But the policy of the Holy Alliance fell into discredit, and the Western Powers had leisure during the long peace both to extend their sympathy to the subject races of the Ottoman Empire, and to watch with jealousy the encroachments made upon that Empire by Russia.
The result of this sympathy and of this jealousy is seen in a remarkable series of treaties, forming together a sort of corpus iuris publici orientalis, in which the rights of Turkey, of the new states which have been carved out of it, and of the semi-independent provinces which still remain subject to its suzerainty, are declared and defined by the authority of the great powers collectively. On the one hand, the Turkish Empire is placed, as it were, under the tutelage of Europe; while, on the other hand, the claim of any single power to settle the desinies of that empire without the concurrence of the rest has been repeatedly negatived.
The assumption of a collective authority on the part of the powers to supervise the solution of the Eastern question—in other words, to regulate the disintegration of Turkey—has been gradual. Such an authority has been exercised tentatively since 1836, systematically since 1856. It has been applied successively to Greece, to Egypt, to Syria, to the Danubian principalities and the Balkan peninsula generally, to certain other of the European provinces of Turkey, to the Asiatic boundaries of Turkey and Russia, and to the treatment of the Armenians.
The present work will contain the text in full of those treaties and other diplomatic acts which are the title-deeds of the states which have thus been wholly or partially freed by the European concert from the sovereignty of the Porte. Each of these documents will be elucidated by notes, and will, so far as is conveniently possible, be so printed as to render
rester étrangers à leurs propres destinées; mais est-ce par la révolte et la guerre civile qu'ils peuvent se flatter atteindre ce but éminent? . . . L'Empereur ne le pense pas.' Capodistrias to Ypsilanti, 26th March 1821, Prokesch-Osten, Geschichte des Abfalls, etc., t. iv. p. 66.