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service of their Government, were allowed to join the Christian armies against the Porte. It is impossible to deny, in the face of these facts, that the conflict now waged in Turkey is not the result of a spontaneous national or religious movement, but is simply due to the action of Russia, working for her own ends upon the natural antagonism between Christian and Turk.* Such being the case, it is evident that any political sympathy with the opponents of the Porte is misplaced, and that the cry about the Bulgarian atrocities, which for a time was so popular among a certain class of
* Writing on this subject, a Russian radical paper, the Nabat, of Geneva, says: “A government steeped in the blood of the Poles dares to speak of Slavonic fraternity; the very men who have exterminated language and nationality in Poland, Little Russia, and the Caucasus, now come to us with the doctrine of nationality on their lips. ... Those who have shot down and tortured the Polish Catholics, merely because they wished to pray in the same fashion as their forefathers had prayed before them, who had desecrated and shut up churches, now speak of the Christian religion as endangered by Mussulman fanaticism.
More colossal hypocrisy than this cannot be imagined. ... For years past the Russian Government has been carrying on an agitation in Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina ; Russian spies have been distributing Russian gold, with which they stimulated the unfortunate Slavs to insurrection.”
enthusiasts in this country, has simply played into the hands of
Russia. Why Russia
Why should we go out of our way to ascribe stantinople. the underband machinations above set forth to
humanitarian influences, when the lessons of history and the present wants of the Russian nation clearly point to their true cause ? The removal by Peter the Great of the Russian capital from Moscow to the vicinity of the sea at St. Petersburg showed the importance which Russia attaches to a sea-board ; and her history ever since has recorded her incessant efforts to develop her naval power on the south. As has been well observed by a writer in the Manchester Guardian, Russia is now in possession of the whole coast of the Black Sea from the south of the Caucasus to the neighbourhood of the Danube; some of her largest rivers fall into that sea, and her most flourishing commercial ports, with the second of her naval arsenals, are on its shores. The Black Sea, in a word, is the natural maritime outlet for onehalf of the European territories of Russia. But the road from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean,
the East, or the Atlantic, lies through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, which are commanded by Constantinople. It is obviously the interest of Russia, therefore, that the Turkish capital, which is the key of the Black Sea, should be in her hands. But this is not all. The possession of such a country as Turkey, with unrivalled and still undeveloped resources, would give an extraordinary impetus to Russian industry and commerce; it would enrich her middle classes, extend her territory, multiply her population and her military forces, add to her revenue, and secure for her policy à most powerful influence on the affairs of Europe, by enabling her to become a first-class naval Power.
It is no disgrace to Russia, under these circumstances, that she should aspire to the possession of Constantinople. If, frankly abandoning the petty subterfuge of a humanitarian crusade on behalf of the Turkish Christians, she plainly declared that her object was to remove an obstacle to the natural development of her power and the promotion of her interests, it would not lie in the mouth of any great European State to blame her.
We retain our hold on Gibraltar, though part of the territory of a foreign Power, because we consider it our interest to do so; and we should also
regard this as a sufficient justification for our What Eng- occupying Constantinople or Egypt. This is not
a question of abstract morality, but of interest: it is the business of England to look at the matter from an English, not from a Russian point of view. The Russians want Constantinople for their own advantage; England wants to keep them out of it for hers; and putting out of the question the moral right given to her by the Treaty of Paris, she is just as much entitled to prevent the Russians, if she can, from taking Constantinople as they are to attempt its conquest. The practical issue is, are we to step out of our way to let Russia do her will, even if-which, as has been shown, is very questionable—a few millions of Slavs will have their condition improved by our doing so ? Yes, say our sentimental politicians ; we should support the oppressed, however much our own interests may suffer. Such a doctrine may be admirably suited to the hermit's cell, but has nothing to do with the rough code of morals accepted in the practical affairs of life. We must take the world as we find it, and fight our enemies with weapons which can hurt them, not strike in the air while they aim at our hearts. If we are to adopt the principles of Messrs. Freeman and Gladstone, let us at least be consistent; let us give up India and Gibraltar, sell our ironclads, disband our army, and nobly starve in the consciousness of possessing virtues that are not of this world.
Having thus cleared the ground, it may be useful Recapitulato recapitulate the results which have been arrived sults. at. These are :
tion of re
1st. Every great Power in Europe has an interest in keeping Russia out of Turkey.
2nd. It is therefore necessary, from a political point of view, not to allow the Russian
in Eastern Europe to extend beyond its present limits.
3rd. This is also desirable from a philanthropic point of view; for
(a) The world in general would suffer by the Russian power being established on the Balkan.
(b) The Turkish Slavs themselves would