In transcribing the following passage from I have followed the Hathi Trust Digital Library’s generally accurate online version, corrected errors in the OCR, and added links to material in the Victorian Web. — George P. Landow

Decorated initial T

The greater part of "Russian Projects against India" has appeared before in the form of articles written for various magazines during the last eight or nine years, and has not therefore been prompted by the recent complications. They have been, as the author assures us, "all written with one object " — namely, to show that Russia's Central Asian expeditions have always been undertaken, not for the sake of an improved frontier, nor for commercial purposes, "but simply in order to place Russia in a position to threaten, and, on a fitting opportunity attack India." This is frank, and we are bound to say that for a Russophobe Mr. Edwards is singularly fair. His narrative is truthful and straightforward, and he indulges in no abuse of Muscovite treachery, though he records at least one signal instance of it. But from Mr. Edwards' own narrative we arrive at a conclusion quite opposed to that he wishes us to draw. For it seems indisputable that the earlier expeditions — almost all, down to the last thirty years — were planned for entirely different reasons. Some had for their object the liberating of Russian subjects, more than a thousand of whom were at one time held in slavery of the harshest kind at Khiva ; others were prompted with the hope of opening up trade with Khiva and Bokhara — a vain hope based on exaggerated notions of the importance of such a trade. It is not until we come down to the time of the Crimean war that an invasion of India was seriously contemplated. Colonel Duhamel's memorandum, presented to the Emperor Nicholas in 1854, states that "the present war imposes upon Russia the duty of showing how she can attack England in her only vulnerable point — in India — and thus force her to assemble so great a force in Asia as to weaken her action in Europe." The same policy is energetically urged in SkobelefFs famous "project," written in 1877. He says, "A know ledge of this region and its resources leads inevitably to the conclusion that our presence in Turkestan, in pursuance of Russian interests, is justified solely on the ground of an endeavour to. solve the Eastern question in our own favour from this quarter." But, whatever Russia's motive may be at present, it seems clear from Mr. Edwards' . most interesting narrative that she would never have been where she is had not other and less sinister motives existed. Apart from their political importance the story of these expeditions is of great military and general interest. The hardships endured by the Russian troops under Perofski, and later under Kauffmann, prove the metal of the Muscovite soldier. [541]

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Bibliography

“[Review of] Russian Projects against India, from the Czar Peter to General Skobelcff." By H. Sutherland Edwards. With Map. London: Remington & Co. 1885.” The Westminster Review. 68 n.s. (1885): 541. Hathi Trust Digital Library online version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 31 August 2020.


Last modified 31 August 2020