§ The dropped Order of the Day for going into a Committee of Supply having been moved,
§ Sir Stratford Canning
rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of the House to the late events at Cracow. It would be in the recollection of the House that, about a fortnight since, he had put a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department on the subject of a rumour which had then, for the first time, gone abroad, of the military occupation of Cracow by the combined forces of Austria, Russia, and Prussia. That which was then a rumour had since taken the shape of notorious and 404 unquestionable fact, founded upon documents which had appeared in the public prints, as to the authenticity of which there was, he believed, no question. Aware as he (Sir S. Canning) was of the great interest taken by many hon. Gentlemen in this subject, he could not but regret the time which had necessarily elapsed before he had found himself able, on the present occasion, to follow up the inquiry he had then made; yet at the same time he was sensible that the delay had been attended by a counterbalancing advantage, for the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs had, in the interval, had an opportunity of receiving communications from his Majesty's representatives abroad, of communicating with the ambassadors of Foreign Powers, and of taking the opinion of the law officers of the Crown on any parts of the question which might present doubtful points to his mind. It was with confidence that he now reckoned on finding the noble Lord prepared to enter completely and fully into the question, and to go at once into the real nature and merits of the case. The main object of the observations which he should have to submit to the House would be to show that the free and in dependent State of Cracow, forming an integral part of the great community of Europe, had been made the subject of military occupation—an occupation attended by circumstances calculated to arouse suspicion and to challenge inquiry. Yet, at the same time, he would not take upon himself to say, that the noble Lord might not be able to give a satisfactory explanation of the circumstances, and to show ultimately that nothing had taken place that was contrary to the law of nations and the solemn obligations of treaties. Judging, however, from the present aspect of the case, he felt himself justified in saying that the circumstances were such, at least, as to call for attention and explanation. Still nothing would give him greater satisfaction than to find, however the situation of the individuals who had been made the subject of the proceedings to which his motion referred might be deplored by that House, that our allies in the north had not overstepped the limits of a just and necessary duty. For the better elucidation of his object he would refer to certain debouchments explanatory of the actual state of: the military occupation of Cracow, which, although derived from the public prints, were nevertheless authentic. The first of these documents was a joint note, addressed, 405 on the 9th of last month, to the President of Cracow, by the respective Representatives of Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The note declared that "the protecting Powers call on the Government of Cracow to remove from its territory, within eight days, all the Polish fugitives now there;" and also "to send away, within the same term, the subjects of other Powers, residing in Cracow, who are pointed out by the protecting powers as dangerous." With respect to the fugitives, it added, that "such as can prove that one of the Governments is willing to receive them will be supplied with the necessary means of repairing to their destination, and that the others"—what did the House imagine?—will be sent—(transported would, perhaps, be the proper word for it)—to America," a compliment for which the Republicans of the new world would, no doubt, be duly thankful to the Emperor Nicholas. The President of Cracow was then apprised that "the three protecting Powers had thought proper to cause troops to advance to the frontier of the territory;" and his Excellency was told to apply to their residents in case he should want an armed force to carry their demands into execution. The note closed with the following sentences:So long as the present state of things continues, every subject of the free city of Cracow who intends to pass the frontiers of one of the three neighbouring States cannot be admitted without a regular passport, signed by the respective residents. The three protecting powers flatter themselves that the required clearing of the territory of Cracow will, in consequence of the facilities offered to the Government of the republic, be effected without further difficulty. Should they, however, be disappointed on this subject, and should the period above fixed, pass over without the complete execution of the measures in question, the three Courts will feel themselves bound to effect, by their own means, what the Government of Cracow may have wanted the inclination or the power to carry into execution,The next document to which he would invite the attention of the House was the Senate's answer to the note which he had just quoted. The Senate, of course, stated that, in compliance with the wishes of the protecting powers, it had issued a proclamation, ordering all Polish strangers, both of the ex-military and civil departments, who had contributed in any manner to the last Polish revolution, to submit within two days to the dispositions announced by the three residents. The Senate went on to say, that "the Government would omit 406 no means in its power effectually to accomplish that supreme will;" and then to entreat the residents "to take into consideration the shortness of the period fixed for the evacuation of the territory," alleging that many individuals might not have had time to settle their affairs after a residence of five years in the town; and of those individuals it would appear that some had married into families of the place, and others had either acquired property, or were at the head of manufactories there. Notwithstanding, however, the compliance expressed in the note which he had here read with the demands of the three Powers, and the humble intreaty that some consideration would be afforded to those situated as described, no additional term had been granted; but ON the eighth day the troops had advanced beyond the frontier, and had taken possession of the capital. The troops which had taken possession of the capital were Austrian, but they had been followed by two bodies, one of Prussian troops, and the other of Cossacks. The third document to which he would refer was the proclamation issued by the Austrian-general, Kanfmann, who commanded the occupying force, in the name of those protecting Powers, immediately on his arrival at Cracow, the 17th of February. The proclamation closed with these words:—As soon as the measures which the care of the august protectors of the republic has caused to be adopted in its behalf shall have been executed—as soon as the town and territory of Cracow shall be freed from the dangerous men that have assembled in it, and tranquillity and order shall have been re-established—the present occupation will have attained its object, and the troops under my command shall leave the territory of the republic. The administrative and judicial authorities of the republic shall suffer no interruption in the exercise of their functions. It is, however, understood, that, in so much as relates to the measures necessary for the public security, and the expulsion from the territory of Cracow of the refugees? that have intruded into it, they shall act under the military authority with which the high protecting powers have especially invested me during the present circumstances.He would next refer to some circumstances which had occurred subsequent to the occupation of Cracow, which would be found to be somewhat at variance with the tone of the proclamation issued by General Kaufmann. Those circumstances were in substance as follows:—That the militia had been dis. armed, with a view to its being disbanded; 407 that about 400 individuals — and the number was on the increase—liad been given up to the Austrians; that securities for future good behaviour bad been required of the Magistrates; that the President Wicloglowsky had resigned; that his place had been supplied, ad interim,by a grocer, who owed his elevation to the direct appointment of the Foreign Powers or their representatives. Now, the real position of Cracow as a free and independent state—an independence guaranteed by the great contracting powers of Europe—must not be lost sight of by the House. He need hardly remind hon. Gentlemen that this State was one of the smallest in Europe, with a population which did not exceed 120,000 or 130,000, and with a territory which was proportion ably small; nor, need he remind them that it was not the smallness of territory that affected the question, which was one of principle. Cracow, in fact, owed its existence entirely to treaty. Surrounded as it was, and had been, by the three great military Powers of the North, it could not have been established at all in independence had not the European Powers concurred in the desire to preserve it as a vestige of the existence and constitution of ancient Poland, and thus to do all they could towards repairing what had been done. The House would better understand the political position of Cracow, and how the independence of the State was secured, if he were to refer to those parts of the Treaty of Vienna on which it depended. The right hon. Gentleman read, from the additional treaty relative to Cracow, concluded on the 21st of April, 1815:—At. 1. The city of Cracow, and its territory, shall be considered in perpetuity as free, independent, and strictly neutral, under the protection of the three high contracting powers.This he (Sir Stratford Canning,) read to show the extreme delicacy and caution which animated the sentiments of the contracting Powers at the time when they were still under the influence of those disastrous events that had given a lesson to Europe, which subsequent years of prosperity would seem to have thrown into the back ground. The 6th Article of the treaty was as follows:Art. 6. The three Courts bind themselves to respect, or cause to be respected, at all times, the neutrality of the free town of Cracow, and of its territory, No armed force, 408 under any pretence whatsoever, is to be introduced there.When he (Sir Stratford Canning) asked the question of the noble Lord opposite, a few days back, he had only quoted one part of this article; and he did so because, circumstanced as he then was, he had felt himself bound to trespass as shortly as possible on the House, and to state the points of his question in the fewest words, well knowing that every one would have an opportunity of referring to the article and seeing the remainder. He would now read the rest. It went on to say:—On the other hand it is understood and expressly stipulated that no asylum or protection shall be given in the free town of Cracow to any deserters or prosecuted individuals belonging to the countries of any one of the three powers; and that such individuals, on the application for their extradition, made by competent authorities, will be arrested without delay, and delivered under a strong escort to the guard appointed to receive them on the frontiers.This was in all probability the passage on which the Northern Powers proposed to defend the step they had taken. But the treaty not only provided for the maintenance of the neutrality and external relations of Cracow; it also went on to provide for its internal government—indeed, the whole provision was made the subject of a separate treaty affixed to the general treaty, and which was the evidence that the independence of Cracow had been placed under the strongest guarantee that the morality and civilization of Europe could afford. The next article in the treaty began with these words:—The three Courts having approved of the Constitution by which the free town of Cracow and its territory is to be governed, and which is annexed as an integral part to the present articles, take that Constitution under their common guarantee.In the same manner the treaty went on to show that the protection of the contracting powers at the Congress of Vienna was extended to the establishment of a liberal education for the inhabitants of Cracow, of an University—and he merely referred to these latter points to show with what an almost parental care they provided for the maintenance of the political independence of Cracow. Were he not anxious to avoid mixing up the present question with the more extended one of Poland, he would have referred to those parts of the treaty which showed the spirit in which it had been conducted, and the manner in which 409 it had been intended to participate in the remains of national individuality which it was then desired to preserve for Poland. It had been found that, without endangering the peace of Europe, the kingdom of Poland could not be re-established, and therefore it was, that Cracow was rendered by the treaty of Vienna a sort of independent nation, and allowed to possess certain commercial advantages which had previously been engrossed by the country of which, it had once formed a part. The independence of Cracow, then, was a matter of grave importance, and that fact was fully established by the circumstance of all the powers who were parties to the treaty of Vienna having entered into the more enlightened views which the Government of this country had taken upon the subject. By the treaty of Vienna provision was accordingly made for insuring to the inhabitants of Cracow all the commercial advantages resulting from the ancient partition of Poland, in 1772, and therefore it was, that he had felt it to be his duty to bring the subject under the consideration of the House, in the full persuasion that a case of suspicion had been made out which called for inquiry. It was perfectly true that Cracow was a small State, but it was equally certain that every power in Europe, especially Great Britain, should take a lively interest in that State. Now what was the position of Cracow? It was infinitely smaller on the map of Europe than an English county, and surrounded on all sides by the territories of the three great military Powers of the North. In the institutions of Cracow were to be found the germs of freedom and independence, while despotism reigned in the nations that surrounded it. It was consequently impossible to look at Cracow in contrast with the countries by which it was on all sides surrounded, without being struck with the difference which existed between free and despotic institutions. He had himself marked the difference; but then, as this country was a party to the Treaty of Vienna, it was bound to interfere under circumstances which were not only not common, but most extraordinary, so far as seeing that the provisions of that treaty were fully and fairly performed by the great Powers of the North. England had a right to demand that the Treaty of Vienna should not be violated, that the balance of power in Europe should be maintained; for although this country had risen over the strength of France, it was 410 not impossible that the liberties of Europe might be threatened with danger from another quarter. This was an apprehension which had evidently rested on the minds of the different Governments of Europe, and the consequence was, that they had always regarded the proceedings of the great Northern Powers with minute attention. That being the case, it behaved the Government of this country not to lose sight of the principles on which Great Britain had ever acted, or to suffer her interests to be affected by an act of negligence. They should recollect, that sooner or later, this country might be brought into collision with Russia, and therefore it was important for them not to forget that a great deal depended on preserving the rights and independence of the minor States, even though their weight might be but trifling in the general scale of nations. The due preservation of the balance of power clearly should not be lost sight of, because they all were aware that every decree issued by Russia was to gain additional force. Although he said this, it was by no means his wish to speak disrespectfully of that Power; but he could not at the same time help asking what either Sweden or Denmark would say if the transactions at Cracow, small a state as it was, were to be allowed to pass unnoticed? By such a course, would they not be laying the foundation for fresh combinations among the Northern Powers? He said this in a spirit of peace. It was, however, only by attention that they would be able to despise those great Powers, and prevent them from trespassing on the rights of other nations. Whatever might be the consciousness which the Northern Powers possessed of their own strength, this country had nothing to fear from them; but still it was by sedulously preserving the barriers by which the balance of power was maintained—imperfect as no doubt they were—that the liberties of Europe could be upheld. The inhabitants of the north had ever manifested a desire to seek a more genial climate. Their attention had been in the early ages directed to what they considered "the promised land" in the south, and it was only natural to suppose, that the spirit by which the barbarians of former times were actuated still existed in the breasts of the inhabitants of the north. It was impossible that the man who was at the head of forty millions of people should not sympathise in the feelings of his subjects, and be anxious to fulfill their wishes in obtaining for them a more 411 desirable position and a better climate. This single consideration rendered the question respecting the independence of Cracow an important one, especially as it was a place which had been snatched from the ruins of Poland, and was surrounded by despotic powers, whose views with regard to it might justify something like suspicion. Cracow had been placed on much the same footing in point of substance as Poland; and it was impossible for an Englishman, accustomed to witness free institutions in his own country, not to think that the subjects of the despotic powers of the north must naturally wish to have such institutions as existed in Cracow extended to them. This fact might induce the Governments of those Powers to form particular views with reference to this little State. While he stated the case against them, he deemed it only an act of justice to refer to the grounds on which the Northern Powers rested their defence in thus interfering with the rights and privileges of Cracow. By the general law of nations, he thought that there could be little doubt that if the State of Cracow had not permitted persons residing within it to engage in conspiracies against the neighbouring Powers such an interference on their part could not be justified. It was clear that these Powers had no right to take the step they had taken, unless for the prevention of danger to themselves; and it was equally certain that had the same course been adopted towards any other nation a war must inevitably have ensued. The principle, therefore, which applied to other nations should he extended to the case of Cracow. At all events, even if there had been grounds for apprehension on the part of the Northern Powers there was no occasion for the course which they had taken. They might have adopted a more gradual proceeding; but he hoped the noble Lord opposite had received such information as would enable him to give the House and the Country a satisfactory explanation on the subject. Now, from what he collected from the document to which he referred, and the ninth article of the treaty, he was satisfied that the three Northern Powers were not justified in the steps which they had taken, unless, indeed, it could be shown, that there was something in the back ground of which the British parliament had not as yet heard. Under the Clause of the ninth article to which he referred, Cracow was bound to deliver up all deserters belonging to the other Powers; but the question was, 412 could that stipulation be enforced, without the sanction of the other parties to the treaty, by a military force. The first article of the additional treaty, it appeared to him, guaranteed the freedom and independence of Cracow, and so did the second article, with the single exception to which he had alluded. It would seem to him, therefore, that the safety of this little State had been sufficiently provided for, because it was declared, "that no armed force should enter it on any pretence." There were reasons, however, why the freedom and independence enjoyed by this little State should not be agreeable to the Powers by which it was surrounded, because its institutions were so totally at variance with theirs. It was alleged that the coercion which had been resorted to was occasioned by the disorders which prevailed in Cracow. Such a charge they all knew could be easily made, to justify the proceedings of the three powers; but the point they had to consider was, whether or not the terms of the treaty had been violated, or the rights of nations in vided. With respect to the extent of the disturbances on which the interference of the three Powers was founded, he would read to the House an extract from a communication which he had received on the subject. It was as follows:—Cracow, Jan. 23,1836.The Cracow Gazette declares that there is no truth in the Report given in some journals of disturbances having taken place at Cracow, which even required the interference of the military. It says, that on the 18th there was divine service in the cathedral in honour of the Saint's Day of the Emperor Nicholas, the august protector of our country, performed by the Rev. Mr. Weelvrynski, canon of the cathedral, in the presence of the authorities and of a great concourse of people. There was no tumult or disorder of any kind, nor was there any expression of disrespect to the Emperor—a thing which would not have been tolerated by the people of Cracow, who are too grateful to their august protector, and too full of respect for the law, to be guilty of such conduct. In the evening, the windows of a house were broken by a person, not a citizen of Cracow, who was arrested, and who will be duly punished for his offence.It was not his intention to say, that the Powers got up the disturbances to serve their own purposes, but he did think a case of suspicion existed which called for inquiry. They could not possibly forget the sufferings and misfortunes of Poland for so many years. That kingdom, which once occupied so proud a position amongst the nations of Europe, had not only been deprived of its 413 existence but even of its language. Its very tongue had been silenced; deprived of her ancient liberties, degraded and stripped of her rights, she reminded him of the mutilated body of the Trojan warrior——lacerum crudeliter ora, "Ora,manusque ambas populataque tempora raptisAuribus, et truncas, inhonesto vulnere nares.He was anxious to put the House fully in possession of the injustice of the case. In the course of his reading he had recently met with a volume containing an account of the former interference of Russia with respect to Poland, and he wished to be allowed to refresh the memory of the House on this subject, for though it did not strictly bear upon the case of Cracow, yet he wished to remind them of the means used with respect to that country in former times for the purpose of illustrating the intentions of the three great Powers of the north with respect to Poland. The extracts he would read, would show that the motives alleged for interference in both cases were much the same. The first extract he would read was the "Manifesto of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, to the Court of Warsaw, 18th and 26th of September, 1772."
The right hon. Gentleman read as follows:Unhappily, in the midst of these promising appearances, the spirit of discord seized upon one part of the nation: citizen armed against citizen; the sons of faction seized the reins of authority; and laws, and order, and public safety, and justice, and police, and commerce, and agriculture, all are either gone to ruin, or stand on the brink of destruction.The connexions between nations, which border on each other, are so intimate that the subjects of the neighbouring powers have already felt the most disagreeable effects from these disorders. These powers are obliged, at a great expense, to take measures of precaution, in order to secure the tranquillity of their own frontiers.Their said Majesties have determined, without loss of time, and with one accord, to take the most effectual and the best combined measures in order to re-establish tranquillity and good order in Poland, to stop the present troubles, and to put the ancient Constitution of that kingdom, and the liberties of the people, on a sure and solid foundation.Poland was then dismembered in the name of Order and Liberty just as Cracow was now occupied. The next document in succession was, "Declaration of the Russian Ambassador at Warsaw—Bulgakoff, May 18, 1792," it was as follows:— 414The Empress has ordered part of her troops to enter the territory of the Republic. They show themselves there as friends, cooperating in the re-establishment of the rights and prerogatives of the Republic.Finally there appeared, as the consummation of this nefarious transaction, this Manifesto on the part of the Empress of Russia, relative to the affairs of Poland. It was dated, June 18, 1795.I, Timothy Tutolmein, Lieutenant-general &c, in executing the supreme will of my Most Gracious Sovereign, the Empress of all the Russias, make known to all whom it may concern, that Her Imperial Majesty, having repressed the troubles generally prevailing in the provinces occupied by her troops, means to incorporate with her own estates, for ever, the provinces adjoining to the governments committed to my care.He hoped that there were no grounds at present to renew their suspicions; but these extracts which he referred to showed the intentions of those Powers with respect to Poland. He had no notion of referring to these circumstances further than to show the dispositions they discovered, and in order that the admonitions of history might not be lost with respect to the present interference of the three Northern Powers. Now, supposing that those three allied Powers had a right to demand that certain persons should be sent away, had they any right to go to the extent that they did? Four hundred persons had been sent out of Cracow into the Austrian territory, and given up. Many of these persons were husbands and fathers of families. Many of them had realised fortunes, and were the heads of large establishments, and were, consequently, persons who would have little interest in disturbing the tranquillity of the country. Was it to be supposed that all these were deserters, fugitives, disturbers of the public peace, and dangerous persons? A great many of them had married in Cracow, Even if they had shown a disposition to riot, was it to be credited that men connected with the place by such ties were unable to give security for their future good conduct? They did not demand the expulsion merely of persons of the description that was provided for in the article of the Treaty of Vienna, but they demanded the expulsion of persons whom they described as refractory subjects. The House must not think that, in considering this subject, they were discussing a question totally foreign to England, and only concerning a distant country, for amongst 415 the other inhabitants of Cracow whose expulsion had been demanded on the ground of being refractory subjects, there might, by possibility, be some of our own countrymen. Some of these men were to be sent away to America; and it was impossible to resist the supposition that, amongst the persons so sent away, there might be some of our own countrymen who looked to their own Government for protection. That the Powers who were parties to the Treaty of Vienna had a right to demand the surrender of persons described in an article of that treaty he did not mean to deny; but that article did not justify the present proceedings at Cracow which were, he was fully convinced, a violation of that treaty. The occupation of Cracow by foreign troops, so far as the circumstances of the case were known, appeared contrary to the spirit and letter of the Treaty of Vienna, and bore the character of an infraction of that Treaty. If any circumstances were known to the Government which altered the character of those proceedings, he should be happy to hear them explained. He was at a loss to know why there should have been such celerity of execution, unless the whole plan had been predetermined and preconcerted. Had the three Powers any reason to believe that the persons who were demanded would not be given up? He knew, that so long ago as 1833 an engagement was entered into for the military occupation of Cracow. In this instance there was nothing to justify the haste with which this proceeding had been carried forward. There was no excessive danger to alarm. He had been unable to learn that any communication from these Powers had been made here or elsewhere upon the subject. He thought that this proceeding gave evidence of their intention to produce a systematic change in that country. The constitution and independence of Cracow had been placed under the especial protection of the Treaty of Vienna. By that treaty nearly all those places that we had conquered during the war were given up, for the sake of promoting the general tranquillity and preserving the balance of power in Europe. If this Government, having been a party to this treaty, had acted so, would it have been tolerated that such a step should have been taken without any communication having been made to the other Powers who were parties to this treaty? Under any circumstances the danger could not have been so pressing as not to have afforded sufficient time for communi- 416 cating with the other Powers who were parties to the Treaty of Vienna. The right lion. Gentleman proceeded to contend that three great Powers could have nothing to apprehend from a small State, whose territory did not exceed 500 square miles, with a population of 130,000 persons. He thought it right that those Powers who had taken upon themselves to commit this infraction of the Treaty of Vienna, should be told that they could not do so without exciting the attention of the other Powers of Europe. Nothing was further from his intention than to take any course, with reference to this subject, calculated to embarrass his Majesty's Government. But he thought it of great importance that the attention of his Majesty's Government, and of that House, should be called to the question. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by stating, that he would now leave the question in the hands of his Majesty's Government. He hoped they would be able to give such an explanation as would be satisfactory to the House and to the country. He hoped that they would be able to say that these proceedings had been exaggerated. It was not his intention to conclude with any motion on the subject. He would content himself, for the present, with placing the question in the hands of his Majesty's Government, reserving to himself the right of hereafter putting his motion, should he find it necessary to do so.
§ Viscount Palmerston
did not think his right hon. Friend required any apology for having introduced this subject to the notice of the House; it had already excited much public attention, and it was perfectly natural that the House of Commons should take it into their most anxious consideration. The state of Cracow had been created and established by a treaty to which England was a party; any apparent violation, therefore, of the independence of that state, or any apparent departure from the treaty by which it had been established, deserved, and necessarily called for, the attentive consideration of that House. Government, as yet, had not received any official communication from the three Powers, either as to the causes of the military occupation, or as to the fact of its having taken place; he was indebted for all he knew of the circumstances to our Ministers abroad, to whom he had written for information on the subject, and the notices which had appeared of the proceedings in the different journals of Europe. When, therefore, his right hon. Friend called on 417 him to state the view which Government took of the question, according to the information which they at present possessed, he was sure the House would see, that standing there as a Minister of the Crown, under such circumstances, he must feel under considerable difficulties as to the extent of information or positive opinion which it was in his power to communicate. If he had been furnished officially with that statement which the three Powers chose to put forth, as to their motives for the course which had been adopted, he should have been enabled to submit the explanation thereby afforded to the House, and also to state the opinion which the English Government entertained as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the case made out. It was quite true, as his right hon. Friend had stated, that the Treaty of Vienna stipulated that on no pretence whatever should foreign troops enter the state of Cracow. The treaty contained, undoubtedly, a reciprocal condition on the part of Cracow, that it should not harbor persons of whom a description was given in the treaty, and that Cracow should, on demand, give up those persons to either of the three Powers whose subjects they might happen to be. Now, it was on that article of the treaty that the residents, in their note to the President of the Senate of Cracow, founded their demand for the expulsion of the Polish refugees. Undoubtedly that appeared contrary to the letter of the treaty, for the residents did not require that the persons referred to should be given up to the Powers to which they might belong, but that they should be, within eight days, removed from the territory of Cracow. At the same time, if the statement were true which had been given out, not in the official note, but in other quarters, as a justification of this measure, it might be considered as falling perhaps within the spirit of the treaty. It was alleged, that a number of persons, natives of Poland, assembled in the state of Cracow, and, inspired by feelings, which, in their peculiar circumstances, were any thing but unnatural, had established a communication with the inhabitants of some of the Polish provinces of Russia and other powers, of a character seriously to threaten and disturb the tranquillity of neighbouring states. If a state were bound not to harbour persons who violated the laws of neighbouring states, à fortiori the obligation existed not to harbour persons who avail themselves of their asylum to foment political disturbances in other 418 countries. But although the three Powers might have been justified in requiring the state of "Cracow to call on such persons to depart, it did by no means follow that they were justified in going the length of military occupation in consequence of the temporary delay which might have preceded their departure. He was bound to say, that as yet no sufficient reason had been given either for the entrance of those troops, or the shortness of interval which had been allowed between the demands made and the entrance which had been affected. He should, therefore, say, although it might be difficult to deny the right of the three Powers, under the circumstances assumed, to require the removal from Cracow of persons who had been really engaged in the alleged correspondence, yet the demand made far exceeded any apparent ground of necessity; and that to require, in such sweeping terms, the expulsion of so many individuals, great numbers of whom were known to have settled in the place, contracted marriages, acquired property, and entered into the service of the state, was far beyond what could possibly have been necessary for the safety of the adjoining states. At the same time, it was only due to those Powers to say, that the first sweeping demand was afterwards considerably mitigated by a second communication to the Senate of Cracow. Under the Treaty of Vienna, he thought the three Powers might have had ground for requiring that certain persons, if they named them, and stated the grounds of their application, should be sent out of that state. But even if no treaty existed at all — if Cracow had stood on the ordinary international law of Europe, if one power could state on good grounds to another that, within its territory, persons were employed exciting disturbances among the inhabitants of its neighbour, it was the duty of the former, on the ground of good neighborhood, to prevent an asylum being given to "such disturbers of the peace. Still, he was far from going the length of saying that the refusal of Cracow to comply with such a request was or could be a sufficient justification for the violent measures which had been taken in order to carry the demand into execution. One thing, at all events, was quite clear— all friendly means should have been exhausted before such extreme measures had been resorted to. If such representations had failed, and if the three Powers could not obtain what they thought necessary for their own safety 419 there were other measures obviously applicable for the purpose of obtaining compliance much short of that violent military occupation which they carried into effect. He did not stand there to advocate the course which had been adopted; but he stated circumstances which, though they d not justify, might afford some excuse for the demand, if it had been made in a more limited form, and to a less extent. But under any circumstances, and seeing that Great Britain had been a party to the Treaty of Vienna, it was the duty of those Powers, when they made the demand, and before they had recourse to occupation, to have communicated to the Government of tin's country the grounds on which they thought themselves entitled to act, and the intentions they were about to put into execution. He would however acknowledge, that if the three Powers had determined to do that which was a measure of unnecessary violence, he was inclined to regard the circumstance of their not communicating it as an act of involuntary homage tacitly paid to the justice and plain-dealing of this country; for the three Powers well knew that if their intention had been communicated, the answer which would have been made would have had the effect of endeavouring to dissuade them from the measures they intended to carry into effect. He believed there was a convention made, not as his right hon. Friend supposed in 1833, but in the beginning of the present year, regulating the course which was to be pursued. With regard to the mode of executing it, however, after what had passed between Russia and Poland, he could not but regard the selection of Austrian rather than Russian troops, for the purpose of occupation, as a measure of good feeling and kindly discretion on the part of the three Powers. He had already slated, that no official communication had been made to this country; but, as soon as it was known that measures were in contemplation with regard to Cracow, he had felt it his duty to write to our Ministers abroad, in order to obtain information. It was only within a very few days that answers had been received, and therefore Government had not been able, up to the present moment, to take any step on the subject. Under these circumstances, he did not feel himself called on to say more at present; he did not complain of the subject being brought before the House; it was quite natural and proper for his right hon. Friend, who had acted so distinguished and successful a part in the diplomatic transact- 420 tions of Europe, to take up so important a matter. He said important, for it was not by the extent of a country that they were to measure the importance of preserving its independence; the principle was the same in the case of the smallest as in that of the greatest Power, the same in the case of Cracow as it would be in that of Prussia. If the states of Europe were as wise as he believed them to be—if they were provident for the future—regardful of those principles on which their interests depended, they must feel, that it is only by respecting the independence of small Powers, the powerful could hope for their own permanent security; and the more they respected with regard to the smaller states, the engagements they had made, the treaties they had contracted, and the independence they themselves created, the more would they be entitled, if their own security were menaced, to call for, the co-operation of those other states who were parties with them to that settlement in which they had so great an interest.
§ Sir Harry Verney
said, that no circumstance had excited his commiseration so much as the fall of that noble people, who had made, he trusted, not their last struggle for their independence. He called on the Government to secure the friendship of those nations which surrounded Russia; he called on them to secure the interest of Turkey, Persia, and Carcasses; he called on them to obtain permission of the Turkish Government to send a fleet to the Black Sea. Russia had acquired influence in all the nations surrounding her, and it was the duty of this country to seek to obtain the confidence of the Powers threatened with Russian aggression. He hoped there would be such an expression of feeling by the House that night, as would inform Russia that she must despair of obtaining the sympathy of any party.
§ Viscount Sandon
ventured to hope, that, from the expression of feeling which had been made in that House, Russia would find that she could hope for no sympathy from either side of the House of Commons in respect to her aggressive policy. He cordially participated and concurred in almost everything which had been stated by his noble Friend opposite (Lord Palmerston). Perhaps, under the law of nations, strictly speaking, no Power or State had i the right to harbour those persons who might fairly be considered parties who were likely to endanger the peace of the neighbouring countries; and so it would be in this ease, if the three Powers could 421 Prove that the parties were dangerous to, their peace. The noble Lord complained that in Cracow there was no distinctly avowed political agent or officer there, and expressed his belief, that if that Republic had not been left without an agent, this military occupation could not have taken place—an occupation which, he trusted, would not last long—and, further, that the nations of Europe would not recognize the principle upon which that occupation had been carried into effect.
said the matter lay in the narrowest compass. The State of Cracow had not violated the treaty in any part; but the three protecting Powers —the three plundering Powers, as he should call them—had been guilty of the grossest, most undisguised, and unmitigated violations of treaty. In their note itself they did not pretend that this act came with in the terms of the treaty, and yet they marched their troops into the neutral territory that ought to hare been protected by the guarantee of France and England, and thereby committed what, on a small scale would have been a felony, and what in the circumstances amounted to land piracy. It was said, that Austrians being sent to occupy Cracow, instead of Russians, greatly mitigated the evil. It was a mitigation only of that kind which had been dealt out to the Spanish nobleman, who, being sentenced to be executed, pleaded the rights of nobility as an exemption from that punishment, and a silken rope was handed to him instead of a hempen halter. Would any one assert that the Queen of Spain would have a right of war against Great Britain, because there were Carlists in that House ready to make arrangements to support Don Carlos? Certainly not; and yet that was the sort of pretext on which these crowned robbers had marched their troops into the Republic of Cracow, in violation of its neutrality and independence. Their only plea was their will — their only justification was their strength. They seemed to have forgotten that we were parties to the Treaty of Vienna, and, in their for gleefulness, they treated not only this country, but France also, with the grossest contempt and contumely. It was a mistake to suppose that the people of England did not feel strongly on behalf of Poland. That feeling was working its way rapidly in every country in Europe, and these despots would soon be made to know what they did not appear to know at present— he meant the effect of their being so glaringly in the wrong in 422 their oppression of Poland. The moral effect of their atrocious tyranny was working its way from town to town, from city to city, and would speedily teach Russia, that though she had arms of steel and a front of brass, her feet were of clay, and unable to support the cumbrous and unwieldy frame which she had placed upon them. With regard to Poland, the violation of the Treaty of Vienna was as glaring and flagrant a violation of good faith as had ever yet been recorded in the pages of history. Poland had been the general spoil of Europe since 1771; but the day of redress and retribution would come. The feeling in favour of the Poles had been checked by an erroneous opinion, that if Poland were restored the old system of villain age would again be established. This was quite a mistake. That system had been abolished 'since 1791, and had never been re-established, except in the portions appertaining to Russia. In 1817, the Code Napoleon had been introduced, and vassalage had not been re-established. It was high time for both the Legislature and the Ministry to assume a firm attitude, and speak with a loud and determined tone on the subject of Poland. Russia would not be at rest. With the loss of motion she would lose her momentum. She was a barbarous nation, made up of a half-civilized population, and demi-barbarised and courtly slaves, who bowed down at the beck of a despot. Ministers must now speak out, or they next would hear of the seizure of the Bosphorus and Constantinople. It was time to do justice— not only to Poland but to Sweden; and unless it were speedily accomplished, Europe must be plunged in war. It was time, too, to make inquiries after the Russian-Dutch loan. But how was the crime against the inhabitants of Cracow made out? If there were traitors in Russia corresponding with Cracow, why were they not tried and punished? No charge had been made, except that of the wolf against the lamb— the vulture against the chicken— and on such trumpery grounds, on a mere assertion, without the slightest proof, 400 persons had been sent from their homes, from their country, and from their families. Should such things be, and no indignant cry be raised against the monsters who caused them?
§ Sir Robert Inglis
was understood to say that the power of public opinion would exercise its influence to check such proceedings. The wrong committed against Cracow had stricken terror into the north- 423 ern States of Europe. One Sovereign, Hot of the highest class, and whose name he would not then mention, when informed of the circumstances, said, "They have begun with the free cities, and will go on to us." He did not agree that this country should follow the conduct of France with respect to Poland. If England interfered, she should interfere effectually, or not at all. The addresses got up in this country rather injured the Poles than served them, as they were calculated to raise delusive hopes. Such encouragement could be of no use unless they could come forward with a vote of 10,000,000l. or 20,000,000l., to which he would give his hearty assent, to give effect to these resolutions.
§ Mr. Hume
observed, that England was undoubtedly bound by treaties; but if any thing could show the absurdity of such treaties, it certainly was the mode in which the treaty to which reference had been made, was violated. Let them remember that the Treaty of Frankfort had been violated in the same gross manner. But the noble Lord would, it appeared, allow the Treaty of Vienna to be violated in the same manner that the Treaty of Frankfort had been. The noble Lord, however, was waiting for information. Of what use were the Ministers at Berlin and Vienna, if the moment they had heard of this transaction they had not apprised the noble Lord? The noble Lord had to send from this country for information. Why, he would ask, had they not a ministerial resident at Cracow? It seemed to him that our diplomatic establishments were utterly useless, and certainly little information was communicated by them. He hoped that the Commons of England would, when the documents were laid on the table, declare in the plainest manner what was the guilt of those who had violated treaties. But he was told the Commons could not do this without risking a war. Now he, for one, certainly did not wish to see the country plunged into war; he thought that the country had often been brought to the verge of ruin by engaging in war, in which its real interests were not concerned. They should, however, get rid of stipulations, if by them they could not secure the independence of the smaller states. Although. Cracow might not be larger than the parish of Marylebone, still its independence had been secured by treaty. Now if they were by treaty bound to pay Russia, they should, before they allocated any such sum of money, see whether it could not be 424 more properly given to the unfortunate individuals whose property was destroyed and liberty interfered with—and that too by a gross violation of a solemn treaty. Unless they did this, they would have to submit to still further indignities.
§ Lord John Russell
was much more disposed to coincide in the opinion expressed by the hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford, than to agree in the sentiments of the hon. Member for Middlesex. It would, he considered, be very unwise in that House to come to a strong resolution unless it was prepared for worse. They had seen, for example, in a neighbouring country, a public Chamber giving expression to a strong opinion upon the nationality of Poland; but not following it up by any further proceedings. He must confess that the expression of an opinion, not followed up by any distinct acts, could neither increase the reputation of the Chamber from which it emanated, nor add to the dignity of the country. Therefore it was, that he could not agree in the views of the hon. Member for Middlesex. They could not with propriety come to a resolution strongly expressive of their indignation, unless they were prepared to take such a step as had been referred to by the gallant Admiral, the Member for Devonport, and have a very large force to support their resolution. With respect to the question itself, which had been put by the right hon. Gentleman, he thought it was exceedingly right that such a question should be brought before the House. He thought it very proper that the House should not allow the occurrence of the kind adverted to that evening to pass without notice. The right hon. Gentleman was therefore quite right in calling upon the Secretary for Foreign Affairs to give some explanation respecting it. That explanation had been given, and up to the present moment the noble Lord had, he considered, shown that the honour of England had not been committed in this transaction. As the right hon. Gentleman had not proposed any motion, and as there was nothing before the House but a motion of mere form, he wished that, as there was a very important question to come before the House, the subject would now be allowed to drop.
§ Lord Dudley Stuart
could not permit the subject to be disposed of in this manner. He had heard with a great deal of pleasure a portion of what had fallen from his noble Friend, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. 425 In a great part of what had fallen from his noble Friend he concurred, and he must say, that a portion of what his noble Friend had said did him honour; but he was bound to say, that there were other parts of the same speech from which he entirely disagreed, and that he could not but consider those parts did his noble Friend discredit. As to what had fallen from the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, he entirely dissented from it. He thought that speech was indirect contradiction to the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord sitting beside him, and which was likely to produce an impression directly the reverse of what was likely to arise from the language used by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. According to the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, the three northern Courts had a right to commit a flagrant violation of a treaty— of a treaty to which England was a party, and in which the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, told them that the honour of England was committed. Was it not then an affront upon them that there should be a violation of so important a treaty as that of Vienna — a treaty which had settled the affairs of all Europe, and on which the possessions of every state in the world were based? Was it nothing, he would ask, that such a treaty should be violated and infringed? Was it not incumbent upon them to resent such an insult? Or should they submit patiently to see that treaty trampled upon by arrogant and overbearing northern Courts? This was a question which involved the laws of nations; and what had been done he considered involved the honour and interests of England. How, he would ask, had it happened, when the three northern Powers were bound up in alliance with us, they did not go even through the mere courtesy of informing this country what they were going to do? Or how, he would ask, had it happened that no complaint had been made of this omission? Even if it could be clearly proved, which he denied, that these Powers had a right to make the demand which led to the occupation of Cracow, still the outrage and insult offered to England could not on that account he deemed the less. His noble Friend had been obliged to tell them he would not give an answer to his right hon. Friend, because he had not official information upon the subject: that reply carried additional condemnation on this Government. Why had they not official information from the 426 resident at Cracow? It was his duty to transmit the intelligence of which they were now in want. He trusted that the speech of his noble Friend was a prelude to an alteration in his policy—that it indicated a serious intention thenceforward to prevent a recurrence of events such us those now referred to. He trusted that, with regard to Cracow, the Government would not remonstrate in the same feeble and unworthy manner which it had done with respect to Poland. He could not help observing upon the feeble and vacillating course pursued by the Government in its foreign policy. He was not insensible to its merits in other respects. He applauded the members of the Government for what they had done for this country; he supported, and should continue to support them, but that should not prevent his speaking out boldly, manfully, and plainly, nor from reprobating their conduct upon those points where he considered they deserved reprobation. He rejoiced that the Government were becoming stronger every day; the strength which the Ministry derived from the country, and the favour with which they were regarded, would induce thorn, he hoped, to satisfy the people, not only in their domestic policy, but also as regarded their foreign policy; a subject which he regarded as not less important.
§ The Order of the Day was then read, and the House resolved itself into a Committee on the Bill for