War with Russia - Alliance of England, France and Turkey
On the 12th of March, 1854, a treaty of alliance between England, France, and the Porte, was signed by the representatives of those powers.
The treaty consists of five articles. By the first, France and England engage to support Turkey in her present struggle with Russia, by force of arms, until the conclusion of a peace which shall secure the independence of the Ottoman empire, and the integrity of the rights of the Sultan. The two protecting Powers undertake not to derive from the actual crisis, or from the negotiations which may terminate it, any exclusive advantage. By the second article the Porte, on its side, pledges itself not to make peace under any circumstances without having previously obtained the consent and solicited the participation of the two Powers, and also to employ all its resources to carry on the war with vigor. In the third article the two Powers promise to evacuate, immediately after the conclusion of the war, and on the demand of the Porte, all the points of the empire which their troops shall have occupied during the war. By the fourth article the treaty remains open for the signature of the other Powers of Europe who may wish to become parties to it; and the fifth article guarantees to all the subjects of the Porte, without distinction of religion, equality in the eye of the law, and admissibility into all employments. To this treaty are attached, as integral parts of it, several protocols. One relates to the institution of mixed tribunals throughout the whole empire; a second is relative to an advance of 20,000,000 fr. jointly by France and England; and a third relates to the collection of the taxes and the suppression of the haratch or poll-tax, which, having been considered for a long time past by the Turkish Government as only the purchase of exemption from military service, leads, by its abolition, to the entrance of Christians into the army.
The Russians continued to prosecute the war eagerly on the banks of the Danube, but any temporary success was more than counterbalanced by subsequent and more brilliant Turkish victories.
In consequence of the atrocious conduct of the military authorities of Odessa, in firing upon an English flag of truce, a division of English and French steam frigates appeared before Odessa. On their arrival the greatest terror pervaded the city. The wealthy hired all the post-horses to remove to the interior, and the inhabitants sought refuge in the neighboring country; but the English and French steamers having withdrawn, after taking a survey of the roads, the alarm subsided, the population returned, and the shops were reopened. On the 21st of April, however, the appearance of thirty-three sail on the horizon created still greater terror, for it was evident that they were coming to avenge the insult above alluded to, and which, even at Odessa, was the subject of universal reprobation. The next day nothing could exceed the consternation, everybody being in constant apprehension of a catastrophe. The fears redoubled when after a bombardment of eight hours, the gunpowder magazine blew up, and the military stores were seen on fire. The sight of wounded soldiers brought in from the batteries, and the brutality of the governor and his forces towards the inhabitants, were not calculated to allay their terror. This affair produced great discouragement among the troops, and an excellent effect on the population, who perceived that the Russian army was unable to protect them; and that, if the city were not reduced to ashes, it was solely owing to the generosity of the allied Powers.
On the 14th June, the, Duke of Cambridge with his staff, the brigade of Guards, and the Highland brigade (42d, 79th, and 93d regiments), arrived at Varna, where a numerous Anglo-French army was already encamped. It is probable that the unexpected and retrograde movement of the Russians upon the Pruth - intelligence of which reached the allied generals about this time - occasioned a deviation from the plan of operations originally contemplated, as it obviated the necessity of any active cooperation with Omer Pacha's army on the Danube. An expedition upon a gigantic scale was, however, planned, its destination being the Crimea and Sebastopol.
The result of the Baltic operations may be given in few words. The fleet of the Czar, outnumbered by that of the allied powers, was detained in captivity at Helsingfors and Kronstadt, declining alike every offer of battle, and unable to stay the devastation that was effected along the Finnish shore of the Bothnian Gulf. Scarcely a Russian merchant vessel escaped the vigilance of the cruisers; and the whole line of her coasts, up to the shoals of Kettle Island, were shown to be at the mercy of the allies. In a national point of view, there was not much to boast of in the achievements of so stupendous a fleet. But there were individual acts of valor as bright as any that adorn the pages of naval history.
Until the last twelvemonth opened a new page in history, it could not have been anticipated that the battle-field of Europe would be a little arid peninsula in the remotest corner of the Black Sea, and that the armies of Britain, France, Turkey, and Russia would be concentrated in direct strife around a fortress, whose very name was hardly known in this country before the present war broke out.