Imagens das páginas

CHAP. ‘tions, he conceives he has a right to expect that you XI. - 'should instantly be able to take the ascendant over 'a man who, with all his hellish ability, is after all

nothing more than the representative of a country * absorbed in the pursuit of gain. The Emperor can

not and will not endure that his Representative, *supported by the forces of the Empire, should re'main secondary to the English Ambassador. Again “the Emperor commands me to say you must strike * terror. Use a fierce insulting tone. If the Turks

remain calm, it will be because Stratford Canning * supports them. Therefore demand private audiences

of the Sultan, and press upon his fears. If your ' last demands, whatever they may be, are rejected, "quit Constantinople immediately with your whole 'suite, and carry away with you the whole staff of ‘our Legation.'

On the day after receiving his despatches Prince mand fora Mentschikoff had a long interview with Rifaat Pasha, ate of the and strove to wrench from him the assent of the Church Turkish Government to the terms already submitted

to the Porte as the project for a secret treaty. And although it happened that in the course of the negotiations on this subject Russia submitted to accept many changes in the form or the wording of the engagement which she required, it may be said with accuracy that, from the first to the last, she always required the Porte to give her an instrument which should have the force of a treaty engagement, and confer upon her the right to insist that the Greek Church and Clergy in Turkey should con


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tinue in the enjoyment of all their existing privileges. CHAP. It was clear, therefore, that if the Sultan should be induced to set his seal to any instrument of this kind, which he would be chargeable with a breach of treaty en

would be

produced gagements whenever a Greek bishop could satisfy by conceda Russian Emperor that there was some privilege formerly enjoyed by him or his Church which had been varied or withdrawn. It was plain that for the Sultan to yield thus much would be to make the Czar a partaker of his sovereignty. This seemed clear to men of all nations except the Russians themselves; but especially it seemed clear to those who happened to know something of the structure of the Ottoman Empire. The indolence or the wise instinct of the Mussulman rulers had given to the Christian

nations' living within the Sultan's dominions many of the blessings which we cherish under the name of

self-government;' and since the Greek Christians had exercised these privileges by deputing their bishops and their priests to administer the authority conceded to the 'nation,’ it followed that the spiritual dominion of the priesthood had become blended with a great share of temporal power. So many of the duties of prefects, of magistrates, of assessors, of collectors, and of police were discharged by bishops, priests, and deacons, that a protectorate of these ecclesiastics might be so used by a powerful foreign Prince, as to carry with it a virtual sovereignty over ten or fourteen millions of laymen.

All this had been seen by Lord Stratford and by The negothe Turkish Ministers; and when Prince Mentschikoff which fol

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CHAP. pressed the treaty upon Rifaat Pasha he was startled, XI. - as it would seem, by the calmness and the full knowle ledge which he encountered. The treaty,' said Rifaat

Pasha, 'would be giving to Russia an exclusive pro'tectorate over the whole Greek population, their clergy, and their Churches.'*

The Prince, it would seem, now began to know that he had to do with the English Ambassador, for he made the alteration before adverted to in the draft of his treaty, and on the 20th of April read it in its amended shape to Lord Stratford, and assured him that it was only an explanatory guarantee of existing treaties, giving to the co-religionists of Russia what Austria already possessed with regard to hers. Lord Stratford on that day had approached to within forty-eight hours of the settlement of the question of the Holy Places, which he deemed it so vital to achieve; and it may be easily imagined that, in the remarks which he might make upon hearing the draft read, he would abstain with great care from irritating discussion, and would not utter a word more than was necessary for the purpose of fairly indicating that his postponement of discussion on the subject of the ulterior demands was not to be mistaken for acquiescence; but all that for that purpose was needed he fairly said, for he observed to Prince Mentschikoff that the Sultan's promise to protect ‘his Christian subjects in the free exercise of their * religion differed extremely from a right conferred ' on any foreign Power to enforce that protection, and

** Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 153.



• also that the same degree of interference might be CHAP. * dangerous to the Porte, when exercised by so power- 'ful an empire as Russia on behalf of ten millions of * Greeks, and innocent in the case of Austria, whose

influence, derivable from religious sympathy, was con'fined to a small number of Catholics, including her ' own subjects.' * These remarks were surely not ambiguous; but it seems probable that Prince Mentschikoff, misled by his previous impression as to what Lord Stratford really objected to, may have imagined that the proposed convention in its altered form would not be violently disapproved by the English Ambassador. At all events, he seems to have instructed his Government to that effect.

On the 19th of April the Russian Ambassador addressed his remonstrances and his demands to the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs in the form of a diplomatic Note. In the first sentence of this singular document Prince Mentschikoff tells the Minister for Foreign Affairs that he must have seen the

duplicity of his predecessor. In the next he tells him he must be convinced of the extent to which

the respect due to the Emperor had been disre'garded, and how great was his magnanimity in

offering to the Porte the means of escaping from “the embarrassments occasioned to it by the bad ' faith of its Ministers;' and then, after more objurgation in the same strain, and after dealing in a peremptory way with the question of the Holy Places, the Note goes on to declare that 'in conse

* " Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 156.

CHAP. quence of the hostile tendencies manifested for some XI. - 'years past in whatever related to Russia, she required

in behalf of the religious communities of the Orthodox * Church an explanatory and positive act of guarantee.' Then the Note requested that the Ottoman Cabinet would be pleased in its wisdom to weigh the serious

nature of the offence which it had committed, and 'compare it with the moderation of the demands

made for reparation and guarantee, which a consider*ation of legitimate defence might have put forward

at greater length and in more peremptory terms. Finally the Note stated that 'the reply of the Minister for Foreign Affairs would indicate to the Ambassador the ulterior duties which he would have to discharge;' and intimated that those duties would be consistent

with the dignity of the Government which he repre'sented, and of the religion professed by his Sovereign.*

It might have been politic for Prince Mentschikofi to send such a Note as this in the midst of the panic which followed his landing in the early days of March, but it was vain to send it now. The Turks had returned to their old allegiance. They could take their rest, for they knew that Lord Stratford watched. Him they feared, him they trusted, him they obeyed. It was in vain now that the Prince sought to crush the will of the Sultan and of his Ministers. Whether he threatened, or whether he tried to cajole; whether he sent his dragoman with angry messages to the Porte, or whether he went thither in person ; whether he urged the members of

* Eastern Papers, part i. p. 158.


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