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LITTELL'S LIVING AGE.-No. 305.--23 MARCH, 1850.
From the United Service Magazine.
Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Vienna, and Paris, about 700 mi.
500 RUSSIAN AGGRESSION IN THE EAST.
1,200 When attacks are made by the press on the system of Russian policy they often fail in produc- In these calculations we have taken no notice ing any effect on the public mind, from the obvi- of that indefinite advance which has been made ous ignorance of the writers respecting the true by Russian influence in Asia. This is in perstate of the case. Impelled by their feelings into petual increase ; every day its emissaries are a hostile sentiment against the great depotism of multiplied, insomuch that it may almost be said the North, they forget that, in order to carry others that its revenues are chiefly employed in paving along with them, it is not enough to scatter the the way to oriental conquest. Every person has figures of rhetoric over the subject. The people heard this, and proofs of it have been laid before of this country require facts; they will not suffer many; but other events of the world distract our themselves to be hurried away by declamation, but attention, and will not suffer us to keep steadily before they can be moved on the all-important in view this most portentous circumstance. question of war or peace, will insist upon being Greater attention would, however, be paid to thoroughly informed. What has Russia done to political warnings and predictions, were those who justify our resentment? What has been the course make them to exhibit a little more caution. As of her aggressive policy? Whom has it stricken? far back as the time of Peter the First, it was beWhat empires or kingdoms has she stripped of lieved that Turkey would speedily crumble away at their territories ?
the touch of the Russian arms ; and this persuaThat the reader may agree with us at once on sion led to the campaign of 1711, which proved the subject of the portentous growth of the Rus- so disastrous to the northern power. It has ever sian empire, we will just set down, on the best since been repeated that Russia has but to march possible authority, the principal of its recent ac- into the Ottoman empire to subdue and annex it qaisitions. No mistake is here possible. We But although Turkey has been long declining, its have but to compare an ancient map of the Rus- decline has been gradual, and when, by aroussian empire with a modern map, to be convinced ing the fanaticism of the people, or appealing of the enormous strides it has made within the to their military instincts, they have been brought reigns of a few czars; and, as these have tended to face the common enemy, it has been found almost exclusively in one direction, we think the that the time has not come for trampling them reader cannot fail to comprehend how it happens finally under foot. In all half-civilized nations, that the extension of Russia is in the highest de- there exists a certain martial energy which disgree dangerous to England.
cipline might render irresistible were it seconded POPULATION OF THE BUSSIAN EMPIRE AT DIFFERENT by the political institutions of the country. In
Turkey there has been some reformation of abuses, At the Accession of Peter I., in
and the people, thus made more attached to their “ Catharine II., in 1762 25,000,000. government, have along with this feeling recovered At her death, in At the death of Alexander, in .
36,000,000 in some degree their warlike ardor; so that at 58,000,000.
the present moment Russia would be likely to The acquisitions of Russia from Sweden are encounter from Turkey a more determined resistgreater than what remains of that kingdom. Her ance than ever. acquisitions from Poland are nearly equal to the Let us, however, survey rapidly the course of Austrian empire. Her acquisitions from Turkey her progress in the East, reminding the reader in Europe are of greater extent than the Prussian that we make no pretension to present him with dominions, exclusive of the Rhenish provinces. anything more than an outline, to fill up which Her acquisitions from Turkey in Asia are nearly would be inconsistent with the exigencies of our equal in dimension to the whole of the smaller space. Had the battle of Pultava terminated in states of Germany. Her acquisitions from Persia the victory of the Swedes, the whole current of are equal in extent to England. Her acquisitions European history would probably have been difin Tartary have an area not inferior to that of ferent. Charles the Twelfth was not unfavor. Turkey in Europe, Greece, Italy, and Spain ; able to civilization ; whilst his rival, notwithstandand the acquisitions she has made within the last ing all that has been written in his praise, was eighty years are equal in extent and importance by habit and practice favorable to barbarism, to the whole empire she had in Europe before though he labored to mitigate the ignorance of that time. The Russian frontier has been ad-those subjected to his sway, for the purposes of vanced towards
policy and ambition.
Eleven years after that 34
1796 . 1825
battle, Peter established a line of forts between | wealthy province, for which he ostentatiously
there always must be between conterminous
inces, the title to which it purchased from a desIt is probable that Peter the First, though he picable adventurer. may have dreamt of the conquest of India, did Peter did not live to consummate his wickednot believe it could be easily or soon accomplished. ness, but bequeathed the darling project to his What he aimed at securing to himself in the first successors, who have trodden in his footsteps with instance, was a portion of its trade, which he a perseverance worthy of so nefarious a cause. sought to direct into his dominions through Aff- It is not, of course, to be expected that in exghanistan and Persia. To further this design, he amining the political career of Turkey we should sent an embassy to the court of Ispahan, where a find it free from the stains of ambition and prince of the Sefi dynasty still reigned in indo- perfidy. On the death of Peter, his successor, lent imbecility; and, by adroit intrigue and the Catharine, applied to the Porte, and wheedled it distribution of lavish presents among the grandees into a treaty, by which they divided a large porof the court, concluded a treaty, by which it was tion of Persia between them; after which, Russia agreed that all the silk of Persia should pass proceeded to act in her own characteristic way. directly into Russia. Nor was this all. At the By her stipulations with the traitor, Ismael Beg, town of Shammakia a number of Russian mer- she had agreed to lend Persia assistance against chants were pillaged and killed by the Lesghis, the Affghans, as a consideration for which she nominal subjects of Persia, and reparation for this was to obtain the provinces which had been ceded injury was demanded of the shah. But the to her. Instead of this, she entered into negotiamount was calculated at upwards of four mil- ations with the Affghan rebels, thus setting all lions of silver rubles, a sum impossible to be the dictates of political morality at defiance, and wrung from the Persian treasury, and therefore inviting the scorn and contempt of history. Her Peter seized upon it as a good pretext for annex- wickedness was without fruit. The meteoric ing a large province to his dominions. He ascent of Kûli Khan to the Persian throne, sounded the Caspian Sea; he launched ships upon paralyzed the designs of Russia, and forced back it, and, calling Heaven to witness that he only her ambition within its natural limits. But his designed to benefit his " dear friend, the shah,” strong hand once removed, the tide of Russian prepared vigorously to dethrone him, and take aggression resumed its ancient course, and flowed possession of his territory. The expedition was impetuously towards Teheran. undertaken; and, though the success to which it Checked for a while in its designs upon Persia, led was not quite so brilliant, the czar was suffi- Russia directed the whole force of her arms and ciently fortunate to strip his dear friend of a l intrigue against the independent tribes on her
southern border, the Circassians, the Nogais, and should not have more than one ship of war in the the Kalmuks, with parts of whom she has car- seas of Constantinople-acquired the long-coveted ried on a deadly struggle till the present hour. Azoph and Taganrog, with Kerch and Kinburn, Most persons are acquainted with the atrocities advanced her frontier to the Bogue, prepared the committed against the Kalmuks, half a million of way for the subjugation of the Krimea by estabwhom were compelled to expatriate themselves lishing her independence, and obtained the sovduring an inclement season of the year, by which ereignty of the two Kabardass.” means numbers were cut off, while the Russians For a victorious enemy, the concessions thus remained masters of the deserted country. The gained were supposed to be moderate. But to the Nogais were, in their turn, subdued, and then the Russian policy true moderation is a stranger. tide of Russian invasion rolled unimpeded against The reason of its proceeding as it did on that occathe mountains of Circassia. In the whole history sion, was the internal condition of the country, of the world, perhaps, the annals of no war are impoverished, desolated by pestilence, and agitated more strange or bloody than those which com- from one end to the other by the precursors of memorate the contest between the Circassians and civil war. The protraction of the Turkish camRussians, which, still continuing, illustrates the paign for six months longer, would have shattered all but impossibility of subduing a hardy race of the Russian empire to pieces. But Catharine's mountaineers, attached to their freedom and their triumphs abroad enabled her immediately to fastnesses, and resolved to perish rather than be quench disaffection at home; and when this had enslaved.
been effected, she proceeded with her system of Great success was obtained in other parts of plunder and devastation against Turkey, as if no the Caucasus, chiefly by means of Russian mis- stipulations had ever been entered into with that sionaries, who, going among the Ossetians, a tribe country ; seized her territories, sowed dissension in whose country there was said to be an im- amongst her feudatory princes, corrupted her mense quantity of gold, persuaded them to declare nobles, and sought, by all practicable means, howthemselves Russian subjects, and with their as- ever base or dishonorable, to accomplish her oversistance proceeded to wrest Georgia from the throw. This was preëminently the case in the Persian empire. Every step in the history of Krimea, and in all the petty principalities in the these proceedings is marked by treachery and eastern extremities of the Black Sea Precisely blood. The missionaries were impostors; the the same scheme was pursued in Ossetia, Georgia, power that employed them treacherous, and the Immaretia, Mingrelia, while the most nefarious object to be attained the most nefarious that can arts and machinations were employed to seduce be conceived. Yet the project was successful, the dependent princes from their sovereign, whethand the wedge of Russian power effectually intro- er sultan or shah. duced into Persia, which will ultimately be shat- Could we enter into the details of these transtered to pieces, and become the prey of the czar, actions, we feel assured that we should astonish unless Great Britain interferes to prevent it. the reader by the display of persevering perfidy
Immediately after these events, the ambition of on the part of Russia, which the Persians often Russia developed itself in a new field. The real met and counteracted by similar perfidy. Ono subjugation of Poland gave umbrage to Turkey, single instance may be given as a sample of the which discovered in it the most imminent danger rest. Having been foiled in all her attempts to to itself, and therefore the sultan demanded its acquire by force the southern shores of the Casevacuation by the Russian troops, and, being met pian, Russia resolved to gain her point by strataby a peremptory refusal, declared war. An am- gem. Voinovitch, a naval officer, was dispatched bassador in the East, who had very carefully with considerable force from Astrachan with orstudied the movements of Russia, thus describes ders to obtain possession of some commanding these hostilities and their consequences :
point on the Persian shore by violence or fraud. “ In the war which ensued, Russia put forth He landed in Mazanderan, about fifty miles from an energy and power for which even those who Astrabad, and easily obtained permission to erect had witnessed her former efforts, and justly esti- a counting-house, for the purpose of facilitating mated the character of the empress, were not the trade between the two countries. As might sufficiently prepared. Her
navy collected from have been expected, the Russians built a fortress, the White Sea and the Baltic, scoured the Medi- which they mounted with eighteen guns, and terranean, aided by British officers, destroyed the were thus enabled to command the whole coast, Turkish fleet, lighted the flames of civil war in and set all the native authorities at defiance. Greece, fanned them in Egypt and Syria, and Aga Mohammed, the sovereign of that part of rehearsed almost every scene of the drama which Persia, came to see the Russian fortifications, she has acted with such tragic effect within the which he greatly admired and praised. He was
a master of that dissimulation in which the Oridisastrous to the Turks, was ter-entals excel, and was so warm in his eulogiums minated by the treaty of Kuchuck Kainarji, (1774,) that the Russian officers, quite thrown off their by which Russia secured the free navigation of the guard, invited him to dine with them on board Euxine, and all the Ottoman Sea, and with the Aga Mohammed cheerfully accepted the invitapassage of the Dardanelles, on condition that she tion, and when he went thoroughly enjoyed their
last few years.
6. This war,
hospitality. But the affair could not stop here. I development of Russian ambition, which for a time The Russians having splendidly entertained him, was checked and prevented by the jealousy of he could do no other than give them an entertain-Western Europe. Apprehensions began at length ment in return. He accordingly invited them to to be entertained of the gigantic power of the dine with him in his palace in the mountains, czarina, and Sweden, Prussia, England, France, where he promised to give them a true taste of the and, ultimately, Austria itself, began to think of hospitality of Persia. Voinovitch and his com- their own danger. Nothing could excel in audacrades eagerly accepted the invitation, and pro- ity the projects of the Russian court, which kept ceeded as to a party of pleasure, but had no soon- in pay an army of emissaries charged with the er arrived, than they were surrounded by Aga office of corrupting the governors of provinces, the Mohammed's guards, placed in strict confinement, magistrates, generals, and other officers in the and informed by the prince himself that unless the service of neighboring states. The Memlook fortress they had built were immediately razed to Beys in Egypt were allured into rebellion by the the ground, he would strike off their heads, and promise of independence ; the princes of Wallaproceed at once to assail it. The crafty Russians chia and Moldavia were bought over by the same now saw themselves overreached, since it was means, and in Greece, Macedonia, and the prove clear that Aga Mohammed would not hesitate to inces on the Black Sea, similar machinations put his threat into execution. Voinovitch, there were put in practice. When alarmed for our fore, wrote a letter to the commandant of the fort commerce and our naval supremacy, and influenced ress to embark the guns, and level the walls with also it is to be presumed by loftier views, England the ground, which was accordingly done. Aga now threw herself into the struggle, and the force Mohammed then collected the Russian officers into of Russia was paralyzed. Our country was rising a body, and having ordered his guards to inflict at that time into greater and greater importance, on them the last indignities, scourged them like so that the empress of the north trembled at the the vilest of slaves to the shore, and sent them to contemplation of our fleets, and signed a treaty give an account to their empress of the results of with Turkey, which, though sufficiently advanher infamous policy.
tageous in itself, was infinitely less so than it If Catharine, however, was unsuccessful in her might have been but for us. Had we understood attempts upon Mazanderan, she was not so further the weakness of Russia we might have forced her
No doubt her projects were then of the back to the conditions of the treaty of Kainarji. most colossal dimensions, and included the total It was at this period that the first formal project subjugation of Turkey and the possession of Con- for the invasion of India was entertained by the stantinople. But these designs could not be real- Russian court. Drawn up originally by a French ized without the coöperation of the powerful officer, it was presented to Catharine by the Prince European powers, and the aid of Prussia and Nassau Sieger, and, although ridiculed by PotemAustria was purchased with the spoils of Poland. kin, was viewed with much favor by Catharine and Unfortunately the German Emperor has for nearly her courtiers. The plan was to send an army by a century been content to be little better than a way of Bokhara and Kashmér to Bengal, to restore satellite of Russia ; especially in its attempts the Great Mogul, and to rally round the Russian upon Turkey, the consummation of which would standard all the discontented spirits in India, which be the inevitable signal for the downfall of Austria it must be acknowledged were not a few. Of herself, but this the statesmen of that country can- course the Great Mogul was to be a shadow, behind not be made to comprehend. Bribed partly and which the power of Russia was to be executed with partly overreached, they have directed all the iron sternness. The design then formed has never powers and resources of their country to the ad- been since laid aside, and every step eastward taken vantage of its worst enemy.
by Russia may be regarded as a step towards the All the southern provinces of Russia now Indus. At first sight the idea of penetrating into swarmed with troops, while the Danubian frontier India across the lofty plateaus of central Asia, was overrun by the imperial forces; Catharine and the tremendous solitudes of the Hindoo Kůsh, felt that this was the moment for striking the may be regarded as in the highest degree extravameditated blow. Her object was the annexation gant; but commerce passes constantly through the of the Krimea, and her general, Potemkin, having defiles of the Himmalaya, traverses Ladak and entered it with an army ostensibly for the purpose Kashmér, and over the pass of Beniber descends of aiding its khan against the Turks, the mask into the Punjab. Ambition may follow in the was immediately thrown off, the authority of the footsteps of commercial enterprise, and it may be native prince destroyed, several leading men driven regarded as an undoubted truth that India is prointo exile, and all the Tartars that could be seized tected neither by mountains nor deserts, but by upon, men, women, and children, to the number the good swords and resolute courage of those who of thirty thousand, were remorselessly massacred hold it. in one day. Such are the acts of Russia! Such From the reign of Catharine to the present hour her mode of acquiring territory! Such the polit- Russia has pursued precisely the same policy, both ical morality which it is her mission to inculcate towards Turkey and Persia. Every war has been into mankind !
a war of aggression, every treaty has been a victory A few years later the world witnessed a further greater than any gained in the field, and every