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per mile. This ought only to have been expected, as the
The Smyrna-Kassaba railway, originally British, but
By far the most prosperous of the three great Anatolian lines is the Aidin or Ottoman Railway Company. The line was opened in 1866, and, though not very successful for many years, has been progressing steadily ever since 1879, pushing gradually up the valley of the Maander as trade developed, sending branch lines up fertile side valleys, and finally reaching Dineir at the head waters of the river, a total mileage of 321 miles. The line is not guaranteed in any way. It is admirably managed, and has done an enormous amount to enrich Smyrna and the whole vilayet of Aidin, without inflicting any burden on the Turkish taxpayer. The line is much better laid than that of the other companies, and its trains are much faster than any that can be found east of Belgrade, including the famed Orient Express, which in the Balkans, at least, runs over one of the worst laid and slowest lines in existence. It is a not uninteresting fact that the Aidin Railway was the first to abolish second-class fares. But, unfortunately, the company is English. The result is that for many years past
its attempts to continue its natural developement have met with an absolute refusal on the part of the Sultan, to which the lukewarm protests of the British Embassy made no difference whatsoever. The Aidin Railway follows what from Persian times onwards has always been the great trade route of Anatolia, the only route, too, which offers no serious engineering difficulties in the ascent from the river valley to the central plateau. Long ago the Aidin Company offered to extend its line eastwards to Konia, as well as to build a branch northwards to Afium Kara-hissar and Kutaya to join the Anatolian Railway, without any guarantee. The offer was refused and the concession given to the heavily guaranteed Anatolian Railway, which even up to the present has not succeeded in diverting to Constantinople the Konia traffic, most of which still goes on camels down to Dineir. Since then the Aidin Railway has in vain requested permission to extend from Dineir up to Chai, where it could join the Anatolian system. This the Sultan has refused likewise, and not unnaturally, for the traffic over the Anatolian section from Chai to Kara-hissar, such as it is, would then cease altogether, and he himself would have to make up the deficit. The Sultan actually wanted to give a concession for this section to the German Company, which would simply have used it to block the way against the Konia trade. But at this the British Foreign Office drew the line, and the concession was withheld.
The following table gives the traffic receipts of the three lines for the years ending June 30, 1896, 1897, and 1898:--
With regard to these figures it is necessary to point out that the enormous increase of the Anatolian receipts in 1897-98 was largely due to the transport of troops and materials in connexion with the Greek war, and the sub
sequent evacuation of Thessaly, which did not affect the two Smyrna lines. On the other hand, the 1896-7 figures for the Konia branch of the Anatolian Railway and the 1897-8 figures of the Kassaba Railway are for as much of the line as was in working during these years. For last year the Anatolian Railway received 179,580l. in government subsidy, mostly on the Konia branch, while the claim of the Karahissar extension of the Kassaba line will have amounted to about 140,000l. Owing to the drought in the autumn of last year, and the excessive cold of last winter, the earnings of the past half year have been only 118,6971., or barely two-thirds of the average; but this summer's crops promise to do well, so that there will be a recovery in the receipts for 1900. But as long as the company is denied its natural extension into the interior of the country there is no room for rapid progress in its profits.
The only other lines in Asia Minor are the Brusa-Mudania railway once English and now French-263 miles long, connecting Brusa with an open roadstead on the Sea of Marmora, running through olive and mulberry orchards, and the Mersina-Tarsus-Adana line, 41 miles, across the fertile but malarious Cilician plain. In Syria there is the narrowgauge Beirut-Damascus-Hauran railway, 140 miles long, which runs from Beirut to Damascus, over Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon by the help of a central rack-rail, and from Damascus southwards to Mezerib in the Hauran, tapping a rich corn-growing district, and the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway, 52 miles, both brought into prominence last autumn by the German Emperor's visit.
The projects for new lines are almost innumerable, the most important being those intended ultimately to form the express route to Persia and India. The Anatolian Company hopes to continue its line from Angora to Kaisarieh, and thence via Diarbekir and Mosul to Baghdad. From Baghdad the line might go down to the Persian Gulf, and along the coast of Persia and Beluchistan, or more probably along the great pilgrim and caravan route from Baghdad to Teheran, crossing the Persian frontier at Khannikin, with a branch at Kirmanshah, going to India via Isfahan and Yezd. An alternative route from Kaisarieh to Baghdad, via Marash, Aintab, and Birejik on the Euphrates, and thence down the Euphrates Valley or across to Mosul, has also been suggested. This line would be met at Birejik by the Beirut line, which is to be extended at a guarantee of 8001. per mile from Damascus by Homs, Hama, and Aleppo. Another
VOL. CLXXXIX. No. CCCLXXXVIII.
proposal is to continue the Eski-shehr-Konia line over Mount Taurus to Adana, and thence through Marash to Birejik. This, both from the commercial and the engineering point of view, is probably the worst of the routes suggested. The short Euphrates Valley routes, starting from Alexandretta or Latakia, though offering no great difficulties, would probably not attract sufficient trade to make them pay, while the really fast overland mail must necessarily in future go over Constantinople. Moreover, from the Sultan's point of view, such lines would have no military value. Abdul Hamid naturally favours the Kaisarieh-Baghdad schemes, and would, if possible, also get a branch line built to Erzingian, the great military centre of Eastern Anatolia, perhaps continuing it to Erzerum, another important strategical point. But whatever route is chosen, there must be some reasonable prospect of its paying, and that prospect is not very immediate. In course of time, perhaps, political reasons, not unlike those which have caused combined railway action in China, may cause England and Germany to combine and support a railway scheme under joint protection.* Of this great undertaking the control of the Western or Anatolian portion would naturally fall to Germany, while that of the Mesopotamian and Persian sections would fall to England, whose military and naval base is in India and the Persian Gulf. But that will be the opening of an entirely new chapter in the history of Western Asia.
Since the above review was written Mr. Rhodes's visit to Berlin has brought German co-operation with England in the building of a great African railway into the field of practical politics. The arguments for co-operation in Asiatic Turkey are no less cogent than those for co-operation in Africa. At any rate it is desirable that the Aidia and Anatolian railway companies should come to some working agree ment as soon as possible. A most important proposal has just been made by the latter company practically involving amalgamation of the two systems. It has been brought forward with characteristic 'smartness at a moment when the complete failure of the autumn harvest has landed the Aidin company in a serious, though only temporary, financial difficulty. In its present form the proposal looks too much like an absorption of the English company in the German. But perhaps a more equal arrangement may be arrived at subsequently if government support and a better season give the Aidin company a better footing for negotiations.
ART. XI.—The Life of Charles Stewart Parnell, 1846–1891. By R. BARRY O'BRIEN, Barrister-at-law. Author of Fifty Years of Concession to Ireland.' 2 vols. London:
N this country, whenever a great statesman or an influential public man dies, there is a general desire on all sides to judge his actions generously; and even the keenest political opponents, when once political strife is at an end, are often ready to admit that high aims and noble motives may have influenced the man against whom they fiercely strove, and whom they feel that in his lifetime they may have too harshly judged. Thus many a convinced Unionist will have turned to Mr. Barry O'Brien's volumes, not certainly in the expectation of finding in them any new arguments to mitigate in his eyes the objections to the policy of Home Rule; yet with the hope of discovering that the man who wielded so much power over his countrymen, and who played so influential a part on the stage of British politics, whilst utterly mistaken, was yet impelled by a worthy ambition of serving his country, and at least truly believed himself that he saw his way by means of constitutional rearrangements ultimately to bind together Englishmen and Irishmen in a union of hearts.' Men turn to the Life of Parnell' in order to find out what that remarkable man has to say for himself, or at least to learn what his intimate friends and admirers, looking at public affairs from his own standpoint, have to say on his behalf.
Mr. O'Brien has drawn a striking, and we think, on the whole, a fairly accurate picture of the man; none the less interesting and striking that it is pre-eminently the portrait of the Irish leader as he appeared to the band of devoted followers whom he commanded in the House of Commons. The portrait emphasises those features of his character by which evidently his countrymen, and his parliamentary followers especially, were mostly impressed. No Englishman could have felt as they did the full force that belonged to his coldly impassive reserve, to his contempt for rhetoric, to the habitual aloofness of his behaviour. Mr. Parnell was a good-looking man, and his bearing was always unmistakably that of a gentleman. But appreciation of this kind falls far short of the enthusiastic personal admiration with which his followers regarded him. When, for instance, Mr. Parnell, with great condescension, attends the wedding