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to avoid that barrier and entered Turkey by way of Servia, it would be dependent for its communications on the good-will of Austria. Bearing all this in mind, we need have little difficulty in believing that the Russian Government honestly endeavoured to hold back Servia and Montenegro, and really desired the immediate pacification of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Why then did it not speak out in clear unmistakable language, and at least suppress the popular movement within its own borders?

Some people declare that the movement was too strong for the Government, that Autocracy in Russia has lost its power, and that the Tsar, like despotic rulers in general, must periodically go to war in order to avert the attention of his subjects from home politics. All these suppositions are utterly false. Russian autocracy, founded on the unbounded hereditary devotion of the people-peasantry and nobles alike—cannot for a moment be compared with French autocracy in the time of Napoleon III.; and never was the Autocratic Power in Russia stronger or more secure than at the present moment. The Government could not, of course, have prevented its subjects from sympathising with the Slavs, but it could at once have closed all sections of the Slavonic Committee, prevented the enrolment of volunteers, and suppressed the popular demonstrations.

And yet it must be confessed that the Government was in a certain sense "forced" to take part in the movement. In the Slavonic Question there is a purely political as well as a sentimental element.

The aspirations of the Southern Slavs, however visionary they may be, add in many ways to the influence of Russia, and no Russian sovereign who seeks to uphold and extend the influence of his country can afford to overlook them. As soon, therefore, as any great movement takes place among the Slavs, Russia is "forced," in order to preserve her position in the Slavonic world, to take an active part, whether she desires it or not. In the present case she did not, I believe, desire it. For some time the Imperial Government evidently assumed that the insurrection would soon subside, and that all difficulties might be avoided. by "masterly inactivity," "judicious bottle-holding," and other expedients with which British statesmen are not altogether unacquainted. When this illusion was dispelled, and the Sick Man displayed an unexpected amount of military vitality, the Tsar began to feel the terrible weight of his undefined responsibilities, and sought to escape from them by preserving the concert of the Great Powers. Then came the fall of Djunis, which compelled him to act independently. Had he allowed Servia to be devastated with fire and sword, the name of Russian would have become a by-word and a reproach among all sections of the Slavonic race. But he still desired, if possible, to avoid war, and accordingly showed himself ready to make all manner of concessions. Thus, all through the negotiations, Russia has played the part of a man who wishes to keep a fire lighted, and yet does not wish to expend fuel. Again and again, whilst observing closely her policy towards the Servians and

Montenegrins, I have been reminded of the anecdote about the French revolutionary leader, who, before advancing to a barricade, pointed to the crowd and whispered confidentially to a friend: "Il faut bien les suivre; je suis leur chef!"

Whatever the result of the present negotiations may be, the arrangement will be merely temporary. We ought always to remember that, as Mr. Grant Duff graphically puts it, "the Christian races inhabiting the Eastern Peninsula must eventually grow over the head alike of the Turk and of the Mussulman Slavonian." And beyond the Slavonic Question lies the Eastern Question in the wider sense of the term. The destinies of Asia are to a great extent in the hands of Russia and England. Though the field is wide enough for both, and the history of the Conference gives good omens for the future, it would be childishly sanguine to assume that we shall never disagree. Let us always beware, however, of mistaking imaginary for real interests, and of fighting about a misunderstanding. Meanwhile, our duty is clear. We ought to know Russia better, and thereby avoid unnecessary collisions. It is in the hope of contributing in some small measure to this desirable. object that the present work has been written.*

Part of this chapter appeared in the Fortnightly Review for August, 1876. In former chapters I inadvertently omitted to confess my obligations to Mr. G. Asher, Professor of Law in the University of Heidelberg.

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