1 AUGUST 1840, Page 11



TUB wisdom of Ministers is inscrutable. A few months ago they were negotiating commercial treaties with France, and occupying Afghanistan in the name of an exiled monarch in order to coun- teract the machinations of Russia. Now they are busy scattering " ambiguas voces" against France, and are forming a new conven- tion with Russia in order to hold together the Ottoman empire, too crazy to support itself. Lord PA I.:MI:MI*0N and his colleagues

may have reasons for this " turning of their backs upon them- selves," but they have not yet condescended to state them. And yet surely a revolution in the whole system of our foreign policy— a revolution which may superinduce a general war—is a matter of which the nation is entitled to be informed in advance. Matters of detail—negotiations in which personal piques and vanities must be taken into account, obviated, and overcome—must be left (until they are completed) to the secret management of the Ministers of the day. But the relation in which the country is to stand to foreign states, the position it is to occupy among the independent nations of the world, the question whether its weight is to be thrown into the scale of kings or of peoples—these are matters upon which the national will, and it alone, ought to decide. The Ministers, who without giving warning that they are about to detach England from the alliance of' Revolutionary or Pro- gressive nations, and attach her to that of Legitimist or Con- servative nations, have exceeded their powers, and ought to be called to a severe reckoning. Lord Psmegagrox—lbr any

thing that appears to the contrary, out of pure gaieb: de exeur—has effected such a revolution in our foreign relations as we have been indicating : will he be called to account

for this? No ; the national mind has been stereotyped, and reads

only Tory or Whig. The question will be argued, not with re- ference to the national interests, but with reference to the ascend- ancy of PERI. or MELBOURNE. Neither the Whig party nor the Tory dare probe the question to the bottom. It will be—" If' Peel had been in, matters would have been worse ;" and " It' Peel had been in, we should not have been in this scrape:" but the theta

and principles upon which the national judgment ought to rest, will be carefully kept out of view during the whole of the wordy war.

The Egypto-Syrian question, to which we last week* announced an intention to call the attention of our readers, has become a

mere subordinate item of' a much more complicated question.

Since GEORGE CANN ING succeeded to the Foreign department, the policy of this country has been to maintain the balance of power in favour of peoples as opposed to sovereigns. We have recog- nized the right of the South American Republics to govern them- selves; we protested against the interference of France under the

elder Bourbons to put down the constitution of Spain. Since "the three days" in France, and the announcement of Earl (3 riey's

Reform Bill in England, our adherence to this line of policy has been even MOM decided and unequivocal. Revolutionized France and Reformed Britain have stood in the European system as the

representatives and defenders of Constitutional States, leagued and allied to prevent any encroachment upon the independence of nations in ffivour of sovereigns, on the part of the Monarchical States, Prussia, Russia, and Austria. France and England, united, saved the infant liberties of Belgium from destruction. France and England, united, scared the Northern Monarchs from meddling in the affiiirs of Spain and Portugal, and secured the ascendancy of the principles of representative government in both of these countries. France and England allied, were a sufficient check upon the overreaching propensities of the Despotic States : the mere fliet of their alliance held the others at bay ; because the French and English Governments were strong in that they reposed upon the popular choice, in that they were surrounded by states in which the representative principle had struck root and was growing strong,

and in that the sympathies of an influential proportion of' the sub-

jects of' tine states opposed to theta were in favour of' constitutional principles. Britain is satisfied with this posture of' affilirs ; Mi- nisters and their adherents incessantly urge this posture of (mIlliirs as a reason for retaining them in office ; when, one tine summer's morning, we discover, that if not actually engaged in hostilities against France, we have ceased to be allies of' IFrance, and that a Convention is in the course-of ratification drawing closer the bands of alliance between Britain on the one part and the three members

of the Holy Alliance on the other. And the Ministers who have effected this sudden booleversement of our relations without fore-

warning or consulting the nation, refuse all explanations on the subject. • .

The difference of opinion between the French and English Ca-

binets relative to the policy to be adopted in regard to the dif- ferences‘between MEHEMET Am and the Sultan, is the ostensible

reason of this change. If there are any other reasons, they are con- cealed; and we, and the public at large, who are not admitted behind the scenes, can only judge from what appears. The ques- tion then is, whether France or England has abandoned the prin- ciples upon the mutual recognition of which their former alliance

was based ? Our sources of information are neither complete nor free from suspicion : they are fragmentary and incoherent, and all af them more or less tinged with a partisan character. But we

Second edition—in a paper, not in the first edition, on the Howe of Coin• name debate of Friday evening. must take them such as they are until we get better. The question is of too vital a nature to allow of its remaining in abeyance until our reluctant Ministers " get up" their case. Stripping the ques- tion, then, of minor details, vouched for by equivocal authorities, the points at issue between France and England are as follows,- 1st, France maintains that MioanstET Am and the Sultan ought to be left to arrange their differences without the intervention of' foreign powers ; England, that any settlement of these differences ought to be with the cognizance and sanction of the Great Powers

of Europe : '2(1, France maintains that 1 EllEMET ALI is in pos- session of Egypt, the Heeljaz, and Syria, and ought to be left in the hereditary tenure of' these provinces ; England, that he is not in possession of Syria in the same sense that he is of Egypt, and that therefore he ought to be restricted to the hereditary tenure of Egypt, and the liferent tenure of the Southern and smaller portion of Syria.

First, then, with regard to the abstract question, whether Alensorsr ALI and the Sultan ought to be left to settle their own diffiwences. On this point it is clear that France adheres to the principle upon which it has hitherto acted in concert with England. The means by which CANNING proposed to maintain the balance of power between peoples and sovereigns—the means by which France and England have hitherto maintained the balance of power be- tween peoples and sovereigns—has been the enforcement of the policy of non-interference on the part of foreign powers in the inter- nal broils of a state. The principle by which this policy is justi- fied is, that every nation has a right to choose its own government ; and that the only evidence a government call give to foreign nations of its being the popular choice, is its power defacto to exercise the functions of government. This principle and the policy based upon it embrace the recognition of colonies or portions of a state seced- ing from the rest as independent states, so soon as they have de j4cto maintained their independence for a sufficient length of time to prove it real. By adhering to this principle and policy, we pre- vent the interned broils of any one state occasioning a general war; and we insure the great first requisite of liberty—the choice of' their own government to every people sufficiently brave and intelligent to assert their right. The moment we lose sight of this guiding prin- ciple, we have no compass to steer by : we let loose unbridled anarchy in the business of' nations ; we afford room for endless, ever-renewing, aimless wars. On the abstract principle, therelbre, France is clearly in the right, mind acts consistently with her pre- vious professions and conduct: England, on the other hand, is as clearly in the wrong, and has proved renegade to her former creed of foreign policy.

The only plea that we hear advanced by the adherents of Minis- ters in 1)811 at ham of' this change (if tinith, is that, if' England did not interfere, Russia would. This plea infers on the part of those who urge it a doubt of the propriety of their own conduct, and is tanta- mount to a declaration that they have been forced into the line of conduct they have adopted hyper of Russia. When it suits the purposes of Ministers, their partisans can talk about "tine paste- board fleets of Russia and NVII(11 it SE it S the purpose of Minis- ters, the same partisans can speak of Iltre,ia as a power so terrible that Englund must, however reluctant, acquiesce in the policy it dictates. But let us examine the plea mere narrowly. When Belgium asserted her independence, it was the wish of the three Northern Powers that the King of the Netherlanis should getain flint kingdom under his sceptre : France and Enghtnd, united, said the Ifolgians should choose Ibr themselves, and the three Northern Powers (hired not ieterfere. It is not orisens that the three Northern Powers were ftiesdly to CARLOS 1111(1 I‘ lieu mn ; but again France and England, united, said " No ;" and the three Northern Powers abstained from interfigenee in the affairs of Sp:dinned Portugal. The position which Prance asII tires in regard to Turkey, and which France wiThed England to assume, is exactly the same which these combined states assumed in the eases of' Spain, Portugal, and Bel- gium : it is that the Osmanlee Sultan and the Osmatilee Pacha shall be left to settle their differences without foreign it;!erferenee. I lave England and FttlHee gruw '5 Cakl r on. have it Austria, and

Prussia grown stronger ('iii hi not the same determined attitude

on the pt it of the two Conslitutional Powers produce the effect which it did formerly ? then, be any diff.aaamee between the cir- cumstances of the 01 tom') quesliuti and the European questions, it is in fhvour of France and Emdand, if they hal remained united. In regard to Belgium, Portugal. al td Spain, Austria and Russia were at one : hut in regard to Turkey, the interests of Russia and Aus- tria are incompatible. England aleunhons the cause oftrue fweign policy precisely at the moment when it might most sefely and easily be asserted.

We turn to the mixed quest ion of filet and principle upon which we stated that France and England were at issue. Up to the moment of the late Syrian insurreethm, it was not questioned that 711emi mogul. Aim v es, in possession of Egypt, the Iledjaz, and Syria. What was the character of' his tenure of thsse provinces ?

Every traveller in Egypt ftom litio•s: to Bum:a:1.11MT agreed, that previous to the overthrow of the Mamelukcs, the Porte could ex- ercise no more authority over Egypt than over Tripoli or Tunis, which have long ceased to be regarded as integral parts of' the Ottoman empire ; and that the state of society in the province was

utterly lawless and anarchical. It is likewise admitted by every traveller who visited Arabia during the period to which we refer, that the Sherif of Mecca had for statue time previous exercised independent authority in Hedjaz, the only portion of Arabia to which the Ottoman Government could at that moment assert time shadow of a claim. Subsequently, the Wahabees conquered the

Sherif, and the decline of that power left Arabia in utter anarchy. In Syria, at the time of ?ii:ntiias visit, and down to the period of the French invasion, the Porte exercised no real sovereignty : the country was a prey to the feuds of numerous Paellas and Emirs, 'who formed alliances and declared war with each other without re- gard to the Sultan. The nominal officers of the Porte held their governments by their swords, not in virtue of the Sultan's finnan ; and did not make way to a successor until he brought a sufficient army to dispossess theta. This was the state of Alum throughout these provinces in 1804, when Midussitsr Am commenced his career. With the zneans he employed we have nothing to do : all that we as foreigners are entitled to take into consideration is his actual position. He has made himself undisputed master of Egypt ; has extended its frontiers ffirther to the South than OsmanIce arms ever did befbre him ; and has organized a government, (good, bad, or indifferent, is nothing to the question,) where before him there was none. Hedjaz he has annexed to his government, and to a cer- tain extent organized. Lastly, he was (previous to the insurrection in Mount Lebanon) uncontested master of Syria, which he was organiz- ing. He actually occupied these countries in despite of the elibrts of the Government at Constantinople to take them from him. Ile was at the head of a victorious army, while that of the Sultan was broken up and demoralized. He possessed a large fleet, and had got that which belonged to the Sultan into his power. If France and England had remained united upon the same principle which cemented their alliance in the affair of Belgium, and had insisted upon the non-intervention of tideign powers, could the Govern- ment of Constantinople have deprived Manes:sr Aet of Syria, Hedjaz, and Egypt ? It is apparent that, previous to the insur- rection, affimirs were in such a position that France and England were entitled to say to the Sultan—" You cannot exercise any authority in these three provinces; we have citizens trading in them, and travelling through them to more distant marts : we must protect these citizens; and this we can only do by accrediting envoys and making arrangements with the de facto Government. Of course it is for your Sublime II ighness to determine what arrange- ments you will make with the Paella of Egypt : we have no wish to see him triumph over you : if you can reconquer these provinces, we shall gladly recognize your authority ; but as you cannot assist us to protect our citizens resident in them at present, you must not take it amiss if we apply for that purpose to those who can." The Government at Constantinople felt that this was the state of affhire, as is evident from the negotiations begun between it and Mummer Aim. What share England and her new confederates may have had in breaking off these negotiations, it is impossible, from what has yet transpired, to determine : what share England and its new allies have had in stirring up the insurrection in Syria, we are not yet in a condition to say. But this is clear, that there was a predetermination to avail themselves of such an event, RS an apology for adopting the course they contemplate—if, indeed, the decency of seeking for a pretext was thought requisite. On this ground, too, it appears to us that the French Cabinet has reason on its side, and acts consistently with its previous policy ; while the English Government has changed without the shadow of a reason.

There is one consideration which seems to us worthy of' parti- cular attention in forming a judgment on this discussion. France has taken up an intelligible ground upon a clear principle. France pleads for the non-interference of tbreign powers in the domestic broils of any state. France, it' she interfere, will interfere less for the purpose of supporting leuesirr Aim, than for the purpose of protesting against foreign interference in intestine conunotions. What, on the other hand, is the plea urged by England ? " The integrity and independence of the Turkish empire must be main- tained.' Can the independence of one state be maintained by an- other? The moment it becomes unable to maintain its independ- ence by its own exertions, it becomes dependent. The amen who urge this plea do not seek the independence of Turkey : they seek to share with Russia in the exercise of control over it. And then as to the "integrity "—the four Powers ail to Ms:neater Ara the hereditary tenure of Egypt. If the " integrity " of the Ottoman empire is destroyed by giving to the Vadat the hereditary tenure of

• Syria, Egypt, and Iledjaz, will it be preserved by giving him the hereditary tenure of Egs pt ? Either these men use words without attaching any meaning to them, or they seek to mystify the public by clothing their intentions in ambiguous language.

It is upon these grounds that we would protest, in the strongest and most unequivocal terms our language admits of, against the policy or rather no-policy of oar Ministers in regard to Turkey. They have abandoned the wily clear system of foreign policy cal- culated to diminish the frequelicy of wars and to promote the growth of free institutions throughout the world. They are traitors to the cause of progressive amelioration in society. We might stop here, but as there will in all probability be an attempt to mystify the public at large, or to afford Whig thetionaries a idea in palliation of their dereliction of principle, by talking about the interests of this country as rendering necessary a deviation from principles which look well in mere theory, we shall even waste a few words in an attempt to show what our interest in the question really is.

It is for the interest of Great Britain that its commerce should enjoy the greatest possible extension and freedom. For this pur- pose, it is our interest to be at peace with as many nations as pos- sible, and to promote peace among all nations, and the establish- ment of settled and efficient govermnents in each. Let us apply these principles to the portion of the earth more immediately % question. We have a pretty extensive and increasing trade it Egypt, Syria, and Turkey. Moreover, three great lines of commie

nicatiou with the nations more to the East, which it is most essential for our interests should be kept open and safe, pass through these countries,—the route through Egypt and by the Red Sea to Inast. the route to the Persian Gulf and India, to North Persia, and th

countries beyond, through Syria ; the route to North Persia, and the countries beyond, over Trebizond, Erzeroum, and Tabriz. It is out interest, therefore, that there should be efficient governments in the

countries through which these routes pass, and that we should be oft friendly terms with these governments. In this point of view, we

have an interest that Constantinople and Trebizond should be kept out of the hands of the Russians ; for the exclusive commercial policy of that country would materially cripple our direct and transit commerce with these cities: and it is our interest that the Government at Constantinople should be strong for maintaining the police of Asia Minor, and should be well disposed to us. in like manner, it is our interest that the de facto Government Or Governments) of Syria and Egypt should be strong for the main. tenance of internal police, and well disposed to us. Now, how stood matters previous to the Syrian insurrection, and the ference of the English Cabinet and its Northern confederates between Mem:suer AT.T and the Sultan ? Negotiations were in train between the Paella and the Sultan, by which the former would have been left free to perfect the organization of' the three provinces he claims in heritage, and the latter left free to per. feet the organization of the provinces in Europe and Asia under his immediate control. A prospect was opened of increased secu- rity to private individuals, and consequent increase of wealth in the territories of both potentates. The arrangement being their own, could not occasion umbrage against us in the breasts of either potentate ; the increasing commercial intercourse with Great Britain would have taught both the value of our friend- ship. The alliance of France and England upon the basis of non-intervention, and the manifest interest of' Austria in the assertion of that principle, would have been sufficient to con- trol the aggressive propensities of Russia. The development of our connnerce and the maintenance of the most direct lines of communication with our Indian dependencies, demanded our acquiescence in—our promotion of the course events had taken. Instead of that, our Cabinet has set itself to reverse the order of affhirs. It is bent upon making the Paella of Egypt our enemy, by thwarting his views : it is bent upon perpetuating annrchy in the East ; for though it may deprive MiniemeT A LI of Syria, it can- not give that province to the Sultan, and by diverting his efforts to its reconquest, we weaken him for the maintenance of tranquillity in the dominions undoubtedly his : it is bent upon perpetuating such an unsettled state of affairs as is favourable to the encroach- ments of Russia, whose " sounding steps will not be heard amid the din of arms."

We have canvassed the claim our Cabinet can advance to poli- tical wisdom as evidenced by these transactions: its claim to ho- nour and integrity we shall take into consideration when the whole truth regarding the Syrian insurrection is known. Meanwhile, we wish, but do not hope, that the British nation would discuss this question free from the miserable considerations of Whig or Tory partisanship: we wish, but do not hope, that our mercurial neigh- bours across the Channel would talk after a less warlike and more reasonable fimshion. We are not without hope that war (at least immediate war) may be avoided ; but we are convinced that, es time progress of political amelioration in our internal affairs has been arrested, so in our foreign policy we are relapsing into the old CASTLERE.IGII and Holy Alliance entanglements.