The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY JUNE 15, 1889. TROUBLOUS TIMES.
A wave of unrest seems to be passing over the World just now. From all quarters of the Earth comes news of strained relations, increased armaments, new alliances, smouldering quarrels, and all that creates uneasiness among lovers ol peace and excites the warlike spirit of those who follow the profession of arms. In Europe all eyes are turned to Russia, where there has been lately unusual activity m military affairs; and where such preparations are being made as eau only foreshadow the undertaking of a campaign m the near future. Against whom ? is the anxious question. Pro* fessions of peace are being made by the Czar with all the loudness and frequency with which they have preceded Russian declarations ot war m the past, and bis intentions can only be surmised from a consideration of his relations with his neighbors. Persia was a few days ago the subject of a threat of invasion, on account of the commercial concessions which the Shah recently granted to England ; but a day or two later the news came of an extraordinary treaty which had been concluded between the Shah, then on a visit to iiussia, and his imperial host the (__ar. By this treaty the destinies of the Persian Empire have been confided to Russia. The Persian military and commercial policy will be controlled by Russia, and m the event ' of war Russia is to enter into occupation oi the province of Khorassan — the eastern frontier of which is bounded for several hundred miles by Afghanistan, and which approaches to within fifty miles of Herat, the stronghold which has beea called tbe Key of India, This coup will no doubt bo declared by the Czar to be an action entirely m the interests of peace, and to be m no degree a menace to our Indian Empire. It may even be declared to have been effected simply for the purpose of exercising a Christian' ißing and peaceful influence over these somewhat heathenish subjects of the Shah — one of those missionary enterprises which, when undertaken by Kussia, begin and end with the doctrine of fire and sword. Russia has been for some years pledged to England against further advances m the direction of India, a pledge which guileless English statesmen accepted m good faith, although it is a truism m diplomacy, that so sure as Bnssia makes a pledge so surely will her actions immediately and insidiously tend to the breach of that pledge. It is even doubtful whether the present race of English ministers will go through the form of demanding an explanation of this breach of pledge. Nothing can be seen m the transaction but a bold menace to India. Whether the Kußsian military operations for which such great preparations are being J made, are intended to be directed against England through India at present cannot be said. Russia has other business on hand. Her guardianship oi Servia may be asserted, m which case Austria, and possibly the triple alliance — Germany, Austria and Italy — will have to be reckoned with. In the event of the Balkans being made the scene of operations, the power gained m Persia might be used to enforce the neutrality of England m the European conflict. The prospect is dark. The enormous armies of the great continental powers are being rapidly swelled to dimensions at which the preservation of peace will be impossible, and we can only devoutly hope that England will not be drawn into the conflict. Russia is placing a loan of thirty million roubles upon the market, and the manner of its reception by financiers, will tell us better than the words of the Czar whether peace or war is his intention.