Announced under various titles, at fitful intervals for several years back as ‘in the press,’ or ‘ready for publication,’ or ‘shortly to appear,’ the work on which Mr Kinglake has been engaged so long and so laboriously has at length been partially given to the world. Neither his time nor his labour has been lost. The limae labor et mora have been well employed, and, although the delays to which the author alludes are not accounted for, the world has no reason to complain if the postponements of publication have in any degree conduced to the admirable completeness of finish of which the present volume bears promise. The history of the work is given in a preliminary chapter in which Mr Kinglake tells us that Lady Raglan intrusted him in 1856 with the whole mass of her husband's papers, which, including the immense body of reports and correspondence of all kinds which were addressed to the Commander of the English army, from ‘the strategic plans of the much contriving Emperor, still carrying the odour of the havannahs which aid the ingenuity of the Tuileries,’ to the ‘elaborate proposal of the British General who submitted a plan for taking Sebastopol with bows and arrows,’ were in the most perfect order. These, however voluminous and important as sources of information and mines of authentic fact, did not contain all the authorities on which Mr Kinglake depends. The readiness with which every one possessed of the smallest knowledge tendered all he knew to the author fairly embarrassed him. Statesmen, Admirals, and Generals for years past have been corresponding and conversing with him on the business of the war, and every man of them ‘has taken it for granted that what is best for the repute of England is the truth,’ which fact Mr Kinglake characterizes as one which will not surprise his own countrymen, but will ‘in the eyes of foreigners seem passing strange.’
Not only did he receive most clear and abundant answers to every inquiry he addressed to any French commander, but an officer of great experience and highly ‘gifted’ was specially despatched from France to England to impart ample information respecting ‘some’ of the operations of the French army, and from his admirably lucid statements Mr Kinglake acknowledges the advantages he derived. This courtesy certainly invalidates the complaint which he insinuates against the French Government, because they did not avail themselves of his offer to submit the journals of their divisions and the unpublished papers in the War-office to a ‘gifted’ member of the House of Commons whom he deputed to look over them. It does not appear that the Russian War-office was more liberal or obliging. The three divisional Generals who commanded under Prince Menschikoff at the Alma furnished Mr Kinglake with narratives of their proceedings, through a ‘gifted’ young Russian officer; but the official bureau was not thrown open. Unpublished writings, private information, public records, confidential despatches, conversations, oral and written reports, from English, French, and Russian sources, all have been at his disposal, and, moreover, of a certain portion of the great conflict he had means of ascertaining facts from personal observation, for he arrived on the shores of the Crimea the day after the landing of the allied forces commenced, was introduced to Lord Raglan, was present with his Lordship's Staff at the Alma, and remained in the Head-quarters Camp before Sebastopol till a few days after the failure of the first bombardment on the 17th of October 1854. Having thus stated the grounds on which his narrative rests, Mr Kinglake proceeds to open it in a few broad chapters, which at once command the attention of the reader. One man may make an Apollo out of the trunk of a fig-tree, where another could at best evolve a three-legged stool. One alchemist resolves the contents of his crucible into dross and ashes, where another cupellates the precious gold. Master craftsman, indeed, and subtlest of alchemists is he of whose works we now speak, but as yet we cannot quite determine whether the work is worthy of him in anything save external polish and beauty of outward form. He warns us not to draw hasty conclusions, for, at the very outset, the demeanour of free and impetuous people is contrasted with their inability to break in on the mystery of the calm of the man on the quality of whose mind the lasting fame and relative strength of two great nations hung for 40 days. As, in Mr Kinglake's opinion, the interests, passions, and foibles which lead to war are more likely to be found in one man than in the band of public servants which is called a Ministry, it might be inferred that the despotic rulers of European States were responsible for the Crimean war, rather than the Government of the constitutional Power which bore so great a part in that memorable struggle; but such a conclusion cannot be reconciled with his admission that the temper of the English people, the erroneous teachings of their popular leaders, and the imbecility of their rulers under the Crown made them an easy prey to a shallow contriver, on whose head Mr Kinglake heaps all the odium and crime of an unnecessary appeal to arms. It is strange enough to find the early chapters of the volume contradicting those in which the final causes of the Crimean war are attributed to the weakness of our Government. Mr Kinglake says there were no traces in England of the polity which yields up the power of the State into the hands of one human being, but the argument of his book is, that one man exercised such influence in our councils as to plunge the State into war by acting on the weaknesses of Lord Aberdeen, who in troubled times, it is said, derived not light enough from his intellect to enable him to walk straight. The résumé of the actual condition of affairs in the great Powers of Europe and of the Europe-Asian Power of Turkey before the struggle commenced leaves nothing to be desired in comprehensiveness and lucidity. Those who remember the ideas floating in men's minds before 1853 will not dissent from the conclusion of our author, that in the common judgment of the world it had long seemed natural, as a result of the decay of the supposed Ottoman Empire, that its European provinces must revert to Christendom. It might be fairly asked, he says, if there was anything in the polity of Europe, any custom, principle, or law, which forbad the Czar from crossing the Pruth or the Danube to seize on his prey. Usage, indeed, tended to lead the great Powers to protect the weak from the strong; but he has passed by the fact that, between the Treaty of Vienna and the Crimean war, Usage had not sufficed to protect weak countries from coalitions of powerful States bent on their annexation and absorption. The force of Usage is broken by exceptions which, in this instance, do not prove the potency of the rule. Mr Kinglake argues that any of the five great Powers, patiently submitting to a wrong, is lowered in the opinion of mankind, and fails in its duty to itself and Europe. He subsequently endeavours to demonstrate that England and France, before they acted on what he considers to be the Law of Usage, some time established in Europe, should have waited for the co-operation of Austria and of Prussia, who could not move a man to save Turkey from the effects of the maritime power of the Czar. In our minds, the operation of the law of Usage must be restricted to cases in which the material interests of the great Powers severally or jointly are involved, and whenever the case is otherwise the Usage is now-a-days to substitute what is called sympathy for the grosser agencies of physical co-operation. A man so ingenious and acute as Mr Kinglake must have a faith in his theory which amounts to a religion if he ignores what has passed in Europe since 1825, and thinks that Princes inclined to do a wrong to the rulers of other States are deterred by any imaginary law of Usage. Partitions, spoliations, unjust wars have taken place in Europe since that time without any application of the law on the part of the great Powers to which the historian gives such force; and, as the sole judge of the material interest of any Power in a European conflict must be the State itself, it is not easy to determine from one point of view what are the conditions under which the law of Usage may be expected to operate. In truth, this public polity, resting on Usage, has no foundation in fact, or is at most to be traced for a few years in a quiescent epoch of a late date in Europe. Diplomacy is a continuous effort to create such a law, but it did not exist before the Treaty of Vienna, and what has become of it since the treaty itself has been thrown into the Emperor's waste-paper basket we are unable to determine. All that can be known is there is no vestige of its existence or of its influence on any great event, unless it has been revived since the Treaty of Villefranche. The Eastern question, which has arisen to disturb the minds of men so strongly, had no real interest for England till Bonaparte went to Egypt, for the relations of the Indian Empire, which began to grow upon us soon after the independence of the American colonies was established, were then perhaps for the first time affected by the obvious necessity of having friendly and neutral Powers on the flank of our communications. It is passing strange, as Mr Kinglake himself would say, to find him, in the face of our active policy, when Duckworth forced the passage of the Dardanelles, of our ‘untoward accident’ at Navarino, of our acquiescence, in 1828, when Diebitsch filched the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, and of our significant demonstrations from time to time in favour of the Christians in Turkey, declaring thet the maintenance of the Sultan's authority has been of high concern to England. Be that as it may, the aspect of Europe in relation to the Eastern question, which some people have supposed to be an ingenious metaphysical formula invented by the diplomatists, like the questions propounded by schoolmen in former days to test the acumen and logical ability of disputants, was, as he says, quiet, when the long quarrel between the Greek and Latin monks in Palestine involved the Powers of Europe in a struggle originating in their rival claims to the key of the door of the Church of Bethlehem, in which England and Lord Stratford had as much to do as with the distribution of the Legion of Honour or the proper investiture of the Grand Lama. In a passage remarkable for beauty of language, if not quite so much to be admired for the sentiment which lurks within, Mr Kinglake explains how ‘the mystery of shrines lies deep in human nature.’ ‘Poets,’ he says, —
“Bringing the gifts of mind to bear upon human feelings have surrounded the image of love with myriads of their dazzling fancies, but it has been said that in every country, when a peasant speaks of his deep love, he always says the same thing. He always utters the dear name, and then only says that he ‘worships the ground she treads.’ It seems that where she who holds the spell of his life once touched the earth — where the hills and the wooded glen and the pebbly banks of the stream have in them the enchanting quality that they were seen by him and by her when they were together — there always his memory will cling; and it is in vain that space intervenes, for imagination transcendant and strong of flight can waft him from lands far away till he lights upon the very path by the river's bank which was blessed by her gracious step. Nay, distance will inflame his fancy, for if he be cut off from the sacred ground by the breadth of the ocean, or by vast endless desolate tracts, he comes to know that deep in his bosom there lies a secret desire to journey and journey far, that he may touch with fond lips some mere ledge of rock where once he saw her foot resting. It seems that the impulse does not spring from any designed culture of sentiment, but from an honest earthly passion vouchsafed to the unlettered and the simple-hearted, and giving them strength to pass the mystic border which lies between love and worship. For men strongly moved by the Christian faith it was natural to yearn after the scenes of the Gospel narrative. In old times this feeling had strength to impel the chivalry of Europe to undertake the conquest of a barren and distant land, and although in later days the aggregate faith of the nations grew chill, and Christendom no longer claimed with the sword, still there were always many who were willing to brave toil and danger for the sake of attaining to the actual and visible Sion. These venturesome men came to be called Pelerins or Pilgrims. At first, as it would seem, they were impelled by deep feeling acting upon bold and resolute natures. Holding close to the faith that the Son of God being also in mystical senses the great God himself had for our sakes and for our salvation become a babe, growing up to be an anxious and suffering man, and submitting to be cruelly tortured and killed by the hands of his own creatures, they longed to touch and to kiss the spots which were believed to be the silent witnesses of his life upon earth, and of his cross and passion. And, since also these men were of the Churches which sanctioned the adoration of the Virgin, they were taught alike, by their conception of duty and by nature's low whispering voice, to touch and to kiss the holy ground where Mary, pure and young, was ordained to become the link between God and the race of fallen man. And, because the rocky land abounded in recesses and caves yielding shelter against sun and rain, it was possible for the Churches to declare, and very easy for trustful men to believe, that a hollow in a rock at Bethlehem was the Manger which held the infant Redeemer, and that a Grotto at Nazareth was the very home of the blessed Virgin.”
And thus it was that the Pilgrims and Christian Churches of the East, allowed by the Porte far greater privileges than the Catholic Powers of Europe grant today to the members of Protestant churches, fell to fighting with each other in Palestine, and looked abroad to the powerful nations which were identified with their respective creeds for the aid and protection which could only be given by pressing upon the Turkish Government the concession of privileges to the one which would surely be resisted by the other. One hundred and twenty years ago the France which revoked the Edict of Nantes secured certain ‘capitulations,’ as they were called, from the Porte confirming the privileges of the Latin Church; but as the power of Russia increased the members of the Greek Church were enabled to obtain advantages in derogation of that treaty with France, which, says Mr Kinglake, was understood ‘by the course of her religious studies in the 18th century to have obtained a tight control over her religious feelings,’ so that her pretensions as eldest daughter of the church were met in Europe by a smile. The President of the Republic of 1848, however, resolved to demand from the Porte a strict execution of the treaty engagements of 1740, infringed by firmans granted under Russian influence to the Greek Church. It is among the surprises of the work to find the author of Eöthen, whose picture of the Holy Week at Jerusalem no one can forget, beginning his history of the transactions which followed with the following sentence:—
“There was repose in the empire of the Sultan, and even the rival Churches of Jerusalem were suffering each other to rest, when the French President in cold blood, and under no new motive for action, took up the forgotten cause of the Latin Church of Jerusalem, and began to apply it as a wedge for sundering the peace of the world.”
Now, according to Mr Kinglake's narrative of the affair, which is full of bantering humour and sarcasm, it is evident that in this question of the silver star in the Sanctuary of the Nativity and the key of the Church of Bethlehem, which long remained insoluble and had to be decided by the advance of armies, the first mischief was produced by the weakness, duplicity, and perfidy of the Turkish Government.
Pressed by M Lavalette, the Porte, in a note dated February 9, 1852, acknowledged the validity of the Latin claims in the matter of key and star, and in a few days afterwards, at the instance of the Russian Minister, the Porte issued a firman revoking the acknowledgement. To appease the natural indignation of the French representative, they promised, however, not to read the firman at Jerusalem; and then again, when the Russian remonstrated in his turn, they promised him they would instruct the Turkish Governor of Jerusalem not to give up the keys to the Latins, which, in the spirit of the original firman, they had engaged to cause him to do. But they were obliged to evade this last evasion by the zeal of the French guardian of Latin interests, and finally, in December 1852, the star was installed in the Sanctuary and the keys of the great door and of the sacred manger were handed over to the Roman Catholics. The answer of Russia to this triumph of her rival was prompt. One hundred and forty thousand men were at once ordered to concentrate on the Danubian frontiers:—
“The strife of the Churches was no fable, but after all, though near and distinct, it was only the lesser truth. A crowd of monks with bare foreheads stood quarrelling for a key at the sunny gates of a church in Palestine, but beyond and above., towering high in the misty north, men saw the ambition of the Czars.”
The chapters in which Mr Kinglake draws in the most powerful colours, not a sketch, but a great picture of the policy of Russia, and of the personal character and political position of the Czar Nicholas, cannot be read without admiration, and are quite sufficient to give the book which contains them a high rank in the best order of literature; but, as it is our purpose rather to give an analysis of the volume, with remarks from time to time on the arguments or hypotheses of the author, than to quote a work which every one who desires to march with the progress of English literature must read, or to indicate any particular beauty in a composition where every line sparkles with light, we shall hasten past the wonderful portraiture which displays the excellencies of the writer in the greatest degree, merely saying that if the drawing be true we need go no further to find out causes for the war than the ambition, anger, and passion of the Czar, who, of stern unrelenting nature, displayed in trial a meanness of ideas and language and a want of resource which indicated poverty of intellect, but who was at once high priest and ruler of fifty millions of men.
“Holding the boundless authority of an Oriental Potentate, the Czar was armed besides with all the power which is supplied by high organisation and the clever appliances of modern times. What he chose to do he actually did. He might be sitting alone and reading a despatch, and if it happened that its contents made him angry, he could touch a bell and kindle a war without hearing counsel from any living man. In the room where he laboured he could hear overhead the clicking of machinery, and he liked the sound of the restless magnets, for they were giving instant effect to his will in regimes far away.”
His ideal of human grandeur, we are assured by Mr Kinglake, was the character of the Duke of Wellington, which would be a greater compliment to those who believe, with us, it was deserved, if the moral and intellectual qualities of the Czar had been of a higher order. He had truth in him, but it was not exactly such truth as Turkey liked, or as carried the assent of Europe to its declarations. Mr Kinglake does not mince matters when he deals with the characters of historical personages, be they dead or alive; and when he has praised the Czar for many noble qualities, and for the truth that was in him, he is not loth to confess that the autocrat suffered some moral deterioration about the middle of 1853, which was just the time we were beginning to be interested in him, and began to display the odd, purposeless cunning of a gypsy or a savage. As he brings out touch after touch his conception of the Czar's character, the Titanic grandeur of the early outline is effaced, and we gradually see taking its place the form of a proud, violent, foolish man, with idiotic prejudices, puerile weakness of judgment, infinite wrong-headedness, ignorance of mankind, even ignorance of war and simplest strategy, with his palace rooms filled with dolls in uniform, who has no claim on our fear, our respect, or our affection.
The Czar, on the principle that induces the sportsman to preserve game till the time has arrived for killing it, preserved Turkey from some dangers as long as he was not ready to destroy it; and from 1829 to 1853 he sought, according to the testimony of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, to establish a predominant influence, excluding all others, over the Porte, with the view of settling its future destines to the profit of Russia when a propitious juncture arrived. The conflict between the Turks and Montenegrins at the close of 1852, which induced Austria to send Count Leiningen with a summons to the Porte to withdraw Omar Pasha's troops, was seized upon by the Czar, to the best of our belief, without any concert with the Court of Vienna, as a fair occasion to make the same demand, and in the event of refusal the Czar was ready to seize on the northern provinces of Turkey in Europe, and to insist on a protectorate over the Greek Christians throughout the whole Empire. In any such project he had, he conceived, but little to fear. Austria was bound to him by a common cause of quarrel, so far as Montenegro was concerned. Over the King of Prussia he had established a complete ascendancy. As to France, there was, in Mr Kinglake's opinion, nothing in her antecedent relations with Turkey which could lead the Czar to suppose the new Emperor would refuse to join Russia in trying to bring about the dismemberment of the Turkish empire and sharing in the spoil, though he was too angry, on account of her proceedings at Jerusalem, and too scornful because of her new ruler's antecedents, to ask France to be his ally. An Anglo-French alliance appeared to him beyond the bounds of probability or reason. He openly declared he cared very little what line the French might think proper to take in Eastern affairs, for, satisfied that England was irretrievably pledged to the doctrines of the Peace party, and quite misunderstanding the martial qualities of her people and the burning desire to find cause for a just war, which, according to our author, consumed the British nation at this period, he said he was, “quite without anxiety as to the West of Europe; when Russia and England are agreed it is immaterial what the others may think or do.” The analysis of the teachings of the new Peace school, and of the actual effects produced by them in this country, is minute and exhaustive, and the men who taught their countrymen that ‘true honour’ and ‘true glory’ were due to the producers of the best articles of trade, and the mistakes to which they gave rise abroad, are lashed with unsparing force. Nor does the Great Exhibition of 1851, in which the political philosophers of the Continent saw a solemn renunciation of such dominion as rests on force on the part of Great Britain, escape. “It was by the Archbishop of Canterbury that the moneychangers were brought into the temple,” and the man whom Mr Kinglake heard denouncing the glass palace and foretelling wars and judgment would, no doubt, as he says, have been deemed insane if he added that within three years England would have been engaged in a great war, all arising from a dispute about a key of a church door and a silver star in a distant shrine. Impressed, however, by the delusive notion that a total change had taken place in the character of the British nation, the Czar, in January 1853, made the first of the remarkable tentatives upon Sir Hamilton Seymour with which the world is so well acquainted. He suggested that England should come to an honourable understanding with Russia, in event of the sudden death of the sick man, for the disposition of his effects, intimating that he would not allow England to establish herself in Constantinople, though he might be obliged, if everything were left to chance, to occupy the Turkish capital, but offering her Egypt, and even Candia. The British Government rejected these secret overtures, and meanwhile for the time the danger of war with Austria and Russia was averted by the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Montenegro. But although he professed his willingness to aid in prolonging the existence of Turkey, and even joined our Government in a declaration that the best way of doing it was to abstain from harassing the Porte by imperious demands put forward in a manner humiliating to its dependence and its dignity, the rejection of his proposals embittered the feelings of Nicholas. Mr Kinglake presumes that he was tortured and tormented by the thoughts of what he had done, and that he was at times kindled into fury by the successes of the Latinists over the Greeks, so that per force he was compelled to turn this way and that to find some means of gaining a counter-victory for his Church. These means he discovered in the expedient of sending an extraordinary mission to Constantinople, which should be charged with an offer of Russian assistance to the Porte in case France, in opposition to the Czar's demands for justice, brought undue pressure on the Sultan's advisers. Prince Mentschikoff, whom he selected for this undertaking, was “a Prince of the sort which Court Almanacs describe as ‘Serene,’” and was only famous for the strange and quaint sallies of his wit. Despising the Turks, strongly disliking the English, ignorant of diplomatic forms, and violently Russian, the selection of the Prince does not say much for the Czar's judgment of men. He set out with great pomp, and simultaneously with the appearance of his mission at Constantinople came the news that General Dannenburg had advanced his outposts to the frontiers of Moldavia, and that the fleet of Sebastopol was preparing for sea. The value of the Czar's pledge not to harass the Porte by imperious demands put forward in a humiliating manner could now be perceived. A panic — a Ministerial crisis took place in Constantinople. The Divan feared the worst, and Sir Hugh (then Colonel) Rose, acting during Lord Stratford's absence, acceded to the requests of the Grand Vizier, and summoned the English Admiral who commanded our fleet at Malta to move up to Vourla. This conduct for the time strengthened the hearts and councils of the Turkish Ministers, though the fleet did not come. But the French Government, influenced no doubt by the representations of their Minister, who had been appealed to by the Turkish Government, in the moment of peril sent their fleet to Salamis in spite of the opposition of our Government, which did not approve Colonel Rose's action and supported the refusal of Admiral Dundas to move. We cannot join Mr Kinglake in his approval of the motives which led our Government to refuse the moral support of their fleet to the Turkish Government at this juncture, and to oppose the action of France, for it does appear to us only too probable that the misconceptions in the minds of Nicholas respecting the policy of this country, which led to such grievous results, must have been greatly corroborated by that course, and that he was still further confirmed in his belief that an Anglo-French alliance against him was impossible. Had England and France acted with unanimity on this occasion, is there not fair reason for supposing the news of the appearance of the allied squadrons near the mouth of the Dardanelles would have caused the Czar to take counsel of his prudence rather than of his rage? Certain it is that in spite of the umbrage caused by the French, he moderated his tone, but while he was assuring Sir Hamilton Seymour at St Petersburg of his pacific intentions, his ambassador at Constantinople was endeavouring to extort by stealth an engagement from the Porte giving Russia the protectorate of the Greek Church in Turkey. When the news of these intrigues burst for the first time on the knowledge of the Western Governments in their despatches from Constantinople, the trust which the English at least had placed in “the honour and good faith of Nicholas was suddenly and for ever destroyed.” Step by step the course of these intrigues is traced as becomes an historian like Mr Kinglake till he brings Lord Stratford, or, as he styles him repeatedly, the Eltchi, or the Great Eltchi (Ambassador), on the stage and invests the struggle with grander interests and passions. The impression left on our minds by Mr Kinglake's account of Lord Stratford's character, policy, and acts would not lead us to think that his arrival was by any means conducive to a peaceful solution of the plot, or that the English Government was very well advised in sending at that moment to Constantinople a diplomatist who, they were well aware, was the object of a fanatical dislike on the part of the Russian Emperor, and whose individual temper was not at all likely to make him forget, even though years had elapsed since the indignity was offered to him, that he had been refused admission to the Czar's presence as the representative of England:—
“How to negotiate with a perfected skill never degenerating into craft, how to form such a scheme of policy that his country might be brought to adopt it without swerving, and how to pursue this always, promoting it steadily abroad, and gradually forcing the home Government to go all lengths in its support, this he knew; and he was moreover so gifted by nature that, whether men studied his despatches, or whether they listened to his spoken words, or whether they were only bystanders caught and fascinated by the grace of his presence, they could scarcely help thinking that if the English nation was to be maintained in peace or drawn into war by the will of a single mortal, there was no man who looked so worthy to fix its destiny as Sir Stratford Canning. He had faults which made him an imperfect Christian, for his temper was fierce and his assertion of self was so closely involved in his conflicts that he followed up his opinions with his feelings and with the whole strength of his imperious nature. But his fierce temper being always under control when purposes of State so required, was far from being an infirmity, and was rather a weapon of exceeding sharpness, for it was so wielded by him as to have more tendency to cause dread and surrender than to generate resistance. Then, too, every judgment which he pronounced was enfolded in words so complete as to exclude the idea that it could ever be varied, and to convey therefore the idea of duration. As though yielding to fate itself, the Turkish mind used to bend and fall down before him.”
In resisting a Power which was regarded with something akin to feelings of allegiance by 14,000,000 of the subjects of the Porte, Lord Stratford, who had no religious calling to meddle in the affairs of the Churches, was, of course, regarded by the Turks as the natural opponent of their great enemy, and, indeed, during his embassy he was, as Mr Kinglake states, more or less in an attitude of resistance to the Emperor Nicholas and his ‘eternal foe.’ But he now arrived in Constantinople with instructions from Lord Clarendon to warn the Sultan and his council that perseverance in their unwise policy and reckless maladministration must alienate the British nation, and to press on them such reforms as he deemed best; and Lord Clarendon did not hesitate to avow the belief that a general revolt of the Christian subjects of the Porte, owing to accumulated grievances, maladministration of affairs, and weakness acting on the allies of the Porte, might be caused by the novel and alarming tone which France and Russia had adopted. Lord Stratford arrived on the 5th of April 1853, and on the 9th he learnt the nature of Prince Mentschikoff's demands, and prepared to resist them. We are not informed, however, in what shape, if at all, the Eltchi pressed Lord Clarendon's advice on the attention of the Porte. The history of the struggle between him and the Russian Prince which followed will well repay perusal, and offers a curious psychological study. It is carried on till a greater than even the Great Eltchi is introduced among the dramatis personae, and the Czar falls into the hands of his “patient enemy in the West, who had long pursued him with a stealthy joy, and was now keenly marking him down.” The mode of conducting this chase was curious enough, for Mr Kinglake indicates that the Emperor pursued the Czar by giving in his adhesion to the English policy, and by withdrawing from the extreme demands of M Lavalette in such a way as to satisfy “what Lord Stratford, in his haughty and almost zoological way, liked to call ‘French feelings of honour’” (p. 135) in reference to the question of the Holy Places. The great Russian War, then, has vanished into thinnest of air? Alas! we know it did not, and here is its history just about to be written. Although the rights and privileges appertaining to the Holy Places seemed to have been satisfactorily determined, the despatch of the French fleet to Salamis had so vexed the Emperor Nicholas that he is supposed by Mr Kinglake to have directed Prince Menschikoff to use violent and menacing language in order to extort a secret treaty in which the exercise of Russian control over the Greeks in Turkey should be admitted as of right. But the Turks had now resolved to enter into no convention with Russia, and to reject all proposals for a protectorate, and the Mahometan Ministers concerted with the British Ambassador the best means of frustrating the angry demands of the Emperor, furious in his religious moments, and regarding Lord Stratford as a being in his nature Satanic. To the insistency of Prince Menschikoff the Turks now opposed a strange calm, dogged moderation, but, pressed by his Imperial master, the Russian on the 5th of May sent in for adoption the draft of a ‘sened,’ in which one article purported to secure for ever to the Orthodox Church and its clergy all the rights and immunities which they had already enjoyed and those of which they were possessed from ancient times, annexed to which was a note, in which the Prince demanded an immediate decision.
Mr Kinglake says that the article was only the old endeavour under a new form to obtain for Russia the protectorate, but he does not explain his reasons for saying so, and he admits that Lord Stratford, in his advice to the Divan, suggested a substitute for the guarantee demanded, in a firman securing the temporal and spiritual privileges of the Porte's tributary subjects, to be communicated to the five great Powers. And if the Emperor was deceived respecting the character of England, Lord Stratford does not seem to have gauged more accurately the strength of purpose of the Czar, for he told the Sultan he “felt certain that neither a declaration of war nor any other act of open hostility was to be apprehended for the present” if the draught of the convention was rejected. He further informed Abdul Medjid that he had instructions to request the British admiral in the Mediterranean to hold his fleet in readiness in event of imminent danger — a very significant declaration to an Oriental prince. No wonder the Turkish Government at once negatived the article in the convention with unmistakable decision. Prince Menschikoff, in another ‘final’ note, in which he gave three days for a satisfactory reply before he broke off relations with the Government, made one more attempt to gain his point, and obtained a private interview with the Sultan, which led to another Ministerial crisis and to the appointment of Lord Stratford's friend, Rashid Pasha, but to no advantage to Russia or to any concession on the part of the Turkish Government.
* The Invasion of the Crimea: its Origins and an Account of its Progress down to the Death of Lord Raglan. By Alexander William Kinglake. Vol I. William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London. 1863