Page:Frontiers.djvu/31

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Frontiers

character and result were the neutral zone established by Great Britain and Germany in the Hinterland of the Gold Coast in 1888, and the petty buffer State which Lord Rosebery sought to erect in 1893–5 between the borders of India and of France on the Upper Mekong. The abortive Agreements of 1894 with King Leopold and the Congo State were similarly intended to set up a buffer between the Central African territories of Great Britain and her European rivals. A yet further illustration would be the Cis-Sutlej strip of territory, into which, though it belonged to the Sikh rulers, they were not permitted by treaty to enter with armed force, and their violation of which led to the Sikh wars. Of these artificial expedients it may be laid down that they have no durability, unless they are based upon some intelligible principle of construction or defined by a defensible line, and are administered by an authority capable of preserving order.[1]

The history of British, and subsequently of American, expansion in America affords a significant illustration of the futility of an artificial buffer. When the British had conquered Canada and all the territories east of the Mississippi, George III issued a Proclamation (Oct., 1763) forbidding settlements beyond the sources of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic (this was known as the 'fall line'), reserving the lands beyond the

  1. Such a buffer zone still exists in the shape of the Wakhan, a narrow strip of territory only a few miles in width containing the upper waters of the Oxus as far as its source, which was interposed by the Convention of 1895 between the Pamir Frontier of Russia and the Hindu Kush Frontier of the Indian Empire. It can only last so long as the Amir of Afghanistan, to whom it was handed over, with a special subsidy from Great Britain, fulfils his undertaking to maintain order.