Hide Articles List

18 articles on this Page



[No title]


[No title]

[No title]








INVASION OF THE CRIMEA. I We are at length in a condition says the Times of Saturday to present to the public something more than speculations and surmises on the movements of the allied armies in the Eaet. ftbout the time we write, if not on this very day, amorce made up of English, French, and Turks, and amounting to between 80,000 and 100,000 men, will invade the Crimea, and attempt to effect a lodgment on the heights commanding the harbour of Sebastopol. The preparations have been some time in progress, and the rumoured visit of Generals Brown and Canrobert to the Circassian coast with 5,000 men was really to secure a landing on the Crimea. We believe we may safely say that, all things considered, the attempt is one of unprecedent magnitude and importance. There have been invasions on a larger scale, but they have been by land. There have been naval expeditions more remarkable for au- dacity, but they have not been to compare with the present in the number of mpn and the strength of the armament. It will not be supposed that we say this in any boastful or con- fident spirit, for, besides that the experience of the present war is itself sufficent to chastise excessive expectations, there is no lesson so plain on the face of all military annals as that the result of armaments is by no means in proportion to their strength. In this great affair it is sufficient that, having once embarked in the cause, we should make efforts and ventures in proportion to our means, our courage, and our sagacity. Whatever the success, it will be a satisfaction to know that we have not been behindhand, but have done what we could. The event we leave to a higher Power. It is, then, with the greatest satisfaction that we announce an en- terprise corresponding to the dignity and resources of the two great Western Powers, England and France, and so far justifying the confidence of Turkey, A fortnight will pro- bably elapse before any tidings of the result can arrive, but at an earlier date we shall learn from the East that all the disposal forces have embarked for the neighbourhood of Sebastopol. We have repeatedly expressed our opinion that the cap- ture of Sebastopol would effect more than any other achieve- ment towards accomplishing the object of the war. Such an exploit, indeed, would carry witkit nothing less than the destruction of Russian power in the East, and the emanci- pation of Turkey from that aggressive dominion which perpetually menaced her existence. When Sebastopol has been demolished and the fleets of the Czar destroyed or taken in its harbours, the Black Sea will cease at once to be a Russian lake, Constantinople will be relieved from danger, the mouths of the Danube will be secure, and all the appre- hensions entertained of Russian encroachment in the Medi- terranean-that is to say, in the direction most alarming to Europe-will vanish at once and altogether. It is scarcely too much to say that if Sebastopol had not existed, this war would never have occurred, and it follows as an immediate consequence that, if we can destroy it, the best possible security will have been obtained against a recurrence of the contest. But can Sebastopol be destroyed ? We can only say that, if it cannot, it must resemble no other fortress under the sun. It can be attacked at once by sea and land, by two powerful fleets and by an army of enormous strength. Every gun in the British and French arsenals, every machine of destruction that modern science has invented, can be brought to bear against its bastions, and though the scene of operations is certainly distant, the communication is perfectly uninterrupted, and the road is our own. The besieged, on the other hand, will be confined to the walls of their own strong-hold and to those necessarily limited re- sources which such confinement implies. Their supplies, however abundant, must eventually be exhausted, and their strength, however great, must fail in the end. We have been here assuming as a matter of course that the besiegers can effect a lodgment at some point or other of the Crimea; nor is the assumption, we think, at all unwarrantable. We hear, it is true, extraordinary reports of the Russian forces in these quarters, and it is certainly probable that a position of such .consequence woold-be strengthened in every prac- ticable way; but the extent-of the Crhnea is very consider- able, its coasts offer numerous favourable landing-places, and the assailants are absolute masters of the sea. The French and English fleets can throw an army of 80,000 ad- mirable soldiers on any point of the Crimea which may be selected for the operation, and nothing that we have yet ex- perienced of Russian power should induce us to believe that such a descent could be successfully resisted. Although several circumstances says th<s Morning Chronicle appear to favour the supposition that an attack upon Sebas- topol, by the allied fleets and armies, may be now in pro- gress, it cannot be said that there is as yet any positive ground for this opinion; and however much we may wish that our commanders may have felt themselves prepared for so important an undertaking, we must not too hastily con- clude, upon inadequate evidence, that they have actually commenced the enterprise. It will be observed that our intelligence on the subject reaches us from two quarters- Malta and Vienna. Our Malta Correspondent states that advices of the 27th ult. had arrived from Constantinople, to the effect that fourteen ships and transports, conveying 15,000 men, left Baltschik on the 21st, steering towards the Crimea, But it will be seen, on reference to our impression of last Friday, that we then published intelligence from Con- stantinople, by way of Vienna, dated the 24th, that fifteen ships, with allied troops on board, had sailed from Baltschik for Anapa, and as three days must be amply sufficient for news to pass from Baltschik to Constantinople, it seems probable that this movement is no other than that which we now hear of, from Malta, as having taken place on the 21st. It is to be observed, too, that the words steering towards the Crimea" are quite consistent with the idea of Anapa being the real point aimed at. We believe it will be found that other reports which are current on the subject, although they speak of much larger numbers of troops as having embarked, do not profess to be founded on any accounts received from Baltschik of a later date than the 21st ult. and consequently, the question of the amount and destina- tion of the force embarked at that place rests at best on little more than conjecture. Although, however, we are not in possession of any reliable information on this matter, it may be convenient that we should draw attention to such points as may afford data for a sound and correct opinion respecting it. In the first place, it may be remarked that the des- patch from Odessa, of the 31st July, stating that the combined fleets had appeared off [Sebastopol on the prev- ious day, with a number of transports does not ne- cessarily imply that the news in question had been trans- mitted to Odessa from that place. A single day seems too short a period for the passage of intelligence between the two points; and it is impossible that our despatch only embodies a conclusion drawn at Odessa from facts which may have been learned at Baltschik, or, perhaps, at sea. We may also remark that, if the fleets and transports sailed from Baltschik on the 21st, the interval between that day and the 30th appears somewhat long for the voyage to Sebas- topol. But, whatever credit may be due to the despatches we have received, there is no doubt that many circumstances have lately tended to countenance the notion that some movement in the Black Sea, on a large scale, was in active preparation. Our Malta Correspondent states, that a fleet of 400 transports was collected at Varna. The transmission of heavy siege artillery to the East, both from this country and from France, has more than once been alluded to and it was lately announced that the generals and admirals at Varna had held a council of war, which seemed to be the prelude to some important undertaking. On the other hand, however, it must be remembered that whilst a small armament would not be likely to succeed in an attack on Sebastopol, the sailing of a large one is not reconcilable either with movements which are believed to have been in contemplation elsewhere, or with operations which are positively asserted to be in actual progress. The announcement from Bucharest, of the 2nd instant, that Marshal St. Arnaud and Lord Raglan were expected at that place, may not be entitled to much attention but a cor- respondent of one of the Vienna journals, writing from the Wallachian capital on the 25th ult., stated that the Anglo- French troops, with a strong division of the Turkish army, had advanced into the Dobrutscha as far as the heights of Babadah. The supposed object of this movement—namely, to force the remaining Russian troops out of the Dobruts- cha, and then. turning to the left, to cross the Danube, and fall upon Prince Gortschakoff's left wing—appears so per- fectly natural, looking at the position of the allied army, that it is difficult to avoid crediting the statement. It is, moreover, perfectly consistent with this view of the inten- tions of the Anglo-French commanders, that a portion of their force should be embarked at Baltschik on the 21st ult., for this is exactly the measure which they would na- turally adopt for the reduction of the fortified places held by the enemy on the Lower Danube. It appears scarcely probable that the allied generals would divide their resour- ces between this object and an attack on Sebastopol yet, if the former has been abandoned, are we to suppose that the final expulsion of the invader from the Lower Danube is to be effected by the troops of Austria and Turkey ? It is so vitally important to Austria that this result should be attained without delay, that it is difficult to believe she will be willing to co-operate unless it be immediately secured. It must be recollected that so long as the mouths of the river are held by Russia, the blockade established by the Allies must necessarily be maintained, and the trade of Germany in that quarter will be wholly stopped for even Wallachian vessels have been captured by our cruizers when attempting to elude their vigilance. Is this paramount ob- ject, then, to be secured for Austria by her own army or by the Turks ? Neither alterhative appears very probable. It is at least dubious whether the resources of the Emperor Francis Joseph will be adequate to the task of clearing the Principalities and the entire line of the Danube, whilst re- taining the necessary reserves for the defence of his own territory and if the Ottomans are to undertake this duty, it may be remarked, that of all military operations, the siege of regularly fortifed places, like Tultscka and Isaktscha is, perhaps, the sort of enterprise for which they are least qualified. It has moreover been repeatedly affirmed that Austria, although willing to occupy the Principalities as the invaders retire, is anxious to avoid, if possible, so direct a collision with them as the siege of a town held by a Russian garrison; and though that we are not aware that there is any gronnd for this impression, it 'ought not to be passed over in estimating the probabilities .for and against the embarkation of the allied army on a distant expedition. It is at least certain that, if a powerful armament has ac- tually sailed for the Crimea, the Governments of France and England must have acted under the conviction that they might calculate on the fullest and most strenuous co-oper-a- tion on the part of Austria; but although we entertai 11 this conviction ourselves, and have repeatedly expressed it, we are not as yet aware of any evidence sufficiently decisive to establish the fact beyond dispute. It may possibly turn out, after all, that the real object of the embarkation of .1# nnmn1p.te eXDUlsioQ of the enemy from the Lower Danube, and to cut off his communi- cation with Odessa by an attack on his flank; and it may, perhaps, be further intended to act directly ag ai,,st that port, with a view to its permanent occupation dunng the WilL It must not, however, be assumed that, under any circumstances, the consequence of postponing decisive operations against the Crimea. will be to yield the Black Sea to the Russians during the winter, and to afford them ,i secoiid Sinol)e m,,ts.,acre; foi: an opportunity of effecting a second Sinope massacre; for as soon as the Baltic is closed by ice, our screw steam-ships will no longer be wanted in the Forth, and will be at once disposable for service in the Euxine. The sudden blasts that vex those waters, and from which it derived its ancient name of the Inhospitable Sea, have no terrors for a powerful screw steamer; and we shall be able, therefore, throughout the winter, to keep a squadron on the watch, ready to welcome the enemy if they venture outside their forts.