Richard Cobden

The Letters of Richard Cobden, Vol. 4: 1860–1865

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To REVEREND WILLIAM DENTON1Midhurst, 13 November 1863

Text: MS Princeton University Library, Denton Correspondence, Box 1/F11

Midhurst 13 Novr 1863.—


My dear Sir

Many thanks for your note.—I take this opportunity also of thanking you for your pamphlet on the Turkish question2 which I duly received & read with great pleasure.

I suspect that one of the projects fermenting in L. Napoleons busy brain is to settle the Italian & Polish difficulty by carving an indemnity out of the Ottoman Empire.—Austria I suppose looks covetously at Servia, & Russia at the Principalities of Servia Wallachia & Moldavia.—But any arrangement of this sort would only tend to establish a Poland on the Danube.—

By the way, I got a friendly letter from the Prince of Servia asking me to visit him.3—I took the opportunity, whilst replying, to offer him some advice,—not to be tempted into a collision with the Turk, but to wait events.4

I remain truly Yours | R. Cobdenpg 428

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Editor’s Note
1 Revd William *Denton (1815–88), educated at Oxford and influenced by the Tractarians; as incumbent of St Bartholomew, Moorfields, 1850–88, he took up the cause of the poor displaced by railway-building; he was also a prolific author on the Eastern Question, history, and theology. His Servia and the Servians (London, 1862) was one of the better-informed works on its subject. Identified, with Cobden, as one of the first 'Serbian lobby' in Britain, see 31 May 1863 to Catherine, n. 4.
Editor’s Note
2 The Christians in Turkey (London, 1863) protested at the silence surrounding the fate of the Christians in the Ottoman Empire, but only achieved wide popularity during the 'Bulgarian atrocities' agitation of 1876, when read by Gladstone, GD (30 Oct. 1876).
Editor’s Note
3 See P. Christich to Cobden, 31 July, inviting him to Belgrade on behalf of M. Obrenovitch, and enclosing the latter's letter (23 July) thanking Cobden for his noble support of his country and the Christians in Turkey, CP17, fos. 10 and 11. See 31 May 1863 to Catherine.
Editor’s Note
4 See Christich to Cobden, 6 Aug. 1863, from Paris en route to Belgrade, reiterating the Princess's thanks, and thanking Cobden for the letter he had already translated and would deliver to the Prince on his arrival, CP7, fo. 82. This letter, dated 3 Aug. 1863, was described in 1885 by Chedomille Mijatovich as 'full of large-hearted and deep sympathy, full of wisdom, and almost prophetic insight', Cobden Club Dinner, Special Report (London, 1885), 12–13, and it is cited in G. Jaksic and V. Vuckovic, Spoljna politika Srbije za vlade kneza Mihaila: Prvi Balkanski savez (Belgrade, 1963), 191–2, advising Prince Mihailo to avoid a rupture with Turkey at all costs, given the strength of the Turkish army, and to await the future financial disarray of the Turkish Empire in order to 'break completely away from its hereditary enemy'. This Serbian translation of Cobden's letter, possibly that by Christich, had been obtained from the collection of Dobra [Dobroslav] Ružić, but it has not (so far) been traced, although we are grateful to Dr D. Djovic, Dr Richard Mills, Sam Foster, and Bogdan Trifunović (Biblioteka Čačak) for help in trying to track it down.
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