is incontestable. But that they have planted outposts on either the Great Pamir or the Little Pamir, no trustworthy evidence has been alleged; and this, as we take it, is the only sense in which a Pamir can be said to be annexed. If, as is alleged, Captain Younghusband and Lieutenant Davidson have been excluded by the Russians from the Little Pamir, this would imply a claim of ownership; but we cannot doubt that Russia, when brought to book, will be found prepared with quite another explanation, as she has often previously been under similar circumstances. We know that the Russians have already come into collision with the Chinese on the Alichur and Rang-Kul Pamirs, and that the remonstrances of the Kashgar officials were disregarded. This, however, does not imply much, for M. Bonvalot also paid no attention to the challenge of the Chinese officials on the Rang-kul, who seemed to be in no position to resist his passage, although they prevented him from obtaining any assistance for his journey. The Chinese agent was ordered to stop all travellers who had not a pass from the governor of Kashgar; and he informed M. Bonvalot that a few years before, his predecessor in the office had been punished by banishment along with his whole family for having allowed some Russians to cross the Pamir. This indicates in no unmistakable way the intention of the Chinese to make good their claim to the Pamirs lying towards the side of Kashgaria; and China as well as Britain will have to be consulted before these so-called annexations can be regarded as un fait accompli. A statement attributed to Captain Younghusband since his return is to the effect that Russia no longer lays any claim to the Alichur Pamir, which she acknowledges to be Chinese territory.

With regard to the presence of Russia on the Pamirs themselves, she might stay there and welcome, providing that we had sound guarantees that she would keep away from the ranges that lead down from them and out of the passes that open up to them. On the Roof of the World itself her presence is as harmless to others as it is useless to herself. But it is the command of the passes on all sides of the Pamirs that is the object of her present movements; and this is what neither China, Afghanistan, nor Great Britain, who are all equally aggrieved by her present action, will permit her to have. It therefore becomes necessary to compel her to indicate clearly her political interest

in the Pamirs, to fix upon a definite boundary, and to confine herself for the future behind it. A few weeks ago we had from the Novoe Vremya an inkling of what form the Russian side of the Pamirs question is to take. The incursions made by the Chinese on the Little Pamir and the valley of the Ak-su, the English assumption of direct rule over Kashmir and advance to Gilgit, and the suppression of the late rebellion in Badakshan by the ameer of Cabul, together with the occupation of the petty states of Shugnan and Roshan in the Little Pamir, are all treated as fresh instances of aggression on the parts of the respective powers, which make it imperative on Russia to determine her exact frontier on the regions in question.

Now, as it so happens, the only encroachment to which any color of fresh aggression can be given is the establishment by England of her garrison at Gilgit -a position which, lying well within the immemorial frontier of Hindustan, does not fall within the scope of Russian criticism. As for China's culpability in encroaching upon the Pamirs, she only maintains a right which was never before denied her

a right exercised by Yakub Beg in the days of his rule in Yarkand, and again entered upon by China on her recovery of the country. As for Abdurrahaman's right to conquer the Badakshan rebels and occupy the Pamir abutting upon that state, Russia has herself admitted it in previous years, and can scarcely be permitted now to point to it as an innovating encroachment. But on the important subject of Badakshan we shall have something to say later on. What we have at present to point out is, that the unwritten custom of the Pamirs has been to assign to the surrounding pow. ers the plateaux, valleys, and ranges immediately contiguous to their territories. Of this custom Russia promptly availed herself on her conquest of Khokand, by annexing the Altai ranges and the Khargashi Pamir as belonging to that State. She had signified to our ambassador at St. Petersburg her intention of doing this as early as 1865, and no opposition was offered. But this concession involved the rights strictly pertaining to Khokand, and nothing further. The proposal of the upper Oxus at the Russian limit in 1872, however, gave Russia a claim upon the Pamirs in excess of the territory accruing to her from Khokand; and the uncertainty regarding which head of the Oxus was to be understood, left her consider.

able latitude, which she is now abusing by endeavoring to make out a claim for the whole region.

Where so simple and natural a principle of partition already exists, the erection of such an artificial frontier as a watershed must necessarily prove in a tract like the Pamirs, seriously complicates matters. The loose description of the boundary assigned to Russia in 1872, and definitely accepted by her in January of the following year, gives Russia an opportunity of raising a controversy as to which particular branch of the Oxus rising in the Pamirs is to be regarded as the head-waters in the terms of the treaty. We find sufficient difference of opinion upon this point even among the most recent explorers. Bonvalot is evidently disposed to regard the Ak-su-Bartang, the longest of the Pamir rivers, flowing from the Gaz-kul in the Little Pamir, as the true head of the Oxus. The Panjah, which contests this honor with the Ak-su-Bartang, is not quite so long, and has two sources, one in Lake Victoria in the Great Pamir, the other in Kunjut to the east of the Baroghil Pass. The question that will probably have to be discussed is, which of these arms we are to consider as the boundary stipulated in the understanding-if Russia is to be allowed to make an understanding which has been always hitherto inoperative the basis of fresh negotiations; and Russia will not improbably insist that the Kunjut affluent is the one to be recognized. On the other hand, we have the fact that the Panjah River and Lake Victoria have been publicly proclaimed to be Russia's southern boundary for seventeen or eighteen years, and that until quite recently Russia has shown no disposition to question it. But the choice between the Panjah and the Ak-su in the Pamirs is of secondary importance compared with the difficulties which the river frontier gives rise to after it has turned round the Pamir plateaux. The Panjah runs through the states of Wakhan, Shugnan, Roshan, and Darwaz, cutting each of them into two parts, and giving, according to Russia's reading of the agreement, one part to Bokhara - that is, Russia and the other to Afghanistan. In effect Bokhara never was and Russia never has been able to avail herself of any claim that might be thus established, and which, moreover, Russia herself surrendered in 1875 when she agreed to waive all Bokharian claims to Wakhan and Badakshan, practically as the price of our acquiescence in her conquest of Khiva. In Wakhan, Shugnan, and Roshan the

river boundary has never been taken into account, nor has Bokhara ever been able to exercise any influence in Darwaz. In point of fact the agreement boundary within the confines of these states is an impossible one, and several years ago so high an authority as General Walker of the Indian Surveys declared that it would have to be abandoned "for the lines of water-parting along the hill-ranges which form the natural boundaries of the several states."

It is in this region more than in the high Pamirs that the real delimitation struggle with Russia will have to be carried on. Ever since the time of her first appearance in the khanates, Russia has been keenly alive to the political and strategical advantages which the possession of both Badakshan and Wakhan would afford her. She has made several attempts to raise claims to them on various grounds, and though she has formally renounced all designs upon these territories, and recog nized them as Afghan property, she has never ceased intriguing to establish a footing in these countries. We can scarcely be deceived in supposing that to raise the question of the possession of Badakshan and Wakhan, and to have her formal renunciation of them cancelled by a fresh delimitation, is one of the main objects of her demonstrations on the Pamirs; and this supposition serves also to explain an unusual and surprising readiness on her part to join in a new convention for delimiting the frontier in the regions of the upper Oxus.

We shall now briefly consider the posi tion which these States of Badakshan and Wakhan occupy in the international relations of England, Afghanistan, and Russia. Russia at an early period saw that she could build no tenable pretensions to Bokhariot claims of suzerainty over these khanates, and took up another ground. Her great object was to get them recognized as independent States lying outside Afghan authority; and into an agreement to this effect she had almost tricked Lord Granville and the Foreign Office. When Mr. Forsyth went to St. Petersburg in 1869 to negotiate for a neutral zone between England and Russia, the former readily agreed that Afghanistan should be defined as "the territories at that time in the actual possession of Shere Ali." At this time little more than a year had passed since Shere Ali had recovered his kingdom; his authority over the extremities of Afghanistan was as yet scarcely even nominal; and Badakshan in particular, which

And betrayed for once into ingenuousness,
Prince Gortchakoff immediately adds:

Sur ces entrefaits l'expédition de Khiva fut décidée.

was attached to the cause of Abdurraha- | et donna ainsi son adhésion pleine et entière man, did not recognize his rule. But Lord à la ligne de démarcation proposée par la dé Mayo was prompt to detect the error into pêche de Lord Granville en date du 17 Octobre which Lord Granville had been betrayed, 1872. and pointed out that the limits of Afghanistan as established by Dost Mohammed must be regarded as identical with those of the territories belonging to Shere Ali Khan. Here the two governments radically differed, the British government contending for the kingdom of Dost Mohammed, the Russian for the territories over which Shere Ali was at the moment actually able to make good his possession. In 1872 Prince Gortchakoff, in a despatch to the Russian ambassador at London, "laid principal stress upon the maintenance of Badakshan and Wakhan as independent States, outside of the frontiers assigned to Shere Ali Khan."

They pressed this point all the more strongly,

inasmuch as in the actual state of affairs at that moment there was no conflict between Badakshan and its neighbors. Bokhara laid no claim to that country. The States, moreover, are too weak, and too much absorbed in their internal affairs, to pick quarrels with each other. All, therefore, that remained for England and Russia was to endeavor to maintain this state of peace among the khanates, as well as between Afghanistan and Badakshan. Matters would be entirely changed the moment the Ameer of Cabul extended his authority over Badakshan and Wakhan. He would find himself in immediate contact with Kashgar, Khokand, and Bokhara, from which he had hitherto been separated by those two countries; and thenceforward it would be far more difficult to avoid collisions, arising either from his ambition and the consciousness of his own strength, or from the jealousy of his neighbors.

The question thus remained a subject of controversy, but meanwhile the increasing strength of the ameer had restored his full authority over Balkh and the Oxus States, and both Badakshan and Wakhan were again ruled from Cabul. Russia was preparing herself for her Khivan expedition, and with a generous show of giving up what she had no claim to or hold upon, conceded these States to the ameer. Prince Gortchakoff thus describes the act of renunciation in his memorandum of April, 1875:

Malgré ces concessions importantes le Gouvernement Anglais ne crut pas pouvoir adhérer à la combinaison proposée par nous. Dans cet état de choses ne voulant pas

retarder plus longtemps le règlement de cette question, le Cabinet Impérial, dans sa dépêche du 19 Janvier 1873, consentit à la réunion du Badakchan et du Vakhan au territoire Afghan

The only quibble that can be raised over this surrender must be founded upon the mention of "the line of demarcation " proposed in Lord Granville's despatch — the upper source of the Oxus; and upon the uncertain issues connected with this line an excuse will most likely be founded for demanding a reopening of the subject of Badakshan and Wakhan. In both states the course of the Oxus cuts off those portions of territory that slope up have a claim to these advanced on the antowards the Pamirs, and we shall probably cient agreement with Lord Granville, which, as we showed before, has not been observed by Russia in any other regions affected by it, and which was practically rendered obsolete in all other parts by the operations of the joint Afghan Boundary Commission. The claim which Afghanistan possesses through Badakshan and Wakhan, not merely to the territories of these States, but to the Pamirs abutting on them, is as indefeasible as that which Russia possesses to the Altai passes and Khargashi Pamir, arising out of her conquest of Khokand. maintain these as Afghan territory is one Our obligation to from which our duty, or to put it on a lower ground, our self-interest, will not allow us to swerve. We have guaranteed by treaty to maintain the integrity of the ameer's dominions; and we cannot conceive any British government-least of all that of Lord Salisbury - abating an inch of the ameer's just pretensions in that direction. The possibility of Russia being allowed to spread along the Badakshan or Wakhan territory between the Oxus and the Pamirs is a question that we presume Lord Salisbury's Cabinet will scarcely think necessary to submit to discussion.

The whole past history of Badakshan and Wakhan gives no indication of any khanates. claims that Bokhara can urge over these

ruled by a long line of native princes, Anciently, Badakshan was boasting a descent from Alexander the Great, down to the middle of the eighteenth century, when it became extinct, and the present dynasty of mirs succeeded. They were ousted by the Usbegs

portions of Badakshan, Wakhan, Shugnan, Roshan, and Darwaz, which we take to be the object of her present mancuvres, and to take up positions in the passes leading from the Pamir through the Hindu Kush range. From these regions she can make her way to Cabul by Bamian with much less difficulty than she could advance from Herat; and in any invasion of Afghanistan she could and undoubtedly would employ both routes. But even if she were to take up her position in these regions as a peaceable neighbor pledged tc confine herself by the boundary of the upper Oxus, this would mean an extension of the ameer's military frontier, which the resources of Afghanistan are far from being able to afford. Moreover, Russia by such an advance would be voluntarily thrusting herself among turbulent and fanatic tribes, who are incapable of offering her any molestation at present, but who, if she intrude upon their neighborhood, will soon give her ample pretext for punishing them, and for annexing their territory. In the valleys between the Hindu Kush, Peshawur, Attock, and Kashmir, are located some of the most lawless and savage clans that civilization has still left untouched in the East, who are a constant source of trouble to both the British and the Afghan governments, and who, by the introduction of a third power into this neighborhood, would_be rendered altogether unmanageable. But we need not dwell upon these facts, for we may make perfectly certain that the government of India will take due care to assert its rights in all regions south of the Hindu Kush, should Russia seek, as we scarcely think she will have the temerity to do, to encroach upon them.

of Kunduz early in the present century, and these overran the country until 1859, when they were expelled by Dost Mohammed, who made a chief of the old line of mirs ruler under his own supremacy. In 1867 the ameer deposed this ruler for the part he had taken in the civil wars, and appointed another member of the same family mir in his stead. When the present ameer of Cabul divided Turkistan into two governments, Badakshan, with Shugnan, Roshan, and Wakhan, became parts of the eastern province. The old feudal independence was completely broken down, the chiefs reduced to the exercise of such authority as the governor thought could safely be intrusted to them, and, with the exception of the mir of Roshan, all the old governing families are extinct, or reduced to the position of officials of the Cabul government. During the two years that the Ameer Abdurrahaman resided in Balkh-Turkistan, in 1888-90, he was able to do much to strengthen his authority over the Oxus khanates; and though quite recently there were disturbances in Badakshan, we take these to be an indication of the irritation with which the drastic rule of the ameer is borne by a population hitherto left very much to do as they pleased. All recent travellers in this region testify to the strict watch which is maintained by the Cabul officials over all passes leading down from the Pamirs into Afghan territory; and there is no more jealously guarded part of the Afghan dominions than the Badakshan and Wakhan states. There is probably no part of Balkh-Turkistan the loss of which would so seriously affect the ameer as that of Badakshan. His wife is a daughter of the old mir family of the khanate, the Badakshanis have always been devoted to Any danger that might threaten by way the cause of him and his father, and the of Chitral and Gilgit has, we think, been assistance which he received from them anticipated by the step which the Indian contributed largely to the victories of government has taken in sending Colonel Shaikabad and Khelat-i-Ghilzye, which Durand to Gilgit and strengthening the placed his father Afzul upon the throne of military force at his disposal. The sigCabul. Apart altogether from any senti- nificance of this step will not be lost on mental feelings for the country, Abdur-Russia. But to complete our security we rahaman's resources would be seriously must keep Russia out of the Afghan impaired by the loss of this state. The Pamirs and away from the passes. No ruby and lapis-lazuli mines yield a consid-doubt the nature of the country which erable amount of precious stones, which are exported across the Oxus to China and Kashmir; and there are lead, sulphur, and copper deposits which only want to be better worked to return a large revenue.

And now let us glance for a moment at the political and military disadvantages that are obvious from any attempt of Russia to establish herself in the Trans-Oxus

Russia would have to traverse is in itself a greater security than an armed frontier could afford; but we must not build our confidence solely upon mountain-barriers. Time, perseverance, and Cossacks have already done wonders in overcoming such obstacles in central Asia; and all these are resources which Russia applies ungrudgingly to her aims. Though we need

not apprehend an attack in chief on India | up. There is no doubt that the agreein this quarter, yet if Russia is allowed to ment of 1872-73, construed in the widest establish herself south of the Pamirs, a sense which Russia will assuredly attach diversion from that direction when we are to it, is an immediate disadvantage to least able to meet it is a possibility against ourselves. But we are strengthened by which we have to prepare ourselves. The the facts that that agreement was never late Sir Charles MacGregor, in his "con- regarded by Russia herself as operative fidential" study of the defence of India, in any other region of the frontier; that pictured the Indian army entangled in a the Afghan frontier negotiations effaced winter campaign in Afghanistan, with a its obligations quite as much upon the side Russian column from Marghilan, which of England as upon that of Russia; that had advanced vid Kolab on Chitral, threat- Russia's recognition of our obligation to ening an advance on Peshawur; and a maintain intact the ameer's dominions prePamir column, advancing by the Terek vents her from drawing a boundary line Dawan Pass, keeping up a constant irrita- within what is actually Afghan territory; tion on the Kashmir frontier. In such a and that Russia's claim to the Pamirs does difficulty, Sir Charles foresaw India being not extend beyond those immediately compelled to acquiesce in "a new Rus- abutting on her own territory. We may sian frontier, drawn from the crest of the feel every confidence that all these points Terek Dawan Pass, south by the water- in our favor will be fully urged on our shed of the Pamir to the Hindu Kush, side, and that Lord Salisbury's governthen by the crest of that range to the Koh- ment will be able to retrieve the unsatisi-Baba, and then to include the whole of factory and uncertain arrangement handed the country of the Hazaras, and the prov- over to it by the late ministry. ince of Herat to the Farah-Rud." "This new frontier," Sir Charles adds, "would be all that Russia need aim at in the first campaign. Then she could afford to wait until a favorable opportunity arose for the real invasion of India." The present attempt of Russia to obtain the eastern portion of this ideal frontier by pacific means justifies Sir Charles MacGregor's prescience; it will be the duty of her Majesty's government to put it out of Russia's power to realize his prediction in its fullest sense.

It must have struck those who have had experience of Russia's skill in diplomatic fencing, that at the present juncture she is showing, to all appearances, a remark able, even suspicious, readiness to enter into negotiations for a rectification of the upper Oxus frontier. So different is her promptitude from the delays and obstructions which she has always placed in the way of negotiations on previous occasions, that we cannot be wrong in concluding that she has some fresh end to gain. In fact, all these otherwise aimless expeditionings about the Pamirs during the last few years seem to us designed to draw England into a fresh negotiation in which Russia hopes to secure at least the Ak-suBartang line of frontier, if not the range of the Hindu Kush. Any satisfaction we may feel at the prospect of a settlement must be considerably dashed by the uncertainty of the position Russia will take

The Life and Opinions of Major-General Sir Charles MacGregor, vol. ii, p. 346. William Black

wood & Sons, Edinburgh and London.

On this occasion a third party will be added to the negotiations, on whose support England may calculate with some confidence. China has not less to fear from the intrigues of Russian restlessness and ambition than our Indian Empire has. She has a much longer and more exposed frontier to defend, with the certainty that Russian movements on one part of it will be accompanied by danger all along the line. No power has so much at stake as China in the new Franco-Russian alliance; for, whether in the north or in the south, mutual action on the part of the French and Russians would place China in a serious dilemma. China is also well aware that not merely Kashgaria but Tibet lies well within the sphere of Russian ambition, and that the latter is simply waiting for some serious internal commotion in China or some difficulty with the treaty powers to make herself mistress of these countries. The possession of the passes leading into Yarkand-Kashgar and the Pamirs abutting thereon, is an advantage to the Chinese hold on these countries which the government at Peking is not likely to overlook; and it will also readily perceive the necessity of joining Great Britain in warding off Russia's approach in the direction of the Baroghil Pass or the Karakorum. Recent Russian explorations suggest that ideas of thrusting herself along the northern Himalaya slopes between India and Tibet have not been overlooked, whether they may have been On found practicable or the reverse. China, however, we must chiefly rely on

« ElőzőTovább »