Obrázky na stránke




flict, there is great danger of an outbreak. Should this be started now, there is only one way by which it could be checked, viz., by the command of the Caliph or of the heads of the Mohammedan mosques, who are termed mullahs. The mullahs are very numerous. In every village, no matter how small, there is a mullah, who acts as a judge, a teacher, and also as an advice giver. The decrees of these theologians are very effective, as they come from the heads of the Church. show the power and the standing of these men it is necessary only to call the attention of the reader to the following incident which happened in Persia: A tobacco concession was granted to an English corporation by the Persian Shah. When it was pointed out that the Persian Government had been outwitted, and the people were to be taxed for the benefit of the foreigners, the people simply became panic-stricken. In the first place, the concession lessened the English prestige, and, in the second place, it diminished the influence of Christianity among the people, for the concession was granted to the citizens of a Christian nation. To the gratification of the natives, this obnoxious monopoly was partially abolished.' The great teacher Mullah Hassam, from Shiraz, Chief of Kerbela, issued a proclamation forbidding the use of tobacco in any form as long as this monopoly continued. The effect of this decree was wonderful, and it worked like magic. Every

man laid away his pipe, and some maintained that their desire for tobacco had disappeared entirely. All the women in the country, all the harems, closed their doors on the weed. The soldiers disobeyed their officers and declared that they would obey the Chief of Kerbela; and at last Nozeraldan, the Shah who had granted the concession, was assassinated. At this period the Christian population was in great danger, not knowing what kind of decree would be issued by the pope of the Shies in the next few hours. He could have played the death march of all the Christians in Persia by saying, "Kill the giaours "

This is only one instance, and a comparatively insignificant one, of the danger to which. the Christians are exposed. The Caliph's

Concerning this concession see Professor E. G. Brown's work on the "Persian Revolution."



decree would be a call to arms of all the Mohammedans of the Sunna sect. His position is stronger than that of the Czar of Russia. To him every one bows whenever the muezzin calls to prayer. The believers swear by him, for they believe him to be the descendant of the Caliph of Bagdad.

[ocr errors]

A writer in a recent book remarks as follows: "Might not the Sultan, properly inspired' in some way, be inclined to instigate or proclaim such a war at a time when English and French authority in Africa and Asia might for all practical purposes be extinguished by it? extinguished by it? An outbreak as general and as powerful might conceivably compel them to send reinforcements from Europe to such an extent as to weaken them at home and permit Germany to begin the final stages of the war with every prospect of complete success."

The "time" has come, and it remains yet to be seen whether Turkey will be drawn into this gigantic conflict.. If she is, then a holy war is inevitable. I believe that England and France are giving to their Mohammedan subjects the best form of government and the kind of laws that punish the criminal and reward the just. But that is not what they want. They want forgiveness for their misdeeds, and they cannot get it under the English law; and, further, they object to being punished by a stepmother, just as Christians in Turkey would rather be judged and punished by some Christian power.

Then, again, under the Mohammedan law the Mohammedans can be forgiven, but the English law knows no forgiveness. It is the law of the land, and every one is subject to its just rewards. Mohammedans abhor such a system. They want to be under the Sultan and punished by their own law.

In conclusion, from what I have observed in the Orient, where I have heard the Mohammedans almost sigh for a holy war, I am persuaded that they would not hesitate to come back from Asia and Africa in answer to the call of the Sultan; and, if that unfortunate day ever dawns, it will take a better general than Charles Martel to defeat them, and there will be a greater battle than that of Tours. Allah help us!

[blocks in formation]






RENCH Republican Ideas. A favorite doctrine of old writers on the American Revolution is that it was partly due to French democratic ideas, imported into the United States by Franklin and Jefferson, backed up by the democratic writings of Voltaire and Rousseau. The France of the ancien régime felt a literary interest in the republics of Greece and Rome; and in the salons people talked of "republican simplicity" and "republican virtue and "republican government;" but Americans knew little of that fashionable discussion. Rousseau's "Contrat Social," which was an epochmaking book in France, was little known and read in America. Franklin certainly did not need to go to France to learn democratic notions of government, and Jefferson never saw France till after our Revolution was all


[ocr errors]

The influence was all the other way. Franklin was accepted by the French as a standard proof that popular government could produce men of wisdom and of literary gifts. The French Revolution must have arrived before long, because the country had outgrown its form of government; but it was hastened by the American Revolution. Lafayette, who learned some of his liberal principles at the table of Washington, became a striking figure in the French Revolution. The American pamphleteer who did most to fire the hearts of our forefathers was Thomas Paine; for a time he sat in the French Convention. Indeed, that body once enacted for France the New England system of town meetings, which worked about as well as a Connecticut town meeting would work if the moderator were a prefect sent down from Hartford by the Governor. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen was a conscious attempt to repeat the bills of rights found in the American State Constitutions. Our Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson, became a kind of state paper for the French. American democracy, American simplicity, American popular government, were parts of the foundation of French republicanism.

The First Republic of 1793. The main difficulty in putting these great ideas into operation was the monarchy, which had been established ten centuries. This was swept away by a decree abolishing royalty, issued September 21, 1792, by the Convention. elected as a representative body for all France. Unfortunately for peace and concord, "Louis Capet, ci-devant King of France," remained a prisoner. If George III had fallen into the hands of the minutemen at the battles of Lexington and Concord, they would hardly have known how to disThe French found their way

pose of him.

out of such a dilemma by remembering Charles I, and guillotined their ci-devant monarch. That act, combined with the relentless persecution of the former nobility, divided France from top to bottom into a royalist and a republican faction, which continued in one form or another until about 1910.

Other troubles were the lack of experience of government by a deliberative body and the immediate and pressing danger from foreign enemies. The result was that the new republic drifted straight into the hands of a self-appointed and constantly changing body. called the Committee of Public Safety, one of whose instruments was the Revolutionary Tribunal. The Republican Government treated the royalists exactly as the royalists would have treated them had they been successful-with a blood bath. The guillotine worked first upon the royalists, then on the moderate republicans, and finally on the extreme radicals. The late Professor von Holst used to compare the French Revolution to "Saturn devouring his own children."

It must never be forgotten that, notwithstanding the tyranny and the brutality of the French Republic, it was victorious against all the armies that attacked it; and that it accepted a lively naval war with Great Britain. There was at one time a party that wished to make France a federation on the model of the United States; but the plan of a highly centralized government divided into about


eighty departments, each of them exactly like every other department, won the day. When the Terror was passed; when the Juggernaut Convention, tugged by the Parisian mob, rolled over its own conductor, Danton; when, on July 27, 1794, Robespierre went to the scaffold, France breathed freely again and began to prepare for a better organized Republic.

The Second Republic of 1795. The Second Republic is commonly called the Directory, from the Executive Council which was the active part of the Government. By a formal written constitution a Council of Five Hundred was established, with a co-ordinate Council of Elders and an Executive Directory of five persons. The royalists attempted to raise the people of Paris against it, and the Directory appointed a brilliant young officer named Napoleon Bonaparte to defend the new Government. In the famous "Day of the Sections" he broke up the opposition, and the new Government went into undisputed operation on October 27, 1795.

The Councils were of little significance; the decisions were made by the Directory, in which Reubell, Barras, Carnot, and Siéyès are the names best remembered. Siéyès was the statesman who once wrote to a friend asking him to send him a copy of some written constitutions, because "he had to draw up a constitution for France and present it the next morning !" Another school of constitution-makers was represented by the genius who summed up his political principles in the following complete document:

"Article One. No one in France is obliged to do anything.

"Article Two. No public authority is authorized to enforce this constitution."

Within a few months the strongest power in France became the General Bonaparte who was winning such amazing victories in Italy.

The Directory was therefore relieved when, in 1798, he went out to Egypt, and was correspondingly depressed when he returned to Paris in 1799 and broke up the Republican government. One of the last acts of the Directory was to seek through Talleyrand a bribe from the American commissioners, Pinckney, Gerry, and Marshall, a transaction commonly called the "X Y Z Incident."

Napoleon Bonaparte then set up a Consulate, in which, by a singular coincidence, Napoleon Bonaparte was First Consul and practically head of the state. This document



was the first one in France to be submitted to popular vote, and the return as announced showed 3,000,000 votes in favor and 1,567 votes against. It was practically the restoration of monarchy. In 1804 the last trace of the Second Republic disappeared when Napoleon made himself Emperor of the French.

The Third Republic of 1848. In 1830, when the Bourbon monarch was overthrown, there was a Republican party in France, but they could not prevent the acceptance of Louis Philippe as King. This effort to create a popular monarchy supported by the middle class was successful for eighteen years; and then the whole thing collapsed. The royal Government was not tyrannical nor Bourbon in sentiment; Louis Philippe brought home the bones of Napoleon I and solemnly interred them in the Invalides. People simply got tired of a weak but respectable government, and in February, 1848, after three days' fighting in the streets of Paris, a Third Republic was proclaimed. The state tried the experiment of guaranteeing employment to every comer. The burden was too much; the national workshops were shut, and again there were days of street fighting in Paris.

[ocr errors]

Meanwhile three monarchical parties were contending for the lead: the old Bourbon Legitimists;" the "Orleanists," who supported the house of Louis Philippe; and the "Bonapartists." In December, 1848, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the great Napoleon, was elected President. Three years later, December 2, 1851, he suddenly arrested and imprisoned the members of the Assembly who were hostile to him, declared the Constitution of no force, and shot down innocent people right and left in the streets. For his sins he managed to include Victor Hugo among the captives, and later the great writer pilloried the Little Napoleon in his book "The History of a Crime."

[blocks in formation]

he "went to the country," as the English say, and received eight million votes in favor of his Empire, against two hundred and fifty thousand. Such a vote meant little more than that seven million people did not wish to be in the black books of the Government. A wit dubbed this so-called plebiscite "a device for voting yes." As late as 1870 a majority of nearly six million people expressed their satisfaction with the Empire.

That Empire, however, was honeycombed with corruption and weakness. July 15, 1870, the legislative body voted for war against Prussia. September 2, 1870, Napoleon III was a prisoner of the Germans at Sedan, and never again set foot in France. A handsome street in Paris, Quatre Septembre, commemorates the moment, two days later, when a Republic was again proclaimed in France.

The difficulties in the way of this new Government were terrible. German armies moved down and in a few days invested Paris. The city was soon so beleaguered that Gambetta, one of the most active spirits in the new Government, made his escape from the city in a balloon and began to organize resistance in the provinces. The Republic inherited the humiliation deserved by the Empire. Its first National Assembly met February 13, 1871, sixteen days after the surrender of Paris, and was obliged a few weeks later to agree to give up Alsace-Lorraine and to pay a thousand million dollars to the conquerors. Before the final peace was signed the Parisian populace formed a Commune, seized the city, and it had to be taken by a second siege, during which the leaders of the Commune deliberately set fire to many of the public buildings.

At the beginning, the majority of the voters in France were against a republic and looked upon it as only a temporary affair. More than three years passed before it was even likely that the Republic would endure. The Legitimists, represented by the Comte de Chambord, the Orleanists, whose head

[blocks in formation]

February 18, 1875, that a republican constitution was adopted and the new nation fairly took its place under the standard of popular government. The

Presidents of the French Republic.

heads of the state ever since 1871 have been called Presidents, and the list of those who have held this office is as follows: 1871, Feb. 18.






Louis Adolphe Thiers, "Chief of the Executive Powers." (Received a new title.)

1871, Aug. 30. Louis Adolphe Thiers,

1873, May 24.

"President of the French Republic."(Resigned under pressure.) Edmé Patrice

Maurice de MacMahon," President of the French Republic."(Received a new designation.)

1873, Nov. 19. Marie Edmé Patrice Maurice de MacMahon, President of the Republic for sevenyears. (Resigned under pressure.)

1879, Jan. 30. Jules Grévy, First President under the permanent Constitution. (Term expired.)

1885, Dec. 28. Jules Grévy, re-elected. (Resigned under pressure.)

1887, Dec. 3. Marie François Sadi Carnot, descendant of Carnot, member of the Committee of Public Safety in the French Revolution. (Assassinated.)

1894, June 27. Jean Paul Pierre Casimir

1895, Jan. 17.

VI. VII. 1899, Feb. 18. Émile Loubet. (Term expired.)

VIII. 1906, Feb. 18. Clément Fallières. (Term expired.) Raymond Poincaré.

IX. 1913, Feb. 18.

Of these men the only one of world reputation is Thiers, who was the ablest of several literary statesmen. Dry, undemonstrative, cold, Thiers steered the bark of the Republic through perilous waters, raised the five milliards necessary to bring about the withdrawal of the German troops, and was hailed from his place in the Assembly by the acclamations of the members as the Liberator

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »