ページの画像
PDF
ePub

an

veloped that love of travel and ever ready to press for redress, faculty of observation which were and generally met with success. marked characteristics of his brief His warm sympathy with distress life. He travelled widely in was known far and wide, and, India, Java, Sumatra, China, and when famine was almost at the Japan; and, when the regiment door, many a poor peasant had was ordered home, he returned by reason to bless the unostentatious China, Siberia, and Russia. On charity of the British consul. this occasion he crossed the great Whilst temporarily acting as Gobi desert with a single Russian consul at Aleppo, Stewart made attendant. A wide reader, a good a remarkable journey in the desert linguist, gifted with an iron con- between the Euphrates and Tigris. stitution, insensible to fatigue, The Arabs, at the time, were in a careless of creature comforts, and state of ferment, and it was deblessed with one of those happy sirable to ascertain what was going dispositions which make the best on from other than Turkish sources. of everything, Stewart was Stewart, with a single attendant, ideal explorer. He loved beauti- left Aleppo as if for a morning's ful scenery and the excitement of ride; but, at a village in the constant change ; but his great neighbourhood, he exchanged his interest was in the people,—their horses for camels, and travelled history, their manners and cus- rapidly, by Palmyra, to the Eutoms, their system of government phrates. Orossing the river and and their military capacity. In passing through a district where these earlier journeys he obtained the Sultan's writ does not run, he a knowledge of oriental life and visited the supreme sheikh of the character which was afterwards of Shammar Arabs, and eventually the greatest service to him.

emerged from the desert at Mosul. During the winter of 1878-79, His journey, which was Stewart, with only a native ser great hardship, with a fair share vant, travelled through some of the of adventure, was a complete suctroubled districts of Asia Minor, sess, and added to his previous and on his return to Constantinople high reputation. was asked to give some account In the summer of 1882 Stewart of his journey to the Embassy. sent to the little known His report showed such keen in- country of the Dersim Kurds ; sight into the causes that had led and no communication had been to the wretched condition of the received from him when Alexcountry, and such warm sympathy andria was bombarded and occuwith the sufferings of the peas- pied. It was a time of great exantry, Moslem and Christian, that citement, caused by the sedulous it at once attracted attention. circulation of false rumours of As a result he was offered and British defeats, and some anxiety accepted a military vice-consulship was felt for his safety. in Anatolia, and was appointed to sistent were the rumours that Konia. Here his upright char when Stewart reached Kharpút, acter and strong common - sense travel - stained by his rough life soon won the respect and esteem in the Kurdish mountains, a reof the Turkish officials, from the port ran through the bazár that Governor-General downwards. He the British troops had been driven never interfered needlessly, but from Egypt and that one of the when a genuine case of injustice fugitives had just made his apwas brought to his notice he was pearance. At Kharpút he re

one of

was

So per

was

ceived orders to proceed to Egypt, power, and whether he was not and, starting at once for Alex. able to turn all their powder into andretta, he reached Alexandria a water." few days before the battle of Tell On the 8th December he is at el-Kebír. For his services in Berber visiting the prisons, where Anatolia he received a well-earned he found men who, though tried C.M.G.

and found innocent, had been At Alexandria, and afterwards waiting more than a year for an at Cairo, Stewart was specially order of release from Cairo. In employed under Sir E. Malet, then the Finance Office thirty clerks British Agent. Early in October, were entering and re - entering however, the condition of the every item of expenditure over Súdán was giving rise to anxiety and over again in forty books; and alarm. The whole country and “to add to the confusion of appeared to be in a state bordering the office, the children from the upon anarchy. Telegrams of the neighbouring school are allowed most conflicting character were free access in order that they may being received, and every day it learn arithmetic by watching the became more desirable to obtain clerks." accurate information on the state On the 16th December he reached of affairs, and the progress of the Khartúm, and was well received Mahdi. Stewart

sent to by the Governor-General, Abd elKhartúm to report on the situa- Kader, of whom he writes in tion; and Lord Dufferin, no mean terms of high praise. On the 20th judge, publicly expressed his we find him urging the Governor opinion of Stewart's work in the to try, and shoot for cowardice following terms :

and disobedience of orders, a major "It was a matter of astonishment who, when in coinmand of a batto me-and I am glad to say I have talion, had refused to attack a recorded my opinions on the subject small party of Arabs. The sequel in an official despatch-to observe the is amusing. Before the court-marcapacity, the industry, and the ability tial could assemble, the Khedive with which, under the most unpro- telegraphed his “thanks to the pitious circumstances, that noble officer performed the task given to battalion for its admirable conhim. He sent home a series of de- duct,” and asked for “the names spatches unrivalled for lucidity, and of the officers and N.C.O.'s.” One the mass of complicated information of the officers, on this occasion, which they contained, and above all fell or was pushed into the for that spirit of humanity which they Nile. breathed." It is, however, from his private he became deaf and dumb. He was

“ The result of his bath was that letters that we get the clearest put in the hospital here [Khartum), impression of the general state of and a very severe blister placed on disorder. On the 28th November the back of his neck. This was most he reached Sawákin, having made effectual, and in a few hours he bethe voyage with over 1000 men on gan to lisp. The surgeon then said, their way to the Súdán.

* If

Their you cannot speak and hear pervalue he considered to be doubtful, fectly well to-morrow, I shall have to “as some of their officers had been

run a hot needle up your ear.' The

man was perfectly well the next day. heard to ask whether the Mahdi Needless to say he was shamming the was not gifted with supernatural whole time.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1 Speech at Belfast, October 16, 1884.

soon

Successes

over

Well might Stewart say: “The ment at Leeds; and was only chance of success is to adopt afterwards offered the command stern measures, and show the offi- of a regiment in India, which he cers that it is more dangerous to declined. In December, whilst in retreat than to advance.'

Spain with one of his sisters, he Stewart was constantly urging heard of the destruction of Hicks' the Governor to concentrate his army by the Mahdi, and wrote troops, and try to raise the cour- at once that Khartúm ought to age of his men, by obtaining some be held at all costs. He proposed success in the open; and then to the despatch of a force from India attempt the relief of Bara and to relieve Khartúm and hold the Obeid. But Abd el-Kader had no country on the right bank of the officer in whom he could trust. White Nile. The brigadiers sent to him were On the 12th of December worthless; the officers were ignor- Stewart, having returned to Engant; and quite one-third of the land, was consulted by Governmen arriving from Egypt had ment.

He tried to impress upon never handled a rifle. Early in Ministers the true significance of January 1883, however, serious the Mahdi's victory. He pointed reports came in from the districts out that the Mahdi, from his round Sennár, and Abd el-Kader, claims and position, must push on; at Stewart's instigation, deter- that it was hopeless to attempt to mined to take the field in person. stop him with Egyptian troops ; He was rewarded by gaining two and that his unchecked advance substantial

the would probably lead to risings in Mahdists.

Egypt and Arabia. The expediStewart's letters contain many ency of employing Zobeir in the allusions to the evils of the civil Súdán was apparently discussed, administration, the venality and but Stewart considered that it incompetence of the officials, the would be very imprudent to emrobbery and oppression of the ploy him. He held that Zobeir Bashi Bazúks, and the constant in- was a shrewd, able man, and that, terference from Cairo, due chiefly if sent to the Súdán, “he would to intrigues in the Khedive's probably play his own game.” The harem. His conclusion was that impression produced upon Stewart the Egyptians were morally and by his interviews with Ministers physically unfit to govern the was that matters would country.

“I

assure you,” he allowed to slide, at any rate for writes, “I sometimes think I the present.” He was, therefore, am dreaming ; everything seems not surprised to hear early in turned upside down." On the January that Government, having 8th March, four days after the arri. decided to abandon the Súdán, val of General Hicks and his staff, had ordered the evacuation of he left Khartúm, and travelling by Khartúm. Sennár, Gedarif, Kassala, and Mas- About the middle of January sowa, reached Cairo on the 30th 1884 Stewart is again in London April 1883.

His mission had preparing a report for Government been successful, and when Bara on the best way of evacuating and Obeid surrendered to the Khartúm. On the 16th January Mahdi in January, his presence he writes : “The more one looks in Khartúm had averted a panic. at this Khartúm relief or retreat

After a brief period of leave in the more difficult it seems. England, Stewart joined his regi- I feel sure that without some for

[ocr errors]

ward movement on the part of a for his reports seemed so good, relieving force, a retreat from and I am truly glad to have such ,

I Khartúm will practically mean

a splendid fellow." the dissolution of the retiring Before leaving Stewart received force.” He held strongly that written instructions to accompany “ without fighting - men it was Gordon. His position, which has hopeless to expect to do any- been often misunderstood, was thing," and advocated the despatch that of staff - officer to a British of a force from India to Kassala general ordered to Egypt on Imto secure the Khartum-Kassala- perial service. One who saw him Massowa road, and overawe the at this time writes: “I shall never Eastern Súdán.

forget his simple, frank, soldierOn the 17th, Stewart felt so like, dutiful acceptance of the certain that nothing would be orders given him. I have a strong done that he accepted a delicate personal feeling of admiration for mission from Government which a man who did his duty without was expected to last about two exalted (if I may so term them) months. “Ministers,” he writes, feelings.” Stewart, throughout his

appear to stand shivering on the brief career, attached the greatest brink, afraid to take the respon- importance to implicit obedience sibility of ordering the retreat of to orders. When he received an the garrison for fear they should order he considered it his duty to be massacred on the homeward carry it out to the best of his march, and on the other hand ability, without question and withafraid to take measures to hold out regard to personal risk. Knowthe Eastern Súdán."

ing the state of the Súdán, he was The next day was to see

doubtful of success; but, having complete change in the situation. once received his orders from GovGeneral Gordon reached London ernment, he devoted his whole in the morning, and afterwards energies to the work, and served had an interview with Ministers. his chief, often under trying cirI was asked,” he writes, “if I cumstances, with a loyalty beyond would go to Súdán to carry out all praise. evacuation of Súdán which Govern- On the evening of the 18th, ment had decided upon. I said, with kindly good wishes from the Yes, if Government were decided Duke of Cambridge and Lord on it; so it was settled, and I left Wolseley, who were at Charing that night.” One of his first acts Cross to bid them what proved to was to apply for Stewart's services. be a last farewell, Gordon and At 3.30 P.M. Stewart was sum- Stewart started on their perilous moned to the War Office and mission. The two men who were introduced to Gordon.

He was

thus speeding to their fate were in then told that Government wished some respects much alike, in others him to accompany that officer to widely different. Both were anithe Súdán, and that they were to mated by the highest sense of honstart by the Indian mail at 8 P.M. our and duty; both were fearless that night. The two men had in the face of danger, and had the never met before. “I had never same contempt of death ; both disseen Stewart,” Gordon writes from liked carrying arms;1 both had Port Said, “but asked for him, the kindliest feelings towards na

a

1 Stewart, when remonstrated with, used to compromise matters by putting a small empty pistol into his pocket.

[ocr errors]

a

successes

over

Well might Stewart say: “The ment at Leeds; and was soon only chance of success is to adopt afterwards offered the command stern measures, and show the offi- of a regiment in India, which he cers that it is more dangerous to declined. In December, whilst in retreat than to advance."

Spain with one of his sisters, he Stewart was constantly urging heard of the destruction of Hicks' the Governor to concentrate his army by the Mahdi, and wrote troops, and try to raise the cour- at once that Khartúm ought to age of his men, by obtaining some be held at all costs. He proposed success in the open; and then to the despatch of a force from India attempt the relief of Bara and to relieve Khartúm and hold the Obeid. But Abd el-Kader had no country on the right bank of the officer in whom he could trust. White Nile. The brigadiers sent to him were On the 12th of December worthless; the officers were ignor- Stewart, having returned to Engant; and quite one-third of the land, was consulted by Governmen arriving from Egypt had ment. He tried to impress upon never handled a rifle. Early in Ministers the true significance of January 1883, however, serious the Mahdi's victory. He pointed reports came in from the districts out that the Mahdi, from his round Sennár, and Abd el-Kader, claims and position, must push on; at Stewart's instigation, deter- that it was hopeless to attempt to mined to take the field in person. stop him with Egyptian troops ; He was rewarded by gaining two and that his unchecked advance substantial

the would probably lead to risings in Mahdists.

Egypt and Arabia. The expediStewart's letters contain many ency of employing Zobeir in the allusions to the evils of the civil Súdán was apparently discussed, administration, the venality and but Stewart considered that it incompetence of the officials, the would be very imprudent to emrobbery and oppression of the ploy him. He held that Zobeir Bashi Bazúks, and the constant in- was a shrewd, able man, and that, terference from Cairo, due chiefly if sent to the Súdán, “he would to intrigues in the Khedive's probably play his own game." The harem. His conclusion was that impression produced upon Stewart the Egyptians were morally and by his interviews with Ministers physically unfit to govern the

that matters would country. assure you,” he allowed to slide, at any rate for writes, “I sometimes think I the present.” He was, therefore, am dreaming ; everything seems not surprised to hear early in turned upside down.” On the January that Government, having 8th March, four days after the arri- decided to abandon the Súdán, val of General Hicks and his staff, had ordered the evacuation of he left Khartúm, and travelling by Khartúm. Sennár, Gedarif, Kassala, and Mas- About the middle of January sowa, reached Cairo on the 30th 1884 Stewart is again in London April 1883. His mission had preparing a report for Government been successful, and when Bara on the best way of evacuating and Obeid surrendered to the Khartúm. On the 16th January Mahdi in January, his presence he writes : “The more one looks in Khartúm had averted a panic.

at this Khartum relief or retreat After a brief period of leave in the more difficult it seems. England, Stewart joined his regi- I feel sure that without some for

was

16 be

"I

[ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »