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of the immense strides the nation has made in territorial aggrandizement, even within the present century. The simple facts, when stated, seem almost fabulous-many of them quite as much so as the fictions of the Arabian Nights. Sometimes, indeed, Russia has received checks and met with reverses several other powers, jealous of her growing influence, combining against her ; but scarcely have her enemies time to lay down their arms, when she resumes her forward march. In order to illustrate this, we need only take a brief retrospective glance at her history ; and the first idea that strikes us in doing so is, the youth of Russia as compared to any of the other great nations of Europe.
The most ancient Russian prince of whom history gives any authentic account, is Rurick, Grand Duke of Novogorod, who reigned towards the close of the ninth century, and whose subjects, if such they could be called, were little better than savages. Even Russian historians do not pretend to claim a higher antiquity for their present monarchy than the close of the fifteenth century (A. D. 1474). There was no established government in the ancient Sarmatia anterior to this. True, the Scythians had kings; but their power was only nominal. The first Christian king was Woladimer, who commenced his reign in 981. In his time there was not a stone laid of the foundation of Moscow, the most ancient city in Russia proper. Nor was the Muscovite capital commenced until the middle of the twelfth century. It is not likely that Audrey I., who is regarded as its founder, had more than two or three hundred thousand subjects. Certainly not more than this number were willing to recognize his authority. Yet we have evidence that he made important conquests on his eastern frontier ; so important, that he excited such alarm amongst the Mongol Tartars, that they raised a powerful army, and overwhelmed all the forces he was able to bring against them.
This is the first reverse we find in Russian history, but it resulted in the complete subjugation of the people. The latter fought as long as they could; but after a most heroic struggle, that lasted for three years, they had to submit their neck to the yoke. They yielded, however, but a sullen obedience to their Tartar masters. They rose in insurrection about every third year. These struggles for independence became more and more earnest and bloody, from one decade to another, for a period of nearly three centuries, when Ivan Basilowitz succeeded, in 1550, in completely expelling the Tartars, and took the title of Czar.
No sooner did the Russians find themselves independent, than they resumed their aggressions on their neighbors to such an extent that in five years they had more than doubled their original territory. Once more the Tartars attempt to crush them. In 1571, they surprise Moscow, and butcher 30,000 of the inhabitants, without regard to age, sex, or condition. They are, however, expelled the second time, and forced to cede some of their finest provinces to the victors. These successes on the part of the Russians excited the jealousy of Poland, which was then one of the principal powers of Europe. Sigismond II. invaded Muscovy with a large army, and, after a bloody war of some three years' duration, he placed his son Ladislaus on the throne of the Czars.
This brings us to the fact so generally forgotten by writers who are adverse to Russia-namely, that no people have been more oppressive than the Poles, as long as they were able to maintain their ascendency. Even the Tartars did not oppress the Russians so much as the Poles, though be it remembered that the two latter belong to the same
All Europe sympathized with the Russians, so cruelly were they oppressed by the Poles. This is sufficiently evident from the fact that, when the former revolted in 1613, they received assistance in men and money from Sweden, Germany, and even from Italy and France. This may be called the final war of Russian independence.
The Russians having succeeded in putting an end to Polish tyranny, Michael Fedorowitz, of the house of Romanzov, the founder of the present dynasty, was placed upon the throne. Thus, when, a little more than a century later, the Empress Catharine undertook to dismember Poland, she did what, of all acts in her power, was best calculated to render her popular with her own people, who still retained a traditional hatred against the Poles. We take occasion to make this observation in passing, because nothing is so little understood, in this country and in England, as the relations between the Russians and the Poles. The latter have, indeed, been much oppressed and cruelly treated in our time; and it is well that the civilized world should sympathize with them. At the same time we should bear in mind, as a useful moral lesson-one of the most impressive that history teaches-that, however much they suffer now, the Russians
had once suffered vastly more at the hands of their ancestors. It is different with the Venetians and the Hungarians, neither of whom have ever oppressed the Austrians, who are now their masters. Besides, neither of the two former belong to the same race as the latter do; yet how much more sympathy do the Poles continue to command than either the Venetians or the Hungarians ? The use made by the Poles of their power, when they had it, will account for the fact that even those powers that were to gain nothing by the change can scarcely be said to have offered any real opposition to the dismemberment of Poland. Even despots are not altogether insensible to the claims of justice, especially in cases in which their own interests are not involved. Thus the very same men who could see no great harm in the dismemberment of Poland, and the destruction of Polish nationality, gave the Greeks all the aid they required to break the Turkish yoke—aiding and assisting, at the decisive battle of Navarino, in the destruction of the Turkish fleet.
These few preliminary remarks are intended to show those, unacquainted with the subject, that it is nothing new for Russia to evince vigor, spirit, and ambition. In order to form an adequate idea of the progress she has made in extending her boundaries, it is only necessary to compare a map of old Russia to the Russia of the present day—that is, the map of a small province to that of about one-ninth part of the habitable globe. The largest of all other empires and kingdoms fall into insignificance, in point of extent, when compared to Russia. But let us see how did this vast increase take place; so that we may be able to form an opinion of what is likely to be her course in the future. To do this with any satisfaction, some details are necessary, though nothing more than an outline need be expected in our whole article.
On every side where territory was to be acquired, Russia has extended her boundaries. But we desire to call particular attention to the fact, that the point to which she has made the most gigantic strides is Central India. Nor is this the result of accident. In no other direction has she taken so much pains to extend her frontier and her influence; and she has evinced this partiality for the East ever since the accession of the founder of the present dynasty, that is, since 1613—thirteen years after the first charter of the London Company of Merchants was granted—four years after
the second charter, which may be said to have inaugurated the East India Company.
But, in order to advance successfully in Asia, it was necessary to acquire as much strength, power, and influence in Europe as possible. Accordingly we find that there is not a single nation in Europe bordering on Russia on whom the latter has not made extensive inroads. Thus, to begin with Poland, her acquisitions from that once flourishing monarchy are nearly equal to the Austrian empire. The part now belonging to Russia of the ancient kingdom of Sweden is much more extensive than the whole of the present kingdom. She has recovered from Turkey in Europe an amount of territory little, if any thing, less than the whole extent of the Prussian dominions; and she is in possession of still more of Turkey in Asia.
But it is Tartary, not Turkey, that is on the direct road to the heart of the East, and, accordingly, vastly more of the former than of the latter has been annexed-an extent of territory which we may well seem to exaggerate when we say that it presents an area equal to that of the whole of European Turkey, Italy, Greece and Spain. The next on the road is Persia, and the Shah has had to cede to the Czar an amount of territory nearly equal to England, Ireland and Scotland. One would think that this ought to satisfy the ambition even of Russia, for at least an age; but not a day is lost after its formal annexation, before the same influences are brought to bear upon China, so that, within the present year, an amount of territory, on the Amoor river, not less than 361,000 square miles, has been added to the same empire.
What is still more remarkable, if possible, than this enormous periodical increase, is the fact that the greater part of it has been made without the shedding of a drop of blood. No other country in the world, ancient or modern, has accomplished so much by her diplomacy. Thus Russia is called a semi-barbarous nation; but the influence exerted by the tongue and the pen is not a characteristic of barbarity. France and England boast of being at the head of European civilization. As nations, it cannot be denied that they are so; but neither has been able to obtain any valuable accessions from China without having recourse to the cannon and the bayonet. This remarkable success of Russian diplomacy, in cases in which the diplomacy of every other nation in Europe has utterly failed, proves, beyond dispute, that, however
inferior may be the civilization of the Russian people, the ruling classes are at least equal in enlightenment and intelligence to those of any other country in the world. Indeed, this is no longer denied, except by the thoughtless and prejudiced. Nor is the fact strange ; for nowhere else is diplomacy taught as a science as it is in Russia, especially that peculiar kind of diplomacy that is required to deal successfully with Orientals. Even in thoughtful and learned Germany, there is not so much attention paid to the Oriental languages as in Russia. In recent years, considerable attention has been paid in England to the study of Sanscrit and Hindostanee. It has become necessary, as a condition of success, for any one aspiring to become a functionary of the East India government, to understand, at least, a smattering of the two languages mentioned; but even these are studied to much greater perfection in Russia than in England.
Rarely, if ever, is a Russian ambassador sent to any country, either of Europe or Asia,
of whose language he is ignorant. It is ten to one that the Russian ministers at Vienna and Berlin not only understand German but speak it fluently; the minister at the Court of St. James is almost invariably a good English scholar, capable of conversing freely in English; while there is no educated Russian who does not understand French. And nearly the same may be said of the Russian ambassadors to the different Oriental courts-certainly to those accredited to Persia and China ; whereas it is but seldom that English ministers know any thing of the languages of the courts to which they are accredited-scarcely ever of the Persian, or the Chinese--a remark which, we are sorry to add, is equally applicable to American ministers. If the assertion of Charles V., that a man knowing four languages is worth four men, be true, in any case, it is so in that of the diplomat; who, if he understands the language of the court to which he is accredited, can certainly forward the interests of his government, and protect its rights, more effectually than four who do not. And may this not account, at least in part, for the superior success of Russia in her diplomacy?
At all events, such are the facts, and now we proceed to adduce other evidence of the enormous development of the Russian empire--that to be found in the increase of population. Judged by her population, Russia would not seem to the ordinary observer to be one-tenth as large as she is ; but even in this respect she is truly gigantic. At the accession of