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himself that he was the actual, and the sole, draftsman of the treaties which regulated the affairs of Europe for nearly half a century, and he became the right-hand man, almost the alter ego,
of Prince Metternich, then at the height of his power and influence. The details he gives us of the Austrian policy after the peace are therefore of the most authentic character. But what a picture of selfishness, timidity, false views, false predictions, and reactionary fanaticism, he has left behind him!
The advance made by the world is greater than we had supposed, since this is the language of great continental statesmen, fifty years ago; and though they were continually predicting the ruin of nations, it is, happily, only their own system and their reputation that have perished. Yet there are Cabinets which are at the same dirty work still. It would be easy to extract from these volumes passages of the most striking resemblance, amounting to identity, with the despatches and Protocols that emanate to this day from Petersburg. The Reis Effendi was then, as now, returning the same answers to the same demands. • Coercive measures were then as much discussed as they were last winter, and with much the same result, until Russia declared war on her own account; and the Austrian statesmen, alternately screaming with terror or sunk in inaction, watched the steady but temperate resistance of England to the aggression of their northern neighbour.
We regret that it is impossible for us to give an adequate idea of the multiplicity of details, which are illustrated by this Gentz correspondence, which would deserve a far more extended examination than we can bestow on it. But it is a most important contribution to the secret history of the times, and we shall use it, here and there, when it throws light on the transactions in which the Duke of Wellington was engaged.
By way of illustrating the extraordinary applicability of Gentz's remarks to the present state of affairs, we will quote a page from a Report of November 2, 1824. It might have been written yesterday :
We are constantly reminded of the insurmountable difficulties opposed to the pacific intervention of the Powers at Constantinople. Yet I am persuaded, notwithstanding all that is said of the inflexible character of the Sultan and some of his advisers, that these difficulties would perhaps entirely vanish if the Porte could be persuaded of the perfect disinterestedness of those who offer this intervention.
Let us suppose for an instant that Russia (and even France) were put aside in this matter, and that England and Austria, acting alone, offered their aid and advice to put an end, in the interest of the Porte, to a state of things from which her own resources fail to relieve her. Would such a proposal be obstinately rejected ? I cannot admit it. The history of the last century is full of instances in which the Divan has not only accepted but invited the friendly intervention of foreigners, in circumstances less critical than the present. If I am told that the case is different—that they are asked to make concessions and sacrifices contrary to the fundamental laws of their religion and their empireI reply that everything must yield to necessity; and that no laws, either religious or political, can oblige a Government to perish rather than to capitulate.
“No, I shall ever declare, this is not the real difficulty. That proceeds entirely from the share taken by Russia in these transactions, from the distrust, from the extreme repugnance, from the horror (to express it in one word) which that Power inspires to the Porte. And who would be clever enough to persuade even the least prejudiced Turk, that Russia only desires the preservation of the Ottoman Empire, the peace of Eastern Europe, and a little more liberty for her fellow Christians—that none of her measures, none of her declarations, are dictated by hostile sentiments, by ambitious views, by schemes of dismemberment, of conquest, and of dominion ? Even if all these suspicions were false and fanciful (and they would be so if the Emperor Alexander were himself all Russia), no one could eradicate them in a country which has suffered so much in the last half century from the preponderance of so formidable a neighbour. That is what casts an irremediable shade over all the efforts of the Powers to bring the Porte to pacific and conciliatory terms. The Porte will listen to everybody else; but nothing but the last extremity of danger will induce it to listen to Russia.' (Gentz, vol. ii. p. 405.)
How pertinent are these remarks ! Russia is foremost amongst the Powers in pressing upon Turkey measures of toleration to the Christians; but it is precisely because this advice, however good it may be, comes from a tainted and a hostile source—that is from Russia—that the Porte strains every nerve to resist it. As long as Great Britain cultivated the most amicable relations with Turkey, her voice and her representations had great power at Constantinople ; but from the moment that an English Minister was supposed to have allied himself with Russia, and to have borrowed the tones of General Ignatieff, he had no weapon left in his hand.
It is necessary to go back to the year 1824 to take up the threads of these negotiations. In that year Lord Strangford, then British Ambassador at Constantinople, had succeeded in terminating a dispute between Russia and the Porte, about the military occupation of the Danubian Principalities; and for these good offices he received the emphatic thanks of the Czar. M. Minciacki was at that time acting the part since played by General Ignatieff at Pera. Russia then proposed a Conference to be held at Petersburg on the affairs of Greece (December 1824). Mr. Canning sent his cousin, Mr. Stratford Canning, to that court, but with the singular injunction that he should not take part in the Conference, on the ground that Great Britain could not share in proceedings which in the opinion of his Majesty's Government could lead to no satisfactory result; that the aversion of the Porte to foreign interference was well known; that Ministers could not defend in Parliament their participation in so bootless a negotiation; and that the wisest course, in the opinion of the British Cabinet, was to suspend all interference for the present. Mr. Stratford Canning found himself in an awkward position at Petersburg, as the Conference went on without him. It is true that it led to no result except the maintenance of harmony and united action between the Powers. The Porte steadily rejected its proposals. All this resembles extremely the attitude of the British Cabinet last summer when the Berlin Note was presented for our acceptance.
It has been said, with more confidence than truth, that Mr. Canning took up the cause of the independence of Greece with great eagerness. Mr. Canning saw, like every man of sense and humanity, that the Porte must concede at least autonomy to the Greeks, and he negotiated in that sense at Constantinople. But his real object in sending the Duke of Wellington to St. Petersburg was, as he expressly states in the Duke's instructions, 'to prevent Russia from going to war’-a contingency the more to be feared as Mr. Canning believed that Alexander was on the point of making war at the time of his death ; that Nicholas had expressed his firm resolution to carry out his • lamented brother's intentions ;' and that the sinister events which had attended his own accession to the throne might increase his desire to find employment for the army. Mr. Canning's argument was that no casus belli or right of war existed between Russia and Turkey—just as it would be hard to say what right of war exists at the present moment, and from this fact he deduced the conclusion that a war by Russia against the • Porte, on any other account than that of the Greeks, would • be a war of ambition and conquest, and it is not with respect * to a war of that nature that England could take counsel with * Russia, or could do otherwise than dissuade and deprecate it, • and point out, in frank though friendly language, the wide * and disastrous consequences to which it must inevitably lead." As for direct intervention in favour of the Greeks, Mr. Canning thus defined in another despatch (quoted by M. Gentz)
* Canning's Instructions to Duke of Wellington, Feb. 10, 1862.
what were and are the correct principles of the British Government:
•We only admit of such measures as are proposed in countries which have proved their substantial capacity to maintain an independent existence, to establish a national Government, to control their military and naval forces, and to be answerable to other states for the observance of the law of nations and the duties that law imposes. We can only, in a word, recognise what exists. In Spanish America we have recognised no State in which the authority of the mother-country was not already quite extinct, and which had not established for itself a form of government with which we could treat.'
The Duke of Wellington expressly declared, in a letter to Capo d'Istria of October 12, 1827, that the object of the Protocol signed by his Grace at Petersburg was to maintain the peace of Europe more than to advance the interests of Greece; he repudiated the coercive measures which were annexed to it by the Treaty of July, since they were measures of war; and he added emphatically : • Il est difficile et même
impossible de prévoir les conséquences de cette guerre; mais moi, l'individu qui ai été le négociateur du Protocole du * mois d'Avril 1826, je dois protester contre l'idée que cette
guerre, ou ses conséquences, soient les conséquences légi« times de cet acte.'. The circumstances which altered the situation were the introduction of the Egyptian fleet and army into the Morea, and the barbarous designs attributed to Ibra-. him Pasha-designs which the Allied Powers were resolved to prevent. But the utility of referring to these occurrences at the present moment, and the lesson to be drawn from them, consist in this—that our attempts to come to an understanding with Russia on these questions have all begun by a Protocol of apparently a pacific character, and have ended by a demand for measures of war. There is, in short, this radical difference between the policy of Great Britain and Russia, that we have entered into these arrangements with the single purpose of preventing war, and Russia has entered into them for the purpose of drawing us into war, or at least of disarming our opposition to her own policy of aggression.
So, too, it may be pointed out that every one of the diplomatic campaigns opened by Russia from the Treaty of Bucharest in 1812 to the present day--Alexander's intrigues, Nicholas' threats, the Menchikoff demands of 1853, the Austrian Note (which so nearly resembled in its history a more recent Protocol), down to General Ignatieff's last manæuvres
are all directed to one end, namely, to assert the right of Russia to interfere in the government of the Christian subjects VOL. CXLV. NO. CCXCVIII.
of the Porte, and to enforce that right by coercive measures if necessary. With equal consistency, the British Government has, under statesmen of every opinion and every character, steadily opposed the right of Russia to assert or enforce any such protectorate. In 1853 Great Britain went to war to resist it. In 1856 she extorted from Russia a peace which absolutely annulled the claim. And Great Britain still holds that if the Ottoman Empire is to exist at all, and as long as it exists, it is impossible for a Sovereign State to surrender to a foreign and hostile Power the government of its own subjects. These are the principles which run through every part of these negotiations, whether they are conducted by Count Nesselrode or Prince Gortschakoff, by Mr. Canning or the Duke of Wellington, by Lord Palmerston or by Lord Derby; and they are so rooted in the policy and character of the two Empires that it would require much greater men than any of those who now figure on the stage of public affairs materially to change them. But it follows from this radical diversity of principle that the Eastern policy of the two Empires can never cordially agree. It has recently been asserted and argued in Parliament by a great authority that Russia actually did possess, and has pos
, sessed ever since the Treaty of Kainardji (signed in 1774) a right of protection of the Christian subjects of Turkey. Some such right was faintly conceded by that Treaty, and by the results of subsequent wars and treaties, at Bucharest, Åkerman, and Adrianople, Russia somewhat extended her claims, until eventually, in 1853, it was upon these treaties, then existing, that she based the demands of Prince Menchikoff: the result was the Crimean War. But is it possible that any English statesman can have forgotten that the object and effect of the war and of the Peace of Paris was to annihilate the whole series of antecedent Treaties between Russia and the Porte? They had hitherto formed a connective chain, each link strengthening and renewing those that preceded it. But after the war of 1855, none of them were renewed—the whole structure was destroyed; Turkey was liberated from a web which it had taken Russia eighty years to weave round her; and in place of those insidious engagements she found herself in one common relation to all the Powers of Europe. To quote the old Russian Treaties at the present day, as the basis of a claim for intervention, is a complete anachronism. They are extinct, and we ourselves took care to make them so.
As there appears to be some misapprehension on this subject which it is desirable to remove, we will quote and publish the following passage from a private memorandum of the late Earl