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Title: Shall Turkey Live or Die?
Author: Carlyle, Thomas
Language: English
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  SHALL TURKEY LIVE OR DIE?

  THOMAS CARLYLE, Esq.

  Advocate

  LONDON:

  THOMAS BOSWORTH, 215 REGENT STREET.

  MDCCCLIV.

  LONDON:

  Printed by G. Barclay, Castle St. Leicester Sq.



SHALL TURKEY LIVE OR DIE?


The European war now impending differs from the last in every important
feature,—in its theatre, its origin, and its issues. Never was a
contest more mysterious and unexpected in its rise, more unwelcome to
the majority of those engaged in it, and more pregnant with grave yet
uncertain consequences. There are three classes of men whose minds
it especially occupies. While the religious eschatologist expects a
new phase of predicted fulfilment, and the speculative politician
a new distribution of territory and influence, the practical man
seeks a fuller explication and enforcement of existing interests and
obligations. Although they who see in all things the guiding hand of
God are warranted to expect that, in the communion of the faithful,
there shall be a divine presentiment of His holy procedure, yet the
attempt to map out the future is in too many very idle, and in some
most presumptuous. On the other hand, those who try every fresh event
by the mere letter of protocols, fail to apprehend its true moral
importance, and would bind the God of Providence by the impotent will
of man. He that would rightly estimate or improve the present juncture
must avoid both of these errors. And while he regards it in its highest
aspects, he must not be hurried into foregone conclusions as to its
issues.

“Destiny” is the watchword of the day. One horn of the Crescent has
long rested on Christendom by destiny. A child of destiny now rules
for a second time in the West. And scarcely has he, by assuming, in
professed zeal for divine reminiscences, the protectorate of holy
places, excited men’s fears lest he should swell the number of those
places and convert protectorate into possession, when a new protector
of things sacred arises in the North, also pleading the call of destiny.

Why these two protectors have not yet come forth to assert their
rights in single combat; and why the Pope, whose throne is upheld,
and whose claims are asserted by the former, has acted in silence,
when he might have been expected to utter in encyclical letters the
Jeremiad of insulted authority; are questions yet to be solved. The
religious and political champion of the Papacy is now allied to other
powers on grounds with which Papal claims, religious or political,
have nothing ostensibly, at least exclusively, to do. And we now see
the northern protector opposed by all the great powers of Europe,—by
the open protest of those who will and can withstand him,—by the tacit
resistance of those who fear to be his friends, yet dare not be his
foes.

Recent disclosures, however, warrant the conclusion that the Pope has,
although covertly, been the prime mover in the present troubles. Using
France as a cat’s-paw, he has revived in a stronger form his almost
obsolete claims to such a protectorate of the Latin interest in the
Holy Places as shall, at Jerusalem as elsewhere, swallow up every
other. And the aggression of Russia against Turkey derives considerable
excuse from the consideration that the Czar, in aiming a fleshly blow
at the Sultan, is really aiming a spiritual blow at the Pope. If the
Catholic Church or the Christian nations are not in a condition to lift
one united testimony against this new assertion of Papal supremacy,
we are hardly entitled to complain that one champion throws down the
gauntlet of denial, provided he does not at the same time assert a
Græco-Sclavonic supremacy, equally unjust, and, from its novelty, more
pregnant with danger. While gentlemen on ’Change or in Downing Street
have their minds filled with the merely material aspects of the affair,
the man who yields the first place to the interests of Christ’s kingdom
cannot fail to mark that we are apparently on the eve of that great
war of principles which Canning foresaw,—of a religious and European
war, the issues of which derive, from their very doubtfulness, only
the greater solemnity. While the subsistence of Turkey apparently bars
the fulfilment of many Christian hopes, its destruction may, by the
means which bring that to pass, greatly endanger the true interests of
Christendom, and frustrate the grace of God. And we may yet see the
day when the still blinded and impenitent Jew may make greater profit
of this new crusade than he did of the former, may step in between
the combatants—now on both sides, alas! Christian; and may settle the
dispute by establishing his own claim to the land of promise in a way
which, although disowned of God till he confess our Messiah, may force,
or, as a pis-aller, steal recognition from man.

Leaving to others to decide with the pen those technical questions,
which the sword, if drawn, will decide without regard to their paper
verdict, let us contemplate the attitude of the chief actors in this
opening drama. And first of Turkey.

We pray on Good Friday that God would “have mercy upon all—Jews,
Turks, Infidels, and heretics ... and fetch them home to His fold.”
As Turks are herein classed with those who have been unfaithful under
a divine covenant—the old or the new—it has become customary to
regard them as apostates from the faith, who deserve to be abhorred
and treated as such. This is however a total misconception. Some
apostates have indeed become Mahomedans; and it is very questionable
whether the talent or experience of such men justifies Christian
men and Christian governments in using their services. It may be
that the once frequent perversion of Christians to Mahomedanism,
under the pressure of persecution, in the days when our prayers were
composed, may have dictated this petition. But whatever ravages the
false religion of Mahomet may have wrought among Oriental churches
and blinded Jews at the first, that religion took its rise among
heathen; and the present Turks, although converts to that faith which
desolated Eastern Christendom, are well known to have issued from a
country where the Christian faith was all but unknown. The conquest
of a part of Christendom by the Turks, was not an act of apostacy in
Mahomedans, but the judgment of God, religious and political, on the
unfaithfulness of the Christian Church and State. So that, instead
of directing our abhorrence against the rod by which God then smote
His people, we should rather humble ourselves because we provoked Him
to use it. Although the superstitious and credulous reverence for the
theatre of Christ’s life on earth has too often, like the blessing of
the womb that bare Him, been substituted for the hearing and keeping
of His word, yet no devout mind can fail to regard the scenes of His
earthly sojourn with awful interest. But the fact that our holy faith
went forth from Jerusalem, gave us no right to possess that city. The
Christian Church has, as a Church, no possession on earth. Rights of
property belong to Christian men, not as Christians, but as men. The
Jew, not the Christian, forfeited Judea. No people but the Jews have
an original divine right to Judea. And while they remain impenitent
their right passes over, not to us, but to their conquerors. It is,
therefore, more than questionable whether the Crusaders had any
right to attempt the ejection of Mahomedans from the Holy Land. They
were more like usurpers than their opponents were. And their conduct
was, alas! often too good an argument against their cause. On the
other hand, there never was a nobler heathen than the leader of the
Mahomedans against the Crusaders. When the Turks, long after, took
Constantinople, they did no more than many a heathen conqueror has done
before, and many a Christian conqueror since. A living tree was planted
where the tree of an effete government had withered away. A Christian
conqueror may use his conquest better, just as he has more grace to
reign, than a heathen. But his right does not lie in his grace. The
“good sword,” by which most Christian kings have won and kept their
lands, is in itself no better than the “good scimitar” of the Turk. And
the conduct of the conqueror of Byzantium towards the faith of his new
subjects has often been regarded, especially when we consider the stem
tenets which he held, as a model of justice and moderation. There has
seldom been a conquest by a people whose religion was their political
charter, over a people of a different faith, which bore fewer marks of
cruelty. We are, indeed, pointed to the subsequent history of Turkish
rule as a proof of its unparalleled wickedness. It is even argued that
the Turk, having been during four hundred years put to the proof if he
was fit to rule, or capable of conveying any blessing to the conquered,
and having been found wanting, has thus forfeited his right. And it is
hence concluded, that the time is come when he should be dismissed
from office, not even by the subjects whom he has oppressed, but by
others who have none but a Quixotic right to interfere. Men forget,
however, that the form of Turkish oppression has in great part arisen
from the circumstance, that religious principle and secular law are,
in Turkey, identified. And, as to those cruelties and wrongs which are
not the offspring of law, but the fruits of its absence or breach, a
comparison between Turkish administration and that of many Christian
governors would not fall out much to the credit of the latter. We need
look no farther than to the country which now acts the champion of
Christian wrongs, for a corruption of justice, a cruelty of punishment,
and a smothering of true liberty, which Turkey could hardly outdo. And
it is well known that, for many centuries, even down to the most recent
times, in Egypt, in Syria, nay in Jerusalem itself, while rival parties
of Christians have broken the peace of society, and disgraced the name
of Christ, by their bitter animosities, their dishonest intrigues,
and even their bloody strifes, the disciple of the false prophet has
often so used his power to maintain good order, so counselled to mutual
forbearance, and, as an umpire, so laboured to restore harmony by
the adjustment of differences, as to make one blush at the relative
positions of the Crescent and the Cross. While it cannot be denied that
the passions of the Turk too often trample down all law, the Christians
on whom he has trampled, either have not yet been tried with power,
or, where they have, have abused it almost as much against their own
brethren. At this very day, the Turk, bad as he is, is a nobler animal
than either the treacherous Greek or the busy Armenian; nay, the
Armenians are too often the most efficient instigators of Mahomedan
injustice.

It will not, therefore, do for us, like children, to beat the object
on which we have wounded ourselves, or bite the rod with which we are
chastised. But, it may be asked, Are we to forget the zeal of Sobieski,
and treat the Turk, not as an enemy and a persecutor, but as a brother?
The answer is plain. Not as a brother Christian, but as a brother
man. The fact that God has used the Turk to chastise Christendom, and
suffered him to plant his temple of falsehood on the sites of the
Jewish and the Christian fanes, ought, indeed, to make us search into
the reason of the punishment, but does not alter the position or rights
of the instrument employed. We dare not treat the Turk as an apostate
because he has been the scourge of backsliders, or as a man without
rights because his power has been used against us. We may lament
the rise of a new heathen delusion; but we have no right to exclude
the deluded from the rights of man. We may lament that a territory
redeemed from the ocean of paganism has been again submerged; but if
the right of conquest is admitted in the law of Christendom, we cannot
disown it in the law of the world. The Eastern Empire itself gained
its place by conquest. And, granting the validity of its territorial
rights so acquired, it alone was entitled, and, if it could rise
again, would be entitled, to vindicate these. Supposing that the Turk
had no title to Turkey, surely England, France, Russia and Austria,
have as little right to expel him as he to be there. And the fact
that they are Christian nations invests them with no new rights or
political privilege. The providence of God has indeed so ordered that
a knot of states in one quarter of the globe have in common embraced
Christianity, and thereby risen to the head of the nations: and in many
points of view, Christendom, as a collective whole, does form and can
act as a corporate unity, or commonwealth.

It may well be questioned, however, whether the boasted balance of
power in Europe, and even the Holy Alliance, have not tended to impair
national integrity by unwarranted interference. Each Christian monarch
has none over him hut Christ. All others are but his brethren. Their
totality has no authority over him in his own kingdom. And although
each nation may justly protest, as each householder may, against those
acts of another which affect its just interests, and ought to do its
best, by remonstrance, in the cause of truth; yet no nation derives
a right from its imagined spirituality or orthodoxy to dictate the
internal administration of another; and, as with individuals, so no
aggregate of nations has, as a European Peace Society, a right to
prescribe to any one nation terms which it shall observe on pain of
war, unless that nation has consented to such arbitration. But be this
as it may, if the Christian commonwealth is to exhibit its corporate
action, either by waging Quixotic war on the heathen, or by the united
repulse of an inroad on that part of its sacred territory which any
one State may own and can forfeit, or by creating itself a premature
arbiter over the possession of the earth, or by so trampling on the
integrity of heathen nations, as to violate the rights of men in order
to maintain the integrity of the Church and vindicate the rights of
God—it had better never have existed than perpetrate such a confusion
of things heavenly and earthly, and thus build up religion on the ruins
of justice. Christ came not to destroy but to fulfil. This applies
to the law of nature, as truly as to the law of Moses. Fallen though
man be, and prone to evil, there is a conscience of right and wrong,
as between man and man, in every clime and creed. And the first duty
of those who would enlighten the consciences of men by heavenly truth,
is to see that they do not claim or take license to outrage the first
principles of natural justice. The rights of heathen men and states,
(nay, of apostates,) in things pertaining to this world, are as sacred
as those of Christians. Faith in Christ is (save by special covenant)
the condition of no Monarch’s tenure, of no State’s existence. And
if the Turk, as a man, has as good a right as a Christian to breathe
the air, Turkey, as a state, has as good a claim to subsist and be
recognised by other states as England or China has. Its right would
not be strengthened by its conversion, and is not impaired by its
infidelity. The spiritual, although superior to the natural, does not
abolish or despise it. The domination of Turkey may injure Christendom.
But the right way to be rid of this is not to deny or violate its
national rights, but to confess and renounce the moral and spiritual
declension, the heresy, schism, demoralization, and other sins in
the early Eastern Church, of which that domination is the condign
punishment.

In this light, the Crusades, by whatever zeal for God called forth,
exhibited, apart from all their attendant moral evils, an evident
obliteration of moral duty by fancied religious obligation, and a
trampling on natural rights in search of a spiritual object, wrongly
apprehended and wrongly pursued. The deliverances of Europe by
Martel on the one hand, and Sobieski on the other, from subjection
to Mahomedan rule, although they effected so signal a rescue for the
faith, derived their justification, as political events, not from the
fact that the oppressive power was Mahomedan, but from the simple fact
that it was an oppressive power.

The anomalous situation of the Pope, as being at once a claimant of
œcumenic supremacy and one of the temporal heads of Europe, has shown
itself in the anomalous attitude which he has assumed towards the
Turk. As long as he was true to his own principles he never consented
to stand in diplomatic relations to the Porte. In assuming to act as
the sole spiritual and temporal head of all Christendom, he refused
to acknowledge a heathen intruder into his supposed domain. But the
wrong way in which he expressed this refusal was, by withholding,
as a temporal sovereign, that diplomatic recognition to which the
Sultan, as another temporal sovereign, no longer at war with him, was
entitled. And the recognition which he has lately given was the result,
not of true insight into the distinction between his own spiritual and
temporal characters, but of decaying zeal for God. His former motive
was a right one; but the conduct which it dictated was mistaken. With
the failure of the motive his conduct has changed. But his insight is
not improved.

The Christian nations of Europe, even those that acknowledge the
supremacy of the Pope, withheld their diplomatic recognition of Turkey,
not on purely religious grounds, but because Turkey remained, as it
were, habitually a politically inimical power. Gradually the enmity
subsided. And, in consequence, although the religious obligation, if
true, remains in its full force, every Christian government now finds
itself in diplomatic relations with the Porte, on the simple ground
of secular parity among civilized nations, be they English, Russian,
Chinese, Persians, or Turks.

Yet while the political recognition of Turkey is right, there may be
wrong grounds for doing a right thing—a right thing may be overdone—and
the diplomatic relations of a Christian with a heathen nation ought,
from the nature of things, never to be so intimate as those with a
Christian government. In these respects England does seem to have
erred. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact, that the almost unbroken
amity of England with Turkey has arisen from our commercial and
territorial jealousy of other powers—that self-interest has reconciled
us to intimate contact with those who count all Christians “dogs”—and
that to talk continually of “our good friend and staunch ally, the
Turk,” argues either a blunting of our spiritual aversion to a
blasphemous form of Paganism, or a lulling of conscience for mammon’s
sake. Nor is it an uninstructive example of the truth, that brethren at
strife are the most irreconcileable of all men (Prov. xviii. 10); that
the same nation which shrinks with sacred horror and blind alarm from
diplomatic relations with Rome, (not on the ground that Rome should
not be, or is not, an European state, but on the ground that the head
of that state is at the same time usurping a false spiritual place,)
should, without any qualm of conscience, give the hand of political
brotherhood to a government, the whole code of which is based upon the
words of an impostor who has superseded Christ. At the same time we
cannot accuse England of securing the favour of Turkey at the expense
of the Christians who are subjected to Mahomedan rule. There never
was a more unjust reproach than that raised by certain religionists
against England, that she appears at the court of the Sultan as a
Christian power taking the side of the oppressor against his Christian
subjects. Navarino is a witness to the reverse.

Be the cause of the Greek nation good or bad, none have been its warmer
or more sincere supporters than the English. So powerful an element in
our motives for the support of Greece, was the desire to emancipate
Christianity from a Mahomedan yoke, that, in order to attain this end,
England ran the risk of weakening, by the emancipation of Greece, the
bulwark which she found in Turkey against the advances of Russia. And
for a long series of years no part of the policy of England has been
more unvarying than her resolution, expressed by deeds, to employ her
just influence at the Porte in the most unwearied and enlightened
disinterestedness, by embracing—often at great sacrifices and risks,
and with singular success—every opportunity to plead the cause of the
Christian population in the East, although belonging to a different
section of the Church from her own. In this respect she may well bear
comparison with any other power, especially with one which, although it
seeks to Wind the pious by vaunting itself the protector of Oriental
Christianity, has done little or nothing for the co-religionists of its
own subjects, save to entice them, through a proposed ecclesiastical
union, into a political subjugation which they abhor.

But this leads us to speak of Russia, the new protector of Oriental
Christians. If the other European governments had in due time,
either independently or in concert with England, lifted as constant
and sincere a protest as hers at the court of Turkey against the
wrongs of these Christians, and had required with one voice that
the government should administer its laws impartially to all its
subjects, irrespective of their creed, we might have heard less of this
new protectorate, and should, by an act of justice and mercy, have
foreclosed the present flimsy pretexts of Russia. But the weakness of
Christian zeal, our indifference between Christ and Belial, and the
absence of Christian concord, have prevented this. And by our “lâches”
we have furnished the pretexts against which we now exclaim. But let
us consider for a moment who the helper and helped are. Even granting
that the professions of Russia were true in the letter, there is surely
no one so blindly charitable as to believe that, however sincere the
ill-informed masses in Russia may be in the fanatical excitement to
which they have been goaded, the Czar or his advisers have either
tears of compassion on their eyelids or indignation in their hearts, at
the wrongs of Oriental Christians. Without entering into the maze of
diplomacy, or attempting to interpret treaties intentionally Delphic,
it may suffice to observe, that the general plea now urged by Russia
formed no part of her original demands, but was resorted to lest those
should be satisfied. The Czar has two characters. He is, in the first
place, the spiritual head of the Russian Church. But he is not, and
knows that he is not, the spiritual head of the whole Greek Church;
still less of the Armenians, Nestorians, or any other Oriental body of
Christians; and least of all of those united to Rome. Each Oriental
Church has its own proper patriarch or other supreme head. And the
Czar has no more right, on any religious ground, to throw down the
gauntlet as the champion of those other Churches, than the Pope, or the
Archbishop of Canterbury. That they are neither Romanist nor Protestant
is no ground, provided they are not Russian. That their faith or rites
are more akin to, nay, even identical with his own, is no ground. He
has no authority, human or divine, for taking such: a place as the
universal champion of the East. He never pretends that members of the
Russian Church are among the persecuted, save a few pilgrims; yet he
does not limit his care to these. He is, indeed, in the second place,
the Autocrat of all the Russias. But there is no pretence that any part
of his dominions has been seized or invaded. Therefore, neither as
temporal nor as spiritual head has he a vestige of claim to interfere
individually, on the abstract ground of right. All that he could do
would be to unite with other Christian powers in representations to
the Porte. To the necessity of making these, the other Christian
powers are now awakened; too late, indeed, to prevent the solitary
aggressions of Russia, but assuredly not too late to bring out the
utter groundlessness of her pretensions.

It has always been the artful endeavour of the Czar to place his
opponents at a disadvantage, by bringing them at each step into
a position in which they shall appear aggressors. He crosses the
Pruth, professing not to declare war thereby, but merely to take a
precautionary pledge for the fulfilment of treaties. And because Turkey
justly regarded his act as a declaration of war, he calls Turkey the
aggressor. He insists on fighting out with Turkey alone a quarrel in
which all European powers have, by his acts, become interested. And
because they act on this conviction, he calls them aggressors for
interfering in a private quarrel. He has forced the fleets of Europe
to occupy the Euxine, as he the Proviuces. And, after seeing them where
they would not be if neutral, and being told how far their defence
of the weaker part would go, he seeks by the question of a simpleton
to throw on us the stigma of being the first to declare war. But the
cloven foot has been unmistakeably revealed, by his rejection of the
proposal of the Four Powers to insist on and obtain a protectorate for
all Christians under Turkish sway. And, in assigning, as the ground of
that rejection, that he will not suffer any interference with his sole
right of protection, he virtually arrogates to himself a right which
they who are its objects disallow, which no treaty ever did or could
confer upon him, and which the other powers of Europe cannot permit
him to plead. In fact, his claim of protectorate would cover almost
every class but the only one of which he is protector. He cannot be
claiming from Turkey a right to protect the Russian Church. That right
is not interfered with by Turkey, or any one else. And, of those whom
he does claim to protect, every class, however hostile to Turkey,
would infinitely prefer the rule of Turkey, mollified by Christian
diplomacy, to the temporal rule of the Czar. To this last his religious
protectorate would infallibly lead. For, if the two characters of
spiritual and temporal head are inseparable in his person in Russia,
who shall separate them in Turkey, whenever he has the power to exhibit
both? Moreover, why rest in the mere protectorate of Christians? What
if the Jew also should become an object of pity to the Czar, and he
should extort Syria from the Turk for the Jew, who has certainly a
better claim to Palestine than the Greek to Turkey?

It may, however, be argued, that all speculations as to abstract rights
are superseded by treaties, the terms of which must be kept, and by
which Turkey and other powers have recognised the right of Russia to
insist in such as her present demands, and to occupy the Provinces as
she does.

To this it must be replied, that one of the very questions at issue
is whether such compacts as those alleged exist, whether they are
capable of the interpretation put upon them by Russia, and whether
they justify the occupation of the Provinces? As to the latter, Russia
pleads the precedent of her previous occupation, unquestioned by the
European powers. But, instead of justifying the one by the other, we
should rather deny the justice of both. On the former occasion the
cause of Russia may have been good. But the goodness of the motive can
never legalise an illegal act. The former occupation should not have
been allowed. By not being awake, we let in the wedge, and we are now
suffering the penalty of having listened to the dangerous doctrine
that the end sanctifies the means. Let us disown so bad a precedent.
The thing which Russia seeks to do is, single-handed, to extort from
Turkey pledges, or the fulfilment of alleged pledges, as to her own
internal administration, the giving or fulfilling of which would be a
surrender of her national integrity, in order virtually, though not
yet nominally, to use her as a province and thoroughfare. This must
not be. If the administration of Turkey becomes a public nuisance, it
must be abated by the public verdict of nations; but it may not be
corrected by a single nation which, while it has no peculiar right to
interfere, has a peculiar interest in spoiling the offender. If Russia
has already injured Turkey, and stolen a march on Europe by treaty, now
is the time, when the operation of treaties is suspended, to see that
the evil is not repeated or prolonged, but repaired. And if, having
not yet done it, she now attempts it, every lover of fair play must
forbid her. Let us not forget, while treaties are talked of (and, in
so far as advantageous, so religiously asserted), that the position of
Turkey in Europe has the sanction of treaties without number, framed
not in ignorance of what she was, but knowing it well. If the nations
of Europe had persisted in refusing to acknowledge such an intrusive
and persecuting power, and had provided, as the first condition of
conceding to it, by diplomatic recognition, a place in the European
commonwealth, that it should afford to its Christian subjects the same
advantages as they should have enjoyed under Christian rule, or at
least that it should administer equal laws to Christians and Turks,
the case would now be widely different. But it was not so. Europe took
Turkey as she found it. And whatever immunities have since been granted
by Turkey to Christians, these have in so far been acts of free grace,
that they were no original conditions of the entrance of Turkey into
the European federation. In short, it is far too late to put Turkey on
her trial as a candidate for her place. It was never said to the Turk,
We shall take proof of you for a century or two by your conduct, before
we admit you. He has, on all secular grounds of public law, as good a
right to his place as we have to ours. We may, indeed, be bound by no
treaty to maintain Turkey, but we are bound by justice to see that it
is fairly dealt with. At all events, let us do one thing or the other.
Abolish Turkey with one consent, if you will, provided you know what
next to do. But if you deem its abolition undeserved, if you cannot
put Greece in its place, or agree how to divide the spoil, defend it
from all thieves and robbers in the meantime. Here justice and interest
are at one.

We may regret that the Turk is there; but we dare not turn him out by
the shoulder in our indignation. We must wait till that Higher Power
which sent him shall withdraw him.

No European confederacy, then, still less any single nation, can force
Turkey out of Europe by resolving to impose new conditions on it, which
it will not, or cannot accept. Yet we do not counsel the folding of the
arms in a resignation which borders on fatalism. It may come to pass
that Turkey, like any other nation, may so change for the worse its
original character, and may so sin against that common law of nations
which is more sacred than any statute or treaty, that, as madmen are
put by their neighbours in a strait waistcoat, and they who offend
against society are sent to Coventry, Turkey may provoke surrounding
Governments to vote it out of Europe.[1] “Necessity has no law.” But
has Turkey so acted? On the contrary, however far its conduct towards
Christians in the East may fall short of that ideal standard by which
Russia now takes a fancy to measure it, has there not been for a long
time, with occasional exceptions, a marked and steadily progressive
improvement in the exercise of its now declining government, as regards
them? It would need some sudden and flagrant excess to justify the
arming of Europe against it, still more to warrant the zeal of such a
solitary champion as the Czar.

But is there no other power which threatens to become, rather
than Turkey, a public offender? Are the instinctive and constant
apprehensions of all Europe on the side of Russia pure hallucinations?
Are they not so strong as to survive every fresh apprehension from
France? Is not every help which Russia has lent against revolutionary
principles accepted with suspicion, as insincere; with a grudge, as
dearly bought; with dread, as dangerous to European liberty? Whatever
ties may bind the court of Russia to others, is it not notorious that
the hatred of the whole German people to Russia is such, that no German
monarch dare tax the loyalty or the pockets of his people in behalf of
Russia, and each may count upon both, against her?

Are we so blinded by the spirit of selfish reaction, and so contracted
by the spirit of party, as to see none but those proximate evils which
the brute can feel, to apprehend danger from nothing but rebellion, and
to see wickedness in none but the radicals of Western Europe? Or are
we such devotees to the mere catchwords of Christianity, and so given
up to believe the religious phrases which political craft takes up into
its mouth, (in order to instigate its friends and paralyze its foes,)
as to be blind to the realities of things, and deaf to the claims both
of interest and of justice? Is our vision so filled with the Antichrist
who denies God, that we have no corner for him who confesses Him? Or
have we so pinned our faith to the Antichrist of Rome or republicanism
that we have no watchfulness left for the great Antichrist of the
North, who has lifted his paw to appropriate the spiritual crown of
Christ; whose name stands parallel with that of God in the hearts of
his serfs, and on the buildings of his realm; and who, at the time
dictated by Scythian cunning, will mount his chariot, to drive like
a modern Jehu in his zeal for the Lord? Are we Englishmen prepared,
after contesting it with those who have paved the way into the East
under cloud of night, to look on when the journey is undertaken in
broad day? Are we prepared to hail the tyranny of the knout, and the
treachery of the bribe, as a blessed substitute for the Bash of the
scimitar and the grasp of the spoiler? Are we who, when the fancy took
us to be suspicious, could Hardly listen to the pacific assurances of
France, ready to swallow any assurance from a government, which is
the impersonation of craft, and the tallowy unmoved countenance of
which never yet betrayed its passions or projects? Do we believe that
those who bide their time in silence are less dangerous than those who
anticipate it with bluster? Do we dream that Russia has become such an
unwieldy mass, as to endanger us only by its fall? Or do we regard the
hordes of the North, which have more than once overrun Europe in savage
disorder, as being incapable of doing so again in imperial order? If we
do, it is time that we thought otherwise.

Now is the time. War is a sad calamity everywhere, and a shameful
thing among Christian nations. Let us beware of being those to bring
it recklessly on. But, if it must come, let us beware of avoiding it
by ruin to ourselves or others. Russia has, by her own act, set us
free from our own former relations to her. Let us see to it that our
new relations be more secure. Let her not make the Black Sea a “mare
clausum.” Let her not make the Baltic a “mare clausum.” Let her not
make the Danube a “fluvium clausum,”—a European pipe with a Russian
plug. Let her not make Bornholm a Russian arsenal, the Cattegat a
Russian strait, Scandinavia a Russian province, Denmark a Russian
landing-place, or Persia a Russian highway. Rather let the Caucasus be
secured against future butchery, and Courland, Liefland, and Finland be
restored to their natural owners.

Meantime, let none, who must not, meddle in the fray. But let none, who
ought, waver. Let them take the right side, and do it heartily; for
while decision saves blood, indecision may forfeit all. We may push
neutrality into self-contradiction. And while we strike at a distance,
let us not lay ourselves bare at home. There are such things as
political feints. Moreover, if Austria, through poverty or gratitude,
or Prussia, through family ties, shall be won or neutralized by Russia,
let them remember that they do it at the almost certain risk of
intestine rebellion, and of being despoiled in Italy and on the Rhine
by foreign conquest.

Though we believe in the sure word of prophecy, we must beware of its
private or premature interpretation. And while we ought not, on the one
hand, to be paralysed in doing our duty by prophetic anticipations,
neither dare we, on the other, excite ourselves to any breach of duty
by a desire to see these realized. God will remove all oppressive
powers which stand in His way. But there are wicked powers enough
in the earth to do His work of judgment, whether on His Church or
on her enemies. We may not be our own saviours. We may not arise,
in self-will, to carry out God’s counsels. It is our part to expect
His salvation in the way of strict duty. Men may speculate about the
drying up of the Euphrates and the restoration of the Jews to their
land, as they please. We shall best commend ourselves to God, not by
skilful calculations as to the rate at which or the manner in which
the chariot of His Church, as the mystery of His Coming Kingdom, rolls
along the highways of His providence, but rather by ourselves abiding
in the chariot, and trusting to the goodness of its Guide. And the sole
true foundation on which we can build up the nobler superstructure
of holiness, is scrupulous righteousness between nation and nation,
between man and man. He only that has clean hands shall prosper in his
deed.

One word more: The votaries of reaction insist that Turkey shall be
blotted out as the gathering-place of all revolutionary spirits. But
why is it so? Not because the policy of Turkey is revolutionary, but
because he who has been the fulcrum of reaction has, by declaring
war against Turkey, opened Turkey for them as a door by which they
can attack him, and has justified Turkey in using them. Bad, nay
blasphemous, as revolutionists may be, he who would hunt them out
of the earth, must have an unclean conscience himself. He must feel
that he has not been the Shepherd of his people, and that he has more
coveted the fleece than loved the flock.

[1] See last paragraph, page 31.

London:—Printed by G. Barclay, Castle St. Leicester Sq.





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