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Art. IX.-1. Voyages en Circassie, par le Chevalier Taitbout
de Marigny, présentement Consul de sa Majesté le Roi des
Pays Bas à Odessa, avec Vues, Costumes, &c. Odessa. 1836. 2. Itinéraire de Tifflis à Constantinople, par le Colonel Rottiers,
Commandeur, Chevalier de différens Ordres, &c. Bruxelles.
1829. 3. The Portfolio. Vols. 1.-V. 8vo. London. 1836-7. The interest excited throughout the British Empire and still more in all parts of Europe, by the continual encroachments of Russia to the south of the Danube, the Kuban, and the Araxes, and more especially by the late outrage committed on the British flag, by seizure and confiscation of an English merchant vessel by the Russian navy, whilst carrying on a trade with the Eastern shores of the Euxine, which appeared to have been recognized by the British governinent as legitimate, will shortly be heightened by the parliamentary investigation to which this question is about to be submitted, in consequence of his majesty's government having declined to insist on reparation from the court of St. Petersburgh.
On the political importance of Circassia, it is hardly necessary to dilate. The independence of Persia and of Turkey, the security of our Indian possessions, the respect of the independent nations of Central Asia, the free navigation of the Danube, and the emancipation from Russian control of the Principalities, and of Servia—all these questions are more or less involved in the maintenance of their national and political existence by the heroic populations inhabiting the countries situated between the Euxine and the Caspian, bounded on the north by the Kuban and the Kouma, and on the south by the Phasis and the Kour.
The first idea which suggests itself, on contemplating the contest now raging in those provinces, is an inquiry into the origin and object of the war, and the cause of the inconceivable apathy on the part of the European powers which has permitted Russia to aim at the extension of her dominion; proclaining as she boldly does, that it is her system of policy to exclude the commerce of Europe from a line of coast 400 miles in extent, excepting at two insulated points, and prohibiting altogether at those ports the importation of salt, one of the necessaries of life.
The conduct of Russia, in thus separating herself from her allies, is an anomaly in the history of Europe since the peace of Paris. It is a violation of the European compact entered into by the eight Powers at the Congress of Vienna, for the mutual adjustment of their respective claims and the final and definitive settlement of the balance of power. But it is furthermore a direct violation of all her subsequent engagements with Eng. land, by which she bound herself to seek in the arrangements for the pacification of the East “ no augmentation of territory;" and, if we once admit the right of Russia to consider herself as entitled to all the benefits of the European Alliance, whilst she daily and hourly violates the engagements to which she herself subscribed, we see no sufficient reason why her future occupation of Turkey, Asia Minor, and Greece should be considered as invalidating her claim to the rights which she acquired in 1815, when the Pruth and the Kuban were the boundaries of our then ally.
It has been pretended, in some of the state papers of the imperial cabinet, that the Ottoman empire was never even mentioned in the treaties of Vienna.
But the reason is obvious. During the long wars excited by the revolutionary spirit of France and the ambition of Napoleon, Turkey, respecting the rights of every country to form its own government, had never interfered in the affairs of other states. She was no party to the partition of Poland, to the conferences at Pilnitz. She had even consented to make peace with Russia in the year 1812, without requiring from the emperor an indemnity for an unjust war, and consequently she had no separate interests to contend for in a European congress. Her very absence from a tribunal which gave away populations without their consent, and transferred the allegiance of one people to the sovereign of another, was rather a monumental satire on a conclave of despotic powers, whose interference in the affairs of Spain, Piedmont, and Naples drew down upon them within a very short interval the indignation of freemen throughout the western and eastern hemispheres. Had it not been indeed for the instigation of the insurrectionary movement of Greece by Russian perfidy, Turkey might at this day have riveted the admiring attention of Europe on those grand principles of Arabic legislation, viz. the municipal institutions of the East, which have enabled Turkey to withstand during the last sixteen years the shock of all Europe, the revolt of Greece, and the defection of Mehemet Ali; and which leave her, after paying off all her pecuniary obligations to Russia, without levying a single new tax or borrowing an asper of foreign money, a first-rate element in the balance of power.
In the work of Colonel Rottiers, who served in the Russian army in Georgia and the Caucasus from the year 1808 to 1818, we find a very interesting elucidation of the designs of Russia in endeavouring to obtain the arrondissement of her frontiers to the south of the Caucasus on the side both of Persia and Turkey; and, when we consider that at the present moment her limits are within
nine miles of the high road by which all our manufactures pass into Persia, we can hardly imagine that any man of education and reflection can be insensible to the danger which threatens the whole of our commerce with Central Asia, our communications with India, and the imminent peril of our natural allies, the Shah of Persia and Sultan Mahmoud.
The pretensions of Russia to the right of exacting tolls at the mouth of the Danube, a pretension which, although disallowed by England, is enforced on the vessels of Sardinia and other minor powers, is equally opposed to the stipulations of the treaty of Vienna, and impedes the whole commerce of Germany with the fertile shores of Anatolia. Under these circumstances, the only hope of Europe of being able to withstand the irruption of the Scythian hordes, the only safety of England from the acquisition by Russia of the Dardanelles, and consequently of maritime supremacy in the Mediterranean, is in the valour of the heroic mountaineers of the Caucasus; who, during the last century and a half, have successfully maintained their independence against the arms and the wiles of Russia, and who, lately united under a national standard and forming a powerful confederation, are the only remaining breastwork of Europe and Asia against the avalanche which threatens the ruin of all that exists.
An English translation of the work of M. de Marigny has lately been published by Mr. Murray, together with the omissions and interpolations of the Russian censorship at Odessa. It would appear, from the introduction to the translation, that M. de Marigny was sent, in the year 1818, to establish commercial relations in the Black Sea, under the protection of the king of the Netherlands, who appointed him Vice Consul for the ports of the Black Sea, and procured him the protection of the Russian authorities; and that the manuscript narrative of M. de Marigny's Voyages was sent by him to the governor of New Russia, who, during the absence last year of the author, had them published at Odessa, adding passages calculated to mislead the European public on several points, and suppressing other passages which represented the Circassians in a light too favourable for Russian designs. The exposure which has thus been made of the long course of deception practised on the literature of the age by Klaproth and other savans acting under the influence of the Russian cabinet, is complete. The contrast between the interesting narrative of M. de Marigny and the insidious interpolations of the Russian editor is truly remarkable ; but it is impossible to peruse the pages of this work, without perceiving that the inhabitants of the Caucasus are distinguished for the noblest qualities of the heart, the most chivalrous sense of honour, and all the virtues of the heroic ages.
Since the visit of M. de Marigny to the Circassian coast in 1824, we are not aware of any authentic accounts of that country, until the publication last year in the “ Portfolio” of a Report from Circassia, by a gentleman who, we understand, was sent thither by our ambassador at Constantinople, for the purpose of ascertaining the true state of that country since the campaign of 1835. This gentleman landed at Ardler, to the south of the harbour of Pchad, and traversed the whole country to within sight of Anapa; and the romantic description which he gives of the simple yet dignified manners of the people, their contempt of danger and of death in the cause of their independence, their murderous and successful conflicts with the Russians, their capture of several menof-war which had been stranded on the coast, and of the resolute determination of the whole of the populations of the Caucasus never to submit to the arms of Russia, cannot fail to impress the reader with the deepest sympathy for the cause of Circassian independence.
In the autumn of last year, the British schooner" Vixen” sailed from Trebizond for the Circassian coast, with a cargo of salt; and the journal of the supercargo, of his interviews with the Circassian chiefs in the interior, confirms the testimony previously given in the “ Portfolio” to the success of the Circassians in their two last campaigns.
Notwithstanding the piratical seizure of the “ Vixen,” her condemnation by the Russian authorities, and the imprisonment of her captain, owner, crew, and supercargo, Mr. Bell, on his return to Constantinople, set out again for Circassia, and we understand that he has been lately followed by an English gentleman at Constantinople distinguished for his literary attainments.
The public interest respecting Circassia will shortly be heightened by the appearance of a work from the pen of Mr. Spencer, who lately published an account of his travels in Germany. Mr. Spencer visited the coast of Circassia in company with Count Woronzow, the governor of Southern Russia and Bessarabia, and, on awakening one morning whilst entering the port of Anapa, in the spring of last year, the author was surprised to find the heights commanding the town and the adjoining forests covered with a dense mass of Circassian warriors, who prevented the appearance of a single Russian beyond the guns of the fortress.
Count Woronzow landed at Anapa accompanied only by his own compatriots. Mr. Spencer was unable to divine his reason for this proceeding. He states,
" I subsequently learned, from one of the party, that the garrison was
sucessively unhealthy, and had recently experienced several disastrous reverses in their conflicts with the natives, who bad lately manifested a more determined spirit of hostility; and their attacks, being now conducted with greater military skill and discipline, had proved more murderous to their invaders. They were also said to be commanded by an English officer, who had served in India. But the last, and to me the most extraordinary, piece of intelligence was, that the country was inundated with copies of a proclamation from the king of England, calling upon the Circassians to defend their country; and that, in the event of their requiring assistance, he would forthwith despatch a powerful fleet to their aid ! Nor was this the only marvel related; for the Count himself informed me, that numerous copies of the dreadful “ Portfolio” were industriously circulated among the people. These two astonishing documents were immediately translated, and sent to shake the nerves of the cabinet of St. Petersburgh.”
The intense interest excited in Mr. Spencer's mind, and the very limited means he subsequently enjoyed of seeing Circassia, whilst under the restraint of his hospitable host, prompted him to return to Constantinople, and to make a second attempt at visiting the Caucasus by embarking in a Turkish merchant vessel at Trebizond, which safely landed him at Pchad, whence he travelled into the interior of the country. His work is on the eve of publication, and its appearance at this interesting juncture in the position of the two belligerent powers cannot fail to throw light upon a question which interests the literary and scientific not less than the political world.
Art. X.-1. Grammatik der Romanischen Sprachen. Von Friedrich
Diez. Erster Theil. (Grammar of the Romanic Tongues. By
Frederick Diez. First Part.) 8vo. Bonn, 1836. 2. Nouveau Choix des Poésies originales des Troubadours. Par M.
Raynouard, &c. Tome deuxième, contenant le Lexique Roman,
A- C. 8vo. Paris, 1836. 3. La Chanson de Rolând, ou de Roncevaux, du xiï siècle, publiée pour
la première fois. Par Francisque Michel. 8vo. Paris, Silvestre,
1837; London, Pickering. 4. Charlemagne, an Anglo-Norman Poem of the Twelfth century, now
first published, with an Introduction and a Glossarial Index. By
Francisque Michel. Foolscap 8vo. London, Pickering, 1836. In the breaking up of the Roman empire, as the different Teutoni: tribes established themselves in different positions, the languages which they adopted became separated by the influence of circumstances into two grand classes, which we may term Germanic and Romanic--accordingly as these people settled on the outskirts of or at VOL. XIX. NO, XXXVIII.