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was ever within their reach, but a counter - irritant was easily found, how easily even in Europe did not then realise. It is difficult to sum up the results of this terrible battle in the snow. We have already shown how practically one Russian division was annihilated in front of San-de-pu; the Japanese losses, before they were able to reoccupy Hei-koutai, were simply enormous; but neither of these compare in any way to the terrible scene of slaughter which was enacted in the final retreat of the Russians back to Chang-tan. Nogi and a portion of Oku's army pursued them to the Hun-ho, and having reached this point the Japanese, probably from reasons of caution, stayed their hand.
It was estimated at the time in telegraphic despatches that the Russian losses between January 25 and January 29 were just over 10,000 officers and men. The casualties, taking into consideration the atmospheric conditions under which this action was fought, were enormous, less than 50 per cent of the wounded being retrieved from the field of battle. It will, therefore, not be an ungenerous estimate to hazard 20,000 as the actual losses in the futile endeavour to turn the Japanese line at San-de-pu. A heavy price indeed to pay for a poli
counter - irritant. The Japanese themselves allowed that they had 7000 casualties. Leaving a margin to cover the deductions of the military secrets bureau, we may esti
mate that the Japanese losses were just about half of those incurred by the Russians. They had to expend life recklessly to reoccupy Hei-kou-tai, and they also lost a very large amount in the outpost operations of the opening day,-the majority of the Japanese pickets preferring to die at their posts rather than implicate the main line of defence by retiring too rapidly.
Lord Brooke, who was present throughout the whole of this desperate fighting, sums up the effect of the battle in the following suggestive paragraph:
"The battle of San-de-pu had the army. The work of three months most deplorable effect on the whole and more of reorganising the force since the battle of the Sha-ho was almost entirely thrown away. Prior to the defeat of Gripenberg the army had recovered its tone. There were officers more thoughtful and better informed than the majority, who still had misgivings as to the ability of the Russian army to reverse Liauyang and the Sha-ho. They did not affect the general spirit. The men, well-clothed and well-fed, cheered by the presence of new comrades, had enjoyed a long rest, and were full of courage. Guns, ammunition, and supplies had arrived in plenty, and confidence in the future was almost universal. Then came San-de-pu with its disastrous ending of over 20,000 casualties: the morale of the men gradually weakened, and, worst of all, caused acute dissension in the ranks of the officers. All this had the most depressing effect, and it is beyond question that the defeat of San-de-pu was one of the chief causes of the subsequent rout of the Russians at Mukden."
No analysis that we can make will clearly apportion the blame for the dismal errors
in direction which are the chief features of the battle we have just studied. The actual patent results were the most extraordinary.
As soon Gripenberg had withdrawn his army of shattered battalions across the Hun, he posted into Mukden and flung his resignation at Kuropatkin's head. Not even waiting to have it accepted, he handed in a long ciphered telegram to the Tsar, and, requisitioning a special train, started post haste for Europe. The wildest rumours were in circulation at St Petersburg, especially when on the following day a confidential aide-de-camp was despatched to the Far East from Tsarskoe Selo, and Gripenberg had instructions to break his journey at Irkutsk. Even to this moment the whole affair is shrouded with mystery. Gripenberg's story is that he was deserted; that he was left with his 80,000 men, lonehanded to do battle with the whole of the Japanese army; that by his original nightmarch he had made an advantage which, if only Kuropatkin and the other officers commanding corps had carried out their obligations, would have resulted in a complete victory. That is Gripenberg's case for the rest, everything is conjecture. Some say that Kuropatkin merely ordered a demonstration against the Japanese left, and that Gripenberg brought about a pitched battle contrary to orders. Others attribute the want of cohesion to a breakdown in Kuropatkin's nervous system. It is
confidentially said that he was about to order the full development of his whole fighting strength against the Japanese front when he heard of the failure of the Siberian Army Corps. He at once exhibited those failings which were so noticeable in many of our own generals during the earlier months of the South African war: he accepted defeat for his whole force on the fortunes of an infinitesimal portion of it. This is the nearest solution at the present moment that the student can arrive at-probably the most curious and disastrous disagreement of officers in high command in the field that history relates. But possibly the most striking example of Russian fatalism was the manner in which Kuropatkin's army went back again to ground, just as if an engagement which had reduced its numbers by nearly ten per cent were a matter of the smallest moment. Nor did the staff seem to trouble themselves as to what the effect of this demonstration of feebleness would be upon the enemy. They were content to accept defeat as just an ordinary interlude in a long and dreary winter campaign. One cannot help contrasting this apparent apathy with the state of affairs existing behind the more stubborn line of intrenchments. Although the Japanese showed no activity in countering the small and petty attacks with which Kuropatkin thought he was keeping his enemy occupied and engaged, yet in the meantime they were organising,
as secretly and as swiftly as the nature of the season would allow, the onslaught which apparently had been intended ever since they allowed the Russians to winter in Mukden. As has already been shown, they had increased their army at the front by 50 per cent: whereas at Liauyang and the Sha-ho Kuropatkin had been called upon to face eight divisions with their reserve complements, he was now called upon to oppose this same victorious army augmented by seven more divisions, divided into five armies. Some of the prisoners that Mischenko had taken during the action at Hei-kou-tai proved conclusively that Nogi's Port Arthur army had reached the front. But over and above this reinforcement by four magnificent divisions on the Japanese left, there was another army in the field
which had been spirited away from the shores of Japan with the utmost secrecy. Outside the small circle of military direction for a long time the destination of this force was not known. It was given out that it was designed to attack Vladivostok or Saghalin: in reality it was carried to the mouth of the Yalu and marched up by the Mandarin road, past Motienling, until it was necessary for it to strike out and take up its position on the extreme right of Oyama's line. This was the much speculated upon army of Kawamura, consisting of possibly the best fighting material that Oyama had in the field. It was an army of veterans brought to the colours through the new extension of service requisition, which the war had rendered necessary.
AN IRISH FESTIVAL.
BY STEPHEN GWYNN.
PROBABLY the fact most likely to impress an outsider with the importance and significance of this year's Oireachtas in Dublin was the deputation from Cumann na Leabharlann to the Ard-Fhéis of Connradh na Gaedhilge. And since, although 'Maga' has never ceased to uphold and honour all the traditions of the Gael, the terms which I have used may not be clear even to all Gaels of Scotland, it is as well to explain at the outset what they mean.
Connradh na Gaedhilge is the Gaelic League, an organisation formed (like the Cumann Gaidhaileac of Scotland) to revive and preserve the Gaelic speech, traditions, and customs. The Oireachtas or Convocation is its great annual assembly in Dublin, taking place this year for the tenth time, at which competitions are held in the various traditional arts-composition in verse and prose, oratory, story-telling, recitation (all of course in Irish); singing (solo and choral); playing on traditional instruments, such as harp and pipes; dancing traditional dances, such as jigs, reels, and hornpipes. Not less important are the competitions for learners, examinations conducted orally
for the League lays stress on the fact that proficiency in a living language can only be shown by ability to use it in speech. And while the competitions are in progress-conducted, many of them, before keenly-interested audiencesthe Ard - Fhéis or Chief Assembly, consisting of delegates from the seven hundred and odd branches of the League, sits to debate (mainly in Irish) and decide upon matters that concern the activities of this great society,-activities very meagrely indicated by its balance-sheet of over £7000 a-year.
The Cumann na Leabharlann has a totally different character, yet the League's influence shows itself in the fact that an association of persons desirous to promote the formation of rural libraries in Ireland now naturally takes a Gaelic name. years back, the thing would never have been thought of. Mr T. W. Lyster, for instance, who headed the deputation, is a scholar in several languages, but ignorant of Gaelic and wholly out of touch with the language movement. Yet as Curator of a great and really popular library he feels the intellectual life of the country, and recognises the forces that are at work: hence the request
1 The National Library in Kildare Street, the best administered and most thoroughly used library of which I have any experience,-a State institution, admirably managed by a Committee of Irishmen, and starved by the Treasury,
of which he was the spokesman. A recent Act gives local bodies in Ireland the right to strike a rate for raising small libraries, and the Cumann (or Bond) in question was formed to render this clause operative, by reasoning with District Councils and providing suggestions for the formation of libraries. In two words, the deputation came to the ArdFhéis of the Gaelic League asking it to encourage the Irish people to read, not books in Irish, but books of all sorts, and principally books in English. They were promised help, and they will get it, from the body which, as its President claimed with justice, has created interest throughout Ireland where it found apathy, and left intelligence where it found stupidity. The deputation to the Ard-Fhéis was a practical recognition of the fact that the work which the Gaelic League has on hand is no less than the education of Ireland.
centres of industrial co-operation. For that reason, he was there to give the work of the League his official benediction. I do not remember that Sir Horace stopped to examine why this League, founded for the preservation of a language little used in commerce, should identify itself with an industrial propaganda, yet the reason for the fact is not recondite. If all the Irish-speaking people go out of Ireland, there will be no Irish language left to keep alive; and the drain of emigration falls chiefly on the Irish-speaking districts. Consequently, the attempt to revive Irish speech and tradition becomes inseparably connected with an attempt to provide new fields of employment and of interest for Irishmen home. That is why, amongst other things, an exhibit of shoe-blacking is not the least characteristic feature of this year's Oireachtas.
Let us say it in a whisper, Another testimony may be with all deference to the suscited in corroboration. Last ceptibilities of our friends the year a great Féis (or gathering) Liberals-every Gaelic Leaguer was held in the glens of Antrim, is at heart a a Protectionist. and Sir Horace Plunkett, whose We are all of us pledged to work in reviving and promot- buy as far as possible Irishing Irish industries has been so made goods and to promote widely and so justly eulogised, Irish industries by all means came down to speak as head of in our power. And so one the Department of Agriculture energetic Leaguer, having inand Technical Instruction. quired, as in duty bound, for What he said was in effect Irish boot - polishes, failed to this that the study of Gaelic get them or failed to get made no special appeal to him, them to his liking,—and therebut that his colleagues and upon started to make what he subordinates told him with one wanted the result is to-day accord that wherever the a small factory whose wares Gaelic League was active they are on view in the large but found it easy to establish desperately crowded room