No. 269.
Mr. Atkinson to Mr. Evarts.

No. 162.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 161, of yesterday, I now have the honor to inclose to you two printed copies of the text of the proclamation of war on the part of Russia against Turkey, and a translation of the same.

* * * * * * *

I have, &c.,

[From the Journal de St. Petersbourg, 12th (24th) April, 1877.]

proclamation of his majesty the emperor.

By the grace of God, we, Alexander II, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, &c, &c.

Be it known:

Our faithful and dear subjects know the lively interest which we have constantly devoted to the destinies of the Christian population oppressed by Turkey. Our desire to ameliorate and protect their lot has been shared by the entire Russian nation, which manifests itself to-day ready to bear new sacrifices to alleviate the position of the Christians in the Balkan peninsula. The blood and the welfare of our faithful subjects have ever been dear to us. Our whole reign proves our constant solicitude to preserve to Russia the benefits of peace. This solicitude did not cease to animate us at the time of the sad events which occurred in Herzegovina, in Bosnia, and in Bulgaria. Above all, we aimed to arrive at the amelioration of the existence of the Christians in the Orient by means of peaceful negotiations and of a concert with the great European powers, our allies and our friends.

We have made for two years incessant efforts to influence the Porte to reforms which [Page 471]should shield the Christians of Bosnia, of Herzegovina, and of Bulgaria from the arbitrariness of the local authorities. The accomplishment of these reforms proceeded in an absolute manner from anterior engagement, solemnly contracted by the Porte toward all Europe. Our efforts, aided by diplomatic urgency which the other governments made in common (with us) have nevertheless not gained the end desired. The Porte has remained unmoved in her categorical refusal of any effective guarantee for the security of her Christian subjects, and she has rejected the conclusions of the conference of Constantinople. Wishing to try all possible means of conciliation toward persuading the Porte, we proposed to the other cabinets to draw up a special protocol embracing the most essential conditions of the Constantinople conference, and to invite the Turkish Government to associate itself in this international act, which sets forth the extreme limits of our pacific demands. But our expectation was not realized. The Porte has not deferred to this unanimous wish of Christian Europe, and has not accepted for herself the conclusions of the protocol.

Having exhausted our peaceful efforts, we are compelled by the haughty obstinacy of the Porte to proceed to more decisive actions. The sentiment of equity and our own dignity demand it. By her refusal Turkey puts us to the necessity of having recourse to the force of arms. Profoundly convinced of the justice of our cause, and intrusting ourself with humility to the grace and assistance of the Most High, we proclaim to our faithful subjects that the moment foreseen by us when we pronounced the words to which all Russia responded with such unanimity is now arrived. We expressed the intention to act independently when we should judge it necessary and that the honor of Russia required it. To-day, in asking the blessing of God upon our brave troops, we give them the order to cross the frontier of Turkey.