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76

ENGLAND'S POLICY IN THE EAST.

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subjects by raising the standard of Islam ? The
Slavs and Greeks would then find themselves ex.
posed to the horrors of a religious war waged with
all the intensity of fanaticism; and England's
danger would not be less, for we must not forget
that forty millions of the subjects of our Indian
Empire are Mahometans.

Already influential
Mahometan meetings have been called at Bombay
and other places in India to urge upon Her Ma-
jesty's Government that their Turkish brethren
should not be allowed to fall a prey to Muscovite
rule. Once, however, they are fully convinced that
England will do nought to save them, all the fierce
animosities of race and religion will be unchained,
and we may see a repetition of the terrible events
of the Indian mutiny of 1857, with the additional
danger that the then peaceable element of our
Indian dominions would be turned into our bitterest

and most implacable enemy. Maintenance

Let us now consider the second of the proposals above referred to—that the Turkish rule should be maintained. If Russia had abandoned her traditionally aggressive policy, and were sincerely anxious for those reforms in Turkish administra

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of the Turkish rule.

tion which should offer material guarantees for the improved condition of the Christian populations, then this country, in common with the other great Powers, would of course cordially acquiesce in her views and assist in so peaceful a consummation. But England, with the rest of the world, can, after the events of the last few months, hardly fail to be convinced that the real object of Russia is to encroach upon the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. The maintenance of that integrity is essential to English interests; and we must, therefore, consider whether, if it should be attacked by Russia, we should not wage a second Crimean war, with the same objects as the first, the “Bulgarian Atrocities" notwithstanding It cannot be too often repeated that if this country is forced to draw the sword, English blood will not be spilt, as our political philanthropists would have us believe, for the defence of a barbarous and effete race, but because the establishment of an aggressive Power on the Balkan Peninsula would be a standing menace to England; and if, in the event of a Russian invasion of Turkey, England should be forced to wage war for the

Police Intervention.

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reasons we have stated, it will be time enough
when

peace is again restored to enforce those in-
ternal reforms which are so urgently required.

The third proposal is that of a species of police intervention in Turkey. On this it is to be observed that such a suggestion, taking the form of dictation to the Sovereign of a great Empire in his own capital at a moment when he has just assumed the reins of Government-when his soldiers are flushed with the success of recent victories, and the population is a prey to fanatical excitement-would probably have the effect, if it should be adopted under the pressure of circumstances, of so weakening the power of the Sultan as ultimately to lead to results the very reverse of what are now contemplated. The anarchy and misrule consequent upon such an event might then be used as an argument by Russia for carrying out at

out at a later period, when she might be better prepared, designs which had for the moment been postponed.

The question of internal reform is, indeed, now entirely subordinate to the higher issue of checking Russian ambition. That England should

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to be a vassal

quietly look on while Russia is establishing herself in a position from which she may at any moment swoop down upon our communications with India, must be simply inconceivable to those who still believe in English pluck and the traditions of English greatness. Such conduct Is England would simply reduce our country to the position of Russia ? of a vassal of Russia, depending for its prosperity and comfort on the good pleasure of the Czar; and it may fearlessly be asserted, notwithstanding the truckling arguments of Mr. Bright and his friends, that rather than sink so low, England would fight to the last.

What is to be done to prevent such a result ? What should So long as Russia does not push matters to a prevent this? war with Turkey, all that England has to do is to maintain an attitude of vigilant observation, ready to fight if need be, but unwilling to draw the sword while there still remains a chance of a pacific settlement. But what if Russia marches her armies into Turkish territory? In that case, we are told, England will occupy Constantinople. But is this enough? Are we to remain with some 15,000 or 20,000 men in that city, in

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of Constan

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Occupation the anomalous position of the occupiers of the
tinople in capital of a State which is not our ally, while

Russia overruns the whole of Roumelia and
Asia Minor with her troops ? Say that we shall
even then, thanks to Mr. Baker's fortifications,
be able to maintain ourselves in Constantinople,
although surrounded by enemies, and hundreds of
miles from our nearest military station. Such a
position could not in any case be tenable as a
permanency. We should have to occupy Egypt
and Crete at the cost of a vast expenditure of
money, and an increase of our military forces;
besides which it would be necessary for us to
maintain a permanent fleet in the Eastern waters
to counterbalance the fleet of Russia -which, as
Lord Palmerston once justly observed, would be
“simply a mauvaise plaisanterie.” But even in
that case our position at Constantinople would be
far from secure. We might hold it against
Russian bayonets; but could we defend it against
the all-powerful principle of nationality? If a
great South Slavonic State were once established
on the Balkan Peninsula, the cry for Constan-
tinople as the national capital would be at least

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