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Emperor. Under any circumstances, however, the subversion of the Turkish rule in Europe, would seem likely to be followed by consequences of the most serious nature to England. It is impossible not to see that the present proceedings of Russia, with respect to the Porte, bear a strong resemblance to those which it pursued towards Poland.
In that memorable transaction, also, one of the interventional pretences, frequently advanced by the northern cabinet, was a religious one. A sixth of the Poles were of the Greek church, which was not the dominant one. The Empress declared that all exclusions on account of religious belief were contrary to a "LAW OF NATURE;" that "those so situated were ABSOLVED FROM ALL NATIONAL ALLEGIANCE, and had a right to appeal to the rest of the human race, and choose from amongst judges, allies, and protectors." If this be still the doctrine of the Russian court, it affords matter for consideration, and certainly great scope for its benevolence. WHERE, in effect, it may be asked, is the country which might be exempt from the influence of so sweeping a clause, or from the interference of so universal a protector of sects?
'One of the last declaratory acts preliminary to a dismemberment of Poland, after setting forth her autocratic Majesty's great love of peace, and how careful she had been to preserve it, runs thus:- "Filled with these sentiments, it is with regret that the Empress sees his Polish Majesty follow different maxims with regard to her, and make no return for her friendly proceedings but by proceedings directly opposite," &c. &c. The further instances of her Majesty's friendly regard are now matter of history.
'The people of England were, we are informed, filled with surprise and indignation at the partition of the republic. The cabinets of London,' Paris, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, loudly REMONSTRATED. How fruitlessly need not be told! Nevertheless, Poland was very far from being a primary object with her Majesty. The priority in subjugation was, indeed, yielded to this ill-fated country, not so much because of the extreme facilities afforded by its distracted condition, (which was so cruelly, no less than adroitly, aggravated and administered to,) but in a considerable degree, because of the strength the yet uncorrupted party were rapidly gaining, leading, it was apprehended, to their being enabled to protect and vindicate the national integrity, if not immediately crushed.
Nor did this event concern, in any comparative degree, the maritime nations. Though so much enhanced in strength, the character of the Russian state remained unchanged. It was still an inland—a military, and not a naval power. The extinction of the Ottoman sway, and the throne of the sultans for her grandson, was universally known to have been Catherine's most cherished ambition--the great and unvarying aim of her political life-and no less so that of her ablest counsellors. Nor will the fulfilment of any of her views, to whose lot soever it may fall to do so, be an inconsiderable title to fame.
Finally, a very casual inquiry into the proceedings of this half Asiatic. half European cabinet, shows most incontestibly, that though Russia is: physically without a rival, it is resolved not to rely alone on force; and thus it is that we see schemes of a gigantic violence, carried on with as
much caution, craft, and stealthy tortuousness as if there were no other means for executing them than the condottieri of the times of Cæsar Borgia.'-pp. 52-55.
It is one of the most remarkable proofs of the bad policy by which our present government is actuated, that it appears to look on with the greatest indifference, while the Russian armies are thus advancing to the realization of those daring schemes, from which the immediate predecessors of Nicholas were deterred chiefly through fear of England. In 1791, when the Czarina Catherine reduced her pretensions merely to the retention of the fortress of Oczakow, Mr. Pitt was infinitely more alarmed than our present ministers are, though Constantinople itself is menaced. He was determined, if possible, to prevent the Empress from carrying her intentions into effect, but was defeated by the opposition which he experienced. His sentiments on this subject are strongly expressed in a private letter, which he addressed to Mr. Ewart, then (May, 1791), British minister at Berlin. "You perfectly know," said that great statesman, "that no man could be more eagerly bent than I was on a steady adherence to the line which we had at first proposed, of going all lengths to enforce the terms of the strict status quo; and I am still as much persuaded as ever, that if we could have carried the support of the country with us, the risk and expense of the struggle, even if Russia had not submitted without a struggle, would not have been more than the object was worth." It has been said, by some of our public writers, "let Russia go on, and even reduce all Turkey to her power; her empire will become so enormous, that it must fall of itself, by dismemberment, into several petty states." Colonel Evans attempts to shew, that this result is not a very probable one. We do not go with him in his reasonings upon this part of his subject; as we do not think, that if the Russian empire be made to embrace the whole, or even a considerable portion of the Ottoman dominions, it can continue to be governed under one sceptre. But we agree that the dismemberment of the empire, thus enlarged, must be a work of time, and that we have not that time to afford. Great Britain cannot surrender its colonies and commerce for a century or two, under the hope that they may be restored at the end of that period, on the "decline and fall," of the Russian Autocracy.
The policy which it is likely would be pursued by Russia after the acquisition of Constantinople, is sketched, perhaps with some fancifulness, by our author. But although it wants at present the basis of facts, it appears to us in some respects, not to be very wide of the mark at which Nicholas aims. "The promontory of Thrace," says Gibbon," which stretches into the Propontis, and is placed. between two seas, was unquestionably the most eligible situation in Europe for founding a city which might aspire to universal dominion." Let but this capital be ouce placed in the hands of the Emperor, and we fear that too many of our author's conjectures will be realized.
'Let us then conjecture that, with this one exception, which will be defended upon plausible pretexts of the inevitable nature of the case, a general spirit of forbearance, and even a disposition to concession on every other point, marks in the commencement, the political bearing of the Autocrat; for the materials of resistance elsewhere may yet, possibly, be esteemed too formidable to be meddled with indiscreetly; and so, for some time, no violent assumption calculated to arouse the general feeling in other states will be adventured on. Peace, mutual concession, mutual confidence, liberality, commercial prosperity, good order, repose, and tranquillity, &c., will be the unctuous expressions now in habitual use with this aspiring cabinet-the only views it will acknowledge to entertain. The ministers of other courts, anxiously wishing that such may, in truth, be the case, will be the more disposed to rely on so satisfactory a prospect for the future.
Constantinople will, at least for a certain term, be made a free port. Every possible facility, protection, and encouragement will also be given to foreign merchants. The profits of the exchequer, will thus in the first instance, be wholly remitted and disregarded. And thus will commerce suddenly be impelled into those new and congenial channels; and the important influence, everywhere, of the mercantile class, be conciliated and predisposed to exert itself against the disturbance of pacific relations.
'The newly-acquired domains will then be arranged on a stable footing -the roads improved-forests thinned-marshes drained, and settlers invited from all parts; but not from Russia-there the formality of an invitation on those occasions is not resorted to. Thence they are sent off in tens and twenties of thousands, in the heats of summer or the dead of winter, as it suits the caprice of a minister, and with as little ceremony as a herd of cattle are driven into some new pasture.
'Grants and allotments of land, according to the established practice in these matters, will now be conferred on the magnates, generals, and superior officers in the cortege of the conqueror; and the exuberant soil thus appropriated, hitherto so long fallow under the hoof of the barbarian, will ere long begin to render up a fruitful return to the calculated labours of the serf.
'Those of the pachas, agas, or beglerbegs of Asia Minor, who may not have already renounced all nominal allegiance to their ancient head, will be invited to do so. This will answer as a temporary arrangement. They can afterwards be successively put down, or reduced to subserviency, as opportunities arise. The reflux of the European Mussulmans will no doubt cause confusion. The courage of the Sultan, should he still have eluded the bow-string or the sword, and be really possessed of that quality in any energetic degree, can alone serve to gild the decline of this odious domination, and furnish a creditable exit, as a ruling dynasty, for the Osmanic race. Soon he must sink into significance; and the boon of a retiring pension will, if he please, be his alternative. Such was the lot of the traitor Stanislaus-of the Dukes of Courland-of the Kauns of the Crimea of King Heraclius of Georgia, and of several other scions of royalty, of more or less importance, who have been successively relieved by the considerate Moscovites from the "cares" of government.
But in the mean time Nicholas will have added the crown of the once celebrated Eastern Empire to those of all the Russias,-or will have
placed it on the head of one of his brothers, or have amalgamated the country as an integral frontier province; with perhaps a nominally separate administration, as that of Poland. It will not signify which. this last decisive step may, perhaps, be delayed, at least the public manifestation of it, until some causes of dissension amongst the other cabinets have been sufficiently nurtured, or the general feeling of Europe becomes tolerably reconciled to this view of the affair.
'During all this time, a most imposing force will be kept in readiness on advanced positions. Nor will any endeavour be omitted to exaggerate the rumours of its great numerical amount. This will be no more than consecutive to the system which has been pursued, with very little variance, for the last thirteen years,-peace with words, and war by preparation.
Forthwith, new and closer bonds of intercourse will be opened with the states around the Mediterranean. France excepted, they are all politically diseased. The Russians, though unacquainted with factions, in the ordinary sense, at home, are pretty well versed in the management of them abroad. It is not unlikely that Sicily will soon be coveted as an advanced post, and that an interest will be sought to be created in that island. The alliance with the United States of North America, we may be well assured, will be one of the most intimate. A community of object, the subversion of our naval and commercial supremacy, will lead to and cement this incongruous and disingenuous union,-disingenuous it certainly will be on the part of our free and enlightened descendants.
Soon the number of the British pendants in the Mediterranean, and also the land forces on that station, must receive a considerable augmentation. 'As immediate a result, however, will be the establishment of relations with the court of the Escurial, of the most confidential nature. Ferdinand (if he still reigns,) will at once be taken under the special protection of his Imperial Brother of the east. The warm solicitude of Russia relative to the domestic affairs and system of government in Spain have been already pretty strongly evinced: nor is it unlikely, that, as a mark of particular friendship, and in compliance with entreaties to that effect, the Emperor may be prevailed on to send to Madrid some half-dozen thousand good Muscovite troops, as a household guard and security for the royal person, against the plots of the Descamisados.'-- pp. 125–141.
We do not agree with the author in believing that the young autocrat will ever enjoy such universal sway in Europe, as that which is here contemplated. It is much more probable that his principal designs would be turned towards the East, and that they would there be much more likely to succeed than is generally apprehended.
'Simultaneously with these arrangements, a new and general * impulse
*The readiness of the Russian government to be at great charges for purposes of this nature was fully evinced by their conduct in regard to Odessa. When it became an object to give that ill-chosen and worse situated port, a temporary prosperity, ships were actually built at the public expense for the use of any tolerably intelligent foreign speculator, who might have come there without other credentials than a mere recommendation of respectability.
will be given to all the commercial overland intercourse with the East. To promote this purpose, which will have a military and political even more than a commercial object, the merchants will be invited to place establishments under the guarantee of the government—at Trebisond, Erzeroum, Mussool, Bussora, and Bagdad;-at Khiva, Balk, Bokhara, and Samarcand. "Depuis quelques années, (says Gamba, consul-general-Tiflis, 1826), un assez grand nombre de marchands Russes de l'intérieur viennent s'embarquer à Astrakhan pour le Golfe de Koultiouk, sur la côte méridionale de la Mer Caspienne; de ce point ils vont en caravan à Khiva, et jusqu'à Boukhara, en traversant le pays des Turcomans, qui occupent une partie de la côte."
To these ends a secure armed protection will, where necessary, be provided, the roads and river-navigations will be improved,-dams and weirs will be removed,-aids in point of conveyance, especially on the Caspian, Tigris, and Oxus, afforded, and lucrative privileges, or what nearly amounts to the same thing, fiscal exemptions, granted. The ukase of 1821, on this subject, is an indication of this course being likely to be pursued collaterally, and at no considerable distance of time, the Imperial treasury will be amply indemnified.
""Il n'est pas douteux (says the same writer, who denounces the commercial superiority of Britain as a grievance, against which all nations should unite) qu'une grande partie du commerce de l'Asie reprendra son ancienne route, parce qu'elle est plus courte, plus avantageuse, et qu'elle n'est dominée par aucune compagnie privilégiée." This zealous commercial functionary is probably a little too sanguine in his views-but it appears that the Russian government have favourably received the plans in conformity with them.
'From London to the ports of the Indian Peninsula generally, the voyage is estimated at sixteen or eighteen thousand miles. From Constantinople to Bombay, or Surat, is at most three thousand, including four hundred of land-carriage, in a country abounding in cheap means of transport, namely, mules, camels, and draft-bullocks, with the redeeming conveniency of passing through a most important intermediate mart, Erzeroum.
This, of course, supposes the latter city to be in the possession of the Russians; which, in point of fact, may even now be the case. Between the Volga (on which steam-boats are already established) and the Don, there is about fifty miles of land-carriage-the connecting canal not being yet open, although it is supposed to be very nearly completed. On this short over-land transit, there is already considerable traffic carried on, in which about fifteen thousand carriages are, during the season, in constant employment. And here also, so very moderate is the expense of land-carriage, that many of the boats which ascend the Volga, are broken up and carried across to the Don, there to be reconstructed for navigating that river. 'The two great lines of trade from the East to the Black Sea, which it is likely the Russians will now endeavour to establish, will pass through the Persian Gulf to Trebisond-and from the borders of Tartarian China, Bokhara, the Punjab, &c., to the embouchure of the Don.
From the entrance of the Don, and from Trebisond, it will converge to Constantinople as an entrepot, and thence be transmitted into the Mediterranean, and up the Danube, and the other great rivers, probably by steam. Coal abounds especially about Taganrog-lying even in some