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and that measures of violence and coercion, without actual war, were not rare. The bombardment of Antwerp, and blockade of the Scheldt, were of this kind, although constituting an undoubted casus belli for the King of the Netherlands. The French occupation of the Morea, in 1828, and our destruction of the Turkish fleet, are similar instances. The object of these acts does not affect their character, for about that there may be great difference of opinion. Austria and Prussia thought we were wrong in coercing the Turks in 1828, and Russia, Austria, and Prussia thought we were wrong in coercing the King of the Netherlands in 1832. We think Russia wrong in the present occupation of the Principalities without being at war, not because there is anything new or unprecedented in the act itself, as the means of enforcing a demand, but because we think the demand itself unjust. In asking the Porte to sign the unmodified note, Lord Aberdeen, Lord Clarendon, and Lord Palmerston were, like Lord John, guilty of inconsistency. If they had intended to take this course, they ought to have done so on the 1st of September. By asking the Czar on that day to consent to the modification of the note, they made it possible for the Porte to argue that they had admitted the necessity for modifying it. And the terms in which the Czar refused their request increased their difficulty; for he made it plain that he attached a meaning to the note different from that which the allies who drew it up had intended it to bear, and similar to that which Lord Stratford and the Porte had contended that it did bear. But the proposal of the three Ministers was not merely inconsistent with their previous decision ; it was opposed to the course which Lord John had himself recommended in his memorandum of the 3rd of September, and on which, when he returned to Scotland, he believed that his colleagues had agreed. He not unnaturally, therefore, was intensely annoyed when he learned their decision. He wrote to Lord Clarendon on the 17th—
It is good to make attempts to retain the blessings of peace ; but I own I cannot but think your proposal at Vienna premature. We do not yet know in what sense the Emperor may have rejected the modifications, and it would be strange to give an interpretation to the note at Constantinople which is contradicted by the very powers to whom it is to be offered. As to the guarantees to Turkey, I confess I see none in your proposal. You only propose to say that the note does not confer any droit d'ingérence between the Sultan and his subjects. “To be sure not,’ the Czar may say, ‘it only admits and confirms a right I have always had and always exercised, and which I mean to keep and exercise.’ And, if so, what does the Porte gain? I must say I much lament the step you have taken. I think it is degrading Turkey, not to reject her modifications, but to reject them after submitting them to the Emperor of Russia. The conference at Vienna in Westmorland's hands has been an instrument very injurious to peace. In your hands in London it would have been otherwise. . . . I am vexed about the last move, and you must not be surprised, if it is accepted at Vienna, if I were to decline any responsibility. Two days afterwards he wrote to Lord Aberdeen— The only hope I have is that Turkey may instantly reject such a proposal. But even that will not wipe away the shame of having made it. . . . It is unwise and unfair to propose again a note which his [the Sultan's] Ministers have declared they can none of them sign. All this makes me very uneasy ; and, if the Austrians agree to Clarendon's terms, and forward them to Constantinople, I do not see how I can remain a member of your Government.
* These terms were not known in England till a little later.
That evening Lord John spoke at a public meeting at Greenock, and he alluded to the crisis in terms which must have been much more intelligible to his colleagues, who read them, than to his audience, who listened to them—
While we endeavour to maintain peace, I certainly should be the last to forget that, if peace cannot be maintained with honour, it is no longer peace.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, Austria refused to be a party to the new proposal of the three Ministers, and it fell to the ground. Lord Aberdeen was able to announce to Lord John that the project was at an end. He added—
The comical part of this affair is that the proceeding which you
thought so unfavourable to the Turks, and which had nearly produced such serious consequences, was not only approved by Palmerston, but in great part written at his dictation.
But, though the new project had fallen, its proposal led Lord John to meditate on the whole proceeding and on his own position in the Cabinet; and, when Lord Clarendon expressed to him the pain with which he had read his letter of the 17th of September, Lord John replied on the 23rd—
The fatal facility of the electric telegraph led you and Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston to take a step of which the best that can be said is that it has done no harm.
After remarking that he had not meant to write in an unfriendly tone, he added of his own position—
That which I have held this year has been, and is, and must be, a degrading one. I have deserved it, and I have borne it as I best could. Lord Aberdeen, by his kindness and good feeling, has done all in his power to make it tolerable. Still, on more than one occasion, I have had to summon all my patience to my aid. But you have made me feel my degradation more than I ever felt it before. You assumed that I was to be the chief organ for defending in the House of Commons that which I had no share in deciding, and of which I had previously recorded my disapproval. It was impossible that I could so lower myself, or that I should not feel the blow you had inflicted on me more than all the other humiliations I have endured.
I am sure you did not see the matter in this light, and I make every allowance for the difficulty of your course. . . . Ziberazi animam meam, and I hope never to revive the subject with you.-And so I remain, yours very truly,
With the failure of the proposal Lord John felt that the necessity for his resignation had passed away. But, anxious and ill at ease, he determined to bring his stay at Roseneath to an abrupt conclusion and to return to London. In the meanwhile he drew up an elaborate memorandum on the situation for circulation in the Cabinet:—
RUSSIA AND TURKEY.
The present situation of affairs makes it necessary to look back, around us, and forward. The question between Turkey and Russia is to be looked at, 1st, as one of right ; 2nd, as one of power.
In respect to right there can be no doubt in any honest mind.
The Emperor of Russia protects the members of the Greek Church in the enjoyment of certain privileges at the Holy Places. The French Government claimed in virtue of treaty certain privileges inconsistent with those enjoyed for many years by the Greek Church. The Sultan hesitated, equivocated, and yielded to each alternately, as the pressure came from one or the other power. The Emperor of the French, with great generosity, made allowances for the Sultan's weakness, and acquiesced in his concessions to Russia without admitting their justice. The Emperor of Russia, on the contrary, not only demanded reparation and security, but transferred his grievance in respect of the Holy Places to all the subjects of the Porte of the Greek Church, thus assuming a right to protect not 12, ooo pilgrims, but 12, ooo, ooo Turkish subjects. . . . In point of right Russia must be put out of court. . . . Second, the question of power. It is evident that the great military force of Russia, always organised, makes her more than a match for Turkey. The treaties of Kainardji and Adrianople are documents proving this fact ; it is admitted by Lord Stratford and every one else. It therefore became the duty of England and France, as good friends of the Sultan, to advise him to make greater concessions than he was in point of right at all called upon to make. . . . He has thought he could not make [these concessions], and Nesselrode has done much to justify his repugnance. On the other hand he incurs the greatest danger of overthrow by Russian arms, the invasion of his provinces, and the capture of his capital. In his European provinces the Christians, being as five to one to the Mahometans, may join the invaders, or at least take the opportunity to throw off the yoke. What can England and France do to relieve him from this danger? They can scour the Black Sea in the spring and summer, and sweep away every Russian sail that may appear on it. . . . But Lord Stratford raises another question. . . . He says that, if the exclusion of Russia from the Protectorate and the Principalities be the important object it has hitherto been deemed, success can only be obtained if England and France are ready to stop at no sacrifice ready to secure it. This suggestion raises a much wider question. If England and France are to stop at no sacrifice necessary to secure success, they must become principals, not auxiliaries, in the war . . . [and] employ their mighty resources at every point where Russia can be resisted or attacked. It is one thing to give aid to the Sultan in defence of his territorial and sovereign rights; . . . it is quite another to embark on so vast a COnteSt.
Before we do this, it would be necessary to explain to the Sultan very clearly for what objects we engage. Should it be to maintain the present Government of the European provinces of Turkey? Let us hear Lord Stratford's solemn language to Reshid Pacha. ‘I have frequently had occasion of late, and indeed for some years past, to bring to the knowledge of the Porte such atrocious instances of cruelty, rapine, and murder, as I have found with extreme concern in the Consular reports, exhibiting generally the disturbed and misgoverned condition of many parts of Roumelia, and calling loudly for redress from the Imperial Government. The character of these disorderly and brutal outrages may be said with truth to be in general that of Mussulman fanaticism, excited by cupidity and hatred against the Sultan's Christian subjects. I will not say that my friendly and earnest representations have been entirely disregarded. On the contrary I have sometimes had the satisfaction of being instrumental towards the suppression of crime, the alleviation of individual suffering, and the recall of incapable magistrates. But the evil, nevertheless, has not been permanently removed, and the effect of every partial check has been of short duration.’ Here is matter for serious reflection, outrages caused by ‘Mussulman fanaticism excited by cupidity and hatred against the Sultan's Christian subjects: ' existing in spite of the earnest representations of Lord Stratford ; continued for many years, and in spite of the obvious interest of the Sultan to conciliate his Christian defenders. It is true we are promised that, if the present danger is averted, milder counsels will prevail, justice will be more fairly administered, and cruelty more sharply corrected. But how can we rely on such promises when we know that at the seat of government itself corruption gives a licence to the cruelty which ravages the provinces? If the urgency of danger does not secure the Christians from oppression, will the ease of security ever do so P It is to be feared that Lord Stratford is building upon sand. His own eminent qualities have but partially succeeded in effecting improvements ; can any man with less ability, less knowledge of Turkish character, less influence over the Divan, hope to do more? I must conclude, therefore— 1. That if Russia will not make peace on fair terms, we must appear in the field as the auxiliaries of Turkey. 2. That if we are to act in conjunction with France as principals
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