28 JANUARY 1882, Page 11


or THE "sprcremoR.1 SIR,—At last, and not a day too soon, a meeting has been con- vened to protest against the monstrous cruelties and, still more,

monstrous injustice inflicted on the Jews by the Russian people, and promoted, sanctioned, or condoned by the Russian officials. There are Liberals, I know, who hold that this matter is no concern of ours. To censure the misdeeds of a friendly Govern.

meat is, it is suggested, an act of useless impertinence. Allow me to state in your columns, as briefly and plainly as I can, the reasons why Englishmen generally, and above all, Eilglish Liberals, are deeply concerned to protest in every possible manner against the revival in Russia of the vilest form of reli- gious persecution. 1. A European State which practises or tolerates persecution within its borders commits an offence against civilisation. It the Government of Spain were to burn a heretic, or even to tolerate an auto da fe got up by the Madrid mob, the people and the Government of England would feel that the occasion had arisen for moral, if not for armed, intervention. Russia tolerates the persecution and slaughter of men and women whose crime is their wealth, their race, and their religion. Russia kindles the two worst forms of human passion, race- hatred and religious hatred. Every State has a right to pro- test against this retrogression towards the barbarism of the dark ages. The sole valid objection to moral intervention is the plea that it would be inefficacious.

2. I am no enthusiastic believer in moral force, unless it be in effect the threat of employing physical force ; but in the case before us, moral intervention has a fair chance of achieving its object. The Russian Government is compelled to condemn in theory crimes which Russian officials pardon or tolerate in practice. The conscience of all the best men in Russia must condemn the intolerance, cruelty, and rapacity of the mob who, by robbing, murdering, and insulting Jews, contrive to gratify at once their religious hatred, their taste for plunder, and their lust. Russia, moreover, values highly, and has substantial reason to value, the reputation for being a civilised and Christian Power. Russian statesmen, therefore, cannot afford to refuse attention to the protests of Englishmen. Moral force may, for once, put an end to physical oppression. It is for Liberals to see that this force is employed, and employed with vigour, with- oat delay.

3. Liberals are tioy..,(1„ as a matter not only of expediency, but of justice—I had almost said of personal honour—to •

free themselves from every suspicion of apathy about the persecution of the Jews. Five years ago, we all of us de- nounced, and rightly denounced, the Bulgarian atrocities, in every form of invective which eloquence or rhetoric could supply. We all of us denied with indignation the charge that we sympathised with the Bulgarians simply because they were Christians. We denied with still more vehemence the charge that the real ground for our desire to check the iniquities of Turkey was the still stronger desire to overthrow the Cabinet of Lord Beaconsfield. Were these charges true or false? The time has now come when the question must receive a practical answer. Let the statesmen, the clergymen, and the speakers who raised up their voices against the wrong done to Eastern Christians, denounce with equal vigour the wrongs now done to Russian Jews. Let those who, by attacking the Turk, under- mined the Government of Lord Beaconsfield, show that they are no respecters of persons, and can deal as severely with the crimes of the Czar as with the crimes of the Sultan. If this be done, and done at once, every one will know that Liberals hate injustice, alike in Russia and in Turkey. It were well, could the national protest be made by the Government. Palmerston or Russell would not have suffered the world to doubt for a moment whether England was or was not still the friend of religious and civil liberty, in every part of the globe. There may, how- ever, be valid objections to public action on the part of the Ministry. There can be no reason against the most unmistake- able demonstrations of opinion by the English public. If Liberals make default in the performance of a manifest duty, the consequences which will ensue are certain. The denuncia- tions of Turkish tyranny, which in the long-run restored the Liberals to office, will be held to have been the expression of factitious or interested indignation. No party can stand the effect of moral discredit. The nation will not long tolerate the rule of a party suspected of hypocrisy.-1 am, Sir, &c., A. V. DICEY.