Necessity of Strengthening our Eastern Neighbours by Administration and Construction of Public Works.
How to cheek this advance economically by peaceful and bloodless means (see page 5), and, should they fail, by force of arms, are here
considered. Whether conviction will result in action is another matter. Volumes have without result been written to prove what is self-evident to all acquainted with the East. It seems that nothing but an immediate Imperial danger will cause the initiation of preventive means. The Christian British nation is but a selfish people hording accumulated wealth, and refusing to spend it on either insurance
Necessity for Great Britain to spend her wealth in works of insurance;
or philanthropy. The millions that would benefit by its wealth, laid up in a napkin, if it were but instead laid out remuneratively in communications necessary to its own Imperial existence, are not considered. Notwithstanding that every pound so laid out would produce ten pounds, the nation acts as did the overcautious servant, and it will receive the same reward. A political earthquake will, it is sincerely hoped, arouse the Empire to its Imperial duty, and that it will learn from it who are its Imperial neighbours. They are they whose fortunes are bound up with ours by the links of geographical
and the impossibility of her refusing to acknowledge the Eastern Powers as her neighbours.
position and its enforced common interests—links that none can unrivet, and designed to draw together nationalities, and requiring of each that self-sacrifice necessary to every bond of union.
A present sacrifice of means, energy and talents is required of us, to construct strategic communications and public works in Turkey in Asia and Persia for their advancement and our own gain; thus leavening them and leading by means of them into a knowledge oil just dealings; strengthening them by the development of (heir vast latent mineral and agricultural resources, &c.; in a few words, to treat them as our weaker neighbours: they on their part must gradually sacrifice, to entitle them to exist as nations, oriental pride, apathy, rapine and unjust dealings, and allow themselves to be guided by the stronger will. No one unacquainted with the East knows how soon and readily the Eastern will bends to the Western and is benefited for good by it.
Let us see how we have treated one of our neighbours, Afghánistán,
Results of refusing to do so.
and with what results. We have been her acknowledged Mentor since the time or Dost Mahamad, and well have we acted the part of her evil genius: we have participated in the bloodshed caused by the rivalry of the Barakzai Sirdárs by neglecting to step in and forbid and prevent it. There are men who have a voice in the councils of the nation who still advocate that we allow the Afghans to stew in their own juice—surely a most impossible and reprehensible policy and sometime known as "masterly inactivity."
India now smarts for thus having refused to be her brother's keeper. Had we not neglected this duty the sweet fruits of rule and peace would now be falling into our lap. We did well till within 50 years and prospered; but of late timid councils have prevailed: we have neglected our civilising mission, and it is full time that we resumed it.
See what methods of over-caution and unneighbourliness have led to since the first Afghan war. They have led us into deep error; amongst others into believing that the Suleiman range, our frontier, was an impenetrable wail of hills and the Hindu Kush a most formidable barrier: they have led us into considering the heterogeneous Afghan nation to be uncontrollable. In former days we feared neither Afghan nor Turkoman, and sent emissaries under small escorts into the Hazáráját, Bukhárá, &c. These methods of non-intercourse and non-intervention can have no other reason assigned to them by an oriental than one of fear; they have gathered from them that we consider them redoubtable foes, to be dreaded, and now they despise us in proportion as we give way to their will in perpetuating a state of things that we ourselves inaugurated.
Since we became responsible for reform in Asiatic Turkey, a few consuls, scattered at wide distances, have protected Christians, and have done much good in the cause of justice: what good they have done shows what it is possible to effect; but in what is really wanted to develop the resources of the country, in constructing communications, renovating harbours and canals, we have done nothing, and yet precedent is not wanting in the case of the Imperial Chinese Customs Department to show what excellent results may arise from a little good administration. No more corrupt officialdom exists than that of China, and no other nation equals it in its hatred of all foreign control and interference.
British-Turko Customs and Public Works (Rail ways, Roads,
Inauguration of Imperial British-Turko Public Works and Customs Departments under International Treaty necessary.
and Canals) Departments, recruited in Great Britain and Turkey, would resuscitate its finance and develop its latent wealth, if the latter department be allowed to lay out 50 millions (see page 15). Without this help, Turkey in Asia must decay till she rots to pieces and becomes absorbed by others, and our present endeavours to aid her must be considered to be a mere mockery. We have lent Russia money to construct communications, whereby she has placed herself in a position to injure us. Let us now lend ourselves a little to be laid out in Turkey and Persia, &c., to be administered by ourselves, and not as heretofore by venal pashas, to counteract the harm we have done, in order to construct counter-communications. As above recommended, let Great Britain exact her full bond by spending it, administering it by her own sous, and drawing from it a dividend of 3 to 5 per cent., or more as earned.
The foregoing considerations are no mere denizens of a fantastic world, which has only a phantom existence, nor are they caused by dazzling dreams of Empire; they are founded on rocks of truths and not on the quicksands of fanciful opinion; they are the outcome of the workings of the instinct of self-preservation.
Whether war will be forced upon us within the next few years or
War only averted by its object being rendered unattainable.
months altogether depends to what account we turn them; war is only averted until the desire which instigates it is rendered unattainable. Treaties are for the weak only.
By turning the present to good account, by investing our accumulated wealth in works of insurance, in railways, harbours and canals in Afghanistan, Persia and Turkey in Asia, in opening up their neglected waterways, and in enforcing a just administration, war will be at first postponed, and eventually rendered impossible, and we shall have secured our Empire by a bloodless victory in a manner calculated to bring prosperity and happiness to millions, and credit and profit to ourselves.
It is to be remembered that, in forcing a just administration and
The East must be administered for the good of the many, and pressed by the few.
developing commerce, we have the bulk of the people with us. The Governments of the States concerned will, as in the case of China, reap such substantial advantages that they too, after a time, will be in our favour; the middlemen, governors and petty rulers, who alone benefit at present, will be against us.
It may or may not be malevolence on the part of Russia that causes
Russia's action a legitimate and right one;
her to absorb all oriental peoples with whom she comes in contact. She has done her civilising part well enough to make her welcome as a deliverer to the subject races of Afghanistan, Persia, and Turkey in Asia. Her advantage lies in that none of these nationalities are homogeneous. Afghanistan hasher Hazards, Turkomans, Aimáks, Herátis, &c., longing to welcome the deliverer; Persia has her Kurds, Lurs, Arabs, &c.; Turkey in Asia has her Armenians, Kurds, Arabs, &c.—all, except those who live by rapine, discontented with present rule, all desirous of no matter what change so long as it offer a semblance of better things.
It therefore behoves Great Britain to beware how she lays down the
but must not encroach upon that of Great Britain by occupying one of her Imperial highways, unless she voluntarily resigns her duty.
she has been elected to play in the world's history and to count the cost before she does so; to withdraw her hand from the task will be to give it over to others as distasteful to her, and her lot will be to die as surely as have died the nations who have before her educated the world so soon as the desire for peace and quiet, ease and luxury, overruled all other desires and led to weariness of the task. Material wealth and commercial greatness can, unfortunately, only be kept by fostering the military spirit.
By such means of strengthening influence as described can the kingdoms of Turkey and Persia be resuscitated, for they are the only means of raising them in the scale of nations, and making them law-abiding and commercial peoples.
Such works have ever been well received by those of our merchants who have understood their commercial importance; it is time now that our diplomatists and soldiers should throw their weight into the scale.
This diatribe may be considered to be out of place, to be somewhat
The British nation, as a nation, not aware of its responsibilities and the danger it incurs in neglecting them.
of a jeremiad—to partake of the nature of cant and the ravings of a theorist and unnecessary; but is not so. History teaches other-wise; it is all-important, tor we have not yet as a nation awakened to the sense of our danger and responsibilities in the East and the ways in which it may react upon ourselves and the necessity of extending our Eastern administration and responsibilities so as to include more fully the nationalities lying between the borders of India and the Mediterranean Sea, and thus to meet the requirements of the advance of years.
It would be a good thing if some of our statesmen were to assume
These should be made known to her by her responsible advisers.
of political Jeremiahs and preach to the people concerning the events that may happen upon the earth in their age, and which will overwhelm them in its tide if it be not stemmed in time.