« PoprzedniaDalej »
Alexander contented himself with and this old vagabond, as they addressing a few harmless notes adorn the walls of his humble to the Porte, as he considered dwelling in Khromoff's garden, the rising to be an insurrection. Coming home across the Urals, In 1824 there was a terrible inun- we had as travelling companion dation at St Petersburg, which the for a portion of the journey an Russian people openly affirmed to old Cossack officer who had not be a judgment on the unavenged heard about Kuzmitch. He lismassacre of the Greek population tened quietly to my fellow-trav. in Constantinople (1821). But, eller's narration of the story, and far more than this, the death of then added that he was a boy his daughter whom he adored, and in St Petersburg at the time the rumours of a Russo-Polish con- when the remains of the deceased spiracy against the house of Ro- Emperor were brought up from manoff, wholly unnerved the once the south, and that he remembered brilliant man. He was in ad- distinctly how it was quite openly vance of his day, and his noblest res- remarked that the body that had olutions to promote the good of his thus been transported home was and other countries had been coldly not that of Alexander,
" And and suspiciously regarded, and he also,” he said, “it was' a cause of became like unto those around comment at the time that people him. In September 1825 he set were not allowed to pass by and out on a journey to the Crimea for look on the face of their late Emthe sake of his health, but died at peror, as he lay in state, according Taganrog on December 1. And to custom." I also asked one of the horrified Russian people like the professors in Tomsk University wise referred to the wrath of God for his opinion on the whole mat“ the premature and mysterious ter, thinking that he at least would death of Alexander.” So far re- be above all popular fancies. He ceived history.
rather surprised me by saying, To return to Khromoff, who died “Well, if the old man was not only a few years ago.
Relying Alexander, he was at any rate on the papers that he received some one very highly connected at from Theodore Kuzmitch, he held Court.” Such, then, is this little to the end that Alexander I. of episode, it may be in Russian hisRussia, like Charles V. of Ger- tory, it certainly is in the history many and Christina of Sweden, of Tomsk. abdicated the throne through dis- It is needless to remark that the appointment, desirous to be quit best Russian historians do not of the reins of government and at credit the theory that was to peace from the strife of tongues. Khromoff more than fact, while Alexander “died ” in 1825, aged others relegate it to the number of forty eight. Theodore Kuzmitch those questions that can never now appeared in Tomsk somewhere be solved. This at least is beyond all in the "thirties," after having led doubt, that it will be many years a vagrant life for several years, before the belief is eradicated from and died in 1864, at which date the mind of the Tomsk populace, Alexander would have been eighty- that for a season they had their seven, if Khromoff is correct. In Emperor dwelling amongst them support of his theory there is also in all humility, and knew him to be adduced the resemblance in not. the portraits between Alexander
J. Y. SIMPSON.
THE ALL-BRITISH TRANS-PACIFIC CABLE.
Now that a Commission has view to the realisation of the probeen appointed, not to consider ject. the advisability of a cable across About this time Mr Sandford the Pacific, but to determine the Fleming, O.M.G., who has worked best means of carrying out the harder than any one in connection project, a long-delayed scheme is with the scheme, and may at last evidently at last on the point of hope to see it carried out, was busy, realisation. In these days, when as Engineer-in-Chief, constructing no mercantile business can be con- the Canadian - Pacific Railway. ducted on a large scale without a Seeing that this line, in conjunccheap and efficient means of tele- tion with a Pacific cable, would graphic communication, it seems form a valuable alternative telealmost incredible that two large graphic route to Asia, he requested English - speaking communities, Mr Gisborne to report on the such as Canada and Australasia, matter. Mr Gisborne recomseparated by only 90° of longitude, mended a line to Japan vid the should still be obliged to send their Aleutian Islands, which he estimessages round the other 270° mated would cost £800,000 for through various foreign nationali- the two sections of 1650 miles ties, instead of being in direct each. No private company,
howcommunication by a British cable ever, came forward with the capiacross the Pacific. A glance at tal to lay either this or the United the history of the project explains States cable via Honolulu and why its realisation has been so Bonin, and the scheme fell through. long deferred.
Two or three years later, the The originator of the scheme for frequent interruption of telegraphthe first Atlantic cable was also ic communication with the East the first to propose a trans-Pacific by the existing lines once more cable. Mr F. N. Gisborne, Super- brought the Pacific cable project intendent of the Telegraphs of to the front. During the bomCanada, who died in 1892, project- bardment of Alexandria in 1882 ed in the early “seventies” a cable the land-lines connecting the Medito Japan via Honolulu and the terranean cables with the Red Sea Bonin Islands. This line was were cut, and from other causes chosen as being shorter than the between the years 1872 and 1883 line diagonally across the Pacific there were no less than 540 days, to Australia. In 1874 the Tus- or eighteen months, during which carora of the United States Navy some portion of the cable route to surveyed the route. The bottom Australia was unavailable for serwas found to be uniform and not vice. Canada accordingly renewed too deep, and the late Cyrus W. her efforts to obtain a cable along Field, whose name is so prominently the alternative route, and in 1884 connected with the first Atlantic petitioned the Home Government cable, having obtained a landing to send a ship to make the necesconcession from the Government sary survey. On being told that of the Sandwich Islands, paid a the Admiralty had no ship to spare visit to England in 1879 with a for the purpose, a Canadian vessel named the Alert was offered, but eral acknowledged that it was was not accepted. Finally, Canada impossible to recognise the monoproposed to pay half the expenses poly which Mr Pender claimed, he of the survey, but even this offer declared that her Majesty's Governwas refused by the Liberal Govern- ment could not, by laying a Pacific ment then in power.
cable, become a competitor with exIn 1887 the First Colonial Con- isting commercial enterprise. In ference was held in London. In consequence of this statement, the the previous year the Canadian Pa- colonial delegates, realising that cific Railway had been completed, their Governments could not carry and in a letter to her Majesty's through the project unassisted by Government the High Commis- Great Britain, and relieved by sioner for Canada reopened the Mr Pender's offer to substantially question of telegraphic communi- reduce the tariff on receiving a cation to Australia by that route. guarantee against half the loss It was doubtless this letter which incurred by the reduction, did not induced the Colonial Secretary, commit themselves to any more the Right Hon. H. E. Stanhope, definite resolution than the followin the invitation to the Confer- ing: “That the connection of ence, which he addressed to the Canada with Australasia by direct different Colonies, to mention im- submarine telegraph across the proved telegraphic communication Pacific is a project of high importas one of the leading subjects for ance to the empire, and every discussion.
doubt as to its practicability should In his statement to the Con- without delay be set at rest by a ference Mr Sandford Fleming, who thorough and exhaustive survey." was present as one of the Canadian A result of this resolution was delegates, gave his reasons for the a letter signed by all the delegates importance of a Pacific cable, and and addressed to Sir Henry Holcombated the adverse criticism of land (afterwards Lord Knutsford), the late Sir (then Mr) John Pen- who succeeded Mr Stanhope as der, who represented the companies Secretary of State for the Colonies, owning the existing telegraph respectfully requesting that her routes to Australasia. Mr Sand- Majesty's Government would cause ford Fleming pointed out that the the survey to be made. The Secrecoral - reefs, which Mr Pender tary replied to the effect that unrepresented as forming such a less there was a prospect of the difficulty, lay in well - defined cable being laid, the Admiralty groups, which could easily be did not recommend despatching a avoided. The ocean expanses be- vessel solely for the purpose. tween them contained wide and Correspondence was still kept up uniform depressions very suitable during the rest of the year by Mr for a cable. Finally, the existing Sandford Fleming on the subject, tariff of 9s. 4d. per word to Aus- but nothing came of it. At the tralia, instead of 3s. 3d. by the Postal Conference, however, held proposed Pacific route, was alone at Sydney in March 1888, the sufficient reason for breaking up Governor of Victoria, in accordthe cable monopoly to the East, ance with a resolution passed at it, even if the alternative route were telegraphed to Lord Knutsford, not pronounced to be a necessity asking that the Admiralty should from an imperial point of view. be moved to make an early survey
Although the Postmaster-Gen- for the Pacific cable, the cost of
the survey to be defrayed by Great proposal made them liable to a Britain, Canada, and Australasia. further £60,000. This sum alone In reply Lord Knutsford said that would pay the interest on the the Egeria was about to survey capital required for a Pacific cable; the islands between New Zealand but the prospect of its construction and Vancouver, and could be in still seemed far distant, and Ausstructed to take, in the course of tralasia, in her desire for immediate her three years' work, soundings relief, was compelled to accept the which would give some idea of the terms. In May 1891 the tariff was suitability of the sea-bottom for reduced from 93. 4d. per word to the laying of a cable. With the 48., but the loss incurred by the view of expediting the survey, Mr Colonies during the first year was Sandford Fleming addressed a found to be so heavy that in memorandum to Lord Stanley, January 1893 it was raised to Governor-General of Canada, who 4s. 9d. By this politic reduction forwarded it to the Imperial Gov- the supporters of the Eastern ernment, but without result. Extension Company calculated
A month or two later the total that they had laid the ghost of interruption of the two cables from the Pacific cable for at least a Java to Port Darwin caused Aus- dozen years. tralia to be cut off for ten days The fact of the shelving of from telegraphic communication the English scheme may have with the rest of the world. These given a stimulus to the Ameritwo cables being in the vicinity can one, for the Albatross and of volcanic disturbances were Thetis, U.S.N.,
commisliable to frequent rupture, and sioned in 1891 and 1892 to surbetween 1880 and 1888 there had vey the route between Honolulu been no less than forty-one days of and San Francisco. The report of total interruption. The outcry their work showed an excellent which followed induced Sir John bottom, barely exceeding in any Pender to announce his intention part 3000 fathoms, but beyond of adding a third cable between furnishing useful information for Java and Australia. It was laid the proposed British cable, nothin the spring of 1890, but in July ing practical resulted from their of the same year all three cables survey. broke down; and as the rate to About this time another comEngland still stood at 93. 4d. per petitor, the French Pacific Comword instead of 3s. 3d. which the pany, appeared on the scene, and Pacific cable would afford, the in the early part of 1893 actually agitation for the latter was once laid the first section of their cable more renewed.
from Queensland to New CaleTo do away with one of the donia, the Queensland and New arguments in favour of the rival South Wales Governments agreeroute, Sir John Pender offered to ing to pay a subsidy of £2000 reduce the rate to 48. if Australasia each for a period of thirty years. would guarantee to the Eastern As the cable was also subsidised Extension Company half the loss by France, and completely under to be incurred by the reduction. her control, the action of these The Australian Colonies, including two colonies was adversely critiTasmania, were already paying to cised by the Home Government this company an annual subsidy of as well as by the rest of Aus£36,600, and Sir John Pender's tralasia.
In the same year the Canadian- Before this met, however, the Australasian steamship service was Intercolonial Postal Conference, inaugurated. The fact that Canada held at Wellington in March and Australia are in different hemi. 1894, showed that the Australian spheres, and that the winter of the colonies were in earnest with reone is the summer of the other, gard to the Pacific cable, by propointed to a good prospect of trade posing to guarantee interest at 4 in agricultural produce. In Canada per cent on a capital not exceeding during the winter butter was 18. 6d. £1,800,000 for fourteen years to per lb., while in Australia at the any private company undertaking same time it was only 5d. There to lay the cable and not to charge would be an almost equally good more than 3s. per word for telemarket for potatoes, apples, and grams to Great Britain. eggs. Impressed with this fact, The Ottawa Conference was the Canadian Government, as early opened in June of the same year, as 1889, offered a subsidy of £25,000 and the subject of the Pacific for a fortnightly steamship service; cable was made of primary imbut it was not till New South portance. The majority of the Wales was prepared to add an- Australian colonies including other £10,000, and the service Queensland and New South was made monthly, that any one Wales, who had bound themcould be induced to undertake the selves to a subsidy for the French contract. The first steamer of the cable to New Caledonia line, the Miowera, left Sydney for strongly in favour of it. West Vancouver in May 1893.
Australia was not represented, and In the following September the the delegate from South Australia, Hon. (now Sir) Mackenzie Bowell, the Hon. Thomas Playford, althe Canadian Minister of Trade though he declared that his Govand Commerce, left Vancouver on ernment would not oppose the a mission to Australia to promote scheme, criticised it very freely. the extension of trade which the His attitude in the matter is new line made possible. But as explained by the fact that South no steamship service can thrive Australia, at great expense, conunless the ports at which it touches structed land - lines right across are in telegraphic communication, the continent from south to north the subject of the Pacific cable was in order to make a junction at also to be discussed, and in this Port Darwin with the first cable connection the Minister was laid from Java. The land - lines companied by Mr Sandford Flem- had always proved a loss, and if ing. It was impossible in the the Pacific cable were laid, the short time at their disposal before annual deficit would be still the opening of the Canadian Parlia- further increased. Against loss ment to make a tour of all the from this cause, however, the Australian colonies, but such as other colonies were prepared to they visited evinced great willing- indemnify South Australia. ness to co-operate both in the mat- The first point that Mr Playter of trade and telegraphic com- ford urged against the scheme munication. In order to obtain was its impracticability, in supa definite expression of opinion port of which he quoted a statefrom the whole of Australasia, it ment made by Mr Patey at the was proposed to hold a Conference Colonial Conference of 1887, in at Ottawa in the following year. which he mentioned depths of