« PoprzedniaDalej »
The history of journalism in Turkey throws light on the French influence, which is called reformation. Verninhac, envoy-extraordinary of the French Republic, printed for some time a gazette at the palace in Pera. In 1811, and during the Russian campaign, the French embassy printed and distributed extracts from the bulletins of the grand army. In 1825, M. Alexandre Blacque established the 'Spectateur de l'Orient. Under the title of the
Courrier de Smyrne,' this journal exercised a marked influence upon the events which distinguished the close of the Greek insurrection from 1825 to 1828. The author of Turkey, its History and its Progress,' pays an odd compliment to the influence of this journal when he says, “It alone defended, against the whole European press, the rights and interests of the Porte, and contributed largely to the overthrow, and perhaps to the assassination, of Capo d'Istrias.' The Sultan Mahmoud summoned M. Blacque to Constantinople, in 1831, to set up the “Moniteur Ottoman' in French. Next year appeared the Table of Events, or Takvimi Vakai,' which was a reprint in Turkish of the official part of the Moniteur Ottoman.' M. Blacque died suddenly at Malta, in 1836, while on a voyage to France, and his two suceessors on the journal died with equal suddenness within two years and a half. “Public opinion suspected a political reason.' After a few years, the place of the journal was taken by the “Djerideï Havadiss,' and the Takvimi Vakaï' remained the sole official paper. When M. Blacque gave up the ‘Courrier de Smyrne" to M. Bousquet Deschamps, it changed its title from Courrier to Journal; and the City of Smyrna, which was the first to possess a journal, soon boasted of five. M. Bargigli, Consul-General of Tuscany, founded, in 1838, the 'Echo de l’Orient.' M. Edwards, some time afterwards, published the “Impartiel,' first in English, and afterwards in French ; and it is the only one of the three journals published in French which has held its ground in Smyrna, where two journals are published in Greek, one in Armenian, and one in Hebrew. Thirteen journals are published in Constantinople, most of which, especially those discussing politics, receive an annual subvention of thirty thousand piastres a piece. Four of these journals appear in French, four in Italian, two in Turkish, one in Greek, one in Armenian, and one in Bulgarian. Thirty-two or thirty-three journals appear in all in the Turkish empire ; some of them at Belgrade, Beyrout, Alexandria; and a few of them in Turkish, but most of them in French. No one can fail to find matter for reflection in this history of the brief existence of the Turkish press. There are two journals published in Turkish and four in French in Constantinople, and no journal appears in English. A journal contributing to an assassination; three editors suspected of dying
for political reasons; and many more journals published in foreign languages, especially in French, than in the language of the country, are facts in which men of reflection and experience will find revelations. The absence of an English journal is a circumstance which cannot be favourable to English interests ; and politeness to our Allies does not require us to forget the historical fact, that visions of Oriental conquests have kindled as many imaginations in Paris as ever they can inflame in St. Petersburg
Professor Creasy's volume did not reach us in time to be incorporated in the foregoing. We are, therefore, reduced to the necessity of omitting it altogether, or of contenting ourselves with a very scanty notice. Of the two alternatives, we prefer the latter. The volume, which we have read through, is one of the most interesting historical compositions which has ever fallen in our way. In style it is easy, flowing, transparent, and sufficiently stately for the purposes of bistory; while the research indicated is so wide and diversified as to embrace the large range of topics which such a narrative should include. The work is to consist of two volumes, the second is promised early this year. It is mainly founded on Von Hammer's History of the Ottoman Empire, which was the result of thirty years' labour, and has done more for Turkish history than the productions of all other scholars. It must not, however, be supposed that Professor Creasy's work is a mere abridgment. Nothing can well be farther from the truth. It is an independent history, for which the prior labours of Von Hammer have supplied the larger portion of materials. Information has been sought in various other directions, and the whole has been condensed into a continuous narrative, which has much more than the ordinary attractions of historical writing.
In 1841, Professor Creasy delivered a course of lectures on Turkish history in University College, London, and the researches to which he was then led prepared the way for the present work. Little, if any portion of his Lectures is retained in its original form. The materials have been recast,—the authorities re-examined,--and various points of historical interest, which were probably omitted altogether, or only glanced at in his Lectures, have been subjected to a searching and thorough scrutiny. Professor Creasy's history does not deal with the Turks at large, but with that branch of them which bears the name of Ottoman, and which first appears in history about the middle of the thirteenth century. We must content ourselves with a very cordial recommendation of the history, of the style of which the following brief extract, relating to the last of the Greek emperors, who was slain in the defence of Constantinople against the Sultan Mahomet II., is but a fair specimen.
“The chief hero of the defence was Constantine himself. He knew that his hour was come, and prepared to die in the discharge of duty, with the earnest piety of a true Christian and the calm courage of a brave soldier. On the night before the assault he received the Holy Sacrament in the church of St. Sophia. He then proceeded to the great palace, and lingered for a short time in the halls where his predecessors had reigned for so many centuries, but which neither he nor any prince sprung from his race was ever to see again. When he had passed forth from his palace to take his station at the great breach, and there await his martyrdom, all thoughts of earthly grandeur were forgotten; and turning to those around him, many of whom had been his companions from youth, Constantine asked of them, as fellowChristians, their forgiveness for any offence that he had ever committed towards them. Amid the tears and prayers of all who beheld him, the last of the Cæsars then went forth to die.'
Art. II.- Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the London
Corporation. 1844. 2. Report of the Shipping Dues' Commissioners. 1854. Parliamentary
Paper. 3. Calver on the Improvement of Tidal Rivers. 8vo. pp. 101. London ;
John Weale. 4. Mr. Hume's Memorial to the Admiralty on the State of the Tidal
Harbours of the United Kingdom. Shields Gazette,' August
11, 1854. 5. The Coal Mines. By J. Mather. 8vo. pp. 102. London:
Longman & Co. 1853. In our number for June last year we offered some observations on the necessity for making so prime and universal a necessary of life as fuel free, and consequently cheap, and pointed out some of the causes by which the light and warmth of the people are made unnecessarily dear. Both in a sanitary and economical point of view the subject is one of great interest; and as some important steps have been recently taken by government, we again solicit attention to the topic. We shall confine ourselves as before to the coal trade between the Tyne and the Thames.
The spirit aroused by the first Reform Bill is approaching its natural goal of entire freedom of trade. The present government is well disposed to aid its development. The President of the Board of Trade has been heard to express a wish that the day might soon arrive when the Custom-house of England would
be to let. Among other recent indications of this enlightened policy, royal commissions have appeared on the Tyne and the Thames, and have recommended the immediate abolition of the charter laws and taxes of the old corporations—those local dues' or 'petty customs,'in especial, which increase the price of coal. In order to carry their enterprise against these formidable old corrupt corporations to a successful issue, the government will require the sympathy and co-operation of the public, and therefore we think the time appropriate for again addressing our readers on the subject.
The local dues or petty customs which hamper the trade of most of our ports have just been condemned by a royal commission appointed to visit the various ports and harbours
, in order to inquire into their operation; and we cannot help thinking, that were the public feeling, which during the next session of Parliament will be aroused to sweep away the 'petty customs, directed also against all duties on the prime necessaries and innocent requirements of life, the gigantic absurdity of our Custom-house establishment would cease to overshadow our trade. Free trade and custom-houses are directly antagonistic; and in the present temper of the nation we believe it would not require one-tenth of the effort which abolished the corn laws to strike off the intolerable and costly shackles with which our present Custom-house cripples our commerce. That there would be difficulties of detail we are well aware, but none which a resolute government might not easily overcome.
From a parliamentary paper, dated February 3, 1854, moved for by Mr. Hutt, the member for Gateshead-to whom the commercial interests owe so much we learn that the total amount of local or municipal dues collected in the port of Newcastle on coals and coke exported was £20,207 16s in the year 1851, and £19,720 8s. 8d. in the year 1852; and that the London corporation dues on coal amounted in 1851 to £168,421 7s. 7d., and in 1852 to £165,543 10s. 5d. On the Tyne and the Thames we have, according to this parliamentary paper, about £180,000 of local taxation on the article of coals alone used in the metropolis.
In 1851 there were imported into London 3,246,287 tons of sea-borne coal, on which the gross duties (at 13d. per ton) amounted to £175,840 10s. iid., and the net duties, after allowing drawback and cost of collecting, were £165,461 ls. 3d. The quantity imported landwise the same year was 224,339
tons, giving a duty of above £12,000. But this is not all. There are also,' says Mr. A. Brown, the chamberlain, certain tonnage dues payable at the Custom-house on vessels laden with coals arriving in the port of London, but I have no means of ascertain
ing them separately from the amount paid on vessels laden with other articles.'-(Parliamentary Paper, No. 29, 1852.)
The 13d. a-ton is the gross total of all the London corporation dues. One of these is a 4d. due, respecting which we find (in Parliamentary Paper No. 28, 1852) Annual produce (gross) at 4d a-ton, 1851
£54,104 15 8 Salaries, being cost of collection
215 10 0 Drawback on coals exported
3,039 17 8 Retiring allowances paid to deputy seacoal meters, on the abolition of their offices (?).
7,607 6 10 Charge made in aid of city improvements, upon which the
sum of £55,000 has been raised that is, the 4d. due
20,000 0 0 The above duty being the property of the corporation of London, the balance (£35,000) is (after paying the above £20,000) carried to the general account of the corporation, and applied in aid of municipal government, administration of justice, prisons, magistracy, police, and other purposes, in respect of which the funds of the corporation are chargeable. A. BROWN, Chamberlain.'—That is to say, not content with the £70,000 per annum of profit which the corporation absorbs from the coal tax, theythe city authorities-have here taken £35,000 more to themselves, and given £20,000 to Cannon-street, leaving the coalconsuming people of the whole metropolis to pay it !
Then there is the 8d. per ton, amounting to £100,000 and upwards, and the 1d. per ton, which goes to the Woods and Forests, and which in 1851 came to £13,654 13s. 4d.
The dues, of course, are deeply' dipped;' the corporations both of Newcastle and London having, like other spendthrifts of an easy and ill-gotten income, been always in advance of their account, and having taken especial care, so soon as they saw danger threatening to their monopoly from the spirit of inquiry and reform which was abroad, to mortgage their income heavily, and invest the money in borough property.
It is to be hoped, however, that as both of these corporations, in proportion to their real wants, are enormously wealthy,* they will be compelled to give back, for the improvement of the navigation of the rivers Tyne and Thames, at least those sums for which the river dues have been of late years mortgaged.
The inhabitants of Marylebone, in their memorial against the coal dues of London, show that there is no charge on the 4d. duty
* What the real wealth of either of the corporations is, remains, we believe, unknown. In spite of every effort, the rent-roll of the Newcastle property has never yet been produced.