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THE EASTERN QUESTION. WHATEVER may have been uppermost in the minds of the Queen's advisers at the time when it was first agreed upon to summon Parliament to meet earlier than usual, it is certainly a matter for congratulation that the Houses are at present in session. It is just when the war is apparently ape proaching its end-when the Turkish plenipoten- tiaries are at Kezanlik endeavouring to arrange with the Grand Duke Nicholas the preliminary conditions of peace-that we have reached the most critical and dangerous period in the whole history of the Question. So well aware of this fact is Par- liament that, when the report on the Address was brought up in the House of Commons, no attempt was made on either side to raise a debate which might have led the house unsuspectingly on dan- gerous ground. The necessity for adopting and continuing a course of the utmost caution is evi- denced by the circumstance that a communication made to the Porte by the British Ambassador just as the Turkish delegates were about to set out for Kezanlik was interpreted as an intimation that help at the last moment might be expected from England. What the Ambassador, at the request of the Government, stated was that this country would not recognise any arrangement made in con- travention of the Treaties of 1856 and 1871 with- out the participation of the guaranteeing Powers. Not only did the Porte misunderstand the meaning and object of the declaration, but even the Russian Press regarded it in the light of a check to the at- tempt at pacification, which indeed would be a most unfortunate thing at a time when Constan- tinople is being crowded with thousands upon thousands of miserable fugitives. The abstention from debate, on an occasion when the Eastern Question might have been discussed in all its length and breadth, indicated the feeling of Par- liament that any unwise words spoken, at the pre- sent critical time, might have the effect of deferring the conclusion of an armistice, and thus prolonging 11 15 and extending the misery which already exists to a frightful extent. From the interchangeof diplo- matic communications which have already taken place there is no reason to suppose that, when the conditions of permanent peace are being slowly and laboriously arranged, Russia will make any demands without subjecting them to the approval of the neutral Powers. She is entitled to ample compensation for the great sacrifices she has made, & 2& )d. ) [PRICE ONE PENNY. and the Porte is rapidly approaching a desperate state when it might be willing to resign half of its dominions rather than that the unequal war should continue any longer. At a time like this there are of course no end of rumours about Russian, Rou- manian, Servian, Montenegrin, and even Greek demands, though poor Greece has been compelled, since the war began, to lie uneasily under a wet blanket. Among other rumours circulating, there is one to the effect that Russia will propose to sur- render Bosnia to Austria, either by complete an- nexation, or by giving the province a Prince, who shall be under Austrian suzerainty. The report further adds that, should Austria refuse both these plans, Russia will then demand the creation of an independent province out of Bosnia and Bulgaria, no mention whatever being made of Herzegovina, where the first insurrectionary movements began. There is every prospect of Roumania and Servia being made independent States, but more difficulty is likely to be experienced in dealing with Bul. garia. Another serious difficulty will be the set- lement of the Dardanelles question. Russia is said to have a wish that the free passage of the Straits should be restricted to her own war-vessels and those of Turkey, while some Muscovite organs are now arguing that the present regulations would be better than throwing open the Bosphorus and Dardanelles to the war-ships of all nations, unless the Russians had a port commanding the entrance to the Black Sea. Now is the time for diplomatists to enter the lists, and the shedding of ink will come in the place of the shedding of blood. The aspect of affairs in Parliament on Thursday last, however, show that the Government are pre- paring for war unless the peace proposals from Russia are to hand without delay. It is expected that a war vote of 13 millions will be applied for forthwith. The papers of yesteiday (Friday) are full of warlike news.

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