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The objects which Russia had in view, are thus described by her own agent:
By embarrassing commerce in the Transcaucasian provinces, it was hoped that an opening might be made for the products of Russian manufactories, not only in the interior of these provinces, but also in Persia and Turkey. It was recollected that Armenians went formerly to make large purchases at the fair of Negeni-Novgorod, and that this trade had ceased for ten years, because Russian goods could not stand competition with those of foreigners, which, as we have just seen, yielded a profit of 100 per cent. The new ukase of 1831 foresaw even still the possibility that European goods, making the circuit from Trebizonde to the Russian frontier, might compete with advantage against Russian goods, which, transported from Negeni-Novgorod, on the Wolga, to Astrakan, and thence by sea to some southern port of the Caspian, would have a journey by land of only a few days, to arrive at Tiflis or Tauris. The consumption of Georgia has always been very limited, and the articles which were brought there from Russia, were, for the most part, intended for the use of the Persians. By opening, in 1821, the Transcaucasian ports to
foreign goods, the Armenians had been enabled to judge of their cheapness, and how can the Persians be now constrained to prefer Russian goods to those of foreigners ?"
It is but just to Mr. Jules de Hagemeister to observe, that he altogether disapproves of the prohibitive system he has described, (but this is his private opinion only, see “ Avis”), at least so far as it is applied to the Trànscaucasian provinces ; and he justly observes, that it has tended to create the British and German commerce through Tribizonde, to the material detriment of that of Russia.
“Trebizonde has always been of importance, as the port nearest to Erzerum, and its commerce may be estimated at 20,000,000 roubles per annum. By this route, England and Germany supply Persia and Anatolia with cloths, ladies cloths, calicoes, cotton yarn, paper, sugar, coffee, glass ware, porcelain, iron, tin and steel goods. France takes but little share in this trade. But England will soon have crushed her rivals, by the great establishment which she has formed at this point. A single caravan, despatched for Tauris in 1834, was composed of 650 camel loads, 450 of which were pillaged by the Kurds on the road from Erzerum to Tauris.
* By putting the Russian stamp upon the iron of their country, which is of a very superior quality, but which costs 7 to 8 piastres less, the English have destroyed the principal branch of Russian trade. The ukase of 1831 has inflicted an additional injury, in promoting the commerce of the English at this point. They export from Trebizonde, Persian silk, tobacco, wool, wax, opium, box and walnut wood, the value of which amounts to 3,000,000 piastres per annum.
“ What means can Russia adopt for rivalling the English in this locality ?"*
* The means she is adopting.--Ed.
COPY OF PETITION TO BOTH HOUSES OF
The humble Petition of the undersigned Merchants of
London and others, interested in the Trade with Turkey, Persia, and the Levant, strongly impressed with the opinion of the imminent peril in which that trade is placed by the past acts and apparent designs of Russia in these quarters.
ShewETH,1st. That Russia, in order to attain great manufacturing and trading pre-eminence, has adopted a system of commercial policy decidedly restrictive and adverse to all principles of reciprocity, and particularly to trade with Great Britain, and that she endeavours to procure the adoption of such principles in every country where she acquires influence.
2nd. That Turkey, on the contrary, has manifested at all periods and continues to shew the strongest disposition to leave commerce free from all legislative trammels or imposts, and to encourage friendly commercial intercourse with this
country; but that of late years restrictions and local abuses have been introduced into the export trade of Turkey, mainly by means of the extraordinary influence which the Russian Government has acquired over the Government of that country, which restrictions are highly prejudicial to the interests of your Petitioners, and of British commerce generally, and that these injuries are being extended daily through the increase of the influence before stated.
3rd. That it appears to your Petitioners that the Russian Government, by the extension of such interference with the first principles of Turkish and Persian commercial policy, (any change in which policy must materially impede the development of the great natural resources of these countries) aims at the disorganization of both Turkey and Persia, with the view to great political and mercantile results at variance with every recognized British interest.
4th. That Turkey and Persia having vast populations ready and willing to receive all our staple manufactures, and much of our Colonial produce, the most beneficial results will accrue to Great Britain by her extending to the Governments of