You are here

Appendix 7

(Referred to in Chapter LIII, Footnote 3.)

Translations of letters from GENERAL-ADJUTANT VON KAUFFMANN, Governor-General of Turkestan, to the address of the AMIR OF AFGHANISTAN, received on 10th, Shaban, 1295, through GENERAL STOLIETOFF, 9th August, 1878.

Be it known to you that in these days the relations between the British Government and ours with regard to your kingdom require deep consideration. As I am unable to communicate my opinion verbally to you, I have deputed my agent, Major-General Stolietoff. This gentleman is a near friend of mine, and performed excellent services in the Russo-Turkish war, by which he earned favour of the Emperor. The Emperor has always had a regard for him. He will inform you of all that is hidden in my mind. I hope you will pay great attention to what he says, and believe him as you would myself, and, after due consideration, you will give him your reply. Meanwhile, be it known to you that your union and friendship with the Russian Government will be beneficial to the latter, and still more so to you. The advantages of a close alliance with the Russian Government will be permanently evident.

This friendly letter is written by the Governor-General of Turkestan and Adjutant-General to the Emperor, Von Kauffmann, Tashkent, Jamadial Akbar, 1295 ( = June, 1878).

To the AMIR of the whole of Afghanistan, SHER ALI KHAN.

(After compliments.) Be it known to you that our relations with the British Government are of great importance to Afghanistan and its dependencies. As I am unable to see you, I have deputed my trustworthy (official) General Stolietoff to you. The General is an old friend of mine, and during the late Russo-Turkish war earned the favour of the Emperor by his spirit and bravery. He has become well known to the Emperor. This trustworthy person will communicate to you what he thinks best. I hope you will pay attention to what he says, and repose as much confidence in his words as if they were my own; and that you will give your answer in this matter through him. In the meantime, be it known to you that if a friendly treaty will be of benefit to us, it will be of far greater benefit to yourself.

GENERAL STOLIETOFF sent the following letter, on his return to Tashkent from Kabul, to the address of the Foreign Minister, WAZIR SHAH MAHOMED KHAN, dated 23rd of the holy month of Ramazan, 1295 ( = 21st September, 1878).

Thank God, I reached Tashkent safely, and at an auspicious moment paid my respects to the Viceroy (Yaroni Padishah means 'half king'). I am trying day and night to gain our objects, and hope I shall be successful. I am starting to see the Emperor to-day, in order to inform His Majesty personally of our affairs. If God pleases, everything that is necessary will be done and affirmed. I hope that those who want to enter the gate of Kabul from the east will see that the door is closed; then, please God, they will tremble. I hope you will give my respects to His Highness the Amir. May God make his life long and increase his wealth! May you remain in good health, and know that the protection of God will arrange our affairs!


From GENERAL KAUFFMANN to the AMIR, dated Tashkent, 8th Zekada, 1295 ( = 22nd October, 1878).

(After compliments.) Be it known to you that your letter, dated 12th Shawal, reached me at Tashkent on the 16th October, i.e., 3rd Zekada, and I understood its contents. I have telegraphed an abstract of your letter to the address of the Emperor, and have sent the letter itself, as also that addressed to General Stolietoff, by post to Livadia, where the Emperor now is. I am informed on good authority that the English want to come to terms with you; and, as a friend, I advise you to make peace with them if they offer it.


First of all, I hope you will be kind enough to give my respects to the Amir. May God make his life long and increase his wealth! I shall always remember his royal hospitality. I am busy day and night in his affairs, and, thank God, my labours have not been without result. The great Emperor is a true friend of the Amir's and of Afghanistan, and His Majesty will do whatever he may think necessary. Of course, you have not forgotten what I told you, that the affairs of kingdoms are like a country which has many mountains, valleys, and rivers. One who sits on a high mountain can see things well. By the power and order of God, there is no empire equal to that of our great Emperor. May God make his life long! Therefore, whatever our Government advises you, you should give ear to it. I tell you the truth that our Government is wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. There are many things which you cannot understand, but our Government understands them well. It often happens that a thing which is unpleasant at first is regarded as a blessing afterwards. Now, my kind friend, I inform you that the enemy of your famous religion wants to make peace with you through the Kaisar (Sultan) of Turkey. Therefore you should look to your brothers who live on the other side of the river. If God stirs them up, and gives the sword of fight into their hands, then go on, in the name of God (Bismilla), otherwise you should be as a serpent; make peace openly, and in secret prepare for war, and when God reveals His order to you, declare yourself. It will be well, when the Envoy of your enemy wants to enter the country, if you send an able emissary, possessing the tongue of a serpent and full of deceit, to the enemy's country, so that he may with sweet words perplex the enemy's mind, and induce him to give up the intention of fighting with you.

My kind friend, I entrust you to the protection of God. May God be the protector of the Amir's kingdom, and may trembling fall upon the limbs of your enemies! Amen.

Write to me soon, and send the letter to the capital. Please write in Arabic characters, so that I may be able to read your letter.

From, GENERAL KAUFFMANN to the AMIR OF AFGHANISTAN, dated 30th Zekada (=26th November, 1878).

(After compliments.) I was much pleased to receive your letter, dated 24th Zekada, 1295 (=18th November, 1878), and to hear of your good health. I have also received a copy of the letter which you sent to the Governor-General. May God be pleased with you. The British Ministers have given a pledge to our Ambassador in London that they will not interfere with the independence of Afghanistan. I am directed by His Majesty the Emperor to communicate this news to you, and then, after forming friendship, to go to His Majesty. I intend to go to the Russian capital after I have arranged the affairs of this country (Turkestan). As I do not consider it advisable to keep your trusted officials, whom you are in want of, here any more, I send Mahomed Hassan Khan, Kamuah (Deputy-Governor), and Gholam Haidar Khan, with two officers, back to you. I hope you will consider me a well-wisher of your kingdom, and write to me now and then. I have given instructions that, until my return, every letter of yours which they receive at Turkestan should be forwarded to the capital. Your good fortune is a cause of happiness to me, and if any troubles come upon you, I also shall be grieved. Some presents have been sent by me through Mirza Mahomed Hassan, Kamuah; perhaps they may be accepted.

Translation of a letter from, GENERAL KAUFFMANN to GENERAL VOZGONOFF, dated Zel Hijja, 1295 (=December, 1878).

The Amir knows perfectly well that it is impossible for me to assist him with troops in winter. Therefore it is necessary that war should not be commenced at this unseasonable time. If the English, in spite of the Amir's exertions to avoid the war, commence it, you must then take leave of the Amir and start for Tashkent, because your presence in Afghanistan in winter is useless. Moreover, at such a juncture as the commencement of war in Afghanistan, you ought to come here and explain the whole thing to me, so that I may communicate it to the Emperor. This will be of great benefit to Afghanistan and to Russia.

From GENERAL KAUFFMANN to the AMIR OF AFGHANISTAN, dated 25th December, 1878 (Russian, 13th Muharram, 1296).

Your letter, dated 27th Zel Hijja (=20th November), 1878, has reached me. I was pleased to hear tidings of your good health. The Emperor has caused the British Government to agree to the continuance of Afghan independence. The English Ministers have promised this. I earnestly request you not to leave your kingdom. As far as possible, consider your own interests, and do not lose your independence. For the present come to terms with the British Government. If you do not want to go back to Kabul for this purpose, you can write to your son, Mahomed Yakub Khan, to make peace with the English as you may direct him. Do not leave the soil of Afghanistan at this time, because it will be of benefit to you. My words are not without truth, because your arrival in Russian territory will make things worse.