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the rest of Europe. By doing so, he from the ambassador in London as to reduced Britain very nearly, if not the disposition of the British Cabinet. altogether, to a level, in the Imperial The tenor of his memorable conversaeyes, with the Court and Cabinet of tions with Sir Hamilton Seymour goes Austria, which might indeed attempt far to establish this. It is hardly to counsel the Autocrat against the credible that he would have ventured perpetration of any act which he to say what he did say on these occameditated, but which hardly could be sions, without having some hint from supposed presumptuous enough to of. Brunow that he might safely broach fer a remonstrance that, if neglected, the topic ; for the Czar is not a man should be followed by defiance and by who would take any important step, war. So much for the regular des. or make any important revelation, patches forwarded from London to without due deliberation and foresight; our representative at St Petersburg; and it seems to us almost an irresis. but there is even more than this. Sir tible conclusion that very careful Hamilton Seymour stated, we are con- soundings had been taken by the vinced with perfect accuracy, that Russian agents (by no means confined little attention was paid at St Peters- to the embassy) in London, before burg to the views expressed by the Nicholas ventured to commit himself British ambassador, but that the Rus- by so perilous a proposal. At any sian Cabinet depended mainly upon rate, those early communications must the information received from the or ought to have satisfied the AberRussian embassy and the Russian deen Cabinet that the ambition of agents in London. This is entirely Russia was likely, unless resolutely in accordance with the system which counteracted and countermanded, to Russia has pursued throughout. False force on an immediate European crisis; in herself, she invariably suspects fal- for it was utterly out of the question sity on the part of others; and it is to suppose that either Britain or France by no means an unimportant circum- could tamely submit to see the keys stance to remark that the youngest of the Bosphorus wrenched by the and least civilised of the great Euro- Czar from the hands of the Sultan, peau States should have produced the and the Black Sea converted into an most able, subtle, and indefatigable exclusive Russian lake. Russia, howdiplomatists. Cunning and duplicity ever, does not seem to have taken are among the highest of the intellec- that view. She believes not in public tual qualities of a savage people, and honour; and we have no doubt that they are, even yet, the leading features the Czar considered the proffered of the Russian character. In Baron bribe of Egypt and Candia, in the Brunow, the ambassador at the Court partition of the spoils of Turkey, as of St James's, Russia had a diploma- an almost irresistible bait.
In bytist of the first class. How was it gone years, Austria and Prussia had, that, to him at least, our Ministers for less desirable possessions, connived did not use such peremptory and de- and assisted at the extinguishment of cided language as could have left no Poland as a kingdom, and at its pardoubt in his mind of what the issue tition; and the Calmuck mind, faithmust be, if bis master should persevere ful to its own traditions, saw no reain the aggressive designs against Tur son whatever why Britain should be key which he had so plainly indicated less scrupulous. Even the Czar, to the British representative at St however, could not expect that Britain Petersburg ? Was it not their duty was to take an active part in the to have done so; that is, if they had aggression. All that was required of made up their minds as to the course her was to remain neutral—to protest, of action to be pursued in the event of course, if she pleased, and to take any of the Czar proceeding to the occupa diplomatic steps in the way of issue tion of the Turkish territory? They of protocols, which might be necessary may possibly have done so; but it for the sake of keeping up appearances now seems to be conceded on all hands -not to interfere with the struggle, that, in acting as he did, the Emperor if France should happen to make Nicholas was mainly influenced by common cause with Turkey, but to the representations which he received wait for the fall of Constantinople,
when her patience and forbearance towards his Lordship, that he was "& would be adequately rewarded without friend of nearly forty years' standing." the appearance of a tarnish upon her He was so, and very properly so. name. Such were, in fact, the propo- Lord Aberdeen's diplomatic career sitions of the Czar, communicated dates back from the Congress of without any reserve, and they form a Vienna; and it is no wonder if the most important chapter of the history relations then formed, which have at of this century.
all events secured the peace of Europe Did Brunow, the representative of for a longer uninterrupted period than Russia in London, really believe that can be shown in history since the disour Cabinet would have acted on this sipation of the mist of the dark ages, hint? We think not. He has been should have the effect of rendering too long among us, and knows us too him most reluctant to abandon the well, to suppose that any section of former alliance. Ties of this kind our public men would accept a national are not easily broken; and although bribe for the betrayal of the nation's it may have been, and we think was, honour; or that the course which a vast misfortune for Britain and for Britain was to pursue could be direct- Europe that Lord Aberdeen should ly influenced by the prospect of terri- bave occupied the position of Premier torial acquisition, even although the at this momentous crisis, it is not fair possession of Egypt would give us to assume that his political anteceundisputed control of the high-road to dents had the effect of warping bis our eastern dominions in Hindostan. judgment or of unduly influencing his But he may have supposed, and, we conduct. The plain fact is that the think, very likely did, that the men- Czar beheld in the Premier of the tion of such an arrangement would British Cabinet a man with whom not be without some effect upon the he had been long connected by terms councils of a Cabinet, the head of of political relationship; whom he which had been long connected with knew to be perfectly honest in his the Russian Court by the ties of views, though his abilities did not peculiar intimacy. At any rate, it rise beyond the point of mediocrity; might serve to show that Russia, if whose weaknesses and predilections she wanted to have the Black Sea to he knew, and upon whose general herself, and an unrestricted access for sympathy he thought he could safely her navy to the Mediterranean, was calculate. He believed also that the so far from anxious to damage the cordial relations with France under present position of Britain, that she its new ruler, which had been so sucwas willing to concede, from the cessfully established by Lord Malmesspoils conquered by her own arms, bury, when Secretary for Foreign whatever might be most acceptable Affairs, were not likely to be mainand convenient to the latter power; tained ; and it is undeniable that the and that, from a frigid neutrality, reckless and reprehensible language there might arise as much advantage which both Sir James Graham and as if we had joined her in her robber Sir Charles Wood chose to apply to scheme. Nor must we overlook, in the conduct of Napoleon III. was our review of this matter, various more than sufficient for such an considerations arising from our inter- assumption. It is therefore no wonnal policy, position, and proceedings, der if, to the acute and unscrupulous which must have entered into the mind of the Czar, it appeared that Russian calculations while weighing. the moment for carrying into executhe probability of our offering a de- tion his long-cherished designs against cided resistance and armed opposi- Turkey had arrived. He was pretion to the designs of the Czar up- pared to encounter the opposition of on Turkey. Opposed as we are in France, if Britain would but remain many respects to the policy of the neutral; and he grounded bis hopes of Cabinet of which Lord Aberdeen is such neutrality, first, upon the perthe head, we must say that an unfair sonal relations which he had so long application has been made, by a con- maintained with the British Premier, siderable portion of the public press, and, secondly, on the undisguised of an expression used by the Czar hostility and mistrust which other members of the Cabinet had evinced the crown of Britain. Viewed in comtowards the Emperor of the French. parison with the Continental military There was also another consideration establishments, ours were altogether which must have had much weight insignificant; and yet there were men with the Czar. In consequence of the among us who clamorously maintained repeal of the corn-laws, a vast quan- that our forces were by far too grest, tity of the grain annually consumed and statesmen who were weak or in Britain had come to be imported wicked enough to purchase popularity from the Euxine; and the prevalent by proposing and effecting a redac. idea throughout the Continent was, tion. Our young men generally were that for the future Great Britain must not trained to the use of arms; our depend upon foreign nations for her militia had become a mere name; our supplies. This idea was further en- navy, maintained at a great expense, couraged by various foolish speeches was made their favourite subject of which were made in Parliament by attack by a class of persons who the more zealous and least honest of called themselves economical reformthe Free-traders, to the effect that our ers, and who possessed considerable national prosperity would continue influence, especially in the larger undiminished if not a single quarter towns. Foremost amongst these was of wheat were grown upon British the school of Manchester politicians, soil, and a great deal to the like effect. who commenced a regularly organised The largeness of imports, compared crusade against military and paral with those of previous years, was establishments. As usual, those genassumed as satisfactory evidence that tlemen were by no means scrupulous we had entered into that state of de- in their selection of arguments. They pendence, and that, like the sons of appealed to interest by showing that Jacob, we were now compelled to tra- a very considerable portion of our verse vast distances for our corn. By annual revenue was expended upon the occupation of the Danubian pro- these objects, and they urged that by vinces, the Czar would gain posses- gradual and judicious curtailment a sion of the keys of a vast and prolific large saving might be effected. They granary, which in the case of war insisted that the newly-inaugurated would of course remain resolutely system of Free-trade had eclipsed the shut; and he no doubt calculated on Christian revelation, by abolishing all this as a material element in the ques- possibility of war among the nations, tion of our neutrality. It is rather and they implored their countrymen curious to observe that even at the to show a noble example to the world present time the Russian journals are by relinquishing all means of defence, harping upon this idea, and that one promising, on their own substantial of the statements which they perpe- security, that there would be no ag. tually and emphatically repeat is, that gression. Their leader, Mr Cobden, in consequence of the stoppage of sup- volunteered, if the country would only plies from the Euxine, bread is with disarm, to be answerable for all the us at more than a famine price, and a consequences. They told us that, inlarge portion of our population are stead of regarding with pride the literally perishing from hunger. This is military annals of our country, we significant enough-showing as it does ought to humiliate ourselves for havthe foregone conclusion, and the view ing participated in so much bloodshed; which the Russians entertained of the and even while our great hero, the result of our altered policy.
Duke of Wellington, was alive, they Besides this, there prevailed on the dared to brand him as a homicide. Continent a firm belief that Britain They reviled, and took every occasion was no longer in the condition or in of traducing, the British army as a the mood to draw the sword in any nursery of profligacy and crimecause which did not materially or base and scurrilous calumny which we directly affect her own interests. So are sorry to see has been repeated even far from ours being a military nation, since the war has been declared. They the amount of our standing army established Olive - branches, Peace seemed ludicrously inadequate for the Societies, and what not, to work upon vast extent of territory attached to the feeble minds of women, and those
who were feebler than women; and, reigners that the whole nation is not under the direct instigation of baffled possessed with a similar insanity. insurgents and conspirators, they es- They very naturally ask why, if the tablished a Peace Congress, wbich, for opinions of the people be different, a year or two, made itself ridiculous these men have been elected to such throughout Europe. There, upon plat- high municipal situations forms filled by hypocritical manufac- dreaming that the men in question turers and owlish Quakers, did their are overstepping their proper funcapostles rant and rave, reviling all tions, and using an authority, which manner of men except themselves, is limited by law to matters of sewerand volunteering to crumple up Rus- age and such-like, as a pretext for sia at a moment's notice, like one of enunciating their opinions upon all their own contemptible circulars ! subjects human and divine. We can And to this kind of exhibition, worthy afford to laugh at such folly; but the only of a community of besotted luna- matter becomes serious, when the partics, did thousands of estimable idiots ties acting in the name of a muncirepair ; and to the disgrace of the pality are understood by strangers to British press be it admitted, that they represent the general opinion of the were not without organs to give vent constituency. Upon this subject we and publicity to their ideas.
may have more to say hereafter; beThis is not a time for disguising the cause, as municipalities are presently truth, however unpalatable it may be conducted and constituted, they seem to many who now acknowledge and to us more likely to be productive of feel the enormity and extent of their mischief than of substantial benefit to error. It is undeniable that the crot- the community. chets of the Peace Society were widely In short, the impression abroad spread through the municipalities— seems to have been that we were so bodies which of late years have exhi- enervated with wealth, and so abbited a decided but dangerous ten- sorbed in money-getting, that nothing dency to thrust forward their opinions short of an absolute invasion would in matters which were never meant to revive the British spirit, or cause it be submitted to their cognisance, and to kindle as of old. We need take to supplement their proper functions no pains to expose the fallacy of that by expressions of political opinion. idea. The present war, because it Town-councils are excellent things in was felt to be undertaken in a just their way; but it seldom happens that and righteous cause, was commenced they represent either the intelligence with the almost unanimous approbaor the sentiments of the body whose tion of the people; and the more local affairs they are chosen to admi- than heroic valour and calm deternister. Men of refined and cultivated mination exhibited by our troops, minds would as soon aspire to the in that desperate conflict on the office of bear-warden as to that of heights of the Alma, proves that the mayor or provost, and the result is British soldier of the present day has that the municipalities are composed not degenerated from those whom of men, for the most part respectable Wellington led to victory. in their walk of life, but certainly not It has been said, in answer to some such as constitute the élite of the so- hostile criticisms upon the conduct of ciety. But the nature of our munici- Ministers with regard to the war, pal institutions, however well known that this is no time for finding fault, to ourselves, is not appreciated abroad; or for indulging in censure; that we and when it goes forth to all the world, ought all of us to trust implicitly to on the wings of the press, that the the good faith, zeal, and discretion Mayor of this city, and the Lord Pro- of the Cabinet, and that we should vost of that, have been assisting at a not presume to comment upon movePeace Congress, and have been advo- ments the result of which we cannot cating the immediate disbanding of foresee. We do not admit in any armies within their own country, as way the propriety of such a pleading. an incentive to the rest of the world We are now approaching the close of to turn their swords into pruning the first campaign, for it is evident hooks, it is difficult to persuade fo- that when winter sets in there must be a general cessation of warfare. own, and it was our obvious policy We have therefore a breathing time, then, in conjunction with France, to during which it is not only fair, but ex- make such a demonstration as might pedient, that we should carefully review assure the Czar that, even if be the past, for the purpose of ascertain- should be successful in his earlier ating whether any errors have been tempts, it was the fixed resolve of committed, and if so, of tracing these the Western Powers to compel him to their source. As we do not pretend to disgorge the spoil. A decided atto be skilled in strategy, we shall nottitude at the beginning might have follow the example of some journal- saved us from all this bloodshed; for, ists, who have discussed military headstrong as the Czar is, he can movements as confidently as if they still calculate chances, and he must had been possessed of the science and bave known that, in the event of abexperience of a Jomini. We sball solute war, he could not, by possibicontine ourselves simply to what is lity, be a gainer. He must have been open and patent to every understand- conscious that his fleets were unable ing, and shall rather seek to avoid to contend with those of Britain and than to discover occasion for censure. France in either of the seas in which
If our Ministers failed, as we think they are enclosed; and that these two they did, in indicating to the Czar powers, if once provoked and comand his representative in London bined, would never sheathe the sword the part which Britain was bound to until Russia had undergone such hu. take in the event of actual aggression, miliation as she has never yet expeit seems to us that they erred still rienced. He must have known that more in not making a sufficient phy- the financial state of his empire, more sical demonstration so soon as the especially under a strict blockade Russian forces had crossed the Pruth. both in the north and in the south, We think there can be no doubt that rendered the protraction of the struggle our fleet was kept too long at Malta; almost desperate; and he must have and that the delay in ordering it to felt that the embarrassment arising the Black Sea tended very much to therefrom was likely to be fraught strengthen the impression of the Rus with consequences dangerous to himsians that we did not intend seriously self individually. He had no allies to interfere. It must have been so; upon whom he could depend ; for because even among ourselves the Austria, though she secretly may inunaccountable dilatoriness created an cline towards him, dares not make uncomfortable impression that the any demonstration of the kind, as Ministry were not in earnest; and she is conscious that the first overt act had the delay continued much longer, of Russian adhesion would be follow. there would have arisen such a burst ed by insurrection in Italy, Hungary, of public indignation as no Ministry and Gallicia. Prussia dare not could have faced. The explanation join him, for she trembles for the offered is to the purport that, during Rhenish provinces. It is a gross this time, diplomacy was doing its mistake to suppose that Nicholas, utmost to effect a peaceable arrange- like Paul, is an absolute madman. ment. Now it was very right and We grant him to be headstrong, ampraiseworthy that no means should bitious, iron-willed, and obstinate; be left untried for making a peaceable but at the same time he is endowed with arrangement, and it was highly pro- no common share of sagacity. Those per to invoke the mediation of Prus who know him best bear testimony sia and Austria ; but we cannot for- to the practical shrewdness with get that by this time the Rubicon which he weighs conclusions ; indeed, had been crossed, that Russian troops the whole tenor of his history shows were trampling upon Turkish soil
, that he is eminently skilful in calcuthat their cannon were upon the Dan- lating chances, and in availing himube, and that the Turkish forces self of opportunities. And we cannot were drawn out to resist them. With believe that, if he had foreseen the this state of things diplomacy had course of action which Britain and nothing to do. As an invader, France have subsequently adopted, Nicholas entered a territory not his or contemplated the possibility of his