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THE

Annual Register,

For the YEAR 1769.

THE d

HISTORY

of

E U R O P E.

CHAP. L

Slate of the belligerent sowers. Expedition to the mediterranean. Turky. Critical state of that empire. State of Poland Conduit, of the neighbouring powers in regard to the* ivar. Austria. PruJJia. Denmark. Disputes between the king and the senate'in Siveden. Diet degrades and funisties the senate. Treaty of subfidy concluded •with France. France, bankruptcy and su(pension of the French East India company. Spain. Portugal. Mazagan taken, by the Moors.

WE saw at the close of the last year, the dispositions that were making by the great rival powers of the North and.East, to plunge Europe and Asia into the calamities of war. The contest between these powers has been cruel and bloody. If it has not been attended with great and iliiuVol. XII.

ing actions, it has abounded with those, which (hew war under its most disgusting and hideous aspect; in the ruin and devastation of countries: in ravage, anil in massacres. Happily, as the neightouring states have not hitHrto interfered in the quarrel, its consequences have been restrained to [5] the

the parties who were originally engaged or immediately interested in it.

The success of the Russian arms in the latter part of the campaign, seems to put it in the power of the court of Petersburg, either to prosecute the war to great advantage, «r nearly to prescribe the terms of peace. 1st the former cafe, the large frontier provinces of Moldavia and Walachia, which seem now to be added to its dominion, as well by the inclination of the inhabitants as by conquests, will be of infinite use; Without entering into the prospects that may thereby be opened to the Russians, of extending their conquests on the other fide of the Danube, it seems at least to be in their power to make themselves masters of the lower course of that river, which, if they mean to hold this conquest, will be a natural barrier and defence to these provinces.

In this situation the intercourse between Turky and Crim Tartary is in a manner destroyed. By land it seems wholly interrupted; and. the communication by the Black Sea is tedious and dangerous, at least in the weak state of naval strength and naval resources among the Turks. In the mean time the Russians might reduce the city of Bender, and afterwards employ the greater- part of their forces, in chastising the Tartars, and in totally crushing the remainder of the Polish confederates.

While the Porte is thus streightned en the side of Europe, measures are taken on that of Asia, which will serve further to distract its attention, aind to divide its forces. Russian troops sent into Georgia, and the insurrection they have ex

cited in that country, __wo.uld feel* sufficient to answer these purposes. Endeavours are however used to raise a more formidable enemy. A Tartar, named Kerim Kan, is said to have obtained the principal command in Persia, ana to have united at length that country, so long and so miserably harrassed agd distracted. Persia, when at peace within itself, has always been1 a formidable neighbour to the Turks. The politics of Russia have stirred up Kerim Kan, to lay claim to some of the frontier provinces, which have been formerly disputed between the two empires. If we may give entire credit to this report, it is not difficult to appreciate the dangers which menace that extended, proud, ferocious, ignorant, and feeble nation. If the empress of Russia finds no evocation from disturbances at home, or is not appeased by speedy and reasonable concessions from abroad, the Turkish empire, may at length fall by the hands of a woman.

That great and enterprising woman, has not however confined her views merely to the operations of a land war; they are much mote extensive; and to the astonishment of Europe, from the bottom of the Baltic, a Russian fleet is issued to (hake the remotest parts of the Me- ■ diterranean; to excite and support the insurrections of the Greek Christians, and to leave nothing in any part of the vast empire of enemies, free from alarm and confusion. This naval expedition of Russia, stands particularly distinguished amongst the events of this year, and is indeed a remarkable æra in naval history.

This however has been thought a ralb and dangerous experiment* tt has been said, that the knowledge in their profession, which the Russian sailors could acquire, by their short summer navigations in the gulphs of Finland and Bothnia, was not to be supposed equal to the dangers which they must encounter, in unknown and boisterous seas. The condition in which both strips and men arrived in England, the length of time they took in making their voyage, and the accidents they met with, notwithstanding the assistance of some English officers and pilots, seemed strongly to countenance this opinion. It was also said, that the sea of the Archipelago, so famous for its numberless islands, stioals, and currents, as well as for its sudden, shifting, and violent winds, seemed to be an ill chosen and perilous school of probation.

The attempt, however, is great, bold, and manly; and it mould be observed, that neither great designs are to be denned, nor great successes to be obtained by the precise rules of vulgar calculation.

Nor is this to be regarded as a matter totally novel, and which only sprung up fre-m the present contingency. A design of a similar nature, or which at least led to the same end, has been for many years in contemplation, and a favourite object at the court 6f Peterfburg. Indeed it is not to be imagined, that Peter the Great and his successors, would have built such a number of vast strips, only to have them dragged about once a year between the rocks and stioals of the Baltic.

It is now known, that the great point which Russia had in view, in the war of the year 1736, against the Tark», was to gain a port and

free right of trade upon the Black Sea, with liberty for her (hips to pass through the Dardanelles, in their way to and from the Archipelago^ and Mediterranean. The great success of the Turks against the late emperor, (who was then the Russian ally), and the dishonourable peace which they forced him into, frustrated the scheme for that time; but there can be no reason to doubt that it had its full effect in producing the present war. How far its success, and the establishment of a new naval power in those seas, may be consilient with the interest of the other European states, it is not our business here to discuss; however, it maybe easily seen, that if it took place in its fullest extent, Russia must become one of the greatest maritime powers in the world.

A long war is not however at present desirable to Russia. Those who are acquainted with the state of population in that vast empire know, that the want of inhabitants, is its great and principal want. If we may credit some late French writers, the race of man is in danger of becoming extinct in its northern provinces, from internal, and perhaps irremediable causes, The loss of men which, notwithstanding its success, it has already suffered in the field during the progress of this short war, must have been very great. We know that the two great generals, Lacy and Munich, lost above half their armies in two successive summer campaigns against the Tartars only, though they had no enemy that could engage them in the field; and that war cost Russia considerably more than 100,000 men. The loss sustained this year by the ra

[B 2] vages vages of the Tartars, may probably equal if not exceed that in the field; besides their ruining the infant colony of New Servia, and spoiling the noble province of the Ukraine; a province by much the finest and most fertile that Russia is poffest of, the cultivation of which has always been regarded as an object of the greatest importance.

These are losses that touch Russia in the most sensible and tender part. It may also be observed, that though this empire, from the cheapness of provisions, and the easy method of providing for the troops, can support an infinite number of them at home; yet that the state of its finances is but ill adapted to the vast expenCes which attend the employment of fleets and armies at a great distance. For these and many other reasons, particularly the jealousy of the other European powers, it is not probable that Russia will be too implacable in its prosecution of the war, nor that it will refuse advantageous, though at the fame time equitable terms of peace, when they are proposed.

The affairs of the Turkish empire, are ac present in a very critical situation. Founded by the sword, and established totally upon military principles, nothing less than a continued exercise in war,. and the consequent observance of a severe discipline, could preserve it in its original vigour. The late long rest of thirty years, was not only contrary to the genius and temper of the people, but subversive of the constitution; the laws and maxims of which are repugnant to peace and the arts that depend on it. As system and theory

have also found but little admittance in the Turkish military'institutions, the power of habit, and that knowledge acquired by actual experience, could alone support the force and goodness oftheir armies'} being in this respect much inferior to their European neighbours j who having brought the art of war into a regular system, keep large bodies of troops in the constant exercise of that discipline to which they are subject in the field.

To this long peace may also be attributed that disposition to revolt which seems at present so prevalent among the Greeks. The terror with which they first regarded their fierce and haughty conquerors, was kept up by seeing them continually in arms, and by being witnesses that the fame courage which first made them irresistible, still made them terrible to their most warlike neighbours. These ideas being worn off, by a long knowledge and acquaintance in the softness and weakness of peace; they now dare to reflect upon the wretchedness of their own condition, and to repine at the oppressions which they suffer.

This mal-content temper of the Grecian Christians, and the strong attachment which from religious and political principles they bear to the Russians, are circumstances much more alarming to the Ottoman empire, than any consequences that could result from the ill conduct of the last campaign, or the military prowess of their enemies. The Greeks are not only numerous, but most of the provincials are fierce and warlike; fa that the Turks are indebted to the bigotry and oppressive disposition, which so uniformly disgraced the councils.

councils, both of the house of Austria and the republic of Venice, for most of their European provinces. The people, from this cause, generally preferred a submiffion to the Mahometan government, (which was favourable enough to them in religious matters, and perhaps not more oppressive in civil) than to the intolerant principles of their Christian neighbours. Now that Russia is arrived at great power and dignity, these people look up to her, not only as the preserver of their religion, but as their natural protector, and. the restorer of the Greek empire.

Notwithstanding these appearances, the Porte is not yet wholly destitute of resources both in money and men; nor did the Turkish soldiers seem to want their ancient valour in the last campaign, till the continued ill conduct of their commanders, put an end at once both to hope and to courage. The enemy are also obliged to carry on the operations of war, at a vast distance from the source which supplies it. To support a great army in such a situation, to guard the convoys, and preserve the necessary communications, must be attended with almost insuperabledifficulties. These will still be increased in a manifold degree, if the Russians attempt to extend the war to the Bulgarian side of the Danube. Without considering the doubtful chances of war, and the uncertainty of continuing at all times masters in the field; or without taking into account the savage face of that province, every where intersected by the great branches of mount Hemus, and forming a natural check upon the operations

of great or regular armies; the dangers of advancing into an hostile country, with such a river s$ the D.inube, and such an enemy a; th • Tartars in the rear, are so obv ious as not to require any illus. traMon.

Those who had talked of the Russian's penetrating speedily and, easily to Constantinople, seem, along with numberless other dim* culties, to have 'overlooked the situation of Romania, which is fenced by nature with such boundaries, as make it nearly impregnable on the land side. So great an operation would require their being first masters of the Black Sea; nor is it to be supposed that the other European powers would behold with a total indifference, so great an accession of power, to a state which they already regard as too formidable.

Such seems to be the situation and mutual difficulties of the two great contending powers. In number of troops, in discipline, in marine, even in pecuniary resources, Russia seems much superior. The Turks derive their advantages from the difficult nature of their pontic country j from the jealousy of other European states j and from the unsettled state of the throne in Russia.

The unhappy country of Poland continues a victim to all the calamities that attend a weak government, and the nearness of too potent neighbours. Plundered alike by friefids and foes, without a hope of advantage from the success of either, her best blood flows in torrents, shed by unavailing efforts which are only expressive of her despair. The cruel manners of the contending nations, add to the hor

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