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18 Poor Arthur Conolly 2
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Stories about merchants or cunning merchant
Author :canisvulpes
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18 Poor Arthur Conolly 2

Recently I watched one very interesting film about the Silk Road, it's not European, but eastern. It is remarkable context, which says that to live in peace, without conflict, much better than with them. The trade route connecting various cultures and regions with each other must be protected, cherished and nurtured.

Here I remembered the Poor or even the Magnificent Arthur Conolly, the events of the middle - the end of the 19th century, one of the dramatic, tragic episodes of the "Big Game".

Historical events that have happened, of course, cannot be reversed. However, if we assume that if at that time, another powerful, strong, economically and militarily developed eastern empire existed, then the political picture of the world would most likely be different. Maybe Arthur Conolly would not have disappeared in the vast deserts of Central Asia ...

British intelligence has always been famous for its impeccable preparation, the study of the smallest details of the protocol, etiquette, culture and traditions of the regions of interest, which is well described in the novel "Kim" by R. Kipling.

In 1838, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart arrives in the Emirate of Bukhara, who was to become the ambassador of the British Empire. He was promised to send the necessary papers and while he was waiting for the papers he was studying the situation on the spot in order to understand how to act. In the east, a lot means the first meeting, the first impressions of a person as well as the presence of tact and politeness, compliance with established standards of behavior, etiquette.

The lieutenant colonel had a secret mission to convince the Emir of Bukhara that the arrival of the British in Afghanistan is not a threat to his plans and territory, if not to achieve approval, then at least achieve neutrality on this issue. Also to warn the Emir from creating precedents that could serve as a good reason to start conquests with the subsequent colonization of the lands of the emirate by the Russian Empire. Of course, this was his intention to weaken the influence of the Northern metropolis, which by that time had successfully advanced in the East, joining more and more marginal colonies to its territory, taking them away from regional powers and other metropolises.

On the one hand, the plans of the British Empire were obvious, to create an outpost in the Central Asian khanates to contain the Russian Empire. Buffer zone between their colonies.

At the same time, the doctrine of deterrence was already voiced earlier and the Emir of Bukhara, knew what to expect - namely, the unification of the separated khanates in one state with one ruler. And not the fact that he would be it.

This doctrine had its advantages for the British Empire, as it allowed to reduce the risk of intrigue on the part of its rival to the Russian Empire. But from the point of view of Eastern leaders, the idea was very doubtful, as it limited their power and influence.


Emir and Khans did not want to participate as stones on the Goban board during one of the "Big Game" parties. But their desire was not destined to come true, probably not enough subtlety, plasticity, flexibility, to skillfully avoid broken noses and successfully slip through the "Force" and "Charybdis". It is very likely that other Western powers were to blame for this failure of the British Empire, who feared strengthening their European neighbor.

Charles Stoddart allowed disrespect for traditions and rituals, violated the protocol, for which he paid ... The Great Imperial approach was superfluous. He did not respect the Emir, neglected courtesy, the ambassadors did not behave this way, did not bring gifts and a letter from Queen Victoria, did not come down from his horse, but more on that later in the next part of the story ...

In principle, it is surprising that a scout of such a rank did not bring up to date how to communicate in the east, or his pride, courage and willpower took up over prudence?

Although the lieutenant colonel was a representative of the Great British Empire, so probably he had a different view of the world, to the east, great-power. For the successful fulfillment of the mission entrusted to him, namely to reduce the influence of another, in those days, extremely successful Great Russian Empire, he had to cool his head. After all, the mission above all else!

With an ardent heart, daring plans, a haughty character, a brave heart, Stoddart was the least suited for this important task.

Apparently, it was a flaw in Sir John MacNeil, who sent him to the Emirate of Bukhara. Or maybe these were intrigues, who stayed behind the scenes of this "Big Game" ... It's hard to say.

To the east, which, as is well known in every region, has its own unique features, it would be better to send a more cautious, intelligent, subtle, intelligence officer who would be able to beautifully solve matters. Approach from the back door, not the main entrance. Masters of carpet intrigue and able to get along with people of different ranks, half a century before Philip Dormer Stenhop Chesterfield wrote in his famous "Letters to his son."

Emir of Bukhara, Nasrullo understood very well that the Northern neighbor, near, trade with him is profitable, and he had good relations with the Russian Empire, despite the fact that the serfs were stolen from the Siberian and Orenburg lines.

But individual officials from the Northern metropolis participated in this lucrative business. So that hand was washing the hand. Nothing personal, this is business.

About ordinary people no one thought. Therefore, the Emir was not particularly pleased with the arrival of the British agent, without even confirming his status as a messenger. Why anger your great neighbor, such dubious meetings. The British agents only spoke without confirming anything - neither with gifts, nor with an official letter from the Queen, nor with finances, nor with their strength, therefore there was no confidence in their words.

So, such a rough puncture, with Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart? Hard to believe! The subsequent events connected with the English intelligence officers in the Central Asian region make it necessary to assume the most diverse versions connected with the "conspiracy theory". Almost all those who were connected with the case of Vitkevich somehow disappeared during the "Great Game". But it will be a little later.

Two Great Empires fought for the territory, who managed to eat and eat. By the end of the 1930s, the Russian Empire had a sufficient influence on the khanates of Central Asia, so that the British Empire would understand that it should not be missed by Afghanistan. In 1839, the British invaded the region, and the first aglo-Afghan war began.

Before turning to the story itself about the last years of Stoddart and Conolly, I would like to draw the reader's attention to several other circumstances of the Big Game party.

Alexander Burns, captain, intelligence officer of the British Empire. Like many scouts, he was both a researcher and traveler and a scientist. He had his nickname in the environment of intelligence "Bukhara Burns." Another English intelligence officer, Lawrence of Arabia, involuntarily recalled. Probably the British had such a habit, to give nicknames to their colleagues at the place of their main actions. It was related to the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns.

From adolescence, was already in the service of the East Indies British company, as was Arthur Conolly. In India, by the way, it is still believed that real aristocrats should know Farsi. Young Alexander knew both Persian and Hindi. Who knows a lot of languages ​​that already by default can be considered a scout.

Young Burns begins to be interested in the geography of India, collects information about the river system. Painfully reminiscent of the action of Russian travelers - intelligence officers to collect similar data on the Central Asian khanates from the 18th to the 19th century.

In 1832, Alexander Burns travels along the Silk Road trade route from India, through the Hindu Kush mountains to the Emirate of Bukhara and Persia. The Silk Road is inevitably connected with the "Big Game", because of its passages, the trade and transport infrastructure, the possibilities to secretly move through the strategic mountain gorges - the gates, etc. During the travels, naturally detailed descriptions of locations were compiled, if this was possible, land mapping was conducted. And as a consequence, the publication of books about travel.

1836 - Burns is already in Afghanistan at Dost Muhammad claimant to the throne. Then he ran into Jan Vitkevich, a Polish by birth, but in the service of the Russian Empire. Small nobleman, that is a nobleman. He was also a researcher and traveler, with an officer's rank. Homebred scout. Knew - several European languages ​​as well as Farsi and Turkic. Accidentally or not, the young Pole ran into the German geographer Alexander Humbolt.

In the winter of 1836, Vitkevich in Bukhara, collecting intelligence information, communicating with British influence agents. In the middle of 1836, the adjutant was Alexander Perovskiy, Orenburg Governor. A year later, he was already in Persia and Afghanistan with a diplomatic mission, where he allegedly meets in Kabul with British intelligence officer Henry Rawlinson.

In Kabul, Witkiewicz meets Alexander Burns, who appeared to be a British resident in Afghanistan. In the beginning, Burns also wanted the British Empire to support Dost Mohammed Shah, but later the authorities replayed everything in their own way, preferring Shah Shuju ...

On May 9, 1839, Jan Vitkevich was found dead in his hotel room in St. Petersburg, and the documents and intelligence materials brought from Afghanistan disappeared. On the occasion of death, there were opposing versions - some claimed that he had been cleared by specialists from British intelligence, others from Russia. Ostensibly, Jan Vitkevich could be a double or even a triple agent of empires.

His British counterpart, Alexander Burns, did not survive him much. On November 2, 1841, he was torn to pieces in Kabul. During the uprising ...

In 1840 - 1842, the first opium war broke out between the British Empire and the Qing Empire, the signing of the "Nanking Treaty", where the British Empire grabbed a decent jackpot. Therefore, the tragedy, played out in Bukhara with Stoddard and Conolly, was left without attention of the Empire. As well as the first Afghan-British war of 1839-1842, with humiliating losses in 1841 and punitive actions in 1842. Yet the British left Afghanistan, with a financial loss of £ 25 million, a terrific figure for that time.

In the "Big Game", a breakthrough was made somewhere, but somewhere there was a loss, some scouts won and received awards, others disappeared in turbulent waves ...

Great industrial empires were moving to the Middle East and Asia, the era was for those who had new technologies.

The emir came to power thanks to the help of Kushbegi, who came from the same kind of mangit. In 1827, Nasrullah became the ruler of the Emirate of Bukhara. The power changes people, the intrigues of the courtiers, led to the fact that a faithful adviser in 1837, a year before Stoddart's arrival, was first sent to the periphery, and then put in a dungeon. Kushbegi probably understood that a balanced position should be maintained, skillfully tacking between different empires aspiring to the Turkestan region. Apparently he had access to the Russian Empire and the British. As they say was a system-forming factor. Therefore, it was removed, perhaps not without the help of third forces. The Big Game was in full swing.

Charles Stoddart appeared in Bukhara in the early winter of 1838. He arrived from the East Indies British Company, without papers from the Queen, they were promised to send them a little later. Emir of Bukhara was not eager to accept an unknown Englishman, because this could lead to an aggravation of relations with the Russian Empire. Emir Nasrulla understood that the Northern neighbor is close, and the British are far away. Then the envoy, Chalz Stoddart, was left without credentials from the Queen of Britain, without appropriate gifts, not to mention a gross violation of etiquette and protocol.

Emir Nasr Ulla Bahadur Khan joyful returned after a successful hunt, and now he meets a strange ingly. According to palace etiquette, the ambassador was supposed to dismount from his horse, but instead he followed the British military protocol, namely, he welcomed Emir Nasrullah while sitting on his horse. Nasrallah was struck by the arrogance of the ambassador and looked at him for a long time, without saying anything, departed for the palace.

After this incident, the Emir already had his first impression of Stoddard, but this, the lieutenant colonel seemed small and he continued to make mistakes after mistakes. Arriving at the meeting on the presentation of credentials from the East India British Company, Charles Stoddart, despite the persuasive requests of experts from the Bukhara palace protocol, to follow established traditions, he acted in his own way. Instead of entering the throne room, without weapons, accompanied by two nobles holding hands on both sides of the ambassador, the lieutenant colonel entered alone, and with a weapon. He thought that they were going to make an attempt on his life and that is why he snatched the saber from the scabbard and was ready to repel the alleged attack.

The sovereign of Bukhara kept his composure, he made conclusions regarding the personality of the newcomer, his lack of tact, respect, and restraint; the new ambassador has already "lost face". Stoddartu was explained that he was wrong, he had sheathed his sword. The Emir, caustically remarked to him - that he alone wanted to speak out against the entire Emirate. What a brave Briton remarked that he wanted to preserve his honor.

Nasrullah waited from Charles Stoddart, the promised confirmation of his powers as ambassador, from the Queen of the Great British Empire, but in vain. Cheaters do not like, and especially at such a high level. The lieutenant colonel never received letters from Britain. Probably some agreements that were previously confirmed, they simply outplayed. It happens with powerful people, they have their own game. That is, within intelligence there were their own groups that competed with each other. And the fate of the scout, even with the rank of lieutenant colonel, few people cared.

Emir, irritated by deceit, it is not known who, as it turned out in this situation, Stoddart was a man without the necessary papers, ordered to put a strange alien in the "zindan" - a dungeon like a deep well, 20 feet deep with a grate at the top. With a system of sophisticated torture, hordes of bugs settled in the "zindan", who bit the doomed poor and the body turned into a continuous, large, bleeding wound. Despite his courage and courage, unable to endure the torture, Charles Stoddart changed his faith. Most likely, the Bukharians did not believe him, in the sincerity of his intentions.

After some time, Stoddart managed to forward the letter from the dungeon to his employers in India. Probably, there was a British intelligence network in Bukhara, there were its own people both in the Emir's palace and in the dungeon. The Ost-Indian company quickly (and the transition from India to Bukhara took a month of time with the quickest movement) sent a letter to the Emir, in which he kindly informed the ruler of Bukhara that he would release the unfortunate Englishman and give him due respect. Taking into account the good advice with the contextual threat, Emir Nasrallah released Stoddart from the "zindan" when he adopted a different faith. He sighed with relief, thinking that his misfortunes in Bukhara were over.

Some historians have noticed inconsistency in his actions. That for the sake of preserving life - the lieutenant colonel abandoned his faith, but for the sake of salvation did not accept the help of his opponent in the game. Probably the point here is that taking a different faith, the intelligence officer was still trying to accomplish the mission, hoping probably for someone ... Maybe influential people in Bukhara related to British intelligence? Perhaps on the efforts undertaken as he thought by the East Indies Company? But somehow, he had to save a life. So, white travelers often came in to penetrate deep into the closed to infidel territories.

Stoddart could have been saved if he had received Russian help from Butenev and Khannykov, they were at that time in 1841 in Bukhara. But the proud Englishman refused such an excellent opportunity to avoid such a painful end. But the honor for the lieutenant colonel was above all and he refused. Probably didn't want Britain to look defeated in the Big Game if he accepted this offer. Yes, and probably by that time he already knew that his possible trump card, namely Kushbegi, was executed a year ago ...

Before this, Stoddart had mixed up several times from prison under house arrest in the house of the chief of police of Bukhara and back into the dungeon, but no longer "zindan" ... scout vyvivayuschego weaknesses and bottlenecks in the emirate. The ruler of Bukhara knew that in the lands closest to him there was a constriction between the two empires, and he understood what this all led to. Colonization or annexation of the territory at best. Maybe under the pretext of help, insidious inglises want to invade the Emirate of Bukhara? On the other hand, the Russian Empire took certain steps and became closer and closer to the borders of its possessions.

From the letters that Stoddart still managed to send to India, he wrote to his family, hope still lived in him. He thought that for the sake of his salvation, a punitive expeditionary force would be sent to Bukhara ...

When Perovsky's campaign was planned for Khiva, Emir made attempts to come closer to the British, and when he found out about the inglorious end of the Orenburg Governor's enterprise, relying on nature as a natural barrier to the new campaign of the Russian Empire, he cooled off on this idea. As an example, Persia was before the eyes, the British, there could not cut down the ambitions of the Russian Empire, moreover, they forbade Persia to expand their lands. Why, to burden yourself with such an unprofitable union.

After this, the position of poor Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart naturally changed for the worse. There was no active action to release him, not counting the sluggish current diplomatic negotiations ...

In the spring of 1840, Lieutenant Sir Richmond Shakespeare arrived in the Khiva khanate, where he had a conversation with the khan. In the autumn of the same year, the lieutenant was already in Orenburg, then after leaving for St. Petersburg, he went to London.

In 1840, Arthur Conolly was sent from Kabul to the Khiva Khanate to collect intelligence information and as a cover for the mission, negotiate with Khan to conclude a possible alliance against the expansion of the influence of the Russian Empire. In particular, Conolly persuaded Khan to stop kidnapping and selling slaves from the Russian Empire in the Khanate markets.

After that, he went with the same mission in the autumn of 1841 to the Kokand Khanate. But there he was received very cold. At that time, just in time, the Emir of Bukhara was on the outskirts of the Kokand Khanate, he managed to capture the strategic important fortifications of Ura-Tube, Khodzhent.

Together with Dzhizak of Bukhara, this triangle allowed controlling trade and transit caravan routes at once into three oases (Tashkent, Fergana and Zarafshan). If desired, it was possible to block access to three of these oases at once and thereby stop the trade. Not without reason, during the colonization of the Bukhara Emirate, in the area of ​​the city of Jizzakh, the tsarist government built a fortification with the saying name "Klyuchevoy". And also Zakhamin went to Bukhara - the same important city, on the Silk Road there opened the way to Kashgar.

Apparently, the Kokand Khan reasoned so why an extra headache with this inglizi, let the Emir decide his fate. With cunning and threats, he managed to float Arthur Conolly into Bukhara.

In the sources of the Russian Empire, the version presented as follows: in Kokand, Arthur Conolly was also placed in a dungeon and later urged to change his faith in order to be saved. But he refused, starting a subtle theological duel in the course by which the Kokand Khan let him go, recognizing Arthur Conolly's answer worthy of respect.

In the historical works of the British Empire, the version is somewhat different, ostensibly the Kokand Khan, did not imprison Arthur Conolly and discourage him from a trip to the Emirate of Bukhara, saying that Emir Nasrallah is very insidious.

It is curious that the historical literature of the times of both the Russian and the British Empires represents the image of Emir Nasrullah as a backward, bloodthirsty, almost super villain. But if we imagine a similar situation, for example, with the envoy of Bukhara to the capital of a certain metropolis.

If he were like Stoddart, he arrived without credentials from the Emir, but only with letters from some merchant guild. I would violate the palace protocol, did not bring gifts, would snatch out a saber with the crowned persons - the King or the Queen. I do not think that such a messenger would not have appeared in the "Tower" or the prison of the royal "Secret Office".

How such a poor thing would be addressed, another question. If at the same time, he would still be engaged in collecting intelligence information. I would like to know the representatives of the metropolis, and that this messenger is hiding and the means of inquiry would be applied to him, probably more modern than at that time in Bukhara. The Emir was still waiting for a whole year and two months ...

The situation with the mission of Stoddart and Conolly looks dark, not for nothing many researchers mention this. Only everyone has different guesses. One of the possible options for development could probably be associated with a mole inside British intelligence, who worked for one of the European empires or powers that were not interested in expanding the British Empire.

Even the brother of Charles Stoddart was amazed at the fact that they sent such a die-hard and honest person, and not a plastic and cunning one.

Why didn't they immediately give the necessary documents confirming the ambassador's status? Why not explain the subtleties of etiquette, traditions. Stoddart knew the east, Persia and Afghanistan, but the east is different everywhere. Why did he break the palace protocol, insulted the ruler? Why, already knowing that Charles Stoddart had stepped on the "rake," Arthur Conlli was not given the letter requested by the Emir from the Queen? They just sent him to the slaughter ... Strange, because British intelligence has always been famous for its fine elaboration of all the bottlenecks in the regions of their interests. Then such a puncture? Unclear…

No less interesting events in 1841 are visited in Khiva by captain Nikiforov, in the same year the expedition of K.F. Buteneva and N. Hannykova. In 1842, colonel of the Russian Empire GI was sent to Khiva. Danilevsky. There is a close exchange of embassies from the Khiva khanate and Bukhara in the Russian Empire.

Although some literary sources say that in 1841, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart allegedly received permission from Emir Nasrullah to leave Bukhara and already wanted to go to Europe through the Russian Empire with the trade caravan ... But the arrival of Arthur Conolly decided the matter differently. How true is this information? It is difficult to say that the available literature does not confirm this. Probably this is also some assumptions or conjectures.

Arthur Conolly was friends with Charles Stoddart, so he received a kind invitation from the Emir of Bukhara, decided to help out an old friend, relying on his mind, logic, convincing arguments in his opinion. Upon arrival in Bukhara in October (in the sources of the Russian Empire) - November (in the sources of the British Empire) in 1841, the Emir politely asked Conolly if he brought the requested letter from the Queen of the Great British Empire.

Apparently, the letter should contain information confirming the status of the ambassador in the person of Charles Stoddart. And the Emir perceived a new English guest, as the messenger who would bring such a guarantee. But to his great surprise,

Arthur Conolly did not have such a letter ... The ruler of the Bukhara Emirate was furious with such an attitude towards himself, the lord of the world, as he believed. His urgent request was ignored ... And the time was hectic, Britain showed its activity in the Qing Empire, Afghanistan, made strange gestures towards the Khiva and Kokand khanates.

The Russian Empire undertook campaigns on Khiva, moving closer and closer to the borders of Bukhara. Naturally, this caused certain fears, even more likely a threat; countries were overrun by spies. Here the counterintelligence service needed to keep an eye on it. Since it would be difficult to resist the two empires at once. Emir did not want to fall under the hand, to be as a pawn and not a player on the geopolitical "Gobane".

In view of these reasons, and perhaps also the "unobtrusive" advice from the trade and diplomatic missions of the Russian Empire, about the undesirability of contacts with foreign representatives, Nasrulla considered the most sensible decision to send Arthur Conolly to the dungeon.Then who knows what he could have done, come to an agreement with local influential people ...

There was no one to consult on the difficult topic of Emir of Bukhara, since, by that time, he had already cleared Kushbegi, fearing his actions. Those who advised him could easily work for the intelligence of third countries, and did not want to look too clever, the fate of Kushbegi was in sight.

In the dungeon, two friends met. What did they think at that moment? It's hard to imagine, but they still had hope of salvation. With the change of position during the first Afghan-British War, the situation with the two British also deteriorated. They were not allowed to change their underwear, after they were again transferred from the dungeon to a "zindan" (underground prison) filled with bedbugs, stale air, blows to the heels, etc. So they expected their salvation, but their hopes melted away every day.

In the meantime, diplomatic efforts were used to save them, letters were written on behalf of the ambassadors of Porta, Emir Khiva asked for the release of the British, the governor-general of India and even the British Queen, but time was lost.

Although it is strange why the Emir did not heed the requests of such influential persons! Probably it was not without interests of third forces, empires ... Or maybe it was that in this way, the Emir raised its self-esteem, they asked me, but I would not give them freedom or liberation under such pressure from world powers, would show Bukhara weakness? Who knows? It is possible that all the factors came together and the fate of the two Englishmen was already decided.

Expeditions, scientific research, diplomatic missions of the two empires, were perceived, on the alert, as a hidden attempt of possible annexation of the lands. With far-reaching plans ...

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire wanted to use the territory of the Great Zhus and the Central Asian khanates, as a springboard for moving to Afghanistan and probably to India. This would be the realization of the geostatistical concept of individual political circles of the metropolis — the natural state borders of the Russian Empire from the oceans to the oceans. From the Arctic to the Indian and from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Then the idea of ​​acquiring the necessary straits would have disappeared by itself.

At the same time, the British Empire considered the region of interests namely the Central Asian Khanate, apparently, first as a sanitary cordon, then as a buffer zone, then, rejecting this idea, wanted to use it as its springboard. But already in the seizure of the Russian possessions, namely the Volga region, the Caucasus and possibly Siberia, in order to control the transportation of goods along the Silk Road.

Naturally, such an alignment would immediately make these two empires super super empires in the world. Other metropolises zealously monitored the preservation of the balance of power and, to the best of their abilities, stopped ambitious plans for world domination.

As a result of this activity, it is possible, both of them, for the empires to fail to fully translate their plans into practice. Each got its own piece - the regions of their interests.

The fate of British intelligence as well, and the Central Asian khanates at that very time, was actually decided. Charles Stoddart and Arthur Conolly had time less than one and a half hundred days and the khanates were still a couple of decades old ... Perhaps if the story could be reversed, if Nasrulla knew how it would end, he could change the story. However, this is fantastic ...

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