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CHAP, answered was to be remitted back to Lord Stratford. -—^—> It was hard to bear.
Mentschi- Prince Mentschikoff began bis intercourse witb tbe lently new Foreign Secretary by insisting upon an immediate
presses his f~ .
demands, reply to his Note of the 11th of May. Reshid Pasha asked for the delay of a few days, on the ground of the change of Ministry. This reasonable demand was met at first by a refusal, but afterwards by a Note which seems to have been rendered incoherent by the difficulty in which Prince Mentschikoff was placed; for, on the one hand, a request for a delay of a few days, founded upon a change of Ministry, was a request too fair to be refused with decency; and on the other hand, the violent orders which had just come in from St Petersburg enjoined the Prince to close the unequal strife with Lord Stratford, and to enforce instant compliance, or at once "break off and depart. The Note began by announcing that Reshid Pasha's communication imposed upon the Russian Ambassador the duty of breaking off from the then present time his official relations with the Sublime Porte; but it added that the Ambassador would suspend the last demand, which was to determine the attitude which Russia would thenceforth assume towards Turkey. The Note further declared that a continuance of hesitation on the part of the Ottoman Government would be regarded as an indication of reserve and distrust offensive to the Russian Government, and that the departure of the Russian Ambassador, and also of the Imperial Legation, would be the inevitable and immediate consequence.
By the voices of forty-two against three, the Great CHAP, Council of the Porte determined to adhere to the •—^—> decision already taken; and on the 18th, Reshid JouncO6** Pasha called upon Prince Mentschikoff, and orally ££££• imparted to him the extreme length to which the Turkish Government was willing to go in the way of concession. The honour of the Porte required, he said, that the exclusively spiritual privileges granted under the Sultan's predecessors, and confirmed by His Majesty, should remain in full force; and he declared that the equitable system pursued by the Porte towards its subjects demanded that the Greek Clergy should be on as good a footing as other offers Christian subjects of the Sultan. He added that a theporte firman was to issue proclaiming this determination JSvfceof1 on the part of the Sultan. In regard to the shrine str^ford. at Jerusalem, Reshid Pasha was willing to engage that there should be no change without communicating with the Russian and French Governments. Reshid Pasha also consented that a church and hospital for the Russians should be built at Jerusalem; and in regard to all these last matters connected with the Holy Land, the Porte, he said, was willing to solemnise its promise by a formal convention. These overtures were made in exact accordance with a Paper of advice which Lord Stratford had placed in the hands of Reshid Pasha five days before.'"" Virtually Reshid Pasha offered Prince Mentschikoff everything which Russia had demanded, except the
* 'Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 196.
CHAP, protectorate of the Greek Church in Turkey,*—that •—^—- he refused.
Instantly, and without waiting for the written statement of the proposals orally conveyed to him by Reshid Pasha, Prince Mentschikoff determined to break off the negotiation. On the same day he Mentschi- addressed to the Porte an official Note, which purby deckr- ported to be truly his last. In this he declared that, mission at by rejecting with distrust the wishes of the Emperor in favour of the orthodox Greco-Russian religion, the Sublime Porte had failed in what was due to an august and ancient ally. The refusal, he said, was a fresh injury. He declared his mission at an end; and after asserting that the Imperial Court could not, without prejudice to its dignity and without exposing itself to fresh insults, continue to maintain a mission at Constantinople, he announced that he should not only quit Constantinople himself, but should take with him the whole Staff of the Imperial Legation, except the Director of the Commercial Department. The Prince added, that the refusal of a guarantee for the orthodox Greco-Russian religion obliged the Imperial Government to seek in its own power that security which the Porte declined to give by way of treaty engagement; and he added that any infringement of the existing state of the Eastern Church would be regarded as an act of hostility to Russia.t There- Prince Mentschikoff's departure did not immedi
tivesof ately follow the despatch of this Note, and on the morning of the 19th Lord Stratford took a step of CHAP, great moment to the tranquillity of Europe, for it •—^—> laid the seed of a wholesome policy; which, until it ^^ed was ruined, as will be seen hereafter, by the evil Stratforddesigns of some, and by the weakness of other men, Policy inpromised fair to enforce justice and to maintain truth this step, without bringing upon the world the calamity of a war. Instead of putting himself in communication with one only of the other great Powers, and so preparing a road to hostilities, the English Ambassador assembled the representatives of Austria, France, and Prussia. It then appeared that there was no essen- unanitial difference of opinion between the representatives fou/repnfof the four great Powers. None of them questioned the soundness of the Porte's views in resisting the extreme demands of Russia; all acknowledged the spirit of conciliation displayed by the Sultan's Ministers; all were agreed in desiring to prevent the rupture; all desired that the Emperor Nicholas should be enabled to recede without discredit from the wrong path which he had taken, and were willing to cover his retreat by every device which was consistent with the honour and welfare of other States. This union of opinion, followed close by concerted action, was surely a right example of the way in which it was becoming for Europe to regard an approach to injustice by one of the great Powers. Their It was arranged that the Austrian Envoy should call upon Prince Mentschikoff, should apprise him of the sorrow with which the representatives of the four Powers contemplated the rupture of his relations
Powers * 'Eastern Papers,' p. 205, and see p. 252. t 18th May. Ibid. p. 206. measures. * 'Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 205. t Ibid. P- 219.
CHAP, with the Porte; should express the lively gratifi.—^—> cation which a friendly solution, if that were still possible, would afford them; and, finally, should ascertain whether the Prince would receive through a private channel the Porte's intended Note, and give it a calm consideration.* This appeal from the representatives of the four great Powers produced no effect on the mind of Prince Mentschikoff,t and Lord Stratford scarcely expected that it would do so; but it commenced, or rather it marked and strengthened, that expression of grave disapproval on the part of the four Powers, which was the true and the safe corrective of an outrage threatened by one.
After his official relations with the Porte had come to a close, Prince Mentschikoff received and rejected the Turkish Note, \ which embodied the concessions already described to him orally by Eeshid Pasha; but on the evening of the 20th of May the Prince determined to make a concession in point of form, and to be content to have the engagement which he was demanding from the Porte in the form of a diplomatic Note, instead of a Treaty or Convention. Russia's In furtherance of this view, though his official capaturn"* city had ceased, he caused to be delivered to Reshid Pasha the draft of a Note to be given by the Porte. This draft purported to involve the Porte in engagements exactly the same as those which it had refused to contract, and to give to Russia (by means of a
X This Note, being the last offer made by the Turkish Government to Prince Mentschikoff, is printed in the Appendix.