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as this. And the intense earnestness of purpose and effort accomplished its work. The whole nation was roused and stimulated to an extent hardly to be paralleled in recent history, and a rational opinion was formed and consolidated, which simply renders impossible any such partial and palliative solution of the question, as the Conservative government would have been perfectly well satisfied with three months ago. We believe that Mr. Glad. stone's humanitarian campaign has had still graver and more fortunate results, in drawing forth from the people an imperative mandate against that fatal policy of suspicion of the Christian and sympathy with the Turkish cause, which would by this time have drifted us into a position from which there would have been no escape but through the catastrophe of a great war. England was steadily ranging herself in her old Crimean attitude as the protectress of the Sublime Porte, and the supporter of the status quo ante bellum, of course with decent guarantees of better government, which would have been forthcoming in any quantity; when the agitation which culminated at Blackheath on the 8th of September made it apparent even to Lords Beaconsfield and Derby that a new status had become imperative ; and that whatever might be the ultimate designs of Russia, in the judgment of the English people she was simply right in insisting that the Christian provinces of Turkey, which stretch from the Euxine almost to the Adriatic, should practically be so far freed from Turkish government, as to render such horrible cruelties as Turkish brutality delights to inflict on Christian populations, impossible, as far as those provinces are concerned, for ever.
There has been a gradual but very visible enlargement of view perceptible in the utterance and the action of the British Government on the question, which has advanced not pari passu with, but not very far behind, the remarkable growth of public opinion in England, which the special correspondents of the Daily News had kindled by their terribly truthful narratives, and which Mr. Gladstone stimulated, sustained, and directed. As the result of this we are now entering into the Conference in friendly sympathy with Russia, as far as her utterance and action express her views. She has, as it were, placed herself by our side, and consents to moderate the tone of her demands in harmony with our ideas. We are placed now in the very best position for moderating her future action, should any need arise for the moderating hand. If Russia, behind all this studious moderation and almost deference to the judgment of England, means war, and is only gaining time to complete her preparations, she has gone elaborately out of her way to place herself in the wrong in the opinion of the whole civilised world. That no nation in these days can afford to do. Thus much, at any rate, Christian civilisation has won ; a visibly just cause weighs now in the balance at least as heavily as ships, steel bolts, and swords. We are bound to believe that, for reasons best known to herself, and which it is not difficult to guess, Russia is honestly desirous of a settlement of the question for the present on the basis which in substance Mr. Gladstone has advocated ; and we owe it mainly to that advocacy that we are now taking our place with her at the council table as allies and co-protectors of the Christian populations, instead of preparing to meet her in the field as foes.
And the danger of the latter issue has been greater than appears on the surface. Persistence in the tone which Lord Beaconsfield adopted at the close of the Session in Parliament, and subsequently, at Aylesbury, could hardly have failed to land us in war, and for this simple reason,-the facts, as is now universally recognised, were on the side of the Russian view of the crisis, not of his. Russia saw what all Europe now sees--that a new status was indispensable. She could not have held back from asserting and insisting on it, even if it imperilled her empire. The deeds done in Bulgaria and Bosnia were not hidden from the Russian people. An able attaché of the Russian Embassy at Constantinople, wrote an admirable report on the subject, which has been circulated in Russia, and produced a profound impression. Russia, the ancient and long recognised protector of these Christian populations, was bound to maintain their cause at whatever cost; and the tone of the English Government, if it had been maintained a few weeks longer, must have produced a tension which would have been fearfully ominous of war. And what led to its abandonment ? Nothing but the conviction which was forced upon Lord Beaconsfield, and which he was frank enough to confess, that the country was against him. And what could have forced that conviction upon him short of the tremendous agitation which Mr. Gladstone sustained and guided to this successful issue?. He may well bear with equanimity the vituperation with which his generous advocacy of fundamental human rights and claims has been assailed. He has been retired as he thinks himself from the post of leadership—the chief means, under a higher Hand, which he would be the first to recognise, of saving this country from the shame and suffering of an unjust and disastrous war.
A large measure of the present difficulty is the legacy, not of the Crimean war so much as of the mistaken policy which followed the Crimean war. Nothing is to be gained by discussing just now the policy which necessitated that great struggle, which in many ways became a new point of departure to the development of Europe. But one may say in passing, that there is great want of political clearsightedness in the view which Mr. Bright developed recently with his wonted force, that because now, in 1876, we are not to be tempted to fire a shot or draw a sword to maintain the integrity of the Turkish Empire, we made a great mistake in defending it twenty years ago. The Prince Consort, in a State Paper which is published in the volume of his memoirs which has been recently and opportunely issued, lays down with masterly clearness the principles which, while they justify that inevitable struggle, suggest the wisdom of an entirely different policy now. We made a great mistake when the Crimean war was over in believing too easily in Turkish regeneration. That was the rock on which we split. · Western ideas, western tutelage, western capital, western trade, were to work wonders of regeneration in the Turkish Empire. The Turk was to become a just and merciful ruler of his Christian subjects, and the fairest and most fertile regions of Europe, which had long been as the desert, were to rejoice and to blossom as the rose.
It was a dream, but then it was an age of dreams. Wonderful regenerations of all sorts were to take place under the influence of intercourse and
trade; and it was natural that we should take a hopeful view of the future of a people for whom we had spent and suffered so much. Lord Palmerston, no doubt, was the chief fomenter of the delusion. But we were all in sanguine mood." The Turk promised fairly, money was ready in any reasonable quantity, and it was fondly hoped that the Ottoman Empire would fall in with the onward march of civilisation, and demean itself like a Christian power, and so we got upon the wrong track. - Instead of undertaking in serious earnest the guardianship of the Christian provinces whose Russian Protectorate we had destroyed, we looked to the Turkish Government to rule them wisely, and rather closed than opened our ears to their complaints. Had we seen then, as we see now, the utter baselessness of this idea of Turkish regeneration, we should have cast in our sympathies and hopes with the Christian populations ; shielding their weakness, fostering their development, and imposing on the Turkish Government as an imperative necessity a decently just administration of the provinces which we left subject to its sway. By this policy the crisis might have been wholly avoided, and the Eastern question by this time might have been far advanced towards a peaceful solution. But then we must have discounted the experience of twenty anxious and eventful years.
We made a great mistake, but it was not an unnatural or ungenerous mistake. Now we have to retrieve it, and Mr. Gladstone's agitation puts the means of doing so within our reach. It is very easy to sneer at sentimental statesmanship, to scoff at the popular ignorance of foreign affairs, and to raise & cry of alarm at the perils which popular agitation induces, when experienced diplomatists are busy about their work. But what are the simple facts! It is allowed on all hands that there is less danger of an appeal to arms at this moment than at any recent period. And why? Because the Government, however it may disguise the matter, has come round to Mr. Gladstone's views. Lord Derby sees now, with Russia, that some kind of autonomy is necessary for the provinces. Before the agitation he expressed himself to Count Schuvaloff almost contemptuously about their claims. The danger has for the time passed away, not because we have adopted the Russian views, but because we now find ourselves ranged in concord with Russia on the side of righteousness and the liberty of oppressed peoples. It is the wisdom and the justice of these views which constitutes their strength, and not the fact that they are held by Russia. We have assumed a strong position, and one which makes strongly for peace, because we have assumed a just one. The stars were fighting against us when we were bent on maintaining the rule of the Turk over provinces which he governed by torture ; but the moment that we assumed the nobler duty the dangers began to vanish, and now all promises a happy issue.
The conclusion is inevitable, that the agitation has been of essential service to the interests of England, to the interests of the regions covered by the Ottoman Empire, and to the interests of European peace. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, no Liberal leader, no democratic agitator, but simply the wisest man in Europe on this particular subject, sketched in a memorable letter to The Times the outline of the settlement which Mr. Gladstone advo
cated, and which the Government will be compelled to recognise as the only satisfactory basis of negotiation. Mr. Gladstone, by his writings and speeches, stirred and directed the power which has made the proposal of the great diplomatist move. He has settled for the Government that something like it must be propted by England ; and if the issue of the Conference should be, asthere is fair reason to hope, the establishment of this chain of autonomous provinces, it will be largely Mr. Gladstone's work. It is not the first time that he has stood forward as the earnest and resolute advocate of enslaved and tormented peoples. Italy blesses his name; it will be blazoned brightly in her annals; and no name will be honoured more largely or loved more deeply in those splendid regions, which will start on a new career of liberty, industry, and prosperity, when the last sigh of the Turk is heard across the Balkan, and their fields and homes are delivered from his brutal and bloodstained footstep for ever.
J. BALDWIN BROWN. PostScript.—On the day on which the above was written all seemed to promise fairly for the maintenance of peace. Lord Derby had recognised the principle of “ interference in the internal affairs of the Turkish Empire,” which, in his despatch to Sir H. Elliot, rejecting the Berlin proposal, he had repudiated. The Russian Government had shown a strong desire to act on a common basis with us ; the Marquis of Salisbury was known not to be indifferent to the humanitarian considerations which had been so sneered at in some Conservative quarters ; and all promised a satisfactory settlement. On the evening of that day, the Prime Minister made a speech at the Guildhall, whose disastrous indiscretion it would be difficult to stigmatise too strongly. Its braggadocio tone was most unfortunate, and insulting to Russia ;, while its reassertion of the old formula, “ the independence and territorial integrity of the Turkish Empire," encouraged the Turks once more to think that England would be on their side. Accordingly news soon reached us that Russia was preparing for a campaign, that the Turks were for rejecting the Conference, and that all the elements of the danger had in a graver form reappeared. And all one man's work ! How the danger will be met it is impossible at the moment to foresee. The question is : Can Lord Derby and the abler members of the Government continue to suffer themselves to be dragged into painful difficulties through the arrogant selfwill of their chief ? Lord Beaconsfield's statements are utterly inconsistent with Lord Derby's published despatches, as the Duke of Argyll has clearly shown. The hope is surely not chimerical that the Premier will be compelled to yield to the pressure of his wiser colleagues, and will be made to see that England must range herself on the side of the Christian provinces, and not on the side of the Turk; then, and then only, can there be peace.
J. B. B.
WORLDLY FAVOUR.--Generally speaking, the sunshine of too much worldly favour weakens and relaxes our spiritual nerves, as weather too intensely hot relaxes those of the body. A degree of seasonable opposition, like a fine dry frost, strengthens and invigorates and braces up.
Sbebebob. The Story Of A PROTESTANT COMMUNITY IN THE MORAVIAN HIGHLANDS. On the borders of Moravia and Bohemia, about six English miles distant from the railway station of Hohenstadt, in Moravia, and almost hidden among the mountains, is a good-sized village called Svebehov, or, in German, Schwillbogen. In this village is a Protestant community of seventy persons, which, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, appears likely to be a source of immense harm to the people of the neighbourhood. This, at least,' we should conclude to be the opinion of the Bishop of Moravia, for during the last few years he must have spent £4,000 in building in the village a church and manse, and in maintaining there a missionary priest to preach against the poor Protestants as Helvetics and Widdey (ravers). Nor has this preaching been altogether fruitless, for it would be difficult for any Protestant from a distance to settle down in the village. He would be asked an enormous sum for a wretched cottage ; shopkeepers would probably refuse to sell him anything, and in fact it has been said that any Catholic who should venture to have anything to do with the heretic, would have to endure “a veritable hell."
The history of the origin and growth of this little Protestant community, deemed to be so dangerous by the Romish Church, is a very sad but interesting one. Fortunately, one of the members, a poor man, who died about two years since, left behind him an account, written in Latin, of the first beginnings and subsequent sufferings of this little church. From this account we gather the following facts :
The first Bible was brought to the village in 1711 by a man from Schumwald, who having married a wife belonging to Svebehov, determined to settle down there. At this period no Protestants were allowed to live in Austria, and those who were Pretestants at heart were obliged to conform outwardly to the Papal Church. Under these circumstances, the man kept his possession of the Word of God a perfect secret, even from his wife; but one day having gone into a barn to read it alone, he fell asleep, and was discovered there by his wife with the book at his side. No harm, however, came of this, for the woman knew nothing of the sacred book, and thought it was some old chronicle. Shortly after, her son, Florian, went on a pilgrimage to Prague, and brought a Bible back with him, and at once began to read it along with three companions. At length, through their quoting a passage from the Word of God, it became known that the sacred volume was in their possession, and that they were holding meetings amongst themselves. Three officers came over from the castle at Hohenstadt and the priest from the next town of Jedl, and the four were condemned to pay eighty gulden in silver. As one of them had no money, Florian, the possessor of the book, was told that he
his own and his man's share of the fine, and also give up the book. But here the difficulty ended, and nothing further of importance occurred till 1816, that is, thirty-five years after the issue by Joseph II. of the Tolera