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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Or Russia which buys from us for L21


To

return to Persia it must not be forgotten that British imports into that country (in 1900) amounted to L1,400,000, whilst Russia imported L21,974,952 of British goods. Which, after all, is the customer best worth cultivating: Persia which takes L1,400,000 of our goods, or Russia which buys from us for L21,974,952?

It is a mistake to believe that we are the only civilising agents of the world, and that the work of other powers in that direction only tends to the stagnation of Eastern peoples. One might affirm with more truth that our intercourse with the civilisation of the East tends to our own stagnation. We do impart to the natives, it is true, some smattering of the semi-barbaric, obsolete ways we possess ourselves, but standing aside and trying to look upon matters with the eye of a rational man, it is really difficult to say whether what we teach and how we teach it does really improve the Eastern people or not. Personally, with a long experience of natives all over Asia, it appears to me that it does not.

The Russian, though from a British point of view altogether a barbarian, does not appear to spoil the natives quite so much in his work among them. The natives under his _regime_ seem happy, and his work of civilisation is more of the patriarchal style, tending more to enrich the people, to promote commerce and trade on appropriate lines, than to educate the masses according to Western methods and laws.

The results are most decidedly good, and anyhow lead to much greater contentment among the masses than we can secure, for instance, in India. Above all things it makes for peace; the natives are treated with extreme consideration and kindness, but at the same time they know that no nonsense is tolerated, and that is undoubtedly the way most appreciated by Asiatics.

In Persia, it is to be hoped for the peace of all that neither Russia nor England will acquire any territorial rights, but that the integrity of the Shah's Empire may long be preserved. Only it would not be unwise to prepare for emergencies in case the country--already half spoiled by European ways--should one day collapse and make interference necessary. The integrity of states in Asia intended to serve as buffers is all very well when such states can look after themselves, but with misgovernment and want of proper reform, as in Persia, great trouble may be expected sooner than we imagine, unless we on our side are prepared to help Persia as much as Russia does on her side.

If this can be done, with little trouble to ourselves, and in a way agreeable to the Persians, there is no reason why, as an independent state, Persia should not fully develop her resources, reorganise her government and army, become a powerful nation, and establish a flourishing trade, Russia and England profiting equally by the assistance given her.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] See _China and the Allies_, Heinemann; Scribner.

CHAPTER XVII

Education--Educated but not instructed--The Mullahs--The Madrassahs--The Royal College in Teheran--Secular Schools--The brain of Persian students--Hints on commercial education for Englishmen--Languages a necessity--Observation--Foreigners and Englishmen--The Englishman as a linguist--Special commercial training in Germany--The British manufacturer--Ways and ways--Our Colonies swamped with foreign-made goods--Russia fast and firmly advancing.


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