Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 7, 1874
to Mr. Fish.
St. Petersburg , March 10, 1874. (Received April 3.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a report made to me by Mr. Schuyler on the position of affairs in the Russian provinces of Central Asia and the neighboring independent states, which I have no doubt will be of great interest to you as it is very clear and comprehensive, and does credit to his observance and industry. Mr. Schuyler had unusually good facilities for obtaining information, both by his official position and previous knowledge of affairs there. Mr. Schuyler’s journey to Central Asia is considered a very remarkable one here, as he visited some countries where none but one or two Russians had ever penetrated, and much interest is expressed to know his views of the state of things in Central Asia, as he is the first impartial traveler there, and is known to be favorably disposed to Russia. Many prominent Russian officials have requested his unbiased opinion.
I am, &c,
Mr. Schuyler’s report on Central Asia.
St. Petersburg , March 7, 1874.
Sir: Although my journey in Central Asia was undertaken without political aim, yet my official position procured me every where a warm and hospitable reception, and gave me opportunities for obtaining information of the position of Russian affairs in Turkistan, and in the still independent Khanaks, which may be of interest to the Government. You are already so well informed of the advances of Russian arms in Central Asia that I need not enter into any historical details, except so far as is necessary to explain the actual condition of affairs. For greater clearness, I shall speak separately of the internal administration of the Russian provinces and of the Russian foreign policy toward the surrounding states.
The campaign of 1874, wmich resulted in the capture of Turkistan, Auleata, and Tashkent, was the result of a plan to unite the outlying posts of Fort Peroffsky and Vierny, and embrace thus the whole of the Kirghiz steppe, which it was at that time intended to place under the charge of a special administrator, General Ignatieff. The capture of Tashkent in 1864, by General, then Colonel, Tchernaie, was without orders from St. Petersburg. Still its union with the empire was agreed to, and Russia obtained a foot-hold in the Central Asiatic oases, which subsequent events only served to strengthen. The whole of the newly-acquired territory was placed under the charge of the governor-general of Orenburg, and General Romanoffsky-was appointed governor in the place of General Tchernaie. A commission was appointed to draw up special regulations for the government of the new province in accordance with the local necessities. Before this commission had finished its work, the Russian boundaries were enlarged by the capture of Khodjent, and it was resolved to place the new provinces under a special governor-general, independent of Orenburg and Siberia, with extraordinary powers.
Lieutenaut-Geueral Kaufmann, who had just been somewhat summarily removed from Wilna, was appointed to this post, and the province of Semivitch, the capital of which is Vierny, was detached from Western Siberia, and added to the new province of Turkistan. General Kaufmann arrived in Tashkent in 1867, and on his report the new regulations, or rather the projected regulations, which had not up to that time been approved by the Emperor, were permitted to be put on trial until the end of the year 1870. The district of Zarafshan, which, after the conquest of Sam-arcand in 1868, remained to Russia, was, of course, not included in this project, and has therefore been governed almost arbitrarily by its commander. A new project was drawn up in 1871, but was returned for reconsideration, and when it finally reached St. Petersburg in the autumn of 1872, did not receive the Emperor’s consent. Another project still, which was brought to St. Petersburg this winter by the governor-general, will also, it is understood, be rejected by the council of the empire. In this way, since the beginning of 1871, the province of Turkistan had been in an irregular position, though the administration has chiefly acted upon the basis of the project previously legally in force.
The bases of this project were the union of the civil and military powers in the same hands, and the internal administration of the native population over all matters not having a political character, by representatives elected by them in accordance with their customs. The main features of the project were the following: The governor-general, who is at the same time the commander-in-chief of the forces, has about the same position as governor-general in other parts of the empire, and, besides that, the power, in case-of need, to suspend the regulations or to make exceptions to them. He has also full power for carrying on diplomatic negotiations with the neighboring countries. Under him there are two governors of the provinces of Syr Darya and Semivitch, respectively, and the commander of the Zeraphan district not included in the regulations. The provinces are further divided into districts—five in Semivitch and eight in Syr Darya, as well as the city of Tashkent, which is constituted a separate administrative district. At the head of these districts, or Uyezds, are prefects or commandants who have the police and general supervision of all the inhabitants of the district, Russian as well as native. Originally resembling the district police officials in the governments of Russia, these prefects have come to occupy a much more powerful and independent position. The nomad population Kirghiz were divided into Volosts and Auls, the Auls comprising from one hundred to two hundred families, and the Volosts some ten [Page 817] times as many. These subdivisions were governed by administrators and elders, who were chosen by the people themselves, and were under the immediate supervision of the district prefects, who had the power to change or remove them in case of failure of duty. Among the settled population, one Aksakal (lit. greybeard) or elder was chosen from each considerable village by the people themselves, and in case of cities each ward had its own Aksakal, the duties of whom, in police and administrative relations, were the same as those of the elders among the Kirghiz. Russian courts were established with jurisdiction in nearly all criminal matters and for hearing disputes between Russians or between Russians and natives. For all civil matters and for some of the lesser crimes the natives were allowed courts of their own. Among the Kirghiz or nomad population these judges were called Biis, elected by the population, and judged according to the received tribal and national traditions. In the towns, the kazis or native judges, deciding according to the Shariat or Mussulman law, were allowed to remain; but they were made elective by delegates from the population, and their importance in the eyes of the natives was much diminished. The taxes usual in these provinces under the Mussulman rule were to some extent retained, the heradj and tonap, or taxes of land and its products; the heradj being fixed at one-tenth of the harvest. The zaket or customs-duty was fixed at 2½ per cent, on the value of all commodities imported into the country, and at the same rate on the trading capital as it had been previously established. From the nomad population there was demanded a tax of 2 rubles, 75 kopecks, on each kibitka or family.
The province of Turkistan includes something like 15,000 square geographical miles, almost equal to that of France and Italy together, and having a population of somewhat under two millions, the most thickly-settled parts of which are immediately about Vierny, Tashkent, Khodjent, and Samarcand, the remainder of the country being chiefly inhabited by nomads. Mountainous in the east and southeast, the remainder is everywhere a bare steppe, only cultivated and habitable near the water-courses. Under these circumstances, with a small Russian force, it was doubtless very difficult to establish a method of government which would work well and satisfy all parties, and it is probable that the regulations which went into force in 1867 were designed in the interests of the natives, and were Calculated to give them a good government. Any failures in the workings of these regulations were probably at first owing to the ignorance of the country and of the language by the Russian officials, who were chosen among the officers even without regard to their special qualifications. In time it was found that the position of the Russians gave officials a possibility of making, money for themselves, and of satisfying their pleasures at the expense of the natives, without subjecting themselves to any severe censure.* * * *
It is natural, of course, that General Kaufmann should have his favorites among the Russian officers, and should be disposed to uphold them in spite of all charges of maladministration. Although the most glaring acts of maladministration have been committed by the district prefects or commanders, the general tone set by the governor-general is such as to render it almost hopeless to expect anything better. The prefects being removed, to a certain extent, from the observation and control of the center of the administration, and falling soon into the ways and methods of former Central Asiatic governments, abuse their powers, and consider themselves as almost irresponsible. A striking example of this was in the management of the Kurarnenski district, one of the most fertile and thickly settled in the whole province, and surrounding, but not including, the city of Tashkent. The prefect of this district in one year levied 90,000 rubles of illegal taxes, all of which he spent, beside other government money; and yet he resided within five miles of the house of the governor-general, and was known to be living in a style—with frequent dinners, suppers, and gambling parties—entirely impossible on his salary of 2,400 rubles a year. Among other things, savings-funds had been instituted for the benefit of the population, but by a subsequent regulation, approved by the governor-general, it had been allowed to spend them on the administrative needs of the district. This money—some 22,000 rubles—entirely disappeared, and no accounts of its expenditure could be found, except that it was said that it had been used in fitting up the house of the prefect. Money was taken from the natives at all times and under all pretenses, and a grossly-illegal order was issued, forbidding all persons to cross the river Syr Darya at any other place than the points specified in the order, threatening persons who did so with being sent to Siberia. The points specified were places belonging to friends of the prefect. When, at last, matters became too scandalous, the governor-general was obliged to take some notice, and he removed the prefect from the district; but instead of punishing him, he appointed him to another locality, stating that he considered him “a most useful officer.” The prefect of the district of Peroffsky was investigated, and removed for extortion and bribery. He was then appointed to Aulie Ata, and has lately been again investigated and removed for demanding an illegal contribution from the natives on the occasion of the demand for camels for the Khivan expedition. Other persons have, in like way, been removed from one post for maladministration and immediately given another. On the other hand, any persons who endeavored to enlighten the public as to [Page 818] the state of affairs were immediately punished, and the commandant of the district of Uratinbe was removed and sent out of the province for having written a letter to St. Petersburg for publication, though not at that time actually published, stating the truth about the disaffection and riots at Khodjent, alleging that they were caused by the excessive taxation, which was not what the Russians had at first promised, and not by the vaccination measures, as had been given out.
Similar instances are numerous. When the papers showing the guilt of one employé were presented to the governor-general, he tore them up without reading them. “I know this person so well, and believe him to be such an honest man, that I cannot think such things to be possible.” In some cases, acts not only wrong in themselves, but bringing with them very important consequences, have been committed, not from a desire for personal gain, but from a wish to appear zealous in the performance of duties or from motives of intrigue. A case which happened last year is especially noticeable. An officer named Emmons, in possession of a considerable amount of government funds, gave information that he had been robbed by the Kirghiz. The chief Kirghiz living in the neighborhood of the alleged occurrence were arrested, and after a long examination several of them confessed their guilt, though the money could not be found. While their trial was going on Emmons committed suicide, leaving a letter, in which he stated that he was not the honest man that had been supposed, as he had himself spent the money and made that excuse to clear himself. The Kirghiz were then, of course, released, but the question arose, Why had they confessed? and on an investigation it was found that the judicial officer, Baron Jerenitz, of Yierny, had extorted confession from them by means of torture; a practice wholly at variance with Russian law and certainly most disastrous for Russian influence among the Kirghiz. There was another case in the same neighborhood, at Kopal, where a district prefect had been robbed, beaten, and severely wounded. As he was most deservedly unpopular for the extortions he practiced on the natives, this was not to be wondered at. Over sixty Kirghiz were accused of participating in this act, the chief of them being the Sultan Tezak, holding the rank of a major in the Russian service, the most aristocratic and respected of all the Khirgiz chiefs, and a well-known and life-long friend to Russia. The chief evidence against him was that some of the property stolen from the prefect was found in his tent. One investigation succeeded another, until a Cossack finally confessed that he had placed these articles in the tent of Tezak at the instigation of the judge himself. It is said that this was done because the judge wished to please one high official by convicting of robbery and sedition a man very much favored by another, of whom he was jealous. Among the papers of the investigating commission is a letter from the prefect to the judge with regard to the means of obtaining this evidence. For various reasons it has never been possible completely to finish the investigation, but it was thought necessary to remove the judge, and to bestow upon him a similar post in the city of Khodjent, where he is now the chief administrator of justice. The effect of such a proceeding is, of course, to make the natives thoroughly displeased with the workings of the Russian courts. Another case of the ill-advised action of the authorities, regardless of the effect produced upon the natives, occurred this last summer. When the Khivan expedition began it was necessary to obtain 14,000 camels, exactly 14 per cent, of the whole number of camels in the province, and it was agreed that in case these camels died a sum of 50 rubles would be paid for each. They had to be furnished in proper proportions by the different districts. In consequence of the hardships of the expedition nearly all the camels perished, and it became, therefore, necessary to pay a sum of 700,000 rubles. One of the prefects, thinking that he had found a good opportunity to show his zeal for the administration, and the good feeling of his district, told the population over whom he ruled that the government would never pay for these camels, and that it would be much better for them to make them a present to the administration; and by the use of proper persuasion he succeeded in accomplishing this. The example was followed in most of the other districts, and the result is that most of the inhabitants feel that they have been absolutely robbed of these camels by the government; and, to speak of nothing else, if it were necessary again to furnish camels for some new expedition, the discontent would be very great. It would, however, be unfair to charge all the bad administration upon the governor-general. The officials who flock to Tashkent are, in general, a very bad material of which to make good instruments. In some cases men come to Tashkent on account of the increased pay, and the shorter time which it is necessary to serve before arriving at a pension; others come hoping to find an opportunity of speedily enriching themselves. In most cases they come, or are sent there, because they are overburdened with debts, or because, from various scandals, they find it impossible to live in other parts of the empire. There are very few who come to Central Asia because they think it is the place to make a brilliant career. Army men, finding themselves there by accident, have made such a career, but no civilians have yet done so. So long as Tashkent is looked on in the nature of a penal colony, or a house of correction, it will be impossible to induce the best men to come there, or to persuade the men who are there to put [Page 819] themselves to the best use. It is, however, to be noticed that the administration of the circle of the Zaraphan, and that of the province of Semevitch, are infinitely better than that of the Syr Darya, which is under the immediate eye of the governor-general. General AbramofF, the commander of Zaraphan, and General Kolpakofsky, the governor of Semevitch, thoroughly know the country, the latter having lived there and in Siberia nearly the whole of his life, and being well acquainted with the Kirghiz language. They seem to have a better judgment in selecting their men; there is much less corruption, and faults are more quickly ascertained and punished. General Abramoff has collected about him what are called the “Tchernaieff men”—men who have been in the province since its first capture, and who share the spirit of the general who conquered it. In spite of the bad administration the people are, on the whole, well contented with the Russian rule, finding it so much better than anything which has gone before, and their discontent is chiefly against individuals—officials and others—who harass and injure them; but it is evident that a continued series of such occurrences cannot but awaken general distrust toward the administration.
When the Russians advanced into Central Asia they found many ready to welcome them, partly because they were discontented with the law of the khan and the emir, the extortions which were practiced, and the frequent executions, and desired anything for the sake of peace and quiet. Immediately after the Russian occupation there was an immense feeling of relief—that now every man’s life was his own, and that his property was secure from arbitrary taxation and seizure. Besides this, the addition of a large non-productive population caused a great demand for labor, and for the necessaries and luxuries of life, and, consequently, prices began to rise, the advantages of which were felt by the land-owner and the merchant. Though the poorer class was not at first much affected, now, of course, prices, as a whole, have much risen, and it costs twice as much to support a laboring man, however little his food, as it did before the Russian occupation; but I do not believe that the common people would be able to trace this rise in prices to the fact of the Russian immigration. The mercantile class have many advantages for speculation by the large number of contracts necessary for the sustenance of the army. But these things must work in time, and it will require some skill on the part of the government to avert a general feeling of discontent. Circumstances were exactly the same during the English occupation of Kabal, but things succeeded each other there more quickly, and the English were finally obliged to retreat. The inhabitants of Central Asia are by no means like theAffghans; they are much more pacific, and less patriotic in their nature; still they naturally prefer Mohammedan rule, other things being equal, and they are now beginning to forget the evils which they suffered from the khan, and are thinking more of the evils which they suffer from the Russian officials. At the same time, however arbitrary their native rulers were, their exactions were all confined within the sphere limited by the Shariat or Mussulman law, and it was thought that there were certain principles which not even the most tyrannical bek would dare to contravene.
What is extremely annoying with regard to the Russian administration is that the natives, not understanding the peculiarities of Russian law, see no reason for any act, except the arbitrary will of the ruler, and while they are discontented with the impositions practiced by the officials, they are also discontented with the sudden and violent changes in taxation and administration, though such changes may be entirely in accordance with the law. Taxation was before regulated by the rules of the Shariat, now it is constantly changing in form, no principle having yet been adopted.
That discontent exists can be seen by intercourse with the natives, and it is evident also from one or two facts. In 1872, for instance, there was a great disturbance in Khodjent, which necessitated the action of the troops, but which was put down and the ringleaders were executed. The disturbances were supposed to be against the order fof universal vaccination, this being thought to be a process for stamping men as recruits for the army. The chief cause, however, was found in the general discontent with the taxes, which had been raised instead of lowered as the Russians had promised, and were then higher than had been paid in former times.
In the same year an attack was made on the station of Kanasu, on the road between Tashkent and Khodjent. One officer was killed, and the station was destroyed. Though this was supposed to be, at first, merely an act of marauders, it was afterward found to be the work of a political conspiracy, in whicli many prominent natives of Tashkent had been asked to take part. The leader was an Ishan, a well-known fanatic, and his expedition of some twenty men went out quietly, found Tashkent by a roundabout way, and then fell upon the post station, with the aim of breaking the communication and exciting the country which lay beyond. The government was warned of the movement several days in advance and might easily have prevented it, but refused to act, believing that there was nothing serious on foot.
During the early spring of 1873, most of the Kirghiz inhabiting the district of Tchin-kent left the country, preferring the sands of the Kirzyl Kum desert to being under Russian rule.
So far as religion is concerned, the conduct of the Russians is deserving of the highest [Page 820] praise. Nothing has been done against the free exercise of Mohammedanism by the natives, except that the dervishes have been generally forbidden to appear in the cities, being considered disturbers of the public peace. They were in the habit, by their cries and sermons directed against the Russians, of exciting mobs in the bazaars. No efforts have been made to spread Christianity, though a church exists at Tashkent for the use of the Russians, and General Kaufmann has speedily put down all missionary projects. The consequence is that Mohammedanism, instead of growing stronger, has grown weaker. The natives have not been led to attach themselves more to their religion, because such attachment was forbidden by the Russians. On the contrary, the abolition of the native functionaries who compelled the performance of regular religious rites, and of a stated attendance at the mosques, has allowed much indiffer-ence and carelessness to creep in.
If this state of things continues, the younger generation will grow up with even skeptical notions. The clergy have seen the danger of this, and on one or two occasions have appealed to the Russian authorities to prohibit certain practices, common or gaining ground among the natives, which they have looked upon as contrary to the principles of the Koran; but the Russians, with much goodsense, have refused to interfere. Sanitary measures in the cities have been taken by the Russians. Hospitals have been established, physicians appointed, to be consulted by the natives, and during the cholera times many persons gave their whole time to an organized work of disinfection and preventing the spread of the disease, with excellent results. These things the natives begin to appreciate. As far as education is concerned, the Russians have done almost nothing. In Samarcand, owing to the vigorous efforts of the commander of the city, himself a Mussulman, a small school has been opened for the instruction of Mussulman children in Russia, but neither in Tashkent, nor in any other town of the province of Syr Darya, except two small Kirghiz schools in Peroffsky and Kazalinsk, does such a school exist, nor, indeed, a school of any kind. It has been proposed once or twice to introduce the teaching of Russian and of modern knowledge into some of the Mussulman medresses or high schools, and upon the whole this project was viewed with favor by the authorities, but owing to their lack of initiative the matter has been neglected. This is to be the more regretted as few of the officials who come to the country have a knowledge of it, and the administration is consequently obliged to use as interpreters either natives who barely understand Russian, Cossacks who have a very rough knowledge of the native languages, or Tartars, who are in general the most honest or best of interpreters. The badness of the interpreters is not only a source of great trouble and confusion in dealing with the natives, but has led to some most ridiculous and even critical mistakes. The authorities of Samarcand arranged for the purchase of a lithographic press, for the purpose of making native books cheaper, and thus gradually spreading enlightenment, but this was viewed with disfavor by General Kaufmann and absolutely forbidden.
So far as the more material interests of the country are concerned, the Russians have endeavored to do well, although their efforts have sometimes failed to succeed. The roads are being greatly improved, (which seems a little strange when good roads are so almost unknown in Russia itself,) bridges are being constructed over the chief streams, and canals are being projected for the purpose of irrigation. Russian engineers, however, have yet to learn from the natives with regard to irrigation, nearly all of the last attempts in this direction having proved failures, and the great canal from the Syr-Darya, which is expected to fertilize the famished steppe between the Syr-Darya and Djizak, will probably absorb a vast amount of money and be a failure. In former days, when this steppe was cultivated to some extent, the water was brought, not from the Syr-Darya, but from the Zaraphan through a mountain-pass. For industry and commerce, the Russian administration has done comparatively little. Commercial treaties have been made with Kokand, Bokhara, Kashgar, and Khiva; but slight pains have, as yet, been taken to insure the enforcement of their stipulations. The merchants in these countries are under very great difficulties, and receive but slight protection from their government, and, in spite of provisions to the contrary, they are obliged to pay illegal duties, and the foreign commerce has not greatly increased.
In Kashgar, during the last summer, the caravan of Messrs. Inpyschoft was detained and placed under great restrictions, by order of Yakub Bek, who finally purchased some 19,000 rubles’ worth of goods, but forbade his subjects to purchase more. Various projects have been proposed for starting factories for cotton-spinning and the fabrication of silk, and the government, in some cases, has lent material assistance to these and other projects; but, with the exception of a silk-spinning establishment at Khodjent belonging to a Moscow company, nothing now exists.
The agriculture and trade of the country might be, to some extent, developed by the establishment of Russian colonies; but, so far, it has not been permitted to Russians to buy land outside of the cities and engage in agriculture. Colonel Glukoffsky had an idea to establish a great fair at Tashkent, which he persuaded the government would be a great emporium for all Central Asia; and, consequently, buildings were erected on a large scale, similar to those at Nezheri Novgorod, at a distance of about [Page 821] two miles from the city. When the fair, however, was opened, no one appeared to trade, and an order was then made closing the bazaar in the city of Tashkent during the whole period of the fair, with the idea of thus compelling attendance and trade there. This proving ineffectual, heavy fines were imposed upon natives and others who did not appear there, and they were even sent there under a guard of Cossacks; but even this had slight effect. The Russian merchants themselves were obliged to petition for a repeal of these orders, on the ground that if the natives were forbidden to trade in the usual way, they would be unable to pay them the money which-they owed. The Russian merchants, too, found it disagreeable to be compelled to keep warehouses for their goods at the fair as well as in their private establishments, and the fair has therefore been a failure, entailing an expense upon government, during the three or four years of its existence, of nearly 400,000 rubles.
So far, I have spoken of the Russian administration with regard to the native population; but the province also bears relation to the empire. It has been rather the fashion to speak of Turkistan as almost a “promised land.” What originally sent Peter the Great into Central Asia was, without doubt, the expectation that gold and other precious metals would be found there in large quantities. When Tashkent was at last occupied, people talked much of the gold and enormous mineral wealth to be obtained from the mountains, and of the vast productions of the irrigated lands. It is, however, almost impossible to develop the mineral wealth. The coal which is found near Khodjent costs almost too much to be used for fuel in Tashkent, on account of the high price of transport. As to the productions of the soil, the cost of supporting the troops is far greater than was anticipated in this fertile land. The vast trade which it was expected could be carried on with the natives does not exist at present, the statistics showing that the Central Asiatic trade has fallen off rather than increased during the last eight years. In fact, there is very little opportunity for trade. The population of Central Asia is not large; its wants are few; very little can be exported there with advantage, except prints, cotton goods, cloths, tea, and some small articles, and at present the only goods imported from Central Asia are cotton, (very bad in quality,) silk, and a few fine sheepskins, known as “Astrakhan.” It is possible that a considerable trade might be developed in horse-hair and in dried fruits, and the cotton-trade might perhaps be increased, but at present the communications are so bad between this country and Europe as to render trading very difficult. From this point of view, the destruction of fourteen per cent, of the camels, the only transporting force during the late Khivan expedition, is greatly to be regretted, and this winter, and for some time to come, the prices for transport must be greatly increased. In fact, it will be very long before Central Asia as a property will be of the slightest value to Russia, and, unless great changes of administration are made, it will also be very long before it even pays for the expenses which are necessary to keep it up. A very large number of officials is maintained in the province, much larger indeed than is required by the administrative needs of the country, and to protect them, as well as to maintain order, it is necessary to have a large force of troops. There are at present in the province of Turkistan some 36,000 soldiers—according to good authority more than twice the number necessary—who cost yearly a large sum to the government. It is possible that if they were not required here, they would be required in some other part of Russia; at the same time the expenses of transport of the troops themselves and the cost of bringing to them articles of uniform and of equipment made in Russia are very great; So far, there have been only deficits in the budget of Turkistan, which have increased year by year, until in 1872 they amounted to 5,500,000 rubles, and for 1873 probably will be more than 7,000,000 rubles. The total of the income and expenditure of Turkistan for the five years from 1868 to 1872 is as follows, in rubles:
In this are not included the preliminary expenses for the army for things which are made in Russia. These enter into the general budget of the empire, where there is no comparison of one part of the country with another, so as to show what would be property charged to the province of Turkistan. Besides this, there was received in 1871 400,000 rubles as a war contribution from Bokhara, which is not included in the budget, but was spent without account there. The revenues of the Zaraphan circle since 1868, [Page 822] about 1,500,000 rubles yearly, do not appear in the budget, being, until now, at the special disposition of the governor-general. A view may be obtained of the capacities and state of the country by analyzing a little one of the budgets—say for the year 1872. The income of the country is of two kinds: first, that coming especially from the country itself and its population; and second, that which is, as it were, moved on from Russia, produced from the Russians who live there. The local revenues amount to only 1,328,200 rubles. Of these, the personal taxes and taxes of kibitkas amount to 588,000 rubles. The road-tax is 154,000 rubles, and the tax on land and its products is 278,000 rubles. The duty from internal trade is 15,000 rubles. The entire indirect taxes on articles of consumption, including the duty on articles of foreign trade, amount to 224,000 rubles, to which should be added the duty on tea imported from India, amounting to 10,000 rubles. The receipts for articles paid to government, 13,000 rubles. From government property, as for instance, rents of shops in the bazaar, 32,400 rubles; and for freights on steamers of the Aral flotilla, 800 rubles. The coal taken from the government mines amounted to 4,600 rubles; but the quantity actually sold in 1872 brought in only 100 rubles. Wood and timber brought in 8,500 rubles. This shows the unproductiveness of the country, and the undeveloped state of its mineral wealth. There were collected 21,400 rubles of previous taxes; and, among smaller items, foreign passports for natives brought in 700 rubles. The revenues received chiefly from Russians were as follows: Direct taxes of various kinds, 6,200 rubles; indirect taxes, from articles of consumption, 255,000 rubles, most of which was from the excise on spirits. The taxes for rising in official rank brought in 19,000 rubles in the year. The postal revenues amounted to 44,000 rubles, and the telegraph, which was not at that time open to Tashkent, 3,000 rubles, while the sale of powder-and cartridges brought in 1,200 rubles. The sale of treasury notes produced 16,000 rubles. The sale of various government property, such as medicines, useless things, and so forth, brought in 14,000 rubles; and private work at the government typography was done to the amount of 2,500 rubles. The return of money illegally obtained from the treasury, fines, and the pension capital, brought in 20,000 rubles. The chief increase in articles of revenue is in the excise on liquors, the stamp-tax on documents, and the postal revenues. The excise on liquors, and rights for the sale of liquors in 1868, was 114,000 rubles; in 1869, 129,000 rubles; in 1870,213,000 rubles; in 1871,240,000 rubles; and in 1872,255,000 rubles. The stamp-tax produced, in 1868, 3,000 rubles, and in 1872, 26,000 rubles; but this was not placed on a proper basis before the year 1870. The postal revenue was only 9,800 rubles in 1888, and in 1872 was 65,300 rubles. As the natives do not use liquors to any extent, it being against the principles of the Koran, the excise is paid, of course, by the Russian population only; and as in ttie course of five years the produce of the tax has more than doubled, it would seem as if the Russian population had also doubled in that time. It is, however, not probable that the Russian population of Turkistan is more than 100,000, from which must be deducted the Tartars, who do not drink; consequently every Russian in the province during 1872 paid a tax of two rubles per head for the right of drinking; a large sum as compared with the usual statistics for the use of liquors in other populations. It was at first expected to unite all branches of the administration under the war department, but this was found to have a very bad effect upon the finances of the country, and it subsequently became necessary to take the finances, as well as the post, away from the control of the military. Since that time a branch of the central department has been placed in Tashkent, which has succeeded, not only in greatly reducing the expenses, but in returning to the treasury sums which have “been erroneously taken from it. The main items for expenses in 1872 are as follows:
|1.||Salaries and expenses of officials||802,400|
|2.||Pay and maintenance of the army||3,015,200|
|3.||Horses for the cavalry and artillery.||1,249,100|
|4.||Medical department of the army||138,800|
|6.||Lighting and heating||252,900|
|7.||Munitions of war||36,900|
|8.||The Aral flotilla||57,800|
|12.||Topography and surveying||29,700|
|16.||Geological and economical investigation.||29,300|
|17.||Provincial expenses, roads, budget, &c||146,100|
|18.||Assistance to Cossack troops, &c.||38,700|
The total expenses amount to 7,529,627 rubles; to this should be added 500,000 rubles for the expenses for articles for the army, &c, made in other parts of Russia, but destined to this province. It will be seen that the expenses of government are very large, but it is difficult to say exactly where economy should begin. All judges of the country—men who have themselves served there—are certain that, as I before remarked, only one-half of the present number of troops is necessary, which, of course, would very materially reduce the expenses. There are also other things which, perhaps, are not great in themselves, but which mount up to a large sum. For instance, the expenses of the Tashkent fair, during 1872, amounted to 150,000 rubles—an expense utterly useless and uncalled for. The sum of 30,000 rubles is expended on the repairing and keeping up the house and garden of the governor-general; 30,000 rubles a year is also given to the horse-breeding establishment, which, though if properly cared for might be of some service to the country, is not an absolute necessity, and serves merely as a comfortable berth for certain members of the governor-general’s chancery. When the province of Turkistan was formed into a separate governor-generalship it was thought that it might probably reduce the expenses of Orenburg and Western Siberia, but experience has shown that the expenses of these provinces are not at all diminished, and we have the addition of very large sums to keep up the officials, and staffs of officials, who are now in Tashkent. As Turkistan is a separate governor-generalship and military district, it must have all the central administrations, in order that it may be entirely independent of others. Thus there is a central administration of artillery, a central administration of the army, a central administration of the finances, &c, which could be quite as well managed at Orenburg or Omsk. General Tchernaieff, who certainly knew the country as well as any one else, in a long and able report, which he made last year to the minister of finance, expressed his strong opinion that it would be advisable, on financial as well as on political grounds, to return to the old order of things, to abolish the office of governor-general, and to restore the province of Turkistan to the governor-general of Orenburg.
At the time of the march of the Russian troops to Tashkent it was thought that it would be of great advantage to occupy the fertile oases of Central Asia, for one reason among others, that it would be so much easier and cheaper to support the troops. It is questionable, however, whether this has proved to be the case. In 1872 the treasury spent for the provision of the army 972,777 rubles, which, with an average of 30,000 enlisted men, would cost 32f rubles per man, and in these figures are only included Hour and groats. The expense, therefore, is enormous, but it is easily understood when we see that a quarter of flour costs in Tashkent from 10 to 12 rubles, which in almost any province of European Russia would be considered a famine price. The maintenance of the cavalry is still dearer. The number of horses belonging to the government in the whole district is between 4,000 and 5,000, and 1,000,000 rubles is spent for forage, consequently about 200 rubles a horse, yet this is the country where we are constantly told that the harvest is sometimes eighty to one hundred fold, and that twice a year, while clover and hay can be cut four times a year. Although cattle-raising is the main occupation of the Central-Asiatic steppes, yet the government pays not less than 2 rubles 40 kopecks for a pood (33 pounds) of beef or mutton, a price which would even be dear where cattle-breeding was unknown. There is one curious thing in connection with the prices paid for provisions. Grain is dear because there is a tax of 10 per cent, on the products of the land. The government, in 1872, received as the produce of that tax 276,000 rubles, and at the same time it spent about 2,000,000 rubles for provisions. It therefore must have paid itself, in the province of Syr Darya, at least 150,000 rubles of this tax from one hand into the other. The remainder of the sum received, therefore, 125,000 rubles, must have fallen on the population, which in the province of Syr Darya is not less than 800,000. Eight hundred thousand people, therefore, were supported on 1,230,000 rubles, while 30,000 troops required 2,000,000 rubles, from which it would seem that something must be wrong with the commissariat or the financial system. It is evident from the foregoing that Turkistan is not, and will not be for some time to come, a self-sustaining province; but, at the same time, such a result could hardly be expected in the nine or ten years that the Russians have had possession of the country. The primary objects which led to the occupation of Central Asia were rather military than financial, and so long as the province is considered valuable from a military and political point of view, the financial burden must be borne. It seems, however, difficult to expect great ultimate profit from the country, from any point of view; the utmost that can be desired in this case is that strict economy be practiced, the expenses of the country so far as is possible reduced, and its capacities developed, so as to diminish the burden as much as possible. Many wars will constantly be made, and the Russians will have to go further on, not with the desire of conquest, but from circumstances over which they have no control; for in such a case it is always necessary to maintain the prestige of the country, and not allow the neighboring powers to take advantage of any seeming weakness or hesitancy.
On the whole, the Russian influence is beneficial in Central Asia, not only to the inhabitants, [Page 824] but to the world, and it certainly is greatly for our interest that a counterpoise should exist there against the extension of English dominion in Asia. Having once taken possession of the country, it will be almost impossible for the Russians, with any fairness to the natives, to withdraw from it.
the russian foreign policy in central asia.
It can hardly be said that the Russians have a fixed policy in Asia. The government at St. Petersburg has been always sincerely desirous of refraining from conquests and extension of dominion, in Central Asia, but circumstances have compelled them often to take the aggressive, and conquests having been once made, it has been found to be impossible to give them up, without a certain loss of prestige. It has, of course, been desired to extend the Russian influence as far as possible, by peaceful means, and to do the best that was possible for the interests of commeice. “One general after another has seen himself obliged to keep up the credit of Russian arms, “and attack a native government. The reasons which led him to this course have at last been found good at St. Petersburg, although it was regretted that such necessity had arisen, and the conquests which he made were retained. The policy has thus been a floating one, subject entirely to circumstances.
I am convinced that there is not the slightest desire or intention to make any attack upon India, but naturally the Russians would dislike to see England extending her influence nearer than it now does to Central Asia, and it is possible that at some time differences might arise with regard to the English policy in Kashgar. English criticism, however, and English diplomatic interference have had much effect upon the Russian policy. There is a strong objection felt in the foreign office to take steps of any kind in Central Asia, lest some difficulty with England might arise from them, and the consequence is that the general governor does not always have the possibility of acting in the way which he thinks best suits the state of affairs. Russia, apparently, does not feel herself strong enough to take her own course without regard to what England might say or think. As to the special policy of the governor-general, as distinguished from that of his government, it would seem to be to play the part of the pacificator of Central Asia. With this view treaties have been made with various states, though little care has been taken that they be kept after having, in the opinion of the world, reduced the surrounding khanates to a state of vassalage. The Khivan expedition was undertaken to keep up this view, and round off the whole by a successful military expedition, Avhieh would put down the last elements of disorder in Central Asia. How far such a policy has been successful will be seen by considering the relations with each country separately. The diplomatic intercourse between Russia and the independent countries of Central Asia is under the control of the governor-general, who is assisted by a diplomatic employé, (until the end of 1873, Mr. Struve, now diplomatic agent and consul-general at Japan, and since that time Mr. Weinberg.) There are no residents or other diplomatic or political-agents in the various countries. Kokand has an envoy constantly living at Tashkent, and Bokhara has had one there at various times. The political employé, sometimes alone, and sometimes in connection with other officers, has made occasional visits to Bokhara and to Kokand, and all the diplomatic affairs are in his hands. A special envoy, Baron Kaulbars, was at one time sent to Kashgar, to con clue a treaty of peace. Though the governor-general has, to a certain extent, full powers in diplomatic matters, they are subject to the general jurisdiction of the Asiatic department of the foreign office, though that department is, in fact, very badly informed as to what actually goes on in Central Asia.
1st. Kokand.—By the capture of Tashkent, the adjoining country, and of Khodjent, or Kokand City, but then under Bokharan rule in 1866, the khan of Kokand was restricted to a very small portion of his former territory, his sway having previously extended to the mouth of the Syr Darya, and he was left to govern a small but fertile territory, completely surrounded by mountains except on the western side near Khodjent. It was at first expected to take also the province of Namangan, confining Kokand to the south of the rivers Narym and Syr Darya, and General Romanoffsky was exceedingly desirous of rounding off his conquests by the occupation of the city of Kokand and the conquest of the whole country; but shrewd advice given to the khan made him send congratulations to the Russians on the capture of Khodjent, and as there was no cause for war General Romanoffsky was reluctantly compelled for the time to desist. He was soon after removed, and as the policy indicated at St. Petersburg has been ahvays against fresh conquests, and nothing occurred on the side of Kokand to render advance absolutely necessary in that direction, the country has been untouched since that time. A treaty of commerce was concluded in 1868, by which Russian merchants were to have protection and free permission to travel in Khokan, and that only 2½ per cent, duty was to be imposed on exports or imports. The impression was given at St. Petersburg, by the signature of this treaty and by the reports from Tashkent, that Khokan was in a perfectly vassal position to Russia, but this is far from being the case. The treaty has been by no means carefully [Page 825] observed. Duties amounting to nearly 6 per cent are constantly imposed, and the remonstrances of the Russian government have been unheeded. The khan is entirety hostile to Russia, and objections are made to traveling in the country. The Russian merchants resident there are under the severest restrictions. One was attacked and nearly killed, and though the fact was well known, the khan was never brought to answer for it. Of course there were reasons for this inaction on the part of the Russian authorities. It was not desired to make a war without absolute necessity, as it would be disapproved of at St. Petersburg, and it was still less desired to show that the policy pursued to Khokan had been ineffectual in bringing about the desired end. Open force used toward the khan might be improperly explained, and give rise to questions and criticism, especially on the part of England, which the foreign office was very anxious to avoid. At the same time, had the governor-general been fully informed of the state of the case, or had a different policy been pursued, it would have been perfectly easy to have reduced Khokan to a vassal position without publicity, or calling for the slightest notice from England. It would only have been necessary to have taken a leaf from English history in India, to have sent a resident agent to Khokan, protected by a guard of Cossacks, who might have been paid either by the Russian or by the Khokan government. About them, a Russian colony of merchants and others would have been naturally formed, the people of Khokan would have become accustomed to Russians, and at the same time would never have dared to insult or molest them, and the government of Khokan would have found itself obliged implicitly to follow the command of the governor-general which reached him as a suggestion of the resident agent.
After pursuing a policy of this kind for several years, it would be perfectly easy, if necessary, on the death of the khan, or even without that, to quietly unite the province With the Russian dominions. This is admitted by many at Tashkent.
* * * * * * *
The people of Khokan are much better disposed to the Russians than the khan himself; but, hostile as he is, his army is worthless, badly disciplined, and worse armed. Should it for any reason become necessary for the Russians to take Khokan, the country could be captured in a week with a battalion of men, and could be very easily held. Certain advantages would accrue to the Russians from the occupation of the country. Khokan, for its size, is rich; and, owing to the avarice of the khan, he has a vast amount of private property, which would of course come to the treasury. Thus, for example, he owns all the bazaars in the khanate, the revenues of which would go into the Russian treasury and avoid the necessity of imposing high taxes. It is not at all unlikely that the Russians will soon be obliged to take possession of Khokan, as the state of affairs there is now very bad; the people are taxed beyond measure, and many of them have been for years hostile to the khan. During my visit in July a rebellion broke out among the Kirghiz in the southern mountains, on account of illegal taxation. The troops were sent out by the khan, and the rebels were worsted in one or two skirmishes, but they soon gathered head again, and, owing to the immense number of summary executions by the khan, found partisans everywhere. They captured Ush, Andljarn, Urzgent, and other cities, and were prepared to join with the Kiptchaks, a tribe living in the north, also indisposed to the khan. At this juncture the khan sent to Tashkent for Russian aid, but it was refused. At the same time the Kirghiz intimated to the Russians that they would be much better pleased to be under Russian rule than under the khan, and begged the Russians to march in. No step, however, was taken, and as the cold weather approached the khan again got the upper hand. During the winter all seems to be quiet, but it is expected that in early spring the affair will burst out again, and it is very doubtful whether the khan will be able to retain the throne from which he has already twice been driven.
2d. Bokhara.—The relations of Russia to Bokhara were always much pleasanter than those with the other Central Asiatic countries. Since the time of Peter the Great embassies were constantly exchanged, and the caravan trade has been unrestricted until the capture of Tashkent. The Emir of Bokhara then took up a hostile position and imprisoned the Russian envoys, but being defeated in the battle of Irdjar, and Khodjent being taken from him, he released the envoys and made peace. Renewed plotting in Tashkent, and a continual hostile disposition, with the massing of a large army on the frontier, forced the Russians again to march against him in 1868, when Samarkand and the valley of the Zaraphan as far as Rattakurgan were taken. A treaty was made by which the emir was bound to pay a heavy contribution, and it was expected to restore to him the province which he had lost. This, however, was not done, and subsequently a commercial treaty, similar to that made with Khokan, was negotiated. The capture of Samarcand and the disastrous peace excited great discontent against the emir among his own subjects, especially among the fanatical Mussulman party; and his eldest son, the Katta Tiura, heir to the throne, was induced to take up arms against him. The emir, who is naturally timid, feared to lose his throne entirety, and called upon the Russians for assistance. General Kaufmann, finding a good opportunity to convince the emir that his intentions were peaceful and that he had no [Page 826] desire to conquer the country, sent an expedition under General Abramoff to Karshi, which was immediately taken. The Katta Tiura was defeated and fled to Khiva, but subsequently went to Kashgar, where he remained, half deprived of his liberty, until the present summer, when an embassy, sent by Shir Ali, of Afghanistan, persuaded Yakub Bek to release him, and he went to Cabool, where, it is said, he will marry the daughter of Shir Ali. Having held the city of Karshi for two days, the Russians evacuated it, delivered it up to the emir, and returned to Samarcand.
In 1870 troubles arose with the semi-independent bekships of Shahr-i-sabz, a little to the south of Samarcand. Accusations were made that a certain official of that bek-shiphad been implicated in the murder of a Russian djigit, and on a refusal to give him up Shahr-i-sabz was taken by the Russians after a severe fight, and both the Beks, Djura Bek andBaba Bek, fled to Khokan. These beks were immediately delivered up by the Khokan authorities, were brought to Tashkent, and kept at first under surveillance. After the capture of Shahr-i-sabz, it was found on investigation that the native official was innocent, and that the Russians were entirely wrong in the matter; but instead of restoring the country to its rulers, they gave it up to the emir of Bokhara, wmohad nominally a claim upon it, and retired, forcing the emir, however, to agree to pay the excited beks a subsidy of about 2,000 rubles a year. The surrender, both of Shahr-i-sabz and of Karshi, was made against the wish, and in spite of the protest, of the native population, who much preferred to remain under Russian rule than to return again to that of the emir. In spite of these benefits conferred upon the emir, of numerous friendly embassies, and of other means taken to assure him of the friendliness of the Russians, he likes them no better in his heart, though his experience of their strength leads him as far as possible to avoid causes of conflict. He has, however, made no efforts to carry out the treaty of commerce, the Russian merchants being treated very much in the same way as in Khokan, and for two years he has not paid to the exiled beks of Shahr-i-sabz the sums due to them, in spite of repeated requests from the Tashkent authorities. It is strange that these requests have not been made in a more forcible form, but it is probable that it was feared that the emir might be hostile during the Khivan expedition. When the Khivan expedition started, there was general fear in Bokhara that it was directed also against that city, and merchants even sent away their property and came to Samarcand to be out of harm’s way. At one time the terror was so great that the population proposed to seize upon the emir and deliver him up to the Russians. The emir, however, professed friendliness toward the Russians, met them at the frontier with messengers and presents, and sent an envoy with the expedition. He furnished a certain amount of provisions and camels, though, with the exception of a small present, these were sold at high prices, and not given away. He further held himself ready to take advantage of any circumstances favorable to himself, and while he was sending kind words and worn-out camels to the Russians, he was giving his blessing and opening his purse to three Turcoman chiefs, who left Bokhara for Khiva. The Russian authorities considered it best, however, to wink at his conduct and to reward his friendliness and the equanimity with which he regarded the establishment of a Russian fortress, Saint George, at Rhalata, within theBokharan territory, by bestowing upon him a narrow strip of country on the right bank of the Oxus, which was in dispute between him and Khiva. Nothing had been said in the commercial treaty with regard to slavery or the slave-trade, but it was impressed upon the Bokharan authorities that the Russians disapproved of this shameful traffic, and desired its immediate cessation. In consequence of this, the Bokharans gave out to the Russians that the trade in slaves (the slaves here are all Persians,) had entirely ceased, and dust was thrown in the eyes of the Russian officials who came to Bokhara, so that the diplomatic employé made a report to General Kaufmann some two years ago, in which he stated that, after careful investigation, he was convinced that, in deference to the wish and principles of Russia, the siave-trade had entirely ceased. Merchants, however, who had better opportunities of seeing, knew that it was going on in full force, but their reports were dis believed in Tashkent. Mr. Petroffsky, the agent of the ministry of finance, was in Bokhara in 1872, and having seen with his own eyes the sale of Persian slaves at the bazaar, he made a strong report to General Kaufmann, but no notice was taken of it. When I was in Bokhara in August I also saw the open sale of slaves at the bazaar, and openly purchased one. The authorities, however, became alarmed at this, knowing that I could thus prove their duplicity to the Russians, and took him away from me.
I thereupon bought another, through one of my servants, and brought him with me to Tashkent, and subsequently to St. Petersburg. This caused a great scandal at Samarcand and Tashkent, as it occurred at the very time when news came that General Kaufmann had caused the release of Persian slaves at Khiva; but the act was viewed with favor by most persons, official and otherwise, for it was considered that I had given the government actual proof of the existence of the forbidden traffic. Some of the more outspoken partisans of the governor-general were displeased, thinking that my action was intended as an innuendo against himself.
After the return of the Russian troops from Khiva it was found necessary to make [Page 827] a new treaty with Bokhara with regard to the cession of the small strip of land on the Oxus, already spoken of, and an article was inserted in this treaty by which the slave-trade was henceforth utterly abolished in Bokhara. At the same time the commercial treaty was renewed, granting the Russians additional privileges in the khanate. It is, however, not the making of treaties in these countries, but the enforcement of them, which is important, and it remains to be seen whether the present treaty will be kept any better than the preceding one. It seems to me, and I think the same would be evident to any one who understood well the present position of affairs in Central Asia, that the Russians must eventually occupy the whole country as far as the Oxus, and, possibly, as far as the Hindu-Kush. The arrangements made last year with England with regard to the boundary of Afghanistan imply that if Russia came up to the Oxus nothing would be said, but if it will be necessary for Russia to occupy Bokhara, the sooner it is done the better, for many reasons. So far as Russian commerce is concerned, the occupation of Bokhara would certainly be very advantageous; for the Bazaar of Bokhara is the trade-center of the whole of Central Asia, and unless Russian commerce is subject to fewer restrictions, and makes greater efforts, it will be entirely crowded out of Bokhara by the English; for even now large quantities of English wares are imported there by way of Afghanistan. Should any difficulty arise between the emir and the Russians, the country would probably rise against him and side with the Russians, for he is very much detested. Plots are constantly going on, and many secret messengers have come to Tashkent with letters from influential personages, the beks of Shahr-i-sabz, and even intimate friends of the emir, begging for Russian aid, and requesting that, if the Russians were unwilling to occupy the country, they would, at least, change the ruler. These petitions, however, have been thus far disregarded. Should the Russians wish to interfere in the internal affairs of the country, they have instruments in their hands in the two beks of Shar-i-sabz, who were very popular in their own country, and in Seid Khan, the nephew of the emir, now in Tashkent, who claims to be the rightful heir to the throne. Though a man of no force, and feeble intellect, his position would make him useful to the Russians.
3d. Khiva.—The relations between Russia and Khiva have always been more or less unfriendly since the two countries came into communication. The Cossacks on the Ural made several freebooting expeditions in early years, led by stories of great wealth at Khiva, but were always repulsed. The information which Peter the Great received about the riches of these countries, and about the existence of gold along the Oxus, (it had not yet been found in the Ural Mountains,) led him to send an expedition to Khiva, under command of Prince Tcheskasky Bekovitch. After having accomplished his mission, the prince was deceived by the khan, and he, and nearly all of his army, were treacherously murdered. As the Russian boundary-countries became more settled the Khivans became more troublesome, not only of themselves but through their influence on the Kirghiz, and the Russians were continually being robbed on the shores of the Caspian and banks of the Aral, and murdered or carried into captivity and sold as slaves in Khiva. Missions were sent to them at various times, but were usually unsuccessful, and in the winterof 1839–40, General Peraffsky, the governor-general of Orenburg, led an expedition against Khiva; but fate was against the Russians, and the army suffered so much from cold and the loss of transport and provisions, that it was obliged to retreat, and the expedition was an utter failure. Even after the success of the Russians against Khokan and Bokhara, the Khivans were no more amenable, and continued their predatory attacks. The letters of the governor-general were treated with disdain, and no arrangement could be made. In 1869 they stirred up the Kirghiz to mutiny and caused the Russians great trouble in the country to the south of Orenburg, and it was finally resolved that such a state of affairs must cease. Several years, however, were spent in useless efforts to persuade the khan to deliver up his captures and discontinue his proceedings, and in small expeditions and surveys into the steppe from the side of the Caspian, from the mouth of the Syr Darya, and to the north of Bokhara and the Kizylkurn desert. It was thought that in the autumn of 1872, Colonel Markorzoff, who commanded the surveying expedition from Fort Krasnovodsk on the Caspian, would reach Khiva and probably take it; but unfortunately, through some carelessness, he lost most of his camels and was obliged to retreat when half-way there. It was therefore decided to fit out a complete expedition against the khan. General Kauf mann at first proposed that there should be two detachments or expeditions, one composed of troops from the Caucasus to go from Krasnovodsk direct to Khiva, and the other, under his own command, from Tashkent, the two expeditions to meet at Khiva. General Kirzhanopky, the governor-general of Orenburg, happened to be in St. Petersburg at the time, and explained to the government the great danger of such a course; that unless there was an expedition from Orenburg, the Kirghiz steppe would be open, and that the Khivans, assisted by their friends, the Turcomans, could make an attack on the great postal route to Tashkent, and even disturb the Ural and Orenburg districts. General Kauf mann therefore reluctantly decided to allow an expedition of Orenburg troops, under command of General Verefkin, [Page 828] governor of the Ural Cossacks, to go along the west side of the Aral Sea, and sent another detachment south from Kozalinsk, which was to meet his own expedition at the Oxus. It was hoped that these expeditions would all meet each other before Khiva, and that then General Kaufmann would easily be able to capture the city. A few changes, however, were afterward introduced. On account of the failures in obtaining camels, the expedition from the Caspian was divided into two: one, under command of Colonel Lomakin, starting from Fort Alexandrofsky, and the other under command of Colonel Markorzoff, from Tchikishlar, at the mouth of the Atrek.
The expedition of Colonel Markorzoff, owing to the haste with which he advanced, he being actuated by a desire to reach Khiva first and take it before the other expeditions came up, proved a complete failure, his men suffering extremely from the heat and want of water, and he was obliged to retire after having buried his cannon in the sand and thrown his muskets away. The muskets were subsequently brought in by the Kirghiz. The expedition of Markorzoff, however, did some service in keeping down the Tekke Turcomans. The expedition from Kazalinsk, with which was the Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinevitch, finding the expedition under General Kaufmann did not come on so fast as was expected, turned to the left, and met it at Aristan Bel’kuduk. The expedition of General Kaufmann, which had left Djzzak on March 26, met with most unpropitious weather, and when it arrived at Khalata about the 1st of May, stopped for a fortnight to combine forqes, and then started through a perfectly unknown desert to the Oxus, near Utch Ugatch. This march of about one hundred miles was one of extreme hardship; there was great suffering from want of water and from heat; nearly all of the camels perished, and the officers and men were obliged to throw away most, of their baggage and camp equipments. General Kaufmann himself was almost in despair, and there was a time when he was afraid that the whole expedition would perish in the sands. Once arrived at the, Oxus, affairs were better, and going down the right bank to Sherrakhana, with two small skirmishes with the Turcomans, the enemy on the opposite bank was dislodged, the river was crossed, and Hazarasts and other places were taken and the success of the expedition was assured. In the mean time the Orenburg expedition of General Verefkin marched with almost no difficulty along the west coast of the Aral Sea to Kungzad, where it was joined by the detachment under the command of Colonel Lomakin. There were then several “small fights with the Turcomans, and the army arrived in front of Khiva, when, hearing nothing from General Kaufmann, and a heavy fire being kept upon them from the city, they were obliged to take the gate by assault. In the mean time the khan had sent messengers to General Kaufmann to surrender him the city, and communication was established with General Veref kin, and he received orders to cease firing if he were not attacked, as the city would be surrendered. This he did, but the firing from the city was continued, and at last a handful of men took the citadel by storm, but had barely done so when they heard that General Kaufmann, having received the surrender from the authorities, was marching in at the other side. The khan himself had taken flight, and his brother was released from prison and temporarily placed upon the throne. Messengers having been sent to the khan, he soon returned and was replaced in authority, subject to a council or Divain, of which two-thirds of the members were Russians. The result of these expeditions against Khiva was very curious, for it showed that the march of the detachments from Tashkent and from the Caspian was almost useless. No troops had been sent across the Oxus to meet General Kaufmann, it being taken for granted that he would perish in the desert. The only opposition of any strength was shown to General Veref kin, against whom all of the army was sent, with the exception of a small body left to guard the crossing of the Oxus at Sherrakhana. The Orenburg expedition, therefore, which had been assented to merely to protect the steppe against the Turcomans, was the only expedition which found a good road, met with few disasters, beat the enemy, arrived safely, and captured the city. Had the advice of the authorities at Orenburg been followed at first, no other expedition would have been necessary, and Khiva would have been taken quietly, without noise, and without the consequent diplomatic unpleasantness.
A contribution of some 2,200,000 rubles was laid upon the khan, but as his income amounted to but 400,000 rubles a year, it was estimated that it would require at least twenty years to pay this. Khiva having been punished, the aim of the expedition was really over, and the promise of the Emperor, given to the English government by Count Schuvaloff, that after punishing the khan the Russian armies would retire, had to be carried out. Apart of the contribution, however, had been laid upon the Turcoman tribes, whom it was also desired to punish for the part they had taken in the war. It would perhaps have been wiser to have passed this in silence, for the Turcomans, in so far as the war was concerned, were nominally subjects of the khan and in his service. They fought against the expedition of Orenburg, but after being beaten off they were for a month upon the most friendly terms possible, and the small detachments which were sent out for geological and surveying purposes passed nights and days in the Turcomans’encampments with perfect safety.
The opinion of the officers from Orenburg, who think very highly of the Turcomans, [Page 829] is that they would strictly have adhered to the peace which had been signed. It was, however, necessary to have some action in which the Tashkent expedition could distinguish itself and receive its share of honors and rewards, the glory of the affair having been so far to the Orenburg-Caucasus expeditions alone. After imposing the contribution upon the Turcomans, General Kaufmann called to himself the elders of the Yoniud tribe, and informed them that they should pay within two weeks a part of this sum, and time would be given for payment of the rest, and detained a portion of them as hostages until the first payment was made. Instead of waiting for the two weeks, he immediately sent out a detachment, commanded by General Gola-vatchoff, to ascertain the probability of this payment. General Golavatchoff immediately began to attack the Turcoman villages and encampments, burned the houses, destroyed the wagons of household stores, and spread devastation generally among them. The Turcomans were of course exceedingly angry at this, and complained to the detachment of Orenburg, which was then on its retreat, saying that if they were not so friendly with General Kaufmann now would be just the time to fall together upon General Golavatchoff’s expedition, and utterly annihilate it. At last, at Illyalli, there was an attack of Turcomans on General Golavatehoff camp, in which, after great disorder, the Russians were successful, and the Turcomans retreated. After this the Yomuds abandoned their country and marched off into the desert, being, however, thoroughly angry, and ready at the first opportunity to renew their attacks, and indisposed to keep any peace that might be made. This attack on the Turcomans was, as General Krizhanoffsky, the governor-general of Orenburg, informed roe, quite uncalled for, and likely to lead to serious results. “It will now be necessary,” he said, “for us to have expeditions against the Turcomans for many years. It will be a second Caucasus, and in the end we shall find ourselves obliged to take Mero, which would immediately lead to complications with England.” The reports and propositions of General Kaufmann having been approved by the Emperor, a treaty of peace was made with Khiva on the 24th August, 1873, which reduced that country entirely to a vassal condition. The whole delta and the right bank of the Oxus were ceded to Russia, in order to protect the Russian steppe and to secure the performance of the stipulations with regard to trade. The Oxus was closed to all vessels except Russian or Khivan, the Russian merchants were allowed perfect freedom of commerce in the khanate, with liberty to purchase and hold property; a heavy contribution of 2,200,000 rubles was imposed, to be paid in twenty years by installments; a Russian fortress was built at Sturakana, under the name of Petro Alexandrofsk, and a portion of the right bank of the Oxus was, as I have said before, ceded to Bokhara by Russia. The garrison at the fortress was under command of Colonel Ivanoff, who has the powers of governor of the aury darya cayon.
It would seem as if the prediction of General Kryzhanoffsky was being accomplished. The Turcomans, during this winter, have given much trouble to the Russian garrison at Petro Alexandrofsk, and intelligence has just reached St. Petersburg that the Yomuds attempted to cross the Oxus on the ice to the fort, but were repulsed with heavy loss on account of the breaking of the ice. It is said, also, that the khan of Khiva has broken the, treaty and joined the Yomuds; and Colonel Ivanoff has asked for re-enforcements. As the Turcomans have also appeared in the steppe between the Caspian and Aral, orders have been sent to General Kryzhanoffsky to send three detachments into the steppe, and it is said that a large expedition is on foot for the spring.
4th. Afghanistan.—The direct relations between Russia and Afghanistan had been very few, being chiefly confined to the interchange of some letters of politeness. The letters sent by the Russians are always accompanied by an English translation for the greater convenience of the Indian authorities, to whom, it is presumed, they are transmitted. The former emir, and now pretender to the throne of Kabool, Aboul Rahman Khan, who escaped to Samarcand after his defeat in Afghanistan, still lives there, receiving a pension of 20,000 rubles a year from the Russian government, and being counted in the Russian service. Some two years ago he petitioned General Kaufmann to grant him 100,000 rubles, saying that with that he would be able to re-assert his rights to the throne and put down Shir Ali; but this request was refused. As Aboul Rahman Khan lives very economically, he will soon be able to have the required money from his savings. He is in constant correspondence with Afghanistan, and professes to think that on his appearance there will at once be a revolution in his favor. He has asked several times for permission to go to St. Petersburg, but it has always been refused. It is probable that the friendly reception given by Shir Ali to the Katta Tiura, the eldest son of the Emir of Bokhara, will cause difficulties with that country, and, eventually, with’Russia. The fixing of the Oxus as the boundary between Afghanistan and the countries under Russian influence was done by the foreign office at St. Petersburg, in 1873, though General Kaufmann was in St. Petersburg at the time.
5th. Kashgar, Djitishaar, (seven cities,) or Eastern Turkistan, was formerly a portion of what was called Chinese Tartary; but in the years 1863 and 1864 there was a rebellion of the Mussulman inhabitants against the Chinese rulers. Before the Chinese [Page 830] occupation, the country had been governed by khodjas, who afterward took refuge in Khokan, but occasionally made attempts at insurrection. When the great rebellion broke out one of these men returned to Kashgar, and was put at the head of the movement. Yakub Bek, a native of Iskeiit, near Tashkent, who was formerly an officer under the aim of Khokand and was commander of Akmetchet (now Fort Peroffsky) when it was taken by the Russians in 1853, associated himself with the khodja, and succeeded by his skill and daring in utterly overthrowing the Chinese after a very bloody struggle. He then found means to get rid of the khodja, and asserted his power in the country, taking the title of Atalyk Ghazi, and has since that time extended his dominions by the capture of various Chinese and Dungan cities, (the last taken being Urumtsi and Manass,) until now he nearly surrounds the province of Kuldja.
The old enmity of Yakub Bek to the Russians still continued, and Russian merchants who dared to enter Khokand in spite of the insults and restrictions, often suffered severely. The Russians, on their part, did not wish to recognize at first the independence of what they considered a revolted Chinese province, and although at various times they sent officers for certain negotiations, they were careful not to recognize Yakub Bek as the legal ruler of the country. In 1872 Yakub Bek had become so hostile to Russia that an expedition was resolved upon. A military road had Keen buiLt through the Thian Shian mountains and Naryn Pass, and stores of goods were accumulated at Fort Naryn for use in the expedition. Yakub Bek, however, changed his tactics, and a peace was agreed upon with Baron Kaulbars, which was ratified by General Kaufmann and the government at St. Petersburg. The treaty was exactly similar in form and contents to the commercial treaties with Khokand and Bokhara. During the last summer an envoy from the Khan of Kashgar was sent to the Emperor at St. Petersburg, the first who has been received, and Yakub Bek is therefore formally recognized as the Khan of Kashgar. At the same time, however, the caravan of Messrs. Pupyshoff was undergoing hard treatment in Kashgar by order of Yakub Bek. The constant negotiations with England have also given the Russian authorities some alarm, for Kashgar is much nearer to Russian possessions than it is to India, and much more easy of access, the passes being not so difficult It is very probable, therefore, that an expedition will be fitted out in the spring against Kashgar. A pretext will probably be found in the treatment of Russian merchants, and it is the intention to demand damages to the amount of 15,000 rubles, and a fine besides of 10,000 rubles more. Of course, if Yakub Bek refused to pay this, the expedition would start at once.
6th. Kuldja.—The province of Kuldja is a very rich and fertile valley lying on both sides of the river Ili, and inclosed between the different ranges of the Thian-Shian. The inhabitants are of very different races. There were the native Kalmuks and Dun-gans, the latter, a race, Chinese by origin, and using the Chinese language, and wearing the Chinese dress, but by religion Mussulmans since many hundred years; Tarantchis, who were simply the ordinary Turki Mussulmans, originally captives, colonized over from Kashgar, or Chinese Turkistan, after its occupation; and various Chinese colonists, Soloni and Libos, brought there from other parts of the Cihnese empire, and the Chinese and Mantchu soldiers and officers of every grade. The country was very wealthy and the population enormous. When the Dungan insurrection broke out in Eastern Turkistan it extended to Kuldja, where the Tarantchis united with their co-religionists in throwing off the Chinese rule. After a struggle of two years the rebellion was entirely successful, and the last city, Mantchu-Kuldja, with 75,000 inhabitants and 75,000 garrison, was taken. On the night of the assault there was not a single person of Chinese blood alive in the town; those who had not escaped to the steppe to die there of hunger having been killed. The massacres throughout the whole province were enormous, but some 300,000 colonists being on the Ili, escaped over the Russian borders, and were fed and taken care of and subsequently were allowed to return to provinces still under Chinese rule. The Duugans at first had the ascendency, but after some time the Tarantchis, discontented with them on account of the difference of race and speech, rose against them, and seized upon the government for themselves.
The Russians, perhaps unwisely, did not interfere in any of these contests, though a large force of observation was stationed near Bora Khudzir, on the frontier. The Tarantchi Sultan was unable to keep order either within or without his dominions, and there were constant predatory attacks upon the Russian Kirghiz, and numerous hepds of cattle and flocks of sheep were stolen. Such things excited difficulties and caused reprisals, and at last an embassy was sent to Kuldja, when it was thought that the sultan would come to terms. As he was unable to give any guarantee for good behavior, in 1871 it was found necessary to compel him to do so by force of arms. After a campaign of a few weeks the Kuldja army was entirely beaten, and the sultan surrendered and was sent to live at Vierny. Since that time the Russians have been in occupation of the country, and the Chinese have to some extent begun to return there. The state of the province is most lamentable. What was once a fertile country is now [Page 831] almost a waste, and it is there that one can best understand the devastation that passed over Central Asia in the Middle Ages. On the road from the frontier to old Kuldja I passed eight ruined cities, formerly large, populous, and wealthy, without now a single inhabitant; in many of them the walls of the houses with their paintings and decorations still standing. The hatred of the different races to each other still continues, though at present they live peacefully enough; but the Mussulmans say that if the Russians should withdraw they will immediately kill all the Chinese who remain. The capture of Kuldja was probably brought about as much from fear that Yakub Bek intended to conquer the country, which would have been disagreeable, as there would then have been simply an imaginary boundary in the open country separating the two countries, as from the disorders produced by the unruly inhabitants of Kuldja but as the government at St. Petersburg had no desire to enlarge the Russian boundaries in that direction, an offer was made to the Chinese government to re-occupy the country, and it was said that Kuldja would be surrendered the moment the Chinese force became sufficient to maintain order. The Chinese professed their momentary inability to send such a force, and although it has been said at various times that they would now be ready to re-occupy the country, it still remains in Russian hands, and its future is undecided.
It is to De hoped, however, for the benefit of humanity and civilization, that the country will remain in Russian hands and will be open to Russian colonization. It is by far, in every respect, the richest, best, and most beautiful part of Central Asia; besides a very fertile soil, the mountains abound in minerals, and excellent canned coal is the only fuel. The Drzian-Drziur, or Chinese governor, nominally at Kuldja, resides at Tchugutchak, in the Chinese province, to the north of Kuldja, and frequent differences have arisen between him and the Russians, through acts of marauding and his interference with Kalmucks and others still in Kuldja, and of course in Russian Turkistan. It is not, however, supposed that anything serious will result from this, but orders have been given to resort to more extreme measures if necessary.
I have, &c,
Hon. Marshall Jewell, &c.
When I was in Samarcand, I had a long interview with Abdul Rahman Khan, the deposed Afghan prince, and among other things the conversation touched upon the relations of Afghanistan to India. As to himself, Abdul Rahman Khan felt sure that he need only declare himself to have the population entirely on his side, saying that Shir Ali was detested by all the Afghans for his complaisance toward England. I asked him if the subsidy given to Shir Ali by the English had any effect upon the feelings of the Afghans. He said to make them well-disposed to England it has no effect at all though it possibly may have an effect upon Shir Ali personally. If the English were to give Afghanistan the whole revenues of India, they would not love the English the better. I then asked him whether, in case of a war between any other country and England, and an attack was made on India, the Afghans would be willing to join in it. He said that if word was given to the Afghans that an attack was to be made against the English in India, and they were convinced that the war was not against India but against the English domination there, they would willingly join in this without any subsidy, or the necessity of much urging.
If what Abdul Rahman Khan said is true, it would seem possible for a foreign power at war with England to create for her serious difficulties in her Indian possessions.