Imágenes de páginas

may be understood. But they do not the shyness and suspicions of the ownconstitute the immediate problem. er, that one hears of them at all. They are not the cause of the present They are neither interesting nor sensamiseries and the present dangers. It

tional, but it is this daily domestic op

pression, much more than the startsuits the cynical politicians who would

ling and wholesale outrages, that has leave the Turks to carry out their pro

ground down the peasantry of Macegramme of massacre and rapine, to

donia, crushed its spirit, its intelliput the discords of the Christian races gence, its humanity, and made it what in the foreground of the picture. But it is to-day-a maddened race of slaves, the real evil, the horrible reality which

which is ready at length to commit overshadows everything else, is the in

any crime, to suffer any torture, if only

it may be rid of the little tyrants of curable misgovernment of the country,

its fields, who eat its bread, consume a misgovernment which is the result,

its labor, and destroy its soul. No one not of stupidity or carelessness, but of the Christian races which threw off of a deliberate purpose to plunder the the Turkish yoke in the course of the tillers of the soil for the benefit of a nineteenth century, has had quite so handful of landlords, tax-gatherers, ample a justification for revolt as this and officials, coupled with the con

Macedonian peasantry. tempt of the armed Musulman for

Justification, indeed! All the subthe defenceless Christian. There is no

ject populations of Turkey have, for need to describe the forms which this

centuries past, had ample justification misrule takes. They have been de

for revolt. Half of what is contained scribed over and over again during the

in the narratives of travellers, and in last thirty years. They are substan

the Consular Reports, is enough to tially the same wherever in the Turkish

prove that; and the races which have empire there is a Christian population.

suffered most are those which have reThey have been well sketched, as re

mained longest under the yoke, bespects Macedonia, by Dr. Dillon in the

cause the completeness of their misery Contemporary Review, and by Mr. H.

has left them least able to free themN. Brailsford in the Fortnightly Review

selves by arms. Yet the Prime Minisfor September. From the latter writer

ter of England was ignorant enough, I take a sentence or two, which sup

or thoughtless enough, to go out of his plement the accounts that may be

way, a few weeks ago, to declare in found in the British Consular Reports,

Parliament that, in the rebellion that not but what those Reports (which

has broken out, "the balance of hardly any one reads) contain more

criminality was on the side of the inthan enough to show how shocking

surgents." True it is that some of the situation is.

the insurgent bands have done shockThe Consuls hear nothing of these lit

ing things. But the cruelties perpetle village tragedies,-the stolen sheep

trated by the Turkish troops and ofskin coat, the hamstrung ox, the shady

ficials, and that not only now, but tree cat down, the watercourse diverted, the wife insulted and, it may be, vio

during the many years of oppression lated, while the husband is in the field.

that have provoked rebellion, have They go on unmarked from day to day, been far vaster in scale, as well as and it is only when one sits down at more wanton and atrocious, than can leisure in a peasant hut, and overcomes be laid at the doors of the insurrec

1 This unhappy phrase soon found Its punishment, for the British Ambassador at Constanti. nople was presently directed to explain that it had not been intended to exonerate the Turks, but had been used solely for the purposes of

"esoteric parliamentary debate." In point of fact, it was needless for the purposes of debate, since no speaker had either attacked the Minis. try, or attempted to adjust the balance of crimiDality.


tionary bands. Difficult as it has been of the several races that occupy Maceto obtain trustworthy information of donia, and of the two Great Powers what has been passing since June last, that stand behind? there can be little doubt that, under I. The one thing which is perfectly Turkish orders, many thousands of in- clear is, that the direct rule of the Docent peasants, women and children Turk must cease. The "bag and bagas well as men, Greeks and Vlachs gage" policy which Mr. Gladstone as well as Bulgarians, have, within urged (and which he was attacked for the last few weeks, been slaughtered, urging), in 1876, the policy of getting hundreds of villages inhabited by the Turks out of the country altonon-combatants wilfully burned. The gether, was adopted for Bulgaria in evidence given by the correspondents 1878. It saved Bulgaria, whose peasof the English papers, and particularly antry have since then lived in peace by the very capable correspondents of and order. It was adopted for Eastern the Times, is conclusive. Should things Rumelia, and it saved Eastern Rume go on during the next few months as lia. It has been adopted for Crete, they have during the last three, large and under it Crete is quiet. Nothing part of Macedonia will be turned into less will serve now. No paper rea desert.

forms, no scheme, like that which the

Turks, with suspicious readiness, acTo all present appearances, things cepted last Spring-for the appointwill go on as they have been going ment of an Ottoman official, taking his on. The revolutionaries are numerous orders from Constantinople, to imand desperate, and the Bulgarian prove the local administration with the Principality will probably be drawn aid of few European officers,into the conflict by the feelings of a will be of the slightest use. All Turkpeople who see their kinsfolk perish- ish intervention, whether military or ing. But the Turks have an enormous civil, must be ended, and control be preponderance of force, and, being en- placed in the hands of an European tirely reckless of consequences, may Governor, neither appointed by nor succeed in stamping out the insurrec- responsible to the Turks, who shall tion, and with it great part of the have command of an efficient gendarpopulation.

merie, and of revenue suf ent to Can nothing then be done? Is the maintain it. The nominal suzerainty civilized West to look on as an indif- of the Sultan may remain. Any bal. ferent spectator from week to week, ance of revenue, over and above that and month to month, while atrocities which the needs of Macedonia require, continue, not less hideous than those may be remitted to him as tribute. If the mere recital of which, long after these concessions facilitate a settlethey had happened, roused England to ment, let them be made. But the vital indignation in 1876?

thing is to secure a complete deliverLet us distinguish two questions, the ance from the zaptieh, from the tithesecond of which, though far more dif- farmer, from the rapacious official, ficult than the first, is far less urgent. from the troops who will not or canThe first is, How can the slaughter not be restrained from outrage and be stopped, and a scheme devised murder. which may secure the country some It is not a question of Christian respite from its miseries? The second versus Musulman, for the Musulis, What shall be the ultimate politi- man will benefit, scarcely less than cal settlement of the conflicting claims the Christian, from the substitution of




civilized government for and neither seems at present to conganized robbery.

template such a step—there are two If the Powers who signed the Treaty obvious courses open. One is, to allot of Berlin, or the two Powers in par- to Bulgaria those districts which have ticular which, being nearest, are a preponderatingly Bulgarian populadeemed to be chiefly concerned, desire tion; to Servia, those parts which are to preserve the territorial status quo so practically Servian by race; to Greece, far as titular sovereignty is concerned, a part of the south-west where the and to reserve for the future the ulti- Greek element is influential, either enmate disposition of these regions, this trusting Italy with a protectorate over is the quickest and simplest course to Albania, or leaving it to itself, while adopt. The Turk could not dream of establishing a strong line of frontier resisting what the Powers, or even posts along its border to protect the any two of the Powers, agreed in de- villagers of the plains. The difficulties manding; and no one will allege at of delimitation (as has been indicated this time of day that he has any rights a few pages back) would be great, yet that deserve to be regarded. He al. not insuperable; and although a Musways has submitted when two or three ulman minority would remain, Powers have conveyed their decision pecially in the towns, it must be reto him. He submitted in the Lebanon, membered that Musulmans do not in Eastern Rumelia, in Crete, and suffer under Christian rule, as the exmore than once where Greece was con- perience of Bulgaria, Eastern Rumelia, cerned.

and Crete, not to speak of Bosnia, has Such an emancipation of Macedonia sufficiently proved. from the government to which her The other course is, to turn Macewretchedness is due, is all that need donia into an autonomous Principalbe pressed for at the present. It would ity, under a ruler approved by the stop murder and pillage. It would Powers, who may, if so desired, own enable the villagers to return to their the Sultan as suzerain (as Bulgaria desolated homes, and resume the cul- does now), establishing, when the fittivation of their fields. It would, if ting moment arrives, a constitution, the ruling hand were firm, impose a similar to those which Roumania and restraint on the rival racial propa- Bulgaria have found it possible to gandas, and it would remove, or at work with a fair measure of success. least postpone, the danger of a colli- Something may be said for each of sion between the Great Powers who these plans, but it is not necessary at think their own interests involved. present to decide between them, for the

Everyone knows-none better than urgent and the indispensable task of the Turks themselves—that Turkish the moment is to arrest the strife that rule in these provinces must before is now proceeding, not, as some forlong come to its end. Why protract eign cynics have suggested, by letting their agony now, when the cup of the Turk complete the work of extertheir misery has been filled to over- mination for this is what "the supflowing?

pression of rebellion" means—but by II. As for the more distant future removing the causes which have made of the country, that depends in the rebellion the only remedy for intolerfirst instance upon the policies of Rus- able sufferings. sia and of Austria. Assuming that What is the duty of England? What those Powers would refrain from par- help can she render? Her duty is untitioning Macedonia between them- deniable, for it is chiefly through ber


action in 1878 that these horrors exist have merely declared their acquiesin 1903. Painful as this fact is, it cence in whatever Russia and Austria must be dwelt upon again and again; have proposed, or have failed to profor it is the fact which makes the call

pose. The time has surely come for of duty peremptory. But for the de. taking a bolder line; and, believing that mand made by Lord Beaconsfield's English opinion will support the MinGovernment, and conceded at the istry that takes it, one may venture to Congress of Berlin, nearly all Mace- hope that it will speedily be taken. donia would for the last quarter of a There is reason to think that both century have been a part of the Bul- France (however closely connected garian Principality. Her people would with Russia she feels herself to be) have dwelt in peace; and the many and Italy, in both of which countries thousands of innocent peasants, men, public sentiment has been deeply women and children, who have stirred, would join England in urging perished during the last six months, the other Powers that signed the would now be living. Was there ever Treaty of Berlin to require the Turks a blunder that had more dismal con- at once to withdraw from Macedonia, sequences, or that more clearly im- and leave it to be administered under posed on the nation answerable for it a scheme such as has been already the duty of trying, so far as is still sketched out. The peril is imminent, possible, to retrieve it?

for Bulgaria may be at any moment Unhappily, it is harder to do good in drawn into the conflict; and every day 1903 than it was to do evil in 1878.

hundreds of non-combatants The influence of England in the Near slaughtered, women violated, villages East has waned; and the predomi- destroyed, and the area of ruin exnant voice in the determination of the tended. No one is entitled to suppose course of events in European Turkey that Austria and Russia, callous as DOW belongs to the two great military their policy has seemed to be during Powers whose dominions lie near that the last few months, will refuse to acregion. Whether isolated naval action cede to such a proposal, coming from by England would avail to save the a Power which has the fullest right Macedonians, is a question which need to make it, and has no selfish interest not at this moment be discussed. Such

to serve. If they do refuse, on them forcible action can hardly be expected let the guilt rest. from a Ministry which lacked the Be the result of her efforts what it Derve to employ it in the autumn of may, England at least is bound to do 1895, when (as those who have the her best to serve the interests of hubest right to know have stated) it manity-interests which seem to be so would have succeeded in stopping the much less regarded in our days than Armenian massacres. But the path of they were forty years ago. Let Eng. diplomatic action at least is open. land at least clear herself from the What part the British Ministry have disgrace of having stood coldly or taken up to now in the dealings of the timorously by, while horrors, unex. Powers with this matter, remains dark; ampled even in the East, are being for they have refused to tell Parliament perpetrated, a country devastated, a anything.' It may be feared-it is in people blotted out. deed commonly believed—that they

James Bryce. The Independent Review. * When I thrice interrogated them on the subject, so information was given in reply.


poem about the sea, he has no business to intrude upon us at the end of each verse a thought in no way related or led up to. The fault is simply damning, and if the refrain were as good in form as it is slovenly, the verses. would still have to be ruled out. More. over, in the third verse what is meant by this?

The author of "The Islander," "The Lesson,” “The Absent-Minded Beggar," "The Old Issue,” and similar compositions, comes before the world principally as a prophet. These works may be taken as successful examples (like the laureate's "Jameson's Ride") of the art of giving concentrated voice to a popular sentiment, in a form which adapts itself readily to recitation in the music halls and other local centres of emotion. But behind the prophet still lurks the poet who wrote “Danny Deever," "Kabul River," "Mandalay,” the "Ballad of East and West," and "The Flag of England"; and in a literary review one may be pardoned for dealing first with Mr. Kipling in his less obvious capacity. It is sad to record that the volume before us opens with a disappointment.

[blocks in formation]


And our bullies close in for to make

him good prize

Who hath desired the Sea ?-the in

mense and contemptuous surges? The shudder, the stumble, the swerve

the star-stabbing bowsprit emerges ? The orderly clouds of the Trades, and

the ridged, roaring sapphire there

underUnheralded cliff-haunting flaw and th

headsail's low-volleying thunderHis Sea in each wonder the same-his

Sea and the same through each wonder:

His Sea as she rages or stills? So and no otherwise-so and no other

wise hillmen desire their Hills.


The bitter salt spin-drift; the sun glare



There are four of these stanzas, each similar in form, and the whole is called "The Sea and the Hills." But, although the poem does well for the heading to a chapter in "Kim," where the context supplies a link, taken in itself the refrain is simply an irrelevance. If a man is going to write a

* The Five Nations. By Rudyard Kipling. Methuen. 65.

than laboriously to find the word which will fill the space in metre or the gap in rhyme and yet keep the desired tone. Nevertheless, the prophet does. not always usurp.

“The Bell Buoy” and “White Horses" seem to worthy of a place with Mr. Kipling's best work; and there is fine writing in the commemorative lines on Joubert (though a Boer would probably say that Joubert's "name will pass from sire to son" with that of Buller), in "The Settler,” and in the “Young

« AnteriorContinuar »