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throw of the balance of power. This must be admitted, and such a war might be right and wise. But this would be a war, not for the maintenance of the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, but merely for the interests of the European powers of civilization. It ought to be carried on unshackled by obligations to the Porte, and would probably lead, in the peace, which must be the object of that war, to the obtaining of arrangements more consonant with the well-understood interests of Europe, of Christianity, liberty, and civilization, than the reimposition of the ignorant barbarian and despotic yoke of the Mussulman over the most fertile and favoured portion of Europe.
This memorandum from the prince was approved by the foreign minister Lord Clarendon, and by Sir James Graham, while Lord John Russell said he "agreed very much with it;" but Lord Palmerston differed considerably from its conclusions, and his reply is worth attention, because it may be said to have relation to a dispute which has been renewed at a comparatively recent date and is by no means settled. He said: "According to my view of the matters in question the case is simple and our course is clear. The five great powers have in a formal document recorded their opinion that it is for the general interest of Europe that the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire should be maintained; and it would be easy to show that strong reasons, political and commercial, make it especially the interest of England that this integrity and independence should be maintained. But Russia has attacked the independence and violated the integrity of the Ottoman Empire; and Russia must, by fair means or foul, be brought to give up her pretensions and withdraw her aggression. England and France, urged by common interests to defend Turkey against Russia, have given Turkey physical assistance and political and diplomatic support. They undertook to obtain for Turkey, by negotiation, a satisfactory and honourable settlement of her difficulties with Russia, and failing that, to support Turkey in her defensive war. Hitherto our efforts at negotiation have failed, because the arrangement which we proposed was declared both by Turkey
and by Russia to be such as Turkey could not honourably nor safely adopt. The Turkish government, seeing no apparent prospect of better results from negotiation, and aware that lapse of time was running to the disadvantage of Turkey, at length, after having for some considerable time yielded to our advice to remain passive, came to a determination not unnatural and not unwise, and issued that declaration of war which we had officially and publicly said that the sultan would have been justified in issuing the moment the Russians invaded his territory.
"This declaration of war makes no change in the position of England and France in relation to Turkey. We may still try to persuade Russia to do what she ought to do, but we are still bound, by a regard for our own interests, to defend Turkey. Peace is an excellent thing, and war is a great misfortune; but there are many things more valuable than peace, and many things much worse than war. We passed the Rubicon when we first took part with Turkey and sent our squadrons to support her; and when England and France have once taken a third power by the hand, that third power must be carried in safety through the difficulties in which it may be involved. England and France cannot afford to be battled, and whatever measures may be necessary on their part to baffle their opponent, those measures must be adopted; and the governments of the two most powerful countries on the face of the earth must not be frightened either by words or things, either by the name or by the reality of war. No doubt when we put forth our whole strength in defence of Turkey we shall be entitled to direct in a great measure the course and character of the war, and to exercise a deciding influence on the negotiations which may afterwards lead to peace. And it was with that view that some time ago I proposed to the cabinet that, negotiation failing, England and France should conclude a convention with Turkey, by which, on the one hand, the two powers should engage to afford Turkey naval assistance, and to permit their respective subjects to enter the sultan's service, naval and | military; and by which the sultan, on the
PALMERSTON'S ATTITUDE AND THE PEACE PARTY.
other hand, should engage to consult with the two powers as to the terms and conditions of peace. But the only grounds on which we can claim influence in these matters is our determination to give hearty and effectual support. We support Turkey for our own sake and for our own interests, and to withdraw our support or to cripple it so as to render it ineffectual, merely because the Turkish government did not show as much deference to our advice as our advice deserved, would be to place our national interests at the mercy of other persons. . . . But it is said the Turks seem to wish for war while we wish for peace. I apprehend that both parties wish for one and the same thing, namely the relinquishment by Russia of inadmissible pretensions, and her retirement from the Turkish territory; both parties would rather gain these ends by the pen than by the sword. We only differ in our belief as to the efficiency of these two methods. It is indeed possible that the Turks may think that a successful conflict would enable them to make a treaty of peace which should free them from the thraldom of some of their old engagements; and if this were possible it would certainly place future peace on a firmer foundation. It is said also that the Turks are reawakening the dormant fanaticism of the Musɛulman race, and that we ought not to be the helping instruments to gratify such bad passions. I believe these stories about awakened fanaticism to be fables invented at Vienna and St. Petersburg; we have had no facts stated in support of them. I take the fanaticism which has been thus aroused to be the fanaticism which consists in burning indignation at a national insult, and a daring impatience to endeavour to expel an invading enemy. This spirit may be reviled by the Russians, whose schemes it disconcerts, and
may be cried down by the Austrians, who had hoped to settle matters by persuading the Turks to yield; but it will not diminish the good-will of the people of England, and it is a good foundation on which to build our hopes of success. The concluding part of the memorandum points to the expulsion of the Turks from Europe, and the establishment of a Greek Empire in European Turkey. But
such a scheme would be diametrically opposed to the principles of the policy on which we have hitherto acted. To carry such a system into execution we ought to join the Russians against the Turks, instead of helping the Turks against the Russians; for how could such a reconstruction of Turkey become the result of a successful contest by England and France in defence of Turkey? I have no partiality for the Turks as Mohammedans, and should be very glad if they could be turned into Christians. I am well convinced that there are a vast number of Christians under the governments of Russia, Austria, Rome, and Naples who would rejoice to enjoy as much security for person and property as the Christian subjects of the sultan. To expel from Europe the sultan and his two million of Mussulman subjects, including the army and the bulk of the landowners, might not be an easy task; still the five powers might effect it, and play the Polish drama over again. But they would find the building up still more difficult than the pulling down. There are no sufficient Christian elements as yet for a Christian state in European Turkey capable of performing its functions as a component part of the European system. The Greeks are a small minority, and could not be the governing race. The Sclavonians, who are the majority, do not possess the conditions necessary for becoming the bones and sinews of a new state. A reconstruction of Turkey means neither more nor less than its subjection to Russia, direct or indirect, immediate or for a time delayed. It seems to me then that our course is plain, simple, and straight. That we must help Turkey out of her difficulties by negotiation if possible; and that if negotiation fails, we must, by force of arms, carry her safely through her dangers."
Nothing could more plainly indicate Palmerston's policy than this statement. It was not, it did not pretend to be, based on very exalted theoretical principles, and it is not difficult in reading it to understand the dislike, one might almost say the abhorrence, with which his declarations and the action which they involved were likely to excite, and did excite in the minds of men who
regarded war not only as a misfortune, but as an evil, to avoid which almost any sacrifice should be made. Such men held that war, either for the sake of British interests or for glory, was a crime,---would not admit that it was necessary for us to resort to arms when negotiations had failed for the purpose of supporting one barbarous and tyrannical power against another because it suited our purpose; nor would they agree that having once engaged in an enterprise which was in itself an evil one, we were bound to prosecute it to its evil end. That was the extreme view taken by those people who were regarded as the fanatics of peace, and it must be admitted that they were numerically weak. There was enough in Palmerston's appeal to the English sense of honour (which made it incumbent on a strong protective ally to stick to a threatened comrade through thick and thin), to hit the popular sentiment; and Palmerston himself was doubtless sincere in putting it forward as the highest motive which was practicable— looking to what he conceived to be the necessary outcome of an alliance that would achieve the humiliation of Russia, promote the power and influence of England, and teach unconstitutional autocrats that they could not break into their neighbours' houses without having to confront "the policeman." More than that, it had long been a personal policy. It was Palmerstonian as well as English, and Palmerston was waiting on events, shrewdly guessing that before long he would be recalled by the public voice to take the direction of the war office.
Lord Aberdeen did not let the whole statement go without a reply, and on the subject of Turkish fanaticism and cruelty he said: "Notwithstanding the favourable opinion entertained by many, it is difficult to believe in the improvement of the Turks. It is true that under the pressure of the moment benevolent decrees may be issued, but these, except under the eye of some foreign minister, are entirely neglected. Their whole system is radically vicious and inhuman. I do not refer to fables which may be invented at St. Petersburg or at Viema, but to numerous despatches of Lord Stratford himself and of our own consuls,
who describe a frightful picture of lawless oppression and cruelty. This is so true that if the war should continue, and the Turkish armies meet with disaster, we may expect to see the Christian populations of the empire rise against their oppressors; and in such a case it could scarcely be proposed to employ the British force in the Levant to assist in compelling their return under a Mohammedan yoke."
He contended that in any case, though we had sent our fleet to the Bosphorus, we had done so reserving to ourselves complete freedom for further negotiation with a view to peace. If, while we were labouring for this, the Turks should be obstinately bent on war, "then," he added, "I confess I am not disposed to sacrifice our freedom of action, and to permit ourselves to be dragged into war by a government which has not the requisite control over its own subjects, and is obliged to act under the pressure of popular dictation." The Ottoman government had declared war in opposition to the remonstrances of our ambassador; and if we were now to go into war along with them we must see that we did so for ends which we could justify to ourselves and in the face of Europe.
"I should be perfectly prepared," he said, "to oppose, even to the extremity of war, the possession by Russia of Constantinople and the Dardanelles with the approaches to the Mediterranean; and I think that this decision would be justified by English and by European interests. It is true that the Emperor of Russia has invariably declared that he entertains no such projects, and that he would regret any such proposition; but if a contest should arise on this ground, it would probably embrace other objects than the security of Turkish dominion. It is difficult to say into whose hands these territories would ultimately fall; but whoever might profit by the result, it is to be expected that the Turks would disappear, never more to return to a soil upon which, in the face of Christendom, they have been so long established."
But the prospects of negotiation became more distant. The Emperor of Russia himself destroyed the restraints which might for
THE EMPEROR NICHOLAS WRITES TO THE QUEEN.
a time have influenced our government even against the clamour which was raised in the country. On the 1st of November the Emperor Nicholas issued a manifesto declaring war against Turkey, and referring to his former manifesto by which he had made known to his faithful and dearly beloved subjects the motives which had placed him under the obligation of demanding from the Ottoman Porte inviolable guarantees in favour of the sacred rights of the orthodox church. "We also," he went on to declare, "announced to them that all our efforts to recall the Porte by means of amicable persuasion to sentiments of equity and to the faithful observance of treaties had remained unfruitful, and that we had consequently deemed it indispensable to cause our troops to advance into the Danubian Principalities; but in taking this step we still entertained the hope that the Porte would acknowledge its wrong-doings and would decide on acceding to our just demands. Our expectation has been deceived. Even the chief powers of Europe have in vain sought by their exhortations to shake the blind obstinacy of the Ottoman government. It is by a declaration of war, by a proclamation filled with lying accusations against Russia, that it has responded to the pacific efforts of Europe as well as to our spirit of long-suffering. At last, enrolling in the ranks of its army revolutionary exiles from all countries, the Porte has just commenced hostilities on the Danube. Russia is challenged to the combat, and she has no other course left her than, putting her trust in God, to have recourse to force of arms, and so compel the Ottoman government to respect treaties and obtain reparation for the insults with which it has responded to our most moderate demands and to our most legitimate solicitude for the defence of the orthodox faith in the East, professed also by the people of Russia."
There is no need to quote more or to point out the monstrous falsehoods of this declaration which was distributed to the colonels of the Russian army. It was of course designed to stimulate the Russians themselves to a prosecution of the war, but to publish it to the world was little less than an insane defiance of the opinion of Europe. If anything had been
wanting to rouse the war fever in France and England this manifesto would have answered the purpose, and yet the czar seemed to imagine that he might still influence the English government, whose hesitation and reluctance to abandon the attempt to find a basis of agreement, he attributed either to timidity or to a lingering desire to support his claims. No other assumption seems capable of explaining an autograph letter which he at the same time addressed to the queen, expressing surprise that there should be any misunderstanding between her majesty's government and his own as to the affairs of Turkey, and appealing to her majesty's "good faith" and "wisdom" to decide between them. This letter was at once submitted by the queen to Lord Clarendon for his and Lord Aberdeen's perusal and opinion as to the answer to be returned. Her majesty replied on the 14th of November, and her letter, which was written in French, contained a direct and unmistakable answer, though it preserves the style of a formal private letter, and therefore gives the emperor rather more credit for good intentions than might be permissible if the language were to be judged otherwise than as that of the reserve which is understood to be ordained by etiquette.
"Being heartily anxious, sire, to discover what could have produced this painful misunderstanding, my attention has been naturally drawn to article 7 of the treaty of Kainardji; and I am bound to state to your majesty, that having consulted the persons here best qualified to form a judgment upon the meaning to be attached to this article, and after having read and re-read it myself, with the most sincere desire to be impartial, I have arrived at the conviction that this article is not susceptible of the extended meaning which it has been sought to attach to it. All your majesty's friends, like myself, feel assured that you would not have abused the power which would on such a construction have been accorded to you; but a demand of this kind could hardly be conceded by a sovereign who valued his own independence.
"Moreover, I will not conceal from your majesty the painful impression produced upon
me by the occupation of the principalities. | Argis, and the Danube; and though the
For the last four months this has caused a general commotion in Europe, and is calculated to lead to ulterior events, which I should deplore in common with your majesty. But as I know that your majesty's intentions towards the Porte are friendly and disinterested, I have every confidence that you will find means to give expression and effect to them, so as to avert those grave dangers which, I assure you, all my efforts will be directed to prevent. The impartial attention with which I have followed the causes that up to this time have led to the failure of all attempts at conciliation, leaves me with the firm conviction that there exists no real obstacle which cannot be removed or promptly surmounted with your majesty's assistance."
Before her majesty's letter was despatched it was of course submitted to Lords Aberdeen and Clarendon, and was much commended by them; so that it is after all to be regarded as a semi-diplomatic as well as a formally courteous communication. It was known in St. Petersburg that a letter had been written to the Queen of England, and our ambassador there soon heard how much the emperor had been mortified by the tenor of the reply, which he could easily interpret from the language of etiquette. He regretted "that he had not followed Nesselrode's advice and kept clear of politics in his letter, for the queen had in fact gone heart and soul with her ministry." Count Nesselrode was very anxious to learn from our ambassador if he knew the contents of the queen's reply. To him as well as to his other informant Sir Hamilton Seymour could only answer that he did not. "These correspondences," he added, "between sovereigns are not regular according to our constitutional notions; but all I can say is that if her majesty were called upon to write upon the Eastern affair she would not require her ministers' assistance. The queen understands all these questions as well as they do."
Hostilities, as we have seen, had actually commenced between the invading force of the Russians in the principalities. At Oltenitza 9000 Turks had taken up a position on a triangular space formed by the village, the
Russian troops endeavoured repeatedly to dislodge them the attempts were unsuccessful. On the last occasion the Turks repulsed the attack with such spirit, that 1200 of the enemy were killed or wounded. At Kalafat also the Turkish soldiers made good their position; but Omar Pacha did not intend to keep his whole army for the purpose of holding the left bank of the Danube, and he therefore retained Kalafat only as a position from which he could command that side of the river, blew up the works he had constructed at Oltenitza, and recrossed the stream.
It is easy to understand that after these events, the manifesto of the emperor and the reply to the letter which he sent to the queen, further efforts to avert war were not very promising, amidst growing excitement against Russia, and an impatient defiance and denunciation of the emperor's assumptions. After the defeat of Lord Derby's government the Aberdeen ministry had had enough to do to defend itself, not only for | being a "coalition," which was a title that had been converted into a term of reproach, but against being denominated a "factious combination," which was a still more formidable charge. Lord John Russell as secretary for foreign affairs had said one or two smart things, but one of the best was to a meeting of his constituents, the electors of the city of London,-"If an omnibus with some dozen passengers were seen going down Ludgate Hill at a furious pace, and breaking into the shop windows and injuring everybody that was going by, why, every man would concur,
the men that were going eastward and the men that were going westward-all would concur in stopping that omnibus and telling the coachman to get off his box. And how much surprised would all those passengers with the policeman at their head be, if the coachman were to say, 'Why, this is a factious combination. You gentlemen are going, some of you one way and some another, and yet you have all combined to prevent me driving my omnibus into the shops.""
It may be mentioned, also, that on the first intimation of probable war with Russia, Lord