페이지 이미지

devised will protect the Indian frontiers once they become conterminous along thousands of miles with those of Russia. It is only by a race for good government and in the serene strength of a “masterly inactivity” beyond the Indian Frontier, that a foreign invader can be baffled. The enthusiasm of Indian Chiefs is a demonstration of loyalty that should not be lost on an enemy, but the Imperial Service troops were as little required as our own military preparations, unless we persevere in encroachments that have already brought us into conflict with border tribes, that are unfair to the Amir of Afghanistan, and that sooner or later must bring about a great War. Once there is no longer a strong and independent Afghanistan, a consummation so devoutly wished by Russia, there is no further taxation that will be possible in India in order to keep up the military expenditure. As it is, our finances cannot bear the burthen that it has already inflicted on them, though, of course, I presume that as India was perfectly safe from foreign aggression, the consequences of her inclusion within the range of British Imperial politics, will be paid for by the British taxpayer and not by the Indian ryot. I fear, however, that even the most enthusiastic Jingo will not be able to bear long or cheerfully a strain on his pocket which will be far more heavy than any caused by the French Wars. Of course, if Great Britain is prepared to follow whatever may be Russia's lead in Europe, then the peace in India may be preserved, though at a still unbearable cost of money and anxiety and to the great neglect of education and of non-military public works, even if their respective frontiers in Central Asia ran alongside of one another, but, in that case, we must be prepared to abolish our present system of administering India and precipitately introduce a military conscription and complete Home Rule in that continent, after we have destroyed its old indigenous Oriental forms of Self-Government, and have not yet developed the new and alien methods of a disloyal Anglicism

15 March, 1893.




It is thought that an expression of native opinion, at the present moment, by a member of a Shereefian family that has not infrequently played an important role in Moorish affairs, may be of interest, whilst my parentage on the mother's side is a guarantee that I am not likely to be animated by any sentiment of hostility towards England.

I confess that I approach the attempt with some diffidence, not merely because I have hitherto taken but little interest in the political entanglements which characterise all international adjustments in Morocco, and which are too apt to degenerate into mere struggles for personal ascendancy, but because it is extremely difficult to criticise any policy without provoking the ill will of its initiators.

First let me say that the natural desire, both of his Shereefian Majesty Muley El Hassan, and the great majority of his subjects, is to be on good terms with our powerful foreign neighbours and, at the same time, to preserve intact our national independence.

So long as there were but few foreigners settled in the country, and those mostly merchants of good standing, the task was easy, but with the rapid increase of the European element, especially of the poorer class, it has become every day more difficult to avoid conflicts, together with that revival of race antipathies which is always a source of the gravest peril. During the spring and summer of 1892, public order in Tangier, where hitherto the good feeling between the various classes, of all nationalities, had produced a sense of exceptional security, was frequently disturbed ; robberies and assaults increased to an alarming extent, and there was a general demand on the part of the European public for some more effective protection both for life and property.

The English minister, Sir Charles Euan Smith, was therefore commissioned by his colleagues, the foreign ministers, to request the Sultan to create a properly paid body of native guards; and the English minister further urged upon his Majesty the advisability of placing this force under the control of a European officer.

The Sultan decided to organize a native police but sent a native official, named Kaid Abet Es-salam ben Moussa, to take command of the men, who were mostly recruited from the Riffians settled in or near Tangier.

The Basha or Military Governor of Tangier, who is noted for his excellent disposition, and who is personally known and generally liked by the Europeans, represented to the foreign ministers the necessity of ordering the closure of the numerous taverns and coffee-houses, both native and European, at some reasonable hour of the night. I may here add, that the rapid increase of such establishments at Tangier, houses of the most disreputable character and not subject to the control of the local or native authcrity, has frequently called forth unavailing complaints and protests from the more respectable inhabitants, both native and foreign

The foreign representatives had agreed, in principle, to the orders issued by the Basha, to the effect that these establishments should be closed at half past ten at night. But the notification led to much discussion, both in the Tangier foreigo press, and in the coffee-houses and bazaars, the native centres for the distribution of news, where it was understood that the Spaniards of the lower class had declared that they would “knife” any Moor who should dare lay his hand upon a foreigner. It was under these circumstances that the native guard entered upon its task of giving effect to the new regulations for closing the wine shops and coffee houses.

The very first night, as might have been expected, a collision occurred. The guards used their batons, and one of them fired his gun. Several Spaniards were batoned, and one Gibraltarian, who, it is alleged, was drunk at the time, was shot. An ultimatum, as every one knows, was immediately presented by the British authorities requiring an indemnity of one thousand pounds, the punishment of the guards, and the public reprimand of the Sultan's authorities at Tangier. The thousand pounds were paid ; and three of the guards were arrested, and confined to prison : their names are, Si Hamed el Wardighi, Wuld el Hadj Abd Essalem Heraresh, and a Shereef from Tetuan named Sid Hamed. The police force has thus become a mockery and a delusion; and the authorities and more respectable inhabitants of Tangier are asking themselves where is their security now, in case of any outbreak of the European criminal class ? Would the Moorish guard dare interfere with Europeans again, after this recent experience ? Of course we quite understand that if such an outbreak should occur, if the lives or property of European residents should suffer, the Sultan would be again called upon to make good the damage incurred ! And, in the face of such events, the Sultan is asked to open still wider the doors of his Empire, to facilitate the establishment of Europeans in the other towns and cities of Morocco.

Doubtless we may be told that such is the price the Sultan must pay for ruling over a turbulent population ; that he must give way as other Mohammedan and Asiatic rulers have been compelled, to the invading march of European trade and commerce! Were the great Powers united in formulating such a demand, Mulai El Hassan might indeed be compelled to yield, —but, are the interests of the great Powers identical ? Is it not to the interest of France, of Spain, and even of Italy, to maintain the Status Quo? For if the Country should be opened to European enterprise, who would be most likely to avail themselves of the opportunity to establish a commercial or industrial footing? Would it be the Frenchmen, who, abandoning “ la belle France,” would populate the plains of Morocco ? or would the Spaniard or Italian hasten to invest their accumulations of unproductive capital in Moorish farms or mines?

Whilst I make these reflections, our English friends are doubtless exclaiming “Yes! but what about our prestige ! Can we sit calmly under affronts from the Sultan of Morocco ? or allow British subjects to be done to death, even when the British subject is disturbing public order and resisting the Tangier police in the exercise of their

duty ?”

I am perhaps over-young to offer advice to those who have, in so many countries, shown such capacity to take care of their own interests; yet I may be pardoned for calling attention to a fact which the English public may not fully realize—which is, that neither our national interests here in Morocco, nor our personal sympathies, allow us to neglect the advice of our French Counsellors. Leaving out of the question the tact and courtesy with which our notables are treated by the French officials,* France, with her continuous frontier and easily mobilized Algerian forces, especially adapted to deal with our own guerilla system, is not a quantité negligeable either for the Sultan or for the people of Morocco. It might therefore better accord with the dignity of any nation which does not desire to force the Sultan of Morocco into a conflict when he might be supported by the serried forces of the Algerian army, not to ask for concessions which, as I think I have shown, could scarcely be granted with safety to Moorish integrity, no matter how amiably disposed the Sultan may be personally, as we all are, towards our English friends.

It is unfortunately beside the question to urge that we should be better inspired to open our territory to foreign enterprise; that it would bring us undoubtedly an accession of wealth ; and would result, in the end, in less turbulence,

* The elder brother of the writer, Mulay El Arbi el Wazani, has lately received the cross of the Legion of Honour.—EDITOR,

« 이전계속 »