TOPICS OF THE DAY.
" Never thrust your nose where it bus no need to be. lest you get it pulled."
Paternal Advice tu a Know Ensign.
44 WE must maintain the Ottoman Empire in its integrity." In which integrity ? In the integrity of KARA OSMAN'S three pro- vinces in Asia Minor? In the integrity of the provinces swayed by SULEIMAN the Magnificent, from Aden to the Danube, and from Morocco to Koordistan ? Or in its present shrivelled integrity, with " monstrous cantles" pared off from every corner ? Or again : If there be vitality iii the surviving forms of the Ottoman Empire, can it not preserve its own integrity ? If the life be fled, and nothing but the empty 11t11110 and form remain, can external pressure keep together those members to which internal life does not give coherence and unity ?
The plain English of the cry, " We must preserve the unity of
the Ottoman Empire," is, " Since the Sultan cannot put down MEHEMET ALI, we must do it for him." The truth is, that ME- HEMET Am is independent of the Sultan—as independent as the Dey of Algiers befbre he was dispossessed by the French—as in- dependent as the rulers of Tunis and Tripoli, and a round dozen of other minor sovereigns ruling in what were once, in whole or in part, provinces of the Ottoman Empire. We may be able to
-put down Menrataer Am, but it is beyond our power to subject him to the Government in Constantinople. There does not exist in the Sublime Porte the power to retain Egypt, even though we were to place that country in its hands.
This is the position of MEHEMET ALL. Seated in the central position of Cairo, he holds Syria, the Hedjaz, and pert of Yemen, Egypt,. Souakin, and the Weatern shore of the Red Sea to the North of that port, Nubia, the dominions of the Meks of Senaar, as far as the frontier of Abyssinia, on the South, and Darfur on the West. He holds this well-rounded extent of territory not merely in name but in litct. Ile has organized its inhabitants ; he com- mands them; he wields their resources and energies for the effect- ing of his purposes. The countries subject to MEHEMET Am feel, what they have not felt for more than a century, that they have a government. Among the nations of Islam, it is not the real or feigned choice of the people, nor is it hereditary descent, that confers the right to govern. The existence of power is its own title. In virtue of this title did the Mameluks succeed the Fatimite Caliphs ; in virtue of this title did the race of Osman suc- ceed the Mameluks; in virtue of this title has MEHEMET ALI suc- ceeded the Ottoman dynasty. We Europeans may flatter our- selves that we have a wiser theory of government : that is nothing to the purpose ; the principle we have stated—naked and startling to European ears—is the constitutional theory of Islam. What right have the nations of the Christian or European system to counteract it by armed interference?
The Ottoman Government without the aid of foreign powers cannot put down INIeneatter Am. Of all the provinces now sub- ject to him, Syria is the only one in which it has for upwards of a century exercised more than a nominal sway ; in some it never ex- even that. The utmost limits of the empire of SuemmAN 2s;esgnificent, to the South and West, were these—Western
A..tbia, as for its Aden ; the stations of Suez, Cosseir, Souakin, and Maaseeh, on the Western shore of the Red Sea, in fact, and the intervening coast and surrounding country in name ; Egypt as fin. as Assouan, with the advanced posts of' Deis, Ibrim, and Dongolah ; the Turkish settlements on the Barbary coast. Towards the close of last century, the piratical states of North Africa were virtually independent. The Sultan of Lalidje, the Imam of Sena, the Naybe of Massuah, the Aga of Souakin, and the chiefs of Nubia, were both in name and in fact independent of the Porte. The nominal Pacha of Djidda was more the subject of the Sheriff of Mecca than of the Government at Constantinople. Egypt had front the first submitted to the Ottoman Government upon an understanding (which was fulfilled) that its internal organization should not be altered ; and the Mamehtk 13eys paid but a precarious and fruit- less homage to the Porte. In so far as these provinces were con- cerned, the central government of the Ottoman empire was para- lyzed, and anal chy reigned in them. In the earlier part of the present century, the insurrection of the Wahabees at once placed in a strong light the imbecility of the Turkish government and increased it. Mniremear ALL found these countries, which form the nucleus of his realm, without a government, and he gave them one. The people of these countries know nothing of republics or limited monarchies according to our European notions : with them
the choice lies between a strong monarchical government and anarchy.
By putting down Mrtieatter Am and giving his territories to the Porte, we deprive these countries of an efficient government ; and we expose them to the oppression of some dozen of irresponsible tyrants, who purchase from the Porte the permission to fleece and oppress the people until the like permission is sold to others strong enough to dispossess them. We are told tlInt MEHEMET ALI does not manage his territories in accordance with the true principles of political economy : what prince, Christian or. Mahommedan, does manage bus territories in accordance with these principles ? We are told that he is arbitrary : would the creatures of the Sultan be less so ? We are told that he is the government of Egypt—that his power dies with hint ; but that the Ottoman Sultan has a sacred character in the eyes of his subjects. This comes of men talking about what they do not know : we laugh at the Orientals for thinking all Europeans Franks, and are ourselves guilty of as gross a blunder in thinking all Mussulmans Turks, All Mohammedans are not Turks, and all Turks are not Osmanlees. The reigning family ee Persia at this moment is Turkish ; but neither the Shah nor its subjects believe that the descendants of OSMAN have a right divine to reign over them. BURCIEHARPT found the Arab trailers to the South of Egypt as jealous of the rivalry of Turks, as anxious to deter them from visiting their trading haunts, as PARK found the Arabs of the West jealous of Christians and hostile to their penetrating into Central Africa. If the Sultan at Constanti- nople was looked upon throughout Islam with respect as the guardian of the holy cities, it must not be thence inferred that he was believed to have inherited the authority of the Caliphs over all the faithful. The Sultans of Constantinople were respected after they had won the guardianship of Mecca and Medina by the sword; and Islam would pay equal respect to those who by the same means wrested, it from them. But even though we could conceive opprobrium attaching in the minds of Mussulmans to him who should forcibly dispossess the de facto guardian of the holy cities of that preeminence, this opprobrium cannot attach to ME- HEMET Air. The Wahabees had wrested the guardianship from the Porte, and that government was too feeble to regain it. MESE- MET ALL found the access to the holy cities barred against all but the fbllowers of the Wahabees, and he threw them open anew to the pilgrimages of the faithful. Ile has a right to retain that guardianship which he alone has the power to exercise.
These considerations may teach us, that in interfering between MEHEMET ALI and the Government of Constantinople, we are meddling in a squabble, of the rights of which we know so little that it is ten chances to one we do harm instead of good. We do not know that his subjects are dissatisfied with Minimum ALL We do not know that his power must necessarily die with itim. But we do know, that were he removed to-morrow, the rulers at Constantinople could not give the countries subject to his au- thority a real efficient government. What right have we to rob a nation of a man to give it a name in exchange ? What right have the European Governments to intermeddle in the family jars of Islam ? What would France or England say were Persia, Turkey, Egypt, and Afghanistan, to keep ambassadors at Paris or London and send fleets there to dictate what alliances the nation should form and what dynasty it should obey ? Are we so wise and suc- cessful in our practice of the art of government as to induce Ma- hommedans to follow our counsels ? Before France, England, and Russia, undertake to arrange the affitirs of Egypt and Turkey, it might be as well that the King of the French could show himself in public without being shot at ; that the people of England, tottering on the verge of insurrection, should be pacified ;' and that rumours of plots should cease to be smuggled across the well- guarded frontiers of Russia.
We cannot give back Egypt and Syria, extended as they have been by MEHEMET AL!, to Constantinople ; but we may make the ruler of Egypt our enemy. Our occupation of Aden has made him jealous, and consular blustering may do worse. It would not be convenient at this moment to have our shortest post-road to India interrupted ; and MEHEMET Am can stop our passage both through Egypt and Syria. Let us glance hastily at our foreign relations. We have dispos- sessed the King of Cabul, and placed in his stead an object of de- testation to the Afghan people. We are at war with the Belooches. In a communication from India, published in all the newspapers this week, we are told—" Our army had stopped in its triumphant march through Cabul, on bearing of the advance of the Russians against Chive, and remained in quiet possession of Ghoznee, Kelat, and our other conquests in Afghanistan." The same communica- tion mentions, and Lord PALMERSTON confirms the information, that the Governor-General of India "had advertised for 40,000 tons of shipping, for the transport of the troops to China, 14,000 of which were to be supplied by Calcutta, and the rest by Madras and Bombay." In addition to this warlike note from the Ganges, an expedition, consisting of three seventy-fours and six or eight ships of less force, is on the eve of sailing front this country to China, And on Thursday evening, Lord PALMERSTON coolly told the House of Commons, that " Whatever assistance might be afforded to us by the Governor-General in an operations that might take place against China, would be lent to this country ; " that " directions had been given to the Governor. General to make certain preparations ;" and yet that "it was not the intention of Government to bring down any message to the House upon the matter I " It is clear that we are at war on both sides of India : a colossal and distant garrison is em- ployed in covering our " new conquests" in Afghanistan, and pre- parations arc making for a hostile attack upon a country which from the Indus to the Brahmaputra is coterminous with our Northern frontier, and possesses a well-organized and robust population. There is much latent dissatisfaction in India, of which the trans- actions at Kurnoul and Satara are only local indications; and the chief complaint is, that the Indian Governmeut cannot keep its hands out of its subjects' pockets,—a fault not likely to be amended * At a diluter given in the City to Mr. JAnDINE, that gentleman. is re- ported to have said, that the Chinese "were not actuated by any principles of morality "—to have stated, "as a proof of their hypocrisy," that they are large growers of opium themselves. And the City correspondent of the Morianq Cloymicle is shocked at the impudence of the Chinese in protecting home- grown opium by excluding that of India, and is moat warlike in consequence. Are we, who exclude foreign corn, to make war against China for excluding foreign opium? when it has got the expenses of the Afghanistan war to defray, and large advances to make in the Chinese, with an indefinitely distant day of repayment. Behind these proximate hostilities, others may be seen lowering. It is conjectured at Constantinople, that some recent dealings of the Shah of Persia with the Afghan Princes will prevent the adjustment of our differences with that court. We have seen the Russians moving on the states North of the Afgha- nistan; and if we really go to war with China, how soon will they appear in force on Lake Baikal ? Besides, we are already picking a quarrel with them nearer home. Lord PONSONBY accuses the Greek Patriarch at Constantinople, of participation in a plot for the subversion of the British power in the Ionian Islands ; and the complicity of Russia is hinted at. Nor are our relations with France altogether so certain as could be wished. MEHEMET ALI is among the nations of Islam what France is and England ought to be among the nations of Christendom—the type and champion of the mutable or progressive principle, in opposition to the stifling accumulation of lifeless forms. France feels, if it does not see, its natural identity of interest with MEHEMET ALI; and, whatever may be the views of the tricksters of the Bureaucracy which goverm; France, the popular feeling of the French is with MEHEMET 'Am. The Whig Government of England seems inclined to repeat the blunder committed by the Tory Government at the commence- ment of the French Revolution, and throw itself into the scale of an effete oligarchy. The weak side of the French people is the love of military glory : and no man who has studied M. Tullius's History of the French Revolution, and watched the political career of the man, hut must see that he is quite capable of seeking to maintain himself in power by plunging into a war on the African question, that might suggest brilliant declamations about French heroism and English duplicity.
Really it does appear to us, that, with so many elements of dis- cord on every hand, it would be a wiser policy to get creditably rid of the brawls that we are engaged in, than, by mingling in frays with which we have nothing to do, to run the risk of bringing more adversaries on our back than we can well deal with. It is not likely that so many discordant elements will unite against England ; but enough of them may to find us more work than will be agreeable. The elements out of which success in war is manufactured, are men, money, and skill. As mere fighting animals, all Europeans are much on a par. The belligerent power which can feed the greatest number of' troops, and for the longest time, must conquer in the end. Skill may do much ; but obstinacy, with men and money at command, is more than its match in the long run. (This is the secret of the final triumph of the European Oligarchy over Jacobin France.) Now, fbr wealth, and bull-dog courage and pertinacity, we will back John Bull single-handed against any two or it may be three nations of Christendom ; but not against all and some of Asia to boot. It is not so much that their united numbers and wealth may exceed ours, as that while we are fighting we lose our customers, and of course stop working. We have been at peace, it is true, for quarter of a century ; but throughout that time we have been keeping up a war-establish- ment. At this moment, too, our trade is rather in a queasy con- dition. And who is to manage the war ? It is no disrespect to the Whigs to say that there is no man among them who can do it.
We know that the Tories did nothing but blunder until WELLING.. TON took the business into his own hands, and was his own minister as well as his own general. And he, " wae worth the day ! " grows old. Besides, let us not overlook this important question—
Supposing that we win at this hazardous game of war, what the better shall we be ? Oh yes! peace (understand us to mean, a peace that infers no shame) is more Christian-like—and more pleasant—and "much more economical when all the bills are paid."