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    July 10, 1906

    “The Eastern Question—How It Became the World’s Question” The Medical Missionary, 15, 2, pp. 10, 11.



    AS already related, to break Russia’s hold on Constantinople and thus avoid a general war, the powers of Western Europe assumed the responsibility for Turkey July 27, 1839.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.1

    To do this they had suddenly sunk all their differences. But after they had done it they immediately discovered that the responsibility was all that they really did have. For when they began to act under the responsibility, all their differences were just as real as before. At the very first approach to the immediate question to be settled—the pacifying of Egypt—this appeared with force.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.2

    First of all, France was striving for “Supremacy in the Mediterranean.” Ever since Napoleon’s expedition into Egypt and the East, in 1798, she had counted that Egypt should rightfully be hers. Mehemet Ali was friendly to France. This was therefore such an element in her favor, that she desired only such a settlement as would leave Mehemet Ali the “full right” that he had gained.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.3

    England was now as much opposed to French influence in Egypt as she had been when Napoleon was there. And therefore, could not agree with France in supporting the ambition of Mehemet Ali; and also because of the danger that to support Mehemet’s claims would so weaken Turkey that Russia might regain her lost advantage.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.4

    Russia, still indulging her ancient ambition and hope to gain Constantinople, and with it as much of Turkish territory as possible, would not favor Mehemet’s claims because that meant alienation of Turkish territory.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.5

    “Austria and Prussia upheld Russia and hence France stood alone.”MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.6

    These four powers standing for the integrity of Turkish territory and therefore against all claim of independence for Mehemet Ali, caused France now to be left out of the “concert” as Russian had been at the first. And in the settlement of the difficulties of Turkey, these four powers now went forward without France, just as, without Russia, the original four had originated the “concert” and assumed the responsibility for Turkey. Accordingly, July 15, 1840, these four powers, without France—Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia—with a plenipotentiary of the Turkish government present, concluded the treaty of London which fixed the terms of settlement for Turkey and Mehemet Ali. “In this treaty the hereditary tenure of the Pashalik of Egypt was assured to Mehemet Ali, together with the life-long possession of a part of Syria, in case he submitted within ten days to the decisions of the Conference.” Mehemet Ali on his part was to evacuate all other parts of the Sultan’s dominions that were occupied by his troops, and must return to the Sultan the Ottoman fleet.—Historian’s History of the World, Vol. XXIV., pp. 453, 454.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.7

    These terms without being subject to any change or qualification, were handed as an ultimatum to Mehemet Ali in Alexandria by the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs on August 11, 1840. Also on that same day, in Constantinople, in answer to a question by the Turkish government as to just what would be done, and how, in the event of Mehemet Ali’s refusal, the ambassadors of the four powers gave the collective and official information that there was no ground for any anxiety on the part of the Divan as to any contingencies: the powers were now responsible for all these things. Thus on August 11, 1840, the independence of the Turkish empire vanished; the Powers had taken full control; and the Eastern Question had become a fixture in the world’ affairs.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.8

    Against the settlement made in the London Treaty, and the ultimatum presented by the powers, there was “a wild cry of protest in France” which indeed assumed at least the show of “war-like preparations.” Mehemet Ali thus encouraged refused to comply with the terms of the powers. Force was applied by the powers. “An Anglo-Austrian fleet sailed for the Syrian coast; Beirut and Acre were taken, and Alexandria was bombarded by the English commodore Napier.” A change of ministry in France robbed Mehemet Ali of all shadow of help; and out of all the terms offered, he was glad to be allowed the one item of the hereditary Pashalik of Egypt, with even this “subject to the right of investiture and appointment” by the Sultan, and with the payment of an annual tribute to Turkey. And even this favor he owed to England alone who had in it, as will be seen, a far reaching purpose.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.9

    The formation of the “concert of Europe” in the assumption by the Powers of the Responsibility for Turkey did not by any means quench Russia’s ancient purpose to possess Constantinople. It only united the other powers of Europe in such a way as the longer, and possibly the more surely, to keep her from getting it. Russia, however, still kept this great object ever before her; and the prospect became apparently so bright for “the speedy extinction of Turkey” that “in 1853 the Czar proposed to the British ambassador, Sir H. Seymour, a plan for the division of ‘the sick man’s’ inheritance as soon as he should expire.” And this was the cause of the Crimean War, 1853, September—1856, February 1.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.10

    France and Austria had gained from the Sultan certain concessions: upon which “Russian jealousy immediately awoke” and a special envoy was sent to Constantinople to make demands that “amounted to nothing less” than the granting to the Czar by the Sultan, “the protectorate over all the Sultan’s subjects professing the Greco-Russian worship—that is to say the great majority of the inhabitants of Turkey in Europe.”MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.11

    This enormous claim was urged by Russia because the Czar could not think that, just at that time especially, the Western powers were in a position to come to an understanding and to act in common,” and “he hoped to triumph over the Divan by audacity.” And if audacity should not win, then if Turkey should dare to go alone to war, the result would be the certain “conquest of Constantinople, the deliverance of Jerusalem, and the extension of the Slavonic empire.” But the Czar was mistaken all around. The Sultan seeing that Russia’s demands meant practical conquest anyhow, resolved on “making a supreme effort to sell her life dearly, if it were impossible to save it.”MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.12

    The Sultan therefore, declared war and in his desperation the king of the North went “forth with great fury to destroy and utterly to make away many.” Daniel 11:44. Also “by an almost miraculous concourse of circumstances, an alliance was formed between France and England; those two ancient and ardent rivals. And, further, this “almost miraculous” alliance for the purpose of aiding Turkey was immediately sanctioned by both Austria and Prussia in “a protocol signed at Vienna by the four Powers.”MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.13

    All this was an astonishment to the Czar. But it was too late now to stop and in going on, the Czar attempted to draw the sympathy of the people by the pretense that it was a war of religion with Russia as the champion of Christianity. He actually published a manifesto in which he exclaimed: “Again Russia fighting for Orthodoxy, England and France enter the lists as champions of the enemies of Christianity. But Russia will not fail in her sacred vocation.... Fighting for our oppressed brothers who confess the faith of Christ, Russia will have but one heart and voice to cry ‘God, our Saviour! Whom have we to fear? Let Christ arise and let his enemies be scattered!’”—Id. Vol. 17., pp. 562, 563.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.14

    The successive events of the war continued the Czar’s astonishment. And when peace was finally granted him, both the power and the prestige of Russia were greatly reduced.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 10.15

    In 1877-’79 Russia again began hostilities against Turkey. Turkey was so manifestly in the wrong that the Western powers allowed events to take their own course—till Constantinople was endangered. Russia was eminently successful; and her armies reached a point less than seven miles from Constantinople. Yet Russia did not dare to attempt to take the city; for, to do so, would be to throw Europe into war, as the English fleet had already been “directed to pass the Dardanelles.” Therefore in the treaty of San Stefano, peace was arranged between Russia and Turkey. But this treaty was not allowed to stand; the Western powers in the Congress of Berlin supplanted it with a treaty composed by all the powers; thus the powers till asserting their supremacy and sole responsibility for Turkey. Yet it is recognized that the war of 1877, more than ever “renewed Turkish dominion in Europe an impossibility.”—Id., Vol. 24., p. 433.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.1

    It is singular that while all the other Powers solidly unite to keep Russia from having Constantinople, none of them has ever made any attempt, nor has even manifested any desire, to have it for herself. When the Emperor Joseph II. of Austria met Catherine II. at Kershon, and she first opened to him the plan to take Constantinople then, he exclaimed, “What will we do with it?” There seems to be a sort of fatality of conviction that only Russia can ever really have it when Turkey goes; and that the only proper course of the other powers is simple, as long as possible, to keep her from it.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.2

    This has led to another curious course of procedure, that has caused the question concerning Constantinople and the Turkish possessions—Eastern Question,—to become the World’s Question. That is: that while all have solidly united to preserve Constantinople and the Turkish power, and also the Turkish territory so far as any actual alienation of territory is concerned, yet each power has been untiring in its watchfulness and its effort to gain control, and even to occupy, as much as possible of that territory by influence of whatever sort; so that to-day the Turkish territory outside of Europe is practically distributed among the three powers, Russia, Germany and Britain, by what is recognized and known as their “spheres of influence.” It is as though the integrity of the Turkish power and of Constantinople, were systematically held before themselves as a mere foil to their furtive grabbing, by each one, of all that she could possibly gain. And the plain endeavor is that each one shall have her sphere of influence so well established and so clearly defined, that when the inevitable day shall come when Constantinople falls and Turkey fails, they can each look one another in the face and say, Here we all are; what is the use of any fighting? Let our respective spheres of influence, be now held as permanent division and possession of the Turkish territory!MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.3

    And the conditions are now such that this could easily be done. Russia’s sphere of influence is recognized as embracing all the northern and north-eastern parts of Asia Minor. By means of railroad concession and possession, beginning at Scutari, Germany’s sphere of influence embraces all central Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia clear to Bagdad on the Tigris. Britain’s sphere, which is already largely actual possession and sovereignty, embraces Cyprus and the southern coast of Asia Minor, Egypt and Arabia. France’s sphere is commercial rather than territorial, yet it is sufficient to make her a power to be considered and reckoned with, when the day of decision and division shall come.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.4

    This drawing of spheres of influence, as to Turkish territory has led to another curious thing; that is, that these spheres of influence especially as between Britain and Russia have gradually but irresistibly been extended clear across Asia to the Pacific Ocean and now actually embrace the whole East. So that the same powers that stand, chiefly, face to face in Turkey stand also, chiefly, face to face in China.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.5

    Indeed, with only small spaces or petty states between them as “buffer states,” Britain and Russia actually stand face to face clear across Asia from the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to the Pacific Ocean. Great Britain’s sphere embracing Cyprus and the southern coast of Asia Minor, Egypt, Arabia, India, Thibet, the whole of the heart of China, and, by her present offensive and defensive alliance with Japan, even to the point of Kamchatka; and Russia’s sphere embracing northern and north-eastern Asia Minor, Persia, and Siberia to the very point of Kamchatka. From Scutari to Bagdad, Germany stands between Britain and Russia; and until Japan’s victory over Russia, in China at Kiao-chau, she also stood close in with Britain and Russia. And France holds southern China as her sphere of influence in the extreme east.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.6

    And it must be borne in mind that while these powers have been extending their spheres of influence from the Bosphorus to the Pacific Ocean, they have not hesitated to absorb amongst them all Africa also. Thus the powers that are responsible for Turkey are to-day the powers that control all Europe, all Africa, Australia and most of the islands of the Pacific; all Asia; with Britain extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the British possessions of North America.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.7

    And this is how it is, and as plain as A B C, that the Eastern Question has become and now is, and to the end will be, the World’s Question.MEDM July 10, 1906, page 3.8

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