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parties to a policy in the neighbourhood of India that would be or have the appearance of being harsh and aggressive towards a Mohammedan country.' But assurances of this kind are beginning to have a hollow sound. The examples of Morocco and of Tripoli are not so easily forgotten. Mohammedan countries cannot be blamed if they set rather small store on the assurances of Christian Powers.
THE CASE OF MR. SHUSTER
Again it is said that it was all the fault of Mr. Shuster, and that it was only against him that the action of the two Powers was directed. But it is impossible to isolate Mr. Shuster in that way. Mr. Shuster was an official employed by the Persian Government, whom he had served with signal ability and success. He is a man, as Lord Morley has said, 'whose zeal, whose ability, and whose single-mindedness is beyond dispute,' and he had won, in a manner which did credit to them no less than to him, the confidence of the Persian Parliament. In all this long and rather sordid business there is no brighter feature than the courage and the loyalty with which the Mejliss stood by Mr. Shuster.
And what, after all, were the charges against him? Lord Morley tells us that he had shown want of tact,' and that he had 'ignored the position and indisputable claims of Persia's two great neighbours.' Whatever may be the gravity of such charges, they are exceedingly general in scope; and it may well be asked what were the exact offences alleged against Mr. Shuster to justfy the violence and the haste with which he is being expelled. Only two definite charges have yet been made: (1) That he wrote a letter to The Times defending his conduct, which The Times had attacked, and in turn attacking the Governments of Great Britain and Russia, and that he afterwards circulated this letter as a pamphlet in Persia; (2) that he appointed a British subject, Mr. Lecoffre, to a position in Northern Persia. With regard to the pamphlet he himself denies that he was in any way responsible for its circulation in Persia. With regard to the appointment of Mr. Lecoffre, it is noteworthy that Mr. Lecoffre had already for some years held office in Northern Persia. All that Mr. Shuster did was to transfer him from Teheran to Tabriz, and the appointment has since been cancelled. But, after all, the question was not whether Mr. Shuster conformed to the diplomatic standards of London or St. Petersburg, but whether, on the whole, he had served Persia well, or had committed any offences of so grave a character as to warrant his immediate expulsion. At present no such offences have even been alleged.
To demand the instant dismissal of an official who had the full confidence of his Government on charges so trivial as those made
against Mr. Shuster, was to make a vital attack on Persia's liberty. To say that no successor should be appointed without the formal consent of the two Powers was to make it practically impossible under present conditions for the sovereignty of Persia to continue. By consenting to such demands the British Government have consented to the virtual destruction of an independence which they were pledged in honour to maintain.
THE PROSPECTS OF THE FUTURE
As I write, the news comes that the Mejliss have at last given way, and accepted the three demands of the ultimatum. Deserted by their friends, denied even the right of inquiry, threatened by an immediate advance of Russian troops to overwhelm them, it may well have seemed to them that no other course was left. Mr. Shuster has been dismissed; the right of veto on future appointments is admitted-though we are told with some modifications; even the indemnity is to be paid, if not in cash, at any rate in concessions. The crisis of the second ultimatum has ended, as did the crisis of the first, in the exaction by Russia of the full measure of her demands.
But still the Russian troops will remain. The disturbances that have unfortunately occurred at Tabriz and Resht have given indeed exactly the justification that was necessary. Already we learn that fresh reinforcements are being sent; while the Noroe Vremya is demanding that Russia should take justice' at these places into her own hands,' and that the whole population of Tabriz should be held responsible and punished.' Russian honour, it would seem, is not yet satisfied.
In the meanwhile what is to be the position of the Persian Government?
At the end of his recent speech in the House of Commons, Sir Edward Grey gave a short but very important outline of the joint policy which he hoped that, when the crisis was over, Great Britain and Russia would pursue. A form of government was to be set up that would not disregard the special interests of the two Powers.' A successor to Mr. Shuster was to be found. A fresh loan was to be raised with a view to a constructive policy.' If Russian troops remained, it was to be only as a temporary arrangement. The Convention, in fact, was to be continued on a new basis; and so long as the present co-operation between the two Powers continues there seemed no reason why some such arrangements should not work-at any rate for a time. In spite of all that has been lost, they would preserve at least the semblance of Persian autonomy: something round which in happier days the national spirit might revive.
But if the most recent developments are any indication of
Russian intentions towards Persia, it becomes doubtful if even this can be still secured, or if any co-operation with regard to Persia would continue possible. A situation might then arise in which nothing would be left for this country but to consent to the political partition of Persia, with all the dangers and strategical difficulties and the immense drain on Indian resources which that would involve. If this last and crowning blunder is to be avoided, the Government will have to take a firmer attitude than they have hitherto adopted. If Russian friendship is valuable to this country, the friendship of Great Britain is also of some value, if only for financial reasons, to the Russian Government. Let it be made clear that that friendship can only be retained if the principle on which the Convention was based is faithfully and loyally observed.
THE CHANGES IN INDIA
THE great administrative changes which his Majesty announced at the Coronation Durbar at Delhi are these:
1. The transference of the seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to Delhi.
2. A Governorship for the Presidency of Bengal, which is to include five divisions-the Presidency, Burdwan, Dacca, Rajshahi, and Chittagong.
3. A new province, consisting of Behar, Chota Nagpur, and Orissa, to be administered by a Lieutenant-Governor.
4. A Chief-Commissionership of Assam, on the north-eastern frontier of India.
The announcement of these changes has undoubtedly been somewhat startling. This is due, however, mainly to the fact that the announcement was sudden and unexpected. The changes involve such an abrupt departure from the traditions of the Government of India, and such a dislocation, temporary at least, of official habits, and affect so many local and personal interests, that they seem, prima facie, to have required more serious consideration and fuller discussion and consultation with the local Governments and persons specially interested than the published papers show that they received. In recent years so much has been said (especially in connexion with the 'partition of Bengal') about the duty of considering public sentiment, and we have heard so much about the necessity for the representation of Indian opinion (of all races and classes) in the Legislative Councils and in the Government of India, that it is undoubtedly startling to have important changes like these irrevocably announced on the strength of a secret letter from the GovernorGeneral-in-Council and a despatch of the Secretary of State accepting the proposals which that letter contained. To some it has also appeared startling to have Ministers advising the announcement of such changes by his Majesty the King in person, before they had been discussed in Parliament. Whatever view may be taken of the changes as a whole and each one of them in particular, it cannot be denied that there is room for difference of opinion in regard to every one of them. It is undoubtedly,
under these circumstances, somewhat startling to have this particular form of procedure adopted in regard to them. With all this, however, I do not intend specially to deal. I propose only, as one who knows something of India and who is interested in it, to consider what the changes mean.
The first decision is to transfer the seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to Delhi. This is not a new subject. Lord Hardinge tells us that 'proposals of a similar nature had been fully discussed as long ago as 1868, and ample materials were on record for the formation of a just opinion on all debatable points.' I remember myself nearly thirty years ago writing an official note in support of a proposal to remove the seat of the Government from Calcutta. But there were three principal objections raised at that time: viz. the expense, the isolation of almost any place in the interior of India, and the uselessness of any transfer which did not obviate the migration to the hills. Improved communications all over India have entirely removed the second of these objections; and the third may be to some extent met, in connexion with the present proposals, by reducing the migration to the hills to the least possible period. As to the first, the Government of India have now made up their minds that the change is so desirable, if not necessary, that the expense must be met. The idea of spending four millions sterling on this transfer may well startle anyone who knows how difficult it is to find money for the most urgent requirements of Indian administration. But the Government of India have determined to face the cost.
There can be no doubt, I think, in the mind of anyone who is acquainted with the relations between the Government of India and a Local Government, that it is most undesirable in the interests of both that they should be located in the same city. It is also in the interest of the peoples of India generally that the Government of India should not be located in Calcutta. There is no place in India more out of touch with Indian sentiment than Calcutta. It has interests and views entirely its own, and does not understand the sentiment of the interior. However important the interests and views of Calcutta may be-and they are undoubtedly important-they are not the interests and sentiments of India. On the other hand, the educated community and the Press of Calcutta are both loud and forcible in the assertion of their interests and views; and it has long been a danger to the Government of India, in respect of the sound administration of the country, to be so very largely, if not exclusively, under Calcutta influence. The importance of Calcutta demands, as much as that of Bombay or Madras, that there should be a strong and influential Local Government; but it is undesirable in the interests of Indian VOL. LXXI-No. 419