Abbildungen der Seite

in the spring. The Kurds, who form the most restless element in Asia Minor, jealous of the interest shown in the Armenians, are preparing to revolt against the Government. Even the Lazes are refusing to pay their taxes, or to join the colours when summoned for military service. The Syrians and the Arabs, encouraged by the evident weakness of the Government, have raised the standard of revolt. In short, the net result of the action of the Powers has been to intensify the discontent already existing.

It is impossible to believe that the sole aim of England's policy during the last year has been to still further complicate the difficulties of the situation, but whatever her intentions may have been, the result of her action is clear, and we are forced to conclude that the responsible diplomatists have been at fault in their diagnosis of the evil, and have in consequence had resort to mistaken remedies. It is admitted that the Armenians, who nowhere form a majority of the population, have just as little claim to an independant Armenia as the Jews have to a Jewish kingdom in Jerusalem, and the same reasoning should tell just as strongly against any claim to special privileges advanced on their behalf. The mere fact of their being scattered throughout the whole Ottoman Empire renders it impossible to improve their lot except by reforms of universal application. The Turkish Constitution of 1876 placed the Armenians on an equal footing with their Moslem fellow-subjects. Article 8 of the Fundamental Laws of the Constitution reads as follows:-"Tous les sujets de l'Empire sont indistinctement appelés Ottomans quelle que soit la religion qu'ils professent;” while in Article 17 we read :-“ Tous les Ottomans sont égaux devant la loi. Ils ont les mêmes droits et les mêmes devoirs envers le pays sans préjudice de ce qui concerne la religion.”

If then the Armenians have to-day the right to demand anything, it can only be the execution of the laws of the constitution as they already exist on paper, and had they contented themselves with this demand instead of following Russian inspirations and intrigues, which had for their object the encouragement of a separatist movement, they would have had the whole of the Turkish population on their side instead of being, as they now are, regarded as the enemies of their country.

Herein lies the key to the solution of the difficulties of the present struggle in Turkey, and it can no longer be regarded as a secret that the English Government has by its injudicious policy in no small degree contributed to the present complications.

In Turkey we have to reckon with two fundamentally different parties, the people and the Government. The people still see in the English their old allies and companions in arms of the Crimea, and are firmly convinced that in the whole of Europe there is only one

nation which has the same interests as Turkey, and that is the English nation. The Government, on the other hand, follows quite a different train of thought, and to appreciate this we must examine it in its proper light. Though still officially styled constitutional, it has absolutely nothing in common with a constitutional government. It is the purest despotism; everything is ruled by the good pleasure of the sovereign, and the person of the Sultan forms its centre and very soul, so that an examination into the nature of the Government of Turkey resolves itself into an analysis of the personality of its ruler.

When the unfortunate Sultan Murad V. was in 1876 declared to be out of his mind, Abdul Hamid assumed the reins of Government as Prince Regent and swore to the constitution; he, however, soon contrived to usurp the title of Sultan, and by a coup d'état to suspend the constitution. From that moment he had to count all the thoughtful and patriotic elements in Turkey among his opponents. Distrustful and suspicious by nature, rendered still more so by the deposition of his two immediate predecessors, he at once began to look on all the better and more capable of his subjects as his natural enemies, and directed his whole policy towards removing every man of worth from all important posts in the Government, and relying entirely on those elements which alone can derive advantage from a despotic régime. The rule of palace favourites attained to an unprecedented pitch, and the pernicious system of espionage exercised its demoralising influence on the whole nation, till at last Turkey sank into its present untenable position.

It would take too long to recount all the misdeeds of the present ustuping Government; suffice it to say that the entire Ottoman Empire regards the Sultan as the sole cause of the present desperate state of the country. A wide gulf divides the people from the Government; the former, in complete accord with the whole of Europe, yearn for reform, from which the latter shrinks in terror lest the first step towards reform should prove to be its own downfall. This explains why the Porte regards England with such suspicion, while the Russian Embassy, on the contrary, is always in such favour with the Sultan.

The boasted concert of the Powers seems to be more imaginary than real. Russia has too great an interest in the existence of troubles in Turkey to be a true ally of England in a question involving the introduction of reforms; and as for France, she would be by no means unwilling to avenge herself for England's tenure of Egypt by seizing Syria, and would perhaps not even be displeased to see Russia mistress of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, and the Franco-Russian Alliance in command of the Mediterranean Sea. These two powers have clearly no stake in the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, and represent quite different interests to those of


[ocr errors]

England. Let England recognise this fact, and without actually reversing her policy, at least modify its present tendency.

The Powers of the Triple Alliance have awakened to the fact that under the apparently modest name of the Armenian question lies concealed the whole of the Eastern question in its most dangerous ANTRE form, and have also joined in the diplomatic fray of which Constantinople is now the scene. These Powers are the natural allies of England, and it would surely be to England's interest to come to a closer understanding with them as to the policy to be pursued by her in Turkey. But there is still another power of whose alliance England should make sure, and that is the Turkish people. As I have already said, the people are still ready to look to England as their old ally. Circumstances may have weakened this feeling; 3 England's policy may have been misrepresented to us, and there can be no doubt that at present the general feeling among the Turks is a that England has been supporting the Armenians in their attempts to separate themselves from the rest of the Ottoman people, and to in stir up revolution. Russia has kept herself cleverly in the background, or has even pretended to act as a drag on England in her birinin attempt to break up the Ottoman Empire. All this has caused the Turkish people to incline more towards their natural enemy, Russia, than towards their natural friend, England. But as long as the interests remain identical, these temporary misunderstandings can be easily removed, and in spite of the contrary theories now so often put forward, the interests of England and Turkey are still identical, namely, the strengthening of Turkey so as to enable her to resist Russian aggression.

Herein lies the sole hope of maintaining the integrity of Turkey, and herein will be found the sole sure means of ensuring England's superiority in the Mediterranean. What is it, then, that prevents our making Turkey strong enough to stand alone ? -nothing but the present despotic government of the Sultan, who cares nothing for the glory or welfare of his kingdom provided his own personal safety be assured. Before we can have a strong Turkey we must have a strong constitutional form of government—a government which instead of crushing every liberal sentiment or patriotic aspiration, shall call to its aid all that is noblest and best among Moslems and Christians alike. England and Turkey have a common enemy, the Sultan, as surrounded by his corrupt advisers, and a common duty, the re-establishment of the Ottoman constitution both in Europe and Asia.


I have been asked to draw up a short statement of the views held in Lancashire concerning the import duties recently re-imposed on cotton goods and yarns shipped to India. This statement is meant to put the case of the spinners and manufacturers of Lancashire and the adjoining counties before the British public generally, and has therefore been divested as much as possible of all trade technicalities. Lancashire men are not prone to ask favours; given fair play they are prepared to fight their own battles unaided; but an attempt will be made in this article to show that neither in the duties themselves nor in the circumstances attending their imposition has that fair play been accorded to Lancashire, while the interests of India from the first have been fully considered. Not that Lancashire complains that India should be even jealously safeguarded by those responsible for her well-being, for she recognises how vital is a prosperous India to her own commercial interests as well as to the larger interests of the Empire.

We take our stand on one main principle with its corollary, adopting and applying the words of Lord Salisbury, used at the time when he was Secretary of State for India, in July, 1875—-in a despatch drawing the attention of the Government of India to the desirability": of abolishing the import duties on cotton goods as soon as the condition of the Indian finances permitted. He added :-“ It is impossible to believe that under these conditions the duty can be permaDently maintained. The entire acceptance of the system of free trade by England is incompatible with the continuance of an exception apparently so marked. Parliament, when its attention is drawn to the matter, will not allow the only remnant of protection within the direct jurisdiction of the English Government to be a protective duty, which, so far as it operates at all, is hostile to English manufactures.”

Further, Sir Henry Fowler said practically the same thing to the Lancashire deputation in May of last year, namely :-“ You have no right to be put at a disadvantage by the imposition upon the products of your county of a protective duty.”

Now this is exactly what we assert to be our plight as matters stand. Believing in free trade, we object to such duties in any case and however applied. But it is stated that they are levied to meet a pressing financial need, and that they will be repealed as soon as that need ceases to exist. In the meantime, however, we contend, in my opinion most justly, that our staple industry is seriously

handicapped by the unfair advantage which is given to the Bombay mill-owners by these duties. Proof of this has already been given and substantiated in the statement of the joint committee of employers and operatives submitted to Lord George Hamilton last . July, and further proof was given by speakers at the deputation to the be India Office on the 11th December last year.

DET But before entering more particularly into the exact nature of this dit “ disadvantage,” it might, perhaps, be useful to give the reader a brief history of the relations of the trade with the Indian Government during the last twenty years, and to explain the aggrieved feelings of Lancashire at the treatment received from Sir Henry Fowler in the months immediately preceding the passing of the 1894 Act.

In the year 1875 cotton yarn imported into India was subject to a duty of 33 per cent., and cotton goods to a duty of 5 per cent. ad valorem. In July of that year, Lord Salisbury, in the despatch Live from which a quotation has already been made, wrote :

“But though the duty will not be permanent, its prolonged existence cannot fail to have serious effects. During the agitation which will precede its abolition, feelings of animosity on both sides will be aroused. It will be represented in India, however mistakenly, as a direct conflict between Indian and English interest in which Parliament is being moved to prefer the latter. This excitement will prevail more or less widely in proportion to the strength of the interests which are assumed to be affected by it; and if the prosperity of this industry (the Indian cotton manufacturing industry) corresponds to its present promise, the strength of these interests will grow steadily with the lapse of time.

“ These considerations, will I doubt not, commend to your Excellency's mind 'The the policy of removing, at as early a period as the state of your finances permits, the this subject of dangerous contention. The precaution has, indeed, been delayed too long.”

Whilst this despatch was on its way to India, the legislature of that country passed the Tariff Act of 1875, which made no change in the import duties on cotton goods. Subsequently, in November of the same year, Lord Salisbury, commenting on the absence of any provision as to the cotton duties in the new Tariff Act, remarked that “it was on general principles liable to objection as impeding the importation of an article of first necessity, and as tending to operate as a protective duty, in farour of a native manufacture.(The italics are not in the despatch.) “ It is thus inconsistent with the policy which Parliament, after very mature deliberation, has sanctioned, and which on that account it is not open to Her Majesty's Government to allow to be set aside without special cause in any part of the Empire in ler their direct control.”

« ZurückWeiter »