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self into the contest. His ambassador at be to France, but to Russia it must have Stamboul was instructed to claim for him been the very reverse of satisfactory. A prothe protectorate over the Latin church in test was accordingly lodged by her with the Syria and the Holy Land. This claim, he Sultan against any change in the status quo. affirmed, rested on the capitulation of 1804, It has been denied that Russia had any which secured the Latins permission to reside right to interfere in the dispute. The claims at Jerusalem, and to officiate at the holy of France, it is alleged, were based on specific sepulchre; and on a treaty formed with treaties; while those of Russia were without Murad IV., in 1635, by which they obtained any foundation. This we deny. Let us the grotto of Bethlehem, the custody of the examine the facts of the case. stone of anointing, the leaden dome of the There were many adherents of a faith holy sepulchre, the vaults of Calvary, and professed by the Czar among a population and the two hills near Bethlehem. These con- under a government essentially hostile to every cessions, though confirmed by subsequent form of Christianity. However wronged or treaties, were, however, disputed when the insulted, they bad no hope of redress except Greek church acquired strength under the through him. Appeal they might to their protectorate of Russia, and especially when, patriarch, but experience had too often on the destruction of the holy sepulchre by taught them that the patriarch was as imfire in 1808, it was rebuilt by the Greeks. potent to aid thein as they were to aid themHeedless of this, the French ambassador selves. Here were they arbitrarily deprived demanded eight of the most celebrated of certain privileges without the slightest shrines in and near Jerusalem, the first- prospect of having them restored. Could mentioned of these being the tomb of the the Czar witness this, and yet look calmly Virgin, the holy sepulchre,—to which, since on? Had he done so he would have left its reconstruction by the Greeks, the Latins unperformed a most sacred duty. He saw surely could have no claim whatever,--and the Ottoman government pursuing a policy the church of Bethlehem. All these had, it of the most despicable kind. He saw it is true, been granted by Reschid Pasha, then yielding up privileges interfering with, and Grand Vizier, to the French, through the destructive of, the religious services of a intercession of his friend, M. de Lavalette. body professing the same faith, and at once On the dismissal, however, of Reschid from came to their rescue. His motives for so the viziership, the Greeks obtained from the acting have been impugned. But with these Sultan a counter firman favourable to their we have nothing to do. All that we have claims. Against this, M. de Lavalette pro- to consider is his actions. These, on the tested, and demanded that the Porte should present occasion, judged of by the conduct reconsider the matter. This demand drew of those whose proceedings we are accustomed forth the Czar, who proclaimed his intention to eulogize under similar circumstances, were, to befriend the Greeks. His success was it appears to us, worthy of all commendasuch that the claims of France were rejected, tion. They were, in fact, based on the same and things returned to their previous condi- principle which induced the greatest sovetion.
reign that ever filled the British throne to The calm which ensued was like that defend the persecuted Vaudois; and which which precedes the hurricane. The French again, in our own day, led to the remonPresident had too much at stake to be easily strance of the British government with the thwarted. He knew the power he had to Duke of Tuscany, regarding the sufferings deal with, and acted accordingly. He re- of the Madiai. In both these cases it was peated his claims, declaring that, unless they contended that unless justice was awarded were granted, a French fleet would appear to the sufferers resort might be had to the in the Dardanelles to enforce them. Such a sword. “As this is a matter," says Lord threat from such a power, Turkey, unsup- John Russell, writing officially to the Tuscan ported by foreign aid, had not courage to government, “affecting the Tuscan subject, withstand. But a short time only elapsed, it may be said that Her Majesty's governtherefore, till the French ambassador reported ment have no right to interfere. If this that matters had been satisfactorily adjusted. means that interference by force of arms Satisfactory the adjustment could not fail to I would not be justifiable, I confess at once,
that nothing but the most extreme case church, he was to yield any privileges it had would justify such interference.” But an hitherto enjoyed to the Latin church, of extreme case would justify it. In other which the Emperor of the French claimed words, If our demand be rejected, it will be to be the protector.” Now, unless we say for us to employ that armed force. Is not that our statesmen were profoundly ignorant this a fair corollary from his lordship's des- of the matters under discussion, it is impospatch ? Bat on what treaty rested the right sible to evade the conclusion that the Czar of Britain to employ such language to an was borne out in his demands, even by independent government? On none what- treaties. ever. It had no other foundation than that The Porte, by the intervention of Russia, of sympathy with those whose religious belief was placed in a dilemma. She saw, appa
had come to be the same as that which we rently for the first time, the dangerous ground · professed. Admit this, as we must, and the she had been treading. To commit herself
right of Russia to interpose in behalf of the further on either side was to plunge into a Greek communion becomes incontrovertible. troubled sea, from which there was little
But, if we may rely on the testimony of prospect of being extricated. Hoping that British statesmen, the Czar had other grounds time might achieve for her what her statesthan even this on which to rest his claims. men had failed to accomplish, she delayed "Your lordship will perceive,” said Lord as long as possible coming to any conclusion Stratford, in a despatch to the Earl of Cla- on the matter. In this way passed 1851, rendon, “ that the Russian ambassador does at the expiration of which things assumed a not object by bis demands to such privileges very threatening aspect. Further delay beas are known to have been obtained latterly came impossible. A firman was accordingly by France in favour of the Latins, and that issued, by which it was anticipated all his principal aim is to fix and secure the parties would be satisfied. And so, perhaps, present state of possession by that kind of they might have been, had not the question
formal and explicit agreement which may been reopened by a disgraceful squabble at = preclude all further prefense
cions on the part Jerusalem, in connection with the contest, of France, and make the Porte directly re
and by the evasive measures in hinh. 11 - sponsible to Russia for any further innova- Ottoman government began to resort.
tions respecting the holy places. This,” he The question could not be permitted to adds, " is fair and reasonable enough in the continue long in this condition. The inview of an impartial observer.” Lord J. terests of all concerned demanded that someRussell, in a despatch to the British ambas- thing definite should be speedily adopted. sador at the Russian court, is not less to the To this end, Prince Menschikoff, instructed point:-" The more the Turkish govern- by the Czar, repaired to the Ottoman capital.
ment,” he observes, "adopts the rules of On the 16th of March, 1853, he presented a e impartial law and equal administration, the note to the Sultan, complaining of the viola
less will the Emperor of Russia find it neces- tion of the rights of Russia, and requiring, sary, to apply that exceptional protection as a means of preventing a repetition of such
which his Imperial Majesty has found so an injury, a treaty recognizing the rights - barthensome and inconvenient, though no and privileges of the Greek Christians in the
doubt prescribed by duty and sanctioned by Turkish empire, and empowering the Czar to treaty.” Lord Clarendon, in a despatch to interpose from time to time as their protector. Sir H. Hamilton, writes to the same effect: This demand, slightly varied, he repeated —“Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe was in on the 19th of the succeeding month, and structed to bear in mind,” says he, “that again, still farther varied, on the 5th of May, Her Majesty's government, without professing The Sultan began to waver, and endeavoured to give any opinion on the subject, are not to compromise matters by two firmans, ininsensible to the superior claims of Russia, tended to satisfy both parties. Prince Mensboth as respects the treaty obligations of chikoff rejected them as incompetent. He Turkey, and the loss of moral influence that had stated his demands so far as to express the Emperor would sustain throughout his a willingness to accept a seued or convendominions, if in the position occupied by his tion. This the Sultan declined. MensImperial Majesty, with reference to the Greek chikoff offered to accept a note or memoran
dum, specifying what was agreed upon. If it was right for the British government This also was denied; and then, hopeless of to make such a demand upon Tuscany, it further satisfaction, he quitted the Turkish could not surely be wrong for Russia to territory.
make the demand she did on Turkey Pending these negotiations, what was the Speaking of the claim of the Czar, M. policy in reference to them of the British Drouyn de Lhuys, the ablest minister in government? That of strict neutrality. In France, said “it was such that he would not terms impossible to be misunderstood, the assume the responsibility of advising the British minister at the Porte was instructed Porte to reject it.” Turkey herself seemed to take no part in the quarrel. The wisdom to see the necessity of conceding it. “I of these instructions is beyond question. found M. de la Cour,” says Lord Stratford, Momentous as the dispute was to Turkey, “ under an impression that the Turkish France, and Russia, it in no way affected minister was disposed to shrink from enBritain. All, therefore, that we had to do, countering the consequences of Prince Menwas to stand calmly by, and watch its pro- schikoff's retirement in displeasure.” Why, gress, deprecating on all sides those threat- then, did she reject them? Let Lord Stratening movements of fleets and armies, which ford reply. Adverting to his interview with it was impossible to make without detriment the Sultan, he remarks" I endeavoured to to a pacific conclusion of affairs. Such, give him a just idea of the danger to which obviously, was the true course for our govern- his empire was exposed;" as if he could not ment to follow. Well would it have been at have perceived that himself
, had any really the present moment, had we never strayed existed. “I concluded,” he goes on to say, from it.
" by apprising His Majesty that, in the event Scarcely had Prince Menschik off presented of imminent danger, I was instructed to his credentials to the Sultan, than indications request the commander of Her Majesty's appeared that Colonel Rose at least meant forces in the Mediterranean to hold his to set aside the instructions of his govern- squadron in readiness.” For this pledge the ment. In open defance of them, he, on the Moslem had been waiting for months. From 7th of April, despatched a message to our that moment i
om he turned a deaf ear to every fleet, requirmg
marcio ou proposal for peace. the East. A measure more impolitic, and The Czar, thus defeated in diplomacy, more fraught with danger to the peace of had recourse to his troops. These, crossing our country, could hardly have been adopted. the Pruth, took possession of the princiThis view of the matter seems to have palities. That this act was indefensible speedily dawned on the mind of Colonel and unnecessary, we, with our present views Rose himself, and induced him to counter- regarding war, cannot deny. How it should mand his previous order.
be condemned by those, however, who upAbout the same time that the British hold the righteousness of war, is to us itergovernment was apprised of the proceedings plicable. It was an act in every respect of Colonel Rose, intelligence reached our identical with that which France had threatshores of an alleged attempt on the part of ened, under precisely similar circumstances, Russia to obtain from the Sultan, by a secret to enforce. " It was an act,” says Mr. treaty, rights, said to be incompatible with Bright, “ at least as justifiable as the conthe independence of the Turkish empire. duct of Lord John Russell and Lord PalmerThe claim thus referred to was afterwards ston in 1850, when they sent ten or twelve found to consist in the right of Russia to ships of war to the Piræus, menacing the protect the Greek Christians in Turkey. town with bombardment if the dishonest To defeat this claim, Lord Stratford exerted pecuniary claims made by Don Pacifico himself to the utmost. With what consis- were not at once satisfied.” tency the British government could oppose Differ, however, as we may regarding it, after the energetic despatches of Lord the right of Russia to adopt this step, there John Russell in condemnation of the Duke of can be no doubt as to the influence it esTuscany for enf orcing the laws of his coun- erted in inducing the four powers to unite try against the Madiai, and, still later, Miss more closely in an endeavour to terminate Cunningham, we are at a loss to conceive. the contest. While condemning the act
itself, they nevertheless agreed in declaring failed to remove every difficulty. The Turk, that it could not be regarded as a casus however, had determined that it should have belli. Having given expression to this no chance of being acted upon, either opinion, they resumed negotiations. Their honestly or otherwise. labours resulted in the well-known Vienna During the discussions which necessarily Note. Into the merits of that note it is ensued among the four powers on the receipt unnecessary to enter. It is sufficient to say of the Czar's proposal, Turkey, being now that it received the entire approval of the to some extent prepared to withstand the four powers, and was recommended by them power of Russia, issued, despite the professed as a measure which might be signed by opinion of the immediate ministers of the Turkey with perfect safety. Transmitted Sultan, and heedless of the protestations of to the Czar, it was immediately accepted; the western powers, a declaration of war. sent on to the Sultan, it was as summarily “ The efforts of the four representatives to rejected. The council found, or thought it obtain a pacific solution,” says Lord Stratfound, that Russia placed an interpretation ford, “ were fruitless, as well as those which on it at variance with that designed by the I received this morning.” “I omitted noother powers. The truth is, they had no thing," he adds, “ which my instructions, desire to accept it. It was not peace they my recollections, or my reflection could sugwished, but war. “ The majority of the gest, in order to make an impression on his council,” says Lord Stratford,“ declared it (the Grand Vizier's) mind." I lament to to be their firm intention to reject the new say, all my efforts were unavailing.” “I proposal, even if amendments were intro- took my leave with evident marks of disduced.” Secure of the armed aid of France appointment and dissatisfaction, expressing and Britain, they believed they had nothing in strong terms my apprehension that he to fear. “ The feeling of the Turkish would one day have reason to look back with government,” said Lord Clarendon, “is a painful regret on the issue of our interview.” desire for war, founded on a conviction that Strong language this certainly, but not quite Britain and France must perforce side with uncalled for. The four powers, at no slight Turkey, and that the war will therefore be risk to themselves, had endeavoured, by a successful one for the Sultan, and obtain every means at their command, to protect for him guarantees for the future, which what they deemed the interests of the Porte. will materially strengthen his tottering They had even given pledges, that in the power.” This aid neither France nor Britain event of all other means failing, they would were willing to afford, while there was any willingly defend her at the point of the prospect of a pacific settlement of affairs. sword. But they required, and reasonably, The French government even sent a despatch that they should be left to decide when these to express the disappointment with which means failed. It was, to say the least of it, the Emperor had learned that the Sultan's absurd to expect they could allow the peace ministers had neglected the advice of His of Europe to depend on that national spirit Majesty's allies on this point, and express which was manifestly rising beyond the ing a desire that the Porte would rescind its control of the Turkish government. Right decision regarding the rejection of the Vienna they had none, of course, to prevent Turkey Note. The Turk, however, was determined declaring war when and how she pleased, so for once to have his own way. Neither long as that was done at her own expense. entreaty nor remonstrance changed for a But when she presumed to make war, moment his determination. The western " reckoning on the moral and material suppowers, nevertheless, unwilling to abandon port of England and France,"—to employ as yet all hope of peace, continuing their the phrase of the Turkish ambassador,Degotiations, received from the Emperor of while these powers were striving to effect a Russia an acknowledgment of his readiness peaceful settlement of the dispute, matters to accept the Vienna Note, with any expla- assumed another aspect. “If Europe has nation that might be considered necessary to its duties towards Turkey,” said the Times, define its real meaning. More than this " Turkey has its duties towards Europe. surely could not have been required. If Europe owes protection to the Ottoman Honestly acted upon, it could hardly have Empire, that empire owes consideration to