HC Deb 24 April 1843 vol 68 cc859-60
Mr. D'Israeli

wished to put certain questions to her Majesty's Government with respect to the affairs of Servia. The House would recollect, that by the treaty of 1840, the principal powers of Europe, among whom, of coarse, were, England and Russia, had entered into stipulations to maintain the integrity and independence of the Ottoman empire. He, had, however, been informed, upon very competent authority, that the Cabinet of St. Petersburg had insisted on interfering in the internal affairs of one of the provinces of the Turkish empire, which was contrary to the wishes and in direct opposition to the policy of the Sultan and of the other powers. The questions he wished to put to her Majesty's Government were, whether they considered that such conduct on the part of the cabinet of St. Petersburg was in unison with the stipulations of the treaty of July, 1840; and whether, in case the cabinet of St. Petersburg should persist in that conduct, it was the intention of her Majesty's Government to uphold the integrity and independence of the Ottoman empire and the sovereignty of the Sultan?

Sir R. Peel

said, that it was difficult to answer the questions of the hon. Gentle man without entering into a very long explanation. He would state to the House what was the subject of controversy between Russia and the Porte, according to the latest information which the Government had received upon the subject. The discussion between the two powers was still going on; and he need scarcely state to the House, that although this country had no direct or immediate connection with Servia, it was the desire of her Majesty's Government to use any influence which they could legitimately employ for the purpose of preventing collisions, and to give such advice as might be in unison with the interests and dignity of the Porte. The question at issue between Russia and the Porte was this:—There were three treaties at least between the Porte and Russia, with respect to the administration of affairs in the East, of which the most important was the treaty of Adrianopte. In consequence of that treaty the Porte issued, in the year 1829, a hatti scheriff, from which the following was an extract:— We, therefore, in fulfilment of the said eighth article of the treaty of Bucharest, as well as in pursuance of the stipulations contained in the treaty of Adrianople, and of the contents of the before-mentioned separate treaty, have given our imperial permission to the Servian deputies to represent to us the claims and wishes of their nation; and we have likewise given the Servians leave freely to exercise in their own country their own mode of worship, and that they may elect their own chiefs from among themselves. It was in consequence of that stipulation that the present discussion had arisen. In the month of October, 1842, the then ruler of Servia had been forcibly deposed by an insurrection, and the present governor of Servia was appointed in his place. It had been urged by Russia that the late ruler had been deposed by military violence, and that the election of his successor had not been conducted in unison with the treaty of Adrianople. That was the subject of the controversy which was now pending between Russia and the Porte; and communications had been had with both powers by the English Cabinet, which he need hardly say, was anxious that the question should be fairly and amicably settled.

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