12 JULY 1873, Page 7


WE do not see, from the telegram in the Daily Telegraph, that Sir S. Baker has accomplished quite so much as his first rather boastful message indicated, or enough to be styled, as he is in the second message, "Emancipator of Africa," but he has accomplished a good deal. He has not himself, that we can perceive, conquered down to the great lakes, or even visited them, and his discovery that they, or two of them, are connected together, requires evidence before it can be accepted, the bulletin writer being obviously ignorant even of geographical phraseology. Murchison 's Falls are at the foot, not the head of the lake, and though the mis- take may be merely verbal, it throws some doubt over the entire story, in itself most important, as a great lake of the kind described can be made a centre of power. But Sir S. Baker has obviously been enabled to punish severely the slave traders, who are the first obstacles to civilisation in Eastern Africa, to defeat temporarily all chiefs holding authority between Khartoum and a point within no great distance of the lakes, and to establish regular and quiet government over the whole region between Gondokoro and Khartoum, and to con- nect those two points by river navigation of a slow but suffi- cient kind. He has, in fact, carried authority, more or less civilised, within four degrees of the Equator. He now awaits reinforcements to be despatched to Khartoum, to enable him to garrison eight points in the new province, which is to be held as we hold the border regions of India, by small garrisons in fortified posts, who can punish any disobedience rapidly and safely. There is no reason to doubt his statement that the Negroes approved his government, which was pro- bably as good as that of any Commissioner in a wild province of India, and incomparably better than any they had ever seen ; or that he has formed a small sepoy army ; or that he has found Europeans able to work in the valley as well as they do in Bengal,—that is, to do everything that can be done without physical exertion. We have only to remember what occurs there to realise the difference even one European makes in such a locality. He has placed the key of Negro- land in the hands of the Khedive, who, if he is willing to spend force enough upon the work, may clearly establish a regular dominion down to the lakes, and thence open a regular caravan communication with Zanzibar and the whole of Eastern Asia, and by the Red Sea with his own dominions. That he can do this with Arabs only seems to be probable, the Arabs being the superiors of all the Negro tribes in war, and with Arabs headed by Europeans it is entirely certain. That he will be inclined to do it is probable, from his known ambition, from the quantity of money he has already spent on the object, and from the excessively advantageous position his new dominion gives him in respect to Abyssinia and the Somalee country, both of them coveted possessions. That he is hearty against the slave trade we do not believe, but that he would suppress it sharply if suppression served his ends, may be readily accepted as a datum in the matter.

The doubt is whether the country thrown open by Sir S. Baker will tempt the Khedive sufficiently to induce him to accept a definite and long-continued policy. He is certainly not much tempted by the mere hope of geographical discovery, and it should be noted that Sir S. Baker brings back, or at least mentions, very little hope of immediate revenue. He obtained his monthly basket of bread and bundle of grass from each hut readily enough, but the Khedive has not gone to war to be content with a commissariat. Cotton-growing projects are slow of realisation without population, and we question if the Pasha has, the patience to fill the fertile lands he has acquired. Mr. Galton suggests an importation of Chinese, and no doubt if he possessed the power of willing 100,000 Chinese into the valley of the Nile, or of inducing an emigration such as that which has restored Siam to fer- tility, that would be a grand contribution to the settlement of the difficulty. But he forgets that according to the testi-

mony of all Blue-books upon Demerara, Chinese and Negroes will not live together in peace except under military restraint, and that such a measure would mean the extirpation of the blacks, probably to be followed by a revolt of the Chinese. They are not at all fond of being mastered even by Europeans. It would surely be simpler to let things take their own course. By all accounts of almost all travellers, with the slave trade stopped, with regular and kindly government, as stern as you will, but just, the Blacks multiply as fast in Africa as in America, and Sir S. Baker himself acknowledges that they may be made peace- ful and obedient subjects. As to the want of industry attributed to them by their enemies, it is merely the laziness of men uncertain if they shall ever see their reward, and can be cured, like the similar laziness of Peguans, by justice and severe taxation. A wisely governed province would attract to it half Soudan and immigrants even from Abyssinia, the South Africans being exactly as fond of security and comfort as other human beings. If the Pasha would wait thirty years, he might have in Fatiko the capital of a rich and prosperous province, 'furnishing at once revenue in the shape of cotton, ind soldiers with whom he might conquer eastward to the sea —the road by which his cotton must ultimately be conveyed. But is the Pasha equal to a slow, definite, and far-reaching policy like that ? We fear he will decide on securing revenue and conscripts at once, will send down Fellaheen troops under Turkish Generals to enforce his will, and will be met by the universal resistance which has hitherto rendered all his efforts at conquest abortive. The kind of resistance offered to Sir S. Baker is no test of the kind of resistance which would be offered to a regular Egyptian army, ravishing, burning, and plundering in all directions. Sir Samuel has conquered as our officers conquer in India, has made allies, has kept his word, and has raised a tribute so light, but so universal, that it is scarcely felt. 'Will the Pasha be content to do that for a generation, and wait for the wealth that must follow ? We doubt it greatly, and fear that Sir S. Baker has only shown us the way to an undertaking which must one day be accomplished by some civilised and civilising power, which ruling the Delta fairly, can employ the Arab of Arabia as its instrument for applying force. Cairo, when he arrives, will be raging with jealousy and annoyance at his success, and the Khedive's Treasury is for the moment almost empty. He may be superseded, and then all his work will be thrown away, and the state of the Negroes rendered worse than before. Still, as the discoverer's success must gratify the Khedive's ambition, and opens up to him an entire new world, we may trust that he will support his agent, and allow him so far to consolidate all he has won that the next Turkish Governor- General may be unwilling to plunder or massacre without permission from Cairo. At all events, Gondokoro has been brought within eyesight of civilisation, though the settlement of the Lakes may yet have to be accomplished from the Zanzibar side, through the agency of the Bombay Government.