a better advertisement. Many things which Li has seen in Germany he could have seen as well, perhaps better, elsewhere; but the interesting fact remains that it is there that he has seen them, and the memory will abide. He will not want his face again photographed by the Röntgen rays. That remains a German experience.
The Germans have followed him up scientifically. Krupp's agent appears in the photographs taken as if he were part of the show, which in fact he was. The effect of all this is that when Li returns to China he will always find a German at his elbow ready to render any servicefor a consideration. He will not find an Englishman there. And this trait in the English character which is losing us our commercial pre-eminence is surely the last thing the manufacturing and trading communities need to have urged on them by influential journals.
The 'power of Li Hung Chang will probably remain, as it has been, an unknown and indefinable quantity, and very elastic—the last perhaps the most important element in it. On documentary grounds he has little or no power, any more than Mr. Rhodes has in Charterland. It is force of character and his record, and also the force of circumstances, that give him power. And it is stronger on its negative than on its positive side, so that if he cannot do what he would, he can often prevent others from doing what he would not. No stone has been left unturned by the powerful factions opposed to him to ruin Li Hung Chang; but the foundations of his power have not been materially shaken.
During the war with Japan, though stripped of offices and honours, he remained a power, and, after trying alternatives, the Emperor was constrained to fall back on Li Hung Chang as the only man capable of concluding peace. The Japanese had the same idea, for when envoys were sent to them they said : Not this man, but Li Hung Chang. When he was reported dead on one occasion, the Marquis Ito exclaimed, 'Why, if that man dies, I shall have to bring him out of his grave to negotiate peace.”
The summons to Peking last winter was by no means intended as an honour to Li Hung Chang, nor was it deemed altogether safe
for his person, for the Emperor had been got at by Li's enemies, who thought that now peace had been secured, and indemnities provided, there was nothing standing in the way of their conspiring to finally ruin him. But they reckoned without their host, as foreign officials also have done who speculated on his fall. There was
a power behind the throne which has always shielded him in extremities, as he has in turn protected it. Between Li Hung Chang and the Empress Dowager the attachment has been lasting and strong. The bond included, during his lifetime, the father of the Emperor, Prince Chun, under whose name and sanction things were done and legitimised. The removal of one leg of the tripod materially weakened the structure, for the Empress Dowager, being a woman, and 'out of office,' was deprived of the usual means of conference with her ally. But force of will overcomes all difficulties, and it is due directly to the energy of the imperial widow that the enemies of Li Hung Chang were baffled, and he has been spared to make a triumphal progress through Europe.
What may be the consequences of Li Hung Chang's tour in the West will obviously depend a great deal on the continuance in health of the august lady we have spoken of, who is sixty-two, and of the Viceroy himself, who is seventy-four. Eliminating these two factors, we should expect little more from it than from the blowing of a soap bubble. Undoubtedly a keen observer, a robust thinker, and a man of affairs like Li Hung Chang will carry back with him deep impressions of what he has seen and experienced. He has had opportunities of learning more about Western countries in general than perhaps any Oriental before him, and though it has been the glittering side of European life that has been shown him, and Sovereigns and statesmen have been his entertainers, yet no door has been closed to him, and he has not been averse in the intervals of regal state to condescend to men of low degree. That is to say, he has kept an eye on commonplace practical things, and while a new heaven and a new earth have been opened to him he will not return to his country without a considerable store of useful information which no diplomat or courtier would have communicated. If only he could have made the experiment twenty or even ten years earlier, as he was often recommended to do, but could not, some important results of the tour would have been soon manifested. Now, the result, though hopeful, is speculative.
I The beautiful big telescopes which are now at work at several observatories have rendered a new service to astronomy. They have given. a fresh impulse to lunar studies, and once again the old questions as to the existence of air and water and the possibility of organic life on the surface of our satellite are discussed—this time with some prospects of a definite solution.
For some time past lunar studies have been decidedly falling into neglect. The immense, apparently lifeless plains of the Moon, which still retain the name of seas,' or 'maria,' although no traces of present or past marine action can be detected on their surfaces; its immense circus-shaped craters, which have no rivals in size on our own planet; its high chains of mountains and deep rents—all these had been minutely measured and mapped down to the smallest craterlets, with the hope of discovering some signs of life, or of change going on on the Moon's surface; and yet no such signs were forthcoming, at least in a definite form. There was, of course, a small group of devoted selenographers, Neison in this country, Klein in Germany, Oscar Schmidt at Athens, who continued to give their lives to a minute study of the visible surface of the Moon. With instruments of a modest power they achieved real wonders in delineating the minor details of lunar topography, and from time to time they caught glimpses of such appearances as seemed to indicate the presence of water in certain cavities, or a periodical growth of some vegetation, or, at least, a still continuing volcanic activity. But each time such appearances were studied in detail, it became evident that unless more powerful instruments were directed towards our satellite, there was little hope of solving those questions relative to life which, in astronomy as everywhere else, chiefly fascinate man. Gradually it began to be said that we already know about the Moon all that can be known, and interest in lunar studies waned amongst astronomers.
And yet, in reality, our knowledge of the Moon is still very limited. Our best map of its visible surface, although it is a marvel of accuracy, represents it only on a scale of 1 to 1,780,000, which is quite insufficient to show even such changes as are still going on on our own globe. We know, indeed, that in our lifetime many changes have taken place in the shapes of our hills, valleys, river courses, and ocean shores; but what could we know of such changes if we only had small maps to compare ? Moreover, only now, with such big instruments as the Lick telescope, which has a glass lens thirty-six inches in diameter, or the admirable Paris telescope (twenty-four inch lens), we can distinguish, under the most favourable circumstances, the valleys and the hillocks, which are from 650 to 1,000 feet in width; but until quite lately, all we could see was objects over one or two miles wide; so that it has been truly said that if all the knowledge of the Earth by a man in the Moon were of the same sort, he also might represent our planet as an arid, dreary body with no traces of life upon it.
Photography undoubtedly supplied astronomers with a precious aid. Already in the admirable photograph of the Moon, which was made in 1865 by Rutherford, and still more in modern photographs, the circuses, the plains, and the mountains appeared with a relief and reality of which the best maps gave not the faintest idea. But lunar photography is beset with so many difficulties, chiefly on account of the irregular proper movements of the Moon, that up till now the largest photographs obtained were less than eight inches in diameter. And it was only quite lately that they could be enlarged ten, twenty, and even thirty three times, without the details being blurred. Some of the negatives obtained at the Lick Observatory, and at Paris by the brothers Henry, in an especially quiet and favourable atmosphere, were even so clear, that it was found advisable to carefully examine them under the microscope, and to make with the hand detailed enlarged drawings from the best of them.3
1 The Moon has on this map a diameter of 75 inches, while its real diameter is 2,160 miles.
2 There is no lack of excellent works, most attractively written, in which all information about the Moon may be obtained. Suffice it to name the following :Gwyn Elger's The Moon, London, 1895; Edward Neison's The Moon and the Condition and Configurations of its Surface, London, 1876; the English translation of Flammarion's Astronomie Populaire; and the excellent work of Miss Agnes Clerke, A Popular History of Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century, 3rd edition, London, 1893.
s Great doubts were expressed at the outset as to the advantages offered by photography for the study of the Moon. The advantage of the relief-representation of the surface is, however, self-evident. Besides, with the aid of photography, a continuous record of the Moon's aspect is kept, and every modification of detail which may occur in it will be settled for subsequent reference by unimpeachable testimony. It hardly need be said that in one favourable night many photographs are taken, and that such a mass of details is thus recorded that it would take one's lifetime to map them by hand. As to the enlarged drawings which were made by Dr. Weineck, who is well known for his skill in that sort of work, they have met with a good deal of criticism (from Dr. Klein in Sirius, 1894 and 1895, and the Belgian professor W. Prinz in Ciel ot Terre, ii. 1895, p. 449), but it may now be taken as certain they really contain a mass of details which may be seen rectly even with smaller telescopes, but had been overlooked; while the appearance of