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Art. VII.-1. Denkwürdigkeiten meiner Zeit, oder Beiträge zur Geschichte des letzten Viertels des 18. und des Anfangs des 19. Jahrhunderts. Von C. W. v. Dohm. Lemgo und Hannover,
1814–19. 2. Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches in Europa. Von J. W.
Zinkeisen. Gotha, 1857. 3. Geschichte des russischen Staates. Von Dr. Ernst Herrmann.
Gotha, 1860. 4. Joseph und Katharina von Russland. Ihr Briefwechsel. Her
ausgegeben von Alfred Ritter von Arneth. Wien, 1869. 5. Maria Theresia's letzte Regierungszeit. Von Alfred Ritter
von Arneth. Wien, 1876–77. 6. Die deutschen Mächte und der Fürstenbund. Von Leopold
von Ranke. Leipzig, 1871. 7. Aus der Zeit Friedrichs des Grossen und Friedrich Wilhelms III.
Von Max Duncker. Leipzig, 1876. 8. Friedrich der Grosse. Friedrich Wilhelm der Vierte. Zwei
Biographien. Von Leopold von Ranke. Leipzig, 1878. · VOU know,' said the Czar Nicholas--speaking of the mori
I bund Ottoman Empire to Sir Hamilton Seymour in 1853you know the dreams and plans in which the Empress Catherine was in the habit of indulging: these were handed down to our time; but while I inherited immense territorial possessions, I did not inherit those visions—those intentions, if you like to call them so. Not long afterwards, the publication of Catherine's correspondence with the Emperor Joseph revealed the details of these plans, of which, judging from his own overtures to the British envoy, her grandson had made himself master. After the lapse of a generation, another British envoy was solemnly assured by the Emperor Alexander II., that the current story of Catherine's Oriental aspirations was a mere fable, which ascribed to his ancestor ideas altogether foreign to her mind. One Czar having thus categorically denied that which another Czar had distinctly affirmed, and the chief depositary of the traditions of the Romanofs having rejected the evidence of authentic texts, a statement of the designs in question may not be out of place.
The works named above furnish ample materials for a narrative of Catherine's Eastern policy, and of the wars and transactions in which her ambition involved herself, her rivals, and her allies. Her so-called Dacian and Greek projects were first fully and authentically made known to the European public by Dohm, a clerk in the Prussian Foreign Office under Frederick the Great and Frederick William II., whose access to papers and
persons enabled him to produce an account which may still perhaps be quoted as the best general sketch of the subject. His picture of Catherine's plans was completely justified by the reports, subsequently published, of Sir James Harris, afterwards Lord Malmesbury, and by the documents discovered in the public and royal archives of Berlin by Herrmann and Zinkeisen, who also partly listed the veil which had obscured the negociations known to have been carried on between the Czarina and the Emperor Joseph for the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. The curiosity felt in respect to that dark business was completely gratified when Herr von Arneth published the text of the Imperial letters in question. The diplomatic moves of Austria, Prussia, and France, at the date which concerns us, may be tolerably well gathered from the works of Zinkeisen and Herrmann, taken in connection with Arneth's admirably impartial book on Maria Theresa, and Duncker's useful though incomplete essay on Frederick's seizure of West-Preussen. None of these writers are Dryasdusts. Zinkeisen does not disdain personal descriptions and incidents, and he is not unobservant of the decencies of style and arrangement incumbent on the historic artist. The philosophical illustration of the topic was reserved for Ranke, whose terse and selective manner of handling facts, and his fresco-like method of broad generalisation, always open up fresh points of view.
It is now beyond dispute that, at an early period of her reign, the .Semiramis of the North' began to revolve in her capacious mind schemes of European domination, Ottoman conquest, and Byzantine reconstruction, which for their grandeur her fabulous Babylonian namesake need not have disdained. Plans of partition were in that age no new schemes. Cromwell had replied to Charles Gustavus of Sweden, the greatest of all proficients in that line, who proposed to the Protector to cut up Denmark, that the days when it was allowable to destroy entire monarchies were gone. Yet both in his time, and in the following century, the pigeon-holes of half the Foreign Offices in Europe were full of plots for national annihilation, drawn up by adventurers, diplomatists, and ministers of State. Next to Poland, the details of whose partition had been written on paper more than a hundred years before the final catastrophe occurred, Turkey had always been a favourite patient with the Patkuls, Alberonis, and Choiseuls. The origin of most of the earlier projects of the sort, especially of those which came from Vienna and Rome, is of course to be found in that genuine terror of the Turks, which was felt in Europe up to the conclusion of the Holy War,' and of which some shadows still seem to survive in German popular
sayings sayings and traditions. Other schemes were inspired by the mere passion of spoliation; as, for instance, one concocted in the reign of Louis XIII, by the Sieur de Breves, who passed twenty-two years in French diplomatic employment at Constantinople, and printed A short Discourse of sure means for destroying and ruining the Ottoman Monarchy. It seems that the famous Père Joseph tried to make Richelieu take the Turks seriously in hand, an attempt frustrated by the Cardinal's loyalty to the system of Francis I. and Henry IV., for whom a close friendship with the Porte was always a fundamental diplomatic axiom. The same drift appears in the correspondence of Sir Thomas Roe, whose . delenda est Carthago’ recurs, in a scarcelyveiled form, almost with the regularity of the præterea censeo' of old Cato. His meaning is clear, when he laments the disunion that hinders the accord of the princes of Christendom, although * 30,000 soldiours would march unfought with to the gates of Constantinople.'
In Catherine's time, any bookseller's shop in Germany could supply an admirable plan for abolishing the Turks, signed, on the title-page at least, by a leading European statesman. Some years before her accession, there appeared in Frankfort and Leipzig a pamphlet on the solution of European difficulties, purporting to be “The famous Cardinal Alberoni's proposals' for a partition of the Ottoman Empire. The Kaiser was to surrender the Low Countries and his Italian possessions, and to compensate himself by the seizure of the Porte's territory in Europe up to the Black Sea and the Balkans. The Duke of Gottorp was to be King of Roumelia, Macedonia, Greece, and Albania, and to have his capital in Constantinople. The Turk was to be beguiled of Cyprus, as Brabantio would have said, in favour of the Duke of Savoy, who was to be a member of a new Italian Confederation. England would take Smyrna and Crete. Prussia was to annex Eubæa, while Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers fell respectively to Spain, Portugal, and France. Russia was to be satisfied with Azov and the Crimea. Holland was to receive Aleppo and Rhodes, where her energies might be less wasted than, as theretofore, on Java and the Cape. Completely anticipating the bag-and-baggage theory propounded a century and a half later, the pamphlet insisted on a comprehensive measure of Ottoman deportation. The Turks were to be carried bodily out of Europe and landed elsewhere. Cardinal Alberoni, or the bold projector who assumed his name, was very sensible that these beneficent territorial rectifications would be toughly resisted by the victims, who were accordingly to be overpowered by a general European crusade. The armament of the new
Godfrey de Bouillon or Dandolo was accurately set by him at 370,000 men of all arms and 100 ships of war, to be furnished by the Powers, including the Grand Master of St. John of Jerusalem, who was to come off with barren honour, and the Swiss Cantons, whose troops were to receive double pay.
The Cardinal's way of spoiling the Ottomans would scarcely have suited Catherine, who is said by our Prussian authority, Dohm, to have received her inspirations in this matter from a German source. Her husband, Peter III., had recalled from banishment the venerable Marshal Münnich, who, after winning for the Empress Anna Ivanovna a series of splendid victories over the Turks, had finally, in the course of the revolutions of the Empire, been sent to Siberia for twenty years of that old age which he had hoped, in reward of his services, to spend as the sovereign of an independent Moldavian State. Returned to Europe, and restored to court favour, the · Eugene of the North' poured into Catherine's ear, in almost daily interviews, the plans for a destruction of the Turkish Empire which even in exile had been his perpetual dream. He told her how glorious her name would be, if she resumed the grand purpose so stedfastly held in view by Peter, and half executed by Anna Ivanovna, when the defeat of her Austrian allies led to the disgraceful peace of Belgrade, and imposed on her the surrender of so many Turkish trophies of Münnich's skill. Such at least was the statement made by the Marshal, before his death, to the German geographer Büsching, who does not describe the old man as being in his dotage, or as palpably playing at brag. We assume, then, as not improbable, that Münnich may have partly prompted the plans described below, which were attributed at the time, though not on strong evidence, to Catherine's lover, Potemkin. That Münnich had a thorough German love of prospective calculations of the kind supposed, appears plainly from the evidence of his own journals. Taking, as an instance amongst many, his Memoir in reply to Chancellor Ostermann's objections to Anna Ivanovna's declaration of war against the Porte, we find him advising the means for the retention of the Crimea when conquered, and expounding the advantages of the possession of that peninsula, from which unrivalled coign of military vantage Russia would by degrees plant her foot on the Kuban and Kabarda territories on the east, in Bessarabia, Moldavia, and Wallachia on the west.
Catherine's subversive projects must have ripened somewhat early in her reign. For, previously to the outbreak of her first war with the Porte, the Chancellor Panin stated to Count Solms, Frederick's representative at the Russian Court, that the existing
difficulties with Poland and Turkey would be best settled by a triple alliance, which, besides undertaking the partition of Poland, should effect the expulsion of the Turks from Europe. This was a considerable advance on the ideas current in the reign of Anna Ivanovna, who would have been satisfied with the annexation of the Crimea and Kuban, and the establishment of Wallachia and Moldavia as independent principalities under Russian protection. This last proposal was revived by the Emperor Nicholas in his conversations with Sir Hamilton Seymour, when, however, the Czar threw Servia and Bulgaria into the lot which was to pass under Russia's ægis. The self-denial of Nicholas, who said he wanted nothing for himself, did not surpass that of Catherine, who, said Panin, having already more territory than she could govern, only required a frontier fortress or so. In Panin's mouth talk of this kind was significant of settled purpose ; for, unlike Potemkin, the Count was no visionary, and, besides, had a decided personal dislike of all these novelties. It is, however, to be noticed that Catherine had not yet fully risen to the height of her great argument; she was prepared, according to Panin, to admit a somewhat base tempering of her scheme by the erection of a small Ottoman republic, of which Constantinople, with its immediate neighbourhood, was to be the seat.
By a curious parallelism of chances, in Catherine's first Turkish war, as in that of Anna Ivanovna, the trigger was prematurely drawn by the troubles of Poland. Like her predecessor, Catherine was engaged in thrusting by force of arms upon the Polish people a king who was not of their choice, the difference being that Stanislaus Poniatowsky was the Czarina's discarded lover, whom, when condemned as no longer fit for his erotic duties, she desired to pension off with a decent appanage. The country was overrun with Russian troops, and under these circumstances it was certain that one of those incidents of Scythian tumult, which were constantly happening on the marches of Poland, Russia, and Crim Tartary, would sooner or later occur. Some partisans of the Catholic or national faction, known as the Confederation of Bar, were pursued by a squadron of Cossacks of the irresponsible sort, acting with regular troops, to the border village of Balta, which the Cossacks entered and sacked, committing various other appropriate offences. Half the village belonged to the Khan of the Crimea, who thereupon transmitted to the Porte a complaint of this violation of his frontier. Another incident of the previous war was next repeated. The Confederates of Bar had received the moral support of the Sultan, who now came forward as the champion of Polish liberty and indepen