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EXTENT OF THE BASHA'S TERRITORY.
lights that at times start up to astonish by their brightness, and dazzle by their glare.
Let us consider three subjects: The extent of territory of the Egyptian Viceroy; his right to independence; and the effect that independence would have on the balance of power and the general state of affairs in Europe and Asia.
The extent of territory under the dominion of Mohammad Alee is almost unknown in England. It far exceeds that of the mother country, and would, if again added to the Turkish empire, make it a more cumbrous machine than it was ever before; for territories and people that never acknowledged the Sooltan, or Mohammadanism, have been subjugated, and are now ruled by the Egyptian Viceroy. He wrung Egypt from the Porte, and has added to it the whole of Syria, and a great part of Asia Minor, as far as where the Euphrates enters the Persian Gulf. In all the Arabian Peninsula, except Muscat; in Nubia, Abyssinia, the ancient Ethiopia ; in the plains of Sennaar, Koordofan, and far as the foot of civilized man has followed the various wanderings of the blue and white Nile, Mohammad Alee's power is more or less acknowledged. The extensive borders of the Red Sea, even. beyond the Straits of Babelmandel, to the confines of Persia and the Indian Sea, with Candia, and the whole upper border of the Mediterranean, are now included in his dominions; and the great nomad tribes of the Bedawees of Petra, Babylon, and from Bagdad to Medina, with few exceptions, own him as their prince. All this, greater even than the mighty empire of Sesostris, was conquered, and is now governed by the orphan boy, whose precarious livelihood was, at one time, gained by the hustering of tobacco, but who now fills the throne of the Pharaohs, and wields the sceptre of Zenobia!
Were this vast extent of country to be returned into the hands of Turkey, it would but increase the difficulties under which that tottering state now labours, scarcely able to support the pressure of its own weight; for the sixth angel has already begun to pour out his vial upon the great river Euphrates (the acknowledged symbol of the Ottoman empire); and the water thereof is fast drying up. And why is this?—“That the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.”- Rev. xvi. 12.
But were it possible that the Porte could even for a time regain its influence, Syria would, upon the death of Mohammad Alee,
HIS RIGHT TO INDEPENDENCE.
instead of being governed by his successor in Egypt, be undoubtedly split up into small bashalics, and the people be once more reduced to the horrors and oppression, moral, physical, and religious, that history informs us was their lot some twenty years ago. That the Viceroy is more than a match for the Porte none can deny; and that, but for the interference of foreign diplomacy, and the threats of foreign aid, he could, at this moment, wrest Constantinople from the descendant of Othman, is equally acknowledged ; of which the late battle of Nazib is too conclusive a proof. His right to the kingdom he has conquered, and which I have already described, is no doubt the right of conquest and the strong arm of power ; but that kingdom has as good a claim to independence as America had when she threw off the English yoke, or as Greece had, when, assisted by England, she freed herself from Turkish slavery.
That Mohammad Alee's rule is a more beneficial one for the country we see daily, in the effort he is making to raise the character and condition of the people from that state of degradation in which the baneful influence of Turkish power had kept them for so many centuries—a power, one of whose most firm tenets was war upon the liberty of thought, and death to the introduction of reform, and that regarded all innovations upon the habits, forms, customs, and prejudices of five centuries gone by, as an offence to be punished with the loss of life. Mohammad Alee's present right of tenure to those countries which his sword has won, is a right that, in a moral point of view, the powers of Europe should well consider, for it is the benefit he is conferring upon those countries, by being made the instrument of breaking down the wall of prejudice, ignorance, and superstition, that held them in barbarity—by letting in the light of freedom on them, by opening up the avenues to civilization, and preparing them for that great process of assimilation, which is now taking place among the different nations, tongues, and people of the world.
But it will be asked, was not the late Sooltan a reformer too? had he not improvements in his army and in his capital ? did he not shoot his thousands of Janizaries, and endeavour to Europeanize his people? I will let another, who knew the Turkish Empire well; answer these questions. “Of these reforms," says Marshal Marmont, in his late work on the Present State of the Turkish Empire, “it has been thought that the Sultan has 298
REFORMS OF THE SOOLTAN.
created a new order of things, and commenced an era of civilization in Turkey ; whereas, in reality, little more has been effected than the destruction of the Janizaries, and the establishment of the new military force. The former was a useful and important act, for which the Sooltan is deserving of the highest praise; but the troops by which the Janizaries have been replaced, are far from realizing the hopes that were conceived of them ; and as to the boasted reforms, they bear only on matters of a frivolous nature, such as the change of titles or of dress—thus the turban has been proscribed, the Reis Effendi has changed his name to that of Minister for Foreign Affairs,' the power of the Grand Vizier has been curtailed, the extent of some of the provinces altered, and the army is recruited by conscription, according to the arbitrary will of the Pachas.
“The great Timars, or Fiefs, which existed in Asia, and were wisely governed, furnished the empire in time of war with twenty thousand good cavalry ; but the Sooltan has destroyed those fiefs, and as his agents cannot exercise over the population the same degree of authority that the original owners possessed, he neither receives troops nor money from these districts, which are a prey to disorder ; every thing, in short, exhibits weakness, and the elements of dissolution are spreading in all directions.” Even those changes, insignificant as they appear, are being done away with by the present young Sooltan, who is said to be particularly wedded to all the forms of Mohammadanism, which he is re-introducing, in order, if possible, to become popular, to allay the present ferment in Constantinople, and win back the affections of the people to his government, which had been estranged through the reforms attempted to be introduced by his father, who wanted however the energy and decision of Mohammad Alee to carry them into effect. In fact, whatever were the improvements of the late Sooltan Mahmoud, he was in them but a copyist of his viceroy, to meet whom upon equal grounds he introduced them, and not from any wish to serve his people by the change.
The states of Europe, jealous of every effort at the destruction of ancient monarchies, and anxious to maintain the peace of the world, have refused to acknowledge the independence of Mohammad Alee, who naturally desires to see the kingdom he has raised up pass into the possession of his family, for whom he bears a very strong affection. Were that independence now acknow
FULFILMENT OF THE AUTHOR'S PREDICTIONS.
ledged, it would bring back to the fertile plains of Egypt and Syria at least one hundred thousand men, the majority of a force he is now obliged to retain, to hold that position which he has assumed. Should Egypt alone become an independent kingdom, what influence will it have upon England ? how will it bear upon our Indian frontier, or alter our passage by the Red Sea ? Certainly, as beneficially as while in the possession of a government whose counsels are so swayed by Russia, that in violation of all her ancient treaties with England, she consented, at the treaty of Unkar Skelessi, to prevent all English men-of-war from passing through the Bosphorus, so that to reach the Russian capital, the ambassador of Great Britain has to lower the pennant of a line-ofbattle ship, withdraw her guns, shut up her port-holes, and enter the Black Sea as a yacht!
Finally, let me observe that, to prevent war between Mohammad Alee and the Porte there is one remedy: let his kingdom remain dependent on Turkey at a stated tribute, but make it hereditary in the family of its present governor.
1844.—We have lived to witness the fulfilment of many of the predictions on which I ventured in the foregoing chapter. The event of the Syrian campaign has restored that portion of the Mohammadan territory to the Porte; Acre has been demolished, and the Turkish fleet sent back to the Golden Horn; but Mohammad Alee and his family remain hereditary lords of Egypt, as I hoped they might, four years ago. It would be out of place, in the revision of a second edition, to notice all the effects of the late war in the Levant; there are, however, two circumstances connected with it which I cannot omit mentioning :-the one, as highly characteristic of the Básha's mind, and the present state of civilization in Egypt; the other, as a specimen of Turkish courtesy towards England, and the mode the Sooltan has taken of offering a return for our loss of life, and expenditure of specie in reconquering Syria for the Porte.
The first is, that while we were at war with the so-called savage Mohammad Alee, blockading his ports, levelling his strongholds, and either annihilating or dispersing the flower of his army, he was permitting a free passage to—nay, was actually transmitting our Indian mails, containing diplomatic dispatches, valuable commercial intelligence, money, and private domestic letters, through the heart of his dominions; and every British subject was per
PREVENTION OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH.
fectly secure in Egypt! This is a fact-call it a policy if you will—that not only redounds to the immortal honour of the Basha, but is, I believe, unparalleled in the history of the world.
The second circumstance is, the stop put by the Sooltan to the completion of the Anglo-Prussian Christian church at Jerusalem within the last year. This building had been permitted by the Egyptian viceroy, whose law—whose word, more potent than the prejudices of the Mohammadan hierarchy, was a sufficient guarantee to the undertakers of the work; yet although a promise of undisturbed possession was given to the English by the Porte, no sooner is the Sooltan's power re-established in Judea, and a new Básha takes possession of the Holy City, than a fanatic war is waged against the Frank Christians; our countrymen are insulted and beaten in the open streets by the Turkish soldiers; and the crection of the church, over which an English and Prussian bishop is to preside, prevented!
Besides all this, there is scarcely an oriental traveller with whom I have communicated for the last two years, who has not had reason to regret the alteration in government in those provinces over which the Basha formerly ruled.