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rather than from any intent to grant precedence; and CHAP, it was accordingly arranged that the Greeks should >—^—worship in the Church every morning immediately after sunrise, and then the Armenians, and then the Latins, each nation having an hour and a half for the purpose. Perhaps it was in order to hinder the outgoing worshippers from coming into conflict with those who were about to begin their devotions that the gentle Armenians were thus interposed between the two angry Churches. The gardens of the Convent of Bethlehem were to remain, as before, under the joint care of the Greeks and Latins. With regard to the Cupola of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it was arranged that it should be repaired by the Sultan in such a way as not to alter its form; and if, in the course of the building, any deviation from this engagement should appear to be threatened, the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem was to be authorised to remonstrate, with a view to guard against innovation. The buildings overlooking the terraces of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre were to have their windows walled up, but were not to be demolished, and therefore no effect could be given to the Russian plan of setting apart a neutral ground to be kept free from the dominion of both the contending Churches. All these arrangements were to be embodied in firmans addressed by the Sultan to the Turkish authorities at Jerusalem*
Thus, after having tasked the patience of European diplomacy for a period of nearly three years, CHAP, the business of apportioning the holy shrines of Pa-.—rJ-—- lestine between the Churches of the East and of the West was brought at last to a close. The question was perhaps growing ripe for settlement when Lord Stratford reached Constantinople; but whether it was so or not, he closed it in seventeen days. For the part which he had taken in helping to achieve this result he received the thanks of the Turkish Government and of the Russian and the French Ambassadors. The Divan might well be grateful to him, and he deserved, too, the thanks of his French colleague; for, having more insight into the new policy of the French Government than M. de la Cour, he was able to place him in the path which turned out to be the right one. But when Lord Stratford received the thanks of Prince Mentschikoff, he felt perhaps that the gravity which had served him well in these transactions was a gift which was still of some use.
* 'Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 248.
Whilst the question of the Holy Places was ap- C HA p. proaching the solution which was attained on the •—^—.> 22d of April, Prince Mentschikoff went on with his demand for the protectorate of the Greek Church in Turkey; but the character of his mission was fitfully changed from time to time by the tenor of his instructions from home. On the 12th of April, the peaceful views which had prevailed at St Petersburg Peaceful some weeks before were still governing the Russian thenegoEmbassy at Constantinople; and Lord Stratford was able to report that the altered tone and demeanour of Prince Mentschikoff corresponded with the conciliatory assurances which Count Nesselrode had been giving in the previous month to Sir Hamilton Seymour. But on the following day all was changed. Fresh despatches came in from St Petersburg. They breathed anger and violent impatience, and Angry deof this anger and of this impatience the causes fromst were visible. It was the measure adopted in Paris, burg, several weeks before, which had rekindled the dying embers of the quarrel at St Petersburg, and the torch was now brought to Constantinople. It has been seen that, without reason, and without communication
CHAP, with the English Ministers * (though it professed to >—^—> be acting in unison with them), the French Governofathe ment had ordered the Toulon fleet to approach the change. scene 0f controversy by advancing to Salamis; and it was whilst the indignation roused by this movement was still fresh in the mind of the Emperor Nicholas that the despatches had been framed. Moreover, at the time of sending off the despatches, the Czar knew that by the day they reached the shores of the Bosphorus, the man of whom he never could think with temper or calmness would already be at Constantinople, and he of course understood that, in the way of diplomatic strife, his Lord High Admiral the Serene Prince Governor of Finland was unfit for an encounter with Lord Stratford. He seems, therefore, to have determined to extricate his Ambassador from the unequal conflict by putting an end to what there was of a diplomatic character in the mission, and urging him into a course of sheer violence, which would supersede the finer labours of negotiation.
From the change which the despatches wrought in Prince Mentschikoff's course of action, from the steps which he afterwards took, and from the known bent and temper of the Czar's mind, it may be inferred that the instructions now received by the Russian inferred Ambassador were somewhat to this effect:—' The the 'French fleet has been ordered to Salamis. The
spatchet. 'Emperor is justly indignant. . You must bring 'your mission to a close forthwith. Be peremptory 'both with the French and the Turks. If the
* -' Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 98.
'French Ambassador is obstinate enough upon the c H A P.
'question of the Holy Places to give you a tenable - XJ" .
'ground on which you can stand out, then hasten at
'once to a rupture upon that business without further
'discussion about our ulterior demands. But if the
'French Ambassador throws no sufficing difficulties
'in the way of the settlement of the question of the
'Holy Places, then press your demand for the pro
'tectorate of the Greek Church. Press it peremp
'torily. In carrying out these instructions, you
'have full discretion so far as concerns all forms and
'details, but in regard to time the Emperor grants
'you no latitude. You must force your mission to
* a close. By the time you receive this despatch
'Stratford Canning will be at Constantinople. He
'has ever thwarted His Majesty the Emperor. The
'inscrutable will of Providence has bestowed upon
'him great gifts of mind, which he has used for no
'other purpose than to baffle and humiliate the Em
'peror, and keep down the Orthodox Church. In
'negotiation, or in contest for influence over the
'Turks, he would overcome you and crush you, but
'his instructions do not authorise him to be more
'than a mere peaceful negotiator. You, on the con
'trary, are supported by force. He can only per
'suade; you can threaten. Strike terror. Make the
'Divan feel the weight of our preparations in Bess
'arabia and at Sebastopol. Dannenburg's horsemen
'are close upon the Pruth. When the Emperor re
'members the position of the 4th and the 5th corps
'd'arme'e, and the forwardness of his naval prepara