Lord John Russell
.—In rising to bring forward the 545 Question of which I have given notice, I beg to state, that in proposing it, my object has been rather to obtain a declaration from the right hon. Gentleman opposite, than to enter on any hostile discussion of this subject. The events that have recently passed, and the explanations lately given in another place by the Ministers of the Crown, have tended a good deal to meet the views I had in bringing forward the Motion. I am very glad that, by what has already taken place, I am relieved from the necessity of founding this Motion on any detail of the history of the late war between Russia and Turkey, for I feel how difficult it would be to undertake such a discussion without having access to those papers which his Majesty's Government alone at present possess; but there are one or two points with regard to the settlement of Greece, which settlement must soon take place, that call for some explanation. The first regards the form of the government that is intended to be established in Greece. On this point there have been sinister rumours circulated with respect to the intention of the Allied Powers, who, it was said intended to introduce a despotic Government into Greece. I am happy to say that these rumours have been dispelled by the declarations recently made by one of the Secretaries of State, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will have no objection to renew that declaration, and will state that his Majesty's Government has no intention to interfere to prevent the Greeks from governing themselves according to their wishes, wants, and views. Such a declaration would gratify me exceedingly; for while, on the one hand, there is nothing more odious than the introduction, by such a nation as this, of a despotic government into any country; so, on the other hand, I am aware how difficult it is to adapt any constitution to a people composed of a number of different classes of men, whoso habits and origin are essentially different; and I, therefore, see no course that is likely to be effectual in establishing a permanent government in Greece, except by consulting the feelings of the people who are to be ruled by it. At the same time, I feel as an Englishman, and as a citizen of a free country, that as a new State is to be established, freedom—political freedom—should be a constituent part of the principles on which its government is to be 546 established. There is another point, of a more doubtful nature, to which I will now allude; I mean the question of the territory to be given to Greece. I can state to the House, without fear of opposition, that as the question of Greece has been taken up by the Allied Powers—as it had been the object of a treaty, and of hostile operations, in order to effect the settlement of its Government, it is necessary that that settlement should be such as is likely to be permanent, and that the frontier to be given to Greece should be such as may enable her to preserve herself in independence, without a prospect of the repetition of those evils which are stated in the preamble to the Treaty of July. If that point, obvious and necessary as it is, were the declared policy of the Government, I should hardly feel it necessary to make any motion on the subject; but having received information from various persons of such credit and authority as to make it hardly possible to doubt what they say, that for a considerable time it was the object of the Allied Governments to restrict the new State of Greece to the Morea. I feel myself called on to ask for information. When I heard this I was, indeed, surprised and disappointed (I speak from the testimony of those who know the fact better than I do); such a limitation of territory would make it rather a place of refuge for freebooters and pirates, than one fit to contain the proper elements of a state able to govern and direct itself. Much of that sorrow I felt at this information was, indeed, removed by the copy of the Protocol in which Arta and Volo were stated as the intended boundaries of the new State on the North; I was the more pleased with this declaration, as Sir F. Adam, whose opinion on this subject is deserving of much consideration, had stated that the country within these boundaries would possess a good defensive frontier. But, after that Protocol was published, and after I had heard that opinion, I must confess it was with considerable apprehensions I heard that other arrangements were intended, and that Arta and Volo were not to be the boundaries of the new State. On that question I hope to obtain either the expression of the opinion of the House, or the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman.
Besides this question of Arta and Volo, there is another relating to an opinion expressed in another place with respect to 547 Candia. For my own part I am not prepared to say, that Candia is in such a situation that it is necessary to insist that it should be given up to Greece; but if it be true that there has been war there, and that the Greeks are in possession of the greater part of that Island, it is clear that you will hazard the tranquillity and settlement of Greece, unless you provide at the same time for the settlement of Candia. There has been one assertion made which is essentially erroneous. It has been said, that so far from Candia having been in the possession of the Greeks at the time of the Treaty of July 1827, it was not even in a state of insurrection, and that the insurrection which did arise was only in consequence of that Treaty of the Allies; but I have been informed, and I have no hesitation to name the authority from whom I derived the information—I say I have been informed by Sir Edward Codrington, that when he arrived in the Mediterranean Cape Buso was in the possession of the Greeks, and from that point they excited insurrection in Candia. With regard to Candia being directly comprehended in the Treaty of 1827, I am not prepared to say that it was; but I know of no sufficient evidence to justify me in saying that it was not. The words used in the Treaty were, "the islands of Greece." It was not stated what the islands were, nor was Candia actually named; and perhaps I might go further, and say, that it was generally supposed that Candia was not included, but Saraos was; and that island, I believe, is not to be comprehended in the new State of Greece under the now proposed arrangements. I wish to speak on one point more. The favourable opinion of Mr. Fox towards Turkey was alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman on a former night, and the same opinion has likewise been mentioned elsewhere. It is true that Mr. Fox, or those who acted with him (for I believe it was about the time of his last illness), did agree with France in a proposal to undertake the guarantee of Turkey, that neither France on the one hand, nor Russia on the other, should invade that country; but those who rely on that fact ought to recollect the circumstances of that time, when aggressions to an enormous amount had been made by France, which had before then made an irruption into Egypt, and when it became necessary, to preserve 548 anything like a balance of power, to agree to the proposed guarantee. That was the only course that could then be adopted to prevent the recurrence of war; and when, therefore, it was proposed by France, it was the object of England to accept it; for it was, in fact, a guarantee against France, that neither that Empire nor Russia should be allowed to disturb the balance of power as it was then proposed to be adjusted. But in 1791, when Russia invaded Turkey, Mr. Fox uttered that speech—the words of which may not have been correctly given, but the uniform tenor of it can hardly be mistaken—in which he said, that he was not afraid of the aggressions of Russia on Turkey; in which there is not one monosyllable against the seizure of the Crimea by Russia, but in which there is also the statement of his opinion that Russia is that power with which of all others, hardly excepting Holland itself, it is our interest to form political ties. Such, Sir, was the opinion of Mr. Fox, expressed under circumstances much more similar to those at present existing than those of the year 1806, when the whole state and balance of power in Europe had been overturned. I cannot conclude without expressing my satisfaction that the time is approaching when the objects of the Treaty of July are about to be accomplished. I feel the greatest satisfaction that another State is about to be added to the family of European nations, and that that people who for centuries had been afflicted with the calamities, and debased by the vices of slavery, will now take their chance of improvement from the free communication of the knowledge and the arts of other countries. Into the feelings of those who seem to think the pacification of Europe a misfortune, I confess I cannot enter. I have nothing in common with them. I know that in 1790 the Earl of Liverpool made a speech which gained for him a high character within these walls, in which he recommended England to support Turkey as a counterpoise to Austria: all I will say upon that point is, that how fatal, or at least how dangerous, are such speculations, such theories, and such wire-drawn refinements on the preservation of the balance of power, has been established by our own experience. Supposing them, however, to be well-founded, when we look to the advantages gained for Moldavia, Wallachia, Servia, and, 549 last of all, for Greece; when we witness the attainment of freedom from thraldom, and the prospect of increased commerce and increased knowledge from communication between that country and the rest of Europe, we cannot regret that, that balance had been disturbed. Putting those political refinements out of sight, it cannot be said that England, as a free and commercial country, will not have gained by the late establishment of peace in the East of Europe. To those who do not participate in these opinions, I will say that I never will consent to be classed with those who think that the improvement of mankind in any part of the globe, and in any manner, can be hostile to the interests of Great Britain—Dî meliora piis, crroremque hostibus ilium.I have now only to conclude by reading my Motion:—which is "that this House learnt, with satisfaction, that his Majesty, having recently concerted with his Allies measures for the pacification and final settlement of Greece, trusts that he shall be enabled, at an early period, to communicate to Parliament the particulars of this arrangement, with such information as may explain the course which his Majesty has pursued throughout the progress of these important transactions. That it is the confident hope of this House, that such final settlement will be found to secure to Greece a territory sufficient for national defence, and a government provided with full powers to adapt its institutions to the wishes and wants of the people."
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, notwithstanding the peculiar circumstances in which I am placed, I trust that I shall be enabled to give such general explanations to the noble Lord as may induce him to be of opinion that it is not necessary to take the sense of the House upon his Motion. I say that I am placed under peculiar circumstances, because the House will recollect that on the first day of the Session, in the Speech from the Throne, his Majesty stated, that in conjunction with his Allies, and in conformity with the Treaty of the 6th of July, he was on the point of concluding a final arrangement for the pacification of Greece, and for the determination of its relations with the rest of Europe: and his Majesty was pleased to add, that all the papers connected with that arrangement, sufficient to explain the course he had taken, should 550 be laid before Parliament at an early period. In my official capacity I am, of course, cognizant of those papers; and I cannot help thinking that nothing could be more inconvenient than for me at the present moment to be drawn into an untimely discussion which may involve that information of which ere long the House will be in possession. Were I drawn into such a discussion, I do not know how I could avoid availing myself of that information, thus obtaining an advantage in debate which others do not enjoy. I therefore trust that the object of the noble Lord will be attained, although I do not enter into that discussion; but if it should hereafter arise, and if the noble Lord should deem it necessary to take the sense of the House, I hope that the forms of the House will not prevent my offering some further observations. The noble Lord avows that his main object is, if possible, to procure an explanation on two points which he deems of pressing importance.—First, the nature of the institutions provided by the Allies for the future government of Greece; second, the territorial limits to be assigned to the new State. On the first point I apprehend I shall be enabled to give complete satisfaction. I can assure the noble Lord, that in the arrangements, the bases of which have been laid by the Allies who are parties to the Treaty of the 6th of July, although the noble Lord seems to have heard rumours to the contrary, no attempt has been made to dictate despotic Monarchy to Greece. No provision is made in the arrangements which can control the establishment of such institutions as may be compatible with the present situation of Greece. I can also venture to disclaim, certainly on the part of my own country, and I believe on the part of France and Russia, any wish to interfere with the formation of such institutions as are best calculated to secure the liberty and promote the happiness of Greece. Into the second point, which relates to the limits of the new State, I can scarcely enter without an infringement of the principle to which I referred at the commencement of my observations. On the 22nd of March the Protocol was issued to which the noble Lord referred, and which in some way or other obtained publicity in the continental Journals, relating to the limits of Greece, and the noble Lord has expressed his apprehensions that the boundaries now 551 about to be assigned will be less than those mentioned in the Protocol. I feel that the present is not the occasion for entering into the details, but I can venture to assure the noble Lord, that the arrangement now in progress for the independence, happiness, and security of Greece is, in my opinion, much more favourable than that which was contemplated in the Protocol. The territorial limits may be less extensive, but the compensation for the more confined limits will, I think, be found ample. The noble Lord justly observes, that it must be the policy of those countries which entered into the Treaty of the 6th of July to give Greece such security as in her infancy will protect her from foreign interference: he, therefore, wishes that she shall have a frontier capable of being easily defended. It may be sufficient for me to assure the noble Lord that there is no such limitation of the new State as he appears to believe is contemplated—that the boundaries will be far more extensive than the Morea, and that will include all those places with which our historical recollections are gratefully associated, and that the nature of the frontier will in a considerable degree afford the means of defence. But the question of limits is of much less importance, provided those States which entered into the Treaty of the 6th of July have completed that arrangement, which we hope will be a fulfilment of that engagement—provided also, that those States, under whose fostering care this new Government is to be established, feel that interest in its prosperity which will induce them, until its resources are of themselves sufficient, to undertake the guarantee of its independence.
With regard to the anxiety of this country to support the government of Turkey, it will be recollected by the noble Lord, that on a former occasion some sarcastic remarks were made upon the supposed attachment of Ministers to Turkish institutions—as if, because they did not wish for the dismemberment of the Ottoman Power, they necessarily admired its institutions. At that time I protested against any such inference, and I added that I thought I could prove, by the opinions of statesmen strongly attached to liberty and liberal institutions, that it was possible to entertain a desire to preserve the integrity of Turkey without the implication that, it was fit to support its system of internal 552 government. The noble Lord has spoken of the opinion entertained by Mr. Fox in 1791, but in 1806 the circumstances of Europe were certainly such as to induce Mr. Fox to think that it was for the general interest of Europe—for the sake of the preservation of the tranquillity of the world, that the independence of Turkey should be secured. There was another proof of the opinions of Mr. Fox on this subject, which I did not bring forward. In the course of the discussions with the French government in 1806, a proposition was made by Prince Talleyrand, that some compensation should be made to Sicily, by the establishment of a new State, consisting of Albania and the Morea. Mr. Fox protested against this proposed dismemberment of Turkey, contending that it ought to be part of the policy of Great Britain, France, and Russia, to preserve the integrity of the Turkish power. Mr. Fox, therefore, attached great importance to the maintenance of Turkey as an independent State; but I hope that the mention of this topic will not tend to introduce discussion. I did not on a former day mean to state Mr. Fox's views as to the general system of European policy. I only wished to show by that instance, that public men, in accordance with the example of their predecessors, might attach importance to the preservation of the integrity of Turkey without necessarily leading to the inference that they approved the system of internal government in Turkey. If the noble Lord had brought forward his Motion in a hostile manner; if he himself had not said that he rather introduced it in order to procure from Ministers such an answer and such information as they could give consistently with their duty; and if I thought he meant to press it to a division, I should feel under the necessity of at once opposing it; but considering the promise of the Crown at the earliest period to afford information, I do not think there is any thing in the complicated relations of this country with regard to Greece, as they have existed during the last three years, to entitle this House so far to withhold its confidence from the present servants of the Crown, that it should undertake to express an opinion before it has obtained the information on which an opinion ought to be founded. I beg the House to recollect that when the present Government (I mean the administration of the Duke of Wel- 553 lington) came into office, they found the Treaty of the 6th July in existence; the objects of that Treaty were necessarily vague and imperfect, but the intention of it was, to apply an immediate remedy to an enormous evil affecting the interests of every commercial country. Although the present Ministry were not the authors of that Treaty, yet, throughout the whole progress of its execution, we were as desirous to fulfil its objects in the spirit of the Treaty as was Mr. Canning himself. What were the facts? Shortly after the accession of the Duke of Wellington to power, one of the parties to the Treaty found herself, on grounds quite extrinsic, involved in a war with Turkey. Against the right of Russia to enter into that war we did not protest, but left her to pursue the line of policy she deemed it proper to take. It has been said, that my noble friend at the head of the Cabinet, and the Government generally, were in some respects responsible for the precipitation and rashness with which Turkey commenced hostilities, and for the obstinacy with which she persevered in them; it has also been contended that we were deceived as to the result, and thought that Turkey could maintain a successful resistance. The main charge against us, however, has been, that Turkey was in some way improperly induced to place reliance on the friendship and good will of Great Britain, particularly after she had been termed in the Speech from the Throne, our "Ancient Ally," and that in consequence of that reliance, she was led to embroil herself in war. Now, a simple reference to a few dates, without entering into any argument, will totally disprove this charge. I vindicate not only the Government of the Duke of Wellington, but that of Lord Goderich, from the imputation of having created an impression on the part of Turkey, that she might rely upon the assistance of England, either directly or indirectly. It so happens that the battle of Navarino was fought on the 20th October, 1827, and the account of it reached Constantinople on the 1st Nov. following. The Ambassadors of the Allied Powers, and the Minister of England as one of those Powers, in consequence of their total dissatisfaction with the assurances given by Turkey, left Constantinople about the 20th December, 1827. Turkey had, therefore, at that time, first, the proof that England had taken her share in the battle of Navarino; and next, 554 the proof that England was displeased with the course she had taken, by the departure of her Ambassador from the capital. It was on the very day that the British Ambassador left Constantinople that the Porte was infatuated enough to issue that document called a Hatti-scherriff, and which was the immediate cause of the war. It was issued on the 20th December, and it was not until the 3rd January that my noble friend was made Prime Minister. When he was so appointed, it was not known that the Hatti-scherriff had been published by Turkey, nor did that fact transpire until after she had been designated in the King's Speech the "Ancient Ally" of this country. These facts show that it was impossible that any foolish reliance on the friendship and assistance of England could have induced Turkey to enter into the war with Russia; for that war Turkey is alone responsible, and for her perseverance in it she is also alone responsible; in both cases she acted not only without the encouragement, but directly against the advice and remonstrances of Great Britain. It may be said, indeed, that although she entered into that war upon the consideration of her own case, and without any such reliance upon Great Britain, still it should have been the policy of this Government to interfere actively to prevent the disastrous issue of the war. Here I must say, as indeed has been already said, that before England is induced to second a war of that nature, it becomes her first to ask the question whether the proposed hostilities are just and necessary. In the Hatti-scherriff, which was the cause of the aggression of Russia, three declarations were publicly given:—First, a religious appeal was made to all Mahometans to take up arms against Russia; next, there was a positive statement that Turkey would only enter into negotiations with Russia to deceive her and to gain time, the better to prepare new means of resistance; thirdly, that she had signed the Treaty of Ackermann with the intention of violating it, and that she never would fulfil any of its conditions.—Therefore, not only were we not responsible for the conduct of that power in engaging in the war, but if we had undertaken her defence, we must have undertaken it upon grounds which no honest Minister could approve. Whatever importance we might attach to the integrity of Turkey, and whatever wish we might 555 entertain to see an amicable settlement of the matters in dispute, I must protest against the notion that England ought to be bound by the rashness or folly which might influence the councils of others. The conduct of England in attempting to mediate was perfectly consistent with wisdom; but there was no obligation, express or implied, of treaty, of good faith, or of policy, which could induce or justify her in actively interfering by means of war with the issue of the pending contest. Still, notwithstanding that war, and notwithstanding the peculiar circumstances in which England and France were placed as neutral powers, having to execute the Treaty of 6th July with Russia, a belligerent, we felt it so important to Europe, and, above all, we had contracted such obligations to Greece, that we were compelled to overcome every minor difficulty, and to persevere in the attainment of the objects of the Treaty. I am happy to say that we have succeeded: that Treaty is on the eve of its final accomplishment: peace has been preserved; and whatever may have been the original intentions of the authors of the Treaty, I will venture to say that in the result it will be found that the three great parties to the Protocol never at first contemplated any settlement so favourable to Greece as that which, I think, consistently with justice to Turkey, we have been enabled to make. Let me remind the House that by the Treaty of the 6th July nothing more was contemplated than the establishment of that sort of qualified independence which would have left the State of Greece the vassal to the Porte, and subject to the payment of a consider-able tribute: the Porte would even have had the power to interfere in the nomination of the Greek governors. By intervening events, and by negotiation, we have been able to establish the complete independence of Greece. She no longer holds the rank of a mere vassal dependent upon the Porte, but she will take her place among the independent nations of Europe. Having effected these objects, notwithstanding the difficulties opposed to us, I apprehend it will be felt, from what I have stated, that there has been that degree of harmony and good faith in the councils of the "three great powers, Great Britain, France, and Russia," which will at least induce the House to suspend its judgment until the promised Papers can be laid upon the Table. Surely there is nothing in the 556 course of these transactions to justify suspicion, I concur with the noble Lord, that it must be the policy of this country to see that a new State thus formed is placed in a situation in which it can be prosperous; and I join with him heartily in the earnest wish he has expressed, that the Greeks of the present day may recover from the torpor of long slavery, and be enabled to emulate the glory of their predecessors, while, at the same time, they enjoy all the advantages that arise from the progress of knowledge and from the establishment of those institutions which, in happy countries like this, are calculated to insure the possession of civil and religious liberty.
§ Sir J. Mackintosh
said, he must compliment the noble Lord on the candid tone of his whole speech, and the right hon. Secretary on the corresponding character of the earlier part of what he had addressed to the House. He would not follow the latter over the debateable ground of the policy of employing the influence of England in preventing the late war between Russia and Turkey, but he would say, expressly, what the right hon. Gentleman had said by implication, that the success of Russia in that just war (for such he admitted it to be) had enabled the three Allied Powers to bring the Treaty of the 6th July to a happy conclusion. He did not know that it was a matter of serious importance to inquire what had been the opinions of Mr. Fox thirty years ago relative to the independence of Turkey, but the case might be stated in a few words. In the course of the correspondence between Mr. Fox, as the head of the Foreign Office, and the Ministers of France in 1806, an opinion was expressed which had reference to that time, and to the then peculiar circumstances of England and France. It was wished to consolidate the peace of Europe, and for this purpose it was thought that the two powers should guarantee the integrity of Turkey. Such was the opinion of Mr. Fox at that single moment of his life, and under a peculiar combination of circumstances; but to that opinion was opposed what was well known to all the friends of Mr. Fox, that as an Englishman and as a lover of liberty, as a citizen of the world, he was an enemy to the institutions of Turkey—that he detested her tyrannical and barbarous principles—and that he heartily wished the Turks expelled from the boundaries of Europe, Mr. Fox 557 did not consider them a member of the great European family; but he thought nevertheless, at that time, that the preservation of the integrity of the Ottoman power was a legitimate object. What had just fallen from the right hon. Gentleman as to the exemption of Greece from foreign influence, and as to the establishment of a limited Monarchy and free Institutions, (for such he inferred to be the nature of the reply) gave him (Sir J. M.) sincere gratification. He had heard with joy the same sentiment before in another place, and it compensated for much else of a different character that proceeded from the same quarter. He had heard it said elsewhere, "Let the prince and the people of Greece settle their own Institutions," and if that simple pledge were adhered to, all would be well. He believed that he was the first who had presented a petition for the establishment of the independence of Greece; and he congratulated them that the end was about to be attained by the simple, but effectual means pointed out in that petition. He felt the utmost joy that the Treaty of the 6th July was about to be carried into complete execution, after the unworthy manner in which that compact had been used, after that unworthy language uniformly applied to the person to whom Greece was indebted for it, and who might justly be termed the deliverer and pacificator of the East of Europe. He was glad to see that those who were formerly opposed to him on this very point, now took credit for carrying into effect the great measure which his genius had conceived. On these points his joy was unmixed, his satisfaction perfect; and were he called upon to vote upon this Resolution, he should support it on no ground of hostility to, or distrust of Ministers, but upon what he had heard before, and which had been this night confirmed, that the present Government of this country had formerly been disposed to adopt a mischievous arrangement regarding the limits of the territory of Greece, and to justify that arrangement upon false principles. The right hon. Gentleman had intimated that Greece was to have something better than an extended line—that she was to have compensation for the narrowing of her boundaries: but it was not denied that she was not to have the frontier which would have been assigned to her under the Treaty of 6th July. The frontier now proposed was not that which 558 had been formerly designed. Acarnania was to be ceded to the Turks; so also was the Acheloüs, and yet such boundaries could be of no use to Turkey, except for offensive purposes, while they might be of much service as a defensive line to the Greeks. What had most surprised him, however, was the principle adopted by Ministers with reference to Candia. Looking to the Treaty of the 6th of July, he felt himself justified in assuming, that when a new State was to be formed, as Greece was, that the right of claiming such portion of the Turkish territory as was essential to the defence of Greece belonged as much to that country as did the right of making a similar demand for similar purposes belong to Turkey. The Treaty of the 6th of July proceeded upon the principle that Turkish territory was to be taken to such extent as would secure the means of military defence to the new State, and neither Turkey nor any of the Allies would be at liberty at a future day to impeach the acts done under it. Nothing could be more clear and express than the language of the Treaty of the 6th of July; it declares that the territory and the designation of the islands which were to belong to Greece were to form the subject of negotiation between the two contending parties; that Greece should be free to endeavour to limit the territory of Turkey, as that power might, on the other hand, contend for the limitation of Greece; that nothing" could be plainer than that the independence of Greece should be secured, and the means of its military defence provided for. Now the withholding Candia from Greece went upon grounds strikingly at variance with the Treaty of the 6th of July, However, he would reserve the expression of his full judgment upon the subject until the papers were before the House, and he should sincerely rejoice in the dissent—if such should be the result—of those worldly-wise persons who mistook craft for sagacity. If in making these few observations he had gone beyond the strict rules which on ordinary occasions were observed in discussing subjects of that nature, he hoped it would be attributed to the deep interest such a question was calculated to excite.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, in adverting to the recommendation of his right hon. friend (Mr. Peel) that they should postpone the discussion of the present question till the papers were before them, he could not but complain that the right hon. Gentleman 559 had himself deviated from his own recommendation, while he desired others to confine themselves to the simple question which the noble Lord had brought under consideration. Having set them such an example, he could scarcely expect that they should very closely confine themselves on a discussion so interesting and important as the present. In making one or two observations upon the character of the Treaty of London, and the mode of its execution, he would not inquire into the origin of the war between Russia and Turkey, neither would he investigate the question as to the party which might have been the instigator of that war. It might be perfectly true that that war arose out of aggressions committed by Turkey upon the trade of Russia, and upon its commercial rights; and he was perfectly ready to admit that the commencement of that war took place before the present Government came into office. On one point he should be glad to see his Majesty's Ministers acquit themselves—namely, with respect to the influence which their conduct had upon the progress, duration, and termination, of that war, and the degree in which their conduct might have affected the course adopted by the Turks in rejecting those terms of peace which it was the duty, as it was the interest, of England to promote. When the papers came to be laid upon the Table of the House, many of the dispatches would prove abundantly plausible; but no dispatch, however smoothly it might read, would, by the mere force of its diction, or the plausibility of its statements, convince him that England had done all that she might have done for the purpose of putting an end to that war. It was his earnest wish to see England, upon all such occasions, speak a straight-forward language; but on that point he could not help apprehending that had she taken the honourable and upright course, hostilities would not have been continued to so recent a period. His right hon. friend had taken credit, on behalf of his Majesty's Government, for the great merit of having had the Treaty of the 6th of July executed according to the spirit in which it was framed, and that its execution was attended with results even more gratifying to the parties interested than their first expectations had led them to anticipate. From that sentiment, however, he begged to dissent, though his unwillingness on the present occasion to 560 enter into details would prevent his assigning the reasons which influenced his dissent; but he must be allowed to say, generally, that he could not see that the spirit of the Treaty had been at all adhered to; and to that single remark he would add, that if the Treaty had been more closely adhered to, the interests of Greece and of England would have been more effectually advanced. At length, however, there was a prospect that something like independence might be achieved for Greece; but the House would judge how much more of that was owing to the arms of Russia than any interference on the part of England to see the Treaty of the 6th of July executed in the spirit in which it had been framed. When the papers came before the House, he should be extremely glad to see the propositions made by his Majesty's Government to the Allies for settling and securing to Greece a territory sufficient for the purposes of an independent State, and a frontier calculated to secure the continuance of that independence. He hoped as they would have the pleasure of seeing what could not fail to be gratifying to the national feelings and flattering to the national honour—to collect from the lips of the English Minister that the people of Greece would enjoy the rights of freemen, and be no longer confined in the shackles and fetters of despotism. When it shall be shewn to the House from the expected documents that his Majesty's Government had done all in their power to secure the accomplishment of that object, then would his right hon. friend be entitled to the thanks of the House and of the country. But so far as the right hon. Secretary went, his statement was far from satisfactory. He had altogether failed in shewing that the addition of Candia to the territory of Greece was not essential to the well-being and independence of the new State. This was but small matter of surprise, for no man who had turned his attention to the subject could doubt that the political existence and the military defence of Greece would mainly depend upon the possession of Candia. What would form a more immediate ground of complaint—if it proved to be well-founded—would be, that this country had not fulfilled her engagements, in seeing the Treaty executed in its true spirit; than which nothing was more important, as affecting the honour and interest of England. It was in a high 561 degree interesting to England that the new State should have the means of maintaining her own independence; for, if left in a helpless or undefended state, the first aggression made upon her would be the signal for calling upon the powers who were parties to the Treaty of the 6th of July to come forward in support of the stipulations of that Treaty. Thus would England be involved in difficulties, which a little regard to good faith in the first instance might easily avert. They might be told that the powers had guaranteed the independence of Greece. That might be perfectly true, and at the same time it might be true that the relations of those powers towards Greece and towards each other would, in a very short time, undergo such changes as should leave little chance of their being in a situation to redeem those pledges which they had given for the maintenance of that country in a separate and substantive form. The only effectual security which Greece and England could have, would be, to give to the former such a territory and such boundaries as would render any aggression very unpromising. To leave Greece in a situation incapable of self-defence, was to do England one of the most serious injuries which she could sustain in her relations with the East of Europe; it would open at once a door for the exercise of foreign influence, and render the new State of Greece an arena for the struggles of foreign influence, and, perhaps, for the contests of armed men. The gulfs of Volo and Arta, at opposite sides, ought to form two 'of the boundaries of the new State; that, he thought, could be very easily established; but those who wished to circumscribe Greece within the narrowest possible limits would confine it to the Morea. Austria, and those who with Austria desired to fix the minimum of territory, called out for the Morea as the boundary. When the official papers, however came before them, it would then be apparent that the English Government had either supported the true interest of Greece, or had sacrificed them to the wishes of Austria. It would then be seen whether proper means had been taken for securing Thessaly and Epirus, and whether the Gulf of Volo on the East, and the Gulf of Arta on the West, were or were not to form the boundaries of Greece. These he certainly considered as limits essential to the military defence of Greece, as was the 562 natural boundary formed by the range o mountains at the North running like a back-bone behind Greece—that was a barrier which nature pointed out, and one which the habits of the people, and the physical circumstances of the country, rendered obvious and convenient. On the South, it was of importance that Greece should be in possession of a territory which would afford her a good military defence, for there it was of peculiar importance that she should be preserved from collision with her neighbours. It seemed to him one of the strangest assertions which had ever been made, that Greece ought to be made to pay a price in territory for the political independence conferred upon her—she was given a nominal independence, but a real dependence, with such a territory as that given to her, destitute as it was of the means of military defence. The natural defence of Greece on the South would be Candia; for with that island left in the possession of the Turks, the means of aggression would be continually in their hands. The ports of Turkey were too distant to admit of frequent or formidable attacks upon the Greeks; but with Candia in their possession, undertakings of that nature became comparatively easy. If, then, any thing had been done which tended to compromise the independence of the new State in the manner to which he alluded, he entreated his Majesty's Ministers to reconsider the steps they had taken, and shut the door against future contention in the East, by providing for the political security and military defence of Greece, thus really executing the Treaty of London in spirit, satisfying the just expectations of Greece, and doing credit to themselves and their Allies. He professed to know nothing upon those topics except what any man might learn at the corners of the streets in common conversation, or from the newspapers; but he believed he should be borne out in this assertion, that if the wishes of England were decisively made known upon the subject, the Allies would accede to them, and that it rested with the Cabinet of England to decide whether or not the new State was to be rendered secure or insecure. It had been said, that to give Candia to the Greeks it must be conquered from Turkey. What made that necessary?—what, but the wavering and undecided conduct of the Cabinet of England? It was also alleged that 563 Candia had taken no part in the insurrection against the Turkish power in Greece: that could scarcely be the fact; for early in the year 1827, the President of the Greek Legislative Assembly was known to be in that island, and it was not at all likely that he would have been there, if there had not subsisted a community of feeling between the Greek inhabitants of that island and their brethren elsewhere. It was also to be remembered that Candia was one of the latest acquisitions of Turkey—it had not been conquered by the Turks until the year 1679; and it was likewise an important fact, that out of the two hundred and forty thousand souls forming the population of that island, the greater part were Greeks. The Turks however, were now in possession of Candia, and that he believed was mainly owing to the interference of our non-interfering Government. It was one of the thousand and one instances in which our Government professed not to intermeddle, yet did so, contrary to its professions. The Turks had wrongfully preserved possession of Candia, and now it was contended that they should be allowed to profit by that wrong. It was a principle of law that no man should profit by his own wrong—it was a maxim of justice, that the infliction of one injury should not stand good as a reason for the infliction of further and deep injuries. It was acknowledged that at the present moment a civil war was going on in Candia. Were they to have another Treaty of London for the pacification of Candia, or was that devoted and unhappy island to be left exposed to the pouring forth of the vials of Turkish wrath in all its inhuman and atrocious barbarity, to a repetition of the atrocities of Ipsara and Scio? There had been a talk of amnesty; they must all, by this time, know pretty well what amnesty meant, when translated into the languages of Spain, or Portugal, or Turkey. In Turkey they had a proverb that there were three merciless things—Time, Fire, and the Sultan; and if he knew anything of the history of Turkey, he would say there was little probability of that being less true at the present than at any former period. Let Candia remain in the hands of the Turks, and what probability was there that the Greeks in that island would remain patient under that yoke which their brethren had shaken off? and even though they were disposed to do so, how unlikely was it 564 that the Turks would allow themselves to remain without a pretext for glutting that vengeance which the other Greeks might defy. How then was England to act? Was she to keep an agent in Candia to preserve the peace there between the Greeks and Turks in that Island? It was contended that to conquer Candia would be contrary to the Treaty of London, but an objection of that nature did not arise when the French conquered the Morea, and when many similar acts were done, in the course of the late struggle. Candia, even in a maritime point of view, was essential to the safety of Greece, it was to Greece what Cuba was to Mexico, and could not be excluded from its territory without endangering the existence of the new State. Would it be possible for the sovereign of Greece to stand by and see thousands of his subjects, countrymen, slaughtered by the Turks, without interference? and yet, should he interfere, the certain consequence would be a war with Turkey. In that event England would undoubtedly be brought into the contest; or if, both England and the sovereign of Greece refused to interfere, the Greeks themselves would fly to the succour of their brethren, and then of what advantage would it be that the State was nominally at peace? There was another argument which he might mention, and which perhaps had still more force. It was not in the nature of things that Candia could long continue in the possession of Turkey, for it was too rich a prize not to tempt the surrounding States, and he would therefore venture to predict that, if Candia was not united to Greece, it would fall to our lot to be at war with some State or other, in the course of a few years, on account of this very Candia. They were told that the transactions were still pending; and, therefore, the papers and documents on the subject were still withheld from the House; but he did not see that this ought to have any weight in stopping the discussion of the present night; because they well knew the strength that an expressed opinion of Parliament must have on such a subject; and he, therefore, trusted, that if there were other Gentlemen who had the same feeling on the subject, and entertained the same opinion with himself, they would give their support to the Motion of the noble Lord.
.—I am extremely sorry, that when I stated that his Majesty's Government had been able to execute the Treaty 565 in the spirit in which it had been conceived, and even to carry it further, any one should suppose that I thereby intended to draw a contrast between the present Government and the original framers of the Treaty. I said that we had carried the Treaty further than Mr. Canning, but that has been because events have arisen which Mr. Canning was not able to foresee. But, Sir, I think that I have a right to complain of the manner in which my noble friend has called the attention of the House to the subject; there were first addressed some questions to me, and when they were answered, the noble Lord (Palmerston) has risen to found a statement upon them; I therefore think that I have a right to complain, because I certainly did not conceive that these answers would form the groundwork of the unpremeditated impromptu delivered by my noble friend. What a situation am I placed in by answering these questions? Was it fair on such a ground to enter into the description of boundaries—was it proper to enter into the discussion of attaching Candia to Greece? Can I in reply state and argue upon all those circumstances of which the House is not yet in possession? Can I enter into the reasons why, because there has been a rebellion, not only England, but all the other powers have forced Turkey to a submission, to which, under other circumstances, they would not have consented? But, Sir, even if my noble friend shall succeed in procuring a majority for the noble Lord's Motion, it will still leave the Government unfettered as to Candia, for the noble Lord's motion has nothing to do with that: and I protest that I will not be drawn to enter into the discussion by the course pursued, trusting the House will feel the situation in which I am placed, and that the time is not yet arrived for that discussion. I feel that I cannot in fairness enter into that discussion, and I will not enter into it; but I trust that the House will not, from this resolution of mine, draw any unfair conclusion. My noble friend has stated, that if England would consent to enlarge the limits of Greece, he was pretty sure that the other powers who have joined in the Treaty would not be opposed to such extension. Certainly this is a statement which I did not expect to hear from my noble friend. I do not, however, know in whose confidence he may be, or whom he may undertake to represent in making 566 that statement, unless he comes to that conclusion from having been in office at the time of the execution of the Treaty. This, however, at all events, I can state to the House, that the most perfect harmony on the question of boundaries exists between the contracting powers; and that the arrangements will be found worthy of the sanction of Parliament.
§ Lord Palmerston
said: Nothing that has fallen from my right hon. friend shall tempt me to deviate from that temper which I believe is always most successful in argument. My right hon. friend has told the House that he does not know whose representative I am. I will tell him. I stand here, humble as I am, as one of the Representatives of the People of England; and next, as the Representative of my own opinions—opinions, Sir, which I will never shape to suit the opinions of any other individual, let his situation be what it may, either in this House, or out of this House. I stand here as the Representative of my own opinions, and I think I can appeal to the recollection of my right hon. friend himself, to bear witness that those opinions have not changed since I had the honour of acting with him. I also stand here, I trust, as one of that body which represents, or which at least ought to be the maintainers of the honour and interests of England; and I can assure the House that I shall never be deterred from that duty by any taunts which my right hon. friend may not think unworthy of himself, or by any taunts which may extract a reluctant and unfrequent cheer from those who sit behind the Treasury Bench. Neither, Sir, will I ever be deterred by any of those—I will not call them unfair—but by any skilful dexterities of debate, from stating to the House those opinions which I honestly entertain on the public affairs of the country; and little shall I care whom those opinions may please or displease, or what motive may be imputed to me for doing what I most firmly believe to be my duty. But my right hon. friend has insinuated that I have availed myself of information obtained while in office; now my belief is, that I have stated nothing which every man who reads the newspapers of Europe, or who mixes in the society of any country he may happen to be in, might not have stated just as fully; and if the Ministry think that nothing of all this is known beyond the corner of 567 Downing-street, except that which they are pleased to communicate, they are most grievously mistaken, for much more of the political state of Greece is known to the whole of Europe than perhaps they would desire. My right hon. friend has also been pleased to talk of my unpremeditated impromptu. I can, however, assure him, that when I entered the House, it was my intention to confine myself to the question of the territorial limits of Greece, and that I should not have said a syllable on any other point, but for his own departure from a rule which he entreated all others sacredly to observe.
.—I can assure my noble friend that I admit his perfect right to express his opinions, and to have them considered expressly as his own; and if I had objected to it, I should have been justly subject to censure. But I was not speaking of opinions, but of facts. Neither did I impute to my noble friend any improper disclosure of the information he obtained while in office; all that I stated was, that having made a speech, I was placed under a disadvantage when my noble friend entered into details. The fact to which I referred was this—that my noble friend stated certain circumstances in such a manner as must have led those who heard him, to suppose that he spoke from authority, and that he was in possession of the negotiations between the powers, thereby leading those who heard him to conclude that England stood alone on the question of limits; and that if she would waive her objections on that head, there was reason to believe that the other powers would also waive theirs. For this reason I thought it necessary to state that the three contracting powers were agreed upon this point, and that there was no such want of harmony as my noble friend would have made out. It was for these reasons that I made the observations I did; and I beg to assure him, that in making them I did not in the least intend to impute to him any improper disclosures.
§ Lord Palmerston
.—I can assure my right hon. friend that nothing which may pass between him and me in this House will impair the friendship which exists between us: but I am sure the House could not imagine, when I was stating my opinion as to the boundaries of Greece, after having been two years out of office, that I was taking upon myself to insure 568 what were the sentiments of Russia or France.
§ Sir Robert Wilson
wished to know whether the noble lord (lord J. Russell) intended to press his Motion to a division: because, if he did not, he (Sir R. Wilson) would not trouble the House with his opinions on the question in its present state. He also thought that it would be unfair to press the matter to a division, as the papers were not before the House.
Lord J. Russell
said, it was not his intention to divide the House on the Motion, which was then negatived without a division.