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disarmament with Russia by means of an accredited representative at St. Petersburg ?
No doubt the Eastern Question is a network of difficulties and dangers, affecting very important interests, exciting violent passions, and even when lulled into a state of rest liable to break out again with ruinous activity. The elements of which it is composed explain its character. A northern Power, possessing a vast extent of territory, and capable of bringing a most formidable array of forces into the field, presses down to the south upon an empire which, though apparently verging towards its ruin, comprises whole regions of splendid fertility and the choicest positions for sway and trade. The former is thought to covet, at the very least, some important portions of its neighbour's dominions, and to seek the accomplishment of its views by an intriguing policy in times of peace, and by downright conquest in times of war. The Porte facilitates its rival's success by a system of misrule which paralyses its natural advantages, and comes in aid of strong original causes to produce a spirit of disaffection among the majority of its subjects. Russia, on the other hand, is thereby furnished with millions of partisans from within the Turkish Empire, and the energies of an impulsive sympathy from without. Of late, indeed, she has drifted into a position of which she has availed herself to assume the guise of Europe's champion, and at the same time to drive the Sultan into a singlehanded war fraught with chances fatal to his independence. Other European Powers, for various reasons and in different degrees, see at all times much to alarm them even in the prospect of a rupture between the two parties. They know that the small dark cloud on the horizon may surge into a sweeping tempest, and they must lose no time in determining when and by what means they may have to protect their own particular interests even to the extremity of war. Of such inducements to hostile action, England may be said to have the lion's share. Whatever consideration obliges her to rest her sheet anchor on peace, she may be carried into stormy latitudes by resistless forces incidental to a wide expanse of surface on land as well as at sea.
We of the British Isles have to thank Providence for being still able to hold to the anchor of peace. We are declared neutrals. But the contest which is now raging in the home of the Eastern Question throws all generalities into the shade. Public curiosity fastens eagerly on news from the seat of war, whether it be on the banks of the Danube or among the mountains of Armenia. Speculation on tip-toe strains its sight to catch a glimpse of things beyond our actual horizon, and the dimness of the objects would seem to sharpen the appetite for discovery. No wonder that such should be the case. The mill-stone is accessible to all, and I cannot deny my wish, like that of thousands, to penetrate its mysteries, and also, unlike that of many, my sense of inability to reach their place of seclusion. What opinions I may venture to entertain are at the service of my readers. The first to be mentioned turns upon the supposition that Russia is bent on something more than the redress of grievances in European Turkey. If so, the present appearances warrant a conjecture that the intended passage of the Danube is a demonstration, and the incursion from Circassia the reality. Imagine the Russians to advance so far on the two lines of invasion as to bring the Porte to terms. What more plausible than for them to say: 'We are content to redeem our pledge in Europe. We ask nothing there for ourselves; but we are entitled to a fair indemnity for the cost and sacrifices of war, and on this ground we propose to retain a part or the whole of territory in Asia already won and actually occupied by our armies'? A demand so appropriately stated might include a cession of Erzeroum, and with it the entrance of the Euphrates Valley, which terminates only in the Gulf of Persia. There are politicians who see in such an acquisition by Russia a danger which threatens our Indian dominions, and consequently raises the question of what should be done to counteract it. An answer may perhaps be suggested by the map. Any one who consults that oracle will perceive that distance alone presents a serious difficulty to hostile enterprise from that quarter; and surely, if we had to contend with an enemy in the Indian or Persian seas, our resources in point of force, recruiting, and provisioning, would not be inferior to his. As for the Suez Canal, it may be that our possession of shares would not preclude the necessity of employing force for the defence of its freedom; but it may perhaps fairly be said that sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, especially as we may reckon confidently on having all neutral nations on our side when called upon to act on its behalf. We must not, however, lose sight of the facilities to be derived from the river by an invading army, nor of the effect which the possession of Armenia might have in helping to cover the line of advance from the Caspian Sea into Central Asia.
Other more exposed interests may be brought into jeopardy by the existing war, should it take a turn decidedly favourable to Russia. The fettered navigation of the Danube, an indefinite occupation of the befriended provinces in Turkey, a free passage of the Dardanelles, and even the appropriation of Constantinople itself, are all contingencies which the negotiation of a peace dictated by Russian victory might raise into dilemmas of the most formidable kind. More than one question is involved in the solution they require. Which of them, if any, would leave us no choice but that of hostile resistance? Which would entitle us to the cooperation of one or more auxiliaries ? Could we enter upon hostilities with reasonable prospect of success, and with no sacrifice greater than what the fruits of success would repay? It is clear that not one of the enumerated conditions could be accepted by the Porte without more or less injury, commercial, territorial, or political, to the interests of other States, and more particularly, in some respects, to those of Great Britain. The mere introduction of Russian armed vessels into the Archipelago and Mediterranean from the Black Sea would make a very objectionable alteration in the relative position of other naval Powers, and be a constant source of anxiety and peril to the Ottoman authorities. The transfer of Constantinople itself to the possession of Russia would manifestly place the adjacent straits at the mercy of a Power whose maxims of trade and exclusiveness of policy might at any time hamper, if not suspend, the trade of Europe with the countries which they enclose. Questions of vital importance had better rest with governments and representative assemblies. But private individuals may fairly, and sometimes even usefully, hazard an opinion on exceptional points. In the present instance two things are clear to the commonest understanding; the one as pressing on every government concerned, the other as touching all that is most valuable to every inhabitant of a contented country. Every perve should at once be strained to prepare for the expected crisis, not only by readiness of measures and means within, but by union of counsels and concert of operations without. The other indispensable duty is to ascertain, as nearly as possible, the amount of effective means for a successful issue. If there be one proposition more obvious than another, it is that war, at the best, carries with it such great sacrifices that to undertake it without necessity or calculation is akin to madness. History records the consequences of neglect in these matters, and our recent proclamation of present neutrality seems to warrant the expectation of a deliberate but unfettered policy in this country.
If the Russians, like other nations of the high north, have a natural leaning towards the sun and the brighter regions of the earth, we have the assurances of their sovereign and his ministers that they confine their views of success in Turkey to points on which they have already in principle the concurrence of Europe ; and it may be found wiser to display our reliance on their sincerity, while we observe their movements with vigilance, and prepare to counteract any failure in their promises.
STRATFORD DE REDCLIFFE.
THE RIDSDALE JUDGMENT AND ITS
Four months ago we ventured to make a prophecy relative to the subject of this article. In the first number of this Review, in some comments on the Church of England, we made bold to say that the important case then before the Supreme Court might not, after all, terminate so very hopelessly for High Church interests as might be generally assumed.
The result, we think, has proved that our anticipations were correct. One of our most fair-judging daily papers, that is considered generally to represent moderate High Church views, claims the judgment as substantially a victory for the High Church party,' and speaks of the two questions that have been decided in favour of that party as of infinitely more importance than the questions that have been decided against them. This, of course, is not the opinion of the partisan papers on either side, nor does it coincide with the views of the silly and reckless persons who speak of the judgment as outrage done to common sense,' a depraving of the Book of Common Prayer,' and so forth—but it does represent what is generally felt by the sober, silent, and influential body that make up the larger half of the English Church. The fact remains that we are decided gainers ’ is the summary of an intelligent serial journal that may be considered to be a fair exponent of the views of the upper, but still reasonable, stratum of the High Church party.
The grounds for such a statement are sufficiently obvious. The only usage about which the more reasonable members of the party were thoroughly anxious has not been pronounced illegal, and, though not perfectly cleared from all ambiguity, will most probably never again come up in any future legal proceedings. The celebrant can now occupy during the prayer of consecration (provided only that his manual acts are fairly visible) that position which the historical churchman, rightly or wrongly, regards as the link of usage that connects him with the past. The mid-table position is certainly tolerated, and a modus vivendi recognised for the High Church
· Nineteenth Century, No. 1, p. 64, March 1877.
party in reference to an item of ritual observance on which they lay great stress, but which, as the bishops observed in a comparatively recent pastoral address, has never been formally declared by the Church to have any doctrinal significance.
We may then certainly claim that the expectation in reference to the general issue has proved to be correct, and that the easily made forecast has been verified.
But can we say that our comments as to the nature of the judgment have proved equally correct? What we ventured to say was that the form of expression in which the decision would be formulated would be wise, convincing, and conciliatory. Can we claim that every one of these epithets has been substantiated by the general tenor of the judgment of the 12th of May? It will be the object of this article to answer this question, and to place before the general reader an equitable estimate of a judgment on which the well-being of the whole future of the English Church depends more completely than we may be now able to realise.
We may anticipate the result of our considerations by saying that, as regards the three epithets which we have used, there is no doubt that the first has been verified; and that of the many criticisms that the judgment has undergone, few, if any, have been so marked by partyspirit as to deny that it has been not only politic but wise, and that its wisdom will be felt the more its reasoning and details are analysed. That it is also conciliatory is to be seen on every page. The whole tone of the document is considerate. The other side is stated with a fairness and frankness which not only inspire the reader with confidence, but predispose him to accept the result, whatever it may prove to be, with something more than acquiescence. Is it, however, convincing ? Here we hesitate. The judgment is transparently clear, flawlessly reasoned, and eminently fair; but it does not carry with it complete conviction. It seems to fail just where the real difficulty presents itself. The ornaments rubric appears to give a clear and specific direction, and the judgment, by its very fairness, helps us to recognise this with additional distinctness ; but when we come to the really formidable question, “ Why, then, is any one wrong in obeying the rubric ?' we feel that the answers are too subtle, and the explanations too deficient in simplicity, for any mind except that of a professional interpreter. In reading the judgment we feel ourselves out-reasoned and out-argued, but at the same time not fully convinced. Our reason seems forced one way, but our instincts take the other. This is the unfortunate impression which the judgment has produced on many candid minds, and this it is which we shall endeavour to deal with in the following pages, and, as far as we have the power, not only to analyse but to rectify.
And there is the more reason for attempting to do this, as the result at which the judges arrived is increasingly felt by all reasonable