Page images

impulse to change which, for a whole generation at least, all classes above them seemed emulously eager to give. Peasant penuriousness had, in many instances, scraped together the means to purchase the lands which noble prodigality found itself forced to sell. But, as the bourgeois fundholder felt no conservative sense of safety in his public securities, so the peasant landowner had no unvexed enjoyment of his newlyacquired property. He might be said to have acquired little else than extended liability to the double and overwhelming pressure of seigneurial dues and government taxes.

In this state of things, the tranquil insouciance of the privileged orders seemed proof to all portents.

'Never,' says M. Taine,' was blindness more wilful and more total. The Duke of Orleans offered to bet a hundred louis that the States-General would separate without doing anything-without even abolishing lettres de cachet. After the work of demolition was actually commenced-nay, after it was consummated-the privileged orders arrived at no more correct judgments. They had no idea of what the social edifice was; they had never put a hand to it. They ended by thinking, that it would be best to let it fall completely, without an effort to save it. It would not fail to rebuild itself of its own accord they should not fail to re-enter their salons restored and regilt, and recommence the agreeable conversation interrupted for the moment by an accident-a street-tumult. Clear sighted in society, their eyes were dim in politics. They saw everything admirably by the artificial light of wax candles; but natural daylight confused and dazzled them. Their visual organs, applied so long to the delicate details of polished life, had no clear apprehension of popular lifethe life of the masses; and in the new element, in which they found themselves suddenly plunged, the very fineness of microscopic perception they possessed destroyed their insight.

It was necessary however to act; for danger was at their door, at their throats. But the danger was a danger of an ignoble description, and their education afforded them no appropriate arms against it. They had learned fencing, but not boxing. To engage in conflicts with porters and poissardes, to take their antagonist at the club by the collar, to harangue at street corners, to bring fists and cudgels to bear on the brutes and madmen, who employed no other argument than that of physical force (as the jeunesse dorée did with good effect at a later epoch), to take up the truncheon of special constable, to spare neither their own skin nor the skins of others, to confront the common people in the guise of common people-these were simple and effective modes of proceeding. But to have recourse to them did not even enter into the heads of well-bred persons; they neither knew how nor chose to make use of their hands for such work. Such a thing was never seen as for a gentleman arrested in his own house to break the head of the Jacobin clubbist who arrested him. To make a disturbance


a disturbance or scene of any kind would have been bad taste. them the first consideration was to remain what they were, gens de bonne compagnie. In prison, men and women dressed with care, paid and received visits, held salons at the end of a corridor, by the light of four candles. No matter; they could exchange pleasantries, devise madrigals, sing songs, pique themselves on being as gay and gallant as ever. Must one become morose and illbred, merely because one finds oneself accidentally lodged in a bad inn? Before their revolutionary judges-on the cart to the guillotine-they retained their smile and dignity. Women in particular went to the scaffold with as much ease and serenity as though they were going to a soirée.'

When the sword of France fell from the feeble hand of Louis XVI., the question for the future was, What firmer hand should finally grasp it? When Authority ceases to command traditional respect, Force alone can compel obedience. Force, indeed, is the ultima ratio of all authority; but where the legitimacy of the established powers of the State has not been called in question-where the continuity of the national existence has not been broken-force never nakedly occupies the foreground of the political scene. The value of the sanction of time and usage to authority is not felt till it is lost. It was lost to the old Monarchy of France in July, 1789, and its armed substitute was not effectively established till November, 1799the epoch of the 18th Brumaire. Within those ten years, the wheel of Revolution had run full circle—the advocate's tongue, and the popular journalist's pen, had finally given place to the Soldier of Fortune's sword.

ART. V.-1. Report of a Mission to Yarkund in 1873, under Command of Sir T. D. Forsyth, K.C.S.I., C.B., Bengal Civil Service. With Historical and Geographical Information regarding the Possessions of the Ameer of Yarkund. Calcutta: printed at the Foreign Department Press, 1875.

2. Kashmir and Kashghar: a narrative of the Journey of the Embassy to Kashghar in 1873-74. By W. H. Bellew, C.S.I., Surgeon-Major, Bengal Staff Corps. London, 1875.

3. Central Asia: A Contribution towards the better knowledge of its Topography, Ethnography, Resources, and History. Compiled under the direction of Lieut.-Colonel C. M. MacGregor, C.S.I., assisted by Major Bates and Captains Lockhart, J. M. Trotter, and H. Collett. Quartermaster-General's DepartCalcutta, 1873.


4. Narratives

4. Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa; edited with Notes, an Introduction, and Lives of Mr. Bogle and Mr. Manning, by Clements R. Markham, C.B., F.R.S., Geographical Department, India Office. London, 1876.

5. Clouds in the East. By Valentine Baker. London, 1876.

Of al

F all the Mohammedan States of Central Asia, no one has emerged from great obscurity, to become the object of general attention, more rapidly than Kashgar. Twenty years ago the name of this region, then enveloped in Chinese darkness, would have evoked only the half-mythical, half-classic, associations which clustered round the name of Marco Polo or Prester John; at the most it might have recalled, to well-informed people, the last aggressive movement of China, in 1757, when her vigorous advance to Badakhshan sent a panic-tremor through the Mohammedan world, which was felt as far as Persia. But the revolt of the population in 1863 against Chinese supremacy attracted attention as a new evidence of the widespread revival of Islam, and on this ground caused excitement even in India, despite the thickness of the paries proximus. Still the country might long have been considered as lying beyond the political horizon of India, had not the steady advance of the Russian power induced a more active interest in its affairs, an interest heightened perhaps by the remarkable career of the present ruler of Kashgar.

The story of these events has been written more than once, and we need only recapitulate them shortly. Toward the middle of the sixteenth century, the supreme power in Kashgar had fallen from the hands of the House of Chingiz into those of the Khojas,' the descendants of a famous religious teacher, Makhdumi el Azam, who had come from Bokhara some two centuries before. Of these 'Khojas,' as they were called, there were two rival branches, one of which held the chief sway in the southern, and the other in the northern districts of Kashgaria. These were continually at war, till the latter called in to their aid the Kalmak ruler of Dzungaria, who annexed the whole country to his own dominions, though it continued to be administered by members of the Khoja family. But when, a century later, the great wave of Chinese conquest swept over these regions, Dzungar and Khoja were alike overwhelmed, and the Khojas retired to Khokand, where the sentiment arising from absence, and a community of faith, seems to have thrown about them a halo of legitimacy, and given them a strong hold over the hearts of their former subjects, who always rallied to


them on the attempts which they frequently made to recover their power. At last the Khoja Buzurg Khan, taking advantage of the anarchy which followed the revolt against the Chinese, invaded the country, as usual from Khokand, and gained a footing there through the skill and bravery of his lieutenant, a certain Mohammed Yakub, a Khokandi officer. But instead of prosecuting his success, the Khoja gave himself up to the indulgences natural to a Central Asian Bourbon, and was quietly supplanted by his lieutenant, who, having reduced the various scattered cities of which the kingdom consists, and crushed all opposition with an iron hand, became the ruler of the country, and is now known as the Amir Yakub Khan.

The Chinese do not seem to have ruled badly, from an Eastern standard. The country prospered, and several arts and industries flourished which have disappeared with them. Commerce was protected, the caravan routes over the surrounding mountains being kept secure by a system of payments to the chiefs through whose territories they passed. The Government of the country was administered through native officials, and its religion was respected, though not allowed to interfere with social freedom. But this, in Mohammedan eyes, is a serious restriction, and in fact a religious grievance justifying revolt ; indeed rebellion is with them a religious duty as against a heathen government, their casuists obligingly drawing some distinction in this matter between a pagan government and a Christian.

Having established himself in the chief cities of Kashgar and Yarkand, the Amir marched against the scattered towns to the eastward, where the Dungani, or native Mohammedans, had already expelled the Chinese and established a government of their own; these he also reduced to obedience, and he has even subdued and disarmed the nomad Kirghiz of the surrounding mountains, who had never submitted to the Chinese. His mode of government, though necessarily strict, is not cruel or needlessly severe, and affords substantial justice to the people; its weak point is its absolutely personal character. Even his chief subordinates are not trusted. He maintains confidential agents in each city as a spy on the actions of the governor, who is summoned yearly to pay a short visit to the capital to give an account of his stewardship. It is obvious that such a power must fall to pieces when the guiding spirit is withdrawn, and the son who is his heir is said not to be equal to the position. Again, his chief subordinates are natives of Khokand who entered the country with him, and they are looked on as foreigners by the people. The adherents of the Khojas, too,


form a discontented legitimist party, who might give trouble on occasion. But the Amir is no doubt more than a match for all his native adversaries. For a long time the Russians refused in any way to acknowledge his Government, on the plea that their allies, the Chinese, were still, de jure, in possession of the country. They viewed with great dislike the rise of an independent power which might control the course of trade between China and Russia. On the other hand, the leading spirits of the Amir's Government, natives of Andijan and of parts of Khokand which had lately been annexed by Russia, regarded her with equal fear and dislike. Mr. R. Michell has thrown out the suggestion that the Amir has a secret understanding with Russia, which the fanaticism of his people prevents him from avowing, but we see no evidence for this. It is no doubt his knowledge, from personal experience, of her resistless power that has led to his desire for intercourse with the Government of India, and the late Mission under Mr. (now Sir T. D.) Forsyth was sent in compliance with his pressing invitation. In one sense this Mission seemed to have some significance. It looked like a disavowal of the policy of isolation and indifference, and a practical admission of the fact that the condition of the surrounding countries must necessarily have a bearing on the interests of India; and without pressing it too far, we are glad to think that the inference is a fair one. We have long felt that, as regards India, this great doctrine of non-intervention, so far from being the highest outcome of political sagacity, may even tend towards a dereliction of the duties of our position, while the proclamation of it is likely to be misconstrued by our neighbours, even if it does not encourage aggression. In truth, to the mind of an Oriental, an abstract principle of political action is an impossible conception, and will be interpreted in turns either as apathy or fear, or as the cynical craft of la perfide Albion. But it would almost seem as if we sometimes hardly cared to veil our cynicism. 'Help yourself and England will help you,' though, like the more ancient maxim it resembles, a fine moral tonic to throw to a struggling neighbour, is unlikely to excite the gratitude even of a successful recipient; and yet it might be important that England should be known to be on occasion an active friend and a dangerous enemy. But those who remember the gradual abandonment of our influence with Persia, and our steady refusal to exert it recently in Afghanistan, could hardly have expected to see it exercised in distant Kashgar. It would be an intelligible, and, as we think, a statesman-like policy, to promote a strong and efficient Government in Persia, and a friendly one in Kabul, as barriers, not against aggression, but against the sus

« PreviousContinue »