§ MR. HUME
Sir, I have to ask the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, whether he intends to bring on his Motion, consisting of forty articles, every one of which would occupy an ordinary night's debate. I merely speak with a view to his having his whole statement to lay before the House. He must allow me to say—and I do it with all deference I am sure, now that the House is all together, and the public are so anxious upon the question—I am quite confident that I may appeal with perfect safety to the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment of last night, that they are as anxious for the debate to proceed without interruption as those on this side of the House. Under these circumstances, I trust the hon. and learned Member for Youghal will postpone his Mo- 291 tion. I have had as much experience of Motions in my time as any man, and I have learnt by experience that it is unwise to press such a Motion, except at the proper time; and I will advise the hon. and learned Gentleman really to allow the debate on this question to proceed. I will promise him a much better hearing at a future period than he can expect if he forces it upon the House on this occasion. I beg the hon. and learned Member to understand that I do not wish to prevent his bringing forward the Motion, or stating what he pleases, for I am most anxious to encourage everything of the kind; but it is right that we should not be interrupted in the string of argument which has been commenced, which we ought to elucidate as much as possible, with a view of clearing with the public out of doors, as well as in doors, these things. I can only say, that it will be a great favour to myself if this debate proceed. I may appeal to every Member of the House that they will be most anxious also.
§ MR. STAFFORD
Before the hon. and learned Member rises to answer the appeal which has been put to him, I, as the Mover of the Amendment which was under discussion in the House last night, can say, that I believe it to be the universal wish on this side of the House that the debate should close this evening. I therefore ask him, whether it will be desirable for him to proceed with the Motion, against, I may say, the whole sense of the House?
§ MR. ANSTEY
Mr. Speaker, before I proceed to answer the appeal which has been made to me by the hon. Member for Montrose, I beg to assure the hon. Member who has just sat down, that if it were possible for me to postpone the Motion in which I have an interest in favour of his Motion, I should be most happy to render to that hon. Member that poor service. But as to the other hon. Member (Mr. Hume), I do put it to this House that the appeal which has been made to me is not fair—that I am unfairly dealt with, when the appeal which has been addressed to me by that hon. Gentleman in private, is repeated thus with all the assistance and support that the presence of a number of impatient Members—I mean impatient for the termination of this debate, and unwilling perhaps to permit the opening of the Motion in which I am interested—can give it. To that hon. Gentleman, in private, I made this answer, and I now again make it in presence of this House—that 292 assuming for a moment that this were res integra, and that I was now for the first time called upon to say whether I would press upon this House or not the Motion of which I have given notice—assuming that I had not repeatedly postponed it: in the first instance, because I found that it was in the power of Government to shut me out, inasmuch as I had not complied with the forms of the House, and had given notice for a Monday, on which day debates take precedence of notices of Motion; and on another occasion, in order that a Bill, said to be for the preservation of life, might not be obstructed in its passage through the House—a Bill to which I was hostile, and in refusing to give way in favour of which, therefore, I was making myself liable to the charge of having obstructed it; assuming, again, that the day which was given me for the purpose of bringing on my Motion had not been lost by the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government moving and carrying the adjournment of the House, and thereby postponed it to the day for which I had given this notice—taking all these assumptions to be true, even then I do put it to the House whether the statement which I made just now to the hon. Member, and which I am now going to repeat, is not a satisfactory answer. I told that hon. Gentleman, I tell him now, and I repeat it in presence of the House, that last night a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House, intending to take a part in the Jewish Bill, and not intending to be present on the occasion of my Motion, came to me and asked me in a pressing manner, one after another, whether it was my intention to persevere, or whether, if the House showed its reluctance to hear me, I would give way unappealed to; and, in some of these instances, it was put to me as a man of honour, whether or no it was my intention to give way or to persevere; and I answered those hon. Gentlemen, one and all, upon my word of honour, that, let the consequences be what they might, however much my position in the House might be affected by my determination, to proceed; for I was in this position—that I could not go back, and that I must persevere; and upon the faith of that assurance, several hon. Gentlemen, as I told the hon. Member for Montrose, have left the House. After this I shall best consult my views of propriety when I tell the hon. Gentleman firmly and respectfully that it is not my intention to go back from my assurance; 293 that I find it impossible for me to accede to his application; and, however reluctantly, I must proceed with this Motion.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
The hon. Member will understand that if he proceeds it is against the wish of the House. It is for the public convenience that I ask him to put it off; it is to allow a debate to continue that has already begun. I have no objection to the hon. Gentleman's Motion. It is a general rule to allow debates to proceed in preference to other matters; and it is right to call the hon. Member's attention to that rule, as he is probably less acquainted with our usages than Members are who have had more experience.
§ MR. ANSTEY
I am perfectly aware that the course I am taking is not the general one; but I think, Sir, that I shall show the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), before I sit down, that I have very good reason for making this an exception to the rule that he has propounded. It would be impossible for me to pursue any course but that on which I am going to insist, without displeasing, in the most eminent degree, the noble Lord himself. When I inform the noble Lord, which I do at this early period, that I am about to ask for more than papers—that the object of my Motion is preliminary to another of a much graver kind, affecting the position of some Colleagues of that noble Lord, and perhaps of that noble Lord himself; I trust that I do not mistake the character of the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, when I express my conviction that he will be the first to urge me to proceed with it.
Sir, I do not undervalue the importance of the Bill now before the House. I will not attempt to deny that it is what it has been described to be this evening—a national measure. But before I sit down, I shall satisfy, I trust, some hon. Members in this House that the object which I propose to further by the Motion of which I have given notice is far more important; and that the national interests to which my Motion relates are of far greater consequence than those which the noble Lord's Bill professes to regulate. And if the noble Lord still founds himself on the supposed unimportance of the objects which I have in view, I will answer the noble Lord in the words of his own Colleague (the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland). I will read to the noble Lord the opinion of Lord Clarendon, then Lord Privy Seal, when he was called upon by the Marquess of Londonderry in the House of Lords to defend the policy of 294 his embassy at the Court of Madrid. I quote from his speech of the 23rd July, 1839. These are his words:—I think that any Member of Parliament who promotes discussion upon foreign affairs does a great public good. For it is astonishing, and at the same time lamentable, how great an apathy exists in England with regard to our relations with foreign countries, and how much indifference there is as to whether our interests in every part of the world are properly protected—whether the reciprocal obligations of treaties are properly observed—whether everything that is good in the laws, institutions, and practices of a foreign country is carefully collected and sent home—and, above all, whether every opportunity is turned to account for extending our commercial relations. For these, my Lords, I apprehend, in the present times, are the real duties of diplomacy. It is always, therefore, with satisfaction that I see any subject connected with our foreign relations discussed in Parliament, in order that the country may have an opportunity of learning its true position with respect to other nations.Having now, in the words of Lord Clarendon, replied to his noble Colleague, I shall leave the matter there without attempting to weaken the effect of that reply by any words of mine. But, Sir, let me remove a misapprehension of the hon. Member for Montrose. Let me inform that hon. Gentleman that the difficulty which he apprehends is imaginary—let me assure him that, although I am led into some matters of detail, and that, although my notice of Motion ranges over some forty subjects, those which I have to propose to the House to-night are two only—the danger of foreign aggression from abroad: the danger of treason at home.
Sir, these are the subjects which I have to bring under the notice of this House. It is no question of faction—it is no fleeting, ephemeral matter of the day—it is no mere abstraction pressing for no immediate settlement—it is a most practical and most important question. It most deeply and painfully affects, as long as it remains unsettled, the character of this country, represented by the present servants of the Crown, in the eyes of foreign nations and of our own subjects; and I could not have conceived, until I heard it this night, that any of those servants could for a moment dare to seek to have a question of that magnitude postponed in favour of any other question whatsoever.
Sir, it is an appeal to the great inquest of the nation to inquire into charges of crime. It is an appeal to the high Council of State to advise Her Majesty on matters of great national import. Not a 295 word shall fall from my lips this night which is unworthy of the subject; or unfit to be uttered in the hearing of such a Council and such a Court.
Sir, the impression has gone abroad that the question which I have to bring before the House is one of a personal character. Sir, I will deal with that question more in detail by and by. At present I content myself with an emphatic denial. I speak in the presence of that noble Lord against whom my charges point. I will venture to say, in the presence of that noble Lord, without the fear of contradiction, that personal questions between us have never passed; and that, probably, before these accusations were preferred, he never heard the name of the humble individual who stands before him. For my part, at least, I can say, that until I became a Member of this House, so far from having had communication to the injury of the noble Lord, I had never set eyes on his person. As far as I am concerned, therefore, the question of personality has no basis; and I take this opportunity to say, that I am not the instrument or agent of the passion or vindictiveness of any other individual, whether a Member of this House or a stranger to it. Sir, the question is too large for personalities. I have not consulted mine own case or pleasure in bringing it before the House. It is a very painful and responsible duty that I have to perform. I have to present to the notice of the House a betrayed and enfeebled nation—a Crown degraded and oppressed—the resources of a great country diverted from her defence, and converted to her ruin—her treasures lavished—her blood spilt like water in the destruction of all that is dear to her—her honours faded—her influence blighted—her name abhorred among nations—her public conduct the scorn and laughing-stock of all the world; and all this by the act of one man, at the absolute and arbitrary discretion of whom every one of us is at this moment placed, because he acts without the authority of law, and without fear for his person.
Sir, this in brief is the substance of the charge which I shall this night prefer in due form in my place against the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton.
Sir, the nature of the danger from abroad to which I shall direct the attention of the House is simply this. I shall establish upon the clearest evidence, and to the satisfaction of the House, that the 296 designs of our great and natural enemy the Czar of Russia, which, owing to a variety of causes, had greatly prospered during the last century which preceded the advent of the noble Lord to the head of his office, have been during the period which has since elapsed—the period to which my notice of Motion relates—from the year 1830 down to the present time, forwarded with astonishing rapidity and success; that the present position of Russia in relation to England and the world, is immeasurably better, and prouder, and more prosperous than at any former period; and that the contrast between what she was at the death of the Empress Catherine, and what she was at the day when the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs stepped into office, is incomparably less startling than that picture which I might present, were I to compare her present proud position with that in which the noble Lord found her. It has been through his policy that the long cherished designs of Russia against the peace of the world, and the greatness of England, and set forth in the plainest terms in her own State papers, are now on the point of being realised. Let me add, that it depends greatly upon the decision which this House may take in reference—I will not say to my Motion, but in reference to the question to which my Motion relates—it depends greatly, I say, upon that decision now, whether we are to live to see the entire destruction of our greatness—whether we are to behold her establishing her dominion at Constantinople, and ruling at once over the West and the East—whether we are to behold the destruction, not only of our Indian empire, and of our colonial dominion, but of the realm itself.
Sir, let the House for one moment cast back its regards to the immense strides which that ambitious Power has made during the period which has elapsed since 1772. Sir, in the interval that gigantic Power, the enemy of the peace of the world, has gained in Poland a territory as large as that of Austria; in Turkey in Europe, a territory as large as Prussia without the Rhenish provinces; in Turkey in Asia, a territory as large as that of the whole of Germany, including the Rhenish provinces and Belgium; in Sweden, a larger territory, larger than is now possessed by that Crown; in Persia, a territory as large as England; in Tartary, a territory as large as all Italy, Greece, and Spain, put 297 together; and that, in fine, the extent of territory at present belonging to Russia, is double that which it was in the year 1772. In the same interval she has advanced her frontier 1,000 miles towards Calcutta; 1,000 miles towards Teheran; 850 miles towards the capitals of Europe; and 300 miles towards Stockholm. She is at this moment in sight of that city fortifying her frontier, and by the labour of Polish convicts raising those batteries and fortresses on the Isle of Aland, from which at no distant day she will sally forth to complete the destruction of that ancient kingdom.
Sir, how has she done this? It is good to look back upon history, the history of the past, that it may guide us in the understanding of the present. I put my hand upon the political testament of the Czar Peter. I read there that, in the judgment of the Czar, "no means should be neglected for obtaining, in furtherance of this end, the assistance of all the courts, and especially of the literary and scientific men of Europe, whether on considerations of interest, through the philanthropic principles of modem philosophy, or by any other means which might be considered more efficacious." Religion, he; says, is a useful means to the same end; and that it will be well "to mix ourselves up at any price, and by every possible means, force, or stratagem, in all the complications of Europe; to extend ourselves by every possible means in the north to wards the Baltic, and in the south towards Persia, the Black Sea, and Constantinople—to maintain the jealousy of England against Sweden and Denmark, in order to subjugate the one by means of the other—to flatter and caress Austria for the purpose of engaging her to drive the Turks out of Europe, and under pretext of assisting her to advance by the Black Sea to Constantinople—to flatter Austria unceasingly, and to realize against her by stealth enemies who shall gradually deprive her of her strength—and intimately convinced of this truth, that the commerce of India assures by its riches the empire of the world, to make unceasing war with Persia for the purpose of penetrating to the Persian Gulph, the centre of this commerce so much coveted." And well and faithfully have those counsels been obeyed. From the time of the infamous Marquess of Carmarthen, Secretary of State to William III.—and whom, during his visit to his court, the Czar Peter found means to corrupt to his interest with the gold 298 of British merchants—Russia has never been without an agent to represent her in some of the Cabinets of Europe. And, lest there should be any in this House who find it impossible to believe that a British statesman can commit the crime of Richelieu and of La Ferronays, Ministers of the Restoration, and of Molé, Minister of Louis Philippe, I would again invite their serious attention to the history of the last century. I would earnestly entreat them out of their experience of the past to make their guide for the present. They will find that the Government of St. Petersburg has never faded.
Sir, we are familiar with the history of the last century. We know what have been the means that have been employed by this Power, which it suits some persons at this day to stigmatise, and some to praise, as a great Conservative Power. The history of the last century furnishes us with evidence that the diversity of the means at the disposal of this Power is only to be equalled by her readiness to make use of them. Insomuch that you have found her in one country pretending to support with the utmost zeal the doctrines of absolutism; in another those of constitutional governments; in another those of aristocracy; and in another those of the wildest democracy. You have her giving her hand to the insurgents in the United Colonies of North America, and assisting them to independence—you have her after wards, when their independence is achieved, siding, not with the aristocratic or federalist school, but with Jefferson, and the wild Democrats and Jacobins of that transatlantic commonwealth—the incendiary—for the Parliamentary annals of the times, and the despatches of our Ambassador, Lord Malmesbury, establish that charge—the incendiary which set on fire the metropolis of England, and the fanaticism of its populace, in the days of Lord George Gordon—you have her interfering to disturb the affairs of Spain at the end of the last and in the present century, in which country she had no personal interest—you have her again interfering in Poland in the way recommended and advised by the Czar—interfering there in the interests of "humanity and civilisation and religious liberty," until Poland ceased to be—you have her in this present century detected in attempting in like manner to deprive this Crown of the comparatively small dominions which still remain to it on 299 the North American continent—you have her, in fine, establishing—to use the words of a diplomatist of the present day—the immense difference between herself and other Powers, in this, that while they have each their principles to maintain, she has no principles to maintain, but ends to accomplish. Sir, after this it cannot surprise the House to find her supported at one and the same time, represented by agents, in the Cabinet of the Tuileries, and in the Cabinet of St. James's. Sir, the whole mystery of the connexion—of the disgraceful and treasonable connexion—is not for me to trace, neither have I now the means satisfactorily to trace it. I am content to establish the fact; and if I do so it will be impossible for the House to pause—it will be impossible for it not to go further, or to give this question the go by. For at least I will endeavour not to deserve the censure which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth gave, and, in my judgment, very properly gave to a former accusation, when some of the questions which I have to raise to-night were referred to in this House. It shall not be to me that the words which I am going to quote shall be applied by the right hon. Gentleman, or by any other Member of this House. No man shall say that I "do not accuse any person of dishonest or corrupt motives, or that I confine myself to a mere question of public policy of a doubtful nature." I quote from the right hon. Baronet's memorable speech on the 1st of March, 1843, which I shall by and by more minutely refer to. On the contrary, Sir, I shall trace the noble Lord step by step through his policy, at first dark and tortuous, but latterly, as his positions became established by long impunity and success, more confident and clear. I shall trace him step by step; I shall enumerate the material points of his policy; and I shall establish in every case a violation by the noble Lord of the laws of this country, of the law of nations, of the law of nature, and of the law of God; I shall ask the judgment of the House upon each crime taken separately, and upon the aggregate taken collectively; and I shall do this in a clear and unmistakeable manner, in my place, and upon my responsibility, as a Member of this House, and with the knowledge that if I fail to prosecute the noble Lord to conviction, there is no censure and chastisement which this House has legal power to impose which I shall not most justly deserve.
300 Sir, the matter, however, does not rest here. It will not be a charge like that which was incurred by Mr. Fox and his Colleagues, when, in a moment of the wild fanaticism of party, they defeated the just and wise policy of Mr. Pitt, and did an act which it is impossible to characterise in the language of the law and of morality otherwise than as an act of treason. Such a charge might have been brought against Mr. Fox and his Colleagues for their traitorous message to Saint Petersburg, and the frustration of the expedition for the relief of Oczakow, because that was a crime unquestionably for which they deserved, though they did not find, the punishment imposed by the law upon correspondence with a foreign enemy to the detriment and prejudice of the State.
But, Sir, there is this remarkable difference between the criminality of these persons and the criminality of the noble Lord—that the crime of Mr. Fox and his party was a single and isolated fact—it was an inconsistency in the general policy of those statesmen. It was one which I will not say was counterbalanced, for there is no set-off for crime, but which was forgotten on account of the great services which those statesmen, at a sub sequent period, endeavoured to render to England and to the human race, in warding off and frustrating the ambitious designs of the common enemy. But in the case of the noble Lord, I will go thus far in the way of admission, that if any hon. Member of this House can show me a single fact in the whole career of the noble Lord which is inconsistent with the charge which I make, I will frankly and voluntarily abandon the whole charge. On the contrary, Sir, I shall clearly show, having established, on satisfactory evidence, the guilt of the noble Lord in a variety of instances, which I shall enumerate, that there is a consistent tenor in all this criminality, so that it is impossible to quit the subject and to find refuge in any other conviction than that throughout the whole of his acts there is proof of concert and of design—of concert with the enemy, of design in the noble Lord; and there fore that it is impossible to resist the conclusion which the law and common sense, and which opinion will draw, that the noble Lord has superadded, to all the other crimes which, in the exercise of his functions, to the sacrifice of the interests of England, he has committed the crime of high treason—not constructive treason, 301 not such treason as was chargeable against Mr. Fox—but wilful and deliberate treason—and that at this moment the noble Lord, to whose hands the interests of this country are confided, is still under the necessity of going on in the even path of consistency, conscious that the moment when he pauses will be the moment of his discovery and fall.
Sir, these are, in frank and honest language, the charges which I make and which I do affirm beforehand, and I will now proceed to that statement which will entitle me to demand from the House the means of making them good.
The noble Lord's policy from an early period, from a period which was nearly coeval with his own accession to office, was such as to draw down the approbation, the secret, and therefore it may be supposed the honest approbation of the Russian Cabinet.
Sir, it will be in the recollection of hon. Members that in the year 1829, the Government of this country, headed by the Duke of Wellington, was sedulously, and on the whole successfully, engaged in defending the rights of England and the independence of Turkey against the aggressions and usurpations of Russia. It will be in the recollection of hon. Members, that the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of that day, finding that, contrary to the obligations of solemn treaties, Russia was using the Treaty of London in 1826, for the purpose of her own territorial aggrandizement, intimated to her Ambassador in this country, that the Government not only would not sanction such aggrandizement, but would, if necessary, enforce against Russia the stipulations of the Treaty of London. Amidst these negotiations the war still went on between Russia and the Turks. The hopes and fears of the Russian Cabinet were at that time represented by Prince Lieven at this Court. I have here an extract from a despatch of Prince Lieven, dated June the 1st, 1829, and which was very soon after the cause of a debate in this House, when the noble Lord took upon himself the vindication of Russia—took upon himself to censure the English Government—because it had not proceeded in the course of exacting con cessions to Russia, and sacrificing the interests of Turkey.
§ MR. ANSTEY
I shall come to that question of Greece sooner than the noble 302 Lord perhaps wishes; but, in fact, the noble Lord must know that Greece was then a part of Turkey. Turkey had not recognised the independence of Greece, and, therefore, it was not with Greece alone, but with Turkey too that the Three Powers had to treat for Greek independence.
Now, this despatch mentions a speech of the noble Lord of that period; it speaks of Lord Aberdeen in terms which I trust a British statesman will always be spoken of in a secret and reserved despatch of a Russian Minister—I mean in terms of reprobation. It then proceeds to say of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Palmerston) that—The speech of Lord Palmerston, whose name is henceforward associated with those of the first orators in Parliament, has insisted on the preservation of the general peace, and proved that aft Austro-Turkish policy would only tend to disturb it.Sir, every one of the speeches of the noble Lord on that question may be taken to demonstrate clearly the noble Lord's position—an indication of the views which he held at this time, when his return to office was not by himself immediately expected. On the 5th February, 1830, the noble Lord, speaking of the disinclination of Lord Aberdeen to permit the fall of Turkey, says—I think that the principles on which the foreign policy of this country has been conducted are exceedingly unfortunate. I am of opinion, that they are alike injurious to the honour and to the interests of the empire. … I think it would be mischievous if it went out to the world, that this House entirely approved of the foreign policy of Ministers. Sir, I object to the policy of making the integrity of the Turkish dominion in Europe an object essentially necessary to interests of Christian and civilised Europe.
§ MR. ANSTEY
The speech will speak for itself, if the noble Lord will hear it.I do not wish to see Turkey garrisoned by Russians, nor the Russian frontier extended in that line; indeed such an extension would not be for the interest of Russia herself, and I am sure it would not be for the interest of the rest of Europe. But, I ask, was there no alternative between putting Russia into possession of Turkey, and the cessation of the existence of Turkey as an independent Power? I must conclude, Sir, from what has occurred, that the Russian war has not ended satisfactorily to our Government.So that, according to the noble Lord, there was an alternative between putting Russia in actual possession of Turkey, and the 303 cessation of its political existence. That is to say, the noble Lord saw that there was an alternative by means of which that cessation was to be obtained, without proceeding to give Russia the actual occupation.
Now, what was that alternative? "We had two courses to pursue"—so that it appears there was not one but two courses—the House will presently see that there was only one—"one was evidently out of the question." So that there was only one course after all. What was it? It was this: "If we had not assisted Turkey openly, we might, by inducing her to make timely concessions to just demands, have prevented the occurrence of war." But there was no war except between Russia and Turkey. The war which was then raging between Russia and Turkey was of such a character, that Lord Aberdeen, from the commencement to the close, had stated to the Russian Government his determination not to sanction those demands, nor to allow Russia to place Turkey, towards the rest of Europe, in any other position than she was when she commenced it; because Russia had been previously bound by the Treaty of London to seek no territorial aggrandizement by the operations employed for carrying that treaty into effect, and which were made by her the pretext of war. I say then, that, strengthened by the influence which that treaty gave her, and the rights which that treaty conferred—for the purpose of settling the affairs of Greece, and for no other purpose—Russia did make demands upon Turkey of a nature inconsistent with the terms of that treaty. Those demands the noble Lord pronounced to have been just.
§ LORD PALMERSTON
Those were the demands made before the war. There was no territorial aggrandizement demanded till after the war.
§ MR. ANSTEY
The noble Lord says, that the demands of Russia at the time, the concession of which could alone have prevented the occurrence of war, were just demands. Those were the demands set forth in the note of the Russian Envoy presented to the Porte, and afterwards referred to in the declaration of war. They speak for themselves; they include a demand for reforms in every department of the Turkish Government; they claim for Russia the right to see those reforms executed, and to establish an efficient control over the Turkish Government, under 304 the pretext of carrying those reforms into effect. They relate to Turkey, and not to Greece. If this is not territorial aggrandizement and political advantage, I will ask the noble Lord to tell me what it is. And these demands the noble Lord calls just! "Sir," he proceeds, "I am decidedly of opinion that Government should have used all means to induce Turkey to end a contest which must finally end in her humiliation." And then the noble Lord concludes with words to which I beg the attention of the House:—It will remain to be seen when the papers are produced which Government has announced, whether Ministers did feel it to be impossible to prevent a war between Russia and Turkey; and whether before they desisted from interference they had made every effort to dissuade Turkey from entering into the contest. The speech states that the Government had done their utmost to carry into effect the provisions of the Treaty of London, and that they will lay before Parliament papers to show the progress of those negociations. I hope, Sir, when those papers are produced, that they will be unlike the documents laid before Parliament at the end of last Session—that their contents will not be partial, meagre, and unsatisfactory—that they will not be confined merely to the correspondence of the negotiating parties—but that they will indicate the views and policy of Government during the whole of that long and important transaction.I wish that the noble Lord in office had acted upon this invaluable principle—I wish that he had been thus frank and honest in his communications to Parliament. Had he done so, I should not be under the necessity of asking the House for copies of the whole of the documents relating to those bygone transactions, except such as have been laid before Parliament.
Sir, before I quit this subject, I may mention that the noble Lord is probably referred to in another despatch from Prince Lieven, dated the 4th January, 1829:—As to our war in the East, whatever may be the prejudices of the public generally it does not lack defenders among the most distinguished Members of both Houses of Parliament.When a Russian Minister can with truth assert his reliance upon the support of distinguished Members of Parliament, I think the country has reason to tremble—I think the time has come when, by a great example, future Ministers must be deterred from walking in the noble Lord's footsteps.
Sir, in 1830, the noble Lord came to office. In the meantime the French Revolution of July had broken out, and it gave rise amongst the people of this coun- 305 try to a strong and unanimous desire for a firm and intimate alliance in all future negotiations affecting the peace and interests of the world with France, even against all other Powers. The noble Lord came into power when the mania for reform was at its height—it was no longer possible for the noble Lord to advocate in his seat, and on the Treasury Bench, those interests which he had advocated in Opposition. Accordingly, from November 1830, we hear no more speeches of the noble Lord, made in the defence, or in vindication of the just demands of Russia upon Turkey. The people of England had confidence in the then Ministry, a confidence justified by long services and personal character of some of its principal Members; and the noble Lord who had recently joined the party of reform, came in for a share of the common popularity. The people of England believed that he would not sacrifice to Russia the rights and interests of England and other nations; and that he would not repel France who had now become our ally, and was no longer an object of jealousy with us. Moreover, the Polish insurrection had just broken out, and the sympathies of England were with the Poles. And so strong were their sympathies, that the noble Lord dared not, at that juncture, openly oppose them. But the people of England placed confidence in the noble Lord, and too much relied upon his professions of attachment to the cause of Poland; and in that blind confidence they for bore to incite him to do that to which they generously supposed his principles inclined him—principles which he professed to share with the noble Lord the Member for the city of London and other friends of the cause of civil and religious freedom. Accordingly, not a syllable, as to his views respecting the designs of Russia, appears to have been uttered by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, from his accession to office in 1830, and for many years afterwards.
But still what Lord Aberdeen had to his utmost endeavoured to prevent, was silently pursued by the noble Lord, not only in Turkey, not only in Greece, but also in Poland, and in every part of the world where there were Russian interests to be furthered and English interests to be sacrificed.
The Duke of Wellington, on going out of office, had left behind him a Protest against the Treaty of Adrianople. To that treaty I shall by and by have to make reference. I therefore draw atten- 306 tion to this important fact, that so far from its having been accepted, it was solemnly and effectually protested against by Lord Aberdeen, as we learn from the despatch of Prince Lieven, dated London, June, 1829. It says—It will not escape your Excellency, that the Duke of Wellington and Lord Aberdeen have put everything in motion to wrest from us confidences as to the conditions of our future peace with the Turks. It appeared to us useless to repeat the assurances which, on this point, all the declarations of the Emperor contained, or add even any development of them. We shall confine ourselves to these generalities, for every circumstantial communication on a subject so delicate would have drawn down on us real dangers; and if once we were to discuss with our Allies the articles of a treaty with the Porte, we shall only content them, when they would have believed that they had imposed upon us irreparable sacrifices.Now follow these remarkable words, which are the key to the policy of Russia; and let me add, and I do it with great sorrow, the policy of the noble Lord—It is in the midst of our camp that peace must be signed, and it is when it shall have been concluded that Europe shall know its conditions. Remonstrances will then be too late, and it then will suffer what it can no longer prevent.This, Sir, was on the 1st of June, 1829, and before the noble Lord obtained office. How fearfully has the fulfilment of the prediction already been advanced! Let the House consider what was the state of our foreign relations when the noble Lord became the Foreign Secretary of State. Not a single aggression had then been committed upon Turkey or any other European or Asiatic Power since the Treaty of Vienna, to which England was a party, or against which she had not protested. Down to 1830 there are none of those paper blockades, armed interventions, and military negotiations, with which the noble Lord has made the world so familiar; none of those violations of the common law of nations and of their treaty rights which give its character to the policy of the noble Lord. Down to the period when the cry of Reform began—when men began to seek after novelties of doctrine, and to eschew the sober realities of life—down to that period, England had not committed against the common law of nations anything for which she would be liable even to the suspicion of reproach.
International law was then respected and enforced—Poland had not fallen—Persia was not then enthralled by the Czar—Central Asia was still warmly attached 307 to our alliance—the plains and valleys of the Iberian Peninsula had not been laid desolate and deluged with blood—Circassia had not been betrayed—Canada was loyal—India tranquil and prosperous. We were still the faithful ally of the Porte. Between the United States and this country, no cause of bitterness existed—even the Boundary Question no longer divided those two kindred States—for that question had been definitively settled by the award of the King of the Netherlands. There was not a single difficulty that could embarrass the operations of our Government in its relations to a single foreign State. Let the House consider how different is now the state of the world from what it was in 1830; and let the House remember that during the whole intervening period of eighteen years the Foreign Office has been either under the direct control and management of the noble Lord, or involved in and compromised by the results of his Administration. What a contrast is that between the picture which will offer itself to the eye of the successor of the noble Lord, and that which was presented to the noble Lord himself, on that day of evil omen when he first acceded to the administration of the national affairs of this country—a deplorable choice, which would never have been made if the dying words of Mr. Canning had been remembered and obeyed.
Two matters there were, indeed, in 1830, which somewhat shaded the otherwise bright prospect. The one was the Treaty of Adrianople, extorted from Turkey by Russia, in violation of the Treaty of Lon don—the other was the occupation of Algiers by the Government of Charles X. But even here the wise foresight of Lord Aberdeen had interposed to quench the mischief in its first beginning. Against the Treaty of Adrianople he distinctly protested. The expedition against Algiers was undertaken to resent a supposed injury and insult which, according to the French Government (I will not stop to inquire into the truth of the allegation), had been offered by the Dey of Algiers to a diplomatic agent of France. Explanations were demanded by Lord Aberdeen; and the French Government was informed that, though England could not justify intervention to prevent the French Government from obtaining a just indemnity and satisfaction for whatever injury it had received, still no territorial aggrandizement of France in the Medi- 308 terranean, at the expense of the Porte, could be sanctioned by the English Government. Lord Aberdeen obtained from the Prince de Polignac the solemn assurance that the King of France sought no territorial aggrandizement; and that the terms of adjustment with Turkey and Algiers should be settled only after deliberation with the Allies of both Powers; and that, with the exception of two forts on the seaboard, La Callé and La Bastion de France, which were to be retained for the protection of the residents, the Algerine territory should be evacuated by the French army as soon as satisfaction was obtained. The revolution came; and France felt all the more the necessity of an English alliance against the apprehended invasions of a Russian and Austrian force; and if the negotiation for the surrender of Algiers to the Porte had still to be commenced, can it be believed that France would not have gladly made the sacrifice to secure the useful and valuable friendship of her new ally? How much more easy was it then for the noble Lord to obtain that concession, when in asking it he had to demand only the fulfilment of that which had been stipulated with his predecessor. The endeavour was not made, and Algiers was permanently abstracted by France from the dominion of Turkey, and the noble Lord connived at the usurpation. To this subject I shall have to refer by and by. At present I will content myself with repeating that the Treaty of Adrianople and the occupation of Algiers, thus severally protested against on the part of the British Crown, constituted the only exceptions to the general tranquillity and repose of the world at the time when the noble Lord, unhappily for England, became charged with the Foreign Department.
Now, Sir, what was the first act of the noble Lord? In tracing the progress of Russian usurpation, I begin with Turkey, and for two reasons: the one is, because the occupation of that country was indicated of old by the Czar Peter as the first important step to the world's dominion, in the instruction which he drew up, and from which I have quoted a few passages; and secondly, because of its peculiar importance and interest to our Eastern Empire, which is also endangered and threatened by Russia, and of which Turkey is the only bulwark.
I said just now, that the time would come when, our colonial dominion, and our Indian empire, and even our independent 309 existence, would pass away, and that it depended mainly upon the success of this Motion whether or not this generation will witness it. I will now tell the House why I think so. We are now at the crisis. At this moment Russia is powerless against England; but in a short time it will be England that is impotent to resist Russia. The whole depends on one point—the possession of Constantinople. At this moment Russia dares not make war upon England. At this moment she is vulnerable in the very heart and strength of her empire. She has 2,000 miles of open coast to defend. All her efforts are, therefore, directed to the extension of her frontier to the Dardanelles. Then she will have narrowed that frontier to one league, and made it impregnable. Such is the position which she acquires from the moment that you have placed her in possession of Constantinople; for it will be by your act, and not by hers, that she is placed there. I say that to the Russians it is a vital question; to her and to us it is a question of life and death. Then, with subjugated Asia behind her, and Europe powerless in her front, and holding the keys of maritime and terrene dominion, it will depend on her to say how long shall endure—I will not say our Indian empire, nor our colonial rule—but our very existence as an independent State.
Sir, in 1833, Turkey found herself engaged in war with her vassal, the Pacha of Egypt. I shall not stop to point out by what means that powerful vassal was pushed on to attack the Porte. There never was any question in the mind of any man amongst those charged with the conduct of our foreign affairs, that he was pushed on by Russia.
I will, however, lay before the House, as briefly as I can, the results with which my humble industry has furnished me, from such sources as I have found open to me. For I have to state, that the volume of papers which the noble Lord in 1840 pretended to lay before the House, in explanation of the Treaty of July, 1840, and of the events which led to that measure, commence only with February 15,1839. That was not the beginning of the question. The question arose in the year 1833. The whole case, therefore, has never yet been laid before Parliament.
In 1833, Mehemet Ali's forces, under the command of Ibrahim Pacha, his son, marched against Constantinople. There were difficulties which the House will per- 310 fectly understand—difficulties superinduced by the events of Navarino and Adrianople—which made it impossible to resist this powerful vassal at that time without calling in the aid of those Powers who had guar anteed the integrity of his empire—a guarantee on the faith of which the Porte, in 1829, had agreed to accept their interference. Accordingly, and on the security of treaties, application was made by the Porte to the noble Lord to protect Turkey against the Pacha of Egypt. The noble Lord refused this protection. Russia then offered her assistance; her offer was refused; for, notwithstanding the injustice and perfidy with which the noble Lord had already begun to treat Turkey, confidence was still reposed in England, and Russia was still held at defiance. A renewed application was made to England for support; and this time Russia affected to lend her countenance to the request. It was again refused. Yet, at a subsequent period, it appeared that the slightest intimation of the noble Lord's wishes would have sufficed to check Ibrahim's march. In fact, a mere consular agent at Alexandria of himself sufficed to check it. The Sultan, finding himself deprived of English support, how ever, at this critical juncture, and fearing for his capital, at length, and without the knowledge of the Porte, accepted a treaty which came to him ready drawn from St. Petersburg, and which placed his person and capital in the hands of Russian troops. Count Orloff was sent with this treaty from St. Petersburg; and he procured its acceptance by the Porte. It was signed at Unkiar Skelessi, shortly after his arrival; but not till the Porte had made another ineffectual attempt to move the noble Lord to justice. For no sooner had the Porte received it, than the treaty was communicated by them to the British Embassy, with a prayer for our protection against Ibrahim Pacha, and also against Nicholas. I do not think that our Ambassador was then there. The Ambassador, at every emergency brought about by the noble Lord, is always found to be absent. At all events the application was rejected. But that was not all. With an atrocious perfidiousness, the fact was made known to the Russian Minister! Next day the very copy of the treaty which the Porte had lodged with the British Embassy was returned to the Porte by the Russian Ambassador, who ironically advised the Porte "to choose better another time its confidantes." The noble Lord best knows whe- 311 ther the actor of this perfidy was chastised or rewarded. But no sooner was the treaty signed, than, shaking off his inaction, the noble Lord gave the necessary orders, and an English squadron, accompanied by a French squadron—for the French Government were then most disposed to co-operate implicitly with England in the affairs of the East—made a hostile demonstration, not against Russian ports in the Baltic or the Black Sea, but against the Dardanelles and other parts of the dominions of our ally the Sultan! Yet the alleged necessity for this demonstration was grounded on the Porte having accepted the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi at the dictation of the Cabinet of St. Petersburg!
Sir, even this was not all. I have it on the authority of a book revised and published under the eye of Lord Ponsonby himself, our Ambassador at Constantinople—I have it on the authority of a book, which not only received the sanction of that noble Lord, but of which he is understood to have sometimes claimed the honour of authorship, that at the very time when this pretended demonstration took place, a communication was made to the Russian Ambassador here by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton—
§ There being found only thirty-nine Members present,
§ House adjourned.