Yacub Khan, on the 26th May, 1879, signed the Gandumak Treaty. On the 24th July he received the British Envoy, and installed him in the embassy assigned for his residence in the Bala Hissar of the city On the 3rd September they were all destroyed by two regiments of his own household troops supposed to be in open mutiny, though they furnished guards around the Amir's palace at the very time that their comrades were doing to death a handful of strangers, the confiding guests of their master Yacub, after the dastardly tragedy had been enacted, punished not a soul. His thoughts were turned to the subject of British vengeance, and, with strange ignorance, he satisfied himself that no British army would come to Kabul at least till the winter were past, during which interval there would be ample time to make arrangements to oppose it. How far he was out of his reckoning he has now learned very practically.
Within one month of the receipt of the particulars of the appalling fate of our Envoy and his party, a British army was before the walls of Kabul, and the Amir secure in its camp.
Such is the history, in briefest terms, of the Durrani Empire, and of the Durrani Principality to which it sunk in an ordinary lifetime. It is instructive, and affords food for reflection And the question suggests itself why, after such a course of proved incapacity and faithlessness, should the Afghan be permitted to misrule any longer? or, why should he be permitted to hold the dominion and rule over better laces of his compatriots. He is certainly not worthy of being entrusted with independent rule, and is as certainly not likely to submit to control until he has first been subjugated. Subjugation then is what is required for the Afghan. With him subjugated, all the races of the country will be easily controlled and governed. His subjugation is now to us a matter of no difficulty, and can be effected by placing in positions of command and rule men of other races.
It is the Afghan governors, from the Amir in his darbar to the meanest of his employes in the village police, who have diligently stirred up the animosity of the people against us, and excited their hatred by habitually abusing us It has been the custom of each of the successive Amirs to vilify our name in public darbar and to encourage their courtiers in the same course. And any one who refrained from joining in this indiscriminate mode of expressing hostility was at once a marked man, and treated to the cold shoulder, with taunts of being an infidel at heart - a friend of the Farangi.
Yet the Amirs, whilst adopting this course of covert hostility as the rule of their conduct at home, had no hesitation in making treaties with us, in accepting subsidies from us, in strengthening their position by our too easily granted aid and support In a word they had no hesitation in maintain-ing their position as the dominant race through our aid and countenance by a studied deception. Deception has all along been the guide of their conduct. Their constant references and appeals to the hatred and hostility which their people entertained against us was a mere excuse incriminating themselves, and proving their own double-facedness. With their hollow and self-interested professions of friendship and loyalty of alliance with us they have never once given us any tangible proof of the sincerity of their words In so simple a matter of justice as the extradition, or even punishment at home, of a murderer, who, excited by their own evil example and the publicly-encouraged hostility of their priests, has come across the border in a fit of fanaticism and killed some unoffending European, they have never rendered us any justice. Our Government has tamely submitted to the indignity, and the Amirs have thus been encouraged in their course The people take the cue from their leaders and rulers, and it is these who are really responsible for the worked-up hostility of the people It is the Amirs, Sardars, and Khans who require to be subjugated by reduction from the position of dominance they hold, by exclusion from office in the administration of the country - a measure which there is no necessity to carry out at a swoop, hut one which can be worked out gradually to the lasting advantage and salvation of the country.
The Afghans as a race certainly do hate us, mainly because from infancy they have been taught to do so. But they are not all so minded. There are many whom self-interest and acquaintance with us have taught to respect us, and if not to like us, to be at least friendly disposed towards us.
We have judged the Afghan as we have found him; and we have found him very wanting. He has his virtues and he has his vices, and to our mind the latter overbalance the former very heavily. He is not fit to govern either himself or others, and sadly wants a master. If we don't take up that role, Russia will. For a master the Afghans want, and a master they must have sooner or later. Which is it to be?