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How the Berlin Treaty was Got., Issue 7965, 22 July 1889
How the Berlin Treaty was Got.
Ouo of tho most astonishing and mysterious feats of modern journalism—ono which, according to tho man who did it, is by universal consent the greatest on record —was the publication in ' The Times' at the very hour on tho 13th of July, 1878, when the Treaty of Berlin was being signed in that capital of the preamble and sixty-four articles. The hero of this achievement was none other than tho great De Blowitz, whose reverberations from Paris every morning swell tho thunders of' The Times.' For some time the light of Mr De Blowitz's achievement wa3 hidden under the bushel of anonymity, but ho has decided that the time has come for the illumination of an eager and expectant world. Accordingly he tells in the current' Harper's Monthly' the story of how it was done. And a very interesting story it is. . As a matter of fact, the way in which Mr Do Blowitz got the treaty was very simple. It was given to him by a friendly diplomatist, whoso name he does not reveal. What he reully did manage, with adroitness worthy of a detective, was the way in which ho manoged to bo kept aucourant, with the deliberations as they proceeded, and the way ia which he contrived to hoodwink the otbtr journalists, and get tho treaty safely away to ba telegraphed by a colleague to the exclusive car of 'Tho Times.' The first of these objects ho attained by having in his pay a young man attached in some secretarial capacity to ono of the Plenipotentiaries—here, again, the name is discreetly withheld. Not that ho had recourse to the gross expedient of suborning a secretary ; 3uch a plan was unworthy a De Blowitz. No ; he first educated, so to speak, his man up to tho part, and then got him made secretary, iu order that lie might play it. Acting under Mr De Blowitz's instructions, a young man of good address, educated and intelligent, and anxious to turn an honest penny before leaving the country, gradually approached tho person of the unwitting diplomatist, and succeeded in getting engaged by him before the Congress, during tho course of which be then supplied the great correspondent day by day with "straight tips," which, though necessarily scanty, gave nsufficient foundation for that fertile and ingenious mind to erect a superstructure. De Blowitz was closely watched, but by staying in the Bame hotel, and regularly exchanging hats after meals—a mo3t ingenious device, to which only the hat-rack was privy tho conspirators managed to interchange scraps of paper bearing messages. Thus primed, any journalist will know at once how De Blowitz went to work to fill in lm outlines. Having been promised a copy of tho treaty by a " friendly diplomatist," Mr Do Blowitz had still to face two difficulties, How was he, getting the treaty in advance, to telegraph it off? It was 'impossible in Germany or Austria; Paris he could not reach on Friday in time for the purposes of Saturday's 'Times.' By Monday it might have leaked out elsewhere. He chose Brussels, and extracted from Baron Nothomb (tho Belgian Minister at Berlin) a letter specially instructing M. Vinchent (telegraphic director at Brussels) in terms which would cover his purpose. But tho other danger was far greater; it was that the German Press would be able to forestall or at least eejual him. This they could do by inducing Bismarck to give them the treaty on Saturday. To checkmate this, Blowitz hit on an audacious expedient. Presuming on a complimentary phrase of Bismarck's about an interview with himself which Blowitz had written home during tho Congress, ho applied (through a friendly diplomatist) to tho German Chancellor, asking as a favor a copy of the treaty which he actually had in his pocket. Refusing him, Bismarck felt bound alfio to refuse the others. Having thus secured that they should not share tho priz?, tho astute correspondent took measures to mako them believe ho was no bettor off than they. Ostentatiously angry at the refusal, he made his rivals believe that his preparations to depart were due to pique, and heard with a sardonic pleasure their expressions of condolence. As a last step, he secured the preamble from the diplomatist who had asked onhiß behalf, and had been refused, the body of the treaty ; and carrying the preamble in his memory and the treaty in his pocket, he passed "through a crowd of spies and pressmen come to see him off, and stepped into the train, along with his colleague (Mr Wallace) and his private secretary. Neither was in the secret, and tho latter had an air of consternation which enchanted his dissembling chief. And so they started. When we had passed the outskirts of Berlin I said to my secretary "Take pen and ink, I am going to dictate somothing " ; and I dictated the preamble. When he had written this, I pulled out the treaty. There was a perfect outburst of delight—the sweetest recompense which my efforts could obtaiu, for I saw two honest hearts affectionately and unreservedly sympathise with a success so anxiously achieved.
"Now, wo ate nob going," said I to Mr Wallace, "to ;eid the treaty. Here are needles and thread. Open your vest. We will sew the treaty and preamble in, so that you will not have to bcther about its safety, and we will append Baron Nothomb's letter to M. Vinchent.'' This being done, I said to Mr Wallaco: "We are evidently watched, especially I. At the first largo Btation you will leave this compartment and go into one some way off on tho left, for on the right I believe there is someone watching us. I pretend not to know you, and you do the same with me. At Cologne you will take tho Brussels train, and you will arrive at five in the morning. You will go straight to the telegraph. If, as I expect, they refuse to transmit tho treaty without higher orders, you will wake up M. Vinchent, and present Baron Nothomb's letter, and ask him for the order of transmission."
Nothing more will ever be known, and if I have writton thus much it is that the public may know by what efforts, sacrifices, and difficulties, and at the cost of what anxiety, one sometimes succeeds in satisfying their thirst for knowing and forestalling events.
How the Berlin Treaty was Got., Issue 7965, 22 July 1889
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