HC Deb 01 March 1843 vol 67 cc119-212
Mr. Roebuck

rose to bring forward the motion of which he had given notice, for the appointment of "a select committee to inquire into the circumstances which led to the late hostilities in Affghanistan, to report the evidence and their observations thereon." The hon. and learned Gentleman said, I have too often experienced the kindness of this House myself and seen it extended to others, to doubt on the present occasion of its being continued to me, when, indeed, my need of indulgence is so great. I fear, Sir, that I shall be compelled to occupy a large portion of the time of this House—more, perhaps, than I, from any claims or qualities of my own, have a right to consume, though not more than the great subject which it is now my duty to submit to your consideration imperiously demands. This subject includes many questions of the gravest import; the interests involved are those of numerous nations of immense population—the time over which the events to be considered extend is considerable—the events themselves are exceedingly various, complex, and intricate—the evidence relating to them has to be collected from many separate sources, its often conflicting, doubtful, and insufficient, requiring much patience to gather it together—much care and caution duly to sift, and accurately to ascertain its value. I cannot hope to win the assent of this House to the conclusions I desire to establish unless the attention of its Members be sustained so as to follow the statement which I am compelled to lay before them, and for this attention, should I be so fortunate as to gain and preserve it, I must, I know he indebted rather to the interest of the case to be investigated, the kindness and the good-will of those who hear me, than to any merits of my own, either in the narrative into which I must enter, or the arguments by which I shall endeavour to establish the conclusions it will be my duly to propound. Making, then, an earnest and anxious appeal to the kindness of the House, hoping that they will extenuate my inefficiency, bear with and supply my omissions, I proceed at once with such confidence as I can command, to the great argument before me. I have, then, to solicit the assent of the House to a proposal, that an inquiry should be instituted into a series of transactions which in my opinion, gravely compromise the political character of many, perhaps, correctly speaking, of the whole of the Members of the late Administration; for to me it appears, from such evidence as now lies before us, that they have put in jeopardy many great interests of this country, by undertaking on their own responsibility, a most unjust, unnecessary, a most impolitic, and dangerous war, against the people of Affghanistan. I shall be obliged to accuse them of having done this without getting or seeking for the sanction of Parliament, which it was their duty to do, and in direct opposition to the well-known feelings of the East India Company. I shall be obliged to say that they are guilty—I use the words advisedly—of having dragged this nation into an unnecessary, impolitic, and unjust war against the people of Affghanistan, without having recourse to those from whom it was their duty to ask advice and counsel, and of having on their own responsibility only undertaken this extraordinary course. Such is the conclusion to which I am about to invite the House, but prior to coming to that conclusion there must bean inquiry. "Has there been made out a primâ facie case against those who undertook this war?" If there be a primâ facie case made out, my case is made out. I am not here to condemn any one; but I am here to lay the foundations upon which an accusation may be made, and the onus of replying to that accusation lies upon the party accused. If, upon the evidence that is now laid before us, I make out these three propositions, I shall have made out all that I desire. If, upon the evidence, I show that the war which has been undertaken has been both impolitic and unjust—that it has been undertaken without the due sanction which is required by Parliament, by the country, and the East India Company; and if also, I make out—when these parties are called upon for their defence, for the justification before the country and this House, if their conduct, which has been thus extraordinary—that they have garbled and falsified the evidence requisite for this purpose, which was requisite to sanction their conduct, then I shall have brought home to them a responsibility from which they cannot escape—from, which the duty of this House will not allow them to escape. For my charge against them is, that they have undertaken an unjust and impolitic war on their own responsibility, and that when called upon by Parliament to justify that responsibility, they have in the most unworthy manner, garbled the evidence upon which their justification is made to rest. This is the ground I am about to lay. If that ground be laid—if a primâ facie case of suspicion be made out, then shall I most confidently expect of those Gentlemen, whom it may be my misfortune thus to impugn, that they will be the foremost of those who will support my motion, confident in their own innocence—confident in the belief that they will be able to show to this House and to the world, that there lies behind the evidence now before Parliament something that will justify them to their countrymen, to us, and to the world. If I make out upon the present evidence the charge I am now directing against the late Administration, there will be but one of two courses to follow—immediate condemnation or inquiry. Now, for immediate condemnation I am not prepared—justice to the parties whom I impugn requires of me that they shall have full opportunity of exculpating themselves from the charge which I bring. Therefore, I say, that I now come to this House earnestly appealing to it to do its duty to the country, and to determine with me whether or not an inquiry shall take place into the extraordinary conduct of which I complain. If the House says that inquiry shall not take place, then I assert that there is no alternative but condemnation. It may be said that it will be difficult for me to lay the ground upon which I rest my charge. I acknowledge it. I admit that it will be difficult for me to do so, on account of the extraordinary mode in which the evidence has been dealt with. But I think I shall be enabled, if the House will grant me its attention, so to unravel this—web of deceit, I was going to say—but, if not deceit, something very like it—as to lay before it, with comparative distinctness and clearness, the grounds of my suspicion. It has been objected, too, that I have taken a wrong course—that the motion I submit to the House is unprecedented—that a select committee has never been appointed for such a purpose. When I proposed at first that a select committee should be appointed for the purpose of reporting on the policy of the war, I was met by that objection. I at once yielded to the suggestions of those whose suggestions I always listen to with respect; I appealed to the precedents of Parliament, and I find that those precedents fully justify me in the mode I now pursue. I call for inquiry—I call for a selection of evidence—and I require that the committee which thus selects the evidence shall report their observations thereon. I am borne out in the adoption of that course by Mr. Burke, who, in 1783, moved for the appointment of a select committee for a purpose completely analogous to that which I now have in view. I am further justified in the course I propose by the conduct of Mr. Dundas, who obtained a select committee for the same purpose—for the purpose, indeed, of not simply reporting its opinion upon the circumstances which led to an Indian war, but upon the whole administration of the whole government of India. Therefore I say that, looking back to the precedents of 1783, I am fully justified, as far as parliamentary rules are concerned, in asking the House—if, upon the evidence I submit to it, and which is before the public, I establish a case of suspicion—to make an inquiry which the interests of the country and of humanity demand. My first point (thus laying the ground which I am prepared to make out) is this—that the war which has been lately carried on by the English on the west of the Indus, has been a war of aggression, and as such an unjust and impolitic war. If I make out that it is an unjust and an impolitic war, I then throw the onus of exculpation upon those who undertook it. If they believe themselves to be innocent of the charge which I bring against them, they will, of course, be the first to support me in the investigation I propose. Amidst the din of arms the voice of law and of justice is seldom heard; but I hope that the House, upon this occasion, will allow me to appeal to justice and to law, when I use the word "aggression," and endeavour to explain what I mean, and what is the true value of the term, as applied to a war undertaken against any people. In the present state of civilization the principles of international law, certainly in Europe and America, are admitted as the guide for the conduct of nations; and in as much as we advance in civilization; those rules of international law will become more and more imperative, and the more we become deserving the name of "man," the more we shall obey those dictates which are the dictates of justice and' humanity. Now I maintain that the dictates of international law lay down this rule—that a war to be just must be defensive. If I were speaking not in a community of Englishmen—if I were speaking in a community of old Romans, whose whole desire it was to extend their dominion over the rest of the world, I should feel that I had satisfied them, if I pointed out to them that I had extended their dominion—that I bad subdued their enemies—that I had rendered those weak who were before strong, and that I had converted those who were doubtful, into abject and worthless slaves. If I were addressing myself to an old Greek—if I told him that I was desirous to invade Persia (the case is somewhat analogous), and appealed to his old recollections, he would believe that he had a holy duty to perform to avenge upon the descendants of those who had done his country wrong the miseries which his ancestors had suffered. But amongst a nation of Englishmen, at a time when we believe that we are far above the men of old time—great as they were and gigantic in their intellect—in all that renders great and exalts humanity, I think I am not called upon to justify the appeal I make to this House when I ask it to declare with me that a war to be just must be defensive, I have no difficulty about this point. But I am quite prepared to allow that a defensive war may be in reality produced most completely by Undertaking the initiative of hostilities—in other words, that a war aggressive in appearance may be a defensive war in reality. I am quite willing to make that admission. But recollect that the aggression expected from others, which makes you anticipate their acts, must be a danger which does not alarm a mind usually worked upon and excited by a fantastic sensibility; but must be a sober conclusion of a rational, sane, steadfast mind, and above all things, we should recollect that if we make aggression, it must be upon the party from whom we expect attack; in other words, to put it in homely phrase, that we are not to knock down Thomas because we are afraid of Richard. Laying that ground, I say if I make out that the war of which I am speaking was a war of aggression, the onus of showing that it was a defensive war in reality, though it may have been an ag- gressive war in appearance, lies upon the parties who undertook the war, and that they who bring their arguments and their evidence in support of that proposition are to be looked upon by this House, whose duty it is to judge of them, with extraordinary suspicion and doubt; and I am quite willing to confess that I do look with extraordinary suspicion and doubt upon evidence and arguments adduced by the noble Lord the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs and his colleagues on every matter concerning our foreign relations. I may be unhappy, most unhappy, I may be singular, in having the impression upon my mind; but I cannot help fancying that the noble Viscount (Viscount Palmerston) who so lately ruled the destinies of this country abroad has had a most pernicious influence upon our foreign policy. I cannot help fancying that if the name of England has been brought into bad odour with the world, the most active instrument in the production of that mischief has been the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton. In fact, if I might, upon so serious a matter, bring forward an almost ludicrous illustration, I should say that the noble Lord was best typified by a late production of modern science, which is called the lucifer match. No sooner does he meet with an obstruction than a flame immediately bursts forth. He puts his hand upon America, and it required but one move to bring upon us a war that, in all its calamities, would have been equal to a civil war. It was only by a miracle that we were saved from a war with France. It was not owing to anything that the noble Lord did not do that we were not thrust into a war with Russia. We had an unnecessary war in Syria—we had an armed body in the Persian Gulf—Englishmen, and those under them, have swept the whole plains of India, from the banks of the Indus to the confines of the Hindoo Coosh, under the noble Lord's pernicious influence, bearing with them all the consternation and all the horrors of war. In short, extending his mischievous activity over the whole habitable world—from the western coasts of America to the eastern coast of China (where war absolutely raged)—wherever the English name is known, the hideous consequences of war have been expected to follow. Therefore, I say, that I do look with suspicion upon every argument and every fact that may be adduced by the noble Lord or those around him, in vindication of the mischievous activity which he has displayed in perplexing and distracting our foreign relations with the world at large. Far be it from me—I hope the House will not for a moment believe—that the noble Lord will not for a moment suspect—that I am one of those—he must know at once the class of men to whom I allude—who fancy or think that any person ought to accuse him of treasonable alliances with the enemies of his country. Such insane accusations answer themselves. But I do charge him with being most unfortunately ignorant of the true method of dealing with foreign nations, so as to make them respect the country which he represented. I charge him with mischievous meddling in affairs with which we had no concern, and with dragging the interests of this country into dispute, when he ought to have had the prudence and the dignity to have assumed a different tone, and pursued a different course. That is the charge I bring against him. I say, that he was, throughout the whole of his conduct whilst he was in office, as I shall show in some particular instances, imprudent, careless of our interests, and reckless in his manner of dealing with the great interests of humanity, which are affected by every movement of England. Thus, sweeping away those matters which connect themselves rather with the form of the question, I now proceed to address myself to the substance of it; and in doing so, I must intreat the House to believe me when I say that it is with the utmost reluctance that I speak of matters with which the House is generally, I may, perhaps, say, universally acquainted, but which I feel it necessary shortly to go over, in order to explain my own views upon the subject I have taken in hand. I invite the House for a moment to consider the geography of the country I am about to bring under its consideration. Our Indian possessions at the present moment, taking them roughly, extend from Cape Comorin to the Himalaya mountains. From the Himalayas I look to the north-west, and find that our boundary is marked in that direction by the course of the Sutlej, till it reaches the province of Bhawulpore, whence it inclines towards the territory of the Sikhs, so that in no portion of our territory do we touch the river Indus. This fact the House will find, in the after consideration of the present question, to be a matter of great importance. If we follow the Sutlej down to its confluence with the Indus, and thence take the Indus up to the Himalayas, it will be found that the Indus forms the western boundary of the country called the Punjaub. Between the Sutlej and the Indus lies the territory well known to every man of classical attainment, the country of the five rivers, a triangle, of which the Himalaya mountains form the base, and the confluence of the Sutlej and the Indus the apex. That country at present is in the possession of the Sikh nation, and at the time I am speaking of, was under the undivided control of Runjeet Sing. Runjeet Sing's dominions, however, in consequence of his attacks upon the provinces on the western banks of the Indus, extended partly to the country of the Affghans. He possessed himself, by a series of intrigues, combined with violence, of Peshawur and its territories; so that in reality the dominion of Runjeet Sing extended to the West of the Indus, including Peshawur, and thence continued to the south, until it was bounded by the western portion of the territory of the Sikhs. I now ask the House to consider the Affghan territory. Affghanistan, according to the feeling of the Affghans themselves, and of the world at large, is bound really in the east by the Indus, in the north by the Hindoo Coosh, in the south by Scinde, and in the west, by a sort of waving and indefinite boundary, by Persia. The character of the people within this territory must be well known to every one acquainted, even in most superficial manner, with the history of the East; and I am afraid, that when we come to consider this question, we shall find, that the ancient history of this people has very much affected the war of j which we are now taking cognizance, and that their modern fortune has been the; result of their ancient renown. In the earlier part of the last century, Ahmed Shah rescued the Affghan people from the dominion of Persia, and extended the territory from Bokhara to Scind, and the Punjab. He died, leaving a son, Timour Shah, who being born in the purple, was unworthy to reign, and unable to maintain the conquests of his father. Timour left behind him five sons, Zumahu, Mahommed, Soojah, Gasoo, and Zimaun, and the singular part of the history is, that each of these in turn was upon the throne of Cabul. Zumahu reigned for a few months, when he was taken prisoner, and according to the fashion of those countries, being deprived of his crown, he was deprived also of his eyes. His brother blinded him—and J beg the House to bear this in mind, as by and by I shall bring it to bear. Zimaun blinded Zumahu and took possession of the throne. The life of Zimaun was spent between repelling the attacks of his enemies and making aggressions upon the Indus. He was dethroned by Mahommed, and past the rest of his life, in more senses than one, in obscurity. Mahommed was then opposed by Soojah, the worthy protegé of the virtuous British Government. Being the whole brother of Zimaun, though younger than Mohammed, he raised an insurrection, and at length succeeded in taking Mohammed prisoner, and strange to say, did not put out his eyes. Important consequences followed, for we then became connected with this extraordinary people. In 1809, Mr. Elphinstone went on a mission to Cabul, to Soojah, who was then on the throne, and who was about to contest it again with Mahommed, who had escaped and was in arms. England entered into a treaty with Soojah, and he was very soon afterwards hurled from the throne. Soojah failed in all his endeavours to regain his kingdom. His last attempt, made in 1834, during the time Lord William Bentinck was Governor-general, appeared for some time to be prosperous, but it was then declared to be the policy of the British Government to leave the people of Affghanistan to settle their own affairs, and all aid on this ground was distinctly refused to Soojah, who was defeated before Candahar by Dost Mahomed. He went to Loodianah and lived in dependence. The succession of these various princes will remind the House very much of the kings in "Candide," for Mahommed again became King of Cabul. I have now to introduce to the notice of the House an important race called the Barruksye family. By the head of that family, Futti Khan, they had assisted Mohammed in regaining his kingdom: Zimaun having at one time put out the eyes of the then head of the family of the Baruksye, had rendered them his irreconcileable enemies. Mohammed regained the throne by the aid of the Baruksye family, but he soon seized the leader of that family, Futti Khan, put out his eyes, and then killed him. The Baruksye family raised a rebellion in the country, and set up Gasoo; having done so, they dethroned him, and divided the country among the members of their own family. I am presenting the House with a sort of phantasmagoria—just showing them the glimpses of great objects and then passing them by. Such was the condition of these countries when that train of events began which ultimately led to the disastrous war of which I now complain. The whole of the Punjaub was in the possession of Runjeet Singh. Peshawur, on the west side of the Indus, was also in his power, together with a large tract of country also on that side of the river. Scinde was under the government of its own Ameers. Beloochistan was independent, and so was Balk and Bokhara. Herat, the most western city of Affghanistan, and its possessions, were ruled by Kamran, the son of Mahmoud, and was the only portion of Affghanistan governed by a member of his family. Candahar and Khelat were in possession of Dost Mahomed's half-brothers, who owned him as a sort of chief; and Cabul and its dependencies were subject to Dost Mahomed himself. I must now leave Affghanistan and invite attention to Persia. Only fancy that for the sake, as it has been contended, of our common interests, we are obliged to mix ourselves up with the transactions of central Asia. Yet so it was: in 1834 Lord Palmerston thought fit to make a communication to the Russian Government respecting the succession at Teheren. It was determined that the present Shah of Persia should be the person really fixed upon as the successor of the then Persian monarch. I beg here to refer the House to a document which shows why the noble Lord and his colleagues thought proper to deal in these affairs. It is a letter from Lord Palmerston to Mr. Bligh, dated in September, 1834. [The hon. Member read, in an indistinct tone, part of the document to which he referred, which enforced the fitness of maintaining not only the internal tranquillity, but also the independence and integrity of Persia, and assured Mr. Bligh that Great Britain would always find real pleasure in cooperating with Russia for the purpose. Mr. Roebuck also adverted to a subsequent despatch of Count Nesselrode, the date of which he did not mention, stating that events, however satisfactory, were not sufficient to consolidate Persia, and to remove from that country all the elements of discord. The hon. Member then continued.] In consequence of that determination, on the part of the two Governments Mahomed Mirza succeeded to the throne of Persia; and he was no sooner upon it than he manifested a desire to carry out the instructions given to our Minister in Persia, viz., to maintain the integrity of that empire: in his opinion the Persian territory included Herat, Candahar, and Ghuznee: in fact, a very large portion of what had been considered Affghanistan. Unfortunately, in the year 1814, we had made a treaty with Persia, in which we distinctly undertook not to interfere in any dispute between Persia and Affghanistan, unless asked to do so by both parties; and the noble Lord and Lord William Bentinck, and every person who had administered the affairs of India, understood that such was our duty; we could not interpose, excepting as mediators, and Lord W. Bentinck, in writing his despatch to Shah Soojah, in 1834, when he had endeavoured to recover his kingdom, clearly told him that he was bound by the treaty of 1814, and could not interfere in any way between Persia and Affghanistan. Such being the case, and such the state of affairs, it happened that in 1836 the Government of India thought fit to dispatch up the Indus Captain Burnes, in order to establish what the Governor-general called commercial intercourse with Central Asia. When I mention the name of Captain (afterwards Sir Alexander) Burnes, I am obliged to refer to his former proceedings, as authorised by Government; and I must say, that for a Government like ours, professing so much fairness of dealing, and constantly using such epithets as—candid, open, and upright, the proceedings of Captain Burnes, connected with the Indus, were anything but honourable to this country. Under the lame pretext of sending some dray-horses to Runjeet Sing, private instructions were given to promote trade with the people, and to make a survey of the Indus, for the purposes of commerce. I do not say that a survey of the Indus might not be extremely advantageous, but the result shows that in that instance, Sir Alexander Burnes was in truth used only as a spy. We wanted to promote our own commercial purposes, but Sir Alexander Burnes had been there before 1836; he had not only been up the Indus, but across Asia to the Caspian. In the form of reports he had raised an unfor- tunate opinion respecting the intentions of Russia, which led to all the consequences we have had to lament, for, not content with exploring the Indus, and ascertaining how we might best avail ourselves of (hat great artery of India, he went on to Bokhara, to the Caspian Sea, and again to Teheran; and while there were floating in his mind plans of future commercial aggrandisement, he seems at the same time to have been impressed with a strange notion of the overwhelming designs of Russia. In consequence of his representations he was sent, in 1836—to whom? To Dost Mahomed, the de facto ruler of Cabul. on a mission of peace and security from the British Government; he was sent for the purpose of endeavouring to establish some sort of communication between that country and our own, in order that our manufactures might find their way into central Asia. We dispatched a mission of peace and good-will to Dost Mahommed, as I said, the de facto ruler of Cabul. We did not quarrel with his title; I will show the House in one moment that we could not safely quarrel with his title. I have read what shows that our whole policy was that of neutrality In 1834 Shah Soojah attempted to regain his kingdom, and application was then made to the Governor-general to aid him. What was the answer?— We cannot do it—our policy is neutrality. We must not mix ourselves up with the internal concerns of the nations of Asia; we take the de facto governor of a kingdom, and we do not inquire whether he has a right to be so. I will now trouble the House with an extract from a letter from Mr. M'Naughten to Captain Wade, dated 16th May, 1832, in which he says,— Be very careful to impress upon every body, as a rule never to be deviated from, that we must keep ourselves clear from all connection with political parties. To the same effect, Lord W. Bentinck wrote to Shah Soojah on the 20th October, 1832:— I deem it my duty to tell you distinctly that the British Government religiously abstains from intermeddling with the affairs of its neighbours whenever it can be avoided. You are, of course, master of your own actions; but to afford you assistance would not be consistent with the neutrality adopted by the British Government. To the same effect I could multiply proofs almost interminably. In a letter to Mr. Fraser, Mr. M'Naughten observes: A strictly neutral part is maintained with regard to the Shah and his proceedings, and this Government has indirectly refused to afford him the assistance which he has repeatedly solicited. Twenty instances of the same kind might be quoted; but I will read one more because it comes from the Court of Directors, in 1837, to the Governor-general. We approve highly of your having declined entering into the proposed engagements, but observe with satisfaction the tone of friendship and confidence that prevails with respect to the west of the Indus, with whom they should have no political connection and should take no part in their quarrel. They should maintain a friendly connection with them and transmit the most correct information concerning them. The rule of the British Government respecting all military operations was perfect neutrality; that was the principle laid down by the Court of Directors, adopted by the Governor-general, and prescribed by the Government of Great Britain. I am now about to direct the attention of the House to the immediate cause of the war. While Sir Alexander Burnes was at Cabul his mission was converted from a commercial to a military one. The desire of the Persian ruler to possess himself of what he looked upon as his territory—Herat, Candahar, and Ghuznee, became more and more manifest. The exhibition of this desire had been postponed from time to time, but at length the Shah determined to besiege Herat. I am now about to mention one of those extraordinary hallucinations which sometimes appear to take possession of the most clear-sighted mortals. That the most clear-sighted and accurate judges should now and then be blinded in their judgment nearly to positive madness, is one of the afflictions of poor human nature. Unfortunately this extraordinary madness extended its influence over a large number of individuals. This hallucination possessed the Government at home, the Government of India, our Ministers in Persia, and certain persons who were sent out on an exploring expedition into Central Asia; the notion was, that Russia desired to extend her empire over the whole of Central Asia—that she was descending upon Affghanistan, in order to plant herself on the western bank of the Indus, and from thence to invade Hindostan. That was the idea which engrossed the minds of the Government here, of the Governor-general, of Sir A. Burnes, of Mr. M'Neill, and, in fact, of almost every man connected with the Government at home or in India, as might be proved by twenty or thirty letters. Everybody who has read these papers must know that they are filled with that sort of idle gossip; first a Russian agent is here—then he is there—in short he is everywhere, a kind of will-o'-the-wisp, whom nobody can catch but everybody can see. This is speaking ludicrously, but the fact is, that the most absurd terror seems to have been entertained, and evidence was scraped together from all quarters to give it apparent reality. Unfortunately it not only possessed the minds of the individuals to whom I have alluded, but it led to action. A belief in this bugbear formed the justification of their conduct; but now let us look for a moment at their honesty. Russian influence was at work in Persia, and acted upon Herat. A noble Lord, in another place, has said, that he though the interests of India were at stake—that he thought the siege of Herat was the first step to the introduction of Russian dominion. Dost Mahommed feared the capture of Herat and feared the advance of Runjeet Sing, and at that moment he addressed Sir A. Burnes: Defend Herat for us, and bid your friend Runjeet Singh to restore Peshawur to the Affghan people, and we will prove the firmest of your friends. Refuse me this and what can I do? You force me to have recourse to Persia or to see myself destroyed. I make no secret of my conditions. I tell you all I am doing; I explain to you the high value I place upon your alliance and aid. I do not even complain when you refuse me all I ask. I feel no enmity towards you, though I lament my own ill fortune. Can you show me, in the whole series of unjust wars, anything so degrading to English honour and honesty as our conduct with respect to India? Fearing then, the domination of Russia, and the fall of Herat, what did we do? Did we attack Russia? No. Did we attack Persia? No. Kamram possessed himself of Herat, and did we make Dost Mahommed our friend? I think I may lay it down as a proposition, that a man has no right to knock down Richard because he is afraid of Thomas. Here you are afraid of Russia—you fear Russia at Herat, and upon the Caspian—and you attack Dost Mahommed at Cabul. You are afraid of the powerful, and therefore you generously and gallantly attack the weak. In the whole series of unjust wars, I defy you to show me anything so degrading as this to British honesty and honour. Because we have a strong enemy, are we to do injustice to a weak friend? We fear Russia on the Caspian, and we crush Dost Mahommed in Cabul! Is this your honour, your candour, or even your fair dealing? Are you not rather a set of mercenary and cowardly marauders, turning upon your friends, because you dare not assail your; enemies? I accuse you, in the face of, the united world, as the basest of dastards, seeking your own commodity and abandoning every principle of honour and honesty. Such was the Government of the day; but I appeal with confidence to the character of my country, and to the justice of the House of Commons. But was there no pretext to cover this shameless and disgraceful attack? Yes; two pretexts: one was that Dost Mahommed desired an alliance with Persia; the other was, that he desired to regain Peshawur. He had a right to enter into an alliance with Persia. We had entered into an alliance with Persia in 1814, by which we agreed not to enter into any dispute, without the consent of both parties; but they were about to settle the matter themselves, and save us the trouble. Dost Mahommed said, I should be glad to have you for my friend? what am I to do? I shall be overwhelmed. God has so ordained it (he added, with his Mussulman notions), and I do not blame you, but I am obliged to have recourse to Persia, or I shall be overwhelmed. Then Captain Vicovitch appeared upon the scene: he was a most wonderful and mysterious person, and Sir A. Burnes ran away from Cabul because Captain Vicovitch was at Candahar. However, he parted on the most friendly terms with Dost Mahommed, to whom Lord Auckland wrote a letter of the most amicable description, which every hon. Member must have read, and with the repetition of which I need not trouble the House. How, then, is it possible to reconcile our proceedings with justice, or even with common fairness? A mission was sent to Dost Mahommed—a most friendly letter was written to him.—the envoy parted from him on the best terms in April, and yet, within a month afterwards, it was determined to make war upon him, and to crush him, as if he were a rival of our power. I want to know where is the honour of such a course? What claim had Shah Soojah upon us? Was he a legitimate monarch? No, he was not the legitimate sovereign by any rule, European or Asiatic. Prince Kamran has as good a right to the throne; he has his eyes as well as Shah Soojah. I will here take the liberty of reading to the House a very strong authority—no less than that of the late Marquess Wellesley, as I find it in the work of Mr. Mill, a historian worthy, not of this country only, but of any country and any age. I quote the following from his "History of British India:"— To one view taken by the Marquess Wellesley, of the question of restoring the Mahratta sovereign, philosophy will not withhold unqualified praise. 'The stipulations of treaty (says he, in his instructions, dated 2d of February, 1803, to the Governor of Fort St. George) on which I founded my intention to facilitate the restoration of the Peshwa's authority, originated in a supposition that the majority of the Mahratta jaghiredars, and the body of the Peshwa's subjects, entertain a desire of co-operating in that measure. Justice and wisdom would forbid any attempt to impose, upon the Mahrattas, a ruler, whose restoration to authority was adverse to every class of his subjects. The recent engagements with the Peshwa involve no obligation of such an extent. Whatever might be the success of our arms, the ultimate objects of these engagements could not be attained, by a course of policy so violent and extreme. If, therefore, it should appear, that a decided opposition to the restoration of the Peshwa is to be expected from the majority of the Mahratta jaghiredars, and from the body of the Peshwa's subjects, I shall instantly relinquish every attempt to restore the Peshwa to the musnud of Poona.' This virtuous example, till such a time as the majority of the people in every civilized country have become sufficiently enlightened to see the depravity of the case in its own essence, will help to stamp with infamy the most flagitious perhaps of all the crimes which can be committed against human nature, the imposing upon a nation, by force of foreign armies, and for the pleasure or interest of foreign rulers, a government, composed of men, and involving principles, which the people for whom it is destined have either rejected from experience of their badness, or repel from the experience or expectation of better. Even where the disparity of civilization and knowledge were very great; and where it was beyond dispute that a civilized country was about to bestow upon a barbarous one the greatest of all possible benefits, a good and beneficent government; even there, it would require the strongest circumstances to justify the employment of violence or force. But, where nations, upon a level only with another in point of civilization, or perhaps below it proceed with bayonets to force upon it a government, confessedly bad, and prodigiously below the knowledge and civilization of the age, under the pretence of fears that such a nation will choose a worse government for itself, these nations, or their rulers, if the people have no voice in the matter, are guided by views of benefit to themselves, and despise the shame of trampling upon the first principles of humanity and justice. In paying the homage which he counted due to the will of a nation of Mahrattas, the Marquess Wellesley was not making a sacrifice of interests, which he held in low esteem. In his address to the home authorities, dated the 24th of December, 1802, he declared his conviction, that 'those defensive engagements' which he was desirous of 'concluding with the Mahratta states, were essential to the complete consolidation of the British empire in India, and to the future tranquillity of Hindostan.' Yet the complete consolidation of the British empire in India, and the future tranquillity of Hindostan, which could never exist till a sufficient bridle was put in the mouth of the Mahratta power, he thought it his duty to sacrifice, or to leave to the care of unforeseen events, rather than violate the freedom of will, in this important concern, of the people of one of the Mahratta states. I apply that rule to the case of Cabul: who shall say that Dost Mahommed was not the chosen of the people? Shah Soojah attempted many times to gain power, and was as many times defeated: in a country like that, defeat was the proof of public opinion. The people rose in arms against Shah Soojah; he was driven away on account of his insufficiency—his voluptuousness—his cruelty. I can quote the character of Dost Mahommed in the words of Sir Alexander Burnes: we are told by him that Dost Mahommed was the most efficient and excellent ruler the people of that part of the world have perhaps ever had; he was the friend of all the good men of the country; in short, he sought the happiness and welfare of his people, and by his people, in return, he was beloved. I will not do more than read a few sentences:— The justice of the chief," said Alexander Burnes, "affords a constant theme of praise to all classes: the peasant rejoices at the absence of tyranny; the citizen at the safety of his home and the strict municipal regulations regarding weights and measures; the merchant at the equity of the decisions and the protection of his property, and the soldiers at the regular manner in which their arrears are dis charged. A man in power can have no higher praise. Dost Mahommed Khan has not attained his fortieth year; his mother was a Persian, and he has been trained up with people of that nation, which has sharpened his understanding, and given him advantages over all his brothers. One is struck with the intelligence, knowledge, and curiosity which he displays, as well as his accomplished manners and address. He is doubtless the most powerful chief in Affghanistan, and may yet raise himself by his abilities to a much greater rank in his native country. Against that man, so having obtained power, and so governing the country, we set Shah Soojah, who had been driven from power, and who, according to the universal opinion of his countrymen, was undeserving of it: him we thought it right to thrust down the throats of the people, notwithstanding he had been rejected, and was resisted by the utmost efforts of the people. We were not content with placing him on the throne, but we furnished him with a proclamation which is a falsehood. It stated that Shah Soojah was attended by his troops. Is not that as gross a falsehood as was ever penned by a diplomatist, a foul stain and a blot upon the honour of our country? I am here to accuse, and I care not, in the discharge of my duty, to whom it may be painful. For the ruler of a kingdom to set his hand to a falsehood deserved the highest censure. I say it in the character of a British representative, and I care not for the consequences, whatever they may be, either in this House or out of it. As the war was foolishly conceived, so was it foolishly executed. We attempted to punish the poor and weak people at our feet—we thought it worthy of us to oppress them for the fault, if fault it were, of others. Such, Sir, are my grounds for impeaching the honesty of this proceeding. I say it was an unjust war, if ever there were an unjust war, in every sense that a war can be called unjust. It was a war against an unoffending people. It was undertaken not for the purpose of resenting any wrong we had suffered—it was undertaken not for the purpose of redressing any injured right. It was undertaken on a pretence. What was that pretence? The danger which might result from the siege of Herat and the quarrel which had taken place between Dost Mahommed and Runjeet Sing. Now, Peshawur had been part of Affghanistan; it had been wrested from the Affghans unjustly by Runjeet Sing; the people said that it was a portion of Affghanistan, and they desired an attempt to be made to restore it; they thought that one word from an old ally would put it right. But, besides this pretence, the Government put forward the danger of a Russian occupation of Herat. On the 1st of October, 1838, was issued that famous proclamation of Lord Auckland, stating that the siege of Herat was the cause of the war. Before a single regiment of the army he had collected had started on its march, the siege of Herat was raised. The danger was gone. Why did not the Governor-general, then, apply to the Government at home to know whether the war should be continued? Having cut from underneath his feet the excuse of the danger from Russia, where did a pretext remain? There was none. It was gone. But "Oh!" said the Governor-general, "I have taken great pains; I have collected a great army together, and I must do something with it." Now, Sir, I really believe that Lord Auckland, for no other reason, marched his army against an unoffending, a weak, and a defenceless enemy. So much for the honour and the honesty of the war. Now, then, Sir, for its policy; and if I can find fault with its honesty, God knows that there was fault enough in its policy. I have now had some years' experience of men, and the result of that experience has been that I have ceased to wonder at the dishonesty of mankind; but, Sir, I have still maintained a consistent admiration for their folly. What was the danger to be guarded against? It was the anticipation of an invasion from Russia. I assume that was the danger, as I find it so often referred to in the papers. I hope the House will not ask me to prove it. How was that danger to be avoided? The danger expected was from Russia, through Persia. It was feared that Russia would take possession of Herat, that from Herat they would then take Affghanistan, and thence advance by the Western Indus to our Indian possessions. What means did we propose to take to guard against the danger from Russia? In the first place, we proposed to make an ally to the west of the Indus, to interpose between ourselves and the advancing power of Russia; and secondly, we desired, by establishing friendly relations with the nations on the Indus, and with the people of Affghanistan, to acquire the means of making that vast river a highway for our commerce over the whole of that part into the heart of Central Asia; and for that purpose we knocked down Dost Mahommed, and we set up Shah Soojah. It appeared, then, that the first subject for inquiry should be, was there danger from Russia? If it were so, was the gaining an ally to the west of the Indus the most effectual means of warding off that danger?—and if the proper means of warding off this danger were to procure such an ally, was the surest mode of obtaining that ally by putting down Dost Mahommed and putting up Shah Soojah? I am prepared to say that there was no danger to be apprehended from Russia; that if there were manifest danger, that it was not the best way of warding off the danger by gaining an ally to the west of the Indus; and that even if such an ally were desirable, we look the most effectual means of preventing him from being found in Affghanistan. Russia! Danger from Russia! Had it ever occurred in history that such a country could be dangerous to India? The nearest point of Russia to our possessions in India were the shores of the Caspian; an army advancing from Russia would have to pass mountains covered with snow—to advance through dangerous and difficult passes; they would have to move through opposing nations ere they could reach the country west of the Indus. Do hon. Members believe that they could accomplish this? The truth is, that noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen have made a mistake in their geography. They have been studying Arian, and they have heard of the victories of Alexander; no doubt they have been reading Eastern tales and the conquests of Akhbar. There is no doubt that, at this day, a Russian arm" could not come from the shores of the Caspian to the banks of the Indus. Alexander, I allow, was one of those birds of war who were a sort of divination of its power; he had an army the best accoutered and the most warlike in the world. But when Alexander or the Mahomedans came to India, what did they find? Did they find the British Government, the most efficient Government in the world, the most civilized, the richest? How different is the present condition of India from that which it exhibited at any one of the periods of which I have spoken. Alexander, the first of these great conquerers, possessed first a most marvellous genius for war; he commanded the most efficient army then in existence, and he found the greater part of Asia, all extending from the Black Sea, and the Caspian, down to the Gulph of Persia, and even to the Oxus, and, I believe, in some shape, to the Sutlej, under the dominion of the Persian monarch. Conquering him, he had comparatively little difficulty afterwards in gathering up the broken fragments of the Persian empire, whose monarch he had slain, and whose armies he had subdued, and his great expeditions to the East seem to have had this for their object. And even he was obliged to forego his schemes of conquest and when India itself was before him, to retire and abandon the object most dear to his wishes. The Mahommedan conquerers of India found India an easy prey. Wealthy, voluptuous, effeminate, and divided, the Hindoo was unable to cope with the hardy bands which those conquerors commanded, and comparatively very little effort was required to establish a conquering dynasty in the midst of this almost, unresisting multitude. It is usually supposed that we are to be silenced by the argument, that India now is not what the Mahomedans found it; and it is the fashion to say, with an air of triumph, when speaking of the unstable tenure by which we hold empire in India, that ours is an empire of opinion, and therefore any hour may see the downfall of our dominion. True it is, our empire is one of opinion; and the same assertion may be made of every other government under the sun. The Government of this country, the Government of the United States of America, are both pre-eminently founded on opinion—the opinion held by the vast majority of the people. True it is, that substantially the existence of the government is for their manifest advantage—so of India. It is said, however, that the opinion meant is not one of affection, but fear, arising from a belief that we are invincible, and that opposition to our power would be useless or hopeless. Let us once be conquered, it is asserted, and those who now yield us a ready obedience would fall from us and side with the conqueror. This, in the sense commonly intended, I do not believe; for our Government in India is the best that India has ever known. It has now existed many years in quiet and peaceful possession of that magnificent country, and its many millions of industrious and happy people love our rule, even as much as they respect our power. Depend upon it India will not fall away from us from any inherent weakness of our own Government. If any one is destined to tear it from us by conquest, it must be because that conquerer will bring against us an army more numerous, better disciplined, more skilful, and braver than our own—and such an army I must own, I do not think will come from Russia for any purpose; and certainly I do not believe that such on army will ever penetrate from the shores of the Caspian, march over the arid and burning deserts, cross the mighty rivers, scale the lofty mountains, and conquer the hostile tribes that lie between the Caspian and the Sutlej. I do not expect to see them arraying themselves on its south-eastern bank, unfurling their banners to be fanned by an Indian breeze, sweep over the plains of our empire, driving our armies before them in defeat, and at length place their banners in victory on the subjugated towns of Delhi and Calcutta. Sir, I laugh at such a chimera. I believe England to be strong in justice. If she does but justice to India, she will be so strong in virtue that she need not fear any Russian potentate. But if there be danger from Russia, is Russia to be met on the banks of the Indus? I should have thought that the school-boy knowledge of noble Lords and of right hon. Gentlemen would have taught them better. They know that Hannibal attacked Rome by entering the Roman states; he did not meet her at Carthage: so ought it to be with us, if Russia is to be fought; she is to be met on the Black Sea, and in the Baltic, not on the Indus. The moment we should receive definite information of the movements of Russia—not such information as was pressed upon the noble Lord—not that kind of flying information of which so much has been supplied to the noble Lord, on which to exercise his mischievous activities—but that kind of authentic statement which is susceptible of negociation. The moment it should be clear that Russia contemplated an aggressive policy, that moment let England declare war against her. Do not attack her at Herat and at Cabul, but on her own shores. Then would appear the dreaded Czar as he appeared when he was compelled to fall away from Napoleon and his Milan decrees. Russia dares not go to war with England, for within a single month the fleets of England would sweep from the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, every ship that she possessed and every rag of a Russian sail. That is the way to fight Russia. It was said that Captain Vicovitch appeared at Cabul: but did not Sir Alexander Burnes also appear at Cabul? But then he went in disguise, and Captain Vicovitch appeared openly. In short, we were said to fear Russia, whilst Russia did not fear us. Russia had braver and better diplomatists than the noble Lord. There was no need, however, of fear; the English are a shrewd practical people, and what Franklin said of them was right, "they deceive every body with telling the truth." Although Count Nesselrode missed the truth, I think that I have found it. I fancy that I can see the cause of the war in these papers. It arose from the mischievous spirit of meddling, which besets the noble Lord. He sent out persons to procure information; they knew his habits and his mischievous industry, so they groped about, and got together, and sent to the noble Lord all the rubbish they could find, and out of that the noble Lord produced his wonderful despatches. When, Sir, I read this book, I actually blushed to find it so clear that the Russian despot had all the right on his side, and that all the folly was on ours. But supposing for an instace, that there was danger; a force was sent from Bombay for the purpose of threatening Persia on our part. We told her that the moment she quarrelled with us, we would touch her in a vital part—that we would not strike off her hand, or her right arm, but that we would aim straight at the heart. The Shah knew that if we did so, in less than three weeks he would be an outcast, and a wanderer on the face of the earth. He raised the siege of Herat. That is the course we ought always to adopt; we ought to attack directly the party with whom we are quarrelling; we ought not to attack Russia through the side of the unfortunate Dost Mahommed. But supposing it were necessary to resist the approach of Russia, was it the wisest plan of doing so to raise up an ally on the west side of the Indus? If we are to act as we have done in this case in utter disregard of all international law, and of all honour, why was not our empire in India pushed to the eastern bank of the Indus?—why did we not take possession of the Punjab? I see the noble Lord taking a note of this. I do not say that this course would be honourable, but we have done things quite as dishonourable and much more foolish. Runjeet Sing is dead, and every one who knows anything of the government of India, knows that we must be called in to settle the disputes as to this succession. We shall do as we have always hitherto done. The temptation will be too great for our virtue. If we take that course it may be a wise proceeding, but it will be the better and the wiser, because the more honourable course to keep away, with the Sutlej defending us from the Punjaub, and the Punjaub with its five rivers defending us from Affghanistan, and Affghanistan defending us from Central Asia, over which it is impossible for a moment to think that a hostile army can pass. Then as to the necessity of deposing Dost Mahommed, and becoming friends with Runjeet Sing, and the supposition that we should then find a barrier in the country west of the Indus—am I speaking without authority when I say it was idle? Lord Auckland is my authority. On the very first reverse what course did that noble Lord take? He ordered the withdrawal of the army from Affghanistan. He did not remain at Cabul, he made the Affghans our enemies—he made them, if possible, the friends of Russia, ready to listen to her agents if they should say, The English have committed all the atrocities in their power, they have burnt your cities and killed your men, take us as your avengers and we will protect you. I have heard a great deal of exclamation against the atrocities committed on the English army by Akhbar Khan. Why, Sir, Akhbar Khan is but the Wallace of Cabul. Akhbar Khan behaved with the greatest attention to our countrymen who were his prisoners. What was he told? I blush for the English name when I say he was told that his wife and children who were in the hands of the British, might be either sent to Calcutta or to England, and that there were no means of bringing them up here as Mahomedans. It was enough to break the heart of Akhbar Khan as an honest Mahomedan. Akhbar Khan took advantage of the rising of the population—whether he slew the English Envoy or not I do not know, and, when we pay so little attention to national law, can we expect him to abide by it? We broke the law of religion and of good morals, and could we think that he would adhere to it? How did he behave to our helpless women? and how did we act towards that brave, though mistaken chief—I say brave, and I do not say mistaken prince? After what they knew when the siege of Herat was raised, why was the war rushed into? As time was given, why was not an appeal made to this country, and to the House, to know whether the war should or should not be undertaken? There was no pressing danger, the ground on which it was assumed was gone, the war was uncalled for, and required vindication on the part of those who have incurred the responsibility. I ask when they were called upon formerly to vindicate themselves, why the charge was garbled? The charge is grave which I now bring. I hold in my hand a part of the proofs, and I can bring all the rest. Sir Alexander Burnes' papers show that his authority was wholly distorted in these papers; that was brought as an evidence for, which was in truth an evidence against the war. The evidence was garbled in a way which, if it were practised, before twelve men sitting upon the jury, would cover with shame and confusion those who had garbled it. Not content with making extracts, sentences were altered. I have here the evidence, and what Sir Alexander Burnes himself declared upon that occasion. Sir Alexander Burnes received the Parliamentary Papers, these precious documents, the mere garbled fragments, on the 25th August, 1839 and he said:— Who can now doubt that the case of Russian intrigue is made out? The case of ejecting Dost Mabommed may not be so clear. Strange to say, all my implorations for the Government to act in Cabul are so put forth as if that I wished them to do as they have done. Now, I totally disapprove of the Punjaub policy and Runjeet's death, without our getting a slice of it (the Punjaub?) shows why I did so. On the 6th of February, 1839, he said that the exposition of the Governor-general's views in the Parliamentary papers was pure trickery; he acquitted Lord Auckland of the fraud, and he was sometimes charitable enough to acquit the other authorities, presuming that they had not read the papers; but he added, All my implorations to the Government to act with promptitude and decision, had reference to doing something when Dost Mahommed was king. All this they have made to appear in support of Shah Soojah being set up. I now lay down the grounds for inquiry; and I will prove what I have stated if hon. Gentlemen will give me the opportunity. I call for the publication of Sir Alexander Burnes's papers as they were really sent to the Foreign Office. I will give the House one or two specimens. In the letter of Captain Burnes to Mr. M'Naghten, dated from Cabul, January 26, 1838, the paragraph, as printed, left out entirely the fact that the Governor of India had sent instructions. I will first read the letter as written by Sir Alexander Burnes, and then the letter as printed. The letter began— Sir, I have now the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 25th of November and 2d of December last, which reached me about the same time, conveyed the views of the right hon. the Governor-general regarding the overtures made by Dost Mahommed Khan for adjusting the differences with the Sheiks. The garbled extract began— Sir, regarding the overtures made by Dost Mahommed Khan for adjusting his differences; Thus leaving out the whole part stating that the instructions had been sent by the Indian Government. What would be said of the author of such a transaction in a court of justice? If papers thus garbled were laid before a jury, do you not know what would be the verdict? I do. Again, in paragraph 6, one-half the paragraph alone was printed: the other half is left out. The sequence is made to apply to the printed passages. Sir Alexander Burnes had some inkling of what would take place. His papers were sealed up, and they were given into the hands of a confidential friend, lest his character should be ill dealt with by the noble Lord; and although I do not credit all his divinations, I cannot say that he was wrong in that. Shortly after the commencement of the war, a noble and most distinguished Lord, who had long ruled over British India—I need hardly say that I allude to the Marquess of Wellesley—communicated his views to the then Government; not only that, but having failed to keep a copy, the noble Lord sent to the Foreign Office, requesting a copy. The answer was, that Lord Wellesley's letter had been mislaid, and, therefore, that he could have no copy. I wish, Sir, to see that letter produced, and I will move for it. No doubt a letter was sent to the noble Lord thanking him for the letter; and possibly in the process of time the letter itself, which was mislaid then, may be forthcoming upon the order of the House of Commons. I therefore say, that all these things have been done contrary to the best authorities. I will show that this war was undertaken in the face of the strongest authorities. I have shown that it was opposed to justice and humanity, as it was opposed to common policy. It was undertaken in consequence of that restless desire which took possession of the vain rulers of this country, who, in exercising those desires, have acted most detrimentally to the interests of this country as well as of India. I, therefore, say that I have laid the grounds for ray present motion. I only ask for inquiry, and I say, that under these circumstances, the inquiry must be granted, if hon. Members believe that there is any doubt hanging on the question. If hon. Members will say that there is no doubt—if they see clearly that there was an invincible necessity in the then Government to undertake the war—if there was not a shadow of doubt fleeting across their minds as to the character of this proceeding then, my motion will be negatived; but if any man says that he has a doubt—if he thinks that the war was unwise and unjust, or if he deems the present evidence insufficient to determine its character, then he will vole for this motion in favour of further inquiry. For myself, Sir, I believe that a grave rebuke ought to be visited on the heads of those who have instigated this war; but I do not ask you by your vote to express any such opinion, I only ask you by this motion to have everything fairly explained. For if their case be strong, their innocence will at once be made manifest. But if they refuse—if they have no confidence in their own case, I then ask, and I appeal to that bench, to vindicate the honour of their country, and in the name of insulted humanity—in the name of our country, disgraced through all the kingdoms of the world—I implore you, as the guardians of peace and good will amongst mankind to inquire into these charges, and to reprobate, if reprobation be necessary, those who shall venture to break those rules of pure and exalted humanity which ought ever to be the guide of this country. The hon. Member concluded by submitting his motion to the House.

Mr. Hume

rose to second the motion, because he thought that what had just been stated should be proved, and the matter made clear; because it was in the power of the House to claim that all the documents should be laid before it, to show the real grounds of the war, and also because when information was asked by the House, although he was willing to give a discretion to public officers as to what could not be produced without detriment to the public service, yet he did not believe that this discretion ought to go to the suppression of all the arguments on one side of a question, and the publication of all those on the other side. He would second this motion, if on no other ground, because when the documents were formerly laid before the House, they were so garbled, that out of twenty-one paragraphs in a single despatch, only three were given. The whole of the documents could now be furnished, and he trusted that the House would afford an opportunity for their production.

Lord John Russell

said, after a short pause, I delayed rising to address the House immediately on the question being put, because I thought that it was probable that some hon. Member would be disposed to follow the hon. and learned Member for Bath, in his accusations of the late Government. As no one has done so, I will venture to make some observations on the course which has been taken, and also on the motion which has been made; and first of all, as to the time which the hon. and learned Member has chosen to discuss this question. This is, as the hon. and learned Member says, an accusation against the late Government—against all the Members composing that Government—against every person, concerned in the Government of this country, on account of a war announced in 1838, undertaken in 1839, and which had been repeatedly brought under the notice of this House. In the year 1839 the subject was mentioned in general terms in the Queen's Speech; papers were soon afterwards produced, and a right hon. Gentleman on the opposition benches, now a member of the Cabinet (Sir James Graham) gave a notice of a motion upon the question. That was afterwards withdrawn, and the question was not brought forward for the consideration of the House. In 1840 thanks were voted to the Governor-general for his general preparations for the expedition, and also to the officers and soldiers engaged in that expedition. In 1841 some question was again raised upon the subject, in reference to a bill which was brought before the House to settle an annuity on Lord Keane. In 1842, which was a very late period, considering the importance of the subject, and considering also that papers had been long before laid before the House, an hon. Member brought the question under consideration, and asked for more papers, to enable the House to form a correct judgment on the whole matter. This motion led to debate. My right hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham (Sir John Hob-house), who had been President of the Board of Control, and who, responsible as be is, as well as every other Member of the late Ministry, having had peculiar charge of this department, stated what he considered to be the case of the Government to which he had belonged—together with that of Lord Auckland, the late Governor-general of India, and he went at length into the whole subject. Further debate ensued, and the conclusion wag, that only nine Members voted for the production of those papers. I am not aware that the hon. and learned Member took part in that debate, or that he felt so much the injustice, the impolicy, the crime of that war, which he now, in 1843, thinks it his duty to bring before the House. It is to be regretted that my right hon. Friend, Sir John Hobhouse, having on that occasion made this statement, and the result of the motion having been such as I have described, is not now present in this House. My right hon. Friend, I think, was justified in supposing that after such a debate as before took place, and after such a division, it would not be necessary for him to be present on this occasion to enter again upon this discussion. The course taken is not consistent with ordinary Parliamentary proceedings, and I think that the whole form and substance of the motion is unusual. The hon. Member for Bath states, that on the subject of India, Mr. Burke moved for a secret committee, and that Mr. Dundas made a similar motion. That was at a time, however, far different from the present; because, then, if orders were sent out to India, a full year elapsed before the Government had any intelligence in answer. Wars were undertaken, and enter-prizes were carried to their termination, before this House was in possession of any of the circumstances which had occurred, and the details could only be brought out on an inquiry before a secret committee. The question is altogether altered now. This war was undertaken four years ago—its circumstances and causes are known to Parliament and the country, and papers upon the subject have been long since produced. The hon. Gentleman, I say, then, brings forward a most unusual motion. The motion of which the right hon. Baronet, who is now the Secretary for the Home Department, gave notice was a motion of a usual character, and supposing the right hon. Baronet to have persisted in entertaining the opinions which led to his placing notice of that motion on the paper, his conduct in bringing it forward would have been strictly in accordance with Parliamentary usages. In that case the war would have been denounced while those who sanctioned it were in power to defend it. But if Parliament should allow such proceedings to go on for a period of four years, and should then grant a committee of inquiry into the circumstances of that war, I must say that the proceedings would be without precedent in my experience of parliamentary transactions. How strange would it have been for those who were opposed to the great American war, instead of stating their objections to that war in this House, while the war was being carried on, to have reserved their objections until the war was concluded. The same observation will apply to the French war. Mr. Fox stated his objections to that war during the time it was going on, and this was a fair, and frank, and honest proceeding. But to bring forward at this moment, under cover of the great military calamities which have occurred, and which have produced a most serious impression on this House and the country, I say to bring forward, under cover of that impression, a motion for a Select Committee, is to adopt a course, I must say, more unfair to the men who have had the public responsibility cast upon them than any cousre that ever was resorted to by any opposition. The hon. and learned Member was lavish of his hard terms towards those who had the conduct of these affairs,—and he has spoken of "the dishonesty," of "the falsehood," and of "the thorough villainy of these proceedings,"—terms, certainly, not very usual, and I must say, not very fitting to be applied either to Lord Auckland or my right hon. Friend Sir J. Hobhouse, to my noble Friend who sits near me (Viscount Palmerston), to Lord Melbourne, or to any of those who formed the late Government. But I must say, with respect to the hon. and learned Member's imputations, what a great man, a memoir of whose life has been lately written in a most agreeable manner by a noble Lord, a Member of this House—I mean the great Prince of Condé, once said with respect to some libels which were published against him. On looking at two or three of those libels which imimputed to him low and grovelling motives— These libellers impute to us (he said) exactly that sort of motive by which, if they were placed in the situations in which we stand, they would be themselves actuated. I feel this observation to be most just, and I have never felt the full force and justice of the remark until now, when I hear these imputations falling from the lips of the hon. and learned Member. The hon. and learned Member has one ground, indeed, for the course which he has taken, to which he alluded at the beginning and towards the close of his speech—a ground which if it were justified, will certainly afford some reason, not perhaps for this proceeding, but certainly for some proceeding on the part of this House on the subject. The hon. and learned Member says, that these papers have been garbled—that the papers of Sir Alexander Burnes were garbled so as to produce a false impression with regard to the nature of their contents. Now, the hon. and learned Member has not favoured us with any proof of this charge. He read one passage, indeed, which seemed to be about as immaterial a passage as is contained in any part of the public papers—a passage, some words at the commencement of which were omitted, which did not seem to me to be of any very great importance. Sir Alexander Burnes, as we know, and as my right hon. Friend Sir John Hobhouse stated in this House, was of opinion that Dost Mahommed should be supported by the Governor-general of India, and not Shah Soojah. My right hon. Friend stated at the same time, that he, in making a selection of the papers to be produced, had chosen three papers, which were sufficient to show the opinion of Sir Alexander Burnes. It was of the greatest importance to that officer perhaps, that his opinions should be thoroughly and fully developed; and I can understand the feelings which would impel him to desire that his opinions, together with grounds and arguments on which those opinions were founded, should be placed on the Table of the House of Commons. But I cannot think, deserving as that officer was, that it is necessary that Parliament should form its judgment of the whole grounds and reasonings of any officer employed in his country's service. I believe that so far from such a course, should it be adopted, doing any good, it would produce nothing but confusion. It is not denied that the opinion of Sir A. Burnes was at first in favour of Dost Mahommed; and knowing that such was his opinion, the House could always see that the Government acted in opposition to that opinion in the early parts of this transaction. That there was no unfair garbling of these papers—that the head of the Board of Control had only exercised a power of selection fairly and prudently, was testified not only by those who acted with him, but by Lord Fitzgerald. I do not know whether, amongst hon. Gentlemen opposite, a different opinion was formed; but if they are of opinion that these papers were unfairly garbled, I say, let the whole of them be produced—let the House judge of the whole case; but if they are not of opinion that such garbling has taken place, if they agree with Lord Fitzgerald, let them express that concurrence. The hon. and learned Gentleman has gone very much into the question of the condition of Cabul and of the Affghan sovereigns who have feigned in the succession to that territory. The views of Lord Auckland did not depend on that succession, but on the question of any aggression upon our Indian empire. The hon. and learned Member said, that a war apparently of aggression might in reality prove to be a war of defence. It was with a view to the defence of our Indian empire, that Lord Auckland ordered the expedition to proceed against Affghanistan. The hon. Gentleman says, that the Governor-general of India—that all those officers who gave him information—that the Envoy of her Majesty in Persia—that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and that the late Government to which I belonged, were all acting under a hallucination, and that he alone, the hon. Member for Bath, is able to dispel that hallucination, and to discover the grievous errors which were committed. With great respect for the discernment and acuteness of the hon. Gentleman, I must continue in my former opinion, that Lord Auckland, with the assistance which he received of highly intelligent and well informed men placed under him, both in a civil and military capacity, was not only as well, but far better able to judge of the reality of the danger to be expected than the hon. and learned Member, speaking in the year 1843, when the danger which Lord Auckland had feared had been dispelled. The question of the advances of Persia to Affghanistan, and to the frontiers of India, was not a new one to persons who have observed the interests of our great empire. There was a gentleman, Sir John Macdonald, in Persia more than twelve years ago, who then wrote a memorandum, decrying what was even then apprehended as an approaching danger—he meant a Russian invasion. At the end of that memorandum he referred to the dangers which he thought likely to accrue, and which I will take the liberty of reading to this House. It was a general speculation on his part, not containing any facts or any precise information, and which, therefore, there can be no danger in disclosing:— Dated 11th March, 1830.—For my own part, I firmly believe that we have little to dread from the machinations of Russia, until such time as the dissolution of the existing government, by the death of the present king, may enable her, in upholding the pretensions of the Abbas Mirza, or any other competitor for the throne, it matters not whom, to acquire a permanent influence in the councils of Persia, when by skilfully applying the resources of that kingdom to the promotion of her own views, she might gradually and imperceptibly approach us without any avowed demonstration of hostility. The new king placed on the throne, and supported there through her means, eager to reduce the rebels of Khorassan, might yield a cheerful acquiescence to any proposition tending to facilitate the fulfilment of an object anxiously desired. Under the mantle of his authority, therefore, and in conjunction with his troops, led and disciplined by Russian officers, district after district, and town after town could be gradually subdued, until, by a systematic progressive organization of their conquests, they were at length able to reach Herat, Candahar, and Cabul, the keys of Hindostan, where their presence must henceforward become a constant object of attention, and a just cause of alarm. That is the recorded opinion of Sir J. Macdonald. The subject was afterwards observed upon by Sir J. Malcolm, who stated his opinion that the only danger would be, that by too much caution and reserve, England would allow the policy of Russia to be carried so far, that the Russian government might be so placed as that it might be found impossible for her to retreat. Such are the declared opinions of two able and prudent men, formerly in the service of the company. The events of the last few years have justified their foresight. In the course of the last few years the king of Persia, not restrained by the cautious policy which the weakness of Persia should have induced him to follow, began a plan of aggression, commencing with Herat, and which was afterwards to extend to Affghanistan. The question was, in what manner those aggressions affected us. Lord Auckland was at first disposed to view it as a matter to call for serious attention, but not to require the movement of any armed force on the part of England. He stated more than once, in his minutes and his despatches, his views of this question, and at length he disclosed his opinions as to the manner in which an advance should be made. On the 12th of May, 1838, he wrote— To proceed now to the consideration of our future policy, and the different results which may attend an attack on Herat, I would first remark, that since the transmission of my despatches to the secret committee, in which I stated that it was not then my intention to offer opposition to the hostile advance of the Persians on Candahar and Cabul, circumstances have occurred which may materially alter my views. The Russian agents have put themselves forward in favouring the designs of Persia, and we cannot allow this to be done without some opposition on our part. This letter, I think, showed that the first desire of Lord Auckland, intemperate and rash as he is said to have been, was not to interfere at all. It was the opinion of Sir Alexander Burnes that the dangers which are described were best to be met by cultivating the friendly disposition of Dost Mahommed, and by indulging him in the requests and demands which he made. Lord Auckland had to consider what those requests were. Now the re quest of Dost Mahommed was, that Peshawur should be put into his hands. Peshawur, which was no more a part of his dominions than any part of Persia or England. I will show to the House in the first place, by a letter of his own, that I am not stating that which is visionary, and which cannot fairly be attributed to him. In a letter to Captain Burnes on the 23rd April, 1838, he distinctly declared Peshawur to be the object which he had in view. It is clear, then, that the aim of Dost Mahommed was, to obtain the delivery to him, by the British Government, of Peshawur. The question was, whether these being the terms on which we could gain the friendship of Dost Mahommed, with whom we had no political connexion, we were bound to accept them, when by doing so our connection with Runjeet Singh, with whom we were in alliance, would be dissolved. The hon. and learned Member declared his apprehension of unjust wars and of injustice; but he very coolly, at the same time, talked of taking possession of the territories of Runjeet Singh after his death. Now, I must say for Lord Auckland, that though it was repeatedly urged on him that a great acquisition of territory would be gained by taking possession of the Punjaub, he considered that the adoption of such a line of conduct would be inconsistent with justice to Runjeet Singh and his family, who had never done anything to provoke the enmity of the British Government—that the Government of India was not justified in adopting any measure of oppression towards that person; and Lord Auckland, consequently, refused to act otherwise than on terms of friendship and amity with him. Is this a man, then, I ask, who thus refuses to adopt unjust measures for the sake of acquiring territory, and of obtaining new conquests, who, having been guided by a line of policy based on such considerations as I have described, would be likely to enter upon an unjust war without provocation? Lord Auckland considered that it was impossible that he should make this sacrifice of Peshawur, and of good faith to Dost Mahommed. The consequence was, that Dost Mahommed immediately desired Captain Burnes to leave his territory; that all communication was at an end; and then he turned to listen to the advices of a Russian, sent to him by the Russian minister. The hon. and learned Member seems to think that the part which Russia took in this transaction is altogether imaginary. I think that he could not entertain that belief after reading a despatch from Count Nesselrode directed to my noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) because in that despatch it is distinctly stated that, although the orders of the Russian government to their ambassador in Persia, did proceed upon a suggestion that it was better to prevent aggression, and to maintain peace, yet that the king of Persia having gone to Herat, the Russian minister had followed him there, and had taken part in conducting the siege, and in making terms, by which Herat was to be given over to the ruler of Candahar, and in making other arrangements with the government of Affghanistan. I think then that it must be admitted that this was no imaginary danger. I think that no man at all acquainted with the politics of India would say, that the fact of Affghanistan being about to be settled and ruled over by the influence and regulations of the Russian ambassador, who was carrying his influence from Candahar and Cabul to the banks of the Indus, (for the Ameers of Scinde were formerly considered subject to Persia),—I think no man would venture to say, that that circumstance could be a matter of indifference to the Government of India. But the fact was, that the whole of India was alarmed. There came to Lord Auckland representations from every quarter, from all the intelligent men who were in the Government or connected with the different districts in India, all expressing the alarm which they felt at these events. In stating this case last year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham read an extract of a letter addressed to him by Lord Auckland, dated August 23, 1838, stating— The siege of Herat has much occupied the minds of the public in India, and our shrewdest and calmest observers, Skinner, Cubben, and Sutherland in Hansi, Mysore, and Gwalior, have concurred in describing the fever of restlessness as beyond everything which, for many years, they had witnessed. This is a letter from General Cubbon, dated Bangalore, 28th of September, 1839, on this subject:— It is well known that for some time previously to the commencement of that great enterprise which has been crowned by the capture of Ghuznee, and the occupation of Cabul, a general impression prevailed throughout the south of India that the government was in imminent danger from enemies on the north-west frontier, and the successive rumours of foreign invasion were so artfully spread as to have considerably shaken the truest even of the comparatively well-informed in the stability of the British rule. Among the hostile powers named, the combination of which it was believed there was no possibility of resisting, Russia invariably held the most prominent place, sometimes in conjunction with France, but oftener with Turkey, Persia, and Cabul; while the belief was equally prevalent that the enemy was encouraged by a formidable internal confederacy, and that his arrival at the Indus would be the signal for a general rise, not only within the protected states but within our own provinces. To increase the difficulty, and seduce the well wishes of the British Government from their allegiance, a rumour was industriously propagated that all the possessions of the ancient dynasties would be restored to their descendants, and that the assessments on land would hereafter be reduced to one-tenth of the produce—in fact, that this was the express object of the invading army; and to this rumour, and others of a similar character, the Mysore territory was peculiarly exposed, by reason of the constant intercourse which was carried on between the Persian Gulf and the coast of Malabar. It would not be easy to devise a more effectual plan for encouraging the disaffected and reconciling the well-disposed to a revolution—in short, for combining the most influential and the most numerous classes of the population in opposition to the British Government, than the dissemination amongst an ignorant people of such rumours as these. Without speculating upon the consequences which might have followed from the continuance of such a state of things, of the effect actually produced in unsettling men's minds, it may be sufficient to observe, that the probability of an early change was everywhere the engrossing topic of conversation, and that whilst in one quarter of the south of India the merchants hesitated to embark in their usual commercial speculations, under the impression that the approaching downfall of the British Government would prevent their accomplishment, in another the inhabitants had actually commenced to bury their valuables. I will now read an extract from an Indian newspaper, published in India at this time, showing the general impression which prevailed:— In case a formidable contest should ensue, the whole of the British force in India would amount to 50,000 souls, with a reinforcement of 60,000 from England, and 72 pieces of artillery. These might be serviceable in a pitched battle, but if enemies are to start from all sides and begin to attack every point, the story of the English will be short, and they must sell their lives as dear as they can. The conquest of the Heraties by the Persians, is indeed the conquest of the Punjaub and Hindoostan. A cloud has arisen from the west and surrounded the whole of India, and the lightning of the sword flashes in the air. These were the sentiments published in India at this time—sentiments which were called for by circumstances which the hon. and learned Member, however, views as merely imaginary, as the hallucination of the brain. In those circumstances I find the apparent fulfilment of that which was predicted as being dangerous to India, the advance of a Persian army to Herat, an alliance between Persia and Affghanistan; and that these powers were supported and egged on by Russia, whose forces, it was said, were likely at the same time to advance to Khiva. In 1838 there was a proposition for the advance of such an army; and thus on every side to the west of the Indus, circumstances were arising to produce apprehensions of a most formidable nature. The House may ask, what would have been the consequence of taking no notice of these dangers, and of not interfering in any way? The consequence would have been, in my opinion, that step by step you would have found your enemies advancing until a hostile force would have been collected on the shores of the Indus. The hon. and learned Member says, "Meet them between the Sutlej and the Indus with a formidable army;" but are you sure that if you had shown no resolution—that if you had turned a careless and inactive attention merely to these proceedings, when the time came to assume an offensive character, those whom you might then call upon would be found faithful? The ground of India is strewed with ruined thrones and broken sceptres, and there are men to be found always ready to seek for the revival of their lost power, and to resume the sway which their families formerly possessed. If your feelings for the preservation of your power in India last, but you fail to display the same spirit of boldness in encountering danger which you have formerly exhibited—if you are not as ready to meet peril now as you formerly were when our empire in India was created, then I say that that empire will be as quickly destroyed as it was erected, through the want of that spirit of enterprise and resolution which was employed in the establishment of your power. I know not that there is anything in history—so different are these circumstances from any which have arisen in the history of Europe—exactly resembling this transaction. But we know that when that great man, Frederick of Prussia became possessed of Silesia, hitherto under the dominion of the House of Austria, a great confederacy was formed to deprive him of it. Did he consider that the best policy was to wait at Berlin until he was attacked there? No; with that military and political genius which he possessed, he advanced to meet his enemies—to defeat their combinations, to destroy the armies advancing to unite in small bodies. England did not then say that she would interfere to force him to give back Silesia. England was then an ally of the House of Prussia, and I do not think that the policy of enterprise and vigour with which Frederick began the war was condemned by Lord Chatham. We heard a great deal last year of the opinion of the gallant general in command of the forces in India—we were told that Sir Henry Fane was altogether opposed to the expedition. I confess that I was surprised to hear that statement made, but I then possessed no means of contradicting it. Since that time Lord Auckland has returned to this country, and has shown me many private and confidential communications from Sir Henry Fane, all of which tend to show the very contrary of that which was asserted. In one of those letters, he says, that nothing will give him greater pleasure than to be put at the head of a large force and to go and relieve Herat, or to recapture it, if taken. In another, he expressed his concurrence in the views of Lord Auckland as to the necessity of a forward motion; and, although he did entertain some doubt as to the policy of adopting the cause of Dost Mahommed or Shah Soojah, he eventually came to a conclusion in accordance with that of the Governor-general. After the army had advanced 400 miles, indeed, he did express an opinion against the continued occupation of Affghanistan; but that, I take it, is a question altogether different from that of its original occupation. I do not wish to quote these letters, nor should I have alluded to them, but for the positive assertions which were made. But such are the sorts of rumours to which notoriety is given, upon the authority of persons who are not at all aware of the actual occurrences as they have taken place. It was there said by the hon. and learned Member, that even with a view to the present policy, there was nothing so foolish as to take up the case of Shah Soojah. I did not hear from him, though some passages were quoted which seemed to imply, that the Gevernment was acting upon a principle altogether erroneous in taking up the case of one sovereign against another—that this was an interference with the affairs of nations which should not be permitted. If this doctrine is to be put forth, I must say that I believe it to be entirely opposed to the course of policy hitherto adopted, both in India and in Europe; for in both cases a principle has been acted upon which distinctly sanctions such interference. In one of the most remarkable instances of our taking part in the affairs of India was in a case wherein we deposed Tippoo Saib's sons, where the Rajah we substituted for them was only ten years old, and where it was not very likely that he had had opportunities of becoming popular or well beloved. Again, we interfered to prevent the deposition of the Grand Mogul, and we took care to secure the throne of that prince in a way consonant to the supposed interests of our empire in India. If, again, you refer to the history of European nations, you will find repeated instances of such interference. There was a remarkable instance of this in connection with the revolution in this country. For a long series of years after that revolution Holland was engaged, by treaty, to send troops to this country, when called upon, during the reigns of King William, of Queen Anne, and of the earlier sovereigns of the House of Hanover. Again, under the family alliance, France was bound to afford assistance to the sovereigns of the Bourbon family on the throne of Spain. Again, England, in more recent times, interfered to uphold the interests of the reigning family in Spain against the members of the Bonaparte family. I say. therefore, that it has often been a part of our policy to maintain the cause of one sovereign or another, both in the East and in Europe. In the present case, Lord Auckland received such information as induced him to take up the cause of Shah Soojah as the only safe means of proceeding into Affghanistan. He was told that if he proceeded into that country in any way, he would be regarded as an enemy by the whole nation, and would involve himself in the grestest difficulties. He was told by persons who had had repeated opportunities of becoming well informed as to the state of the country, that this was his only course. Mr. Masson, in a communication to Lord Auckland, dated the 8th of June, 1838, after discussing the views of Persia, the importance of Herat, and the design entertained by Persia, and adopted by the Barukzye family, of assisting Kamram, and the necessity of defeating these objects, says,— For these desirable ends no person appears so well adapted as Shah Soojah. He has already twice reigned, in his misfortunes has preserved the good will of his former subjects, and his wise omission of putting out the eyes of Shah Mahommed, the father of Kamram, when in his power, has left no serious breach between him and the latter ruler. In aiding the restoration of Shah Soojah, the British Government would consult the feelings of the Affghan natives, among whom his popularity is great, and who even wonder that the Government has not before done it. If he avowedly advanced under British auspices, his success would be prompt and certain; little or no blood would be shed; he would be joined by all who are discontented with the Barukzye rule—and who is there that is not discontented? Again, Sir Alexander Burnes, in a paper dated Nov. 24, 1838, directed to Lord Auckland, and dated Shikarpoor, says, Whatever is to be said on our past policy in Affghanistan, it is now clear that we are in the right way to rectify the evil which a reverse of thirty years has brought upon us; and confident of success, I feel perfectly satisfied that your Lordship's administration will become distinguished in Indian history as one in which our relations in the west were based on a secure footing. In another communication this officer said:— As for Shah Soojah-ool-Moolk, the British Government have only to send him to Peshawur with an agent, and two of his own regiments as an honorary escort, and an avowal to the Affghans that we have taken up his cause, to ensure his being fixed for ever on his throne. Such was the opinion of Sir Alexander Burnes, who previously had entertained such a strong opinion in favour of Dost Mahommed. Mr. Lord, also, a person of great intelligence, and well acquainted with that country, also informed Lord Auckland— I have never met a sentiment which may more properly be termed national and universal, than the desire of the Affghans for the return of Shah Soojah. They can seldom converse with an Englishman for five minutes without alluding to it. Again, Major Todd, another most able person, well acquainted with that country, in a communication said— Dost Mahommed Khan is decidedly unpopular as an Affghan chief, and the people of Cabul would hail with delight the restoration of Shah Soojah. The notorious predilections of the Ameer for Persia, and his heavy and arbitrary impositions upon all classes of his people, have lost him the confidence and good will of nearly every Affghan in the country. Such were the statements that Lord Auckland received from persons on the spot, as to the probable result of the course of policy pursued, and as to the relative popularity of Shah Soojah and Dost Mahommed in Affghanistan. I believe that the first reception of Shah Soojah was such as fully to justify a reliance being placed on these opinions, and I ask what else the Governor-general had to go by in his proceedings, but the testimony which he received from those who were sent to make civil and military observations in the country? If Lord Auckland had dissented from the various opinions expressed by these various persons, who all were on the spot, and had opportunities of forming an opinion, and had gone into Affghanistan as an enemy's country, he would justly have been liable to the censure of having despised the opinion of those well informed on the affairs of Affghanistan, and acted on his mere caprice. The hon. and learned Gentleman has said very little, although perhaps they had much to do with the present motion, respecting the military disasters which occurred in Affghanistan, and with respect to them I will only say, that whatever was the case, in other respects they were not the necessary result of the occupation of Affghanistan. It was not the necessary result of the occupation of Cabul—nor was it the result of the occupation of Jellalabad, that these military disasters occurred. I believe, that if matters had gone on for some time without any great insurrection taking place, or any disaster happening, that we should hare left a peaceful country, and a powerful soveon the throne; and some hope might have been entertained for the peace of this unhappy country, instead of its being left in a state of anarchy, and ready to join any invader from the west, who was prepared to attack the Governor-general and our power in India. I was this morning looking at a note of Sir William N'Naghten to Lord Auckland on the subject of the occupation of the country. Lord Auckland made a minute in the spring of 1841 as to the difficulty of marching the troops in that country, and as to the time to be taken for the withdrawal of the army. Sir William M'Naghten, who at all events was a very able man, and had had great experience in those Eastern countries, and was master of the languages of many of those people, and who might, therefore, be supposed to be tolerably well able to judge of the future proceedings of this people, I must say, was greatly deceived in the views which he adopted as to the state of Affghanistan; but I do not know how Lord Auckland could do better than to rely upon the information and opinion of those best qualified, by experience of the country, as to what was likely to occur. Sir William M'Naghten, in his note to Lord Auckland, dated March 19, 1841, says— Our prospects are, I think, most cheering, both as regards internal and external affairs. Between Cabul and Peshawur (the only portion of his territory to which the Shah has had leisure to pay much attention) perfect tranquillity prevails, and I believe, general content, civilization, and commerce, are both perceptibly and considerably increasing, and I do not entertain a doubt that the same results will speedily be manifested in the other parts of his Majesty's dominions. Such was the opinion of this able person on the state of affairs in Affghanistan in the spring of 1841. I believe this communication raised a feeling very different from one of insecurity. But whatever that feeling was, the immediate object of the Governor-general and the Cabinet at home, in the orders that were given to advance from the Indus, was to drive off an imminent danger which threatened our empire in India. I will now venture to state what was the opinion of Lord Auckland on this communication of Sir William M'Naghten. Lord Auckland said, in reply to it,— The repose of the public mind in India, from our command of the avenues by which the approach of invasion has been so hourly apprehended, is a benefit and a blessing of the greatest conceivable value. I believe such a result had been produced in India. I before alluded to the state of feverish excitement and danger which General Cubben described to prevail in the Mysore in the year 1839, and the effect that must have been produced by it on the mind of the Governor, general. In that communication General Cubben says,— It was the Governor-General's notification of the 1st of October, 1838, followed by the passage of the Indus, which first restored public confidence in the strength of the Government, and the memorable events which have since ensued, have completed the transition from a state of great excitement and agitation into one of general composure. But this state of things has not, I believe, been materially changed. I have one more statement with respect to this point from an official person who was in the west of India, and who wrote thus after the disasters had occurred. The paper is dated the 28th of June, 1842, and is as follows:— The feeling of the people towards us never could have been better, and from twenty years' experience, I can safely say, that it never was so good. I am more than ever satisfied, from all that I have seen in the last three years, that our operations beyond the Indus did more to give the people an impression of our power and resources than anything we could have done within it. The tranquillizing effects of that measure were at once felt throughout the length and breadth of this vast country, and all the misfortunes which have since overtaken us there, have had wonderfully little effect in disturbing that impression. With these exceptions, internal India never enjoyed greater repose, which, next to the sense which the people entertain of the benefits of our rule, may, I am persuaded, still be attributed to the impression made of our power by our advance to meet the supposed danger beyond the Indus, which we all know was at the time spreading a belief throughout the land, that a power greater than ours was coming to assail us. These opinions, which I now give to you privately, I believe that I have before in some shape or other written officially. If such was the effect of our advancing beyond the Indus if the danger was so great before our advance beyond that river and if a general fever prevailed in India, and if a feeling to throw off our power existed, and if that feeling has given way to a conviction that our power is the strongest, I should say that a great object was obtained by it. And although greater glory might have been acquired by waiting until the enemy was on the Indus, and when great armies assembled on that river had been engaged in contest, and after rivers of blood had been shed—although I say that the glory might be greater in such a contest in which, I believe, there would be little doubt of the result—still I prefer the vigour and fore, sight which prevented the war from being carried to such an extent. If it was believed that there was no such danger of such a contest—if there was no necessity for taking steps to avert this threatened attack—then it might be the duty of the House to enter into this inquiry. My own conviction is, that by the course taken by the Governor-general, and by the Government at home, a great danger to our empire in India has been averted, and, instead of a vote of accusation, which would be implied by assenting to this motion, and appointing a committee, that they should rather be thanked for the course they took to secure the repose of India. I consider that Lord Auckland was justified in the course that he took, having this danger in view; and it was sound policy and not rash ambition, that induced him to take the step that be did, rather than to wait for events. But when he is accused of being disposed, contrary to reason and justice to extend the territory of the empire over which he presided, it is worth while to notice the former course of his Government. I will now therefore proceed to state a few of the general heads of internal improvement in the Government of our Indian empire to which Lord Auckland applied himself, and notwithstanding all that the hon. and learned Gentleman has said as to Lord Auckland's disposition, I am prepared to show that he preferred advancing the peaceful interests of the country to engaging in warfare, and that lie took delight in promoting the education of the people, in extending the trade of the country, and in advancing the welfare of the people he was called upon to govern. Such was his taste—such was his temper—and success in such pursuits gave him the greatest happiness that could be bestowed on him in his public employments, I have a great many instances of this before me in the course that Lord Auckland pursued in India. For instance, he exerted himself in abolishing the duties which embarrassed and injured communication between Bengal and Bombay, and the successful result of his exertions has been productive of the greatest benefit, and the trade between those places had increased within only this short time to between two and three millions a-year. Again, Lord Auckland exerted himself to advance the character, and the station, and the emoluments of the native judges. These native judges being judges of the first instance, Lord Auckland was anxious to increase their influence and character, and thus tend to give confidence to the native population in the administration of justice by their own people. He exerted himself also to promote the advance of native education. Lord William Bentinck took a very important view of this subject; and Lord Auckland, during the time that be was at the head of the Government of India, did all that he could to promote certain branches of know ledge amongst them, and thus to do away indirectly with some of those prejudices which were most serious impediments in the way of improvement. For instance, he took steps to promote the teaching of anatomy amongst the natives, which was formerly forbidden. ["Oh, Oh!"] Some Gentlemen seem disposed to sneer. They had heard Lord Auckland accused of plunging the country into bloody and unjust war. Now, I think nothing can be more important than to show that he was teaching those arts and disseminating those measures which were most opposed to a warlike spirit. Lord William Bentinck thought it a great object to remove some of those prejudices of the natives of India; and Lord Auckland, fully appreciating the importance of this, followed in his footsteps. With respect to the land revenue of India, it often happened that great oppression existed; but such a change was adopted as to introduce a considerable degree of moderation and simplicity in the collection: and the effect has been that the revenue has been increased, and the collection has been made more just and impartial. I may excite the ridicule, again, of some hon. Gentlemen opposite when I state that Lord Auckland established provincial dispensaries under the care of native practitioners, where the people can get medicine and advice at a cheap rate. This may excite the ridicule of some, but, in my mind, such institutions confer direct and disinterested benefit on the people of India, and manifest the presence and care of a humane and benevolent government. It may also excite ridicule where I say that my Lord Auckland, following the instructions and wishes of the British Parliament, adopted important measures for the purpose of mitigating slavery in India; and while at the same time he abstained from shocking native customs, and exciting ferments which might check the object he had in view, he recommended a course which has been adopted by the Home Government, with the view to the complete abolition of slavery in India. Lord Auckland likewise took measures for the improvement of the police of India, and for putting an effectual stop to the gangs of Thugs and robbers and predatory bands which formerly wandered about the country; and his measures had been followed by the greatest success. These were various details, but taken altogether, they were important steps for the improvement of India—they tended to make the people contented, and they tended to show the people of India that the Government which ruled over them was occupied in measures for their benefit. These were the favourite pursuits of Lord Auckland; and only when he considered the safety of the empire over which he ruled was in peril, he adopted a warlike policy, and undertook an expedition, which there can be no doubt that he was fully aware must be attended with some of the calamities of war. I have not gone into a lengthened examination of the papers which have been laid on the Table, explanatory of the proceedings it was deemed necessary to take in that country; but I have, I think, said enough to justify the then Government in the course which it took; but if the present Government wish that further papers should be laid before Parliament on the subject, I shall have no objection. And this brings to my recollection what was stated last year by the right hon. Gentleman opposite with respect to our differences with Russia, and pointing out the great danger which formerly threatened from a rupture of our alliance with that power. The hon. and learned Gentleman, the friend of peace now said, why not at once attack the Russians in the Baltic? This, be it recollected, was from the friend of peace the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that if there was any cause of dispute, attack Russia. Why, Sir, to that argument I reply, that war would be a very great calamity to this country. The case was this: that, in consequence of the acts of Russian agents in the neighbouring states to our possessions in the East, we were obliged to take steps to repel an advance dangerous to the safety of our empire in India. Russia disavowed the acts of those agents, and withdrew from all interference in the affairs of those countries, and the result, I am happy to say, has been satisfactory to the security of our empire in India, and to the preservation of peace between this country and Russia. I do not wish to extend the calamities of war, and I am sure that, after what then occurred, no true friend of peace will say that we should then have gone to war. The hon. and learned Gentleman, echoing the assertions of certain parties out of doors, although he said that he did not go to so great an extent as some did, brought the most serious accusations against my noble Friend the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs, although he kindly said, that he acquitted his noble Friend of being a party to the reasonable transactions of which he had been accused—of taking pay from foreign countries; and of Sacrificing the interest of England to them. The hon. and learned Gentleman charged my noble Friend with meddling in such a way with foreign countries as to prove fatal to the preservation of peace. I entirely deny the accusation. I admit that my noble Friend was not ready to give up the rights of England. I cannot aver that my noble Friend was ever forward to abandon any essential interest of England. I cannot indeed affirm that my noble Friend was ever in a hurry to say, in any difference or question that might arise between this and another nation, that the foreign power was always in the right, and that his own country was always in the wrong. I do not believe that the policy of my noble Friend was of this character, but I believe that my noble Friend's policy, on the great subjects which came under his attention, had a most powerful tendency to maintain the peace of the World. Look to the great question which arose since my noble Friend came into the office he recently filled. One great question arose shortly after the time he accepted that office, respecting which some of the most able and most sagacious statesmen of the time said that it portended war, and that it would be hardly possible to avert it by any means of negotiation. The question I allude to was the settlement of Belgium, after the sepatation of the provinces composing that state from the Netherlands. France was armed on the one side, and Prussia and Austria on the other, and were ready to take part in the contest which was likely to arise between Holland and Belgium. The counsels of my noble Friend and the Cabinet to which he belonged prevailed with these several powerful nations, and these counsels tended to the preservation of peace. These counsels tended to prevent war arising between Holland and Belgium, and the great northern powers of Europe and France, which appeared inclined to take part on each side in the contest. The influence and interference of England, however, was so ably exerted that this most involved and difficult matter, instead of exciting a general war in Europe, as was then so generally anticipated, became a question of diplomacy; and this most stirring topic was arranged in the most pacific manner, and the King of Holland and the King of Belgium were placed on a footing of amity with each other, and the various states of the rest of Europe were restored to a state of confidence in the preservation of peace. Did this look like a disposition to excite war, when it was clear that if matters had been left alone, and England had not interfered, war must have occurred? There was another question which I think would, if it had not been dealt with, have proved, if not immediately dangerous to the peace of Europe, must shortly have been a powerful obstacle to the preservation of the general peace. Russia had obtained great advances under the treaty of Adrianople, and had secured to herself great power and influence in Turkey, when take any part in the contest that had arisen between those two powers. Again, by the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi Russia had secured to herself additional advantages, the existence of which were most dangerous for the preservation of the Turkish empire. After we had neglected to interfere in these proceedings, another question arose, whish involved considerations to this extent, namely, as to whether England should, with the other great powers of Europe, interfere and prevent the Sultan from being, overcome and destroyed by a too powerful vassal, or whether that Sovereign should appeal to Russia alone, and place himself under the guidance of that power. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that my noble Friend's name had become a by-word throughout Europe, and that he had done more than anything else to diminish the influence of England throughout, the world. What, I ask, did the Emperor of Russia do when the circumstances respecting Turkey arose, which I have just adverted to? The Emperor of Russia did not send to other states, but instantly, on hearing of the occurrence, dispatched a minister to England to learn what course this country advised to be taken, and what part she intended to take; and he went to the extent of saying that he would adapt his policy to that which England thought the best course to pursue for the maintenance of the peace of Europe; and that powerful state adopted the course that was suggested by this country, and acted upon it in entire good faith. The proposition of my noble Friend to Russia was adopted, and it was acted upon by four out of the five, of the great powers of Europe—they agreed as to the policy to be pursued, and in a short time it was carried to a successful termination. The hon. and learned Gentleman objected to this course of policy, as tending to promote hostility; but I believe that it had the effect of removing the danger that was likely to arise from a continuance of the contest between the Sultan and a too powerful vassal, and by the settlement of it great additional security has been obtained for the preservation of the peace of Europe. By carrying out this course of policy to a successful issue, you have placed Turkey under the safeguard, not of one power, but of all the great powers of Europe, and all these had agreed to the Turkish empire. Were these proofs of a palpably mischievous and pernicious meddling in the affairs of other states? Were these two questions of such a character as has been described by the hon. and learned Member? My noble Friend has been made the subject of the most absurd accusations, and of the most ignorant calumnies, and of the most unfounded vituperation, but notwithstanding all that my noble Friend has been assailed with, I am quite ready to take my full share in the responsibility of his policy; and I am ready to prove that that policy has maintained the peace of Europe. I believe that his asserting the power of England in the way in which he did, he did more to secure peace than could have been done by a dastardly course. Confident, then, as I am in the safety and advantage of the policy pursued by my noble Friend near me, and confident as I am in the policy of Lord Auckland, I am ready to give a negative to the hon. and learned Member's motion for a committee, which is only intended to imply a censure on that policy. Supported as the proposition for that motion was in a speech almost unparalleled for its invective, the hon. Member appealed from the late House of Commons, when he had ample opportunities of discussing the policy of this war, to the present House of Commons, when he knew those who were responsible for that policy were in a minority, apparently under the supposition that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite were actuated by similar feelings to those by which the hon. and learned Member appeared to be actuated. But I trust that hope will be disappointed.

Mr. D'Israeli

said, according to the noble Lord, there seemed to be a vague idea, on the part of the late Government, that something was to happen—that something fearful existed which could not be proved to exist, and that, in consequence of this fever of fear, it became necessary to march a large army into distant parts of Asia. Apply the same reasoning to a neighbouring state. Had we not denounced, over and over again, the war fever in France? From all that had been offered in explanation of the late invasion of Affghanistan, it appeared to him that no better reason existed for it than could be offered by France if she should choose to cross the Rhine, because she entertained some vague idea that all Europe was coalescing against her. The noble Lord had been obliged to admit that war had been undertaken from the fear and jealousy we entertained towards a great European power. The hon. and learned Member for Bath, in anticipation of the admission which had been made by the late Government, followed that course in his reasoning which was most legitimate and just, but which he was bound to say had been greatly perverted by the noble Lord, If the late Government was afraid of Russia, and if Russia by her policy was injuring or endangering any portion or dependency of the empire, nothing was more clear, said the hon. and learned Member, then that it was their duty to attack and assail Russia. The hon. and learned Member did not, however, admit that Russia had attacked us; he inquired for the proofs of such a proceeding. Not one proof had been brought forward either on any former or the present occasion by the late Government that such a proceeding had taken place. If it could be shown that our empire was endangered by Russia—that this indefinite host was overrunning any part of our empire, the House of Commons would at once forget all abstract considerations of the policy of the war, in consideration of the pressing emergency. But nothing whatever had been adduced either in this or the other House—or had been advanced in any journal or organ of the late Government—not a tittle of evidence had been adduced to show that any serious preparation, or combination, or contrivance had taken place on the part of Russia which could justify or render necessary any warlike movement or preparation on our part. If the advisers of the Sovereign heard of any intrigue on the part of any power to assail our influence in India, or in the neighbouring states, that would form a legitimate ground for diplomatic action and inquiry. If the Government of the Queen heard that neighbouring states were engaged in hostile operations against each other which threatened to exercise a pernicious influence on our Indian empire—that might be good ground for assembling troops and for interfering in the quarrels of other nations. But to assemble an army for such purposes, under such circumstances, and for such vague reasons as those assigned by the late Ministry was unparalleled in the history of any country and of any party. He had once before ventured to call the attention of the House to the physical position of our empire in India. The hon. and learned Gentleman had also referred to the same subject. What was our situation? On the west and east we had 2,000 miles of neutral territory, on the north impassable mountains, and on the south 10,000 miles of unfathomable ocean. Was it possible to conceive a more perfect barrier than that which he had described? Could a boundary possibly be devised more perfect and safe than the boundary our empire possessed before the invasion of Affghanistan? But the noble Lord had justified the steps which had been taken. Notwithstanding this secure boundary, he declared that Russia would have advanced, that we had only anticipated a hostile movement, and that it was necessary to apply our resources in the way which had been done. It appeared, then, that we anticipated a movement and failed. We went forward to attack a force that never was seen, steps were taken by the noble Lord to overcome this visionary force and they ended in disaster, and dishonour. Look, too, at the position in which the late Ministry by their policy placed this country with Russia—the late Ministry who now showed so much delicacy whenever Russia was mentioned. It appeared that during their whole administration we were in a state of semi-peace only with Russia, for not only were the borders of our Indian empire menaced, but there was a similar state of danger and difficulty existing in our European relations with that power. An unseen foe was in the Mediterranean, and Constantinople was in danger of being occupied without any force being at hand to prevent it. He would admit the inconvenience of discussing the feelings and policy of foreign powers in that House, yet he thought it was far better to have a frank idea of the intentions and policy of Russia, rather than to announce that power as a sincere friend, and yet have debates against that power, and wars against that power, involving England in expense, and placing her empire in a position of almost inextricable danger. The position of Russia was, he admitted, menacing but it was not offensive. It was the geographical position of the Russian empire which rendered it menacing. Look at the map. These two spots would be seen, the Dardanelles and the Sound, which if possessed by the game power must give that power universal empire. When they saw a power advancing gradually upon those two points, and when also it was seen that those two points were in the hands of two of the weakest states in existence then that power was in a menacing position as regarded Europe. The noble Lord, who took such great credit to the late Government for its foreign policy, had called attention to the great success which had attended our in- terference in relation to Belgium. The noble Lord, however, forgot that while his Cabinet was guarding Belgium and the peace of Europe other affairs were neglected,—those of the Levant—and that in consequence of this neglect serious consequences took place which required all the energy of the Cabinet to overcome. The noble Lord at the head of foreign affairs, in consequence of this neglect, became terrified at the position in which he was placed, and to, extricate himself sent agents to the shores pf the Black Sea to stir up intrigues against Russia. The noble Lord did not state, that in consequence of his thus sending secret agents to Circassia, Russia attempted to counteract him by sending similar agents to Central Asia. When the noble Lord sent his secret agent to Circassia, he did not contemplate that Russia in defence would occupy Constantinople any more than Russia when she sent an agent to Central Asia contemplated our invasion of Affghanistan. Throughout these intrigues and counter intrigues, the conduct of Russia had been defensive. The noble Lord who first addressed the House had signally failed in adducing any evidence of conduct on the part of Russia, or her agents, to justify the immense operations which had been undertaken in Asia; and the noble Lord had also failed to rebut the allegation of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, as to the injustice pf the war. There was one point that had not been alluded to. Here was a war impolitic and unjust, but no person had been able yet to prove to them with whom they had gone to war. It had cost 20,000 lives, and no one could explain wherefore: not in open warfare, but under circumstances most painful to remember, and yet which could never be forgotten—which, had left a stain upon their arms, and might operate with a most baneful effect upon the military character of the country. It had cost perhaps as many millions pf treasure. All this had happened without any cause being alleged; the affair was invested with mystery, and, so far as England was concerned, it seemed that the invasion of Affghanistan was to remain a state secret. What then became pf that favourite doctrine pf the responsibility of Ministers? It might be advisable not to inquire into their proceedings. Gentlemen who had been pr were then in the Administration might tell them that in- quiry was indiscreet, or unsafe, or impolitic. Such might be the case, it might be for the interests of England that they should not inquire into this attack upon an imaginary force. But although they might make that great sacrifice to policy, it might become a question whether, if on a subsequent occasion, another expedition be undertaken without cause, carried on with discomfiture, and leading to the most disastrous results, covering the country with shame in the eyes of Europe and of every civilized country of the east, raising up against England a feeling of indignation and of general disgust and hatred—their decision to-night may not serve as a precedent to stifle public investigation. They had had an inquiry into the Walcheren expedition before that House was reformed. Now it was a reformed House—they had got rid of the borough mongers—they represented large and enlightened constituencies who had abolished slavery, who would mitigate the sufferings of the people, who boasted on all occasions of their Christian principles; and now, when they had been shown that disaster, murder, and national disgrace had taken place, and not one hon. Member had got up in that House to tell them the reason why, were they to waive that great constitutional principle which it was the proud boast of the Whigs to have originated, and to vote to-night that the responsibility of Ministers was but a dream?

Mr. Escott

commenced by assuring the noble Lord the Member for London, that in giving a somewhat loud expression to his feelings, he had not the slightest intention to offer any disrespect to one who had been so long the able leader of the Opposite party, and whose talents rendered him an ornament to that House. He asked the House to allow him to give a full and plain expression of his opinions upon the present subject. He implored them to allow him to call their attention to the real question; and he trusted, that the result of the debate would not show the present Government on the side of those who would screen foul public delinquency from Parliamentary inquiry. The question was not merely whether a war, upon which they had been told by the noble Lord opposite an extraordinary degree of ignorance existed on his (Mr. Escott's) Side of the House, and on which throughout the country an almost uniformity of opinion existed that it was unjustifiable in its origin, was really so or not, but the question was whether the representatives of a free people were to inquire into the justice and necessity of the war, and thereby if it were just, free its authors from the odium that attached to them. He declared upon his honour, that he would go into that inquiry with a most anxious desire to find that those in high station, and who were the authors of the war, were actuated by proper and honest motives, and had acted with a sound discretion. But if there was to be no better defence than that of the noble Lord the Member for London if they were to have no other defence than that implied in Lord Auckland having acted in a beneficent and humane manner towards the people of India, then he would say, that the country and the House were in the same ignorance they had ever been with respect to the causes of that war. The noble Lord had said, that Lord Auckland had been described by the hon. and learned Member for Bath as a great conqueror. He was certainly somewhat surprised to hear that such an expression had fallen from one who was usually so circumspect in his statements. He, however, had never heard his hon. and learned Friend, or indeed any other individual, call Lord Auckland a great conqueror, whatever may be his merits, and whatever his former hopes. He deserved a different character. The noble Lord's defence of Lord Auckland amounted to this, that Lord Auckland had governed India well. He admitted to the noble Lord, that Lord Auckland was humane, and amiable in his character—a zealous reformer of Indian policy, as far as regarded the internal arrangements of that empire,—he would admit also, that he had taken an active part in promoting the education of the native Indians, and that he had patronised schools of anatomy,—that he had improved the land revenue, established dispensaries, and done several other works of humanity and benevolence,—but he asked what on earth had that to do with the question? He should be sorry, indeed, if his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bath, had accused Lord Auckland as a man, inattentive to the ordinary duties of his station; but he had not charged him with being cruel or inhuman in the management of the internal policy of the country. What he was accused of was, that he had engaged that country and this country in an unjust and unnecessary war. That was the issue; and when that issue was to be tried, then the noble Lord the Member for London rose and quoted, not anything to prove the sound policy or justice of the war, but Lord Auckland's policy in the internal government of India, as a proof that he did not engage in an unjust and unnecessary war. He thought, that the noble Lord, with his advantages and knowledge of the causes of this war, would have been able to have made a better defence, instead of failing so completely to give any reply to the arguments of the hon. and learned Member for Bath. The present was a question in which they should not be guided by any party feeling—it was a great judicial question, and the House was sitting as a great judicial assembly in the exercise of those powers which the Constitution had confided to them to investigate the acts of an unprincipled and profligate administration of foreign affairs. If the war was unjust and unnecessary, then he maintained that the Administration which had carried it into effect was a profligate one. If the war was unnecessary and unjust, then he would adopt the expression which he had heard used in reference to it, and say that "it was a wicked war." Nothing could justify war but the interests of the country—national defence—national honour—they were bound to look to the character of their country, and the general interests of humanity. The question was then a very different one from what it was last Session. On that occasion a motion had been made for further information with regard to the war, and the answer was, that Lord Auckland had not arrived, and it was said "Would you attack a man in his absence?" They had been asked to wait until he had taken his place in the other House, and not bring forward an accusation when he could not answer it. He thought, that a very good argument, and had voted with many on his side of the House against the motion, as it would be construed into a vote of censure not only on the Government, but on Lord Auckland who could not be heard in his defence. The noble Lord, however, had now resumed his seat in Parliament, and this objection no longer applied. Now, however, they were told that Parliament must do nothing because it had then stood still. Because the leaders of public opinion in this House, and the other had sanctioned this war by their silence. Had they done so? What had been the opinion of Lord Auckland's conduct, and of this war, ex- pressed heretofore? On the 19th of March, 1839, a noble Lord who was no mean authority on questions of peace and war, and who, as he was informed, conducted the foreign relations of this country in a manner which commanded the respect and esteem of other nations—he meant Lord Aberdeen—had said, Unless the course that had been taken could be subsequently explained, no man could say that it was not as rash and impolitic as it was ill-considered, oppressive and unjust. Could his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bath say anything stronger than that? Another noble Lord—Lord Brougham—[Laughter.] Yes, they might laugh at Lord Brougham in his absence; but Lord Brougham had said, that In the expediency of the policy pursued by the Governor-general there was no justice—it was a complete dereliction of every ordinary rule of reason. That he thought was a sufficient condemnation of the justice of the policy of the war. But another noble Lord had said something that they would not forget, and which afforded a clue to some subsequent transactions:— They might assume from the evidence produced that the conduct of the Governor-general of India were a folly; it remained for the evidence to be produced to determine whether it were a crime. That was Lord Ellenborough. And in the teeth of these declarations, they had been told last Session, and the House of Commons had been told that night, that the leaders of the Conservative party in England had by their silence expressed approbation of this war. What was meant by that? Because the Conservatives had not interfered with the operations thought necessary by the Government for carrying on a war abroad from national and scrupulous care, lest they might injure the success of our arms, were they now to be charged with an acquiescence in an unjust and wicked course? If so, let the party who so charged them, say so; and never after let them trust those who were ever found willing on the very first occasion to turn the toleration and justice of their adversaries into the means of an attack. But had they not now the means for enquiry, and for deciding this great question? He had ventured on a former occasion to ask his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in the discharge of his duty, it became him to lay before the House any further information as to the causes of this war. The right hon. Baronet had told him, as he was entitled to do, that the papers laid before Parliament contained all the information necessary to elucidate the policy of the war. He expected that answer, but it had not satisfied him, and on the following night he had ventured to put the same question to the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Control, whether the papers he had laid before Parliament contained, in his opinion, and in the opinion of his Government, their justification of the policy of this war? That right hon. Gentleman had risen in his place, and distinctly stated, that the papers laid before Parliament did contain the justification of this war. He had thought it his duty to look at those papers, to see what that justification was. There were some events which were very plain and intelligible. It was very plain, that England was bound by two treaties to respect the independence of Affghanistan—one a treaty with Persia, the treaty of Teheran, the other a treaty with the chief of Affghanistan himself—the treaty of Cabul. It was clear that a gentleman, whose name had been mentioned, Captain Burnes, was sent by the late Governor-general of India, on a friendly mission to the chief of the Affghans, and to conduct negotiations for the mutual benefit of both countries. It was also plain that the late Governor-general of India had written friendly letters to the chief of Affghanistan, promising constant amity and commercial intercourse. It was plain also that there had been suspicions—they might have been well founded or they might have been ill founded—of Persian aggression, and suspicions of Russian aggression, and that in consequence of such suspicions, the Indian army received orders to march across the Indus, and to invade the friendly territory of our ally. But here he was bound to go over again some of the ground which had been so much better occupied by his hon. and learned Friend. The right hon. Gentleman, the late President of the Board of Control, in the last Session of Parliament, stated the ground for the invasion of Affghanistan, to be first of all the interference of Persia and the invasion of Herat. On the 9th of September, in consequence of our remonstrances, the siege of Herat was raised; and exactly six months after that the new army of India crossed the Indus: the grievance was abated, and then to punish Persia we had invaded Affghanistan. Well, what was Russia's dealing with India? The complaint was that Count Simonich and Captain Vicovich were engaged at the court of Teheran in intrigues injurious to the British interests. The noble Lord made a remonstrance to the Court of Russia. Did the answer to that remonstrance justify the opinion that Russian influence was about to be used to our injury? why, in the first place, they were recalled from Teheran. And further, he declared that, having read the answer of Count Nesselrode to the remonstrance, the impression it made upon his mind was not only that it put to shame all such suspicions, but that it contained the most statesmanlike, cogent, and unanswerable reasons why such suspicions should never have had either a promulgation or an existence. But whether that were the case or not, he had an authority in support of his opinion to which the House would listen with respect. He should call the noble Lord himself, who stated that the assurances of Russia were perfectly satisfactory. The noble Lord stated in one breath that the apprehensions of Russian influence furnished the justification for marching our armies across the Indus, and the noble Lord stated in the next breath that the assurances of Russia in answer to his remonstrance were fully satisfactory and conclusive to prove that there was no just ground whatever for his suspicion. But he had another authority, one who knew something of these matters. He supposed that the noble Lord, the Member for London, would acknowledge that the Duke of Wellington was some authority with the Conservative party, and he would now read to the noble Lord the opinion of the Duke of Wellington upon these very points of Russian interference, and the answer of Count Nesselrode. On the 11th of April, 1839, thus spoke the Duke of Wellington:— He deprecated the course pursued by her Majesty's Government in regard to the papers in question, a course which had left the country and Europe under an erroneous impression as to the interference of the Russian agent and the explanation of the Court of St. Petersburgh. The noble Viscount (Viscount Melbourne) had intimated that the explanations in question were satisfactory to her Majesty's Government. Surely the noble Viscount would at once acknowledge that it would have been much fairer to have laid the explanations of the Russian government before their Lordships as early as possible at the same time with the erroneous impressions conveyed by the papers previously presented to the House, But that was the scheme. The scheme was to get up a rumour about the influence of Russia, and to persuade the country and India that Russia was meddling in our affairs, and then to keep back the satisfactory explanation until the mischief was done, until we were engaged in a war which that explanation showed to be totally unjust and unjustifiable. And what had been the consequence of this course? The expedition commenced under circumstances of difficulty. Doubts were expressed at home and abroad, by the best authorities, as to its policy and its probable result; but the arms of England triumphed over all difficulties, and our first advance to Affghanistan was attended by that signal success which generally accompanied the march of English armies. But winter came. There was no one to watch over the interests of the army. They were under the command of one who was unable from age and infirmity to do his duty to the soldiers. There was then one at the head of Indian affairs, whose successor had been taunted with being a commissary-general here there was no commissary-general, for he left the army without adequate supplies and inadequate in force with no general to command them, amid ice and the snow, where they were cut off, defeated, and destroyed. It was left for other hands—it remained for a vigorous Administration—it remained for an energetic Governor-general—it remained for fresh troops and for generals acting under new discretion to retrieve the disasters of former days, and to restore the reputation of the English arms. That was done. It might be said that the barbarians of Affghanistan forsooth were not the people whom it became any Englishman to take the part of, or to say one word in their defence, He knew not how that might be. He did not know that he could agree in all that had fallen from his hon. and learned Friend on that point, it was not his part to defend cruelties of any kind, but this he did know, that the great leader of the Affghans was one who was born for the people whom he led—he avenged the injuries done to his kinsfolk and his country, and if he did it after the manner of a barbarian, would to God that we had not to answer for worse crimes. He acted according to his light, and the wild morals pf his forefathers, Ackbar Khan retired from the cities of men to the rocks and mountains, where, like some great beast mewing his mighty strength and abiding the hour of his prowling, he swept like his own native whirlwind down the mountains of Ghuznee, and, avenging himself on the invaders, in that fatal valley filled all the passes of Cabul with the blood and bodies of the slain. Should England ever he invaded, let her have some one as a leader of her armies, who with civilization should possess the same courage, and let us then see him impeached in a British House of Commons, because when his country was wronged, he fought according to his manner for his people, and became their deliverer from oppression. Oh, why were we the oppressors? Was it because Russia was powerful;—Affghanistan weak. We trampled on those whom we could not crush, and we dared not encounter the power which we condemned. We had shrunk from a war with the power which we faslely said had injured us (and which the noble Lord insulted in his despatches); and turned upon those who were weak and whom we now called barbarous, If there were barbarism, if there were public guilt, if there were wickedness in the world, it was that a great country calling itself civilized, engaged in a contest and prosecuted a war of this kind under pretence of hostile aggression, while it dared not attack those whom it said, were the invaders of its rights, and turned upon those whom it knew to be innocent, and thought to be helpless. And how is this course of delinquency defended? The noble Lord had referred to that part of his hon. and learned Friend's speech in which he quoted Sir Alexander Burnes. He supposed the opinions thus referred to, were thought to justify the war, because if they were not brought forward with a view to prove the war politic or just, for what purpose where they brought forward? The noble Lord, following the example set last Session, called upon the House to pause before it condemned the course which had been pursued. He remembered that the Secretary to the Board of Control, last Session, appealed with some success to that side of the House, urging that it was not fair to call upon a Government to produce the whole of the documents which it might have received from a public servant. He was disposed to admit that plea, but he said if the opinion of Sir Alexander Burnes was produced for anything it was produced on the credit and reputation of the man who gave it. We took the opinion of a person well versed in Indian affairs—an honest and honourable man, and one who had had an opportunity of forming a just opinion on the affairs respecting which he wrote; and was he to be told that it was no misfeasance of a public servant of the Crown to keep back those parts of his information which would make against his authorities and only to quote those which were in favour of them? When the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) quoted authorities in favour of a particular course of policy in the East, was the noble Lord to give only that part of a writing which were in favour of intervention, and to put by those which showed that the course adopted was totally odious and unjust in the opinion of the author? That was the charge he made against the mutilated and garbled form of Sir A. Burnes's communications, and he by no means contended that the Government were bound to produce the whole of the documents in their possession, but that they were not to cite the opinion of a man as an authority, when, if they gave the whole of that opinion it would be an authority the other way. Nothing could be so base as such a proceeding as he had referred to, and he called upon the opposition side to meet those at his side at a. select committee to investigate that charge and clear themselves. That was the constitutional course, as had been proved by his hon. and learned Friend, and which was known to all who were familiar with the constitutional precedents of Parliament to have been adopted over and over again. Here, again, he was met with the great difficulty of having no argument to contend against. What was the House of Commons for? To pass laws and send them up to the House of Lords? Was that the only office of an English House of Commons? Were they not the great inquire of the nation bound to inquire into acts of tyranny, oppression, and injustice? Were they not bound to perform their duty to those who had sent them there, and whose opinions they wished the people to believe they represented? Or were they to turn back upon them and say, we will undertake systems of parish education, we will undertake corn-laws, we will entertain commercial or any other legislative questions of the day, but when it comes to a mighty question, upon which the eternal principles of right or wrong depend, upon which they were bound by their duty to their country and their God to give an honest and conscientious verdict, independently of any party or political considerations, were they to tell the people, "Oh, no, our hands are tied; we cannot grant your committee; an executive Government may have done wrong, but we, the representatives of the people, dare not interfere with the executive Government?" If he had ever heard any thing in that House which gratified him—ana he had received much kindness since he bad enjoyed a seat in it—he would say that it was a statement made by a right hon. Friend some time ago, in answer to some observations of his, when his right hon. Friend was good enough to say that he had spoken with sincerity. Now, he would declare with sincerity, that rather than not vote for the motion, he would resign his seat in Parliament to-morrow; he would resign that hope which the humblest Member of that House might entertain—that he might gain a good name by doing his duty to his country in that House as a representative of the people. He would retire for ever into private life—he would do anything except a dishonourable act—rather than not support the motion. To the latest day of his life, and to the latest day when his hon. and learned Friend would be heard or read of, would the country be grateful for his motion and for that speech. He differed on many questions of political and party considerations from his hon. and learned Friend, but this was not a question of party or of politics; it was a question above both. It was a question of moral justice, and he called upon her Majesty's Government and upon that House as the representatives of the people of England, to do justice and to fear nothing.

Sir R. Peel

said, Sir, there are two questions—amidst some that are not immediately connected with the main point at issue—there are two more immediately connected with it which have been brought under the consideration of the House in the course of the present discussion—the one, whether or no the expedition undertaken by the Governor-general of India was consistent with sound policy; and the other, whether it is fitting for the House of Commons to appoint a select committee for the purpose of inquiring into the policy of that expedition. These two questions I consider to be not necessarily connected with each other. I en- tertain, and have entertained, from the first, strong doubts as to the policy of the expedition into Affghanistan. When it was first mentioned in the Speech from the Throne I intimated my doubts. From the first period of the Session I said in very strong language that I thought the adoption of Shah Soojah, without a perfect conviction that his promotion to the throne would be in conformity with the feelings and wishes of the Affghan people, would be very much like, although the scene was' different—but would very much correspond with the policy of the adoption of Charles X., and the attempt to force him upon the reluctant people of France; and I said that I did not think the change of the scene, the one operation taking place in Asia and the other in Europe, made any very material difference in the policy of the measure. With more prophetic wisdom my noble Friend, the Duke of Wellington, predicted that you would succeed in your military operations, but warned you that your difficulties would only begin when your military enterprises were successful; and, therefore, Sir, it must not be implied, if I find myself unable to support the motion brought forward by the learned Gentleman, that my refusal to support it is an abandonment of my former opinion as to the policy of the original course. Subsequent events have, I think, confirmed the original apprehensions that were entertained. Even if I conceded that the conduct of the Russian agents justified your suspicion, and justified the adoption of active measures against Affghanistan, still I must contend, with respect to undertaking the support of Shah Soojah, under the impression that his accession to the throne would be popular among the Affghan people, that subsequent events proved that impression upon that point to have been erroneous. Shah Soojah had no root in the affections and predilections of the people of that country. In the letters which have been published of the late Colonel Dennie, to whose gallantry I bore a willing tribute the other evening, that gallant Officer said, with reference to the force with which he had been left, and which was called Shah Soojah's, "What a farce it is that it should be called Shah Soojah's, when it is entirely composed of Hindoos, and there is not a single Affghan in it." I think, therefore, that even if I conceded, for the sake of argument, that your suspicions of Russia were well founded, I should still doubt the policy of undertaking the support of a prince who did not possess the affections of his people, and by separating your army from their resources—placing them at a distance of nearly 600 miles, where they were separated from those resources by passes over which you had no command, and where you were entirely dependent upon money to gain those who guarded the passes—and subsequent events have confirmed the doubts which were expressed from that side of the House as to the policy of the expedition." I retain the opinion I before declared, but I consider that question to be perfectly distinct from the question, whether as a Member of the Government, possessing the confidence of her Majesty, I should think it expedient to lend the influence which a Government naturally exercises to appoint a select committee for the purpose of inquiring into the policy and justice of a great operation undertaken four years ago. [An hon. Member, "Oh, oh."] I should be glad to receive some more intelligible, though not more audible intimation of dissent. I do not know the grounds of the dissent, but probably the hon. Gentleman will take an opportunity of explaining them. In considering the question whether I shall assent to a select committee, I shall discard every other consideration than this:—"Is it for the interest of the Crown, whose servant lam, but above all, is it for the public interest, that this inquiry should now be entered upon?" I cannot exclude, on this occasion, the consideration of what is due to the usage of Parliament, and if I find that in all the contests of parties, and all motions of this nature, we adhere to usages, and do not forego them, unless under some urgent considerations of public interest, and that if we did we should excite continual dissension, what principles, I ask, should now make me depart from them? Foreign policy has on many occasions been subject to contention. When, indeed, did parties exist, without finding some part or other of the foreign policy of their opponents to condemn? In the revolutions of Governments which have taken place, it never has been the usage for any Government, on taking possession of office, to use all its power and its influence in this House to bring under investigation the acts of its prede- decessors. It never has been the custom of the House and it would not be just now to establish such a precedent. That does not shut out considerations of public interest, but the power of the Government is not to be employed against their predecessors in office on mere party considerations. I shall not be influenced, therefore, by party considerations in the vote I mean to give. I might make use of the motion for party purposes. The Gentlemen opposite complain of the conduct of the present Governor-general of India, and we are threatened by a motion against him, which I might anticipate by taking advantage of the present motion. If I were influenced by party considerations, I might support the motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman for a select committee, and retaliate for the attack on Lord Ellenborough, by promoting the attack on Lord Auckland. But I disclaim being influenced by any such feeling. It is not parliamentary usage for the Ministers who command a considerable majority in this House, who have access to all the secrets of office; it is not customary for them to employ their political power in condemning the policy of their opponents. I do not forget what occurred in 1840. I was in opposition, when it was proposed that papers connected with the subject should be laid on the table. A motion was then announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and I remember that we were influenced in relinquishing that motion because we would not express any doubt of the success of our military operations beyond the Indus. But our opinion and judgment of the policy, which we then explained, remain the same. If, however, we made no motion of censure on this policy when in opposition, can I be less reluctant now we are in power, now that we are made wiser by events, to call for the opinion of the House on the policy of our predecessors. Sir, when t he thanks of this House were voted to Lords Keane and Auckland, the military and civil directors of the war, and when this House consented to vote a grant of money by way of pension to the former of those noble Lords, I then, though I fully acquiesced in the public acknowledgments of the House, nevertheless hesitated in giving my sanction to the direct vote of the public money for the purposes to which it was sought to be applied. I must say that some of those who are to-night the loudest in reprobating the principles of the war were at that time the loudest in expressing approbation of it. I remember, Sir, that the chief opponent of my views upon one of those occasions was no less a person than the seconder of the motion now under consideration. When I cautiously made a reserve as to the general policy of the war, and objected especially to the grant of money, the hon. Member for Montrose approved of the policy, and also assented to the appropriation of the money. [Mr. Hume.—The policy was not the question.] If I were trusting to my general impression I might doubt the correctness of my recollection; but I must bring the hon. Member to book. Opening a volume of the Parliamentary Debates. The hon. Member cannot surely deny that he approved of the policy. [Mr. Hume.—I don't deny it.] Oh! Very well; then I have done [cries of "read, read"]—Certainly I'll read. This is all stated, you know, in a good humoured way. I don't know where to find the sentences, I'm sure; but I suppose I shall find them somewhere in the climax. We usually find the strongest points in conclusion of a speech. Here is a passage, I am of opinion that the result of the expedition will go far to strengthen the British power in India. [Mr. Hume.—Oh! read on, read on.]—Very well!—I will now read a passage from the beginning of the hon. Member's speech, Having seen the lamentable results of inefficient arrangements, I think the greatest credit is due to the British authorities.? Oh, but he goes further than that. here's another passage.— I think the conduct of Lord Auckland is marked by the greatest wisdom. Then here's another; now what will the hon. Gentleman say to this?— I believe that it is an expedition more likely to be beneficial to India than any which has previously taken place. [Mr. Hume. Read on.] So, I have struck the hon. Gentleman above and below, and in the middle, and I hope he's satisfied. But I quote this to justify myself in saying that I have from the first expressed my distrust of the policy of the expedition, though I am now opposed in objecting to this enquiry to those who formerly gave it great praise, Sir, if the hon. Member formerly believed the expedition was so satisfactory, and flow votes for the present motion, I am justified in affirming that I shall deal unfairly, and act differently from my conduct when in opposition, were I now to consent to the proposed inquiry. Nothing is mote easy than to talk of the House of Commons as the great inquest of the nation—nothing is more easy than to talk of its unlimited power, to inquire into all the Actions of men in office, and of its duty to investigate and punish all abuses. But where are the limits to such inquiries? Shall I inquire as to the policy of the Syrian war—as to the effect Of our bombardment of St. Jean d'Acre, and as to the effect OUT conduct on that occasion had upon our relations with France? [Mr. Hume: you ought.] I ought—the hon. Member says I ought—and having acquiesced in that inquiry, "as I ought," I shall of coarse, have my acquiescence pleaded as a reason for granting the other committee. We Shall have therefore a separate committee on the Syrian Was; and I will tell you what this will end in—it will end in transferring the executive Government from the Crown to the House of Commons. Because, observe—if on every point of questionable policy this House is to have a committee of inquiry—if such committee is to have the power of sending for persons, papers, and records—if it is to ransack every public office for official documents, and Summon every Minister' of the Crown to give evidence before it, why the practical result must be that the executive Government will be suspended. Yes, the hon. Member for Montrose says, truly enough, that if I grant one committee, I ought to grant another. Of course, the having granted these committees, I may expect that another Member will come down and say, that the arrangements under the American treaty are prejudicial to our interests, and that we must have a committee of inquiry on that subject, Having granted the first two committees, I could not refuse the third, and of consequence, I must hand over the executive Government to the committees of the House of Commons. Am I, then, as a servant of the Crown, and the guardian of the prerogatives of the Crown, rejecting all party considerations, and considering only what would be for the interest of the Crown, to assent to this motion? My opinion is, that I ought not, and on that ground I shall resist it. The hon. Gentleman does not accuse arty person of dishonest or corrupt motives. It is only a question of public policy of a doubtful nature. The hon. Gentleman says that the papers laid on the Table do not give a fair representation of the policy pursued in regard to Affghanistan, It was said last year by a noble Friend of mine in another place, that he thought the volume of papers published, did supply sufficient materials to enable us to judge of the policy in question. I agree in that opinion, though all the papers were not granted, and that the late Ministers in the exercise of their discretion, which must at all times be exercised by every servant of the Crown, did make at selection of papers; I must say that I think that volume does contain a sufficient account of the motives of the individuals, on whose opinion the invasion of Affghanistan was judged to be politic and necessary. In 1840 I contended against that judgment, and that policy, as explained by subsequent events, is certainly not justified. Perhaps, more papers might be called for, and if more papers were called for, which I hold to be a more legitimate mode of proceeding—though I must say that my noble Friend the President of the Board of Control said that there was no reason to suppose that any documents had been withheld—but if a motion were made for more papers, that would be a more proper course of proceeding than the motion now before the House. Though I might not be disposed to acquiesce in any such motion, not thinking it necessary, it certainly would cause less inconvenience to the House, and be less injurious to the public, than the committee it is now proposed to appoint. Now, what must be the course pursued that committee? There must be an inquiry as to the conduct of Russia, The defence of the Government must be the conduct of Russian agents, and that the state of relations with Russia justifies the measures of provocation then adopted, and which entitled them to consider those measures as necessary to their defence against Russia. It would then be necessary for the committee fully to investigate all the grounds of suspicion or offence taken against Russia. But then, if you were to do full justice in this committee, I do not see how you could refuse to hear what Russia had to allege in reply. Russia might admit that she was fully justified in adopting such proceedings in Cabul, that in the state of her relations at that time, she was justified in having an agent there, as she had a just cause of complaint against you for having an agent in Circassia, that these things justified her in retaliating upon us, at the north west frontier of Asia. That justification might be made; but then, I ask, would the public interests be advanced by thus reopening forgotten quarrels. What are our relations with Russia at the present moment. I trust we have laid the foundation for increasing our commercial intercourse with that country. We do trust that the benefits derived from this first step in the relaxation on the restrictions on commerce will induce Russia to proceed further. When these friendly relations between this country and Russia are extending, let us offer no impediment to the increase of our commercial relations with it. But what has been the conduct of Russia on the north-west frontier? Surely, if her designs had been hostile against this country, the time to have exhibited them would have been when Russia had heard of what had been the issue of our first advance on Affghanistan. When she had heard of the destruction of the garrison at Cabul, when she heard what was the position of our troops in Ghuznee and Candahar, then, if Russia had any hostile feelings against this country, that was the time for taking advantage of your disasters, and the most favourable means of doing so was by encouraging Persia to advance for your defeat. The whole course of Russia has been the reverse of this. So far from being unfriendly, she was not even passive, she was not indifferent; but, in the midst of your disasters, Russia, I must say to her honour, and as a proof of her friendship, did everything to mitigate your misfortunes. She offered the best advice to Persia, and to every tribe in the neighbourhood of Affghanistan. In a recent instance too, where two subjects of this country were exposed to outrage—when they were treacherously murdered at Bokhara—the influence of Russia, persevering in the most friendly feelings towards us, was employed. Every species of remonstrance—every kind of inducement—was offered to save the two gentlemen from destruction. It is for the public interest to continue this friendly intercourse, and, taking it for granted that the feeling is sincere, to encourage it Which I ask, would it be most for the public interest, to take that course, or to enter upon an investigation into the conduct of Russia on the north-west frontier in 1838, and to condemn Russia for acts which in the present state of her relations, she repudiates; but which, under different feelings, she might have felt herself justified in adopting? I do think that the prerogative of the Crown would be prejudiced by a committee of inquiry, and by such an investigation as that now proposed. It is my opinion that the interests by an inquiry—in which the point of defence must mainly turn on the hostility that at the time was exhibited by Russia—the public interest could not be advanced by entering upon such an inquiry. We have here no great calamity to avenge. We have vindicated the honour of the British arms, on the scene of their former disasters. Our relation with Affghanistan—our unfriendly relations with Affghanistan—are closed. We are not called upon, as in the year 1840, to take steps for the purpose to avenge our disasters. The insult has been avenged. The credit of our arms has been re-established. I do say, then, that considering all these points, my counsel to the House—and I hope it is a counsel the House will be inclined to take—my counsel, influenced solely by what I believe to be the public advantage, my humble, my respectful, counsel to the House, is not to risk the disturbance of our present most friendly relations with Russia. I believe that those relations will be continued and maintained. My earnest advice is, that you may not do that which may prove fraught with great danger. You ought to take care too and establish no precedents which may be a check upon the future usefulness of public servants. It is of the utmost importance to obtain from public servants communications which they can make with perfect confidence. You are not to judge of their communications by events. They are bound to give what may appear conflicting arguments—the considerations for and against—the public servant is bound to state the arguments for or against a certain course of policy, and a very nice consideration can alone determine the balance. Yet what will be the consequence, if these frank statements are to be revised by a hostile committee of the House of Commons? The public servant is invited to state frankly his views to the Government, and it exercises its judgment as to the publication of papers. You, for instance, call for copies or extracts of these papers. Thus you admit, that the Government may have a discretion; that it may be justified in withholding some of them from your knowledge. Now, the committee appointed for the purpose of conducting what has been called a judicial investigation, may not be disposed to listen in the same manner to the reasonableness of this discretion that a House of Commons does. It may consider that from a judicial committee no documents should be withheld. For all these considerations, I conclude by entreating of the House not to give its sanction to a proceeding which I have so frequently before referred to—not to permit the just prerogatives of the Crown to be transferred from the Executive to a committee of the House of Commons; and by so doing, to open new quarrels, and disturb relations which are of the most peaceful and tranquil character.

Viscount Palmerston

said, having been much concerned in the transactions, and much engaged in the negotiations to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has adverted; and having been the object of so many of the observations of the hon. and learned Gentleman in the course of that speech with which he introduced his motion, I must naturally be anxious to state to the House the grounds on which I intend to oppose his motion. But before I come to that, I wish, in the first place, to dispose shortly of that portion of the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman which relates personally to myself, and to the Members of that Government to which I had the honour to belong. The hon. and learned Gentleman did not intend, I am sure, to have done that which I think he has done, that is, to speak in a complimentary manner of myself as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He stated a fact, and he coupled that fact with an epithet. In doing this he certainly did not mean to be complimentary; but I throw the epithet aside, and look only to the statement of the fact, which I consider to be complimentary to any one in the situation which I had the honour to hold. The hon. and learned Gentleman accused me of a "mischievous and restless activity" in the discharge of my official duties. Now, with regard to the term mischievous," I must take the liberty of saying that the hon. and learned Gentleman appears to me to have peculiar notions of what is, and what is not mischievous and, therefore, he will pardon me for saying, that his opinion that my official conduct was mischievous will not disturb the conviction of my mind that it was of a contrary tendency. That there was "activity" the hon. and learned Gentleman declares—and we have his unequivocal testimony to the fact. I thank him for that compliment. He says, that my "restless activity encircled the globe." Why, Sir, the interests of England encircle the globe. The sun never sets upon the interests of this country; and the individual whose duty it is to watch over the foreign relations of this country, would not be worthy of his position if his activity were not commensurate with the extensive range of the great interests that require his attention. That was my position; the hon. and learned Gentleman admits my activity, and I thank him. With regard to the Governor-general of India, and with regard to the Government itself, the hon. and learned Gentleman in his observations respecting our political conduct, and with reference to those transactions under discussion has used very hard and very harsh expressions. Men who are in public life, and in the performance of public duties, must expect that from some quarter or another such hard expressions will be applied to their conduct. But. it is generally observed that men who use the hardest words are apt also to employ the softest arguments. If this position be true, so far from being surprised that the hon. and learned Gentleman should have used hard terms in speaking of me and my late colleagues, my only wonder is that, considering the softness and weakness of his arguments, he did not put greater strength into his vituperation. But I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that his vituperation does not disturb myself, or any of my colleagues. We well know that the use of such language as he has indulged in is derogatory only to the man who uses it, and I can assure him that I shall not condescend to reply to it in the same terms. And now, with respect to the question which the hon. Gentleman has brought under the consideration of the House. The House, I think, must admit the validity of the reasons and the sound- ness of the arguments by which the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, has shewn both upon Parliamentary and constitutional grounds, that the motion is one that ought not to be sanctioned by Parliament. But I will not put my objections to it on grounds that might be liable to misconstrution, and that might appear to imply a distrust of the strength of our case, or any doubt that we have an ample justification of the operations that were undertaken by our authority in India. I must say, however, that it would be a strange proceeding, if, after four years had been allowed to elapse, not only since the occurrence of these important events in India, but even since the late Government had laid the case fully before Parliament, no attempt having been made to condemn the late Ministers when they were in office, and when they had all the means of defence which official documents could furnish them. These matters should now be made the subject of inculpation. It would, I say, be most extraordinary if parties were to lie in ambush during four years, and then to come out with an attack upon persons whom they might have assailed when in power, but on whom they deferred their assault, till placed in a different position, and of course with less means of defending themselves. The hon. and learned Gentleman may say that he has been only a year and a-half in Parliament; but surely a year and a-half is quite enough for his ready talents to have organized an attack. But some hon. Members who have supported his motion have been in Parliament during the whole of the four years, and yet they have given no explanation why, with feelings so strongly excited against our policy, they refrained during all that time, from calling the attention of Parliament to those transactions. The first charge made by the hon. and learned Gentleman is, that the documents laid before Parliament do not contain a fair and faithful representation of the facts. I say, Sir, that charge is false. It is totally unfounded. It is proved to be unfounded even by him who made it; for the hon. and learned Gentleman having in his hand the pamphlet of Sir Alexander Burnes, which he said would prove important omissions—yes, I say, with that pamphlet in his hand, was unable to bring forward any one instance of falsification, and even the omitted passage on which he relied did not make any alteration in the sense of the passage which was given. If the hon. and learned Gentleman have other instances he ought to have stated them. All I can say is, that he has made a charge, and then read a quotation which did not support that charge; for I repeat there was nothing in the words omitted which altered the sense of the passage retained. But does any man venture to say—will even the hon. and learned Gentleman take upon himself to affirm, that the opinion of Sir Alexander Burnes was not favourable to active operations in Affghanistan. But I am told of private letters. If I am not mistaken, the last Session of Parliament, I read private letters from Sir Alexander Burnes, written before our expedition marched, and complaining that Lord Auckland hesitated as to these operations, and that he did not advance though the necessity of doing so had become apparent. So far was Sir Alexander Burnes at that time from finding fault with interference, that the fault he found was, that sufficiently active measures had not been taken to effect that which he thought necessary. So far, then, as the opinion of Sir Alexander Burnes goes in proving that he and other officers of the Indian Government, who were placed in a situation for observation, thought that an active and vigorous interference beyond the Indus was necessary, we find it proved beyond a doubt, and I defy the hon. and learned Gentleman to shake the testimony afforded on that point. It was indeed, observed last Session by my right hon. Friend, the late Secretary for the Board of Control, that Sir Alexander Burnes might at one time have been in favour of maintaining Dost Mahommed in power at Cabul, and at another time might have considered it impossible to form any arrangement of security with him; but though his opinions may have varied from time to time as to the mode in which operations should be carried on, there was no change whatever in his opinion as to the necessity of our interfering by vigorous measures in Affghanistan. But our case stands on such broad, clear grounds, that I might make the hon. and learned Gentleman a present of the whole of Sir A. Burnes, opinions, and yet there would still remain ample justification for the proceedings of the late Government in the course that was pursued. The hon. and learned Gen- tleman has said that all parties were in a state of hallucination—that all our official servants in central Asia, all our successive Ministers in Persia, the Governor-general of India, and the Government at home were all labouring under an unintelligible delusion—that all were wrong, and he—he alone was right. The hon. and learned Gentleman, indeed, rather understated the extent of the "hallucination," because I beg to remind him that the delusion was shared, not merely by official persons, but also by a large portion of the public in this country and on the continent of Europe. Nay, it was shared in by that press to which the hon. Member for Winchester has alluded—not the press simply of the Government, but the press that represented the party then out of power—which was unanimous as to the necessity and expediency of those operations. I take the Times, which in the year 1838 was not to be held as the organ of the then Government, and on the 25th of December, 1838, it published the following observations:— The stale paper of the Governor-general of India, published in the Delhi Gazette of October 11, purporting to be an exposition of his Lordship's reasons for the resolute and extensive movement which he had at that time purposed, and has since put in progress for active service in the countries west of the Indus, is, we think, a creditable and statesmanlike document, calculated to raise the political character and authority of England throughout the wide regions of central Asia, as well as amongst the people of Hindostan and the territories of Bengal. While, if the warlike operations promised by the Governor-general be conducted with ordinary skill and vigour, they cannot fail to establish a friendly and effectual barrier for the British empire in the east, against the aggression of every power proceeding to molest us from the side of Persia or of the Caspian. It would be presumptuous to affirm that war on a very large scale may not immediately follow such operations. But we think it not unfair to affirm that without them England could not have escaped it. Now, Sir, I quote this passage as a proof of the universality of the hallucination under which the hon. Gentleman is of opinion that we have all been labouring. It really reminds me of the anecdote mentioned of the individual who was an inmate of one of those houses, where persons labouring under hallucination are placed for treatment; and who said that he and the world had a slight difference of opinion; that he had thought the rest of the world was mad—that the rest of the world in turn doubted his sanity; that there was a decided majority against him and he was obliged to submit. In the present case, the majority is equally against the hon. Gentleman. I should, however, be very sorry to place any restraint either upon the actions or the language of the hon. Gentleman; and therefore I merely mention this matter, in order that the House may judge on which side the balance of authority leans. Now what are the grounds on which the expedition into Affghanistan was undertaken? because I admit with those who take the other side of the question, that unless the war was a defensive war, it may be represented as an offensive war—a war of aggression—and, consequently, unjustifiable. Sir, I say that it was a defensive war. We have been told that Russia was the real source of danger; and we have been asked, if such were the case, why did we attack Affghanistan? Why did we not go to the Baltic, to the Black Sea, with an army and a fleet? But, Sir, we did go to St. Petersburg, not with an army indeed, nor with a fleet, but asking for an explanation; and that was the course that was consistent with the courtesy due to a foreign Government; and in peace with those relations which subsist between friendly powers. We stated to the Russian government the information we had received; we told them, "Here are agents of yours encouraging proceedings in Central Asia which alarm us, from the probability that they may have the effect of rousing neighbouring nations against us." We said, "Do you avow this conduct? Is it by your authority that it was pursued, or was it persisted in against your knowledge, and in opposition to your wishes?" We asked them this, and if Russia bad openly avowed these hostile proceedings; if she had said, "What you have told us is true, and it is done by our direction, and we have an intention of disturbing your Indian possesions"—why, then it would have been proper for the Government to have come down to Parliament to have told the two Houses of what had occurred, to have informed the country of the hostile proceedings which had taken place, and to have demanded those supplies which would have been required upon such an occasion. But Sir, Russia made no such reply. Russia disavowed her agents. She said that they were acting without her authority, and contrary to her instructions, that she would recal these agents, and that she would also assure this country that she had entertained no intention hostile to the tranquillity of our Indian possessions. Having received an answer of this sort, on what ground could we have sent a fleet to the Baltic or to the Black Sea? It was impossible. We were willing to take the case on the showing of Russia. The hon. Gentleman might have disbelieved these assurances; but we said, "We are satisfied with them, and we will confide in them." Now what has been the conduct of Russia since? Has it been guided in conformity with these assurances? it has. During the period that we held the seals of office, Russia fulfilled her pledges with the strictest good faith; and the House has heard what the right hon. Baronet has told it, that since he has been in office, Russia has abided by her promises, and has acted the part of an honourable ally, of a power friendly to this country. But says the hon. Member for Bath, "Why then your case is gone." Sir, I say it is no such thing. Does the disavowal of Russia—does the recal of her agents—undo the effect that these agents had produced? What had they done with respect to Persia? Had they not negotiated and guaranteed treaties between Candahar and Cabul on the one hand, and Persia on the other—treaties offensive and defensive; and directed specially against the Government of British India? These facts are on record and undeniable. No doubt it is possible, that an over-zealous agent might think that he was acting agreeably to the instructions of his government, although he was not ultimately borne out by that government; and might thus exceed or even violate his instructions this is perfectly possible and supposable, but I say that, the result of that conduct in the present instance, was that which every man who attended to the events of these times will remember that our eastern empire was exposed to great danger and disturbance on every side, not only from Affghanistan, but towards the north from Nepal, towards the east from Burmah, and at the same time began those outrages in China. On all sides a storm seemed gathering. It was clear from the simultaneous manner in which these various movements happened, that there was some connection between them, and their consequences would have been most dangerous, if vigorous measures had not been resorted to. Now, if Russian agents acting without the authority of their government, had been able to create such disturbances as those they had stirred up, how much more formidable would have been the danger, if our relations with Russia had really been such as her agents imagined them to be? If Russia had been in a state approaching to war with this country, and had intentionally put forth all her means of influence to excite against us the countries on our north-western frontier, and thus to disturb the tranquillity of our Indian empire, how much more serious would have been the danger produced by the exertions of her authorized and avowed agents. It became, therefore, the duty of the Government and the Governor-general to take the necessary steps for altering the then existing state of things, which rendered such danger possible, and which if not prevented by timely measures might at some future period come upon us suddenly, and produce disastrous consequences. It is, therefore, nonsense to say, that we should have gone to the Black Sea or to the Baltic. The danger was in Affghanistan—from the hostile feeling of those in power there—from their energy—from their turbulence—from their treachery, and from the impossibility of establishing with them any permanent relations of friendship. The only course left for us was that course which Lord Auckland determined to adopt, namely, to establish in Affghanistan some more friendly authority with which relations of peace might and should be permanently firmed. But, Sir, the hon. Gentleman the mover of the resolution says that he is a friend to justice, that he loves reason, and likes to apply a remedy to the evil, and to nothing but the evil; and he says, nothing could be so unwise, nothing could be so unjust, as to direct our measures against Affghanistan. More wisely, if not more justly, says the hon. Gentleman, you might have taken possession of the Punjaub—you might have dispossessed our old ally, Runjeet Singh—you might have taken Gwalior and have occupied Scinde; and so, with the Indus for your frontier, you would have been in a proper position to meet and repel any danger. Really—for an hon. Member who talks of public and national probity, who stands here on political honesty who professes to be shocked of principle wherever he sees it, and who prides himself upon redressing a wrong where the wrong is to be found, and objects to all but the most straightforward integrity—really, for such a Gentleman to propose sending a fleet to the Baltic and the Black Sea, against a power with which we were at peace, and which had disclaimed any hostile intentions, and to recommend seizing the Punjab and Scinde the possessions of unoffending allies in order to guard ourselves against the treachery of Dost Mahommed and the Sirdars of Candahar, is, to say the leas to fit, a very odd proposition. The hon. Gentleman seems to have a great feeling of sympathy for the Affghans, and has taken them under his peculiar protection, and that is one reason which makes me more indifferent to the censures of the hon. Gentleman. When I find that the hon. Gentleman has set himself up as the champion and defender of Akhbar Khan, I conceive I need feel very little uneasiness at censure proceeding from him. The hon. Member has stated that Akhbar Khan was a brave man, and, though some thought him a mistaken man, yet, he did not share in that latter opinion. A mistaken man! Yes, he was a mistaken man, he had committed a mistake, which if discussed in Europe among men of civilised usages and habits of thought must indeed be leniently dealt with to pass by that name—he had made the mistake of murdering a man who had placed himself in his power, trusting to his honour and good faith, and that man an envoy, a character sacred among all nations. He had made the mistake of giving up to massacre thousands of people who had made a capitulation with him, by which in return for his solemn promise of safe conduct they had bound themselves to do all he had any right to demand, namely, to evacuate his country. I am of opinion that those who hold that our invasion was unjust, are not entitled to consider the resistance made to it by the Affghans as a crime deserving of punishment. I mean resistance, so far as it was carried on consistently with the solemn engagements entered into by those by whom it was offered. But when I hear an hon. Gentleman setting himself up as the defender of Akhbar Khan, who violated capitulations, who gave up to massacre not only armed troops who had surrendered to him and trusted to his good faith, but multitudes of unarmed camp-followers, against whom he could have no legitimate ground of resentment; I own I am utterly astonished at the hon. Gentleman's undertaking such a task. But, I say, Sir, that the danger to our Indian empire was notorious, and imperatively commanded that course which Lord Auckland pursued, and which the Government at home sanctioned and instructed him to adopt. It was the only course calculated to avert the danger at the moment, and prevent a recurrence of the same perils in future. But we have been told that Shah Soojah was not a man whom we ought to have taken up, and that he was unpopular. My noble Friend has read proofs that such was not the opinion of those who were best enabled to form an opinion at the time when the decision was taken. But does the question rest simply on the opinion of these Gentlemen? Why what actually took place when our army, after the capture of Ghuznee, had arrived before Cabul? Dost Mahommed came out to meet us with an army mustering from 12,000 to 14,000 men. What followed? Why, the Affghan army, after drawing up in order of battle, told Dost Mahommed that they were not going to fight for him—that they were going over to Shah Soojah, and he retired with a body of not more than 400 horse; and this, forsooth, was a proof that Shah Soojah was unpopular—was odious to the people! If he had been so. it was indeed possible that after our brilliant victory at Ghuznee, the Affghan army would not have chosen to measure weapons with the British troops; but would they have gone over to Shab Soojah? They might have retreated further north to a stronger position, but the fact of their having gone over to Shah Soojah, was a decided proof that at that time, at least, he was not unpopular. But during the following two years what proofs were given of Shah Soojah's unpopularity? It has been said that he reigned in the midst of insurrections; I have not heard what these insurrections were. I do not believe that these insurrections existed. In Eastern countries it is well known that the same order and obedience to the power of the law which exist in civilised countries do not prevail, and that in those countries there are frequently disturbances on account of resistance to the payment of imposts and tributes; but I believe that no dis- turbances other than are common in oriental countries, took place, during the first two years of Shah Soojah's reign. What, then, was the cause of the final insurrection? I believe the cause to have been that, our agents in guiding by their advice the political conduct of Shah Soojah in the administration of affairs, had proceeded a little too rapidly in endeavouring to establish order and law. Their object was to protect industry—to give security to the agriculturist and the merchant. But this system of Government did not suit the turbulent habits of the highland chiefs. These men felt that their consequence was diminishing, and it was a feeling of this nature—a feeling like that once entertained under similar circumstances by the highland chieftains of Scotland that prompted the outbreak—it was the novel resistence beginning to be opposed to their violence by laws—it was their feeling themselves compelled to practice justice to their fellows—it was this which really gave rise to the revolt. But was that revolt a proof of the impolicy of our original measures? I deny any such inference. I say that nothing has happened—that nothing has been related by those who were eye-witnesses of all that happened—to justify such a conclusion. On the contrary, no man can have read the accounts published of the events which occurred between the murder of Sir William M'Naghten and the annihilation of the retreating troops, without seeing that there were many occasions, many opportunities in which promptitude and decision and military skill might have averted impending calamity. I say, Sir, that our original measures were justified not only by the fullest considerations of national policy but by absolute necessity. I say, that nothing which has since occurred tends to show that those measures were not wise as well as necessary; and I say, therefore, casting aside, as not deserving of answer, the imputations which have been thrown upon our motives—for surely no rational man can imagine that we could be actuated by any motive than a sense of public duty—I say, that in these papers which we have laid before Parliament and the country, will be found a full justification of the course which we adopted. We are content to rest our defence upon the papers which we laid before Parliament. But if the Government were to form a different opinion—if it were to consider it right that other papers in addition to those we have submitted to the House, should be laid before it, I am sure, as far as I and my noble Friends are concerned, we should feel not the smallest objection that every word written by us upon these matters should be made public. With respect to myself, I can say that nothing would give me personally more satisfaction than that every, line which I wrote during the period I held the seals of office should be laid before the House. But, Sir, it is manifest we never pretended that the papers which we submitted contained the whole of the despatches of which they were in many cases only extracts. It would be most injurious to the public service, and my words are corroborated by those of the right hon. Baronet opposite—it would render the maintenance of peace almost impossible, if all that your agents must in the performance of their duty write to you—if every opinion which they may give—if every report which they may hear to the disadvantage of this or of that government—if every hearsay statement with regard to the conduct of this or of that individual all of which it is their duty to transmit were to be laid before Parliament. Such a practice, if permitted, would make it impossible for a country to maintain friendly relations with any power in the world, unless, indeed, that were to happen, which would probably be the consequence, namely, that your political agents, foreseeing the fate which would attend their communications, should cease to write for the information of Government, should cease to give that full and unreserved communication, which it is their duty to send, for the information of the Government by which they are employed, and should write only for the House of Commons. If such publications were to be made, your diplomatic agents would soon take care that their despatches, when produced, should create neither mischief to the public interests nor injury to their own professional prospects—but they would be useless agents—the Government would have no knowledge of what it ought to learn, and the greatest detriment to the public service would be the result. And, therefore, those Gentlemen who now, for the first time, find out that official despatches are given by extracts, and who imagine that they have made a mighty discovery, only show their ignorance of the course of public business. I do not know that I have omitted to touch on any other point of importance. I shall not, after the admirable way in which my noble Friend near me has touched on the general course of the foreign policy of the late Ministry—proceed to any defence of myself, from the attacks which have been made upon me. I only say, that the policy of which I was the organ, was, as my noble Friend has stated, the policy of the Government of which I was a Member, the labour, indeed, and toil, and restless activity attributed to me, belonged to the head of the department, and so fell to my share But with respect to that policy, I will say, that in the ten years during which we held the seals of office, it was eminently successful. I say, Sir (and I am glad to inform those hon. Gentlemen, who will, no doubt, be greatly delighted at hearing this piece of historical information), that our foreign policy was eminently successful; that we engaged in many great and important transactions; that those transactions were invariably brought to a conclusion, according to the views of the British Government; that although at many periods there was great danger of disturbance to the peace of Europe, yet we—endowed, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has sneeringly said, with some miraculous power of running near the brink of danger, but never into it—succeeded in maintaining the peace of Europe: and though we have not been so fortunate as to meet with the approbation of Gentlemen opposite who are so loud in their cheers, yet I greatly suspect, that if the result of our policy had been the reverse of what it was—if we had supported and established despotism in Portugal and Spain—[Cries of "Oh, oh!" from the Ministerial Benches.] if we had employed a military force in crushing the independence of the Belgian people—though we might have been ashamed of the results of our policy, we should have been greeted by the acclamations of those who now heap on us their vituperation and censure.

Sir R. Inglis

said, that if the doctrine laid down by his right hon. Friend were good for anything, it must stop inquiry into any questions of a similar character to the subject of this motion. He was not one who idolized the privileges of that House; but, on the other hand, he did not wish that the House should abrogate one of its most important functions. He wished to know if that House were not to inquire into a subject brought forward in one of the most remarkable speeches he had ever heard—what his right hon. Friend's definition of the functions of the House of Commons, was as to the right of investigation? Were they to be confined in their inquisitorial powers to the asserting whether a sheriff ought or ought not to be committed to prison? Were they to assert to morrow that a sheriff's officer should be imprisoned for serving a subpoena on one of their own officers, and yet not decide on the policy of war attacked on such grounds as those brought forward? If this argument were well founded, in what, he should like to know, did the inquisitorial power of the House of Commons consist? But it was said that the hon. and learned Member had not appealed to the Parliament that had sanctioned this proceeding? But was it not a Parliament called together, not by his right hon. Friend, but by the noble Lord the Member for London? Surely, the noble Lord was not the person that should object to the tribunal. But the objection was now made to the language in which the motion was made. Now, he must say, that from adversaries who characterised the speeches which they condemned as "nonsense," and as proceeding from "ignorance and calumny," this charge came with a bad grace; and they rather act upon the principle veniam petimusque damusque. ["Oh."] Many of those who cried "oh" did not hear the opening speech of the hon. and learned Member for Bath; and he noticed that that the two noble Lords who had spoken from the opposition side were deserted not only by those on the second row, but even by the usual supporters of the late Government. ["Oh."] He saw one hon. Gentleman to whom his remarks applied, and he should certainly demur to his authority as to the justness of the attacks of the two noble Lords on the hon. and learned Gentleman. He should say, in conclusion, that having come into the House without having made up his mind as to the vote he should give, and determining to be guided alone by what he heard, he must say that neither the noble Lord opposite, nor his right hon. Friend, had advanced any reasons sufficient to induce him to negative the motion; and he should, therefore, give it his warm support.

Mr. W. O. Stanley

said, as the hon. Baronet has, as I understood, alluded to me as not having been present when the charge was made, and when the answer was given, I beg to tell him that I was present throughout the debate. [Sir R. Inglis was understood to say that he did not allude to the hon. Member]. As the hon. Baronet challenges my right of judgment on that wrong assumption, I hope he will now permit me to tell him what the state of the House really was when the speeches alluded to were delivered. During the vindictive speech of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, the House was crowded, but few of the hon. Gentlemen opposite remained to hear the arguments brought forward in answer.

Lord J. Manners

I do not mean to allude to this dispute; but as a humble Member of this House, I must express my sense of the debt which this House and the country owe to the hon. and learned Member for Bath, for the fitness and propriety of this motion, and thus giving us an opportunity of expressing our contrition for, and our disapprobation of, the injustice of the Affghan war, and of (as far as it is now possible), washing away the stain which, in my conscience, I believe that act of injustice attached to this country.

Mr. Protheroe

rose in consequence of what he believed to be a direct attack upon him by the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford. He laboured under the disadvantage of being near-sighted, but he believed the hon. Baronet meant him when he said he saw an hon. Member endeavouring to put him down. Now, he was the last man to be guilty of such a proceeding, but he admitted, that he did make a very loud exclamation when he heard the hon. Baronet say that not many Members on that side of the House had heard the language of the hon. and learned Member for Bath—language which he (Mr. Protheroe) thought extremely vituperative. He also thought the hon. Baronet bore rather harshly upon the two noble Lords who had attempted to listen to the attack made on the policy of the late Government by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and that had certainly led him to make rather a loud ex- clamation, but he had not intended it as anything disrespectful to the hon. Baronet.

Sir R. Inglis

Though I incur much hazard by the avowal, I assure the hon. Gentleman he was not the Member I allude to. I am sure I betrayed no intemperance of manner. I certainly thought I indulged in no remarks which might not with fairness be applied to a somewhat younger Member.

Mr. Roebuck

in reply, said: Sir I congratulate the Members of the late Government on the support they have this night received from the right hon. Baronet; and if he and they will permit me, I shall venture a prophecy on the occasion. It is this; that the time will come when it may be suggested in one of our party debates, "Oh, recollect the painful motion with respect to which we treated you with candour and generosity; and, as we gracefully rowed off in that favourite bark for slurring over a difficulty, that the time had passed for inquiry, you should never forget that we used all our influence, as a government, to prop your policy." But before I address myself to the arguments in answer to my statement, let me, for a moment, apply myself to the language used respecting it. One hon. Gentlemen says, I made a vindictive speech. I suppose that is Parliamentary though it implies a bad motive. I saw you passed it by, Sir; and therefore it must be Parliamentary. The noble Lord, again, says that I was guilty of a "libel." [Lord Palmerston disclaimed having said so.] Oh, we have two of them in this debate; and I took down the words of the noble Lord the Member for London, He said I had indulged in "abuse, calumny, and vituperation," and that I was guilty of a libel. Now, I want to know for what that language was applied to me. I described acts, I characterised them, and of course applied epithets to them. And what were the acts? I stated that the Governor-general of India published a declaration setting forth as a fact that which was not a fact. Has anybody dared to say that that assertion was false? What was the declaration? That Shah Soojah was taken to his own country by his own troops and placed on the throne. Well, the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) by the words he read from Colonel Dennie, confirmed the truth of my assertion. Why, then, have not those who are such sticklers for precision of language the accuracy as well as the courage to repel this fact? It is true that this is in the proclamation? I say it is to be found there. Is the impression it conveys true? I say it is false, even though I may be called a "libeller." I next endeavoured to show that this was unjust. Has anybody pretended to prove it was anything else? I endeavoured to show that, by the international law prevailing amongst all civilised communities it was an unjust war. Has any one gainsaid that position? Is it for using the word unjust, then, that I am to be called vituperative, calumnious, and vindictive? I went farther, and said it was an impolitic war. Is that the word you complain of? But, perhaps, it is "the mischievous activity" of the noble Lord which you are so sore about? Is that the phrase which has so ruffled the temper of the noble Lord. But is the word mischievous so harsh a word that I should be charged with libelling because I used it, and should the noble Lord the Member for London feel really so hurt by it that he should be induced to scold me very much, though I cannot say he answered me? I leave the noble Lords, being quite willing that it should go forth to the public that I offered to prove a false declaration was contained in your Governor-general's proclamation, and one hat was derogatory to the honour of the country, and that they denied me the opportunity of proving it. I re-assert and I stand by it, very little caring whether my doing so be called a libel or not; that such a proceeding is derogatory to the honour of the country. You should prove me wrong, however, before you hazard the accusation that I am a libeller. But what says the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel)? He maintains this motion is not made in proper form, and that you are about to usurp the functions of the executive Government, and thereby (the usual favourite argument) encroach on the prerogative of the Crown. Do not, says the right hon. Gentleman, sanction such a precedent. Now, if this appeal to precedent is not one of those broken reeds which the right hon. Gentleman now and again rests on to fling aside the next minute, I will supply him with a precedent and a fact. And let me caution the House how they, by refusing the inquiry, establish a new precedent to shut out inquiry for the future. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman feels I am about to refer to the Walcheren expedition. The terms of the motion then made were these:— Lord Porchester moved for a select committee to inquiry into the policy and conduct of the late expedition to the Scheldt. And that committee was not only granted, but a secret committee was also appointed for examining certain secret papers. Well, this usurpation of the prerogative of the Crown was permitted by the House of Commons. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not lean on a reed that will pierce his own hand. How will the right hon. Gentleman get over the difficulty of such a precedent? It was a military expedition: the fate of the Ministry turned on the decision, and as a consequence of it, the Ministry went out of office. How did it differ from this case? Why, the former Ministry went out after inquiry, and the latter before it. Does it make any difference to the people of Eng-gland whether the Government is out or in, that I say undertook a war that was both unjust and impolitic? The book I: hold in my hand proves that the facts on J which the Government rested were garbled, and this by an appeal to the eye rather than to the understanding. If I prove one instance, it will be enough. Lord Auckland had declared—and the declaration has been repeated by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton this evening—that Sir A. Burnes had represented that Dost Mahommed had desired to obtain possession of Peshawur, and that it was his dangerous intentions with respect to that territory which fed to the war. What do I say? I accuse you broadly, and without equivocation, of misrepresentation on that point. Let me tell the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, that I am not accustomed to use twisted and contorted phraseology, which is grammatical in form, and satisfies the ear without reaching the understanding. I sometimes see exhibitions of that description, which appear to be much admired, but I confess the admiration of them does not extend itself to me. I speak in a straightforward, plain, blunt manner. No one, I believe, ever mistakes what I intend to convey. [Cheers]. I know not what hon. Members mean who cheer; but I do now intend distinctly to say I will prove that in one instance you (addressing the opposition bench) have falsified the evidence. Now, do you understand me? I allude to a despatch from Sir A. Burnes to Sir W. M'Naughten, dated Cabul, July 26, 1838. It is No. 5, and at page 22 in the Blue Book. I am about to read the 13th paragraph of that despatch; at least, I will refer to what they have put in the book, and then make an addition from the original despatch, which I think is very significant. The extract given in the Blue Book, goes no farther than to say, that Dost Mahomed had designs on Pe-shawur, and there it stops; but reading on from Sir A. Burnes' letters, it appears that the writer adds, It seems that the chief is not bent upon possessing Peshawur, or on gratifying his personal enmities, but that he is simply securing himself from injury. All this is left out. The despatch goes on to say, that the views stated are worthy of consideration, and the more so when an avowed partisan of Dost Mahommed Khan supported them. All that I have read from the pamphlet in my hand is left out in the Blue Book. Any Member may see how much is left out. [Here the hon. Member held up the pamphlet.] All the passages which are marked are omitted in the Blue Book, and I will not detain the House by reading them. I have brought forward one palpable instance of falsification. I have shown the House that Sir A. Burnes stated that Dost Mahommed did not desire to make an attack on Peshawur, but that he merely wished to defend himself against aggression, and yet you come forward and state, as distinctly and broadly as I now state the contrary, that Sir A. Burnes stated that, Dost Mahommed did intend to possess himself of that territory. If I wanted arguments in support of my proposition, I should have asked the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton to make the speech he delivered. The right hon. Baronet said it was a pity I had not submitted a resolution directly condemnatory of the noble Lords' policy. That had previously been suggested to me by Members of this House from whom I am glad to receive suggestions; but my answer was, that I did not think it fair to do so. I thought it the fairer course to inquire, before condemning. If I can make out a case of suspicion, the onus is on you to exonerate yourselves. I have made out such a case, and I am willing to go to the country on the accusation. You shrink from inquiry—you ride off on your hobby about invading the prerogative of the Crown. I demand inquiry for you. Are you willing to let me withdraw the motion and put it in the shape of a direct accusation? I am willing and prepared to do so. One more observation, before I have done, on what has fallen from the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. The noble Lord said, that he went to St. Petersburgh, not with a fleet, but for the purpose of demanding explanation—that he obtained it, and it was perfectly satisfactory. There is a sort of "presto ho! begone!" in the noble Lord's mode of reasoning. He says he got a perfectly satisfactory answer at St. Petersburgh; but still he apprehended danger from Russia, because the Russian agents would not conduct themselves properly. Was this after the perfectly satisfactory explanation? [An hon. Member: No—before.] The noble Lord demanded explanations from Russia as early as December 20, 1838. I will take it either way. Supposing it was before the application for explanation, then the satisfactory explanation covered the conduct of the Russian agents; if the misconduct occured after, why did not the noble Lord again seek for explanation before he went to war? I say, that the invasion of Affghanistan was a rash, hasty, and ill-considered movement. You call that "vituperation" and "libel;" but sure I am, that the sober, steadfast opinion of the country will decide that you have made an unjust and impolitic aggression, and it will also say that you have made an unworthy defence of your conduct. The right hon. Baronet said, that this is not the right time to seek for inquiry. He has been answered upon that point by the hon. Member for Oxford. When are we to have inquiry? When inquiry was asked for during the operations, we were told, "for God's sake do not interrupt our progress,—you will dispirit the troops and endanger the success of the operations. Wait till the war is over." We came last year. A motion was made for papers—for papers only. Hands were held up in amazement; and the language used was, "We are not out of the scrape yet; for Heaven's sake wait till the war is over." Well, the war is over; but still it is not the right time for inquiry. I will ask another question. I want to know who is to pay the bill? That is a very important question, both as regards India and England. If the House of Commons is to be called upon to pay any portion of the bill for the Affghan war, I say that we as conservators for the public purse of England, have a right to inquire into the policy of that war, and I pledge myself to the right hon. Baronet that if, on hunting out the estimates, I find that one tittle is to go for payment of the Affghan war, I will insist on the privilege of this House to inquire its origin, whether it trench upon prerogative or not. If the expense of the war should fall upon India, I ask whether in that case we are not bound to inquire? The East India Company knew nothing about it. You have annihilated the court of directors as governors of India, and the government of that country is transferred to the Treasury Bench. You made war in India not for Indian interests, but for European interests. Why did you go to war? Because you were afraid of Russia obtaining our possessions in the East. That is your language [Expressions of dissent.] What! is it not? Then you did not fear Russia? If you were not afraid of Russia obtaining our Indian possessions, then, in the name of all that is just and decent, why did you go to war? I charge on you that you have done injustice. I charge you with having done gross injustice to the people of India—you have committed direful iniquity against the poor people of Affghanistan. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, in that sort of tripping, jaunty style in which he indulges, has chosen to talk of my having constituted myself the defender of Akhbar Khan. I said, that Akhbar Khan, in following out the lights of his morality, might have thought, that in defence of all that was dear to him, he was justified in everything he did. Now, can anybody pretend to find fault with me for saying that? I say I have no doubt that in Asiatic morality it will be considered that Akhbar Khan has not been guilty of any very great crime; but we having morality of a higher degree, and enjoying the advantages of civilization, broke through the rules of our morality, and committed what we ought to know and feel to be an immoral act. I say, that the half-educated savage, judged of by the morality of his nation, cannot be pronounced guilty. Am I to be taunted for this? What has Akhbar Khan done worse than has been done by men who are held up to our admiration? Are we not, as boys, taught to admire Brutus when he struck down Cæsar as the enemy of his country's liberties? Are we not taught that the two Grecian youths in Athenian history are persons to be admired as demi-gods who, yet, were no better than assassins? But let us place ourselves in the position of those whom we condemned. Let us suppose ourselves seated in an Affghan chamber, with Affghan mothers and Affghan children around us. Thinking, then, upon the events of the war, on whom, as Affghans, should we bestow our praise? On Akhbar Khan. And why? Because, judging by their morality, that was the man who had done us a service. I should be very unwilling that upon my head should rest the guilt of permitting the troops of this country to cross the Indus, or of the cruelties which had been perpetrated in India in the name of England. I am quite ready to appeal to the world, and to abide by its vote. I now solemnly appeal to the assembled Commons of England, in the name of honour, in the name of justice, in the name of mercy,for God's sake, to institute an inquiry on this subject, in order to put a curb on that unholy spirit of war which was manifested by those who were most eloquent in their admiration of peace.

The House divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 189: Majority 114.

List of the AYES.
Acton, Col. Elphinstone, H.
Adderley, C. B. Escott, B.
Allix, J. P. Fielden, J.
Antrobus, E. Fellowes, E.
Arkwright, G. Ferrand, W. B.
Bateson, R. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Forbes, W.
Borthwick, P. Gladstone, Capt.
Bowring, Dr. Godson, R.
Bradshaw, J. Gore, W. R. O.
Bramston, T. W. Grogan, E.
Broadley, H. Hamilton, Lord C.
Broadwood, H. Henley, J. W.
Bruce, C. L. C. Hughes, W. B.
Campbell, Sir H. Humphrey, Mr. Ald.
Campbell, Alex. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Chetwode, Sir J. Knight, F. W.
Christopher, R. A. Lawson, A.
Collett, W. R. Lennox, Lord A.
Cripps, W. Leslie, C. P.
Currie, R. Lockhart, W.
Dashwood, G. H. Mackenzie, W. F.
Dickinson, F. H. Mc Geachy, F. A.
D'Israeli, B. Mainwaring, T.
Dowdeswell, W. Manners, Lord J.
Duncombe, hon. O. Marsland, H.
East, J. B. Martin, T. B.
Master, T. W. C. Shirley, E. J.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Smith, A.
Morgan, O. Smollett, A.
Northland, Visct. Stuart, H.
Packe, C. W. Strickland, Sir G.
Palmer, R. Tollemache, J.
Plumptre, J. P. Trollope, Sir J.
Praed, W. T. Trotter, J.
Rashleigh, W. Yorke, H. R.
Rous, hon. Capt. TELLERS.
Scholefield, J. Roebuck, J. A.
Sheppard, T. Hume, J.
List of the NOES.
Acland, T. D. Flower, Sir J.
Ainsworth, P. Forster, M.
Aldam W. Fox, C. R.
Archbold, R. Fuller, A. E.
Baring, hon. W. B. Gaskell, J. M.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Gill, T.
Barnard, E. G. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Beckett, W. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Berkeley, hon. C. Gore, M.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Gore, hon. R.
Bernal, R. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Blake, Sir V. Granger, T. C.
Boldero, H. G. Greene, T.
Browne, hon. W. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bruce, Lord E. Grimston, Visct.
Buller, E. Halford, H.
Busfeild, W. Hallyburton, Lord J. F. G.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S.
Childers, J. W. Hamilton, W. J.
Clay, Sir W. Hanmer, Sir J.
Clerk, Sir G. Harcourt, G. G.
Clive, Visct. Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hastie, A.
Cochrane, A. Hatton, Capt. V.
Colborne. hn. W. N. R. Hawes, B.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hay, Sir A. L.
Colquhoun, J. C. Hayter, W. G.
Corry, rt. hon. H. Heathcote, Sir W.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Herbert, hon. S.
Craig, W. G. Hervey, Lord A.
Dalmeny, Lord Hill, Lord M.
Damer, hon. Col. Hinde, J. H.
Darby, G. Hodgson, R.
Davies, D. A. S. Hogg, J. W.
Denison, W. J. Hope, G. W.
Denison, E. B. Horsman, E.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Howard, hn. C. W. G.
Douglas, Sir H. Howard, Lord
Douglas, Sir C. E. Howard, hon. H.
Duff, J. James, W.
Duke, Sir J. Jermyn, Earl
Duncan, Visct. Johnston, Alex.
Dundas, Admiral Jones, Capt.
Easthope, Sir J. Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.
Eaton, R. J. Knight, H. G.
Ebrington, Visct. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Eliot, Lord Lambton, H.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Ellice, E. Layard, Capt.
Emlyn, Visct. Lemon, Sir C.
Evans, W. Lincoln, Earl of
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Listowel, Earl of
Fitzmaurice, hon. W. Lowther, J. H.
Fitzroy, Capt. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Mc Taggart, Sir J. Russell, J. D. W.
Mahon, Visct. Rutherfurd, A.
Mangles, R. D. Sandon, Visct.
Majoribanks, S. Scrope, G. P.
Marshall, W. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Martin, C. W. Shelborne, Earl of
Masterman, J. Smith, B.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Smith, J. A.
Meynell, Capt. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Mildmay, H. St. John Smythe, hon. G.
Mitcalfe, H. Somerset, Lord G.
Mitchell, T. A. Standish, C.
Morris, D. Stanley, Lord
Morrison, J. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Neville, R. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Nicholl, rt. hon. J. Stuart, Lord J.
Norreys, Lord Stuart, W. V.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Strutt, E.
O'Connor, Don Sutton, hon. H. M.
Ogle, S. C. H. Tancred, H. W.
Ord, W. Tennent, J. E.
Oswald, J. Thornhill, G.
Palmerston, Visct. Towneley, J.
Pechell, Capt. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Vane, Lord H.
Pennant, hon. Col. Waddington, H. S.
Philips, G. R. Ward, H. G.
Plumridge, Capt. Watson, W. H.
Pollington, Visct. Wawn, J. T.
Ponsonby, hn. C. F. AC. Wellesley, Lord C.
Ponsonby, hon. J. G. Wilshere, W.
Pringle, A. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Protheroe, E. Wood, B.
Pulsford, E. Wood, C.
Pusey, P. Wood, G. W.
Reid, Sir J. R. Wortley, hon. J. S.
Repton, G. W. J. Wrightson, W. B.
Ricardo, J. L. Wynn, rt. hn. C. W. W.
Rice, E. R. Young, J.
Ross, D. R.
Rumbold, C. E. TELLERS.
Rushbrooke, Col. Freemantle, Sir T.
Russell, Lord J. Tufnell, H.

House adjourned at a quarter past twelve o'clock.