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CHAP, Clarendon and Baron Brunnow, our Foreign Secre
XII . .
-—*-^ tary, they say, spoke a plain, firm sentence, disclosing
the dangers which the occupation of the Principalities would bring upon the relations between Russia and England. The wholesome words were flying to St Petersburg. They would have destroyed the Czar's illusion, and they therefore bade fair to preserve the peace of Europe; but when Lord Aberdeen came to know what had. been uttered, he insisted, they say, and insisted with effect, that Baron Brunnow should be requested to consider Lord Clarendon's words as unspoken. Of course, after a fatal revocation like this, it would be hard indeed to convince the Czar that his encroachment was provoking the grave resistance of England. Orders for The Emperor Nicholas was alone, in his accustomed pation of writing-room in the Palace of Czarskoe Selo, when he panties, came to the resolve which followed upon the discomfiture of Prince Mentschikoff. He took no counsel. He rang a bell. Presently an officer of his Staff stood before him. To him he gave his orders for the occupation of the Principalities. Afterwards he told Count Orloff what he had done. Count Orloff became grave, and said, 'This is war.' The Czar was surprised to hear that the Count took so gloomy a view. He was sure that no country would stir against him without the concurrence of England, and he was certain that, because of her Peace Party, her traders, and her Prime Minister, it was impossible for England to move.
It was thus that by rashness and want of moderation men truly attached to the cause of peace were CHAP, encouraging the wrong-doer, and rapidly bringing •—^—, upon Europe the calamity which they most abhorred.
On the 2d July the Emperor Nicholas caused his The Pruth forces to pass the Pruth, and laid hold of the two Principalities. On the following day a manifesto was Russian read in the churches of All the Russias.* 'It is known,' said the Czar, 'to all our faithful subjects that the de'fence of the Orthodox religion was from time imme'morial the vow of our glorious forefathers. From the 'time that it pleased Providence to intrust to us our 'hereditary throne, the defence of these holy obliga'tions inseparable from it was the constant object of 'our solicitude and care; and these, based on the 'glorious treaty of Kainardji, confirmed by other 'solemn treaties, were ever directed to insure the 'inviolability of the Orthodox Church. But to our 'great grief, recently, in despite of our efforts to de'fend the inviolability of the rights and privileges of 'our Orthodox Church, various arbitrary acts of the 'Porte have infringed these rights, and threaten at 'last the complete overthrow of the long-perpetuated 'order so dear to Orthodoxy. Having exhausted all 'persuasion, we have found it needful to advance our 'armies into the Danubian Principalities, in order 'to show the Ottoman Porte to what its obstinacy 'may lead. But even now we have not the inten'tion to commence war. By the oocupation of the 'Principalities we desire to have such a security as
* ' Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 357.
CHAP, 'will insure us the restoration of our rights. It is
—~-v—s 'not conquest that we seek; Russia needs it not; we
'seek satisfaction for a just right so clearly infringed. 'We are ready even now to arrest the movement of 'our armies, if the Ottoman Porte will bind itself 'solemnly to observe the inviolability of the Ortho'dox Church. But if blindness and obstinacy decide 'for the contrary, then, calling God to our aid, we 'shall leave the decision of the struggle to Him, and, 'in full confidence in His omnipotent right hand, we 'shall march forward for the Orthodox Church. ' * Course By declaring that his military occupation of these
the Sultan, provinces was not an act of war, the Emperor Nicholas did not escape from any part of the responsibility naturally attaching to the invasion of a neighbour's territory; and yet, by making this announcement, he committed the error of enabling the Porte to choose its own time for the final rupture. The Sultan was advised by Lord Stratford, and afterwards by the Home Governments of the Western Powers, that although he was entitled, if he chose, to look upon the seizure of the tributary provinces as a clear invasion of his territory, he was not obliged to treat it as an act which placed him at war, and that for the moment it was wise for him to hold back. Upon this counsel the Sultan acted; and in truth the latitude which it gave him was highly convenient, because he was illprepared for an immediate encounter. Therefore, without yet going to a rupture, the Turkish Government exerted itself to make ready for war. In States religiously constituted, the preparation for C H A P, war is begun by preaching it; and now in Europe, -—^-^ in Asia, and in Africa, wherever there were Turkish Character dominions, the Moslems were called to arms by a tru- threatcuculent course of sermons. In the churches of Russia ed warthere was a like appeal to the piety of the multitude. Of course the members of the two disputing Governments were much under the influence of temporal motives; but by the people of both Empires the war now believed to be impending was regarded as a war for Religion.
* ' Eastern Papers,' part i. p. 323.
C H A P, XIII.
Effect of the Czar's threat upon Euro pean Powers.
The Czar had no sooner uttered his threat to occupy the Principalities, than he found himself met by the unanimous disapproval of the other great Powers of Europe. Nor was this a barren expression of opinion. From the time of the accomplishment of Count Leiningen's mission, Austria had never ceased to declare her adhesion to her accustomed policy; and the moment that she saw herself endangered by the Czar's determination to send troops into Wallachia and Moldavia, she became, as it was her interest and her duty to be, a resolute opponent of Russia. And her resistance was of more value than that of any other Power, because she was so placed in reference to the Principalities that, at any moment and without any very hard effort, she could make her will the law. Of course the Czar might resent the interference of Austria and declare war against her; but in such a case he would necessarily place the scene of hostilities upon another part of her frontier. It/ was not possible for him with common prudence to wind round the frontier of the Austrian Empire, and at