17 NOVEMBER 1855, Page 14


It is singular to note the almost: unanimity otopinien respecting, the importance of a campaign. against the Russians in Asia ;, meaning the country with which Baron Ifaxthausen has- made us familiar under the name of " Transcaucasia;t—the beltof' fer- tile soil washed' on the East by the Caspian,. on the Westby the Black Sea,. running Southward.- to the frontiers- of Persia,. and rooted Northwardin the spurs of the great Caucasian chain itself —a country.. which has been a battle-ground for ages; and is likely to. be a battle-ground for. ages more—the, threshold of those monn- tain-gates that open a way from- St. Petersburg to the Persian Gulf and: the Easternlimits of.-the Mediterranean Sea. It is not' only Baron Rexthansen who sees in the military position of'aus- sia South of the Caucasus the base or starting-point for military operations that might. practically. lay. all Aaie...Minor mad ,Persia at the feet of "-the great Rorthern rower it is also_ your. Indian_ offider; politicalvr-military;- like- Sir- Tohn-MiNeill or Major:A-to liott; or- it is your- military- traveller, . like- General: Macintosh: This; however, is a- possibility only—not-a-probability,-- so-long as- Western Europe wars with-Russia--on her-own soil: It could'only: become a probability:should: Russia-get still more-firmly-rootedin- the -countries-- beyond' the Caucasus; more securely master- than site: has ever-yet =been of the:two .great: roads through these- stu- pendous mountains; more fully mistress.of the Caspian Sea and' its- Southern shores. Were- these- things- accomplished; a- Trans. ealleethell- base-of:operations-might be established independent of= Russia - in almost- all things Mt-men; and from this base - the- enemy might take:a far-flight; andreack the goals we- have before: mentioned,-.. or he might- slowly and: judiciously sap onwards se,- &being-, and overawing-the- native- races beyond- his. frontier, and absorbing:thera at convenient-seasons. These nossibilities- do certainly lie- in- the- Asiatic position- of - Rtiseia. What-Poland to- Germany, Transcaucasia is to Asia Minor and' Persia—a- vast - place- d'armes But- whatever- the: fhture may enfold-ofRussiair destinyin -those-regions; for the pre, sentthe progress-of-that destiny-ii suspended. The occupation of ttfe-Black_ffea; andits-coasts-by time fleets-and legions of the West: lies paralyzedthe-arm- of Russia-beyond the Caucasus, has forced. liarto wage what is- preotically-a-defensive war, and has raised the vestion-, now so eagerly discussed; why not- eject the RIISehtlei altogether front Transcaucasia P' Nity, " an. OId-Fifty- seeond," iirthe - whims of kleading journal, goes much beyondthis; and-promises- thesovereignty-of. the Caspian; with the destruction of the Rus- sian trade in-those-regions; to-the-Allies, as-the. result of one year's • campaign,,conducted by Omar Pasha-and-his, Turks supported by 1'0,000 French cavalry and artillery and- 12,000R4tish and Sikh infantry: It would- be truly-to strike a heavy blow at Russia if- her Transcaucasian provinces-were shorn- away, or- even- tem- rily occupied. But-we think-the difficulties_ of the enterprise - been underrated :by, sanguine. speculators; and those who - have blamed the Allies fOrneeplecting_Asiatic Turkey—for riskffig - the-loss of Kars,- Etterotan, and the likehave forgotten that-the Crimea' the Sea of Azoff, and the- Circassian forts, form more than . one half -of the foundation ofRussian power-beyond the Caucasus; and althirugh she may threaten- mightily, Russia-can- under- take no material enterprise in- those countries while theAllies are ratxr-on their-think and in their rear: These facts, indeed, exercise a much greater: influence-over-the fortunes- of 'Russia- in Trans- caucasia than the continuons-but-irregular hostility of the. moue- talc-tribes: For-while the pass- of'Dariel, the pass- of Derbent, and_ the Caspian- itself; remain- in- the hands of: Russia; the. Black Sea-is-in-our hands, and-with-it the coast-road on its East- ern shore ' • and the pith and. marrow of _Russia is attracted

tethe: theatre' of warfare selected by the Western Powers.

If; therefore, we-can contrive to prevent Russia from gaining - ground in Turkish-Armenia:and Kurdistan, while we exhaust-her: strength- and possessourselves- of the places she has occupied- on- the- Etudne, it may-fairly be asked, should we retreat • satisfied With that—should we not refrain from-complicating the great ques- tion-ftirther by undertaking the conquest of Transcaucasia P It must-be admitted that there is force in-these-considerations. But, on the other-hand, - what fitter scene for-the-exercise of the- mar= tlal renaissance- of- the Turks can be found than Transcaucasia ? What could give greater security-to the cradle of the- Turkish- people and.the Southern shores of the Bosphorus, than a victorious campaign in the valleys of; the Rhion, the Kour, and the Araxes ? And if the best chiefaud the best troops of Turkey are transported' to those regions, surely they ought- to be supported by the more perfectly drilled and disciplined soldiers at the command of: the Allies. Undoubtedly, we should make a cleaner settlement-of the- Eastern busineselfwe took.in hand and disposed ofthe Transom, casian branch of the great eaterprise. But—and itis

determine the question—do we intend to carry on the war-on:this. scale ? Are those who guideour military undertakings, in Loader-. and Paris, sufficiently: farsighted, and sufficiently resolute, to pew- ceive and accomplish so great a design? If so, the struggle for- mastery must begin in 1856, for 1855 is already too far gone.

At present how. stand affairs ? Omar Pasha, advancing from Son.chum Keleh, has defeated the Russians on the Ingour, on his: way-to Xutais; and; perhaps, Akhaltsihk. Eutais is a town of some importance on the-Rhion ; but between it and Omar Pasha's army-lie some deep rivers-and &very debateable country. Akhaltsihk stande-- at' a-. point, where the road from Poti. and the Russian frontier on: the. Turkish side of the Black Sea branches- oat towards Tiflis and:, Gumri. " If; therefore," says General Mackintosh, " the Turks, could.regain possession of this -town, it -would open to -them a route. from: Batoum towards Georgia and Eriven, and serve as a base for- operations against the Russians, while it:would afford Kars a more., direct communication with-the sea." Should..0mar Pasha, drawing- to himself Circassian aid; reach- Eutais- and- Akhaltsikh this au- tumn—of which we'- are_ certainly. not sanguine—it follows that Kass-would be effectually. relieved; and. it- appearsthat'the bark, idea thattheTtirkishoommander contemplated such .a movement was- suffitientta induce General ltiouravief to hazard an assault:ow Ears._ Yet-Atlehaltsihk_and:Xutais are not Tiflis, or Erivan,-or:thes, Caspian.

But, should the. Turkish troops really gain-suchvantage-groundi, seeing- the value of the material, guarantee the Allies would oh»: tain, ought-they not to: give adequate support: to. the Turks,: andi mks at least an-effort- to drive the enemy beyond the Koubalr.P' These are, questions which must occupy the attention of the lead,- ing reinds-of the Allies; but at present there seems a-disposition. not-to stirimtheTranscaucasian affairs--not-to open the immense question latent in that quarter, affecting the most vital. interests- of-the Allies. Time,-although the enemy's provocations have.been. great; _althouglrhitediversionin_Asia has-been most:menacing; the Alines:Into& not been , seduced: thereby- to weaken, their means in: the-Crimea atewe think, the- Ailies have- shown a sound: judgment; /Clothe. conquestof Transcaucasia can well wait; the conquest of the_Oximeais the.crisis-of the war.