Imatges de pÓgina

And what of England ? She at least is not deceived by her Government. The British public read last year in official documents the unvarnished truth. The Blue-book, Turkey No. 2, 1907, contained such items as the following:

Writing on August 11th in reference to the murder of peasants at the village of Spartovo, Vice-Consul Satow says that this outrage, which was officially attributed to a Bulgarian band, was in reality committed by Turks. The victims were eight women and girls.' Here are two typical entries in close proximity: ' August 6th, Ilia Ivanoff, of Petrovo (Demit Hissar Kaza), killed with his three daughters, Stana, Mara, and Helena, in their field, where they were passing the night. Stana’s body was mutilated. Authors of crime supposed to be Turks of the village.' 'August 8th : Tana Tomakoff, of Baba-Kieui (Yenidje Kaza), killed by soldiers who stole his watch and money.'

A striking illustration of Turkish justice is afforded by the affair of Mogila, where nine peasants were killed by soldiers in a maize-field. They had no arms, and according to the Italian gendarmerie officer, Major Cicognana, 'all bore terrible wounds behind-evidently inflicted by firearms exploded point blank at a very short distance and all had bayonet wounds.'

The declining prestige of the foreign officers, owing to their lack of authority, is commented on by Colonel Eliot, the British staff officer, on his return from a tour to all the foreign sectors:

I naturally heard from them the same complaints that I have heard from our own officers-viz., that at the start they were encouraged to work on much broader lines than they do at present, but that as they were unable to take effectual action to remedy abuses, they have lost considerably in prestige. Objectionable officials are as hard to get rid of as the British sector, and it is almost impossible to seoure adequate punishment for military officers who allow outrages to be committed by the troops. (Page 156.)

In another recent publication, Vice-Consul Captain Townsend wrote. The people grow accustomed to having to give bread, &c., to the soldiers. They can never reconcile themselves to outrages on their women.'

But sympathy long unrelieved became a burden. Men knew that reform was difficult to achieve, and we caught at straws to relieve the sense of distress. Surely, after years of despatches, mandates, and commissions, some reform had begun. And the Christians were fighting among themselves ; they could not agree what reforms they wanted. And Germany was always scheming to attack us if we said anything to irritate her. By long familiarity our perspective was destroyed; a thousand murders seemed less than the theft of some jewels at Dublin.

Even diplomats, who knew the facts, had settled that reform must wait; they had begun to live in a kind of waking sleep. The ugly facts had kept them busy without cessation for five years, but experience was disappointing enough to produce lethargy. Many hopes had been roused in vain. Five years ago the Concert was formed because of the need of reform, but the difficulties had only shown that a more general ambition among certain Powers was to maintain the status quo, lest some diplomatic loss should befall them. So that a movement which originated to promote change was now devoted to preventing it.

In February 1903, Russia and Austria obtained a mandate to establish orner, but seeing their failure to use it, the Macedonians, who had long prepared a desperate remedy, decided in August to risk all for the chance of liberty. They rebelled ; many thousands of lives were lost, and Europe almost awoke. There was a ray of hope in September, when Lord Lansdowne proposed a European governor, but the two Eastern empires promised to mend their ways, and retained the mandate by issuing the 'Murzsteg Programme.' This was soon shown bankrupt, and a year later another effort began, this time at the instigation of Italy, whose Government induced our own to take the responsibility of new proposals. Lord Lansdowne sounded the French ambassador, but hope was again dispelled when he replied as follows : ‘M. Delcassé . . . could not offer an opinion upon the merits of our proposals till he had communicated with the Russian Government.' And a fortnight later (the 3rd of February 1905)

Count Lamsdorff ... had conferred with the Austrian Government, and the views which he expressed were theirs as well as his. The two Governments considered that the moment was inopportune for proposing an extension of the Murzsteg Programme.'

Next year we found Lord Lansdowne still persisting, and by means of a naval demonstration, obtaining the appointment of a commission to inspect the finances. But half-measures only roused the Turks to irritation, and the neighbouring states to bloodthirsty rivalry, and in 1906, in despair of the Concert, there was talk of an attempt at some united action of the small Powers (through compromise of their claims) which should show the Concert that it might be unable to prevent the Balkan States from breaking, the peace. An appeal of the English Balkan Committee explained the motive for seeking some course of action which should force the hands of Europe. 'Should the Powers be informed of the solution which would meet the wishes of the States most closely bound to the Macedonian population, a very great impetus would be given towards the long-deferred solution of the most vexatious question in European politics. But co-operation was impossible, while the Great Powers forbade hostile action against the Sultan by any small State.

Finally, last year it became evident that Russia and Austria would not use the free hand which Sir Edward Grey offered them any more readily than they would adopt the proposals of Great Britain. The suggestion was then made to our Foreign Office that participation in

half-measures was worse than useless, that complete European control should be proposed to the Powers, that England should offer to act as their mandatory in imposing it, and that every means should be used to persuade them. Such was the warning that in case of Bulgaria threatening war upon Turkey, England would no longer join in preventing her, but might be driven to lending her moral and even material support. In any case, it was urged, publicity should be given to the readiness of England to join in adequate reform, so that those who obstructed progress should be clearly exposed in their full responsibility. But Sir Edward Grey, in the summer of 1907, was still of opinion that the time had not come. He would not even protest, or make proposals which would not succeed. He enunciated this doctrine to a great deputation led by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the following words:


I know it is pressed upon the attention of the Government from some quarters, that nothing will do much good short of complete European control of Macedonia, by which I understand them to mean a Governor-General of Macedonia, appointed with the consent of the Powers, irremovable without their consent and therefore responsible to the European Powers. Well, that is a wide and sweeping proposal. It is not one which we could make alone. We could not get it accepted by ourselves, and an attempt to get it accepted by isolated action on the part of this country would, I am convinced, result in failure and in European complications.

Yet one more ray of hope was cherished in the Balkans, arising from the Anglo-Russian Agreement. Russia might now find herself in a position to encourage Bulgaria, and Bulgarian Ministers, who have more than once all but overborne the objection of Prince Ferdinand to war, certainly encouraged the belief that the scale of advantages might thus be weighed down in favour of risking hostilities. But this hope soon vanished, and connoisseurs settled down to the conviction that, firstly, no solvent was possible except war, and secondly, no war would come; the keenest imagination could see no Deus ex machina.

Thus the Prince, when he talked of trees, spoke with knowledge of Europe. Her empires and ministers, diplomats and governing classes had come to a firm decision. As the miseries of a people could not be removed, they must be hushed up. The rebels might do their worst; Europe defied them to force her hand; disturbing liberators could be thwarted. What if the result were downright vivisection? It could not be helped ; vivisected animals could be held down and gagged. A settlement was very difficult; it must, and should be deferred. Diplomatic envoys at Sofia could be trusted to sit heavily on the safety-valve.

The most perfect expression of this view was the German. The eminent and most attractive German ambassador to Turkey, Baron

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Marschall von Bieberstein, would have told you quite straightforwardly; the comfort of Europe could not be sacrificed to Macedonia; on the contrary, the liberty and honour and well-being of two million peasants was well worth sacrificing for Europe; the question would solve itself, as the Armenian question was already nearly solved, namely, by the destruction of a people.

And so, last autumn, neither in the physical nor in the diplomatic sky of Macedonia could any cloud, even as a man's hand, be seen, and the great journals of England summed up the situation in such profound remarks as these :

• The Balkan Committee are not content with the fruits of this policy, and neither is anyone else ; but where cautious men part company with the more extreme members of that body is in the demand for complete European control of the region.'

* The danger is that Sir Edward Grey may have his hand forced by philanthropic pressure by persons in this country whose generous sympathy with “oppressed nationalities is not regulated by acquaintance with the actual conditions.

*The Balkan Committee appears to us to have not entirely got rid of the spirit of the Crusaders. But the Crusaders were hardly so naive as to expect the Sultans, whom it was their object to expel from the Holy Land, to pay attention to proposals, emanating from themselves, for the better government of the territories from which they were to be ejected.'

And while men slept, Baron von Aehrenthal stepped quietly forward to sow tares in their field.


The watchmen, however, were not asleep. All were watching for the slightest disturbance of the Balance of Power. Italy, at least, was on the look-out for any material encroachment; England was watching for a chance of achieving Public Order ; Russia was watching for both. Each was affected by the Baron's move, for it was shown that Austria’s influence for reform had been cynically bartered for a railway concession. The whole matter ceased to be a dream, and suddenly revealed itself as hard business,

1. As to the Balance of Power. King Peter of Servia, last October, did not linger long on the question of Servian interests in Macedonia, or dwell upon the merits of a national propaganda by armed bands. He begged us rather to attend to the Servian scheme for a railway through Albania to the Adriatic, and hoped we should help to raise the needed capital in England. It seemed a tale of little meaning, though the words were strong; for, as all the world thought, neither would the German

Powers allow the Turks to sanction it, nor would anyone finance it, nor would the Albanians allow a single navvy to build it. Not till the end of January did it appear that his Majesty's military uniform concealed the personality of a prophet. Within a fortnight of the 27th of January, when it was announced that the Sultan had sanctioned an Austrian railway from Bosnia to Macedonia, King Peter's scheme had obtained the most influential support, and now promises to be actually built by a company formed in Paris. It is already the occasion for armed demonstrations in Albania by way of protest against it. Its importance cannot be over-estimated, for not only will it give Servia for the first time an unimpeded access to the sea by a line uncontrolled by Austria, but the virtually Russian character of the railway will make it impossible for Austria to move troops by her new line into Macedonia without an invasion of Russian rights where the two lines cross.

A third railway scheme, of even more immediate political importance, which has long been discussed academically, has suddenly attained reality. This is the line connecting Sofia with Uskub. Though it is an obviously economic line, the Turks have persistently declined to sanction it because of its supposed strategic value. But now it too stands a considerable chance of construction.

2. As to Public Order

It appeared from the King's Speech of the present session that Sir Edward Grey had made definite proposals to strengthen the Gendarmerie; these were rejected by certain Powers, but so entirely was the situation changed by the self-seeking of Austria, that, in spite of all refusals, Sir Edward seized the chance for which he had waited so long, and at the earliest moment made, by his speech in the House of Commons on the 25th of February, the most striking diplomatic move of recent times. The nature of this move has been made clear by the White Papers of March and April 1908. The proposals for reform are contained in a lengthy despatch which will go down to history along with similar utterances of Russell and Palmerston, and in contrast to that of Count Andrassy.

The Grey Note is interesting both for what it will teach and what it will accomplish. It will bring astonishment to all those who consoled themselves with the idea that Sir Edward Grey had denied either the urgency of reform, or the possibility of imposing it. It is all the more impressive because of the personality of the writer-his well-known objection to employing mere bluff, or to adopting a course which involves the risk of failure, and his perfectly judicial mind. In a few sentences he shatters all the sophistries behind which we have sheltered ourselves. To the statement that reform has been accom

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