24 NOVEMBER 1855, Page 8

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Clevedon Court, 19th Notymber 1855. Stn—I will take leave to ask the advocates of war one or two questions, 'which I doubt not that some among them will honestly answer. 1st. Did we go to war with Russia for a specific purpose,—namely, to extricate Turkey from her grasp ; or was it with a view of reducing by brute force her power as a great nation ? 2dly. Upon any future misunderstanding with foreign Governments, shall we ever be believed again when we protest we only have certain objects in view, seeing that in the present instance we unblushingly discard our original avowal of definite intentions, and, elated by unexpected success, proclaim a war of extermination against a people with whom we have long been on amicable terms ? 3dly. Where do the advocates of war propose to stop ? Do they conceive that a nation of sixty millions will ac- cept a state of enforced degradation as a permanent arrangement? Can any scheme be better devised for rendering European war the rule and peace the exception than to sever from Russia districts which she will never yield ex- cept on compulsion, and which she will infallibly attempt to recover when- ever an opportunity offers or her strength is recruited ? Having submitted these questions, I will add, that I am not aware of any civilized state which Russia has barbarized ; but believe, on the contrary, that, rough and despotic as her -rule has been, it has yet in many instances conferred substantial blessings upon those who have either embraced or succumbed to it. Whatever ultimate designs warlike philanthropists may cherish, the pre- sent effects of the war are plainly of a barbarous and retrograde character. Regions which were prosperous and comparatively happy are now the seat of horror and misery. The work of a quarter of a century threatens to be un- done. The Turks, a people whose dominion is synonymous with ruin, are our clients. The Emperor of France represses the free impulses of the people at Rome, by the "standing menace" of an army of occupation. His influence is felt even in our own country. We are startled by a sudden ex- hibition of reckless Continental despotism in the island of Jersey. Our re- lations with the United States have ceased to be amicable. At the same time it is asserted that we are striving to induce Sweden, a nation long allied to Russia, to take part in the struggle by the offer of a substantial bribe. I see nothing of civilization or of freedom in all this. As for our really waning with Russia to save England from a foreign yoke, &c. &c., the notion is almost comic. We are invading the territories of Russia, and inflicting upon her peeple acute and protracted suffering. We have taken forcible hold of cer- tain strong positions belonging to her. What is more, we exult over the facility with which we have defeated her armies whenever we have come across them, and complacently speculate on the certainty of progressing in our career of triumph even to the dismemberment of her empire and the thorough prostration of her power. And this is the nation likely to invade and conquer England, rob us of all our "rights and blessings," &c. ! Allow me to suggest a parallel case. Mr. Landor once saw in a town in Italy an indignant citizen kicking a man before him down the street, and ex- claiming to his victim with every kick—"0 thou bloody tyrant ! 0 thou bloody tyrant !" Something in this style is our present treatment of Russia. Our blows fall hard and heavy on her shoulders, but we continue to accuse her of despotic ferocity, and to represent oursekes as lamb-like victims of oppression. We devastate her seaboard, and destroy her shipping and her stores with little or no risk to ourselves, but we continue to praise England's patient magnanimity, and to magnify Russia's capacity for mischief. We plan schemes for inflicting deadly wounds on her vainly-struggling frame : we hire mercenaries to swell our army ; we invoke the aid of neutral powers in the case of Sweden, and accept it in the case of Sardinia,—offering Fin- land to the one, and whispering the word " Italy " to the other: and then we go to church, and pray in dignified language that the malice of our enemies may be assuaged and their devices confounded !

To put the case very shortly. It is alleged at one and the same time, that

Russia has the will and the power more or less rapidly to appropriate the whole of Europe, and yet that she can be infallibly humbled and curtailed by only a fractional part of that same Europe which she proposer; to vic- timize. Is Russia then strong or weak ? If weak, our efforts to reduce her are superfluous, and therefore wicked. If strong, are we wise to commence a war of irregular and haphazard aggression, with the support of such an ally as Louis Napoleon, who holds his life and his crown by so precarious a tenure ? Are we wise to commence a war of this character under any cir- cumstances at all—rushing, that is, into ills we know, in order to escape ills which we know not, and which may never happen as long as the world endures ? Previous to the war, the wealth and power of Britain were augmenting at a rate far surpassing anything on this side of 'the Atlantic. The continuance of that war will assuredly reduce both the one and the other. The only nation likely to derive benefit from the war is France. Yet whatever terri- torial increase or influence she may attain will be dearly purchased at the cost of shattered credit, galling taxes, and the government of the country virtually in the hands of the army. It is, therefore, a question whether it is not the true interest of all and each of the belligerent powers to make peace, before fresh complications aggravate the difficulty of the task. This much is clear—If we intend to dismember Russia, we are only at the commencement of the war. If we choose in a spirit of wise moderation to grant such terms to Russia as can be simply defined by treaty—securing the object for which we went to war without ostentatiously degrading a brave though unsuccess- ful antagonist—then peace with all its attendant blessings is immediately within our grasp. Dare we, with due regard to the wants and grievances of the mass of our population at home, pedantically reject the boon ?

• There has been some talk of exacting an indemnity from Russia for the ex- penses of the war. A far more feasible and more beneficial stipulation would be the enactment by Russia of a liberal commercial tariff. Such ix measure would ulti- mately benefit all the nations concerned. It would bind up the bleeding wounds in- flicted by the war, and at the same time render the recurrence of that war less probable.