Mr. Schuyton to Mr. Fish.
St. Petersburg, January 29, 1873. (Received Feb. 27.)
Sir: The violent tone of the English press on the Central Asian question and the consequent agitation here have induced the government to publish a communication on the negotiations in the official journal, of which I inclose a translation herewith. From all that I can learn, Count Schouvaloff, while in England, used all his efforts to bring about some sort of an arrangement between the two cabinets, and it looks now as though the Russian government would even be willing to appear convinced by the English arguments and yield the points at issue.
The English cabinet is very anxious to come to an agreement as soon as possible, and gain at least the appearance of a victory in order to present something to Parliament to counterbalance the defeats in the arbitration on the Alabama, San Juan, and Delagoa Bay questions.
Whichever way the controversy may be settled, Russia will, I think, be the real gainer. If she refuses to admit the northern boundary of Afghanistan, as the English claim it, England can only continue, to reassert what she has already said, and prepare to defend Afghanistan whenever the Russian cabinet choose to precipitate matters, and it will, of course, select the time most inconvenient to England. If, on the other hand, Russia is willing to agree that all south of the Oxus belongs to Afghanistan, she is able to show to the people of Central Asia that England is pursuing a common policy with her and has agreed to divide Asia with her. Either way is bad for England.
The restrictions on the Russian press have been in part removed, and the papers are beginning to print articles conceived in the spirit of the official communication, all of them blaming English public opinion for being so excitable and violent on insufficient grounds, and calling the whole thing an intrigue against the present administration.
I have, &c.,