British merchants residing there in 1898 spoke of "the practical annexation of the country going on under their very eyes," and a leading British missionary "declared that both he himself and all his missions looked upon Manchuria as Russian in all but name." These are facts which should not be forgotten by those who seek to understand the background of the Manchurian problem as it exists today. The Chinese took no part whatever in the work of expelling the Russians from Manchurian territory; and there can be no reasonable doubt that if Japan had not fought and beaten Russia on Manchurian soil in the war of 1904-5, not only the Liaotung Penninsula but all Manchuria would have been in fact, perhaps also in name, a Russian province to-day.
（渡辺昇一（監修）中山修 『完訳 紫禁城の黄昏』上巻 p.45）
The steps taken by Russia on the 23rd of March, 1898, were outwardly unimportant. Actually, they amounted to the informal annexation of Manchuria. While any statement to this effect would probably even now be met by the diplomatists of St. Petersburg with a suave denial, the fact remains that Manchuria is not only to all intents and purposes a Russian province, but is already invested by Russian troops, pending the arrival of the time when it shall be opened up and developed by Russian capital.
（渡辺昇一（監修）中山修 (翻訳) 『完訳 紫禁城の黄昏』上巻 p.456）
The country is undeveloped, but it is rich and fertile, possessing vast stores of coal and iron, copper and gold, while the mountain sides and the uplands of Kirin are richly furnished with timber, including oak, elm and walnut. The population of the neglected country, amounting to some fourteen millions, may be roughly divided into two broad classes, the agriculturists and the brigands.