11 NOVEMBER 1876, Page 12


(TO TER EDITOR 07 TILE "SPECTATOR.") Sra,—The Spectator has now for some time urged that a collection of independent Slav States would form-the best practicable defence of South-East Europe against Russian aggression. I think your ingenious article of last week on "The Accidents of PublieOpinionn exposes the inherent weakness of such an arrangement. In that article you admit that, at any rate, the Servians are deficient in physical courage,—and this after some years of self-government. Yet in the absence of that qualityno nation can be independent or self-supporting. The " military incapacity " of the Servians and Bulgarians does not seem to an ordinary mind to render them the best guard against the advance of Russia in that direction. No possible combination of cowards, either into many small States or into one large State, can make them aught but cowards.

Other arguments for such a proposal may easily be advanced, but I think that those based on the consequent check to Russia must be admitted to have failed. It seemed to me that the desire to make out a strong case had for once run away with the Spectator's logic, and that, Sir, must be my only excuse for troubling you on the subject.—I am, Sir, &c., WALTER W. R. BALL. New University Club, St. James's Street, November 6.

[We did not in the least admit, and we do not believe, that the Servians are wanting in physical courage. Their former history is a history of military gallantry. We believe only that a fifty years' peace and the want of military training have made them appear so, when opposed to sonde of the best troops in the world. All we said was that, if they had been deficient in courage, it would have been no reason for sympathy with the Turks, but rather the reverse.—En. Spectator.]