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"Protocol Relative to the Affairs of Turkey, signed at London, March 31, 1877.

"The Powers who have undertaken in common the pacification of the East, and have with that view taken part in the Conference of Constantinople, recognise that the surest means of attaining the object which they have proposed to themselves is before all to maintain the agreement so happily established between them, and jointly to affirm afresh the common interest which they take in the improvement of the condition of the Christian populations of Turkey, and in the reforms to be introduced in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria, which the Porte has accepted on condition of itself carrying them into execution.

"They take cognisance of the conclusion of peace with Servia. "As regards Montenegro, the Powers consider the rectification of the frontiers and the free navigation of the Bojana to be desirable in the interest of a solid and durable arrangement.

"The Powers consider the arrangements concluded, or to be concluded, between the Porte and the two principalities as a step accomplished towards the pacification which is the object of their common wishes.

"They invite the Porte to consolidate it, by replacing its armies on a peace footing, excepting the number of troops indispensable for the maintenance of order, and by putting in hand with the least possible delay the reforms necessary for the tranquillity and wellbeing of the provinces, the condition of which was discussed at the Conference. They recognise that the Porte has declared itself ready to realise an important portion of them.

"They take cognisance specially of the Circular of the Porte of the 13th of February, 1876, and of the declarations made by the Ottoman Government during the Conference and since through its representatives.

"In view of these good intentions on the part of the Porte, and of its evident interest to carry them immediately into effect, the Powers believe that they have grounds for hoping that the Porte will profit by the present lull to apply energetically such measures as will cause that effective improvement in the condition of the Christian populations which is unanimously called for as indispensable to the tranquillity of Europe, and that having once entered on this path, it will understand that it concerns its honour as well as its interests to persevere in it loyally and efficaciously.

"The Powers propose to watch carefully, by means of their representatives at Constantinople and their local agents, the manner in which the promises of the Ottoman Government are carried into effect.

"If their hopes should once more be disappointed, and if the condition of the Christian subjects of the Sultan should not be improved in a manner to prevent the return of the complications which periodically disturb the peace of the East, they think it right

to declare that such a state of affairs would be incompatible with their interests and those of Europe in general. In such case they reserve to themselves to consider in common as to the means which they may deem best fitted to secure the well-being of the Christian populations and the interests of the general peace.

"Done at London, March 31st, 1877.

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One of the annexes consists of minutes of a meeting held at the Foreign Office, March 31, 1877, in which it is recorded that Count Schouvaloff made the following declaration, placing, at the same time, a pro memoriâ of it in the hands of her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State :

"If peace with Montenegro is concluded, and the Porte accepts the advice of Europe and shows itself ready to replace its forces on a peace footing, and seriously to undertake the reforms mentioned in the protocol, let it send to St. Petersburg a special envoy to treat of disarmament, to which his Majesty the Emperor would also on his part consent. If massacres similar to those which have stained Bulgaria with blood take place, this would necessarily put a stop to the measures of demobilisation."

At the same time, the Earl of Derby read and delivered to each of the other plenipotentiaries the following declaration :

"Inasmuch as it is solely in the interests of European peace that her Britannic Majesty's Government have consented to sign the protocol proposed by that of Russia, it is understood beforehand that, in the event of the object proposed not being attained -namely, reciprocal disarmament on the part of Russia and Turkey, and peace between them—the protocol in question shall be regarded as null and void. "DERBY."

General Comte de Menabrea declared that Italy was "only bound by the signature of the protocol so long as the agreement happily established between all the Powers by the protocol itself is maintained." The signature of the protocol was then proceeded with.

In answer to this the Turkish Government addressed a Circular Note of great length to the signatory Powers, in which it refused, as energetically as at the Conference, to be placed under the tutelage and supervision of Europe, or to submit to any kind of foreign interference with its internal affairs. In a long preamble it said:"The Sublime Porte felt great regret to observe that the great friendly Powers did not think it necessary to obtain the participation of the Imperial Government at their deliberations, although questions were discussed which concerned the most vital interests of the Empire," and it went on to make the following declaration :

"1. Adopting towards Montenegro the same line of conduct which brought about the pacification of Servia, the Sublime Porte

spontaneously informed the Prince two months ago that it would spare no effort to arrive at an understanding with him, even at the price of certain sacrifices. Considering Montenegro as an integral part of Ottoman territory, the Porte proposed a rectification of the line of demarcation which secured advantages to Montenegro, and it henceforward depends entirely upon the moderate counsels which the Porte hopes will prevail at Cettinge whether this affair may be considered as terminated.

"2. The Imperial Government is prepared to apply all the promised reforms, but these reforms, in conformity with the fundamental provisions of our Constitution, cannot have a special or exclusive character, and it is in this spirit that the Imperial Government, in its full and entire liberty, will continue to apply its institutions.

"3. The Imperial Government is ready to replace its armies on a peace footing as soon as it shall see the Russian Government take measures to the same end. The armaments of Turkey have an exclusively defensive character.

"4. With regard to the disturbances which might break out in Turkey and stop the demobilisation of the Russian army, the Imperial Government, which repels the injurious terms in which this idea has been expressed, believes that Europe is convinced that the disturbances which have troubled the peace of the provinces were due to foreign instigation, that the Imperial Government could not be held responsible for them; and that, consequently, the Russian Government would not be justified in making the demobilisation of its armies dependent upon such contingencies.

5. Concerning the despatch of a special envoy to St. Petersburg to treat on the question of disarmament, the Imperial Government, which would have no reason to refuse an act of courtesy reciprocally required by diplomatic usages, perceives no connection between this act of international courtesy and a disarmament which there was no plausible motive for delaying, and which might be carried into effect by a single telegraphic order."

The Note, after further vindicating the conduct and intentions of Turkey, concludes in a strain of indignant remonstrance. It says:

"The Imperial Government, in fact, is not aware how it can have deserved so ill of justice and civilisation as to see itself placed in a humiliating position without example in the world. The Treaty of Paris gave an explicit sanction to the principle of nonintervention. This Treaty, which binds together the Powers who participate in it as well as Turkey, cannot be abolished by a Protocol in which Turkey has had no share. And, if Turkey appeals to the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris, it is not that that Treaty has created in her favour any rights which she would not possess without it, but rather for the purpose of calling attention to the grave reasons which, in the interests of the general peace

of Europe, induced the Powers twenty years ago to place the recognition of the inviolabilities of this Empire's right to sovereignty under the guarantee of a collective promise. With regard to the clause which, in case of non-execution of the promised reforms, would seek to confer upon the Powers the right of recurring to ulterior measures, the Imperial Government perceives therein a fresh attack upon its dignity and its rights, a measure of intimidation, calculated to deprive its acts of any merit of spontaneity and a source of grave complications both in the present and the future.

"No consideration, therefore, can arrest the Government in its determination to protest against the views enunciated in the Protocol of the 31st of March, and to treat it as far as Turkey is concerned as destitute of all equity, and consequently, also, of all obligatory character.

"Exposed to hostile suggestions, to unmerited suspicion, and to violations of international law, Turkey feels that she is now contending for her existence.

"Strong in the justice of her cause, and trusting in God, she determines to ignore what has been decided without her and against her; resolved to retain in the world the place which Providence has destined for her in this regard, she will not cease to encounter the attacks directed against her, with the general principles of public right and the authority of a great European Act, which pledges the honour of the Powers that signed the Protocol of the 31st of March, a document which, in her eyes, has no legal claim to exact compliance. She appeals to the conscience of the Cabinets, which she has a right to consider animated towards her by the same sentiments of elevated equity and friendship as in the past.

"Immediate and simultaneous disarmament would be the only efficacious means of averting the dangers by which the general peace is threatened.

"The reply which the Imperial Government has made above to the Declaration of the Ambassador of Russia, furnishes the Powers with suitable elements for bringing about this result, which they most assuredly will not seek to obtain by persisting in imposing upon the Ottoman Empire sacrifices of right and honour to which it will not consent."

The joint Protocol of March 31 had been presented to Turkey for her warning and instruction; but, clearly (whatever Russia meant), it was not intended by Europe as an ultimatum. The Protocol had recognised the "good intentions of the Porte." It implied that Turkey would have time given her to carry out her promised reforms; and it was only in case of her not doing so that the Powers "reserved to themselves to consider in common as to the means which they may deem best to secure the well-being of the Christian populations and the interests of the general peace." Turkey's refusal, therefore, to accede to that part of the Protocol

which touched, as she believed, her independence as a Sovereign State-her protest against allowing "to foreign agents and representatives" any "mission of official supervision" was not necessarily a casus belli; but whether Russia would make it so now became the great question of European interest.

CHAPTER V.

TURKEY AND THE RUSSO-TURKISH WAR-continued.

Russia's View of her Mission-Imperial Manifesto, April 24--Prince Gortschakoff's Note -Invasion of Turkey by Russia, April 24-Protest of the Ottoman GovernmentLord Derby's Despatch-The Ottoman Empire-Russian Army of the CaucasusTurkish Army on the Asiatic frontier-Salient Events of the commencement of the Campaign in Asia-In Europe the Russians cross the Pruth, April 24-The Rival Forces-Blowing up of Turkish Monitors-The Russians cross the Danube-The Emperor's Proclamation-Capture of Tirnova and Nicopolis- Reception of the Grand Duke Nicholas at Tirnova-General Gourko crosses the Balkans into Roumelia --Collapse of the Russian Campaign in Armenia-The Campaign in Bulgaria— Disastrous Actions before Plevna-Repulse of General Gourko's Force at EskiSagra-Conflicts in the Shipka Pass-The Capture of Loftcha-Osman Pasha's attack on the Russian left centre-His Defeat-Desperate assaults on the Turkish positions at Plevna by the Russian and Roumanian forces-Suleiman Pasha's renewed assault on Mount St. Nicholas-Shipka Pass-Battles on the Lom-Great Russian Victory in Armenia--Mukhtar Pasha's Army defeated-Battle of Kupri Koi-Collapse of Turkish defence in Asia-Fall of Kars--Investment of Plevna -Battle of Dolmy Dubnik-Other Russian successes-Favourable turn to the Turkish defence in Europe-Turkish Victory of Elena-Fall of Pievna-Development of Russia's strength in Bulgaria-Exhaustion of Turkey-Turkey's Circular Note inviting the Mediation of the European Powers--Opening of the Second Session of the Turkish Parliament--Atrocities.

TURKEY, as we have seen, contended that the Protocol of the European Powers was derogatory to her dignity and independence--a virtual abrogation of Article IX. of the Treaty of Paris-and rather than acknowledge it as binding upon her she preferred to face the alternative of war.

Russia, on the other hand, held a lofty view of her mission as the protector of the Sclavonic race. The normal government of the Sclavonic provinces of Turkey was believed to be one of injustice and oppression, varied by the grossest spoliation and outrage, which had recently culminated in the far-famed "Bulgarian atrocities"; and these had roused the passions of that large proportion of the population of Russia which was identical in blood and allied in sympathy with the suffering people of the adjoining provinces; while the pressure it exercised upon the counsels of Russia at this time was supposed to be great, if not irresistible.

Russia believed that the only remedy for the oppressed states or provinces was autonomy under foreign protection, and so one thing at least became evident-that when Russia and Turkey, the two principals in the quarrel, took such widely divergent and even antagonistic views there could be little hope that the peace of Europe would be preserved, and Europe looked forward with fore

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