Obrazy na stronie

of the pen.

of the legislative and administrative systems of the Soudan.

This principle having been once accepted, the ground was cleared for further action. The shadowy claims of Turkish suzerainty were practically, though not nominally, swept away by a stroke

Their disappearance connoted the abrogation of all those privileges which, in other parts of the Ottoman dominions, are vested in European Powers in order to check an abusive exercise of the Sultan's sovereign rights.

rights. All that then remained was to settle the practical points at issue in the manner most convenient and most conducive to the interests of the two sole contracting parties, namely, the British and the Egyptian Governments.

The 22nd parallel of latitude was fixed as the northern frontier of the new state; on the other hand, the southern frontier was left undefined. It was provided that both the British and Egyptian flags should be used throughout the Soudan;' that the supreme military and civil command should be vested in one officer, termed “the GovernorGeneral of the Soudan," who was to be appointed by a Khedivial Decree on the recommendation of the British Government; that Proclamations by the Governor-General should have the force of law; that the jurisdiction of the Mixed Tribunals should not extend or be recognised for any purpose whatsoever, in any part of the Soudan”; and that no foreign Consuls should be allowed to reside in the country without the previous consent of the British Government.

When this Agreement was published, it naturally attracted much attention. Diplomatists, who were

1 In the first instance, the town of Suakin was excepted from this and from some other portions of the Agreement, but this arrangement was found to cause a good deal of practical inconvenience. By a subsequent Agreement, dated July 10, 1899, the status of Suakin was in all respects assimilated to that of the rest of the Soudan.

wedded to conventionalities, were puzzled, and perhaps slightly shocked, at the creation of a political status hitherto unknown to the law of Europe. One of my foreign colleagues pointed out to me that he understood what British territory meant, as also what Ottoman territory meant, but that he could not understand the status of the Soudan, which was neither one nor the other. I replied that the political status of the Soudan was such as was laid down in the Agreement of January 19, 1899, and that I could give no more precise or epigrammatic definition. Again, I was asked what, in the absence of any Consuls, was to happen to Europeans who were married or buried in the Soudan ? I could only reply that any European who considered it essential that his marriage or burial should be attested by a Consular representative of his country, would do well to remain in the territory lying north of the 22nd parallel of latitude,

But the splutter of amazement caused by British want of political symmetry soon died out. It is true that the Sultan murmured some few words of ineffectual protest, but no serious opposition was encountered from any quarter.

Why was this? The reasons were threefold.

In the first place, whatever fine-spun arguments might be woven from the loom of diplomatic technicality, the attitude taken up by the British Government was in substance manifestly both just and reasonable.

In the second place, their attitude was firm. It was clear that they intended to carry out their programme. The inevitable consequence ensued. No one was prepared to bell the cat, even if he felt any disposition to do so. A mere platonic protest would have caused irritation, and would have been ineffectual.

In the third place, the Powers of Europe, possibly without meaning it, paid a compliment to British rule. However much the Anglophobe press on the Continent might at times rave, it was perfectly well known that, under the British flag, Europeans-albeit they were the subjects of Powers, some of whom were animated by no very friendly spirit towards England - would be treated with perfect justice. Notably, Article VI. of the Agreement, to which at the time I attached great importance, tended greatly to allay any spirit of opposition which might otherwise have been aroused. It laid down that, in all matters concerning trade with, and residence in the Soudan, “no special privileges would be accorded to the subjects of any one or more Power”; in other words, the German, the Frenchman, the Italian and others were placed on a precisely similar commercial footing to that enjoyed by a subject of the Queen of England. Even the most militant Anglophobe could not fail to be struck by the contrast between this liberal attitude and the exclusive commercial policy adopted by other colonising. European Powers. Thus,

in laying the foundations of the new Soudan, a Free Trade policy-which I trust will never be dissociated from British Imperialism --formed one of the corner-stones of the political edifice.

After this fashion, the new Soudan was born. It was endowed with sufficient strength to support existence. Nevertheless, it was of necessity to some extent the child of opportunism. Should it eventually die and make place for some more robust, because more real political creation, its authors need not bewail its fate.?

1 At a later period of this work (vide Chapter LX.) I shall give a brief account of the results which have so far been obtained under the system whose main features are described in this chapter.



Quand un peuple a souffert trop longtemps, c'est tout au plus si, dans son abaissement, il a la force de baiser la main qui le sauve.


This country is a palimpsest, in which the Bible is written over Herodotus, and the Koran over that.

LADY DUFF GORDON's Letters from Egypt.

To watch the immemorial culture of the East, slow-moving with the weight of years, dreamy with centuries of deep medstation, accept and assimilate, as in a moment of time, the science, the machinery, the restless energy and practical activity of the West is a fascinating employment.

KENNETH J. FREEMAN, The Schools of Hellas.

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