Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

some measure by the fall of Kars in shores and upon the islands of the Armenia ; and these facts, duly im- Caspian, an unusual mustering of proved at the Congress of Peace, re- troops and din of warlike preparation sulted in that Treaty of Paris which is going on. The eastern Gate of the Moniteur eulogised as “humiliat- Russia already creaks on its hinges. ing to none." The fall of Kars, and Perhaps while we write, the Muscothe withholding of support from Omar vite battalions are once more enterPasha's invasion of Georgia, enabled ing the thrice-despoiled territories of the Continental Powers, while shut- Persia,—this time all the more danting the door against Russia in Eu- gerously for her, and ominously for rope, to leave wider open

than ever us, that they enter not as enemies her gate into Asia. The repre- but in the guise of friends. sentatives of England, we hope, strug- It is long since Russia began to gled against this decision, but they foray southwards by her eastern struggled vainly : (when it comes to Gate. And it is important to note a question of votes, the interests of this, for it is only by the light of the the Continental Powers must always past that we shall properly compreoverride those of insulated Britain).* hend the true character of Russian And now we already begin to per- aggression in this quarter. It is ceive the consequence. Russian pres- needless to rail at such aggression, tige is greater than ever through- for it is alike natural and inevitable. out western Asia. The capture Russia lies between Europe and Asia of Kars enabled General Mouravieff like a vast lake, whose waters are for ten months to keep possession of slowly but steadily increasing, and that fortress and the surrounding which, hemmed in by steep banks on region,--to distribute far and wide its western side, must inevitably hand-bills announcing the triumph of overflow into the vast unbulwarked the Czar, and representing it, by a regions of Central Asia. As Russian colourable lie, as a victory over the wealth, population, and resources arms of England. The wavering al- increase, the Muscovite tide will legiance of the Kurdish tribes of Ar- swell out more and more into menia has been half-won to the Czar. the territories of Turkistan, and enPersia has gone wholly over to the croach more and more upon the nasame side. A renewed onset is being tive sovereignty of Persia. The tide made to complete the subjugation of will never recede,--for it is but the the Caucasus, and render the isthmus overflowings of the great fountains between the Euxine and Caspian a of Slavonian life, which promise, for broad highway for Russian advance. ages to come, to continue pouring From Soujouk-kale to Erivan, from forth their populating streams into Erivan to the mouth of the Araxes, the half-vacant basins of Asia. Rusand thence northwards along the sian domination over the tribes of

* These views are not an after-thought, but will be found expressed in our article on" The Peace," written before the Treaty of Paris was ratified. Inter alia, alluding to the probable results of the Treaty, we observed—"By guarding the line of the Danube, while leaving open the Transcaucasian frontier and the shores of Anatolia, you change the main line of Russian advance from the western to the eastern side of the Black Sea. You divert it from Europe into Asia, and by so doing change the Powers by whom such southward progress brings her into collision. On the Danube, Russia has Austria for a rival; but for Asia Minor, Austria has no concern, - there Russia will meet po rival but Great Britain, who will be left to struggle with her single-handed.” And we characterised this as "the best method for directing the march of Russia from Europe into Asia, and thereby not only freeing France and her Austrian alliance from the rivalry and pressure of the Czar, but of raising a new and permanent source of antagonism between Russia and England, -every step of the former of those Powers necessarily bringing her nearer to the Indian empire, and line of communication therewith, of the latter. The general public, alive only to the interests of the moment, may underrate the importance of this stipulation, but its consequences will be none the less momentous because not immediate. It is a legacy of hostility between Russia and England which the future will duly honour." -(May 1856, p. 617.)

the Steppes and the organised com- were resumed in a more subtle form; munities of Persia and Anatolia is a and in 1774 the Empress Catherine mere question of time, which may be commenced a series of intrigues with as surely predicted as that the Rus- the states lying to the south of the sian population will one day be double Caucasus, with a view to induce them and treble what it is now. That po to throw off their allegiance to Persia, pulation will for centuries have and to place themselves under the room to spread eastward across the protectorate of Russia. All the usual Asiatic continent; but it will take Muscovite seductions and threats that course reluctantly, and will pre- were had recourse to: missions and fer to foray southwards, until it reach subsidies were first employed, then the a limit where other portions of the erection of fortresses, and ultimately European race have become too firmly the introduction of troops ; and so consolidated to be driven from their successful were those arts that, in ground.

1773, Mingrelia, Imeritia, and GeorCommerce and ambition alike im- gia accepted the Russian protectorpel Russia to go forth conquering ate. For twelve years Persia subthrough her eastern gates. À cen- mitted to this unjust domination;

and tury and a half ago the Czar Peter when at length, in 1795, Aga Maperceived this, and laid down the homed Khan attempted to recover outlines of a vast. plan of Asiatic the Trans-Caucasian provinces, the conquest for the guidance of his im- Russians were victorious and pushed perial successors. By an error com- their way still farther along the inon to minds of high speculative shores of the Caspian. Thus, ere the and imaginative power—to whom, death of Catherine, Russia was paraseeing clearly the future, distant mount all over the isthmus between events often appear too near and the Caspian and Black Seas, and their realisation too easy_Peter him- had secured for herself the longself does not seem to have adequately coveted gate through which she was appreciated the obstacles to his pro- to push southwards. The advanced jects, and by a bold dash at Khiva posts of Persia and Turkey had been in 1717, attempted to win a vantage- first sapped and then carried, and ground which was not destined to be now Russia was brought in contact gained by Russia until the present day. with the main body of those empires.

The armed mission which he sent The ten years' war with Persia, which to that Khanate, to establish rela terminated in 1814 by the peace of tions with the natives and to seize a Gulistan, accomplished apparently gold mine, easily reached their des- little,– Russia having then fighting tination ; but being outwitted by the enough in Europe; but during its conKhivans, they were induced to sepa- tinuance Muscovite power was consolirate into detached parties, and were dated on the isthmus (the Circassians then cut to pieces. Six years after- alone remaining unsubdued), and Perwards witnessed the real commence- sia surrendered the right of having ment of his schemes of aggression. ships of war on the Caspian, which It was in 1723-25, when the power handed over that sea to the exclusive of Persia was prostrated by the re- domination of Russia. Twelve years volt of the Affghans and the attacks more, and again there was war. The of the Turks, that Russia first struck treaty which closed the former war beher fangs into her prey; and during came the occasion for commencing a the dismemberment of Persia which new one, furnishing fresh triumphs then occurred, the Russian forces to Russia ; and at the close of hostiseized the territories of the Shah lities in 1828, by the treaty of Turkolying between the Caspian and the manchai, the provinces of Erivan Black Seas. The martial genius of (with the strong fortress ofthat name) Nadir Shah temporarily checked the and Nakchivan were ceded to the progress of Muscovite ambition, and Czar,--thus extending the Muscoin 1735 compelled the Empress Anne vite frontier to the banks of the to resign the captured provinces be- Araxes; while possession was kept fore they had been Russianised. But of the province of Talish beyond in due time the advances of Russia that river, and a heavy indemnity (!) VOL, LXXXI.-NO, CCCCXCVI.

K

Tis eructed for the expenses of the ment to restore Talish ; but Russia war. To sum up, -- in the period evaded doing so, and, either from between 1774 and 1828, Russia ad- weakness or bad' faith, we took no vanced her frontier a thousand miles steps to compel fulfilment of the into Asis ; so that the Russian regi- promise. Again, at the breaking out of ment stationed at her farthest fron- the war in 1826, England was bound tie-post, on the western shore of the by treaty to assist Persia against any Caspian, has as great a distance to European power with an army, from march back to Moscow as onward India, or to pay an annual subsidy of to Attock on the Indus, and is actu- £100,000; yet England broke her ally farther from St Petersburg than pledge, on the plea that Persia had from Lahore, the capital of the Pun- provoked the war, although a more janh

transparent case of wolf and lamb Any one who has seen an empty never existed. Well might Mr Kaye battle thrown into a river, will have remark of this proceeding, that “ the perceived that at first the vessel backwardness of England was of dushoes great repugnance to be im- bious honesty, as it doubtless was of merri by the fluid, and ever strives dubious expediency." And Sir Harto leap towards, and keep itself buoy- ford Jones did not much exaggerate ant by, the air; but that at last there the consequences, when he said, that comes a moment when, the invading by the treaty of 1828 “ Persia was water having fairly overbalanced the delivered, bound hand and foot, to the rinal element, all struggle ceases, and Court of St Petersburg: the vessel, losing all motive power of The turning-point being passed, its own, drifts along helplessly as if then began those demonstrations and it were actually part of the engulfing expeditions against Herat, which stran. It was in 1828 that this have since, not without reason, ocsurning point came to Persia. Prior casioned us so much disquietude. To to that time British influence had annex Herat is the most natural obbeen paramount at the Court of Te- ject of Persian ambition, and it is at heran. Of the state of matters before the same time one which perfectly Askewitch's conquests, we read : coincides with the views of the Rus** Hussia has always viewed with un- sian government. Geographically as Liguisexi jealousy the ascendancy of well as politically, Herat belongs to Engus intuence in the councils of Affghanistan, of which it is the door. Hot She has not hesitated, at So far from being an appanage of the derent times to make it matter of Shahs, it was, under the successors Arnal awplaint even that Persian of Timour, the seat of a great em

e are commanded by English pire ; and in the early part of last al clothed in English uniforms, century, the Affghans even extended ni seppaded with English arms. In their rule by conquest over Persia. Hoe whole machinery of the Nadir Shah, however, when he set Imperament is put in motion free his country, retaliated by captur

the way remotely by English ing Herat, and planting there a Per*** ani dy English influence.”

sian colony; and though the city * We has turned the tables quickly returned into the possession

his was written twenty- of its natural owners, the Affghan habe Ni Moral as well as

power no sooner began to decline We are sorry to saythan the Persian monarchs cast coveet ruce this result. It tous eyes upon this important frontier

has the influence of city. So formidable was the Affghan Car Wasiguous frontier power even at the commencement of

the present century, that the princiceived when that of Britain pal object of the treaties between our

wie it is to be re- Indian government and Persia was, i visives should have that each might help the other if at

we proofs of our tacked by the dreaded mountaineers; * Featy of Gulis- but the civil wars which thereafter as welged herself broke into fragments the Affghan wie ik be engage- empire, and arrayed clan against clan,

[ocr errors]

Bower, should one

and chief against chief, not only de- troops (styled “deserters") aided stroyed its aggressive power, but in the siege, and the assaults were exposed the country to the attack of led by Russian_officers. But all foreign arms and influence. So mat- was in vain. From the first inters stood when the treaty of Turko- vestment in November 1836 to the manchai first demonstrated to the final raising of the siege in SeptemCourt of Teheran_that Russia was ber 1837, three desperate assaults more potent than England in Central were made upon the town, and were Asia, and that it was better policy to repulsed by the garrison, led by the propitiate the former than the latter. heroic Pottinger,—the assailants on Accordingly, in 1832, Persia com- one of those occasions losing 1700 menced preparations to attack Herat, men. These bloody repulses, comand a Russian officer of engineers was bined with the appearance of a Briready to accompany the expedition. tish force in the Persian Gulf, the An early exertion of British influence seizure of the island of Karrak, succeeded in preventing the enter- and a threat of active hostilities on prise being carried out; but just our part, at length led the Shah four years afterwards, in 1836, the and his counsellors to abandon project was revived, -- the Russian the enterprise. Simultaneously with ambassador at the same time urging these events in Asia, the dispute the Shah to make haste, lest Britain arising from the capture of the should again interpose. Sir Henry“ Vixen” in the Black Sea showed Ellis, who was then our envoy at the the irritation subsisting between the Persian court, lost no time in appris- British and Russian Governments. ing his government of what was in And it is instructive to note that all preparation, and of urging them to the time that the Russian ambassatake vigorous measures to frustrate dor was instigating the Shah to atthe project. His own remonstrances tack Herat, and that Russian money, with the Persian government were officers, and troops, were assisting vain ; a quarrel was even picked with him in the enterprise, Count Neshim à l'Orientale-a horseman under selrode professed to agree with the his protection being seized by the Per- British Government as to the visian Government, just as the wife of ciousness of the course pursued by Mirza Hashem was eighteen months the Persian monarch, and affirmed ago; and, ultimately, like Mr Murray, that the conduct of the Russian he felt compelled to strike his flag, ambassador and agents was in oppoand withdraw from Teheran. Mean- sition to his instructions ! A good while the Shah had set out on his fa- illustration of the truth of Karammous expedition against Herat, with sin's remark, that it is a maxim of the Russian ambassador Simoních in the Russian government to repudiate his train ; while Captain Vicovich, a the conduct of its officers until their secret agent of the Russian govern- project is accomplished,--thus prement, armed with a holograph letter venting opposition until it is too from the Czar, was busily endeavour- for other governments to interfere. ing to procure the support of the Although this attempt upon Herat Aðfghan chiefs. Fortunately, Eldred was foiled, it naturally occasioned our Pottinger, a young lieutenant of the Indian Government much disquiet; Bombay artillery, was then in Herat, and it was with a view to strengthen and conducted the defence of the place our influence in that important rewith a courage and ability which have gion that the ill-fated invasion of immortalised his name. So interested Affghanistan was undertaken. Both was Russia in this attack on Herat, in a political and military point of that she remitted £25,000 of the view, the expedition was characterdebt contracted by Persia in 1828, in ised by the grossest blunders; and order that it might be expended in the disastrous retreat from Cabool fitting out the expedition, and en- only served to augment the ascendgaged to remit the remainder if the ancy of Russia at the Court of Teexpedition proved successful. The heran. Indeed, to so low an ebb had Russian Embassy accompanied the all other foreign influence sunk at that expedition, a body of Russian court, that M. Ferrier records that, during his residence in Persia, both Power, and endeavour to set forth British and French subjects were in what actually occurred. With this the practice of employing the good view we must give our readers a offices of the Russian ambassador, as glimpse into Affghan politics and they knew that their own envoys were the state of matters at Herat. powerless at court. When war broke At the commencement of the preout between Russia and the Allies in sent century, Affghanistan and CashEurope, and troops from India were mere, with parts of Khorassan and being brought to the battle-fields of Scinde, were united under the rule the Crimea, it was only natural that of Zeeman Shah, grandson of that Russia should seek to convert her Ahmed Shah who with his Affghans ascendancy at the Persian Court broke the power of the Mahrattas into a means of disquieting us on the at the terrible battle of Paniput in side of India. Etiquette is every- 1761. But the days of the Dooraunee thing in the East, and when Asiatic Empire were numbered, and an era governments become hostile, they of suicidal convulsious was about to almost always choose to testify their commence. Zeeman was deposed, and feelings by putting a slight on the his brother Mahmoud succeeded. The representative of the Power whom royal family belonged to the Suddozee they mean to defy. In this way the tribe, whose rivals in the state were “Mrs Hashem affair” was not so un- the great clan of the Barukzees, headimportant as it appears to European ed by Futteh Khan and his twenty eyes; and from the animus displayed brothers, one of the youngest of whom on this and previous occasions by the was Dost Mahomed. Futteh Khan Persian Government, it is clear that was prime-minister, and proved a had Mr Murray continued at his maire du palais to the roi fainéant. post, he would only have been sub- In the struggles that ensued, Futteh jected to fresh demands and con- Khan was barbarously murdered by tumely, It was the last of a series the Suddozees; but finally the Barukof insults directed against the Brit- zee brothers triumphed, and by 1823 ish Government; and to those who had partitioned the country among assume it as the cause of the present themselves,--Dost Mahomed, whose war, it is sufficient to say that not abilities had raised him to the foreeven the Persian Government re- most place among his brethren, obgards it in that light, or alleges it as taining Cabool as his share. One a pretext for its attack upon Affghan- corner alone of their old empire reistan. The fall of Kars, in fact, mained to the fallen Suddozee racethrew Persia completely into the namely, the principality of Herat, arms of Russia ; and the old design to which place the deposed Mahof attacking Herat and extending moud retired with his son, Prince Persian influence over Affghanistan Kamram. The prince in due course was eagerly revived. It is alleged succeeded his father, and was ruling that, in prospect of the war in Herat, with one Yar Mahomed for Europe continuing, an arrange- his vizier, when the Persians attackment had been made by which a ed the place in 1837. On Kamram's Russian army was to land at Astra- death, the sceptre departed from the bad, and support the Shah in his Suddozees, and fell peaceably into advance towards our Indian frontier. the hands of the old vizier, Yar There is much probability in the Mahomed, who had long been the statement; and it is certain that virtual ruler; and who at his decease, Persian vessels on the Caspian assist- a few years ago, transmitted his power ed the Russians in conveying warlike to his son, Mahomed Said—a weak stores for the use of Mouravieff's and dissolute wretch, willing to bararmy,--thus breaking the neutrality terthe independence of Herat for Perwhich the Shah professed so greatly sian support ; but whose myrmidons, to respect. But, leaving the conjec- seeing him immersed in sensuality, tured connivance between Persia and took advantage of his apathy so to Russia during the war to be revealed tyrannise over the community that at a future time, let us look simply all classes wished for a revolution. at the overt acts of the former Persia resolved that the revolution

« AnteriorContinuar »