Mr. Bolter to Mr. Fish.
Constantinople, August 14, 1873. (Received September 4.)
Sir: I have the honor herewith to transmit for consideration a proposed form of adhesion to the project of Egyptian judicial reform, intended to be signed by the representatives of the foreign powers, as their governments may agree to the measure. The conditions of thisdocument impose still stricter limits upon the time given to the Egyptian government for the trial of the reformed judicial system; for, instead of authorizing the extension of the experiment over a period of five years, as agreed to by the commission, the arrangement may be terminated at any time that it may be pronounced to be unsatisfactory by the contracting powers. Even to this stipulation the Egyptian government has cheerfully acceded, willing to agree to anything that will enable the Khedive to put the new tribunals to the proof of practice, believing, as he confidentlydoes, that they need but be tested to demonstrate their entire success to the satisfaction of the powers. Bound, as the Khedive now is, by restraining agreements, there can be but little danger in permitting him to act as he can in his fettered condition; for the whole future of the question of judicial reform is safely lodged in other hands.
The danger that the Ottoman government, or any province of the empire, should demand the same privileges as may be accorded to Egypt, no longer exists; since, by the terms of the firman recently granted by the Sultan, the Khedive has been empowered to make any arrangements that he may think necessary for the internal affairs of Egypt, without further authority from the imperial government.
The fact that the United States was not the first power to authorize the plan of judicial reform seems to be a cause of surprise and regret to the Khedive, who has, on more than one occasion, expressed himself to me in that sense. Considering the warmth with which the gentleman who was then United States consul-general in Egypt entered into the original scheme, almost shaping by his counsels the work of the first commission to his wish, the proverbial liberality of our Government toward all nations, particularly toward the weak and the oppressed, the alacrity with which we have conceded to communities of men the right of self-government, and all the minor rights which necessarily spring from that great principle, the Khedive’s astonishment and chagrin at our unusual course appears more to be regretted than to be wondered at. If in the present position of affairs some concession to the principle of the judicial reform, or some assurance as to our future action regarding it, could be given by us to the Khedive, that would tend to better his [Page 1127] feelings toward our country, in which at present there is something to be desired.
At this date the following powers have accepted the terms agreed to by the late commission: England, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Sweden and Norway, and Germany, subject in the case of the latter government to ratification by the Reichstag.
I have, &c,