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added to the embarrassments of the Porte; still Europe could not conceive the czar as ready to renew the struggle in which he was defeated twelve years ago, or that, in case of an outbreak between Turkey and Greece, he would grant the latter solid aid. The cabinet of St. Petersburg by public voice was called upon to give the Greeks a positive and open intimation to that effect.
Some there were who declared that Greece had only acted toward Turkey as Piedmont acted toward the two Sicilies, or as Italy, under the administration of Ratazzi, acted toward the pontifical government. There were others, perhaps, who fancied that the Moslem should recross the Hellespont, and that the European continent should contain no state not professing the Christian religion.
If Europe had freely condoned elsewhere conduct that was not easily distinguishable from that of Greece in Crete, except in point of success, the great powers seemed, in the present case, to have an acute perception of the evil of such precedents to the peace of the Continent. Such futile violations of international comity were to be discountenanced, as anarchy in Europe might be the result—whilst the Moslem of late had certainly shown himself to be a more peaceable neighbor than some of the more ambitious Christian nations.
The aggressors in the present affair were the Greeks. Their notion has been that they could play a great part in Europe and form a governing class over all the Eastern Christians in a revived Byzantine empire. It is, however, worthy of remark that the Christians of Turkey have been more eager to shake off Greek influence than Ottoman rule. The Bulgarians, for instance, thought more of being rid of Greek ecclesiastics than of bearing the civil and military authority of the Pasha. The struggles of the Greek race and Christian populations of Europe against the Mussulman did not begin with that sentimental enterprise the creation of the Hellenic kingdom, nor need they end should the Greek be devoured by the Turk to-morrow. The Mussulman power would continue to be honey-combed in Europe, and the restless and encroaching genius of the Hellene might be as active as ever in the Levant, so, simply war, or simply no war, would not permanently remedy the situation.
A project to summon a conference of the great powers on the subject of the dispute between the Porte and Greece naturally, then, found favor among diplomatists, especially as the third of the three protecting powers had been unwilling, or unable, alone, to address to Greece such a remonstrance as would have brought her to a sense of her duties, or even to join England and France in their most urgent representations. What little plea could be made for Greece was now put forward by one or two journals out of the hundreds in England and France. “Greece as a nationality was small, scarcely strong enough to stand alone,” hence a natural, even excusable, desire for territory and increased population. Her classical origin and benefactions to the civilized world were stereotyped claims. Then the peoples surrounding her, and which she had tried to seduce, had more in common with the nation. ality of Greece than that of Turkey—almost kin in blood, they possessed the same religion. If a bit of underhand Greek policy was plausible and not without admitted precedent, and it was simply fair to give the government of King George the benefit of all that could be said in mitigation of its procedure. "Napoleon the First protested against the sittings of royal committees in London, and their warlike preparations, and the English government replied that its constitution prevented its interfering with such bodies, though England and France were at the time at peace—just what M. Delyanni replied !” wrote Mr. Xenos to the Times. “Garibaldian bands with smart uniforms and colors flying left London in larger numbers than Greek volunteers left Athens, (?) still England did not stop them any more than did the cabinet at Washington suppress the bellicose declarations of the Fenians."
But Mr. Xenos knows that those royal committees despatched no Englishmen to stir up the Chouans of Brittany; had they, the Emperor would have made quick work of them, and possibly have turned upon England to stop the nuisance. Certainly he would not, like Turkey, have deferred to foreign meddling, powerful as was Great Britain. The English, too, did eventually put a stop to the Garibaldian recruitment, and the President of the United States would arrest an open Fenian invasion movement, or, in the impossibility, leave the expedition to its fate with the greatest unconcern, as in the Walker and Lopez cases.
And at the same time it was asked for the Porte why that government should consent to defer its differences with Greece to the arbitration of the great powers. It insisted upon nothing which every one of them did not admit as its due, nothing which it had not the right and means to enforce, nothing which Europe could ask it to abate, even for the sake of peace. Turkey's wish, at heart, was to be left alone—to be permitted to compel the Greeks to discontinue their malpractice. A conference under such circumstances seemed intended to impose upon the Sultan submission to the insolence of the Athens cabinet, which appeared to believe itself backed up by Russia, and perhaps by Prussia, when members of it coolly talked of the diplomatic rupture as being a warlike one, and of a continued invasion of the Ottoman territory. It was the Greeks, , in truth, who threatened war; and to propose a conference to decide whether Turkey or Greece was in the wrong, and to devise an arrangement for reconciling them, was very like taking part with Greece in the gross violation of neutrality she had so long committed and announced her intention of persisting in.
To sum up the case for a conference, the situation was thus: Greece had interfered, in a manner which her insig. nificance rendered worse than inexcusable, in the affairs of Turkey. The latter power demanded abstinence from future intermeddling. Moderation, the consistent policy of the Sultan, had appeared to be timidity in the eyes of the Greeks. The realizing of that mistake and the expression of European opinion might, with time, qualify the pretensions of the Hellenic ministers and calm the turbulence of the Greek people behind them, who, it was asserted, were fast pushing their government to a conflict. A conference, then, gained time, and afforded an opportunity for King George to retract.
Prussia, or Prussia and Russia, proposed the conference, “only to protect Greece against the punishment she has so well merited, and to compel, if possible, the Sultan to sacrifice to the falsely called interests of peace something more of his own independence,” cried the London Standard, with much truth it much bitterness. The Porte," though it did not perceive the necessity of a conference, accepted the proposition, provided that the five points of the Turkish ultimatum, above given, should form the basis of the discussion, and the Crete question be not brought forward.” The steady and rational temper of the divan was manifested by its adhesion to the project, and its appended stipulation was a natural and simple one.
The Ottoman rule in Europe has against it nature, sentiment, and visible destiny, even though the kingdom of George I. stand in the position of a culprit before the bar of Europe. By a little straining of one's reasoning, both parties might have been deemed, in some sort, amenable to a tribunal, or rather, to a council of arbitration, consisting of the protecting powers of the Greek kingdom and the signataries of the treaty of Paris of 1856. The first were responsible for the good behavior of their charge, the second for the integrity of the Ottoman empire. If the Hellenic kingdom was in the position of a protected state, and therefore of virtual subordination to its protectors, the Porte could not be regarded as exempt from the moral jurisdiction of the signataries of the treaty of Paris. As between the governments of France and Prussia, in the affair of Luxembourg, the Emperor set an example which no other sovereign need be ashamed to follow. France had been accused of clandestinely tampering with the King of Holland, and had raised thereby a menacing question as to the proprietorship of the duchy, which only a war or a conference could settle.
At five o'clock of Saturday, January 9th, under the presidency of the Marquis de la Valette, representing the French government, MM. the Count de Stackelberg, Russia; Djemil Pasha, the Porte; the Chevalier Nigra, Italy; Lord Lyons, England; the Prince de Metternich, Austria; the Count de Solms, Prussia; and Rizo Rangabé, Greece—met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Paris, and formed themselves into a conference, all parties, excepting M. Rangabé, representing those governments which signed the treaty of Paris in 1856. The representative of Greece present had merely a consultive voice, the avowed object of the conference being how far there was reason to give satisfaction to the demands of the Turkish ultimatum. The announcement of this restriction pleased all who were apprehensive that Russia, who was now accused of “having been intriguing in every court of Europe to effect the annexation of Crete to Greece,” would endeavor to force upon the conference a declaration as to the future relation of Crete to Turkey; or that France, declared to be fickle and uncertain, would serve her own secret purposes, antagonistic to Russia and Prussia, by levying sweeping damages upon Greece. Many were lukewarm as to the productive labors of the conference, and some remained even suspicious of the ultimate result, and hinted at the possibility of France, Russia, Prussia, and Italy forming one voice and one phalanx against Turkey, England, and Austria.
What tended to simplify matters before the conference, or what was so regarded by the outside public, was the intelligence of the surrender of Petropoulakes, the Greek colonel who had so recently reached Crete with a small but well-equipped band of volunteers. The prompt discomfiture of the veteran was considered proof that the Turks had indeed completely mastered even the Greek contingent to the quondam rebellion. For upward of a year past, it was now currently known," the bloody Cretan insurrection " had been confined to a few small bands, flying from fastness to fastness, denuding and disturbing the native population, while the Turks had been steadily completing their system of cross-roads and block-houses, which Petropoulakes unexpectedly found all prepared to confuse, hector, and envelop him. Joined, from the other side of the island, by his son Leonidas, near Mount Ida, their united forces amounted to nearly 2500 men. They had but five days' provisions with them, and, of the ungrateful Christian peasants whom they had come to save, those who did not flee at their approach, having no thought but for their oil-crops, so far from welcoming the Greek soldiers, gave the Turkish troops information which enabled them to coop up the invaders in the mountains. A series of skirmishes cost the Greeks some 650 men, and chased, harassed, and without rations, they finally reached the seat of the phantom Cretan provisional government at Sphakia, in the hills. But the national government, , which had nothing to vouch for its existence but decrees and.