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demnation of after ages, or the highest feeling of an enlightened mind; the contemplation of a nation rescued from misery ; the gratitude of a prosperous people, and the blessings of future generations, must inevitably be the attendant consequences, as we may neglect or avail ourselves of this great crisis in the affairs of Ireland.
January 4, 1825.
R E M ARK S.
No nations of Europe are so immediately interested in the affairs of the East as England and Russia. England having by conquest and by treaties, possessed herself of the almost entire sovereignty of the rich and industrious provinces of Hindostan, has become an object of envy and jealousy to the other European states, who falsely conceiving these possessions to be the great cause of her wealth and prosperity, are ready to enter into any schemes which have conquest for their object. In the early period of her bistory, Russia, scarcely known to the other nations of Europe, and wholly ignorant of their customs and their policy, was engaged in extending her commerce and her frontiers on the side of Asia, in which quarter she found a wide field open to her energies, in countries blessed with a inilder sky, a more genial climate, and abounding in the productions of a rich and lucrative commerce. So early as the year 1554, Ivan Vassilicritch [Ind added the important city of Astracan to the Russian empire, by conquest, and Peter the Great, whose comprehensive mind readily grasped every commercial and political advantage, gave it a port and numerous privileges. Under his rule it soon became a rich and florishing city; foreigners of all nations were attracted to it; factories were established within its walls, and its commerce extended on one side into the interior of Russia, and on the other into Persia, India and Bukharia, Pallas estimated the value of the fishery in the environs of this city at 1,858,480 roubles, and another authority states its trade in chagrin at 30,000 roubles annually. The advantages of the Asiatic conquests were immense; they added largely to the resources of the empire, and gave new life to individual enterprise and national industry, which determined Peter to advance still further on the Persian frontiers ; and so great was his success, that by the treaty of 1723, made with the Shah Hussein, Derbent, Baku, Ghilan, Mazanderan and Astrabad were ceded to him. These possessions were afterwards given up, in consideration of some important commercial advantages, which were settled by the treaty of 1732, Since this period Russia has regained possession of Derbent and Baku, and she is known now to be particularly desirous of obtaining the city Astrabad, which from its situation on the Caspian sea would form an excellent harbor for the eastern districts of Khorasan, Bukharia, Samarkand and Balk. Catherine II. succeeded in detaching one of the most powerful princes of Caucasus from
his allegiance to the Shah, and by a formal treaty, dated 24th July 1789, received him under the protection of Russia. The relations between the two countries are frequently disturbed ; wars ensue, and these uniformly terminate in some additional commercial advantage or extension of territory gained by Russia. The present autocrat tas struck the death-blow to the independence of Persia by crossing the Caucasus, the natural boundary between the two empires, and wresting the fine provinces of Circassia and Georgia from her rule. She may now be considered as prostrate at the foot of her powerful antagonist, whose policy extends to her entire subjugation; an event of such evident importance to England, affecting as it does the safety of her eastern empire, that it demands her most strenuous efforts for its prevention.
The greatest exertions continue to be made by Russia for the increase of her Asiatic trade; Orenburg has become a great mart of exchange for the caravans from India, Persia, and other eastern states, while a commerce replete with benefits of the most valuable nature has been established with China direct, and the regulations under which it is carried on have, from their excellence, confirmed in the minds of that singular and jealous nation a degree of confidence hitherto unknown. By means of the Volga and numerous canals which have been cut for the promotion of eastern commerce, the teas and other products of China are transported over a space of above 5000 miles before they arrive at St. Petersburg, their ultimate destination, from whence a portion of them is afterwards exported into other European states. What may be her ulterior views towards these isolated barbarians it is difficult to say ; perhaps she piay have an object, the bare mention of which would at the present time be considered ridiculous and absurd. But Russia is skilful both in planning and in executing; she will watch her op. portunity with a vigilant eye that never sleeps in affairs of this nature, and trust to time and events, those architects of great changes in the political world, for the accomplishment of her designs. Almost every circumstance which has arisen among nations appears as if created to forward her views; or ought it not rather to be attributed to the dexterity of her statesmen, in seizing even the smallest advantages and turning them to the benefit of the state, and to the apathy of the other cabinets of Europe, that she owes her rapid advancement in power and influence ? To whatever cause her present transcendent position may be attributed, it is quite certain that she enjoys a power capable of holding the East, with the exception of China and Hindostan, in complete subjection, and a political influence which is felt, like a volcanic shock, in almost every cabinet in Europe.
The domination exercised by this junior state over the ancient
kingdoms of Europe is indeed truly humiliating; and if the 'sovereigns who govern them have any respect left for their own antiquity, dignity and honor, or for the glory and interests of their people, they will immediately pursue a far different course to that hitherto maintained towards this haughty, domineering and insolent power. They will see that in checking her progress, they at the same time ensure their own safety; they will perceive that in strengthening her, whether on the side of Europe or Asia, they increase that feeling of superiority which, whether it be well or ill grounded, is the sole cause for her assumption of such unwarrantable and degrading interference in their internal concerns, and which has made her trample the independence of nations triumphantly beneath her feet. : To exercise an universal influence, and to increase her national revenue, are two leading features in the policy of Russia. Towards the first object she bas made rapid advances, but the second is one of greater difficulty to accomplish, particularly under her present system of policy. The support of a large standing army bas, since the time of Catherine II., continued to swallow. up the resources of the empire, the consequence of which is that she is burthened with a considerable public debt, and inundated with assignats which have no representative value. This expensive engine of aggression cannot, therefore, be supported in any proa tracted contest, at her own proper cost, without adding to the public burthens by new loans; a circumstance which must prove her to be much less formidable than it is either her desire or her interest should be discovered. Her plans of conquest are of a gigantic extent ; not only Asia but portions of Europe are included in them ;-all she requires is money :- better her resources; increase her revenue, and she will be seen instantly iņ motion, under circumstances far more formidable to the liberties and indepen, dence of nations than she has ever yet had at her command. . · It has always appeared to me that her means have been greatly overrated ; a delusion which she herself originated for the purpose of inspiring terror. This fallacy has been propagated by numerous writers in her interest, and has been, perhaps, the cause of many cessions both of territory and privileges in her favor ; but when calmly considered the phantom will speedily vanish before the scrutiny of rigid investigation. Place Russia in a contest; single handed, and dependant on her own resources alone, for support, and the end of two campaigns would find her treasury without a single rouble left to pay her army. With this overa whelming military force, posted at various parts on her frontiers, which serve as so many indices to the points against which her future aggressions will be directed, and a restless diplomacy which