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in defiance of the law, the municipal councillors vote themselves salaries, thereby coming within the category of paid officials. Only to the district or ward councils-conseils d'arrondissement—whose sole duty consists in assessing the taxes among the townships, is the term functionaries inapplicable ; but they have no weight in the play of our institutions. As to the conseils-généraux (county councils), they wield a certain amount of authority and enjoy just a shade of independence. They can keep the prefects in check, but it is rare for any importance to be attached to their recommendations, and they are functionaries all the same. So, too, are the members of the conseils de fabriques (vestry-boards). The government, by placing a check on them, has made veritable officials of them.
We have said nothing about the Cour des Comptes (AccountantGeneral's office). It checks the government's receipts and expenditure, sees that the accounts are correctly added up, and becomes uneasy if they are not always accompanied by the proper vouchers. It ventures to make remarks, at which the government smiles and takes no notice. If ministers stopped at trifles of that kind, they would never be able to manipulate the electorate.
ALPHONSE DE CALONNE.
THE FUTURE OF
THE ANGLO-AFGHAN ALLIANCE
At the commencement of the present tribal disturbances on the NorthWestern Frontiers of India, a few months ago, I pointed out in this Review that the serious attacks which were then being made among influential quarters in this country upon the loyalty of the Ameer had no foundation whatever, maintaining that Abdur Rahman Khan was too wise and faithful a ruler to risk the rupture of the Anglo-Afghan Alliance by any surreptitious combination with the enemies of the Queen Empress. Time has proved, only too clearly, the veracity and correctness of my remarks. As questions of grave importance concerning the North-Western Frontiers of India will be soon brought before Parliament, the moment is not inopportune for the discussion of the future relations of the Government of India with the Ameer and the tribesmen. To understand the question thoroughly, it is necessary to have a bird's-eye view of the situation in Afghanistan, and to ascertain the extent of the power and prestige exercised by her ruler in home and foreign affairs.
Abdur Rahman Khan, the recognised ally of Great Britain, is the maker of modern Afghanistan. His genius in administration, his skill in diplomacy, his valour in the field, his wit in conversation, and his faithfulness in friendship have won for him a unique place among the rulers of Asia. Before his accession to the throne Afghanistan could hardly be called a nation. Like Scotland of ancient times, she was divided into numerous tribes, which were separated from each other by irreconcilable jealousies and hatred, culminating in ceaseless fratricidal warfare. Chaos reigned supreme in the country, each individual being a law unto himself. Such a country on the frontiers of British India was a source of perpetual menace to her peaceful progress. On the other hand, a strong Afghanistan, a united Afghanistan, and a prosperous Afghanistan could be of immense service to Great Britain against a formidable European enemy thundering at the northern gates of India. Happy was the thought and auspicious the moment which brought Abdur Rahman Khan from his exile in Russia to the throne of Cabul. After the last Anglo-Afghan war, when the British messengers approached him to know on what conditions he would accept the throne of Afghanistan, he did not jump at the opportunity, neither did he cringe before the British envoys. Conscious of his own abilities and of the singleness of purpose for which he was induced to accept the sceptre of Afghanistan, he made no humiliating promises, accepted no compromising offers, and encouraged no terms likely to injure his country, or hamper himself in the free government of his nation in future. He was, of course, offered a subsidy, but he knew too well that the gold of England, however necessary to keep up the dignity of his Court, could not possibly give him an undisputed title to govern his people. Such a title could only be derived from one source, the Afghans themselves. Having, therefore, arranged the preliminaries with the British envoys, he approached the nobles of his country, desired to be accepted as their ruler, declaring before them that he was no creature of any infidel Government nor servant of any nation but their own. Having been acknowledged by them as the future lord of Afghanistan, he proceeded to the pacification of his country. Peace and order were established with no little difficulty.
THE POLICY AND POSITION OF THE AMEER
With the experience which he acquired in Russia the Ameer has been consistently devoting his attention to the civilisation and prosperity of his kingdom. The development of its resources and the increase of its commerce were the natural outcome of his sound policy. Productive agencies always stand in need of protected ones. The army was therefore reorganised on a modern European basis. Arsenals and factories were established in Cabul under European supervision, and every branch of the military department was made thoroughly efficient. Military roads were made throughout the country, and garrisons stationed on its frontiers. The army, nearly one hundred thousand strong, though not large enough for purposes of conquest, is more than sufficient, considering the geography of the country, for purposes of defence. The invasion of Afghanistan by any Power, European or Asiatic, is by no means an easy matter at the present time. The foreign policy of the Ameer has been very simple. It is to maintain and strengthen an honourable alliance with England. In strict accordance with the terms of the treaty he has always abstained from communicating with any foreign Power without the knowledge of England, though he has not failed to acquaint himself thoroughly with the policies and politics of the civilised world. He has also, in accordance with the same treaty, bitterly resented the least encroachment on the part of the Government of India on his sovereign rights in the internal affairs of his country. Though His Highness does not exercise any direct influence in the foreign affairs of any country, his unique position has given him considerable prestige in the eyes of the Mohammedan world. The Ameer is in many respects the most independent Moslem monarch in the world. Unlike the Sultan, he is free from the hateful domination of the Concert of Europe. Like some other Moslem monarchs, he is not hampered by any capitulations with any foreign Powers. He has about him no ambassadors to intrigue with him and his subjects. He has no foreign debts. If his dominion be threatened, Great Britain is bound to defend him against all aggressors. England herself cannot interfere in the internal affairs of his country, and is represented at his Court by a Moslem envoy-a compliment which she has not yet paid to any other Moslem Court. England again, who most strenuously opposed the desire of the Sultan to annex Thessaly, most readily assented to the desire of the Ameer to annex Kafiristan. It is true that he cannot communicate with any foreign Power without the knowledge of England, and, therefore, his sovereign power is curtailed in an essential respect. But this curtailment in these days is more a blessing than otherwise, because foreign communication more often does harm than good to small or weak States. Take, for example, the case of China. Moreover, this curtailment is compensated for by a subsidy of eighteen lacs of rupees per annum, a substantial gain.
I have described in detail the position of the Ameer, so that my readers should thoroughly understand the nature and the importance of the man with whom the Government of India has to maintain good relations, and if possible to promote friendship, in future. Hitherto the Ameer has proved to be a strong, faithful, and valuable ally of the Queen. He received the Afridi and Orakzai delegates, but declined to give them any assistance. He forbade his troops and his subjects to have any dealings with the tribesmen. He declared that so long as England would keep her word he would be true to his own, and appealed to passages in the Koran enjoining the faithful to fulfil their promises to all people.
THE FUTURE OF THE ALLIANCE
Will the good relations now happily existing between the two countries be continued in the future ? Some newspapers announce that after the suppression of the tribal insurrections a British mission would be sent to Cabul in order to discuss and settle certain points in dispute between the Ameer and the Government of India. There may or may not be any point in dispute between the two Governments, just now; but it is most foolish to make wild conjectures about them, and excite suspicion in the Ameer's mind. It is true that the Ameer does not easily become suspicious, but when doubts do arise in his mind it is difficult to remove them. Distrust is of course fatal to the success of diplomacy. When Lord Lansdowne's Government proposed to the Ameer the desirability of sending a mission to Cabul under Lord Roberts in 1893, they incidentally suggested that the Commander-in-Chief would be escorted by ten thousand British troops. The Ameer, being suspicious, replied that it was customary for an Oriential prince to send at least five times the number of soldiers accompanying his guest for ceremonials of reception, and that he therefore wished to send fifty thousand troops to meet the Indian Commander-in-Chief on the frontier. The Government of India grew alarmed, and desired to know the real meaning of the harsh reply. The Ameer wrote back and informed them that his reply was not harsher than their own letter. He said he could not understand the object of the Government in proposing to send ten thousand troops to his country under their Commanderin-Chief in time of peace. If it was to insure the safety of the members of the mission, it could be dispensed with altogether, because the mission would be as safe in Cabul, under his protection, as it was in Calcutta, under theirs. Ultimately the Government abandoned the proposal of sending Lord Roberts altogether. They sent, however, Sir Mortimer Durand, a civilian, with only a nominal bodyguard. The mission, as is well known, was received with great cordiality everywhere in the capital of the Ameer. If it be true, therefore, that the Government intended to send another diplomatic mission to the Ameer, it would be wise, in the first place, not to give rise to suspicion in his mind; and, secondly, to remove the serious source of friction already existing between the two Governments.
As every one knows, the Shah Zadah was invited to England by the Government of India, at great expense, to please the Ameer. But the only favour which the Ameer asked of the British Government, through his son, was politely refused. The refusal was keenly felt by a sensitive and powerful ruler. The breach has not yet been healed. Is the Ameer's request impossible to be granted ? I do not think so. It is said that by receiving his agent in England the Government would be treating him like an independent monarch. But an independent monarch he is already, for all practical purposes, as has been pointed out above. He is officially styled in his country as 'the King of the God-given Kingdom of Afghanistan. He has assumed the title of the 'Light of the nation and of religion,' which has been acknowledged by the Viceroy. It must be remembered that the Ameer does not ask permission to be represented in any other but the Queen's Court in Europe or Asia. It is argued by some that the subsidy which the Ameer receives from the Queen of England debars him from sending a personal representative to her Court, like independent kings. But history is full of instances where monarchs receiving subsidies from their royal cousins were also permanently represented in their Courts. Take the case of