Along the northern shore of the Black Sea its waves reflect he Russian cross, as on its southern coast still flaunts the Moslem crescent. To sweep across this ocean barrier, to make of it a Russian lake, and finally to seize the Turkish capital, has been from the foundation of the Russian Empire the constant aspiration of its Czars. Time and again Muscovite armies have advanced to do this, and once, in 1877 came within a day's march of Stamboul. But they have always been compelled to halt by the prompt action of the other Powers. That Russia will eventually control the Bosporus and have free exit for her warships into the Mediterranean there can be little doubt. It is the logical outcome of the Eastern question. The wonderful expansive power of the Russian empire requires that southern gateway, and will surely have it - infact,if not in name - in the inevitable sequence of events. How much the Turks may do to resist the giant of the north, it is difficult to estimate, for they are both fanatical and brave. With them religion takes the place of patriotism. The world has not forgotten their defense of Plevna, in 1877. For five long months the Russians tried in vain to capture it, until, at last, starvation (aided, it is said, by Russian gold used freely in the form of bribes) achieved what no artillery could accomplish. But Plevna alone had cost the Russians fifty thousand men.
A Gipsy Camp.
Monument To The Heroes Of The Crimea.
The recent war with Greece has also once more shown the military prowess of the Sultan's troops, and was a startling reminder of the fact that only three hundred years ago the balance of power in Europe was very different. For then the Sultan's ships were masters of the Mediterranean; the Black Sea was a Turkish lake; the Moslem empire included, with the exception of Rome, all the great sacred and historic cities of antiquity, -Ephesus, Smyrna, Antioch, Damascus, Athens, Jerusalem, and Alexandria; and the Crescent had expanded till one point rested on the Golden Horn, while the other glittered opposite the Moorish towers of Granada. Even to-day the Holy Sepulchre is still in Moslem hands, and still the Crescent floats above the Temple of Justinian. Moreover, as if this were not enough, the Turks swept up the Danube with resistless force, captured Belgrade and Budapest, besieged Vienna, and made of Hungary a was a second time exposed to their attack. But since that day the Ottoman empire has steadily diminished. Bulgaria, Greece, Roumania, Servia, Algiers, Tunis, and now virtually Egypt, too, have one by one been torn from her enfeebled hands. In Europe alone, where she once held a territory of two hundred and thirty thousand square miles, she now has but sixty thousand, and her European population of twenty millions has been reduced to five. This, probably, is but the beginning of the end. The Turk, by nature and religion, belongs not to Europe, but to Asia; and when sufficient unanimity is found among the jealous European nations to insure united action, to Asia will the Sultan and his evil government depart. Such thoughts recurred to me with special force, as, on a recent visit to the Bosporus, I saw again the form of fair Stamboul, stretched out in indolent repose, like ancient Rome, upon her seven hills. For, whether it be Russia, Austria, Germany, England, or a joint protectorate of nations, some Christian power must ere long occupy this site, and lift it to the rank designed for it by destiny, - that of the immortal Queen of the East, throned on the Eden of the world, and holding as a sceptre in her hand the Golden Horn. Already the air is tremulous with coming change. Aside from what may soon transpire here in politics through the astonishing diplomacy of Russia, many material improvements of great value have been planned. A railway has been partially surveyed, which is to extend from Constantinople east and south down the valley of the Euphrates, and which will open a direct route by rail from Paris through to Persia. With such facilities for commerce on the land, joined to her natural advantages by sea, - under a liberal and progressive government, what boundless possibilities await Stamboul!
The Turkish Admiralty.