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l'esprit de parti lui a données dans la suite. . . . Ultérieurement il n'a jamais été question, entre les cabinets, de la 'Sainte Alliance,' et jamais il n'aurait pu en être question. Les partis hostiles aux Souverains ont seuls exploité cet acte, et s'en servis comme d'une arme pour calomnier les intentions les plus pures de leurs adversaires. La ‘Sainte Alliance' n'a pas été fondée pour restreindre les droits des peuples ni pour favoriser l'absolutisme et la tyrannie sous n'importe quelle forme. Elle fut uniquement l'expression des sentiments mystiques de l'Empereur Alexandre et l'application des principes du Christianisme à la politique.
Metternich described Alexander's liberal and generous views as ‘chimerical, revolutionary, and jacobinic' in his letters to the Austrian Emperor, and in his Memoirs and his correspondence he prided himself that he had succeeded in regaining the Czar to reaction. Metternich and other Austrian and German statesmen strove to keep Russia backward and weak by recommending a policy of repression and persecution. Austria and Germany have been largely responsible for Russian illiberalism and Russian oppression
in the past.
Let us now cast a brief glance at the events which brought about the Crimean War.
During the first half of the nineteenth century Turkey was almost continually in a state of the gravest disorder, and its downfall seemed to be imminent. Alexander the First had died in 1825, and had been succeeded by Nicholas the First. Believing a catastrophe in Turkey possible, he appointed, in 1829, a special committee, consisting of the most eminent statesmen, to consider the problem of Turkey. According to de Martens, 'Recueil des traités de la Russie,' Count Nesselrode, the Vice-Chancellor of the Empire, stated before that Committee that the preservation of Turkey was rather useful than harmful to the true interests of Russia, that it was in the interest of the country to have for neighbour a weak State such as Turkey. After thorough and lengthy discussion, the following resolutions were adopted at a sitting presided over by the Czar himself :
(1) That the advantages of maintaining Turkey in Europe are greater than the disadvantages ;
(2) That consequently the downfall of Turkey would be opposed to Russia's own interests;
(3) That therefore it would be prudent to prevent its fall and to take advantage of the opportunity which might offer for concluding an honourable peace. However, if the last hour of Turkey in Europe should have struck, Russia would be compelled to take the most energetic measures in order to prevent the openings leading to the Black Sea falling into the hands of another Great Power.
During the period preceding the outbreak of the Crimean War, Russia's policy was directed by the principles laid down in 1829, and the war itself was obviously due to misunderstandings between England and Russia, and to the prevalence of that distrust of Russia among Englishmen which Napoleon had created in the past. Foreseeing the possibility of Turkey's collapse, the Czar desired to provide toward such an event in conjunction with England. With this object in view, he told the British Ambassador on January 9, 1853 :
The affairs of Turkey are in a very disorganised condition; the country itself seems to be falling to pieces; the fall will be a great misfortune, and it is very important that England and Russia should come to a perfectly good understanding upon these affairs and that neither should take any decisive step.
Tenez ; nous avons sur les bras un homme malade—un homme gravement malade ; ce sera, je vous le dis franchement, un grand malheur si, un de ces jours, il devait nous échapper, surtout avant que toutes les dispositions nécessaires fussent prises. Mais enfin ce n'est point le moment de vous parler de cela.
Five days later, on January 14, the Czar disclosed his intentions more clearly to the British Ambassador. Fearing that in case of Turkey's downfall England might seize Constantinople, and desiring to prevent that event in accordance with the principles laid down by the Committee of 1829 and given above, he stated :
Maintenant je désire vous parler en ami et en gentleman ; si nous arrivons à nous entendre sur cette affaire, l'Angleterre et moi, pour le reste, peu m'importe ; il m'est indifférent ce que font ou pensent les autres. Usant donc de franchise, je vous dis nettement, que si l'Angleterre songe à s'établir un de ces jours à Constantinople, je ne le permettrai pas ; je ne vous prête point ces intentions, mais il vaut mieux dans ces occasions parler clairement; de mon côté, je suis également disposé de prendre l'engagement de ne pas m'y établir, en propriétaire, il s'entend, car en dépositaire je ne dis pas ; il pourrait se faire que les circonstances me misent dans le cas d'occuper Constantinople, si rien ne se trouve prévu si l'on doit tout laisser aller au hasard.
Commenting upon the Czar's confidential statements, the Ambassador reported that he was 'impressed with the belief that ... his Majesty is sincerely desirous of acting in harmony with her Majesty's Government.' In a further conversation the Czar told the Ambassador on February 21 :
The Turkish Empire is a thing to be tolerated, not to be reconstituted. As to Egypt, I quite understand the importance to England of that territory. I can then only see that if, in the event of a distribution of the Ottoman succession upon the fall of the Empire, you should take possession of Egypt, I shall have no objections to offer. I would
the same thing of Candia ; that island might suit you, and I do not know why it should not become an English possession.
The intentions of the Czar, though somewhat vaguely expressed, were perfectly clear. He wished to bring about a peaceful solution of the Turkish problem in case of Turkey's downfall. In accordance with the principles laid down in 1829, he did not desire to see the Dardanelles in the hands of a first-rate Power, and was unwilling to see England
established in Constantinople and dominating the Black
The treatment of Christians is not harsh, and the toleration exhibited by the Porte towards this portion of its subjects might serve as an example to some Governments who look with contempt upon Turkey as a barbarous Power.
Her Majesty's Government believe that Turkey only requires forbearance on the part of its Allies, and a determination not to press their claims in a manner humiliating to the dignity and independence of the Sultan.
The English Government, being filled with suspicions, did not even make a serious attempt to discover the aims and intentions of the Czar. Vaguely dreading Russia, England supported Turkey against that country. Thus Great Britain has been largely responsible not only for the Crimean War and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, but
also for the ill-treatment of the Christians and the massacres which have taken place throughout Turkey during many decades.
What has created England's instinctive fear of Russia ? If we look at the map, if we consider size to be a criterion of national strength, then Russia is immensely powerful. However, the Russo-Turkish War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the present War have shown that we need perhaps not have feared Russia's strength so much as her weakness. If Russia had been stronger, if Russia's strength had been in accordance with the views which until lately were generally held here, the present War would not have broken out. German soldiers evidently appraised the military power of Russia far more correctly than did British statesmen, who are habitually ill-informed on military matters. By opposing Russia in the past, England has worked not for her own advantage and for the security of India, but for the benefit of Germany and Austria. England's antiRussian policy and Russia's anti-British policy were largely inspired first from Paris and then from Berlin and Vienna. That is plain to all who are acquainted with recent diplomatic history.
The century-old antagonism between England and Russia has been the work of Napoleon, of Bismarck, and of Bismarck's successors. The Russian danger, Russia's aggressiveness, and Russia's constant desire to seize India, are largely figments of the imagination. Russia has little desire to possess India. If she had it she would probably be unable to administer it. The late Czar said to Prince Hohenlohe on September 6, 1896 : Who is to take India from the English? We are not stupid enough to have that plan.' It would be as difficult for Russia to attack India at the present day as it was in the time of the Emperor Paul. It is true Russia has now a couple of railways which run up to the Indian frontier, but India also has railways; these will facilitate the concentration of troops at any point at which that country may be attacked, and with