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is, perhaps, more probable, in the conclusion of an offensive and defensive alliance with the Turkish vassal States which would place their military forces at Russia's disposal, as those of the South German States were placed at the disposal of Prussia by the secret treaty of 1866. In a word, “a chain of autonomous states "
, would not, as has been asserted, be a barrier against Russian aggression, but a bridge for the troops of Russia from her frontier to Constantinople, as has been already shown during the last few weeks by the example of Servia and Roumania.* What is really wanted is a reformed administration which should strengthen the Turkish Government until the Christian populations are able (of
* According to the Russian General Fadéeff (Opinion on the Eastern Question) the autonomy of the Slav provinces of Turkey "would give independence in internal affairs, a separate ruler, and separate political institutions. But independence from an international and military point of view is quite a different question.
The liberated East of Europe, if it be liberated at all, will require a durable bond of union and a common head, with a common council, the transaction of international affairs, and the military command, in the bands of that head-the Czar of Russia, the natural chief of all the Slavs and members of the orthodox Church."
which there is as yet but little sign) to walk alone; i.e., as long as there is no danger of their exchanging the almost nominal, and practically harmless, supremacy of the Sultan for the formidable leadership of the Czar.
The scheme of political autonomy as a solution of the Eastern Question must therefore be dismissed as impracticable. There only remains the alternative above referred to of administrative autonomy, as proposed by Lord Derby and apparently agreed to by Russia.* This, it is obvious, is a very different thing from the “bag and baggage” policy of Messrs. Gladstone and Lowe; and as those statesmen have said a great deal about the obligations which we have incurred towards the Turkish Christians in consequence of the Crimean war, it may be well here to inquire what were the objects of that war, and how far they were at
tained. What was
It is a curious fallacy among some of our politiWar fought cians that we fought the Russians in the Crimea That there was at that time a certain amount of sympathy for Turkey in this country is undeniable; but we no more fought for the Turks out of mere sympathy for them than we remained neutral, in the wars of 1859 and 1864, because we had no sympathy for the Italians and the Danes. We are notoriously enthusiastic in our sympathies for nations which we conceive to be ill-treated, but we do not go to war for them unless such a course is prescribed by our honour or our interests. Let us see what Lord Palmerston* describes as the reasons for our having entered upon the Crimean
because we did not like them so well as the Turks.
* Despatch to Sir A. Loftus of the 30th of June, 1876. (See Appendix).
“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. . We support Turkey for our own sake and for our own interests ; and to withdraw our support, or to
* Life of Lord Palmerston. By the Hon. Evelyn Ashley, M,P.: Bentley, 1876,
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. If Lord Liverpool's Government had so acted in regard to the Provisional Government of Spain, we never should have driven the French
out of the Peninsula.* Mr. Lowe's
Another fallacy, which was started by Mr. Lowe, of “ the dog." and has since been repeated, parrot-fashion, by
various speakers at public meetings, is that we took over from Russia the protectorate of the Christians of Turkey, and that we are therefore bound to provide them with a proper Government. Now, in the first place, Russia was not the protector of the Turkish Christians; it was her demand to be recognised as such which led, among other reasons, to the Crimean war. We could not have taken up a protectorate which never existed; and even if we had wished to inaugurate a policy
* How much better would it have been for the country if Mr. Gladstone and his friends had acted in the spirit of these wise remarks, instead of urging England to withdraw her support from Turkey because atrocities were committed in Bulgaria !
of protection for the Christian subjects of the Sultan, we were precluded from such a course by the ninth article of the Treaty of Paris, which says that “the Powers are not in any case to have the right of interfering, either separately or collectively, in the relations of his Majesty the Sultan with his subjects, nor in the internal administration of his Empire.” In developing his singular theory, which, as is shown above, has no foundation whatever in fact, Mr. Lowe used an illustration which has enjoyed some popularity. “Suppose,” he said, “ that I, being afraid of my house being robbed, keep a fierce dog which flies at everybody who comes near, and tries to tear them to pieces. The law of the country is founded on this: if I am not aware that the dog is a fierce dog, I shall not be answerable for his acts; but I am answerable if I have the power and means of restraining him. My responsibility, I say, then, would depend upon two things—first, upon my knowledge of the qualities of the beast; and secondly, on my power to restrain the beast. Now what I wish to point out is, that we have had for any period of years you like to mention a thorough