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The Western Powers and Turkey[377]

Karl Marx

London, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 1854

The charge against Mr. Szemere of having revealed the place where the Hungarian crown[378] was concealed, was first brought forward by the Vienna Soldatenfreund, the avowed organ of, the Austrian police, and this single fact should have sufficed to prove the falsehood, of the accusation.

The police is not used to gratuitously denounce its own accomplices, while it is one of its habitual tricks to throw suspicion on the innocent, in order to cover the culpable. A man of the standing and the influence of Mr. Szemere would be the very last to be spontaneously sacrificed by the Austrian police, had they been able to secure his cooperation. If the secret was not betrayed by the indiscretion of one of the agents of Mr. Kossuth —a case by no means improbable —I cannot but suspect the Count K. Batthyány, now resident at Paris, of having been the traitor. He was one of the very few persons initiated into the secret of the place where the regalia were hidden, and he is the only man among them who has applied to the Vienna Court for an amnesty. This last fact I have reason to suppose, he will not deny.

Lord Hardinge, the British Commander-in-Chief, has been prevailed upon to withdraw his resignation. As to the Duke of Norfolk, we are informed by the correspondent of The Dublin Evening Mail, that

"a bit of Palace gossip has got wind. [...] A certain noble Duke, who holds an office at Court, in commendam, with the highest hereditary feudal dignity in the State, made a little too free, it is said, with the champagne at the Royal table, the result of which was the loss of his most noble equilibrium in the dining-room, and the involvement of Majesty itself in the catastrophe. [...] The consequence of this annoying contretemps has been the resignation of the noble Duke and the appointment of Earl Spencer as Lord High Steward of her Majesty's Household."[a]

Mr. Sadleir, the broker of the Irish brigade, has again tendered his resignation of his ministerial post, which has this time been accepted by Lord Aberdeen. His position had become untenable after the public disclosures made before an Irish court of law as to the scandalous means by which he had contrived to get into Parliament. The control of the Cabinet of all the Talents over the Irish brigade will not be strengthened by this untoward event.

The bread-riots which occurred on Friday and Saturday at Crediton, Devonshire[379], were a sort of popular answer to the glowing descriptions of prosperity which the ministerial and free trade papers thought fit to amuse their readers with at the obsequies of the year 1853.

The Patrie states from Trebizond that the Russian Chargé d'Affaires at Teheran, having demanded the dismissal of two of the most popular Ministers of the Shah of Persia, the people became excited, and the Commander of the Guard said he would not answer for public tranquillity if this demand were complied with. According to this account, it was the dread of an explosion from the dislike of the people for Russia that induced the Shah to renew his relations with the Chargé d'Affaires of England.

To the huge mass of diplomatic papers, communicated to the public, are now added a Note of the four Powers dated the 12th of December and jointly addressed by their respective Ambassadors at Constantinople to the Porte, and a new circular of Mr. Drouyn de Lhuys to the French diplomatic agents, dated Paris, Dec. 30. On perusing the Note of the four Powers, we understand the extreme agitation which prevailed at Constantinople after the acceptance of the Note by the Porte became known, the insurrectionary movement occurring on the 21st, and the necessity the Turkish Ministry was placed in, solemnly to proclaim that the operations of the war would not be interrupted nor interfered with by the renewed peace negotiations. Just nine days after the intelligence of the treacherous and cowardly butchery at Sinope had reached Constantinople and aroused throughout the Ottoman Empire one tremendous cry for revenge, the four Powers coolly invite, and the Ambassadors of Great Britain and France force, the Porte to enter into negotiations with the Czar, the base of which is that all the ancient treaties shall be renewed; that the firmans relative to the spiritual privileges octroyed by the Sultan to his Christian subjects, shall be accompanied by new assurances given to each of these Powers, consequently to the Czar; that the Porte shall name a plenipotentiary to establish an armistice; that it shall allow Russia to erect a church and a hospital at Jerusalem and pledge itself to the Powers, consequently to the Czar, to ameliorate its internal administrative system. The Porte shall not only not receive any indemnity at all for the heavy losses it has undergone consequent on the piratical acts of the Muscovite; all the chains in which Russia has made Turkey dance for a quarter of a century, shall not only be forged anew, but the prisoner shall be kept closer than before; the Porte shall lay itself at the mercy of the Autocrat by giving him humble assurances with regard to the firmans relative to the spiritual privileges of its Christian subjects, and pledging itself to him with regard to its internal administrative system; thus surrendering at once the religious protectorate and the dictation over its civil government to the Czar. In compensation for such a surrender the Porte receives the promise of "the most speedy evacuation possible of the Principalities," the invasion of which Lord Clanricarde declared to be "an act of piracy"[b], and the assurance that the preamble of the treaty of July 13, 1841[380] - which has proved so trustworthy a safeguard against Russia shall be formally confirmed.

Although the unfathomable abjectness of these pitiful "Powers" reached its highest possible pitch in frightening, some days after the event of Sinope, the Porte into a negotiation on such bases, they will not get rid of their embarrassment in this sneaking way. The Czar has gone too far to suffer even the appearance of his pretended exclusive protectorate over the Christian subjects of Turkey to be supplanted by a European one, and already we are informed by the Vienna correspondent of The Times[c] that

"Austria has demanded whether the Russian Court would object to a European protectorate over the Christians in Turkey. The reply, in most positive language, was that Russia would permit no other power to meddle in the matter of the Greek Church. Russia had treaties with the Porte, and would settle the question with her alone."

"We are also informed by The Standard that

"Nicholas will not accept any proposition not proceeding directly from the Turkish sovereign individually, thus rejecting any right of mediation or interference on the part of the European Powers—an insult to those Powers which none can regard as unmerited."

The only important passage of the circular of Monsieur Drouyn de Lhuys is that announcing the entrance of the united squadrons into the Black Sea, with a view to

"combine their movements in such a manner as to prevent the territory or the flag of Turkey from being the object of any fresh attack on the part of the naval forces of Russia."

Non bis in idem. La moutarde après la viande[d]. The Morning Chronicle of yesterday published a telegraphic dispatch from its correspondent at Constantinople, dated the 30th, stating that the combined fleets had entered the Black Sea.

"The fleets may enter the Black Sea," says The Daily News, "only to do what they have been doing in the Bosphorus—nothing."

According to The Press,

"Orders have already been sent out for one ship from the English and one from the French fleet to enter the Black Sea, and under flag of truce to enter Sebastopol. When there they are to inform the Russian Admiral that if he leaves the port of Sebastopol he will be immediately fired into."

Although the Russian fleet, at this not very propitious season, and after their glorious exploit at Sinope, have nothing whatever to call them out into the Black Sea, the Czar will not allow England and France to exclude him, even temporarily, from waters from which he has succeeded in excluding them ever since 1833.381 His prestige would be gone were he not to answer this communication by a declaration of war.

"A declaration of war of Russia against France and England," says the Neue Preussische Zeitung, "is more probable than a speedy peace between Russia and Turkey."

At Newry (Ulster), a great meeting was held for the purpose of taking into consideration the unprovoked aggression of Russia against Turkey. I am glad to be enabled, through the friendly communication from Mr. Urquhart of the Newry report, to give your readers the most remarkable passages of that gentleman's speech. Having explained, on several occasions, my own views of the Oriental question, I need not point out those topics on which I must disagree from Mr. Urquhart. Let me only remark that his views are confirmed by the intelligence that

"the peasants of Lesser Wallachia, assisted by the Wallachian soldiery, have risen against the Russians. The whole country in the environs of Kalafat and along the left shore of the Danube, is in motion. The Russian functionaries have evacuated Turmal."

After some introductory remarks Mr. Urquhart said:

...."In those matters which affect our gravest interests and intercourse with foreign States, there is neither restraint of law, nor guidance of system, there is no responsibility to the nation, no penalties for the omission of any duty, or for the perpetration of any crime; you are entirely destitute of all Constitutional means of restraint, because you are either kept in ignorance or you are misinformed. This system is, therefore, one calculated to pervert the nation, to corrupt the Government and to endanger the State. Meanwhile, you are opposed to a Government, the most crafty and systematic, the most hostile and unscrupulous, and which has worked its way to that preeminence of power by which it threatens the world, through the use which it has been enabled to make of the very Governments which it labors to overthrow — and there is this peculiarity in our condition, as there was formerly in that of Athens—that Russia has found or formed the chief instruments of her greatness in the breast of that State, whose public councils most opposed her policy. There is for this a substantive reason that England in such matters is the black spot of ignorance. The United States has a President, and he exercises the due prerogatives of royalty; there is a Senate which controls the executive, and has prior knowledge of its acts. [Hear, hear and cheers.] In France, there have been repeatedly Committees of Parliament, to investigate the national transactions, calling for documents, and bringing before them the Foreign Minister for examination. There, too, the nation is alert, according, at least, to its knowledge, and so is the Government; for on such matters hinge the existence of ministries and of dynasties. In Austria, there is at least a monarch, and he has knowledge of the acts of his servants. In Turkey and in Russia, you see that in one country the feeling of the people constrains the Government, and in the other the Government represents the will of the nation. England alone remains with a crown without authority, with a Government without system, with a Parliament without control, and a nation without knowledge. [Hear, hear.] Reverting now to the application of this state of things, to the facts before us, I have first to tell you—and it is the salient matter—that Russia has no force to effect her threats, and that she has calculated merely upon the facility of terrifying you by groundless fears, that she has had no purpose whatever of making war on Turkey, that she has no means for doing so, that she has not even made disposition for such an object, that she has calculated upon you restraining Turkey, so that she might occupy her provinces, and calculates further upon you for forcing from that State such compliance with insolent demands as shall break up the Ottoman Empire. [Hear, hear.] It is by your Ambassador in Constantinople[e] and by your squadron in the Bosphorus that she is about to achieve her ends. And here I must advert to a statement made by my gallant friend Colonel Chesney, and at the same time supply an omission which he has made. He stated that as matters stood before the Pruth was crossed, Turkey was more than a match for Russia, but he did not give you the high estimate he entertains and has expressed of the military qualities of the Turks. He stated, even at the present moment, and with all the immense advantages which you have enabled Russia to acquire, he was still in doubt whether Turkey was not a match for Russia. On this point I have not the shadow of a doubt, if you grant me two conditions—the first, that your Ambassador and your squadron are withdrawn, the second, that Turkey recovers its emasculating reliance on foreigners. But after that carne another statement, doubtingly indeed made, but which from his high authority, and there is no higher authority in these matters—may carry an undue weight or bear an unjustifiable interpretation. He said that the moment might be at present favorable for Russia, because the Danube was frozen, and she might push her forces across into Bulgaria. But what forces has she got to push into Bulgaria? Europe has for many months given heed to exaggerated statements; we have been industriously informed of the vast accumulations of her forces prepared to come in action. They were currently rated at 150,000 men, and the people were ready to believe that 150,000 men sufficed for the conquest of Turkey. I received some time ago an official statement which reduced to 80,000 men the whole number that had crossed the Pruth, of which between 20,000 or 30,000 had already perished by disease or were in hospital. The statement was sent by me to one of the newspapers, but was not inserted, being considered incredible. Russia has now published her own statement, reducing the entire number to 70,000 men. [Cheers.] Putting aside then the relative strength of both Empires, if all their forces were brought up, it must be clear that Russia had no intention of making war with such an amount of force as this. Now what was the force which Turkey had to oppose? No less than, at the time referred to, 180,000 men between the Balkan and the Danube, now increased to 200,000 men in strong, fortified positions, with a Russian force reduced to 50,000 men at the outside, and these demoralized by defeat and infected by desertion. As to the qualities of the Turkish troops and their superiority to the Russians, you have heard the testimony of General Bem; you have the living testimony of Colonel Chesney—confirmed by the events which have filled Europe with astonishment and admiration. Observe we are not now upon the point of the relative power of the two Empires but of that of the intention and mode of proceeding of the one—Russia. My argument is that she did not propose making war; because, on the one hand, she had not upon the spot the requisite force, and, on the other, that she could reckon on the Cabinet of England. Russia had no intention of making war—she has no intention now. This is what I have stated before the war—that she would enter and occupy the Principalities by the aid of England. How have I been able to prognosticate? Not, certainly, by the knowledge of Russia's designs, which thousands know as well or better than me, but by the knowledge of Englands character. But let us reconsider the case—it is too important to pass it over. Colonel Chesney said that the real question was the reserve which Russia had behind the Pruth. Of that reserve he had heard lately a great deal. Osten-Sacken, with his 50,000 men, was on full march on the Danube to retrieve the disaster of Oltenitza. Now, the 50,000 men dwindled to 18,000, and the best of all is, that even they have not arrived. [Laughter and cheering.] Taking then Colonel Chesney's number, 75,000. reduced by deaths and sickness to 50,000, and throwing into these the 18,000 of ubiquitous reserve, we shall only have, after all, 70,000 men to operate against 200,000 strongly entrenched and in a mountainous region, and at a season of the year when hitherto the Russians have invariably retired from the field.

"Now let me recall the events of the late war in 1828 and '29. Turkey was then in convulsions. Then Mussulman's sword was turned against Mussulmans; the provinces were in revolt, Greece in insurrection, the old military force annihilated, the new conscripts scarcely disciplined, and amounting only to 33,000 men. The command of the Black Sea wrenched from Turkey by British broadsides, delivered in full force in the harbor of Navarino[382], and then it was that Russia, backed by England and France, made a spring upon Turkey and reached the center of her provinces before she knew that war was declared. And how many men do you think she then judged it prudent to employ? Two hundred and sixteen thousand. [Cheers.] And yet it was only by deception and through the influence of the English Ambassador, who unfortunately had returned, that she was seduced to sign that treaty of Adrianople that was surprised from her. [Hear, hear.] Look at Turkey now, united in heart and feeling, with a heroism inspired at once by the love of country and detestation of outrages—with united authority, ample resources, able to dispose of 300,000 volunteers, of the most martial character to be found on the face of the earth—of 250,000 disciplined troops—victorious in Asia—with the command of the Black Sea—not lost, be it observed, as I shall presently show, at Sinope—with steam to convey, without loss of men or time, her contingents to the scene of action from the remotest provinces of the Empire, from the snowy heights of the Caucasus to the arid deserts of Arabia, from the wastes of Africa to the Persian Gulf—one spirit of indignation prevails—of manhood has been aroused. [Hear and cheers.] Yes, but as in the former war, a Navarino brought the Cossacks across the Balkan; so now may the screw propellers of Britain, even without war, bring Russian hulks to the Dardanelles. But I am speaking of Russian intentions. That is the point. It is in Downing-st. that this victory is to be achieved, and not in the East. Meanwhile, are you unscathed? Is there a man before me who does not suffer in substance? Is there one the price of whose bread is not enhanced, whose employment, or the employment of his capital is not curtailed? [Hear, hear.] Whose taxes are not increased? Is not Change-alley[f] convulsed? Have we not seen by this movement of Russian troops a disturbance of the money market produced equal to two-thirds of that experienced in 1847—and yet Russia has never intended war. Have we not seen the Governments of Europe degraded and the ground-work laid of insurrections and convulsions—and yet Russia never intended war. Have we not seen the Ottoman Empire exhausting itself by an enormous military establishment of half a million of men, because Russia has displaced 70,000 troops to feed at her expense and at the expense of the operatives of Great Britain? And all this because you have believed people easy of belief that Russia was so strong that she could not be resisted—Turkey so weak that she could not be supported. Really we live in an age of dreams and of fables; we are men not to believe this only, we are men to believe that Russia is more powerful than all the powers of the world banded against her. The Times makes light of the army of Moslems, makes equally light of the armies of France and the navies of England, and gravely tells us that all Europe and Turkey to boot may as soon attempt to keep the Russians out of Constantinople, as to keep the north winds from blowing across the Sarmatian Plains. And the argument as regards Europe is just as good as respecting Turkey; yet Turkey will fall, if you persevere. Russia has displaced 70,000 men, and in consequence Turkey is moved with terror and indignation—England convulsed with fear and panic—Russia, too, convulsed with shouts of laughter. [Laughter and prolonged cheering.] I have said I would revert to the affair of Sinope, or as it has been justly termed, the little Navarino. I don't refer to that ungraceful event in reference to our conduct—for we have done in this nothing more disgraceful than in the rest—but I refer to it as bearing upon the relative strength of the two parties. So considered, it has added nothing to Russia's power, and taken nothing from that of Turkey, but the reverse. It has placed in the most unmistakable light the justifiable fears of the Russians of Turkish prowess. Here we have seen a fact without parallel even in our own naval annals—frigates laying themselves alongside line-of-battle ships, and commanders casting the torch into the powder magazine, and offering themselves up for holocaust on their country's shrine. What may not be achieved against a Government which in every act, and especially in this, is the object of abhorrence and disgust to every human being. Observe that the maritime force of Turkey is untouched; not a line-of-battle ship, not a steamer has been sacrificed. Now she is doubly insured in the command of the Black Sea if the diplomatists are withdrawn; and it is they, and they alone, who have produced the so-called disaster of Sinope. But that disaster was prepared for another end; it was as a rod and a goad to urge the lagging beasts of burden in Paris and in London, and to drive them into enforcing the terms of settlement upon the belligerents. Before I entered this meeting, I heard it stated by a gentleman of the Committee, that it was perfectly competent for England and France to interpose between them if they expected by so doing to secure peace. I know that what he has stated is the general impression throughout this land, but I did not the less on that account listen to him with horror. Who gave you the right to go about the world enforcing peace by arms? It is one thing to resist aggression, it is another thing to commit it. [Hear, hear!] You cannot interpose even to save Turkey, save by declaring war against Russia. Your interposition, however, will be for Russia's behoof, and at her dictation, and with the effect of imposing conditions on Turkey which must bring her fall.... In your negotiations you will propose to Turkey to relieve her from her past treaties with Russia in consideration of an European settlement. This has, indeed, been already put forward, and has been received with acclamation by a nation which has acclaims ready for every perversion. Good Heavens! a European settlement! That is what Turkey has to rely upon. Surely your treaty of Vienna was a European settlement, and what was the result? That settlement was important by its establishment of Poland; and what befell Poland? When Poland had fallen, what did your Minister tell you respecting that treaty? Why, it was this: `That it had given to England the right to express an opinion regarding the events in Poland.' After going on to state that he had remonstrated on the subject before the event, he says: `But Russia took another view of the case.' And so it will be with your present settlement; she will take another view of the case. [Loud cheers.] These words were stated in the House of Commons; they were uttered by the very Minister" (Lord Palmerston) "who has now in his hands the fate of Turkey, as he had of Poland. But now you are warned; then you were unconscious.... Let me refer to a piece of intelligence recently published in The Times newspaper. It is there stated that our Minister in Persia had had a difference with the Government of the Shah, who was on the point of yielding, when the Minister of Russia interposed to exasperate the quarrel. Thus there you have at the one and at the same moment Russia driving England out of Persia, and England imposing Russia on Turkey. This same letter mentions that an embassy had reached Teheran; that the Afghans were in the greatest state of ferment, and that Dost Mohammed, the implacable enemy of Russia, had much at heart the success of his embassy which was to move Persia to support Turkey. Now, you will recollect that sixteen years ago, England made war against the Afghans, with the purpose of dethroning Dost Mohammed, because he was the enemy of England and the firm ally of Russia. Now, perhaps your Government believed this. If it did, it is very strange that it was not upon Russia they made war, but upon the Afghans, which was exactly the course to throw them into the arms of Russia. But your Government entertained no such belief; it then perfectly knew that Dost Mohammed, as now appears, was the implacable foe of Russia, and it was on that very account that it had attacked him. The fact has been established, and in the House of Commons it has been proved, that documents had been absolutely forged representing Dost Mohammed falsely as the ally of Russia. The Envoy of England himself sent home the original for publication. [Shame.] This is but the legitimate result of the secrecy in the Government and that ignorance in the nation to which I already referred. There is not a man in this assembly upon whom my eyes can rest, who is not by sufferance a participator in this crime, and who by this indifference to his country's acts and honor is not degraded to the position of a slave, while under the delusion that he is a freeman. [Hear, hear.] May I tell you something of what is thought of you by strangers? You have heard recently much of German influences at Court. Perhaps you would like to hear something of the opinions of German cousins of the Queen; and let me tell you, if Germany is Russian, it is England that has made her so. Listen now to these words:

"'If Turkey is not interfered with by England and France she will conquer. If, on the contrary, the Western Powers, in their infatuated subservience cannot refrain from "mediating," or from meddling with the affairs of the East, Turkey is doomed, and universal dominion of the Muscovy Cossacks will soon sway the destinies of this world! Yet how noble has hitherto been the position and attitude of poor Turkey, in spite of all diplomatic embezzlement, and though she mistook a band of assassins for her friends. Matters look, indeed, gloomy! and I have hourly been expecting a bombardment by the allied fleets of her capital in order to bend her moral heroism to disgraceful submission. The Turks may truly say: "Longa est injuria, longae ambages, sed summa sequor fatigia rerum!"[g] What a contrast in their present behavior as compared with that of England on similar occasions! they "make war"--England carries on piracy. Recollect only the "Declaration of Lima" and the invasion of Afghanistan, the bombardment of Copenhagen[383] and the battle of Navarino and then think of Turkey as it stands there at present—abased and threatened, even invaded and provoked by the "civilized world;" she remains amid all her trials, calm and judicious, firm and resolute, but serene.

"You may judge by this that there are those in the loftiest station who may sigh in vain for the privilege which your indulgence affords to me of finding a vent for my indignation, and the opportunity of warning of coming events. Suffer me then to tell you the position in which you stand. Britain presents two features, she is an idiot at home, she is a maniac abroad, an armed maniac, endangering her own life and the lives of others. You are not so individually though you are so collectively. Awaken then your individual intelligence and restrain the corporate maniac until you have time to treat the disordered brain—this system from which all the evil proceeds." [Loud and long continued cheering.]

I may add to Mr. Urquhart's speech that Lord Palmerston's last coup d'éclat[384] and the favor of the people bestowed upon him, have made him Prime Minister ,in reality, if not in name.

Written on January 10, 1854
Reproduced from the New-York Daily Tribune
First published in the New-York Daily Tribune, No. 3988, January 28, 1854;
reprinted in the New-York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 906, January 31, 1854
Signed: Karl Marx


[a] "From our Private Correspondent, London, Saturday ", The Dublin Evening Mail,No. 5466, January 2, 1854.—Ed.

[b] Quoted from Clanricarde's speech in the House of Lords on August 8, 1853, published by The Times, No. 21502, August 9, 1853.—Ed.

[c] "Vienna, Sunday afternoon", The Times, No. 21633, January 9. 1854.—Ed.

[d] None can be punished twice for the same crime. Mustard after the supper.—Ed.

[e] Stratford de Redcliffe.—Ed.

[f] A street in London where the Stock Exchange is situated.—Ed.

[g] Vergilius, Aeneid, I, 341.—Ed.

[377] Part of this article was published under the title "More Documents" in The Eastern Question.

[378] After the defeat of the 1848-49 Hungarian revolution, Kossuth and his supporters hid the regalia of the first King, Stephen, in the vicinity of Orsova, including his crown by which the Austrian emperors were crowned kings of Hungary. On September 8, 1853 the hiding place was discovered, and rumours spread about who had given away the secret to the Austrian authorities. Drawing on the information of their London correspondent A. Pulszky, the editors of the New-York Daily Tribune on October 19, 1853 wrongly accused Bertalan Szemere, a participant in the Hungarian revolution.

[379] On January 6-9, 1854 food riots began in several towns in Devonshire; they were caused by the rise in bread prices, and soon spread throughout the county. The main participants were women and children who looted foodshops. The disturbances were suppressed by the army.

[380] The Convention of 1841 on the Black Sea Straits was signed by Austria, Britain, France, Prussia, Russia and Turkey in London on July 13, 1841. According to the Convention the Bosporus and the Dardanelles were to be closed in peacetime to all foreign warships. The Convention said nothing about wartime, leaving Turkey to decide the question at her own discretion.

[381] A reference to the secret article in the Russo-Turkish treaty of friendship and mutual defence signed in Unkiar-Skelessi on July 8, 1833 (see Note 152 ↓).

[152] In the spring of 1833 Russian troops were landed in Unkiar-Skelessi, near the Bosporus, to render assistance to the Turkish Sultan against the army of the insurgent Egyptian ruler Mehemet Ali. In May 1833 the Porte, with the mediation of Britain and France, signed a peace treaty with Mehemet Ali, ceding him Syria and Palestine. However, Russian diplomats took advantage of the strained situation and the presence of Russian troops in Turkey and prevailed upon the Porte to sign, on July 8, 1833, the Unkiar-Skelessi Treaty on a defensive alliance with Russia. On the insistence of Russia a secret clause was included in the treaty prohibiting all foreign warships, except those of Russia, to pass through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. This clause remained in force until the new Egyptian crisis of 1839-41 (see Note 6 ↓). In negotiating with Britain and other powers on joint operations against Mehemet Ali, Nicholas I had to comply with their demand that in peacetime the Straits be closed to warships of all foreign states without exception.

[6] The aggravation of the Eastern question in the early 1840s was caused by the Turko-Egyptian war of 1839-41. In 1839 the Turkish army invaded Syria, which had been conquered in 1831-33 by the Egyptian ruler Mehemet Ali, but it was defeated. Fearing Russian intervention, the Western powers decided to send a joint Note to the Turkish Sultan offering their assistance. However, as a result of the struggle between Britain and France over spheres of influence in the Near East, the London Convention on military assistance to the Sultan was signed on July 15, 1840 by Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia, without France. The latter was counting on Mehemet Ali, but was soon compelled to abandon him to his fate. After the military intervention of Britain and Austria. Mehemet Ali was forced to renounce all his possessions outside Egypt and submit to the supreme power of the Turkish Sultan.

[382] The battle of Navarino took place on October 20, 1827. It was fought by the Turko-Egyptian fleet, on the one side, and the allied British, Ft-cm h and Russian fleet commanded by Vice-Admiral Codrington, on the other. The latter was sent by the European powers to Greek waters for the purpose of armed mediation in the war between Turkey and the Greek insurgents. The battle ended in a crushing defeat for the Turko-Egyptian fleet.

[383] The first Anglo-Afghan war of 1838-42 started with the invasion of Afghanistan by British occupation troops in Sind. The invasion was carried out under the pretext of rendering assistance to the pretender, the Emir Dost Mohammed's brother Shuja. However, a popular uprising in November 1841 against the British invaders and Shuja compelled the British, who sustained a severe defeat, to withdraw. For the bombardment of Copenhagen see Note 261↓.

[261] A reference to the bombardment of Copenhagen by the British in September 1807 with the aim of preventing Denmark from joining the continental blockade inaugurated by Napoleon, which forbade the countries of the Continent to trade with Britain.

[384] Palmerston announced his resignation from the Aberdeen Coalition Ministry on December 16, 1853. It was not accepted, however, and he soon returned to the post of Home Secretary.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 12 (pp.559-567), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1979
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