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THE NILE CAMPAIGN.
The Dervishes Disheartened.-While the AngloEgyptian forces were resting at Dongola (p. 602) preparatory to another advance, the supporters of the khalifa were deserting his standard and his cause. Many powerful sheiks made submission to the Egyptian government; even the ever-faithful tribe of the Baggaras gave signs of wavering in their allegiance; and two
of their emirs visited Cairo seeking terms of pacification. The commander of the army, Sir Herbert Kitchener, was in England in the middle of November, on a brief furlough. He represented the province of Dongola as "perfectly peaceable;" the people were building large numbers of waterwells; and the area of land under cultivation was greatly increased. But he does not think that the khalifa's power is "in any way broken." Regarding the next move of his army, General Kitchener would say only that the advance upon Omdurman is not likely to be undertaken till the full effect of the capture of Dongola upon the dervishes is known. The discipline of the Egyptian troops was "perfect:" not one case of insubordination occurred during the campaign, and the men were ever eager to go on. The public journals during the campaign reported a very great mortality among the troops (p. 603); but General Kitchener says that the health of the men, setting aside cholera, was "better than if they had been in barracks: calculated on an average of eight years, the mortality was four per 1,000 less."
On to Omdurman.-That the Egyptian army in its next campaign will have for its objective point Omdurman, is not doubted. But how is the cost of the war to be defrayed? Also, will certain European powers look passively on while England confirms and enlarges her foothold in the Nile lands? The money will be supplied by England, and will not come in any part out of the reserve fund of the public debt commission. The $2,500,000 advanced at the beginning of the war out of that fund, was ordered, by a judgment of the mixed tribunal at Cairo, to be paid back by the Egyptian government; and in the beginning of December Great Britain advanced to the Egyptian treasury a sum sufficient to refund the loan with in
terest. The attitude of France toward England in Egypt and the Soudan is one of distrust, or even hostility. Of public opinion in France, Mr. Ernest Vizetelly, in the Westminster Gazette, reports that it is decidedly adverse to the continuance of British power on the Nile:
"Among educated people, as well as among illiterate," says he, "I was assured that the Franco-Russian alliance was formed for the purpose of driving England out of Egypt."
On the other hand the press of Germany views with satisfaction the actual and prospective results of British conquest. The Hamburg Nachrichten expresses the views of the German press in general when it says:
"For the sake of our colonies and our commercial interests we must insist that the Suez canal remain neutral. We need the canal for quick communication. But if its neutrality were guaranteed by the powers, Germany might not object if the sultan's territorial suzerainty were transferred to another government. If England NOW WITH ANGLO-EGYPT IAN and Russia came to an understanding on this point, Germany would be little perturbed; but France may not altogether like it."
British opinion is of course favorable to the designs of Lord Salisbury's government in Egypt; it finds temperate expression in an address delivered by Lord Charles Beresford at the Constitutional Club in London:
"The time has come for as trong, clear, but courteous declarations that circumstances have altered our policy, and that we intend to remain in the country." He would have the advance on Khartoum and the reconquest of the Soudan made the work of British or Indian troops, and the expense met frankly by the British treasury.
Mr. Henry M. Stanley forms this naïve judgment of British public opinion:
"The great majority of Englishmen think that Mahdism once destroyed on the White Nile, its barbarous adherents driven back into the desert, and the navigable waters protected by gunboats, Egyptian authority will be so well re-established that the decision of our government to withdraw will be accepted as a wise one."
And while the European powers and peoples are delivering judgment on the fate and fortunes of the land of the Nile, it is well to ascertain the views of the Egyptians themselves. Now, it appears that there exists in Egypt a "national patriotic party;" and Mustafa Kamel, said to be its head, in November visited Constantinople in his
party's interest. While there he represented his countrymen as being "all without exception discontented with the British occupation." Being asked the grounds of this discontent, he first made this general reply, and then descended to particulars:
"We Egyptians wish to be rid of British rule, firstly, because it is our duty as a nation full of vitality, knowing its rights toward itself, and even toward the holy fatherland. Next, because the British occupation ruins Egypt morally and materially."
ITALY AND ABYSSINIA.
The Italian Prisoners.-Replying to a personal letter from the Pope, who asked for the return of the Italian prisoners (p. 606), King Menelek wrote to His Holiness in the beginning of October, that though, like the Pope, he couldweep for the many innocent victims of the cruel war," unhappily his strong desire to show pity had been frustrated by the Italian government, which still continued its hostile attitude. The treaty negotiated in September (p. 606) seems not to have been ratified till October 26. Then all the prisoners were liberated; but the Italian government undertakes to pay for their sustenance during captivity. The following provision of the treaty is specially significant:
"Until the definitive delimitation of the frontier the Italian government engages not to cede territory to any other power; and if it should spontaneously wish to abandon any portion of its territory, this would return to Ethiopian rule."
In this provision is seen the hand of Menelek's "great and good friend," the Russian czar, who takes care that none of the territory lately occupied by Italy shall be ceded to a certain European power whose interests in that part of Africa conflict with those of Russia and her ally, France. As soon as the treaty was signed, Menelek telegraphed the intelligence both to. France and to Russia. Those two powers, besides checkmating England in the treaty, contrived also to do a great favor to Italy by procuring the liberation of the prisoners; and it is believed that by their intervention they have given Italy to see that she has friends outside of the Triple Alliance, who might be of service to her on occasion.
Evacuation of Erythrea. The Rome correspondent of the London Times reveals the existence of a curious state of mind among the members of the Italian cabinet. So far from being inclined toward a rapprochement to the Dual Alliance by the friendly action of Russia and
France, Italy is reported to be contemplating retirement from her African colony, lest she should appear to be dependent upon those two powers.
"Apart from all questions of finance," says this correspondent, the liberation of Italy from dependence on France or Russia for the tranquillity of her frontiers is a consideration which ought to persuade Italians that withdrawal from Africa means the increase of influence in Europe."
A journal published in Rome takes the following cheerful view of the outcome of Italy's martial adventures in Africa. The journal is called Don Chisciotte, or in English Mark Tapley.
"All things considered, the end of this unhappy war is satisfactory. It is, perhaps, the first time in history that the defeated people lose so little. Our frontiers remain as before; the treaty of Uccialli (pp. 74, 326), which really caused the war, is abrogated; but as Abyssinia never recognized our protectorate, Italy loses nothing. We came out of the affair with honor; the attempt to conquer Abyssinia has not resulted in a material loss to our position. The prisoners will soon be on their way home; and, with their arrival, we can forget this episode of our national history."
THE BERING SEA DISPUTE.
The sessions of the commission of arbitration on claims for damages arising out of illegal seizures of sealing vessels in Bering sea prior to a close-season arrangement, began at Victoria, B. C., in the middle of November. The question to be considered is whether or not the Canadian sealers whose vessels were seized in Bering sea and the North Atlantic by the United States authorities during the period 1886-90, or who were prevented from pursuing their occupation, are entitled to compensation; and, if so, to what extent. It is stated that twenty-six claims have been filed, aggregating $542,169.26, including claims for vessels, personal claims, claims by the mates, and costs in the W. P. Sayward case (Vol. 1, pp, 89, 217, 474), besides interest at the rate of seven per cent.
The counsel for the United States include Hon. Don M. Dickinson, postmaster-general in President Cleveland's first administration, Robert Lansing, and Charles B. Warren of Detroit, Mich.; while the British counsel include Hon. F. Peters, Q. C., premier of Prince Edward Island, F. L. Beique, Q. C., of Montreal, Que., Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, K. C. M. G., and E. V. Bodwell of Victoria.
GENERAL EUROPEAN SITUATION. Diplomatically, the close of the year 1896 contrasts remarkably with that of 1895. A year ago clouds of threatening portent for the peace of the world hung over Venezuela, South Africa, and Armenia; but now the general outlook excites little apprehension even where interests have been most deeply affected by actual developments. The balance of power in Europe has undergone some adjustment during the
By far the most important developments of the year have been:
1. The confirmation of the political supremacy on the continent, of the Dual Alliance, under the leader. ship of Russia; 2. England's modification of her traditional policy toward the Muscovite empire, her emergence from the "splendid isolation" of a year ago, and her evident tendency toward closer relations with the powers of the Dual Alliance, which has given rise to brightening hopes that even the complications of the Ottoman question will ere long be amicably settled by agreement of the powers for some positive form of coercion upon the sultan guaranteeing the treaty rights of his Christian subjects.
Lord Salisbury has publicly stigmatized as an antiquated prejudice the BEFORE THE BERING SEA CLAIMS COMMISSION. notion that there is any essential hostility of feeling or policy between England and Russia; and a recent exchange of friendly notes between London and Paris, coupled with a cessation of French criticism of the Anglo-Egyptian expedition up the Nile, and the sudden demand of papers like the Paris Temps for "as complete rapprochement as possible with England," indicate that the French, deeply as they resent the Egyptian occupation, have found it more to their interest to be England's friends than her foes.
HON. DON M. DICKINSON OF MICHIGAN, LEADING COUNSEL OF THE UNITED STATES
France and Russia in co-operation and practically in a position to control the destinies of both the Near and the Far East; England leaning toward the establishment of working relations with the two powers; the Triple Alli