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letters, presented him with what was literally an ultimatum, which, finding that further delay and hesitation were of no avail, he was wise enough to accept.—In this conduct, full of anxiety and embarrassment as it was to us at Kabul, I see nothing of which we could fairly complain. Abdur Rahman was playing for his own hand, and he not only wished to get as much as he could out of the English ; but to secure his own position when we had left by representing himself as in no way a servant and nominee of the Viceroy of India ; but as chosen by the free voice of the people of Afghanistan to protect the country in the name of Islam against all infidel encroachments.” [The italics are mine.]
I would also venture to call attention to the remarks on the same subject in this Review, dated the 5th December last, before the writer could have had the advantage of reading the article of an authority on Afghan affairs, who, if there is any sense in the existing Ministry, should be again placed in a leading position with regard to their settlement.
“ By setting son against father, brother against brother, and in the general tumult destroying intervening republics and monarchies, Anglo-Russian dominions are becoming conterminous. Above all,
“There's not a one of them but in his house
I keep a servant fee'd.' And it is this unremitting suspicion which is alike the secret of present success and the cause of eventual failure in wresting and keeping Asiatic countries, and of the undying hatred which injured natives feel towards Europeans."
Only the vilest of their race will lend themselves to espionage, however necessary or common the unworthy procedure may be in European policy. Yet, these very spies have to be protected, not only in the discharge of their functions, but inevitably also in other disgraceful conduct. Indeed, especially if successful, they have to be honoured under the pretext of their “loyalty," and it often happens that a whole village, district, or tribe has to be handed over to the tender mercies of one whom all know to be a scoundrel.
If we want information about Afghanistan, we should get it direct from the Ainir, or from persons whom he authorizes for the purpose. We know quite enough from general public sources to be able to check such information ; but I am convinced from the extraordinary frankness and courage of the Amir's character that it would never intentionally mislead, whilst there would be a fulness of knowledge about it which would destroy intrigues, whether European or native. Indeed, were the whole truth known, , we should find that many a sudden reputation or fortune is due to the Government being obliged, for the sake of its supposed prestige, to manufacture heroes out of its failures.
I have already alluded to the irritation caused by stealthy surveys, and it may have been inferred that our constant interference and advice in matters between the Amir and his subjects is singularly unpalatable to a man whom his enemies accuse of never taking advice, and whose mind is conscious of acting rightly by us in his foreign relations. It is, therefore, to his acts, that I appeal as being friendly to us and not to idle words uttered under great provocation and their still idler interpretations by those who do not perfectly understand his language. I have heard of Foreign Department messages conveying unintentional insults, and unless I see the offensive letters attributed to the Amir, I shall refuse to believe in his affronting a powerful Government, when his letters to humble individuals breathe the soul of courtesy, as I can testify from personal knowledge.
When it, however, comes to our acts, how can we justify the precipitate annexation of the tribes subject to him on the Beluch frontier ?+ How our vaguely-explained Railway encroachments, the interference in, and practical
* Say from Mr. Pyne, who is said to be a simple-minded and trustworthy person, and to be devoted to the Amir.
+ He may have retaliated by encroaching on Chaghi in the desert on the ground of some obscure historical right, but his claim to Wana is, at least, as good as our own.
incorporation of, districts bordering on our frontier of which he is, if not the sovereign, even if not the suzerain, at all events an honoured Afghan Chief or arbitrator by courtesy and, if nothing else, our friend and ally ? Is it neighbourly to drive away his agents and to be in constant correspondence with his known enemies ? Are we aware that there exist traditional ties and written engagements between Kabul and some of the independent Chiefs, even including Chitral, far more genuine than the solemn farce of our sending so many Infantry and Cavalry and Gatlings in order to assist the sturdy inhabitants of this or that village to drive away a couple of agents of the Amir? Is it wise to expect him to fight for us on the North when we infringe his rights on the South ?* Has Russia taken from him a hundredth part of what we have placed under our protection ? Above all, are we not to take him at least into our council, if the unutterable folly of constructing a military road through Dir and Chitral is to be persevered in, so as to enable the Russians to have their choice of invading India either by that road or by the route via Gilgit to Abbottabad, in which we have equally broken down for them the existing physical and tribal barriers ?
What we require is an intelligent and sympathetic person, able to speak and write Persian and Turki, who would listen to the Amir’s grievances and submit our own, for their respective rectification, on the do ut des principle, if need be, or—on what has never yet failed to impress Orientals-on grounds of chivalry (a notion introduced into Europe by the Arab Knights), of justice, of magnanimity, of friendship, and of duty to God.
* This also applies to our relations with China, whom we cannot afford to offend on the Burma border, whilst expecting her to fight our battle on the Pamirs. We are pledged to China not to encroach on any territory which was not actually ruled by Theebaw.
+ I believe that Messrs. Udny and Moore unite the necessary qualifications and there must also be others able to converse more politely with an Eastern potentate, than Sir C. Euan Smith. The Amir's mission of Mr. Pyne to the Viceroy seems to be a step in the right direction, but it should be responded to in the same spirit and manner.
I have never been deceived by an Oriental, who was not Europeanized, but it is no use finessing with him, as we, e.g., once did, when we sought to save our prestige and pockets by pretending to acknowledge one Amir as the de facto and his rival as the de jure Amir. It is high time that every person connected with the Foreign Department of the Government of India should be able to write and read at least one Oriental language without the aid of a Munshi ; but even the Persian Department of the Panjab Secretariat has been abolished. Indeed, the convenience of doing everything through the medium of English must alienate us from all real knowledge of native feeling, except such as can only partially be represented by the Babus.
If the desirable consummation of the peace and integr ty of our Empire in Asia is to be achieved, then a check should be imposed on those officials who would sacrifice a world to their own decoration or promotion. The papers which are ready to kindle a war in order to increase their circulation by reporting its vicissitudes, would then have to be silent. In the meanwhile, they are precipitating a crisis, as I shall proceed to show from a few instances, which have, I regret to say, been long before this brought to the notice of the Amir.
The following misstatements occur in a Conservative daily paper of the 6th January last, which has evidently been “inspired.” by a quasi-official source : Allegations.
Reply. “Both in London and Calcutta “Precisely, the object of both the the authorities are less perturbed by Russian and the English Ministries Russian claims and encroachments being, apparently, to come to an than by the present attitude of the
agreement at the expense of Amir of Afghanistan. ..."
Afghanistan, our ally." “who but for us would be an Abdurrahman left his exile, and impoverished exile, instead of a became ruler of Kabul by his own powerful Chief, has of late been enterprise. But for him, we should doing his best to thwart and defeat have abandoned Kabul with disgrace, almost every measure undertaken and Russian influence would now be by the British Government for the paramount in Kabul. The "Jingo" defence of the Indian frontier.” Press would induce us to pick a
Of this the following absurd in- quarrel with the Amir for only too stances are given : (a) That the loyally and literally fulfilling his Kandahar officials "congratulated” bargain with us, as we are afraid of some native deserters from Quetta Russia, and we can thus sacrifice the at having left the service of infidels. Amir to appease'
e” alike “an angry This is described as a gratuitous God” and yet show our power. and almost “incredible affront." (a) To begin with, it is not the (6) That he instigated Sher Afzul to Amir who did this, but some of his invade Chitral, where he murdered officials, whom he promptly checked the “loyal ” parricide and fratricide, against the repetition of such conAfzul-ul-Mulk, who has since made duct in future; but the “congratuway for the rightful heir, Nizám-ul- lation” is a natural one, and need Mulk, now in power, but whom we not imply hostility to us any more also falsely described as "intriguing than a British Protestant clergyman with Russia.” (c) That he has not welcoming a Huguenot need imply met Lord Roberts at a proposed
proposed hatred of Catholic France. Such reinterview at Jelalabad. (This has marks are, obviously, “intramural" already been explained.] (d) That and “privileged." he sent his agent to occupy an out- (6) A reference to dates and dispost in the Waziri country (from tances will at once show that it was this he has withdrawn, with an impossible for Sher Afzul to have left humble apology), on which the
Badakhshan for Chitral, on hearing writer most offensively remarks that of Afzul-ul-Mulk's usurpation, with "timidity in dealing with Asiatics is the previous knowledge and aid of no less a mistake than in dealing the Amir. As a matter of fact, with animals.” If this be the temper
Sher Afzul left in a great hurry, for maintaining our supremacy in
with eight Afghans, such as anyone Asia, the sooner we abandon it the can collect for any raid, and with a better in the interests of humanity. number of the Chitráli slaves, that
(e) (from another paper) that he are paid as a tribute by Chitral to objected to one of his sons speaking Badakhshan, which we have declared in English to his employé, Mr. Pyne, to be a part of Afghanistan. Had, in his presence. (It is nowhere con- however, the Amir interfered, as sidered respectful for a son to speak suggested, he could have done so before his father in a language which within his rights, as suzerain of the latter does not understand, even Badakhshan, if not also of Chitral, if he is not afraid of espionage.) by the inoperative document of 1874.
The “ Pudel's Kern," however, is in the "authoritative statement that the British and the Russian Governments are agreed as to the interpretation to be put on “the shadowy agreement of 1873," and that it is “the poor Amir” who has infringed it, to use an expression of the highest authority at the Rawalpindi Assemblage in connection with “the poor Amir" having to swallow his resentment about the Panjdeh affair in consequence of our representations. He is now supposed to have encroached on Shignán, or, at least, “the portion of it lying to the east of the Panja