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Greece and Turkey
Turkey and The Western Powers
Falling Off in Wheat Sales in England[116]

Karl Marx

London, Friday, April 21, 1854

We are informed by the Prussian Correspondence[a] that the famous Chevalier Bunsen is not recalled, but has only obtained, on his own demand, a lengthened leave of absence. Count Bernstorff is designed as his temporary locum tenens.

The Commission of Constitution of the Swedish Diet has decided, by a majority of 12 to 11, that the ministers should be impeached before the High Court of the Kingdom, for their conduct in the affair of the simplification of the taxes which has lately been under consideration.

According to a report from Mr. Meroni, Consul at Belgrade, the Austrians must be prepared to meet the armed resistance of the Servians, in case they should march their armies into Servia.

On the 3d inst., Mr. Metaxas left Constantinople, to be followed, within a delay of less than fourteen days, by 40 to 50,000 of his compatriots. No embassy was willing to act as his temporary substitute for carrying on the current business. The Austrian Embassador declined, because, England and France being the protecting powers of Greece, it was the duty of their Chancelleries to represent Greece in the interim. Prussia would not accept, because Austria had declined. The Embassadors of England and France declared the time rather unseasonable for constituting themselves the representatives of Mr. Metaxas. The Charges d'Affaires of the smaller powers thought fit anxiously to avoid making any manifestation either of sympathy or antipathy. Thus Mr. Metaxas was obliged to leave behind an Attaché of his own. But it was soon discovered that his substitute, abusing the power granted to him by the Porte, busily engaged himself in distributing passports among the Greek Rayahs, in order to enable them to join the insurgents in Albania. Consequently, the functions of the Greek Chancellery have been altogether suspended, the issuing of passports being now devolved on a commission consisting of two Turks and two Rayahs.

Simultaneously, a notice was posted up that any subject of the Kingdom of Greece, who wished to become a subject of the Sultan, might be allowed to do so on finding two respectable persons to guarantee his good conduct. As the Hellenic inhabitants of Constantinople had uttered loud threats of setting Constantinople on fire and pillaging it before their marching off, extraordinary measures have been taken by the Government. The Turks patrol by day and night, and on the promenade of Pera[117] fifty cannons are mounted. From sunset to midnight every one walking or riding through the streets or the field must be provided with a lantern; after midnight all circulation is forbidden. Another edict prohibits the export of grain. Greeks confessing the Latin religion have been allowed to remain on the responsibility of the Latin Bishops of Pera. For the greater part, these natives from Tinos, Andros, and Syros, belong to the servant class. The inhabitants of the Isle of Hydra have addressed a petition to the Porte, sharply censuring the Greek insurrection, and entreating the Government to except them from the general measure. There has also arrived a deputation of the Greek subjects of the Porte from Trikala in Thessaly, requesting it to protect them energetically against the Hellenian robbers, as whole villages had been laid in ashes by them, and their inhabitants, without distinction of sex or age, dragged to the frontiers, there to be tormented in the most cruel manner.

A feeling of doubt, mistrust and hostility against their western allies is gaining possession of the Turks. They begin to look on France and England as more dangerous enemies than the Czar himself, and the general cry is "they are going to dethrone the Sultan, and divide the land they are going to make us slaves to the Christian population." Landing south of Constantinople instead of north of Varna, the allies are fortifying Gallipoli against the Turks themselves. The tract of land on which the village is situated is) a long peninsula joined by a narrow isthmus to the continent and admirably adapted for a stronghold for invaders. It was there the Genoese of old defied the Greek Emperors of Constantinople[118]. Besides, the appointment of the new Sheik-ul-Islam[b] fills the orthodox Moslems with indignation, since they regard him as little better than a tool of the Greek priesthood, and a strong feeling begins to pervade the Turks that it was better to yield the one demand of Nicholas than be made the plaything of a knot of greedy powers.

The opposition to the Coalition Ministry and the popular indignation at their manner of carrying on the war has grown so strong that even The Times is obliged to choose between damaging its own circulation and its subserviency to the Cabinet of all the Talents, and has thought fit to make a furious onslaught on them in its Wednesday's number.[c]

The Quebec correspondent of The Morning Post writes:

"Our fleet in the Pacific is quite strong enough to capture the whole of the Russian forts and posts along the coasts of Russian America (and they have none in the interior) and those which they possess here and there among the Fox, Aleutian and Kurile Islands, the whole forming a chain from the American coast to Japan. With the capture of these islands, which are also very valuable in furs, copper, in the mildness of their climate and in some of them containing excellent harbors near the Asiatic main shore, where no good harbors exist, and of Russian America, our influence in the Pacific would be materially increased, at a period when the countries of that ocean are likely to become of that importance which has long been their due. The greatest resistance which would be offered to our fleet would be at New-Archangel, in the Island of Sitka, which, besides being strong by nature, has been completely fortified, and has now some 60 or 70 guns mounted. There are about 1,500 persons there, the garrison being about 500, and there is a dockyard where many vessels of war have been built. At most of the other posts there are but from 50 to 300 persons and few of them have works of any importance. Should France desire to acquire territory as a set off to this conquest, should we make it, she might be allowed to possess herself of Kamchatka and the neighboring coast."[d]

The Gazette's returns of wheat sold in the market towns of England and Wales exhibit a remarkable falling off as compared with those of the corresponding period of 1853, and this may be taken as a criterion of the quantity grown in each of the preceding harvests. The sales were, in

1853qrs. 532,282345,329358,886
1854qrs. 266,477256,061227,556

The last weekly return is 36,628 quarters against 88,343 quarters in the corresponding week of 1853. These returns, then, show for the three months a falling off of about half a million of quarters, when compared with the corresponding months of 1853, afford the most striking proof of the deficiency in the last crop.

The Mark Lane Express says:

"The liberal character of the foreign supply has thus far prevented the shortness of the home deliveries being severely felt, and there are still considerable quantities of wheat and flour on passage from different quarters to this country; but can we expect that the importations during the time which must necessarily elapse before the next crop can be rendered available will be on an equally liberal scale? America has drained her ports on the seaboard to furnish what we have received from thence; and, though we do not doubt that she has still considerable stores in the far west, it will need high prices to cover the expenses of transporting the same to the east coast, and from thence to England. The northern ports of Europe have been nearly cleared of previous accumulations, and the war with Russia cuts off further supplies from the Black Sea and Azoff."[e]

We offer the foregoing for the consideration of our readers, without further comment.

Written on April 21, 1854
Reproduced from the New-York Daily Tribune
First published in the New-York Daily Tribune, No. 4072, May 6;
Reprinted in the New-York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 934, May 9, 1854
Signed: Karl Marx


[a] Preussische Lithographische Correspondenz.—Ed.

[b] Arif Bey.—Ed.

[c] The Times, No. 21719, April 19, 1854, leader.—Ed.

[d] The Morning Post, No. 25055, April 21, 1854.—Ed.

[e] This quotation is given as reprinted in The Morning Post, No. 25052, April 18, 1854.—Ed.

[116] This article was entered in the Notebook as "Freitag. 21. April. Allerlei. Mark Lane".

It was included by Eleanor Marx in The Eastern Question abridged under the title "Austria and Servia.—Greece and Turkey.—Turkey and the Western Powers".

[117] Pera—a district in Istanbul (Constantinople).

[118] By the treaty of Ninfeo (1261) between the Nicaean Empire and Genoa, the latter obtained strongholds in Asia Minor, on the Straits and in the Crimea, thus establishing its domination on the shores of the Aegean and Black seas.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 13 (pp.159-162), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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