No. 768.
Mr. Boker to Mr. Fish.

No. 152.]

Sir: I have the honor to say, in reply to dispatch No. 129, of September 12,1873, relative to the question of Egyptian judicial reform, that [Page 1135] the Khedive himself would hardly venture to express disappointment with the course of the Government of the United States, had he, in his proposed tribunals, designed to try Christians by Mahometan judges or under any of the forms of Mahometan law. According to the plan submitted, a majority of the judges will be Christians, virtually appointed by the great powers. Christian testimony will be admitted before the courts upon the same footing as Mahometan, and the laws under which justice will be administered will be based upon the Napoleonic code as it is now established in France.

Unless I have spoken a great deal to little purpose, and have heard assent where there was no understanding, the Khedive fully comprehends the process necessary to obtain the assent of the United States to his scheme of judicial reform. It seems that what he hoped for was that the Government would accord to the plan a qualified sanction, subject to ratification or rejection by the Senate on the meeting of that body. Since the formation of the plan by the consular commission in Egypt, in which our representative acted so conspicuous a part, the Khedive has had hard and up-hill work with his darling project. Many years have been passed in securing for it a position from which negotiation might be attempted. Among despotic governments he has met with the opposition which he expected. From the United States and from England he looked for a cordial support, which he has obtained from the latter only, at a great shock to his preconceptions as to the liberality of our Government. Something; may in fairness be pardoned to a man who is most disappointed in that quarter from which he had been deriving the most hope.

At the close of dispatch No. 129 it is said that assent to the plan of Egyptian judicial reform can only lawfully be given by means of a new treaty with Turkey. An examination of the firman, recently accorded by the Sultan to the Khedive, shows that henceforth the latter will be empowered to make such treaties with foreign powers as relate to the internal government of Egypt. The clause in question was introduced for the sole purpose of enabling the Khedive to negotiate independently with foreign governments all matters pertaining to the changes necessary to establish judicial reform. It will be with Egypt, therefore, and not with Turkey, that, in courtesy, we should attempt to negotiate the proposed treaty. I believe that it would be dangerous to unsettle any of the stipulations of the ancient capitulations and treaties with Turkey, or to agree to accord to her the same privileges which we might safely grant to more civilized Egypt. The day is not far distant when, on notice from either party, the treaties between Turkey and the foreign powers may be made to expire by limitation. Already there is talk among the Turks of giving the necessary notice—of abolishing the capitulations, of abrogating all unreciprocated privileges, and of insisting that henceforth Turkey shall negotiate treaties with foreign nations only upon strictly equal terms. If the present policy of Great Britain should endure, Turkey will be sustained in her demands by the influence and the example of the former power. I shoulddoubt the wisdom of so complete a revolution in the relations now existing between foreigners and Turks, particularly in the provinces, but we, nevertheless, may soon be called upon to meet the difficulties of the question.

I have, &c,