This treaty was an immense gain to Russia on many points, but Constantinople again escaped. Had the Sultan only held out a few days longer, Marshal Diebitsch would have been compelled to surrender; the campaign of 1829 would have been a most distinguished failure; the Polish insurrection of 1830 would have left Turkey in perfect safety from foreign foes; and a new Turkish army would have been formed, under the discipline of Moltké.
The Sultan might now hope for a little breathing spell. But his rebellious subject, the Pasha of Egypt, was making rapid progress through northern Syria, and had entered Asia Minor, almost unopposed. The Sultan applied in vain to England and France for aid. With inconceivable stupidity, they left him with no resource but Russia. The Tsar was graciously pleased to send 15,000 troops to occupy the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. When Mehmet Ali found that the prosecution of his design meant war with Russia, he recalled his army. The treaty of Unkiar-Skélessi bound Turkey to Russia as a mere vassal. She must close the Straits against armed vessels of all other powers, and maintain an offensive and defensive alliance.
France and England united in settling the Egyptian question, and were not again to leave Turkey entirely in the hands of Russia. In the war of 1839, between the Pasha and the Sultan, Russia had no predominant influence; France and England being united to support the Ottoman Empire. In the Convention of 1840, for the pacification of the Levant, Great Britain, Austria, Russia, Prussia, and Turkey were in accord. Mehmet Ali was declared hereditary governor of Egypt, and thirteen years of rest were enjoyed by Turkey.
Under the inspiration of Sir Stratford Canning (Lord Stratford de Redcliffe), the young Sultan Abdul Adedjid (1839) instituted many reforms. The civil administration, the army, the navy, were reconstructed. The navy that had been treacherously given up to the Pasha of Egypt was returned, and the traitors shortly died a natural death, — facilitated, perhaps, by poison. The Turkish army had produced one soldier, Omar Pasha, of undeniable military genius. During the thirteen years of peace, he kept the Danubian provinces from revolt, in spite of Russian plots. He curbed the fiery Bosnians and Montenegrins; and when, in 1848, the revolutionary craze swept over Europe, and affected Moldo-Wallachia, the prudence and skill of this general defeated the plans of Russia, who had marched in an army of 40,000 men. After prolonged negotiations with England and Turkey, they were withdrawn.
But Nicholas became impatient, and perhaps alarmed, at these unexpected signs of recuperation and returning strength. His conversations with Sir Hamilton Seymour about “the sick man,” “the very sick man,” are too well known to need repeating. He persuaded himself that England would not interfere; he would give her Egypt and Crete, and he cared naught for France. Having, as he supposed, made himself secure against interference, the Tsar sent Prince Menschikoff to the Sublime Porte, to make, in the most insolent, undiplomatic, and ungentlemanly manner, a demand for the exclusive protection of all the Christian subjects of the empire. This was equivalent to requiring the transfer of twelve millions of subjects to the Tsar; and war of necessity followed.