15 SEPTEMBER 1855, Page 14



Sin—My last letter headed "States and Nations" has provoked, as was perhaps to be expected, slime little controversy. You have yourself devoted an elaborate leading article to a trio, composed of Mr. Gladstone, the " Tra- veller in Italy," and myself, besides some remarks appended to the letter itself. Then in your last number there appear two antagonists for me, "G. IL" and Mr. Bridges Adams. I will not undertake to reply to the lead- ing article, amongst other reasons because I have not the paper at hand; but I wish to say something in answer to your two correspondents, and to yourself in the other capacity.

You said, if I rightly remember, that my letter contained some "-un- tenable propositions." If you mean errors in matter of fact, I should have liked to propositions." heard what they were; if you merely mean points on which you and I differ as to the inferences to be made from facts, of this, of course, I was aware before. I sin only too much obliged to you, on this as on other occasions, for allowing me so large a portion of your spaoe for the expression of opinions in which I know you do not concur Under this latter head will of course come the point on which I wish specially to speak. You seem ter consider my belief that the battle of Navarmo was a " glorious" event as a sufficient reductio ad absurdum of my whole argument. Perhaps I have a special weakness for that battle, because it is the earliest public event that I can remember ; and I am sure that then people did think it "glorious." To me it seems to be " untoward," not in itself, but because, standing as one vigorous and righteous act amid a series of blunders before and after, it was, as far as England was concerned, a vast expen- diture with very little result. On this whole matter I have found an ally in one with whom I do not commonly find myself fraternizing. namely, Sir Archibald Alison. I fully agree with him that nonintervention is the rule, intervention the exception; and that this was such an excep- tional case. It is hardly possible that such a case could occur in Western Europe. It was to save a nation, not from mere political subjection, but from extirpation ; common humanity dictated the intervention. But Eng- land ought to have interfered in 1825, when Greece voluntarily put herself under English protection. Instead of this, we waited till, in due diplomatic style, we had got France and Russia to help us. Then, after the battle, we yielderi to France the task of actually liberating Peloponnesus from the bar- barians; and, finally, allowed the definite independence of Greece to come an a boon Lem Russia, as a clause in the treaty of Adrianople. That is, when. a people is anxious to be to us as Platrea was to Athens, we repel their ad- vances, drive them into the arms of the power of whom we are jealous, and then abuse them for Sympathizing with that power rather than with us. Your two correspondents of last Saturday write in a very differentmanner. I do not know whether "G. H." is identical with "G." with whom I con- tended some time back; but either of them is a disputant with whom it is a pleasure to contend. What " G. H." says is a perfectly good entasis as far as it goes ; but I think he has partly misunderstood me, and also that his parallel does not completely hold. By what I said about the will of Providence I meant no more than this,— that the actual position of Russia aloes show that it is the Divine will that Russia should be (because she is) one of the great powers of Europe. I never said that it was the will of Providence that Russia should be "the dominant power in Europe and Asia." I said implicitly the contrary. I quoted instances' nstances to show that Providence always cut short the course of such would-be dominant powers ; instancing Turkey, Spain, and France, which had all been in turn the bugbear of Europe, and of which I remarked, in a former letter, that Turkey and Spain at least fell much more by their in- herent rottenness than by any hostile attack. But it seems to me that by the degrading conditions we seek to impose upon Russia, we are doing more than

striving to stop her from being the dominant power ; we seek to deprive her of the common rights of an independent power. I know princes have before now bound themselves to dismantle certain fortresses: Lord John at Vienna knew so too, but he found that the illustration did not greatly help his cause,

The three cases of Turkey, Spain, and France, have all some peculiarities. In the ease of the Turks, as long as they had the power, the desire of universal monarchy was openly proclaimed. It was indeed a matter of reli- gious principle on their parts. " Koran, Tribute, or Sword !" was the alter- native offered everywhere. They attacked state after state without provoca- tion; till a comparatively recent time, they would never conclude a peace, but merely a truce, with any Christian power. Every Christian power was openly threatened : if the Turks did not make French and English Bayahs, as they did Greek, Servian, and Hungarian, it was simply because France and England were beyond their immediate grasp. An European combination against them would have been mere self-defence; but no European combina- tion took place. Popes perpetually preached it, kings perpetually promised it ; but it never happened. Constantinople fell, next to unheeded. Italy would have fallen too, had not the sword of the mighty Mahomet suddenly passed into the feeble hands of Bajazet II. Spain sent her fleet to Lepanto as we did to Navarino, but did nothing after. The Turkish power came to nothing chiefly because of the degeneracy of its own Sultans and people; but so far as it _yielded to hostile force, it was to that of the states immediately interested because immediately attacked—Venice' Poland, and Austria. Even this case, where a general combination would have been no more than righteous, still shows that it may be dispensed with.

Spain in the sixteenth century was the dread of Europe ; before the end of the seventeenth, her power of aggression had ceased. Surely this was not the result of the loss of the Armada, or of the cession of Roussillon and Franche Comte to France. Spain, like Turkey, became a " sick man " by the natural procesamf her own misgovernment. Our Spanish war in Eliza- beth's time arose from our pursuing towards the Netherlands precisely the -same policy which I hold we ought more recently to have pursued towards Greece. It was, outwardly at least, not to resist any expected encroachment, but to assist a people striving for independence. At all events, no one will say that it was our " hard knocks" which caused the utter and premature decay of that mighty power.

Spain and Turkey, then, wore out of themselves, without any combination against them. France has twice had such a combination against her, and is anything but worn out after both. Aggressive under Louis the Fourteenth, she was temporarily humbled ; aggressive again under Napoleon le Grand, she was again temporarily humbled. Aggressive again under Napoleon le Petit, I will not predict her fate. But I cannot help thinking that these in- stances are somewhat in point to prove that general combinations of powers not immediately interested have a tendency to be either unnecessary or fu- tile. Let us stand on our guard against France, Russia, or any other power that may swell up in the same character ; but don't let us attack them till they attack us. I conceive the philosophy of a war, as well as of a single battle, to be—"If you don't kill those men, they'll kill you." No one can

i apply this to our invasion of Russia, when Russia had neither done nor threatened us the slightest injury.

From a sensible writer like G. H. it is unpleasant to turn to Mr. W. Bridges Adams ; of whose letter I should have taken no notice except that it illustrates•ft very prevalent misconception. As the language employed by Mr. Adams is such as I cannot always undertake to translate, I may possibly sometimes fail of his meaning. I really do not know what is meant by the "great heart of humanity quickening many brains with itsgushing tides "; and at the same time "reasoning through those brains." It may be some- thing which, if I understood it, might prove me to be quite in the wrong ; but, unluckily, I don't understand it. As far as I can make anything out of his letter, he means that I either wish Greece, or elseall Europe except Greece, to be conquered by Russia ; and further, that my love for Greece is solely the result of " classic dreaming." Now I certainly do not wish, and I never wrote a word implying that I wished, Russia to gain a single particle of in- fluence or territory. I would give a good deal to recover Finland, a little to recover Poland. I have over and over again said, that if the Greeks, Bul- garians. , &c., are wise, they will have nothing to do with Russia. All that I . hold is, that they are the ultimate judges, and that it is not for us to " dragoon them into happiness," or to shed English blood about the matter. I only protest against a guaranty which may possibly require us to bear arms against Christian nations striving to deliver themselves from a Ma- -hometan tyrant.

If Mr. Adams would carefully refer to my two letters headed "What are the Greeks ? " in your numbers 1379 and 1381, he will see that " classic dreaming " is of all accusations the last to bring against me. He will 'there see that I rebuke at some length the "classic dreaming" of some Ilel- lenes and some Philhellenes, and rest the cause of Greece on the same gene- • ral grounds as that of Lombardy and Bulgaria, or, if he pleases, as that of Poland and Hungary. The accusation reminds me of another correspondent of yours, who because I spoke of Ottoman oppression, triumphantly asked whether I reckoned as an instance of it the preservation of the old Greek municipal system ? If he had looked back, he might have seen that I have 'always strongly insisted on the preservation of that system, as the one re-

• deeming point in the Ottoman domination. Mr. Adams's " classic dream- - ing " is about as much to the purpose.

The feet is, that the accusation of "classic dreaming" is one which, by a certain class of persons, is at once brought against any one who is sus- pected of the heinous crime of being a classical " scholar, and is thought to be amply sufficient to discredit anything that he may allege. "Classical"

• scholars have partly brought this upon themselves, by isolating their pursuits from others with which they are naturally connected, and neither of which are of much value singly. As long as such egregious folly is tolerated as the separation between "ancient" and " modern " history in the Oxford Examinations, people will continue to think the "ancient" department a dream. If Mr. Adams could look round the library where I now write, and watch my course in it through a hard day's work, he would hardly accuse me of "classic dreaming." My one grand doctrine is, that the political his- tory of man, from the first developments of political life in old Greece to the great question of our own times—from Theseus to Gladstone, as I remember phrasing it in a former letter—forms one vast whole, every part of which influences every other part, and cannot be thoroughly understood without 'reference to them. To me, "ancient," "medieval," and "modern" history, are equally interesting and equally instructive. You may perhaps have ob- served that I systematically mingle illustrations from all periods. I seldom mention ancient Athens without coupling with it mediaeval Florence ; I eel- ,dom allude to the League of Achaia divorced from its reproductions in Switzerland and America. So far from "seeing nothing in the wide world but the boundary of ancient Hellas," I have perhaps wearied you with con- stant references to Norway and Denmark ; my intense interest in which countries can hardly be the result of "classic dreaming." I remember another correspondent of yours saying that I was "a scholar, and, like most of my class, more conversant with ancient than modern history." This was in answer to a letter set thick with modern allusions, some of very re- cent date, which he did not attempt to prove were erroneous or misapplied. I was uncharitable enough to think that, not being conversant with the "modem instances," he mistook them for "ancient" ones.

"Classic dreamers" do exist, but, as far as my experience goes, they are the last people to be bitten with Philkeilenisto. They despise the modern Greeks, because they have not all the virtues of their ancestors, or because they pronounce Greek in a different way from what was flogged into them- selves. A mere classical dreamer will not trouble himself about people who call Tavgetus, Pentedaktylas, who call horses acya, and use vd instead of the infinitive mood. I remember when I myself entertained similar feel- ings; when I thought the song of Ehegas a profanation of the battle-cry in the Persians. My interest in Greece is the result of the fact that I have since then given more attention than most people tolls medieval and modern history, that John Kinnamos and Spyridon Trikoupes may be eeen on my shelves aide by side with Thucydides and Polybius. I would take as much trouble to emancipate a Bulgarian as to emancipate a Greek ; the exploits of Czerny George kindle in my heart a feelingnot unlike those of Mark Botrarce and Andrew Miaoulee, If, however, it is "classic dreaming" which adds a little additional charm to a land and a race consecrated by the noblest as- sociations in the history of the world, so far I must plead guilty to the charge.