§ Mr. Sheil
rose to move, as an Amendment to the Motion, that the Speaker leave the Chair, 939 "that an humble address be presented to his Majesty, praying, that he be graciously pleased to order that there be laid before the House a copy of any appointment made within the last four months of an Ambassador from the Court of London to St. Petersburgh, and of the salary and emoluments attached to such embassy. He believed, that with respect to the importance of the relations between Turkey, Russia, and this country (the principal question involved in the Amendment he had just proposed) there could be in that House no question whatever. The illustrious individual, now at the head of Foreign Affairs, was, he believed, as sensible as—if not more so than—any man in the country, of the importance of the questions connected with the proposition he had made to the House. In the year 1826, notwithstanding the extreme inclemency of the season, and although the Duke of Wellington was, as he believed, then labouring under ill-health, he thought it was his duty to the country and the public to proceed to St. Petersburgh with a view to the arrangement of the extremely difficult and complicated questions then pending between Russia, Turkey, and this country. The events which succeeded the negotiations into which the Duke of Wellington entered, certainly could not be considered as being of a fortunate description. Before the year had elapsed, Russia declared war against Persia, and in the month of February, 1828, the latter power was reduced to the necessity of entering into an ignominious peace, of which one condition was, that she should pay twenty millions of roubles to the Emperor of Russia; another, that she should concede two very important provinces on her frontier. Scarcely had the war with Persia terminated, before Russia directed her arms against Turkey, and upon the 23rd of April, 1828, that celebrated war began. It was much to be regretted, that the Duke of Wellington, at that time in office, did not see the importance of at once furnishing Turkey with assistance. True, the battle of Navarino had taken place; but notwithstanding that circumstance, the resources of Turkey were by no means exhausted, and at the conclusion of the campaign of 1828, in the judgment of military men, Russia had received a check; she had taken an unimportant frontier, but her troops were compelled to retire from before Shumla. The English Government, how- 940 ever, instead of interfering at that most important and most favourable juncture, omitted—and the omission was unexampled in the history of nations—to interfere, at least so far as concerned the blockade of the Dardanelles; and while Constantinople was deprived of provision, it was no exaggeration to say, that the British flag sustained some disgrace. At the commencement of the year 1829, Russia poured in her forces upon Turkey; the events which then took place, were too notorious even for recapitulatory reference. The Treaty of Adrianople, dated in September, 1829, was then signed; and it was with justice, that in the House of Lords, in the month of February, 1834, Lord Grey, on being taxed by the Duke of Wellington with relinquishing the interests of Turkey, replied, that to the Treaty of Adrianople much of the mischief that had since ensued was to be referred; for, that by the existence of that Treaty, Turkey was in some measure laid prostrate before the feet of her antagonist. He was one of those who thought, that the late Ministry, in their conduct with reference to Turkey, had committed great and almost irreparable errors. He thought it was a mistake, not to have stopped the progress of Ibrahim Pacha; he thought it was a mistake, to allow 20,000 Russian troops to land on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. On the 8th of July, 1833, the Treaty of Constantinople was signed; it was followed by the Treaty of St. Petersburgh, in January, 1834. By that Treaty, not only were large privileges given to Russia, with reference to the Dardanelles, but the passage was almost closed against the English. He had taken upon himself to bring the matter before the House in the last Session of the short-lived Parliament, and the right hon. Baronet then stated, that although he did not agree with him in his construction of that Treaty, he feared the interests of England were affected: and he added, that a negotiation had been opened between Russia, Turkey, and this country. Beyond all doubt, taking the three articles of that Treaty together, Russia had gained a new treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive; it followed from thence, that if Russia went to war with England, Turkey must of necessity do the same; and not only were the Dardanelles closed against vessels of war, but against merchant vessels. He adverted to 941 these circumstances, for the purpose of showing the importance of the relations, that now existed between the kingdoms. Here, in the case of Turkey again, they found Russia, as on the frontiers of Persia, with a large army, only waiting for a pretence of invasion. He need hardly remind the House of the manifest influence Russia possessed in every Cabinet, or of the mode in which it was exercised—a mode tending to counteract the great principles which every Englishman in that House was bound to maintain. It therefore seemed manifest that the appointment of an ambassador to St. Petersburgh was not an unimportant question, and the question at once arose, when Lord Heytesbury was removed in August 1832, and, in October 1832, Sir Stratford Canning was appointed, what was the reason why Sir Stratford Canning never proceeded to the court of St. Petersburgh? The question was brought by Lord Londonderry, before the House of Lords. That noble Lord gave notice, that on the Monday succeeding that day on which the notice was given, he would bring the matter forward. The matter, however, never was brought forward, nor had there been any satisfactory explanation of the reasons why an Ambassador did not then proceed, and had not yet proceeded, to the Court of St. Petersburgh. No objection, as far as he could exercise his humble judgment, could reasonably be entertained to the appointment of an Ambassador. A question next arose, as to the character of the individual who, under circumstances so peculiar, ought to be appointed. It was clear, that he ought to be wise, sagacious, firm, discreet; that he ought to be firmly and inflexibly attached to those principles to which the great mass of the people of this country were devoted; that he should be qualified to protect the commercial interests of the country; that he should represent, in his own calm dignity, the honour of his country; and, perhaps, let him add, in favour of neglected and unfortunate Poland; the English Ambassador ought to raise the voice of healing remonstrance. Whether such a person had been appointed or not, it was for his Majesty's Ministers to state. Rumours had been spread abroad concerning the appointment of an individual of very high rank in this country, respecting whom he for one would not concur with any of those who had spoken of him as an individual, 942 in language of disrespect. The first notice he remembered to have seen of the appointment of that Nobleman, was in The Times newspaper of the 2nd of January in the present year. The words were these:— "We notice, merely to discountenance, an absurd report, that Lord Londonderry has been, or is to be, named Ambassador to St. Petersburgh. The rumour is a sorry joke." On the succeeding day The Times newspaper said— "The Courier, in allusion to our yesterday's notice of the rumour, still to us incredible, that Lord Londonderry had been named Ambassador to St. Petersburgh, affirms that the nomination has really taken place, and that the gallant Marquess is engaged in preparing for his departure." The paragraph proceeded with some observations on the appointment, which might be very justifiable on the part of the editor of that newspaper, but which he for one did not think it necessary to repeat. It was not to rumours, however—it was not to newspapers—it was not to reports that might possibly be scandalous, and that were put into spurious circulation in the salons of this country, that he alluded. He would take the estimate of the Nobleman to whom he alluded, from a debate in the House of Lords; not, he would say, courted, but studiously avoided. In the Month of June, 1827, Lord Londonderry made a Motion in the House of Lords respecting the expenses of the Foreign Office; and with the manliness, which was unquestionably one of the characteristics of his temper, declared that, instead of wishing himself to shrink from investigation, he was anxious that every circumstance connected with his diplomatic services, should be distinctly and clearly made known. On that occasion, the noble Lord adverted, he (Mr. Sheil) would not say with intrepidity, for it required no courage, but with a disdain of all consequences, to the application made by himself to Lord Liverpool, respecting a pension to which he conceived himself to be entitled. The language used by Lord Liverpool in reference to that application had now become matter of history. On the 26th of June, 1827, Lord Londonderry made the motion which he had before mentioned; and in the course of his speech expressed himself as follows:—"The next return was that of the pensions to Foreign Ministers, on which there was an increase of about 5,000l. With regard to this re- 943 turn he must state a case with respect to himself, which, under any other circumstances, he should have been unwilling to mention; but he must distinctly say, that he had been personally injured with respect to this particular return of the Foreign Office. The right hon. Secretary had unnecessarily or wantonly brought forward charges against him which he felt himself bound to repel and deny. For that purpose he had entered into a correspondence with the noble Lord opposite; and if the noble Lord chose to give that correspondence to the public, or to disclose it in any other shape, he should have no objection to it, and by that correspondence he would be judged." Lord Dudley and Ward, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, having been thus called on to give an explanation, after some preliminary observations, said—"another topic to which the noble Marquess had adverted, and challenged him to lay the particulars before the House, he must also mention. He had understood the noble Marquess to say, he had been calumniated and injured by the returns from the Foreign Office. He had alluded to a correspondence which had taken place on the subject of a pension to which he conceived he was entitled for his diplomatic services; and had said, that if he (Lord Dudley) would lay the papers before the House and the public, he would be judged by them. He must decline adopting that course, but the history of the transaction he would briefly state. The noble Marquess made an application on this subject, by letter, to the Under Secretary of State —a gentleman who had long filled that office, Mr. Planta—stating the grounds which, in his own opinion, entitled him to a pension. The letter thus written was, of course, handed to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who, not wishing to take upon himself the responsibility of deciding upon such an application, or of setting a value on the services of the noble Marquess transmitted to Lord Liverpool, then the First Lord of the Treasury. If he mistook not, the application was renewed; and then it was that Lord Liverpool shortly after returned the letter to the Foreign Office, in which he had made the remark in pencil, which had been communicated to the public through the medium of a newspaper. On the noble Marquess's application, Lord Liverpool had written, in pencil, the words 'this is too bad,' and he had seen them himself. There was no breach of 944 confidence in stating this; he had no motive in so doing; but when he was told that the noble Marquess had been calumniated by the returns from the Foreign Office, he could not allow noble Lords to go away under the impression that something very unjust had been done to the noble Marquess." Lord Dudley and Ward then went on to say, that "he believed the noble Marquess had been in the public service about ten years, and for his services in that period he had received of the public money 160,000l."* Lord Londonderry, in replying to that statement, did not contradict the allegation as to his application for a pension; but he contended, that he had a right to it, and on that ground he took his stand. The noble Lord afterwards read two letters signed by himself, of which one was as follows.Holderness House, May 14, 1827.My DEAR LORD—Having just read in The Times newspaper of to-day a libel upon my character, in which it is stated, that upon an application of mine for a pension, out of the prescribed form, Lord Liverpool had himself endorsed these words—'this is too bad,' I feel persuaded that you will inform me whether, in your opinion, it be possible that, accidentally or otherwise, the office over which you preside can have been accessary to such a statement. If the fact be true, it will show that confidential or official documents are communicated for indirect purposes of personal attack, not where they can be met and answered but by throwing them into anonymous channels. Whatever may be the character given of my proceedings in Parliament, I disclaim anything but being direct and open against public men and public measures, and I despise any other mode too much to have recourse to it. I request, therefore, before I take any further steps, that you will have the goodness to favour me with an answer to the query I have made, and that you will forward me, as soon as possible, copies of all the correspondence relating to my application for the pension, together with Mr. Canning's letter as to my services on my resignation of the Vienna Embassy.(Signed) "VANE LONDONDERRY.And the noble Marquess added, "the answer of the noble Lord opposite was a complete denial; and he, consequently, thought the thing at an end. In eight or ten days after, however, he received a letter from the noble Lord, saying that since his former letter, he had discovered that the pencil-mark alluded to, did actually exist.†* Hansard's Deabtes, Vol.xvii., new series, page 1401–1405.†Ibid. p. 1407.945 He now stated nothing but facts, which were notorious to every man in the country, and any comment of his was entirely unnecessary. He was conscious of the services of the Marquess of Londonderry, but he must be pardoned if he suggested to the right hon. Baronet, that though the noble Marquess might be an orator at Hilsborough, in the county of Down, he was neither qualified nor capable of being the Ambassador of this country to the Court of St. Petersburgh.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson,
in rising to second the Motion, did not intend to make any objection to the reported appointment of Lord Londonderry of a personal nature; his objection to that appointment was founded on public grounds,—on the admitted and declared sentiments of the noble Lord on one important point connected with our relations with Russia. He believed that this country was under obligations to maintain the independence and nationality of Poland, which had been destroyed by Russia; and he, for one, would never cease to protest against the infraction of the Treaty of Vienna, by which the independence of Poland was guaranteed. He put it to the noble Lord opposite, the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Lord Mahon), to state the exact situation in which that great question stood. He took it that Poland had not lost a single right which she had, under her constitution, sworn to by the Monarch, by whom it was infringed; nor were the claims which that unfortunate country had on the Powers who guaranteed her constitution less strong than ever they were. He trusted that the attention of the new Government would be directed to this subject. He had had the honour of bringing that Question before the House at three different periods; and, on the last occasion, he went the length of taking the sense of the House on a Motion, declaring that this country could not acknowledge the present state of Poland, involving, as it did, a violation of the Treaty of Vienna, to which this country was a party. That Motion was assented to by the late Government in principle:—they admitted that the Treaty of Vienna had been violated; but they said, that they had remonstrated against the breach of that treaty, and that they had done no act by which the present state of things was acknowledged. He had, therefore, hoped that the present Government, acting in 946 this particular in conformity with the policy of the late Government, would not have appointed to the high and important situation of Ambassador to Russia, an individual who had rendered himself justly objectionable by his public declarations with regard to Poland. He was sorry to be obliged to occupy the time of the House, but as the subject was so important, he felt he should be forgiven. He had not the honour of being known to Lord Londonderry; he was not actuated by any prejudice against that noble Lord; the objection which he felt to his appointment was, as he before stated, founded not on personal, but on public grounds; and he would now proceed to explain what those public grounds of objection were. In August last the noble Lord, in his place in the House of Lords, expressed himself to the following effect:—"Russia was perfectly justified in taking her own line with regard to Turkey, after we had conceived ourselves justified in taking a separate and distinct line from the other parties to the Treaty of Vienna with regard to the Belgian question, and as to the encouragement given to the Emperor's rebellious subjects of Poland," and the noble Marquess further stated, that this Government had interfered in favour of the Poles, to an extent wholly unjustifiable. He believed that noble person to be the first individual who had ever, in any place in this country, ventured to call the Poles rebels, or to say that the interference of this country in their favour, was unjustifiable. A constitution, an independent kingdom, and a sovereignty had been secured to them, and to which they had as much right as the Emperor of Russia to his crown. That Prince was bound to maintain the nationality of Poland by the Treaty of Vienna, to which the Seals of the Ambassadors of all the Powers of Europe had been affixed. The Treaty, he repeated, was shamelessly violated by the Emperor of Russia. But he would not further dwell on this point, but would content himself with saying, that the Poles were not rebels, but that they had been driven into resistance by the oppressive act of Russia. He did not ask that any person should be sent to Russia for the purpose of remonstrating with that Power, with a view to active interference on the subject of Poland; the time for such a proceeding had, perhaps, gone by; but of this he 947 was convinced, that we ought not to send a person as Ambassador to Russia who had spoken of the Poles, and of the Polish cause, and of the conduct of his own Government in respect to it, in the terms he had stated. That House had admitted, the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs had admitted, that the resistance of the Poles to Russia was justifiable, and that it was not rebellion. Indeed, the only reason given by the late Government for not acceding to the Motion proposed by him was, not that the Motion was unreasonable, but that, in point of fact, all that the Motion required, had been done by the English Government. Ought, then, he would ask, a person to be sent as Ambassador to Russia who had a decided feeling against the cause of that gallant, but unfortunate, nation, and who declared that the British Government had interested itself to an extent wholly unjustifiable in favour of the Poles? Why, it never before had been said, that this country had done too much in favour of Poland; but he had often heard it asserted, on the contrary, that England and France had done less than they were bound to do in defence of the Treaty to which they were parties. He trusted it was not too late yet for something to be done for Poland as a State; but, at any rate, it ought to be the business of our Ambassador at St. Petersburgh to endeavour as far as possible to mitigate the fate of those unfortunate and gallant men, who were at present suffering from proscription, confiscation, and banishment, on account of a resistance which he must declare to have been perfectly justifiable. But was that the opinion of the noble Lord to whom rumour assigned the embassy to Russia? And would Ministers venture to confirm the appointment of an individual who had made use of such expressions, and exhibited such feeling in respect of the Poles, and of the Polish cause, as he (Mr. Fergusson) had already noticed? He would tell the right hon. Baronet opposite, that if that appointment did take place, it would be his appointment. The right hon. Baronet was Prime Minister of this country, and he would have to answer for the effects which such an appointment might entail with respect to Turkey and with respect to Poland. Whatever might be the consequences, he repeated, of that appointment, the responsible party would be the right hon. Baronet opposite.
§ Lord Mahon
said, that the hon. Member for Tipperary had commenced his speech with an observation on the great importance of our relations with Russia and Turkey; from that remark, and from the notice on the paper, he owned he did expect that the hon. Member intended to draw the attention of the House to a question, the importance of which he had so justly appreciated. But so impatient had that hon. Member shewn himself to plunge into personal invective ["No, No!"] if not personal invective, into personal censure, that he had entirely omitted to notice or passed quite lightly over, the state of our relations with those countries. He (Lord Mahon) was willing to give the fullest explanation respecting the course taken, or intended to be taken, by the present Government with regard to eastern politics; but it really appeared to him, that Russia and Turkey had only been introduced into the notice of motion on the present occasion, for the purpose of affording an opportunity for an attack on a distinguished individual. Then, again, when the hon. Member for Tipperary expressed such strong objections to the appointment to which he alluded, he (Lord Mahon) for one, expected to hear some valid grounds stated for such objection. But what had been put forward? Nothing, but what he must call a stale anecdote full eight years old, and already familiar to the House from the Debates in the House of Lords. Would any one assert, that the opinions of Lord Liverpool as to the general services and character of Lord Londonderry were to be gathered from those few words which had been quoted? Was the hon. Member aware, that those words could only have been made public by a most flagitious breach of trust, and that the person who committed it would, if detected, be immediately expelled from office, perhaps even from society, with ignominy and contempt? He must say, that if the confidential communications of one Minister to another were to be made public, he did not see how the public business of the country could be carried on, or the mutual reliance of private intercourse be maintained. He utterly denied that the opinion of Lord Liverpool, as to the general character and conduct of Lord Londonderry, was to be collected from the words in question, which related solely and exclusively to a demand for a pension. He 949 thought the House was bound to remember, in justice to Lord Londonderry, that a great change had taken place in the public feeling with respect to pensions, and a change also in the regulations by which they were bestowed; and that they must not, by an ex post facto judgment, condemn Lord Londonderry for claiming what, in his time, did not appear contrary either to propriety or to precedent. There could be no greater injustice in any case than to judge of past transactions by the standard of subsequent feelings. He should now refer to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Kircudbright. That hon. Member had objected to Lord Londonderry's appointment solely with reference to Poland. But he (Lord Mahon) thought that his argument lost much of its force, since he had himself admitted, that the time to do any thing for Poland had passed by [Mr. Cutlar Fergusson: What I said was, that the time for remonstrance with Russia had, perhaps, passed by]. He (Lord Mahon) must then have misunderstood the right hon. Member; but, even waiving the argument of time, he did not think the objection entertained by him to the appointment of Lord Londonderry, founded in reason. Whatever might be the individual opinion of that noble Lord, his duty as an Ambassador would be to execute the orders of the Government that sends him. Whatever he might think of the Poles, he would be found to act up zealously and strenuously to any instructions with which the Duke of Wellington might think proper to supply him, in behalf of that suffering nation. It had, indeed, been constantly urged during former Governments, that if an individual had knowledge and talents for the diplomatic service, his political opinions ought to be no bar to his employment and promotion. That maxim had, he knew, been often adopted in behalf of Whig diplomatists, during former Tory Governments. He must maintain that the expressions of Lord Londonderry respecting the Poles—expressions used probably in the heat and hurry of debate—were not a sufficient counterpoise to those talents, that experience, and those opportunities of observation and of practical knowledge, which no man had been better placed for acquiring. His military services at a military Court, like that of St. Petersburgh, were no small additional recommendation for an Ambassador; and, he 950 might add, in conclusion, that if hon. Members were better acquainted with his generosity and kindness of feeling, they would, on this occasion, feel no small regret at having thus assailed him. [Mr. Hume: Has the appointment been confirmed?] He might say that, formally speaking, the appointment had not taken place; but he believed that it had been fully determined upon.
§ Mr. Hume
considered it most important, as the King had been graciously pleased to declare in his Speech from the Throne that the Estimates of the year had been made with the strictest attention to economy, they should now inquire into the wisdom of applying so much of the public money to the paying for the services of such an individual as the Marquess of Londonderry. He knew nothing of the noble Marquess but as a public man, and he would ask the House, what they were to expect from an Administration which could make such a selection for this office, which must be high and important, if they were to judge of its importance by the greatness of the salary attached to it. There were only two Embassies in the whole circle of diplomatic appointments, whose expenses were rated at the same high value of 10,000l. The first of these was the Russian Embassy; and, in addition to the 10,000l. salary, the Ambassador at that Court was allowed 1,000l. for rent, and other contingencies, which amounted to 3,000l. or 4,000l. more. The question, therefore, was very important, and well deserving the consideration of the House, whether the services of the noble Marquess were worth 15,000l. a year. He believed that, during a period of ten years, the noble Marquess had received, for services done to the country, a sum of 160,000l. That, however, was in the good old times of Tory extravagance; and the noble Marquess was not the only instance of such extravagance in the diplomatic department. He had on several occasions shown, that the diplomatic corps of this country cost the nation from 420,000l. to 500,000l. a year. The late Government had promised him to make some reductions in it, and he was happy to say some reductions had been effected. As to the appointment of the noble Marquess to this Embassy, with a salary of 15,000l. a-year, he considered it one of the greatest outrages on the feelings of the people of England, that he ever had heard of; and he had risen to say, that he 951 considered it an example held out to the people of England of what they were to expect, if the right hon. Baronet opposite were allowed to remain at the head of the Government. Most mischievous would be the effect, if such an appointment as that of the noble Marquess were to pass unnoticed; but, it had not passed unnoticed, for it received the reprobation of those who, as public organs, were the great supporters of the party of the noble Marquess. They had distinctly declared it an appointment which the whole country would condemn. Believing, as he did, that that House represented the opinion of the people, he adduced it as evidence of the public feeling against the noble Marquess's appointment. The House would recollect that if the noble Marquess once set out on his mission, and even though he should be at once recalled, the country would be saddled with a pension suitable to the post the noble Marquess filled. The salary attached to his Embassy would be brought in in that year's Estimates, were it for no other purpose than to establish a claim to the pension. That, in itself, made it a matter of some consideration. But there was another view that the House should take of the appointment: England ought to send to such a power as Russia an individual whose opinions were liberal and just, and were known to accord with the free institutions of the country he represented—an individual on the character of whose representations to the Court to which he was sent the nation could rely. There should be some hopes, at any rate, that he would represent the feelings of the great mass of the people. In the present instance, that would not be the case. He judged from the notorious fact, that the noble Marquess had invariably been against all amelioration of the political circumstances of the people. He had opposed every thing connected with human freedom—even the humane design of others to mitigate the sufferings of the afflicted Poles. What, then, could these persecuted people—what could Europe expect at the hands of the present Government, when they saw it sending out such a man to represent it at the Court of Russia? They had nothing to expect. The Government sent him out to satisfy the despots of Europe—they thus tell the despots of Europe, "Judge us by our sending out a man who has been the loudest opponent of political freedom, and who has ever praised 952 every act of your despotism"—Was not such an appointment enough to sicken the hearts of the people of England? it was an appointment which his Majesty certainly, had a right to make, but it was equally true, that the time might come when the House of Commons would withhold the money; and he was convinced that the people of England would be well satisfied if, in the present instance, the money was withheld which should go to pay an individual so obnoxious to them. He had had no intention of addressing the House upon this occasion, had the noble Lord opposite not made so lame a defence of the appointment by attributing the opposition to it solely to personal considerations.
said that, from the answer which his noble Friend the Under Secretary of State had given to the hon. Member for Middlesex, that no such appointment as that which was the subject of the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary's Motion had actually taken place, he concluded that upon the technical point the Motion must fall to the ground. He did trust, however, and that the more especially in consequence of the answer given by his noble Friend, that the effect of this discussion, as far as it had gone, and of the opinions of the people of England, which were well known on the subject, might, yet, even at the last hour, prevent the completion of an appointment which he was bound to say was not creditable to the Government, or acceptable to the people of England. He looked not to the Question in a pecuniary point of view. He had never felt the tone of a discussion so lowered as when, after the feeling and eloquent speech of his right hon. Friend, the Member for Kirkcudbright, whose eloquence in favor of the gallant but unfortunate Poles, he had frequently admired, he heard the different ground taken by the hon. Member for Middlesex. His objections to the appointment had been so eloquently expressed by his right hon. Friend, that there remained little for him to add. He had been a Member of the Administration which, for prudential reasons, had felt it to be a necessary duty on their part—and he would say that they never had a more painful duty to perform—to resist the more active interference on the part of this country in behalf of the Poles, which his right hon. Friend wished. But if that Administration had considered it their duty to withhold their active sup- 953 port from that much-injured people, it deemed it the more imperative in every step it took, and by every influence in its power, to soften the evils under which they suffered. With these sentiments, he must say that the noble Marquess, who had declared his opinion to be unfavourable to the Poles, was the last person whom England ought to have sent to Russia to represent there the feelings of the people of this country. If it were now too late, to exercise any active interposition in their favour, as he believed it was, still much might be done by the known character and the quiet and constant influence of an Ambassador at the Court of St Petersburgh, for the purpose of representing the feelings of the people, and, he believed, of the Sovereign of England. The noble Marquess was the most unfit man in the empire to represent those feelings. It was said that reference should not have been made to by-gone transactions, but he thought that such a reference was perfectly justifiable, for those transactions were the last records they had of the noble Lord's official conduct, and he thought that not a very powerful passport to the good opinion of the country. Were they to regard as nothing the opinions of the noble Marquess? He might have instructions to act upon, but would his instructions in England or in Russia counterbalance his known sentiments? Did they believe that his efforts with regard to the Poles would be made—he would not say that they would be made in stimulating to actual severities—but did they believe that his conduct with regard to them would bear the impress of his own feelings, or of the feelings of the people of this country? But there was yet time for the feeling of the House and the country to be made known, and he could not help expressing his most earnest hope, that the right hon. Baronet, who had been most unnecessarily reminded that he was responsible for the appointment he had recommended— foreign, as he believed it to be, to his inclinations, and hostile, as it certainly was, to his interests—would allow the feelings of the House and of the country to have their influence upon the counsels of the Government.
§ Mr. Otway Cave
said, it was far from his wish to say any thing personally disrespectful to the noble Marquess, but he could not avoid expressing his disgust and indignation at the conduct of Russia to 954 the gallant and unfortunate Poles; and he asked whether it were right, whether it were proper, whether it were decent, to select as an Ambassador to the Court of St. Petersburgh one who was notorious throughout the country and throughout Europe for having given a distinct opinion in favour of Russia against the Poles? He did not believe that noble Lord would imitate the example which had been set him of retracting his opinions; but the more manly he might be, the more steadfast he might be in maintaining his opinions, the more dangerous would be his appointment. The noble Lord who had preceded him (Lord Stanley) had regretted that the tone of the debate had been lowered by the introduction of pecuniary considerations, but he thought the expense not a trifling consideration. He hoped, however, the right hon. Baronet would reconsider the appointment, and send some nobleman to the Court of Russia who, if he could not exert himself to get Poland reinstated in the rank of nations, would at least strive to obtain a more liberal policy on the part of Russia to the suffering inhabitants of the former country, and en deavour to save from exile some of those high-minded individuals who had sacrificed themselves for their native land.
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
said, that his sympathies had been roused by much that had been said with respect to the conduct of Russia towards Poland, and the subject of the relations existing between Russia, Turkey, and this country. Besides these two subjects, however, he was sorry to find that remarks of a personal character had been made with reference to a noble individual, who, he felt bound to say, had, however well or ill, exerted his powers in the service of the country for the last forty years. An hon. Member had alluded to an individual of the family of Stewart, who had long served the King, but who was a Tory, and had lent himself to the promotion of despotism; now he, as well as other Members, recollected the time when there was a general cry against only one despot in Europe, in opposition to whom the noble Marquess had exerted himself—he meant that unfortunate individual, Napoleon Buonaparte. He asked whether, in these days, the noble Marquess was to be called the aider and abettor of those persons who were now designated despots, but who, when he was connected with them, were acting in unison with this 955 country against the common enemy, and, possibly, but for whose aid and assistance the contest might have ended in the ruin of this country? The right hon. Member for Kirkcudbright said, that the appointment, whether good or bad, rested with the right hon. Baronet; but he (Mr. Pelham) trusted that the House would not be led away by the notion that a man's public character rested on a speech that he might have made, or a few incidental observations that might have fallen from him.
said, that the complaint of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, as to the imputations thrown upon the noble Marquess, did not apply to the speech of his hon. Friend, the Member for Kirkcudbright, for his remarks were tempered with mercy and forbearance. He rose to express his surprise that, on a question of this importance, involving the consideration of the first act of the Government, by which they made manifest to Europe what they might expect from their Administration—that on a question of this importance the right hon. Baronet had not addressed the House, to answer, not for the possible appointment, but for the effects which had already been produced on the mind of Europe by the mere announcement of such an appointment. The noble Lord (Lord Stanley) had expressed his belief that that appointment was foreign to the inclinations of the right hon. Baronet; but he could not believe that it was so, as it depended upon the nomination of the chief adviser of the Crown. It was of a piece with the whole of the conduct of the Ministers; it tallied with the exoteric and esoteric doctrines which the country was left to collect from their actions. It was in unison with their behaviour to the Orangemen of Ireland. By his appointment they had, certainly, effected a great saving in the expenses of diplomatic correspondence; not even the hon. Member for Middlesex could have hit upon a more economical mode of communicating to foreign courts what they had to expect from the present Administration. The hon. Member said, "withhold the salary from the noble Marquess;" he (Mr. Ord), however, said, "withhold the man."
§ Mr. Gisborne
asked, is this all the defence that is to be offered for this appointment? Is it to be rested on the speech of the noble Member for Hertford, or upon the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Shrewsbury? I have heard some 956 Gentlemen in this House say, that this was an unnatural appointment; it appears to me, however, that it was most natural. It is an incontestible avowal of the principles of the Administration; it is in complete accordance with the principles on which the right hon. Gentlemen on the opposite benches took office. They were the steady opponents of the Reform Bill, and opposed it in every stage; they did everything in their power to prevent its success; they say, "We gave our last votes as we gave our first votes, in opposition to it, and, therefore, are we better able than any others to carry out its principles, and to work out its results." In complete analogy, then, to the reasoning on which the right hon. Baronet and his colleagues took office, the noble Marquess is considered the best person that can be appointed to see that the execution of the treaty between this country and Russia, which guaranteed the independence of Poland, is carried into effect. He is deemed the most proper man to send to the Court of Russia to endeavour to procure the fulfilment of the ratification of the Treaty of Vienna. He is, in consequence of his declarations elsewhere, the best adapted to interfere to mitigate the cruelty now exercised on the unfortunate Poles by Russia. The analogy is, therefore, complete between the present appointment and the accession of the present Ministry to office. The analogy ran throughout one with another. Whatever surprise, therefore, the announcement of the apppointment made on the minds of others, I confess that it created none whatever in mine. It is some months—at least two months ago—since the noble Marquess, who has been appointed our Representative at the Court of St. Petersburgh, made a speech at Durham, in which he announced his selection for that office; the seasons, it appears, have not been sufficiently propitious to enable him to reach the place of his destination. The noble Marquess has not been able to enter the Baltic in consequence of "the dangers of the deep." I recollect some time last year the right hon. Baronet opposite made some very striking observations. [An Hon. Member: the observations which the hon. Gentleman alludes to, were made on the occasion of Lord Ponsonby, who had been appointed Ambassador to Constantinople, and was unable to leave Naples, and proceed to the place of destination in conse- 957 quence of adverse winds.] On the occasion to which I allude, the right hon. Baronet quoted with great effect the passage—Otium Divos rogat in patentiPrensus Ægteo, simul atra nubesCondidit Lunam, neque certa fulgent Sidera nautis.The noble Marquess, also, no doubt is enjoying his otium while waiting for the quiet of the seas. In this case it was not found that a land journey was convenient. The analogy, therefore, holds good throughout; and as the Ambassador to the Court of the Sublime Porte was detained to enjoy his otium, and which was so pleasantly treated by the right hon. Baronet, so the noble Marquess has been prevented proceeding to the Court of Russia. I have hitherto spoken lightly on the subject; but very different feelings from those which I have expressed are entertained by the country. The noble Lord says, that the appointment has not yet been definitely made, although it had been determined on. I am sure, if it is determined on, and actually takes place, it will become the House to adopt some strong measure. I need hardly say, that it is the duty as well as the privilege of the House, to express their opinion on the manner in which the prerogative of the Crown is exercised. I will say no more, however, until I see whether or not this appointment is made. Whether the course suggested by the hon. Member for Middlesex is the best that should be pursued I will not stop to examine; but I am sure that the House should express its feelings to his Majesty, stating, that the appointment is opposed to the feelings of the House and the country, and that it had alarmed Europe from one end to the other.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
I was certainly not aware that to the other charges to which I am liable could with any degree of justice be added that of an unwillingness to take a fair share in the discussions of this House; and I confess it was with no small degree of surprise I heard the hon. Member who spoke last but one in this debate attribute it to me. While, however, I quite admit the right of that hon. Member—or any other who may coincide with him in thinking I am called upon to defend my conduct with reference to the appointment in question—to comment upon my silence, I must claim from him in return the right of postponing that defence until such time as may appear to 958 my own mind most suited for that purpose But, Sir, even if I were not to avail myself of that prerogative I think it will not, upon consideration, appear unreasonable to the House that I should have, at all events, up to the present moment, refrained from presenting myself to their attention. I think, when I am told from so many quarters that, be the result of Lord Londonderry's appointment what it may, the main responsibility must at all events rest on me—when I am in general terms informed that the Government to which I belong will forfeit the confidence of those over whose interests they are selected to preside, by selecting for the situation of Ambassador to the Court of Russia an individual whose conduct disintitled him to that honour, but it was natural that I should wish to hear what were the specific charges which could be adduced against that noble Lord, or against myself, before I took an opportunity of making a reply in his, or my own defence, the more especially when it was quite clear that, in compliance with the forms of the House, I could only address it once. Upon the Question of responsibility, I have but little to say.— I trust I never have shrunk, and never shall shrink from any responsibility which properly could be said to belong to me, or try to transfer to another the responsibility that ought to attach to myself. I admit, distinctly admit, that, for whatever may be done in any department of the State, practically, though perhaps not constitutionally I, who have the honour to fill the first post in his Majesty's Government, ought to, and will, while I retain that situation, consider myself, altogether responsible to my Sovereign and to my country. I do not hesitate here, in my place in Parliament, to declare that for every step taken in this appointment there is no individual belonging to the Cabinet who has contracted greater responsibility than myself, and whatever may be the course the House may think fit to take in consequence of that appointment it shall never find me either anxious or desirous to shrink from the declaration I now make. That the appointment of Lord Londonderry to the post of Ambassador to the Court of Russia, or to any other office, however insignificant, under the present Administration has failed in giving satisfaction to certain hon. Gentlemen opposite I do not—I cannot doubt. Is it not perfectly notorious that there is no one appointment connected 959 with the present Government which gives them the slightest satisfaction? Nor is it very wonderful that such should be the case. Don't I know—don't we all know —that in proportion as men take an active part in politics, and in proportion as they desire to see the party they espouse gain the ascendancy in the State, in exactly the same proportion will the appointments of a Government, which exists in direct opposition to them, be at all times, and especially at the moment they have ceased to hold power, unsatisfactory to their feelings, and consequently the objects of their condemnation in their speeches. Have they expressed dissatisfaction at Lord Londonderry's appointment only? Why, not one single individual composing the Government is acceptable to them—not one single appointment the Government has made appears to give them satisfaction. Even their old friends and allies—even those whose co-operation and assistance they courted when they were in office—have now become the objects of their attack and condemnation. Is not the Attorney-General for Ireland under the late Administration, the Attorney-General for Ireland under the present Government? And yet are we not reproached with even that appointment? Is not my right hon. Friend the Paymaster of the Forces denounced by hon. Members on the other side as unworthy of the trust reposed in him? Did not the noble Lord, the leader of the Opposition, contrary, I must say, to his usual practice, and contrary I must also say, to what prudence ought to have dictated to him above all others, rake up the forgotten quarrels of 1829, and, speaking of the language used by the right hon. Baronet at a time of great excitement, and, with reference to a measure upon which the greatest difference of opinion prevailed, attribute to him expressions which, if the right hon. Baronet ever used them, and I possess not the slightest recollection of his having done so, he must in his calmer moments have regretted; and the noble Lord having done so, did he not urge the inexpediency of his having been selected to fill an office under the present Administration? [Cries of "Hear, hear!" from the Opposition.] Hon. Members, on the other side of the House cry "Hear, hear!" but, Sir, let me ask, is it or is it not the fact that my right hon. Friend, whose appointment to the situation of the Paymaster of 960 the Forces, is considered so convincing an indication of illiberal dispositions on the part of the Government—whose appointment is considered sufficient to condemn in the eyes of the people, the whole policy and intentions of the Government—is, I ask, the report, which at the time was very generally credited, that my right hon. Friend was offered by the Government of Lord Grey a still higher appointment than that he now holds, true or false? ["No, no!"] All I can say is, I have heard it stated, and I have not before heard it contradicted, that the office of Secretary of War was offered to my right hon. Friend. ["No, No!"] My right hon. Friend did not himself tell me so, but as it was publicly stated, and as it has never been hitherto contradicted, I maintain I have a right to assume it is true. [Renewed cries of "No, no!"]. It was certainly so stated in the only vehicles of news to which the public at large have access, and sure I am that in those publications it was not contradicted. I know not, I repeat, whether the fact was as stated or not, but I do know it was publicly stated and that it was not publicly contradicted. ["Hear, hear!"] Well, then, I say, Sir, if such an offer as that to which I allude was made to my right hon. Friend, it is not fair to blame his appointment to an office under the present Administration as an indication of his intention to pursue an illiberal or unpopular system of policy. I come now to the particular question under discussion.— [Cries of "Hear, hear!" from the Opposition benches.] Surely hon. Members opposite are not so impatient that they cannot spare me even five short minutes to make an ordinary preface to an ordinary speech. [Laughter.] Surely they are not so impatient as not to allow me time to lay the groundwork for my defence. I will, however, not trifle with that impatience, but at once proceed to the point in dispute. As I said before, I have not the least doubt that the appointment of Lord Londonderry must be unsatisfactory to those Members of the House whose policy is directly opposed to ours; but I want to know—and I thought from the course the present debate has taken that I might have attained that knowledge—what are the allegations, what the specific charges, which can be brought against Lord Londonderry, and upon what grounds it is 961 that his appointment as Ambassador is to subject the Government to which I have the honour to belong to the censure of this House. Up to the present moment I believe the sole charge against the noble Marquess is—and it is the charge of the hon. and learned Member for Kirkcudbright—that of his having expressed an opinion in his capacity of a Peer of the Realm, that the late Government had pursued their interference on behalf of the Poles to an unjustifiable extent, and that he had termed them "the rebellious subjects of the Emperor of Russia." And is that alone sufficient to disqualify the noble Marquess from being employed under the Government? Why, Sir, I heard but a few evenings since an hon. Member on the bench opposite tell the House, that unless everything his Majesty's Canadian subjects required was conceded to them by the British Government they would become —I quote the hon. Member's precise words—"rebellious subjects of the King of England.". Is this sufficient in his own estimation to disqualify that hon. Member from obtaining any Government appointment; But, Sir, putting for the moment out of view this consideration, I have to say, that the scraps of speeches upon which the hon. Member for Tipperary has founded his allegations against the noble Marquess do not appear in the authentic reports of the proceedings in the House of Lords. I have before me "Hansard's Debates," and there I cannot find them. [Mr. Sheil—They will be found in the Mirror of Parliament.] I know not as to the Mirror of Parliament, but I have here before me, certainly, an authentic work, and one which appears to be very carefully edited, in which I can find no such expressions as those attributed to the noble Marquess. I am not in a situation positively to deny his having used them; but I cannot find them in the very careful version of Parliamentary Reports I hold in my hand. But, Sir, are we to judge of individuals by the language they may make use of in the excitement of debate? Do we not daily see here within the walls of this our House of Assembly hon. Members led away by the warmth of discussion, by their party feelings, or—and I shall not have to impose a great tax on the recollection of hon. Members in stating the last of my incitements—by their desire to criminate a Government to which they entertain hostility—make use of ex- 962 pressions by which, in their calmer moments they would much regret being obliged to abide. This takes place almost every day, and is it, I ask, fair or just, that upon such evidence the conduct of a public man should be judged? The hon. Member for Tipperary admitted, that as far as Lord Londonderry's personal character is concerned, he has ever acted with the manliness, which is inseparable from his mind and character. Is this, let me ask, an unimportant quality in an Ambassador? The hon. Member for Middlesex, in order to make out a case against the noble Marquess, has brought up the collateral question of the salary connected with the office of Ambassador. Sir, let me ask what is that hon. Gentleman's authority for stating that the salary of the Russian Ambassador is 15,000l. a year?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
I don't exactly know how the fact may be, and therefore, cannot deny the hon. Member's statement. The hon. Member may be right, but still I may say he is not so uniformly accurate in his statements, that I would wish to take it on his representation alone. But be that as it may is it exceeding the salary usually allotted to the Ambassador to the Court of Russia? Is it more than the salary allowed to Sir Stratford Canning? Is it not, in short, the rate of salary fixed upon by Lord Palmerston, and sanctioned by the late Government? What right, then, let me ask, has the hon. Member for Middlesex, —or any other hon. Member—to endeavour to create an impression against the individual by speaking of the amount of salary attached to the office he is appointed to fill? Is the amount of the salary sufficient to vitiate the appointment? If it be, reduce it. If the character of the individual selected makes his selection an improper one, attack it; but do not endeavour to create a feeling against the individual by joining the question of character with that of salary, which the present Government did not fix, but which they found established by their 963 predecessors. The hon. Gentleman's other accusation against Lord Londonderry was this—that he had been attacked in The Times. He said, "You will find that twice in The Times there have been severe attacks against him." The hon. Gentleman says, The Times is a fair indication of public opinion. Will the hon. Gentleman consent to take his own character from The Times? Now I think that is a very fair way of going to work; for if the hon. Gentleman comes down with The Times as a witness against Lord Londonderry, and attaching the greatest importance to the opinions of The Times, and its extensive circulation—brings The Times forward as the justification of his attack upon Lord Londonderry, I can only say, that he has a feeling for a witness not very favourable to himself. Lord Londonderry has long served the public in public capacities. He believes that no one can call in question the military pretensions of Lord Londonderry; and that no one will say, that any officer, except the gallant general under whom he had served, has ever shown greater devotedness to the public service, or exposed himself in the course of that service to greater personal danger. [Cries of "Oh!" from the Opposition.] "Oh!" says the hon. Member for Marylebone, ever ready to hear an attack on those to whom he is politically opposed, and ever equally ready to interrupt those who seek to defend the absent from unjust imputations. [Sir Samuel Whalley was not the only Member who had interrupted the right hon. Baronet.] I presume the hon. Gentleman will not require me to name such offenders, seriatim, at all events, the hon. Gentleman was one of those who interrupted my defence of an individual for whom I again claim the credit of having nobly served his country; but I will not take up the time of the House by bestowing any more notice on the interruption. The right hon. Baronet proceeded to observe that Lord Londonderry had been on the staff in the Duke of Wellington's army from the year 1809 to 1813, and Adjutant-General in the army in Spain. He was aware that many persons might assert that to show a successful military career and great devotion to the service was no proof of general ability; but he should address himself to that part of the subject hereafter. His noble Friend, Lord Londonderry, having been Adjutant-General for a 964 period of four years, and during a campaign of no ordinary difficulty, could not surely be considered a very inefficient person. His noble Friend served in a diplomatic capacity from the year 1813 till the year 1822. He was appointed Minister at Berlin in 1813; he was appointed Ambassador to Vienna in 1814; and he retired from the service in the year 1823, at his own request. Reference had been made—and he really thought most unfairly made—to an application made by his noble Friend for a pension, to which he thought himself entitled. He did not receive that pension.—He put an erroneous construction on his claim. But suppose his noble Friend did so, he would ask any man—he would refer the matter to any hon. Gentleman opposite, and ask him, as a private individual—could the circumstance of a public man, entertaining that opinion, and making that claim which was not acceded to, be fairly taken as evidence of his general character, and as proof of his inefficiency, to serve the public. Surely the main question, after all, was, as to the manner in which his noble Friend had conducted himself—not in his military capacity, not in his office as Adjutant-General, though important duties were connected with it—but in the diplomatic situation he had held, of equal rank with that for which he had been now designed, and which he had held, for a period of ten years, in most critical times? It would not be difficult to obtain testimony to the conduct of his noble Friend. No doubt, however, if an appeal were made to Lord Aberdeen, hon. Gentlemen opposite would object to the testimony of that noble Lord, or, if an appeal were made to the Duke of Wellington, they would equally protest against being bound by the noble Duke's evidence in such a matter. But if he referred to the opinion of Mr. Canning, could hon. Gentlemen object then? Could they refuse to receive the opinion of Mr. Canning as to the ability, as to the integrity, in short, as to the qualifications of his noble Friend, Lord Londonderry? Mr. Canning, on his appointment to office, on the ground, be it borne in mind, of his foreign policy, received the cordial support of hon. Gentlemen opposite. They overlooked his opinions on some matters of domestic policy, declaring that out of consideration for the course taken by him in foreign politics, they were prepared to 965 give his Government general and cordial support. It might be said, that he was speaking of an early period of the life of Mr. Canning—but considering that Mr. Canning was in the situation of a Minister of the Crown, there could not be any one but must be proud of such a testimony to his ability and qualifications as that which he was about to read. When his noble Friend Lord Londonderry expressed a wish to resign his situation at Vienna, he received the following letter from Mr. Canning:—Foreign Office, October 15th 1822.My LORD—Having laid before the King your Excellency's despatch, dated the 26th ult. requesting his Majesty's gracious permission to retire from the eminent post of his Majesty's Ambassador to the Court of Vienna, I have received the commands of his Majesty to signify to your Excellency, that his Majesty has been most graciously pleased to grant the permission you solicit, accompanied with an expression of his Majesty's deep regret for the loss of your Excellency's services, and of his Majesty's full and entire approbation of the manner in which your Excellency has for a series of years, and in times of the most critical importance, conducted the affairs of the embassy intrusted to your charge, and maintained the intimacy and cordial good understanding so happily subsisting between his Majesty and his Majesty's imperial ally.Such was the testimony borne by Mr. Canning to his noble Friend Lord Londonderry, on his resignation, on the last occasion on which he was employed in the public service; and he must say, that considering the intimate personal acquaintance of his noble Friend with all those who were concerned with—and the part he had himself taken in the great events which followed the year 1814, considering the proof given that he had performed his arduous duties most satisfactorily (such being the opinion, as he had just read, of Mr. Canning) he could not believe that any angry speeches—he could not believe that any such speech as that delivered at Hillsborough, he could not believe that an application for a pension, would be sufficient to countervail the weight of that testimony which had been given by an impartial individual. He wished to know—apart from the extract produced by the hon. Gentleman and apart from the general prejudice entertained against his noble Friend by hon. Gentlemen opposite—he wished to know what was the allegation against his noble Friend which he 966 had not met. Apart from that particular passage which the hon. Gentleman read what, he again asked, was the allegation against his noble Friend? The hon. and learned Gentleman touched lightly on our relations with Turkey and Russia. The hon. Gentleman said it was the duty of Government to have taken steps for the purpose of preventing the Turkish barriers being crossed by the Russian army. He knew not what some hon. Members might think, but he was of opinion that the House of Commons would not have sanctioned the sending of a great military expedition, such as would have been necessary for the purpose of preventing the Russian troops passing the Balkan. In the first place, entreating hon. Gentlemen to recollect the situation we were in at that time with respect to Greece, he greatly doubted whether any actual interference on the part of this country would have been effectual—he doubted that the House would have sanctioned it, and at all events he thought it must have terminated the negotiations that were then going on in behalf of Greece by this country. Then, if we had taken a hostile position, a small force would not have been sufficient, and he begged to ask the hon. Member for Middlesex, whether he would have been disposed to consent to a considerable increase of our military establishment with such an object in view? A force of 30,000, or 35,000 men, would have been required for the protection of Constantinople: experience had shown the impolicy of any nation involving itself in the difficulties of a hostile position without a sufficient force to accomplish its object. If once they had commenced war for the protection of Turkey, would any hon. Gentleman say, that such a war ought to have been undertaken with a small force? Lord Holland was not one of those who thought it desirable for this country to go to war for the purpose of defending the tottering empire of Turkey, which was falling probably by its internal dissensions and misgovernment, as much as by hostility on the part of Russia; that noble Lord did not think it desirable that we should interfere actively and singly against all the other Powers. Lord Holland's opinion he was not going to denounce: he quoted him only as an authority, not for the purpose of condemnation. Speaking of the opinion, that Turkey was our ancient ally, his Lordship said:— "No, my Lords, I hope I never shall see, 967 God forbid I ever should see—for this proposition would be scouted from one end of England to another—any preparations, or any proposition, or any attempt to defend this our ancient ally from the attacks of its enemies. There was no arrangement made in that treaty for preserving the crumbling and hateful, or, as Mr. Burke called it, the wasteful and disgusting empire of the Turks from dismemberment and destruction; and none of the Powers who were parties to that treaty, will ever, I hope, save this falling empire of Turkey from ruin." Supposing that he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) were to refer to this passage from Lord Holland's speech, a passage containing opinions so widely at variance from those of the hon. Gentleman opposite, and supposing that he were to argue, as the hon. Gentleman now argued, that the man who delivered the opinion, that England ought never to interfere for the preservation of Turkey, was unfit to be admitted into the councils of his Sovereign, because he had given an opinion that might encourage Russia to attempt the dismemberment of Turkey, because he held opinions which being known to Russia, proved to her that she might attack Turkey with safety, secure from danger of defence being offered from that Government of which Lord Holland formed a particular part, would it be fair in him to select that for the purpose of attacking Lord Holland on the policy that was pursued? He really thought hon. Members ought not, therefore, to be too critical of each other's language. But this attack against the noble Lord had been made in his absence. He did not complain of the hon. Member who made it, he only desired the House to recollect who the individual was who had made the speech, an extract of which he had just read—to recollect that the book which he held in his hand, did not prove the allegation that had been made against the noble Lord, and that the noble individual ought to have an opportunity of vindicating his own conduct. If the hon. Gentleman should think it expedient to make a precedent to interpose a negative between the exercise of the King's prerogative, and to establish it with respect to the appointment of an Ambassador, the House might rest assured, that the precedent would not stop there; but that it would be acted upon in the case of every appointment that a powerful minority alight choose to 968 question—[Cries of a "Majority"] —well, if it were a strong majority à fortiori the constitutional objection to this course of proceeding was still stronger. He had no wish, he could assure hon. Gentlemen opposite, to under-rate their force: but if they were a majority, still it would be an infinitely better course for them to exert their power in an attack on the Ministers —to ask the Crown to remove them—to declare their entire want of confidence in those Ministers, and Address the Crown for their removal—it would surely be infinitely better for the majority to take that course than to lower the prerogative of the Crown by assuming undue powers, and interfering with those which properly belonged to the Crown.
§ Sir John Hobhouse
felt bound to ask a question, which, in his opinion, the right hon. Baronet had rendered necessary, notwithstanding all he had said, which was, whether the right hon. Gentleman, upon his responsibility—and he had fairly and manfully avowed his readiness to take upon himself as much of the responsibility, if not the whole of it, as could belong to him—intended to persevere in this appointment?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
— Does the right hon. Baronet mean his remark as merely part of his speech, or does he put a direct question to me, to which he expects an explicit reply?
§ Sir John Hobhouse
called on the right hon. Gentleman to answer the question, because he could not gather from his speech, whether he meant to say that the appointment was to be persisted in or not.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
Is that a question which the right hon. Baronet wishes to have answered at the present moment?
§ Sir John Hobhouse
did not desire to press the right hon. Baronet for an immediate answer if it were inconvenient. What he meant was, that by the course of argument pursued by the right hon. Baronet, he could not ascertain, whether he meant to tell the House of Commons that in the present state of feeling, as regarded this appointment, and after the expression of the opinion which he had heard to-night, which he would not say was the opinion of the majority, though it looked very much like it—whether such being the feeling, and such the expression of opinion, the right hon. Gentleman did intend to persevere in the appointment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
Whether, Sir, I am in a majority or minority this House shall never find me disposed to withhold any information which I can give on any question which I can answer consistently with my sense of public duty, nor will I hesitate now to say, notwithstanding the speeches of to-night, that I am not prepared to advise the Crown to cancel that appointment.
§ Sir John Hobhouse
would take the liberty, then, at once, of giving his very humble, and, it might be, most insignificant opinion; but it was one in which he was, notwithstanding, confident, agreeing as it did, not only with the feeling of this House, but, also, with that of the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, whose speech, he must say, the right hon. Gentleman had not even touched upon—he must express his decided opinion, that the country would regret much that the right hon. Gentleman—with more manliness than discretion, with more respect for his own opinion and that of his colleagues, than for the opinion of the country—still persevered in that, not only most unfortunate, but most improper, appointment. Previously to making the observations, he had to submit, which he should do very shortly, for the Question really appeared to him to lie within a nutshell, he would take notice of the little episode the right hon. Baronet had introduced as a foundation for his speech with reference to the Paymaster of the Forces. For his own part, he had never heard of such an offer as had been alluded to having been made by the late Government to the Paymaster of the Forces. It might be perfectly true that it was made, but there was a difference between the late Government offering the right hon. Gentleman an appointment and the present Prime Minister having offered him it. He did not recollect, that that right hon. Gentleman (the Paymaster of the Forces) ever accused Lord Grey of having put himself at the head of a great cause for the purpose of betraying it. The right hon. Gentleman had certainly been in opposition to many of the measures proposed by those who acted with Earl Grey, and by that, perhaps, he might account for the right hon. Baronet offering him office. The right hon. Baronet, by his nods, seemed to assent to that; and if it were so, then he could account for it, although he had never heard of it before, and it was most 970 likely, because the right hon. Gentleman, the Paymaster of the Forces, had assisted to turn out the Duke of Wellington's Ministry. He meant only to fill up the picture, the outline of which had been drawn by the right hon. Baronet. He did recollect the powerful assistance of the Paymaster of the Forces on the Civil-List Question, and it was in consideration of the aid brought by his section of the House, that they were enabled to come to that very momentous decision, which was carried only by twenty-nine, and which, certainly, did bring from him (Sir John Hobhouse) that rather intemperate question, which he had always regretted, namely, whether or not it was the right hon. Baronet's intention to resign? On that account, perhaps, the right hon. Gentleman (the Paymaster of the Forces), on account of his numerical, as well as intellectual aid, was selected as a person of sufficient importance to hare offered to him the office of Secretary at War under the Administration which was formed when the Duke of Wellington resigned. In his opinion, it was a very natural offer, but how the right hon. Gentleman happened to be selected just now by the right hon. Premier opposite was quite another thing. Now, when the right hon. Baronet said, that the Paymaster of the Forces' appointment must have been unsatisfactory to the opposite side of the House, the right hon. Baronet must excuse him (Sir John Hobhouse) for saying, he never was so glad to hear of any appointment in his life. That appointment alone took away every pretext of the warmest partisans of the Government for saying, it was what it professed to be, a reforming Administration,—an Administration that was to work out the Reform principles of Earl Grey's Administration. That appointment was a proof that there would be no imposture, no fraud; and that it was not intended by the right hon. Baronet opposite that there should be any. This certainly did appear to him, that if he entertained some little doubt before, if he had only seen the appointment of the President of the Board of Trade, he might have thought that a little incongruous, but then, when the appointment of the Paymaster of the Forces came, he was quite sure there was no mistake whatever. Therefore, he begged leave to say, that he, for one, and he believed he might say his Friends also, were so far from 971 being angry, were so far from being annoyed, with the appointment, that they were delighted with it—they were indeed happy to find that virtue was at last rewarded. With respect to this appointment of Lord Londonderry, he must say, that the right hon. Gentleman had, by his speech, only confirmed the previous suspicions expressed by the noble Lord the Member for South Lancashire. That noble Lord said, he was quite sure that the inclinations of the right hon. Gentleman must, in fact, be against the appointment. And if ever he did hear in his life a speech from a dexterous debater, and he had had the honour of listening to the glowing eloquence of a Fox from under the gallery of the House, he certainly never did hear one in which the weakness of an argument was more dexterously avoided; yet, it was impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to make out a case. The right hon. Gentleman was himself aware of that; he knew the badness of this case, for he went beating about the bush, at one time having a little hit at the economy of the hon. Member for Middlesex, then flying off to The Parliamentary Debates; in short, the right hon. Gentleman addressed himself to everything but the merits of the case, viz., whether, however respectable the private character of the individual, a nobleman of most decided and pronounced opinions on topics which must of course occupy the attention of the Court to which he was appointed, was a fit person to be sent on such an embassy? He held in his hand a record of their proceedings, and would read a sentence from a speech uttered by the noble Lord, which he thought more decided and more conclusive of the impropriety, he might say, of sending him to St. Petersburgh, than the sentence that had been read by the hon. Gentleman. "If we had, unfortunately, by our policy become more alienated from those Powers with which we were formerly on friendly terms— if Austria and Prussia, as well as Russia, were impressed with the belief that Great Britain, instead of being that Conservative, that bienfaisant power as before, which always exercised her influence in maintaining the peace of Europe, and the rights of nations as they had been settled by treaty—if, on the contrary, they now believed her to be inoculated with that virus of revolutionary liberty which they felt to be inimical to their interests, and to their 972 safety, it could not be expected that they would keep up that close alliance with her through which she had exercised so happy an influence upon the peace of the world, but which, unfortunately, from the course his Majesty's Government had now taken, it would be impossible for her to exercise again." There could be no mistake about that sentence. If, as the right hon. Baronet had stated, it were merely a loose phrase, thrown out in the heat and excitement of debate,—if it had been said in answer to something that had been urged personally irritating to the noble Lord, and in direct contradiction to the whole tenor of his political life and opinions, it ought not assuredly, in fairness, to be quoted as the groundwork of a charge against him. But the phrase he maintained was such as clearly showed that the noble Lord disapproved of the whole foreign policy of the late Government, that he considered their policy had alienated from them the great military monarchies of Europe by a revolutionary course at home, endangered alliance with them abroad, their policy being no longer Conservative, but tending to revolution. Now, he begged leave to ask, whether, with such opinions so declared, and manifested by acts, if words and speeches were to be so considered (and if he were to look into the debates in the other House of Parliament there were very many occasions in which he might find other sentiments expressed by the noble Lord indicative of the same spirit)—he begged leave to ask, whether the right hon. Baronet—that right hon. Baronet, having in his manifesto to the electors of Tamworth, in the King's Speech, and in his explanatory address in that House, intimated his determination to adhere to the foreign policy of the late Government, it was prudent, discreet, and wise to appoint a nobleman, entertaining those views, ambassador to St. Petersburgh? If that nobleman must be sent as Ambassador to some of those Monarchies of whose friendship he was so chary, and whom he thought the free people of this country ought above all to conciliate, why, in God's name, not send him to Vienna or Prussia? Why send him to St. Petersburgh, to that Court, above all others, where he could not possibly do any good, and where it was almost impossible, but he must do a great deal of harm? It had been most truly said by the noble Lord 973 (Stanley) in his unanswered speech, that this appointment was to be considered, not as indicative of the sentiments and opinions of the Government to that House and to the country merely, but to the whole of Europe; and its language was nothing but this—"We have succeeded to a Government that carried into effect great reforms at home, of which we notoriously disapproved—a Government which kept a close alliance with France which you call revolutionary, and which, as long as you could, you refused to recognise." Such was the language which Lord Londonderry's appointment addressed to the great military monarchies of Europe. He maintained, if there was one court to which the noble Lord ought not to have been sent, it was the Court of St. Petersburg, having on more than one occasion expressed himself decidedly of opinion, that the Poles were guilty of rebellion. It was not fit, that he should go to that Court, unless it were desired to make the Court of Russia believe, that such was the opinion of the Government, and of the people of this country, and that the noble Marquess was to act on that opinion. For he must take the liberty of saying, that although an ambassador was the ambassador of the King, which was true; yet, he was sent to act for the interests of the country, and his appointment was on that ground as much questionable as that of any other Minister. He protested solemnly against the hint thrown out by the right hon. Baronet in the conclusion of his speech, as if in the present discussion they were at all chargeable with the slightest infringement of prerogative, or manifested any species of extension of those privileges which the Representatives of the people had a right to exercise. If, in that House, they ought to manifest an anxiety for the honour of England—if they ought to care for the manner in which her interests and wishes were represented in the most powerful of foreign courts, surely they had a right to whisper to the right hon. Baronet, that the choice which he had made in the appointment of one of the most influential servants abroad was not such as they could approve. But the right hon. Baronet had stated, that they objected to all appointments; had they objected to the appointment of Lord Cowley to Paris? He did not know how many other diplomatic appointments had been made, but they had in fact objected to none except 974 that of Lord Londonderry. Had they objected to the law appointments of the right hon. Baronet? No Gentleman, either in or out of that House, had done so. He must be allowed to say they (the Opposition) were not so blind, so besotted, and so completely forgetful of their own character, or the interests of the country, as to object to everything merely, because it was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. That right hon. Gentleman had a very good memory, and they sometimes suffered from it in Debate; and the right hon. Baronet could not forget, that in former Sessions he owed his maintenance in office to the support given him by the Members on the Opposition side of the House; but it was not necessary to carry his recollections much further back than to what took place a few nights ago, and if he (Sir J. Hobhouse) knew anything of his friends, it was not because either a man or a measure was proposed by the right hon. Baronet, that the proposition would be opposed by them, although he certainly did agree with that right hon. Gentleman in one of the several speeches which he had lately made, that the cant of "measures and not men," was one of the most foolish, and ought by this time to have been exploded. He did not know that there was anything that required to be added to what had been advanced by those who preceded him as to the opinions of the noble Lord. They were not flying opinions, not collected from one speech—they were opinions known to all, concealed from none, and in which the noble Lord himself, nobody could deny it, completely gloried; but if so, the noble Lord was not, in his opinion, a fit man to be sent to St. Petersburgh; and be was quite confident, if the right hon. Gentleman did persevere in the appointment, the House of Commons would feel it an incumbent duty to take some decided step in relation to it. But the right hon. Gentleman said, "Do not take those means of discouraging me, or disparaging the Government; it were better a great deal at once to propose a vote for our removal from office." Now, in that particular, he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman. He said so, certainly. Most decidedly, if he could remove him from office, he would do so to-morrow; although the right hon. Baronet would not think the worse of himself, or his security in office, for that, of course. But he said, "Remove us at 975 once from office, because by thus perpetually disparaging us, you are only damaging the character of the Executive Government;" and, certainly, it was most cruel thus to play with the right hon. Genman. It was too bad for the noble Member for Lancashire, and the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Cumberland (Lord Stanley and Sir J. Graham) to play so long and so vexatiously with their victims after all their entreaties for an end to be put at once to their lingering existence, lest the King's power should be hurt, damaged, and injured in their persons. Why, whose fault was it that some means had not been devised for getting rid of them at once? Some hon. Gentlemen thought they had found out a way of effecting it by placing the right hon. Gentleman, whom he had then the honour of addressing (the Speaker) in the Chair of that House; but it would not do, for the right hon. Gentleman got up again and showed himself as ready to fight as ever; and a most manful fight he made of it. No one, he confessed, was more sanguine on that point than himself, and, sincerely, the great recompense he had for all the weary contemplation of the right hon. Baronet's official conduct was the hearing him speak. Then came the Address; without revealing secrets, he might state, that when they were concocting the Amendment, the question put by one hon. Member was, whether the right hon. Baronet would resign if such a clause was introduced?—and the answer was, "Put it in, he must resign." Then, after the Amendment was nearly completed, another hon. friend, who should be nameless, said, "Do put in this about the dissolution of Parliament, and then no man of the least honour or feeling can possibly do otherwise than resign." And it was inserted, but the hon. Member, who had, he supposed, lived a shepherd all his life, and knew little of the ways and means of Courts and Parliaments, was disappointed of course, for the Amendment being carried, though by a somewhat smaller majority than on the question of the Speaker-ship, the right hon. Gentleman did not resign, but intimated, that he would persevere to the last. No doubt of it; but the question was when that "last" would come. He could not conceive, after what had passed the other evening, nay, after what had passed that very night, how it was possible for Ministers to continue sitting on the Treasury benches. Why, this 976 diplomatic appointment was the very first made—he did not mean to say without the sanction of the right hon. Baronet, for it was always understood, that such appointments, although suggested by the Foreign Secretary, received the Prime Minister's sanction—the first appointment made by that great man, of whom it would be childish and presumptive in him to speak, and who was placed at the head of the Foreign Affairs. When accident had sent the right hon. Gentleman abroad, as it had sent the late Administration abroad, the very first act of the Duke of Wellington, which was not only left undefended, but from that very quarter to which there could be no doubt the right hon. Gentleman owed his precarious existence (pointing to the Bench occupied by Lord Stanley and Sir J. Graham),—from that Bench, and the powerful persons who sat there, came forth the condemnation of this appointment; so that the Government was disgraced and dragged through the mire in the person of all others the most important in the Cabinet, the Duke of Wellington. Whose fault, then, was it that the right hon. Gentleman did not retire? But the right hon. Gentleman suggested another course, and seemed angry that they had not adopted a certain scheme of operation for that night; but, of the two, he rather thought there was more reason to be angry with the course which had really been followed that night. Perhaps the limiting of the Supplies might have been much more satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman. But suppose the House were to resolve on an address to the Crown, without damaging the prerogative, merely for the purpose of preventing Lord Londonderry from proceeding to St. Petersburgh, if he (Sir J. Hobhouse) gave notice for Monday, or that day week, of a Motion to that effect, would the right hon. Baronet put the question of remaining in office upon the issue? But the time must come, when the right hon. Baronet must retire, and it only depended on a certain portion or "section," composed of one branch of his occasional supporters, when that period should arrive. It struck him, as a very singular thing, that a Minister so distinguished, and so highly accomplished as the right hon. Baronet, should condescend to hold office on such a tenure as that by which he now possessed it. He knew perfectly well, that a single word from the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) could 977 deprive him of the situation which he now held, that was to say, if the right hon. Baronet meant to abide by a decided majority in that House, and if he had not made up his mind to make another appeal to the people. He must take the liberty of asking whether the right hon. Gentleman did not think that he stood in a situation hardly compatible with the dignity of a Prime Minister of the country? Did he not think, that he trusted too much to party calculations, and that he was Minister of England on mere sufferance? The right hon. Baronet knew, that was the case. His existence in office depended on the good will and pleasure of that Bench, where sat the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), and the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham); and if any combination of circumstances could induce the noble Lord and his friends on any given occasion to decide against the right hon. Baronet, and join their old friends and allies in one common object, his official career would immediately for the present be terminated. In conclusion, the right hon. Baronet begged pardon of the House for the length of his observations; but he should not have entered into those various topics, connected more with the existence of the present Ministry than with the immediate subject-matter of debate, had he not been drawn aside by the right hon. Baronet himself. He had endeavoured to follow him, though at an humble distance; and he could only now repeat, if that right hon. Gentleman had come to the determination of persevering in this appointment, he hoped the House of Commons would take steps, and persevere in them, in order to procure the rejection of it.
§ Sir Edward Knatchbull
It had been matter of deep and sore regret to him, since the meeting of Parliament, to see night after night wasted in purely personal discussion. He had imagined that the debate would be confined strictly to the fitness or unfitness of Lord Londonderry for the office of Ambassador at the Court of St. Petersburgh, yet he was called on to defend himself from personal attack, a thing he had almost conceived out of the pale of possibility. Nothing was more unpleasant to him individually than to be obliged to speak of himself; but if he was personal for a brief space he trusted the House would bear with him, as he was compelled to it by the course the debate had taken. He trusted, 978 however, that he should be able, in a few brief words, to exonerate himself from the charges which had been so unfairly and so untruly brought against him. First, as to what passed between him and Lord Grey's Administration. He fully concurred in all that had fallen from his right hon. Friend upon the subject of gratuitous attacks upon public character. He had never been in the habit of indulging in invective, or of bringing charges affecting the characters of public men, because he knew well how delicate a subject public character was, and of what advantage a good one was in that House, as well as with the country. He had never spoken of Lord Grey but with deference and respect, or of any Member of his Government in a manner in which he should object to be spoken of himself. With respect to one of the subjects of attack made on him by the right hon. Baronet—his being in treaty with Lord Grey's Government—he should take that up first, and tell the House all he knew about it. Lord Grey, in the progress of his arrangements for completing his Cabinet, through the medium of Lord Palmerston, did him the honour, most unexpected certainly on his (Sir Edward Knatchbull's) part, to call on him and ask him if he would accept office under Lord Grey. His answer to that application was, that not being ambitious of office, he was unwilling to take such a course, but he heartily wished success to his Lordship's Administration. Why? Because it was consistent with the conduct which he had pursued on former Sessions. He also added, on that occasion, that he sincerely hoped, they would introduce such Reforms as were essentially necessary to preserve the institutions of the State, without proceeding so far as to endanger those institutions. He was obliged the more to dwell upon this, because one charge which had been brought against him was, that from first to last he had opposed everything having the semblance of Reform; but surely, if that had been the case, Lord Grey never would have made him the offer with which he had honoured him, of joining his Administration. Such was one of the charges which had been brought against him; nor would he have so minutely alluded to it on the present occasion had it not been industriously circulated, that he was opposed to all Reform, for the purpose of characterising the extreme party character of the Admi- 979 nistration of the right hon. Baronet, to which he had the honour to belong. There was another point on which a second charge was founded against him, the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. C. Hobhouse) having very adroitly insinuated something in the nature of an attack in reference to the Malt-tax. Now, on that subject he (Sir Edward Knatchbull) had given no pledge one way or another. When asked what his opinions were, in the presence of 7,000 electors of East Kent, his answer was, that the point was one of great importance, and that he must reserve himself until the question came to be fully and fairly considered; it was deeply and intimately connected with other matters, and in connexion with them his decision should be made. Such was the pledge he had given. But, perhaps, he might be told he was afraid of meeting his constituents. He would tell the right hon. Gentlemen in Opposition that the most unfair means had been taken to prejudice them (the Ministers) in the opinion of the country. They had been misrepresented grossly, and no one more than himself. If it were true, what had been imputed to him, he was ready to admit it would form a fair and just ground of attack against him; but when he proved it to be unfounded, and unjust, he hoped he should sufficiently vindicate himself; and at the same time, what was of greater importance, vindicate the composition of his right hon. Friend's Administration. The circumstances to which he was now about to allude took place at the election for one of the Ridings of Yorkshire, when an hon. Baronet (Sir George Strickland), colleague to the noble Lord (Morpeth) who moved the Amendment to the Address, spoke to this effect:— "Gentlemen, I ask you, what are the principles of the present Administration? How are we to ascertain them? The most natural way seems to me to be to judge by the character and principles of the men who have joined that Administration." He did not think that an unfair mode of proceeding, provided a just and true character were given to them; but nothing could be more unfair, if their character and principles were misrepresented. The hon. Baronet to whom he had alluded continued, "Now I will cite from one of them, for a long period looked up to by the Tory faction as one of their most cordial supporters—I mean Sir Edward 980 Knatchbull, who stated his opinions in these words:— "'I am an old and determined Tory (the individual whom Lord Grey requested to join his Administration.) I hold this my opinion, that every man is an enemy to the country who will not exert himself to the utmost to uphold all our institutions and establishments in that state in which they were handed down to us from our ancestors.'" Such were the principles imputed to him by the candidate for the West Riding of Yorkshire; and if that hon. Baronet (Sir George Strickland) or the noble Lord (Morpeth) his colleague were in the House now, he could assure the House and the hon. Baronet that there was not one word of truth in the quotation, for the sentiments he expressed on that occasion were directly the reverse of those attributed to him. He hoped, therefore, that when the hon. Baronet quoted him again, he would take a little more care to be accurate. The right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. C. Hobhouse) had said, that he was not a party to the negotiations which had been entered into with him and the Government of Earl Grey; and in stating this, he only stated the fact. The right hon. Gentleman was not then a Member of that Administration, as Lord Grey at that time had no need of his assistance. He could not go through the whole of the observations of the right hon. Baronet, for he had jumped from one subject to another, and many expressions might have escaped him. With respect to the appointment of Lord Londonderry he (Sir Edward Knatchbull) begged to say a very few words. He had no particular acquaintance with that noble Lord, and therefore could not have any personal feelings to influence his opinion of his fitness. But be was bound to conclude from his knowledge of the probity, patriotism, and experience of his noble and right hon. Colleague in office that the appointment was made on the safest grounds—the competency of the individual for the duty he had been selected to perform, and the public good. There was only one charge made against the noble Marquess by the hon. and learned Member for Kirkcudbright (Mr. Cutlar Fergusson), and which charge had been merely collected from the Records of that House, in one of which the passage objected to was omitted, and in another inserted. Could he expect that from such a charge his right hon. Friend, 981 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was to renounce the appointment? On that the whole objection rested, and he concurred in the course adopted by his right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It had been asked how far he could act with the present Government—he who had been so much opposed to the Members composing it on the subject of the Catholic Question. He certainly did oppose them when the Catholic Question was under discussion, but that Question had long been settled; and if it should be established as a doctrine that a difference which existed between public men, at any time must separate them for ever, it must end in the exclusion of every man from office who had ever either written or spoken on public questions. He had, then, joined his right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not because he desired to undergo the labours of a public life, but because he knew that, by so doing, he should consult the wishes of his constituents, and he trusted he should be able to continue to give the Government his support. He had never deviated from an honourable course, and he would always proceed in it. He trusted this brief explanation would prove satisfactory to the House.
Sir George Strickland,
having been so personally alluded to by the right hon. Baronet, had taken the opportunity of distinctly admitting that he had expressed an opinion of the present Administration, and said, that it ought to be estimated by the known sentiment of those forming it; that such might be taken as a test of its character; and such would, in his mind, determine whether it was a Reform Administration or not. Would they not abide by the declaration they had made, in which they had thwarted every measure to which the country was looking with satisfaction? He had alluded to one of the Members of the Administration, namely, the right hon. Baronet, the Member for East Kent (Sir Edward Knatchbull.) He had learned from the newspapers that that right hon. Baronet had said, that any Administration would not be doing its duty which attempted to change the institutions derived from our ancestors. Would the right hon. Baronet deny the accuracy of that representation? He believed it was correct, from what he had learned of the right hon. Baronet's opinions; and when he reflected on what he had seen, known, 982 and heard, and upon the evidence of what passed in that House, he was only the more confirmed in his opinion. He had not had much experience in that House, but during the short period he had been in it, he had seen something of the contention of parties. In the Parliament which carried the Reform Bill, he could not avoid recollecting, that the right hon. Baronet was one of the individuals who most unsparingly opposed every clause. [Sir Edward Knatchbull—"I was not a Member of that Parliament at all."] Though the right hon. Baronet (Knatchbull) was not in the Parliament which carried the Reform Bill, he was, in every thing that related to it, most decidedly opposed to it. Although he was, he supposed, mistaken in saying, that the right hon. Baronet exactly voted on every clause, still, that he was opposed to the Bill was known to the public at large. He had opposed the measure as a whole, and, therefore, might be fairly considered as having opposed every part of it. It, perhaps, scarcely became one whose Parliamentary experience had been as short as his, to animadvert with so much freedom on the conduct of a Gentleman who had in so many successive Parliaments occupied a seat in that House, but he hoped he might be allowed to say, that the right hon. Baronet was second to no man in his opposition to Catholic Emancipation, to Parliamentary Reform, and to every measure of that class and character. It was, therefore, no matter of surprise that he should not have suspected the accuracy of the report, and had given further currency to that which he saw published, and which he had no reason to believe inconsistent with the general tone of the right hon. Baronet's sentiments. Having made these few observations, for the purpose of setting himself right with the House, he wished merely to add, that in quoting the passage referred to from the speech of the right hon. Baronet, as he found it reported, he did not accompany it with any remarks reflecting in the least degree upon the personal character of the right hon. Baronet, for whom, individually, he entertained the highest respect.
§ Sir Edward Knatchbull
repeated, that he had never made use of the expressions attributed to him. He had only to add, that he could not be held responsible for reports in the newspapers; he had referred to the particular statement to which 983 the right hon. Baronet objected for the reasons he had already assigned; and having, as he trusted, set himself right with the House, he would not trouble them any further.
§ Lord Ebrington
The right hon. Baronet the Member for Kent (Sir Edward Knatchbull) had complained that too much of the time of the House was taken up in the discussion of personal matters. He did not think that the right hon. Baronet had any right to attribute the practice of entering into those discussions exclusively to the Opposition side of the House; not only in the course of the present Session, but during the three last years, when his hon. Friends now on that side of the House sat on the opposite benches, the system of crimination and recrimination had been carried to a greater extent by the hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side than it had been on the present occasion. If the right hon. Baronet had any reason to complain of the practice on the present occasion, his complaints should be brought against his right hon. Friend, the First Lord of the Treasury, who had been the first to bring his name forward. He did not believe that any Gentleman, on the opposite side of the House, could think that the character of Lord Grey could suffer in any respect from anything which had been alluded to that evening; and he might add, that it was as evident that the character of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Edward Knatchbull) stood equally clear. The right hon. Baronet had said, that in declining office he had wished the noble Earl in question success in the formation of his Government, and in the prosecution of his plans of Reform [Sir Edward Knatchbull: "No."] It appeared to him, however, that with that good wish the right hon. Baronet had taken his leave of Earl Grey; for his subsequent conduct in Parliament certainly evinced that he had begun his hostility to that noble Earl's measures. With reference to the subject more immediately under discussion, he begged, to say, that feeling, as he did, highly anxious for the progress of that liberal foreign policy which the late Government had pursued, and which he had understood it to be the professed intention of the present Government to carry out, feeling, as he did, that if any substantial change were effected in our foreign policy by the present Government, it could not fail to be strongly detrimental to the 984 interests of the country—he could not but contemplate, with feelings of great apprehension, the moral effect which would attend the appointment in question, if, in spite of what had taken place in that House, and in spite of what would, he trusted, still further take place in a more direct and positive form if necessary, it should be the intention of his Majesty's Ministers to persevere in it. "We have been told," continued the noble Lord, that no specific charges have been brought against Lord Londonderry. I do not stand here to say anything personally disrespectful towards him, or in any way affecting his private character; but, I will say this, and I say it without the fear of contradiction, that there is no individual in this country that ever has been employed in the diplomatic service, whose appointment to this embassy could give such general dissatisfaction at home, or would be received by the friends of liberal principles abroad with such apprehension and dismay. And it is on this ground that I feel it a duty which I owe to the cause of those principles, and to the constituents whom I represent, and to the people of England at large, whose feelings I am quite sure will go along with those expressed on this side of the House, from one end of the country to the other, to express my opinion decidedly against such an appointment."
§ Lord Dudley Stuart
did not intend to enter into the personal discussion which had been raised, but merely to offer a few observations on the more immediate subject of the discussion—the appointment of the Marquess of Londonderry to the embassy to Russia. Of that noble Lord, in his private capacity, he knew nothing, and had no complaint to make; but he thought that it was impossible not to consider his appointment to that Embassy, as the representative of this country in Russia, as exceedingly unfortunate. He believed, that the appointment had given satisfaction to no one throughout the country, except those who were the uncompromising and inveterate enemies of the present Administration. He was sure, that there were many Gentlemen opposite, and many persons out of doors, who approved of the principles of the present Ministers, and who wished to see them continue in office, who yet deplored that appointment, considering it one of the most unfortunate which the present Mi- 985 nisters had made. If he were one of those inveterate enemies of the Ministry who wished, at all hazards, to turn them out of their places, so far from lamenting the appointment, he should rejoice in it. He was delighted to find that the right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer was making efforts to get rid of the expressions attributed to Lord Londonderry in reference to the Poles; those expressions told the House and the country, that the noble Lord who used them considered those unhappy men to have acted the part of rebels. They were not rebels, the House knew and felt it—the country knew and felt it—every man who called himself an Englishman knew and felt it. What was their conduct? A most determined resistance to a most atrocious attempt to put down the liberties of the country, and to destroy them ultimately; and that, too, in the face of treaties contracted with us. It had been said, by a celebrated writer—and one whose leaning was rather to Tory than Whig principles—that the conduct of the Poles, in defending themselves against the oppression which had threatened them, was not only justifiable, but their highest duty. If we ourselves had been placed in the same situation, with our country's rights and liberties, and independence, and very existence as a nation at stake, should we have pursued a different line of conduct from that of the unhappy, but heroic Poles? He had noticed with pleasure when the right hon. Baronet, the Chancellor of the Exchequer first, spoke, that he avoided with care telling the House that the appointment of Lord Londonderry had been really made; and until the right hon. Baronet afterwards declared, on being pressed, that he would not advise it to be recalled, he had hoped that the Government might reconsider it. He now heard of it with deep regret—he must say, indeed, with astonishment; it appeared to him that his Majesty's Ministers were labouring under—he knew not what kind of unfortunate inspiration when they made an appointment so discreditable to themselves and one so little popular with the persons of all political opinions throughout the country. Could his Majesty's Ministers in their whole ranks; in the whole phalanx of Conservatives, of all shades of opinions by whom they were surrounded—could they find no man to send to St. Petersburgh, except a man en- 986 tertaining the particular opinions which Lord Londonderry held? And which were known to be so unfriendly to the unhappy Poles? He believed, that the right hon. Baronet had said, that the expressions in question were not to be found in Hansard's Debates although they were quoted from another work as having been used; to him (Lord Dudley Stuart) that was no matter of surprise, as it was well known that the speeches were not always given at the same length in Hansard's Debates as in The Mirror of Parliament. He had heard the right hon. Baronet with pleasure when he protested against its being supposed that by the appointment of any specific individual, the Government was bound to pursue an unjust and illiberal policy. It was said, also, that Lord Londonderry must act according to his instructions. He hoped that those instructions would impose on him duties different from those which it might be supposed, from his known opinions, he would otherwise be inclined to discharge: he hoped that the Minister of this country at the Court of St. Petersburgh would be instructed to protest continually, and in the most energetic terms against the horrible oppression which was grinding Poland to the dust. They had all heard of the atrocities which were now being practised towards the natives of that unfortunate country—the sending, for instance, the unhappy Polish children to the wilds of Siberia. He trusted that the statements which recounted these barbarities were exaggerated; but it was too true, he feared, that the Russians continued their horrible cruelties from day to day, in defiance of the amnesties which had been promulgated—just in the spirit of the answer which had been given by general Paskevitch to an unhappy refugee who had pleaded the amnesty on his own behalf, "The amnesty is for Europe—Siberia for you." In the official Gazette of Warsaw might be seen advertisements calling on all those who were willing, to send in tenders for contracts for transporting the unhappy natives of Poland to Siberia; and all these things were enacted in the face of treaties, in spite and in derision of engagements entered into with us. The only conclusion which could be drawn from the circumstance of our not having interfered was, that we were afraid of Russia; for what would have been our conduct if any smaller State had so acted?—if, for in- 987 stance, Holland had acted towards Belgium, or Spain towards Portugal, in such a manner as to set at defiance engagements which had been contracted with us? Did any man suppose that we should have quietly rested and pocketed the affront? There had been, indeed, as was remarked, an opportunity in which, without shedding one drop of blood, the liberties of Poland might have been saved; that opportunity was now gone—it might not again return; but still we could protect, and we ought to do so. Our Ambassador ought continually to renew his appeals to the Russian Government; our honour required it—our interest required it—humanity called aloud for it. He hoped that all the papers necessary to place the House in possession of the requisite information on this subject would be laid before them. It was clear that Russia was exerting every effort to aggrandize herself, and that we were supinely allowing her to act as she pleased, waiting only till she had taken possession of Constantinople and the Dardanelles; in other words, till it would be too late. The right hon. Baronet had alluded, in his defence, of Lord Londonderry, to the great military services of that noble individual. He (Lord D. Stuart) did not impugn his military conduct; all he wished was, that the noble Marquess had been called on to go to Russia in a military, instead of a diplomatic capacity. It was imperatively necessary that something should be done: if we allowed Russia to proceed in her present policy, we should some day be forced to enter under disadvantageous circumstances into that war, which now we might prevent by only a slight demonstration. The moral power of this country was immense; she had only to express decidedly her will, and she would see Russia—that power which was so much talked of, but which was so intrinsically weak—quail at her firm attitude.
would detain the House but a very few minutes. The right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he had rightly understood him, had admitted that one tangible accusation had been brought forward against the noble Marquess, that the noble Marquess had expressed himself adverse to the Poles and to their rights, which this country had formally acknowledged. He (Colonel Evans) had the vanity to hope that he could bring forward other accusations 988 equally tangible, and of a similar character. If these could be made good, he hoped that his Majesty's Ministers might be brought to retract their determination to send out the noble Marquess. He would pledge himself, that there were many other accusations of a similar nature which could be substantiated against that noble Lord. If that noble Lord should in his place in Parliament, not only state opinions, but for two or three years embrace a course of policy in a variety of speeches, he saw no grounds for giving him any indulgence on the score of misrepresentation or inaccuracy of report. This appointment was another instance of the violent contrast between the acts and the professions of Ministers. If any part of the Speech from the Throne were explicit, it was that which professed to follow up the policy of the late Ministers with respect to foreign States. This policy was intimately connected with the establishment of two of the Governments in the south of Europe, and yet the noble Lord had denounced as illegitimate all the Sovereigns of the South of Europe with whom England was in alliance. The noble Lord had declared their rights to the Throne to be invalid, notwithstanding those rights had been formally recognised by the British Government. The noble Lord had spoken in derision of the rights of the Sovereigns of France, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal. He had declared, that the usurper, the traitor, Don Carlos, was the real Sovereign of Spain, and that the claims of the Queen of Spain were invalid, and ought not to be supported, and yet this was the man who was to follow up the policy which reflected so much honour on the late Administration. Who did not recollect the Holy Alliance? It was not much to the credit of the right hon. Baronet, Sir Robert Peel, that he had ever acceded to that Alliance, but he even had latterly seen the necessity of withdrawing from it. The Quadripartite Treaty had afforded him the means of doing so, and the Speech from the Throne had not only professed an adhesion to that Treaty, but had taken credit for having formed a supplement to it. This had appeared as a proof that Ministers were not only professing, but acting up to their professions, and now they were sending out an Ambassador who had denounced the Treaty over and over again. This was tantamount to a 989 declaration of war against the people, or to an exposure of an utter infidelity on the part of Government to their engagements. He hoped that Ministers would not persevere in the appointment.
§ Mr. Henry Lytton Bulwer
observed, that if it were important for the House to exercise an active superintendence over the domestic affairs of the country, it was doubly necessary that they should watch vigilantly over everything connected with its foreign policy and relations. Their vigilance was especially called for, in reference to the present case: for the question now under discussion acquired a peculiar interest and importance from the very momentous nature of the affairs which were to be transacted in Russia. Let the House contrast the conduct of Russia with the conduct of this country. They found Russia sending there, to represent and watch over her interests, one of the ablest Ministers which she possessed, Count Pozzo di Borgo. It was remarkable that for the last two or three years, we had had no Ambassador at any place where important business was to be transacted; and now, at last, a Curtius was found who was to be thrown into this diplomatic gulf. He would only say, that the appointment of Lord Londonderry must lead the public to believe that Ambassadors were sent to foreign Courts, not for the service of this country, but for the service which their salaries rendered to those individuals.
§ Mr. Ewart
said, that it was proper on occasions to recollect the sayings of great men, and he thought the present an appropriate opportunity of quoting the text of "measures not men," which the right hon. Baronet had laid down even in opposition to the leading article of the Times, which proved its devotion to the cause of freedom by its support of the right hon. Baronet's Government. He did not think it was necessary to make any graver charge against the noble Marquess who was the subject of that night's discussion, than that which had been admitted by the right hon. Baronet, namely, his opposition to the rights and interests of Poland. He looked upon the letter of Mr. Canning to be nothing more than a mere common-place compliment, and of no value as a set off against the condemnation pronounced by Lord Liverpool. Sir Henry Wotton defined an Ambassador to be Vir bonus peregre missus ad mentiendum republicœ causa. 990 This, however, was not the time when the country should be represented in an inefficient manner, and an Ambassador now ought to be vir bonus, peregre missus, ad veritatem dicendam libertatis causâ. He made no reflections on the character of the noble Marquess, but knowing his political sentiments he thought the country would be eternally disgraced were the noble Marquess sent to St. Petersburgh.
§ Mr. Sheil
said, that, in order to meet the wishes of the House, as he understood from the right hon. Baronet that the appointment of the noble Marquess had not been as yet completed, and, therefore, that the document for which he had moved was not in a state to be laid before the House, he should withdraw his Motion, satisfied that after the discussion of that night the noble Marquess himself would, in compliance with the feeling of the country, resign at once the appointment to which he had been named.
§ The Motion was withdrawn.