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would offend Russia and injure China. The mission, moreover, was discredited by the Tsung-li-Yamên, and, finally, by the Dowager Empress of China, and the envoys left Tokio (Aug. 19) without any definite results.
Lord Charles Beresford's visit to Japan produced an excellent effect, and everywhere he met with a most cordial reception.
The Japanese Navy was largely increased this year by the addition of torpedo-boat destroyers and cruisers. The battleship Asaki, launched on March 13 at Glasgow, was the heaviest battleship ever built on the Clyde, and had a displacement of 15,200 tons, with an armament entirely of Elswick design and manufacture.
The revised treaties concluded between Japan and the various foreign Powers came into operation on July 17; France and Austria, however, retained their consular jurisdiction till August 4. The Mikado, in view of the advent of the new era of “mixed residence," had issued beforehand a rescript enjoining upon his subjects the observance of courtesy and tact in their relations with foreigners, and orders were issued by the heads of various departments of the Government to their officials to the same effect. On October 28 the Emperor gave a grand commemorative banquet, when he expressed his appreciation of the friendliness and regard for justice shown by the different foreign Powers in acknowledging the autonomy of Japan. Every possible effort to ensure the smooth working of the new system was made on the part of Japan, and the foreign residents were reconciling themselves to the change. Some twenty-two additional ports were opened to foreign trade under the new treaties.
Prince Kanoyé, President of the Japanese House of Peers, visited England in May, and afterwards made a tour on the continent. The leading Japanese statesmen, including the Marquis Ito, Count Okuma and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Aoki, were anxious to secure British co-operation in support of mutual interests in Far Eastern affairs. There appeared to be no foundation for any belief that Japan was preparing for conflict with Russia, for the best of terms existed between the two Governments.
The report of the British Legation at Tokio, published in June, stated that last year the total foreign trade of Japan amounted to 45,249,0391., of which the imports were 28,304,7431. and the exports were 16,920,6941., being an increase over 1897 of nearly 5,500,0001. in imports and 250,0001. in exports. Trade with the United States greatly increased, coming next in importance to that of Britannia, or the British Empire. There was an increasing share of Japanese vessels in the foreign trade of the country.
The King granted this year to Prince Chow Sai a franchise to build seventy miles of railway from the Menam River to
the Nakan Nayoke River, and he had a scheme for constructing more than 500 miles of additional railways as soon as the revenue of the country would permit. The Government decided in August not to raise at present a foreign loan, but the survey of the Ching-mai Railway was to be commenced by the Royal Railway Department.
The long-standing boundary dispute of Perak with Siam was adjusted in December.
Siam claimed the immediate retrocession of Chantaboon, but France insisted that by the treaty of 1893 this was conditional on the settlement of all pending questions.
The ships belonging to the Scottish Oriental Line running to Bangkok were sold in December to a German company, and the shipping of that port is now mainly in German hands.
EGYPT AND THE SOUDAN.
The year 1899 was once again a year of uneventful progress in Egypt, and of active and victorious progress in the Soudan. The improved relations of the Khedive with his English advisers and the adoption of a less hostile and irritating attitude by the representatives of French interests in the country helped to steady Egyptian feeling and to facilitate reform. The assent given by the General Assembly to an important proposal submitted by the Government for the reassessment of land throughout the country was a welcome contrast to the factious opposition to Government proposals offered by the Assembly in earlier days. The bitterness of the anti-English press diminished. The prosperity of the country, as evidenced by the growing success of the cotton industry in particular, continued to increase, and even the serious deficiency of water caused by the failure of the Nile flood—which, owing no doubt to the new irrigation system, was the lowest ever recorded failed on this point to diminish the satisfactory returns. This deficiency did, however, seriously affect the area of cultivation, and the prospects of the rice and cereal crops, and consequently provision for a decrease of revenue on these heads was made in the Budget for 1900, which was submitted to the Council of Ministers towards the close of the year. On the other hand, in view of these difficulties, the Budget Estimates were of a very satisfactory kind. In spite of the loss of 250,0001. of land tax, due to the large area of land which it was impossible to irrigate, and of a diminution of 100,0001. in railway receipts, an equilibrium was established between the receipts and the expenditure. A saving of 93,0001. was effected by reducing the authorised railway expenditure and by the abolition of the salt monopoly, which had been transferred to a private company with promising results for the revenue in future. The receipts from the Ministry of Justice were estimated to increase by 84,0001., and the increasing yield of the cotton crop and the new assessment of the land held out hopes of substantial profit. The total estimated revenue for 1900 was 10,640,0001., as compared with an actual revenue of 11,632,0001. in 1898, and a revenue of something like 11,500,000 in 1899. The Soudan Budget, which estimated its receipts at 162,0001. only, and which of course had a heavy expenditure both civil and military to face, came out with a deficit of 427,0001. But, on the other hand, the General Reserve Fund showed a balance of 1,700,0001., even after deducting all the advances granted to the Government by the Caisse de la Dette ; and the fund in the hands of the Caisse de la Dette arising from economies realised by the conversion of the Privileged Debt and of the Daira and Domain Loans amounted at the end of the year to well over 4,000,0001. Mr. J. L. Gorst, the Financial Adviser, was therefore justified in speaking hopefully of the resources of the country, and in pointing out the increasing opportunities of its industrial development in future.
At the same time judicial reform made steady if slow progress during the year. The experiment of conferring on the village authorities a civil jurisdiction in petty disputes remained, no doubt, an experiment still, but it tended to diminish the heavy arrears of the summary tribunals. The reduction of legal costs in the native courts led to a considerable increase both in their work and in their receipts. The unsatisfactory condition of the religious courts and their marked disinclination to deal thoroughly with the cases brought before them, led to a determined effort on the part of the Government to get these courts reformed; and in spite of the stubborn opposition of the Grand Mufti certain changes were effected and certain inquiries set on foot, which would, it was hoped, ere long secure for these courts the reconstruction and reforms which they urgently required. The problem of the reorganisation of the Mixed Tribunals gave rise again to no little discussion, the Government showing, as before, a great desire to conciliate the opponents of reform, while urging on the Powers the desirability of modifying and enlarging the jurisdiction of the Tribunals, and, in particular, of granting them penal jurisdiction in cases of fraudulent bankruptcy. But the Powers, as usual, proved to a large extent selfishly indifferent to reform. Meanwhile a temporary additional chamber was formed of judges detached from Alexandria and Mansurah, to enable the Mixed Tribunal of Cairo to dispose of its formidable arrears. Of course in many judicial matters the end of the year found a good deal still to deprecate and to deplore. But it must not be forgotten that, though progress was difficult, progress in
the administration of justice in Egypt was nevertheless yearly becoming more assured ; crime was decreasing; the proportion of convictions to cases tried increased, and a slow respect for equity is taking hold even of official minds.
But, after all, the main interest in Egyptian history in 1899 came, as it did the year before, from warlike operations in the Soudan. The settlement of the rights of England and France in the valley of the Upper Nile proceeded quietly enough, on a basis which secured to England undisputed influence on the great river, and to France a “compact and homogeneous ” territory, as a French semi-official note described it, from the Mediterranean in the north to Senegal and Congo in the south. The disappearance of the Khalifa, however, after the decisive campaign of the previous year, led to a certain degree of uneasiness as to the security of our new dominions, and his movements in the desert excited many rumours in the spring. Meanwhile the reorganisation of new territory proceeded. The Soudan was divided for administrative purposes into four first-class districts
- Omdurman, Sennar, Kassala and Fashoda—and three secondclass districts-Assuan, Wady Halfa and Suakin, and governors were appointed to carry on the administration. The publication of the terms of the Convention for the future government of the Soudan excited, of course, a certain amount of hostility in Paris, while it was received with equanimity by the rest of the world; but even Lord Kitchener found it too soon to hazard any definite opinion as to the value and resources of the vast dominions thus acquired. As the year went on rumours about the precarious position of the Khalifa increased, and in August the Sirdar reported an attempted Mahdist insurrection on the Blue Nile. Later in the autumn the Khalifa, who had gathered together a considerable body of followers, began to threaten mischief against us, and it became necessary to despatch a formidable expedition in pursuit. A force of Soudanese troops was accordingly organised under Sir Francis Wingate, which towards the end of November advanced upon the Khalifa's camp at Om Debrikat, and there secured a signal victory, which may be regarded as the crowning operation of the Soudan war. The Khalifa was killed in the battle, together with his brothers, his chief emirs, and all his leading followers, except Osman Digna who escaped ; his army was entirely routed, and 9,000 prisoners fell into Colonel Wingate's hands. The death of the Khalifa Abdullahi, at the age of fifty-four, and the destruction of the last army which the Dervishes could put into the field, ended at once the career of a tyrant and the prolonged unrest of the Central Soudan. It put the seal upon the successes which made Lord Kitchener's reputation, and it left Egypt, free in future from the fear of attack upon her southern borders, to pursue unmolested her prosperous career.
II. SOUTH AFRICA.
Cape Colony. -- After the decisions following the various election petitions, and the election of the additional members provided for under the Redistribution Act, creating sixteen new seats and increasing the number of members of the House to ninety-five, there had been elected at the end of April fifty Bond members against forty-one Progressives. The final elections in May and June gave the Progressives two or three more seats. The Bond party were enthusiastic at their success. Mr. Solomon, the Attorney General, was returned for Tembuland by 811 votes against 749 votes given for Sir Gordon Sprigg. Election petitions against Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Hill and Mr. Sauer were dismissed in January. Sir J. Sivewright was unseated for Stellenbosch, but not personally disqualified.
Mr. Hofmeyr made a speech at Caledon on February 24, affirming the loyalty of the Afrikanders, but declaring their dislike to the domineering of millionaires over the colony. He thought the immediate future as critical as the late past.
Sir A. Milner, the High Commissioner, went to Bloemfontein on May 31 to hold a conference with President Kruger.
A great citizens' meeting was held in Cape Town on June 28, which passed resolutions supporting Sir A. Milner's policy.
The Cape Parliament was opened on July 14 and Sir A. Milner's speech, though making no allusion to the Transvaal crisis, was received with cheers.
A great meeting was held in Cape Town (July 18) to welcome Mr. Rhodes from England. Some 4,000 people were present in the crowded hall, and received him with prolonged cheering. In his speech he said that the German Emperor had met him in the fairest way, that the days of Little Englandism were past, and that Englishmen and Dutchmen would soon unite upon the proposition that South Africa was not big enough for them.
In the Cape Assembly (July 31) the Rhodesia Customs Bill was read a second time, after a protest by Mr. Rhodes against giving benefits to the Transvaal when there was no reciprocity.
Mr. Merriman, in his Budget speech on August 1, said that the reduction of duties under the Customs Convention had resulted in a decrease of 501,0001. in the revenue. He estimated the expenditure at 6,878,0001., and the revenue at 6,544,0001. He proposed an income tax of 1s. in the pound, with exemption on incomes up to 3001. Farmers were to pay a land tax of fd. in the pound on the value of their farms instead of income tax, with exemption up to 1,2001. In moving the second reading of the Income and Land Taxes Bill (Aug. 14) Mr. Merriman modified his proposals, making the income tax 6d. in the pound on incomes under 1,0001., and ls. in the pound on incomes beyond 1,0001. The limit of exemption from land tax was to be 8001. rather than 1,2001.
Much public indignation was aroused in August at the
posals. em. 1,000:of exem