, adverting to the foreign policy of the present Administration must say, that he felt considerable confidence in the manner in which they were conducting the intercourse of this country with the European powers; but before Parliament separated for the recess, he wished to call the attention of the House to one or two topics. He hoped, that the noble Lord would give them some expectation favourable to the cause of 873 Poland. It was with infinite satisfaction that he found himself in a situation to congratulate the House upon the fact, that Belgium now enjoyed a national government; and he hoped that before long he should be able to congratulate the country on the recognition by England of the Queen of Portugal. Having said thus much, he hoped he might be allowed to observe, that as Russia had prevented France and England from interfering in the concerns of Portugal, so he hoped France and England would prevent Russia from overpowering Turkey. He desired to know whether the troops sent by Russia to Constantinople were sent with the consent of France and England, or against that consent? Further, he desired to know if it were not the fact, that a treaty had been agreed to between Russia and the Sultan himself, without the concurrence of any Minister, and without the knowledge of any diplomatic agents at the Porte? Surely, if that were so, he should say, that strong measures ought to be taken to prevent a recurrence of such a proceeding.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
hoped, that Donna Maria would speedily be recognized by England. The declaration made by the noble Lord on a former day with respect to Poland, had given the greatest satisfaction; and he hoped, that by Europe at large, the cause of Poland would not be considered as having been by any means decided, but rather as remaining in abeyance. He had but to add, if Russia and Turkey had concluded a treaty offensive and defensive, so should France and England.
§ Sir Robert Inglis
observed, that it was not his intention to follow the observations of the hon. Members who had just addressed the House, but to inquire whether there really had been concluded a treaty offensive and defensive between Russia and Turkey? He must confess, that he had no other knowledge of any such important transaction than what he derived—not through the Government—but from the perusal of the intelligent correspondence that appeared in the Morning Herald. According to the important information communicated in that able correspondence, the treaty precluded Turkey from entering into any new treaties with other powers, except with the concurrence of Russia. He hoped, that the noble Lord and the Government did not allow themselves and the House to rely for information on the ordinary resources of a newspaper; and that therefore his Lordship was prepared to give some explicit information 874 on the subject, other than that derived from the Journal to which he had alluded. He was willing to admit, that it was irregular to apply for this information; but he trusted that if the noble Lord could not now give the information required, he would be prepared before the prorogation of Parliament to lay before the House, not merely the treaties that had been made, but all communications connected with the formation of those treaties between Turkey and Russia. The interests of England and of all Europe had long been bound up with the independence of Turkey. He trusted the noble Lord would have no objection to state whether the reports which had been circulated, and which were so injurious to the cause of England, were or were not true?
§ Viscount Palmerston
assured the House, and the hon. and gallant member for Westminster, that he felt it at all times a duty and a pleasure to give them every information connected with his department that he could afford, consistently with the duty he owed the public. He did not mean to follow either the hon. and gallant Member, or the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Cutlar Fergusson), through all the topics they had thought fit to advert to, because he considered that in doing so they were rather expressing their own opinions than putting questions to him which he was bound to answer. He thought it right, however, to correct one mistake into which the hon. and gallant Member had fallen with respect to Portugal. The hon. and gallant Member had stated, that Russia had prevented England and France from interfering with Portugal, and that, as Russia had done so, both this country and France should have entered into an alliance to prevent Russia from meddling with the affairs of Turkey. The hon. and gallant Member was very much mistaken if he thought that they had been influenced by Russia in respect to the conduct they had pursued towards Portugal. The line of conduct the British Government had pursued was that which they deemed consistent with the honour of the country, and consistent with that public policy they had uniformly adopted. He repeated, that in their conduct towards Portugal, they had not been influenced by what might be the opinions of Russia, nor by what might be the opinions of any other government of Europe. So much he said for the Government of this country, and he thought that he might go equally as far 875 with respect to the government of France, and say, that she acted according to her own considerations, and was not, any more than this country, influenced, in the line of policy she pursued, by the advice of any other nation. Now, with regard to the affairs of the East, it was perfectly true, that his Majesty's Government had been informed, that a treaty had been recently signed between Russia and the Porte; but as that treaty was not officially signed, and as he was not in possession of it, the House could not expect of him to give any information as to what that treaty contained. With respect to the information said to be received by means of the public journals, it could be no blame to Government if, by the activity of their agents, they were sometimes beforehand with the Government. The hon. and gallant Member asked another and a double question—namely, whether the entrance of the Russian troops into Turkey was with the consent of England and France, or, whether both or either of those Powers, had on their part protested against the entrance of those troops. It was not necessary for the English Government to protest against the entrance of those troops, because it had received the most positive assurances from Russia, that when they had accomplished the purposes for which they were sent, they would retire. He had now, he believed, touched upon all the points on which the three hon. Members had questioned him. He was not in a condition to give any positive information as to the conduct the British Government might think proper to pursue with respect to the treaty alluded to. When they were sure that such a treaty really did exist, and when they were in possession of that treaty, it would be then for them to determine what was the course of policy they ought to pursue.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
reminded the noble Lord, that there was one question he had left unanswered—namely, whether the Porte, previously to having asked for assistance from Russia, had made a similar demand from the government of this country.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, it was true that such a demand had been made in the course of last August by the Porte, before it had applied to Russia for assistance. The application that had been made to the country on the part of the Porte was for maritime assistance, and his Majesty's Government, from the nature of circumstances had not thought fit to grant the application.
§ The conversation dropped.