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at his ease, and has assured people that he discredited the story of any negotiations. Unofficially he was kept as well informed as was possible by people that he was employing to obtain information for him; and I can say with absolute knowledge
i that although there will be every semblance of surprise at the Moorish Court when the results of the agreement are received there, the Sultan has practically known its general terms for some little time past. It is a curious fact that his Majesty was in possession of what has proved to be almost the exact results of the agreement before even the negotiations commenced, which proves that although no actual conference took place till much later, some scheme for possible negotiations must have been originated even before King Edward's visit to Paris, to be used should an opportunity for discussing the outstanding questions arise. The Sultan informed me that if the result of the negotiations was that France should institute an absolute Protectorate, he might find himself unable to restrain the force of public opinion, and be obliged to wage war. Such, he added, was the advice of one or two of his Viziers. If, however, no actual Protectorate came about, he felt that it would be impossible for him and his Government to struggle against an accomplished fact. He realised that to declare war upon France would mean a crushing defeat, and the speedy conquest of Morocco by the French, and of course his own downfall.
The terms of the agreement have only been received here in Tangier on the day on which I am writing these words, and it will be at least three or four days more before the Sultan can know of the details. It is thus impossible to include in this article the manner in which they will have been received in Fez.
The publicity already given to the agreement, and the attention that it has no doubt received all over England, render any very detailed account of the terms that affect Morocco unnecessary. Briefly Morocco will gradually occupy under France the same position as Egypt under England. The status quo will be maintained in that a Sultan and native officials will remain as the nominal rulers of the country, though their acts and actions will be influenced by French advisers. Every British interest is guaranteed. The coasting-trade will be free to the ships of both nations. The two countries, parties to the agreement, declare that they will not countenance any inequality in the imposition of taxes, customs dues, or railway and transport charges either in Egypt or Morocco. The two Governments it is not left to France alone-will not permit any fortifications to be erected on the Moorish coast between Melilla, 150 miles east of Tangier, and the mouth of the Sebou 100 miles down the Atlantic coast. The small coast possessions of Spain are of course excepted. Finally the two countries agree to assist each other diplomatically in the carrying out of the agreement. There is one sentence in the document which is of great importance to England as regards Morocco-a point that might easily have escaped the British negotiators. It is probable that France will in the near future construct a railway from her Algerian frontier to Fez, in which case she would naturally be able to compete at an advantage with British goods which enter Morocco at Tangier and on the Atlantic coast, which goods would, if a railway were not also constructed from Fez to the coast, have to be carried by the slow and expensive means of caravan transport. But the clause referred to above in the agreement does not allow British trade to suffer, for the two signatory Powers agree that the trade of both shall be treated on the same footing in transit through the French and English possessions in Africa. This will mean that English goods will be able to enter Morocco through Algeria on the same terms as French goods. It is perhaps the most important sentence in that portion of the agreement which refers to Morocco, and should alone tend to render content the British merchants of that country. That they will have more competition in the future there is no doubt. But guaranteed as are the entire trade interests of England I believe that the competition they will have to fight against will be as largely that of their own countrymen as that of France. In return for this, all commercial dealings will be facilitated. The struggle of the Moorish Government to prevent European interests extending into the interior will be removed. The ports will be improved, and the miserable existing system of customs, with all their incongruities and delays, will be replaced by businesslike methods. The custom houses themselves will be enlarged, and the very material damage to goods incurred by the present method of landing and insufficient storage-room will be avoided. The condition of the native will be ameliorated by the influx of money, and this fact and the improvement of the means of transit—at present even roads and bridges do not exist—will tend to increase trade.
That there will be dissatisfaction goes without saying. The Moors, who have so far been able to keep themselves free from the influence of any foreign Power, will be mortified. It will touch their pride and their religious fanaticism. They still believe that they are unconquerable, that no army in Europe .could withstand the charge of the underfed horses, sore-backed and as often as not spavined, mounted by all sorts and conditions of men, on saddles that weigh fifty pounds and are only kept together by odds and ends of string, and bearing arms the like of which disappeared from Europe a century or two ago. It is true there are large numbers of European rifles amongst the tribes, but the supply of cartridges is insignificant, and it is doubtful whether it would reach more than twenty or thirty rounds to every rifle.
Whether the French will at any time have to employ force in order to bring the stubborn pride of the tribesmen to reason will remain to be seen.
There is no doubt that those responsible for France's policy in the country will act with great discretion in the introduction of changes ; but her task is necessarily a most difficult one. The Moorish tribesman is unconscious of the superiority of the European soldier and European arms, and it is more than possible that at some time or another he will have to be shown it. But we may be sure that it will only be necessity that will tempt France to acts of warfare. Her idea is the pacific penetration of the country—and so long as this pacific penetration proceeds without opposition it is most unlikely that she will try other methods. Fortunately she possesses in her representative at Tangier a man whose tact and discretion, whose capability and patience are universally recognised, and we can be sure that under his guidance such changes as must from time to time be brought about in the administration of the country will be introduced with due regard to the safety and welfare of the European population, and as far as possible in line with native opinion and ideas.
It is not the writer's intention to discuss the equivalents that Great Britain has received for her attitude toward France on the Moorish question, for this article deals with the Moorish outlook alone ; but a long residence in that country and a careful study of its political and geographical position, persuades him that the agreement has brought about the only possible solution of the Morocco question, and that our sole interests in the country—the open passage of the Straits of Gibraltar, and the protection of our commerce—have been sufficiently and satisfactorily guaranteed. He even sees an increase in British trade in the near future, just as France's trade in Egypt has increased since our occupation, for in both cases equivalent facilities are guaranteed.
The task which has fallen upon France is no easy one. It will require great patience and great discretion, and I feel sure that Englishmen will watch with interest and with sympathy the accomplishment by a most friendly nation of an enterprise in the interests of civilisation such as seldom nowadays falls to the lot of a European Power. France and England are naturally pledged by the agreement to assist one another diplomatically in the furtherance of its terms, and it should be the mutual endeavour of the subjects of both Governments to assist diplomacy by all the goodwill in their power, and so help to maintain, not only the amicable relations of the two countries, but also the peace of Europe and the prosperity of the human GREATER BRITAIN
THE COLONIAL "OFFER."
Last month we dealt at some length with a futile debate in the House of Lords upon the “ offer” of Preferential Tariffs by the Colonies to the Mother Country, at which our spurious Imperialists are never tired of girding. We make no apology for recurring to this question-and shall repeatedly recur to it-as it is all-important that there should be no shadow of misunderstanding in Great Britain as to the actual attitude of Greater Britain on this momentous question. Moreover, the subject has been recently illuminated by a masterly article in the Times (April 8) on “ Canada and the Commercial Defence of the Empire,” which we commend to all ignorant persons whether Peers or commoners. The writer complains that in nearly every spoken or written utterance of the “do-nothings" is to be found the assertion “first, that Canada has never made an offer' to the Mother Country for preferential treatment in her markets, and secondly that the majority of Canadians do not seriously believe that a small tax on foreign wheat is an essential part of any practical scheme for the commercial defence of the Empire.” As he points out, the existing Canadian preference of 33} per cent. upon certain British imports “was primarily intended as an offer of goodwill to the Mother Country, and an objectlesson to the other self-governing Colonies.”
At the same time it was explained, both in the House of Commons and in the country, that the Canadian Government was prepared to go further whenever Great Britain should be able to discriminate in favour of Canadian produce and the hope was universally expressed that the gift (which was not to be regarded as in lieu of a contribution to the cost of maintaining the Navy and Army) would be made the corner-stone of an economic reconstruction of the Empire. As a Canadian captain of industry said to me at the time : “We hope this will be the first step in the direction of Imperial Free Trade." It is difficult to understand the point of view of people who refuse to admit that an offer of reciprocity must be disregarded if it is expressed in deeds rather than words.
The statement of Lord Rosebery and the anti-reformers,