HC Deb 16 March 1847 vol 91 cc26-103

The other question which he wished to ask his noble Friend, and of which he had given his noble Friend notice, was of a very different description from the former question, and related to the subject which was about to come on for discussion that night. It would be recollected, that in his (Lord G. Bentinck's) address to the House in an early part of the debate on the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, he stated that he believed there were some other despatches, or other communications, or other memoranda from the British Government to the Emperor of Austria, the Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia, with respect to Cracow, subsequent to the letter of the Emperor Alexander of the 21st of November, 1814, and previous to the conclusion of the Treaty of the 3rd of May, 1815. On that occasion his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for a moment interrupted him—what his noble Friend intimated he could not tell; but the question which he wished to ask his noble Friend was this—whether there were any other despatches, or communications, or memoranda, or minutes of conversation, respecting Cracow, than those which had already been laid before Parliament.


With regard to the interruption of which his noble Friend had spoken, it was one addressed rather to his eye than to his ear; for the interruption he offered to his noble Friend was simply conveyed by a smile, when, in the course of his address to the House, his noble Friend stated, that the correspondence between Lord Castlereagh and the Government of the Emperor of Russia had no connexion with the arrangements connected with Cracow or with the Treaty signed the 3rd of May. He certainly did smile on that occasion; and if his noble Friend was anxious to know what that smile meant, he (Lord Palmerston) would tell him. If his noble Friend wished to consult the State Papers, which were public and open to the inspection of every Member of the House, he would find that the British Government, through its representative at the Congress of Vicuna, was a party to all the protocols and all the communications that took place during the Congress, commencing in the year 1814 and ending in the year 1815, not only in reference to the arrangements with regard to Cracow, but with respect to all the other points included in the general Treaty of Vienna.

Order of the Day read for resuming the Adjourned Debate.


said, that he thought the noble Lord opposite had little occasion from the course of the present debate, to congratulate himself upon the merits of his recommendation, that the House should confine its attention to our domestic affairs, and leave our foreign policy to the Executive. Such a doctrine, no doubt, had its conveniences and advantages, which were likely to find especial favour in the eyes of Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs. Still hon. Members had not been able to refrain from the tempting opportunity which the hon. Member for Montrose's Motion gave them, to launch into the widest field of foreign policy; and if Europe were to be set on fire by it, he would have been the phaeton to cause the conflagration. He (Sir J. Walsh) would not promise altogether to debar himself from following in this more general discussion; but he would first address himself to the question more immediately raised by the Motion. The first question for them to consider would be, whether they had any legal right to free themselves from the obligation of that treaty to continue the payment to Russia—whether it would be consistent with the faith of treaties, the law of nations, or with their own character, to discontinue that payment. The second question was, whether, the other being assumed, it would be wise, whether it would be politic, whether it would be consistent with their national dignity, in the present condition of Europe, to pursue such a course? When he entered upon this question, he must say that he felt considerable dissatisfaction at the mode in which the hon. Member for Montrose had introduced his Motion; not that he had stated what was not literally true, but any person who was not acquainted with the whole question would be led into a very erroneous conclusion. According to the terms of the third resolution proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose, it would appear that he considered the Convention of 1831 to be a settlement of equivalents of services, on the one hand, and a payment of money on the other. But that was a very erroneous construction of the document. The Convention of 1831 was a mere explanatory and supplementary convention, and was intended to supply a Parliamentary irregularity, and to remove a technical difficulty which had arisen in carrying out the original Treaty of May 1815, in consequence of the separation of Holland from Belgium. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), on a former evening, had taken occasion to call attention to the struggles which England had gone through in the last war, and to the constancy and enduring heroism which she had displayed in the contest with Napoleon. He had rejoiced to hear from the lips of the right hon. Baronet sentiments like these, to which the whole House and the country must respond; but he thought that the country ought to be reminded also that England, if the first and foremost, was not the only agent in the deliverance of Europe, and that if Europe owed a great debt to England—a debt which no time could ever cancel—yet to other parties to the Treaty of Vienna, and particularly to Russia, some credit was also due. The right hon. Baronet, likewise, had noticed a very strong argument, as it appeared to him, against the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume); and the right hon. Baronet took occasion to protest in forcible and energetic terms against a doctrine contained in a despatch of M. Guizot, that the infraction of the stipulations of one article of a treaty by one of the Powers who were parties to it, released the other parties from the obligations of the treaty; but he could not help hoping that the right hon. Baronet attached a larger interpretation to the words used by M. Guizot than M. Guizot himself intended. The words referred to were, "No one Power can free itself from these treaties without freeing the others also." But the following words in the despatch showed that M. Guizot only meant this expression in an hypothetical sense, and did not intend to convey that France had or would act upon the principle contained in them. If, however, the House adopted the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose, they would adopt the very practice which France seemed to put forward in an hypothetical manner only. The next point to which he was desirous of calling attention, was one on which he knew he must be prepared to encounter certain unfavourable dispositions, both in the House and out of it. He was aware that the absolute principles which these Governments were supposed to embody and represent, were so foreign from the feelings of the English people, that it was not without some difficulty that from the English people and the House there could be gained that just consideration which these questions required. Now, however, the hon. Member for Montrose had made the question assume a judicial character, by rendering it necessary for them to judge and determine, whether, under the present state of circumstances, they were released from certain obligations by which they should under other circumstances be bound. As then they were judging in their own cause, they were bound to give every allowable force to the allegations of the opposing party; and if they were determined to judge, let them not come to a decision without having heard both sides. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth had expressed a great anxiety that the greater Powers should give a full measure of protection to the weaker States. The weaker States of Europe must depend upon the greater for protection; and it was one of the great objects of the vast body of international laws to enforce that system of protection. He fully concurred with those sentiments, as expressed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth; but he thought that on the part of those weaker States there was a reciprocity of policy due. Whilst entitled to protection from the stronger, they were bound to preserve a rigid neutrality and a pacific policy. They should not expect to derive any impunity from their weakness. Let them suppose, as an instance, that the free and flourishing city of Frankfort were seized upon by the French Government; that an army was marched into it to take possession, and it was declared annexed to the Crown of France. What indignation would be excited—with what execration would not the act be hailed throughout Europe! But let them, on the other hand, suppose that Frankfort were to become the rallying point of the Carlist party, and the focus of a formidable insurrection against the established Government in France, which could only be suppressed by that Government at the sacrifice of an enormous expenditure of men and money; it surely would then be possible for France to adopt measures and utter sentiments of a nature very different from those of an acknowledgment of impunity on the part of the weak but independent State. In such a case an infraction of the treaty which guaranteed its independence would have taken place, and France would be bound to take measures for her own security and protection. It was, in his opinion, sufficiently proved that Cracow was, in point of fact, the seat of an insurrection of a desperate, a bloody, and, at the same time, of an utterly hopeless character. There was no Kosciusko at Cracow. Those illustrious Poles who were foremost in the great but unsuccessful struggle for the independence of their country in 1830—those men who then stepped forward with such devoted gallantry, who met with chivalrous ardour the vast power of Russia, and who sacrificed fortune, rank, and home, in that great contest, and carried with them into their exile the warm sympathies of every well-constituted mind, were not the men to head the Cracow insurrection. It was a well-known fact, that that insurrection was attempted in opposition to all the influence those men could exert against it; against all their recommendations; against all the power they could wield in opposition to that disastrous and, he would add, criminal enterprise. Let them turn to the "Constitution of the Revolution," as the new constitution was called. They would find no Adam Czartoryski's signature attached to such a deed. The hon. Member for Finsbury had charged the noble Lord near him (Lord George Bentinck) with having given garbled extracts from the document. He (Sir J. Walsh) would, therefore, read it entirely, and let it speak for itself; and it was worthy of observation, that there were only two articles in it in which the penalty of death was not directed for some one breach or other of its mandates. It ran thus:—

  1. "Art. 1. The government of the revolution is one for the whole of Poland; it is absolute, and is answerable to the nation.
  2. "Art. 2. Every person to whom the Government, or any authority appointed by Government, may propose an office, a command, or post, must accept and fulfil such an appointment on pain of death.
  3. "Art. 3. Every person capable of bearing arms, who does not, within twenty-four hours after the publication of this manifest, place himself at the disposal of the local authority of the place in which he resides, shall be tried as a deserter before a court-martial.
  4. "Art. 4. Acts of plunder and violence against any persons, even should they be guilty, forcible extortion of tithes or soccage, and deeds of active opposition, will be punished with death; which penalty will likewise he enforced upon spies, and upon all persons defrauding public monies, or usurping to themselves an official power.
  5. "Art. 5. Every one forming part of a club, committee, or society, without the permission of the Government, will be declared a traitor to his country.
  6. "Art. 6. Every parish shall within its district erect as many alarm signals as may be found necessary to communicate with the neighbouring parishes; these signals to be posts or trees covered with straw and pitched or tarred over; the destruction of any such signal, or the act of preventing the lighting of such signal, to be punished with death."
Art. 7 was a most mild and beneficent one. It is declared that— The national colours are white and scarlet, and the white eagle on a scarlet ground, with out-spread wings, its head turned towards the right, bearing in its right claw an oak wreath and in its left a wreath of laurel. This eagle will appear on the seals of all the Polish authorities. What an ornithological curiosity was not the Polish eagle! Again he should say he rejoiced that the names of those who had struggled for the independence of their country in 1830 were not appended to such a document. The conduct of Cracow, as it appeared to him, should certainly be deemed as involving a breach of neutrality. No great State of Europe could adopt such a course of proceeding, without rendering itself liable to be called to account for it. It might be said that there was no necessity for the adoption of the extreme course which had been taken; but extreme difficulties would have beset any other. Great difficulties would have attended the adoption of a system of police. There would have been complaints of foreign intermeddling and interference. A teasing surveillance might have been adopted; but it would prove injurious and most oppressive. Very stringent regulations with regard to passports, a circle of troops, or gens d'armes, drawn round, or other modes of prevention, might have been tried; but it appeared to him, that so far as regarded the interest of Cracow, such measures would have been very objectionable, whilst their adoption would have placed the great Powers in a most false and invidious position, and Cracow, instead of being benefited, would have been greatly embarrassed. But he was opposed to the adoption of the resolutions proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose, because they appeared to him to involve a sort of miserable petty recrimination in a spirit of hostility to Russia, the carrying into effect of which would, be contemptible, would lead to innumerable protocols on the part of Russia, and would give Russia an opportunity of charging them with being guilty of a gross breach of faith, whilst it would not tend in any manner to the interest of Cracow. They had the authority of the great name of Wellington for saying, that a great nation should never have a little war; and he would beg to add that a great nation like England should never have recourse to little petty measures. They should not shut their eyes to what was going on in the West, and confine themselves to combating points in the East. They should speak on subjects like those before them with the greatest delicacy and discretion. Some of the happiest and brightest years of his life had been spent in France, where he had formed friendships which he still retained, and hoped he should retain to the end of his life: and he trusted he should never use language that would give to any individual in that country any possible offence. He thought he could assure the French people that if there was one sentiment more popular than another throughout England, it was a desire of amity with the French nation. He believed that John Bull would be ready to go even three-fourths of the way, if necessary, to shake hands with his neighbour beyond the Channel. But he was bound to add, that he did not believe the same feelings were reciprocated by the French people. He believed France was the only country in Europe at this moment, in which war was actually popular, and in which it would be possible for a ruler to invoke a warlike spirit at any instant among the people. He believed it was the only country in Europe where a desire of aggrandizement by conquest survived in the minds of the public. In that country the great and brilliant names of Marengo, of Austerlitz, of Jena, and of Friedland, still reverberated in the heart of the nation, and there was a desire among many parties to revive the glorious scenes with which those names were connected. He hoped that it was in the power of England, aided as he trusted she would by the pacific dispositions of the great Monarch who occupied the French throne, and by the feelings of the other European States, to avoid exciting this fearful spirit; but he should at the same time boldly state—and he thought it was important that England should know it—that while they hoped to maintain amicable relations throughout Europe, as he trusted they would—while they hoped by time, and caution, and firmness to secure the general peace—they ought at the same time to bear in mind, that should any disturbance unfortunately arise, and should the peace of Europe be broken, they would, in endeavouring, if possible, to preserve the peace, find, he was quite sure, that France would be no safe ally for them in such a contingency. He would ask, in proof of this, how many times in the course of the last seven years were they on the very verge of breaches of the existing peace? Even the other night did not the Secretary to the Admiralty, in moving the Navy Estimates, state as a ground for the increase proposed in them, that the whole seaboard of France was in a state of preparation for war—that from Dunkirk to Toulon there was nothing but arming going on. If such was not the case, he would like to ask for what were the 127 furnaces blazing at Brest? At all events, he could assure the House that it was not with any intention of restoring the independence of Cracow. He could not conclude without briefly noticing the conduct which Her Majesty's Government pursued in the recent transactions with regard to Cracow. The first question which they had for consideration was, whether the suppression of Cracow was a violation of the Treaty of Vienna? He should say, that after giving the fullest consideration to the arguments adduced by Prince Metternich on the question, he could not bring himself to the conclusion that that eminent statesman had made out his case. He could not believe that the treaty securing the independence of Cracow was merely registered in the Treaty of Vienna; and it did appear to him that the Three Great Powers were bound to communicate with England and France before undertaking any decisive step in the matter. If he understood what fell the other evening from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth correctly, the right hon. Gentleman was of opinion that some notification had been made by these Powers that no permanent step should be taken with regard to Cracow without such a communication being made to this country in the first instance; and on referring to one of the despatches of Lord Westmorland to Lord Aberdeen, this view appeared to be borne out. One paragraph in these despatches was as follows:— General Canitz has stated to me that as soon as the proceedings against the prisoners in Cracow have been completed, the question of the establishment of the government of the State of Cracow will be entertained, and the proposals of the Three Protecting Powers upon that subject referred to the allied Governments of England and France; but that they will be such as are entirely in accordance with the stipulations of the Treaty of Vienna, to which Prussia will most rigidly adhere. From this it would appear that the course pursued with regard to Cracow was not only a violation of the Treaty of Vienna, but of an express understanding. He could not think the conduct of these Powers was proper or courteous towards England. He could, therefore, cast no censure on Her Majesty's Government for having sent a protest under the circumstances; for he could not but feel that whatever justification those Powers might have for what they did, that justification should have been stated to this country. Under these circumstances he felt himself perfectly willing to vote with the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government for the previous question; but at the same time he should admit that the Three Powers had much stronger grounds for their proceedings against the State of Cracow than he had believed before reading the papers which had been laid before the House on this subject.


said, that the correspondence which had been laid before the House seemed to him conclusively to prove that, as far as we were concerned, whatever might be our opinion with respect to Cracow, we should hardly be justified in not paying the money and yet retaining the four colonies which had been ceded to us under the Treaty of Vienna. He thought, too, that after the statements that had been made in the course of this debate, the hon. Member for Montrose would certainly not feel it necessary to divide the House on the fourth resolution. In his opinion, it would be most unwise for the House of Commons to do otherwise than leave the matter in the hands of the Executive, although the hon. Baronet in the early part of his speech had expressed an opinion that it was a very convenient doctrine for Governments, that all matters connected with foreign affairs should be left with the Executive. All that was necessary had been done in this case, in expressing a strong opinion upon it; and almost all who had taken part in the debate had, with perfect unanimity, agreed in opinion that the Treaty of Vienna had been violated. With respect to what had fallen from the hon. Baronet, he certainly could not deny that a war party had always existed in France, and that that party was generally hostile to this country; but he believed that the hon. Baronet had overcharged his case, and he was convinced that that party was kept down by the Monarch and a stronger party in France. He agreed with the hon. Baronet, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth had infinitely overstated the words or general hearing of M. Guizot's protest. He thought that that protest had been drawn up by M. Guizot in terms as mild and unobjectionable as it was possible for any Foreign Minister to have drawn it up; he understood M. Guizot to have stated, what he believed could not be denied, that when one party violated a treaty, the other party might, if he chose, disregard that treaty. In general, there could be no doubt of the accuracy of that opinion; France might feel herself thereby justified in departing from the Treaty of Vienna; but he thought it would be most unwise for us to have adopted such a course. It was our interest to maintain the integrity of the Treaty of Vienna. Because in one respect the Three Powers had violated that treaty, and France considered that she was absolved from it, it did not follow that she was absolved from it with reference to England. We had hitherto observed it with most scrupulous fidelity; and he trusted we should always pursue the same course. In that respect, then, he thought it would be a most fatal error for them to adopt the fourth resolution of the hon. Member for Montrose. If they placed themselves in that position, the Treaty of Vienna would be hereafter regarded as an instrument of no value, and would be violated at any future period, just as it might suit the particular views of any particular Power. He rejoiced, therefore, that his noble Friend would not give in to that resolution. He trusted that the Three Powers would take warning from the opinion of that House—from the general shock that had been given to the stability of all treaties by their conduct—and that by their good treatment of the Poles, and doing everything that might tend to ameliorate the state of Poland, and especially those who were exiled from that country, they would endeavour to make an effective reparation for what he could not but consider was a most flagrant violation of the Treaty of Vienna.


was anxious to hear from some Member of the Government, whether they were willing to acquiesce in any degree in some of the extraordinary positions which had been maintained in the course of this debate. With respect to the Motion itself, he was involved in considerable difficulty. He was anxious to give a most distinct as well as forcible expression of his total disapprobation of the course taken by the foreign Powers; and, with that view, he should be most desirous to join in some such expression as that which was embodied in the first resolution of the hon. Member for Montrose; and if the hon. Member pressed it to a division, he must vote with the hon. Member upon it. He felt the force of the argument of the right hon. Baronet on a former occasion, as to the inconvenience of the House coming to a resolution which they were not prepared to follow up by active measures; but at the same time, they had a choice of difficulties, and he know of no other way, if called upon to decide, of avoiding a false impression going abroad, as to the effect of this discussion, than by voting for the first resolution. He therefore entreated the hon. Member for Montrose, if he had any influence with him, after the general expression of opinion that had prevailed throughout the debate, not to divide upon the first resolution. With respect to the latter part of the resolutions, he was prepared undoubtedly to maintain, that upon the strictest, and he might say not unfair, grounds of legal construction, if they chose to take advantage of what had taken place, it was within the power of this country to do so. Looking, then, at the present state of Europe — looking at the settlement of Europe which had been made when the Treaty of Vienna had been concluded—he ventured to say that even if England really had the rights which it was said she possessed, he doubted whether, under present circumstances, the exercise of those rights would be expedient. At the present stage of such a debate as that, he should not enter into a recapitulation of the wrongs of Poland; he did not want to speak of the events of 1792, or of those which took place in 1794. Of the two questions before the House, the first was this: whether under the conventions to which England was a party, we were still bound to the payment of the Russo-Dutch loan; the second was, whether, by the acknowledged breach of the Treaty of Vienna which had been recently committed, we were set free from the obligations which that treaty imposed? Then there came a third question: even supposing that there had been no breach of the treaty, had there been such a breach of the general conventions as would justify our disregarding the obligations which this country had contracted with reference to the Russo-Dutch loan? In order to arrive at sound conclusions upon such a subject as that then under consideration, it was necessary that they should, or at least it was desirable that they should, take a succinct notice of the principal occurrences which gave rise to the present position of affairs. Although the hon. Baronet the Member for South-wark did not give a correct account of the whole of the arrangements made with respect to the settlement of Europe, yet for the present it was scarcely necessary to do more than to notice the arrangement made in the year 1814. On the first restoration of the King of Holland, the arrangements were concluded at Chaumont, and by the Treaty of May, 1814, the house of Orange was re-established, and the authority of the King of Holland was restored. At that time, Great Britain was in possession of all the colonics that we had acquired during the war; and, so far from the transaction which took place between this country and Holland being in the nature of a purchase and sale, in which colonies formed the consideration, the occurrence was treated throughout as a distinct exception to anything like a bargain of that kind. The most valuable of all the islands restored to Holland at that time was the island of Java. We had had possession of Java from the year 1810: it was restored to Holland in the year 1814. This fact he conceived to be pretty good proof that there had been no sale of that island by Holland to this country. It was merely a restoration by us of a colony to Holland. By the Convention of the 13th of August, 1814, what had been the United Provinces were restored to their original state of independence under the government of the House of Orange, and we entered into such an arrangement as appeared to be conducive to that result. To the First Article of this Treaty he desired to call the attention of the House, and he found it to be preceded by these words:— The United Provinces of the Netherlands, under the favour of Divine Providence, having been restored to their independence, and having been placed by the loyalty of the Dutch people and the achievements of the Allied Powers, under the government of the illustrious house of Orange; and His Britannic Majesty being desirous of entering into such arrangements with the Prince Sovereign of the United Netherlands concerning the colonics of the said United Netherlands, which have been conquered by His Majesty's arms during the late war, as may conduce to the prosperity of the said State, and may afford a lasting testimony of His Majesty's friendship and attachment to the family of Orange and to the Dutch nation; the said high contracting parties, equally animated by those sentiments of cordial good-will and attachment to each other, have," &c. The First Article was— His Britannic Majesty engages to restore to the Prince Sovereign of the United Netherlands, within the term which shall be hereafter fixed, the colonies, factories, and establishments, which were possessed by Holland at the commencement of the late war, viz., on the 1st of January, 1803, in the seas and on the continents of America, Africa, and Asia, with the exception of the Cape of Good Hope and the settlements of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, of which possessions the high contracting parties reserve to themselves the right to dispose by a supplementary convention, hereafter to be negotiated according to their mutual interests; and especially with reference to the provisions contained in Articles 6 and 9 of the Treaty of Peace, signed between His Britannic Majesty and His Most Christian Majesty on the 30th of May, 1814. It was evident from this, as from the whole course of those transactions, that there existed no intention whatever of bargain and sale, but a purpose of assisting in the establishment of an independent Power in the Netherlands. At that time Great Britain undertook that 1,000,000l. sterling should be paid for Holland to Sweden, 2,000,000l. for the fortification of Holland on the side of France, to be borne equally with Holland herself, provided that the share which England was to bear in the general settlement of the Netherlands should not in the whole cost this country a sum exceeding 3,000,000l.; and up to this time England, even including an account for interest, had not paid more than 3,000,000l. That was the state of things in the month of May, 1814. In the following September the Congress of Vienna was opened; but everything which related to the settlement of the Netherlands had been arranged before that assembly had entered upon its negotiations; and, so far from the affairs of the Netherlands occupying its attention, it was the condition of Poland which first and foremost was taken into consideration. The fates of the kingdoms of Saxony, of Sardinia, of Switzerland, were all points as important as the union of Holland and Belgium; but neither did they nor did the latter places occupy the first position in the negotiations which took place at Vienna. But, as regarded Holland, there was no difficulty about Russia. The question did not arise as to the amount of the compensation. It was, of course, well known, and plainly understood, that at that time Russia, much more than any other of the Allies, stood in need of pecuniary assitance. Her capital had been destroyed—her territory had been ravaged. Austria, Prussia, and England, waved their rights in favour of Russia, and most especially was that waver rendered operative with respect to Poland; and the best evidence of this statement which he could lay before the House, was the preamble entered into between England, Russia, and the Netherlands, which was in these words:— His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, being desirous, upon the final reunion of the Belgic provinces with Holland, to render to the Allied Powers who were parties to the treaty concluded at Chaumont on the 1st of March, 1814, a suitable return for the heavy expense incurred by them in delivering the said territories from the power of the enemy; and the said Powers having, in consideration of arrangements made with each other, mutually agreed to wave their several pretensions under this head in favour of His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, his said Majesty the King of the Netherlands has thereupon resolved to proceed immediately to execute with His Imperial Majesty a convention to the following effect, to which His Britannic Majesty agrees to be a party, in pursuance of engagements taken by his said Majesty with the King of the Netherlands, in a convention signed at London on the 13th day of August, 1814. What was obtained by that convention? There were two parties to it, of which Russia was one—England and the Netherlands were jointly the other. But England was not security for Holland, nor Holland for England. The debt was due to subjects of the King of the Netherlands by the Crown of Russia; the amount was 25,000,000 florins, and in consideration of the kingdom of Holland being fortified, England entered into a distinct understanding to make a separate payment to the Butch creditors of Russia; but neither England nor Holland was security for the other. Russia, however, might be said to be security for both; because, without the grossest breach of faith which any nation could commit, she could not evade the payment of that debt which she had contracted to certain subjects of the Crown of Holland. England might fail to make good her part of the contract. The King of the Netherlands might not succeed in performing all that he had undertaken; but such failures on the part of others would never excuse Russia from the discharge of all the obligations which she had contracted. Russia could not for a moment refuse to comply with the terms to which she had bound herself without at once giving ground for a casus belli. The mode of payment had been arranged by two articles; but the Fifth Article of the Convention, to which he had already referred was more explicit than any other on the subject, and that portion of the paper, which he held in his hand, he should, with the permission of the House, then read. It was as follows:— It is hereby understood and agreed between the high contracting parties, that the said payments on the part of their Majesties the King of the Netherlands and the King of Great Britain, as aforesaid, shall cease and determine, should the possession and sovereignty (which God forbid!) of the Belgic provinces at any time pass or he severed from the dominions of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands previous to the complete liquidation of the same. It is also understood and agreed between the high contracting parties, that the payments on the part of their Majesties the King of the Netherlands and the King of Great Britain, as aforesaid, shall not be interrupted in the event (which God forbid!) of a war breaking out between any of the three high contracting parties; the Government of His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias being actually bound to its creditors by a similar agreement. Now it was clear, from those contracts, that if a war between Russia and Holland broke out, there could be no difference occasioned by the event, as regarded the debt due by the Russian Crown to the subjects of Holland, who were the creditors of Russia. The treaty did not alter the position in which Russia stood towards her creditors. That treaty might be abolished; Holland might once more throw herself into the arms of France. But, though Holland might ally herself with France, the Dutch creditors of Russia ought not to suffer. He should now come to the period of 1831, to which so much importance seemed to be attached. In 1831, in consequence of the three days of Paris, important events took place in Belgium. The infection, if he might so call it, took the population of Belgium; and the dismemberment of that country from Holland was the consequence. Belgium passed from the dominion of Holland—it was not, properly speaking, severed from Holland, but it passed from the dominion of that country. The Convention of the 16th of November, 1831, referred to the Convention of the 19th of May, 1815, in these words:— It appears that that object was to afford to Great Britain a guarantee that Russia would, on all questions concerning Belgium, identify her policy with that which the Court of London had deemed the best adapted for the maintenance of a just balance of power in Europe; and, on the other hand, to secure to Russia the payment of a portion of her old Dutch debt, in consideration of the general arrangements of the Congress of Vienna, to which she had given her adhesion—arrangements which remain at full force; their said Majesties being desirous, at the present moment, that the same principles should continue to govern their relations with each other, and that the special tie which the Convention of the 19th of May, 1815, had formed between the two Courts should be maintained. Here the whole matter was set forth by Russia herself, and every hon. Member must see that the papers laid upon the Table of the House put the matter altogether out of dispute; and amongst other documents, they had a note from the Russian Plenipotentiary, in which he referred to two additional articles that did not appear in the printed correspondence laid before the House. At page 10, however, of one of the papers laid before the House a passage occurred, which he thought was calculated to throw further light upon the subject. These were the words to which he referred:— Russia, Great Britain, Austria, and Prussia, the Allied Powers who were parties to the Treaty of Chaumont, in consideration, therefore, not of the union of the Belgian provinces to Holland, but of arrangements concluded amongst themselves, renounced all claims to the repayment of the expenses incurred in the deliverance of the said provinces in favour of one of those Powers exclusively, namely, of Russia. Finally, Great Britain consented to become one of the contracting parties, in consequence of previous engagements made by her towards His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, on the 13th of August, 1814. And what did the Plenipotentiaries go on to say?— Now, what were the arrangements between the Powers who were parties to the Treaty of Chaumont, at the period at which the Convention of 19th May, 1815, was concluded at London? They were the general arrangements of the Congress of Vienna, which had just then terminated. In consideration of the facilities which Russia afforded to these arrangements, her Allies ceded to her all the pecuniary pretensions to which the deliverance of the Belgian provinces had given rise. It necessarily follows that these facilities were real and important, as they were made the ground of her liberation from a considerable debt. And what were the prior engagements of the 13th August, 1814, which caused Great Britain to become a contracting party to the Convention of 19th May, 1815? They were the engagements which we find in the first of the additional articles of the convention signed the 13th of August, 1814, between Great Britain and the Netherlands. This article provides, amongst other engagements of Great Britain, 'to bear equally with Holland such further charges as may be agreed upon between the said high contracting parties and their allies, towards the final and satisfactory settlement of the Low Countries in union with Holland, and under the dominion of the House of Orange, not exceeding in the whole the sum of 3,000,000l., to be defrayed by Great Britain. In consideration of the above engagements, the Cape of Good Hope, Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, were ceded to Great Britain.' Great Britain had then, on the 13th of August, 1814, contracted an unconditional obligation of sharing with Holland, to the extent of 3,000,000l. sterling, the charges which burdened the future kingdom of the Netherlands; and this obligation was not gratuitous, for, in exchange, Great Britain obtained the cession of the Cape of Good Hope, Demerara, and Essequibo, and the Island of Berbice. The Convention of the 19th of May, 1845, was, as its preamble proves, as cited above, the effect of this transaction. Whence, it results, that Russia obtained the cession of the pretensions which the signing Powers of the Treaty of Chaumont had to put forward, at the expense of the Prince who should possess Belgium, in consideration of the divers arrangements that it had made with those Powers at the Cougress of Vienna; and that England contracted the obligation of satisfying these pretensions to the extent of 25,000,000 of Dutch florins (about 2,000,000l.), in consideration of the cession that had been made of the four colonies. Thus they had it on the authority of the Russian Plenipotentiaries themselves, that the consideration of a great part of the Convention of 1815, and, therefore, necessarily of that of 1831, was the general arrangements of the Congress of Vienna, and the facility which Russia gave to those arrangements. And at the bottom of the same page which contained this passage, there was a note which stated, that— It was by the Treaty of Paris of the 30th of May, 1814, that the union of Belgium to Holland was irrevocably decided upon. It did not, and could not, therefore, give rise to any discussion at the Congress of Vienna. Difficulties arose at this Congress on other points. Russia abandoned its demands on those points; and, to compensate her for her sacrifices, the Allies resolved to facilitate to her the payment of her ancient Dutch debt. If such was the nature of the obligation, on what ground could England he released from it? That was the question asked by the Russian Plenipotentiaries. But there was another question which also required to be asked. It was, had Russia fulfilled her part of the Treaty of Vienna? for, if she had not, then, according to all authorities, if one party to a treaty failed to perform his engagements, then other parties to it could take advantage of his neglect. This part of the question led to the consideration of another branch of the subject, namely, what were the facilities given at the Congress of Vienna? First, with regard to Poland, as to which the noble Lord the Member for Lynn seemed to him to have misapprehended Lord Castlereagh's correspondence. Lord Castlereagh contended, supported by France, for an independent kingdom of Poland; Russia contended for the whole duchy of Warsaw, and for giving the kingdom of Saxony to Prussia. Austria, on the other hand, was first disposed to support England in obtaining the establishment of an independent State between her empire and Russia; but finding that impossible, contended then for a final partition of Poland between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. It was at last, in consequence of the letters of Lord Castlereagh, that Russia made that proposition in the presence of Lord Castlereagh, in December, 1814, in the Committee of the Congress of Vienna, by which Cracow was established as a free State. If, then, the maintenance of the Treaty of Vienna, in this essential respect, was the condition of the obligation on England to pay the 20,000,000 of florins, the violation by Russia of the stipulations of that treaty, even though it might be in respect of a "geographical atom," was sufficient to establish a breach of the conditions by one party to the treaty, and therefore to justify their not being adhered to by the other parties. According to the laws of nations, England was justified in repudiating her share of the engagements as regarded the loan. There remained, however, the higher consideration, whether it was just or wise to take advantage of that breach. In this point of view there were two things to be considered: first, we could not shut our eyes to the importance of the fact, that we still held possession of the colonies in question; nor, secondly, could we forget the much higher fact, that, as regarded the general political arrangements of Europe, Russia, when called upon to act in concert with England in times of difficulty, had strictly adhered to her arrangements at the Treaty of Vienna, and still showed a disposition to adhere to them. With reference to those considerations, it was important to weigh well whether it would be wise on our part to take advantage, as it was proposed we should do, of the violation by Russia of one part of the Treaty of Vienna. And this brought him back to that letter of Lord Castlereagh to Lord Liverpool, on the 13th of February, 1815, which appeared to him to have been misunderstood. In that letter Lord Castlereagh said— It also appears to me impossible, after the principles laid down in our negotiations with Holland, and the convention concluded, in August last, with the Prince of Orange, that Great Britain could retain Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, without incurring some such charge, either as an increased fund applicable to fortifications, or an arrangement in favour of the Powers who reconquered the Low Countries. And previously he said— My persuasion of the policy and necessity of this measure is such, that I should not have hesitated to conclude the arrangement before my departure, had I not deemed it advantageous to leave this concession in the Duke of Wellington's hands, as a security for the due execution of what remains to be done. And he followed that up by adding— Whether its refusal would absolutely defeat the territorial arrangement in favour of the Orange family may be doubtful; but if it should induce one or two of the great Powers to withhold their signature from that part of the general arrangement, or to refuse acknowledging the Prince of Orange in his new sovereignty, I think we should have essentially shaken his authority with his new subjects in its infancy, and placed him in a predicament of too apparent dependence upon France. It is also to be recollected that, after all the minor Powers of Germany were forced to contribute, independently of the expense of their own troops, a clear year's income of their respective revenues to the war, it cannot reasonably be expected that the great Powers should at their own cost recover Belgium, and give it to the Prince of Orange, without throwing upon it, at least, an equivalent charge. So that it appeared from these passages, that it was not then settled in Lord Castlereagh's mind, whether the equivalent for those colonies held by Great Britain should be in the shape of further sums for fortifications, or a money payment to the Allied Powers; but, on the other hand, it was clearly assumed that we could not keep the colonies in question, unless some such arrangement were made. The effect of that convention was the Convention of 1815; and now the real question was, what was the extent of our obligation under it? He admitted, that unless we fulfilled the obligations imposed upon us by that treaty, we could not in honour keep those colonies: the question was, what were really those obligations? The letter of Lord Castlereagh did not define them. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn appeared to him to be in error in more than one respect as to the Treaty of Vienna, particularly as to that part which he considered to have been affected by the division of Belgium and Holland. Russia at that time had no doubt as to that division being a breach of the Treaty of Vienna, because she offered to march 60,000 men to the Netherlands to vindicate the treaty. There was then no pretence about a subsidiary treaty between Three Powers, or whether France and England had any right to interfere. Russia treated that event as at once a breach of the treaty. The noble Lord, however, urged that Spain and Portugal were not called in. Why? Because Spain never signed the Treaty of Vienna. Portugal was only a consenting party, not having been a party to the Treaty of Paris. Sweden, too, was a mere consenting party; and others were only signing parties. There was a clear difference between those States which were only in these respects parties to the treaty, and those who were substantially the contracting parties—one of whom England was in the broadest possible view. The noble Lord also argued from the fact that Cracow was, in 1831, in the occupation of Russia. Why, of course she was. But it was only on the same plea that was afterwards urged in 1836, and at a subsequent time, namely, that the occupation was "temporary" only. There could not be a stronger implied admission that an occupation which should be any other than temporary, would have been a breach of the Treaty of Vienna. And what was that treaty? It was in pursuance of the 32nd Article of the Treaty of Paris, and of the first additional article of the same treaty, by which it was expressly reserved to the Congress of Vienna to settle the balance of power in Europe, and come to a new distribution of territory. There were new Powers who were the principal parties to the treaty, while there were three others who formed part of the Committee of Eight; Spain, Portugal, and Sweden. But the great parties to the treaty were Russia, Prussia, Austria, Great Britain, and France. They were told, however, by the document from Vienna which had been so much referred to, that Great Britain and France were only consenting parties to the treaty. That involved a great mistake as to the real constitution of the Congress. In accordance with the law of nations, the Congress of Vienna was a meeting for negotiation; sometimes for mediation, sometimes for arbitration, sometimes for compromise, sometimes for direct contract. All these several conditions were fulfilled at the Congress of Vienna. As to the carrying out of the Treaty of Paris, all the Five Powers were as much contracting Powers as they could possibly be. What did they do? At first the four Allies attempted to take all into their own hands, and to exclude France; but Prince Talleyrand protested against this, and Spain, Portugal, and Sweden were received into the Council of Eight. But it afterwards became necessary to subdivide the different States, and to form Committees and Commissions. Among the rest, by consent of all, was formed the Committee of Saxony and Poland, consisting of Russia, Prussia, Austria, France, and England—the Five Great Powers. To that Committee, in fact, was given at the time the whole distribution of Europe for the purpose of maintaining the balance of power. First and foremost came the State of Poland. It appeared that, although the other Powers could not succeed in inducing the Emperor of Russia to give up all his pretensions, the Emperor by his short letter, which was read by the noble Lord, not acquiescing, yet the end was that Russia did, to a certain extent, give way, and agreed to adhere to the Treaties of Reichenbach and Töplitz. In the Committee of Eight, too, it was proposed by Russia to make a final partition of Poland; and one article proposed by Russia was the perpetual freedom of the free State of Cracow. In the preamble to the Treaty of Vienna, there was express reference made to other treaties which had to be ratified; but it also referred specially to other matters, which were designated as "of superior and permanent interest." Now, those were the subjects which were committed to the care of the Committee of Five. Some of the subjects brought before the Congress might undoubtedly belong to the class of those which were not required to be dealt with by all the contracting Powers; but certainly the affair of Cracow was one of those coming under the class of "superior and permanent interest." In this state of things he did not see how it was possible to regard the late act of the Northern Powers as any other than a breach of the Treaty of Vienna. That Cracow was not to be regarded as unimportant, they had the evidence of Colonel du Plat, our Consul there, in his despatch to the Earl of Aberdeen, dated March 10, 1846. It was as follows:— Cracow, since its elevation to an independent State, has always been the depôt of very considerable quantities of English merchandise, sent thither by the Black Sea, Moldavia, and Gallicia, and even via Trieste; and which afterwards find their way to the surrounding countries. Before the current year elapses, Cracow will be in a direct railway communication with the great lines of Prussian Silesia and of Bohemia and Austria; and probably in the next year it will constitute the central point of the important line of railway communication between the Adriatic and the Baltic. Early in the ensuing year, also, it will be in direct communication of the same description with Warsaw; and the project of connecting this capital, by railway, with Moscow, has long been entertained, and is now said to be considerably advanced in the preliminaries. From Moscow to St. Petersburgh a railway is already in rapid progress; and so soon as it may be finished, the line thence to Odessa is to be commenced. From the same point, eastwards, a line to the river Oka, one of the principal affluents of the Volga, has already been sanctioned, and is to be commenced immediately, with permission to extend the same hereafter to Sara-to, on the Lower Volga itself, and at no great distance from the Caspian Sea. Looking, therefore, to the almost certainty of a very great part of the trade of the Levant, and even of India and China, finding its way up the Adriatic, it cannot be denied that it must be of the greatest commercial importance, even to England, to have such a station as Cracow in the centre of the great net of railways connecting the western and eastern continent. The author of the History of Diplomacy said, that— This city (Cracow), ancient rival of Warsaw, was judged too important to belong to one of the Three Powers. Erected into a republic, it prevented their immediate contact, at all events, at this point. And he afterwards referred to it as —"an imperceptible republic, which replaced, in some regards, the free city of Dantzic, newly reunited, on account of its fortifications, to the kingdom of Prussia. Cracow was at that time, therefore, taken as a sort of make-weight for Dantzic, which had been given to Prussia. He thought he had shown, that if they were in certain other respects justified, they had it in their power to absolve themselves from the obligations of this convention. It did not require any argument from him to show that the Treaty of Vienna had, in this instance, been violated by the conduct of the Three Powers. That, he thought, was sufficiently evident from the conduct of the Three Powers themselves; for why had there been so much concealment about their proceedings? Why was it that our representatives at the Courts of Vienna, Berlin, and St. Petersburg had been duped? Why was Mr. Magennis, our representative at the Court of Vienna, kept in ignorance of the intentions of the Austrian Government? Why was Lord Westmorland assured that England would be consulted before any measure was taken with reference to Cracow, and that no intention was entertained of infringing the Treaty of Vienna? Why did Mr. Bloomfield—now Lord Bloomfield—write to the English Government from St. Petersburg, that he was surprised when he was informed that the annexation of Cracow was un fait accompli? It was evident from the course those Powers had taken, that they were conscious they were acting contrary to the provisions of the Treaty of Vienna. They considered, probably, as they were dealing with this unimportant geographical atom, that there would be no disturbance of the general peace of Europe. In that expectation they might not be disappointed. This country might not interfere beyond the dignified protest which had been made by the noble Lord opposite. France might not be disposed to interfere. For his own part, he hoped she would not act upon the principle alluded to the other night, or take any course which might throw discredit upon the Treaty of Vienna. That treaty had conferred too great benefit upon Europe and upon mankind, by continuing a thirty years' peace—it had conferred too great benefits upon all the nations who were parties to it, to be lightly thrown aside. He trusted, therefore, that this country would take the dignified course which had been recommended by the noble Lord opposite. But he had thought it not unimportant to endeavour to show that England had the power, if she chose to exert it, to absolve herself from the conditions of the Treaty of Vienna, and that there might be circumstances which would justify her in exercising that power. He trusted that Europe and the world would give us credit for that maintenance of public faith which had ever distinguished this country, and that they would see that we had on this occasion abstained from exercising our undoubted right, because we thought it our duty to maintain friendly relations with foreign Powers, so far as we could do so consistently with a due regard to our national honour. If he were forced to a division, he would not shrink from expressing his abhorrence of the conduct of the Three Powers by voting with the hon. Member for Montrose in favour of the first of the resolutions he had submitted to the House. But he would ask that hon. Gentleman, whether anything would be gained by going to a division which might elsewhere be misconstrued? because, from the speeches which had been made on both sides of the House, a division was not likely to show a very strong array on the side of the hon. Gentleman; and it might, therefore, be supposed, that there was less sympathy with his views in that House, with respect to the annexation of Cracow, than was really entertained. If the hon. Gentleman persisted in dividing upon the first resolution, he (Mr. Wortley) would vote with him; but on the high ground he had stated, he could not support the resolution for discontinuing the payment on account of the Russo-Dutch loan.


could not bring himself, with the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, to vote for the first three resolutions proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose, nor could be understand how the right hon. Gentleman was to vote in company with him against the fourth resolution, for discontinuing the payment. The right hon. Gentleman had been arguing for the fourth resolution throughout his speech. The argument had not been satisfactory to him (Mr. Christie). He thought the right hon. Gentleman's historical statement had not in any way altered the state of the question, as it had been previously put before the House. Now, what were the facts of the case? Holland agreed to reimburse the Allied Powers for the expenses they had incurred in restoring to her her Belgian provinces; the rest of the Allied Powers agreed to wave their claims upon Holland in favour of Russia; England engaged to reimburse Holland for certain Dutch colonies which she retained; and England subsequently undertook to make her reimbursement for the Dutch colonies she held, by making an equal annual payment with Holland in liquidation of the loan advanced to that country by Russia. A second convention in 1831 between England and Russia expressed it, that in consideration of the general arrangements of the Treaty of Vienna, to which Russia had been a party, England should continue the payment of the Russo-Dutch loan. The right hon. Member for Bute (Mr. Wortley) had argued that the word "consideration," as it occurred in the preamble of the convention, must be invested with a legal and technical meaning. He must say, with great deference to the legal reputation of the right hon. Gentleman, that he could not conceive that words so loose, vague, and general, occurring, not in the body of the convention, but in its preamble—words, too, not used cotemporaneously with the original transaction, but introduced fifteen years subsequently into the Convention of 1831—words speaking in the vaguest possible manner of the general arrangements of the Congress of Vienna (for "general" was a very vague term)—could be invested with that precise and legal character which the hon. Member for Montrose and the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Wortley) were disposed to attach to them. Such words so placed could not be treated as the final condition of an international bond. The hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark had contended, that even if the infraction by Russia of the Treaty of Vienna had entailed upon her the forfeiture of this payment, we should still be bound to continue that payment as a debt of honour to Holland. He (Mr. Christie) could not concur in that opinion. If we undertook this payment on condition of the faithful observance by Russia of the Treaty of Vienna, then the infraction by Russia of an integral part of that treaty would absolve Holland and England alike from any further payment, and England could honourably retain the Dutch colonies, having fulfilled her engagements towards Holland, conditional as they had been on the conduct of Russia. It had been said, that the importance of this question was lowered by introducing into its consideration a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence. For his own part, he did not discuss the question upon any such grounds. If the violation of the Treaty of Vienna did absolve us from the payment of this money, he considered that it would be the clear duty of the English Government to resist its payment. It had been said that such conduct would be shabby; but if there was any shabbiness, it would be in holding our hands when we were enabled to inflict a punishment, however small, upon a great nation, for a great violation of the rights of treaties. If, on the other hand, we were not absolved from this payment to Russia, then "shabby" would not be the proper term by which to designate our conduct in withholding that payment; our conduct would be at least as reprehensible as that of the Three Powers which were condemned. He considered, with many hon. Members who had spoken during the debate, that in passing the first three resolutions of the hon. Member for Montrose, without the fourth, or without some other practical resolution, they would be pursuing a course inconsistent with the functions of that House, and that they would be trenching upon the province of the Executive. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn (Lord G. Bentinck), had, the other night, propounded views on this subject which it must be a matter of regret that any Member of that House should entertain; but he might say, without meaning any offence to the noble Lord, that his speech was so extraordinary and extravagant that it would be its own best and surest refutation, and could only serve to place in stronger and bolder relief the unanimity of all other speakers in the debate in condemnation of the conduct of the Three Powers. The noble Lord had gone out of his way to eulogize the administration of the Emperor of Russia, and the "mild and clement" rule of the Sovereign of Austria; and he therefore, thought that this debate ought not to conclude without some reference to the barbarities of Minsk and the bloody massacres of Gallicia. He did not charge a cognizance or approval of these events upon the Governments of Russia or Austria, though he thought it must be admitted by the warmest friends of those Governments that it would have been well if they had promulgated a more satisfactory justification of their conduct with reference to those occurrences, in answer to charges which had been made with much circumstantiality, and by persons of distinction. The noble Lord had adverted to a passage in the correspondence relative to the suppression of Cracow, in which the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in writing to Lord Ponsonby, observed that the withdrawal of the Austrian troops from Cracow had left that city in the power of the revolutionary Government; and had treated this as an unwarrantable transaction. He found, in that correspondence, the following passage in a letter addressed by Mr. Magennis to the Earl of Aberdeen, dated Vienna, February 28:— There appear to have "been very inadequate military preparations in Gallicia to meet an insurrection which, it is said, this Government had been apprised of some time, but in the truth of which the Archduke Ferdinand of Este, who commands there, would not believe. Now, on the 30th of January—a month before Mr. Magennis wrote his despatch—the Archduke Ferdinand wrote to Prince Metternich:— The country is agitated, a movement seems to be in preparation, the minds of the people are disturbed. However, the Government may be at rest; I am in no want of a reinforcement, for all measures have been taken, in case of an insurrection, to paralyse the movement without compromising the troops. The first outbreak of the insurrection—not so formidable but that it might have been repressed by a very small reinforcement of military—led to a rising of the peasantry from one end of Gallicia to the other, the result of which was the massacre of 2,000 of the old nobility of the country and their retainers. The only inference which could be drawn from these statements and from the result was, that the Government looked to the efforts of the peasantry of Gallicia for the suppression of the insurrection; and he was entitled to appeal to these occurrences as proofs of the mild, clement, and just rule which had been eulogized by the noble Lord the other night. The noble Lord had also referred to a manifesto of the revolutionary Government of Cracow, which he (Mr. Christie) would not undertake to defend; but he thought they might as well judge of the spirit of a country's legislation from her martial law, as infer what would be the character of a Polish Government from a manifesto issued by a band of enthusiastic insurgents at the commencement of an insurrection. But if the noble Lord looked to another passage in the printed correspondence, he would find that, if the words of the revolutionary Government were not so bland as the promises of Austria, its conduct, nevertheless, afforded a most favourable contrast with the state of pillage, carnage, and disorder, which at the same time prevailed in the Austrian provinces of Gallicia. In that correspondence there was a letter dated the 16th of March, addressed to Lord Aberdeen by Mr. Magenis, in which the writer stated that "tranquillity appeared to be completely re-established in Gallicia;" and he added that— It might not be uninteresting to his Lordship to know that although the Russian resident and his family left Cracow on the 23rd ult. with precipitation, he found upon his return his house exactly as he had left it; and as his house would probably have been the first to be pillaged, a fair inference might be drawn that little disorder of that nature prevailed. He thought that the hon. Member for Montrose might be satisfied with the strong manifestation of opinion which he had succeeded in calling forth, and abstain from pressing them to a division, which would oblige many who sympathized with him to vote against him on technical grounds.


said, it was not often that he interposed in the debates of that House in matters that had reference to foreign affairs. The circumstances of his own country unhappily claimed nearly the whole of his time and the best attention which he could pay to her case. But when Ireland had been deprived of her nationality by acts scarcely less nefarious than those which had been employed in extinguishing the nationality of Poland—he could not content himself with giving a silent vote upon the present occasion, or abstain from expressing his sympathies in reference to this subject. The noble Lord the Member for the city of London had offered a challenge to the House which he (Mr. W. Smith O'Brien) should deem it pusillanimous on his part not to accept. When the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) challenged any one to point out a single case in which England had violated her treaties, he would beg to remind the noble Lord of the violated treaty of the city of Limerick. He was there in answer to the challenge of the noble Lord, to recall to his recollection the violation of the compact of 1782, which was as solemnly entered into as ever a treaty was entered into between two nations, at a time, too, when this country was weak, and Ireland was strong. That compact was shamefully violated by England at the time of the Union, and by that violation the laws of nations were as clearly violated as were those in the case of Cracow. With regard to the resolutions now before the House, he must confess that in his opinion every one who fairly and fully inquired into the recent transactions at Cracow, must admit that there had been a flagrant violation of the Treaty of Vienna. He had not read anything in history which appeared to him to be more deserving of condemnation by that House and the country than the recent proceedings of the Three foreign Powers with regard to Cracow. And he certainly must confess that he was surprised when he heard hon. Members rise up in their places in that House, and attempt to contend that there had been no violation in this instance of the Treaty of Vienna. He could not have believed for a moment that there would have been a single party professing to be a statesman, who would be prepared to contend that by the recent transactions there had been no infraction of the Treaty of Vienna. It was impossible to use stronger language than had been used in that treaty with reference to the republic of Cracow. It would seem, from that language, that there exsted in its framer the greatest jealousy against the Three Towers interfering in the slightest degree with the nationality of Poland. In the third, the sixth, the ninth, and the tenth Articles of the Treaty of Cracow there was manifested the strongest jealousy against the interference of the Three Northern Powers with that nationality. In the 118th Article of the general Treaty of the Congress of Vienna, it was distinctly stated that the Treaty of Cracow should be considered as an integral portion of the general Treaty of Vienna; and it was expressly declared that it should have the same force as if it were inserted word for word in the general treaty. Now, the noble Lord the Member for Lynn had endeavoured to justify the conduct of these Three Powers by adducing instances of their previous infractions of the Treaty of Vienna at earlier periods. He had quoted the infractions of 1831, and also the infraction of the 9th Article by their occupation of Cracow in 1836. But so far from making out a case for subsequent violations, it seemed to him that such infractions only added to the criminality of the conduct of those Three Powers. And then, with respect to Belgium, the noble Lord had contended that England had been guilty of an infraction of the treaty in that respect; but that argument completely fell to the ground, for the noble Lord had himself admitted that the Three Northern Powers had been invited, on that occasion, to take a part in all the deliberations connected with the settlement of Belgium; that, in point of fact, those Powers had yielded, though very reluctantly it might be, to the conduct of England on that occasion. With regard to the pretext which had been put forth by the Three Great Powers as to the necessity of the incorporation of Cracow, he could do no more than refer to the protest of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. That noble Lord, it seemed, had very properly ridiculed the idea of the Three Great Powers apprehending danger from the efforts of such a comparatively small place as Cracow. But the noble Lord the Member for the city of London (Lord J. Russell) had gone further; he had done more than insinuate, in guarded language, no doubt, but such as at all events suggested the idea, that in his opinion the late insurrection in Poland was by no means unpalatable to the Three Northern Powers. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) appeared to say that, in his opinion, it was in the power of Austria, or Russia, or Prussia, effectually to have prevented the late outrage in Cracow; but they purposely avoided interfering, so that they might furnish to themselves the pretext which had been suggested by the noble Lord in these words:— I cannot but suspect, especially with regard to the latter part of these transactions, that it was the wish of the Three Powers to destroy the State of Cracow, or that at all events the disorganization that took place was not an unwelcome circumstance; that it was not altogether unpalatable to those Three Powers, for by that disorganization they hoped that they might able to say to themselves—'Cracow is in a state of anarchy, and no remedy remains to us but to destroy its nationality.' With reference to the transactions which had taken place in Gallicia, he thought it was impossible for any one who had watched them, not to see clearly that the Austrian Government had instigated the peasantry of Gallicia to murder their nobles. And he should like to hear the noble Lord the Minister for Foreign Affairs state what were his opinions on that subject. They had, at all events, seen that the thanks of the Austrian Government were forwarded to those who took part in those outrages. Now, he would ask, what were to be the consequences of this infraction of the Treaty of Vienna with regard to Cracow? Why, the obvious consequence would be, the creation of distrust amongst all the European Powers—to make every small Power in Europe feel that it had no sort of security against the great Powers, and to justify rebellion on the part of every class of discontented subjects. The result of the recent infraction would be to deprive all minor Powers of all confidence whatsoever in the authority of Government and the inclinations of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with regard to the defence of those who were oppressed. What ought to have been the course of the noble Lord in the matter? He had not heard, but he hoped they should hear, that evening some reason assigned by the noble Lord for his not having fulfilled the promise which was given in 1836, that there should be a diplomatic agent sent from England to Cracow. He hoped that the noble Lord the Member for Newark, or some other hon. Gentleman who took an interest in this subject, would move for the correspondence which took place after that promise was made. He was firmly persuaded that if a diplomatic agent had been sent from England to Cracow, these transactions would not have occurred. But when these strange circumstances did come to pass, surely it was the duty of the British Government to have invited France to concur in expressing their sentiments as to the nationality of Poland. It was the duty of the English Government to have concurred with France in protesting against the threatened proceedings of the Three Powers, which would at least have had the effect of causing some delay, and in all probability would have prevented the incorporation of Cracow by the Three Northern Powers. But, unfortunately, at that very time the noble Lord thought it his duty to engage this country in a quarrel with France—a quarrel which was very near bringing the two countries into collision—a quarrel for which there did not appear any occasion; for he (Mr. O'Brien) had read the papers which had been presented to the House by the noble Lord, and he must say that he could not find in them any grounds for the imputation which the noble Lord had cast so freely, not only upon the Government, but upon the King of France, whom, as well as his Minister, M. Guizot, he charged with nothing less than perfidy in reference to the Spanish marriages. Reference was made in that correspondence to the interview that had taken place between the King of France and the Queen of England at the Chateau d'Eu; but he believed that no official record had been kept of those proceedings; no formal engagement, it appeared, was entered into on the subject of the marriages of the Queen of Spain and her sister; and he therefore thought that the noble Lord had acted anything but a prudent part in creating the quarrel which he had between the British Government and that of France. The noble Lord had charged the King of the French with having violated the Treaty of Utrecht in reference to the Spanish marriages; but on that point also, he (Mr. O'Brien) did not think that the noble Lord had laid before the House or the country any grounds for making such a charge. He therefore did not think that the noble Lord was justified in making the formal protest which he had preferred against these marriages. He did not think that England had any right whatever to interfere with the Spanish marriages; and he therefore exceedingly regretted the course which the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) had thought it his duty to pursue in reference to them. Now, with regard to the argument which had been used by the noble Lord the Member for the city of London—and he must express the great astonishment with which he heard that noble Lord, above all others in that House, make use of it—and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel), namely, that it was beyond the peculiar province of the House of Commons to inquire whether the stipulations on which depended the future prosperity of the country, had been broken or not; he thought it was, above all, the duty of that House to inquire into such matters, and to protest against any injustice exercised by any foreign Powers with regard to countries which, in conjunction with England, they were bound to protect. And whatever might be said by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth with respect to the imbecility of the proceedings of the French Chambers with regard to its annual protest against the infraction of the Treaty of Vienna with regard to the nationality of Poland, he must say that in his opinion the French Chambers by such proceedings had done honour to themselves. He believed that their annual declaration to the effect that they could not acquiesce in the extinction of the nationality of Poland, had a most salutary effect; that it held out to the oppressors of Poland that the time must come when France, united, he trusted, with Great Britain, would have an opportunity of inflicting a just retribution upon the head of every oppressor; and he trusted that it would re-echo that sentiment pronounced by a great French statesman, that "the nationality of Poland is imperishable."


rose for the purpose of supporting the resolutions of the hon. Member for Montrose. It appeared to him that there were two questions before the House. The one question was, whether or not that House ought to affirm the first resolution of the hon. Member, for the purpose of adding its condemnation to that which had been already pronounced by the Foreign Secretary, and by the Speech which Her Majesty delivered before the Houses of Parliament on the first night of the Session, as to the flagrant violation which had been made by the three great European Powers. The second question was, whether, after the violation of that treaty, England ought to continue to pay a large sum of money to one of those Powers, which in the opinion of many was contingent upon the observance of that treaty. Now, with respect to the first of these questions, he would be content to rest the vindication of this country upon the able, clear, and vigorous protest of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and upon the Speech delivered to both Houses of Parliament by Her Majesty, which, if, as had been observed in the course of this debate, Parliament did not expressly affirm by its vote, at all events neither House of Parliament durst at all dissent from. But with respect to the other question, be thought that they were bound not only to express an opinion, but that they should express their opinion much stronger than they otherwise would, after the speeches which had been delivered that evening by his right hon. Friend the Member for Bute (Mr. S. Wortley) and by the hon. Member for Weymouth (Mr. Christie). There were two parties to the second question: one party was the Government of Russia, who had to receive the money, if England paid it; and the other party were the people of England, from whom that payment was to come. And if the English Administration took upon themselves to pay this money, they would have to render an account to the people of England. And, first, his right hon. Friend the Member for Bute, in one of the most clear and convincing statements which he had ever heard delivered in that House, argued that though the money was not due, he, as a representative of the people, would vote for the payment of the money. Why, there was but one Member of that House who had taken a clear and straightforward view upon the question as to the payment of the money, and that was the noble Lord the Member for Lynn. If the noble Lord were correct in his interpretation of this treaty, and of the acts which the Government of Russia had committed, as he believed, in violation of it—if he were correct in saying that they were not bound to consult the Governments of England and France—then the noble Lord was quite right in saying that we ought to pay the money. But then an hon. Gentleman rose and said, "True it is that they have violated the treaty; and I will go further than that, and say, true it is that the payment of this money depends upon the observance of that treaty—that the observance of that treaty is a condition of the payment of this money; and though the treaty has been violated by the party who is to receive the money, nevertheless I shall vote for the payment to them of the money." Now, that was the course taken by the right hon. Member for Bute. But there were other speeches to which he would briefly advert; indeed, there was a preliminary matter to which he wished to refer, and that was the grave constitutional question to be settled by the noble Lord the Member for London and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth, which had just been alluded to by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Smith O'Brien), namely, whether or not the House of Commons—the poor Commons of England!—were competent to discuss a question relating to the foreign affairs of this country. He did not apprehend, however, that it would be necessary for him to enter at any length into that question; for no sooner had the noble Lord told the House, that, as the representatives of the people, they had no right to discuss the foreign affairs of the empire, than be followed up that declaration by a vindication of the powers of Parliament in a very extraordinary manner: for the noble Lord proceeded to argue with the House of Commons for arguing the question. And first of all, the noble Lord told them that they had no right to debate this question, and then he argued with them for an hour and a half to show that the money was still to be paid to Russia. But how the noble Lord made out that position, he could not understand, although he never listened to the noble Lord on any occasion without admiration of the adroitness and tact with which he conducted great questions; and not only that, but the exalted sentiments and the beautiful language in which he expressed himself. But in listening to that speech, all that he could find in his argument was this—that first having made a most decisive proof of the violation of the treaty by the Three Powers, the remaining part of his speech militated against his opening arguments, as had been the case with the hon. Member for Bute that evening. The noble Lord laid down three propositions. The noble Lord first told them that the payment of this money depended upon the due observance of the arrangements entered into by the Treaty of Vienna. He next told them that as regarded the recent incorporation of Cracow, the Government of this country was unanimous in their opinions as to its being a grievous violation of the Treaty of Vienna; and then the noble Lord followed up that statement by saying, that though the Treaty of Vienna had been violated, though Russia was to be denounced for the part which she had taken in that violation, and though the payment of this money depended upon the observance of this treaty, which she had broken, yet that we should continue to pay this money to Russia; and if there were any difference between the positions taken by the noble Lord and the hon. Member for Bute, he thought that those of the hon. Member for Bute were the more correct. He thought that the hon. Member had said there were two conditions or considerations in reference to this question—first, as to the party who had to pay this money; and, second, as to the conduct of the individuals who had to receive it; that it fact it was not due unless they performed the conditions connected with the treaty. What he wanted the hon. Member to do was, to go still further, and show that, although in the protest delivered by the Minister for Foreign Affairs—though, in the Speech delivered from the Throne by Her Majesty—it had been declared that a treaty had been broken, yet an Administration, responsible to a popular House of Commons, had a right to pass a large sum of money to a foreign Power, who was only entitled to receive it as long as it faithfully observed the conditions of that treaty. If the money was not due, why then should they pay it? What Minister of England had therefore been so bold as to continue to pay to a foreign Power a large sum of money which was not due, and which he was not justified in paying? A Minister doing so would be guilty of a gross violation of the trust reposed in him. But he was about to allude to the speech of the First Minister of the Crown. That noble Lord had informed the House of Commons, that though it was true that they might refuse to pay this money, yet their discontinuing to pay would not be consistent with the dignified course which the representatives of England should take on such questions. The hon. Member for Weymouth had said that England would manifest great meanness in refusing to pay this money. If the money were due, cadet quœstio; but if it was not, he (Mr. Escott) thought that it would be far greater meanness on the part of the House of Commons to comply with an unjust demand in paying it. There could be nothing meaner than the payment of an unjust demand to a foreign Power from a servile fear. That, indeed, would be the very consummation of meanness in an individual; and he should wish to hear any hon. Gentleman rise up in that House and contend that it would not be meanness on the part of the House of Commons. He would wish to be informed how it was competent to a Minister of this country to pay this money, under such circumstances, to a foreign Power—to subsidise Russia against the faith of treaties without any Parliamentary sanction. That was the case as laid down by the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown; and he was then followed in his arguments by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. And how did he follow him? The right hon. Gentleman quoted to the House the Act of 1815, under which this money was paid. The Duke of Wellington said this Treaty of Vienna was a master-stroke of diplomacy on the part of Lord Castlereagh, for Russia had been tied down to the observance of that treaty by a pecuniary obligation. But it appeared that, though the treaty was violated, the obligation was to be valid. If the demand of Russia was just, pay it; but if unjust, as the noble Lord at the head of the Government had gone so far to prove, resist it. He could understand the argument of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, who, in a bold and straightforward manner, declared that the Three Powers had a right to destroy the independence of Cracow; but he confessed be was at a loss to comprehend that of the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, who proved that the treaty had been violated, and the protest of England disregarded, but yet would vote against the resolutions. In his opinion this was a great constitutional question, and one which the people of England ought to take up. The late Minister quitted office, not in consequence of his great and liberal schemes, which were calculated to benefit the country, but because, in an evil day, yielding to bad counsel, he had laid his hand upon the liberties of a portion of the United Kingdom. The House of Commons, on that occasion, defeated the measure, and unseated the Minister. The noble Lord succeeded, and finding that that arbitrary policy would not be sanctioned, cast aside the weapons of oppression, and stood forward the independent Minister of this great country, proving the truth of the old adage, that a man's best friends were not often found among his servile followers, and that one's bitterest enemies were often in his own household.


said: Sir, I, for one, should be most reluctant to vote against the first resolution of the hon. Member for Montrose, if it was not for its connexion with the succeeding resolutions. It is not my intention, in the few words I purpose offering to the House, to dwell upon the last of those resolutions, which is a proposition to suspend the payment of the Russo-Dutch Loan. That portion of the subject seems to me to have been so entirely exhausted in the masterly and most effective speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth), that I think it will scarcely be possible for any hon. Gentleman to uphold the opinion that, even as a mere matter of mercantile fairness, we can refuse the responsibility and obligation of this debt. Although, however, I venture to entertain this opinion, and to dissent from his particular conclusions, I am bound at the same time to tender my individual thanks to the hon. Member for Montrose, for having brought the general question before the House. I do so with much diffidence, and with some misgivings, because I know that the noble Lord the First Minister of the; Crown has laid it down with all that gravity which is becoming a great constitutional authority, that discussions upon matters like these, involving points of intricate foreign policy, are seldom of any practical advantage. The noble Lord illustrated this remark by the mention of those annual protests in favour of Polish nationality—to use the French proverb, mere sword-thrusts in the water—in which the French Chambers have delighted to indulge. It is impossible not to feel the value of the precedent, and the warning of the example. It is impossible not to remember how little has been done by all the declamation of French sympathy. It is impossible for some of us, at least, not to recall that truth which was wrung from the dying agonies of Poland, and which has since passed into a proverb in the language of that unhappy country, "God is too high, and France too far." But if France is too far, England, morally, politically, as well as geographically, is further still. We have not, like France, been connected by court and family alliances, nor united by that long confraternity, now of triumph and now of defeat, which dates from the reign of the Valois, and comes down to the days of Napoleon. If ever one country was bound to another, it was France to Poland; if ever one country suffered for another, it was Poland for France; if ever one country was abandoned by another, it was Poland by France. It is not only like the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Radnorshire (Sir J. Walsh), a chapter in contemporary history; it is also the old story of Athens and Platæa. But if England has not the same interest as France in this Polish question, I nevertheless think, humbly, and with all deference to the opinion of the noble Lord, that this is no unmeet question for the consideration of the House. If I apprehend correctly the spirit of the resolutions submitted by the hon. Member for Montrose, he seeks not to interfere with nor to embarrass the Executive; his object is to corroborate, to confirm, to endorse, as the noble Lord (Lord Sandon) who seconded him, stated, to sanction and to give further effect to the protest of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs; and he more especially desires that this corroboration should be given by the House now that that protest has been disregarded and neglected. And though it be true that the noble Lord the Member for London has brought the whole weight of his authority to the assertion, that this is a subject not immediately within the province of the House of Commons, another authority—I mean Mr. Hallam—scarcely second to the noble Lord, has said, in a noble image, that the pulse of Europe beats according to the impulse it receives from the Parliament of England. It is for this reason I think we should be wanting in our duty, we should be ill representing the feelings of the people of this country, if we failed now to express, not, perhaps, our indignation, but at least our sorrow and our regret, at so inauspicious and so untoward an event. If anything, too, could enhance that sorrow and regret at the act itself, it would undoubtedly be the manner in which it has been defended, and the men by whom it is defended. It is surely a melancholy thought that that Prince Metternich, whose name for half a century has become a synonyme for moderation, whose policy of wise adjustment and honourable compromise has been stamped upon our age, should, at the close of his long and illustrious career, have suffered himself to be connected with so immoderate a plunder, with so Cadmæan a conquest, with an acquisition where the gain was so trivial, and the loss so immeasurable—where the gain is a geographical atom, and the loss is the unsettlement of Europe. The unsettlement of Europe! For, there is not one of the conditions, not one of the arrangements, not one of the stipulations, which date from the great covenant of 1815—not the Germanic Confederation itself, not the Italian dominions of the house of Austria, not Venice, not the Milanese, not Sardinia, not Genoa, not Prussia, who gained more by peace than she had ever gained by war, not the kingdoms of Hanover and the Netherlands—there is not one of the arrangements dating from that period, which was one whit more sacred than the independence of Cracow. Nay, as if in prescience that this small State would become the battle-field between might and right, between liberty and force, its independence and integrity are guaranteed by a greater number of articles than any other stipulation of the general treaty. One word now about the manner. Was there ever anything more rude, more abrupt, more unlike diplomatic usage, more unlike Prince Metternich, than the mode in which this violence was consummated? On the 17th of April a despatch from Prince Metternich to Count Dietrichstein was communicated to Lord Aberdeen, which, while full of no unjust nor ill-founded alarms about the Polish emigration, gave no alarm with regard to Cracow. From the 17th of April to the 6th of November, the Three Powers gave no sign. On the 6th of November, Count Dietrichstein communicated the intentions of the Three Powers to Lord Palmerston, and on the 16th of November, Cracow had ceased to exist. "Finis Poloniœ," the words of Kosciusko, had become a prophecy. And what is the excuse for all this subdolous and precipitate rapacity? From first to last, from the despatch of the 6th of November down to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, I can find nothing but a repetition in every shape and form and way and phrase of the accusation that Cracow had become a focus of conspiracy. I think, Sir, in advancing this charge, the Three Powers have over-proved their case. If Cracow, to quote Prince Metternich, had become a den of moral and material bucaniers—if it was so full of misery—if it was the resort of every kind of brigandage, the question naturally arises, what were the Three Powers about? Why did they not sooner interfere to arrest this depravity and to prevent this decay? What otherwise are we to understand by the word "protectorate?" Would it, for example, after thirty years had elapsed since the treaty was signed, be endured if we were now to come forward, in the face of Europe, and to say that under our protectorate the Ionian Islands had become a den of moral bucaniers, that they were full of misery, that they were the retreat of every kind of brigandage; and, that, therefore, their liberties were to be extinguished? And yet, Sir, that would not be a more monstrous violation of the Treaty of Paris of 1815, than this is a violation of the Treaty of Vienna. Remember the promises of the period: remember the promises and the proclamations of the Emperor Alexander. "This city," said the Czar of Cracow, "under the United Powers shall enjoy tranquillity and happiness, by consecrating itself to the arts and sciences, industry and commerce. It shall remain as the monument of a magnanimous policy which has placed this liberty on the very spot where the ashes of the best among your sovereigns repose." Magnanimous policy! Well, Sir, of the two—between the magnanimous policy which I will not say connived at, but, at the end of thirty years, permitted misery, permitted ruin, permitted those results from which the charge of Prince Metternich is constructed, and the mercy of decision which annihilated Cracow, and for which the noble Lord (Lord G. Bentinck) has thanked the Three Powers—I am almost inclined with him to prefer the latter. But, then, I will say that the two combined—the magnanimous policy and the mercy of decision, have no parallel in history—not even in the example furnished in that "Prince" whose precepts, I am afraid, other princes have consulted. It is only in fable we can look for a precedent. It is the legend of Semiramis, who suckled Ninus and then debauched him. The Three Powers suckled Cracow, and then debauched it; and then they went further than Semiramis, for they destroyed it. And why did they destroy it? If the reason has not been declared in the debate, no one can be ignorant of it. It was not the events in Cracow which led to the dissolution of that republic; it was events in London, at Paris, and Madrid. History will record the fact, because history will also record all the oppressions, the penalties, and persecutions, undergone by this unfortunate hostage in the hands of absolutism, whenever a cloud or a misunderstanding arose between the two great constitutional Governments of the world. For example, at the close of 1835 it was notorious that differences between France and England existed on the subject of Spain. On the 18th of March, 1836, those differences came to a crisis in M. Thiers' despatch to M. Sebastiani, formally refusing intervention on the part of France. But the Three Powers had been beforehand with their prey. One month before, Cracow was already occupied by troops, its neutrality violated, and its independence, its rights, and liberties outraged and destroyed. With these lights, then, and these reminiscences, I believe that if the entente cordiale between the two great constitutional countries of the world had existed, the independence of Cracow would have been maintained. And I believe not the less that the Three Powers would have obtained their legitimate object—the security of their own territories—but in a different manner. Multa fiunt eadem sed aliter. I will shortly explain my meaning. The art of government at the expense of the governed was first taught, if we are to believe the ancients, in a stable by a centaur; that is, by a cross between a man and a horse. The interpretation of the myth is this: that where address cannot be employed, force must be applied—where you cannot use your hands, you must use your hoofs. Well, Sir, if the entente cordiale had been in force, I believe that the Three Powers would have used their hands, instead of using their hoofs, in the manner which not unnaturally has enlisted the sympathies of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn. The inference is obvious. I would venture, with all respect, to press it upon the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, to renew that entente cordiale, and to resume that intimate alliance. I would implore him to do so, in the interests of public order and European peace, not only in prevention of acts such as these, but in prevention of that democratic reaction which is smouldering wherever there has been, or is, misgovernment; which flashed forth the other day, the whole length of the Appennines from Genoa to Calabria; and which may some day blaze forth into more serious demonstrations. The knowledge of a renewal of friendship between the two great Constitutional Powers in the van of civilization would be, at any rate, a better protest against this untoward event, than the refusal to pay the interest of the Russo-Dutch Loan. If the Three Powers in their mimetic immorality have annexed, that is no reason why England should repudiate. I agree with the noble Lord, that it is of nobler and fairer example to say to them, "You have broken a solemn compact; we will respect a doubtful engagement. You have broken the most important treaty universal Europe ever ratified; we will respect a constructive understanding, on the merits and obligations of which even publicists have differed."


Sir, in any observations I have to make on this question, I can only appeal to the reason of the House, and not to its passion. I cannot pretend, on the usual subjects that engage our attention, when domestic interests and municipal rights are brought before our deliberation, that if, with the indulgence of this assembly, I should venture to offer any opinion, I would be free from that passion, or exempt from that prejudice, which, I should think, the most impartial on such occasions might confess they were subject to. But on questions like the present, rarely brought before this House—and I am not inclined to maintain that that rarity is not wise and prudent—on questions of this kind, when the policy of States and the prosperity of nations may depend on our vote and on our decision, I can at least claim to myself what I hope the vast majority of us will always cherish, that we can address ourselves to questions of external policy with only one sentiment, and only one test, viz., how far the question under our discussion concerns the interest and honour of our country. I know that it is not difficult upon a question like the present to indulge in all the blaze of a philanthropy easily illumined. I am equally aware, following a very contrary sentiment, that by opposing the expression of what you may consider feelings of a somewhat morbid character, you may not escape the imputation of being the champion of arbitrary principles. I do not wish to address the House under the influence of either of these sentiments. I wish to speak to a question of public law. I understand that a treaty I of great importance has been violated. It is in my opinion a treaty which it is the interest of this country should be observed; I believe the interest of this country is bound up with the observation of that treaty; and I will not lightly and without consideration admit that any treaty has been violated which I believe it is the interest of England should be observed. And, Sir, let me address myself very strictly to the question before us. I think it is really of importance, after what has occurred during this somewhat unexpectedly prolonged debate, that we should agree as to what is not the subject before us at the present moment. I apprehend that the subject which is not before us is the policy or impolicy of the partition of Poland; because I have listened to many arguments most ingenious, and to some bursts of eloquence most fervent, which, if they had been expressed and uttered in 1772, would have redounded to the credit of this House, and no doubt produced an effect in Europe. But the independence of Poland has ceased. I regret the downfal of Poland, mainly because I think it was for the interest of England that Poland should exist as an independent country. I can easily understand why we are assured by the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes), or why it is intimated to us by the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Smythe), that there is still a more ardent feeling in favour of the lost Poles in Paris than in London, because, though it was no doubt an English, it was still more a French, interest that Poland should remain an independent State. I may be permitted to remind the House that if there be any assembly in Europe which should be the last to criticise the conduct of the Three Powers with respect to Poland, it is the Parliament of England. Before the partition of Poland took place, the Minister of England, the Secretary of State who then administered the Foreign Affairs of the country, was perfectly aware of what was contemplated. He was in communication with the Government of France, and France offered to unite with England to prevent that partition. That Minister was a man second to none of those who have regulated the affairs of this nation in his knowledge of the Continent; and what did the Parliament do? On the very eve of the partition of Poland they turned that Minister out of office, and Poland was partitioned. The very same France which offered to combine with England to prevent that partition, became shortly after our most inveterate foe in the affairs of the American colonies; and the very same vote of the House of Commons occasioned the partition of Poland, and eventually the loss of her colonics to England. If it be true—and surely no one will doubt that it is—that the question before us is not the policy or the impolicy of partitioning Poland, let us now attempt to ascertain what is really and exactly, not to say severely, the question we have to decide upon. It is said that a very important treaty has been violated. It appears that at the commencement of the struggle, which led to this very treaty, the city of Cracow was an Austrian town. It appears, also, that during the most important transactions that occurred in the struggle which led to that treaty, this Austrian town became a Saxon town; and, that subsequently the town which had originally belonged to Austria, and then fell to Saxony, once more became a Polish and also a protected town. From the moment it became a protected town, it had been at various periods occupied by the military forces of the protecting Powers; its constitution had been modified, had been changed, and the original privileges of the protecting Powers (which extended, under the conditions of its protection, even to an interference with its police), had been completely and amply exercised; and the result is, that after a period of rather more than half a century, this town has become once more an Austrian town. That is really the historic statement of the facts to which the treaty refers; it has nothing whatever to do with the partition of Poland. It is very easy for Gentlemen to rise in the House and talk, like the hon. Member for Bolton (Dr. Bowring), of the ruin of 20,000,000 of their fellow-creatures. Who are those 20,000,000? Do they live in Cracow? Do they live in any of the suburbs of Cracow? Will he tell us that the rights of these 20,000,000 are defended by the Treaty of Vienna? Is that their title-deed to political independence, or to social freedom? Yet this is the position assumed by orators, not only in this House, but in other places. Take away this question before us from the universal sympathy and the general association with the cause of Poland, and it will soon assume a very different character. It is now eighty years since Poland was partitioned—more than one-fourth of the period which the historian has recognised as the space which comprises what is called modern history. Many events have taken place since then. During that time England has lost her colonies, France has been revolutionised, the Continent has been conquered, Ireland has been united to England. Events have occurred subsequently to these great affairs, and at a more recent period, which are still fresh in the minds of all present, and to which some of us owe our scats in the very assembly which now arrogates to itself the right to decide upon the policy of foreign nations. Who can now deny that the spoliation of Poland has ceased to be a political catastrophe, and must be regarded as an historical fact? It seems that two of the greatest Powers in Europe have protested there has been a violation of the important treaty, which is the basis of the diplomatic settlement of Europe, by the termination of the quasi independent existence of this Austrian-Polish town—England and France, by the mouths of two most able Ministers, have protested that there has been a violation, by the Three Continental Powers, of that treaty, which shakes the title-deeds of Europe; and a Member of the House of Commons of England, responding to that protest, calls on the House to concur with and confirm it; and, taking advantage of certain other treaties, to punish one of the alleged violators of this treaty. I hope the House will admit I have stated the case fairly. On the first night of the Session, although there was a general feeling in the House—at least on the side on which I sit—not to enter into any discussion on foreign affairs; and though I thought, as it seems mistakenly, that we were not at all bound by the words of the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne—I still, from some observations that unexpectedly fell from the First Minister, felt called upon to warn the House not too suddenly to admit that there had been a manifest violation of the treaty before us. I did not then speak as to a question of policy, but of public law. I thought we were urged precipitately to admit there had been a violation of a treaty which it was the interest of this country should be observed, and which I believed had not been impugned. I always understood, that whatever might be the language of the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, the House was not pledged by it, however decided the words in which it was couched; and Her Majesty's Government did not attempt to pledge the House on that occasion, any more than on prior occasions, that there had been a manifest violation of the Treaty of Vienna; all the House did, was "to thank Her Majesty for informing the House there had been a violation of the treaty." I thought we were perfectly safe then, in agreeing to the Address; and I was, therefore, very much astonished when the First Lord of the Treasury rose, and, adverting to the affair of Cracow, said, "That Her Majesty, in her Speech, had declared, and no man living could doubt, there had been a manifest violation of the Treaty of Vienna." I thought this rather suspicious on the part of the noble Lord. What has been the result? The hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis), a great authority on Parliamentary forms, has risen during this debate, and said, that every Gentleman in the House was pledged by the Answer to the Speech from the Throne to the opinion that there had been a violation of the Treaty of Vienna. And the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), too, in a speech which, I must be permitted to say, was more characterized by eloquent declamation than by its acquaintance with public law or the stipulations of treaties, has also declared, that the House had already by its silence on that first night, pronounced its acquiescence with Her Majesty's Government. I appeal to the House, that under any circumstances, silence could not have been acquiescence; but that under the circumstances of this case in particular, and looking to the language of the Address, if all the Members had been silent, if no speech had been made, and if no division had taken place, not a human being would have been bound by the language of the Speech from the Throne. Sir, I am decidedly of opinion—and I lay it down without equivocation or reserve as a principle of public law, which no one can, as I believe, refute—that the violation of a particular treaty, inserted in a general treaty, is not a violation of that general treaty. I put the principle as broadly as words will permit me, because I am unaware of any exception to this principle, which is one of very great importance. I reminded the House, on a former occasion, in a suggestive, not in a dogmatical spirit, to look well to the case of the Peace of Westphalia, which we have since been told by the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Viscount Mahon) is to be regarded as a model for treaties. I reminded the House that a solemn treaty, the Treaty of Osnabruck, had been inserted in the general Treaty of Minister (the instrument which contained the general stipulations of the Peace of Westphalia)—that the inserted treaty concluded with one of the most remarkable guarantees in diplomatic records—that the guarantee was not observed—that the parties to the inserted treaty applied to the parties signatory to the general treaty, and that it was decided, after great discussion, and after it had been referred to the first jurists in Europe, that a violation of an inserted treaty was not a violation of the general treaty. The case I refer to, was almost similar to that now before us. The free cities of Germany had been guaranteed by the Treaty of Osnabruck certain political rights. The Treaty of Osnabruck was inserted in the Treaty of Munster, and eventually the free cities of Germany were deprived of those political rights. They appealed to the Treaty of Munster, and called upon the parties signatory to it—the great Powers of Europe—to do them right and fulfil the guarantee. The great Powers did not deny the guarantee; but it was decided after most weighty arguments, by men second to none who interfered in the great transactions of the Treaty of Vienna, that the violation of the particular treaty was not a violation of the general treaty. I say it was so decided by men second to none of those who were engaged in the famous settlement of 1815, because I am sure that even the great Chancellor of Austria would scarcely consider himself superior to Oxenstiern, nor would M. de Talleyrand consider it an insult to be compared for dexterity or tact to Cardinal Mazarin; yet, when these two great statesmen, equally interested in contrary decisions, because Sweden was exercising all her power to secure Germany, and France was opposed to her in that object, were called on for their opinion, they decided that the violation of an inserted treaty was not a violation of the general treaty of a congress. I will not put the case before you encumbered with precedents, because a precedent is important and entitled to weight in proportion to the greatness of the circumstances with which it treats, of the transactions to which it refers, and of the men who were concerned in it, and not in proportion to the number of similar cases. Two or three precedents of such a character, are worth a hundred ingeniously twisted instances. The case is one of public law, so clear that I doubt if any man in this House, certainly not any Member of the present or of the late Government, can oppose it, for I will show you that with a due reverence for the practice of the past, they have scrupulously, discreetly, and wisely always followed the course which I have now indicated. The congress which followed the Congress of Westphalia, was the Congress of Nimeguen; and the same question as to the efficacy of a particular treaty inserted in a general treaty was again raised, and decided upon by individuals not second in information as to the law of nations, or in authority, to either of those great men to whom I have already alluded. The King of Sweden (the King of Sweden being a German Prince), an ally of France, instigated by that Power, had attacked, during the war, the dominions of the Elector of Brandenburgh; and the congress taking place, the Elector refused to sign the peace until the Congress had secured him compensation for the attack of the King of Sweden upon his dominions; and he appealed to the Peace of Westphalia and to the King of France, the ally of the King of Sweden, as signatory to the general Treaty of Westphalia. The King of France at that time was Louis XIV., a man whose character is now better understood than it was, and who, though a King, was one of the grestest Ministers that ever lived; for he personally conducted the most important correspondence and transacted the most important affairs for a longer period than any Minister who ever ruled. He was, then, a great authority on this question. And what was his answer to the Elector of Brandenburg? "It is very true the King of Sweden has violated the Peace of Westphalia; but we cannot admit that a violation of an inserted treaty, is a violation of a general treaty. The guarantee to which you appeal is contained in an inserted treaty, and you must seek redress from the parties to that inserted treaty, viz., the German Diet, and not from the signatories of the general treaty." A menace from the King of France forced the Elector to accede to the Peace of Nimeguen. But you may say the King of France, though a very distinguished diplomatist, was also a very powerful sovereign, and he settled the affair in a summary manner. [An Hon. MEMBER: He decided in his own favour.] I thank you for that cheer. True it is he agreed with Mazarin—with Oxenstiern—with all the great jurists of Europe—but it is very true also, as was observed, that he decided in his own favour. Now look to the precedent I now put before you— look to the Congress which is the last to which I shall refer, but which contains upon this subject a precedent which is complete and unanswerable; which appeals indeed to your prejudices as well as your reason. For England was a party to this treaty, and a great English Monarch is the authority which I shall adduce: I mean the Treaty of Ryswick. At the Treaty of Ryswick, this very King, who you say took such a short way to decide public law—this Louis XIV. had to restore the Palatinate which he had conquered; and it was stipulated that the established religion of that State should be maintained. William III. of England—still a favourite Monarch in this House—was at the head of the Protestant interest, and was the great rival of Louis XIV. Now, it so happened that at the time of the stipulation the established religion of the Palatinate was Roman Catholic, for it had been established since the French con-quest. All the Princes of Germany rose immediately, and said, "Is the Palatinate—the very birth-place of the Reformation the cradle of the Protestant religion—guaranteed by the Peace of Westphalia, to which the Kings of Europe are signatory, to become the seat of Romanism? Impossible! We call upon you all—we call on you the great Powers of Europe, who were signatories-in-chief to the Peace of Westphalia—that very peace which was made to secure the toleration and equal rights of the Protestant faith after a struggle of thirty years in favour of the principle of religious and civil liberty, and which has been guarded by guarantees so ample, to come forward and maintain our rights." What was the reply of the King of France? He told them that the Protestant religion and civil and religious liberty were secured by the Treaty of Osnabruck, and that it was only an included treaty in the great Peace of Westphalia. He told them that their only right was to appeal to the Diet of Germany; that the question was a domestic and municipal one; and that it had been decided that an inserted treaty touched only the signatories of that treaty, and not those of the general treaty. The question was referred to William III., and what did he say, the head of the Protestant interest? He said—"The public law of Europe for seventy years, which has been recognised by all statesmen, whether Papistical or Protestant, has decided that the violation of an inserted treaty is not a violation of the general treaty, and you cannot call upon the signatories of the general treaty to do any thing, but to undertake an office of friendly interposition, and to give evidence on questions of general intention and general interpretation." Such was the reply of the King of England; and I now stand up for the soundness of the principle which he propounded. It is in this aspect that I put the case to the House. I am well aware that a different view of the question from that which I adopt, would afford greater scope for declamation, and would probably enlist more popular favour. I know that my task is not an agreeable one; but after the allusions which have been made to the chance remarks which fell from me on the first day of the Session, I am sure you will do me the justice to admit, that it was not for me to shrink from establishing the principle which I then in a cursory manner adverted to. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth, touching on this part of the question, indulged in a series of arguments which were characterized by his usual acuteness, but the immediate tendency of which I admit that I, for one, did not very clearly comprehend. His arguments, however, appeared to me, as far as I could judge of them, to resolve themselves into a question. I understood him to ask this question—"What is the use of declaring that the treaties annexed to the general Act of the Congress of Vienna have precisely the same force as if they had been inserted in the body of the general Act itself, if, in point of fact, we do not admit them to have precisely the same force? If they have not precisely the same force as if they were inserted in the general treaty, why say that they have?" Why, Sir, I never mot, nor did I ever hear of, any human being who attempted to deny this. They have unquestionably precisely the same force as if they were inserted in the general Act; but the question at issue is, what does "precisely the same force" mean? This will still remain, though the right hon. Gentleman were to ask his old question a thousand times—a question which nobody is disposed to dispute. The real point is, what does "precisely the same force" mean? but it is a point, in respect of which I contend that there is not legally any doubt. It is a problem which has been long since decided; and so much doubt would not hang round it now, nor, indeed, round many other questions, if the noble Lord the Secretary for the Foreign Department would encourage the discussion of questions of foreign policy in this House, a little more than he appears inclined to do. It has always been held that if a particular treaty is inserted in a general treaty, it allows any signatory to the general treaty to be called on by any signatory of the particular treaty, in case that treaty is violated; but nobody pretends to say, not even the right hon. Gentleman himself, that in the present case any of the Powers who signed the treaty respecting Cracow, have called on England or France to interfere. Most assuredly Russia has not done so, neither has Austria nor has Prussia. Who calls upon you to interfere? Who appeals to you? What is your locus standi for interfering? I protest I cannot understand. But the right hon. Baronet maintained, that even if there were force, in this objection, all that ground is cut from under our feet; for here, he said, are original covenants respecting Cracow and Poland in the general Act itself, totally independent of the inserted treaties. This is really the only apparently tenable ground for the Government protest. Let us see if its validity is anything more than colourable. I ask the right hon. Baronet, can he mention a single precedent in which, the general signatories having been called on to give their ratification, as they did in the case of the grand Treaty of Vienna to particular treaties, the same form has not been followed, as in the present instance? Can he deny that the general Act of the Treaty of Vienna is, in fact, a recés, and that it gives a summary of all the regulations antecedent to the general Act of Congress? Let him instance a single occasion—let him put his finger on a single precedent where the same form has not been pursued as in the present instance. The principle of law is clear. There is a general Act of Congress with several original treaties inserted, and a long series of covenants on the same subjects as those inserted treaties, couched in the same language, without the difference of even the dotting of a vowel. What is the rule of law on which he will decide when called upon to interpret such a treaty? Surely he must know that the principle has been long since settled, and that it is this—that for the interpretation he must look to the original instruments. The inserted treaty is the original and superior instrument, and the object of the repeated covenants is merely to bind the general signatories. I will not dwell further upon this point. ["Hear!"] It is very well for Gentlemen to cry "Hear, hear," and to indulge in impatient exclamations, who have just dropped in to give a ready vote after spending some hours at the Freemasons' Hall, where on the platform of a tavern they move resolutions which may provoke a war in Europe. Such Gentlemen are ready to prostitute the influence of the English Senate to guide the opinion of Europe; but I take leave to tell them, that unless their opinions are founded upon knowledge, and are expressed in more decorous language than some phrases I have been doomed to listen to here, they will be of little service to their clients, and will do little to maintain the honour and the credit of their country. But to revert to our dry argument. It has been settled that, when the superior instrument is before you, the repeated clauses are a mere recital; merely the machinery by which the signers of the general treaty are authorized to interpose in the settlement of any question which should arise under the particular treaty. I could refer to the long series of the recés of the German Diet for countless precedents vindicating these principles of law; but I will not venture again to appeal to the past. I will establish their justice by living witnesses—by the authority of statesmen now sitting in this House—I will establish it by the very instrument now under discussion; and I must say, that, amazed as some appear to be at the fate of Cracow, nothing has more amazed me than hearing the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and reading of the protest of the noble Lord; because, I ask that right hon. Gentleman and that noble Lord (and the point has already been put, in the course of this debate, with a vigour of argument which all must acknowledge and admire)—bow did they both act in the case of Belgium? What was the conduct, in the first instance, of the King of the Netherlands, when the disruption of his kingdom took place? To what instrument did he appeal? Not to the Treaty of Vienna, for that was not violated. According to your impression, he held his kingdom by the final act of the Congress of Vienna, which contained a stipulation for maintaining the integrity of his kingdom, in like manner as there was a stipulation respecting Cracow and the settlement of the other States of Europe. But those were stipulations merely quoted from the original instruments, and which were inserted and merely quoted, in order to authorize an interference on the part of the signers of the Treaty of Vienna, according to what had become the custom among nations. But the King of Holland, in support of his right, looked to the original treaty — the original instrument—to the inserted treaty, and he applied to a Government, at the head of which was one well versed and instructed in these affairs, for he had been our Minister at the Congress of Vienna, and had long before been concerned more than any living man with the affairs of Europe. With him was then associated in the Government a right hon. Gentleman, who, if not equal to his noble Colleague in his knowledge of Continental affairs, was peculiarly responsible to this House for the measures of his Government. And what did these two eminent statesmen do? The King of Holland appealed to the Powers that had made him, by a particular treaty, King of the Netherlands. Upon that appeal a conference was called — not upon an alleged violation of the Treaty of Vienna — called, with the sanction, if not with the advice of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Robert Peel), and which advice was shortly afterwards followed by the sanction of the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston). Why, Sir, if you pursue that pregnant precedent, although I dare say hon. Gentlemen will not forget the Peace of Westphalia, to which the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Viscount Mahon) has also referred; but if you pursue only that precedent which the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord have supplied in the case of Belgium, you will find an ample illustration of those principles which I have laid down, and which I should be surprised if any one should challenge. It was considered of the greatest importance that France should be present at that conference; but France was not a party to the original treaty. But it was remembered that she was a signatory to the general treaty, and as such she might be appealed to. She was appealed to; and, being called upon, discharged that duty, which for more than 200 years had been recognised as the peculiar function which devolves upon the signatories of general treaties, namely, that of undertaking a friendly interposition when invited to speak and give advice on the question of general intention and interpretation. It was under that view of the law of nations that France joined the conference. I very imperfectly intimated my impression as to the nature of that precedent the first night of this Session. It touched personally the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel), from the eminent post which he filled when that conference was held. My noble Friend the Member for Lynn (Lord G. Bentinck) referred to that precedent in his address during the present debate. The right hon. Gentleman rose soon after my noble Friend; but he never noticed that precedent—a precedent which no one can evade who pretends to influence this debate. I defy any man to treat this subject satisfactorily who does not meet that point; and yet the right hon. Gentleman, whose talent in debate is unrivalled, who can get up a case with admirable dexterity, made a speech which perhaps was too classical for the Freemasons' Tavern, but which really seemed to be inspired by all its spirit — and throughout that speech never met the case of Belgium. I ask the noble Lord whether he will meet it? I ask him whether he will deny his protocol, or whether he will have recourse to the archives of his office to prove how all the signatories of the general Treaty of Vienna were appealed to in the case of Belgium? Will he produce the secret despatch sent to Sweden; or the hurried appeal to Portugal; or the mysterious mission to Spain? Will he lay before us the counsel which was given to him by those European Powers when he called upon them to assist him at that conference, and who advised him in the agony of that trying occasion? I never heard the names of the Plenipotentiaries of those Powers. One remark fell from the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), which ought not to pass unnoticed. That hon. Member said, that there never was a more unjust stipulation than that one in the Treaty of Vienna, by which Norway was separated from Denmark, and united to Sweden. Why, Sir, there is not a single syllable in the Treaty of Vienna about Norway or Sweden. The arrangement which united them was not even transacted at Vienna. And yet the hon. Gentleman who makes these statements is the authority on which we are to decide on the question before us—an authority, no doubt, ample for those hon. Gentlemen who have been speaking so earnestly at Freemasons' Hall, and from whom we may, perhaps, receive still further information upon this most interesting subject. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) has given us his exposition of what he considered to be the intention of the inserted treaties. He favoured us with his view, and, coming from so high a quarter, it is not to be considered as a mere opinion, but, of course, as an official statement. I should be sorry to misrepresent a word of what fell from the right hon. Gentleman; but I believe he said "that by the Treaty of Vienna, the Powers who signed that treaty meant that Cracow should be secured constitutional institutions, and be established as an example to its neighbours of a free and independent State." The right hon. Gentleman made that statement, and of course coming from him, I cannot contest it. Having no means of gaining information but such as I gather from books, and from the conversation I may stumble across, I confess I had no idea that at the great congress held for the settlement of the balance of power in Europe, it was projected to raise a sort of normal constitution—what may be called a model political farm for the instruction of Europe, and I suppose to prepare us for those constitutional arrangements which Prussia has at last accorded to her subjects. The right hon. Gentleman possesses information which I cannot share; therefore I cannot for a moment doubt, as he has informed us, that Lord Castlereagh, during the negotiations which took place at the Congress of Vienna, and chiefly by means of that correspondence which has been laid so unexpectedly before the House, offered, both on the part of Austria and Prussia, as well as of England, to the Emperor of Russia his advice that the nationality of Poland should be established, and its independence be revived. Now, I have read that correspondence, and I am bound frankly to confess I had mistaken its real meaning; for I am ashamed to own, that to me so transparent seemed the sarcasm, and so unequivocal the irony in which Lord Castlereagh pushed the argumentum ad absurdum, to show the folly of the position which the Emperor of Russia had taken up, that in my simplicity, I conceived it was merely a playful reproof when he said to Russia, "If these are your principles, and if you really wish to extend freedom to this country, whose interests you now appear so warmly to advocate, why not follow those principles out, and restore Poland to the nations of Europe?" But, as the right hon. Baronet assures us that this was a grave proposition on the part of Lord Castlereagh, and as the right hon. Gentleman was for a long time the Colleague of that noble Lord, and no doubt profited by his counsels, it is not for me to contest the accuracy of that statement; and in future, therefore, I shall always take care not to mistake a grave statement for satire, and never believe that such an instrument as irony is ever used in diplomatic correspondence. It is but fair to the right hon. Baronet to observe that, in attempting to establish his proposition, he also stated that at the period of the settlement of the affairs of Europe, great efforts were made to secure to Poland national institutions. I always understood the same thing. I always understood that there existed on the part of the then Emperor of Russia even a morbid determination to impress as much of nationality as he could upon Poland. I always understood that the Emperor of Russia was anxious to originate a modern kingdom of Poland; and that instead of Lord Castlereagh urging upon him the re-establishment of Polish nationality, the noble Lord looked with great suspicion upon the Emperor's efforts in that direction. The only reason I have for doubting the accuracy of the right hon. Baronet upon this point is, that we have been favoured in the course of the present debate with the opinions of another individual—a noble Lord, who, although he did not occupy a post of so exalted a nature in the Administration as the right hon. Baronet—for he was not in the Cabinet—did nevertheless fill an office of considerable importance in a department connected with these affairs. The noble Lord to whom I allude, the Member for Hertford, favoured us, in, I must say, a tone of statesman-like gravity which showed that his opinions were matured, with his reason for the creation of Cracow into a free and independent city. The noble Lord told us that one of the reasons why Cracow was made a free town was on the principle of compensation. It was thought, the noble Lord said, that some compensation was due to France for the loss of her empire, and also that some little compensation was owing to England for the loss of some of her principal colonies, which had been prized during the war. The sacrifices of France, the noble Lord observed, were very great; a vast amount of territory of which she had taken possession, was unexpectedly wrested from her grasp; and it was thought that the erection of Cracow into a free town with free institutions, might be accepted by France as compensation for her losses. At the first blush of the thing, this certainly does appear somewhat improbable. Fancy that great and gallant nation, led on by their revolutionary Imperator, crossing the Rhine and the Danube, the Niemen and the Po, occupying every country of Europe, and issuing their decrees from every capital—fancy them, in the full flow of triumph and of tribute, informed, that they would be driven back to their own Seine, and that the only metropolis that would remain to them would be their own, and upon sufferance — but yet that Europe, though retributive, would be equitable, if not just, and as a compensation for all these transcendent and unheard-of glories, would establish a free town with a territory of nineteen square miles, on a branch of the Vistula, under the protection of their conquerors — I think the French people would have been somewhat astonished. However, coming from the quarter it does—the noble Lord having been Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in the Administration of no less a person than the Duke of Wellington—it is impossible to doubt the accuracy of the statement; and all I hope is, that when we hear again a great authority in this House express his opinion, that it is extremely ridiculous for the French nation to make an annual protest about the independence of Poland, a Member of the French Chamber may not retort by saying that there is one thing more ridiculous still, and that is, for a Member of the House of Commons to explain the secret history of the Treaty of Vienna. I have always thought it of very great importance in discussing these affairs, that we should form our opinions of the conduct of Cabinets and individuals from public documents, such as treaties and protocols, and not listen to the sort of diplomatic gossip which has, I am sorry to say, prevailed too much in the present debate. One Gentleman rises and says, "It is very true, the Treaty of Vienna states this thing or that; but if you had the good fortune, to be on as intimate terms as I am with Prince Metternich, for instance, you would know that the secret history of the treaty is quite the reverse." Another Gentleman says, "I was in Paris last week, and M. Guizot assured me that Prince Talleyrand told him so and so." These things, doubtless, produce a brilliant effect in debate; but I prefer sticking to the letter and spirit of treaties, and to the declarations of protocols. Those documents do not change, and are a certain guide to aid us in our investigations. It is in the power of any Gentleman to say that he has heard such and such things after dinner, which have entirely altered his opinion with respect to a question under the consideration of the House; but I will not offend against the rule which I have just laid down, and shall refer only to documents in the library, if not on the Table of the House, in order to ascertain what was the intention of the Allied Powers with respect to Cracow at the time of the framing of the Treaty of Vienna. The Emperor Alexander was in military occupation of the ancient duchy of Warsaw, and he naturally wished to keep it; whilst the other European Powers as naturally were afraid that its retention would make Russia too powerful. Austria had once possessed Cracow, and she wished to have it again; whilst Russia wanted to preserve it. In the end, it happened with Cracow as always happens in political affairs—it ended in a mezzo termine. Russia at first proposed that Cracow should be a protected town; that Thorn should also be one; and that Mayence should be a confederate garrison. Eventually Thorn became Prussian, Cracow became a protected town, and Mayence remains a confederate garrison. Prince Metternich warned Russia that Cracow would be a disturbing focus in that country; but the Emperor of Russia disregarded the warning, because he did not wish Cracow to belong to Austria; and, not being able to obtain it for himself, he preferred the middle course, which was adopted. In the end, thirty years' experience has proved the foresight of Prince Metternich. Cracow is again an Austrian town, and Russia has conceded to Austria the very point which was the subject of great and even hostile discussion at the Treaty of Vienna. In the face of this historical truth, which no man will venture to question, we are told that, in the suppression of Cracow, the last evidence of the nationality of Poland has disappeared; and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth, with grave authority, states that Cracow was instituted as a normal farm of political liberty and constitutional government; whilst the noble Lord the Member for Hertford—once an Under Secretary of State — assures us that Cracow was intended as a compensation to France for the loss of her empire! These plausible and fantastic pretences are resorted to by Member after Member, who rise to speak upon a subject with respect to which they will not speak the truth. Gentlemen whose feelings are excited in favour of Poland, insist on mixing the fate of the protected city of Cracow—which they persist in calling a free and independent State—with that of Poland,-which nearly eighty years ago had ceased to exist. And yet Gentlemen who have taken a great part in public affairs and diplomatic transactions, who are not only cognizant of the Treaty of Vienna, but responsible for it, still do not dare to oppose the morbid and factitious feeling which prevails on the subject in this assembly, and actually agree in stating, that at the general settlement of Europe, Cracow was left as the last homage to Poland, and that by its extinction a blow has been struck at the public liberties of Europe. Of all the insults offered to the unhappy country whose fate we all lament—of all the insults offered to the 20,000,000 of men of whom the hon. Member for Bolton has reminded us—none has ever been so flagrant by many degrees as the assumption that this protected city of Cracow was intended by the Powers of Europe as a homage to a great people. I know the disadvantage under which I labour in expressing my opinions on the present occasion, in consequence of the confusion of ideas arising from a great variety of causes which prevails upon this subject. If I could only divest this subject from the idea of the immortality of Poland, which exists in the mind of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford—if I could for a moment convince him that the inhabitants of Cracow are not the companions of Kosciusko—I should not despair of seeing him on this, as on all other subjects on which he takes that temperate, sagacious, and truly popular course in this country which distinguishes him, come to a just conclusion. But on this subject a dangerous excitement exercises its influence on him, and he never can believe, whilst we are arguing this question, that we are not, in fact, adding a fresh wound to the already defunct corpse of Poland. Now, I say this, that those are dangerous neighbours who surround him, not when he rises in this House, but when he transfers himself to the hustings of the tavern where the parties meet, not for the purpose of deliberation, not for the purpose of discussion, but to outrival each other in language most violent in statement, most exaggerated in counselling, and in policy most perilous. Let it be remembered that when they tell us of the fate of 20,000,000 of men, there must have been some good cause for a great and numerous race having met the doom which we all acknowledge they have encountered. We hear much of a great nation. The hon. Member for Bolton tells us of 20,000,000 of people; but it is not the number of the people which makes a great nation. A great nation is a nation which produces great men. It is not by millions of population that we prove the magnitude of mind; and when I hear of the infamous partition of Poland, although as an Englishman I regret a political event which, I think, was injurious to our country, I have no sympathy with the race which was partitioned. The gentlemen who go to Freemasons'-hall ought to be reminded of a fact which they always find it convenient to forget, that it is just 100 years ago that it was proposed to partition another empire. Now, I would just ask them to look to the circumstances under which that partition was proposed. There was an empire composed of many races, speaking many languages, governed by a young and interesting Princess, who had just succeeded to the thrones of her ancestors. Look at the proceedings that took place at Frankfort against Maria Theresa of Austria. Look at the arch conspirators that were there leagued together, at the head of whom was the King and the Republic of Poland. Why was not Austria partitioned? Why was not that young and interesting woman expelled from her throne? I will tell you. The faithful ally of England has been charged with oppression; but, I believe, if the occasion should again arise, and the hour of peril return, that a union of the people in support of the throne of that country would again astonish admiring Europe. At that time Austria was in a far more difficult situation than she could be now. Why was she not partitioned when Poland was at the head of the conspirators to destroy her? I speak of Austria, of that Austria which you revile in your hustings speeches, the statistics of which you are so familiar with, and the destiny of which you dare to announce. I speak of that faithful ally of England, who you tell me is in a state of political decrepitude, but who, I believe, will show that she has sources of power in the moment of exigency and of peril which will surprise Europe and baffle her adversaries. I say that Austria, at the time I speak of, was in a far more difficult position than she can be under any circumstances now. I ask, again, why was not Austria partitioned, when Poland was at the head of a conspiracy which would have severed her dominions? I ask you why Austria was able to preserve its ancient dynasty? I tell you, that she owed it to the great qualities, to the bravery, the religion, the honesty, of her population. It was the national character which saved Austria. She was not 20,000,000 then; and yet she baffled Prussia, she baffled France, she baffled Poland—that Poland which always comes before us as if she had been the victim of Europe, instead of having been a ready conspirator on every occasion and the pamperer of the lusts of an aristocracy which ultimately betrayed her. Yes, I say an aristocracy which ultimately betrayed her. Yes, I repeat an aristocracy which ultimately betrayed her; and I would ask you who sympathize with Poland—I would ask the hon. Member for Finsbury—whom I have often supported in Motions which showed a sympathy with the working population of England—I ask him why he thoughtlessly embraces the cause of Continental liberalism? Any man who really feels for the welfare of the millions, should hesitate before adopting that course; and, I confess, I cannot comprehend how any such can exhibit the zeal of the hon. Member for Finsbury on this occasion. What are the materials of the disturbing party in Europe? Is it the people? Is it the suffering people who raise the commotions which are constantly taking place in Italy, in Poland, and in Spain? Are they the parties to those movements? No. In every country it is the remnant of a subverted aristocracy—subverted, because they were false to their trust, and never placed themselves at the head of the people. It is all very well for you to come forward with an affectation of sympathy with popular rights; but the men who really caused the fall of Poland were not the great Powers whom you denounce in your hustings speeches. It was this order of men who never supported the people—under whom the people, indeed, were serfs, and not free men — who never showed any spirit except in opposing the clergy — a priesthood who, whatever their faults even at the worst periods of the eighteenth century, must always be more or less the friends of the multitude. This is the aristocracy about which you have raised a false cry, and appealed to morbid passions. I am told to-night by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Weymouth (Mr. Christie), in a speech, which was fully entitled to the attention of the House—I heard from him a passing tribute to the pseudo feelings of the politics of the day, and an expression of regret at the massacre of the nobles of Gallicia? Why, what can he know of the massacre of the nobles of Gallicia? From what newspaper did he cull the intelligence? Fron what active emissary of the coterie of expelled nobles did he gain the information? These are the people who circulate these stories. We have heard to-night a Sovereign absolutely denounced, because he thanked his people for vindicating his rights. I have never been in Gallicia; but there are few parts of Prussia and Austria that I have not found myself in; and I stake my credit for the fact, that whenever disturbances of this kind occur—whenever there are mysterious movements, impelled by committees in foreign capitals—in every case I have found that in those provinces the people rose against the subverted aristocracy; and, for my part, I have no hesitation in expressing a wish that all aristocracies who forget their trust may meet with the same fate. It is those movements which have agitated Europe. You doubt that assertion. I am unwilling, at this moment, to detain the House by details which will put the truth fairly before you; but here is a passage, as you will not take my word, which was written by a political economist—a friend of your own—and which you will find in a Parliamentary volume in the library—I mean Mr. M'Gregor. That gentleman says— The portions of the ancient kingdom of Poland, viz., Posen and Gallicia, remain, with some additional privileges since 1815, under the respective Governments of Prussia and Austria. In both these the population, especially the peasantry, have derived great advantages by the—in every other respect—indefensible partition of Poland. In Russian Poland we must also admit the peasantry are in a far more easy condition than they were under independent Poland. Now, what was their condition? I quote from a German work, written by a person who is also a liberal. Hear his description of the serfs, whom you are surprised to find defended their Government against the conspiracy of the aristocracy:— In the year 1804, Alexander issued an imperial edict, which materially changed and improved the condition of the peasantry of Livonia and Esthonia. Courland remained in the same condition as before until 1817, when, by the praiseworthy exertions of the governor of the provinces, General Paulucci, Courland was also brought under the influence of the new law, and the Emperor received at Mitau the thaks of the nobility and peasantry of Courland. The writer says— The serfs were not, however, at once placed in the possession of their liberty; fourteen years of a state of transition were to prepare them for emancipation. The whole enslaved population of the country was divided into certain classes, according to ages, and every year a fourteenth of each class was emancipated. In 1831 it was completed. The year 1817 was taken as the normal year by which future years were to be governed—that is, the labours performed by the peasants for their masters during that year were set down in each estate as measures for their future labours. Inventories were to be taken of the stock, &c., which were to be delivered to the farmer (i. e. peasant) upon entering his farm, and delivered up upon the expiration of his lease. The punishment which the master might inflict, as well as the labour he might exact, were distinctly fixed, and tribunals of the peasants themselves were established. The condition of the peasant of the Baltic is this: he is no longer bound to the soil, but may, after half a year's notice given to his lord, quit the estate. In the same way his lord, by giving him half a year's notice, may force him to leave. Are you surprised then that the men who found themselves no longer serfs, but placed in this improved condition, should adhere to the arbitrary constitution which, you denounce, and shrink from the aristocratic conspirators whom you patronize? Do you believe that the population who are now governed by tribunals, formed by their own order and their own race, have any sympathies with the societies of Numa, because you choose to talk about them at Freemasons'-hall? With respect to this unfortunate affair of Cracow, I have never hesitated to express my opinion upon it. I have always thought that creating Cracow into a protected State was a great error; but that the extinction of it was a still greater one. But that you should come forward and pretend that the termination of this miserable mezzo termine is an insult to the public feeling of Europe; that it is an indication of arbitrary will on the part of our Allies; that it is a violation of solemn and important treaties which I, as far as I can, in this House, shall always support—because I believe them to be made for our interests, and tending to our interests—is one of those monstrous delusions that would require all the patriotic feelings for which this House is so distinguished, and all the statistical knowledge for which it is so renowned, to compensate for. Sir, you are, by indulging these feelings, endangering the peace of Europe. I am not ashamed to say that I hope there will be in future a good understanding between this country and France; though I was surprised to find the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for Tamworth deny that his Government had had that understanding with her, for I thought that was one of the best claims which the right hon Gentleman's Government had upon public confidence; but, unfortunately, it now appears that the right hon. Gentleman does not approve of these understandings. But I say with respect to France, that it is not becoming in England that her policy necessarily should depend upon an understanding with, or the implied assistance of, any Power. We know our own rights, and we ought to know the rights of others. There is only one point more I feel bound to notice, and that is the ground before the House upon which we are immediately called to vote. Because there is this implied or assumed violation of the Treaty of Vienna, the hon. Member for Montrose calls upon us to punish one of the assumed violators of that treaty by the non-payment of a sum of money which we should be bound to pay under other circumstances on account of the Russo-Dutch Loan. This question is not new to the House. In 1831 and 1832 the question was brought before you, and notwithstanding the Government of that day was pressed by what I must call a very undisciplined mob of supporters—slaves to the cry of a false economy—and notwithstanding also the Government was pressed by what I am bound to acknowledge was a not very scrupulous opposition, yet that Government had the courage and the wisdom to resist the appeal. The noble Lord opposite was then Secretary of State, and he displayed on that occasion that moral intrepidity which he has more than once exercised for the benefit of his country. Sir, he conducted himself in the counsel he gave, and with difficulty induced the House to adopt, like a faithful British Minister; and as I believe he is about to pursue a similar course to-night, I shall with pleasure give him my support. But I was surprised to find, on recently looking over the list of his supporters on that occasion, to observe the name of the hon. Member for Montrose. The hon. Member on that occasion gave a most hearty vote in favour of the payment of Russia. He says that he piques himself upon his feelings for pounds, shillings, and pence; I want to know then how he can reconcile it to his conscience to have allowed more than twelve years to have elapsed, and each and every year this payment to be made in silence. The hon. Gentleman has given an historical description of the motives which influenced him on that occasion. It was, indeed, a memorable occasion; it was the occasion when he sacrificed even his conscience to his country. It was then he voted that black was white, in order to secure, I will not say his party, but payment to the Emperor of Russia. That was his black speech, and this time he comes forward to recant in a white speech. But strange to say, after an interval of twelve years, when he has summoned up courage to make a white speech and give a white vote, I understand he is also about to show the white feather. Is he about to do penance for his juvenile error, or, now that he is father of the House, is he about to confess himself impotent to vindicate his refutation? This, then, is the Motion which you are called upon to pass; which is to aggravate Europe and insult the Sovereigns who are our allies. I know that a Gentleman who addressed us this evening referred to the moral influence that we exercise in Europe. That, I suppose, is the foundation of the interference of the hon. Gentleman. I, too, am as much aware, I trust, as any one here, of the peculiar characteristic of this House, that it does exercise an influence over those who are not our fellow-subjects, and in countries which do not acknowledge the sway of our Sovereign. But allow me to remind the House, that this moral influence, although its exercise may be one of our most inestimable functions—although it should be of our possessions the most proud, is a possession held by a very delicate and refined tenure. You cannot abuse it. You cannot increase its efficacy by Hudibrastic speeches and grotesque resolutions. If you assume to school the potentates and to guide the populations of Europe, it is, at least, expected of you that your counsels should be founded on knowledge; it, at least, is expected that they should be expressed in the decorous language of a dignified conciliation. Do this—fulfil the duties of your mission, and you may retain and exercise that moral influence of which you may well be proud; but when you do exercise it, let it be for the benefit of Europe, and the glory and reputation of your country.


Sir, as I should be sorry to damp that disposition to discuss foreign matters which the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down wishes to encourage on the part of this House, I promise them that at this late hour, and after the length to which this debate has extended, I will confine myself as much as possible to the subject immediately under discussion. There are two points into which the whole subject divides itself: first of all comes the question whether the suppression of the State and city of Cracow has been a violation of the Treaty of Vienna; and, next, whether, under the circumstances of the case, that extinction absolves this country from the payment of the Russo-Dutch loan? Now, notwithstanding the ingenious argument which the House has just heard from the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, tending to show that the extinction of Cracow was no violation of the Treaty of Vienna, I think I shall have no difficulty in satisfying the House that the opinion which was expressed by Her Majesty in the Speech from the Throne, and which is partaken in, I believe, by every body almost in this House except the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and the noble Lord who sits near him, is correct, and that that extinction of the State and city of Cracow was a violation of the Treaty of Vienna. The hon. Gentleman has gone into a very ingenious argument to show, by reference to very ancient transactions in Europe, fortifying his positions by great authorities, that a treaty inserted in another does not necessarily bind the parties between whom that latter treaty is made. Sir, I can concede to the hon. Gentleman all that he contended for on this point, and the ground I take will in no degree be injured by that concession; I concede to the hon. Gentleman, then, that if a treaty is inserted in another treaty between two parties, it is not necessarily binding on the parties to the second treaty. The example he adduced went to the question, whether parties signing a treaty in which another was included, were, or were not, bound by the guarantee contained in the inserted treaty? Now, I am ready to acknowledge that the position of the hon. Gentleman in that respect is indisputable; I would go further, and acknowledge that in a single treaty to which several parties were guarantees, the failure of any one party to execute his guarantee, absolves the other parties from the obligations that they contracted by that treaty. But that is not the question. The question is not whether England and France are bound by any guarantee to take steps in consequence of the extinction of Cracow. The question is not whether, as Cracow was constituted a free State, we are bound, but whether we have a right to object to the extinction of it? The question is, whether there has been an express violation of the articles of the Treaty of Vienna?—not whether, in consequence of that violation, it is binding on the parties to that treaty to take steps to enforce it? Now, I put aside anything which may turn upon the question of insertion, or whether articles annexed to a treaty are equivalent to an insertion in the treaty itself; because, although in the present treaty the stipulations which were entered into by Prussia, Austria, and Russia, relating to the city of Cracow, were annexed to the Treaty of Vienna, and although the 118th Article of that Treaty declared that they should have the same force as if they were integral parts of the treaty, yet, fortunately for the argument for which I contend, it is wholly unnecessary to rely on the 118th Article, because the 6th and 7th Articles of the Treaty itself contain everything that is necessary to hear out the assertion that the extinction of the State of Cracow is a violation of that treaty. I say, that, independently of the 118th Article, you must get rid of the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Articles, which are part of the general treaty to which all the Powers were contracting parties; and I say, that the extinction of the republic of Cracow is a violation of those articles of the general treaty. But it may be said, that they were only put in as a record of some transactions to which England and France were not parties. Sir, I deny that position altogether. I say, that the documents to which I alluded in the early part of this evening, in answer to a question put to me by an hon. Member—that the records of the proceedings of the Congress of Vienna, which are contained in the State Papers in the library of this House, prove that England was a party to all the negotiations which determined the general terms of that treaty, and to all the arrangements of Europe which afterwards formed portions of the general and annexed treaties; and that, both with regard to the treaty and to the arrangements with respect to which it was made, England, through her representative, was a party. It will be seen in the third protocol of the conferences of the Congress of Vienna, dated the 8th of February, that a Commission was appointed to draw up the articles which relate to the arrangements consented to and agreed upon by the Congress, and that Commission consisted of the following parties: "Clancarty, Minister, Humboldt, Jordan, Capodistrias, Bernadeirc (France), Hadelst and Wacken (Austria)." It was, in short, signed by the representatives of the Five Powers. On a subsequent day, the 10th of February, it appears by the protocol of the Five Powers (No. 4), that the report of the above Commission was read, and amongst the articles read which had been prepared by them, is this—"That the city of Cracow shall be a free city with a surrounding district;" and it appears also, that Lord Castlereagh wrote to Lord Liverpool from Vienna on the 13th of February, saying— That the noble Lord would receive enclosed the territorial arrangement with respect to Poland and Prussia, including Saxony, Holland, and Hamburg, as finally agreed to by the Five Powers of Austria, Russia, France, Prussia, and Great Britain. They had been recorded in the protocol, and would find a place in the general treaty. Therefore, it appears, not only that the general treaty to which England and France are parties, does contain a stipulation with regard to the freedom of the city of Cracow; but it appears also by the documents to which I have referred, that those arrangements were settled in the conferences to which England was a party, and that those conferences and those arrangements took place at a period anterior to the conclusion of the separate treaty which has been alluded to as the material treaty to carry out these arrangements. I say, therefore, it is perfectly plain that the arrangement as to Cracow was founded upon stipulations to which Great Britain was a party; and I hold that the violation of that treaty is a violation of the arrangements to which Great Britain was one of the contracting parties. But I am told, that in similar instances to this, England has been a party to a similar course. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) says, that with regard to the arrangements respecting Belgium, the Treaty of Vienna was departed from, and that England was a party to the infraction. I am not aware whether I understood correctly what the hon. Gentleman said; but if I did not misunderstand him, he said that the King of the Netherlands at first applied to Austria and Prussia only, and that England and France came in afterwards. Now, the application of the King of the Netherlands was to whom he liked, relating to something inserted in the treaty. The hon. Gentleman wished me to read to the House some of my protocols; but I will rather refer to one not signed by me, but by the Earl of Aberdeen. The first protocol records the manner in which the subject is brought under the consideration of the Five Powers. It is dated 4th of November, 1830; present the Plenipotentiaries of Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia:— His Majesty the King of the Netherlands having invited the Courts of Great Britain, Austria, France, Prussia, and Russia, in their character of signing Powers to the Treaties of Paris and Vienna—treaties which established the kingdom of the Netherlands—to deliberate, in concert with His Majesty, on the best means of putting an end to the disturbances which have broken out in his States; and the above-mentioned Courts having felt, even before they had received this invitation, a strong desire to put a stop, in the shortest time possible, to disorder and to bloodshed, they have, through the medium of their Ambassadors and Ministers, accredited at the Court of London, agreed upon the following resolutions. It was not the case of an inserted treaty. The arrangement with respect to the Netherlands formed part of two treaties—the Treaty of Paris in 1814, and the Treaty of Vienna in 1815. Why, then, were these Five Powers alone the parties to whom the question was referred? Because the King of the Netherlands, of his own accord, invited those parties to act, and appealed to them. The application was not made to two or to three Powers, but to the Five Powers which had constituted the kingdom of the Netherlands. The separation which took place was made by the consent of all the five; and, therefore, it was more in conformity with the stipulations on which the kingdom was formed. [Mr. DISRAELI: Sweden was a party to the Treaty of Vienna.] Now, the noble Lord (Lord G. Bentinck) appears, from his speech, to imagine that the Five Powers did not consent at the same time to the arrangements; that it was England and France that first entered into a separate arrangement, and that it was only after a considerable time that Russia and the other Powers came into this arrangement; but if the noble Lord will look at the Treaty of the 15th of November, 1831, he will find that the arrangement made for the separation between Belgium and Holland was signed by the Five Powers, and that the whole Five Powers agreed, one as soon as the other. I say, therefore, it appears to me to be perfectly clear, from the documents to which I have referred, that the extinction of the independent State of Cracow, and its annexation to the empire of Austria, was a manifest violation of the stipulations of the Treaty of Vienna. Well, then, it may be asked, if that is our opinion, why is there any hesitation in acceding to the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose, and to recording our opinion as a resolution of this House? The ground of objection, is that which was taken by my noble Friend the Member for the city of London (Lord J. Russell); it is not the ground which some of those who have spoken in this debate have assumed: the ground is, not that it is not for this House to take into its consideration the question of our foreign relations—that was not the argument of my noble Friend, or the ground on which it would be fair to otter the resistance to this Motion which my noble Friend did—but the ground is, that if the House should take such a resolution on a question of such grave importance as the conduct of foreign Powers, it is not fitting that such a resolution as this should pass unless it be followed up by some decisive step; that it is not consistent with the honour, the dignity, and the character of this House and of the country, that the House of Commons should pass strong resolutions against the conduct of foreign Powers, in respect to treaties to which this country is a party; and then, having declared that a treaty has been violated, to sit down quietly, and not follow up the resolution by any further proceeding. My noble Friend has said—and I fully agree with him—that, so far as a record of the opinion of England that the provisions of the treaty have been broken, is necessary, that record is to be found, first, in the protest against the annexation of Cracow which has been communicated to the parties concerned; and next, in the mention which has been made to Parliament of such a protest having been presented. Nobody means to contend that the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne committed the House to the opinion that the treaty had been violated; it is a principle which all Governments have invariably held, that a mere acknowledgment of what is stated in a Speech from the Throne leaves the House perfectly unfettered; but my noble Friend argued that the silence of the House was sufficient to answer the views of the hon. Member for Montrose; having received that communication, and not having made any address to the contrary, that silent acquiescence was sufficient to all intents and purposes. It is, therefore, my intention, before I sit down, to move the previous question upon the first resolution proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose. It is my intention to meet the second with a negative. With regard to the first, I am of opinion that it is inexpedient for the House to express itself in those terms on the violation of the Treaty of Vienna. Therefore, I propose that it shall not be put. Then comes the second. Does that violation release this country from its obligations under the convention in reference to the Russian-Dutch Loan? My opinion decidedly is that it does not. If you look to the stipulations of that convention, as arranged either in 1831 or in 1815, I think it can be shown to the satisfaction of any man that the extinction of the State of Cracow does not justify this country in suspending or discontinuing the payment of the Russian-Dutch Loan. It is necessary to consider what is the origin of that engagement. The origin and history of that engagement is shortly this: at the end of the war when Europe was delivered, and the arrangements of Europe had to be reconstructed, it was felt that the great Powers who were principal actors in the war, who had made the greatest exertions, who had incurred the greatest expense, were entitled to some compensation from the smaller Powers who had benefited from the results of the war. It has been stated that most of those smaller Powers contributed for those purpose. There was no sovereign who benefited more by the results of that war than the Prince Sovereign of the Netherlands; for he was restored not only to his territories and his position, but it was among the leading arrangements of the treaty that his territory should be increased in extent and strengthened by fortifications; and that his position should be confirmed by an engagement on the part of the Allies to come to his assistance should it be necessary. It was felt that that Prince Sovereign, as he was then called, of the Netherlands might justly be called upon to contribute compensation to the great Powers engaged in the war; but Austria and Prussia waved any claim they might have in favour of Russia; and it was agreed that the whole compensation he was to make to the liberating Powers should be made to Russia alone. The mode of compensation was to be, that Holland should take upon itself the payment of interest and principal of a loan which Russia had raised. The first result of the arrangement was, that the whole of that charge would have fallen upon the King of the Netherlands. But there was another transaction between the King of the Netherlands and England. It was thought right that England should retain some of the most important colonies which had once belonged to Holland, the Cape of Good Hope, Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo; and it was agreed that, in consideration of those valuable possessions, we should assist the Netherlands by bearing one-half of the burden which the King of the Netherlands was to bear in favour of Russia. The result was that it was determined that England and the Netherlands should go in shares, each paying a half, and taking upon them the sinking fund and the interest of the loan. But, in order to make that arrangement still more conducive to the organization and permanence of the kingdom of the Netherlands, there was added a stipulation, taken on the part of Russia, that if at any time Belgium should be separated from Holland, the obligation to pay for the loan should cease, and the debt should fall back upon Russia and Holland alone. The object was to give Russia an interest in maintaining the union of Belgium with Holland, which was then considered an arrangement especially conducive to the balance of power in Europe. Then came the revolution in Belgium. Then came the separation of Belgium from Holland—a separation to which this country very reluctantly consented, but which was found necessary to avoid the calamity of a general war in Europe. But Russia having consented to the separation at the request of England—though she was ready, as already remarked in this debate, to bring 60,000 men to defend Holland and re-annex Belgium—it would be manifestly unjust to inflict on Russia the penalty of an event which had not taken place in consequence of any laches on her part. A new convention was necessary to meet the new state of things. England took one engagement, Russia took another. The engagement of England was, that on the separation of Belgium from Holland, that separation having taken place at the request and with the concurrence of England, England should continue to pay the Russian-Dutch Loan. The new engagement made by Russia, applicable to the new state of things, was, that whereas, under the first state of things, she had an interest in seeing that Belgium was not separated from Holland, she undertook, if ever, by the course of events, the independence and neutrality of Belgium should be endangered, that she would not enter into a new arrangement as to Belgium without previously communicating with and obtaining the consent of England. We stood, therefore, on similar grounds to those on which we stood before. There was an engagement on the part of England; there was a counter-engagement on the part of Russia; but the nature of the engagements was altered with the objects. It has been said, that in the Convention of 1831 words were inserted in the preamble which are not to be found in the Convention of 1815. In the preamble it is recorded, that the general arrangements of the Treaty of Vienna are still to subsist. I can state to the House by whom those words were suggested, and at whose instance they were introduced; they were inserted by the Russian Plenipotentiary; and why? To keep upon record the original principle upon which the convention had been made by Russia. If, indeed, those words imported that the continuances of the payments on account of the loan was to depend upon the continued existence of the arrangements under every one stipulation of the treaty, then I should admit that no doubt could exist as to the releases of England from the obligations of that convention; but I cannot bring myself to think that under those words put into the preamble, a single violation made of one of the articles of the Treaty of Vienna does release Great Britain from the obligations which that convention imposed upon her. If, therefore, I am called upon to say what my opinion is on that solemn treaty, I am bound to tell the House that I cannot think we are in honour released from the engagements we have entered into; but, even if there were a doubt in any man's mind upon the subject—if in the mind of any Member of this House there were a question whether or no we were bound by our engagements—I think the feeling of every Englishman would be, in a question which involves the honour of the country, that that doubt should be given in favour of the other party, and that it would not become this House to interpret a doubtful case in our own favour without knowing whether the other party was a consenting party. I am ready to admit that if the case were free from doubt, and were open and palpable, and that it could be shown to the satisfaction of every reasonable and impartial man that from the circumstances of the case, and under a fair interpretation, we were released from the engagements we had entered into, I should agree with the hon. Member for Weymouth, who spoke this evening, and who said that we ought not from any feeling of magnanimity, or from a chivalrous generosity, considering the burdens the people have to bear, to make any payment which we are not strictly bound to makes; but, believing, as I do, that there is no doubt, anel seeing that the greater part of those who have spoken upon this question, however they may differ from me on other points, admit that point, I think it would ill become this House to agree to the concluding resolutions of my hon. Friend, and determine that this payment should henceforward cease. I am sure that if the other Powers are found to be wanting in their engagements, it would be no satisfaction to this country to follow their example, and break the engagements we have entered into. It cannot be contended that examples of a breach of faith in one party justify the violation of the engagement on the part of the others; and if there is one foundation upon which the moral strength of this country depends more than another, it is that which it derives from its faithful and honourable fulfilment of the engagements it has entered into. I should, therefore, hope that this House will not be led, even in a case which may be doubtful, to risk the reputation of England upon a matter of good faith, and that my hon. Friend, seeing that there is a majority of this House who do not concur with him in the opinion he entertains, will be disposed, upon the fourth resolution, as he may perhaps on the preceding one, not to press the House to express its opinion by a division. I think that upon the first resolution, it would be most desirable that he should abstain from pressing it. There is, I think, with few exceptions, a great unanimity of opinion in this House as to the transactions which have taken place at Cracow; and it would be most unfortunate if that opinion were put in doubt by a division which would be sure to be misunderstood. The technicalities of the House of Commons are little understood elsewhere; and if the hon. Gentleman presses this Houses to a division on the previous question, although we understand what that division means, I am sure he will see that it would be considered as a division of opinion on a question upon which hardly any division of opinion exists. I am sure that my hon. Friend, with that Parliamentary judgment which he possesses, sincerely wishing, as I know he does, to give effect to the opinions he entertains, will take the advice given to him by others, and not divide the House upon the first resolution. I should also hope that my hon. Friend would not press the House to a division on the last; because, unless he has a fair chance of carrying into effect the opinions he entertains, I think that for many reasons the House will see that it is better for the character of the country that no attempt should appear to be made by the House of Commons to discontinue a payment for the cessation of which there was no clear justification. The noble Lord concluded by moving the previous question.


would not detain the House above one minute. He rose merely to enter his protest, as a Member of that House—as a Member of a State said to be the freest in the world—as a Member of a House which professed to represent the opinions and feelings of the people of the British empire—to protest against the attempted palliation, nay, of the attempted vindication of the horrible massacre of the Gallician nobles. The blood-stained Metternich had called upon these unfortunate men to collect the taxes of the Austrian Government, and discharge other odious duties; and when a convenient time came, he let loose his bloodhounds upon them. He protested, therefore, against the palliation, which had been attempted, of such cruelty; and he protested also against the vindication set up on a previous evening by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, of the actions of the execrable and hideous monster who ruled Russia at the present moment.


said, that an allusion had been made to his approaching the rank of senior Member of that House; but he could say, that during all the time that he had been in Parliament, he had never heard such doctrines maintained as he had heard that evening from the hon. Member (Mr. Disraeli), and on a former occasion from the noble Lord the Member for Lynn. It was satisfactory for him, however, to perceive that on a subject of such importance—a subject involving the peace of the world—the opinion of the House should have been so strikingly and unanimously displayed in support of the views which he had himself expressed at the proceedings of the members of the Holy Alliance. He deemed his triumph complete, if he excepted the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, whose opinions, he believed, the whole House repudiated. He believed that if the whole country were consulted on the sentiments which had been expressed by that noble Lord and the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, he was sure that they would be received with a universal shout of execration. He confessed that he had endeavoured to ascertain what the motives of these two hon. Gentlemen could be; and the only guess he could arrive at was, that it was the intention of these two Gentlemen, at the close of the Session, to make a continental tour towards the north, and that they were preparing the way for a good reception. He could not account for their conduct in any other way. To be received at Vienna by the Emperor of Austria, and at St. Petersburgh by the Emperor of Russia, as the only two individuals who could be found in England to stand up and pass encomiums upon these despots, and vindicate their conduct, was certainly a great honour; and the reception which awaited the two travellers would no doubt be proportioned to their merits, and to the service they had rendered their entertainers. He could only say, that if he wished for any justification of the course he had pursued, the most complete one had been afforded by that debate. The sentiments expressed in the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, did him great credit, and would be reechoed throughout the country; but, with regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, he (Mr. Hume) would say—may he long live to enjoy the reputation accorded to it by history! Notwithstanding the unanimity—the wonderful unanimity—of the House in favour of his views, he found there were doubts raised in the minds of so many as to the policy of pressing the Motion, that he did not feel disposed to set his own opinion against theirs. He must, however, say that the hon. Member for Bute had completely made out his (Mr. Hume's) case as to the non-liability of Great Britain to the payment of the loan. The noble Lord had admitted that a doubt might possibly arise on the construction of the words "shall maintain the general arrangements made at Vienna;" and the hon. Member for Bute had since referred to a document which gave the very construction put on them by the Plenipotentiaries of Russia themselves. Before the House separated, he begged it to be understood that he did not wish to go beyond the principles laid down in the years 1831 and 1832. If Her Majesty's Government desired to continue the payment to Russia, let them undertake it upon a just and intelligible principle; let them bring in a Bill to declare the precise footing upon which they paid the money, and not let it remain payable on the present vague and unsatisfactory basis. He considered that the opposition which he had offered in reference to this matter, was supported by law. The hon. Gentleman who now taunted him with change of sentiment, had often altered his own opinions, although he had not always the moral courage to avow his conversion. The time at which it was said he changed his opinions was one in which he was compelled to mate his election between the Whig Ministry and the Reform Bill upon the one hand, or on the other of giving validity to the treaty with Russia. It was said that he had waited for twelve years; but why did he wait? He waited for a breach of the treaty. No one had any objection to the principles that he had laid down, if he merely excepted the noble Lord and the hon. Gentlemen who were anxious to secure for themselves a favourable reception at foreign Courts. He had obtained a complete triumph. [Laughter] No one laughed but the mischief-makers; and, as he had answered his purpose, he now felt no objection to withdraw his Motion.

Motion withdrawn.

House adjourned at a quarter past One o'clock.