The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas Et Prevalebit FRIDAY, APRIL 17. 1885. The Threatened Invasion.
The annals of Russia, revolting as they must be to a people nurtured under a liberal constitution, cannot fail to be of interest to British subjects at the present juncture. The imperfect history of the Muscovite does not provide us with any very reliable information as to the past of the great northern power, but Chinese history is more explicit, and if we fail in obtaining definite information regarding Russia during the early period of the Christian era from her own chronicles, we can obtain some interesting items bearing on the subject from the contemporaneous history of China. It is interesting to learn that the now audacious Russia was once under the .heel of the Mongolian race. In the tenth century she was conquered and over-run by the Mongols, who held possession of their conquest for two centuries. It was in the century following, however, that the great supremacy was gained that swarms of Asiatics were hurled against the northern power, which went down, not before superior arms or military skill, but before sheer mass of numbers. Like an Eastern locust plague the invaders came, and their progress was irresistible, so that for two centuries the vast country of Russia was subject to galling tribute. It was only at the dawn of the fifteenth centuiy that Russia began to re-gain her independence, and by that time the Mongolian stamp had been indeliby impressed upon her national character. The Mongols introduced the serfdom recently abolished in name but still existing in fact, and to Mongolian influence is to be attributed the spiritless character of a people, the bulk of whom submit passively to the officialdom of Russia—an officialdom accompanied by oppression of the worst kind, that not only refuses to recognise the personal liberty of the subject, but terrorises the very thoughts of the human mind. An abject social bondage of this kind seems to be congenial to the Mongolian race, and it is seldom we find them revolting against it; it is even more rampant in the Chinese Empire than it is in Russia. It is to the Mongolian conquest that Russia owes its traditions, and aggrandisement is an instinct bequeathed to the nation by the regenerator of their country, Peter the Great, whose will laid the acquisition of territory down to his people as a sacred duty, and at this moment that principle is the end and aim of all their foreign policy. They have only just emerged from a fifth unsuccessful attempt to secure the country of the unfortunate Turk, and now we find them casting lustful eyes upon Afghanistan as the high road to our Indian possessions. But for the wholesome check held upon Russia by the other European powers, there can be little doubt that the owners of the largest of the European dominions would not hesitate to attempt the extension of their territory westward. It is not easy to see what motives impel Russia to seek the extension of her dominions with such avidity. It would doubtless be far more acceptable to the country itself if its Government turned its attention to internal reforms. The people have long been the most down-trodden and the greatest strangers to freedom of all the people who have yet claimed to come within the confines of modern civilisation. The cession of Constitutional Government to the people of Russia would be a greater boon to the masses of that country than the conquest of all Europe and Asia. But we fear the present Czar is not yet able to extricate himself from the instincts of his house—instincts that induced his predecessor to wage war hypocritically in the name of Christianity with an ostensible view to wrest ; from Turkish rule Mahomraedan-ridden Christians, but really to add, if possible, more territory to his already over-grown dominions. We may condemn Nihilism as we may, but when we consider the reign of terror under which the Russian people live, and the grinding oppression that has given birth to the movement, we are constrained to find some palliation for the existence of an organisation that has for its aim the freedom of its country —no matter how mistaken its notions of freedom may be. But until the Government of Russia takes a more liberal view of political life, until she effects much needed domestic reforms, she can never assume the position among the nations of the world to which her ambitious and unscrupulous aristocracy aspire.
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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas Et Prevalebit FRIDAY, APRIL 17. 1885. The Threatened Invasion., Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1516, 17 April 1885
The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas Et Prevalebit FRIDAY, APRIL 17. 1885. The Threatened Invasion. Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1516, 17 April 1885
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