MR. J. ANTHONY FRQUDE, M.A., ON TH EASTERN QUESTION.|1878-01-12|The Cardigan Observer and General Advertiser for the Counties of Cardigan Carmarthen and Pembroke - Welsh Newspapers Online
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MR. J. ANTHONY FRQUDE, M.A.,…

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MR. J. ANTHONY FRQUDE, M.A., ON TH EASTERN QUESTION. Mr. Froude has written the preface to a little volume of letters by a Russian lady, entitled Is Russia Wrong ?" just published by Messrs. Hodder and Steughten. Mr. Froude explains that the letters, which are written in an honourable attempt to remove misconceptions, ouaht to be welcome to us, especially at the present crisis, when tae wise or unwise con- duct of English statesmen may affect incalculably, for good or evil, the fortunes of many millions of mankind." He goes on to sav that the task of introducing European civilisation into Asia—a thankless labour at the best —has fallen on England and Russia, and its success depends on the relations between those two Powers. On the broadest ground, therefore, it is our interest to be on good terms with Russia, unless there is some- thing in the Muscovite proceedings so unqualifiedly bad that we are positively obliged to separate our- selves from them." Mr. Froude presumes that we have no idea of crumpling up Russia aad there remains, therefore, the alternative either to settle into an attitude of fixed hostility to a Power which will always exist side by side with us, or to place on Russia's action towards the Asiatic races the same favourable construction we allow to our own, and to ask ourselves whether in Russia's conduct there is anything materially different from what we, too, accept as necessary in similar circumstances." Mr. Froude condemned the war of 1854, then as well as now. That war had been made inevitable from the indignation of the Liberal party throughout Europe at Russia's inter- ference in Hungary. Professedly a war in defenco of Turkey, it was fought really for European liberty. European liberty is no longer in danger, nor has the behaviour of Turkey since the peace been of a kind to give her a claim on our interest for her own sake." The Ottoman Empire having existed for half a century on sufferance, and the Great Powers being all agreed that the Porte cannot be left to govern its Christian subjects after its own pleasure, the question was, in whom the right of supervision ia to reside." The Treaty of Paris provided a general European protectorate; but it seemed to many likely that the real occasion of the war would be forgotten in the other objects that were secured by it, and that, after a very few years, the problem of how to compel the Turk to respect his engagements would certainly re- turn." Such anticipations had been ridiculed as absurd; but "the Turk has gone back, not for- ward. He remains what he has alwavs been —a blight upon every province on which he has set his heel. The Christian subjects having appealed once more for help, "Russia, unable to trust further to promises so often made and so uniformly broken, has been obliged to take active measures, and at once the Orimein ashes have again been blown into a flame; there is a cry that Russia has sinister aims of her own, that English interests are in danger, and that we must rush to the support of onr ancient friend and ally. How we are decently to do it, under what plea and far what purpose, after the part we took at the Conference, is not explained." The rest of Europe is not alarllled, but is indifferent. If we go into the struggle, we must go in without a single ally," and when we have been successful we should be obliged to become sole protector of the Bulgarian Christians. A British protectorate is too ridiculous to be thought of; and if the alternative be to place Bulgaria under a government of its own, that is pre- cisely the thing which Russia is trying to do. To go to war with such a dilemma staring us in the face, and with no object which we can distinctly define, would be as absurd an enterprise as England was ever entangled in." Still there was room for misgiv- ing. Politicians snatch at passing gusts of popular excitement to win a; momentary party victory. Our Premier, unless he has been misrepresented, has dreamt of closing his political career with a transfor- mation scene-Europe in flames behind him, and him- self posing like harlequin before the footlights. Happily there is a power which is stronger than even Parliamentary majorities in public opinion, and publie opinion has, I trust, already decided that English bayonets shall not be stained again in defence of Turkish tyranny."

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