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of travel. It is as if our ocean-liners demanded $500 for the journey to Liverpool, without furnishing food or baths on the way. Then, as though the continued exactions of passport formalities long after any suitable reason for them had passed were not sufficiently troublesome to the harassed passenger, his comfort is everywhere second to that of the steamer personnel, while the outstretched palm invites special contribution for even the most shadowy species of service. But once the door of his breathless state-room is closed behind him, a brief night's sleep, if the inexplicable uproar with which the crew seems to pass its time during the journey permits it, brings him to the metropolis of the West Indies. A glimpse through his port-hole at an unseasonable hour shows the horizon dotted at regular intervals by the arclights of Havana's Malecón, and by the time he has reached the deck, these have faded away in the swift tropical dawn,
and the steamer is nosing its way through the bottle-mouth of the harbor under the brow of age-and-sea-browned Morro Castle. There ensues the inevitable wait of an hour or two until the haughty port doctor rises and dresses with meticulous care and leisurely sips his morning coffee. When at last he appears, his professional duty does not delay the long file of passengers, for the simple reason that his attention is confined to the incessant smoking of cigarettes behind his morning newspaper. Passports, so sternly required of the departing American, are not even worthy of a glance by the Cuban officials; the custom examination is brief and unexacting. Once he has escaped the aggressive maelstrom of multicolored humanity which welcomes each newcomer with hopeful shrieks of delight, the traveler quickly merges into the heterogeneous multitude that is as characteristic as its Spanish style of architecture of the cosmopolitan capital of Cuba libre.
The Florist Shop
By CHARLES BRACKETT
I know a window deep in town
That dreams of other whiles and where
The snow lies deep upon its plinths,
How Persia Died: A Coroner's Inquest
By LOTHROP STODDARD
ERSIA is dead. Its deathcertificate is the AngloPersian Treaty announced by the British Government on August 15, 1919. This treaty completes, for the exclusive benefit of Great Britain, that systematic destruction of Persian sovereignty initiated by the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. Bolshevized Russia having fallen by the wayside, England reaps the full profit. Persia henceforth takes her place alongside Egypt, Arabia, and Mesopotamia as a protectorate of the British Empire. Of course the thing has been done decently and with due regard for the proprieties, according to the best traditions of British diplomacy: But the thing has been done, and it will not be undone. Make no mistake about that. A handful of British liberals are, it is true, protesting, while French imperialists are weeping crocodile tears by holding Syrian onions to their streaming eyes. But we should not deceive ourselves concerning the power of protests to alter accomplished facts. Protests availed very little even in pre-war days. They avail still less now that the Great War, like all similar conflagrations, has burned out of mankind what little idealism existed, and has left a world run by politics more real than anything conceived by the Pan-German pedants of Berlin. This paper is therefore in no sense a "plea" for Persia, something that no longer exists. It is written to inform Americans on one of the most important of contemporary developments and hold up for their inspection the firstfruits of that Versailles peace conference called with the avowed object of safeguarding the rights of small nations and confirming the liberties of even the weakest of sovereign peoples.
The first act of the Persian tragedy was, as I have said, the Anglo-Russian
Convention of 1907. By this instrument Russia and England, who had long been extending their influence over Persia from north and south respectively, composed their former rivalry and agreed upon what amounted to a veiled partition of the country. The convention stipulated that Russia should take northern Persia as her "sphere of influence," and that England should similarly take the south, with a “neutral zone," mostly desert, between. Of course, at the head of the document, both England and Russia "mutually engaged to respect the integrity and independence of Persia" and "sincerely desired the preservation of order throughout the country and its peaceful development, as well as the permanent establishment of equal advantages for the trade and industry of all other nations"; but as every diplomatic grab from Morocco to Korea had contained similar stock phrases, nobody in the world, including most emphatically the Persian people, was in the least deceived as to what was afoot.
There was only one hindrance to the Anglo-Russian project: the Persian people had awakened to their country's peril and had just started a vigorous house-cleaning. The decrepitude of Persia was admittedly extreme. Under the baneful rule of the Khadjar shahs, a dynasty not of Persian, but of Turkoman, origin, Persia had sunk into a slough of misgovernment and bankruptcy. But the age-long history of Persia is a series of just such evil foreign dominations followed by surprising revivals of national vitality. The last of these national revivals had recently displayed itself in dramatic fashion. In the summer of 1906 the Persian people, maddened by domestic misgovernment and by the shadow of European domination creeping over the land, had risen in overwhelming protest
and had forced the ruling shah, Muzaffaru'd-Din, to transform himself from an absolute despot into a constitutional monarch. The main feature of the new Persian Constitution was the establishment of a Medjliss, or elected parliament, with power over the purse, foreign affairs, and other attributes of Western legislative bodies. The effect of this bloodless revolution upon the national psychology was extraordinary. From end to end Persia thrilled with enthusiasm, and under the leadership of its intellectual classes, including thousands of young men trained in Western ideas, the Persian people undertook the task of national regeneration.
Unfortunately, the chancelleries of London and Petrograd had their own theories about Persia. Those Westerners most closely in touch with the Persian people might be almost a unit in declaring that the Persian Revolution was a deep-seated outpouring of the national spirit, in normal conformity with Persian national history. Russian and English diplomats, however, clung to their ideas of Persia's irremediable decadence and dubbed the revolution a mere flash in the pan. Sir Edward Grey, the British Minister for Foreign Affairs, had long since gone on record regarding Persia, for as far back as 1903 he had stated in the House of Commons: "The independence of Persia is a phrase, and it is becoming less every year. When we are told that we and the Russian Government are equally bound, and remain bound year after year, to respect the integrity of Persia, I fear this means that we are bound to respect a vanishing quantity. The time may come when, if we are restricting our policy to respecting the integrity of Persia, we shall find ourselves respecting nothing at all." Diplomats are proverbially slow in modifying their conceptions, particularly when these are buttressed by such excellent material arguments as were adducible in Persia's case. Had Persia been an inherently poor country in an out-ofthe-way corner of the globe, it is just possible that she might have been permitted to work out her own salvation. Unhappily for herself, Persia possessed great natural wealth and equally great
strategic importance. Containing vast oil-fields, huge deposits of iron, rich lodes of copper and lead, outcropping anthracite coal-seams, broad irrigable plains, and an industrious and intelligent population, she made the mouths of concession-hunters water from London to Petrograd. Constituting both the final barrier to Russia's southward push for the open ocean and the main link between England's Indian and African empires, she haunted the audacious dreams of Russian and British imperialisms. Small wonder that diplomats grown gray over check and gambit upon the Persian chess-board should find it hard to admit a development which would relegate their absorbing game to the dusty shelf of the closed past.
How thorny was their upward path the Persian patriots were soon to discover. A few months after the revolution the nerveless valetudinarian Muzaffaru'd-Din died and was then succeeded by his son Muhammad Ali. King Log was thereby replaced by King Stork, for Muhammad Ali was a ferocious degenerate whose fitting abode. should have been a psychopathic hospital and who cared for nothing save indulgence in his costly insanities. Such a man was not one to respect constitutional limitations, especially limitations on his privy purse. Accordingly, he began plotting to restore the despotism of his ancestors, and in this he was patently abetted by Russia. The upshot was a civil war, but the mass of the Persian people rallied round the Medjliss in defense of the constitution, and Muhammad Ali was forced to abdicate and take refuge in Russia, the crown being conferred upon his young son Ahmad Mirza, then a boy of twelve. This was in July, 1909.
Freed from the immediate peril of a royalist reaction, the Constitutionalists strove to start once more upon the road to national regeneration. The outlook, however, was dark. Two years of civil strife had made bad matters vastly worse. Brigandage was rife in the provinces, and the finances were shot to pieces. Also, Russia and England, in pursuance of their 1907 convention, were themselves undertaking to "restore order" in their respective spheres. In
the north especially, Russian troops, which had come in during the civil war, were making themselves quite at home, terrorizing the inhabitants and showing every sign of settling down permanently. All applications to Russia and England for loans were answered by demands for "guaranties," which the patriots felt they could not grant without signing away Persia's sovereignty.
Realizing that financial reform was the only way of escape, the Persian leaders determined to call in an expert adviser from an absolutely neutral source. Accordingly, an American, Mr. W. Morgan Shuster, was appointed TreasurerGeneral of Persia, with full power over Persian finances. Mr. Shuster arrived in the spring of 1911, and during his brief term of office worked wonders, not merely cleansing the Augean stables of Persian fi
nance, but also set
ment was replaced by one subservient to Russia and England, and Persia's humble apologies were graciously accepted in Petrograd. By the beginning of 1912 the tragi-comedy was over.
The period from the Shuster episode to the outbreak of the Great War is a dreary time. The North was harried by royalists and Russians, who hunted
down the patriot leaders like wild beasts and committed every species of atrocity. The rest of the country was a prey to brigandage, tempered by British interventions in the South and the relaxed efforts of the much reduced gendarmerie. Utter bankruptcy was averted by an Anglo-Russian loan, granted, however, only at the price of Persian recognition of the 1907 convention, in other words, recognition of a deadly blow at national existence. By the opening months of 1914 it was plain that Russia was getting ready to devour northern Persia for good and all. Wholesale concessions were granted to Russian corporations; local taxes, gathered by fourteen thousand Muscovite troops, were paid to the Russian authorities instead of to the Persian, and elaborate plans for encouraging Russian immigration were set on foot. It was estimated that a hundred thousand Russian muzhiks were to have been planted in northern Persia by the end of 1915. The Persian people were sunk in apathetic, hopeless despair, the general situation being well described by an Englishman, Professor Edward G. Browne, who wrote:
putting down brigandage and restoring order to the distracted country. But at this point the paw of the Russian bear appeared. Russia had no intention of seeing Persia become a strong, regenerated nation. Therefore, with Russian connivance, the ex-Shah Muhammad Ali returned to northern Persia, civil war broke out afresh, and when the new gendarmerie proceeded vigorously against the malcontents, including Russia's Persian agents, Russia declared the situation "intolerable," and presented an ultimatum threatening to overrun the whole country. Beneath this naked show of Russian brute force, backed as it was by the diplomatic support of England, Persia could only submit. Russia and England forced Mr. Shuster out, the patriot Govern
For such broken spirit and shattered hopes, as for the "anarchy" now existing in Persia, Russia and Great Britain are directly responsible, and if there be a reckoning, will one
Photograph by Underwood and Underwood
Shah Ahmad Mirza leaving Parliament after taking the oath of fidelity to the constitution on the Koran
day be held to account. It is idle to talk of any improvement in the situation, when the only Government in Persia consists of a Cabinet which does not command the confidence of the people, terrorized by Russia, financially starved by both Russia and England, allowed only miserable doles of money on usurious terms, and forbidden to employ honest and efficient foreign experts, like Mr. Shuster; when the King is a boy, the Regent an absentee, the Parliament permanently suspended, and the best, bravest, and most honest patriots either killed or driven into exile, while the wolf-pack of financiers, concession-hunters and land-grabbers presses ever harder on the exhausted victim, whose struggles grow ever fainter and fainter. Friendless, forlorn, and betrayed, Persia is left to the mercy of a Power to whom mercy is unknown.
The European War did not at first touch remote Persia, but Turkey's acces sion to the Teutonic empires brought the conflagration to her doors. The Persian Government was keenly desirous of maintaining strict neutrality, and on
November 1, 1914, it issued a proclamation to this effect. The Government was strengthened in its determination by the fact that both the Russian and British ministers had informed it that they desired Persia to remain neutral, as this was to the best interests of the
Entente powers. There was, however, one serious complication-the presence of the Russian army of occupation in northern Persia, particularly the strong Russian forces quartered in the province of Azerbaijan. Turkey pointed out this anomaly to the Persian Government, stating that "the presence of these Russians constitute a menace to the Turkish frontier," but promising "that Turkey would formally agree to respect the neutrality of Persia if the Russian troops were withdrawn." The Persian Government brought these facts to the notice of the Russian and British ministers, appealing to them to regularize the situation and giving a formal promise to declare war on Turkey and join the Entente if Ottoman troops should violate Persian territory after a Russian