HC Deb 24 March 1828 vol 18 cc1301-4

On the order of the day for going into a committee of Supply.

Sir R. Wilson

said, that he rose for the: purpose of obtaining information from the right hon. Secretary opposite, with respect to the Treaty that had been entered into on the 6th of July, and the right, hon. gentleman might be assured, that a satisfactory answer to the questions which he was about to propose, would not only be grateful to that House, but to the country generally. He wished to know whether the Treaty of the 6th of July was to be maintained by his majesty, under all circumstances? He knew that various declarations had been made on this subject by ministers in that, and the other House of parliament, to the same effect as those which had been delivered from the throne; but since those declarations had been made, new events had occurred, which induced many persons to believe that some change was about to take place, and made it desirable that further explanations on the question should be entered into by ministers. The new circumstances that had induced this supposition were notorious. A manifesto, or, at all events, a document which bore an official character, had been promulgated by Russia, and had produced such a line of conduct in the Ottoman Porte, as to induce the Russian power to declare war, by which that truce had been broken, which it had been hoped would have rendered the Treaty of Akermann more lasting. The consequence of this conduct had been, that Russia, without, as he trusted, any motive of self-aggrandizement, had been obliged to vindicate her own interests and honour, by advancing on those principalities which formed the line of defence of Turkey, and which it was no doubt necessary for her to occupy, because in all former wars they had been desolated by that country. Such a moment as that appeared to him to render it more necessary than ever that the Treaty of the 6th of July should be carried into effect, as it might be the means of preventing Russia from pushing forward, and establishing herself in a position which would prove most inconvenient to the general interests of Europe.—But, joined with these rumours, there were I sinister reports—reports founded on the jealousy of those who wished to see the honour of England disparaged—reports that sprung from another and new class of politicians, who were jealous for the maintenance of their barbarian friends, and who seemed to dread that the Treaty of the 6th of July was only got up for the partition of Turkey; but, on the contrary, He thought that it would only operate as a security for the continuance of the political existence of Greece. These being the circumstances of the case, it was necessary that they should have a decided declaration of the intentions of government on this point; and he therefore hoped that the right hon. gentleman would state whether it was the intention of ministers to support the Treaty of the 6th of July,: and to fulfil its obligations, without allowing any circumstances to occur to induce them to depart from its provisions?—With respect to the second question, he had, on a former occasion, asked for some information relative to this topic, but had been informed, that no despatches had been received from the gallant, admiral. What he now wished to ask was, whether any order had been renewed to the commanding officer of our naval force in the Mediterranean, to prevent any supply of provisions from being carried to the Turkish army, and for the purpose of interposing to prevent the removal of non-combatants from the Morea into Egypt.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, he hoped the hon. member would excuse him if he divided the comments that had fallen from him, from the direct questions which he had proposed. The first question that the hon. member had asked was, whether the king was disposed to adhere to the provisions of the Treaty of the 6th of July, without allowing any circumstances to interfere in procuring the pacification of Greece? On that subject, he had to inform the hon. gentleman, that there was no change whatever in the king's determination to do every thing that lay in his power to give effect to that Treaty; but when the hon. gentleman asked whether his majesty would allow any circumstances to interfere with the prosecution of the Treaty, it was evident that he was asking him to give an answer to a future and hypothetical case; and that it was impossible for any minister of the Crown to answer on a contingent proposition, such as the one made by the hon. gentleman: it was as much as he could do to repeat that no change had at present taken place in his majesty's desire and intention of fulfilling the provisions of the Treaty.—The hon. gentleman had next referred to certain changes which had taken place in the relations between Turkey and Russia. On this point it was sufficient for him to state, that no official information had reached this country on the subject—no declaration of war by Russia against Turkey had been received—nothing was known to have occurred to change the situation in which Russia stood at the time when the Treaty of the 6th of July was concluded. Whatever apprehensions the hon. gentleman might entertain on the subject, he felt that he should best perform his duty by not discussing it, until positive information was received by his majesty's government.—The second question put by the hon. gentleman was, whether or not orders had been renewed, directing the officer commanding the naval force in the Mediterranean to continue the blockade of those ports of the Morea which were occupied by the Turks? In answer to that he would state, that previous to the battle of Navarino, orders were given to the admiral commanding the combined squadron to institute a blockade of those ports in the Morea that were held by the Turks or Egyptians, and to prevent reinforcements being supplied to them. After the battle of Navarino those instructions were considered as remaining in full force, and they had been acted on by the com- manders of the allied squadron.—With respect to the removal of persons from the Morea, to be employed as slaves, he had no hesitation in saying, that previous to the signature of the Treaty, an intimation was given to his majesty's government that it was the intention of Turkey to remove from the Morea the female part of the population and the children, for the purpose of settling them in Egypt as slaves; and a distinct notification was given to Ibrahim Pacha, that so violent an exercise of rights, if rights they could be called—that a feeling so repugnant to the established usage of civilized nations— never would be permitted by his majesty, and that this country would certainly resist any attempt to carry such an object into effect.