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South Germany and the East, would be almost paralysed if the protective duties and vexatious customs regulations which now hamper the importation of foreign goods into Russia introduced into the Danubian territories. Moreover, the political interests of Germany would be gravely endangered by Russian aggression in Turkey.
Her frontier on the side of Russia is about 500 miles long, in a country well provided with railways and other means of communication, and not presenting any natural obstacles to an invader. Strategically speaking, Germany is more open to an attack from Russia than from any other Power; and now that the Czar has proclaimed himself the champion of Panslavism, it is impossible for Russia to attain the aims of her policy without coming into direct collision with German interests, for a considerable portion of Germany, * comprising one-third of her sea-board, is Slavonic territory, and is still to a great extent inhabited by a Slavonic population ; while the Austrian provinces of
* Posen, West Prussia, East Prussia, and Prussian Silesia, all of which provinces formerly belonged to the kingdom of Poland.
Bohemia and Moravia, which would certainly be claimed by Russia as part of the Slavonic Empire of the future, contain more than half as many Germans as Slavs.
As to France and Italy, their position as Mediterranean Powers necessarily renders it of vital importance to them that Russia, with the fleet of ironclads which she is now building on the Black Sea, should not be mistress of the Dardanelles. If this were the case, their maritime power in the Mediterranean would at any moment be exposed to the danger of a hostile combination between Russia and England; for these Powers --England being in possession of the key of the Mediterranean at Gibraltar, and thereby enabled to isolate the French fleet in that sea,-might easily sweep from it the ships of both France and Italy.
Further, if Russia obtained free ingress and egress in the Black Sea, her ports there would become great naval arsenals, and she herself a first-class naval power, with the safest of retreats in case of attack. Even if operating alone, therefore, against France or Italy, she would be a very formidable opponent. France
would see her great commercial ports of Toulon and Marseilles, and her
and her colony of Algiers, threatened by Russian ironclads; and to Italy the danger would be even greater, for the whole of her extensive seaboard is in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. It is evident, therefore, that each of the great The Eastern
Question Powers of Europe has an interest in keeping from a phi
lanthropic Russia out of Turkey.
“But,” say certain point of view. politicians of the humanitarian school, conduct should not be determined by interests, but by our duty; we should do what is right, matter what harm to ourselves may come of it.” Mr. Freeman, whose great literary gifts only bring into stronger prominence his want of political judgment, has devoted many columns of effusive declamation in his favourite newspaper to the development of
of this self-evident proposition, which is about as much to the point as the maxim : “ Cease to do evil, learn to do well,” or any other copy-book text that nobody has ever dreamt of contesting. We are all agreed that we should do right; but what is
what is right ? Lord Beaconsfield and Mr. Gladstone, the Pope and Dr. Cumming, the Czar and the Sultan, all unquestionably endeavour to do what they conceive to be right. It is not the end, but the means, as to which they differ; and it would be as monstrous to accuse them of knowingly and deliberately striving to do what is wrong, as it would be to accuse Mr. Freeman of wishing to set the world in flames in order that a Russian despot should rule over the Bulgarians rather than an apathetic and incapable
Turk. Yet this is what, however involuntarily, of “doing his schemes for a regeneration of the East amount right."
to. He would risk a war which would deluge all Europe with blood, and cause incalculable misery to future generations, in order that some six millions of Bosnians and Bulgarians may have the questionable advantage of trying to rule themselves, with the certainty, in the very probable event of their failing to do so, of falling under the iron rule of Russia. Such (as will appear in the sequel) is Mr. Freeman's way of “doing right;” it is not Lord Derby's way, nor, as may be safely asserted, is it the way that would be approved by the great majority of Englishmen. Messrs. Gladstone, Lowe, and Stansfeld, who The “ bag
and baggage" may be ranked together as the disciples of Mr. policy. Freeman, but whose views, fortunately for the political reputation of the Liberal party, are not shared by its responsible and sober-n.inded leaders, such as Lord Hartington and Mr. Forster, hold that the only possible remedy for the grievances of the Turkish Christians is to be found in the extermination of the Turks, “ bag and baggage,” from Europe, much in the same way as the process of “stamping out” was prescribed as the last resource for checking and eradicating the cattle plague. This is simply to advocate one kind of atrocity as a means of preventing the repetition of another. A crusade with Christianity and civilisation as its war-cry, would bring in its train at least as much suffering to the Turks as has been endured by the Eastern Christians, besides which it would inevitably lead to terrible reprisals in all countries where Mahometans and Christians live side by side. Mr. Gladstone might perhaps think that such a