Imágenes de páginas

public opinion on the subject of La Follette's war record. He told in his campaign speeches of having rounded up German prisoners in France who informed him that Bob La Follette's protests against the war were circulated behind the German battle-lines. The German districts of Wisconsin with one accord buried Paulsen under an avalanche of votes, and his opponent, Zimmermann, was nominated by a huge majority.

One soldier, by reason of his personal popularity, did succeed in winning the nomination for sheriff of Milwaukee County. That was Colonel Westfahl, commander of an artillery regiment of the Thirty-second Division. He lives in Victor Berger's Congressional district. Berger is much annoyed by the soldier's success, and is already at work trying to turn the Colonel's military record to account against him. He invites workingmen to contemplate "that German drill master of Whitefish Bay" and sneers at Westfahl as "the victor of Veuve Cliquot and Château Lafitte." Colonel Westfahl has before him in November a battle of more doubtful issue than any he fought in France.

Mr. Puelicher, elected in October President of the American Bankers' 'Association, is one of the best-tempered but also one of the most persistent antagonists of revolutionary radicalism in Milwaukee. Yet analysis of the primary returns shows that the Socialists ob

tained upwards of 2,000 votes in the neighborhood that constitutes Milwaukee's "gold coast." Business and professional people rolled up Berger's big vote, cast as a defiance to Congress two years ago, and they will vote for him again this year. In that connection Berger reminded his constituents a little while ago that his case in the Federal court is not yet finally disposed of and that he is still under heavy bail.

The Socialists had the labor vote before the European War. The impressive gains made since the war represent mainly the spread of radicalism among people who are not factory workers. It is, to be sure, a radicalism that pictures Socialism as an anti-Yankee rather than anti-capitalist movement, but it swallows a moderate programme of collectivism along with the rest. At no other time during the campaign was La Follette greeted with quite such stormy applause as when he declared, for the first time, for the public ownership of railways.

What is said here is as true of the State as a whole as of Milwaukee. There is nothing to be gained by blinking at the facts, and the facts are that the people of Wisconsin indorsed La Follette's war record, approved his tacit alliance with the Socialist Tammany of Milwaukee, and, in the circumstances, virtually approved Victor Berger's record by the same unprecedented vote. There was in truth only one contest, and that was between Republicans and So

cialists. The Socialists won and have captured the Republican organization as completely as the Non-Partisan League did in North Dakota. How completely the Democratic party has been extinguished in Wisconsin is revealed by the returns. In two counties, Sauk and Shawano, the Democrats polled less than 100 votes-74 in Sauk and 19 in Shawano. In Washington, a strongly German county, they got 221 votes; in Outagamie, another German stronghold and formerly the home of many Democrats, 163; in Kenosha, a factory district, 672. The Democratic vote was small enough in 1920-the total for Governor then was 22,435-but in 1922 it has approached the vanishing point.

After the November election it will be disclosed in what manner the Socialists propose to utilize the new alignment in making their Milwaukee machine the nucleus of a strengthened National radical movement. Berger now stands accredited as the most successful politica! manipulator that Socialism has produced in America. If the new third party appears, it remains to be seen how a man of Berger's intense, passionate, and dominating personality will get along with La Follette, who is himself not without similar qualities and who as a political boss is celebrated for not permitting anybody else to decide what issues shall be discussed or how his organization shall be run.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

[ocr errors]



KLAHOMA is always interesting. The State got born that way when, almost twenty years ago, it adopted its 30,000-word Constitution. The Convention which framed that remarkable document, with characteristic modesty, assured itself that it was more capable of enlightened lawmaking than any Legislature which the new State was likely to elect within a decade or two, and proceeded ceremoniously to incorporate in the Constitution practically all of the legislation which it conceived a forward-looking commonwealth would need for that period. It was liberal in the quantity thus produced, as attested by the record-breaking length of the instrument, and not less so in the substance, according to the best school of Bryanism which was then ascendant in the councils of the dominant Democratic party.

It is noteworthy that, whereas the present Constitution is the longest recorded, the next one bids fair to be among the shortest, for, so far as sentiment is now formed and vocal, the experiment of embodying complete legislation in a constitution has either been

1 The writer of this correspondence holds a position in the State which gives him a point of for political vantage observation which the ordinary citizen does not have and which at the Rame time precludes the publication of his name The Editors.

acknowledged a failure or, conceded to have been advisable if not necessary under the circumstances a couple of decades ago, the conditions no longer prompt such restrictions upon natural political development. This is the attitude of several of those still living in the State who as members of the first Constitutional Convention helped to frame the document now in force. These pioneers not only incorporated extensive legislation in the Constitution, but they made amendment so nearly impossible that only two changes which affect the substance of the document are said to have succeeded when submitted to the electorate. The issue of a new Constitution must soon be forward, since the twenty-year period, within which the question of calling a Constitutional Convention must be submitted to the people, will soon be up.

But the political situation in the present campaign is one of the most startling on the map. Nowhere is the shattering of old and rigid partisan alignments more complete. The Democratic party has dominated every election in the history of the State. That two years ago is nearest an exception, when a Republican Senator was sent to Washington and a Republican majority was returned to the lower house of the Legislature. But

the Democratic Governor and his administration still held the control of affairs. Now the Democratic party machinery has been captured by the farmer-labor group. Their leaders do not scruple to declare that they are the North Dakot Non-Partisan League under a differenc name. Just as the League captured the Republican party machinery in North Dakota, so they have taken over the Democratic machinery in Oklahoma.

They have done thorough work. Their candidate, formally nominated at their antecedent Convention, was tacitly accepted by the Democratic Convention, and the primaries triumphantly confirmed the choice. In this candidate's campaign the farmer-labor platform is being so openly woven into the conservative Democratic platform that lifelong and hereditary Democrats are alarmed to the point of the desertion of their party standards in multitudes. One prominent citizen remarks that his old dad warned him in his youth that if he ever voted for a Republican his dog would bite him when he returned home from the polls; he feels himself forced to put the old gentleman's prophecy to the test this year, for he joins the deserting multitude and will vote for the Republican candidate.

But the Democratic candidate ch

lenges his supporters to win over two farmers or laboring men formerly affiliated with the Republicans to replace each one of these deserters. His success is amazing in that all over the State it is conceded that he will command the Negro vote. Mark that among your freaks of a freakish year: a Democratic candidate, in a State constantly boasting of its Southern political maternity, appealing openly to Negro voters with resounding promises of service to them as a political group, and manifestly winning their allegiance! Contrariwise, the Republican candidate almost as openly poses as a Lily-White, the candidate of the Lily-Whites, and the champion of "white supremacy."

In an Oklahoma accommodation train

the other day a citizen of unmistakable Southern antecedents was overheard to remark, "Whatever else comes out of this election, it means that the South is henceforth independent in politics." His neighbor across the aisle responded in as unmistakable a Southern accent with a devout "Thank God for that!"

The Democratic candidate, repudiated openly and bitterly by many heretofore incorrigible Democrats, storms the State as a Democrat and in command of the Democratic partisan machinery. The Republican candidate soft-pedals his party doctrines everywhere, mumbles or declines to attempt pronouncing his party shibboleths, and has adopted as his campaign slogan, "Vote for the man." The banners over their respective cam

paign headquarters in the capital city announce the one as the regular Demo cratic nominee, and studiously omit any reference to the party affiliation of the other. The Republican says nothing or tacitly repudiates the Federal Republi can Administration, while the Democrat holds up to bitter scorn the administration of the State, which has been continuously Democratic since the State came into being.

Oklahoma may not be pointing out a clear course to new party organization but she is running true to type and her history in smashing precedents and traditions. The names are all that have been preserved of the old party organi zations and principles in the present political campaign.




This is the last of a series of letters by Senator Davenport upon the political
and economic situation in the Central States of America.-The Editors.

HE present Middle Western agitation is observable also in the States of Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Nebraska, like the battered and splattered political pioneer that she is, is normally viewed with arched eyebrows by the East. But she has a great body of husky American citizens in her midst nevertheless. In her rather violent struggles in the last generation for a better commonwealth and a better country she has practically lost all sense of party. litical machines mean nothing in her experienced young life. Republican and Democratic labels are essentially worthless as vote-getters. Issues, discontents, drys, wets, conservatives, liberals-you hear about these, but not about Republican or Democratic platforms or standard bearers.


The contest this year in Nebraska wages about the Governorship and the United States Senatorship. And unless all signs fail, she will pick Bryan for Governor and Howell for United States Senator. Bryan has the Democratic label, Howell the Republican. Bryan is a brother of the better known W. J. B., but he has a record of his own. He was long a City Commissioner of Lincoln, then Mayor, and is now City Commissioner again. He is committed to a municipal ownership and operation programme for cities, where necessary, just as Howell is. He is dry, as Howell is. He is backed by the more radical progressive faction and by the Non-Partisan Leaguers, just as Howell is. Randall, the Republican candidate for Governor. who is running against Bryan, is in natural surroundings and tendencies what they call in Nebraska a conservative. He is President of the State Bankers' Association, a man of high

character, known in kindly fashion as Uncle Charlie because he is always extending a friendly hand to somebody; prominent in the Methodist Church, which is the leading denomination in Nebraska, having sixty-five thousand members in the State and four or five hundred preachers. The Methodists were the boosters for his candidacy, and politically they usually don't go far wrong, at least on the character or the humanness of a public man. But Randall is a member of the State Senate, and has recently voted, in a brief period of conservative reaction which followed the war, for a drastic anti-picketing law; for a bill to take the party organization out of the direct primary regulations, leaving only the candidates for public office to be nominated there; for a banking statute which gives the State Banking Board power to refuse a charter wherever they like. These measures are up on referendum in the present campaign and seem not to be so popular as they looked when they passed the Legislature. So far as there is any odium attached to them, it falls on Randal! particularly as a candidate for Governor. Bryan is against them all.

Howell, the Republican candidate for United States Senator, is pitted against the sitting Senator, Hitchcock, who has

been much before the country as a stanch supporter of the Wilson programme of the League of Nations, and who is an able and aggressive public man. Probably a majority of the nominal Republicans, and particularly a majority of the women, of Nebraska favored the League of Nations and were well pleased with the Washington Conference on the Limitation of Armaments. But Hitchcock has neutralized with these women of Nebraska his stand on

the League by his vigorous opposition to woman suffrage, and especially his stand against prohibition. For years the men and women of the German stock, who are strong in numbers and influence in Nebraska, followed Hitchcock with devotion. When he voted for an embargo on the shipment of munitions to the Allies, the Germans in Nebraska roared ap proval. But he lost them by his later stand for the Wilson League and his vote against a separate peace with Germany. What the Germans will do as a body this year, whether they will remember their former devotion to Hitchcock and support him, after all, in considerable numbers, is problematical There is no doubt that the feelings of the Germans in the State for him have amounted to personal affection. Hitchcock was once a Heidelberg student, and he has spoken sometimes to his audiences in the German tongue.

Nebraska is dry, is no longer inter ested in the League of Nations, shares the economic unrest of the middle country, and seems to be headed away from Hitchcock towards Howell. Howell has had an able and progressive life record He has for years been the Republican National Committeeman of his State, a position fairly won by espousing Roosevelt Republicanism consistently and openly from the beginning. He has been in a long twenty years' fight in Nebraska to break the grip of extortionate private monopoly upon municipal utilities. He lives in Omaha, and he is now the general manager of the municipal water plant, the municipal ice plant, and the municipal gas plant-industries which he has managed with astonishing suc

[blocks in formation]


profiteering in Omaha, is indicated by a
conversation a little while ago between
him and a prominent banker of the
State. Howell was telling the banker
about the success of his ice plant.
spoke of the original investment of
$240,000 and of how in the first year he
had made some money. "But, do you
know," said he, earnestly, "this year we
are selling ice for thirty-three cents a
hundred pounds at jitney stations all
over the city, where people have come
for the ice with baby buggies and little
wagons and have taken it to their
homes, while the price at Sioux City has
been a dollar a hundred delivered; and,
in spite of this low price, we have laid
up," said Howell, "a surplus of $80,000."
And the banker looked at him and said:
"Howell, isn't it too bad you couldn't
have done that for yourself?" Howell
represents the unselfish idealism of Ne-
braska. The group who are against him
are particularly those who, like the
banker above, have not the imagination
to understand a man who glories in
serving his city or his State.

Howell is against the cancellation of Europe's debt; he favors the bonus because in the war he failed to draft labor and the profiteers to a genuine public service, but sternly compelled the soldiers to take their lives in their hands on the battlefields of France. This seems to be throughout the West a strong emotional argument for the bonus. When the subject of taxes to pay the bonus is broached, however, the emotional discussion wanes. It is at bottom an uncertain issue in the Middle Western breast, unless that section of American capital which profited most by the war bears the burden of the bonus. Howell also is a foe of the Esch-Cum. mins Law. He, too, like Brookhart of Iowa, would squeeze out seven billions of water, restore real competition between the railways, establish regional tribunals, and abolish the dictatorship of railway capitalists. He defends public ownership only as a last resort to prevent the continued plundering of the people; and if it becomes necessary in the case of the railways to go to public ownership, he would take over one great National system, not all the roads, and force the reign of justice by the competitive use of this single great line. He is opposed to the ship subsidy and promises to support the farm bloc. He seems to fit into the temper of the time in Nebraska, as Beveridge does in Indiana and Brookhart in Iowa.

The Non-Partisan League, with its programme of State Socialism, still troubles the political waters of the Middle Northwest. Townley, the quondam leader, who went to jail for his attitude towards the war, is out and managing again, I am informed, the Non-Partisan farmers' organization of North Dakota. His hand is not so apparent as it was in the political movements of the time in the Northwest, but his cause is still to be reckoned with in Minnesota, North Dakota, and other near-by States.

Frazier, of North Dakota, who was recalled only last year as Governor, appears this year as the victorious Republican candidate for United States Senator, and is likely to join the other Middle Western apostles of a more radical day in the Senatorial circle of fame at Washington.

I speak always of the candidates for the United States Senatorship in these States, because the National battle centers around them. In Minnesota the Republican candidate is the sitting Senator Kellogg, trust-buster in the Roosevelt days, but staid and regular now, able and useful, though lacking elements of warm political popularity. The Democratic candidate is Mrs. Peter Oleson, who has been vigorously active in word and deed in the political organization and inspiration of women all over the State. She is said to be one of the very fastest talkers in captivity, only matched or exceeded, so Minnesotans say, by George E. Vincent, now President of the Rockefeller Foundation. who was formerly at the head of the State University at Minneapolis. She is against the "millionaire bloc" in Congress, against the Esch-Cummins Bill. against a sales tax, against any subsi dizing of great corporate interests, in favor of a bonus paid out of excess profits. She has a name which goes far in the Swedish population of Minnesota, and she is proving dangerously attractive to Republican women.

The Farmer-Labor Non-Partisan League Senatorial candidate in Minnesota is Doctor Henrik Shipstead, a country dentist, a philosophizing Norwegian, a student of economic radicalism and of Norwegian literature, a political radical of the type of La Follette and Brookhart, and an indefatigable worker for his party and his cause. The fight for the Senatorship rages about him. It seems to be the opinion of intelligent observers in Minnesota that Mrs. Oleson will come off third, perhaps drawing sufficient Republican women from Kellogg to let Shipstead into the Senate. If this happens, the Senate will gasp. It will be the last straw. The argument against its probability is that the usual may happen and the conservative citizens of the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, without regard to party, may move in a body over to Kellogg on election day. Thus the Non-Partisan League peril, which above all things they fear, will once more be avoided.

The commercial conservatives of the Twin Cities have long had no other antidote for what they naturally regard as the menacing Socialism of the radical Leaguers, except a startled joining of forces in a crisis, without regard to party, or a hysterical digging into their pocketbooks for great campaign funds against catastrophe. They are only slowly learning that they must meet by rational remedies the undoubted ills under which the farmers of the great wheat States suffer.

mand that the remedies be State elevators, State warehouses, and State banks. Only slowly, in Minnesota, is the bulwark of co-operative enterprise being employed to meet the advancing pressure of State Socialism. But the cooperative spirit is growing. The present Governor Preus was elected on that issue. He convinced the farmers that they should control their own remedia! institutions, and not put them into the hands of Socialist politicians of the State Government. Both in Minnesota and in Nebraska the propagandism of the NonPartisan League is being successfully met by the advance of private co-operation. Forty thousand members in Nebraska are in the Farmers' Co-operative Union, owning and operating a long line of elevators. And the number in Minnesota is growing.

La Follette in Wisconsin is coming to the peak of his power. He has finally merged in an overwhelming personal constituency the anti-corporation agrarians, the wets, the Germans, the probonus soldiers, the Socialists and the industrial workers of all shades. Here is another State where anybody is welcome to the rest of the electorate. Wisconsin is Wisconsin and La Follette has on his side the great bulk of the kind of voters who dwell in it. If he keeps his health and vigor, he would seem to be psychologically in preparation as never before for the leadership of the radical elements in the Republican party and in the country. So conservative a progressive as Beveridge recently paid La Follette high public compliment for his astonishing ability and determined integrity. In fact the whole Middle West, whether friendly or hostile to his ideas, rates his integrity high. It was with La Follette as with those other leaders who came through in their separate States; the people were in each instance groping for the men whom they regarded as of unselfish and uncompro mising integrity. The voters seemed to be saying to themselves: "We are uncertain about policies, we don't know what we want; but we would choose these men whom we trust, and put the problems up to them."

And that is about as far as the Middle West has yet gone in its new onward surge of progress. It is on the warpath. It doesn't know where it's going, but it's on the way. Its movement is yet purposeless and lacks unity of method or motive. If unusual material prosperity intervenes, the temperature of its political blood-heat may be lowered by 1924. But the Middle West is already the matrix of a new National insurrec tion, if economic difficulty continues and the right sort of leadership arouses conscious purpose.

In any event, prospective candidates for the Presidency in 1924 would do well, I think, to bear in mind that bourbon and reactionary traits are no more beloved in the West than they were a decade ago, that a nominee for the Presi

The radical leaders of the farmers de- dency without progressive horizon i

foredoomed to repudiation in that section of the country. The die-hards of commerce and politics should take notice.

It is a long distance from Broadway out here where the cart-wheel silver dollars begin to weigh down your pocketbook and the big soft hat shades the husky form of the out-of-doors man. went one Sunday morning to church,


and as I was passing out I was courteously approached by an elderly member who recognized me as a stranger and inquired for the place of my residence. When I replied, "New York," his face lighted up and he said: "I was in New York once, and I went to hear a man preach there. Let me see, what was his name?-Oh, yes, Beecher, Beecher. You know, he cut quite a figger in his day."

It's a long distance from Broadway, and it has its faults of unreason, but a sturdy National heart beats here, and its conscience, though socially and theologically conventional, is sensitive to economic and political injustice. Out here you catch the sound of the reveille and the early intimations of the onward march while yet the East sleeps stolidly in its tents.



HE President of the United States has naturally been careful to avoid any military action to check the advance of the victorious Turkish armies in Asia Minor. But the destruction of Smyrna and of the property of American citizens there and the breaking up of the work of American citizens in Asia Minor compel careful consideration of our duty at the present time.

Article II of the Constitution of the United States defines the duty of the President and expresses his powers. The executive power is vested in him. At his inauguration he solemnly swears faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution." Under this Constitution he has power by and with the consent of the Senate to make treaties.

Section 3 of this article declares: "He shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed."

Article VI provides that all treaties made "under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land."

In pursuance of the power thus vested in the President and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a treaty was made between the United States and the Ottoman Empire in 1830. That treaty guarantees to American citizens in Turkey that "they shall not in any way be vexed or molested." "They shall not be disturbed in their affairs." It also provides that "even when they have committed some offense they shall not be arrested or put in prison by the local authorities, but they shall be tried by their Minister or Consul and punished according to their offense, following in this respect the usage observed toward other Franks." A treaty between the United States and the Turkish Government ratified in 1862 confirms these provis ions. Under their protection and with the full consent of the Turkish Government, American citizens have gone to Turkey, established colleges, schools, and hospitals there, and have done a most benevolent work among the native Christians.

By Turkish law a Mussulman who leaves his Mohammedan faith and


adopts another is punishable with death. The work of Americans for the Turks has been, for this reason, very limited; still they have had the benefit of American medical and surgical skill.

During the last year these provisions of the treaties have been shamefully violated by the Angora Government. American citizens have been arrested, taken from their homes for no crime whatever. they have not been tried before their Consul, and the work in which they were engaged among the native Christians has been broken up. More than a million of these native Christians have been killed or deported by the Angora Government. This is just as much, to use the words of the treaty, a "disturbance" in the affairs of the Americans and a "vexing and molesting" of them as it would be to kill all the persons employed in a factory or for whose supply the factory was working. As long ago as 1855 the Attorney-General of the United States rendered an opinion that our citizens who had gone to Turkey under the protection of this treaty and established schools and colleges and hospitals are as much entitled to this benefit as if they were merchants; that the treaty applied to all lawful business, whether benevolent or mercantile. This has been the practical construction of it from the beginning.

There is no question of making war upon Turkey or doing any act which requires further legislation. The treaties already made and ratified by the Senate are the supreme law of the land. It is the duty of the President to execute them and to obtain, not only indemnity for the past, but security for the future. His executive power extends to the Army and Navy, of which he is Commander-in-Chief, and it is his duty to use the full power of the United States Government to protect, for the future, American citizens in that part of Thrace of which possession is shortly to be delivered to the Turkish Government.

All our experience with the Turks (and the same is true of the experience of other nations) shows that their promises are not to be relied upon. Whatever they may say now to obtain admission to Thrace, they will undoubtedly commit

the same crimes there that they did in Asia Minor, unless this Government makes such a show of force that the Turks will see that the whole power of this Government will be exerted for the protection of our colleges and other American institutions in Turkey and for the security of the many Americans who are living in Constantinople and doing business there.

In dealing with the Turks it must be remembered that it is part of their religion to make war upon unbelievers and to kill them unless they become Mohammedans, and that a promise made by a Turk to an unbeliever is not binding. Men are sometimes worse than their religion. They are seldom better. Individual Turks are courteous and plausible, but when it comes to united action, when they have had the power, they have lived up to the precepts of the Koran. We can expect nothing better in the future unless we satisfy them that we are both able and willing to protect our own citizens and the work in which, with the full consent of the Turkish Government, they have engaged. This is not war; it is police protection. Our Government has protected its citizens in this way a hundred times in the past without declaring war. In fact. such bold and manly actions prevent war; just as a well-organized police force is generally effective to prevent a mob or to disperse it if it should assemble.

The President, as has been shown, has full power to send a brigade to Constantinople for the protection of our citizens there and their work. The Allies would welcome this co-operation. The American flag and the power behind it would be as effective as it was when it waved over Corinna Shattuck at Oorfa, and saved a thousand innocent lives.

We may well recall the words of Grover Cleveland in his Venezuela message:

There is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which can follow a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor beneath which are shielded a people's safety and greatness.



HE sirocco of Turkish victory that sweeps over Asia Minor is likely to prove far more devastating than we innocent outsiders suspect. For a year or more in intimate touch with Mohammedanism, for four months of that time utterly isolated from any English-speaking civilization in the desert of Libya, the writer confesses a fellow-feeling for the Moslem, a personal partiality toward the individual Arab. Such sentiment, however, should not be confused with intellectual approval.

Dr. Lothrop Stoddard in his thoughtful if rather feverish volume "The Rising Tide of Color" presents all the arguments that would warn against a Jehad or Holy War. The imminence of such a struggle is to be discounted, if only on the grounds that the Mohammedan is far too wise and shrewd a politician to delude himself with any thoughts of immediate success. Fundamentally a fighting man, he realizes perfectly how slim would be his chance against the highly trained forces of even a single Christian nation.

It is certain, therefore, that he will not now attempt any aggressive movement that would definitely align against him the armies of England, France, or Italy; that he will not attempt to carry the war into distinctly European territory—barring that territory until lately known as Turkey in Europe.

That he will even attempt to win back his European vilayets is, at the moment, problematical. England's official attitude is a warning. The Turk may well be skeptical, however, as to just how much police strength lies back of England's threat; how strongly the British people would support such an enterprise just at this time. And the Turk's principal virtue in addition to personal courage is the virtue of patience. Secure in his present comfortable position, he can afford to sit tight and await diplomatic developments.

Purely speculative though the opinion be, it is the writer's conviction that the present Turkish triumph will not seriously affect the peace of either the French or the English Mohammedan countries. Algiers and Tunis are too close to Paris, too precious as colonies, to be pried loose from French SOVereignty. Egypt and India have been too long under the stern control of the British military forces. Sporadic uprisings may occur; but any concerted effort by Islam would in Algiers, Tunis, Egypt, or India be pretty sure of instant suppression.

There remains the question of Tripoli -or, as the country is more definitely and accurately designated, Libya.

Libya, that stretch of Sahara desert lying between Tunis and Egypt along the Mediterranean Sea, is technically to



day under the dominion of Italy. But the grip of the Quirinal upon this enormous African waste is none too se


Taken by force of arms in 1911, Libya is still restive under Italian supervision. There has been no change whatever in the religion of the inhabitants, no swervfrom the strict tenets of orthodox Mohammedanism. Always the most difficult of converts, the Mohammedans of Libya particularly see no attractions in Roman Catholicism; and it is doubtful that a hundred of them have been brought into the Christian Church. Other influences too, among the most powerful the presence in Libya itself of the see of the Senussi, have worked to nullify the best efforts of Roman Catholic missionaries.

Lacking also the colonial experience of France and England, Italy has failed in any material degree to colonize Libya with Italians. Naturally gregarious, the Italian peasant prefers the long ocean journey to the United States, the Argentine, or Brazil, where already are hundreds of thousands of his fellow-countrymen, to a short two days' voyage over the placid blue sea to Tripoli or Bengasi. Opportunity also, in that sterile empty land of the desert, seems unalluring. So Libya remains-and appears likely to


Along a shore-line of approximately eight hundred miles, Libya, including the provinces of Tripolitania and Cyre. naica, extends from a point about due south of Milan to a point due south of Smyrna. That is a long journey. And when one considers that no railwaysave two negligible little narrow-gauge lines of twenty miles length-serves the country, and that communication is had along the coast only by steamer and in the interior only by camel-back, one can readily understand the difficulties of keeping such a territory under control.

Southward for perhaps a thousand miles, over the unmapped desert, Italy nominally holds control. But here again there is sovereignty only in name; and recent press despatches report towns not forty miles from Tripoli City in the hands of the Bedouins.

The reason for this tenuous hold on Libya by the Italians is due more to the very nature of the country than to any laxity or inherent weakness in Italian government. To subdue and hold a desert country is one of the most difficult tasks conceivable even in this advanced day of military efficiency. Infantry advance, ever slow and clumsy, is just about impossible in Libya, where military forces must depend wholly for subsistence upon their own lines of communication. Ask any experienced soldier how long he can maintain adequate lines of communication without railways. Artillery movement through the

heavy Saharan sand is out of the question, and may be summarily dismissed; while he who would fight the Bedouin of the desert with cavalry had better consider long and prudently, for the horsemen of the Arabs have been noted through the centuries for their ferocity and consummate skill.

More modern developments serve little. At Azizia, shortly after its surrender as Turkish headquarters in the spring of 1919, the writer personally witnessed the futility of airplane attack. The great rock, outcropping from the sands, where the Turks and Arabs had fought on for six months after the European armistice, stood practically untouched, though it had been constantly bombarded by Italian planes; and all about in the rolling sand dunes of the desert the lately hostile Bedouins camped comfortably, secure in their experience that an airplane bomb dropped into soft sand was about as deadly or dangerous as a pebble tossed into a millpond. The sand gushed up in great geysers of dust, but the shrapnel was smothered.

And there always remains in Tripoli the resentment of the natives against the method of seizure employed by Italy.

From the European point of view, the action of Italy in 1911 was perfectly natural. Certainly, with our vacillating colonial policy, it is no function of an American to criticise; we have enough peculiar problems of our own in the Philippines, Porto Rico, Cuba, and Haiti. Italy wanted a slice of Africa. A generation ago it had nosed into the African cupboard and brought out the driest and most unpalatable boneSomaliland. Libya looked like fair game. France, to the west, had gobbled the rest of the Barbary States; Spain had a morsel in Morocco; England had most of the meat in Egypt and, with usual good judgment, had pre-empted the fertile and navigable valley of the Nile.

Southward in the Dark Continent practically all the desirable territory had been seized by either England or Germany. Besides, that country was a long, long way from Genoa or Naples-the leading Italian naval bases.


There remained Libya. So Italy took

It was a poor enough prize; but it was something. Italy hung on, tried hard to develop the land, to make it yield some slight return on the investment of money and blood.

But again luck interposed. Not three years had elapsed before the outbreak of the World War stirred up again the Mohammedan frenzy. Italy, even though not then an active participant in Europe. had to begin operation of a regular troon transport service to Tripoli. Reinfor

« AnteriorContinuar »