§ Mr. Grote
rose to present a Petition from sixty merchants of the city of London, who might be considered as fair representatives of its trade. The petitioners complained that a system of commercial regulations, eminently favourable to the intercourse which existed between this country and Turkey, had been acted upon for a considerable period by the latter; but that this wise and salutary policy had of late been changed by the overbearing interference of Russia with Turkey. The petitioners prayed the House to extend to Turkey that moral and political support of the House and the Government which would enable that country to act on its own views, and thereby place on a pro per footing the trade between the countries which, if just facilities were afforded, it would, in the belief of the petitioners, in crease to an almost illimitable extent. In presenting this petition, he should only ex press an anxious hope, that while every precaution was taken by the Government for that protection of trade to which this country was fully entitled, and for the re dress of any undue encroachments on the part of Russia, still he could not but deprecate any course which would have the effect of involving this country in hostility to Russia, and thereby interrupting the peace and tranquillity which now happily prevailed in Europe. He said this, because it had of late become the custom in that House to use very unmeasured language as to the general aggressions of Russia; language, respecting which, whatever opinion he might entertain as a private individual, 1259 he considered most unwise and impolitic to be expressed in that House.
§ Petition to lie on the Table.
§ Sir Stratford Canning
presented a Petition from Glasgow on the same subject as that which had just been presented to the House by the hon. Member for the City of London. The petition was signed by 160 individuals, comprising many of the most respectable and opulent merchants and manufacturers of the important seat of commerce from which it came. He would state the principal points of the petition. Its general purport was, that Russia had adopted a restrictive system of commerce particularly prejudicial to the trade of Great Britain, and that in the same spirit she had acquired, and now exercised, an undue influence over Persia and Turkey; that both those countries were capable of affording a most important and beneficial field for the extension of British trade; that the ancient institutions and modern treaties of Turkey were highly favourable to our commercial interests, and therefore that the petitioners looked to Parliament for assistance in obtaining the removal of their grievances, and the promotion of that commercial intercourse with the Levant, in which they were either directly or indirectly concerned. Having thus stated the general object of the petition, he would not detain the House from hearing the hon. Member for Lancaster, who had already risen on the motion of which he had given notice, further than to express his earnest hope that all due attention would be given to the prayer of a petition so numerously and respectably signed. With respect to the grievances complained of, much must, of course, depend upon the nature of the facts remaining to be explained; but he would declare his conviction that the resources of the Turkish empire and of the Eastern countries in general were such as to justify the petitioners in looking for a considerable extension of trade in that quarter; and he trusted that, with all due regard to the rights of other countries, and particularly to the great interests of peace, measures calculated to realize a just and reasonable expectation would be adopted.
§ The petition was laid on the Table.
§ Mr. Patrick M. Stewart
rose to bring forward the motion of which he had given notice. That motion, he observed, amounted in substance to the prayer of the two petitions which had just been laid on the Table, and aware as he was of the great weight and character of those whose 1260 names were attached to those petitions and the great importance of the interests which they represented, he could not but regret that the advocacy of those interests had not fallen into abler hands. However, he would do his best, and in going into the details of this subject he should have to trespass on the indulgence of the House; but he could assure the House that he would not abuse the indulgence they might show him. He had often been asked, as well out of as in that House, why, in the name of common sense, after this subject had been so recently and so fully discussed, he felt it necessary again to bring it for ward? He answered, that he considered this course was called for by the great importance of the interests which were placed in jeopardy, and because he was anxious to rouse the attention of the House and the Government to some practical result as to what the petitions just presented had prayed for. For it should not be forgotten, that while we were quietly looking on and seeing danger as at an immense distance, or regarding it only with the eye of an alarmist, Russia was steadily pursuing her aggressive policy, which was alike dangerous to the peace of Europe, and greatly injurious to the commercial interests of this country. What had happened with respect to the former motions on this subject? On the 19th of February in this year the House, on the motion of the noble Lord (Lord Dudley Stuart), discussed the policy of Russia, and it was then thought that all was safe, as the attention of Parliament and of the country had been called to the subject. Three days after that discussion came the intelligence of the attack on Cracow, which by the Treaty between the powers at Vienna was to be for ever free, and its neutrality for ever respected, and to be for ever protected from all aggression. The subject of Russian policy was again brought forward by an hon. Member (Sir Stratford Canning), but the sound of the speeches delivered on that occasion had scarcely died away when accounts reached us of the faithlessness and cruelties of Pod gorze, and of enactments and restrictions in tended to interrupt our commerce on the Danube. It was on these grounds, and from the utter hopelessness of seeing an end put to this aggressive policy, unless some practical steps were adopted by the Government, that he brought this important question again, under the consideration of Parliament. If he failed in showing that it was our duty to be firm in resisting those ag- 1261 gressions, he would admit, that he was delaying public business by interposing this question when the order of the day was bringing up the Report of the Supply. He was aware, that this was an unwelcome and difficult question; unwelcome, because difficult—and difficult, because it involved mighty and momentous considerations—the existence of some nations, the honour of others, the interests of all. But then the Government of a great nation, and the Representatives of a free and a powerful people, were doomed to encounter difficulties such as these; and it was enough to ensure the easy conquest of them all, to remember that they occurred in the de fence of the national honour, and in the protection and extension of our national interests. He would proceed to lay before the House a brief history of the events which had rendered it incumbent upon him to place before the House the subject to which his motion referred. It would be in the recollection of the House that the Polish question had formed the subject of consideration at the period of passing the Treaty of Vienna, and by looking to the details of the proceeding, by which a settlement of it was then brought about, some idea could be gained as to how far Great Britain and the other European powers were guarantees for redress to that unfortunate and devoted people. In a note transmitted by Lord Castlereagh to the plenipotentiaries of the other powers he used this language:That it was England's wish to see some independent power established in Poland under a distinct dynasty of its own, and as a separation between the three great empires of Europe.Experience has shown that the happiness of Poland and the tranquillity of Europe can not be secured by thwarting the national customs and habits.An attempt of this kind would only excite among the Poles a spirit of disaffection and degradation, it would occasion revolts, and awaken the remembrance of great misfortunes. He earnestly requested the Sovereigns, upon whom the fate of Poland depended, not to leave Vienna till they had pledged themselves that the Poles, in their respective dominions, under whatever form of Government they might think proper to place them, should be treated as Poles.This note constituted the basis upon which, as regarded Poland, the treaty was framed; and in reference to it the several powers expressed themselves in nearly similar 1262 terms. In reply to the note of Lord Castlereagh, Count Rasoumoffsk, the Russian Plenipotentiary said—That the just and liberal principles which Lord Castlereagh's note contained, were received by his Imperial Majesty, with the most cordial approbation, and that he had been de lighted to recognize the generous sentiments which characterise the British nation, and the enlarged and enlightened views of its Government.Prince Hardenburgh, for Prussia, declaredThat the principles laid down by Lord Castlereagh, as to the method of governing the Polish provinces, were in perfect conformity with the sentiments of his Prussian Majesty on the subject.Prince Metternich, for Austria, said—That the re-establishment of Poland as an independent state, with a national administration of its own, would have fully accomplished the wishes of his Imperial Majesty; and that he even would have been willing to make the greatest sacrifice to promote the restoration of that ancient and beneficial arrangement. He entirely agrees with the sentiments ex pressed by Lord Castlereagh in his memorial, of the wishes of his Court, as to the future lot of the Poles.Prince Talleyrand in writing to Prince Metternich, observed—Of all the questions to be discussed at the Contress, the King would undoubtedly consider the affair of Poland as incomparably the most important to the interests of Europe, if there be any chance that this nation, so worthy of regard by its antiquity, its valour, its misfortunes, and the services it has formerly rendered to Europe, might be restored to complete independence.Such were the solemn prelude to the settlement which was subsequently determined upon; but if any thing were wanting to male the treaty more solemn than it was rendered by the terms in which it was worded, it was to be found in the letter which the Emperor Alexander addressed to Count Otronksi, the President of the Polish Diet. In that letter the Emperor thus ex pressed himself:—It is with peculiar satisfaction that I announce to you that the destiny of your country is about to be fixed by the concurrence of all the powers assembled at Vienna. The Kingdom of Poland shall be united to the empire of Russia by 'The title of its own Constitution,' on which I am desirous of founding the happiness of the country. If the great interests involved in general tranquillity have not permitted all the Poles to be united under one sceptre, I have at least endeavoured, to the utmost of my power, to soften the hardships 1263 of the separation, and everywhere to obtain for them, as far as practicable, the enjoyment of their nationality.Such was the language of the Emperor Alexander in 1815, and that was followed by the granting of the constitution of Warsaw in November of the same year. He referred to these points in order to show that the revolt of the Poles in 1830 was a lawful and justifiable revolt. The demand made the other day to the authorities of Cracow to deliver up the individuals concerned in that revolt five years before, was of a piece with the policy under which that devoted country had been exposed to a fate so unjust, unlawful, and unwarranted—a fate un warranted by the laws of nations and the terms of treaties. The Emperor Alexander then had solemnly confirmed these guarantees. He knew that some opinions were muttered against the Poles, as if the revolt of 1832 justified all the subsequent proceedings. But such opinions were unworthy of every freeman, for the Poles had no less than the guarantee of two Emperors that the constitution given to them in 1815 should be held sacred and inviolable. After the treaty of Vienna, and in the year 1818, the Emperor Alexander, in his address to the Diet, was found expressing himself in these terms. He said,Your restoration is decreed by solemn treaties. It is sanctioned by the constitutional charter. The inviolability of these exterior arrangements, and of the fundamental law, secures henceforth in Poland an honourable rank among the nations of Europe—a privilege the more precious, as she has long sought it in vain, in the midst of the most severe trials.In 1825, his successor, Nicholas, was found dealing forth promises not only as strong and explicit, but binding himself by the most solemn and unqualified vows to their performance. The following were his words:—Poles! we have already declared that our unchangeable desire is, that our Government should be but the continuation of that of the Emperor Alexander, of glorious memory; and we consequently declare to you that the institutions which he gave shall remain unaltered. I therefore promise, and swear before God, that I will observe the constitution, and that I will use all my efforts to maintain the same.This was in 1825, and in 1832 they found the same hand substituting an organic state in lieu of that constitution which it had so solemnly sworn to maintain; or, in plainer language, every liberal provision was torn up and destroyed, and a standard 1264 of despotism raised on its ruins. The constitution granted by Alexander was grossly infringed by him and his successor, though it was not till after freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of the person, had all been grossly violated. It was not until a prince was sent to govern Poland, whose brutal conduct had made him unfit to govern Russia, that the Poles revolted, and they would have been unworthy of all regard had they submitted to such tyranny. It was his opinion that that he regarded as a lawful and constitutional one; and he did not think that it was necessary for him, before a British House of Commons, to go into any proof to show that such opinion was well founded. In order to give the practical result of the question as it, at the period to which he referred, stood, he would take the liberty of quoting the opinion expressed by the present Lord Ashburton, then Mr. Baring, in his place in that House:It must be admitted, that a more righteous rebellion never manifested itself in any country, or that this unhappy people were, if any ever were, justified in opposing the Government which was established in them. For what was that Government? The empire had rejected Constantine, the legitimate heir to the Throne of Russia, from his unfitness to reign over any body of men; and yet this miserable and incapable being was sent to reign over the unfortunate Poles. I most firmly believe that if ever there was in the whole history of mankind a justification for raising the standard of rebellion, it was in this case.On this point he would take the liberty of quoting short extracts from the works of two sound constitutional writers. Vatel observed—If the prince, attacking the fundamental laws, gives his subjects a legal right to resist him—if tyranny, becoming insupportable, ob liges the nation to rise in their defence, every foreign power has a right to succour an op pressed people who implore their assistance.De Lolme, on the right of resistance, also observed—But all those privileges in themselves are but feeble defences against the real strength of those that govern. What would be the re source of the people if the prince, suddenly freeing himself, as it were, out of the constitution, should make no account of his convention, or attempt to force it to his will? It would be resistance.Upon this authority alone he held, that the revolt of Poland—if revolt it could be called—was a lawful and constitutional revolt, and consequently that the attack made the 1265 other day on Cracow was a flagrant violation of every thing which ought to be held solemn among nations. It was unnecessary for him to go in detail through the acts which preceded and followed that attack. They were too well known to require comment. Need he go beyond that act of treachery by which some hundreds of captives, in stead of being sent to the destination mentioned in the proclamation calling for their surrender, were dispatched into those scenes of hopeless misery and languishing death, which they found already crowded with the victims of a feeble policy. England was much to blame in regard to Poland, but he nevertheless believed that she would yet, in some degree, prove the deliverer of the unhappy Poles, and that ere long some of those hopes they had so near their hearts would be realized. It had been said of the Poles, that they were an ungrateful people, and they were taunted with not being sufficiently sensible of the advantages and privileges they enjoyed under the Russian Government. What a cruel mockery was this. It was but to be equalled by the language used by Nicholas, in his speech of the other day at Warsaw, when he said—Among all the disturbances which agitate Europe, and all those doctrines which shake the social edifice, Russia alone has remained strong and intact. Believe me, gentlemen, that it is a real blessing to belong to this country, and enjoy its protection.This was bold language. He believed that its imperial author was a great man, and a brave man, and he believed that he had more than once stood within the reach of a cannon shot; but when he thus stood for ward in opposition to those liberal opinions which were so rapidly diffusing themselves through every European state, and by the current they created, did so much towards clearing the political horizon of the pestilential mist which, for so many centuries, obscured it, he showed himself in a character alike remarkable for its bold daring, and reckless courage. It would, however, ere long, be proved a vain effort. The words of one of the most popular of the British poets might be applied to him—Tyrants, in vain ye trace the wizzard ring,In vain ye limit mind's unwearied spring.What! can ye lull the winged winds asleep,Arrest the rolling world or chain the deep?No:—the wild wave contemns your sceptered hand;—It roll'd not back when Canute gave command!The question was, the maintenance of treaties to which England was a party, and 1266 on which the peace of Europe was founded. He contended, that the treaty of Vienna gave to Poland a constitution, in the fullest sense, free and independent. The distinct existence of the kingdom of Poland with its constitution were guaranteed; in short, the ancient kingdom of Poland, with the same constitution it possessed in 1722, was, by the treaty of Vienna, to be restored. This, at all events, was the plain English of the treaty, and unless there was truth in the celebrated remark of Prince Eugene, "that 100,000 men constituted a better guarantee than 100,000 treaties," he hesitated not to say, that countersigned as it was by all the assembled powers of Europe, there never was a better guarantee than that given by it to the people of Poland. In leaving Poland, and adverting to Turkey and the country round the Euxine, but still keeping in view the offensive policy of Russia to the civilized world, he thought he could show, that the conduct of Russia, territorially, politically, and commercially, had no parallel in the history of the world. She had not taken the manly means of invasion and conquest, she had proceeded with her aggressions stealthily and secretly, and had exhibited the spectacle of the dissembling strong seizing every opportunity of obtaining unjust advantage over the helpless weak. It was true that Russia had expressly declared, that she entertained no ulterior intentions with respect to Constantinople and Turkey, but who believed her? For his part he preferred an adherence to the terms of treaties to all the hollow declarations that could be made by any power interested in their violation. He would refer to the terms of treaties, and the manner in which Russia had conducted herself with respect to them, in order to show, not merely the ulterior but the immediate views of the Cabinet of St. Petersburgh. It was to prevent the accomplishment of those views that he had felt it to be his bounden duty to bring the subject under the consideration of the British Parliament, and to ask, in as emphatic a manner as he was able, the attention and the action of his Majesty's Government with reference to it. He was apprehensive that the fatal disbelief which had unfortunately existed in some quarter as to the conduct which it had been in the contemplation of Russia to pursue with respect to Poland was calculated to lead to most disastrous consequences. There were sometimes questions which divided Cabinets. If this was one of them, he implored his Majesty's Government 1267 carefully to re-consider all the circumstances of the case, in order to take advantage of the existing state of tranquillity and prosperity at home, to give to this country that power abroad, in which alone could be found any security for our commercial and other rights and privileges- Did they sup pose that, without some vigorous measures, they could stop Russia in the course which she had adopted. How erroneous had the opinions entertained on that subject been proved by circumstances. In June, 1832, the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, said,As to the idea which seems to be entertained by several gentlemen of its being in tended to exterminate a large kingdom, either morally or politically, if it be seriously entertained anywhere, it is so perfectly impracticable, that I think there need be no apprehension of its being attempted.Everybody knew what had since occurred with respect to Poland. Now with reference to Constantinople. The conduct of Russia with reference to Constantinople, had been brought under the consideration of the House in 1833, by the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary. At that time the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, observed—The hon. Member complains that Russia is about to play the same game at Constantinople as she did in Poland; but I am convinced, that the Russian troops will shortly evacuate Turkey, if they have not already done so, and that she will fulfil the pledge she has given on this subject, not only to England, but to the whole of Europe. I do not think that it enters into the policy of Russia to make an attempt at a partition of Turkey; but if she should make the attempt, it is impossible she could be successful.That was the opinion of the noble Lord at the time to which he had alluded; and that was, no doubt, the opinion, at that same time, of the Cabinet of which the noble Lord was a Member. But what had since occurred with reference to the evacuation of Turkey by the Russian army, and with reference to the designs of Russia upon the Turkish territory? That the Russian troops were still in possession of some of the principal Turkish provinces; and that the Russian aggressions had confirmed the suspicion of her ulterior designs on the integrity of the Turkish empire. He knew that he had two classes of opponents to deal with on the present occasion. The one consisted of those who thought that the connection with Turkey was of no value to us, either commercially or politically, and, 1268 therefore, that we were not called upon by any considerations of interest to make any stir in the matter: the adherence to the old doctrine, of the policy of an insular state abstaining from all interference with continental disputes, and trusting entirely to its wooden walls for security. That was the opinion which the hon. Member for Bath had maintained in the last debate on the question. He would not argue with those who thought that the connection with Turkey was of no value to this country. But there were those who, while they admitted the great value of a connection with Turkey, and with the countries adjacent to Turkey, to England, and the civilized world, seemed wilfully to shut their eyes to the danger with which that connection was threatened by the conduct of Russia. He would assume, as an indisputable fact, that a connection with Constantinople and Persia, and the countries between Persia and our East-India possessions was in estimable, both in a commercial and in a political point of view. The best way in which he could make this appear, was by giving a slight sketch of the value of the trade which was endangered by the circumstances to which he had alluded. He would, however, first say something of the spirit on which the Turkish commercial code was formed. This he would do from authentic sources. The free and liberal spirit of the Turkish commercial code had long been famed, and we have found great advantage from it in the hour of need. It well deserved the study and support of his right hon. Friend, the President of the Board of Trade. A notice of it, lately published under authority, at Constantinople, stated—Good sense, tolerance, and hospitality, have long ago done for the Ottoman Empire, what the other states of Europe are endeavouring to effect, by more or less happy political combinations. Since the throne of the Sultans has been elevated at Constantinople, commercial prohibitions have been unknown. They opened all the ports of their empire to the commerce, to the manufactures, to the territorial produce of the whole world. Liberty of commerce has reigned here without limits, as large, as extended as it is possible to be. Thus the markets of Turkey, supplied from all countries, refusing no objects which mercantile spirit puts in circulation, and imposing no charge on the vessels that transport them, are seldom or never the scenes of those disordered movements which, occasioned by the sudden deficiency of such merchandize with exorbitantly rising prices, are the scourges of the lower orders, by unsettling their habits, and by inflicting privations. From the system of 1269 restrictions and prohibitions, arise those devouring tides and ebbs which sweep away in a day the labour of years, and convert commerce into a career of alarms and perpetual dangers. In Turkey, where this system does not exist, these disastrous effects are unknown.He would now proceed to describe the extent of the trade enjoyed by this country with Turkey. It was distinguished by this characteristic, that while the other outlets of our foreign trade were declining, including our trade with Russia, our trade with Turkey was perpetually and amazingly increasing, and appeared to have no limit. In proof of this statement, he would show, from official documents, the increase which had taken place in two great articles of our trade with Turkey, from the year 1827 to the year 1834. In 1827 we exported to Turkey 11,560,172 yards of cotton cloth, and 647,094 pounds of cotton twist. In 1828, when Turkey was engaged in war, we exported to that country 4,719,481 yards of cotton cloth, and 156,860 pounds of cotton twist. In 1820, when Turkey had concluded peace, we exported to Turkey 15,566,350 yards of cotton cloth, and 662,538 pounds of cotton twist. In 1834 we exported to Turkey 28,621,490 yards of cotton cloth, and 1,989,851 pounds of cotton twist. Such was the state of the trade which the petitioners to that House declared was placed in imminent jeopardy by the conduct daily pursued by Russia; such was the state of the trade which those petitioners prayed the House to take some measures to protect. He would now advert to the value of the manufactures of this country exported to Turkey. In 1827 that value was 531,704l. In 1828 (when, as he had already observed, Turkey was engaged in war), it was only 185,842l. In 1829 it rose to 568,684l.; and in 1834 it amounted to 1,207,941l. The chief imports from Turkey were silk and wool. In 1827 the import of silk from Turkey was 358,757 pounds; that of wool, 315,807 pounds. In 1834 the import of silk from Turkey was 419,368 pounds; that of wool, 1,474,322 pounds. The total of the cotton manufactures exported from the United Kingdom in 1834, was 355,793,809 yards, valued at 14,157,352l.; of which Turkey took 28,621,490 yards, and paid 828,245l.; taking one out of fifteen of the goods of that description which we exported. He would next allude, for a moment, to the tariff of Russia, in order to assert, that it was as manifestly hostile and restrictive towards England, as the commercial code of Turkey was open, liberal, and free. The 1270 tariff of Russia had been closing gradually upon us, just as she became independent of our supplies, and now it amounted to one almost unbroken enumeration of articles prohibited. The value of our manufactures sent to Russia and to Turkey was, in 1827, to Russia 1,408,970l., Turkey 531,704l.; of which cotton twist amounted to Russia 938,204l., Turkey 39,694l.; in 1834, to Russia 1,382,309l., Turkey 1,207,941l.; of which cotton twist amounted to Russia 1,037,533l., to Turkey 109,723l.; thus the export trade to Russia had declined, whilst that to Turkey had increased 100 per cent; and the exports to Russia must still greatly diminish, of which this year's Returns would furnish a melancholy proof. It would be observed, that cotton twist form ed almost the sole export to Russia. This, in fact, was but a sort of half-manufactured article, and was admitted by Russia solely to enable her to complete the manufacture, and to compete with us in the markets of Turkey and Persia. Already she had become independent of certain qualities of twist, which accordingly were prohibited. The consequence was, that many of our merchants were closing their transactions in that quarter as fast as they could. He would tell the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade, if he did not know it, that a merchant of great eminence, well known to the right hon. Gentleman, who had once been in the habit of exporting between three and four millions of pounds of cotton twist to Russia, had gradually drawn in his concerns, and that in the present year, in consequence of the state of Russia, and of the policy which that country appeared to be pursuing, he had entirely given up his Russian trade, and had not sent a single pound of twist thither. The right hon. Gentleman might, perhaps, say, that the respectable individual in question had been "frightened from his propriety" by circumstances which would not affect others. But such was not the case. For not only that individual, but others had gradually reduced their trade by two-thirds, on finding the hostile disposition of Russia, and had ultimately determined not to risk any of their property by sending it to that country. The trade to Turkey was exclusively carried on in British shipping. The trade to Russia was also so carried on in a great measure. But there was this great difference between the two branches of commerce—that to Russia our own ships went empty, and returned full of Russian produce, while to Turkey they went full of British produce, and returned, 1271 unfortunately as he thought, empty, in consequence of our bad policy. What was the amount of the tonnage of British shipping employed in the Turkey trade? In 1831, 28,249 tons; in 18S2, 28,882 tons; in 1833, 24,831 tons; and in 1834, 20,789 tons. In plain language, our tonnage in the Turkey trade was equal to our tonnage in the China trade. The Turkish manufactures had given way before the abundance and cheapness of our own. Of 600 looms for muslins busily employed at Scutari in 1812, only forty remained in 1831; and of 2,000 weaving establishments at Tournovo in 1812, only 200 remained in 1831. Under these circumstances, it was worse than blindness—it was madness—to shut our eyes to the advantages resulting from the trade which the petitioners to that House declared was in the most imminent danger of destruction. Now, with reference to our trade with Persia. In 1830, the transit trade through Trebisond consisted of about 5,000 bales, valued at 250,000l.; in 1834 it had in creased to 12,000 bales, valued at 600,000l.; and in 1835 to 19,300 bales, valued at 965,000l., notwithstanding the cholera and plague both raged at Trebisond, and in the ports of Persia, commercially connected with it during 1835. Thus in five years (from 1830 to 1835) trade increased 140 per cent.; in the sixth year, as compared with the first, 300 per cent.; and, as compared with the preceding year, 60 per cent.; consisting of European manufactures, nine-tenths of which were British. The individuals who carried on that trade, came to-night before the House by petition, and declared, that this trade was in danger from the ambitious views of Russia, and that it must follow the fate of the trade to Turkey should Russia prevail, who was resolved to destroy both. The trade to the Danube was another point to which he was desirous of directing the attention of the House. By one of the articles of the treaty of Vienna, the trade to the Danube was to be entirely free and unrestricted, and open to all descriptions of commercial enterprise. The Danube was the inlet to Wallachia and Moldavia; our intercourse with which principalities was a subject of jealousy to Russia, both in a political and in a commercial point of view. In spite of that jealousy however, our trade in that quarter had increased; and last year amounted to nearly 6,000 tons. If the Russians allowed that trade to be carried on without impediment, it would soon be come very extensive. Such was the state 1272 of our trade with Turkey, and with the adjacent countries. When the extent of that trade, and when its constant increase, were considered, none hut a Russian in interest and principle could deny, that it was a subject well worthy the attention of the British Legislature and Government. That such was the opinion of every British merchant who traded with that quarter of the world, was equally undeniable. But it must not be supposed that when he talked of British interest, he talked of something solitary, of something far removed from the interests of other European communities. On the contrary, every nation and people of Europe was earnestly beckoning to us to interfere to prevent the destruction of the trade with Turkey; and by Turkey herself that wish was strongly felt and expressed. Our interests were identified with those of other countries, particularly with the countries on the Euxine, whose fate might depend on us. Persia and Circassia were interested too and the struggle they had already made against the deadly designs of Russia shewed that we should not be without allies in that quarter. With respect to treaties, we had exhibited as to Turkey a blindness that seemed perfectly unaccountable. No treaty had been dictated by Russia from the treaty of Bucharest in 1812, down to the mysterious treaty of St. Petersburgh in 1834, which did not bear him out in saying that the Czar's progress had been a continued series of aggressions, not only territorial, but commercial. He would first take his: stand on the fatal treaty of Adrianople. Why had not this country exercised the power which it possessed to prevent the conclusion of that treaty? It had been the source of all the embarrassments and all the evils which Turkey had since undergone, We had had the power, by the exercise of a moral interference, to prevent the conclusion of that treaty, but we had neglected to do so. He spoke in the presence of a right hon. Baronet and a noble Lord who were Members of his Majesty's Government at the period in question, and he repeated that the treaty of Adrianople had been the destruction of the best interests of Turkey. It gave to Russia privileges, and power, and a footing, of which she ought never to have been put in possession. Having saddled Turkey with a debt of four millions, Russia took as a security the for tress of Silistria. The treaty obtained privileges for Russian merchants, superior even to those enjoyed by Turkish merchants, and vastly superior to those enjoyed by the merchants of other countries, It secured for 1273 the Russian merchants in Turkey the privilege of paying only half the rate of duty paid by others; and it also secured for them the privilege of living under their own laws, and not under the laws of Turkey. It gave to Russia 200 miles of the Circassian coast, and it most fatally gave to Russia the Delta of the Danube, with the alarming provision annexed, that six miles of the opposite coast should remain uninhabited. He had no hesitation in saying, upon the best authority, that it had been in the power of the English Government to prevent the treaty of Adrianople from being concluded merely by an expression of her wish that it should not be so. The military power of Russia at that time was small. She had only 15,000 men at Adrianople, 12,000 more had been landed on the shores of the Bosphorus; and there was another small force, making in the whole only 32,000 men beyond the Balkan. The Turkish Albanian army was of much superior force; and the day before the conclusion of the treaty, had cut off a Russian detachment: General Diebitsh had been reconnoitering, in order to endeavour to make good his retreat under the guns of Sir Pulteney Malcolm. But for the fatal policy which England pursued on that occasion every Russian soldier beyond the Balkan would have been compromised, and his retreat cut off. To effect this, no warlike demonstrations would have been necessary; all that was required was merely diplomatic interference. What was the state of Austria at the time in question? She was armed for the purpose of preventing Russia from carrying her ambitious designs into effect. Yet England had allowed a treaty to be completed, which had proved the source of numerous, deep, and lasting evils to the whole world. So delighted was the old Dutch Admiral Heyden, employed in the service of Russia, when he heard of the conclusion of the treaty of Adrianople, that he jumped out of his cot, and embraced the officer who brought him the intelligence. The terms of the treaty of Hoonkiar Skelessi were so injurious to England, so insulting to civilised Europe generally, and especially to the commercial interests of Europe, that it became a dead letter. The treaty of St. Petersburgh, of 1834, the contents of which were not publicly known until it was four months old, was a kind of peace offering to Europe, disgusted as she had been by the treaty of Hoonkiar Skelessi. What were the enactments of the treaty of St. Petersburg? First, Russia was to remit the Turkish 1274 debt. Next, she was to evacuate the Turkish provinces. She was to retain Silistria, and so to touch the treaty of Adrianople that she consented to abandon the nomination of hospodars during the lives of those at present in office. Such were the strides made by Russia against the existence of Turkey; but she had attempted others, some of which must inevitably involve us, as a party affected by her proceedings. He had endeavoured to state to the House the value of our great and rapidly-increasing trade with Turkey, and the adjacent countries, all of which depended upon the communication enjoyed through the Black Sea and the Danube. At Trebizond we had a great and most valuable trade, and those who ought to know best, asserted that it was in danger, whilst the Circassian coast beyond it was sternly blockaded by Russia, and we had no means of watching or resisting her encroachments. The Petitions presented this evening asserted that this great and important trade was in imminent danger, notwithstanding its in crease might lead to a contrary conclusion; and who could be such good authority as those individuals engaged in the trade, and who unanimously asked protection for the future, and for redress for injuries already inflicted. Trebizond was an object of painful jealousy to Russia. Through it we were enabled to compete with her successfully in the Persian market. But Trebizond had been threatened with the presence of a Russian army. When Ibrahim Pacha's army was in Asia Minor, a Russian officer was despatched to the Pachas of Erzeroum and Trebizond, to inform them that in the event of Ibrahim's army marching towards Erzeroum, both that place and Trebizond should be immediately protected by the presence of a Russian army—another stroke in the cunning game of protection Russia had been playing. The secret and stealthy policy of Russia ought to be watched and guarded against. Her open and declared attempts at aggrandisement were not to be dreaded. Already she had laid a train for the destruction of our Trebizond and Persian trade. At the foot of Mount Ararat her frontier comes within nine miles of the line of Persian traffic. By the treaty of Turkoman Chai, in 1829, the river Aras was fixed as the boundary between Persia and Georgia, yet Russia retained lands on the right or Persian bank—in themselves of little value, as 1275 being unproductive, but in other respects] invaluable in the views of Russia, as forming an easy stepping-stone to the province of Gheelan, or the Caspian, the chief silk-growing district of Persia, which has always been an object of keen desire to Russia, who once forcibly took possession of it, but without the power of retaining it. Russia had sent a consul to Erzeroum, the capital of Armenia, but our interests were not represented in that place of trade. The consequence was. that there, as else where throughout these countries, the views of Russia were promoted at our cost and degradation. The Pacha's name was made use of for the purposes of Russia, in proscribing British goods. Russia interfered in local affairs, and dictated to the local authorities. At Erzeroum, the Pacha was a mere puppet in the hands of the consul, supported by the commander of the Caucasus; and there could be no doubt, whenever Erzeroum fell under Russian protection, Trebizond would be entirely at her mercy. He was aware that the professions of Russia were full of peace and good-will, but how did she suit, her actions to her words? Cross the Euxine, and review her position and preparations there, and then listen, if possible, with credulity, to her peaceable professions. At Sevastopol the fortifications have been completed, and a garrison of 5,000 men established. There are at this moment ten line-of-battle ships fit for sea; eight frigates, twenty corvettes and brigs, and eight large steamers, British built. At Kiov, beyond Odessa, there was an army of 50,000 men, and in Bessarabia another of 40,000 was very recently reinforced by an increase of 25,000. The last news from these scenes of gathering strength was, that Paskevitch, the clever, the able, and the most unscrupulous of all Russia's generals, had been appointed to the command. He commanded in Persia; he governed at Warsaw; he it was who issued the proclamation for the forcible and horrible banishment of the children of Poland. His presence in Bessarabia, with an army of 100,000 men under his command, was a startling commentary on his emperor's professions of peace and good fellowship towards the Principalities and Turkey! Silistria, a solitary fortress, and the key to the Provinces on the Danube, was garrisoned with 700 men, and governed by Mouravieff, who commanded the expedition to the Bosphorus, and who entertained, as was well known, the opinion that Constan- 1276 tinople and the Bosphorus were the natural boundaries of Russia. The garrison of Silistria was joined to Bessarabia by etapes, or relays, amounting to 4,000 men. Silistria was beyond the Provinces, and this line of communication ran through their greatest length. But they were told that Silistria was to be evacuated, and restored to Turkey, whenever the remainder of the debt, extorted by Russia, was paid. But there was danger beneath this smooth and specious profession of Russia. Let the noble Lord see that the money received by Russia, for the ransom of Silistria, was not expended in the fortification of the Dardanelles; for the latest reports amounted to this, that the fortifications of the Dardanelles were immediately to be repaired, whilst those of the Bosphorus were not to be restored. The Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia were objects of deadly jealousy to Russia. They vie with her in her staple productions, and their princes were liberal and enlightened men, anxious to draw close their connexion with England, through her merchants and their ships. "My country, myself, and all my resources," said the Prince of Moldavia to an enterprising English traveller, "are at England's service;" while the Prince of Wallachia had been heard to assert, that if the flag of England was to be seen at the mouth of the Danube, he could then speak out. The speech of Prince Milosch, made last year to the Servians, had been applauded by every free people; and it was such spirits as these governing the Principalities and the people that have fallen to their lot, with a determination to render them wise and industrious, arid independent, that has roused the jealousy and destructive designs of Russia against them. Thus relying on positions bristled with fortifications, Russia ventured to lay hands on British shipping, and to arrest it, in spite of the treaties of Europe, and in spite of that indignation which was naturally expressed by the subjects of the British nation. Many ships had sailed, and others were going out, to whose captains strict orders had been given not to submit to the right of boarding and search, which Russia had lately claimed. Of course the fate of those ships must be inevitable, unless some expression of opinion were made on the part of that House. He hoped that a strong expression of opinion would be made that night. Unless that were done, British shipping, to the amount of not less than 5,000 tons, would, 1277 of course, be seized, and marched off to Odessa, until the insolent commands of Russia were complied with. His noble Friend, the Foreign Secretary, would tell him that remonstrances had been made upon the subject. He was fully aware of that fact. But what was the character of the reply? Worse than the insult itself. Lord Durham, acting upon instructions received from England, remonstrated with the Russian Government for the hindrance which had been given to British trade. He had been referred to Count Nesselrode, Count Nesselrode referred to the Governor of South Russia, and the Governor of South Russia again referred to the Consul at Gulatz, who communicated with the British Consul at Ibraille, who was instructed to send down the captains from whom toll had been exacted, to the mouth of the Danube, the scene of their injuries, in order that inquiry might be made into the subject, it being well known that the captains thus referred to, were then in England, This was what Eng land had brought herself to, by her slack and blind policy towards a foe who never would have dared thus to insult her if, in the first place, she had assumed a proper tone, and made a demonstration by her natural means of defence, her powerful fleet. He was afraid he had trespassed, too much upon the patience of the House. His cause must plead his excuse. He had carefully refrained from introducing any topics, or discussing any matters except those which had a direct bearing upon the points he wished to bring under the consideration of the House. He had refrained from alluding to the universal aggression and interference of Russia in Egypt, in Syria, in Greece, and even in Sweden, in which latter country she had the insolence, uselessly, except for some sinister purpose, which yet remained un explained, to fortify a strong position, by which she would obtain the complete command of the Baltic. In this new work, too, she had the further insolence to employ the captive Poles, whom she had decoyed, under fale pretences, from War saw. He, in consequence of the anxiety he had manifested on the subject of Russian aggression, had been accused of wishing for war. If the protection of our rights and privileges, as citizens of an in dependent country—if a wish and a determination to protect those rights and privileges—implied a wish for war, then he 1278 must plead guilty to the charge. But he would answer the accusation in the words of Mr. Canning, and would say, as that enlightened statesmen had said on a former occasion, "I am anxious to nip growing hostilities in the ear, and not to allow foreign aggressions to ripen into maturity, in order that they may be swept down by the scythe of a magnificent war." That was his object; and in mentioning Mr. Canning's name in conjunction with the foreign policy of the country, it was impossible to forget another remark which fell from those eloquent lips, that "where the British flag was unfurled, there foreign aggression must not come." He was afraid he had not made this lengthened statement without trespassing unduly on the patience of the House; he trusted, however, he had done so without trespassing on those grounds of discretion which ought to he observed in a question of this important and difficult description. He was fully aware of the difficulties by which the question was surrounded, and he was not less aware of the fact, that those difficulties affected, in a ten-fold degree, those who had to deal practically with them. He hoped the debate he provoked would not lead to an increase of those difficulties as regarded his noble Friend, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and his colleagues in office. He should be sorry that such should be the result of the course he had taken; but he must plainly say, that his object was, to show how, in a commercial country like this, with its immense commercial interests spread around, some secure, and some, as they saw, in jeopardy, it was the duty of the Government to extend an adequate protection to all. He again warned the Government, that a vast quantity of shipping recently sailing from England, had received instructions not to submit to the search of the Russian authorities, and he claimed, in the name of a large body of intelligent and enterprising men, that protection, which from England was a blessing and a security, but which from Russia was a curse. He claimed that protection, which he thought the British merchant had at all times a right to expect, but especially now, when Parliament had so recently voted an increase of one third of our naval force, for the express purpose of protecting the trade of England. In conclusion, he had only to thank the House cordially for the kind manner in which it had listened to him, and to repeat, that he should deeply regret if the difficulties of the Government 1279 should in any degree be increased by the debate to which his motion would lead. He thought, however, that that could not he; because, if, as he hoped and expected, there should be an unanimous declaration of opinion upon the subject by the Representatives of the very prosperous and powerful people of these British islands, not all the vain bluster of Russian power, as at Kalisch—nor the doublings of a deep and designing policy, as at Adrianople, would be enough to prevent them in their determination to uphold the honour and sustain the interests of their native country. Such a determination, which he hoped the House would come to, instead of increasing difficulties could only give additional power and strength to the Sovereign and his advisers; and to their instant vigilance he commended the great interests he had had the honour of bringing under the consideration of the House. With these observations he begged to move—" That a humble Address be presented to his Majesty, praying that he will be graciously pleased to order a diplomatic agent to be forthwith sent to the free and independent State of Cracow; and that his Majesty will be graciously pleased to take such steps as to his Majesty may seem best adapted to protect and extend the commercial interests of Great Britain in Turkey and the Euxine."
§ Sir Edward Codrington
said, that in rising to second the motion of his hon. Friend, he should as much as possible con fine himself to the topics which his own professional experience gave him a claim to speak; and, in the first place, he hoped he might be permitted to say a few words to remove a misrepresentation which the French papers had given circulation to, directed against himself. It was there said, that he had spoken disrespectfully of the Russian people. This, he could assure the House, he had never done; and from his experience of Russian soldiers and sailors, was not at all inclined to do so. Numbers had served under his command in the Mediterranean, and he felt on the contrary disposed to give them every credit as a brave and well-conducted force. He was confident, that the Russian people encouraged the most friendly feelings towards this country, and it became us to meet their goodwill in the spirit of honourable reciprocity. He would call the attention of the House to the position which Russia was at this moment assuming as a maritime Power, and they would see the ne- 1280 cessity of meeting the facts of the case by more active proceedings than appeared at present to be in the contemplation of the Executive. Russia had twenty-five sail of the line in the Baltic and ten in the Black Sea, and appeared to be ready for demonstrations in either the north or south of Europe. The British maritime force, on the contrary, was neither concentrated nor available. All the ships in commission were liable to be sent to the Mediterranean or elsewhere, and, without some degree of forethought was exercised, the consequences might be serious to the peace of Europe. His profession was war; and it therefore might be said, that, in thus supporting the motion of his hon. Friend, he was urging on a topic in which he had a personal interest; but he assured the House, that this was far from being the case. He had seen too much of the evils, and cruelties, and sufferings induced by warfare to wish to enter on it lightly. His present statement was meant to pre vent it if possible. He was convinced that if we were to put forth our maritime force as we had done on former occasions, Russia would not have dared to have acted as she had done. It had been said, that the battle in which he had been engaged on the shores of Greece had led to the present alarming position of Russia, and prostrate condition of Turkey; but that was not the case. A proper provision for the peace of Europe had been previously made by the Treaty of Vienna, and if Mr. Canning had maintained and executed that Treaty, as he ought to have done, no such disastrous result would have accrued to Turkey as had in consequence taken place—results which some people had sup posed had been occasioned by his interference, whereas he had confined himself to the strict performance of his orders. He believed the Emperor of Russia had really not been guilty of such evil designs as had been ascribed to him in his proceedings against Turkey, and he was sorry to hear him spoken so badly of as he had been in that affair. He would ask any hon. Member, who had any doubt on this subject, to refer to the Greek papers, and he would find that, if the Emperor's propositions had been acceded to, we should never have heard of those troubles. Before the battle of Navarino, Nicholas had asked the Sultan to agree to the treaty of London. This, however, was refused by Turkey, and then Nicholas had declared that, if they persisted in their refusal, war should 1281 be declared. If he had been supported as he ought in this demand by the three Powers concerned, Turkey would have acceded to it. At that period Russia had agreed that the allied fleets should retire, and that none should profit by their previous successes, and had Turkey had the wisdom to accede to the treaty, Russia would have had no pretence to get her into her power. At that period some un fortunate change (he must call it) took place in this country which introduced measures which led to a breach in the alliance, and to the offer of an insult to Russia, who thereupon declared war against Turkey. He held in his hand the Greek papers proving these facts, and would read them to the House if they wished. He had been taunted by vulgar and ill-informed men with originating this unfortunate position of affairs, as if he had anything to do with it beyond the strict line of his duty, which led to an event of signal importance, as laying the foundation of the liberties of a country in whose behalf all Europe felt deeply interested. With respect to the aggressions now feared on the part of Russia, we had the means in our power to stop them completely, by arming and fit ting out a fleet, and holding it in readiness to act at the moment we might need it. If we still remained unprepared, advantage would be taken of our incapable position; we might expect insults if we intermeddled, and so be led on by insult and injury to commit ourselves in a war that we might avoid by being prepared to meet it. At present we were in danger of seeing our commerce with the East destroyed, our allies lost, and our honour, as a powerful and leading nation of Europe, compromised and degraded. It was an old and a good maxim of British policy that where our trade was there should be our ships. The trade we carried on in the Baltic was hardly worth our protection, while that in the Black Sea was hourly increasing with Turkey and the provinces bordering on Persia. The House should recollect, that in all our dealings with Turkey and Persia everything was carried thither in British bottoms. Our ships went loaded with our most profitable manufactures instead of money, in exchange for the richest fabrics of the East. There were no difficulties thrown in the way of our commerce with the East by Turkey—no Custom House interposed its duties and regulations to retard the introduction of British goods—no Prussian League existed to maintain a systematic 1282 monopoly and an exclusion of foreign ma nufactures—no Autocrat like the Emperor of Russia to send them back again, or confiscate them at his pleasure. Turkey was, of all countries, that with which we could most advantageously carry on a commercial intercourse. The great difficulty which existed in the way of our intercourse with that country arose from the conduct of the Viceroy of Egypt. He was, however, entirely at our mercy. With our powerful fleet contiguous to his arsenal, if we said that he must cease hostilities with the Porte, that moment he must stop. The Viceroy had of old felt the strength of our representations on the subject of the evacuation of the Morea, where he had the honour of becoming acquainted with him. The Viceroy at that period had received orders to resist all applications to induce him to evacuate it at the risk of his head, and he did resist accordingly, but he was as pressing on the other side, so the Viceroy was sadly puzzled; but at last prudently yielded to necessity, and evacuated the Morea. He had no doubt, that the same means employed with this Potentate would again produce similar effects; and if we prevented him from disturbing Turkey, he was confident she would be able to defend herself against Russia. But it might be asked, how could England interfere effectually without entering into hostilities? Very easily. Russia had a fleet in the Black Sea, and it might easily be arranged, that at the in stance of Turkey, England also should send a fleet there, and thus put an end to all opportunity of Russia carrying on a war in that quarter. With respect to operations in the Baltic, he looked on the fortifications which Russia was erecting in the island of Aland, close to the coast of Sweden—as evidences of a similar intention on the part of Russia to aggrandize herself at the expense of her neighbours in the north as she had already done in the south. She had a numerous flotilla anchored beside the island, and every thing prepared to enable her to awe Sweden into submission when ever she might think proper. He did not propose to meet this danger by sending a fleet into the Baltic, as he knew the dangers of that sea, but it would be highly desirable to form an alliance with Sweden, and put an end to the projects which threatened the repose of Europe in that quarter. He was not anxious, at his time of life, to go to war; on the contrary, he should lament it exceedingly; but if we wore not to have a war with all the ex- 1283 pense and misery it entailed it would be by a maritime exertion sufficient to render it superfluous. With this view he had taken the liberty to second the motion of his hon. Friend, and hoped it would meet with the full approbation of the House.
§ Viscount Palmerston
in rising to answer what I must now call the very able and eloquent speech of ray hon. Friend, the Member for Lancaster, I select, in preference to other topics to which he adverted one which he introduced only incidentally, but which I feel anxious to reply to before I proceed to other parts of his speech. My hon. Friend seems to entertain an opinion that upon these great questions to which he has directed the attention of the House, the Cabinet was divided in opinion. Now I can assure my hon. Friend, and I beg also to assure the House, that neither upon these questions, nor upon any others dos there exist any division or difference of opinion amongst his Majesty's Ministers. I can assure the House that we all of us entertain the same view of these questions—that we are desirous, in the first place, to maintain peace as long as peace can be maintained consistently with the honour and interests of the country—that we are deeply sensible of the great importance of those interests which are involved in the questions to which the hon. Member has referred; but we believe that if Parliament will place their confidence in us—if they will leave it to us to manage the foreign relations of the country, assured that we shall not neglect our duty—if Parliament will give us this confidence, we fancy, and I believe, we do not deceive ourselves there in, that we shall be able to protect the interests, and to uphold the honour of the country, without being obliged to have re course to war. I have thought it necessary to advert to that fact—first, because I now see there could be nothing which would tend more to defeat the objects which my hon. Friend has in view—that there could be nothing which would tend more to paralyse the efforts of the British Government in their negotiations with foreign nations, than the notion that there existed a division of sentiment in the British Cabinet, and that all the Members of the Administration did not entertain the same opinions upon these great and important questions. My hon. Friend began the review which he has taken of these questions, by starting at a very remote period. His motion divides itself into two general topics—the question of Poland, and 1284 the question of Turkey and Greece. With regard to Poland, my hon. Friend began his review by adverting to the transactions which took place at the Congress of Vienna, and brought his review down to the recent events which have occurred in that country. I do not feel that I am called upon to follow my hon. Friend into the detailed review which he felt it expedient to take. It is not necessary upon this occasion to inquire what were the views of the British Government with regard to Poland at the Congress of Vienna. It is well known that the British Government did take a lively interest in the negociations which were then pending with respect to the Polish nation. It is not necessary for me now to repeat opinions which it has been my duty to express on former occasions with respect to the manner in which Russia has treated the Constitution which the Emperor Alexander gave to the kingdom of Poland. It is not necessary for me now to inquire how far the revolt of the Poles was justified by the violation of their Constitution, nor in what degree the organic statute, which was substituted for it, has been observed by Russia. I have stated on a former occasion, that I did not think the revolt of the Poles justified the abrogation of their Constitution. That opinion I still maintain, and that opinion the British Government has expressed to the Government of Russia. With regard to that part of the motion of my hon. Friend which applies to other matters—that part of it in which he pro poses to request the Crown to send an agent to the state of Cracow—upon that part of his motion, I am prepared to state to my hon. Friend that Government do intend to send a consular agent to Cracow. I should, trust, therefore, that my hon. Friend will consent to withdraw that part, of his motion. My hon. Friend may naturally feel gratified that the substance of his motion is about to be carried into effect, but I am sure he will also feel, that it would be an un usual interference with the exercise of the discretion of the Crown to point out to the Crown the propriety of appointing diplomatic or consular agents in this or that particular place. With regard to the other, and more material part of the address which my hon. Friend proposes to move, I confess it does not appear to me that he has laid any sufficient Parliamentary grounds to in duce the House to accede to his proposition; and I am not without hope that I may persuade my hon. Friend to desist at all events from pressing his motion to a division. 1285 Possibly I may call upon him to withdraw it, instead of formally taking the sense of the House upon it. I think if there were any one thing upon which this House would have more reluctance than another, to interfere with the discretion of the executive branch of the Government, it would be a matter relating to our foreign policy—connected with a question involving the alternatives of peace and war. The prerogative of peace and war, and the discretion in conducting the communications upon which the issues of peace and war depend, have wisely, I think, been left, by the Constitution of this country, in the hands of the Crown, and to the Crown's responsible advisers. And it appears to me, that unless there shall arise some great and flagrant case in which the Parliament shall suppose that the responsible advisers of the Crown have either done an act which was improper to be done, or have neglected doing that which it was their obvious duty to do, it would be more consistent with the practice of Parliament, and with the true principle of the Constitution, that Parliament should not unnecessarily, or irregularly, attempt to interfere in matters that do not pointedly require that they should express their opinion for the guidance of the Crown and its responsible advisers. Now the question is, on the pre sent occasion, whether my hon. Friend has shown, that circumstances have arisen which require the interposition of Parliament in order to point out to the Government a course which the Government do not seem of their own accord disposed to follow. For my part, I do not think that my hon. Friend has established such a case. My hon. Friend has stated the great importance, politically and commercially, of our relations with Turkey, and with other countries lying beyond the Black Sea. The Government entirely concur with my hon. Friend as to the extreme importance in both those points of view—both politically and com mercially—of our relations with those countries. We feel as strongly as my hon. Friend the extreme importance, with a view to the preservation of the balance of power in Europe, that Turkey should be maintained in a state of independence; and we also feel, as strongly as my hon. Friend, the great advantages to the commercial resources of this country, which may be derived from an extension of our intercourse with Turkey and Persia, and with any other country in that part of the world. The question then, is not whether the Govern- 1286 ment are alive to those considerations to which the speech of my hon. Friend points—but whether circumstances have occurred which show the existence of clanger to which the Government are blind, and against which they are not likely to guard, unless driven thereto by the direct interference of this House. Now I own, that amply as my hon. Friend has established the first part of his case, I think he has entirely failed in establishing the second. My hon. Friend has shown, beyond the possibility of question, the great importance of Turkey, as an independent State, to this country, and I will say, to all the Powers of Western Europe. My hon. Friend has shown, by reference to former events, that it is necessary for the Government of this country to keep a watchful eye upon the political condition of Turkey, in order to be ready, in case hostilities should arise, to extend to Turkey such assistance as circumstances may render necessary. My hon. Friend has shown, with regard to the commerce of this country with Turkey and Persia, not only enough for the purpose he had in view, but I take leave to say, more even than would suit the object of his argument. He has shown that this trade is a trade of yearly increasing importance. He has shown that it is a trade of great importance, and of great promise to this country, which it is, therefore, highly necessary for the Government of this country to watch over, and that any interruption to which should be prevented by all possible means. But what are the facts which my hon. Friend has stated in support of that part of his argument? Why he has shown that during the last few years, that trade has risen from next to nothing to a very considerable amount. And what are the years during which this change has taken place. Have they been years when Turkey was in a state of profound peace and complete independence?—were they years in which there was no war going on to interrupt the tranquil pursuits of commerce, and in which the independence and authority of the Sultan was so firmly established throughout all his dominions as to enable him to afford ample protection to merchants and to the introduction of foreign commodities? Quite the reverse. This trade has increased during the years when Turkey was involved in intestine war, when every circumstance connected with the internal and political condition of Turkey was unfavourable, if I may so express it, to the development of commerce. During that period, and not- 1287 withstanding those circumstances, I am of opinion that my hon. Friend has proved, by the documents to which he has referred, that our trade with Turkey has increased in a most rapid and unexampled manner. Then with regard to Persia, the same observation applies. My hon. Friend has proved the fact, which I also have heard, that the amount of the imports at Trebizond during the last three or four years has increased from 450,000l. to 800,000l. But what was the state of Persia at the time? It has been but recently involved in a question of a disputed succession, and in a state of civil war, not long in continuance certainly, but involving all that derangement of the internal administration of the country which is peculiarly unfavourable to the development of commerce with other countries. If my hon. Friend had been able to show, that whereas some years ago we had had a large and important commerce with Turkey and with Persia, and that that commerce had, by the aggressions of other countries, or by the neglect of the Government of this, dwindled down to an inconsiderable trade, then there might have been ground to call upon Parliament to stimulate the dormant energies of the Government, to awaken them to a sense of the national interests, and to call upon them better to perform their duties. But when he has shown that, under circumstances naturally unfavourable, the trade of the country has increased to a great amount, that, I think, is a proof that the Government of the country is not dead to this important matter; and I believe it does afford a strong ground entitling me to appeal to my hon. Friend to forbear, on the present occasion, from interposing his motion with the authority of the Government, by calling on the Government to do that which, by his own showing, they are in the progress of accomplishing. As far as the conduct of the Government, therefore, is concerned, I contend that we do not require, in the present state of things, that degree of admonition—I do not say censure—which a vote of the House on this occasion might be supposed to imply. My hon. Friend next pointed the attention of the House to the aggressions which he conceives Russia meditates against us. I do not stand here to expound or explain the intentions of Russia. It is enough for us to look at facts, and deal with events that have actually taken place. I can assure the House there is no disposition on the part of his Majesty's Government to 1288 submit to aggressions on the part of any power, be that power what it may, and be it more or less strong. We are convinced if any power should be disposed to commit aggressions against the subjects of England, that if we came to this House and stated that such facts had come to pass, and that our remonstrances had been vain, and that we were not able to obtain redress—we are perfectly confident, I say, if we did this, that such an appeal never would be made in vain to a British House of Commons. But though I followed the speech of my hon. Friend with all the attention which I could command. I confess that I was not able to make out from his statement any specific fact which he alleged to have taken place. It appeared to me that the sentiments of those whom he represents, as well as the opinions he himself has ex pressed, consist rather of apprehensions with regard to the future, than of actual facts with regard to the past. Now, Sir, in dealing with the relations of this country with foreign Powers, it is not prudent or wise, I think, to anticipate wrongs. It is sufficient to deal with wrongs when they have occurred; and it is wiser, at all events, for Parliament not unnecessarily to announce apprehensions of injuries which have not actually taken place. Sir, we have had an instance not long ago of the inconvenience of popular assemblies dealing prematurely with questions between different countries. I think it is very evident if popular assemblies in France and in America had left it for their respective Governments to deal with the question of difference that lately arose between those two countries, the difficulties which attended its arrangement would not have been so great as they ultimately proved to he. My hon. Friend alluded in the first place to the danger of interruption to our trade by Russia up the Danube. He mentioned a case in which remonstrance had been made by Lord Durham to the Court of Russia, which was referred to Count Nesselrode, who referred it to the Governor of South Russia, and by whom it was referred to the Consul at Gulatz. Now, Sir, I know nothing of those circumstances; but I am quite sure, that whatever remonstrance may be made by Lord Durham to the Russian Government, with respect to any thing that may have been wrong in the intercourse between the Russian authorities and our merchants, that attention will be paid to them. But certainly it was natural that, upon the receipt of that remonstrance, 1289 reference should be made to the Russian authorities on the spot where the wrong had been done. There can be no doubt, I apprehend, that by the treaty of Vienna, the navigation of the Danube is free to the commerce of all nations. The 108th article says, "That all navigable rivers, which in their course either traverse or separate the different States shall be free to the commerce of all nations." Another article goes on to say, that those powers, through whose territories such rivers pass, shall appoint commissioners to regulate all matters concerning the details of the navigation of those rivers; and it empowers them to fix the tolls which may be levied, provided always that the tolls so fixed, shall not exceed the amount of the tolls existing at the time when the treaty of Vienna was signed. Now, at the period of the treaty of Vienna, the Danube was a river falling within this description; for although Turkey was not a party to that treaty, yet, as the Danube traverses Austria and Bavaria, that river would certainly come under the provisions of the treaty. But, undoubtedly, when Russia acquired a portion of the Danube by the treaty of Adrianople, that part of the river fell within the scope of the treaty of Vienna, as being a part of Russia. I am not aware that my hon. Friend has alleged any actual violation of that treaty. If I rightly understood him, he rested his argument chiefly upon what was expected as likely to occur with regard to ships now about to leave this country with a view to proceed to the Danube.
§ Mr. P. Stewart
was understood to say, that a case of interruption had actually occurred with respect to some ships returning home.
§ Viscount Palmerston
I have received on official information that anything has occurred which is not warranted by the treaty: and I can only say, that when such a statement shall be made to me by the parties concerned, it shall be brought under the attention of the Government, and shall be dealt with by them in such manner as the law-advisers of the Crown shall deem consistent with the rights of the subjects of this country. But to refer again to the navigation of the Danube: I submit, that in the present state of things, no ground has been shown upon which this House could be called upon to take any step with regard to that part of my hon. Friend's case, and that that question, like the former, may fairly be left for the present in the hands of the Government, provided this 1290 House has equal confidence in us with regard to our foreign relations, as it has hitherto shown itself disposed to entertain with reference to the internal government of the country. Now, with regard to the trade by Trebizond, we showed the attention which we pay to these subjects, by appointing a consul at Trebizond between three or four years ago. I can assure my hon. Friend, that I am very much disposed to agree with him, that it would be expedient to appoint a consular agent to the very important quarter which he has suggested. My hon. Friend is aware that we have, at present, no commercial treaty with Persia. Our commerce with that country, at present, rests upon an ancient usage. We are now endeavouring to negociate a treaty of commerce with Persia; and although we have not yet succeeded in our object, yet I am not without hopes and expectation, that we shall accomplish that purpose. My hon. Friend is aware that until last year the diplomatic relations between this country and Persia were carried on by an envoy, sent by the Governor-General of India, having no direct communication with this country. That has been altered. Our diplomatic agent in Persia is now a servant of the Crown, receiving his instructions from the Government at Home, and, therefore, by means of that direct communication with this country, he is calculated to be a much more effectual agent than a servant of the East-India Company could possibly be. I mention this merely as a proof that we are not at all insensible to the great importance of the subject to which my hon. Friend has directed our attention, and that we are constantly taking measures that appear to us best calculated to promote the national interest in those quarters. My hon. Friend has stated that, on former occasions, I had held out reasons inducing the country to entertain expectations as to the course the Government would pursue, but which expectations had not afterwards been realised. He stated, in the first place, that I had said, that it was not in the power of Russia to exterminate a kingdom, alluding to Poland. As that expression, attributed to me, has been quoted before in this House, I take the opportunity to correct a mistake in the report of what I really said. What I, on the occasion referred to, said was this—that it was impossible for Russia to exterminate, nominally or physically, a nation—I did not say kingdom. A king- 1291 dom is a political body, and may be destroyed; but a nation is an aggregate body of men; and what I stated was, that if Russia did entertain the project, which many thinking people believed she did, of exterminating the Polish nation, she entertained what it was hopeless to accomplish, because it was impossible to exterminate a nation, especially a nation consisting of so many millions of men as the Polish kingdom in its divided state contained. My hon. Friend also stated, that I had ex pressed an opinion that the Russian troops would evacuate Turkey, but that the Russian troops were, nevertheless, in Turkey still. Now, upon the occasion to which my hon. Friend alludes, the question was with regard to the Russian army that had come along the Black Sea, to occupy the neighbourhood of Constantinople, It was to that army, and that army alone, that my observation applied; and the expectation I then entertained has since been fully realized, because a short period after I expressed it, that army did return to Russia. It is perfectly true, that up to this period Russia has continued to occupy Silistria, and a portion of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia; but I may state, pretty confidently, to the House, that an arrangement is likely to take place between Turkey and Russia, by the payment of the money due from the former to the latter, that Silistria and the principalities will be really and bonâ fide evacuated. I do not state that as being actually certain; but I have good reason to believe it will happen. I am sure, therefore, that my hon. Friend will now feel that, at least, some of the apprehensions he has expressed may for a moment be suspended. Then I say, that the grounds upon which I should wish my hon. Friend to reconsider his intention on the present occasion, and not to press his motion on the House are these—that an address is that sort of interference with the discretion of the Government, which seems to imply an expression of dissent from, or distrust on, the part of the House, in the policy of the Government, which I do not think we deserve. Either he means that, or he means more; and if he intends to point to measures more nearly approaching to that hostility which was shadowed out in his speech, and a little more plainly alluded to by his hon. and gallant Friend, the Admiral, who followed him; if the object of his motion is not merely, that Government should keep 1292 a watchful eye upon these important interests of the country, and take care to protect them against any aggression or wrong, but that we should go further, and take steps which may bear the appearance of an intention to provoke Russia to war, I should say, that such a course would neither be politic nor consistent with the feelings of this House, nor the interests of this country. I conceive the feelings of Parliament and the interests of the country to he, that we should submit to wrong from no Power whatever; that we should not permit any Power to provoke us with impunity; but that we should also cautiously abstain from any thing which might be construed by other Powers, and reasonably so, as being a provocation on our part; that we should stand upon our rights, and defend our own, but wait till we are really attacked, and pause till we have really good and just ground of quarrel, before we disturb that state of peace so essential to the interests of civilization, and which it is the peculiar boast of these latter years, that all the nations of Europe have learned the value of; and which, I trust, if it is to be disturbed, as I hope it will not, will he disturbed, not by any rash or imprudent act on the part of England, but rather by the aggression of other powers, in resisting which England may carry with her into such contest the opinions and judgment of all mankind; and rally about her, as I am sure she would, if any wanton attack were made upon her, all the other nations of Europe, whose interests in these matters are, as my hon. Friend has justly stated, identical with those of this country.
§ Lord Mahon
if even I had not wished to take any part in this debate, I should still have been induced to rise by the re marks of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Stewart) on the peace of Adrianople, and on the line of conduct pursued at that time by the Duke of Wellington; and though the hon. Member is mistaken in supposing that I was in any way connected with the Foreign Department at that period, yet undoubtedly, when much later, in December, 1834, I was appointed to an. office in that Department, I considered it one of my earliest duties to make myself as thoroughly acquainted with all the details of those negotiations, as the records within my reach would allow me, I think I shall be 1293 able to convince the House that the hon. Member for Lancaster is in error—that the integrity and independence of the Turkish empire have always been amongst the foremost objects of the Duke of Wellington's foreign policy, and that neither at the peace of Adrianople nor at any other period, has he ever lost sight of them. But I shall go yet further. I think I can shew that the painful and perplexing state of Eastern affairs is mainly owing, not to the Duke of Wellington, but to the policy, or rather let me say, the want of policy of the noble Lord opposite, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. At the same time, I beg to assure that noble Lord that I shall most carefully avoid saying a single word that can by possibility throw any embarrassment in the way of any existing negotiation, or create even the slightest difficulty to his Majesty's Government.
Sir, in the first place, in justice both to the Duke of Wellington and to the noble Lord, I must say, that I think there is one fallacy running through the whole speech, not only of the hon. Member for Lancaster, but also, in a former evening, of that of the noble lord, the Member for Arundel (Lord Dudley Stuart). Both these Members seem to assume, as a matter of course, that whatever changes have taken place of late years, to the disadvantage of Turkey and to the lowering of her rank among nations, must have proceeded either from ambition in Russia or neglect in England. Now I do not deny the operation of either of these causes, though at different periods, but I do say, that before investigating them it is not just to overlook other internal causes of decline which in them selves go a great way in accounting for the helpless and degraded state to which Turkey has fallen. Why what is the internal state of Turkey? Had we to deal with the same mighty nation which, no further ago than 1683, could plant its standards under the walls of Vienna, and pour hundreds of thousands of men into the plains of Germany? Or had we to deal with a nation broken in spirit and diminishing in numbers, and looking to foreign states no longer as objects of conquests, but for the succour of alliance? Despotism in Turkey had produced its never-failing effects. Those effects are often not perceptible at first, on the contrary it often imprints a momentary vigour, but it never fails to be followed by perma- 1294 nent decline. To those who consider the decreased population of Turkey, the consequently heavier burden of its invariable Land-tax, the distress and discontent of its people, and the decline of the Mahometan fanaticism, it will be apparent that there were many internal causes of national degradation, besides those which Russia may have produced, or which England might have prevented. Well, Sir, it was in this enfeebled condition of Turkey that war broke out between it and Russia, in the years 1828 and 1829. The hon. Member for Lancaster speaks as if the British Government of that day had remained a passive and indifferent spectator of that contest, making no exertions to obtain a speedy peace on favourable terms for Turkey. So far from this being the fact, I can assure the hon. Member that the official correspondence of that period displays the most eager anxiety, and the most incessant exertions for the preservation and independence of the Turkish empire. At Constantinople every endeavour was used to induce the Turkish Government to recede from their dogged obstinacy, and by granting the moderate concessions required of them with respect to the Greeks, to avert those extensive concessions which were afterwards wrung from them at the peace of Adrianople. With the Russian Government a most energetic tone was assumed; the importance of this question was never for a moment forgotten; and in the instructions to Lord Heytesbury of June 13th, 1828, he is directed—In the event of any territorial aggrandisement being contemplated, to adopt the gravest tone of remonstrance, consistently with abstaining from all language of menace.I have the less hesitation in speaking of our diplomatic correspondence of that period, because it has already been noticed by Lord Grey in another place, at the opening of the Session of 1834. There was also full communication on the subject with other European Courts, until the manifold disasters of the Turkish arms left them no resource but the quick conclusion and humiliating terms of the Peace of Adrianople. Lord Aberdeen, in a des patch to Lord Heytesbury of the 31st of October, comments with no small dissatisfaction on many parts of that Treaty, and especially notices what the hon. Member for Lancaster has dwelt upon to-night—the stipulations respecting the Islands in the Danube. He denies that that peace 1295 has "respected the territorial rights of sovereignty of the Porte, and the condition and the interests of all maritime States In the Mediterranean," and I am sure that if the hon. Member for Lancaster bad read that despatch he would certainly not complain of any want of fore sight in the views, or of vigour in the tone, in the Duke of Wellington's Administration.
But perhaps the hon. Member for Lancaster may say that vigour in negotiation and remonstance was not sufficient, and that the Duke of Wellington should have made an appeal to arms. If that be the opinion of the hon. Member, I must altogether dissent from him. The conduct previously pursued by the Porte towards this country had certainly given her no claim to our protection on the ground of justice; and as to the ground of expediency, let me ask the House, when the Turkish arms were so covered with loss, and broken by disaster, was this just the most favour able moment for stepping forward as their ally? Let the House also look to the state of the other Powers of Europe—to France, for example, under the Administration of Prince Polignac—and let them see whether they will not. discover other grounds for recommending peace. But supposing that the Duke of Wellington had taken an opposite view of that question, and had considered a war either just or advisable, I should be glad to know how far he would have had the support of those hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are now so forward in arraigning his policy as too pacific. Why, Sir, the cry of those hon. Gentlemen was then, that the Duke of Wellington was far too friendly to Turkey—that the Tories were attached to it, because it was a barbarous State; that its alliance and position were of no advantage to us, and that Russia was acting with singular moderation and total absence of ambitious views. In proof that such were then the opinions of the hon. Gentle men opposite, I will take the liberty of giving some extracts from the speeches of their most eminent leaders, and I will begin with quoting from one now unhappily no more, whom I had the honour of knowing well in private life, and of whom I have the satisfaction of remembering that our political differences did not prevent our personal friendship; I mean Sir James Mackintosh who, on the 14th of February, 1828, said— 1296He was prepared also to contend that the Government of the Ottoman Porte had been treated with extraordinary long suffering, with most exemplary patience, and with most un expected forbearance. It was bare justice to Russia to say, that her dealings with the Ottoman Power for the last seven years had been marked with as great forbearance as the conduct of that Power had been distinguished by continued insolence and incorrigible contumacy;Again, another very distinguished man, Lord Holland, on the 16th of July, 1828, said—Turkey has been called our ancient ally, words which, when examined, will be found to be a modern blunder. No, my Lords, I hope I never shall see, God forbid I ever should see, for the proposition would be scouted from one end of England to another, any preparations or any propositions, or any attempt to defend this, our ancient ally from the attacks of its enemies.Such were the sentiments of the Whig party at that period. To these sentiments I admit that there was one great and eminent exception. There was one statesman of that party who, on Turkish affairs, entirely agreed with the Duke of Wellington, and dissented from the great body of the Whigs. That exception was Earl Grey. Speaking on the 29th of January, 1828, Earl Grey said,—That with respect to the transaction itself, of the battle of Navarino, he concurred with, the learned Lord (the Earl of Eldon) in thinking it most unfortunate; and that the effect which was naturally to be expected from such an event (meaning the further defeat of Turkey) might be averted, he sincerely trusted.Thus, then, it appears that, with this single,'—though I admit eminent exception of Earl Grey,—the party of the hon. Gentleman opposite was decidedly adverse to any interference in Eastern affairs; or, if they had interfered, were disposed to take the part of Russia rather than the part of Turkey. I do think that it is not quite fair to shift so completely their ground of attack; and I cannot but consider it rather hard that a Government should be blamed for not stepping more boldly forward, when those Gentlemen, who are now blaming it for non-interference, would have been the first to refuse their support to direct interference, or have proposed interference of an exactly opposite kind.
Well, then, after the peace of Adrianople, the next event which disturbed the tranquillity of the east, was the war undertaken 1297 by Mehemet Ali, against his sovereign lord the Sultan, in the spring of 1831. A change had meanwhile taken place in our Government at home, and the Earl of Aberdeen was succeeded as Foreign Secretary by the noble Lord opposite. Now, Sir, I must say, that the noble Lord opposite was by no means sufficiently alive to the importance of the new contest in which Turkey was engaged. I believe,—and I state this on the authority of persons the best acquainted with the practical state of the east,—that if the noble Lord had taken at first a firm and decided tone—if he had sent only two men-of-war to Alexandria—if he had even signified his disapprobation to the Pacha of Egypt, that aggression might have been, and would have been, arrested at its outset. I do not, of course, blame the noble Lord for not guessing precisely what would occur, and I admit that it is much easier to criticise events, when we look upon them with the knowledge of the result, as well as of the cause; but still I do say, that if the probable event had been earlier foreseen, it might have been entirely averted. Nor was it one of those sudden or violent inroads defying, by its rapidity, all reasonable calculation; Syria was invaded in the spring; in July was fought the battle of Horns, deciding the fate of that province, and it was not till the 21st of December afterwards, that the whole Turkish army was annihilated at the decisive battle of Coniah. That battle laid the Sultan prostrate at the feet, or within the grasp, of the Pacha. It was then that the Sultan, utterly stripped of his own resources, was compelled for preservation to apply to the succour of some other power. But to whom did he apply? Did he apply to Russia? No, Sir, he implored the aid of England. He sent over to this country first, M. Maurojeni, and then Namik Pacha, to entreat the assistance of a naval squadron, undertaking to defray all the expenses of that squadron, and promising in further requital of that succour, the grant of new commercial privileges and advantages to British subjects in Turkey. Such was the earnest application of Turkey; but what was the answer of the noble Lord? He refused that application. Then, and not till then, it was that the Sultan, in his utmost need, disappointed of aid from England, and compelled to seek for aid elsewhere, threw himself into the arms of Russia; then, and not till then, was a Russian army assembled on the borders of the principalities, 1298 and a Russian fleet seen to anchor in the Bosphorus. Then, and not till then, began that Russian influence which was so shortly afterwards displayed in the famous Treaty of the 8th of July, 1833. That decision of the noble Lord I cannot consider otherwise than as most unfortunate. I do not urge it against him in any hostile spirit, for it would be un candid in me were I to deny, that the practical question then before him was by no means of so plain, clear, and evident a character as, I think, when separately considered, it appears. I admit that our domestic affairs were then in a most difficult position; I admit that our foreign relations also gave no small ground for hesitation; I admit that the noble Lord had to look to other considerations besides those connected only with Russia and with Turkey. Nothing is more unfair, in looking back upon a question, than to bestow no thought upon the difficulties with which it was perplexed and entangled at the time. But while I allow this to the noble Lord—while I am ready to make a fair and full allowance for the obstacles which he might have had to surmount in that question, yet, on the other hand, I doubt very much whether the noble Lord himself will deny, on cool consideration and on fair avowal, that the decision to which he then arrived was otherwise than most unfortunate. All the powers of Europe were then friendly to our granting the application of Turkey and even Russia, much to her honour at that time, consented to that course, and was willing to forego any interference or influence in Turkish affairs. Russia was willing that the arbitration of eastern policy should be wielded, not by the Court of Petersburgh, but by the Court of London. See to what results our opposite policy has tended. To the refusal of the noble Lord may be mainly ascribed the Treaty of the 8th of July, and to that Treaty no small degree of the present irritation and embarrassment. But even admitting that the noble Lord, in the trying situation in which he was placed, was compelled to reject the solicitations of Turkey, I should at least have expected that he would have taken most anxious precautions to guard against excessive influence on the part of Russia, and to keep her interference confined to narrow bounds. I should have expected that the noble Lord would have provided, with peculiar vigilance, for the diplomatic duty to be performed at Constantinople. Sir Stratford. Canning had quitted. Con- 1299 stantinople on the 9th of August, 1832. The noble Lord opposite then appointed Lord Ponsonby, who received his credentials at Naples on the 29th of November. This was the crisis of the Turkish empire—just on the verge of the decisive battle of Coniah. I ask, where was Lord Ponsonby in the month of December?—where was he in January, February, and March? It was not till the 6th of April that Lord Ponsonby embarked at Naples—it was not till the 1st of May that he anchored at Constantinople. Now, I do not wish to say anything harsh of any one who is not here present to defend himself, and there fore I admit that Lord Ponsonby's absence may possibly have been unavoidable,—ill ness, of course, would supply a sufficient cause, or there might he others; but I do assert, that, if this absence was not unavoidable, or if the noble Lord opposite could have foreseen and guarded against it, it deserves the severest censure, and was the second great cause of the growth of Russian influence at Constantinople. It was during this absence that the negotiation was begun, which was completed by Count Orloff, and brought to a conclusion on the 8th of July. It is my belief that if an active and able Ambassador had been present at Constantinople through that whole period, the ascendancy of Russia might have been successfully stemmed. On a former occasion, when this subject was mentioned, the noble Lord observed, that though we had no Ambassador present, we had a very able and experienced Secretary. No man can be more willing than I am to do justice to the talents of Mr. Mandeville, the gentle man alluded to, and I can bear personal testimony to his merit; but still does the noble Lord mean to contend that even the ablest Secretary can at all possess the weight or speak with the tone of an Ambassador? Why, if so, how will the noble Lord answer the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. Hume), who this very evening, be before this debate began, rose to complain of the absence of another Ambassador from his post?—and who, I dare say, when we come to vote the diplomatic estimates, will appeal to the noble Lord to assist him in abolishing all Ambassadors, and substituting Secretaries, with one tenth of the salary. I do say, that, if ever there was a country in which the weight and station of an Ambassador were useful—or a period in which that weight and station might be advantageously exerted—that country was Turkey, during the six months before the 8th of July.
1300 Now, Sir, I have gone through, in much detail, the transactions previous to the Treaty of the 8th of July. Of the subsequent transactions I am unwilling to speak as minutely, not from any personal embarrassment, for there is no part of those transactions in which I, or any political friends of mine, were engaged; but I do feel a conscientious desire not to say a single word that can by possibility throw the slightest difficulty in the way of any pending negotiations. I will, therefore, only say, in general, that I feel the utmost anxiety for the integrity of the Turkish provinces, for the independence of the Turkish power, that I think it most desirable to other powers, and to the due balance between them, that the Turkish empire may be secure and un disturbed in its possessions. I trust that neither the present Government, nor any Government in this country, will ever lose sight of this important object. With respect to the complaints of the British merchants, I have no positive or certain information; but I do say, that looking to the number and respectability of the petitioners, the noble Lord is bound not to lose a moment in ascertaining whether their claims are well founded, and if so, in obtaining for them every satisfaction to which they may be fairly entitled. The Treaty of Adrianople is silent respecting the navigation of the Danube for other nations. It speaks only of its navigation by Russians, Turks, and the inhabitants of the principalities; but if it confers no privileges, it at least takes away none, and the question of the free navigation of the Danube, under the Treaty of Vienna, may become a matter of negotiation, as the free navigation of the Rhine was formerly with the King of the Netherlands.
With respect to Cracow, I need scarcely say more than a very few words, since the noble Lord has consented to the object of the motion in sending a diplomatic agent to Cracow. If, however, the noble Lord had not taken that course, I should still have had very strong objections to the motion in point of form. I doubt whether there is a single instance of Parliament addressing the Crown as to the place where the Crown should send its diplomatic servants, and I certainly will not lend myself, as far as my vote is concerned, to what I fear is too much the tendency of the present period—an attempt to exercise by this House the power of the executive Government. I feel most anxious that the 1301 independence of Cracow should be preserved, it is a remnant of the independence of Poland, it is most distinctly acknowledged and secured by the Treaty of Vienna. I think that, as parties to that Treaty, we were entitled to receive a communication as to the occupation of Cracow. I was disappointed at hearing the noble Lord state the other evening, that none such had come to his hands; and I certainly cannot agree with him in the opinion which he then expressed, that such an omission was, in fact, "a compliment" from the Three Powers. I certainly consider it anything but a compliment, either to this country, or to the noble Lord.
But, Sir, in saying this, I, at the same time, feel it no less my duty to protest and warn the noble Lord against a party who, as far as we may judge from their speeches on this and on other occasions, evidently design to embroil this country in a war with Russia. I know they do not use the name of war—there is no circum locution to which they do not have recourse to avoid that name—"vigorous measures"—"active interposition"—"manly attitude"—anything rather than avow what is the object, or, at least, the tendency of all their proceedings—a war with Russia. Now, Sir, I am not afraid of war—I have the fullest confidence in the resources of this country—I have the fullest confidence in the spirit of this people—and relying upon both, I am convinced that we shall come out triumphant from any conflict in which we may be engaged. But I have no less, like the gallant Admiral (Codrington) who seconded this motion, the deepest sense of the privations and calamities which war draws down in its train, not only on the vanquished, but too frequently even on the victors; and I will never consent to see my country involved in these calamities, without requiring the fullest proof of its indispensable necessity—of its being absolutely required for the interests or the honour of England. I warn the noble Lord, that he will incur a fearful responsibility if, listening to exaggerated clamours, or to personal resentments, he should involve the country in war rashly, lightly, without full cause, and without having first exhausted all the means of peaceful negotiation. I also warn the noble Lord, that many of those so forward in hallooing him on to hostilities, have not always shewn themselves as ready to vote supplies as to utter complaints; and when they had once fairly entangled him in a 1302 quarrel, might, perhaps, leave him to prosecute it, or extricate himself as best he might, without any further assistance of theirs.
On these grounds, then, I object to the motion, and I advise the hon. Member for Lancaster to withdraw it. I am bound to look, not merely to the moderate terms of his Resolution, but to the vehement language of his speech. I object to the present motion—not because I am insensible to the importance of the subject—not because I am favourable to the aggressions of Russia—not because I approve of the past policy of the noble Lord—but I object to it, because I will not consent to divest his Majesty's Government of the responsibility that properly belongs to them—be cause I will not pledge myself or this House further than we know or intend—and be cause I will not authorize the noble Lord to think that by doing too much afterwards, he can repair his great error of having done too little at first.
§ Mr. Warburton
deprecated the speech of the hon. Member who had brought the subject forward, and the principle of such a motion as he had made—a kind of motion, which was renewed from time to time, without any other practical effect than interrupting the course of the national prosperity. He confessed, that his hopes of any long-lived independence for Poland, looking to the abject state of dependence in which she had been kept by Russia before, and since the Treaty of Vienna, were very slight indeed. If, instead of recognising, we had protested against the partition of Poland, he might, indeed, have entertained some expectations of establishing that kingdom; but when he considered, that the only parties to whom they could look for the restoration of her independence, were the two countries who had been her greatest aggressors, any high prospects he might otherwise have entertained, faded speedily away. Had Napoleon, with the confederated armies of Germany and Italy, been able to restore independence to Poland? No; was it then to be expected, that we, by our own unaided exertions, and the parchment Treaty of Vienna, could accomplish the object? As long as we could assist Poland in her efforts, by sending a representative to Cracow, well and good; but it was hope less to expect, that the end could be obtained by an appeal to war; it was only by encouraging and fostering the moral feelings to which a state of peace gave 1303 rise, that the small remnant of independence which remained to her could be secured. The hon. Gentleman had talked of the conduct of Russia towards Turkey. Now, if the hon. Gentleman wanted to increase the exports of this country to Turkey, he (Mr. Warburton) had a recipe for the purpose which would be effectual, without entailing any expenditure upon England, and yet increasing her comforts. His recipe was this. If you would increase the exports from this country to Turkey, favour the imports from Turkey to this country. With regard to Sweden, there could, he apprehended, be no doubt that the approximation of the frontiers of Russia to within one day's march of Stockholm, had endangered the independence of Sweden. The proceedings at the end of the war had tended to loosen the connection between Sweden and this country. The only mode of placing them on their old footing, was to increase our commercial and friendly intercourse with her, and thus re-establish the harmony and friendly feeling which formerly subsisted. That the commerce between the two countries had decreased to an enormous extent could not be doubted. Formerly three-fourths of the commerce of Norway was with this country, whereas, at the present moment, it was reduced to one-third. He was decidedly opposed to putting a violent end to the existence of peace, with all its blessings and advantages, by any rash and hasty proceedings; and for the reasons he had assigned, he should certainly divide with his Majesty's Government, in opposition to the motion of his hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Barlow Hoy
said, that many hon. Gentlemen were in the habit of indulging in general statements respecting the aggressions of Russia, but they ought to remember what the conduct of this country had been towards that power, even during the last twenty years. The partition of the Turkish empire had been talked of, but it was effected—not by Russia alone, but by England, Russia, and the Pacha of Egypt. Did the House recollect, that when the present King of the Belgians was offered the sovereignty of Greece, he refused it, because he could not obtain the island of Candia? Nothing was thought, then, of the sovereignty of Turkey. The Treaty with the present King of the Belgians was broken off be cause he could not have Candia in addition to the dominion of Greece at that time offered to him. This then was an instance 1304 of a most wanton aggression, to which England was a party. He must say, that the conduct of this country, where the in dependence of others was concerned, had not been such as to entitle her to interfere. What was the conduct of Great Britain, when she was about to take possession of Ceylon? The Government entered into a contract with the King of that island, by whose assistance the Dutch were driven out. We entered into a contract, that the integrity and sovereignty of the smaller power should be respected. The English Government, however, took advantage of the dissensions which followed, and the King was declared to have forfeited his throne. That declaration was pronounced by England. He was sent into a lingering imprisonment out of Ceylon. Thus had England acted the part of the strong against the weak. When the people there found, that they were not to be permitted to have a king of their own, they broke out into a war, quite as patriotic as that of Poland against Russia. What did Eng land do upon that occasion? England sent out an army—they burned the houses—they destroyed the crops—they shot the natives—treated them as rebels—they were hung, or executed by other means. The chief of that country, who was only suspected of communicating with rebels—how was he treated? There was no Siberia in question; but he was sent to the Isle of France, where he terminated his days. That was the conduct of this country, in which there was now so much talk of the conduct of Russia towards Poland. What had been our conduct in India. [Question, question!] His observations were to the question. He wanted to shew, that there were cases of aggression on the part of this country, as flagrant as ever were any on the part of Russia. [Question, question !] If there was no disposition on the part of the House to enter into this very important branch of the subject, he would not press it. It was to be remembered, that when a question was brought forward for imposing a duty upon Russian tallow, the interests of this country made it immediately be seen, that such an impost would be unwise and impolitic. He very much doubted, whether any benefit could arise from voting for the motion. One of the accusations made against Russia was, that she had established a quarantine at the mouths of the Danube. No doubt the quarantine laws are used by Russia for political purposes, He had no 1305 doubt, that the quarantine established by Russia, at the mouth of the Danube, was for a political purpose; and it was a just ground for remonstrance on the part of this country. Quarantine was now very seldom used for the purposes for which it was originally instituted. It had been one means of impeding the civilization of Turkey, and the sooner it was abolished the better for all parties. One word, as to the Treaty of Hoonkiar Skelessi, and by which Russia had obtained from Turkey great advantages. Suppose the people of England, however, were in the same position as the Russians were, when that Treaty was made: if the Minister did not obtain for England such advantages as Russia then gained, he would be impeached.
§ Mr. Roebuck
Sir, when we know the serious difficulties in which this country was involved by the last war, and the ad vantages which have resulted from the pro found peace which it has so happily of late years enjoyed, we ought to consider gravely before we again embroil ourselves in hostilities. Why should we connect ourselves with the political quarrels on the Continent of Europe? I am never, for my part, con tented with carrying out a principle half way. I lay down this proposition, that we ought never to mingle in European quarrels, or European politics. Ours is a single and insulated position, we have peculiar and insulated interests; and we ought never for any idle notion of maintaining "the balance of power," to embroil ourselves in disputes that do not belong to us. Our insulated condition, and insulated interests, point out to us that we ought never until we are attacked, to attack any other Power, and that never, unless for the purpose of avenging a wrong inflicted upon us, ought we to go to war. That is the broad pro position which I lay down. People may quarrel with that proposition, but it is incumbent upon them to show that it is erroneous, we must always assume the advantage to be on the side of peace; and the onus lies on those who wish us to depart from it to prove that we are bound by our condition to go to war. Sir, in support of the proposition which I have just laid down, I will cite the conduct of a nation much like ourselves; like us addicted to commerce, whose prosperity like ours is drawn from commerce, and who, in every political connexion, is based upon commercial advantages. I mean the United States of America, like ourselves separated from European quarrels and European politics. Now, I ask, in what 1306 do they differ from ourselves? "Why, they differ," says some one "in the distance which they he from the Continent of Europe." I have a very short answer to that. The distance of America from Europe did not preserve her from England; while England, only twenty miles distant from France, has defended herself against any foreign aggression. In what, then, is the reason of this difference to be found? In this; that England is mistress of the seas, and that America is not. It is not approximation, or distance, therefore, that makes the peculiarity of our situation. Now what part of our interests demands that we should go to war? There is no danger of aggression, therefore, it is not self defence. But, it is said, there is danger of aggression on our external relations, and we ought to have recourse to war to prevent that occurrence. I am willing to allow, that if it can be shown that a distinct attack has been made upon our commerce, no matter whether that particular branch of our commerce which is attacked be of great importance or not; if we are hindered in that course of honest, industrious, commerce, which we as a nation ought to pursue, and if all attempts to obtain redress by peaceful remonstrances have failed; then I admit, and not till then, should we go to war. But then first of all you must prove the aggression. Now what does the hon. Member for Liverpool do? What has he alleged in his speech? He has divided his speech into two parts, one part relating to Poland, and another to Turkey. Has the first anything to do with British commerce, or British interests? No certainly not. But it is said, we are hound by treaties to assert the rights of Poland, and the very person who makes that assertion (the hon. Member for Lancaster) says, that now-a-days sureties are of no use. Sir, I know they are not, and for that reason, would not have this country enter into any treaties. We know full well that Russia, Austria, Prussia, and France, will break a treaty the moment it suits their purpose. And why are we then to maintain it? Are we to assemble an army, and to land it on the shores of the Baltic, or march it into Poland to assert the rights of Poland. My opinion, is, that humanity, like charity, begins at home. There was a great talk about maintaining the "balance of power," many years ago. And what has been the consequence? Why we have got 800,000,000l. of National Debt—and I have no desire that this country should go through another such terrible ordeal. Are we to be utterly forgetful of all our own interests? 1307 Are our manufactures nothing? Is our agriculture nothing? Are our labourers nothing? A war would be a stoppage to all our great political, social, and national improvements of every description, and would add immensely to our already over grown National Debt. And is there any advantage to be derived commensurate with all these; for remember I am now speaking not of a war to protect our commerce, but of a war of humanity only? War with England, means a war with the whole world; it would be impossible for two such Powers as Russia and England to go to war without extending the contest over the whole civilized world; and for what? Because the Polish people have made an unsuccessful revolt. If they had succeeded, well and good. They have failed, and they must take the consequences. That is the understanding with which any people commences a revolt; viz., that they greatly gain if they succeed; they suffer if they fail; and that is the implied compact under which the Polish people, like any other country raised the standard of rebellion. Now a great deal is said about the original partition of Poland. What was that partition? It was the displacing a mischievous, aristocratic, tiresome, ever-agitated, oligarchical Government, and converting it into a despotism. That I consider a beneficial change. I believe the people of Poland were not then worse off than they were before the partition. I am not defending Russia; I am not attempting to deny that the course she took was that which a wise, an honest, or a benevolent nation would have pursued. But I say we should look closely at circum stances, before we are led for humanity's sake, to go to war. I am at a loss to under stand what it is the hon. Gentleman pro poses to gain by his motion, now that the noble Viscount (the Secretary for Foreign Affairs) has declared the intention of Government to send a diplomatic agent to Cracow. He does not say distinctly, we should go to war; and yet what is the good of sending a diplomatic agent to Cracow, unless perhaps the hon. Member anticipates he will only be insulted, and that thus we shall be driven to war. I am sorry to hear the intention of his Majesty's Government on this point. Had we any commercial interests to protect, then he should have been sent before. It is idle to think that Russia would be awed by the imposing demonstration afforded by one solitary man; it will only irritate her without doing any good. You send a diplomatic agent to 1308 Cracow; what will he do? He sends remonstrances—and the Russian Government very justly, (and as I am sure we should do in similar circumstances), ask him what business he has to interfere with them? Suppose that the Russian Government were to send an envoy over into our Eastern possessions (many of which are in much the same situation with regard to us as Poland is with regard to Russia), and we were to endeavour to persuade the people of those dependencies, that they wore very ill treated, and write remonstrances to our Government on the subject. Why what should we do? Send him about his business to be sure!—and very properly. And I say that Cracow is similarly situated with regard to Russia, and that it would be absurd to irritate Russia by such an attempt at a demonstration as that which is recommended by the present motion—why I should not wonder if the Russian Government were to order our envoy to march off to Siberia! You ought first to make out proof that there has been an aggression upon England which will justify war before you result to any such measure. Now, then, comes the other portion of aggressions alleged in the speech of the hon. Member—the aggressions in the Black Sea; and the first proof of these aggressions on our commerce is drawn from a statement of the yearly increase of our trade with Turkey. I am at a loss to understand how that is made out. If the hon. Member wishes to know why that commerce is not greater, I say, from various reasons, my hon. Friend the Member for Bridport has pointed out some. At all events it is quite certain that there has been no aggression on the part of Russia upon our commerce, justifying a menacing resolution of the House against that power. "Oh, but (says the hon. Gentleman), I shall go across the Black Sea to the mouth of the Danube, and there show you that tolls are exacted, to the great injury of our commerce." The assertion of the hon. Gentleman is the only evidence we have of the fact which he states; but even admitting it to be true, how are we to deter mine the intention with which that of which he complains has been imposed? Surely that is not to be done by a mere re solution of the House of Commons, and, therefore, I think that the King's Ministers should be left to prosecute their inquiries, and ascertain whether it is necessary to take any steps or not, without coming down three several times to thrust into this House a violent declamation against Russia; and upon what? Why, upon the mere as- 1309 sertions of two hon. Members relative to matters which, up to the present time, have not been mentioned to any one Minister of the Crown. I do not think those whom the hon. Member for Lancaster represents, have taken a proper course upon this occasion. He comes down on their part to a popular assembly, like this House, and com plains for the first time, of grievances upon which the King's Government, the recognized medium of communication between one kingdom and another, have not been applied to. I do not think that is a course which the House will sanction. I think it is casting a slur upon a popular assembly; I have a great respect for popular assemblies and I don't like that way of using them. I think they ought to be kept for their proper uses. When the Ministers of the Crown are not doing their duty, when they will not redress the grievances of those who have applied to them for redress, then, and not before is it time to appeal to this House. The hon. Member for Lancaster is endeavouring to thrust upon this House a premature declaration against a system which prevails in Europe, as the consequence of which he contemplates, or ought to con template the chance of a war. I think such a declaration ought not to be made, but upon careful inquiry by the proper authorities, and that we ought not carelessly to threaten the destruction of the peace, not of Europe only, but of the civilized world.
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, that the hon. Member who had brought forward this motion must be not a little surprised to witness the concurrence of persons of different political sentiments in opposition to his motion. The noble Lord, the Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Southampton, and the hon. Member for Bath, differing in their sentiments on other topics, agreed in opposing this motion; and he must state, for his own part, that he gave his unqualified concurrence to that opposition; though he did not subscribe to all the arguments which had been brought forward, he agreed in the conclusion at which they arrived; and if the hon. Member pressed his motion to a division, he should record his unqualified dissent from it. He concurred with the hon. Member for Bath in the propriety of acting with care and caution in such matters, and in the inconvenience of discussing this question in a popular assembly; but he did not concur with him in other parts of his speech, in particular when he maintained that this country ought to withdraw from 1310 all connexion and interference with continental affairs. If a country were deter mined to do justice and observe forbearance, and if it were sure that every other country would show the same spirit, then, being determined to offer no provocation, and do no injustice, it might justly refuse to involve itself in treaties, and be an indifferent spectator of the fate of other nations. But if, after sustaining a grievous injury, there was no course but to resort to arms—if there was no other resource open for obtaining redress but to make that last and calamitous appeal, he could not think that it was inconsistent with the duty or the policy of a country to prepare itself for such an event. The hon. Gentleman, who thought there was no use in making treaties, who had no confidence in the good faith of Austria, Russia, Prussia, or France, ought surely, if he regarded those states with distrust, to be prepared for the calamity which, without any fault of our own, might involve us in a contest with them. The hon. Gentleman said, that a war with England was tantamount to a war with the whole world. If that were the case, if such important interests were involved—if the spark thus lighted up might involve all the civilized world in conflagration—surely it was not proper in us to have no allies, and to make no preparations for such a contingency. The hon. Gentleman had quoted the example of America. Now, the policy of that country formed no necessary rule for us, under the peculiar circumstances in which it was placed, and its position with reference to other powers—on account of the absence of those national associations which involved us in the politics of the world, and still more on account of the distance which did, in point of fact, remove it from the theatre of European politics, and sever it from those bonds from which we could not emancipate ourselves. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the advice of Washington to his countrymen. In the then state of American politics, there being no power in actual collision with the United States at that period, he could readily believe that it might be good policy to follow that advice, though it might not constitute a good rule for that country at other periods, and still less a good rule for a country so differently situated as England. But, whatever the abstract opinion of Washington might be, when hostile measures came into operation, and America was involved in a war with Eng land, it did not disregard foreign alliances. When the time of danger came, it found 1311 the expediency of uniting itself with France. If it was necessary that we should he prepared for war when it came, and that we should be fortified by alliances with other states, surely we ought not to neglect to provide against it by timely measures of precaution. While, then, he agreed with the hon. Member on some points, he must express his total dissent from him on this. The hon. Member for Bridport had ex pressed great alarm at the hostile manifesto contained in the speech of the hon. Gentle man. Now, a more peaceable and harmless motion, following so warlike a speech, he had never heard. The object of it was to advise the Crown to send a diplomatic agent to the state of Cracow. He should decidedly object to the House of Commons giving advice with respect to the mission of a diplomatic agent. Should the motion be carried, this would be the first instance of such an interference on the part of the House with the exercise of diplomatic functions. He apprehended that it was no necessary indication of hostility to refuse to receive a diplomatic agent; it might be a mark of general unfriendliness, but formed no ground for a declaration of war. The House had no means of ascertaining whether the mission would be acceptable to the state concerned, or whether the agent would be received. They could not, certainly, advise the mission, without knowing whether it would be acceptable, or whether there might not be a possibility of its being regarded as little less than an insult. He apprehended, that on reconsidering this point, the hon. Gentleman would see the propriety of withdrawing this part of his motion. Taking the resolution itself, and not viewing it in conjunction with the speech, a less formidable motion had never been made. The other object proposed by the resolution was, "That his Majesty will also be graciously pleased to take such steps as to his Majesty may seem best adapted to protect and extend the commercial interests of Great Britain in Turkey and the Euxine." Was it not the duty of Government, not only in the Euxine Sea, but with respect to the universal commercial interests of the country, to protect and extend trade? He would not select any one part of the globe, and give advice to his Majesty to extend and protect our commerce there; but he would say it was the universal duty of the Crown to extend and protect the traffic of the country. If the House believed the Government to be neglectful of this duty, and could not confide in them, a motion 1312 should be passed, expressly calling for the removal of Ministers, and the Crown should be advised to confide the trust to other hands. But he could not consent to make a motion to instruct Government relative to a special instance of its executive duty, and yet say that an Administration so re miss was fit to be intrusted with the execution of that instruction. The hon. Gentleman had spoken of the aggressions of Russia, and his speech had certainly been of a hostile character. He did not rise to defend Russia, or to underrate the importance of these aggressions, if aggressions had been commited; but if the House was to interpose its authority in aid of the executive Government, they ought, in the first instance to have decisive official proof of the necessity of their doing so. He certainly would not act upon the speech of any hon. Member, however ex tended his information, or however important the interests he represented. If there had been any undue encroachments on the part of Russia, he said, let us have redress; but if he was not to continue to leave the matter in the hands of the King's Government, and if he was to call for the aid of the House, of course, before he took the first step that approximated him to hostile movement, he must have demonstration, clear as day, that such a proceeding was required. He must have direct evidence he must have the treaty—he must compare the alleged infraction of it with its provisions—he must determine the character of that aggression, and then he would not content himself with calling on the King to take such steps as might seem to him best adapted to extend and promote the general interests of our commerce, but he would tell the Throne, and he would tell the House, that an injustice had been done to England, and that reparation had been re fused; and he knew that the House would assure the King of their determination to support him in his demand for justice. Such was the course which a House of Commons, representing the people of Eng land, ought to pursue, when it was satisfied that its interposition was called for; but let him tell the House, that if they con tented themselves with seeming to interfere, and with calling in the aid of menace on slight occasions, when the day of real danger came, then the views of the House would not have that weight and that authority throughout Europe which they ought to possess. If they did interfere, they ought to indicate to the King's Go- 1313 vernment what course they ought to pursue, but he really could not see that any end would be attained by passing a resolution which merely implied that Government neglected their duty, but intimated that they should be left free to judge of the steps they ought to pursue on the particular question referred to. He confessed, that he did not in anywise understand the re solution. If it implied want of confidence, why did not they mark their distrust by indicating the steps Government ought to take? But the resolution stated, that the King should be the judge of the measures best adapted to extend our commercial influence, and consequently that the servants of the Crown should continue to judge of them. The resolution imposed no obligation; it was left entirely to the decision of Ministers to determine on the measures to be adopted. This was, in point of fact, dividing the responsibility. Supposing that Government were to say to the House, "We regarded your address as a stimulus to our activity; we thought you were dissatisfied with our policy, and that you considered us too pacific. We have refused to compromise our differences with foreign states amicably, and will you support us in case of a war?" If that support were withheld, what would they have gained by the resolution? Would it be sufficient, then, for the House to reply, "We said not a word about war. It is true we talked of the aggressions of Russia on Friday, but we said nothing of war on Monday. We only said, that the commercial interests of the country should be protected. You have entirely misconstrued us, and we will not support you." If the House were resolved to interpose, let them not only interpose directly, and state their specific object, but let them state to what extent they would relieve Government of the responsibility, and what was the share of responsibility they were willing to assume. There was no intermediate step between leaving the matter in the hands of the executive Government and coming forward immediately with a vote expressive of want of confidence in them. But to a general resolution, indicative of a desire to have war on a small scale, or to try the effect of menace, in the hope that we should escape with menace, he never could consent to be a party. It was not only that he thought the honour and dignity of the country were involved in this question. Besides that, he believed that the interests not only of this country but of humanity were at stake, and so long 1314 as peace could be maintained, he thought the British nation ought to set the civilized world the example of maintaining it. At the same time, he should be the first to say, if a foreign power either insulted or injured us in any essential interest, and refused reparation, or mocked us by mere worthless concessions, that it would be then for the interests of England and of humanity that England should assume her proper attitude and station, and having used every effort to procure redress, should then have recourse to that alternative, which, after all, was one of the greatest calamities that could befall a people. So much for general subjects; but he wished to add one word with respect to that part of the speech of the hon. Gentleman referring to the treaty of Adrianople, and casting blame on the Government of his noble friend, the Duke of Wellington, for not taking more energetic steps to check the power and influence of Russia, which had arisen, as the hon. Gentleman thought, from that Treaty. On a question of this kind, and after constant occupation with the other business of the night, it would be difficult for him to at tempt to speak with perfect precision on bygone matters, which took place four or five years ago. But if he made any mistake, both the hon. Gentleman and gallant Admiral on the same side possessed memories sufficiently accurate to correct him. He must protest against judging of the Treaty by the impressions and feelings entertained at this time. It was the fashion now to have great hostility towards, and apprehension of, Russia, and he would therefore look to the state of the public mind as existing in the year 1828. Then the universal feeling of this country was not directed against Russia, but was in complete concurrence with Russia in establishing the independence of Greece. His noble Friend assumed the Government in the month of January, 1828, and with respect to Russia, and indeed other Governments also, for he did not mean to say that their position with Russia was peculiar; the Ministers of that period were not perfectly free agents. By the Treaty of July, 1827, this country, France and Russia, had contracted a common obligation, to put an end to the disorders prevailing in the Levant, and provide for the qualified independence of Greece. It was stipulated that, sup posing one of the parties should be involved in hostility with Turkey, the Treaty should not be brought to a close in consequence of such a rupture. In 1828 a war 1315 took place between Russia and Turkey, a war which he must say, without pretending to place implicit confidence in all the assurances given them of Russian disinterestedness, arose immediately out of a provocation on the part of Turkey, offered, he believed, with the view of bringing on the destruction of the alliance of the Three Powers. A hostile manifesto issued by Turkey against a state so powerful, and bound by Treaty with France and Eng land to effect the independence of a considerable part of her territories, could only be accounted for on the presumption that war would never take place—that France and England would refuse to be party to hostilities, and would withdraw from the alliance. These powers had in deed deprecated the hostilities of Russia against Turkey; they knew Russia would have very great difficulty in acting as a mediator in one part of the world, and as a belligerent power in another, but still, foreseeing that the consequences of their withdrawal from the alliance must be fatal to the independence of Greece, they had determined to adhere to the Treaty, and fulfil its objects to the last. The gallant Admiral opposite thought that the Russian war might have been prevented, and was under the impression that Russia made proposals that England and France should enter with her as direct parties into the war against Turkey—a very convenient proposal for Russia to make when on the eve of separate hostilities, and that Britain and France had replied that they had no interest in the quarrel, that the Treaty never contemplated hostilities, and that they had no ground of complaint against Turkey. The proposition which had been made by Russia was, that the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia might be occupied by Russian troops. The answer returned was, that if the Russian army took possession of those territories, it would be impossible to reconstruct a fabric so constituted as the Turkish empire, when undermined by the advance of Russian troops, acting in con cert with France and England. Supposing they had acceded to the proposal, and that the Russian troops had advanced, with the consent of Britain and France, what security would there have been that fresh causes of hostility between Turkey and Russia would not soon have arisen? He apprehended Russia would not have parted with the power of declaring war against Turkey on separate grounds, and all that they would have gained would be to be parties 1316 to the operations which had annihilated the latter state, and left her a complete prey to the Czar. He asked hon. Members if they thought it would be wise in us to guarantee the security and integrity of Turkey, whether the other powers were willing or not. He would not discuss the question whether such a guarantee would be effectual. The hon. and gallant Member said, that at that period the Turkish army amounted to 53,000 men; that the Russians were in an almost hopeless state, from sickness and despondency, and that it would have been easy for England to arrest their progress. But if the Russians were in such a miserable condition, what must have been the inherent strength of Turkey when it was unable to free itself from their presence? Ought the Government, then, without some vitally important reason, to have undertaken the defence of Turkey, at an enormous expense, and at so great a distance, unless they had been assured of the co-operation of the other powers? He had no hesitation in saying, that France was not prepared to have supported us. We could not have persevered without forfeiting the concurrence of France, and losing all chance of the co-operation of Austria. Under these circumstances, he must repeat, that little short of madness could have induced us to guarantee the security of Turkey. He did hope, at the same time, that the other powers of Europe would feel a common interest with us. He did not undervalue the independence of Turkey, and he trusted that France and Austria would see the necessity of co; operating with us for that end. Turkey had not been included in the Treaties of 1814 or 1815, but he felt certain that the whole of Europe would rise up against the transference of the whole power of that empire to a single state. With respect to our commercial relations, though he did not undervalue any aggressions made on our commerce, and he should be unworthy of the close connexion he had with the commercial interests of the country, if he did, yet he must assert, that on this point the hon. Member's speech was not conclusive. The hon. Gentleman had said, that since the Treaty of Adrianople there had been a progressive decrease in our exports to one of the countries in question, but on account of what? Not on account of a diminution in the demand for it from Turkey, but from the uneasiness and in security of our relations with Russia. He said, then, that he would not consent to 1317 any vague motion, which would still further aggravate that insecurity. He would not add to that trepidation, not with standing the expressed wishes of Mr. Garnatt and some other merchants, hut he would tell the hon. Member, that if a just cause should arise for war, he would be the last to oppose the assertion of it. At the same time, he would not be a party to a vague notion like this, which would only add to irritation without increasing security.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
said, he had not had any intention to take part in this debate; but the extraordinary sentiments and doctrines propounded by the hon. and learned Member for Bath, compelled him to notice them. It was the first occasion in his life, on which he had heard a defence, apology, or excuse for the most flagitious public act that had stained the annals of modern times—the partition of Poland. He had supposed that that nefarious proceeding had met with the just and universal reprobation of the whole civilized world; and it was with pain that he had heard a Member of the House of Commons of England become the defender of that measure, in a place where it certainly never found a defender before. The hon. and learned Gentleman had asked what the Poles had lost by the partition of their country? They lost everything that could be made dear to a nation, and without which there was no thing that deserves to be valued—its independence. The territory of a great and powerful people was parcelled out among States, whose very existence had been owing to the glorious efforts of that people—by which the religion and the liberties of Europe had been so often preserved. He should have been glad, that the feelings of the House, which had been so often manifested in favour of Poland had been spared the pain of hearing the observations of the hon. and learned Member for Bath. He had so often addressed the House on the merits of that cause.—His sentiments on that subject were so well known that he would only now say, that they continued unchanged, and that the events which had since happened had only strengthened the opinion which he had formerly expressed. The hon. and learned Member for Bath, who seemed to found his reputation on the singularity of his opinions, had advanced another doctrine, which he had considered was exploded, and which never had been adopted by any considerable portion of the British public, and certainly never obtained favour with, any British statesman. The 1318 hon. Member said, that Great Britain should withdraw herself entirely from the affairs of Europe—that she should abstain from all interference, unless in the case of a direct attack on herself or on her own separate interests—that she should enter into no treaties and bind herself by no engagements towards other States. No such policy had rendered Great Britain great and powerful. It was not the policy which guided the councils of William, Prince of Orange. He was the life and soul of that great confederacy by which the independence of this country and of Europe was preserved against the designs of Louis 14th; and he was, at the same time, the means of securing this nation from arbitrary power—of saving her rights, civil and religious, from the total destruction with which, they were threatened by the infatuated and misguided prince, who then sat upon the throne of this country. The hon. and learned Member for Bath said, and the hon. Member for Bridport seemed to agree with him, that we ought to enter into no treaties with foreign powers. But would the hon. and learned Member, or those who thought with him, say what we were to do in cases which might arise out of the treaties by which we were already engaged? He trusted it would not be said, that England was not to hold herself bound by those engagements. The faith of England, when pledged by treaty, must he held sacred. There might be times and circumstances, no doubt, when a nation might not he in a condition to avenge a breach of treaty. Some persons, for example, contended that France and Eng land laboured under difficulties arising out of the critical state of their domestic policy, in both countries, at the time when the terms of the treaty of Vienna, to which they were parties, were flagrantly broken, by the destruction of the Constitution and nationality of Poland. That that breach of treaty amounted to a just cause of war, on the part of England and of France could not be fairly doubted. Had they been in a condition to exercise that right, and had they considered that their armed intervention would have obtained its object, and would have saved Poland, they would have been fully justified in intervening. That intervention did not take place; but let it be remembered that neither England nor France had given its sanction to that act by which the Constitution and nationality of Poland were destroyed. Nay, they had solemnly protested against it; and the 1319 Present political state and condition of Poland, brought about by a breach of treaty, was not considered, either by England or France, as part of the public law of Europe. In respect to the motion before the House, he was satisfied that his hon. Friend would not think it necessary to press it to a division. His noble Friend, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, had intimated that a consular agent was to be sent to Cracow, a step which he could assure the hon. Member for Bath was not taken from any fear of the result of the motion of the hon. Member for Lancaster. It had long been considered desirable, with a view to our political as as well as commercial relations and interests, that a British consul should be sent to Cracow; and in the month of June last, he had endeavoured to impress this on the Consular Committee, of which he was a Member, and who were unanimously of the same opinion. He believed the opinion of his noble Friend had been formed on the subject before that time, and he could safely say, that from that time all the Members of the Committee considered it, as he did, as a measure determined upon. His hon. Friend, the Member for Lancaster, had obtained the full effect of the first part of the motion; and in respect to the second, he had shewn no instance in which the Government had been wanting in its care and protection of our commercial interests in the East. The latter part of the motion was, therefore, wholly uncalled 1320 for, had no facts to rest upon, and it might be considered to convey a censure on the Government which it had not merited, and to which he could not accede. He trusted that his hon. Friend would with draw his motion.
§ Mr. Roebuck
denied, that he had justified the partition of Poland. He considered that act to be unjust, but that its consequences had proved beneficial.
§ Mr. Patrick M. Stewart
said, his object in referring to the progressive rise of our trade with Turkey had been to convince the House of the great value of that branch of British commerce, and of the importance of preserving it. With regard to the result of this debate, when the right hon. Baronet enumerated the concurrent opinions against his motion, he ought to have omitted the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who had acceded to his first proposition, relative to a diplomatic mission to Cracow, and had also held out a hope of an extension of our consular appointments on the borders of the Euxine towards Persia. The debate had been very satisfactory to him, and he congratulated himself on having called up the right hon. Baronet, who had, for the first time, identified himself with the subject. With the permission of the House, having succeeded in the first part of his motion, and the second part having been in substance conceded, he would, with the permission of the House, withdraw the Resolution.—Resolution withdrawn.