HC Deb 14 July 1837 vol 38 cc1910-3
Mr. T. Attwood

rose to put some questions to her Majesty's Government respecting the conduct of Russia towards this Government. He wished the noble Lord who was at the head of the Foreign Department had been present; but, as he was not, he trusted that the noble Home Secretary, or some other Member of her Majesty's Government, would answer his questions, which were: —1. Is it the final determination of her Majesty's Government to submit to the violations of the treaty of Vienna by Russia, in respect of Poland and of Cracow? 2. Is it their determination to allow Russia to receive Circassia as a gift from Turkey, under the treaty of Adrianople, Russia having previously contracted with England to receive "no separate advantage" from Turkey, in the war which terminated in that treaty? 3. Is it their determination to allow Russia to hold possession of the Delta of the Danube, in defiance of the above contract with England? Supposing the above contract on the part of Russia to be waived, is it their determination to allow Russia to receive a gift from Turkey, which Turkey had no right to give, Turkey never having possessed acknowledged dominion over Circassia? [Laughter.] He could not see what it was that hon. Gentlemen were laughing at. The fifth question was, "Is it their determination to allow Russia to conquer, or possibly exterminate, the Circassians, and thus to get possession of a country which would give her unlimited influence and ultimate dominion over Turkey and Persia, and all the countries of the east? Is it their final determination to submit to the gross and insufferable arrogance of Russia in the affair of the Vixen? Is it their final determination to submit to the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, which in case of war between England and Russia, closes the Dardanelles at the mandate of Russia, and thus, on the one hand, prevents England from attacking Russia on her weak point; and, on the other, delivers up the allies and friends of England, an unresisting prey, to consolidate and increase the power of the barbarians of the north?" [Laughter.] There was nothing in the question to be laughed at. The eighth question was, "Is it true that the Russians have now upwards of twenty line of battle ships nearly ready for sea at Cronstadt, within a fortnight's sail of the mouth of the Thames? Is it true that England cannot now produce, within a fortnight, twenty line of battle ships ready for sea at the mouth of the Thames?" He should not trouble the House with many remarks. [Cries of "Put your questions."] He wished to say only a few words.

The Speaker

said, he had already told the hon. Member what was the rule of the House, and it was now entirely with the House to decide whether they would hear the hon. Member or not.

Mr. T. Attwood

thought the House, by their smiles and their cheers, had given him their gentle permission to go on. If the noble Lord wished to pass through the country with flying colours, let him give a full and explicit answer to all these questions. Let the House be told what was to be done with Russia.

Lord J. Russell

really thought that these were questions, if asked at all, might have been asked at an earlier period of the Session. One of them, that relating to the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, might have been asked two or three years ago. Upon particular points or questions relating to the general policy of the country, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs was always ready to give an explanation; but he did not think it possible to answer these questions then in a regular form, because they were questions not relating to facts merely, but leading to arguments. His noble Friend, the Foreign Secretary, would be in his place to-morrow, to answer any questions that might be put.

Mr. T. Attwood

hoped the Secretary to the Admiralty would answer the question respecting the Russian fleet in the Baltic.

Mr. C. Wood

said, he believed that Russia had a considerable force in the Baltic, and, generally speaking, they were ready to be put to sea. It was not usual to answer questions as to the disposition of the naval force of this country; but this he would say, that whenever and by whatever power this country might be attacked, there was always a sufficient force in England to resist the attack where so ever and when so ever that attack might be made.

Subject dropped.