« PreviousContinue »
[War. Russia and Turkey.]
notwithstanding the exemplary fidelity of the Servians, became daily more hostile towards them; and the occupation of Moldavia and Wallachia was protracted, notwithstanding the most solemn promises made to the Representative of Great Britain, and notwithstanding the desire of Russia, from the time when these promises were distinctly made, to renew its former relations with the Porte. So many hostile measures could not fail at last to exhaust the patience of the Emperor Alexander. In the month of October, 1825, he caused an energetic Protest to be presented to the Ottoman Ministry; and when a premature death snatched him from the love of his people, he had just made the declaration, that he would regulate the affairs of Turkey according to the rights and interests of his Empire.
A new reign commenced, and furnished further proofs of a love of Peace,-a noble inheritance, which had been bequeathed to it by the preceding reign. Upon his accession to the throne, the Emperor Nicholas commenced negotiations with the Porte, in order to settle various differences which concerned Russia alone, and afterwards, on the 1826 (No. 129), laid down, in concert with His Majesty the King of Great Britain, the bases of an Intervention which the general good peremptorily demanded. An evident wish to avoid extreme measures guided his conduct. On the one hand, as His Imperial Majesty promised himself from the union of the Great Courts, a more easy and speedy termination of the War which desolates the East, he renounced the employment of all separate influence, and disclaimed all idea of exclusive measures in this important question. On the other hand, by his direct negotiations with the Divan, he endeavoured to remove a further Impediment to the reconciliation of the Turks and the Greeks. Under such auspices the Conferences at Ackermann were opened; the result of them was the conclusion of an additional Convention to the Treaty of Bucharest, the terms of which bear the stamp of that deliberate moderation, which, subjecting every demand to the immutable principles of strict justice, consults neither advantage of situation, superiority of strength, nor facility of success. The sending of a permanent Mission to Constantinople soon followed this reconciliation, at which the Porte expressed its satisfaction in the strongest terms:soon afterwards the Treaty of the 6th July, 1827 (No. 136), confirmed in the face of the world the disinterested principles proclaimed by the Protocol of the 4th April (No. 129). This
[War. Russia and Turkey.]
Treaty, while it advocated the rights and the wishes of an unfortunate people, sought to conciliate them, by an equitable arrangement, with the integrity, the repose, and the true interests of the Ottoman Empire. The most amicable means were tried to induce the Porte to accept the stipulations of this beneficent Act; urgent entreaties were addressed to it to put an end to the effusion of blood. The Porte was warned by the most frank communications, which unfolded to it all the plans of the three Courts, that in case of refusal, the united fleets of the three Courts would be obliged to put an end to a contest which was no longer compatible with the security of the seas, the necessities of commerce, and the civilization of the rest of Europe. The Porte paid no attention to these warnings. A Commander of the Ottoman forces had scarcely concluded a provisional Armistice, when he broke the word he had given, and resorted to the employment of force. The battle of Navarino ensued:* but this battle, the necessary result of an evident breach of faith, and of a flagrant aggression, even this battle gave Russia and her Allies another opportunity to express to the Divan its wishes for the maintenance of Peace, to invite the Porte to contribute to its restoration, to extend it to the whole of the Levant, and to establish it on conditions which should connect the Ottoman Empire with the reciprocal guarantees by which they would be accompanied, and which, by reasonable concessions, would gain for it the benefits of perfect security.
Such is the system, such are the acts, to which the Porte replied by its Manifesto of the 20th December, and by measures which constitute so many breaches of the Treaties with Russia -so many violations of its rights-so many grave attacks on its commercial prosperity-so many proofs of a desire to bring upon her fresh embarrassments and enemies.
Russia, thus placed in a situation in which her honour and her interests will not suffer her any longer to remain, declares War against the Ottoman Porte, not without regret, but after having, for sixteen years together, neglected nothing to spare the Porte this calamity.
The causes of this War sufficiently indicate its objects.
Brought on by Turkey, it will impose upon that Power the burden of making good all the expenses caused by it, and the losses sustained by the subjects of His Imperial Majesty. UnderThe Battle of Navarino was fought on the 20th October, 1827.
[War. Russia and Turkey.]
taken for the purpose of enforcing the Treaties which the Porte considers as no longer existing, it will aim at securing their observance and efficacy. Induced by the imperative necessity of securing for the future, inviolable liberty to the commerce of the Black Sea and the navigation of the Bosphorus, it will be directed to this object, which is equally advantageous to all European States.
In having recourse to arms, Russia, far from indulging in sentiments of hatred against the Ottoman Power, or from contemplating its overthrow, according to the accusation of the Divan, conceives that she has given a convincing proof that if a vindictive War, or the destruction of the Porte, had been her object, she would have seized all those opportunities for War which her relations with the Porte have so unceasingly presented.
Russia is no less indisposed to entertain ambitious views. Countries and nations enough already obey her laws; cares enough are already imposed upon her by the extent of her dominions.
Lastly, Russia, though at War with the Porte, for reasons which are independent of the Treaty of the 6th July  (No. 136), has not departed, and will not depart, from the stipulations of that Act. It did not, and could not, condemn Russia to sacrifice her anterior and most important rights, to endure decided affronts, and to demand no indemnity for the keenest injuries. But the duties which it imposed upon her, and the principles on which it is founded, will be fulfilled with scrupulous fidelity, and observed without the slightest deviation. The Allies of Russia will find her always ready to act in concert with them in the execution of the Treaty of London, always anxious to co-operate in a work which is recommended to its lively solicitude by Religion, and all the feelings which do honour to humanity; always inclined to make use of its present situation, only for the more speedy fulfilment of the stipulations of the 6th July  (No. 136), and not to make any change in their nature or their effects.
The Emperor will not lay down his arms till he has obtained the results stated in this Declaration, and he looks forward to them through the blessings of Him to whom Justice and a pure conscience have never yet appealed in vain.
Given at St. Petersburgh, the 14th April, 1828.
[War. Russia and Turkey.]
No. 139.- MANIFESTO of the Emperor of Russia. War against Turkey. St. Petersburgh, 14th April, 1828.
(Translation as laid before Parliament.*)
By the Grace of God, Nicholas I, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, &c.
The Peace of Bucharest, concluded in the year 1812,† with the Ottoman Porte, after having been for 16 years the subject of reiterated disputes, now no longer exists, in spite of all our exertions to maintain it, and to preserve it from violation. The Porte, not satisfied with having destroyed the bases of a state of Peace, now defies Russia, and prepares to wage against her a War of extermination; it summons its whole population to arms; accuses Russia of being its irreconcilable enemy; tramples under foot the Convention of Ackermann (No. 131), and therewith all preceding Treaties. Lastly, the Porte does not hesitate to declare, that it consented to the conditions of that Convention only as a mask to conceal its intentions, and its preparations for a new war.
Scarcely was this memorable confession made, when the rights of the Russian flag were violated, the vessels which carry it were detained, and the cargoes made the prey of a rapacious and arbitrary Government. Our subjects found themselves compelled to break their oath, or to leave without delay a hostile country; the Bosphorus was closed; our trade annihilated; our Southern Provinces, deprived of the only channel for the exportation of their produce, are threatened with incalculable injury. Nay more; at the very moment when the negotiations between Russia and Persia were on the eve of being concluded, a sudden change on the part of the Persian Government checked the course of them. It soon appeared that the Ottoman Porte had exerted herself to make Persia waver, by promising her powerful aid; that the Porte had hastily armed the troops of the Pachas on the borders, and was preparing to follow up this treacherous and hostile language by acts of open aggression.
Such has been the series of injuries of which Turkey has been guilty from the conclusion of the Treaty of Bucharest† to the present time; such has unhappily been the fruit of the sacrifices
For French Version, see "State Papers," vol. xv, p. 655. + (48th May, 1812.) See Appendix.
[War. Russia and Turkey.]
and generous exertions by which Russia has incessantly laboured to maintain Peace with a neighbouring Power.
But all patience has its limits; the honour of the Russian name the dignity of the Empire-the inviolability of its rights and of our national glory have prescribed to us the bounds of our forbearance.
It is not till after we have considered the full extent of the duties imposed on us by imperative necessity, that, inspired with the greatest confidence in the justice of our cause, we have ordered our forces to advance, under Divine protection, against an enemy who violates the most sacred obligations and the law of nations.
We are convinced that our faithful subjects will add to our prayers the most ardent wishes for the success of our enterprise, and that they will implore the Almighty to grant his support to our brave soldiers, and to shed his Divine blessing on our arms, which are destined to defend our holy Religion and our beloved Country.
Given at St. Petersburgh, the 14th April, in the year of Our Lord, 1828, and in the 3rd year of our reign.