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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 83

Russo-Afghan Question

Russo-Afghan Question.

The strong bar retained on behalf of the acquisition of Herat includes Hamley, Rawlinson, Malleson, and Marvin. Colonel Malleson has just published a little volume, in which he instructively summarises all the phases of the Russian advance in Asia.

After the Crimean war, Russia flung 150,000 men into the Caucasus, and spent three years in breaking the power of Schamyl. A base was thus gained for those Asiatic operations successfully carried on by many generals, including Tchernaieff, Kauffmann, Lazareff, Skobeloff, and Komaroff Bokhara, Tashkend, Samarcand, Khiva, Merv, were absorbed. Malleson harks back to the first Afghan war with England. This was preceded by a war between Persia and Afghanistan, in the course of which young Eldred Pottinger so cleverly defended Herat on behalf of Afghanistan. It appears that there was also a brilliant British officer on the Persian side. Pottinger is compared by Malleson to Gordon in Khartoum, and also suggests Todleben in Sebastopol.

England deposed Dost Mohammed as Ameer, and was compelled to reinstate him after a disastrous campaign, the worst on record for the British prestige. When England was involved with Russia, Persia seized Herat, but England compelled the disgorging of the morsel by a war with Persia. Thenceforward Afghanistan became very friendly to England, up to the time Shere Ali demanded the guarantee of a full alliance, in consequence page 62 of Russia seizing Khiva. Lord Mayo, the Indian Viceroy, met Shere Ali at the glorious Durbar of Umballa. He could not give the Ameer the satisfactory guarantee required. The cold and unsympathetic Lord Northbrook, as Viceroy, further estranged the Ameer. Lord Lytton could not mend the gap. Shere Ali welcomed a Russian Embassy, and refused to receive an English one. War broke out. England regained her ascendancy.

General Hamley must exclaim, "Save me from my friends," with Colonel Malleson's absurd references to him as the Great Strategist, The inference is that Moltke runs Hamley very close, and Hamley only wins by a head. What would Malleson think if Hamley was to write him up as a chronicler before whom Cæsar paled?