Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 132.djvu/260

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ernment good for Christians, Jews, and Mahomedans alike. But how to get at Servia and Roumania seemed to Lord Derby a more difficult matter. Something may be done, perhaps, whenever there is an opportunity of concluding or revising a treaty of commerce. We do not regard Jews here in England as aliens, and we need not accept any treaty with a country which says that, in its eyes, English Jews are not Englishmen. But there are very few English Jews who dream of settling or trading in Roumania. With us, therefore, the question is merely a theoretical one. It is not so with Austria. There Jews abound, and a few steps would take them from Austrian into Roumanian territory. It is a matter of considerable importance to Austrian Jews that they should be allowed to hold land and trade on the Roumanian side of the frontier. Austria has every motive for not allowing its treaty of commerce to be construed in the Roumanian sense; and the most practical thing that England can do is to uphold Austria in its contention. But it may be doubted whether this is all that we can do and ought to do. Why do we interfere in European Turkey? Because we say that European Turkey exists through our countenance and assistance, and when we countenance and assist we have a right to insist on good government. What is true of Turkey is still more conspicuously true at this moment of Servia. Why is Servia to pay none of the penalties of defeat in war? and, although utterly at the mercy of its enemy, is even to receive an accession of territory at her expense? Simply because it is countenanced, assisted, and protected by the great powers. It is to them that Servia now owes its national existence. In a country that is not so much under our wing as absolutely our creature, we have as much right to insist on what we think to be good government as we can possibly have in European Turkey. The Servians are at the mercy of Europe, which can treat them as it pleases, and the call of duty to protect the Jews in Servia is quite as strong as it is to protect the Christians in Turkey. There is no reason why the Servians should be so petted and favored that they shall retain the luxury of persecution; and if the Jews were adequately protected in Servia by a formal covenant with Europe, the pressure of so striking an example would inevitably tell before long on Roumania.

From The Saturday Review.


Sir Richard Temple, the lieutenant-governor of Bengal, has published an official account of the terrible disaster which visited the islands and adjacent coasts at the mouth of the Megna on the 31st of October. He went over the whole scene of the calamity, traced its course and progress, ascertained as nearly as possible the number of lives lost, examined into the wants and resources of the survivors, and organized the aid which was to be bestowed on the sufferers. The whole population affected numbered about a million, and of this number more than two hundred thousand perished. At the mouth of the Megna are the three islands, fronting the Bay of Bengal, of Sundeep, Hattia, and Dukhin Shahbazpore, enclosed between the coasts of Buckergunge on the west and Chittagong on the east, and it was these islands and these coasts which were swept by the storm-wave. The islands suffered much more severely than the coasts. Sir Richard Temple gives the population of Sundeep at eighty-seven thousand, and calculates that forty thousand of the inhabitants were drowned. Out of fifty-four thousand on Hattia Island thirty thousand, and out of two hundred and twenty-one thousand on Dukhin Shahbazpore Island seventy thousand are estimated to have perished. The population was one of peasant proprietors, the richest in Bengal, the chief produce being rice, which was produced in quantities sufficient not only to provide for the requirements of the locality, but to admit of exportation on a considerable scale. There was only one single village approaching in importance to a town, and this has been entirely swept away. The chief wealth of the people consisted in the cows, oxen, and buffaloes which they used in agriculture, and in the numerous boats with which they kept up communication with the mainland. Two widespread habits contributed greatly in the hour of need to avert the extremity of suffering and privation. The people were accustomed to live in hamlets surrounded with a thick wall of trees, and they buried their grain in deep pits until they wanted to use it. When the great wave swept over their dwellings, they were floated on to the trees, many of which were a species of prickly thorn, which caught and held them even when they were too unconscious or nervous to have helped themselves; and when the waters subsided, those who had escaped — and scarcely any one had