The Pioneer, Allahabad, January 20, 1880
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir,—The London Economist of a recent date, in an article headed “What England has inflicted upon India,” and copied in most of the local papers, has the following:
“The salt of life is taken out of the mass, and an ambitious Indian lad, full of half-developed power, is in a more hopeless position than an Armenian under St. Petersburg, or an Algerian under Paris.”
Having on general principles, but little love for politics, perhaps because physiologically unfit to understand, and therefore appreciate, the wonderful scheme which goes under the name—I have nothing to say as to the remark about the “Algerian under Paris.” My ideas of the “Algerian” being vaguely associated with the pastilles de Serial, sold by these free sons of the boundless deserts, in the Parisian street corners, the protest may be taken up by a Frenchman, if he chooses. But, though an American citizen, and entirely divorced from Russia’s paternal sway over my own person, besides being a born Russian, I am yet one of those who, by the very combativeness of their nature, feel compelled to give even “the devil his due,” though the devil be the Muscovite Government, whenever unjustly attacked. And the imputation of the Economist as to the hopeless position of the “Armenian under St. Petersburg” is as unjust as it is foolish, liable, as it is, to such an easy refutation. Surely the Editor of the London Magazine, who has allowed this remark to be published, must either have forgotten, or never knew, the fact that the late Commander-in-Chief of the expeditionary army now in Central Asia was an “Armenian;” that General Tergukasoff, one of the heroes of the late war in Asiatic Turkey, and who has just replaced the defunct Lazareff, is an “Armenian;” that General Loris-Melikoff, just created a “count” for valiant service in Kars and elsewhere, is another “Armenian,” without one drop of European blood in any of them; that the army, as well as the Civil Service in the Caucasus, have been from the first days of Russia’s sway over the country full of Armenian, Georgian, and even Mussulman colonels, generals, commanders, and other high Government officials; that the greatest Caucasian heroes were nearly all either Armenians, Georgians, or Tatars, such as the Prince Bebutoff (who acted during the Crimean War as Viceroy in the Caucasus), the several Melikoffs, the Tarhanoffs, the Orbeliani, the Bagrations, the Chan Adil’-Guirey, and so many others, that finally, in the “Mohammedan regiments,” out of which the splendid body of men known as the “Czar’s Mussulman Bodyguard” is chosen, from the lowest soldier up to the highest General, they are all Mohammedans. Doubtless the recent suffix of the “off” in Tergukasoffs and some other Armenian names led the Economist into such an unconscious blunder. In view of the present development it will not be without a certain interest to your readers to learn, as something worthy of note, that among the “Guy Fawkes” band of Nihilists and their sentenced criminals, we have not hitherto met with a single Armenian, Georgian, or Mussulman name. The “Asiastics” have, in fact, proved the most loyal among the subjects of the Czar.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.