« IndietroContinua »
TURKEY, EGYPT, AND THE AFFAIRS OF THE EAST.
There is a witchery, an enchant- lections of departed years, when “ life ment, about all that relates to the East, was new, and all was in its spring!" which throws far into the shade the The Christian, when he thinks of more homely spectacles, and the more the East, remembers “ the Man of familiar events of the western world; sorrows, who was acquainted with and which renders us fabulists rather grief"_follows him in his wanderings than historians, and novelists rather in the Holy land-gazes on that bright than biographers, when we attempt to star of Bethlehem, which led the Eastwrite of Turkey, Egypt, and the ern sages and the Eastern shepherds East. The Arabian Nights' Enter. to a stable and an infant-listens to the tainments is the mirror of Eastern life sayings of him “who spake as never and of Eastern history. The porphyry man spake," on the Sea of Galilee, on pillars, the bazaars, and baths; the the Lake of Gennesaret, on the Mount gilded barges, the embroidered ele- of Olives, and in the Temple of Jeruphants, the cloudless skies, the half- salem-weeps at the Cross of Calvary, veiled maidens of Eastern luxury ; the and in the Garden of Gethsemane, and curtains which surround the voluptu- treads with hallowed awe those plains, ous slaves of the mighty pachas, beys, or ascends with sacred rapture those and lords, of those distant climes ; the mountains, which were once gazed on feathers of the egret of Cashmere, or of by that eye which ever beamed love the argus pheasant's wing ; the costly and mercy, and which was itself armour of the cavaliers, the lake of moistened with tears, when he wept at pearl, the sacred shade of a banyan the grave of Lazarus, or over the then tree, the Brahmins of the great Pago- future fate of the Holy City. The da, the story-tellers of the East, the pious Jew, when he thinks of the East, shawl goats of Thibet, the flowered remembers that there the first man girdles, the hung strings of fine pearl, was created—that there dwelt the first the kitars to which Arab maids lis.. long-lived patriarchs, and the descentened by moonlight in the gardens of dants of Noah till long after the Dethe Alhambra, the prophet-chief, his luge—and that there the great motomb, the haram's curtained galleries, narchies of Assyria, Babylon, and the burning focusts of Brahma, the Persia, were founded and flourished. rich Divan with its turbaned heads, He remembers the land of Judea or the fur-bound bonnet of Bucharian Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Mesoshape, the full and fawn-like eyes of potamia, Chaldea, Assyria, Arabia, Persia, the small half.shut glances of and Egypt. Palestine is pre-eminentChina, the bloom of Georgia, and ly dear to him. There the kingdoms Azar's darker smiles; the splendid of Israel and Judah flourished-there pageants, the endless processions, the the temple of God was erected by King white flag of Mokauna, the hundreds Solomon—there most of the inspired of banners to the sunbeam spread, the Scriptures were written-and there, plumes, and lances, and the glittering in after ages, One arose who accomthrones; Bucharia's ruby mines, Eden's plished the all-important work of husainted shades, the mosques, mauso man redemption, and the Apostles of leums, and sepulchres of distant ages; the Saviour were supernaturally quathe camels with their camel-drivers, lified to go forth among all nations to the Hassan of the desert, the caravan- preach the gospel of eternal salvation seras, the gold-coloured campac on to a lost and ruined world. In the East, the black hair of the Eastern women, also, lay the land of Canaan, the land the perfumed rods of the Eastern halls, of promise to Abraham and his famithe variegated coories which visit the ly, the land of Palestine, named after coral trees, the blue pigeons of Mecca, the Philistines, and that land of Judea, the pagoda thrush, the birds of para- from the tribe of Judah possessing its dise, the white heron's feathers in the most fertile division, now more comUzbek Tartar's turban, and the “ Alla monly called the Holy Land, as there Acbar” cry of the Arab-are some of the ministry of Christ was exercised, the Eastern remembrances of our and there the obedience, and death, youth, and some of the dreamy recol. and resurrection, and ascension of our
Redeemer took place for our eternal and sink of their own volition; the salvation.
decline and fall of the Turkish empire, What Christian can hear of SYRIA, and the expanding power and influence and think of Antioch, now Antachia, of the Egyptian monarchy, are not the without remembering that it was doings of man, but the works of God; there that the Christians were first and we feel, as the patriarch was enso called after their Divine master ? joined to do, when approaching the
There were the mighty Babylon, the burning bush_" the place on which humble Bethany, the celebrated Beth. we stand is holy ground.” saida, the hill of Calvary, the Cana in But whilst we thus introduce to the Galilee, the well-remembered Caper- attention of our readers this mighty Daum, the rivulet Kedron, the lamente question of the “ ajfairs of the East," ed Chorazin, the distinguished Co- let it not be supposed that we shall be rinth, the famous Damascus, the cities unmindful of those “ material" quesof Decapolis, the beloved Emmaus, tions which are identified with the the adored Galilee, the awful Golgo- history of modern society, or that we tha, the destroyed Gomorrha, the of- shall not descend from the heights and ten-mentioned Jericho, the four-hilled loftiness of the mountain, to the shades Jerusalem, the dear and worshipped and retirement, obscurity and workNazareth, the ancient and venerable day character of the valley. Whilst Nineveh, the Patmos, so interesting to we would cultivate, as a source of our earliest astonishment, the Samaria, cheerfulness, excitement, and pure whose daughter's history has so often delight, the illusions of the world in been perused with delight, the Sarepta, which we have not lived, we would with whose widow we are so familiar, not forget that world in which we are the Siloam, whose healing waters we living ; that we have to do with man have heard of from our infancy, the as he is, in the age in which we are Sheba, whose Queen has surprised us suffered to play our humble part in by her unbounding riches, the Sinai the great drama of time ; and that we and the Horeb of another dispensation, are Britons as well as Christians, and the Zion, whose children's songs shall citizens of the bravest and the brightest constitute the music of heaven, the of the Isles of the ocean, as well as of Sodom, whose destruction we mourn a world created by the power and the over, the Tarsus, whose Saul after- perfections of Heaven. We have no wards became the glorious apostle of love of chimeras. We derive our the Gentiles, and the Mount Tabor of greatest enjoyments from facts. SomePalestine, on which, in very deed, times those facts are past, at other transpired the scene of the Transfigur. times present realities, and at others ation.
only viewed through the long vista of The philosopher, whether natural futurity ;-but they are facts—and our or moral, the poet, the linguist, the faith is no more required to be exerlover of arts and sciences, the anti- cised for the future than for the past. quarian, the painter, the sculptor, the If, then, our introductory observations historian of ancient days and of by- have appeared to the man of business, gone centuries, all seek in the records, to the capitalist, to the merchant, to monuments, and recollections of the the politician, the diplomatist, or the East, materials for their minds, tastes, statesman, to be more poetic than hisand occupations; and drawing from torical, and more imaginative than those vast storehouses of knowledge real ;—if any of them shall have apand of facts, they enrich our libraries, prehended that we are disposed to adorn our galleries, and excite a livedeal in generalities rather than in lier piety in our houses and in our specialties, and in flights of fancy temples.
rather than in positive and uncontraWe approach, then, with unaffected dictable facts—let all such misapprediffidence, and yet with undisguised hensions be laid aside, lét all such misdelight, the consideration of the East conceptions be abandoned—and let a trn question; and, with the page of fair and undivided attention be granted prophecy in one hand and the light to us, whilst we unfold and develope of revelation in the other, we propose the vast subject which now occupies to open up fully this mighty and mo our minds as well as interests our mentous subject. Nations do not rise affections.
Since the incorporation of Egypt has never recognised Egypt as an inwith Turkey, the two great ques. dependent government, is at this motions, until within a few years, have ment demanding the payment of the been, Ist, whether the pachas have arrears of the khazneh, and is anxious acted honestly and fairly by the to oppose the dominion of the rebel Egyptians, as representatives of the Pacha, in that portion of its former Sublime Porte ; and 2nd, whether dominions (Syria), to which now we they have submitted to the suzeraineté must direct a moment's attention. of the Sultan, and have faithfully Syria, or Suristan, was possessed by transmitted the khazneh, or tribuie, a succession of foreign nations, before to the Sultan. The Mameluke Go- the time of Ptolemy, when it became a vernment was an episode. The Mdo province of the Roman empire. Five melouks or Mamelukes were a race centuries afterwards, when the sons of originally composed of Circassian or Theodosius divided their immense paMingrelian slaves, and for some years trimony, this country was annexed to were the only military force in the the empire of Constantinople. In this country. For many years, at the close situation it continued till the 7th cenof the past and during the present tury, when the Arabian tribes, under century, Egypt was distracted by civil the banners of Mohammet, laid it waste. wars between the contending beys, by Since that period, torn by civil wars whom its provinces were governed. and by numerous invaders, it fell In 1786, the Turkish admiral, Hassan into the hands of the Turks, who have Ali, gained several victories ; but been its masters from the beginning though he repressed, he could not to of the 16th century. It is divided intally subdue them. Iu 1811, the Pacha to the governments of Aleppo, TriMehemet Ali, having received infor. poli, Damascus, Acre, and Gaza, or mation of a conspiracy formed by the Palestine. Beys, he, under the plea of a solemn Is this province of Turkey in Asia, feast, induced 800 of the chief Mame- bounded on the north by Caramania lukes to join in a procession to Cairo. and Diarbekir, on the east by the latWhen in the citadel, tbey were en ter and by the deserts of Arabia, on trapped between the outer and inner the south by Arabia Petræa and Egypt, wall-many of them were shot, and and on the west by the Mediterranean, the rest were beheaded. An equally to b. come a portion of Egypt, under Jarge number were subsequently killed an independent crown, and separated in the neighbouring towns and vil- from Turkey,ếor is it to remain conlages, and their massacre was pursued nected with the Turkish empire ? This into Nubia, till the race of Mamelukes is one of the mighty questions which became extinct.
must erelong be resolved in the East The history of the pachas, from the -and one of those to which we must time of Selim I. downwards, would direct the attention of our readers. Of be profitless, though not uninteresting Syria itself it has been truly said, -and it would prolong this article to On Syria's plains, though plenty bills her an unreasonable length. It is only horn, necessary to be borne in mind, that the And Smyrna's fruitful fields abound in corn, Pacha of Egypt, up to very
Deem not those happy in the peaceful shade, was the acknowledged subject of the Whom earthquake, tire, and pestilence inPorte; that, with but
vade, tions, the submission of the pachas Whose freeborn souls to haughty despots was complete ; and that, although in
bow, consequence of the gradual weakening And for tyrannic pachas hold the plough.' of Turkey by the defection of her al If Syria and the Syrian Christians lies England and Austria, and by the were unhappy under the domination aggressions of her foes the Russians of Turkey, they are not less so under and the Greeks, her authority is so that of Ibrahim. If the Druses enmuch reduced, her power so incon- couraged the Sultan in his attempt to ceivably small, and her state so help regain Syria, they did so with sinceless, as to be unable to resist the diso- rity; and the whole of Syria is now bedience and rebellion of the present prepared to rise up against their EgypPaeha and his victorious and able son, tian oppressors. Alas! for poor Sy: Ibrahim,-yet that the Sublime Porte pia, the land of so many marvels in
ages long passed away, there is no Thus Turkey was weakened to helpe hope, we fear, for her, either from the lessness, and Egypt was strengthened expiring power of the Porte, the rising, and fortified, whilst Great Britain, fortunes of Mehemet Ali, or the tender under Whig domination, looked on at mercies of the Cabinet of St Peters, the dismemberment of the Turkish burg.
empire, and at the creation of an Egyp. We think the reader of the forego- tian dynasty, and pronounced no proing pages will now be prepared for hibition, uttered no veto. the contemporary history of Turkey France boasts that the treaty of Egypt-Syria—the Sultan--the Pa Kutahia was favourable to her views, cha—and the approaching dénouement. and satisfactory to her policy. “She Let us briefly recapitulate the events gained by the treaty of Kutahia," says of the last very few years.
the French ministerial organ, “beWe have said that the treaty of cause it is the interest of France to Unkiar Skelessi, which was that of maintain the grandeur of Egypt.” But 1832, between Turkey and Russia, why is France interested in maintain. made Turkey the vassal of the Russian, ing the “ grandeur of Egypt ?” empire ; and now we add, that the First, That she may carry on with treaty of Kutahia, previously signed Egypt an extensive and most profitable between the Porte and the Pacha, destroyed the integrity of the Ottoman Second, That she may, carry on with empire, and constituted Eyypt an in- Syria a large and beneficial trade. dependent province or nation. Yet Third, That the new French pose the great Lord Chatham exclaimed, sessions in the Barbary States may " I do not take the pains to discuss the have a powerful and independent ally question of the East with any man who on the north of Africa. does not perceive that the independ Fourth, That France may, by her ence of the Ottoman empire is a ques- alliance with Egypt, be able to exer. tion of life and death to Great Bricise a control over the maritime influ. tain." Was Lord Chatham right- ence of England, and, above all, may or is Lord Palmerston a better patriot, possess sufficient influence with the an abler diplomatist, and a more pro. Egyptian Government to prevent found statesman? We shall see here- Great Britain from greatly profiting after.
from her proposed land communicaThe treaty of Unkiar Skelessi tied tions with India. and bound the Ottoman Porte, and Fifth, That France may concur with placed it in the hands of its old ene- Egypt, when powerful and independ. my, Russia. The treaty of Kutahia' ent, iu preventing the northern powers gave Syria to the Pacha of Egypt. of Europe from gaining any footing The Porte had lost all but Syria. in the north of Africa, or in Asia Moldavia, Wallachia, Greece_all Minor, and any permanent and im, all had been taken ;-Russia was mis- portant influence in the Mediterra. tress de facto of the Dardanelles, Egypt was only nominally subject to Sirth, That France may, in con. the Porte, to whom it even refused the junction with Egypt, keep Turkey in payment of the tribute ; but Syria was a feeble and helpless state, by perpe left. Well, Syria was sacrificed also tuating the separation of Syria from -and the Porte stood alone. The the dominions of the Porte. former treaty rendered the old ally of And, lastly, That France
thus Great Britain helpless, and dependent become in Eastern affairs a mediating on their common antagonist-Russia: power, and attain a degree of importthe latter treaty, that of Kutabia, ance and weight which never could conferred power on that Pacha whose otherwise belong to her in any Oriental ambition knows no bounds, and who questions, since neither her geograwill be the first to throw all impedi- phical, commercial, nor maritime poments in the way of Great Britain in sition entitle her to any preponder. her land approaches to her Indian possessions, if he can only make such ar France affects, indeed, to feel a great rangements with Russia as shall secure interest in the preservation of the to him and his descendants the here Ottoman empire - and the governd ditary empire of Egypt and Syria. inent declares that it must remain ins
"dis on noin on nivel
But what does France mean by The interest of France, we are told, intact ? Simply that Austria shall not is not one of conquest. Granted. But possess Bosnia and Albania, and that what is it? It is the erection of an Russia shall not take open and avowed Egyptian and Syrian empire as oppossession of Constantinople. But is posed to Turkey. This is what France this sufficient to restore life to Tur- calls the status quo. « Egypt is to key? Is this to be the compensation become a civilized state.
She is on for the loss of Egypt, Greece, and her way. France must take care not Syria, as well as of Walachia and to interrupt her progress, and not to Moldavia ?
allow it to be interrupted." But why “ La France," says one of the ablest this anxiety for the progress of Egypt? writers of the new school of politics The secret has escaped the French in that country, “ dans la question politicians of the 19th century. It is d'Orient est une puissance mediatrice. this :—for the moment, the progress Ce qui lui donne ce caractère aux of Egypt is favourable to French comyeux de tout le monde, c'est qu'il est merce and to French conquests in Afriévident qu'elle n'a en Orient aucun ca;-and eventually Egypt and Syria intérêt de conquête et d'agrandisse- may be worthy of French ambition ! ment. Elle n'a qu'un intérêt de civi. “ Commençons par fonder notre colisation."
lonie d'Alger," cries the monarchical But what is this interest of France, organ of the Revolution of July. And when examined closely, and searched what afterwards ? Listen to the folto its heart ? We are told that such lowing announcement:interest is to maintain the Ottoman “ Tant que la guerre sera contenue: empire in its present state and we are entre l’Egypt et la Turquie, tant que: assured that such state is one of inde- le traité de Kutahia seulement sera eni pendence. It is no such thing. The question, la question sera encore toutOttoman Porte is dependent. It is a-fait Orientale." dependent on Russia on the one hand, Yes; but when it shall cease to be. and on the Pacha of Egypt on the wholly Oriental, when that war, as to other. The French politicians tell the East, which Marshal Soult, the us, that the present independence of Premier of France, has just declared
Turkey is necessary to the preservation at the French tribune to be sooner or of the European equilibrium. But we later inevitable, shall break out, what replythat the equilibrium was destroyed will then be the position and conduct by the treaties of Kutahia and of Un- of France? Hear, again, the governo kiar Skelessi. When Turkey had not
ment organ: bowed her neck to the Pacha of Egypt, « Mais dès
guerre sortira de wien Syria yet belonged to the Porte ce circle, dès que le traité d'Unkiar
when Russia did not exclude from Skelessi sera aussi remis en jeu, la the Dardannelles whom she thought lutte alors s'engagera entre l'Angle. fit to proscribe ; when Wallachia terre et la Russie, la question devienand Moldavia were not under her real dra Européenne, and Dieu seul sait le: domination ; when the Black Sea dénouement." was not the private property of the Thus the policy of France is for the Czar;-there was something like an moment--for the time being—for some European equilibrium as to the affairs years to come, to favour the progress of the East ; but such equilibrium of Egypt in Syria; to assist the deveexists no longer-and Turkey must lopement of what she calls “ Egyptian fall, if the status quo be preserved. civilisation ;” to maintain intact the * But,” it is said, “ France protested treaties of Kutahia and Unkiar Skeagainst the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi- lessi ; to preserve a nominal and sham, and she could do no more.” And vhat but not real peace, between the Porte was the reply of Russia to her pro and the Pacha; to profit from this state test? o That, whenever the case of things in her trade and commerce; should arrive that the Porte should to exert her influence in preventing require her aid, in virtue of the condi. Great Britain from completing her tions of that treaty, that she should arrangements for her overland expefulfil those conditions in tho manner ditions to India ; and then, when the and to the extent she might think fits time shall come_to decide whether paying no attention to that protest
mere shall be a Turkish or an Egyp.!