No. 522.
Mr. Jewell to Mr. Fish.

No. 44.

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Emperor of Austria arrived here on Friday. Since then the Court has been constantly employed in amusing and entertaining him.

[Page 812]

The diplomatic corps was presented to him yesterday. At a military dinner given on Sunday, the Emperor Alexander drank to the health of the Emperor of Austria, as follows: “I drink to the health of my friend the Emperor Francis Joseph, whom we are glad to see among us. In the friendship which unites us both with the Emperor William and with Queen Victoria, I see the truest guarantee of peace in Europe, which is so desired by all and so indispensable’to all.” To this the Emperor of Austria replied: “Filled with gratitude for the friendly reception which has been shown me here, and sincerely sharing the convictions and feelings which have been expressed by my august friend, I drink to the health of His Majesty the Emperor, Her Majesty the Empress, and all the august house. May God’s blessing be on them.”

There is no doubt that the visit of the Austrian Emperor, the first since the time of Joseph II, has important meaning for the peace of Europe, in bringing closer together the two nations of Russia and Austria, which have had unpleasant relations since the time of the Crimean war. As an ambassador said to me yesterday: “If Germany, England, Russia, and Austria are determined that there shall be peace in Europe, who will dare to make war?” As a sign of the complete reconciliation of the two countries, the Russian minister at Vienna and the Austrian minister here have been both raised to the rank of ambassador.

The tone of the press is very friendly. There is much self-congrat illation that so many sovereigns and heirs to thrones have been in St. Petersburg during the past year, evidently with the sole intention of seeing the Emperor as there was no exposition, or other extraneous event to bring them so far. After recounting in some detail the former good relations between Russia and Austria, which were of advantage to both countries, the journals all express delight at the present reconciliation, and the hope that the renewed friendship will long endure. All speak of the effect on the Eastern question.

I have the honor to inclose to you translations of extracts from the leading articles of the chief newspapers on this subject. I am informed by good authority that the Emperor of Russia will go in the spring to Wurtemburg for the marriage of his niece, and, after spending a few days at Brussels and the Hague, will make a formal visit to Queen Victoria, arriving in London in May.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 44.—Translation.]

From the Golos, February 1–13, 1874.]

So far we have only looked at the profit which Austria will obtain from its alliance with us, but this alliance seems to us so much the more firm, as its profit will evidently be mutual. Besides the fact that our western boundary will be again quite protected by the neighborhood of two friendly governments, and that we can be perfectly at our ease in the near future, wirich, in all probability, does not threaten us with difficulties from any side or any quarter, our alliance with Austria to a great degree simplifies the position of the Eastern question.

While formerly, in Turkey, the interests of Russia were opposed by the interests of France and England, of late the part in the Eastern question of the two western powers has been laid claim to by Austria. Her statesmen have tried to support in the vassal provinces of Turkey, and among those of her subjects who have the same religion and the same blood as we, an opposition to and suspicion of Russian policy. It is the [Page 813] affair of Austria to decide how far this policy has been profitable to her. It seems to us that it has brought her more harm than good; but on the first beginning of friendly relations between Austria and Russia, Turkish affairs have taken quite another turn. The vassals of the Turkish Sultan evidently no longer find external obstacles to their efforts for obtaining independence. The princes of Romania and Servia appoint diplomatic agents at the European courts, and intend to buy their independence of the Sultan by money, of which the Turkish government has great need. On the other side, the Porte only knows that the number of its defenders: and protectors has decreased, and that, in the persecution of its Christian subjects, it cannot count on the indifference of the neighboring governments. The Eastern question constitutes, therefore, a soil on which the friendship between Russia and Austria can produce the most excellent fruit, if only the bases of the Eastern policy of the two powers shall be identical, and if they are insured by a full agreement between them in regard to ends and means. However that may be, the great guarantee for an advantageous peace we see in the solemn event of which our capital will to-morrow be witness. Russia and Austria are not now what they were fifty and forty years ago; a close alliance between them cannot in any respect embarrass Europe. The friendly relations which exist between the Emperors Alexander, William, and Francis Joseph, consti tute a powerful force, which will put down any attempts to affect the peaceful course of events on the European continent. While guaranteeing peace, the new position of affairs will not in the slightest degree threaten the development of the civil life of the nations of Europe. Let us remember in this relation that the Russian and Austrian governments are arming themselves alike against the dark force of Papal absolutism, which has declared war on reason.

A salute of cannon informed the inhabitants of St. Petersburg, to-day, of the arrival in our capital of the guest of our Emperor, the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Francis Joseph. This visit is not only the most important political event of the week, but, in connection with the former interviews of the rulers of the three greatest European powers, it must be admitted to be a fact having an important meaning for all the general European policy of late times, and constituting in itself a new and very important guarantee for the maintenance of European peace for a length of time in future. We yesterday gave a special article to the consideration of the importance of this happy event, and to-day can only say that the views which we expressed are shared by all the serious journals of Europe. Even that part of the Vienna press which was formerly systematically hostile to Russia holds, in advance, the event of to-day as a final step to the firm renewal of perfectly friendly relations between two great neighboring powers which have many common interests. These journals see, in the visit of the Emperor Francis Joseph to St. Petersburg, a happy guarantee that the sincere friendship and complete reconciliation of the two governments and nations, which had begun at the Berlin interview of the Emperors in 1872, will now develop in the same beneficent direction which has brought, since that time, so many happy results. This unity of feeling in the views of the Russian and Vienna press shows that in St. Petersburg, as well as in Vienna, public opinion stands the same way as to the important signification of the journey of the Austrian monarch, and expects from it the happiest results for the mutual relations of both countries, and for the maintenance of European peace.

We do not doubt that the magnificent reception given to-day by the St. Petersburg public to the august guest of our sovereign will produce the happiest impression on the Austrian monarch, who visits our capital for the first time, and, serving as an expression of the deep respect and sympathy inspired by his personal qualities, will show him how sympathetically the Russian nation welcomes, in his person, the new era which is the beginning of sincerely friendly relations between Russia and Austria, We are sure that the glad cries which went up to-day on the streets of St. Petersburg, at the passage of the Emperor Francis Joseph to the winter palace, will find a glad echo even in Vienna.

From a Russian point of view we can only be well satisfied with the friendship of Russia and Austria. Of course we say this, considering that the times of the Metternichs have passed not to return, and that Russia can no longer play the strange part of a defender of legitimacy in Naples and Spain, or of a putter-down of German students, as she did fifty years ago. Still less will Russia be in a condition to take upon herself the task of reconciling the populations of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy [Page 814] with the Hapsbnrg dynasty, as she did in 1849. But even after the mistakes of the old times the friendship of Austria is for us a very great prize. After all the losses and misfortunes, Austro-Hungary remains still a very powerful monarchy in Europe, and a large and brave army obeys the voice of the monarch; and not to prize the alliance of such a neighbor would be in the highest degree impolitic. Austro-Hungary is important in the first place as a counter-weight to the German empire, which, although now in the most friendly relations with us, partly through the influence of services rendered by us, may yet change its position easily through future events.

In the second place, friendly and frank relations with Yienna are necessary for Russia for the purpose of a peaceful and conscientious solution of the Polish question.

Finally, a good understanding with Austria is not without profit for us, even in the so-called Eastern question, although the interests of Russia are very strongly opposed to Austrian interests, which demand the status quo from fear of a strengthening of South Sclavonic elements, which are now kept down in the empire by the German and Magyars. A peaceful solution of the Eastern question—and we certainly desire that for the glory of Russia—it is impossible not to admit cannot be reached without the common consent of both governments who are interested in the matter. For this reason we, with the greatest satisfaction, hail the attempt of Austro-Hungary to be friendly with us, and we can only wish that this rapprochement, begun in diplomatic spheres, will soon pass over to the spheres of scientific and literary activity and of industry and commerce.

We allow ourselves to express some consoling hopes on the occasion of this union between Russia and Austria; hopes relating to the men of our race, the Austrian and Turkish Sclavonians. We are sure that so long as friendly relations exist between the two governments, and they act in common in the Eastern question, that all difficulties arising there will be easily and quickly settled, and that the most complex questions will be decided to the advantage of the vassal population at Turkey and in the interests of its Christian subjects; so that the Eastern question, which has been until now a “bugbear” for Western Europe, will be decided gradually and imperceptibly by itself, without commotion, and without especial revolutions. The Austrian press, until lately, was frightened at panslavism, and shut its eyes so as not to see something much more dangerous for the safety of the Hapsburg empire, pangermanism. We allow ourselves to hope that the friendly union between Austria and Russia will remove from the Austrian government all reasons for distrust with regard to its Sclavonic subjects, and that it will satisfy all just desires and solicitations of the Sclavonic races in Austria, which constitute the majority of its population, and which have always faithfully and sincerely served the Hapsburg dynasty; then the Austrian Empire, relying on the Sclavonic element within itself, and on the friendship of the Sclavonic Russian Empire abroad, will again occupy, in the center of Europe, that strong and honorable position which it occupied a quarter of a century ago.