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I should have liked to overhear their conversation with their dative friends, but they fought rather shy of me. . . . . .
“We passed over a bridge, which from the fact of its being in good repair was I presume of Russian workmanship. The driver urged his horses forward, and we rattled into the citadel. On the right were the quarters of the main-guard, which turned out and saluted me, a proceeding which, I confess, took me rather by surprise, but which was explained by the consideration that in this country civil employés above a certain rank are entitled to military honours. Here were more shops where bustling Sarts were plying a roaring trade. One place was full of soldiers bent upon keeping up the Eastertide festivities. Further on, upon the right, were the barracks of the Archer troops, and in front of them a group of soldiers amusing themselves; one of them playing upon a banjo and another upon a tambourine, while a third beat time with his hands; a circle of others were looking on approvingly; shouts and laughter resounded within the buildings."
Galloping past the Grand Parade, a large enclosure planted around with trees, the driver pulled up short at a gateway where a number of Cossack orderlies were lounging, and M. Pasbino found himself at the head-quarters of General Romanovski, then absent on a tour of inspection. Here he was speedily seated at a table set out with such goud things as Tashkend afforded, and as he naïvely confesses that later in the day he had considerable difficulty in finding his way to the quarters allotted him next door, we may take it for granted that the General's staff proved right hospitable entertainers.
His stay in Turkestan was limited to two months. But his connection with Governinent, his familiarity with the Persian language, and his constant intercourse with the natives appear to have stood him in good stead of longer experience. He gives some amusing sketches of life in Tashkend and on the outpost of Novo. Tchernaz, on the right bank of the Syr Daria, where the head-quarters of the army and the Aral stean flotilla were concentrated at the time of the threatened hostilities with Bokhara in the spring of 1866. To these we may recur on some future occasion. For the present we must content ourselves with a few remarks upon the resources, natural and artificial, of Russian Turkestan.
First, in respect of climate and disease. The climate, our anthor says, is a dry and exhaustive one, offering many obstacles to cultivation, to modify which the inhabitants have recourse to a system of general irrigation, in byegone times a fruitful source of revenue to their rulers.
In summer, rain seldom falls—the wet months are March and October. During winter the snow lies in the lowlands for about a month, and on the higher grounds for two or three months. Here, as everywhere else, climate depends much upon locality. The summers in Turkestana, which stands in an open plain, are far hotter than those of Tchemkend and Tashkend, which are on more elevated sites, surrounded by gardens and orchards, and exposed to the easterly breezes from the highlands. The region is no doubt salubrious so far as the native population is concerned : the leprosy of Affghanistan and Bokhara, goitre and other endemic affections are unknown ; but it is admitted to be peculiarly unfavourable to the Russian troops. Fevers of various types, ague, scurvy and sunstrokes were extremely prevalent in 1666. We have seen that at Fort Djouleck twenty men were sick out of a detachment of seventy. At Tashkend, a couple of months later, the garrison consisted of 500 men, of whom one hundred were permanently employed on the engineering works, and fifty as servants and grooms. The average number in hospital was 170, or thirty-five per cent.
Indeed, from incidental observations in M. Pashino's narrative, it would appear that the accommodation and supply of the troops are, or, at least were at the time of his visit, in a most unsatisfactory state. At Novo Tchernaz, the staff and superior officers, including captains of companies, were supplied with bell-tents; the junior officers were allowed to reside with the married families. How the latter were put up we do not learn. The bulk of the troops were lodged within the fort in small sunken huts resembling tentes d'abri, but composed wholly of earth, holding each two in. mates-a non-commissioned officer and a soldier, or two soldiersan arrangement scarcely best suited to an ague-stricken district. Again, we learn that the pay of the regimental officers was more than twelve months in arrear, that most of them lived—starved would, perhaps, be a juster word-on their rations, which in the author's case cost 88. 6d. a day, and passed their days and nights in card-playing. We may imagine the condition of the rank and file.
As regards the next point, the natural resources of the country, M. Pashino observes, that the Russian Government has entertained great expectations hereanent, and it is to be hoped that it may not be disappointed in the end. Subsequent scientific investigations have not confirmed the hopes raised by the reports of earlier writers, many of which reports may fairly be referred to the boastful loquacity of Asiatics desirous of vaunting the worth of their native land. Coal has been found in various places, but in most at depths which render the working rather problematical. A rich lead vein has been discovered near Turkestana. There is also evidence of gold in the neighbourhood of many of the streams, but the difficulties of " prospecting” are materially increased by the enormous deposits of peat which overlie the supposed auriferous strata. Silver is very extensively used for ornamental wares, but M. Pashino has no data respecting the sources of the supply. The precious stones, which are sold in small quan
tities in the bazaars, are, he states, imported, jasper and crystal from Siberia, coral and small pearls from India, and so on. Traces of iron are very plentiful throughout the country, but that employed by the natives is imported viâ Mazanderan. Iron goods are also brought in large quantities from Russia. There was a cannon foundry in Tashkend in the time of Alemkoul, immediately previous to the capture of the city by the Russians. The field pieces captured by the latter were, however, chiefly of the date of the reign of Mollah Khan (see Vambery). Some wall-pieces of native manufacture, new, were purchased at Tashkend by the Russian authorities for sixty roubles each, and proved far superior to those of Russian make.
There is a total absence of any manufacturing system in the country, which is attributed by M. Pashino to the paucity of the settled portion of the population, the agricultural predilections of the majority of the inhabitants, and the difficulty in procuring machinery of all kinds. In the bazaars it is an exception to meet with any article of native manufacture, and such articles generally prove inferior to the produce of other Khanates. One place alone can be compared with Bokhara-Khodjend-of which the silk manufacturers contribute in no small degree to the well-being of the inhabitants. But want of capital, lack of and difficulty in procuring technical instruction, and scarcity of material and fuel, are serious impediments to the organisation of any manufacturing system, even on the associative principle.
The soil is naturally not very rich. Cotton is cultivated, but the yield is of inferior quality. The attempts made by the Russians to introduce the American varieties have failed. M. Pashino is disposed to refer the failure to the unsuitability of the sea-island cottons to inland culture, and suggests the introduction of African seed.
Sheep-farming is extensively followed. Mutton, which forms with rice the staple diet of the country, was selling in the bazaars in 1866 at two to three and a half kopecks, or less than a penny per pound. Horse and camel breeding are carried on to some extent. The price of a Kirghiz horse varies from ten to fifty roubles; a peculiar breed of bright bay fetches a hundred roubles. A preference is given to light-coloured breeds, on the grounds of their being more lasting under the summer heats, and less liable to sunstroke. Camels fetch from forty to one hundred and fifty roubles. A very poor one may be got for ten roubles, &c., &c.
It must be borne in mind that many of these observations refer to the first year of the occupation of Tashkend. Still, if M. Pashino's descriptions be correct, as we have every reason to believe them to be, it will need apparently many years of peaceful progress, and perhaps fresh and richer conquests, ere Russia can hope to recoup herself the cost incurred in the acquisition of her new territories on the right bank of the ancient Jaxartes.
FEW REMARKS ON THE PRESENT CRISIS.
By Major W. P. JONES.
The collapse and ruin of the Military Power of France is without parallel in the History of Nations, and betrays a something greater than the ill effects of a twenty years' despotism. Augustus Cæsar reigned forty years, and he left, indeed, the Romans a herd of licentious slaves and frivolous triflers; but he had kept the armies in a state of vigour and discipline. The twenty years of Napoleon III, appear to have destroyed both the skill of the General and the vigour of the soldier. For this decadence, there must exist some deeper cause than the corruption of a Court, or the roguery of a Minister. And that cause can be traced back to the latter part of the seventeenth century.
Louis XIV, though not the worst man that ever lived, undoubtedly was the cause of more evil than any other that ever existed. His showy and theatrical vices corrupted the upper classes in almost every country in Europe, but preeminently in his own. In his reign, and those of his successors, the French nobility became a bye-word for selfish profligacy, and their example diffused the poison among all classes.
Christina of Sweden, who knew Louis thoroughly, declared him to be a pompous humbug; and his selfish licentiousness and turgid vanity descended as an heirloom to the ruling classes in every stage of the nation's progress.
To the ostentatious absolutism of Louis himself, succeeded the licentious and equally ostentatious teaching of the philosophers. They impregnated the middle orders with the like vanity, which shewed its fruit both in the rant of '89, and in the acts of ’92. To the sham Republic of the flesh-coloured tight dynasty of the Directory succeeded the military despotism of the first Napoleon, a period of more reality than occurs elsewhere in modern French history. Nevertheless its tutelary divinity, though a mighty genius, was still an arrant theatrical impostor, while to his success and selfish ambition may be ascribed that disregard of the rights of other nations which has so often marked the French people. When indignant Europe had risen against and overthrown his tyranny, a period of sham Constitutionalism succeeded, but having no real hold of the feelings of the country, it termi. nated in the Revolution of 1830. Now followed the rule of the trading classes, when manly vigour still further declined, and morals fell from bad to worse. I well remember the flood of indecent books, pictures and snuff boxes with which London was inundated from Paris at that time. The Revolution of '30 was clearly an irruption of indecency; Messieurs les Bourgeois thought apparently that the days of the Directory were returning.
Obscene literature and subversive doctrines continued to make way during the whole of the reign of Louis Philippe, until they exploded in the Revolution of 1848, for which it may at least be said that it was not at its beginning an indecent one. The working men were too intent upon establishing their own particular system of vanity and folly to imitate the pruriency of the rich. Their doctrines having been found unbearable, the us zal reaction followed, terminating in another military despotism ; but as different from that of the first Emperor as the rule of Octavius was from that of Julius Cæsar. This was the empire of peace. Commerce flourished, men traded, they gambled in the funds (we inoculated them with the rascalities of the turf) and they became rich. The army, not having wars, amused themselves in other ways. Generals made money at Court, or elsewhere ; officers and soldiers idled about. Employed to keep down revolutionists, their own bands of discipline were relaxed. Meanwhile tbe usual vain glory was displayed. This was the 19th century, and the age of progress. France was the leader of this progress, and the bright star of civilization. And so civilization advanced, and expanded, and became rotten. Dagon stood up and grew till the Ark was brought into his presence, and then Dagon tumbled over, and nothing but his stump was left to him.
Having thus glanced at what may be considered the fundamental cause of the overthrow of the French empire, we will proceed shortly to consider the origin, policy and circumstances of the present war. The insults and exactions of the French in Germany subsequent to the battle of Jena, and the retaliations of the Prussians in France in 1814 and '15, had engendered a hatred between the two nations which has ever since been fermenting. The French, on their part, loudly expressed their intention, on the first favourable opportunity, of seizing the German provinces on this side the Rhine; while the German poets and song-makers were equally zealous in reminding their countrymen that Alsace was still in the hands of the detested Gauls. To embitter the already hostile feeling came the war of 1866, the overthrow of Austria in a seven weeks' campaign, and the mighty increase of the power of Prussia. All France was filled with anger and jealousy, and although it is very doubtful if the Emperor, now getting old and infirm in health, really himself desired war, still the events of the preceding winter had shown him that some startling measures must be taken, if he would wish to preserve the throne for his son. War, which the army, his principal support, may be supposed to have desired, was the means which most naturally occurred to him; the Hohenzollern candidature for the Spanish throne furnished the opportunity, and on the 15th of July he declared war against Prussia.