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should have done (they did not at the time) accepted the Memorandum, he would not have benefited the Christian subjects of the Porte, but have connived at the designs of Russia. A game of brag with Russia for the favour of the Turkish Christians must inevitably have led to England being the loser, for the interest of Russia is obviously to make them as independent of the Porte, and consequently as dependent upon herself, as possible; while that of England is to do everything to obviate such a result.
Although, however, Lord Derby declined, as he said in his answer to the City deputation last September, "to be guilty of the quackery of putting his name to a scheme which he believed in his conscience would not work,” he did not cease to impress on the Porte the necessity of granting effectual reforms to its Christian subjects. He took the earliest opportunity of doing this on the accession of Sultan Mourad (despatch to Sir Henry Elliot of the 13th of June, 1876); and at the same time he continued his negotiations with the other Powers for the restoration of peace.
' was not a part of the system or policy of England,” he said to Count Schouvaloff,* “ to take up a position of isolation in Eastern matters, as, indeed, our conduct during the last few months had shown. Her Majesty's Government had given their support to the Note of Count Andrassy, though at no time sanguine of the results to be expected from it; they had dissented from the policy indicated by the Berlin Memorandum for reasons frankly stated by them at the time, and which they still held to be valid; it now appeared that action on that document was indefinitely postponed; and, as far as I saw, there was no present cause for difference between Her Majesty's Government and those of other Powers.” † A similar statement was made by Lord Derby to Count Beust, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador (Despatch to Sir A. Buchanan of the 22nd of June, 1876). It has been already shown (p. 61) that strong The cruelties
in Bulgaria. representations were addressed to the Porte in December, 1875, with regard to the massacre of some Christians in Bosnia. Similar remonstrances
* Despatch to Lord A. Loftus of the 14th June, 1876.
+ See also Despatch to Count Schouvaloff of the 29th of June, 1876.
were made on other occasions of a like kind; and when the news came of the so-called " atrocities" in Bulgaria, Lord Derby addressed a despatch, dated the 13th of July, 1876, to Sir Henry Elliot, instructing him to make an inquiry into the matter, and to warn the Porte " against the toleration of acts committed by its troops which would arouse the reprobation of the civilized world.” On the following day the Ambassador was instructed to bring the reports of Consul Dupuis relative to these outrages to the knowledge of the Porte, and at the same time to "urge strongly that directions be given to the local authorities to lose no time in repressing these outrages and punishing those concerned in them; that a proclamation be issued, prohibiting under penalties the sale of women and children; that the immediate release be effected of all persons who are held in illegal captivity by Circasssians or other parties, and that the local authorities take charge of such released captives, when requisite.” Further, on the 8th of the following month, Lord Derby wrote to Sir Henry Elliot: “You cannot speak too strongly of the horror which the statements received have aroused in the Government and people of this country;" and in his despatch of the 21st of September, a week after the arrival of Mr. Baring's report confirming the statements respecting the outrages in Bulgaria, Lord Derby said: “The Porte cannot afford to contend with the public opinion of other countries, nor can it suppose that the Government of Great Britain, or any of the Signatory Powers of the Treaty of Paris, can show indifference to the sufferings of the Bulgarian peasantry under this outbreak of vindictive cruelty. No political considerations would justify the toleration of such acts; and one of the foremost conditions for the settlement of the questions now pending must be that ample reparation shall be afforded to the sufferers, and their future security guaranteed.”
The above extracts will show that Lord Derby was by no means sparing in his condemnation of the conduct of the Turkish Government in this matter. The indignation which it produced in England was very natural, and its expression at public meetings would have been unobjectionable if it had not been used for party purposes, to throw discredit on the Government and mislead foreign countries as to the real feeling of the English people with regard to its Eastern policy. There can now be no doubt that if it had not been for these meetings, and Mr. Gladstone's unfortunate and ill-timed polemical effusions, the Servians would not have refused the prolonged suspension of hostilities which was offered by the Porte * last September ; less obstinacy would have been exhibited at Constantinople in resisting our proposals of peace, and Russia, seeing that the English Government and nation were at one in a determination to check her aggressive policy, would have refrained from precipitating matters to a crisis.
It also appears from the despatch of last October, above referred to, that so far from England having given any support to the Porte against the demands of the other Powers for an armistice, she actually presented an ultimatum of her own at Constantinople, nearly a month before that of Russia. On the 5th of October, Sir Henry Elliot was instructed “ to intimate that, in case of the refusal of an
* Despatch to Lord A. Loftus of the 30th of October, 1876.