Among these topics the dangers

In July 1909, while the Imperial Conference on Defence was in session, Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg succeeded Prince Bülow as German Chancellor. Up to that time there had been the menace of the mailed fist, the rattling sabre, and the shining armour. Henceforward there was the additional menace of a diplomacy playing for time, with a careless and unconcealed contempt for the intelligence, the courage, and the honour of the British people and their statesmen.[5] The German Government had clearly formed the opinion that our ministers were growing more and more afraid of {283} asking their party to support increased naval estimates, and that it was only necessary to go on, alternately dangling and withdrawing illusory proposals for a naval understanding and a general agreement, in order to steal ahead of us in the race. Here, as in many other instances, the Germans had observed not altogether incorrectly; but they had drawn the wrong inference from the facts .

During the summer and autumn of 1910 was held the famous but futile Constitutional Conference, the primary object of which was to settle the quarrel between the two Houses of Parliament. With steadily increasing clumsiness, German diplomacy, through all this anxious time, was engaged in holding out its hand and withdrawing it again; until even men whose minds were worried with more immediate cares, could no longer ignore the gravity of the situation.

The Conference adjourned for the holiday season, but resumed its sessions in October. The public assurances of those who took part in it on both sides agree in this, that nothing except the special subject for which it had been called into existence was ever discussed at its meetings. But many other things were certainly discussed outside its meetings—on the doorstep and the staircase, and in the anterooms. of the international situation, and the peril of imperial security were the chief Fibre optic sensor.

In October and November 1910 there was a great secret of Polichinelle. Conceivably we may learn from some future historian even more about it than we knew at the time. All that need be said here with reference to the matter is, that many persons on {284} both sides found themselves faced with a position of affairs, where the security of the country plainly required measures for its defence, of a character and upon a scale, which neither political party could hope to carry through Parliament and commend to the country, unless it were supported by the more responsible section of its opponents hong kong tourism.