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1901.) West Africa.—British, German and French Activity. [403 Gallwey's report is satisfactory, and urges the necessity of a judicious opening of the interior. In the autumn of 1901 measures, which had been long in contemplation, were taken for opening up the Aro country to the west of the Cross River. The Aros, a ferocious and debased people, whose towns were known as the head centres of Ju-juism, offered a sharp resistance to the columns converging from the coast and the left bank of the Niger, but the year closed with every prospect that the expedition would accomplish its purpose—a purpose demanding fulfilment alike in the interests of civilisation and commerce. In German West and South-West Africa the State grants in aid for the Cameroons amounted to 109,6401. ; for Togo, 44,2001., and for Damaraland and Namaqualand, 468,9301. In South-West Africa arrangements were completed for the construction of 400 miles of railway from Otavi to Great Fish Bay; and in all the German colonies steady efforts were combined to classify and turn to account the resources of the territories. Of the Spanish and Portuguese Possessions on the west there is nothing of note to record.
In French Guinea, which is practically self-supporting, a road is being made from Konakry, the capital, to the Niger, and a railway has also been begun in the same direction. Senegambia continues to be the scene of much activity, and along the whole course of the Upper Niger, and across to Lake Chad, aback of the British enclaves, French columns have been at work establishing peace. Similar activity has been displayed in the French Congo, but the incidents are too numerous and trivial for mention here, except, perhaps, a reported encounter between French and Congo Free State troops in the Upper Ubanghi late
A commercial convention was entered into by France and the Congo Free State.
The dispute with two British firms, who found themselves excluded from the French Congo by virtue of monopolistic concessions given to British subjects, was the subject of negotiation between the two Governments, the claim of the British merchants being that the French had acted in violation of the Act of Berlin. At the close of the year it appeared that the French Government were likely to have recourse to arbitration, notwithstanding their contention that the Berlin Act had, in respect to monopolies at least, become a dead letter,
The Congo Free State record for 1901 is the familiar one of tribal troubles and coercion of the natives by officials and traders. It was again reported in June) that the Batatelas had been definitely subdued, but the accounts of Englishmen who return from the State point to such a condition of the country and such methods of management as constitute a scandal. The revenue for 1899 was 773,3431., and the estimated expenditure 778,7151. The public debt in 1895 was 6,000,0001. The imports for 1900 were 1,265,0001., and exports, 2,018,7501. The question of annexation was raised in Belgium, but King Leopold
in the year.
was opposed to this step and made a statement which was interpreted as a threat to resign as Sovereign of the Free State if the matter were pressed. A Government Bill was passed in Brussels suspending the interest due on the loans to the State, thus leaving the way open to annexation at some future date, and perpetuating the right of annexation inherent in King Leopold
Turning north to Morocco the status quo has been maintained, and the young Sultan, Mulai Abdul Aziz, seems to have entered upon a career of administrative reform. One of the chief features of the history of 1901 was the despatch of Moorish Missions to the Powers. That to England, charged with the purpose of congratulating his Majesty upon his accession to the Throne, consisted of the then War Minister, Kaid el Mehedi el Meneblie, and Kaid Maclean, a Scotchman in the service of the Sultan, who holds the post of Commander-in-Chief. The mission was given a flattering reception and created great interest, but there are no known political results beyond the strengthening of good relations between Great Britain and Morocco. Broadly speaking, the missions may be regarded as an expression of the Sultan's desire to maintain good relations with other Powers, and yet to give such of the Powers as would like to seize his dominions a plain hint that his sovereignty and independence are not to be disturbed. The French Mission was reported to have endeavoured to come to an understanding with France on the question of the Moorish-Algerian boundary, and though their efforts were not attended by immediate success an arrangement was come to by which the French occupation of Tuat and Igli was regarded as an act within French rights, and as not constituting a menace to the Moroccan Empire. Frontier difficulties between the two States would appear to depend upon the skill and tact of the French in dealing with the tribes through whom they have to push their way through their Soudanic sphere from Algeria to Lake Chad, and the ability of the Sultan to keep his border subjects under reasonable control; a most difficult task, in which, however, failure will not, apparently, be met with from any want of sincerity and good-will on his part. There was considerable difficulty with Spain during the year by reason of an act which illustrates the difficulties of the Sultan in avoiding complications with European Powers. Some Kabyle mountaineers carried off a Spanish woman and a boy from the neighbourhood of Tangier into the interior. The Spanish Government demanded an indemnity of $1,000 a day until the captives were released. The matter was settled in October by the payment of an indemnity of $30,000 and compensation.
The Sultan has established free trade as between the ports on the coast, and is making a strenuous effort to reform the system of government by Treasury re-organisation, so as to provide for the payment of official salaries and thus cut at the root of official extortion and public bribery. It is scarcely to be expected
[405 that a young man of twenty-two will be stronger than the circumstances which environ him in a Vizier-ridden country such as Morocco, where the forces of self-interest and tradition are opposed to reform, as reform is understood by Europeans ; but it has become clear that in his Shereefian Majesty Morocco has a ruler of ability and earnestness of purpose, from whom something may be hoped in the coming years. A most interesting sketch of him and a statement of his views appeared in the Times of November, 1901, contributed by an Arabic-speaking correspondent who had a long interview with him.
The history of Algeria during 1901 is one of the consolidation of the French occupation of the Tuat oasis, and of the gradual establishment of relations with the Soudanic tribes in the vast French sphere lying between the Upper NigerLake Chad Line, the Egyptian provinces of the Soudan, the hinterland of Tripoli and the French Congo. Little is known of the work actually accomplished in winning over the tribes, but it seems that the Tuaregs are exhibiting the implacability expected from them. Three caravans, under French protection, on their way to Algerian ports from the Upper Niger, have been attacked during the year, and their escorts slain. As treaties of friendship are believed to exist between the French and Tuareg confederation, the inference is that they are proving to be worthless ; and it is supposed that the Sheik Senussi is at the bottom of the trouble. The policy of this Mahomedan leader is rooted in hostility to the infidel, and, as his sect is powerful throughout the French sphere, the possibility of war on a large scale-of war comparable with that in the Nile Soudan for many years—is one that France cannot disregard. Whatever may be the real danger likely to arise from the Senussi movement and from Tuareg association with it, the fact remains that the French protection over caravans endeavouring to re-open the desert routes from Lake Chad and Nigeria to the north coast is not yet effective.
Tripoli presents no features of note beyond reports that the Sultan of Turkey, who objected to the Soudanic Agreement, which gave the Tripoli hinterland to France, has since endeavoured to strengthen his hold upon this remnant of his Empire in Africa. The necessity for doing this will still further have been brought home to his mind by an understanding arrived at between France and Italy, by which the former Power undertakes not to thwart Italian aspirations for the eventual acquirement of Tripoli in return for Italian acquiescence in French ambitions at the expense of Morocco. For the present, however, Tripoli belongs to the Sultan of Turkey; and whatever the interchange of views between the Powers named may have been, they do not affect that dominant fact.
The agitation against British rule in Malta—an agitation disguised under a claim for self-government–became disagreeably prominent in 1901. At the close of the previous year a deadlock occurred owing to the refusal of the elected members of the Legislature to vote supplies for educational purposes. Similar difficulties arose later in the session, and in March, 1901, certain sums for educational purposes were reduced by the elected members as a protest because they were not allowed to legislate with the object of establishing the Italian language as the medium for instruction in Government institutions. Impassioned appeals were addressed to the Maltese people, both at meetings and through the local Press, by the elected members and their supporters, and a vigorous agitation was prosecuted. On July 30 Mr. Chamberlain addressed a despatch to Acting-Governor Lord Congleton, in which he dealt with the entire matter, taking as his starting-point an incident in 1898, when a British officer was committed by a Maltese court of law for contempt for having refused to sign a deposition in the Italian language, of which he was ignorant. An Order in Council was therefore issued on March 7, 1899, giving British subjects not born or naturalised in Malta the right to have legal proceedings conducted in English. And as to the language question generally the Government arrived at the conclusion that the time was not far distant when the English language should be definitely adopted in the courts of Malta, and the period of fifteen years from March 22, 1899, was fixed, so that the legal profession and all concerned might have time to prepare for the change. New regulations had also been passed providing that children in the elementary schools should be taught Maltese as the only language for the first two years, and that then the parents were to choose between English and Italian as the language to be taught their children in the higher standards. The opponents of this free choice, having, said Mr. Chamberlain, failed to force Italian on the majority of the people, had refused taxation and public improvements, and it became imperative to consider how this abuse of the Constitution should be met. After an exhaustive examination of the administrative questions hampered by the action of the elected members, Mr. Chamberlain showed that an expenditure of 380,5001. was necessary. The amount would be spread over thirteen years. A sum of 38,0001. (including 9,0001. for Civil contingencies) would have to be raised by additional taxation, bringing the total taxation per head of the Maltese to about 11. 7s. 6d. per year, as against 21. 14s. 3d. in Italy (where wages were much lower), and 41. 138. per head in England. An Order in Council would therefore be issued giving effect to the necessary scheme of taxation for raising the additional 38,0001. Mr. Chamberlain denied that it was the policy of the Govern
1901.) Maltese Agitation.—President McKinley's Message. [407 ment to force either the English or the Italian language on the Maltese; the policy was to leave the matter entirely to their free choice. This despatch was published, and on August 11 a demonstration was made against it by a mass meeting of 12,000 to 15,000 persons in Valetta. There was disorder as the result of hostile and excited speeches, and two days afterwards some person unknown threw corrosive Auid over the statue of Queen Victoria. At the end of the year the agitation was smouldering ineffectually.
I. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ITS DEPENDENCIES.
At the beginning of the year 1901 the President of the
President McKinley was inaugurated for the second time on March 4. In his inaugural message he called attention to the prosperity of the country as compared with the anxiety when he was inaugurated four years before, and added :-
"Four years ago we stood on the brink of war without the people knowing it and without any preparation or effort of preparation for the impending peril. I did all that in honour could be done to avert the war, but without avail. It became inevitable, and the Congress at its first regular session, without party division, provided money in anticipation of the crisis and in preparation to meet it.