NEWS OF THE WEEK.
T4ITTLE further news has arrived from India this week, except that there was no connection between the snurders in Poona, the actors in which have not been dis- covered, and the riots in Calcutta. The latter were due to the anger of a number of Mahommedan roughs, who in- sisted that a mosque had been built on some land belonging to the Tagore family, and that therefore no rent could be due from it. The Supreme Court ordered the rent to be paid, and the mob being reinforced by a large body of mill hands, attacked the police and the mills together. The police were at last compelled to fire, and the rioters, after losing a number of lives, estimated by Renter's agent at six hundred, and by the Viceroy at about eight persons, besides some wounded, melted away. There appears to have been some feeling manifested against Europeans, and some carriages were stoned. There was a disposition on Tuesday to renew the riots, and Mussul- mans threatened to invade the city from towns higher up the river ; but the Brigadier in local command posted troops on the way, wisely employing a Mnssulman regiment, and no disturbance occurred. The alarm in Calcutta was consider- able; there was the usual demand for " stern " measures, and the usual disposition to accuse the authorities of weakness. The latter appear, however, to have compelled obedience to the law, and were supported without hesitation by the native troops and the armed police. Immense annoyance has been given by the Governor of Bombay, who has accepted Gungadhur Tilak, editor of a Mahratta newspaper, as an elective Member of the Bombay Legislature. The annoyance is unreasonable. The experiment of allowing Members to be elected is illogical and unwise, as it is not intended to part with power; but so long as it is tried it should be tried honestly. To allow elections and forbid the election of popular leaders is both futile and irritating.
Questions were asked in the Commons on Monday about the murders in Poona, and Lord George Hamilton in reply read a long telegram from the Governor of Bombay. Lord Sandhurst absolutely denies one by one all charges of tyranny or ill-treatment of women, supporting his denial by the evidence of Miss Bernard, a lady doctor who accompanied the soldiers, and testifies that the necessary removals of ladies attacked by the Plague were most considerately performed. There can be no doubt that most of the charges were the fruit of malignant gossip; but a grave blunder was made in employing European soldiers, and Lord Sandhurst does not account for the sympathy shown by the population for the murderers. Natives are often most unreasonable when their fixed ideas are disregarded, but they do not murder for murder's sake. The city is rightly punished by the presence of an extra and expensive police force, and no efforts should be spared to track the assassins, who are doubtless hiding in some Mahratta State ; but we regret the disposition here to urge violent measures of repression, and to suppress the free expression of disagreeable opinions. The traditional • Indian policy of allowing perfect freedom to the civil popula- tion while orderly and of shooting dangerous rioters is far wiser, and more in accordance with the desire to govern India through "a vivifying despotism."
One does not readily suspect the Sultan of humour, but he mast be amusing himself with the Ambassadors. They have been discussing with Tewfik Pasha at great length the de- limitation of Thessaly, and hoped they had made some progress; but at sunset on Sunday they were informed that the Sultan could not make the concessions they wished for, and that there would be another meeting for discussion "when his Majesty gave orders to that effect." This quiet insult is said to have greatly " provoked " the diplomatists, but as they cannot summon armies or fleets the Sultan only smiles at their rage, and has, as a high household official informed the correspondent of the Standard, declared formally that he shall retain Thessaly. Indeed if his terms are not granted he shall order Edhem Pasha, — whom he accuses in passing of seizing mountain-tops
— to occupy Athens, and "will dictate his own terms of peace from the Acropolis." This is undoubtedly the plan of the military party in Constantinople, and there seems no reason why it should not be carried out. Greece has no army, and the six Powers are no more prepared to move one now than they were when Greece was invaded. Each of them is afraid to move by himself, and when they move together their action is that of a chain-gang running after a swift robber. So far as appears they will do nothing, and Abd-ul-Hamid, who has defied them all, will keep Thessaly, and probably Athens too. It is monstrous ; but force rules the world, and the Sultan has three hundred thousand troops, while his adversaries have only fears.
Lord Salisburr on Tuesday made a speech in the Lords which is supposed to be very important. Lord Connemara had remarked upon the contrast between the speed of negotiations in 1878 and in 1897, and Lord Salisbury replied that there were two reasons for that contrast. In 1878 Prince Bismarck was in the chair of the Conference, and there was a Russian army close to Constantinople. That army "produced an effect on Turkish deliberations which we desiderate at the present moment." The whole blame of the delay was due to Constantinople, for the " five " Powers were quite agreed. Lord Kimberley was very glad to hear that, but thought that success depended on the question whether those Powers would or would not apply the necessary pressure. Many explanations are offered of the Premier's speech, but we believe the true one is that it was a confession of hopelessness. There is no Bismarck and no Russian army—in other words, no equivalent of irresistible force—and therefore no hope of compelling Turkey to be amenable. The question which Englishmen are asking, though still with bated breath, is why Lord Salisbury, since he admires Bismarck, does not try to fill his place, and whether the British fleet at Salonica might not be as effective a " persuader " as the Russian army at Philippopolis.
The condition of opinion in Germany is quite extraordinary. All Liberals, supported, it is asserted, by a majority of electors, are furious at the recent tendency of the Emperor- King to throw himself into the hands of the Junkers or squires, who seek, it is alleged, heavy taxes on food, the punishment of all who express Liberal opinions, and perhaps the suspension of the Constitution. The result, it is asserted, will be the election of a Radical Parliament and an immense increase of Particularism, the Southern States already abusing "Prussian ways" as unbearably oppressive. We
have Been too many insurrections of opinion in Germany end in smoke to place much confidence in this one ; but there can be no doubt that the irritation is deep, and that, as the Emperor has succeeded in monopolising all substantial power, it directs itself against him personally. There will, however, be a lull of a few weeks. His Majesty has started on his annual cruise in Norwegian waters, and is then to pay a visit to St. Petersburg to arrange the Eastern question, and with his departure life will die out of politics. What the Germans need is a leverage through which to influence their rulers.
The Suakin correspondent of the Times, telegraphing on Thursday, states that the desertions from the Khalifa's forces at Abu Hamed and Berber are fully confirmed, and that little opposition is expected to the forthcoming advance. Certain " riverain tribes" near Berber have rallied to the Egyptian Government, which means that the Dervish line of communication will be imperilled. Meantime the Sirdar has left Cairo for the front, and as soon as the water is deep enough the gunboats will move from Merawi and make their way to Abu Hamed. We do not believe in an advance on Khartoum this year, but we fully expect that if, when Abu Hamed is taken, it is found that Berber has been deserted, ar is weakly held, that place will be occupied. There—it is open water from Berber to Khartoum—stores will be accumu- lated and a flotilla prepared for the final dash.
All manner of dreamy accounts are published as to the success or failure of the British Mission to the Emperor Menelek. Prince Henry of Orleans, who is a little apt to see what he wishes, and to confuse the adventures he has read or heard of with his own, is particularly anxious to minimise the results of Mr. Rennell Rodd's negotia- tions. But we see reason to believe that the Government and Ford Cromer are quite satisfied with them. Menelek is thinking quite as much of increased dignity as of any political advantages whatever. He does not wish for a port, which would enable any European Power to threaten him from the sea, on which he is powerless, and he is quite pleased that the English should destroy the Mahdists, who as fanatic Mahommedans cannot be friendly to any Christian Power in Africa. He will be benevolently neutral in the war with the Khalifa, and is naturally quite confident that if any one attacks him in his mountains he and his Shoan soldiers can take care of themselves. He seems to be a moderately reason- able Sovereign who, though victorious, by no means wants to fight the British and the Italians and the Khalifa and Egypt and his own feudatories all at once and together. The weak place in his armour, we fancy, is the feeling of those feudatories that when the Emperor is strong they must be weak.
The House of Commons on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday was occupied with the Report stage of the Compensation Bill. On Tuesday Mr. Wolff, of Belfast, moved to omit the proviso that if contracting out took place, and then the insurance fund proved insufficient, the employer should be liable to make good the deficiency. This amendment, which was resisted by Mr. Chamberlain, drew from Mr. Asquith a very fierce little speech, in which he nominally supported the Government, but really defended his own attempt to abolish contracting out altogether. Contracting out under the Govern- ment scheme had become an imposture and a farce. They were celebrating the funeral of the principle of contracting cut, in regard to which at the General Election the present Government had professed to be ardent supporters. To this Mr. Balfour replied in his happiest vein by reminding the House that Lord Dudley's amendment and the clause now defended by Mr. Asquith were identical in principle. If they were celebrating any funeral it was that of the pleas by which Mr. Asquith and his friends attempted to justify the abandonment of their own legislation. On Thursday Mr. Wolff's amendment was put to the vote, and defeated by 215 (278 to 63),—a. result entirely satisfactory.
During the week the House of Commons have been engaged in the usual, but by no means dignified, tactics employed for avoiding the redemption of pledges in regard to female suffrage. As a preliminary there was a tea-cup storm over a ladies' petition presented by Mr. Courtney, in which the petitioners declared that they "view with indignation and alarm the existing procedure of the House of Commons, which reduces legislation to a mere game of chance, and permits the repeated and insulting postponement of the just claims of women to citizenship." This made the House very angry, and not unnaturally. Ladies have no business to scold the House of Commons in this shrewish style, even if they think them in the wrong. At the same time we must confess that on the following day (Wednesday) the House did its best to justify the words of the petition. The Female Suffrage Bill was down for Com- mittee. Instead of meeting the Bill and rejecting it straightforwardly, as it ought to be rejected, they managed to interpose two insignificant Bills, the " Verminous Persons Bill" and the Plumbers Bill, and to talk so largely on these Bills that the Suffrage Bill was never reached. The object, of course, was to enable Members who were pledged to vote for female suffrage to escape from effecting the revolution they had so lightly agreed to support. We are devoutly thankful that the Bill was defeated, but the spectacle of the House performing monkey tricks over the Verminous Persons Bill in order to dish the women was. not an agreeable one.
It was announced last Wednesday that Mr. Blake had washed his hands of the South African Committee, his reason being the Committee's refusal to force Mr. Hawksley to produce the telegrams in his possession. Meantime it is said that two Reports are being considered, one by the Chairman and the other by Mr. Labouchere. The Chairman's Report, according to the lobby correspondents, will condemn the Raid and the plans that led up to it, though it will admit the grievances of the Outlanders. It will fasten a heavy responsibility upon Mr. Rhodes, Mr. Beit, and Mr. Maguire, and will dwell upon Mr. Rhodes's deception of the High Commissioner, the Cape Government, and the directors of the Chartered Company. The Chairman's Report will also entirely exonerate Mr. Chamberlain and the Colonial Office from any charge of com- plicity. It is said that the whole of the Committee, with the exception of Mr. Labouchere and Mr. Blake, who has with- drawn, will agree with this Report. Mr. Labouchere's Report, it is asserted, will also acquit Mr. Chamberlain of the charges made against him by the Rhodesians, but will suggest that Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Beit merit severe punishment. It will further suggest that Sir John Willoughby and his brother- officers ought to have their commissions restored to them because they acted under the belief that the Raid was- approved of by the Imperial authorities.
On Friday, July 2nd, Miss Flora Shaw was recalled before the South African Committee, and was examined on the telegrams which passed between her and Mr. Rhodes. The series opens with a telegram in which Miss Shaw asks for the date of the commencement of the plans, as "we wish to send at earliest opportunity sealed instructions to representatives- of the London Times in European capitals : it is most important using their influence in your favour." Miss Shaw subsequently explained that what she meant to say was, "I will ask the permission of the manager to send instructions." She merely wished to put the representatives of the Times in possession of the real situation- in South Africa. Another important telegram contains the phrase, "Chamberlain sound in case of interference of foreign Powers, but have special reason to believe wishes you must do it immediately." This telegram, despatched on December 17th, 1895, Miss Shaw explained was a statement of her own opinion only and not of Mr. Chamber. lain's. The phrase beginning "have special reason" meant "that the Colonial Office would wish to have it immediately." Asked her grounds for this statement, she ultimately admitted that Mr. Fairfield had said in the course of conversation,— " Well, if the Johannesburgers are going to rise, it is to be hoped they will do it soon." The general result of Miss Shaw's evidence was most absolutely and entirely to exonerate Mr. Chamberlain from any kind of complicity in the Raid Miss Shaw, it appeared, generalised in her own mind the gossip she picked up, let it be coloured by her own inclinations, and then, in the excitement of the moment, telegraphed it out to Mr. Rhodes as if it were the official view. We think it highly probable that the suggestion that Mr. Fairfield was chaffing Miss Shaw is correct.
The telegrams sent by Mr. Rhodes to Miss Shaw after Dr.
Jameson had started substantiate the view that Mr. Rhodes made no bond-fide effort to stop the Raid after it had begun, but instead did his best to give Dr. Jameson every chance of winning. The following telegrams do not sound like the messages of a man utterly broken down by Dr. Jameson's act " To Telamones, London. Cape Town, 30th December, 1895.
Strictly confidential. Dr. Jameson moved to assist English in Yohannesburg because he received strong letter begging Dr. Jameson to come signed by leading inhabitants. This letter will be telegraphed you verbatim to-morrow. Meantime do not refer in Press. We are confident of success. Johannesburg united and strong on our side. Dissensions (they) have been stop (ped)
.except two or three Germans. R. HARRIS."
"To Telamones, London. Cape Town, 30th December, 1895.
Inform Chamberlain that I shall get through all right if he -supports me, but he must not send cable like he sent to High Commissioner in South Africa. To-day the crux is, I will win and South Africa will belong to England. C. J. RHODES. (Signature of sender) F. K. HARRIS, for C. J. Rhodes, Premier."
Miss Shaw explained that she attached no importance to the second of these telegrams, because she believed it to be simply Dr. Harris telegraphing in Mr. Rhodes's name, and expressing Dr. Harris's views, not Mr. Rhodes's. We should certainly have thought it to be in Mr. Rhodes's best Imperial free-and-easy style.
The Moneylending Committee of the House of Commons have compelled the attendance of Mr. Isaac Gordon, head of a firm of Jewish moneylenders trading in London, Glasgow, and other cities. He proved an ideal witness for the Com- mittee's purpose, and his evidence will, we doubt not, cause an alteration in the laws. His point throughout was Shylock's, that the law was with him, and that he intended to use it to the utmost. He did not lend money, he said, but sold it —the argument being that he has as much right to ask anything he pleased for an advance of cash as for a house or a jewel. He admitted voluntarily that he had on occasion -charged 3,000 per cent, interest, and involuntarily that he had lent a lady who had 2600 a year £100 for three months, for which he charged another 2100 as interest, a rate equal to 400 per cent. per annum. Parliament will not stand that kind of thing, which affronts all its instincts ; but it will have immense difficulty, as we have suggested elsewhere, in finding a remedy. We are half inclined to think that the best would be to let the pawn- 'brokers lend at 30 per cent, on any "visibly unmerchant- able security," which might introduce a sharp competition; but the Houses will probably try some plan of elaborate restrictions.
The question of the Niger Company is evidently receiving the attention of the Government. On Tuesday Lord Salis- bury received a deputation of Liverpool merchants, who com- plained that the Company's territory was "practically closed to general British commercial effort," and who desired to see "the whole of the Niger territories placed under direct Imperial control." Lord Salisbury's reply was guarded but sympathetic. He believed that the Colonial Office was in the long-run the proper governing body for territories like those on the Niger, but held that any harsh treatment of the Niger Company, who had been doing "a great work," 'would be contrary to public sentiment. He could, however, not commit himself to any definite decision till the matter had been laid before the Cabinet. On the same day the Governor of the Niger Company, Sir George Taub man-Goldie—to whom the country unquestionably owes a deep debt of gratitude for loyal work performed in its service—gave a lecture before the London Chamber of Commerce on "The Future of the Niger Territories." Sir George G-oldie declared that he would be glad to be relieved of the great responsibility resting on his shoulders if he could be assured that the fabric the Company had raised with such painful efforts would not be destroyed by "a pre- mature application of costly and unsuitable methods." Though not anxious to resist a change, Sir George Groldie evidently values greatly the quasi-autonomy secured under a Chartered Company. We do not underestimate these advantages, but in our opinion they are outweighed by the disadvantages. At the same time it would be most unfair not to admit the ex- cellent work done for the Empire by the Niger Company.
It is impossible to chronicle all the Colonial gatherings daring the week. Besides the banquet at the Colonial Institute on Friday week, the luncheon at the National Liberal Club on Saturday, the meeting of the British Empire League on Monday, Sir Wilfrid Laurier's address to .the Colonial party at the House of Commons, and the Cordwainers Company's Banquet at the Hotel Cecil on Thursday, there have been a number of other and less formal gatherings. We have dealt elsewhere with the danger of hurrying on schemes for Federation, and have noted the lines on which it seems to us that development might most safely take !place. We will only note here the rumour that Mr. Chamberlain is going to propose some scheme of Colonial representation in the House of Lords. If that rumour is true, we readily admit that there is a great deal to be said for the proposaL The House of Lords does not tax us, or impose laws upon us, or appoint the Executive, and therefore the placing of Colonial representatives there would give rise to none of the perplexities involved by representa- tion in the Lower House. At the same time, the House of Lords does exercise great and important constitutional functions. An Australian life-Peer might speak for, and represent the wishes of, Australia, just as the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks for and represents the Church.
The Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Bishops has been proceeding all the week, and has been marked by some interesting ceremonials, the most striking being a visit to the landing-place of St. Augustine; but perhaps the most moving fact in connection with it has been the reception of an address from the General Assembly of the Established Church of Scotland. This address is more than friendly in tone, it is warmly cordial, and recognises openly that the two Churches, "as national Churches in union with the State, are partners in the responsibility of maintaining the great principle of national religion ; we hope that, in any day of trial which may be in store for the Churches, we shall co-operate in resolutely upholding this principle." And the Church of Scotland prays that "the Bishops may be blessed in their dioceses and in the discharge of all their high duty; and that the Church which looks to them as their 'Fathers in God' may ever, under their oversight, make increase to the edifying of themselves in love." There have been times in the history of the Church of Scotland when that address would have been followed by a secession, and even fifty years ago it could not have been forwarded without offence. We do advance a little, however slowly.
Rumours have been published during the week that it is the intention of the Secretary of State for War to appoint the Duke of Connaught to the post of Adjutant-General, which is about to become vacant, Sir Redvers Buller's time being nearly expired. We trust and believe that these rumours are not well founded. It is essential that the post of Adjutant-General should be held by an officer of very wide professional experience and technical knowledge. There is no disrespect to the Duke of Connaught in saying that these requirements suggest the appointment of Sir Evelyn Wood rather than of the Queen's son. The Duke is a most gallant and able officer, but it cannot be doubtful that, judged simply on their professional merits, Sir Evelyn Wood's claim is greatly superior. The notion of preferring the Duke of Connaught because he is a Royal personage, and of later reopening the controversy in regard to the Command- in-Chief being placed in Royal hands, is one which we do not believe to be seriously contemplated by the Government. All thinking people agree that it would be most injurious to the interests of the Monarchy to have a Royal Duke as Com- mander-in-Chief. We want a head of the Army who can, if necessary, be made personally responsible for the efficier cy and due discipline of the troops. But should the need unhappily arise, that responsibility could not be enforced on Royalty without grave peril to the Crown. Should a Royal Duke blunder badly he cannot be held responsible and punished, but must be shielded at all costs in order to prevent odium falling on the Monarchy.
Bank Rate, 2 per cent.
New Consols (21) were on Friday, 1121.