Abbildungen der Seite

as urgent as was that for Rome as the capital of Italy; some future Gladstone would rise to stir up English enthusiasm in favour of the Slavonic claims, and England would turn out “bag and baggage from Constantinople as the French had to do from Rome.

A mere occupation of Constantinople, therefore, would not secure the results at which we should aim. It would entail heavy and permanent sacrifices of men, money, and ships, and it would not prevent Russia from extending her power to the Mediterranean, and sending her men-of-war from Salonica and Smyrna, to harass our communications with Egypt and Constantinople itself. To revert to Mr. Lowe's familiar illustration, we should, instead of locking the gate which keeps a fierce dog out of our house, allow him to go where he pleases, and pay an armed watchman to protect us in case of attack.

No one who has the interests of this country at heart, and is aware of the heavy sacrifices which would be entailed upon it by a war with Russia, would advocate such a war unless the conduct of that Power proved beyond a doubt that


to secure peace.

it contemplates an attack on the integrity of Turkey. The policy of England should be prudent, but firm and decided. If the promises and assurances conveyed by the Emperor Alexander to Lord Loftus are really sincere, and are not to be classed in the same category with those

addressed by Count Schouvaloff to our Government A last effort in regard to Khiva, the demands of Russia at

the Conference will be such as may readily be accepted by the Porte and supported by all the Powers, England included. Our Government nas from the first shown that it also desires a real amelioration of the condition of the Turkish Christians; and if this is all that Russia wants, there need be no difficulty as to the question of guarantees. An Austrian or Italian military occupation of Bulgaria might be suggested, on the condition that the occupying Power should be bound by a protocol, signed by herself and the other guaranteeing Powers, to evacuate the territory in a specified period. But the object would be equally well attained by a joint occupation ; a distinct arrangement being at the same time made by the Powers as to the period of such occupation, the forces to be employed, and the reforms to be carried out. That England, in making such a proposal, could be actuated by no other motive than an honest desire to maintain peace, no one would doubt; and if Russia refused it, all Europe would see that, while professing peace, Russia means war, and that the only way of arresting her aggressive policy is to resist her by force of arms.


The course which would in that case be most con- Our possiblo sistent with our national dignity, and at the same time be best calculated to secure our national interests, is that England should make war against Russia directly the Russian troops cross the Danube. But to do this effectually we must have allies. Our fleet did but little harm to Russia during the Crimean war, and we should not have been able, with the small military forces at our disposal, to wage that war if we had not previously secured the alliance of France. There is not much hope of obtaining such an alliance now; but there are other Powers which, being close to the scene of operations, and being vitally interested in the result of the struggle, would prove more useful


[ocr errors]

allies than Napoleon III., who first fought Russia
to show the world his power and make himself
agreeable to England, and afterwards induced

England to conclude ineffectual terms of peace,
Turkey and because he wished to make a friend of Russia. These



Austria and—notwithstanding the protestations of the humanitarians—Turkey herself. For you cannot defend a country against foreign invasion without becoming the ally of the rulers of that country; otherwise any military co-operation becomes impossible. It is scarcely necessary, perhaps, here to repeat that an alliance with Turkey would not in any way mitigate our reprobation of the cruelties committed in Bulgaria, or prevent our taking steps for guarding against a repetition of them; on the contrary, it would strengthen our hands in any such undertaking. We certainly should not hesitate, if India were in danger of a Russian invasion, to enter into an alliance, say with the Afghans, although we know them to be robbers and assassins; and there is no reason why we should adopt different codes of political morality according to the Continent where we happen to be at war,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

And now as to the advisability of an alliance with Austria--whose very existence, as we have shown, would be imperilled by the establishment on her frontier of an aggressive Empire, which would serve as a centre of attraction to the numerous Slavonic populations under her rule. The war establishment of the Austrian army is 1,137,400 men; it is highly trained and well-equipped, and

; the foreign officers who were present at the great maneuvres this year have strongly testified to its efficiency. There has been much idle talk about the Panslavist sympathies of the troops raised in the Slavonic provinces of Austria being likely to cause them to refuse to march against Russia. That there is a certain amount of Panslavist feeling among some revolutionary agitators in the Slavonic towns is unquestionable; but this feeling has not spread

; to the masses of the population, and still less to the ranks of the army, which do not recognize any national cause but that of the Austrian State. It is, indeed, not difficult to understand that Roman Catholic Croatia, Bohemia, Moravia, and Galicia have no sympathy with Russia, the persecutor of Roman Catholicism in Poland; and in Galicia,

« ZurückWeiter »