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Asiatic continent, thinly peopled by race is well fitted to be the rulers races which cannot contend on equal and civilisers of a large portion of terms with the European. A broad Asia. The law of climate will reguregion of fine country passes across late their settlement in that continent, Asia in the latitude of the Altai as it has done that of the Anglomountains, with Lake Baikal and Saxons in all parts of the world. In its charming scenery in the midst the temperate regions of Asia the of it; and the 'tributaries of this Slavonians will gradually colonise, lake almost mingle with the head- in the more southerly regions they waters of the great river Amoor, will spread as a dominant caste. In the natural outlet of Siberia, but this latter manner they will extend the whole length of whose course their power into the Turkish and lies at present within the territories of Persian territories, exerting great inChina. The Russians have already fluence over the populations of these commenced their schemes of ambi- empires, and coming into contact with tion in this quarter. A flotilla, man- British power. In process of time the ned and armed, has just been placed Russian colonies and settlements in on Lake Baikal; from thence to the central Asia will surround with a main course of the Amoor a chain of network of civilised power the roving military stations has been establish- tribes of the desert and the steppes, ed; the course of the river itself has who will be won or impressed into been trigonometrically and otherwise service or co-operation with them. surveyed; and we only reiterate an And then, in all probability, the world opinion which we expressed before will be startled by a series of nomadic Petropauloffski was heard of, or ever invasions such as it has not seen since a Russian boat was known to have the days of Attila and Gengis Khan. sailed the Amoor, when we say that The Russians dream of one day dicere long the vast valley-region of tating the terms of peace to us at that river will have passed into the Calcutta. But the British and Mushands of Russia ; while a chain of covite powers will have come into impregnable forts in the Kurile and collision in another quarter of Asia Aleutian islands will firmly connect before their battalions can meet in the mouth of the Amoor with the mortal strife on the banks of the Russian territories in North America, Indus. The peninsula of Syria is the and probably shake our Transatlantic key to the British possessions in the brethren of the Union out of the com- East. Moreover, in the future it placency with which they at present will be the most important commerregard the progress of Russian power. cial position in the whole world. It The Russians are an eminently agricul- is towards this region that Russia tural people, they love to till the soil will in the first instance seek to make their fathers tilled before them ; and her way. The hosts now assembling they have little of that restlessness on the shores of the Caspian are not which impels the Anglo-Saxon to so much designed to measure swords roam. Nevertheless we cannot doubt with the British in Affghanistan, as that a Russian population will yet to consolidate Russian influence and spread over the central zone of Asia, power in Persia, in order to secure a and descend as masters to the shores basis for future operations. The Rusof the Pacific. The Slavonian, in sian Government is the most patient truth, is semi-Oriental. He is a and wary in the world. It rarely connecting link between Europe and misses its game by springing at it too Asia. He stands half-way between soon. Having consolidated its power the energy and almost infidel self- in Persia, and influenced the Kurdish reliance of the French and British tribes of Anatolia, it will then press peoples, who care but little for kings, down into the valley of the Euphrates, and seldom rely much on Providence, and measure its strength with us in and the fatalism and instinctive right good earnest. It is well, then, reverence of the Oriental nations, as we have often before remarked, which make them adorers of sove- that the British Government should reignty on earth, and only too acqui- keep a sharp eye upon Syria, and escent in what seem to them the timeously seek to extend our infludecrees of Divine Fate. Such a ence in that important region, as a preparation for the trial of strength supported Mehemet Ali against his which assuredly awaits us there. liege-lord the Sultan; and nothing
France, too, has begun the work could exceed the irritation of the of extra-European expansion and ter- French Government when the sucritorial extension. And it is curious cessful bombardment of St Jean to observe how the conquering march d'Acre by the British fleet put an of the three leading Powers of Europe, end to that dream of ambition. By beginning far apart, is converging her settlements in Algeria, France is towards the same point. The French forming a better and surer road to the have never been good colonisers, and goal of her ambition ; and her prothe supremacy of the British at sea gress in North Africa promises one cost them all their transmarine settle- day to bring her close to Egypt, at ments ---Acadia, Louisiana, Pondi- the head of a formidable force of cherry. But they have ever shown fiery Arab troops, drilled, equipped, much skill and address in adapting and led by the best officers of France. themselves to the manners and amal- Thus again are we brought back gamating with the population of to the frontiers of Syria. Starting foreign countries; and in their new from most opposite points, the march colony of Algeria they have a region of extra-European conquest is bringpre-eminently available for the ex- ing Russia, France, and Britain into tension of their power. Algeria is so contact on that most important of all near to France that reinforcements regions, the great Isthmus of the and supplies can be thrown into it in a old World. The necessity of speedy week's time, and as speedily recalled. communication with our Indian emIt is a country needing military or- pire—and with our Australasian cologanisation, in which the French excel, nies, destined to become a most puisrather than civil statesmanship, in sant confederacy of States-renders it which they are comparatively defi- indispensable that Great Britain secient. The region, though for most cure to herself a passage either across part lying waste, is eminently fertile, Egypt or Syria. And yet this porand was at one time the granary of tion of the earth is the very point the Roman world. The possession towards which both Russia and of Algeria has already greatly added France are advancing as the goal to the military power of France. Its of their expansion. It is the cynorevenues not only suffice to maintain sure of their extra-European policy. a large body of additional soldiers, lo Strange region ! thus attracting from cated in the colony, but the native Arab afar the greatest Powers of the world. tribes, to whom war is at once a busi- Marvellous point! towards which the ness and a pastime, form the raw White oligarchs of the earth, after material of excellent troops, and could subduing the greater part of the world be assembled in great numbers around in their path, are advancing from the French eagles. As the army of opposite quarters, and in rival bodies, Algeria could be easily transported to to come into collision on its plains. Europe, the military power of France Can their meeting be peaceful? Can is experiencing an increase just as if such Powers, so mighty in thema large addition had been made to selves, and each aided by a host of her own limits; and the command of foreign legionaries -- Arabs from these Arab legions may yet aid on Algeria, Tartars from Upper Asia, the battle-fields of Europe to counter- Sepoys from India-settle down in balance the host of Asiatic auxiliaries friendly juxtaposition without first which Russia may in the future trans- trying in battle the strength of their port on her railways into the heart dread armaments? of Germany. The dream of Gallic Such appears to us to be the ambition, however, is to make the aspect of the powers and principles Mediterranean “a French lake," and at present at work in the world of the schemes of Napoleon upon Egypt foreign politics. A consideration of have never been forgotten by the the subject impresses us deeply with French people. It was with a view a sense of the instability of the basis to establish the influence of France upon which rests the world's peace on that invaluable isthmus that M. and England's security. In truth, Thiers and the Court of the Tuileries Europe does not seem to be at rest
at all. There is no rest visible any questions now troubling the diplowhere,-only a nightmare sleep or a macy of Europe. The Neufchatel troubled dream. Peace was signed question presents no fair ground for last spring, but it appears to have serious dispute ; and last month, broken its engagement. For one while naming it, we refused to assymptom of disquiet before the out- sign it a place among the symptoms break of the Russian war, there are indicative of Continental trouble. now half-a-dozen. It is to be feared It is a mere stray cartridge, comthe Peace of Paris will prove but pared to the combustible masses another Peace of Amiens, -an armed which underlie the peace of Europe ; truce. The bugles of truce have but if that cartridge be allowed to sounded, the flag of peace has been explode, the sparks may occasion a displayed, heralds have proclaimed it most formidable conflagration. in every capital,-yet there has been The bearing of Russia continues little or no unbuckling of the armour. the same as we described it in detail The harness of war has been but last month. Nations-popular govpartially taken off, and the weapons erninents--can carry on a war with are kept within easy reach. What a united and terrible earnestness such might have been accomplished by the as is impossible in despotic countries; late war, had France not prematurely but they are easily taken by surprise, resiled, and secured good terms for are slow of getting into fighting orthe general foe, it is needless to con- der, and ever impatient, once the fightsider. It is enough to know that the ing is over, to get to insouciant foe has been repulsed, not disabled; rest again. Popular States weary of and that, not only upon this but watching and waiting ; when not at upon other accounts, it is impossible war, they are most averse to a state of for this country to return to the war-vigilance. The feeling is so in this state of defenceless security in which country. The community was not we were surprised by the late war. satisfied with the Peace of Paris ; A few weeks ago we would have but they are quite willing to abide said that, despite all the diplomatic by that peace, and only ask that its battling,' there would be no war conditions be fulfilled. They are in Europe until a popular rising-an wearied and worried ; their natural insurrection or revolution-occurred love of peace is intensified by recent somewhere ; (and how soon that may disappointment; and were there any happen it is impossible to say.) But desire upon the part of our late the recent menaces of the Courts of antagonist to keep faith and be peaceBerlin and France against Switzer- ful, Great Britain would be only too land, - the permission which the glad to turn over on her side and go former has obtained from the Ger- to sleep again to the pleasant roar of manic Confederation to march an her blast-furnaces and hum of her army through its territories, with the myriad spinning-jennies. But Rusintention of attacking the Swiss,- sia, instead of responding to this feeland the rumoured co-operation of ing, only seeks to turn it to acFrance, by the projected formation count, and speculates on it as a of an army of observation along the means of forcing us to resign the French frontier of Switzerland, - little advantage that the Treaty bring it “on the cards” that the secured. There can be no doubt as spark of renewed Continental war to the animus of the Russian Governmay be struck, not by the popular but ment. We have always held that by the absolutist side. From the ex- the fine talk, so current last spring, treme caution of the French Em- about Russia having abandoned peror, however, we feel entitled to her “ hereditary policy," and being hope that the Neufchatel question only intent to proceed in the path will not be allowed to be brought to of peaceful industry, was all stuff the arbitrament of the sword. It is and moonshine. Her epoch for that a question which ought to admit of has not yet come. Certainly her proeasy arrangement; and if a case of , ceedings since the peace have been this kind cannot be peacefully ar- very inconsistent with any such ranged, we may well despair of the amiable anticipations. Letting alone settlement of the infinitely graver her bullying, duplicity, and mischiefmaking in Europe, just look at this rather set forth general views than new Persian difficulty which she has sought to advocate any particular got up for England's special embar- acts of policy. What we particularly rassment. Does any man in his desire is, to set the country a-thinksenses believe that Persia would have ing on these weighty problems in marched a single week's journey foreign politics, confident that if the against Herat without the approval public attention be but timeously seof Russia ? And why has Russia cured to these subjects, our end will been for months getting ready the be fully attained. We have great army of 40,000 men now assembled on confidence in the practical sense of the Persian frontier, but because she the national mind, and are more knew that England would be forced anxious at present to place suggesinto war by the aggression of Persia, tions before it than to enter upon and that she had resolved beforehand questions of detail. This much, to take part against us? Russia could however, we may venture to say, as not attack us in Europe without the opinion of every unprejudiced risking a renewal of the alliance observer of foreign affairs, that against her; but in the East she the present is no time for indulgcould give full effect to her hatred ing dreams of false security, or of England. No European State trusting for national safety to allicares a fig for what happens to us ances which may fail us in the there ; and Russia knew she could hour of need. We mistrust the asattack us in that quarter without pect of the times. The gold mines risk to herself, and supported by the have given a great stimulus to vassal forces of the Court of Teheran. manufactures in many quarters, Moreover, it was a good way of find- but inquire into the kind of raw ing work for us at a distance, and material for which at present there so weakening us for any future com- is most competition, and what bat in Europe. That is the simple is the answer ? An ominous oneexplanation of the war into which saltpetre! A decided rise has taken the Indian Government has been place in the price of this article ; and forced with Persia. The wires of among the causes assigned for this the automaton Court of Teheran rise, we find it stated in a commerare worked from St Petersburg. cialjournal, that “Russia has entered Russia is at the bottom of the into large contracts for a supply of whole imbroglio, and, if she choose, this commodity, and Austria has encan at once put an end to it. gaged the whole produce of EgyptEven a French journal, the Pays, about 1000 tons annually—for the which is by no means prejudiced in next five years !” We need not tell favour of our country, confesses that our readers what species of manufacsuch is the case. “It must not be ture it is that demands saltpetre as its dissimulated,” says that journal, principal and most valuable ingredi“that the solution depends above all ent. In conclusion, we think there on the Cabinet of St Petersburg. has seldom been a time more suggestPersia, in taking possession of the ive of the old maxim of Roman policy, town of Herat, has certainly failed “Si vis pacem, prepara bellum.” If in all her engagements with Eng England would be let alone in the land, and she cannot re-establish unquiet future that seems approachthose relations without abandoning ing, she must show herself, or rather her conquest. This policy depends be strong. And now that we are face entirely on the advice that the Shah to face with another year, about the may receive from Russia ; and it is issue of which it is most reasonable consequently to the Emperor Alex- to have misgivings, we would beg to ander that we must look for the im- tender alike to rulers and nation the mediate cessation of complications, advice which old Noll in critical the extent of which cannot now be times used to give to his Ironsidesdefined.” That is the truth.
namely, to“ trust in God, and keep Throughout this article we have our powder dry."
Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.
THE Russian Empire has two gates, through which the ambition of the through which her armies may march Czars has sought and will continue on their mission of territorial aggran- to seek expansion. The one gate disement. These are not on her opens into Europe, the other into western front. Cossack absolutism, Asia. The former at present is shut the sway of Muscovite principles, the latter stands open. may yet spread to the Atlantic ; but, When at war with a restless and territorially, Russia will never extend ambitious power—with a young and her rule westwards in Europe beyond growing state whose rulers and people the limits of the Slavonian race. The still prefer territorial extension to case is different along her southern commercial development, it is wise, frontier, Occupying the vast terri- when closing one's own frontier tories constituting that officina gen- against attack, to leave open some tium from whence issued the invad- other channel into which the energies ing hordes which overthrow in suc of the foe may be directed. This is cession all the old governments of the what the Continental Governments civilised world -- Hindoo, Persian, did at the close of the late war. The Roman, Saracenic, Byzantine - the French Emperor, having served his Russian Empire still seeks expansion own immediate purpose in the war, in the same direction. Half imbed- and fearing to face the eventualities ded in its southern frontier lies the which a prosecution of the contest Black Sea, forming a barrier to land- might have produced, resolved abruptward progress nearly 800 miles long, ly to close it after the fall of Sebasand compelling the downward pres- topol. With this end in view, no fursure of the colossal empire to divide ther blow was allowed to be struck in into an eastern and western stream. the Crimea; and, at the same time, not Once the Black Sea is fairly enclasped a regiment was allowed to be sent to by the dominions of the Czar, and relieve Kars, orto support Omar Pasha the Bosphorus closed against hostile in his important invasion of Georgia. tleets, this inland sea will be no longer Russia was proud, and would rather an obstacle, but a facility, to the push the war to extremities than consouthern advance of the Muscovite le- sent to humiliating terms of peace. gions: but at present it is as we say,— The measures of the French Governan impassable expanse which must be ment saved her from such humiliaturned by marching round its flanks. tion. The fall of Sebastopol was The regions to the east and west of made a barren victory in the Crimea, this sea are the two Gates of Russia, and was allowed to be balanced in