§ Lord Dudley Stuart
rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of the House to the effect on British interests of the policy pursued by Russia. He felt that he laboured under many disadvantages, arising not only from his own inadequacy to discharge the task, but also from the great difficulty of inducing hon. Members to turn their attention to our foreign policy as respected Russia. No question could be of greater importance than that now before the House. It affected all our most essential interests—it affected our national honour—it affected our naval supremacy—it affected our commercial interests—it affected our station, our influence in Europe, and the security of our possessions in India. There was one misapprehension against which he was anxious to guard. Some Gentlemen well knowing the warm interest, the enthusiasm, if any were pleased to call it so, which he took in the Polish nation, might imagine that, in making this motion on the subject of Russia, as Russia was the enemy of Poland, his object was merely to call attention to the Polish nation. He begged, therefore, to state distinctly in the outset that that was not his chief object. His object was greater and more extensive; and if he felt it necessary to make this explana- 615 tion, it was not because he imagined there was any indifference in the House to the wrongs of Poland, but because some persons, considering that nothing was now to be done for that unhappy nation, might imagine that by lending their attention to any observations which he (Lord S.) might offer, they would be wasting their time, and, attending to a subject in which nothing; practical was to be done. He, therefore, earnestly entreated the House to forget the person who was addressing them, and to attend only to the facts—to view him on this occasion not as an advocate, but one who would call attention to British interests. This question was not Polish, or if it was in any degree, it was something more—it was Russian, Turkish, Indian, English, European—We were accustomed to pay little, or but transient attention to that which we were in the habit of hearing frequently. Russia was often mentioned as being great, but let the House consider for a moment what Russia was. The Emperor of Russia ruled over an extent of territory in Europe greater than all the rest of Europe put together, and this was joined by a tract of country, by dominions in Asia, three times as great as the possessions of Russia in Europe. From the capital of Russia to the confines of the Russian territory, bordering on Persia, and from those confines to our Indian possessions the distance was the same. On the north Russia came within thirty miles of the west coast of Norway—a coast abounding with secure natural harbours, which were never frozen, and from the farthest of which to our own coast of Scotland, the distance was not greater than from Lisbon to London. The ground within seventy miles of Stockholm was Russian; Warsaw was hers—she approached within 100 miles of Dresden. She had crossed the Danube, and possessed Kalisch, which was nearer to Paris than to Moscow.—They would be able to judge of the true and formidable character of the power of Russia by a reference to its progressive advancement. Catherine in her time reigned over 22,000,000 of subjects; Alexander reigned over 36,000,000; and Nicholas at the present time ruled over 55,000,000 of people, not taking into the account his subjects in Asia, The Russian army at present amounted to 700,000 soldiers. Of the Russian navy he (Lord Dudley Stuart) did not exactly 616 know the amount, but it consisted at least of sixty line-of-battle ships. What was the character of the population over which Russia ruled? It was a population completely devoted to the Sovereign who swayed the sceptre, whom they viewed and reverenced as the chief of their race and the head of their Church, and to whom they were bound by the triple tie of race, language, and fate. No property was held in Russia that was not subject to the disposition of the Autocrat. So supreme was his power that one stroke of his pen banished to distant countries any of his subjects, no matter what the rank, birth, or property of that subject might be. There was no career open to any man but one connected with the State. No matter what his riches, if he were not in the service of the State he was as nothing. The very clergy were known to wear military orders. That organization disposed them to look for acquisitions and aggrandizement. But one enthusiasm pervaded the entire population—that of advancing the pre-eminence of their country and its superior power over the Test of the world. The very climate encouraged that feeling. The population looked forward to attaining the luxuries and enjoyments denied them in their own country, but which they knew were to be procured elsewhere. The Government of Russia encouraged that feeling. All their policy and arrangements were directed with that view. The moment a soldier left the country on foreign service he received four times his ordinary pay. All these circumstances united made the desire of aggression and territorial acquisition natural and necessary to the Russian empire. A reference to history would show that aggrandizement was the entire object, and had been the successful aim of a country, which, not long since, was scarcely recognized as an important Power in Europe. Russia, to which the policy of other countries appeared now all submission, was, half a century ago scarce accounted among the States of Europe. How, then, had she come to a station in which she appeared to hold in intimidation the rest of Europe? He would refer to the important acquisitions which Russia had progressively made. In 1671 she acquired the territory on which St. Petersburgh stood—namely, Ingria, with Esthonia and Livonia. In 1674, she acquired Little Tartary, and obtained the entire government of 617 the Crimea. She made further acquisitions in 1725, and in 1792 took possession of Odessa. Let the House remark the great, though gradual, spirit of aggression and aggrandizement that marked her history from 1671 to 1792. Nor did she stop there. In 1793, she effected the second partition of Poland, and in 1795, she got possession of the remainder of Lithuania. The Emperor Paul took possession of Georgia, after having guaranteed the Throne to the reigning family. In 1809, Russia obtained Finland and part of Lapland. In 1812, she obtained Bessarabia, and in 1814, extorted from Persia all the provinces south of the Caucasus; year after year, thus Russia advanced. In 1815, her territories were extended in the North Sea, and in 1828, she pushed them beyond the Araxes. By the treaty of Adrianople in 1829, she obtained possession of the coast of the Black Sea, to the extent of 200 miles, although at the time of that treaty she declared she had no desire of extending her territorial acquisitions. In 1832, she destroyed the Constitution of the kingdom of Poland, and having, in the face of treaties, destroyed its nationality, reduced Poland to the condition of a Russian province. Her acquisitions did not end there; they came down to the present day. In 1834, she got an accession of territory in Asia, and obtained the command of the passage of the Dardanelles. These acquisitions were greater than those of any country in Europe except Russia herself. She acquired an uninterrupted territory to the Baltic—aye, beyond the Baltic, from the North Sea to the Euxine. Let them look to the different position Russia held now to what she held in 1815, when what was called the settlement of Europe was effected. In 1815, France ceded Italy, Belgium, and the boundary of the Rhine. England gave up Java, Pondicherry, and a large portion of the West Indies. What did Russia give up? Nothing—actually nothing. On the contrary she gained the acquisition of Poland. In addition to this, look at her present position. Was not Poland a complete province, and was not the ground completely laid for establishing the ascendancy of Russia in Germany? Moldavia and Wallachia were Russian in all but the name Silistria was in the hands of Russia, and she was thus in possession of one of the strongest fortresses of Europe. The right bank of the Danube was abandoned 618 by the Turks. Greece, dismembered from the Turkish empire, was subject to the influence of Russia, Egypt was but an agent of Russia, and the strength of Persia was so impaired that it was only preserved by the timely interposition of this country. If therefore they looked at the state of Russia now and in 1815, would any man say that the balance of power continued? No—it was destroyed. Let them not believe that Russia would rest satisfied with the encroachments she had made. Her whole designs were to increase her acquisitions, and to that end she would direct the power she already had in her hands. They saw (hat from her very climate, and the circumstances and character of her people, she was naturally disposed to seek aggrandizement. History told them, that the aggrandizement of her dominion she had at all times sought and would continue to seek. If to decide on the intentions of individuals, we only saw that the acquisition of certain things are of importance to them, we did not require particular proof to come to the conviction that they would look for, and if in their power, lay hold of them, unless, indeed, we knew them to be influenced by scrupulous considerations. But if we knew that the person was an. unscrupulous person, then our conviction was complete, and all we had to inquire further was, whether there was any possibility of his accomplishing those designs about which we had no longer any doubt. Now, there were two narrow channels which commanded the whole of this most important and most powerful empire. Every creek, every river, every port on the coast had an arsenal in the dominion of Russia. These two channels were—on the north, the Sound; on the south, the Dardanelles, both of which had always been coveted by Russia. This her whole history demonstrated. If we wanted any further proof to convince us that Russia did desire, and would obtain, whenever she had the opportunity, those two passes, particularly the one of the Sound, we had only to turn to history, and observe what had been hitherto her conduct with regard to that great key of Constantinople—the Dardanelles. Peter the Great coveted it; Catherine laid claim to, and almost obtained it; while Alexander desired to obtain it from Napoleon, saying that it was the key of his house. He was ready to cede a large sovereignty in Europe—Italy, and to give undisputed possession 619 of Albania, Bosnia, Egypt and Assyria to Napoleon, if he would only let him have the pass of the Dardanelles. But that great man's profound, views taught him that this was not to be ceded to the demands or entreaties of Alexander. He saw the effects of consenting to these demands. It did not appear that he saw them all; but he saw enough to prevent him from assenting to those demands. He rejected them; he never could be brought to listen to them; and, on that occasion, Napoleon saved the Turkish empire. It might be said he saved Europe. He endangered Europe on other occasions by his own ambition it was true but by that single refusal to put the Dardanelles into the power of Russia he saved Europe. Peter the Great, Catherine, and Alexander, ail laid claims to that pass. Had Nicholas no wish to have it?—had he no intention of obtaining it?— Let the late war with Turkey—let the motives of that war, as explained lately to the world by the publication of the very secret despatch of Russia's most able diplomatist—let the conditions upon which that war was terminated—let the last treaty of St. Petersburgh—let the conference at Tœplitz declare. Now he believed that there could be no doubt that Russia did desire this important passage, and that she would acquire—that she would take—that she would seize it whenever she had an opportunity. We saw that the constitution of her people pushed her to it, that her interests required it—that was to say, supposing her aggrandisement to an enormous extent was her interest—and that nothing could contribute to it half so much as having that passage. We saw that all her sovereigns had attempted to get possession of it, and seeing alt this, what had we to set against it? Her protestations, and nothing but her protestations! The protestations of Russia! Of what value were they? Who was therein that House that placed confidence in the protestations of Russia? If any one did, he begged to refer that hon. Member to some facts. He presumed that nothing could be better authority for facts than the Speech of his Majesty from the Throne, Now he begged hon. Gentlemen to go buck a few years with him, and to consider this declaration from the Throne of England in July 1828, on the closing of the Session. In that Speech were these words: "His Majesty the Emperor of Russia has consented to wave the exer- 620 cise in the Mediterranean Sea of any rights appertaining to his Majesty in the character of a belligerent power, and to recal certain instructions he has given to the commander of his naval forces in that Sea, directing hostile operations against the Ottoman empire." That was in July 1828. On September the 12th, 1828, the news arrived that the blockade of the Dardanelles was established. So that we came to this conclusion, that at the very time his Majesty was telling his assembled Parliament that Russia would not use her belligerent rights, in consequence of course of the assurances he had received from the Court of Russia—at that very time Russia bad determined upon exercising those very belligerent rights which she had told us she had renounced. On February 5, 1829, his Majesty came down to Parliament and said, that he was obliged to confess that he had been deceived; that he had had false protestations addressed to him; and he told the House that his Imperial Majesty had considered it necessary to resume the exercise of his belligerent rights in the Mediterranean Sea, and had established a blockade of the Dardanelles, Those were examples of the faith of Russia; and we knew from them how much value to set upon her protestations. But without going back to particular instances of her perfidious conduct—her whole history was nothing but a tissue of perfidies. Without going back to her conduct to Poland in this last war, than which nothing could be more perfidious, professing to the Governments of Europe that her only object was to re-establish Poland under the conditions of the treaty of Vienna, and that was one means which she used for preventing the Powers of Europe from interfering with her; but putting aside that, putting aside many instances of her treacherous conduct in Sweden, he only asked the House to go back to her course of conduct with regard to the more immediate subject under the consideration of the House, with regard to Turkey. First, what did she do with regard to the Greek insurrection? She offered Turkey to put an end to it. This offer was declined. In April she signed a protocol, binding herself not to interfere in the affairs of Greece. In September she secured the acceptance by Turkey of a convention, in consequence of her declaration that she would not interfere with the affairs of 621 Greece. In July following she signed a treaty with Turkey, by which she renewed her engagement of the April preceding, and added to that treaty a power to enforce that engagement by force of arms, if necessary. In October, the battle of Navarino was fought, in which the Russian Admiral was engaged, and destroyed, in time of profound peace, the Ottoman fleet. Having succeeded in detaching France and England from their alliance with Turkey, by her advocacy of what she called the European cause, she declared war against Turkey. In that declaration of war, she said she would not avail herself of those advantages she might obtain for the purpose of enlarging her territory. That war proceeded, and was at length terminated by the treaty of Adrianople. He begged leave to read to the House some of the provisions of that treaty. He was obliged to read it from "The Quarterly Review," because, when he inquired for the treaty in the library of the House, which he of course expected to find, he was informed that unfortunately the volume of State Papers, which contained that treaty had been destroyed by fire on the burning of the two Houses of Parliament. The treaty was made in 1829. Russia got, by that treaty, the Delta, at the mouth of the Danube, which was the high road to central Europe. She got Anapa, the key of Circassia, both military and commercial. She got 200 miles of coast, and three military positions; moreover, two fortresses, one the chief place of a pachalic beyond Georgia. The separate act annexed to article S, stipulated for the nomination by Russia of the hospodars for life; the abolition of the imposts in kind, which formed the principal source of revenue from the provinces; the expulsion from them of all Mussulmans; the demolition of the Turkish fortress, Giurgova; and the establishment of a quarantine, separating them from the Porte, and uniting them to Russia. There were many other advantages which Russia obtained by that treaty; but he had mentioned the principal ones that tended to increase her power. There was also an article inserted, stating, that if any one of those stipulations came to be infringed, without the Minister of Russia obtaining prompt and full satisfaction, the Sublime Porte should be responsible; and the Court of Russia would consider any such infringement of her rights as an act of hostility on the part of Turkey, and that she 622 would have an immediate right to reprisals. Having obtained those advantages, Russia had the assurance to put forth a manifesto to the world, declaring that the Court of Russia bad constantly remained a stranger to every desire of conquest, to every view of aggrandisement. After this, he did not think that any one would venture to contend that the protestations of Russia were worth considering. She had made solemn treaties, solemn asseverations, and solemn protestations; but the more solemn, and the more binding they were in words, the surer was it that they had been, or were to be, violated. Why, these protestations were no reasons for supposing that she did not wish to keep possession of the Dardanelles, and thereby render Turkey a mere province of her own. Let the House just consider what would be the consequence to this country, and to Europe, of Russia being in that situation. In the first, place, if Russia came to Constantinople, she would make a large stride towards becoming a great naval power. At that instant she would have a fleet of 100 sail of men of war. This was an important consideration to England, But there were many more consequences which would result from Russia being in that situation, and if he hesitated in presenting them to the House, it was not because he had any difficulty in knowing what they were, but it was on account of the multitude of enormous consequences which, rushed into one's mind at the contemplation of such an event. What would be its effect on our commerce? The effect would be enormous. He begged the attention of his right hon. Friend, the President of the Board of Trade, to that question. He was sorry to perceive that his right hon. Friend was not in his place upon this occasion He must say, that he did consider it the duty of his right hon. Friend to have been present. But, perhaps, be might be in the House. [It was intimated to the noble Lord, that the right hon. Gentleman had been in the House.] His hon. Friend told him that the right hon. Gentleman was in the House just now; why did he go away? ["Hear."] [An hon. Member; he is here.] If so he begged his right hon. Friend's attention to the subject. It was a subject worthy his consideration. No subject could possibly affect the duty of the President of the Board of Trade more than this question did. He laid that down broadly; and let 623 not his right hon. Friend imagine, by pretending to consider the subject of no consequence or of small importance—he was happy to see his tight hon. Friend return to his place—let him not imagine, because this question was brought forward by so humble an individual as himself, that the subject for that reason was of small importance, and one in which the whole commercial world did not feel a deep and important interest. The acquisition by Russia of the Dardanelles would have at once the effect of depriving us of the whole of our commerce with Turkey; at all events, it would have the effect of diminishing it and that in a very serious degree. Our trade with Turkey was of great importance. It was a very large trade, and it was a continually increasing trade. Our trade with Russia was a decreasing trade. He would ask his right hon. Friend if it was not true that our trade with Russia in all those articles most profitable to this country was diminishing? Let his right hon. Friend look to the Russian tariff. He had not got it, but some hon. Gentlemen had it in their possession. Did not Russia by that tariff prohibit every article of our manufactures; She admitted, it was true, some articles? but those were articles which were necessary to enable her own manufactures to rival us in the markets of Central Asia, at Constantinople and other places. Those were articles in which our trade was increasing with Russia, and those only. Russia was most inimical to us; while Turkey, on the contrary, admitted our productions with no duty, or with a nominal duty; and he thought his right hon. Friend, filling the high situation he did, would do well to consider the subject, and turn his attention to it with a view of adopting measures which might strengthen the alliance between England and that country, whose commercial arrangements were favourable to us, and not to permit the other country, who was hostile in her commercial arrangements, as well as in her political views and all her feelings, to derive advantages from its at our own expense. Then if Russia obtained possession of the Dardanelles, we should lose immediately all our great, important, and increasing trade with Turkey; we should lose also our trade through Turkey to Persia; and as Russia, if once she got possession of the Dardanelles, would have the mastery immediately of 624 Persia, we should lose also another important branch of our commerce, which was our trade to Persia through the Persian Gulf. He believed it was well known that our trade there was increasing immensely. He had heard that many new factories had arisen in different parts of England, where a few years ago none existed; and he believed that the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, knew of some of them; because some had been erected in Devonshire, Factories had been established in that county for the manufacture of coarse goods, all of which were exported to the Persian Gulf, which employed a vast number of ships. Ships were now building on the coast of Devonshire, of a size which had never been seen there before, for the transport of these goods to the Persian Gulf. That trade we should lose also. He would enter into details showing the increase of our trade with Turkey, but he believed other hon. Gentlemen much more competent than himself, and better acquainted with this branch of our trade, would come forward and discuss it. But what would not be the effect, let him ask, upon the security of our Indian possessions? This was a great and important subject. He had heard with great satisfaction to-day of the election of a noble Lord who lately ruled over that empire, as the representative of the city of Glasgow. He knew not if the noble Lord was present. He hoped he might be, because he would be glad that he should state his opinions to the House upon the subject. The instant Russia obtained possession of Constantinople, all spirit of resistance to the Autocrat would be extinguished in Persia by the loss of that moral influence which the independence of Turkey now exercised over that feeble country. Persia would lose all confidence, and give up all resistance; and we might rely upon it that not many years would go by before Persia became, in fact, a Russian province. Now Russia, in possession of Persia, would come for the first time in immediate contact with an Indian population. What would be the effect? Did Gentlemen think that her influence would not be spread all over our Indian possessions? Did they think that it would not have an effect in Calcutta, and that our enormous empire would remain uninfluenced by such an event? On the contrary, we should see the power of England on the 625 wane, and that of Russia rising up. The reverence now felt by the people for England, and their awe of her, would sink, and their dread of Russia would take its place. To Russia all eyes would be turned. All those who were discontented; all those who wished for a change; all those who would not lose anything by the overthrow of our Government in India—all those persons would turn their eyes to Russia—would direct their hopes and expectations to Russia; and did Gentlemen think that Russia, who was always crafty—whose schemes were not those only of conquest, but deep-laid schemes of subtle policy, which was to bear fruit not next year, not the year after, but in time to come—did they think that Russia would not use all her means in order to create discontent and disorganization in our Indian possessions? We required an army in India already. For what purpose? To control the population. Our Indian empire was called an empire of opinion. That could not be denied. Let Russia take away that opinion—let her undermine it—let her lessen the hold England had upon the opinion of the people there, and what would become of her? That empire would melt away, and escape from her grasp. At all events, the moment Russia became contiguous to our Indian possessions, we must immediately send out an increase of force to the East Indies. Now, he knew there was a great desire in that House for economy. He had always been for governing the country upon the most economical principle; and all who were for retrenchment in the public expenditure must with him be for preventing any occasion for a large increase of the army in India. But what outlay would the sending out an additional force occasion? 10,000 men would not be a large amount; probably the least that could be sent? What would be the cost of sending out 10,000 men to India? He had been informed by gentlemen well versed in those matters, that you could not send out one soldier from this country to India who did not, before doing one day's duty, cost the country 100l. Then if 10,000 men were sent out, there would be an expense incurred of one million sterling at one fell swoop. But take into consideration the cost of maintaining troops in India; it was three times as much as in England. The infliction of such an increased expense on the country was enough to appal the most courageous Chancellor of the Exchequer 626 that ever filled that office. He had mentioned the moral effect of Russia getting possession of Turkey and Persia. He thought it was most important. He had not dwelt at all on the facilities it would give her for invading India; because that might be considered a mere chimera—an impossibility. That might be the case: he hoped it was so. But this was certain, that the possession of Persia would give Russia more facilities for that enterprise than she now possessed. If Persia fell under the yoke of Russia the attempt might be made. There would be great difficulties he admitted; but at all events one great obstacle would be removed; and he would just say this, that though we might think it impossible that Russia should obtain admission into the East Indies, that was an opinion not entertained at St. Petersburg. At the War-office there were plans prepared for the purpose of such an invasion; different stations were laid down, and means calculated, not only of one plan of invasion, but of several plans. These might all be vain and idle castles in the air. He did not wish to insist upon the subject. He did not attach much importance to it; but to the moral effects of the possession of Turkey and Persia by Russia he did attach the greatest possible importance. But these, although great, important, and terrific consequences, were not ail. Let us come nearer home. With Russia in possession of the Dardanelles what would become of our political influence in Europe? How would the influence of Russia not be augmented? Russia even now could scarcely disguise-nay, did not disguise, her dissatisfaction at the changes which had taken place in the Peninsula. Did hon. Gentlemen think that when in possession of Turkey and Persia, and so much more able to defend herself from any attack than now, she would not show her dissatisfaction much more effectually? Disturbances might possibly break out in Italy. The people were far from being satisfied. If any disturbances did break out there (and Russia would take good care that disturbances should break out), Russia would immediately interfere. The consequences to Austria would be tremendous. She would become involved and surrounded almost by Russia. There would be Sillstria terminating on Austria at one point; Turkey—and Greece as a matter of course—would be mere provinces of Russia; and 627 did the House think that Austria would, under such circumstances, be able to maintain her possessions on the coast of the Adriatic?. Again, by invading Italy, Russia would, become almost an immediate neighbour of France, whom she would trouble. At all events, it would be necessary for us greatly to increase our fleet in the Mediterranean; and not only so, but constantly to keep up a much larger naval force than was now required. We saw then that our political influence would be diminished, and our commerce would be seriously affected. As our commerce would be affected, so our revenue would be diminished, while our necessary expenditure would be seriously and frightfully increased. But if one-tenth part of these consequences only were to accrue, he would Bay that we were not justified in neglecting the subject. We could only be justified if we had arrived at the conviction that Russia, having those schemes which he had shown she had always entertained, having those designs and those wishes, was still not in a situation to carry them into effect. Were they sure that there was no danger in Russia gaining possession of the Dardanelles? How did they know she would not take possession of it? She had a large fleet in the Black Sea now; fifteen line-of-battle ships and six or seven frigates. With those only she might transport a sufficient force to take possession of the Dardanelles. Let it be remembered that from Sebastapol to the Dardanelles the voyage was three days, with the winds that prevailed there during nine months of the year. Constantinople could offer no resistance. The Turkish forts were not sufficiently strong to arrest the passage of such a fleet, even if they wished to do so; but how did we know that they would be willing to resist? The Turks were in the habit of seeing Russian men-of-war pass up, but they had not been in the habit of seeing English men-of-war. The fleet might pass by Constantinople. If necessary, it might slip through with a strong current without any difficulty, and go down to the Dardanelles and take possession of them. Why, Turkey had not thought of resisting. The Dardanelles were no more in a state to resist a sudden attack than any town in England in which there was no garrison. And let it be remembered that when Russia once got there, what was the strength of the Turks to oppose her? She had nothing but 628 those castles and fortifications which had been lately remodelled by Russian engineers, whom the Emperor was kind enough to lend to his faithful ally, the Sultan, for that purpose. If Russia get once with sufficient force into the Dardanelles, how would you dislodge her? How could you? Let Russia once get there, with such a force as she now had in the Black Sea, and you would not get her out again without a general war. Would any one wish to have a war? You could not get her out without an army. Was any one desirous of voting a sufficient supply to maintain a large army for that purpose? Where was the army to come from? Had we got it at Malta? He believed we had 6,000 or 7,000 men in Malta, and 3,000 or 4,000 in the Ionian Islands. But even supposing we had at Malta 11,000 men, and no less force would be sufficient to wrest the Dardanelles from the grasp of Russia, had the commanding officer orders on the arrival of the news which would justify him in sending out an expedition? Had he a sufficient number of ships together? Had he the necessary stores ready? No; in all probability the commanding officer at Malta would have to write home to the Government here for instructions; that is to say, his courier would have to make two sea voyages, and to cross the continent twice, before an expedition could reach the Dardanelles, to attack the Russian force on the land side—the only accessible side—where she would doubtless have a numerous army. Had not Russia the command of the whole mercantile marine in the Black Sea? The trade of Odessa itself employed no fewer than 200 sail of merchantmen in the Danube alone. With these means, could any one doubt, that long before either England or France could land any force before the Dardanelles, Russia would have an army of 100,000 men there? Was he not justified in saying that Russia could not be dislodged from such a position without a general war? Russia would have no difficulty in finding a pretext for aggression. She was now the ally of the Sultan of Constantinople. Mehemet Ali was now making preparations to attack him: he might alter his line of attack, and it could not be doubted that Russia might easily find a pretext for her interference. She would consider her faithful ally in danger, and not with any ambitious view, for 629 Russia did not know what ambition or what an incessant desire for self-aggrandisement was—but from a generous and disinterested desire to assist her ally, might easily obtain possession of the Dardanelles. Was not this an occurrence very likely to happen? Had he not shown that it might be very easily accomplished? These were enormous projects of gigantic designs, well worthy to attract the attention of this country; but they were not the whole of Russia's designs—they were only a part of them. To whatever part of the world they turned their eyes, wherever they looked, there might they find evidences of Russia's projects; there might they find the fruits of her desire of aggrandisement. There was the Prussian commercial league—a great subject, well worthy a separate discussion. He hoped it would meet with the attention it deserved, and that the hon. Gentleman opposite who had brought the question forward in the course of the last Session, would renew it in the present. That league threatened our interests and our trade. No man could contend that it would have no effect on our commercial interests. He might be told that the smuggler would come in and protect English interests, and that all these restrictions and proscriptions were inefficacious and illusory. If so, why had we been so anxious to destroy the continental system of Napoleon, and why had we evinced so earnest a desire to put him down? What excited so much alarm, if his exclusive system and prohibitory enactments were to have no effect whatever upon this country? He admitted that the smuggler would diminish the evil. He would weaken the blow, but he would not render it harmless. A country took all the produce she could afford to pay for; but if she had to pay the smuggler, of course the whole amount of her trade must be diminished by the amount she paid him. If he were told that the price of the produce would be raised, and that though the country might not expend an equal amount, the manufacturer would give as great a price for a less quantity, and that therefore the country would not be injured, he denied it. That trade was the most advantageous—not which gave the manufacturer the greatest profit, but which employed the greatest amount of labour. It might be said that the fact of the manufacturer deriving larger profits 630 might enable him to give higher wages. He denied that. The effect was directly the reverse. When there was a reduced demand for goods, there was a superabundance of labour. This Prussian league, he maintained, had been projected and accomplished at the instigation of Russia, whose creature Prussia was. How had it been brought about? How was it that so many States whose feelings must be averse to it had been induced to join in it, and thereby to sacrifice their independence? The Prussian league had destroyed the independence of the States of Germany. The great prerogative and power of a national assembly was that of imposing taxes and granting supplies. What, then, became of the independence of a country which devolved upon a foreign state the most important duty of its national assembly? Their authority was with a foreign power; their independence was gone. The States had been induced to form this league by the high-sounding promises, and the pompous words of Prussia-German Unity was the phrase held out to them; the confederation of all the States in one common German name. Russia knew perfectly well that the confederation of States would soon become an immense and preponderating power, and that Prussia would have to look abroad for the assistance of some foreign State, which she hoped would be Russia. There was an, other most important project of Russia, to which this was a mere instrument. One of the projects of Russia—a more favoured one—a more dangerous scheme, not only an ancient and never-forgotten one, but one which involved the greatest amount of national feeling—was the establishment of a grand union of all the Sclavonian nations in the world. She was once Muscovy, she had become Russia, and she wanted to be Sclavonia. The great lever for the accomplishment of this design was the Greek religion. In all countries where that religion was professed, not only within but without the Russian territory, Russia kept up a constant intercourse with its chiefs, loading them with presents and caresses, and heaping upon them all the favours and allurements which a Court could bestow. They had their eyes constantly turned towards Russia, their thoughts were ever bent upon the Emperor, to whom they looked up as the head of their Church, and by whose means they hoped one day to be raised above the heads 631 of another clergy to whom they were at present inferior. In other parts of the Sclavonian nation, where the Greek United Church prevailed, she paid writers to advocate her favourite theories; and some learned men, inspired perhaps by more worthy views, but entertaining mistaken notions, had for a long time, in different parts of Germany, been using all their exertions, and all their influence, to promote the Sclavonian Union. This was one of their means of menacing the Austrian Government. It was well known how jealous that power was of Russia, and how earnestly she had urged this country to oppose the power of the Autocrat. Well might England lament, with deep and bitter regret, that the advances made to her by the statesmen of Austria, who entertained larger, better, and more comprehensive views than our own, had been rejected and despised. Prussia was the creature of Russia, and had done everything to second, and nothing to thwart, her designs. Upon her present creature, however, she would one day turn, and Prussia would be dismembered, when Russia, in the prosecution of her crafty projects, required her no longer. Another of the projects of Russia, her most darling scheme, the one which she cherished most dearly, because its accomplishment would afford her the means of repelling and resisting the power of this country—the only nation which could check her progress—was to become a great maritime nation. She had already at Cronstadt, seventy miles from Finland, a flotilla of 400 vessels. She had not ventured to raise an army there, the people of Finland were too disaffected, and she had only one regiment, 1,500 men, who were employed in the late Polish war. She was now organising a great naval force, amounting already to 12,000 men. Nothing could be easier for her, with such means, than to obtain possession of the whole western coast of Norway. All along that coast were natural harbours, formed of narrow inlets, which contained water quite deep enough to admit ships of the line. It was only necessary to glance at the map to understand the importance of this position, ft must not be forgotten, too, that Norway and Sweden furnished the best sailors in the world, together with abundance of excellent timber. With such advantages what was there to prevent Russia at once becoming a great naval power? And what 632 extent of resistance would be necessary to be effectual, when she issued from these ports in the west of Europe, and was joined by an American, and most probably by a Dutch fleet also? If there were only the most distant chance of such events coming to pass, how could this country be apathetic, and refrain from taking every step in her power to resist the aggressions of this gigantic and rapidly increasing Leviathan of the North? And what was the character of this Government, which was now threatening Europe, and menacing subjugation to the whole world. Was it a mild, wise, beneficent, and enlightened Government, diffusing around the blessings of peace, good order, good Government, free commerce, and all those advantages which flowed from a well-ordered administration of any of them? On the contrary, wherever Russia extended her sway, there you found savage torture, grinding oppression, unblushing venality, odious corruption, the treacherous system of espionnage, spoliation, moral degradation, and slavery, with all its attendant evils and horrors. Napoleon, when he subdued nation after nation, and carried his conquests far and wide, conciliated even those whom he subjected to his rule by introducing internal improvements and ameliorated administrations. Other conquerors had done the same in different periods of history; but what benefit, he would ask, had Russia ever conferred upon any country she had subjected to her despotic sway? They used to hear of Russia civilising the barbarians of the earth: the time when such language could be used was gone for ever. He believed that those who had once used it were now conscious of their folly and their ignorance, and cared little to be reminded of their former sentiments. If they wanted to know the character of Russia, they had only to inquire into the history of her late conduct towards Poland and towards her unhappy people, who did not take up arms until they had been goaded to resistance unheard of, and unrevenged for fifteen years together, and who at last, with rare magnanimity, when they had got into their hands the brother of the Autocrat—the man who had turned the whole country into one scene of misery—the man who had watered it with the tears of its inhabitants—the man who had filled the prisons, and exercised every species of oppression it was possible to conceive— 633 suffered him to depart unmolested and unhurt. What had Russia done in return? Had she contented herself with putting down the insurrection, and re-establishing her authority? No. They all knew the manner in which she had treated the Poles. They saw the nobles and the patriots of Poland in exile, they heard of their property being confiscated (the intelligence of fresh confiscations had arrived since the commencement of the present Session), they heard of children being torn from their mothers' arms, under pretences the most hypocritical and disgraceful—of families being carried off to the most distant regions of the empire, to be made Russians of—of churches desecrated and altars outraged, and yielded up to the ministers of another religion—of the very language of the people being suppressed—of a system of conduct so foul and so atrocious, as to fix upon the Russian nation the stain of being the enemy of the human race. They knew of all these things. He said emphatically, they knew of them. On former occasions they had been met with "ifs." "If," said hon. Gentlemen, "these things be so, then deplorable oppression and, cruel outrage do exist." There was no necessity for proof now. The acts of Russia were known and admitted. No man could stand up and pretend to entertain the slightest doubt on the subject. Such were a few traits in the character of the Russian Government. He would not expatiate upon it. There was no man, he would venture to say, in that House or in the country, who did not feel indignant at its tyranny. The English nation loved peace; no man, he believed, was desirous for war; but he did not hesitate to express his belief, that if affairs should come to that crisis when war with Russia would be necessary, there would be no man, not even among those most averse to war, who would not derive some consolation from the idea that the oppressors of Poland were to be chastised. He might be told that other nations who had attained a great eminence had fallen, and that Russia might fall also. Did history furnish any example of a country whose aggrandisement had been procured by the means, and in the manner in which that of Russia had been promoted, having in that aggrandisement the elements of weakness and the seeds of decay? The aggrandisement of Russia was not the result of the achievements of a great conqueror. It had not 634 been achieved by conquests such as those of Alexander the Great, or Tamerlane, or Napoleon. It was the result of a steady, regular, subtle system. He would beg to read to the House a short extract, which so well and so accurately described the mode in which Russia accomplished her aggressions, that he need offer no apology for its introduction. It was from a most valuable work, one which every gentleman who had any desire to make himself acquainted with the policy of Russia, or the manner in which it could affect this country, ought to have constantly at hand, and would do well to study. He meant The British and Foreign Review, "The process of incorporation (said the writer) is progressive and patient. Hitherto she has betrayed no hurry, yet her progress has been rapid beyond all parallel. Her's is not the sudden conquest of a gifted leader, but the regular advances of a system of incorporation of a vast empire, which she is now commencing as a work of infinite labour; and until it is completed she dare not awaken Europe from its slumbers. She must not threaten and alarm; she must soothe and undermine. She does not excite combinations against her; she sows dissensions before her. The chains she carries do not clank, her footsteps have no echo; her shadow blights where her hand cannot reach; and when she conies, it is to abide." He might be told that Rome conquered and fell. It did. And so did Byzantium, but not for ten centuries afterwards. Russia slowly made her way, and if she were downcast occasionally, it was only by a passing cloud. Catherine II. for a while desisted from her designs upon Turkey, and Napoleon reduced Russia to a secondary power. But did either defeat induce her in reality to desist from the designs she had formed? No: they only enabled her to watch an opportunity for advancing with redoubled vigour. If England wished to curb Russia effectually, and to interpose an efficient check in the way of her incorporation of power, she must do so not only in one point, but in all. She must raise up insurmountable barriers in every quarter to which her ambition was directed. She must not be satisfied with protecting Turkey merely; she must protect other countries, and raise other barriers. Poland held the door to Turkey on the one side, and to Germany on the other; and both Poland and Turkey would always in the long run share the same fate. 635 The first pretext for the partition of Poland was the existence of the plague, and the formation of a cordon sanitaire. To secure the independence of Turkey, every opportunity must be seized on for securing the nationality of Poland. He had thought it his duty to bring this subject before the House. He might be asked why he had put himself forward for the task? He knew the question was a great and important one; he felt how inadequate he was to do it justice. His motives, however, were a strong sense of duty, and an earnest desire to rouse this country, to awaken her from her lethargy, and to direct her attention to the designs of Russia; and seeing that none of those who were so well qualified for the task had declared their intention of executing it, he—humble as he was—had taken it upon himself. A whole year had passed and nothing had been done—no motion had been made with reference to Russia. These were his excuses for putting himself forward. He did not wish to embarrass the Government. He believed they well knew that his desire was to support them. He only wished them to adopt that line of policy which he conceived tended to the promotion and advancement of British interests. He knew that no Government, whatever were their views, could act satisfactorily without the cordial support of that House and of the country. Even the Minister who entertained views on this subject nearly approximating to his own, even his Majesty's Judge Advocate General (Mr. Cutlar Fergusson) whose absence he regretted—were he where he ought to be, and where, from his high station, long experience, and great stake in the country, he believed the House and the public would feel pride and pleasure in seeing him—he meant in the Cabinet—even he, he felt assured, would not recommend the adoption of the measures nearest his heart, unless he had satisfactory evidence that the country felt with him, and was ready to second his views. He well remembered that in bringing forward the motion which his right hon. Friend had made on the subject of Poland—those motions which had rendered his name so dear to every friend of freedom in Europe and the civilised world—he had not only ably, eloquently, and ceaselessly, asserted the rights of the unfortunate and distressed Poles, but had also dwelt strongly on the dangers to which Europe was exposed 636 from the encroachments and ambition of Russia. He was not an advocate for war, he acknowledged the propriety of maintaining peace, and adhering to a strict system of economy; but it was incumbent on us to arrest the further progress of Russia, by adopting a high tone in our communications with that power. If we wanted peace, we must impress Russia with the conviction that we were ready to go to war with her if necessary. He hoped that the House, which was at present so thinly attended, would see the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, rise in his place, after he had returned to it, to state his opinion on this question. He hoped, also, that the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire, and the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Cumberland, would speak out, and that all those who filled a prominent station in that House would express their sentiments upon the subject. He wanted to know whether, if Russia chose to close the Dardanelles, we ought not to resent it, and whether we were to look on with indifference while the Turkish Empire crumbled to pieces? He thought it was the duty of this country to interfere—and that was now especially the duty of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in order to prevent such a misfortune; and this could only be done by adopting a firm tone. If his noble Friend had, as he believed that he had, a higher ambition than merely retaining his place, and was anxious to have it mentioned by the future historian that under his administration the interests of England were maintained by the dignity, and firm and profound views which he had adopted, and which the country had a right to expect from the person who was at the head of the Foreign Department of the country, his noble Friend should at once take steps to remove the apprehensions that prevailed in the minds of Englishmen with regard to the conduct of Russia. It was his intention to move for the production of a number of papers. In the first place, he intended to call for the production of the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, which at the present moment much occupied public attention. He could not understand the purport of this treaty, if it was not to prevent English ships sailing through the Dardanelles, the object apparently was, to prevent European ships of war going through the Dardanelles without the permission of the Emperor of Russia. 637 It applied, however, not merely to vessels of war, but by implication to all merchant vessels. How was it—if this treaty was not enforced—that the Ambassador of England to Russia had to disembark from the frigate in which he had sailed from England, and go on board a steam-vessel which had been disarmed for the purpose, previously to being allowed to enter the Dardanelles? Lord Durham sailed from England in a frigate; but the Pluto steam-ship had her guns taken out of her, that she might be allowed to carry that nobleman through the Dardanelles. An insult was offered to England in the treatment manifested to Lord Durham. The Russian authorities at Odessa refused to salute that nobleman as an ambassador, on the ground that they did not know the vessel he sailed in from a merchant ship. How was it that an English ambassador was not allowed to go into the Euxine in a frigate. Since that time, however, Russian men of war with their guns run out, and their colours flying, had repeatedly passed the Dardanelles. This then was the way in which Russia was treated in contrast with the way in which England was. What effect could such conduct have on the minds of the people of Turkey, with whom it was so much our interest to stand well, other than pointing out to them the predominance of Russia, and the pusillanimity of England. The treaty of Unkiar 'Skelessi furnished Russia with a pretence for the occupancy of the Dardanelles. By this treaty, Turkey guaranteed to Russia that no vessel of war belonging to any other country should pass through these straits; and did not this treaty enable the latter power to say, "You have not sufficient power to enforce it; I will assist you in putting it in execution, and therefore I will place an armed force there." It was his firm conviction that, by the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, Russia might at any time demand the exclusion of all foreign vessels from the Black Sea as well as be allowed to prevent their entering. It was stated that Russia was only to do this in case of war, but that power was in a state of warfare at the present moment. She was at war with Circassia, and therefore she might require that the treaty should be enforced to the fullest extent. The first article of the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi states that "This alliance having solely for its object the common defence of these 638 States against all attack, their Majesties promise to have a mutual and unreserved understanding as to all objects which concern their tranquillity and safety respectively, and to send to each other for this purpose materiel, succours, and most efficacious assistance." This is afterwards further explained by the secret article of the treaty, which states:—"In virtue of one of the clauses of the first article of the patent treaty of defensive alliance concluded between the Sublime Porte and the Imperial Court of Russia, the two high contracting parties have engaged to lend mutually materiel, succours, and the most efficacious assistance for the safety of their respective States. Nevertheless, his Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, wishing to save the Sublime Ottoman Porte the expense and the inconveniences which might result to it from lending such materiel succour, will not demand this succour. Should circumstances place the Sublime Porte under the obligation to furnish it, the Sublime Porte, in lieu of the succour which it is bound to lend in case of need, according to the principle of reciprocity of the patent treaty, should limit its action in favour of the Imperial Court of Russia, to shutting the strait of the Dardanelles, that is to say, not to permit any foreign vessel of war to enter it under any pretext whatsoever." Another treaty was entered into between these two Powers at St. Petersburgh, in January, 1834, carrying out the principles laid down in the treaty he had just quoted. There were two allusions to these two States in Speeches from the Throne, but it was clear, from the language put into his Majesty's mouth, that Ministers were not aware of what was going on. In the Speech from the Throne, made at the close of Parliament, the 29th of August, 1833, it is stated, "The hostilities which had disturbed the peace of Turkey have been terminated, and you may be assured that my attention will be carefully directed to any events which may affect the present state or the future independence of that empire." On the 4th February, 1834, the following language is put into his Majesty's mouth:—"The peace of Turkey, since the settlement that was made with Mehemet Ali, has not been interrupted, and will not, I trust, be threatened with any new danger. It will be my object to prevent any change in the rela- 639 tiona of that empire with other Powers, that might affect its future stability and independence." It appeared, however, that almost on the same day, certainly in the same week, a treaty was entered into at St. Petersburgh, by which the Sultan ceded an important territory to Russia, and by which the latter Power would be able at all times to enter Turkey. He had repeatedly heard that the object of the Crown was to prevent the dismemberment of the Turkish empire, but at the time these declarations were made, treaties were entered into directly contrary to their effect, and obligations were contracted which would at any time afford sufficient grounds to Russia to adopt any steps she pleased towards Turkey. He did not think that Government should, or ought, or could, with anything like justice, refuse to produce the papers he called for, having reference to these two treaties. When Mr. Sheil, the hon. Member for Tipperary, brought forward his motion on this subject in 1834, he was met with the objection that the production of the papers at that moment would be attended with inconvenience. The noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs entreated the House to abstain from calling for the papers until they could be laid in something like a complete shape before the House. The treaty was now signed and in full operation, and after what was said on that occasion, he could not suppose that the Government would refuse the production of the correspondence now. If no negotiations were going on, then it was right that the country should see what had been said by the Government. It would be in the recollection of the House, that when his right hon. Friend, the present Judge Advocate-General, made his motion, it was opposed by the Government, "because," said they, "we have already done more than you propose to do; we have made most energetic remonstrances, and therefore it is of no use for you to address the Crown on the subject." Those remonstrances, however, were of no use; Russia still pursued the same system of reckless barbarity towards unhappy Poland. There was then a primâ facie case made out for the production of that part of the correspondence of our Government with Russia relating to her conduct towards Poland, which the representatives of the people had a right to demand. He was not a man who called himself of no 640 party; he belonged to the Whigs, and it was his pride to call himself one of them, who had done more for the country than any other party, and who alone could carry on the government of the country with effect; but when he thought of the conduct of the Whigs towards Poland, he felt no pride in the name of Whig, and so far from giving him satisfaction, it penetrated his heart with shame. We had already incurred the charge of disgraceful pusillanimity by abandoning Poland, let us not become liable to the imputation of insanity by surrendering the Turkish empire into the hands of its enemies. He could not help feeling that they had much to answer for in abandoning Poland to her fate; and he trusted that they would not have the additional charge brought against them of abandoning Turkey also to Russia. The noble Lord concluded by moving an address for a copy of the Treaty of Constantinople of the 8th of July, 1833, called the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi; the Treaty of St. Petersburgh of the 29th of January, 1834; and also for a copy of any correspondence between this Government and the Governments of Russia and Turkey, relative to these treaties, and any correspondence with the Government of Russia relating to the remonstrances made by England against the conduct pursued by Russia towards Poland.
§ Mr. Thomas Attwood
rose to second the Motion. He was sure the House could not but admire the ability and good feeling which pervaded the important statements which the noble Lord had that night laid before it. If this country had, as she ought to have done, put on the appearance of war, there would be no occasion for war now. Now we must go to war. He said that if the Government did go to war the people of England would support them. It had been stated that the day was passed for vindicating the treaty of Vienna. If so, there was an awful responsibility on the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, for it was by his hand that Poland fell. Sir Edward Codrington, with his fleet, could have saved Poland in 1831, had he been permitted by the noble Lord to enter the Russian ports, which he could easily have done. In 1833 the Sultan asked the noble Lord for a fleet from England, to aid him in putting down the rebellious Pacha of Egypt, but the noble Lord said "No; we have one fleet at Lisbon, 641 another fleet at Antwerp, and we cannot raise a third fleet to assist Turkey, and assert the power and independence of England." The noble Lord ought to have come to Parliament for supplies. He ought to have pawned the crown jewels, rather than suffer the character of this great nation to fall, without an attempt to vindicate himself and his allies. The noble Lord must take care to prevent Russian intrigue operating on his mind. The noble Lord had more than once insinuated that his (Mr. Attwood's) wish for a war with Russia arose from an anxiety to get paper-money, and also that his constituents might get orders for arms; but he would not say that Russian influence or intrigue had operated with the noble Lord when he suffered that Power to attain such sway. He could not help saying, that by the course which had been followed the honour of England had been sacrificed. He charged the noble Lord with having been guilty of a dereliction of duty, in not watching sufficiently the interests of this country. The noble Lord long ago ought to have laid on the Table papers calling for an addition of men to the army; and if instead of fitting out a fleet now, it had sailed two years ago, the Russian fleet never would have been at Sebastapol, and this nation might have done what she pleased in the Black Seas. It was said that this country could not support the expense of a war as long as we had a gold standard, but she could do so with good paper. If they could go to war with gold, well and good—but he would say, at all events, let them have war rather than be trampled on by Russia. The noble Lord (Palmerston) was now preparing a fleet. Why did he not do so before? Perhaps, he would say, as Lord Liverpool did, when the French were entering the Milanese territory, "I could not have threatened because, I was not prepared." In place of threats, let the noble Lord act. He need not fear; Russia is weak. She had been making preparations for the last three years. They allowed her to increase in strength, but had the noble Lord acted with the spirit of an Englishman or an Irishman, he might without difficulty have pushed Russia gradually from the Dardanelles and the Danube, and have humbled her in the dust. If the noble Lord were now to demand all at once, Russia would not submit. He was glad to find that 642 so much was now to be asked, because he trusted Russia would refuse, and then by a war all that was desired from her might be secured. Great Britain had been grossly insulted by those barbarians. No Englishman, unless from interested motives, would deny this. Out of doors a war with Russia was most popular. ["No."] Yes it was. He did not say with the aristocracy—he spoke of the people. In the mercantile navy of this country, a deadly hatred prevailed against Russia, and plenty of volunteers might be had in the event of a war. It might not be popular with those who were interested in loans—with the Jews. When he mentioned the word "Jews," it was not in disrespect to that illustrious nation—he alluded to the money-jobbers, to those muckworms, as Lord Chatham called them. Few would be opposed to a war with Russia, unless those connected with loans; and no man interested in loans and stockjobbing should have a seat in that House. No man who was interested in the national burdens should sit in the House. No man wish large investments in Consols should be allowed to administer the law, or have a voice in vindicating the honour of England. They were aware that, in case of a war, Consols might again fail, as they did in 1796, to 58. Now a word with respect to the insults of Russia to this country. He paid great attention to those subjects. He knew them well, but the villainous public press, what was called the fourth estate, concealed them from the public. Let them look—not into newspapers, but into books published upon the subject—into libraries, and into treaties, and they would find that every thing which fell from the noble Lord was true. In 1827, a treaty was entered into between France and England, and Russia, for supporting the independence of Greece, and Russia then engaged not to pass the Pruth. Immediately afterwards the English fleet destroyed the Turkish fleet at Navarino, and soon after this was done Russia said that she had a private ground of quarrel with Turkey, and sent her army across the Balkan to Adrianople, which she never would have, done if the Turkish fleet had not been destroyed. The Duke of Wellington was then at the head of affairs—he, and a worse man than the noble Lord, who was at the head of the Foreign Department, he meant Lord Aberdeen—refused to go to war. Count Nesselrode imposed upon 643 them, and stated, "Oh, we have a private quarrel with Turkey—our honour is involved, and you ought not to prevent us vindicating it." The Duke of Wellington pocketed that insult, and, as he had told the House three years ago, he would never forget or forgive it. The Russians afterwards passed their fleet from the Baltic to the Dardanelles, and the Duke of Wellington, then at the head of affairs, suffered them to do so. His Grace, however, made another remonstrance to Count Nesselrode, who responded, "Oh! we are very sorry; no insult was intended, and we only acted as the guardians of our own honour." The blockade of the Dardanelles then followed, and the Duke of Wellington submitted to the insult of the required submission of every English ship cleared from Constantinople before the date of the blockade to a clearance before it passed free. He appealed now to English honour to resist this mode of treatment, and he would call upon the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department to "show pluck," and compel the fulfilment of treaties, and to sweep the aggressors from Turkey. This, he was satisfied, could be done without a war: but, even in that extremity, he was sure the people of England would lend to the noble Lord their best aid and assistance.
said, that the House, he was sure, would feel much indebted to the noble Lord for calling their attention to this subject—of no less importance to this country than to the fate of that heroic people of whom the noble Lord was the able and the constant advocate. The apathy of this country towards the cause of Poland was most injurious to its own interests—permitting Russia, as it had done, to take possession of Wallachia and Moldavia. Since the last Session of Parliament, he (Lord Pollington) had been to the Sclavonian possessions of Austria, and he could assure the House that there was not a Dalmatian Greek who was not most anxious to throw off his allegiance to Catholic Austria, and, in obedience to the advice of his priests, become a serf of Russia, to whom he looked up as to his national and most powerful protector.
§ Mr. Barlow Hoy
said, he did not wish for war, nor did he believe the people of England wished for it. The House was indebted to the noble Lord for bringing this subject under their consideration, but 644 his speech embraced too great a variety of subjects. Like the wave produced by a stone thrown into the water, the subject went on extending itself till it became indistinct. There were only three ways in which British interests in India could be injured. First, by interfering with the religion of the natives. Secondly, by colonization. There was no instance of a country having been colonised that did not ultimately separate itself from the mother country. It so happened to the Dutch, to the Portuguese, to the Spaniards and to the English in America. The third was by degrading their own service in India to the level of the natives. The moment this was done their hold of India was lost. He considered the day very distant, indeed, when Russia should be able to invade India successfully. It was hardly possible, from the numberless difficulties of such an enterprise that it could ultimately succeed. He could not approve of the policy pursued by England towards Turkey. They had no more right to assist in the separation of Greece from Turkey, than Turkey would have to separate Ireland from England. The battle of Navarino was most injurious and disgraceful to England, and proved highly advantageous to Russia, No country in Europe was worse treated than Turkey. They had to contend at the same time against European Alliance, against the Pacha of Egypt, and against Servia. Besides this they were always oppressed by a system of quarantine. The noble Lord talked of the aggressions of Russia; but let him look at England, and see the extent of her aggressions in India since the time of Lord Clive. Sufficient attention had not been paid to their foreign policy since the question of Reform began first to be agitated in that House. The noble Lord who brought forward this Motion seemed to think that it would not be a very difficult matter for a fleet to pass the Dardanelles at night. A short time back he proceeded to the Dardanelles in a Maltese vessel. It was dark when they approached. A light was instantly displayed, and in a few minutes several shots were fired. This, with the Turkish cantonments, stationed in the plains of Troy and in other parts adjacent, proved that the Turks were not so inattentive to the passage as the noble Lord seemed to suppose. If Turkey were disposed to keep up her connexion with Russia she could not 645 be frightened out of it by mere demonstrations. This besides, would be a contemptible mode of proceeding. It had been said that all might be easily done by a union with France. For his part, he could not approve of these unions between two or more great Powers. Weak States might unite for their mutual protection, but it was not so with great Powers. Such a union was not required. If war should become necessary, he hoped England would stand alone in the contest, as she bad done before.
§ Viscount Palmerston
rose and said, whatever might be the effect of the speech of his noble Friend who had made this motion, and however he might agree with some parts of that speech, and disagree with others, there were, at least, two sentiments expressed by the two hon. Gentlemen who had followed the noble Lord in the present debate, with which he could not agree. With respect to those sentiments so expressed, he (Lord Palmerston) must take leave to give utterance to his most entire dissent. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Attwood) had expressed his anxious desire to see this country engaged, as soon as possible, in a war. In that wish he could by no means concur. On the contrary, he wished that this country should continue at peace, and he firmly hoped and believed that peace would continue, But if the day should arrive when, by the aggression of other powers, this country should find itself engaged in a war, he certainly could not concur in the fervent wish of the hon. Member for Southampton, (Mr. B. Hoy) that against the combination of other powers this country should have the good fortune (according to the hon. Member) to stand alone and unassisted. He did hope, if this country became involved in a war, that it would be found that the friendships we had formed during a period of peace—that the respect, confidence, and goodwill which the integrity, dignity, and honesty of our policy had created in the minds of other nations,—would accompany us into that war, and that our cause being, as it must be, just, we should not only be supported by the sympathy of all mankind, but be backed by the active exertions of faithful' and powerful allies. His noble Friend who had introduced this motion, had commenced by expressing his opinion that the subject to which he was about to draw the attention of the House was one 646 of the greatest national importance. In that opinion he would be the foremost man in that House to agree; because if there were in existence any man who thought the foreign relations of the country a matter of insignificance, and which could, without danger to the country, be treated with indifference, he held that man to have looked to the affairs of mankind, and to the lessons of history with little benefit to himself or to the country. But he did not agree with his noble Friend in thinking that the thin state of the House on the present occasion, or the circumstance of but few Members being present of late years when questions of foreign policy had been discussed, was any indication that there prevailed, either in that House, or in the country, a feeling of indifference with respect to those matters. It had never been the character of the English nation, or of the British Parliament, to feel an indifference with respect to the affairs of Europe. On the contrary, he should say, that if there was any thing which more peculiarly characterised the people of this country, and the deliberations of Parliament, it was an anxious and lively attention to the events which were arising around them. Perhaps, on some occasions, the House had rather gone before the Government in an eager and keen perception of coming events, than tagged behind, and looked with indifference on matters which deserved attention. If he might be permitted to give an explanation of that apparent indifference on the part of the House to which his noble Friend had alluded, he should say that it arose, not from any insensibility to the importance of the subjects which had been commented upon by his noble Friend, but from a confidence in the Government of the country—from a knowledge that foreign affairs have been managed in a way to preserve peace—and from a belief that the attention of Government was studiously directed, and needed not to be urged by repeated goadings from that House, to maintain peace abroad, and at the same time to watch carefully all the important interests as well as the honour of the country. If an opinion prevailed that the foreign affairs of the country were ill-ad ministered, the noble Lord would not have seen the House so empty as it had been on that night and on former occasions. At periods when the country had been dissatisfied with the 647 management of its affairs, that House had frequently a much fuller attendance at discussions of questions relating to foreign policy than on those even of the greatest domestic interest. He therefore thought that he was entitled to say, that that which his noble Friend regarded as an indication of indifference on the part of the public to foreign affairs, was, in fact, a proof that the country was satisfied, and confident that foreign affairs would be properly attended to by the Government. His noble Friend, in a speech of great ability and research, had traced the progress of the augmentations of territory acquired by the Russian empire. Now, if there were any one circumstance more peculiar than another connected with those acquisitions, it was, that they had almost invariably been made at periods when the other nations of Europe were engaged in quarrels amongst themselves, and had their attention occupied by their own respective wars. If that were the case, his noble Friend could not but approve of the policy, the object of which was to preserve the peace of Europe; because the best way to prevent Russia from making further aggrandizements was, not to follow the course recommended by the hon. Member for Birmingham of going to war, whether to be paid for in gold or in paper, but to maintain a state of peace, and to prevent the recurrence of those events which had led in former times to those evils which his noble Friend had pointed out. He entirely agreed with his noble Friend as to the importance to this country, commercially and politically, that Turkey should be maintained in integrity and independence. He had on former occasions endeavoured to satisfy the House that that opinion was entertained by his Majesty's Government; and it had been expressed on all those occasions when it was consistent with the usual practice of the Crown for the Government in its communications with Parliament to refer to the subject. He could assure his noble Friend that it was impossible for him to feel more strongly on that subject than did his Majesty's Ministers, and he believed that the same sentiment was shared by all the other nations of Europe, whose interests, as well as those of Great Britain, required that Turkey should continue an independent, powerful, and prosperous Empire. Considering the great importance of the matter before the House, considering also the delicacy 648 and difficulty which a Minister of the Crown must always feel in going into any discussion with respect to the relations of this country with other powers, when no precise necessity for so doing had arisen, he was persuaded that the House would think that he should best discharge his duty by not following his noble Friend at length through the various topics to which he had called the attention of the House; but with respect to one of them—namely, the Prussian commercial league—he did wish to set his noble Friend right. His noble Friend seemed to think that that commercial league, of which Prussia, was the head, was the result of Russian policy, and destined for Russian objects. He was convinced that his noble Friend was in this respect, at least, mistaken. That league had undoubtedly for its object the advancement of Prussian views and Prussian interests. No doubt Prussia first conceived the plan of uniting the different countries of Germany by one common league; but, at the same time, it must be remarked, that if that league were not for the advantage and the interest of the other states in Germany, it was impossible to suppose that Prussia could have prevailed upon them to co-operate in carrying that plan into effect. It had been a favourite notion in Germany, that it would be advantageous for all the states to get rid of the various impediments which the numerous Custom-houses opposed to their traffic, and to give to the trade and industry of the interior greater freedom. The commercial league was a German conception; whether it might operate to the advantage or detriment of England—(he believed it would have little effect in either way)—it was, at any rate, not a Russian, but a purely German transaction. His noble Friend had expressed his feelings strongly in reference to Poland, but he had not pressed his Majesty's Government to take any practical measures, on account of the situation of that country. Doubtless his noble Friend felt that whatever sympathy might be felt, in or out of that House, with regard to Poland, it was not a subject respecting which it was possible for him to suggest, or for the Government to take, any measures at the present time. As to the papers for which the noble Lord moved, there was one which he felt no difficulty in granting, but there were three other parts of the motion which he considered it his duty to oppose. The treaty 649 of Constantinople, called the treaty of Hoonkiar 'Skelessi, was officially possessed by his Majesty's Government, and to the production of that treaty there existed no valid objection. The other treaty mentioned in the motion, namely, the treaty of St. Petersburgh, was not officially possessed by the Government, and of course could not be produced to the House. With respect to the correspondence which the noble Lord called for, namely, that between this country, Russia, and Turkey, relative to those treaties, he certainly must entreat the House not to insist on its production. He was prepared to say, that that correspondence could not be produced without inconvenience to the public service; and he trusted that the House would rest satisfied with that statement, and not press the Government to lay on the Table copies of correspondence, the production of which would, in point of fact, answer no object which the noble Lord could have in view. With regard to the correspondence on the subject of Poland three years ago, which formed the subject of the last part of the noble Lord's motion, the reason why it ought not to be published had been stated to the House on a former occasion, A motion was made for the purpose of urging the Government to protest against the change which, at the period he had alluded to, was made in the Constitution of the kingdom of Poland. The Constitution of Alexander was abolished, and an organic statute substituted by the present Emperor of Russia. On that occasion it was stated, that the British Government had remonstrated against the change, and had expressed an opinion that it was not consistent with the spirit of the treaty of Vienna. He now repeated that declaration. So far, therefore, as the opinion of the British Government, expressed to the Russian Government on the subject, went, his noble Friend had all the advantage of it, but he thought the House would be of opinion that no good could arise from publishing to the world, after an interval of three years, all the correspondence which might have passed between two Governments on a subject respecting which their opinion differed, especially as nothing had recently occurred to make the publication of this correspondence necessary. If a country was going to war, it would then be right to produce every thing to show that the cause 650 was good and the quarrel just; but if the preservation of peace was desirable, it could not be politic to publish to the whole world communications which might expose the existence of conflicting opinions, and would tend to create irritation on both sides, without accomplishing any useful purpose. It was on these grounds that he recommended the House not to concur in that part of the motion which called for the production of those portions of correspondence. Before sitting down, he must inform his noble Friend that he was mistaken in supposing that the treaty of Hoonkiar 'Skelessi had led to any indignity being offered to this country in the person of its Ambassador, or had induced the Government to adopt, with regard to the Ambassador alluded to, any measures inconsistent with the dignity and the honour of the British nation. In the first place, he ought to tell his noble Friend that that treaty, as far as it applied to the passage of the Dardanelles, was at present a dead letter, because by its very terms it was to have no force except in time of war. [Lord Dudley Stuart; Russia is at war with Circassia]. That was not the sort of war contemplated by the treaty, which was therefore a complete dead letter; and the passage of the Dardanelles stood exactly as it would have stood had no such treaty been made. What, then, were the circumstances affecting the passage of the Dardanelles with regard to this country? By very ancient treaties, British ships of commerce had a right to enter all Turkish ports and to navigate all the Turkish seas; but the eleventh article of the treaty of 1809 declared that it was the ancient practice of the Porte not to allow ships of war to pass through the strait of Constantinople and the Dardanelles; and England on her part declared that she respected and acquiesced in that ancient privilege of the Porte. We bad, therefore, no right to send our ships of war through the strait of Constantinople, except with the permission of the Turkish Government; but that permission had been asked and obtained whenever there existed sufficient reason. Now what was the case with respect to Lord Durham? He went in a frigate through the Dardanelles up to Constantinople. But the noble Lord seemed to think that it was a want of dignity on the part of the British Government in not directing Lord Durham to proceed further 651 in the frigate. If any thing could depend upon, the mere fact of a British frigate having gone into the Black Sea, that fact had already happened; the Blonde had entered that Sea and sailed round it. But the fact was, that about the time when Lord Durham sailed from this country, Mr. Ellis also departed on a special embassy to Persia. That Gentleman embarked on board a steam vessel which carried him through the Dardanelles to Trebisond. The vessel then returned to Constantinople, whence it carried Lord Durham to Odessa, being all the time in exactly the same state as when it left the shores of England. It was not heavily armed, because, as it had to carry the baggage of the Ambassador, its large guns would only have been in the way, but it bore his Majesty's pennant; none of the arrangements were of a nature to throw discredit on the flag of England. "When the vessel reached Odessa, it was certainly true, that in consequence of a mistake on the part of the Captain of a Russian man of war, some delay occurred before salutes were exchanged. This arose, however, from mere mistake, for Lord Durham was received by the authorities at Odessa with every mark of distinction, and in the most flattering manner, as the representative of the King of England. His noble Friend was, therefore, mistaken in supposing that the treaty of Hoonkiar 'Skelessi had any influence on the manner in which Lord Durham proceeded to Odessa, or that anything passed inconsistent with the respect due to the flag of England, and to the Ambassador of the British nation. Without entering into the various other topics discussed by his noble Friend—without investigating, like the hon. Members opposite, the question of colonization in India—without being drawn on the present occasion into a defence of the policy adopted by this country with regard to Greece—a policy which he must, however, be permitted to characterise as honourable and advantageous to England—without vindicating the Greeks from the sweeping charge that they were robbers by land and pirates by sea—though he could not help wishing that the hon. Member from whom it proceeded, and who had made the tour of the East, had devoted a little time to study the character and pursuits of the Greek people, he nevertheless could assure the House that the importance of all these 652 subjects was duly appreciated by the Government. He also assured the noble Lord that if they should even find it necessary, for the due maintenance of the interests of the country, to call upon the House to furnish the means of vindicating the national interests and asserting the national honour by a war, Ministers would certainly do so, but they would never make such a call without such good and sufficient ground as would ensure them the confidence and concurrence of Parliament. It was not, however, the wish of the Government to disturb the transactions of peace by spreading abroad menaces of war; and as they did not at present see any reasonable ground why the peace of this country and of Europe should be disturbed, they felt it to be their duty, while they agreed to a part of the present motion, strenuously to oppose the remainder. He entreated the House to leave the Government to manage the affairs which had been intrusted to their hands, resting satisfied that they would not plunge the country unnecessarily into war, that they were determined to preserve peace as long as they could, and that they did not at present see any reason to doubt its continuance.
§ Dr. Bowring
thought that no one could mistake the high and generous sentiments which had given rise to the Motion of the noble Lord, but at the same time be thought the noble Lord himself was mistaken in his views of the extent of the powers of Russia. It was to be regretted that such statements should go forth to the world uncontradicted. It was his (Dr. Bowring's) conviction that the power of Russia had been very much overrated. On paper her armies were doubtless immense, but she had never, even at the time when she struggled for existence, been able to bring more than 300,000 men into the field. The Nobles, too, were beginning to evince a desire for improvement. He felt for the situation of Poland, but would be sorry if the question of Polish independence were to be decided by whether the stipulations of a treaty, in which certain Monarchs bound themselves to maintain a particular constitution in Poland, had been complied with. He thought those rights rested on a much broader basis, and that she must look to the future for her restoration to liberty, when those more extended rights were generally admitted
§ Mr. Robinson
was very much inclined 653 to agree with the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs that very little good was to be gained from re-opening this question between Russia and Poland, as he thought that it would have a tendency very different from that which the noble mover wished. He thought that a protest having been entered by the British Government against the proceedings of Russia with respect to Poland, the former had placed itself in such a situation as would enable it, whenever the occasion should arise, to avail itself of that protest in following it up. He would not enter into the general question, whether the league called the Prussian league was the result of Prussian influence exerted to favour Prussian interests, or whether it was the result of German interference. For his own part he was inclined to think that the noble Lord the Secretary of State was right in assuming that it was a German league; but he thought that the noble Lord was disposed to treat the objects of the league with too much levity. He regarded it as a German transaction: but it ought not to be forgotten that Prussia was enabled by the means of that system to increase the duty on British manufactures, not merely in her own territories, but also in all the other States of Germany, with the exception of Austria. He cordially joined in the hope that peace might not be broken. It was all very well for the hon. Member for Birmingham to talk about the anxiety of the people for war. Such might be the wish of the people of Birmingham, but they, probably, would not like the consequences of war, and would be the first to complain of the increased taxation rendered necessary by the cessation of a state of peace.
§ Mr. Poulett Thomson
merely rose to say a few words relative to the sentiments which his hon. Friend who had just sat down entertained on the subject of the Prussian commercial league. How it had found its way into this debate was a mystery to him. His noble Friend who introduced it had, some how or other, discovered that Russia was at the bottom of it. He had seen that opinion expressed in a remarkably absurd article appended to one of the numbers of the Portfolio, but he did not think that any one who really knew the bearings of the question could possibly conceive that it would be for the interest of Russia, even if she had the power to promote that confe- 654 deracy, which, if it tended to any political results, as he believed it did, went to erect in Germany a power greater than any single state which now existed. The particular statement of the hon. Gentleman to which he wished to allude was, that Prussia had it in her power to raise the duties on our productions not only with in her own dominions, but within those of all the confederate states. Now, with regard to the Prussian dominions, the direct contrary was really the case; and with respect to the other states, she possessed at present no greater power to do so than she had previously had. Formerly Prussia, unfettered by any engagements with her neighbours, had the power of regulating her own tariff as she pleased, and of raising or lowering the duties on foreign produce at will. By uniting in a league with other countries she had abandoned that power, because she could impose no additional tax, except by the common consent of all the parties to the treaty, and therefore, as regarded her, the power she possessed before was taken away, by the necessity of obtaining their concurrence. He believed, indeed, that this necessity of which he spoke was a serious disadvantage attached to the league, because the day might come when many of those countries would find it their interest to diminish, instead of to increase, the duties they now maintained; and it would not be in the power of any particular state hereafter to adopt that course, unless they could first obtain the sanction of the others to it. As the hon. Gentleman had referred to this subject, he would shortly say, that he considered this to be the chief disadvantage which could arise from the league, for he knew that the most unfounded reports had gone abroad, and been industriously circulated, with regard to the effects likely to be produced on our trade by the extension of that league. What was the real state of the case? Why, the Prussian tariff had been generally adopted by ail the states of the Union, and if the different circumstances of the two countries were considered, the Prussian tariff would not be placed in a very unfavourable light when compared with our own. Although it was quite true that, in the arrangements consequent upon its adoption, some states had been under the necessity of raising their scale of duties, there were others which had been obliged to reduce their scale. He 655 believed it would be found that, on a balance, when the average was struck, the duties throughout the whole of Germany had not been materially increased. Then, on the other hand, we had this very great advantage, that, whereas formerly we had to pass through five, ten, or fifteen Custom-houses to penetrate into the heart of Germany, now, when the border was crossed, our commodities circulated freely through all parts of it, and not only the heavy transit duties levied at the various Custom-houses, but the expenses arising from that tedious process, had ceased entirely. He did not say this by way of praising the Prussian system. We had considered that it was likely to be disadvantageous to us, and we had done what we could to oppose it. It had, however, in spite of us, been carried into effect, and he confessed he was not surprised at it, as the Germans were strongly in favour of it. There was nothing so inconvenient to them as that system which had formerly prevailed, when a constant succession of barrier and frontier Custom-houses presented impediments to internal traffic at every step. This he believed to have been one of the great considerations which swayed them in adopting the present system, so conducive to the accomplishment of that object which was dear to them—the generalization of the German people in all their social and moral relations. He must add that, although he had once inclined to a different opinion, and been adverse to the extension of the system, all that he saw of its practical effects had convinced him that his alarms were unfounded. He could refer to the experience of the last year, or of the last two years, to show that in the trade we carried on with the countries that had adopted it, there was an increase instead of a diminution, and that no greater disadvantage need be expected to arise than had formerly existed. His noble Friend had done him the honour to call his attention to what he was pleased to call the little value of our commercial position with respect to Russia. His noble Friend would believe that he should be most ready to attend to it, and that he was most ready to admit with him that the tariff of Russia was founded upon erroneous principles; and, though not intended to be injurious to us, based upon the absurd fiction of converting a great 656 agricultural into a partially manufacturing people. He was well aware that that tariff was not favourable to us, but, at the same time, he must say that even upon that point there was some excuse for Russia. It was not until they had ceased to hope for the admission of their staple products into the United Kingdom, and until we had excluded their corn and timber, that a change prejudicial to our interests had taken place. But, notwithstanding this change, he believed that his noble Friend would find that most of those persons occupied in the commerce and manufactures of this country agreed with him (Mr. Thomson) in the view he took of this question—namely, that the trade with that empire was one which those parties would see disturbed with considerable regret. We drew from it articles essential for carrying on our manufactures, and it took from us in return British produce to a great extent. There was one consideration likewise which he thought would not be lost on his hon. Friend opposite, the Member for Tynemouth—that all the trade of Russia, with scarcely an exception, without any obligation, without any law or treaty binding her to that effect, was carried on in British shipping, to the exclusion of Russian or foreign vessels. When Gentlemen, therefore, spoke so glibly of war, and of the interruption of our commercial relations with Russia, he thought these things ought not to be overlooked. Now, did he urge this consideration as a reason why weightier considerations, involving the interests or the honour of this country, were to be neglected? No such thing. But he did not believe that the course pursued by some hon. Gentlemen, who had spoken in the debate, was likely to lead to the attainment of their end, though it might tend to produce another consequence, which they did not seem to deprecate, but which he should very much regret. He did not think it was by calling the Russians a great many hard names, by abusing their manners or their institutions, that we should be most secure of respect and deference. He did not think such a course suited to the dignity of the British nation. We ought to take our stand on our own honour and our own interests. If we were attacked in the one, or suffered in the other, let us be prepared to defend them; but let us not rush into useless discussion, which would serve only to create angry feeling and engender 657 bitter enmity towards us in the breasts of those with whom we ought to be on friendly terms. By following this rule we should neither betray our honour nor our interests, and when the moment came in which we were called on to act, we should be better prepared to act. He was satisfied that the less minor and petty causes of grievance, were discussed, the less statements injurious to the honour of other countries were indulged in, the better we should be enabled to maintain our high position, and when a struggle arrived, the better able to meet it, and to meet it with dignity and effect.
§ Sir Robert Inglis
was understood to say, that in the principles laid down by the right bon. President of the Board of Trade, he entirely concurred, but he had not expected to hear from that quarter such observations as the last words which fell from him. His right hon. Friend, near whom he sat, had, on the first night of the Session, stated that more than a common sense of interest ought to impel all the countries of Europe to the maintenance of peace—that they ought to be actuated by a common sense of moral obligation to do all in their power to effect a continuance of tranquillity, and he (Sir R. Inglis) felt that there was no man capable of estimating the value of that consideration who would hazard the provocation of war, by the indulgence of language, which, without effecting what we desired with respect to Poland, might tend to irritate Russia. He felt as deeply for the interests of Poland as any man, and while he concurred with the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in the reasons which induced him to with hold his consent to the production of the remonstrances addressed on the part of Poland to the Emperor of Russia, he trusted he should not be asking too much in imploring the noble Lord to lose no opportunity of reiterating those remonstrances whenever he could, not only to Russia, but also to Austria. He implored the noble Lord never to lose sight of the importance of testifying, not by idle demonstrations of war without the intention of carrying them into effect—not by a still idler recourse to bitter language in that House — but by proper and legitimate means—that we, as a nation, felt ourselves bound as far as we could to guarantee Poland that condition to which she was entitled.
§ Sir Edward Codrington
said, he was 658 fully persuaded that if the treaty of London had been carried into execution as it was contemplated, we should have had no war between Turkey and Russia, but Russia would now be in a very different situation. He could refer to a very voluminous book, called "the Greek Papers," from which it appeared that the Emperor of Russia made a proposition to the allies, that measures should be taken to force Turkey, if necessary, to an accession to the treaty, in order to put an end to the differences which prevailed. Had that proposal been carried into effect, he had no doubt that Turkey would have acceded to the treaty, but even if we had gone to the extent of declaring war, in order to force her, she would from that moment have derived much benefit from the settling of the question, and she would now be in a ten times better situation than she was. That proposal was made by Russia, as it appeared to him, in pure sincerity; for he did not see any advantage that could arise to Russia from deception. But even if she had ulterior views and expectations, still if the treaty had been carried into execution, as proposed by the Emperor of Russia, that nation would never have had a justification for making war upon Turkey, and we should never have witnessed the disasters which preceded the treaty of Adrianople and the subsequent treaties. In the first place he should have had to carry the greater part of that treaty into effect, acting as an English officer under the orders of the Secretary of State and the Admiralty. As he should have been in command of the three squadrons, by the proposal of the Emperor of Russia, it was impossible that Russia could have done anything contrary to the interests of England. Whatever might be the ulterior views of Russia, if England would only give her hand at this moment fairly and boldly to Turkey, every advantage would be gained for her and for England, and Russia would be prevented from making any further encroachments. If we should have occasion to meet Russia with respect to any encroachment upon our rights or dignities, -we had only to give the hand to Turkey, and send forth the navy of this country, and we should place Russia in the situation she ought to be in. He wished as much for peace as any man. He sincerely trusted we should be able to avoid war, provided, at the same time, we could avoid it with 659 honour; but let us not be so careless as to injure that arm by which our honour must be preserved. That arm required a little more attention than had latterly been paid to it. Our navy had, from motives of economy, been lowered beyond what was prudent or proper, and he hailed with pleasure the increase which was to take place in it; and he was sure that the cheapest and most honourable way in which the interests of the country could be protected was to have a considerable force ready for any emergency. With respect to the Prussian league, he hoped it was as innocent towards this country as Russia; but he was of opinion that it was a little more injurious to the interests of this country than the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade thought. He saw in it more of policy than of mere commercial regulation. When Prussia had the power to levy taxes on all the other States, he did not see how they could refuse to assist her, if her policy required it. He thought there was more than the joint interests of Russia and Prussia concerned in it. He saw in it the means of augmenting the political interests of Austria. He hoped Austria would form an alliance with us, and enable us to resist the power of Russia, and to promote the mutual advantages of both countries, and he was sure the true way to effect that was by giving the hand to Turkey, for we had more opportunity of carrying into practical effect the reciprocity system with Turkey than with any other nation in Europe or Asia. Let it be recollected that Turkey had no custom-houses—that she levied no taxes upon our goods. Why then should we not adopt the same principle with respect to her, and thus promote our mutual advantage?
§ Viscount Sandon
regretted that the noble Lord had not consented to produce the correspondence relative to the treaty of Hoonkiar Skelessi, because, without that correspondence, the treaty itself could not be understood in all its bearings. To the treaty itself he did not attach much importance, except in so far as it afforded evidence of the growing influence of Russia. If, in the year 1833, the noble Lord had not driven Turkey to rely on the assistance of so near a neighbour and perilous a friend as Russia, that empire would not now have occupied its present commanding position. Russia must always, from the mere circumstance of its proximity, 660 have great influence over Turkey, and this was increased by the experience the latter now had that Russia was the only nation on whose assistance she could rely in time of need. His Majesty's Government did not seem sufficiently to appreciate the dangerous character of Russian influence. They seemed to place a high value on Russian alliance and Russian commerce. Perhaps they had not kept their eyes open to the increasing jealousy of Britain entertained by Russian statesmen. Perhaps they had not observed the tendency of commerce to flow back into some of its old channels, and to leave those which had brought such opulence and power to Britain. Were they aware that great part of the commerce of China and Central Asia was now carried on by means of caravans, which traversed the deserts that separated those vast and wealthy regions from Russia? Were they aware that from this cause the ports of the Black Sea were daily rising into importance, and that Trebisond alone already possessed a trade that amounted to the annual value of 1,500,000l. sterling? Russia had now possessed herself of the very key to that most valuable channel of communication between Asia and Europe supplied by the Euxine; she had, in defiance of treaties, occupied the outlet of the Danube, and actually exacted a toll on all vessels that now passed down that mighty river. Since Austria was at this moment actively engaged in spreading the advantages of steam-navigation on the Danube, and giving life and energy to the immense resources of Hungary, Transylvania, and the wide regions on either side of the Danube, he thought they would not appeal in vain to her native and natural dread of Russian aggrandizement. He entreated Ministers not to shut their eyes to the great importance of the outlet of the Black Sea. He had collected some information relative to the extent of our commerce in that quarter, with which, however, he would not at present trouble the House; but he would call their attention to this fact, that while Russia supplied us with raw produce and refused to take our manufactures in return, and while the shipping employed in our trade with that country had been diminishing for a term of years, the consumption of our manufactured goods by Turkey had been regularly and steadily increasing. He hoped that His Majesty's Government 661 would exercise a more vigilant control over our relations with Russia and Turkey than they hitherto had done. He thought that when the fate of Poland was trembling in the balance, they had not exercised that severe vigilance over the Interests and honour of England which the country had a right to expect at their hands. He was convinced, that Russia would not have proceeded to those measures of extermination which she had adopted with respect to Poland, had his Majesty's Ministers awakened the sleeping jealousy which Austria always entertained of the designs of Russia, and had they, summoned France to aid us in vindicating those treaties to which she was as much a party as ourselves for the maintenance of the independence and integrity of Poland.
§ Mr. Roebuck
did not concur m the opinion which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Birmingham, with respect to the feeling entertained by the people of England as to going to war. He did not agree in the opinions that had been expressed as to the interest which this country had in interfering with the foreign policy of other European nations. He knew the notion that prevailed as to the necessity of preserving the balance of power in Europe, and the duty of this country to interfere for that purpose, but in that political notion he did not by any means concur. He was well aware that this doctrine was not a popular one in that House; but, though it might be new there, it was not new outside of the House, and it was one which he was glad to perceive was very rapidly and extensively gaining ground. In considering the motion before the House, they might be led into a discussion which might, it was said, lead to a war. With respect to what had been said by the noble Lord who had introduced the motion, and by the hon. Member for Birmingham, as to the propriety of denouncing war against Russia, he certainly did not concur; but he equally differed from the moderate and cautious tone which the noble Lord who spoke on the part of his Majesty's Government had adopted, and who seemed to tell them that they should cower before the power of Russia; who would make them believe that they were afraid to talk outright, or to take a bold and fearless part whenever it should be necessary to vindicate the honour, the pride, or the national 662 greatness of England. He did not certainly think that they should threaten Russia with denunciations of war; but he equally repudiated the notion that when they had anything to demand from Russia they should cower down before her. The true policy of England was always openly to avow that she would always be ready and determined to vindicate her interests in any part of the globe, whenever or wherever they were aggressed or encroached on. He trusted that they would never place reliance on any quarter, but that they would always firmly and proudly rely upon their own strength and their own national sense of justice. To act thus, and not to interfere in the policy of other nations, was the course which it was the interest of England to pursue. The doctrine, as he had already said, might be new in that House, but it was not new to the public; and they had a proud confirmation of its truth in the policy pursued by one nation, the most prosperous in the world, and which feared no competitor. Whilst it was the policy of England not to wish for war, it was her pride and her character to dread no enemy. But, suppose they were at war to-morrow with Russia, what would be the result? Why, in one single month, one Russian flag would not be seen to float in any sea in Europe, and in another month they would close up the commercial resources of Russia. Had they not before them the example of what had happened with the Emperor Napoleon? What was it that induced the Emperor of Russia to declare war with the Emperor of the French, and to commit himself against that great genius and all his gigantic powers, but that it was impossible for Russia to do without the trade and the commercial intercourse with England? Napoleon, carrying out the principles of his continental policy, attempted to exclude the trade of England; and the Russian monarch, at the head of the Russian aristocracy, felt that the possession of that trade was vital to the interests of Russia, and this it was that compelled Alexander, and that would and must compel any Czar, to go to war for the protection of this indispensable commercial intercourse. This, then, must be the result of a war between this country and Russia. One month would sweep the seas of every Russian flag, and another month would be sufficient to empty the treasures of the 663 Czar, His Majesty's Government seemed to speak as if they thought that in that British Parliament men should be afraid to speak their opinions touching Russia, lest they might excite the indignation of the Czar. What, were they in that House to fear to say what they thought of the conduct of the Czar towards Poland—to speak what they thought of the monstrous atrocities which, in the name of that Monarch, had been perpetrated upon an unfortunate and gallant people. Was that their sense of national justice and morality which the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, had so properly described as an European feeling to shrink from reprobating the atrocities perpetrated towards Poland? Was he, as an individual, to fear to characterise conduct which justified them in designating the Russian Czar and his horde as a band of barbarians, inflicting vengeance on a gallant and devoted people; but, when he spoke this, was that any evidence of his disposition to go to war? They had a right to express their abhorrence of such conduct; but whilst they did so, it was their duty, as one of the great confederacy of European nations, to take care of their own interests, and let other nations take care of theirs. They had a right to exercise the moral influence of opinion; but it did not follow, as a necessary consequence, that for doing so they were bound to go to war. With regard to a war with Russia, he was not prepared to say what good or what mischief it might produce. With respect to any advantage that might arise to the state of Poland, he would not be led so much away by his feelings as to hesitate to express his opinions that a simple despotism "would be preferable to that military aristocracy which in Poland ground down the people to the most abject state of dependence. With respect to the good that might arise, it was, at best, problematical; with regard to the mischief he was equally doubtful; but one thing was as clear as the sun at noonday, that the necessary consequence of a war with Russia would be to involve Europe in a general war. One of the evil results of a general European war would be to put a stop to that general improvement which was rapidly taking place throughout the different countries of Europe in the habits and manners of the people, and which improvement would be checked and im- 664 peded if anything arose to break up the general intercourse prevailing amongst the several European countries. If that intercourse were put an end to, that improvement, which was its result, would instantly be checked, and each nation would be thrown upon its own resources for improvement in the habits and manners of its people. He considered that a general war would be nothing else than a general calamity. He did not agree in what had been said on this part of the subject by the hon. Member for Birmingham. The true policy for a Government of this country to pursue with respect to foreign countries was to avow its determination, with honest frankness and courage to protect and maintain its own interests; to have no shuffling nor truckling; no protocolising or temporising; but as an English Ministry to avow their determination to consider as paramount to all other considerations the interests of this great country. Russia knew well her own interest. She knew well that it was not her interest to go to war with this country. It. was her interest to throw round this country the net of diplomacy, and he cautioned his Majesty's Ministers not to allow themselves to be so surrounded with the meshes of diplomacy, so that they might too late find themselves unable to retreat with honour. The policy of England was not to trouble herself about the balance of power in Europe—she was as effectually separated from the continent of Europe by the channel that intervened as was the continent of America. During the power and greatness of Napoleon he had never been able to land a single French soldier on the shores of England, whilst this country, on the contrary, had in America, at the distance of 2,000 miles across the Atlantic, not only landed an army there, but absolutely burned down its capital. The naval supremacy of England was indisputable. There was no nation that could compete with her in her empire of the seas but one, and he trusted that the similarity of language, and the sympathies of a common union, would always keep those countries in friendly relation with each other, and enable them to laugh to scorn the combined power of any nations who might be opposed to them. If England preserved, as he trusted she ever would, her naval supremacy, there would be no occasion for vacillating policy on the part of those who told them to be moderate, 665 nor for the enthusiastic policy of those who introduced the present motion, and who, under the pretence of maintaining the commercial intercourse of Great Britain, aimed a wound at Russia on account of the conduct that country had pursued to Poland. He would repeat, in conclusion, what he had insisted on throughout, that the true policy of this country was to see that her own interests were safe, and to endeavour, as far as was consistent with her power and interest, to preserve peace, as the consequence of a war between this country and Russia must be to produce a general conflagration amongst the different States of Europe.
§ Sir Stratford Canning
differed from some of the doctrines which had been propounded, particularly that it was not the interest of this country to interfere to preserve the balance of power in Europe, He thought it would not be safe, at this time of day, to set out upon a new principle, and set aside that policy which had been the policy of this country for the last two centuries. It would have been hardly safe, after the peace of Europe had been broken up by the French Revolution, that we should have abstained from interference in the relations of Europe, and leave those great interests to be settled and determined by nations not always in harmony with each other. It was our duty to interfere. It was our interest to see that the balance of power was preserved. It was necessary that this country should interfere and see that the security of her own interests was preserved, as well, also, as to maintain the interests of those countries who had sided with her in the great struggle which bad taken place. This was his opinion, and he felt quite certain that the opinions of the House would go with him upon that point. At that advanced hour he did not intend to trespass on the attention of the House at any length. What had induced him to rise at all was the reference that had been made to a country with which, in the course of the negotiations that had taken place, he had been connected. He felt the delicacy, in the situation in which he stood, of going into that part of the subject before the House. With respect to what had been said at the other side of the House, he certainly fell much pleasure at hearing that the policy of the Government would be to protect our interests, but, at the same time, as far as possible, to contribute to- 666 wards the maintenance of peace. Peace was at all times desirable, but more particularly so at present, when a great expansion of our commercial intercourse was taking place, and which must of necessity be interrupted by the occurrence of war. The intercourse of the continental nations with this country was rapidly on the increase, and at such a time it was the least desirable that any interruption to the progress of that intercourse should take place, and it was for this reason that he felt gratified at the assurance given by the Government that their policy would still continue to be directed to the maintenance and preservation of peace. One object, to which he contended that they ought to pay particular attention, was the continued maintenance of a friendly connexion with Turkey. The sacrifices which Turkey had been called upon to make within the last few years, out of consideration to out wishes, gave her additional claims upon our consideration and friendship. It seemed to be the impression in the House, that the events of last year, coupled with the recent emancipation of the Greeks, had made a great change in the political position of Turkey. That those events had given great advantages to Russia, no man would be hardy enough to deny; but there were other events which had combined with them to destroy the ancient greatness of Turkey. Its former power and glory depended upon the religious enthusiasm which prevailed among the Turkish soldiery at a period when the military discipline of the warriors of Europe was not great. That religious enthusiasm had evaporated, and history presented no example of any nation which had once lost its military enthusiasm recovering it again. If, then, Turkey had any chance of becoming an element of opposition against the preponderating powers of the autocrat of the North, it must find that chance in the spread of civilisation amongst its population. In this respect he thought that the loss of the Greek provinces might be advantageous to Turkey, and might induce it to redeem the only chance of renewed vigour now left to it. As he had been engaged for many years in negotiations with the Porte, he could not refrain from expressing his gratitude to the noble Lord for the expressions which he had that evening used with regard to Turkey.
§ Mr. Patrick M. Stewart
thought that 667 the great object of England ought to be to take care that Turkey was not left under the domination of Russia. The case of Poland formed a practical lesson with regard to the character of Russian policy; and he thought the noble Lord (Palmerston) was somewhat too confiding in that Power. In 1832, the noble Lord entertained the same opinion with regard to Poland which he had now expressed with regard to Turkey. The noble Lord said, on that occasion, that as to the idea of exterminating a large kingdom, either morally or politically, he had no apprehension that it could be effected. He (Mr. Stewart) would ask the House whether an attempt had not been made to exterminate Poland? He would also refer to what had happened at Warsaw, where a speech had been delivered which made all Europe weep; and he would again ask whether that attempt had not been made? As that speech had not been particularly alluded to, he would not dwell upon it further than to say, that while on the one side it was contended that it was one of calmness and sound policy, on the other it was stated to be the production of madness itself—that the pressure of two crowns on the same head occasioned a pressure on the brain, and that the speech in question originated from madness. The fate of Poland proved that England ought not to disregard the deep-laid duplicity of Russia. He said this in consequence of his being connected with the commercial interest, and saw the danger that would ensue if the Government did not adopt that course, by taking care that Russia did not steal a march upon this country. His opinion with regard to the trade of Turkey was, that it should be unfettered—that it should be thrown open to all nations, and that no duties should be imposed on the commerce between this country and Turkey. What had been the result of a more enlightened policy? Why, in the year 1827 the exports from this country to Turkey amounted to about half a million, whereas last year the amount was about one million three hundred thousand pounds. Be it remembered that even Napoleon, in spite of his celebrated Milan and Berlin decrees, the objects of which were to destroy the commerce of this nation, could do nothing with our ships nor with our colonies (for they had the spirit of the mother country and would not submit); but surely much 668 of our success was owing to the steady alliance of Turkey. He agreed with an hon. Member who had preceded him as to the value of the Russian trade, but he would say with the hon. and learned Member for Liverpool that the balance was not on our side. In Turkey, on the contrary, it appeared that our finest manufactures were received, and every pound of cotton that went there was carried in British bottoms. The Black Sea, indeed, was the part to which we ought to look vigilantly, for if once sealed against us no power could open it to us again. With regard to that sea, Captain Middleton in his celebrated work declared it to be a sea without a hidden danger, but politically it was not so, and that was all he begged to urge upon the noble Lord and upon his Majesty's Government. It mattered not one farthing whether these papers were granted or not; but the House was much indebted to his noble Friend for bringing his motion forward. He would again urge the necessity of increased vigilance.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
said, he rose to endeavour to persuade his noble Friend not to press his motion. In doing this, however, he would observe that no man could doubt for a moment his sincerity, when he declared that under other circumstances, at any sacrifice, he would grant the publication of the correspondence if it would lead to any beneficial result, but the time had gone by when it could be productive of good. With regard to his own opinions, whatever he had uttered in respect to this question, he would not recant one word; his feelings remained unaltered as to the treatment of Poland. With respect to Turkey, he would not admit that this country ought not to interfere except in questions purely British. Would it be said that it was right to stand by and allow one country to take possession of another? But he had sufficient confidence in the prudence, the liberality, and the firmness of his noble Friend to know that, if it became necessary (he hoped it would not), this country would be able to preserve the independence of that country, on which the independence of Europe mainly rested
§ Mr. Ewart
rejoiced that he had that evening heard those principles advocated in a British House of Commons which had been maintained in the United States of America. He regretted, nevertheless, the course which this debate had taken, and the speech of the hon. Member for Birming- 669 ham; but more particularly that of the hon. Member for Southampton, who had said that, instead of attending to questions of foreign policy, that House had devoted itself to paltry amendments in our institutions at home. The solid interest of this country was, he maintained, to preserve peace. He trusted that his Majesty's Government would so far consult the welfare of the country as to bear in mind that the interests of Turkey were identified with our own. The question for this country to weigh was, as the hon. Member for Bath had argued, not one of the balance of power merely. As long as we could maintain peace, he hailed it as the safeguard of improvements—the advancement of the liberal cause throughout the whole world—and the pledge of the advancement of civilisation.
§ Lord Dudley Stuart
replied. It was not his fault if he had been compelled to dilate on the subject which he felt it his duty to bring before the House, for, of course, it extended as Russia herself extended her frontiers. He was not the advocate of war; but it did not therefore follow that he should not be the advocate of precaution. The best way to avert war was to be prepared to meet it. The hon. Member for Bath said, he had no fear of Russia. Neither had he, but still he thought it the best policy not to despise an enemy. He did not think the power of Russia so formidable as that this country should quail before it. If now it assumed a haughty tone he did not fear but we could crush it; but if we permitted it to seize upon the Dardanelles, and to destroy the independence of Turkey, it would then become formidable. Ministers could, if they pleased, in the strength of their power, withhold the documents which he sought for, but he did not think that they could consistently refuse them. When a motion was formerly made for the production of the treaty it was said by the noble Lord that it would not be fair to produce the treaty without the correspondence; but now the treaty was offered, yet the correspondence was refused. This proceeding was very unintelligible, and he hoped the noble Lord would accede to his motion.
§ The question was then put, when it was agreed to furnish the Treaty of Constantinople of July, 1833, but that of St. Petersburgh, of Jan. 1834, as well as the correspondence, were withheld.