18 FEBRUARY 1854, Page 15


is advocated-by Lord Grey and peace as it is served by Lord Aberdeen there are -distinctions. Lord Grey seems by his language to be for peace so -long as that is consistent with his disregard for other -nations, his blindness to Russian en- croachment, his p000curante willingness to let Russia take-what she can, and, in short, anything but that almost personal irritation which makes him say that if there be not peace let the war be fierce. The existing state of things, he says, would not have been disturbed if the Turks had not rejected the Menschikoff ultima- tum. If everything had from the first and throughout been con- ceded to Russia, there would hive been no quarreL Very true ; but some statesmen may demur to the notion, almost implied, of giving carte blanche to Russia, until she actually asks for an Eng- lish county. Lord Grey, indeed, is not alarmed at Russia. Her power is not so great and formidable, he thinks, -because her people are slaves : there is no instance of her success in aggressive warfare, ex- cept when.assisted and sustained by thia country. The argu- ment involves a great bill of indictment against England, for complicity in the seizure of all those provinces, from Azoff, Bessarabia, Poland, and Finland, which constitute the broad fringe of the Russian empire. But indeed, England's defence might be, that the charge is simply untrue. The notion that a Government is not formidable to its neighbours because the sub- jects are slaves confounds the rationale of internal and external weakness. The sovereigns of conquering peoples have exercised a rule which was virtual slavery ; and few soldiers have been such fierce instruments of tyranny as those 3-emissaries of Turkey that were not only slaves but alien slaves. The Sovereign who should be allowed to take Moldo-Wallachia with his " slaves " thus aug- menting the number of those slaves as he has on the bon, might take Rounaelia—Servia—Hungary—Bohemia; then Denmark or Sweden, Italy or Germany ; to stop:--where? "But why assume that the integrity of the Ottoman empire must be maintained," asks Lord Grey ; "for the religious and social principles of the Turks are despotical, cruel, and anti-social, and the empire is doomed to decay." Possibly ; for you could not roundly assert the conttary, -though the assertion cannot be admit- ted without question. As Lord Aberdeen says, if Turkey should be doomed to decay, it does not follow that the period should be hastened. On that principle we might deprecate the use of a po- lice to prevent murder; since man must die, and why should we interfere to prevent what must happen eventually ? All things are doomed to dissolution; but their forcible removal may be de- structive of other things than themselves. A skilful dentist knows that the milk-teeth are destined to be shed ; but he will not on that account untimely wrench one from its socket, and so distnib the natural growth of the jaw, and possibly expose even the future tooth to premature decay.

Russia may in like manner have before her,—though we are still less ready to grant the assumption,—a course of progress and enlargement; and it may be that she ought to enjoy such deve- lopment. But not on her present terms. That which is true of individuals is to a certain extent true of states, and the power to do attests the mission to do. Russia may have a right to increase her possessions ; but the right fails if we can prevent her. And until she can conquer us by conviction, or by force of arms, we have a right to a voice in the terms upon which she shall increase her dominion in Europe. That appears to be the key to the policy which Lord Aberdeen hints rather than expounds. While there is peace in Europe, he says, let us bear and forbear, and cling to that blessing ; but if one great power break the peace,—if any member in the commu- nity of states is to be prematurely wrenched from its seat,—it is time for those who love peace to protest against the violence and arrest its consummation.