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and Galatz, and the opening of a valuable British direct trade with that and other ports on the Danube, she issued her quarantine regulations, imposed visits on shipping and tolls? Why, then, only-when there had been an intercourse at all times with the Turkish ports outside by boats or other vessels ? Her object was to show Austria and central Germany their dependence on her for their communications with other countries through the Black Sea, as soon as they began to be developed; to thwart the prosperity of the Turkish provinces on the Danube and Servia, and prove to England that our flag shall nowhere be free, when it comes in contact with her shores.
The Treaty of Hunkiar Skelessi was made to exclude our navy for ever from the Bosphorus and the Black Sea, because there it can reach the focus whence all the preparations must be directed for the extension of Russian dominion over the South and East. We have but to open relations with the Circassians, and a chain will be stretched across the Caucasus from the Euxine to the Caspian, by tribes of indomitable mountaineers, who are the doorkeepers of Persia, and, through Persia, of India.
Liberate the navigation of the Danube from all restraints, and Austria and Germany then have interests in common with us, opposed to Russia, to whom they must now submit. All this but leads to the conclusion that neither our flag will be respected in the Black Sea, nor will the prospects of peace be secure, till we can command free ingress there for a British squadron, whenever its presence is wanted. To accomplish this, we have only to change places with Russia in the influence she exercises over Turkey. The Porte is willing and eager to be called on to enter into the connexion. Our Government has the means in its hands; and it only rests with the country to insist on the conclusion of the contract.
Constantinople, the 21st September, 1836.
The state of affairs here is, I am sorry to say, by no means a subject of congratulation. Mr. Ellis arrived last Saturday from Tabreez. The Shah is completely Russian, and as much bent as ever on taking possession of Herat; only physical difficulties may, for the present, thwart the success of the project. We have lost all control over the Persian Government. It could not be otherwise. Russia shows that Court that she is left unmolested in these countries, and that England is too remote, or powerless before her. The road by which our influence must reach Persia is through Turkey, which we tremble even to touch. Here we must meet Russia face to face, and contest every inch of ground with her in our intercourse with the Divan. With the dismissed Reis Effendi, Russia had been put to the rout. Till very lately every Turkish Minister was eager to disavow any connexion with her, and to show as much partiality for England. It only remained for our Government, by following up the blow, to make the victory complete. From its silence, Russia has again rallied, and triumphs over us in her turn. The British nation cannot be aware of the situation in which our Ambassador is placed, and that, after the decision he displayed to support the honour of the country, and the success gained, every thing is in danger of being (if it be not already) lost.
The removal of the Reis Effendi was a personal satisfaction to Lord Ponsonby, who, from the responsibility he had incurred in breaking off all intercourse with him, could not otherwise have kept his post. It was a concession, though unavowed as such, to his country; but, with this, the question is far from being at rest. The Ambassador, after presenting his proofs against all the parties implicated in the
outrage on Mr. Churchill, left it to the Porte to make proper voluntary reparation, or to his own Government to decide and insist on the terms. To this hour no answer has been received for communication to the Porte; not the least direct atonement has been made for the offence; and, within these last few days, the subordinates concerned in it have all been promoted. They are under the immediate authority of Achmet Pacha, accused by Lord Ponsonby, and the facts admitted by the Porte, of being far more culpable in the injurious treatment of Mr. Churchill than the Reis Effendi, who has alone incurred the penalty.
Achmet Pacha himself, whose dismissal from the councils of the Sovereign, and office near his person, Lord Ponsonby declared in his opinion to be indispensable, to do full justice to England, has been raised to a still higher dignity, and created Pacha of Brussa. It was considered, at first, probable that this was done as an intended cover for sending him to reside in the capital of his district, should the demands of our Government have forced him into retirement. The distinction with which he has just been pleased to treat the very individuals who deserved disgrace and severe personal chastisement is a signal proof, on the contrary, that we are set at defiance. Russia, as I have stated, had already openly stepped forward to shield Achmet Pacha against all pursuits which his misconduct towards us might excite. Emboldened by our indifference, timidity, or procrastination-for one or the other term must be correct, Achmet Pacha, the favourite of the Russian Mission and Court, is put forward by her to make this exhibition of his own grandeur and will, to shew England that Russia has received amends for the affront offered to her in the sacrifice of another Minister, whom she also wished to protect.
Our Ambassador can of course do nothing; he is reduced to total inaction; he appealed to his Cabinet, from whence
no echo has returned; and he occupies the situation of representative of our Sovereign, without the power of showing the opinion entertained of his conduct on one of the most trying occasions, I may say the most important, in his diplomatic career in this country. If Lord Ponsonby is considered to have obtained sufficient amends, or to have gone too far, the interests and dignity of England suffer infinitely more by the delay in the notification to the Porte and to the world than could happen by at once clearing up the point. Knowing what public opinion here is, the strong impression which a decisive attitude produces on the minds of the Turks, who are fully aware that this is really a question of British or Russian ascendency, I am far from intimating that the disapproval of Lord Ponsonby's proceedings would not be a step to be deplored, and, perhaps, irretrievable for the country.
It is only the attendant determination, evinced by actual means, to rescue Turkey at once from its perils, that can counterbalance the effect of putting an end to the services of our present Ambassador. He would then be rewarded for all personal considerations, in the accomplishment of the grand object which has been the aim of a great portion of his life, and for which his indefatigable efforts here have paved the way. If we keep much longer in the background, Turkey will slip through our fingers like Persia, and we may at once resign ourselves to this as an infallible consequence of our irresolution. Russia is not idle, though we are; she has just called out by ukase a fresh levy of five men in every thousand throughout her empire, which, on the whole population, may give her eighty thousand additional soldiers. She is known for the last twelve months to have had agents dispersed among the Greeks in Roumelia to stir up discontents. The emigrations from the neighbourhood of Sharkoy into Servia have been traced to her
instigation, and there are strong reasons to conclude that the Porte has information of a dangerous spirit being afloat among this portion of its subjects. There is no other way of accounting for an order determined on at the Porte, though not yet issued, to prohibit the use of wooden clappers as a summons to divine service at the Greek churches, a practice which has been allowed them (instead of bells) ever since the capture of Constantinople. They might be used as a signal for insurrectionary meetings, which Russia has been preparing; infatuation itself could not otherwise have devised a more effectual means of irritating the Greeks, by interfering with their religion, and throwing them into the arms of Russia for fraternity. It is thus she repays the evacuation of Silistria, while the garrison, transported to the right bank of the Danube, is ready to assist the Porte in keeping the Greeks in order, or back them on, just as it may suit her game.
Mr. Boutenieff did not, as was anticipated, let slip the notice of the present to Sefer Bey, the Circassian, by the Sultan, without a furious remonstrance, and demand of explanation, why a snuff-box had been sent from the Sovereign to an individual who was the known, though unauthorized, agent of insurgents in a country ceded by the Porte to Russia. The Turkish Ministers, shrinking from a justification of the bold gift, replied that it had been presented without their cognizance, and they presumed it was merely bestowed by their Master to reward the stranger's skill in archery. How pitiable to see a Government reduced to this evasion in regard to its true defenders, and towards a power perpetually fomenting discord in its bosom, while we are tamely looking on!!