§ The Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on Mr. Anstey's Motion for an Address for Papers relating to the Treaty of Adrianople was read.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Although I shall be a little out of order, I trust that I may be allowed to answer a question that has not been put, but the purport of which has been conveyed to me by my hon. Friend who has just resumed his seat (Mr. Wakley). He wished to ask whether any information had reached Her Majesty's Government of any personal violence having been offered to any British subject in Paris during the late disturbances. I am happy to inform my hon. Friend and the House, that I have no reason to believe that any such occurrence has taken place. I believe that the British subjects at Paris have acted with that prudence and discretion which becomes strangers in a country where disturbance is going on, and that they have abstained from taking any part in the recent occurrences, and have not foolishly and wantonly mixed themselves up in them. Now, in proceeding to continue the statement which I was interrupted by the necessary adjournment of the House in making the other day, I really feel that I have some apology to make to the House for detaining them with transactions that occurred twenty years ago, at a moment when the public attention is engrossed by matters of the most overpowering importance, and of the most overwhelming interest, succeeding each other with unexampled rapidity, and which, for the moment at least, must throw into the shade all the interest of those long gone by and frequently discus- 67 sed matters. I have also on my own part to solicit some indulgence from the House, in times like these, when the proper person or corporate body to appoint for such authority as has been imposed upon me, would be the Siamese twins—the one to write all that has to be written, and the other to hear all that he has to hear, and to say all that has to be said. Since this Motion has been brought forward, and especially during the last week, I really have not had the time that I should wish to devote to methodise and arrange the whole of the matters referred to by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Anstie) in his speech. I trust, therefore, that any want of arrangement on my part, which is a necessary consequence, perhaps, of the want of arrangement on his part, may be pardoned by the House, who otherwise should not be disposed to excuse such deficiency on the part of those who have any matter to submit to its consideration. The hon. and learned Gentleman skipped about from transaction to transaction, and jumbled the various matters adverted to in his notice in such a manner, that the topics of his speech might be likened to the confused mass of luggage brought to the Custom-house by some of the continental steamboats, when no man knows where he is to find his own. Now, the subjects which the notice of the hon. and learned Gentleman includes, are 40 in number; they have been already the subject of 139 discussions in Parliament, while the correspondence relative to them is contained in no less than 2,775 folio volumes of office papers. Under these circumstances, the House will readily suppose that I must trust mainly to my recollection in the statements which I shall feel it to be my duty to make them, and that neither in the last week, nor indeed at any time since this notice has been given, has it been in my power to go through, with that minuteness which would be necessary, the multiplied transactions to which the notice relates. I remember a friend of mine mentioning to me the circumstances connected with an accident to a naval officer who was nearly drowned, and afterwards recovered by the ordinary mode of treatment. At the moment of drowning, all the events of his past life rushed hurriedly to his recollection. Now, though I have been much threatened and attacked by the hon. and learned Gentleman, I have not been anything like so nearly swamped by him as that all the events of my official 68 life should crowd at one moment to my mental vision. I trust, however, that my memory on all those matters is sufficient to enable me to give to the House such information as will be satisfactory to them. I believe that the best method for me to pursue, win be to take the topics in the order in which they stand on the Notice Paper. The first of these topics is the Treaty of Adrianople, which appears, in fact, to be the main question to be discussed by the House. With regard to this and all the other topics, I would say that papers concerning them had been laid at the time before Parliament, containing such a statement of the transactions as appeared to the Government, spontaneously or at the call of Parliament, sufficient to explain the transactions which had taken place. The hon. and learned Member calls in the first resolution for secret papers, of which there are very few; but I may state that with regard to the correspondence generally of Governments, the practice is this—and, I may add, that practice I have invariably followed—the practice and the duty of a Government when diplomatic transactions occur which it is desirable that the House and the country should become acquainted with—the practice is, to lay before Parliament such portions of the diplomatic transactions that have taken place as will convey to Parliament a true and faithful knowledge of all the main and important circumstances that occurred. But it is not the duty of the Government—but, on the contrary, it would be a breach of that duty if it did so—to lay before Parliament such portions of that correspondence as contained mere opinions and confidential communications made by the Foreign Minister to our agents abroad concerning other matters, and the publication of which would be injurious to the public service, and would have the effect of defeating the object which Parliament and the Government ought to have in view. The Minister at a foreign Court is bound to tell his Government everything he hears, every thing he thinks, everything that is stated to him whether in confidence or not, by the Government with whom he is accredited; and it is manifest that there must be in his despatches a number of communications of various kinds, which, if published, would at once deprive that Minister of all future access to such confidential communications as are essential to the public interest to have made. And I will venture to say that any man who has been at all concerned in 69 these matters, either in the Government or in diplomacy, will at once see that if the rule were acted upon that everything which a foreign Minister writes was strictly to be laid before Parliament, our Minister would soon cease to write anything of benefit or of advantage to the Government or to the country. And when portions of the despatches are withheld, it is not with the wish or the intention or the effect of withholding from Parliament knowledge which it is essential Parliament should possess, but simply for the purpose of not exposing your agent to the certainty of being placed in a position which would deprive him of being at any future time useful to the Government. Therefore when the hon. and learned Gentleman now moves for papers beyond those which have been already produced with respect to these transactions, my answer is—that it is not consistent with my public duty to accede to the demand; but at the same time, if the House choose to appoint a Secret Committee to inquire into the whole subject, I can have no objection whatever to such a course. I have only to say, that if a Secret Committee have to go through the 2,775 volumes of documents, I wish them joy of their task. The Treaty of Adrianople itself has been laid before Parliament. With the negotiation of that treaty I had nothing to do. It was a treaty concluded when I was not in office, and therefore as far as any communications of the Government of that day, in connexion with that treaty, are concerned, I am entirely relieved from all responsibility for them. But at the same time I submit that no good, but, on the other hand, serious inconvenience might probably arise from publishing now a correspondence that I have certainly not recently looked into, but that I feel may, like all correspondence of a similar nature, contain suggestions, and questions, and answers, and communications, in short, which might have had great importance at that time, but which can now have none, except as explaining the course of a transaction that has been closed. But when the hon. and learned Gentleman finds fault with me in regard to that treaty, and says that the Government of that day protested against it, and that I, by some subsequent conduct—Heaven knows what!—gave validity to a treaty which would not be binding without me, I must say that really such a charge implies on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman a want of acquaintance with what 70 a treaty is. The treaty was concluded. It was never protested against in any other manner than in the shape of a remonstrance on the part of the Government of this country on account of the consequences to which they thought it must lead; but the Government of that day, any more than the Government which followed them, did not deny that that treaty, having been concluded and ratified, was a valid portion of the law of Europe. And this I may say, without any breach of official confidence, that I have reason to believe that Sir Robert Gordon, who was the British Ambassador at Constantinople at that time, did give friendly and wise counsel to the Turkish Government to accept the terms offered by Russia at Adrianople, and not risk greater disasters by continuing a war which they were unable to carry on. The next Motion, or rather two or three Motions, relate to transactions of a somewhat similar character—to the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, and the communications, on the part of Russia, with the Governments of Turkey, Moldavia, and Wallachia. The Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi has been laid before Parliament. That treaty—as is well known—was no doubt, to a certain degree, forced upon Turkey by the Russian Envoy, Count Orloff, under circumstances which rendered it difficult for Turkey to refuse acceding to it. Mehemet Ali had invaded Syria, and had advanced far into Asia Minor, and threatened Constantinople. The Sultan applied to the British Government for assistance; but the British Government was not at that time in a condition to send that assistance. We had not a naval force at our disposal sufficient for the purpose. It was known that Russia had offered assistance. The Russian Government said, "We know that application has been made to England, and we should prefer that England should interfere; but if England finds it inconvenient to do so, we will give the assistance that is required, and save Constantinople from the attack of Mehemet Ali." That was done, and Russia sent a force which did stop the advance of the Egyptian army; and an arrangement was made between the Sultan and Mehemet Ali, by which Mehemet Ali was to be made Pasha of Egypt, Syria, and a part of Arabia. The British Government were, however, surprised to learn that when the Russian troops quitted the Bosphorus, they carried that treaty away with them. It was, however, a treaty for a limited period—that is to say, for a 71 period of eight years. The most objectionable feature in it was, that the Sultan bound himself to consult with the Russian Government on all the affairs of his empire—that he did, practically, give to the Russian Government a power of interference and dictation in Turkey, both in her internal and external policy, which we thought was not consistent with the independent position which we considered it necessary that Turkey should maintain. But that treaty was concluded; and whatever might be the objection that England or France was disposed to make to it, it was not competent for either England or France—except by a declaration of war—to compel the parties to annul it. The only course that we felt it was open to us to pursue was to wait until the treaty should expire, and then to endeavour, by friendly communications, to supersede the necessity on which that treaty was founded, by affording to Turkey a larger protection than was given to her by the single engagement with Russia. Then comes the question of the Treaty of Commerce of 1838, with regard to which I must say, that, though commercial treaties are no novelties in the world, and though the man who negotiates one can scarcely have a claim to be ranked with the inventor of printing, or the discoverer of the compass, or other brilliant discoveries, yet I do not wish to detract from the merit which is due to the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Urquhart) in connexion with it. The hon. Gentleman did succeed in preparing the outline of the treaty, and afterwards gave the details of a treaty of commerce with France. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that it was by the especial order of the late King that the consideration of this matter was taken up. The hon. and learned Member seems to me not to have settled his ideas with regard to internal affairs in a much clearer manner than those which he has on foreign affairs. He stated broadly and positively that the Private Secretary of the King was exactly on the footing, in point of power, authority, duties, and responsibilities, with the Secretary of State; that one was neither more nor less than the other; and that I was in the habit of receiving my orders from the Private Secretary; and perhaps he thinks that the Private Secretary was equally in the habit of receiving his orders from me. But that is an entire mistake. The Private Secretary was nothing more, I must say, than the private clerk of the King, whose duty it 72 was to take care of the King's correspondence, and who arranged the King's papers, and performed all those duties which a private secretary is in the habit of doing. But he had no official authority—he had no authority in the State of any kind. The only communications which I or the other Ministers received from the Private Secretary, if written in his own name, were on the most private and unofficial matters; for if they were communications of the King's wishes, they were, though written in the handwriting of the Secretary, always sign-ed by the sign-manual of the King. And, of course, all Ministers of the Crown, when the Sovereign is within reach, and when any occasion occurs when they require to ascertain the wishes of the Sovereign, go and receive them in person. But on no occasion has the Private Secretary any thing to do, or any authority, or communication, or power, with regard to what passes between the King and his Ministers. The hon. and learned Member must surely know that, by the constitution of this country, the orders which Ministers receive from the Sovereign are orders for which these Ministers are responsible; that it is their duty to receive any such orders or advice which the Sovereign may have to give; and that to follow any advice given by another person, not official, not one of the Cabinet, and not responsible, would be highly unconstitutional. The matters to be discussed are between them and the Sovereign, and not between them and the Private Secretary. Therefore the hon. and learned Gentleman is entirely mistaken with regard to the constitution and appointment of the Private Secretary of the Sovereign. But, nevertheless, it is perfectly true that Mr. Urquhart was employed by His Majesty's Government under Lord Grey to draw up a treaty that it was thought would be acceptable to the Turkish Government, and at the same time useful to British commerce. He had been in Greece, and the knowledge which he had acquired on the subject, made me think that his services would be useful; and I was glad to receive suggestions from him, as I always am to receive suggestions that may be of advantage to the interests of the country. The hon. and learned Gentleman says, that Mr. urquhart was to negotiate the treaty. The hen. and learned Gentleman is not aware of the regulations of diplomatic establishments, and does not seem to know that Mr. urquhart, going out as Secretary to the Embassy at a foreign Court where an Am- 73 bassador is accredited, could have no such authority—that the Ambassador is the only person responsible to his Government—and though Mr. Urquhart might be employed as interpreter, in communications with the Turkish Government, it was to the Ambassador that orders and instructions must have been given. The Ambassador was the only person responsible in the matter, and it was through him that the negotiations must have been concluded. Then it is said, also, that the treaty, as drawn out by Mr. Urquhart, was never signed or concluded. Undoubtedly, in the first place, no man who proposes a scheme for a treaty is to expect—whether he be Secretary of Embassy, President of the Board of Trade, or Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—can imagine, that his first draft will be that which, upon a full consideration of all the points concerned, will be the scheme that it may be thought proper to propose to the Government in question. This treaty was much discussed at the Foreign Office, and by the Board of Trade; and at last the draft was sent out to the Embassy at Constantinople to be proposed to the Turkish Government, Then there were negotiations at Constantinople upon the treaty; but this I will say, that the treaty as concluded, does not differ in any material respect from the draft of the treaty as settled by the Board of Trade and by the Foreign Office, and as sent to Mr. Urquhart to be proposed to the Turkish Government. The hon. and learned Gentleman really has not read the treaty. He may lift up his eyes at that statement; but I repeat that he cannot have read the treaty, or, if he has, he has not read it correctly. He stated, that by the treaty as signed, British subjects and ships were not placed upon the footing of the most favoured nation; that we had permitted a number of articles, the produce of Turkey, to be prohibited, because the exportation of those articles would compete with the exportation of certain other articles from Russia; and that, in order to promote and encourage the trade between England and Russia, we had purposely embarrassed the trade between England and Turkey. [Mr. ANSTEY: I did not say that.] The hon. and learned Gentleman must excuse me if I repeat the statement I have made. He mentioned tallow and timber as articles of Russian export, in which the commerce of Russia would compete in England with that of Turkey; and said that we had allowed the Russian Government to prohibit their ex- 74 portation and the exportation of some others from Turkey to this country. [Mr. ANSTEY: No, no!] I beg the hon. and learned Gentleman's pardon, but I think he is mistaken. If there was no objection to their exportation, why did he state we had allowed Russia to prohibit it? But, perhaps, he will explain what he did say.
§ MR. ANSTEY
Sir, what I said upon that subject was this. When Mr. Urquhart was sent to Turkey to take measures for effecting the adoption of a treaty of commerce between this country and Turkey, Russian influence was paramount there, and had secured the absolute prohibition of certain articles of export, which, if exported, would have competed successfully with articles of Russian export in the English markets; and that Mr. Urquhart was charged, among other things, to use his influence—that is to say, British influence—at the Porte, to obtain the revocation of this prohibition; and that was one of the clauses in the treaty which he had drawn up, which was approved of by the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office, and which was afterwards sacrificed.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
That statement amounts to very much what I said. But I meet the hon. Gentleman there. With regard to the footing upon which British subjects and their trade are placed, if the hon. Member will only look at the treaty itself, he will see that the first Article states—All former rights and privileges are confirmed, and all rights, privileges, and immunities, which the Sublime Porte now grants, or may hereafter grant, to the ships and subjects of any other foreign Power, or which it may suffer [not merely grant] the ships and subjects of any other foreign Power to enjoy, shall equally be granted, exercised, and enjoyed by the subjects and the ships of Great Britain.If that is not securing to British subjects and ships all the advantages enjoyed by the most favoured nations, I do not know how the grant of those advantages could have been expressed in words more clear or more comprehensive. It is not only so in the plain meaning of the words, but it has been so acknowledged since by both parties. We have acted upon that interpretation. Indeed, there could have been no interpretation required in the matter, because the words are as clear and plain as words can be; and from them it is clear that British subjects and ships are upon the footing of the most favoured nations. With regard to prohibition, the hon. and learned Member says, that, in the treaty, Mr. Urquhart proposed there should be no 75 prohibition of the exportation of any articles the produce of Turkey, but that the produce of Turkey was not included. Why, the treaty distinctly says it shall be lawful for British subjects to export any articles the produce of Turkey, upon paying the duty named in the tariff framed in pursuance of the treaty, which fixed the duties to be paid upon the articles enumerated; and oil and timber are distinctly specified as articles upon which the certain fixed duties there specified are to be paid. Again I say the hon. and learned Member either has not read the treaty, or he has failed to read it with that attention which, had he given it, would, I am sure, not have led him to make that observation. The treaty, I repeat, gives to British subjects a clear and distinct right to export any article the produce of Turkey. Now, Sir, the hon. Member said that Russia had not acceded to this treaty. Other Powers did almost immediately after it was signed; but Russia did not, and it is true that for a long time Russia held out for former treaties. But, within the last few years, Russia has acceded, for she has concluded a treaty similar in principle and details to the Treaty of 1838, with one exception—that permission is given to Russia to prohibit the exportation of certain things—to establish a monopoly—and to impose certain restrictions, internal restrictions, upon Russian subjects. The British Government has been much pressed by the Turkish Government to consent to similar restrictions upon British subjects; but, as yet, I have thought it my duty to decline acceding to those requests. We, therefore, stand in this way:—We are bound by the Treaty of 1838, and the Russian Government is upon the same footing, because the Russian Government made its assent to the imposition of these restrictions dependent upon those restrictions being accepted also by other European Powers. Really, Sir, it is hardly worth while to defend the character of my late lamented friend, Mr. Poulett Thomson (Lord Sydenham), from the imputation, in the discharge of his public duty as a responsible Minister of the Crown, of being swayed either by private interest, family pursuits, or any other motive than by a sense of public duty. Those who knew that man—and every man who knew him must regret his great and serious loss to the public service—must have known that if there was a man that was incapable of swerving from his public duty from any such base and sordid motives as those im- 76 puted to him. Lord Sydenham was the man. I must therefore. Sir, beg to be excused from saying any more on that subject. I can state to the House the differences between the draft of the treaty sent out in consequence of communications between Mr. Urquhart, the Board of Trade, and the Foreign office, and the treaty concluded by Lord Ponsonby. The draft provided that British goods should pay only the import duty of three per cent, after which they might be transported to, and sold in, any part of the Ottoman dominions, without any further payments. The treaty, in addition to the three per cent import duty, laid on a further duty of two per cent upon the transport and sale of goods; and beyond that no other duty is to be paid in any part of the Ottoman dominions. This was one of the things to which in negotiation we were obliged to submit. Nobody can suppose, especially in arranging commercial transactions between two countries, that you can go with a draft treaty in one hand, and a pen in the other, and say to a foreign Minister, "There, Sir, sign that treaty, or jump out of the window." You cannot do that, therefore you must negotiate. The draft makes no provisions with regard to foreign goods purchased in Turkey by British subjects with the view of their being again sold in Turkey. This was an omission in the draft; but the treaty provides that foreign goods so purchased may be resold upon the same conditions as Turkish goods. The draft allows the Porte to levy upon goods exported a duty not exceeding the rate of three per cent; and in return it allows British subjects to purchase all kinds of goods in the Ottoman dominions either for re-sale or exportation, subject only to the payment of the transport duty on such goods, and to the tolls demanded for the maintenance of the roads along which the goods are conveyed: the treaty limits the export duty to three per cent, and admits of duties being levied upon goods purchased by British subjects for re-sale in Turkey to the same amount as those levied upon subjects of the most favoured nations. It further stipulates with regard to goods re-exported, and which may not have paid interior duties, that British subjects shall pay in lieu of such interior duties one fixed duty of nine per cent. It was a great object with us to abolish these interior duties, which were a great obstacle to the progress of British manufactured goods in Turkey, and which being made arbitrarily 77 at the caprice of the Governors of the provinces were uncertain in their amount, and excessively vexatious in their mode of being levied. The draft provides that no duties shall be levied on goods in transitu; the treaty limits the duties on goods in transitu to the 3 per cent impost. The draft does not allude to the point I am now about to state. The treaty specifies in detail the various ports of the Ottoman empire at which it is applicable, and records the consent of the Porte to other Powers settling their commercial matters upon the same basis. Of course it was intended to bring all other Powers within the same regulations; and this is the memorandum I have upon the draft. The above seems to be the essential point to be discussed. I think I have now stated enough with regard to the commercial treaty. The next Motion which stands in order is the Treaty of July, 1840. That treaty, the transactions which led to it and which have followed it, have been the subject of much discussion in Parliament; and upon these matters it was my duty to lay upon the table of the House some blue books of no inconsiderable dimensions. I believe, therefore, that Parliament and the country are pretty well supplied with information upon those transactions; and in fact, if they were not, the subject would require far more time than the indulgence of the House would probably accord to me. In point of fact there is hardly one of these Motions—forty in number—which, to discuss them thoroughly, would not require the whole day. It is clear, therefore, that I can only take the salient points here and there of such objections as struck me to be of force in the course of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech. The history of the Treaty of 1840 is simply this. Mehemet Ali wanted to make himself independent; but he saw, with the sagacity that belongs to him, that Egypt alone would not form an independent State; and, therefore, he determined to add to Egypt the whole of Syria and Arabia, and such parts of Asia Minor as he could get. He was prevented in that determination. He was stopped by the Russians. He was persuaded to accept a modified arrangement, by which he became Pasha and Governor of Syria and Egypt; and for a few years he did so, but in the meantime he proceeded to augment his army and to increase his navy, and in 1839 he broke loose again, invaded Asia Minor, and threatened the capital of the Turkish em- 78 pire. Those familiar with the events of that period will remember the important battles which took place between his forces and the Turkish army, his rapid defeats of the Turks, and the extent to which the Sultan's power was prostrated before the forces of Mehemet Ali. It became then a matter of serious consideration for the Powers of Europe to determine what they should do, and what would be the consequences of the uninterrupted access of the Russians. Europe had for some years, from 1832 down to 1838–9, been continually kept in a state of anxiety upon the subject of Eastern affairs. We were told that Mehemet Ali was going to take Turkey, but the Russians would interpose; that England and France would not permit Constantinople to be occupied by the Russians; and that there would be a general war in Europe, and that something must be done. Well, negotiation for a long while prevented an explosion; but the explosion at last took place. I know it was the opinion of some that it would have been far better to have allowed this new Arabian monarchy or empire to be created; that we ought to have entered into relations with Mehemet Ali as an independent sovereign; and it did not signify to us or anybody also whether Turkey was in that way dismembered or not. I certainly was not of that opinion; the Government was not of that opinion; the other Powers of Europe were not of that opinion. It did appear to all—even to Russia—that the Turkish empire, as it exists, could be formidable to none of its neighbours, but that it is useful as an element in the general peace of the world; that if Turkey was to be dismembered, there would be a scramble for different portions of her empire, which must complicate the differences between the Powers of Europe, and that a general war, in all probability, would be the result. It was, therefore, thought better, for the sake of peace and for the interests of Europe, to sustain the Turkish empire such as it was, and to prevent its dismemberment by the assault of Mehemet Ali. England, Austria, Russia, and Prussia also were of that opinion. We thought at first that Prance was of that opinion too, for we were in communication with France upon that subject. Indeed, we thought for a long time that the French Government was disposed to go along with us in the measures that we believed necessary. Different views, however, prevailed at length in France. It is not for me to 79 pass judgment upon those views. The fact was that the French Government declared over and over again that they could not, without running counter to public opinion in that country, make themselves a party to any coercive measures for the purpose of stopping the advance of Mehemet Ali, or obliging him to retire from Syria and content himself with Egypt. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that, under these circumstances, the French Government proposed to us to send a squadron to the Dardanelles, and we declined the invitation of the French Government to do so. I think that was not a wise and laudable course, or one by which anything was to be avoided. Where was the danger? The danger was in Syria. What was the object to be accomplished? To compel Mehemet Ali to retire from Syria. What earthly use, then, was it to send a squadron to the Dardanelles? Squadrons can only act where the enemy is; and to send a squadron to the Dardanelles to compel Mehemet Ali to retire from Syria, would not very materially have promoted the object in view. We certainly agreed with France, that if anything should pass on the part of Russia (who professed, however, a desire to cooperate with reference to Turkey) of a hostile character, or, if it was thought better, with the view of retaining the independence of Turkey, that naval aid should not be given by Russia alone, but that the flags of England and France should act in conjunction with Russia; and if the Porte should express that opinion, we said we would send such a representative of the naval power of England as might show to the world we were represented by a certain naval force. But I am not conscious that there was anything to do in the Dardanelles except to show ourselves, and to maintain the position which naturally belongs to England in a joint operation. Then the state of the case was this:—The French Government declined to act in the place where action was necessary, but they were willing to act at the place where no action could operate upon the matter at issue. The hon. and learned Member, however, then says, that to the astonishment of England, of France, and of all Europe, towards the latter end of the year 1839, Baron Brunow arrived in this country upon a special mission; and the hon. and learned Member stated that Baron Brunow arrived for the purpose of putting an end to the mutual dis- 80 trust which since 1839 had existed between England and Russia. [Mr. ANSTEY: Since 1830.] Well, since 1830. But what then becomes of the charge which the hon. and learned Member makes against me of being such a determined instrument in the hands of Russia? He says from 1830 to 1839, during the nine years in which I was in the office I have now the honour to hold, there had been such mutual distrust between the English and the Russian Governments that it was necessary Baron Brunow should be sent as Ambassador to represent the real views of the Emperor, in order to remove that distrust. I am satisfied with that statement, which is likely to be true. Of course, many circumstances had contributed to inspire distrust mutually in the minds of the English and the Russian Governments with regard to the views and intentions of each other; and it was the object of Baron Brunow to remove that distrust, and to bring a full explanation of the views of the Emperor, which views, he thought, would be satisfactory to the Government of England. But then, says the hon. and learned Gentleman, there was another object in the visit of Baron Brunow. He came to induce England to abandon her alliance with France, and to abandon also the measures taken for maintaining the integrity of Turkey. If the hon. and learned Member was perfectly right with regard to the first part of Baron Brunow's instructions, he was as completely wrong in his understanding of the second. So far was Baron Brunow from being charged to endeavour to induce England to break with France, that one of the most explicit parts of the communication he had to make was this:—We do not ask for it; we are aware that your position requires you should be well looked after; but we do not wish to exclude France in any degree whatever from the general concert which we desire to see established for the maintenance of the independence of Turkey. All we wish is, that you should fully and perfectly understand that our policy, as much as yours, is the maintenance of Turkey as it is. We are anxious to co-operate with you, and that you should co-operate with us, in maintaining Turkey such as she is, and in preventing the dismemberment of her empire by means of the establishment of a new kingdom in SyriaNothing, therefore, could be more frank and honourable towards France, and more directly contrary to that which was asserted by the hon. Member, than was the proposition of Baron Brunow. There was, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, a 81 difference of opinion between the British Government and Baron Brunow with regard to the number of ships which should centre at the Dardanelles. That caused a reference to Russia. The Russian Government acceded to what we proposed, and from that moment the distrust which up to that time had existed between Russia and England was removed; and the English Government was convinced—and everything which has since occurred has confirmed that conviction—that the policy of Russia in this matter was the same as the policy of England, namely, to maintain the Turkish empire, and to prevent the Turkish territory being severed. Public opinion in France at that period was so strong, that the French Government was prevented being a party to any coercive measures, even had they so desired, which I am far from asserting; and the French Government said—"If you other Powers choose to act, we do not pretend to prevent you, but we say that we cannot be parties to such a proceeding." It is well known that by the gallantry of our admirals and fleet—by Sir Charles Napier, in particular, amongst others—those operations were brought in an exceedingly short space of time to a successful issue. The Egyptian troops were compelled to evacuate Syria, and the Pasha was compelled at last to accept the conditions which the Allied Powers offered him—conditions which he thought perfectly compatible with the independence and integrity of the Turkish empire—and conditions which have resulted in removing from that time to this those causes of disturbance and disquiet which for every six months of the six preceding years had placed all the Powers of Europe in imminent jeopardy of wars and broils. Our object was the maintenance of peace by the removal of the dangers by which that peace was threatened; and I contend that the circumstances which have occurred since that time have amply proved that the course which we adopted was well calculated to attain that end. From that time to this, we have heard nothing of the affairs of the Levant, except as regards certain local broils between the Druses and the Maronites. As far as the peace of Europe is concerned, nothing has since occurred calculated to occasion fears for its preservation. The hon. Member says that we laid a trap for France—that we wanted to drive her to the Rhine—but that France was wise enough to see the snare, and to avoid 82 it. [Mr. ANSTEY: I said the reverse.] Do you mean that she did not avoid it?
§ MR. ANSTEY
I said that France, not seeing the snare which was laid for her, instead of insisting on the faith of treaties—instead of vindicating her high position at the Court of Constantinople, and making those proper and suitable representations at this Court which would have placed the Cabinet of the day under the necessity of repudiating the acts of the noble Lord, and of dismissing him from office—determined to put into play against the innocent States forming the Germanic Confederation those very maxims, in derogation of international law, on which the noble Lord and Russia were acting in another part of the world with respect to France and Turkey,
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
However, fortunately the peace of Europe was not broken, and France maintained her amicable relations not only with this country, but with all the other countries of Europe. A proof that she did maintain those amicable relations, and that what had passed had not engendered those sentiments of hostility which the hon. Member imputed to the French Government, occurred in 1841, when arose the question of concluding the treaty commonly called the Treaty of the Dardanelles. I assure the House that at that time the French representative at this Court came from day to day and expressed his anxiety that that Treaty of the Dardanelles, to which France was to be a party, might be concluded. France bad declined to be a party to the Treaty of 1840; but the Treaty of the Dardanelles was a sort of act of reconciliation between France and the other Powers. That treaty was very short. The preamble recorded the principle that the independence of Turkey was an object of European interest; and the main consideration was, that in time of peace no ships of war of any foreign country should pass the Straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles without the consent of the Turkish Government. The hon. Gentleman says that that was a base abandonment of Turkey—that it was a delivering up of Turkey to Russia. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is not aware, that as far as England is concerned, that article was agreed to in 1809, and that the Treaty of the Dardanelles merely repeated the Treaty of 1809, in which England said that whereas it was an ancient law of the Turkish empire, that in time of peace no foreign ships should pass the Straits of 83 the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles without the acquiescence of the Sultan, England was prepared from that time to act upon that principle. The only thing that treaty did was to record the same arrangement on the part of Austria, France, and Prussia. I have no hesitation in saying that that is an arrangement beneficial to the Turkish empire, because it records the principle that the passage of those straits, being a narrow passage guarded on both sides of the banks, is a portion of the Turkish territory; and I think that those who are acquainted with the local position and interests of Turkey, and with its relation to its neighbours, must see that it is a great security to Turkey that that principle should be recorded. Now, the hon. Gentleman said, however, that from that time forward, viz., from the Treaty of July, 1840, or the Treaty of the Dardanelles, English influence had decreased in Turkey, and the influence of Russia had become paramount. I can only say that all my information upon the subject leads me to differ widely from that opinion. I venture to assert that if from that time I were to name a period at which British influence was most powerful in Turkey, it would be the period immediately succeeding the conclusion of those operations—and that for very obvious reasons. As to the romantic notion that nations or Governments are much or permanently influenced by friendships, and God knows what, why, I say that those who maintain those romantic notions, and apply the intercourse of individuals to the intercourse of nations, are indulging in a vain dream. The only thing which makes one Government follow the advice and yield to the counsels of another, is the hope of benefit to accrue from adopting it, or the fear of the consequences of opposing it. We had shown them that we had the power of being useful in Turkey, and upon that ground our influence was strong there. It was said that that treaty was a virtual acknowledgment of the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi; but it was quite the reverse. The Treaty of the Dardanelles was a virtual abnegation of the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi. In the first place the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi had very nearly expired at that time, and it was quite understood that it was not to be renewed, and therefore the Treaty of the Dardanelles, so to speak, superseded that treaty. Then again, what was the objection to the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi? It was, that it placed Turkey under the sole 84 and exclusive protection of Russia. But the Treaty of the Dardanelles, on the contrary, recorded that England, France, Austria, and Prussia took, in common with Russia, and equally with Russia, an interest in maintaining and preserving the Turkish empire. The Treaty of the Dardanelles, therefore, placed Turkey, as it were, under the care of all the Five Powers, and consequently, so far from being a virtual acknowledgment of the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, it virtually superseded the practically objectionable part of the treaty. And I must say that the readiness with which Russia consented to that part of the treaty, only confirmed the truth of Baron Brunow's statements when he first came over here as to the disposition and intentions of Russia. He stated that Russia wanted no exclusive ascendancy over Turkey, and only wished to co-operate with the other Powers for the advantage of all. But, Sir, if any man supposes that any treaty which we can enter into, that any diplomatic acts undertaken here or elsewhere, can prevent Russia from exercising practically a great, and perhaps the greatest, influence in Turkey, that person must be blind to the geography of the world, and to the influence which a powerful nation must have upon a weaker one. It is quite manifest that our influence in Turkey must be founded on hope, and that Russian influence must be founded on fear. When we see two Powers of unequal strength in immediate contact with each other, the weaker Power must certainly be under apprehensions from the stronger Power; and the stronger Power must necessarily exercise a great influence over the councils of the weaker. Now, Sir, that was the Treaty of the Dardanelles, and in concluding that treaty, I repeat, that we did nothing to destroy English influence in Turkey. We took the benefit of a disposition on the part of Russia to act in concert with the Other Powers; and I contend that it was eminently for the advantage of the Turkish empire, and that it afforded a sufficient security for the independence of that empire. Then comes the affair of the occupation of Algiers and other territorial dominions in Africa by British troops. I think that this is not the moment exactly for going into the discussion of that question. We have had papers laid before us explaining all that took place in regard to that part of the world. The question has been discussed already in this House. The House 85 has heard statements from the Government which was in power when Algiers was first occupied; and it has heard statements from those who, like myself, were in power at a later period. Parliament has, to a certain degree at least, declared judgment upon that matter; and at all events I think there are reasons why the question should not be further entered into now. The next matter is the naval and military operations carried on by Russia against the people of Circassia; and into that subject the hon Gentleman entered at some length. By the Treaty of Adrianople, Turkey ceded to Russia certain points on the east coast of the Black Sea; and thereupon the question arose whether those concessions did or did not convey to Russia dominion over the interior of the country. The question was, first of all, how far Turkey exercised supreme authority in that interior, and how far therefore Turkey was competent to make that country over to Russia; and next came the question, how far did the words of the treaty convey the dominion over that interior to Russia. Much controversy arose upon those questions. It was a matter upon which the British Government was very unwilling to pronounce any positive decision. There were many reasons why we should not hastily acknowledge the right of Russia; and there were many reasons, also, why we should not go point blank against the interpretation of Russia, and deny to her a right which she might have felt it a point of honour to assert, and which we might have no good means practically to dispute. The case of the Circassians certainly attracted great sympathy, and some enthusiastic friends of theirs were anxious to what is called "try the question." Now, if any one wishes to assist a person to try a question of law before a court of justice, we all know what furnishing a case is; but when you talk of trying the question of the right of the Russian Government to the interior of Circassia, the real meaning of that is to put England and Russia in such a position of conflict of opinion that one or other must give way, or you must go to loggerheads on the matter. It means, in fact, neither more nor less than war with Russia. Now, I do not think that it would have been very advisable, or very gratifying to this House, or very acceptable to the country, that we should have involved England in a war with Russia upon the question of whether the Treaty of Adrian- 86 nople did or did not concede to Russia the interior of Circassia. We might have had our wishes on the matter—we might have sympathised with a brave and gallant nation fighting under circumstances of unequal conflict, opposing only such rude arms as as they could prepare against the disciplined and well-equipped legions of a vast and mighty empire. It is impossible but any man should feel a great sympathy with such persons; and no doubt that was one motive which inclined the English Government to avoid hastily pronouncing an opinion in favour of the Russian claims. In those circumstances a certain Mr. Bell imagined that he would take a shipful of salt to Circassia, and "try the question." The Russian Government had issued an edict prohibiting the importation of salt, or I believe rather generally establishing a blockade against the coast; and Mr. Bell determined to take a shipful of salt, of which the Circassians were greatly in need, and to see what Russia would do; intending, if the ship were seized, to demand restitution from the Government, and that being refused by Russia, that Great Britain should send a fleet to the Baltic, endeavour to destroy the Russian arsenals—in short, that there should be a regular "set-to" between this country and Russia. I have been accused frequently of being too warlike; but I own that my courage did not rise to that point. I did not fancy it. Not liking the matter, I gave to Mr. Bell the answers which were published—which I knew very well would be published next day in the papers—which were charged with being evasive, and like some answers which one gives in this House, when one's official duties prevent him gratifying the curiosity of an hon. Member. However, the result was that Mr. Bell was so discouraged that he gave up all intentions of going to the Circassian coast. He had gone to Constantinople; but he was warned by Lord Ponsonby, our Ambassador, to take care not to violate the Russian blockade. He did then give up his intention of going to Circassia. All of a sudden, however, he took it up again. His ship was seized by a Russian cruiser. A long communication between the two Governments, the papers with regard to which have been laid upon the table, ensued; and the result was, that the two Governments came to the understanding that under the particular circumstances in which the ship had been taken, the English Government was not entitled to demand anything from the Government 87 of Russia. Lord Durham, who was then our Ambassador at Russia, conducted that negotiation. Mr. Urquhart was at that time Secretary to the Embassy at Constantinople. Now, the purpose I apprehend for which ambassadors and secretaries of legation are sent to foreign Courts is to maintain peace between the respective countries: when we want to create war, we send men of a different profession. The duty of diplomatic agents is to stave off war, and to preserve peace. But, Sir, some time after that I was shown by one of my under-secretaries a private letter which he had received from Mr. Urquhart, in which Mr. Urquhart stated that Mr. Bell having, after the discouragement which he had received, abandoned his Vixen expedition, he (Mr. Urquhart) had sent for him again, and had persuaded him to carry it into execution. Moreover, it was at his instigation that Mr. Bell, after having given up the intended expedition, had resumed it. I certainly felt that, where there was so great a breach of duty, and so great an indiscretion on the part of Mr. Urquhart, that it was not expedient for the public service that he should continue in the position which he then occupied as Secretary of Embassy; and accordingly I wrote a private letter to Mr. Urquhart, to say that, whereas he had before obtained leave of absence at home, he was to understand that he must not return. How far that communication may have influenced the opinion which he has expressed, it is not for me to pronounce. I said the other night that I only wished the House to know the accusations brought against me by the hon. Member for Stafford. As for the long speech of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, that was only a lesson got by heart from the teaching of the hon. Member for Stafford, who is the only man from whom these facts could have been obtained. I only mean to say that it was my duty to recall the bon. Member for Stafford from his post; and from that time to this—Here the noble Lord broke off, and said, I will not characterise the attacks which have been made upon me by the hon. Member for Stafford. I will only say that I think I did my duty—first, by discouraging the expedition; in the next place, by endeavouring to come to an amicable settlement with Russia on the question so raised; and, thirdly, by recalling the hon. Member for Stafford; and it is curious now, Sir, that the hon. 88 Member for Stafford, in the short speech which he made the other night, said, that up to that moment he had not been aware of the depth of my treachery—that he really believed, at the time he was recalled, I had done it in order to sacrifice him for the sake of the country—in order better to obtain intelligence from Russia. Subsequent reflection seems to have altered his opinion; and how far further consideration may have led him to a decisive proof of my treachery it is not necessary for me to say. Sir, then we come to the Treaty of 1834, between William IV., the King of France, and the Queens of Spain and Portugal, called the Quadruple Treaty. I do not recollect that the hon. Member for Youghal dwelt very much upon this treaty, and the transactions to which it relates; and, indeed, I may say, that although the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman consists of forty heads, there are, I believe, above twenty of those heads to which he did not—for the want of time, I presume—make any reference. At the same time I am bound to acknowledge the consummate ingenuity and dexterity exhibited by the hon. and learned Gentleman in comprehending even the twenty heads upon which he did dwell within the limits of his speech of five hours. But, however, the hon. and learned Gentleman did not say very much about the Quadruple Treaty of 1834. That treaty was the subject of repeated discussion—it was the treaty by which England, Spain, and Portugal united in order to expel Dom Miguel from Portugal, and also Don Carlos from Spain. I do not know what may be the feeling of the hon. Gentleman on these subjects, and whether he approve or disapprove of the policy then pursued; but as he did not lay any very forcible stress upon this part of the subject, I may be excused for not referring at length to facts so long gone by. Next upon the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman we have the marriages of the Queen of Spain and her sister; but that is a matter which I think perhaps the House will be of opinion had better at the present moment not be very minutely entered upon. Full papers were laid before Parliament touching those transactions; and I think that the opinion of this country seemed to be that the British Government had acted in a straightforward, a fair, and an honourable part in reference to them. The only charge brought against me by the hon. and learned Member under this head was, that I abandoned the policy 89 of Lord Aberdeen; and that whereas Lord Aberdeen had promised not to take up the case of the Prince of Saxe Coburg as a candidate for the hand of the Queen of Spain, I did so. I beg any hon. Gentleman to look at the papers, where he will see the most clear and indisputable proof that such a charge is perfectly unfounded, and that I followed exactly the same course and took up the same position as Lord Aberdeen. Next we come to "the intervention by British forces in the present year in the domestic affairs of Portugal, and the results of that intervention." This is also a question that was fully discussed in Parliament, and concerning which voluminous papers were also supplied; but if at any time it should be the pleasure of the House to go into the subject again, I shall be perfectly ready to discuss it, and to pursue it into all its subsequent stages. We interfered, in conjunction with France and Spain, for the purpose of putting an end to a civil war that was then desolating Portugal, and promised no result but bloodshed and devastation. We restored peace. Our object was, that the parties dissentient, who were in the field, should be transferred to the legitimate arena of elections and Parliament; and to a certain degree we succeeded in that object. Sir, if I am asked whether we succeeded entirely, I cannot say we did, because I am obliged to own—I did not wish the other day, when the hon. Member for Montrose asked the question, to go into details, but undoubtedly, if I am asked whether the elections that took place and the Parliament that was chosen were the elections and the Parliament which the people of Portugal had in contemplation, I cannot say they were. It is not in the power of the English Government to judge of the internal transactions of other countries; but the Portuguese themselves are convinced these elections were not free elections, and that a Parliament so assembled is not a true representation of the people; but nevertheless the forms remain, and where constitutional forms exist, I say to the people—"Be sure, as long as you keep those forms, these institutions will right themselves one day or other—as long as you have the forms of election and Parliament—and a Parliament may be legally assembled under violence, intimidation, or corruption—but wait till next term, and be quite sure that in the long run your rights and your liberties will be secured." Then we come to— 90The blockades of the coasts of Mexico and Buenos Ayres by the forces of France in 1837 and 1838, and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government to give effect to such blockades.I do not know that the hon. and learned Gentleman said much, if anything, on the subject; but it must be remembered that the French Government had differences with the Government of Buenos Ayres in those years. The dispute arose from acts of violence done by the Buenos Ayrean Government to French subjects. The result was, that a blockade was instituted and kept up for a considerable time, to the great injury of the commerce of neutral nations. The blockade was at last raised, in consequence of an agreement come to between the French Government and the Government of Buenos Ayres. I think it was in the year 1840, or the beginning of 1841, that they made the agreement, and the blockade was then raised. I do not know that the British Government had anything particular to do, one way or the other, with that transaction. There was another blockade of the coast of Mexico with which it had something to do. There arose between Mexico and France a very serious difference; and the dispute threatened, if left to run its course, to involve those two countries in very serious conflict. The British Government, of which I was a Member, offered its good offices as mediator between Mexico and France. The mediation was conducted first by Mr. Ashburham, then Secretary of Legation, and afterwards by Mr. Pakenham, who resumed his post as Minister. Both those gentlemen performed their duties with great ability and judgment; and the result was a satisfactory termination of the dispute, and a reconciliation between Mexico and France, and the avoidance of a war which might otherwise have resulted from the dispute. Sir, I look with satisfaction upon the share which the British Government had in composing that difference, and look upon it as one amongst the many instances which I could enumerate, if called on to do so, in which the British Government of which I have the honour to be a Member have not only preserved peace between Great Britain and other countries, but have had the good fortune also to be instrumental in preserving peace between other countries which were likely to be involved in war with each other. Then we come to—The several treaties contracted between the Crown of these realms and the Emperor of Brazil, and all subsequent conventions (if any) between 91 the said Powers, for the repression of the slave trade, and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government in consequence or under pretext thereof; specifying the number (if any) of Brazilian vessels captured by British vessels, and condemned under such pretext as aforesaid, and the dates of such captures and condemnations; and the protests of the Brazilian Government touching the same, and so forth.Now, I am not aware I am particularly answerable either for the treaty which was concluded in 1826, when I was not in office, with Brazil, or for the Act of Parliament which was proposed in 1844 to this House by the Government of which I was not a Member, and to which I only gave, as a simple Member of Parliament, such support as I could afford. This is a transaction with the beginning and ending of which I had nothing whatever to do. I think the treaty was much to be approved of; I think the Act of Parliament was necessary and right; I am therefore perfectly willing to take the responsibility of having approved of both, but as to the planning of either I cannot take any merit. How this Treaty of 1826 or how this Act of 1844 are to be brought as evidence of my undue partiality towards Russia, I have not yet been able to discover; but it is very possible that some logical connexion may be established between them. Then we come to—The treaties signed between His late Majesty King George IV. and the King of Portugal for the repression of the slave trade, and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government in consequence or under pretext thereof.If there is any subject more than another which has been frankly and fully discussed in this House, it is the question as to the obligations contracted by Portugal for the suppression of the slave trade, and the manner in which those obligations were, for a large number of years, avoided. Those treaties were begun in 1817—treaties for which I am not in any way responsible whatever. The fault I find with those treaties is that they were not ample enough; they only gave a right of search north of the line, and not south of the line; they only gave a right of condemnation of a vessel with slaves on board, and not of a vessel equipped for the slave trade; and accordingly, although a Government held to be bound by a general treaty to co-operate in the suppression of the slave trade, was held to be bound by that engagement to give more specific and ample powers, yet that Government refused to do so; and the result was, it became my 92 duty to propose to Parliament the Act of 1839, which passed the two Houses of Parliament, the responsibility of which, therefore, is shared by Parliament as well as by myself. The Act was passed, and the result of it was, that under the Administration of Sir Robert Peel the Portuguese Government concluded a complete treaty, and the Act was then repealed. I am not particularly aware what connexion any part of that transaction has with our relations with Russia. The only connexion perhaps is this, that the Russian Government having been a party to the declaration of 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, by which all the Powers of Europe expressed their reprobation of the abominable acts of the slave trade, and engaged that they would do all they could to prevent it—that whereas Russia was a party to this declaration, she did afterwards agree to a treaty by which the right of search was given between her and England. Russia said what was perfectly true—that no Russian subject was ever suspected of being engaged in the slave trade; but that if it was thought the flag of Russia might be applied sometimes to the purposes of the slave trade, she would willingly give a right of searching the flag, and thereby prevent any such fraudulent abuse of the flag and papers of Russia. But, as to Portugal, I do not exactly see in what way the transactions of Portugal and the slave trade bear on the hon. and learned Gentleman's charges. I can only say that there is nothing so amusing to some people as an arithmetical problem—there is nothing so entertaining to some as the working of a chess puzzle; any exercise of ingenuity which consists in following a clue to penetrate a labyrinth is amusing to the mind of man; and, therefore, I presume that the manner in which the hon. and learned Member would urge that this treaty with Portugal bears on his charge was this, that it is part of the gigantic plan which had matured itself in my mind for laying England prostrate at the feet of Russia—that when I had set England on bad terms with every other country—when I had embroiled her with every other country—when I had prevented her from having the good will of any other country—then the time would come that I should lay her at the feet of Russia, and no mistake, and there would be an end of England. I must own that when that day of trouble comes—when the last die shall have been cast for England—I do not think it will make any 93 real difference in the chances of life in this country whether the monarchs of Portugal are on one side or the other. I really think that, except as a very minute link in that most extensive chain which in the opinion of the hon. Gentleman begirts the whole habitable globe, it is hardly worth dwelling upon whether the friendship or hostility of Portugal is on one side or the other. But if it were, I think I may appeal to events which took place at no distant period to show that whatever may have been the conviction which, not the Government of Portugal, not the people, but the slave-traders—the pirates of Portugal—the basest of mankind in Portugal, and connected with the basest of mankind in other countries; whatever irritation these wretches may have felt in consequence of the efforts of Europe to put down the slave trade, no enlightened statesman—no good patriot—no man of honour—need allow his mind for an instant to be poisoned by these insinuations, but remain convinced that what has been done is for the true interest of Portugal; that the friendship of England is the mainstay of the existence of Portugal; and that, not only in times of difficulty England is the country to which Portugal may look for support, but is also the country to which every honest and patriotic man can look in times of prosperity for friendly relations. I, therefore, utterly deny that the exertions which England has made to suppress the slave trade, even as regards the slave trade of Portugal, have injured in any degree her interests as depending on friendship or alliance, political or commercial, with other countries. Next come—Complaints made by or on the part of the French Government in respect of the capture and condemnation of French vessels and their cargoes, under pretext or in consequence of their being engaged in the slave trade.The House is aware that in 1831 and 1833 Earl Grey's Government obtained from the Government of France the mutual right of search for the suppression of the slave trade. It was a great concession on the part of France for very obvious reasons. There was a good deal of jealousy in the public mind of France with regard to any interference by British ships of war with the flag of France; but in the early days of the revolution which took place in 1830 many circumstances rendered the French Government willing to yield to any proper views which the English Government might express. They felt a 94 pleasure in concurring with us in a measure which was calculated to promote the object of the suppression of the slave trade. We got then the right of search for a long while. Nothing happened that could afford any ground of complaint to either party; but it is true, that latterly—that is to say, in 1838 and 1839—there were one or two cases of French vessels as to which complaints were made that the captures had been made not in conformity with the stipulations of the treaty, and that wrong had been done. Those complaints were not well-founded; because those captures were made, not under the treaty, but under the municipal laws, in consequence of vessels under a French flag having come to a British port under circumstances, which, by British law, rendered them liable to seizure and confiscation. Whether the judgment of the courts was right or wrong, their judgment was pronounced under the municipal law of the country, and not under the provisions of the treaty. But those Treaties of 1831 and 1833 are, as the House well knows, suspended—the provisions were suspended by the Treaty of 1845 between England and France, which is now the governing condition of the operations of the two countries for the suppression of the slave trade. By the Treaty of 1845 the mutual right of search is extended for five years, and then, if no agreement is made, for ten years further; and then, if no agreement is made, permanently. So that at present there is a mutual right of search between Franco and England. But here again, I suppose, the hon. Member would urge that my only object in getting the Treaty of 1831 and 1833 for the mutual right of search between England and France, for the suppression of the slave trade, was not the suppression of the slave trade itself, but a wish, by a somewhat circuitous course, to create again another enemy, so that when the day of judgment came, France should, like Portugal, abandon England to her fate. Now it is perfectly well known that this convention was the fruit of friendship, and not the seed of animosity. The instructions which were given were instructions in accordance with the treaty. Those instructions are not secret-they have been laid upon the table of the House—they have been placed before Parliament; and if there are any papers connected with them which are supposed to be of use in exhibiting the views of the Government, I shall be happy to lay 95 them before the House. I believe, however, there is none. They have all been issued virtually on the assurance of treaties, and were the common instructions to English officers and the officers of those Powers with whom the treaties were concluded. Then we come to the questions of the several treaties concluded between the British Government and the republic of Texas on the same subject of slavery, and the lien of British subjects on the lands of Texas to the amount of their claims on the republic of Mexico. The House is aware that the province of Texas having been in some degree settled by Mexicans, declared herself independent. It was the wish of the British Government to induce the people of Texas to remain united with Mexico; but it was not in the power of the British Government to do so. The next best thing which appeared to the British Government that they could effect was, to persuade the two parties to separate as friends, and not to go to war together, which would lead to the consequences we foresaw, and which have since been the result. We did our best to persuade the Mexicans that they had no chance of reconquering Texas—that their best hope was to acknowledge the independence of Texas on conditions. We told them that the inevitable result of a protracted refusal would be, that the United States would step in and help Texas, and that that would end in its annexation to that country—that it was far better for the Mexicans to have interposed between them and their powerful neighbour a third State, not large enough to be dangerous, but which would relish its own independence, and thereby not enter into hostilities on either side, than to run the chance of bringing the frontier of the United States to their own door. In the mean time other Powers had acknowledged the independence of Texas; and it occurred to us that Texas was a country with which England might have valuable relations, looking to it as likely to be a great cotton-growing country. There were many circumstances which gave us an interest in regulating the footing on which our subjects should trade with Texas; and we accordingly consented to conclude a treaty of commerce with her, which was, in fact, an acknowledgment of her independence. I think we did perfectly right in that. It gave the best chance, if there was one, of inducing the people of Texas to continue an independent State; and as long as they did so, it gave a secu- 96 rity to our commerce which it was highly desirable our subjects should enjoy. But the hon. and learned Gentleman found fault with me for not having obtained a stipulation from Texas that slavery should not be introduced into that State. The simple answer to that is, that Texas would not hear of it. We should have been most delighted to have obtained that concession; but when you consider that the great hulk and most active portion of the Texans were emigrants from the United States, and probably from the southern States, it is obvious that the Texans would not have paid such a price for our acknowledgment as the abolition of slavery. We could not obtain it. The hon. and learned Gentleman says, that slavery did not exist by the law of Mexico; but I say that, considering the circumstances I have mentioned, we could not expect that the Texans would undertake that slavery should not be a part of their social condition. We did, however, take the only precaution in our power, and one which, let me tell the hon. and learned Gentleman and the House, the Texans were very little disposed to grant. We obtained from them a treaty giving a right of search for the suppression of slavery. But if there is one thing more than another which the citizens of the united States had always stood upon—I will not say always, but of late years—it was their determination not to permit their flag to be searched by cruisers or otherwise; and, therefore, obtaining that treaty from the American settlers in Texas—an American citizen (General Hamilton) being the organ of communication—was certainly a concession of some value, and showed the desire of the Texans to have their independence acknowledged. But there was another condition which they acceded to—that if we could, within a certain time, persuade the Mexican Government to acknowledge their independence, they would take upon themselves a portion of the Mexican debt; and that would have been an advantage to those British creditors of Mexico to whom the hon. and learned Gentleman referred. The hon. and learned Gentleman reproached me with not having taken care of the interests of British trade. I have often said in this House that the British Government never yet have come to a determination to take up as a Government or international question the claims of British creditors on foreign Governments. The time may come when Parliament will insist on that being done; but it has never done 97 so yet. Subsequent events have no doubt shown, that even the chance which we thought we had obtained for the continuance of the independence of Texas has deceived us, and that that country is now part of the United States; but it is not on that account that the claims of British creditors on Mexico is altered. That claim is on the Mexican Government and the Mexican territory; and as far as anything remains to Mexico, that claim is the same as it was before the annexation of Texas. How far those claims may be practicable or not, or may be affected by subsequent transactions, I am sure the House will agree that this is not the proper occasion to inquire. We then come to the award rendered by the King of the Netherlands as to the Oregon territory, and the measures taken by the British Government for securing to the said award its due effect. Upon that point the hon. and learned Member made one of the great mistakes which he made in the course of his speech. The hon. and learned Member said this was a case in which there was no positive criminality on my part—that I had abandoned the definite and irrevocable settlement—these were the words—of a question which had been left to the award of the King of the Netherlands. Sir, I did no such thing; the award was no such thing. The King of the Netherlands made his award; and what did I do as the organ of the British Government, or what did the British Government do through me as its organ? We received that award from the Hague in January, 1831; a few weeks after it was received we came into office, and without the least delay we sent it off to the Government of the united States, and without entering into any of the objections we might have made to it, we accepted it. We submitted to it as final and conclusive, and though it involved a considerable sacrifice of territory by Great Britain, yet we, for the sake of peace, accepted it. What was the answer of the United States? They rejected it from the first moment. ["No, no!"] The Minister of the United States in Holland protested against it from the first moment. We endeavoured for some two or three years to persuade them to accept it; we persisted in arguing with them that the grounds upon which they rejected it, as not being final and conclusive, were not valid. They objected that it was no award; that instead of its being definite and irrevocable, it was not in accordance with the submis- 98 sion to the King of the Netherlands, and was merely a recommendation. The assertion, then, of the hon. and learned Gentleman, that the award which was final and irrevocable was rejected, is perfectly true; but the hon. and learned Gentleman for me must substitute the Government of the United States. But after that Government had for some length of time persisted in declining that arrangement, we said—"If it is not binding upon you, it is not binding upon us, and we are therefore free and ready to negotiate with you on a different basis." We accordingly proposed another basis of negotiation; but the Government of the United States did not accept it. That negotiation went on for a certain length of time; the Government was changed—we went out, and the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth came in; Lord Ashburton was then sent out to the United States, and he made an arrangement of another kind, in which something more was conceded to America than would have been her share by the award of the King of the Netherlands. I think the course we pursued was the course most conducive to the maintenance of civil relations with the United States. We now come in this great pile of baggage to the other end of the train. We jump from America to Persia. The next complaint of the hon. and learned Gentleman is the selection, in 1834, of the present Schah to fill the throne of Persia, and the subsequent rupture between that Power and Great Britain, and particularly as to the part taken by the Czar of Russia respecting it. It is known that during the life of the late Schah his eldest son had died leaving children, one of whom was the present Schah; and when the old Schah died there were living also several of his brothers. In the East the law of succession is not exactly what it is in Europe. The succession as often goes through brothers of the deceased, whether sovereign or individual, as in the lineal descent through his eldest son; but I believe in regard to the succession to the throne the choice of the reigning sovereign is generally considered as settling the point. Sometimes an adopted son, having no relation to the family, is the choice. Well, during the life of the late Schah he had expressed a wish that his grandson should succeed him, and he expressed his intention of so settling the crown. That wish was conveyed to the Russian and British Governments. The 99 former Government expressed its willingness to concur in support of that choice; and undoubtedly the British Government thought the wisest course was not to set itself up in opposition to the will of the Schah and the Russian Government, and to support another candidate, but to accede to the will of the Schah, and to support the choice he had determined on making. If we had taken an opposite course, and the Schah had died without anything being done in the interval, there might have been a civil war in Persia, in which Russia might have stepped in; and, as is well known in that part of the world, the brother who might have been put up against the will of the Schah might have lived to that day, but he never would have seen the end of it. But although the moral influence of Russia and England concurred on that point, there was a contest, which, however, ended in favour of the present Schah; yet the hon. and learned Member contends that the selection on our part destroyed the influence of England with Persia. That influence was yielded, I am sorry to say, in a great degree to the influence of Russia: but why? Not because we concurred with Russia in supporting the will of the late Schah, but because of the unfortunate war that broke out between Russia and Persia in 1825 or 1826, which ended in Persia ceding to Russia a great part of her territory, and which laid her so prostrate at the feet of Russia, that Russia stepped in and naturally obtained a great influence in Persia to her advantage. But Lord Fitzgerald, who was then at the head of the Board of Control, expressed no such opinion as that which was expressed by the hon. and learned Gentleman, that the interest of England was to exclude Russia from all influence in Persia. What did he say on the 3rd of June, 1842, in the House of Lords in the course of a debate on this subject? He said—That we had no more reason to fear the machinations of Russia against this country at the Court of Teheran than in any other quarter. He was sure the noble Lord would be glad to hear that which would remove the fears that disturbed his repose. At no period were the relations between Great Britain and Russia more intimate and amicable, and there was no Court in the world in which the diplomatic agents of both countries acted with more cordiality and union than at Teheran. Not only had our amicable relations with Russia been mainly assisted by the Russian Government"—and, in fact, Lord Fitzgerald took credit for the co-operation of Russia in regard to Persian affairs, instead of wishing, as the 100 hon. and learned Gentleman would do, stud iusly to separate her from Persia—but he said——"not only had our amicable relations with Persia been mainly assisted by Russia, but from the commencement of our communications with the Court of Teheran the most uninterrupted harmony had prevailed between the Russian and British Governments; and he trusted that that harmony would continue to prevail, thereby giving an assurance of the union of those two great empires, which was as necessary to the preservation of peace in the East, as an alliance and good understanding between them was essential to effect and maintain the peace of the world.The hon. and learned Gentleman has made free with the memories of some departed personages, yet I trust, at all events, when my sentence of condemnation has been stuck under my cape (as happens to Chinese offenders), that his wide indignation shall cease to be brought down upon others with whom I have co-operated. I can only say, that Lord Fitzgerald, at the time, did think that the alliance of Russia might be of some value to England. I now come to the next point to which the hen. Member adverted:—The treaty signed at Lahore, the 26th June, 1838, between Lord Auckland, Runjit Singh, and Shah Shoojah, and the causes of or reasons for such treaty; the declaration published by Lord Auckland at Senilah, on the 1st October, 1838, and the causes of or reasons for the same; and the military and other operations and transactions adopted or prosecuted with regard to the Affghans, in consequence of such declaration; and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government with reference to the Czar of Russia, and his relations to the Affghan people.This opens an extensive chapter for the consideration of the House—the Affghan war, the circumstances that led to it, and the manner in which it was conducted. I have already laid on the table most ample documents relative to and explanatory of those transactions. Everybody will remember that that war was begun by an act of the Schah of Persia, who invaded the territory of Herat. At that time there were many good men in England who had never heard of Herat. It is a city in Affghanistan, nearest the frontier of Persia. The Schah had long entertained an intention to march upon and conquer Herat. The British resident, Sir J. M'Neile, from the first moment that that intention was announced, remonstrated against the proceeding. The hon. and learned Gentleman, with that boldness which characterised his speech, has asserted that the English Government did not protest against the attack on Herat until after the Persian army 101 had been despatched. Why, the British Government interposed long before the troops had started from Teheran, and long before any attempt had been made to put the design into execution. And not only that, but when the army had surrounded Herat, and had commenced the siege, Sir J. M'Neile went to the camp, and endeavoured to bring about an accommodation between the parties. No one can forget the graphic and picturesque account which Sir J. M'Neile gave of the night-move—of the preparations for the assault—of his having passed through the Persian intrenchments to the town—and of the parley which he had in his endeavours to negotiate with the Affghans: these transactions are all recorded and have been before the House for years and years; and yet, in the face of these documents, the hon. and learned Gentleman has dared to assert that we never protested against the invasion on the part of the Schah until his army had been defeated. The hon. and learned Gentleman will have an opportunity of reconciling his statements and the fact. I confess I am utterly unable to do so. The question then occurs, was it against the interests of England that the Schah should conquer? We thought it was, and the Governor General of India was of the same opinion; and we, consequently, took those measures which we thought best adapted, first by persuasion, and afterwards by other means, to induce the Schah to abandon his enterprise and to retire within his own territory. Those measures were, finally, successful. The Schah, influenced to some extent, no doubt, by the gallant and protracted resistance of the Affghans, raised the siege and retreated. I do not see, however, against what I have to defend myself in this respect, or in what way our conduct in persuading the Schah to relinquish the contemplated conquest of Herat can have tended to advance the power and interests of Russia. I could, indeed, understand such a result attending the success of that enterprise. I could understand it being an advantage to Russia, if she should entertain hostile intentions towards England, to have the rule of Persia, a small Power, if within her control, extended as far as possible in the direction of our possessions in India; but I cannot comprehend any benefit being derived to Russia from failure on the part of Persia. We then come to the Affghan war, of which the Persian attack on Herat was part and parcel. The chiefs in the 102 eastern portions of Affghanistan were in concert with the Persians in the meditated movement, and it was thought necessary, for the interests of this country, and for the better defence of our Indian empire, to send an expedition into Cabul and Candahar for the purpose of deposing those chiefs who were hostile to England, and of investing in their authority those who were believed to be more friendly to us. The subject has frequently been discussed in the House, and it is well known on what grounds the expedition was undertaken. The hon. and learned Gentleman has founded upon these transactions a charge not only against myself but against other Members of the Government of that day, of having perverted the documents which were laid before Parliament, of having suppressed many passages in the despatches forwarded to us, and of thus having acted disingenuously by the House and the country. That charge has more than once been urged against us: it was brought forward frequently in the debates upon those important matters. We all took part in the discussion. My right hon. Friend Sir John Hobhouse, who was then out of office, but at the same time felt himself bound to defend his own conduct and the acts of the Government of which he was a Member, replied to the accusation; and I affirm, if any man will give himself the trouble of referring to those debates, as recorded in Hansard, respecting the despatches of Sir Alexander Burnes, he will see that it is not true to assert that the papers produced to the House did not contain a faithful report of the opinions which that Gentleman gave to the Governor General and the Board of Control. I do not mean to say that Sir A. Burnes did not himself subsequently alter those opinions; but the passages omitted contained opinions on subjects irrelevant to the question at issue; and when the House remembers how much Government is blamed for printing matters which do not bear upon the question, and how liable it is to the charge of endeavouring to obscure the understanding of Members, the House will be of opinion that we were not wrong in striking out such passages as were irrelevant and unimportant. And the House will be more inclined to be of this opinion when they recollect that Lord Fitzgerald, then President of the Board of Control, having access to these documents, felt himself bound to state that he could not find any trace on the part of the then Government of concealing or mis- 103 representing the facts. Sir, if any such thing had been done, what was to prevent the two adverse Governments who succeeded us in power—one of which endured for five years—from proclaiming the fact and producing the real documents? The next point to which the hon. Gentleman referred was the occupation of Aden by the naval and military forces of Great Britain. I do not know whether any papers laid upon the table of the House upon this subject have been read by the hon. Gentleman; but papers were laid upon it in the year 1839, in which he would find it stated, that upon certain considerations Aden was handed over to us by the native chiefs to whom it belonged. It was valuable to us as a half-way station between the Red Sea and our Indian empire, as a place to touch at to take in coal and other necessaries; it may become yet a great commercial station; I believe it is an acquisition very useful to us; but how that acquisition is to promote the Russian interest, I believe the hon. Gentleman will find it very difficult to prove. The hon. Gentleman next referred to the thirty-fourth charge, namely—The assertion of ecclesiastical and temporal jurisdiction advanced by or on the part of the Crown of Portugal, or the Viceroy of the said Crown, in Goa, over the persons and properties of Roman Catholics, being natural-born British subjects, within British India; and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government to repress or maintain the assertion of such jurisdiction; and the charges (if any) preferred against the said Viceroy, of being engaged in collusion or conspiracy with the deposed Rajah of Sattara, to the prejudice of the Crown of Great Britain and its sovereignty within India; and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government generally thereupon, and particularly with reference to the said Crown of Portugal, and its responsibility for the same.I certainly am surprised at the name of the Rajah of Sattara being mixed up in this matter, though I do not recollect that the hon. Member made any particular remark on that subject. I must say that there are differences between Portugal and the East India Company regarding the spiritual supremacy over Catholics exercised in that part of the empire; it is a question with which I have nothing to do, upon which I have no knowledge, although communications upon the matter have passed instrumentally through my hands. I cannot pretend to say in what state those matters now are. All questions of an ecclesiastical or spiritual nature concern me very little, except as they are brought to 104 bear upon temporal matters. This question was, however, entirely confined to the India Company and the Government of Portugal. I come now to the next point of the hon. Gentleman's charge:—The mission of the late Lord Napier to China in 1834, and the failure thereof, and the causes and consequences of such failure; and the measures (if any) adopted by the British Government by reason thereof; also, the seizure and confiscation of British property, and imprisonment of British subjects, in China by the Chinese Government in 1838 and 1839, by reason or on pretext of breaches of revenue laws, and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government, in consequence of such seizure, confiscation, and imprisonment; also the military and naval operations prosecuted by the British Government in 1839, 1840, and 1841, in China, or upon the coasts thereof; also, the treaty signed at Nankin on the 29th day of August, 1842, and the measures (if any) taken by the British Government under the same, and the results and actual operation of the said treaty.Now, from time to time, very full information relating to these matters has been laid before Parliament. It will be remembered that Lord Napier was sent out as British representative at Canton; that a dispute arose between him and the Chinese authorities upon a question of etiquette; that he was obliged to leave Canton; that he was then suffering under a violent attack of fever; that the vessel in which he was being conveyed was accompanied by a number of Chinese junks; that the people on board of those junks kept up a heating of the gongs night and day; that this aggravated the sufferings of all kinds which he was compelled to endure; and that, eventually, he fell a victim, while in the Canton river, in the discharge of his public duties. The British Government, on receiving this information, did nothing more than send out a general remonstrance. It was not considered a case sufficiently clear and well-founded to justify a recourse to hostile proceedings against the Chinese. We trusted that a better acquaintance with the power of England, and the disposition of Englishmen in their commercial dealings, would in time lead to the avoidance of any ground of complaint on our part against the Chinese. Our forbearance was misunderstood, and after this there occurred the seizure and imprisonment of some British merchants, with the threat of putting them to death if they did not deliver up all the opium of which they were in possession, or of which they expected to become possessed; then followed the demand for satisfaction, and the refusal of that demand by the Chinese Govern 105 ment; and then ensued those naval and military operations, which, being entirely successful, led to the Treaty of Nankin and a supplementary treaty, by which our position in China was greatly improved, and by which we obtained access to an additional number of ports, and secured, so far as any treaty could secure, privileges and securities to the British merchants trading to China. Well, I really do not know what is the charge that is to be founded on these transactions. The hon. Member may think we were not sufficiently energetic in the first instance, and that we passed over too calmly the death of Lord Napier. I am bound to say, however, that there were circumstances connected with that affair which would not perhaps have afforded us sufficient reason for a declaration of war. Lord Napier, no doubt, was very ill used; but I am not quite sure that Lord Napier acted with a prudent judgment in insisting, with such a people as the Chinese, upon certain diplomatic privileges and honours. If we did err in refusing to take our stand upon such a case, we erred upon the side of peace and forbearance; and, at any rate, I think the country at large will not find fault with us for having committed that error. When the second question arose, and a gross outrage was perpetrated upon some British subjects, and upon an officer of the British Crown, under circumstances where it could not be shown that they had been guilty of a want of judgment, we thought that the time was come when the British Government must determine whether it would abandon its subjects to the mercy of the Chinese, or, on the other hand, whether it would display such a force as would convince that people of our power and of our determination to protect our subjects engaged in lawful commerce even in the remotest quarters of the globe. Our operations succeeded. Is it with the success of those operations that the hon. Gentleman is disposed to find fault? The Treaty of Nankin was drawn up in conformity with the instructions I sent out; and I therefore admit myself to be responsible in a great part for the provisions of that treaty. And such was the feeling in this country with regard to the advantages which we gained by the Treaty of Nankin, that when Sir H. Pottinger returned home, after concluding the negotiation, he made as it were a triumphal procession through the kingdom. Men who were engaged in commerce, from one end of the land to the 106 other, vied with each other in the praises and honours they heaped upon him; and their admiration of his conduct was only second to the sense which the Government entertained of his services. There were not two opinions on the subject; or, if the hon. and learned Gentleman differed from the nation, he kept his sentiments to himself. I do not pretend to take to myself the exclusive merit of that treaty. I sent out, before I left office, the instructions on which mainly it was based; but the Government which succeeded, and which adopted those instructions, is entitled to an equal share of the applause. If, therefore, there is to be any censure cast upon us for that transaction, the hon. and learned Gentleman must, in justice, extend his axe to the heads of those who consummated what I commenced. By this treaty those ports, to the north of Canton, were opened to England which had never before been accessible, and with which I was told commercial intercourse was most desirable; and as to one of them, the port of Shanghea, I am happy to say the expectations formed of the advantages of free commerce here have been amply realised, the traffic between England and Shanghea increasing every year with a most rapid progression. Then we come to—"the publication, in 1836 and 1837, of a periodical called the "Portfolio," and also the accounts of the cost of printing and publishing the same; also, all applications made to the Treasury or other departments by any person on the subject of the said periodical or accounts; and also the measures (if any) taken by Her Majesty's Government thereupon; and also copies of all affidavits filed and proceedings had in 1837 and 1838 in the matter of a criminal information against one Walker for a libel on the late Secretary of Legation at Constantinople, and of the measures (if any) taken by the British Government, or by the British Ambassador at Constantinople, in consequence thereof; also, copies of all documents relating to the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Du Plat to be the British Consul at Warsaw, and of Mr. Fonblanque to be the British Consul at Belgrade, and of all correspondence with the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in 1839 on the subject of the military promotion of Lieutenant-Colonel Du Plat.Now, with regard to this publication, I have a statement to make. The hon. Member for Stafford represented me as the publisher of the "Portfolio." I beg emphatically to repudiate the fathership which he would force upon me. But he stated that the way in which the documents published in the "Portfolio" were obtained was this—that Count Zamoyski had placed in my hands a collection of de- 107 spatches and other documents, which having been in the Foreign Office of Warsaw, were carried off when the Provisional Polish Government was broken up—that I had kept them for two years, and then that the late King had compelled me to give them up to the hon. Member (Mr. Urquhart), in order that he might publish them. Now, I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman should have stated so much which was correct, in one respect at least, and mingle with it so much that was incorrect. It is true that these documents were taken away from Warsaw on the occasion described. The way in which they originally came there was this:—The Grand Duke Constantine was the Governor of the kingdom of Poland, and the Emperor showed great respect and consideration for him, insomuch that copies used to be sent from St. Petersburgh of all documents of interest connected with the empire. A number of these papers then were carried off at the fall of Warsaw. It was in the year 1834, in the autumn of that year, that a Polish gentleman informed me that these documents contained very many important and interesting secrets. I said that I should be very glad to see them, and would return them into the hands from which I received them. Well, they were brought to me. I was much occupied at the time, and I had no leisure to go through them. I gave them, therefore, to Mr. Backhouse to look over, and desired him to point out to me any particular documents which might be particularly interesting. He did so, and laid before me one which I read. The rest I put into a drawer in my private residence, and there they lay from November, 1834, until early in the spring of 1835, when, being still out of office, a Polish gentleman came to me, and after satisfying me that he was authorised to make the request, demanded back the papers which had been placed in my hands. I unlocked the drawer of the bureau, and gave him the documents—he took them away—and from that time to this, with the exception of the single paper to which I have referred, I have never seen one of them. It is, therefore, untrue that I gave them to the hon. Member for Stafford, or that I was compelled by the late King to do so. It was not from me that the hon. Gentleman received those papers. Well, such being the case, I have only to repeat that I only read one despatch, containing an account of a conference with the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of 108 Aberdeen, about, if, I mistake not, the blockade of the Dardanelles. I knew that the hon. Member for Stafford was about to translate a German work which appeared at the time, and which contained a collection of similar diplomatic documents found at Berlin. [Mr. URQUHART: The task was proposed to me from the Foreign Office, but I never entertained any such project.] Well, one day Count Zamoyski came to me at the Foreign Office, and said, "Have you seen this publication?" at the same time producing a small pamphlet—in fact, the first number of the "Portfolio." I said, "What is it?" and he showed it to me. The number contained one of the documents which I had returned as I have stated—and that was the first I ever knew, not only of the "Portfolio," but of any intention to publish any such periodical; and from that time forward, though I have the same sort of knowledge that the hon. Member for Stafford was the editor of the work as most people have as to who is the editor of the Edinburgh or Quarterly Review, I utterly deny that the "Portfolio" was published under my authority, that I ever sanctioned it, or that I ever had any communication with the publisher upon the subject. When the "Portfolio" was going on, Mr. Strange-ways, my own private secretary, and a gentleman in the habit of holding intimate communication with the hon. Member for Stafford, and who, I suppose, knew the existence of the document in question—indeed he must have done so—brought me one day one of these despatches. He said, "Here is a curious despatch which is about to be published; would you like to read it?" I looked at it, and saw that it was the despatch which I had read before. Now, it has been said by the hon. Member that the editor of the "Portfolio" never published a document without my signature and initials. That I utterly deny—I deny that I had anything to do with the documents published at all, except as respects this despatch. Well, I read it, and said, "There are one or two passages which I should like omitted." I marked them in pencil, and whether I added my initials I really cannot tell. The passage was one which contained what I conceived to be an unjust reflection upon two Members of the Government in power at the time the transaction took place. They were my political opponents; but I thought it right to omit a portion of a despatch written after a hostile interview by statesmen of a foreign 109 Power—passages which, had they themselves to rewrite, would probably have been very differently couched. The sole exercise of influence on my part, then, as connected with the "Portfolio," was to request the omission of this passage. This is really all I know of, or had to do with, the "Portfolio." The hon. Member, however—for what reasons I know not—tried hard to connect the Foreign Office with that publication, and a long correspondence with him upon the subject took place. That correspondence was published in the newspapers of the day; and I will just read a passage from a letter written by Mr. Backhouse, bearing upon the connexion which ha had, as Under Secretary of State, with the "Portfolio." It was dated Liverpool, 24th January, 1839, and was as follows:—I have said that I have nothing to retract in the substance of the statements which I made from memory in my letter of the 2nd of August, with regard to the publication called the 'Portfolio;' and I again assert, that I steadily refused, throughout the whole of our verbal communication, to assume any of the authority, or to accept any of the responsibility, which you so pertinaciously prove in that conversation to force upon me. That such was really the issue of our conversation would indeed be manifest even from the step which you took immediately after it was ended, as may be collected from the nature and contents of the first of the two letters which you have produced, dated the 1st of January. You have found it impossible to obtain from me the offical sanction which you professed to require; and, having failed in that attempt, and time pressing, you were driven to make trial of another course—that of referring the matter to Lord Palmerston; and, accordingly, on the evening of the 31st of December, you transmitted to me, from your private residence, a packet purporting to contain that reference, which I was to forward to his Lordship, who was then out of town. Can more conclusive evidence be required than was afforded by this step, that you had failed to obtain from me the official sanction and authority which you had evinced so much anxiety to obtain with the least possible loss of time? But your packet for Lord Palmerston was sent to me at too late an hour to be forwarded to his Lordship the same night and, accordingly, on the following morning I returned it to you in my letter of the 1st January, with an explanation of the cause of its not having been forwarded. After this we had no further verbal communication daring the progress of this affair. All the subsequent communications respecting it were in writing. And by your reply to my letter of the 1st of January, in which you sent back to me your papers a second time, and in which you represented the amount of the pecuniary loss which you would individually sustain by the least further delay in the forthcoming number of the "Portfolio"—and, further, by my hasty rejoinder of the same evening, finally re-turning the papers to you, the whole proceeding was closed. These written communications from 110 me, when read with reference to the facts which preceded them, and to the requisition contained in your answer to the first of them, will be found to imply no change in the determination which I had previously declared to you in our verbal communication. They show, on the contrary, that I continued to the last to decline to exercise authority, or to incur responsibility, with respect to any insertion in the "Portfolio." It will further be seen, by my first letter of the 1st of January, that the only suggestion which I made to you with reference to the question, whether you should publish your paper or withdraw it, was adverse to the publication of that paper; but still on grounds wholly unconnected with the management of the "Portfolio"—whilst your letter of the 1st of January will show that you, on the contrary, argued against the effect of my suggestion, and stated your reason for thinking that the publication which you desired, and which you eventually effected, 'might be ventured.'Then, Sir, I say I am free from either merit or blame as to the "Portfolio." After this, however, I appointed the hon. Member to be Secretary to the Embassy at Constantinople; and I well recollect that when he was going I said to him, "I do not ask whether you were or were not the editor of the 'Portfolio.'" The fact was, that I sent him, notwithstanding my convictions upon the subject. For myself I had never even been consulted as to whether any such publication should ever be issued. It contained some violent attacks upon Mr. Poulett Thompson, which would certainly never have been made in any publication over which I had any influence. And when, therefore, the hon. Gentleman applied to me to pay the expenses of the publication, I certainly declined to disburse them. I really cannot enter into the question between the hon. Member and Colonel De Plat. It is a question of private disputes and newspaper controversies, which I must leave as I find it. We, therefore, come to the next charge. And I find that the hon. Member moves for—Copies or despatches of the Treaty of Commerce signed between the Crown of Great Britain and the Free City of Frankfort on the 13th May, 1882; and of all correspondence from the year 1833, inclusive, relating to the said treaty, or to the surrender or relinquishment by the British Government of British rights under the said treaty, or to the facilitation of the accession of the said Free City to the Prussian Customs' Union.Now, Sir, the history of that treaty is this. The Prussian Commercial League was formed. There was nothing in the nature of that League which was in the slightest degree hostile to British interests, for anything which tends to unite Germany 111 into one body commercial, must be favourable for the commercial interests of England. Because by throwing down all those internal custom-houses, spread out like the cells of a honeycomb, you throw open the circulation of foreign commodities over a large extent of country. But the misfortune of the League was, that it adopted for its general tariff the high tariff of Prussia, and so far it was injurious to British interests. The tariff, at that time, of some of the other States was much lower than the tariff of Prussia; but it was the latter which the League adopted. One of the points of commercial intercourse which it was important to keep open was the free city of Frankfort; and it was thought that if it could be kept out of the union, it would become a convenient depôt for British commodities, and facilitate their transmission through Germany; and the Government of Frankfort coincided with this opinion, and sent over an agent to conclude a treaty of commerce, and—I hope the House will not smile—one also of navigation, for although no seaborne ship could approach Frankfort, still the British flag might by chance reach its waters. Well, we willingly acceded to the proposal, and the treaty was concluded. It was, however, found to be no defence against the influence of the restrictive circle with which Frankfort was surrounded; and after some lapse of time the Government of Frankfort sent another envoy, urging the British Government to consent to rescinding the treaty, when, finding that there was no earthly use, either to us or to Frankfort, in keeping up the treaty, we willingly consented to release them from its obligations, which constituted the bar to Frankfort joining, as it was compelled to do, the League. This is the history of the commercial treaty with Frankfort—this was the way in which it begun and ended; and I think that we exercised a sound discretion in the one case as in the other. Well, then comes the clause of the hon. Member's Motion which requires returns—Of all correspondence on the subject of the appointment of the right hon. Sir Stratford Canning to be the British Ambassador at the Court of St. Petersburgh, and the causes of the said appointment being rescinded, and of the late Earl of Durham being appointed to the same post in his stead.On this point the hon. Member has made some considerable mistakes. He said, that for three or four days I was virtually out of office, in consequence of the displea- 112 sure of the late King, excited by my having set aside Sir Stratford Canning before he was objected to by the Court of St. Petersburgh, and by having recommended the late Earl of Durham as a more advisable representative in his room. It often happens that people mistake what they wish for what has happened. When the hon. Member tells me of the intention which existed on the part of the King of removing me from office, I do not know whether he heard it from the hon. Member for Stafford, or from his late Majesty's Private Secretary. I can assure him I heard the information for the first time, and that I slept unconscious of the danger, although now fully awakened to it, just as people start to see in the day the gulf which they have crossed by a single plank at night. The facts connected with the two appointments are simply these. When we came into office in 1830, Lord Heytes-bury was British Ambassador at St. Petersburgh. Having a high opinion of the diplomatic talent and extremely conciliatory manners of the noble Lord, it was my wish, and that of my Colleagues, that he could be prevailed upon to remain notwithstanding the change of Government. The noble Lord consented, and for some time remained there, until the state of his health compelled him to retire, when it became necessary to choose another Ambassador. I, therefore, recommended to the King Sir Stratford Canning as a proper person for the office; and His Majesty being pleased graciously to approve of him, he was named Ambassador to the Court of Russia. It is well known, and therefore I have no difficulty in mentioning it, that objections resting on unfounded prejudices, and without any distinct ground having been ever found for them, were entertained by the Emperor toward Sir Stratford Canning, and we were informed he would not be received at that time by the Court. It would of course have been very unwise on the part of the British Government to have endeavoured to force Sir Stratford Canning on the Emperor of Russia as a representative, when he, rightly or wrongly, said he would not receive him at his Court; and Sir Stratford Canning accordingly did not go to Russia. From October, 1832, to November, 1834, no Ambassador was sent to Russia. The British Government said they did not think it prudent to send an Ambassador who would not be received, having no power to force him on the Court; but as they did 113 not think the objections well founded, they would not appear to acquiesce in them by sending another person; and consequently there was only a Chargé d'Affaires at St. Petersburgh during the period in question. At the end of this time our Government went out, and were succeeded by that of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel. That Government took a different view of the matter from us, and thought the Emperor of Russia had a right, as an independent Sovereign, to make objections to our representative. They consequently, without at all undervaluing the services or merits of Sir Stratford Canning, or acquiescing in those objections, advised the King to appoint Lord Londonderry as Ambassador; and his nomination was made public, and communicated to the Russian Government. This step at once precluded the British Government from referring back to the point of etiquette in future. It is well known the mission of Lord Londonderry did not actually take place, as the Government which appointed him went out, and that of Lord Melbourne came in. In this state of things it would have been perfectly absurd and untenable for the Government to go back to the ground they had occupied in 1832, because it had been waved by the Crown of England already, and we had nothing to do, therefore, but to select some other person to go in the room of Lord Londonderry. We selected Lord Durham for that purpose; and I think there was no one who by the liberality of his opinions, by the manliness of his character, by his steady adherence to the principles he believed to be just, and by his regard for the honour of the empire, was less likely to betray his trust, or neglect the interests of his country. I am, therefore, at a loss to know of what nature the danger was which, according to the hon. Member for four days hung over me. Two years and a half intervened between the time of the objections to Sir S. Canning and the appointment of Lord Durham; and I cannot undertake to say in what precise part of this period this unknown danger was impending. The next paragraph of the Motion is for copies—Of all correspondence from the year 1830, inclusive, relating to the violation by the Czar of Russia of commercial or other rights in Poland previously enjoyed by Great Britain.Let us take the whole Polish question at once, for that is really what the hon. Member means by this part of the Motion. I am not aware of any commercial rights en- 114 joyed by Great Britain which have been much affected in Poland by any changes that have taken place. Nor do I recollect any commercial rights which have been affected, except those of individuals, which might in some degree have been so by changes in the tariff. The charge made by the hon. Member is in effect this—that when the Polish revolution broke out in 1835, England, in conjunction with France, should have taken up arms in favour of the Poles, but she did not do so; that she abandoned France in her attempt, and thus deprived the Poles of their independence; and finally—and here the hon. Member made an assertion I was astonished to hear—that we prevented Austria uniting with France and England for the same object. [Mr. ANSTEY: I said, Austria was ready to have joined with us if we had acted differently.] Well, then, the hon. Member says we baulked the readiness of Austria to interpose in favour of the Poles, when we had many reasons to adopt a different course. This question has been so often discussed that I can only repeat what I have said in former Parliaments. It is well known that when we came into office in 1830 Europe was in a state which, in the opinion of any impartial man, and of the best political judges, threatened to break out into a general war. I remember being told by a right hon. Gentleman in the course of a private conversation in the House, that "if an angel came down from heaven to write my despatches, I could not prevent Europe from a war in six months." Well, Sir, not months, but years, rolled by, and no war took place. It was the anxious desire of the Government of Earl Grey to prevent war; and the maintenance of peace was one of the objects at which they expressly aimed, and succeeded. What were the dangers which threatened the peace of Europe? There had just been a great revolution in France—there had been another in Belgium, and these had been followed by a great rising of the Poles against the sway of Russia. In these struggles there was a conflict of principle as well as one of political relations. There was the popular principle in France, in Belgium, and in Poland, to be resisted by the monarchical principle of Austria, of Russia, and of Prussia. The danger apprehended in 1831 was, that these three Powers should attempt by a hostile attack to control France in the exercise of her judgment with respect to who should be her Sovereign, or what should be her con- 115 stitution. The British Government, under the Duke of Wellington, with the most laudable regard for the public interests, not only of England but of Europe, hastened to acknowledge the new Sovereign of France, and to withdraw their country from the ranks of any confederacy against her; and this conduct laid the foundation of that peace which it was our duty to maintain and cultivate. The great anxiety of England was that peace should be maintained. There was no doubt great sympathy with the Poles in their contest against Russia; and it was thought there was a chance of their succeeding in their attempt. The result, however, was different; but then it was said by the hon. Member, "Oh, it is the fault of England that she did not establish the independence of Poland. If she had joined with France and Austria (which now for the first time I am told was anxious to favour the cause of Poland), the Poles would have been in full enjoyment of their constitutional freedom." The hon. Gentleman actually said that Austria, in 1831, was in favour of the Poles, who were closely pressed by the Russians and Prussians, who had already got possession of Militsch, and felt, if the kingdom of Poland were independent, the chances were that she (Militsch) would rise also to assert her liberties. This statement is excessively extraordinary. I am quite surprised even that the hon. Member for Youghal should have made it. I will tell him what was passing in his mind when he said so, and what led him to make this statement; for I am at least desirous of giving a rational solution to it, as far as I can, under his correction. The fact of which he was probably thinking was this:—In 1814, when the issue of the war between Napoleon and the other Powers of Europe was doubtful, a treaty, of which part has been made public, was signed at Reichenbach between Austria, Russia, and Prussia, for the entire partition of Poland between them, in the event of their success against France. The effect of this treaty would have been to extinguish the name of Poland as a separate and independent element of European geography. In 1813, after Napoleon had been repulsed from Russia, and the war had retired to the westward of Germany and of Europe, where shortly after it was brought to a close, discussions took place at Vienna as to what should be done with Poland. Austria called for the execution of the compact, and, with England, de- 116 manded that either the Treaty of Reichenback should be completely carried out, and Poland divided equally into three parts for each of the contracting parties, or that she should be reconstructed and made anew into a substantive State between the Three Powers. Russia was of a different opinion, and contended not for the execution of the Treaty of Reichenbach, but for the arrangement which was subsequently carried into effect—namely, that the greater part of Poland was to be made into a kingdom and annexed to her Crown, and that the remaining parts should be divided between the two other States. After a great deal of discussion the Treaty of Reichenbach was set aside, and the arrangements of the Treaty of Vienna were made. I suppose this is what led the hon. Member to his statement, that Austria would join with us, because in 1814 she was favourable to the re-establishment of Poland as a separate kingdom, as one alternative in contradiction to her partition; for any other ground than this I cannot conceive for his assertion. If Austria were favourable to the Polish insurrection subsequently, I can only say that it is a fact as unknown to me as was the existence of the four days of danger, and I am inclined to place both assertions on the same foundation. The interest of Austria was in fact quite different; and it was owing to her feeling respecting Poland, that the Russians ultimately succeeded in crushing the insurrection. But then, says the hon. and learned Member, you should have accepted the offers of France. I have often argued the question before, and what I said before I say again. If France had gone to the extent of proposing to England to join with her against Russia, this would have been nothing more nor less than the offer of a war in Europe, which, as our great object was to keep down such a war, we should never have thought of accepting. It would have been a war, without the chance of anything but a war; for let us look to the position of the kingdom of Poland—let us consider that it was surrounded by Austria, by Russia, and by Prussia—that there was a large Russian army actually in Poland, and that there was a Prussian army on her frontiers; and we shall at once see that at the very first intimation that England was about to take up arms with France for the independence of Poland, the three armies would have fallen on the Poles—the insurrection would have been crushed, the spark of Polish independence extin- 117 guished, and all this having been done, the Three Powers would have marched their armies to the Rhine, and said, "We shall now make France and England answer for their conduct." This course would have been sure to involve the country in a Continental war, for a purpose which would be defeated before the war could be terminated. But, says the hon. Member, you have very powerful allies, who would have assisted you. France is a large military power, capable of great efforts. Then you have Sweden, too, burning with desire to break a lance with Russia on the question of Polish independence. What man in his sober senses, even if Sweden made such a proposition, and were ready to join us against Russia, would not have said, "For God's sate, remain quiet and do nothing?" [Mr. ANSTEY: I said, that Sweden was arming her fleet, with the intention of making a demonstration against the Russian provinces in the Baltic; but the noble Lord remonstrated with Sweden for doing so, and induced her to disarm.] Well, there is not much difference between as. I do not think a demonstration by a Swedish fleet on the shores of the Baltic would have been long maintained without a corresponding demonstration of the Russian fleet in Cronstadt, and it is pretty clear which of them would go to the wall; and then we should have had to defend Sweden against Russian attack; and unless we had been prepared to send a large army to her aid, we should have sacrificed her to no purpose. I say, Sir, the man with the interests of Russia most dearly at his heart, could have done nothing better for Russia than stimulate Sweden into a dispute with Russia, by inducing her to make an armed demonstration on her shores, and thus to draw down upon her the vengeance and overwhelming power of that empire. If Sweden had been ready to make such a demonstration with her gunboats on the coast of Russia, and had asked us for our advice, the best thing we could have said would have been, "Don't do anything half so foolish; we are not prepared to send an army and a fleet to defend you, and don't give Russia a cause to attack you." But there was another empire burning with desire to join us against Russia. Turkey, we were told by the hon. and learned Member, with 200,000 cavalry, was ready to carry demonstration to the very walls of St. Peters-burgh—perhaps to carry off the Emperor himself from his throne. What was the 118 state of Turkey then? In 1831 she had engaged in a war with Russia, in which, after two campaigns, her arms were repulsed and driven back into their own empire, so that she was compelled at Adrianople to accept conditions of peace—hard in their nature, and demanding a sacrifice of an important part of her territory, but to which she was advised in friendly counsel by the British Ambassador to submit, for fear of having to endure still worse. We are told that, two or three years after this great disaster, Turkey was of such amazing enterprise and courage, and was furnished with such a wonderful quantity of cavalry, that she was prepared to send 200,000 horse (which she never had in all her life) over the frontiers of Russia, and sweep her territory. Now this is, of all the wild dreams that ever crossed the mind of man, one of the most unlikely and extraordinary. But supposing all this had been true, and that Turkey really was prepared to do all the hon. and learned Gentleman said she was, I should have given her just the same advice that I should have offered Sweden under the same circumstances, and should have said, "Have you not been beaten enough? Are you mad? Do you want the Russians to get Constantinople instead of Adrianople? Will nothing satisfy you? We cannot come and defend you against your powerful neighbour. She is on your frontiers, and do not give her any just cause for attacking you." Then the hon. and learned Gentleman told us of the Schah of Persia—how the gunboats of Sweden, the troops of Austria, the fine cavalry of Turkey, the magnificent disciplined legions of Persia, were ready all to pour in upon Russia in revenge for the injuries which the inhabitants of the Baltic coasts inflicted upon Europe in former centuries, and would have stripped Russia of her finest provinces. Now, what had happened to Persia? In 1827, she had very foolishly and thoughlessly, against advice, rushed into a conflict with Russia, and had seen herself reduced to make a treaty, not only surrendering important provinces, but giving Russia the advantage of hoisting her flag in the Caspian. She had gone to war with a powerful antagonist, and been compelled to submit to humiliating concessions. Can you suppose that Persia, in that state of things, would have been ready to march against Russia for the sake of assisting Poland? In the disastrous struggle which ensued, Poland was overthrown; 119 the suspension of its constitution followed, and the substitution of what was called the "organic statute." The Russian Government pronounced that civil war had abrogated it, and they re-entered Poland as conquerors. I am not asserting the justice of that, but the contrary; we always maintained a different view. I need not remind the House how deep a sympathy the sufferings of Poland excited in this country. Many things have passed in Poland since that time which the British Government greatly regrets, and in respect to which the rights laid down by treaty have been violated. But when we are asked why the British Government have not enforced treaty rights in every case, my answer is, that the only method of enforcing them would have been by methods of hostility; and that I do not think those questions were questions of sufficient magnitude in their bearing on the interests of England, to justify any Government in calling on the people of this country to encounter the burdens and hazards of war for the purpose of maintaining those opinions. Then comes the question of Cracow. I deny the justice of the reproach which the hon. Member has directed against me on that head, of an infraction of the just requirements of good faith. It is perfectly true, that in a discussion in this House we stated our intention of sending a Consul to Cracow; but we were not at that time aware of all the objections entertained to that step by other Powers who had an interest in the question, and who possessed great influence in Cracow. Communications and correspondence took place, not only with them, but with the Cracovian authorities, and we were plainly told, that if our Consul went to Cracow he would not be received. What were we to do under those circumstances? The Government of Cracow, though nominally independent, was practically under the control and protection of the three protecting Powers; and whatever they ordered that Government to do, it was plain they would do. It therefore became the Government to consider whether there really was any cause for the presence of a British Consul at Cracow, which was of sufficient importance to make it worth while to insist on his presence, at the risk of not obtaining the end. We should then have been exposed to an affront from the miserable little Government at Cracow, not acting on its own responsibility, towards whom nothing could have been directed in vindication of the honour of the British Crown; 120 and our only course would have been a rupture with the Three Powers, after we had been warned of the rejection of our Consul. Well, then, considering the importance attached in this country, not merely to peace, but to a really good understanding with foreign Powers, where-ever there are great interests and powerful motives to amity which would be violated by hostilities, I thought the best course would be to abandon the intention we had entertained, and which we had announced in the discussion in this House. It does not follow, when a Minister announces in Parliament an intention to perform a public act, that it is to be considered like a promise made to an individual, or by one private man to another, and that it is to be made a reproach to him if the intention be not carried out. We are here responsible to the country for the advice we give to the Crown. We are responsible for all the consequences which that advice may bring on the country. We are not dealing with our own affairs; it is not a question of what we may do with our private property; but when a Minister finds he cannot do a particular act without compromising the interests of the country, and that these will suffer from his executing his intention, it is his duty to give up that intention, and to consult the interests of the country in preference to every other consideration. That is the history of the Consul who was to have been at Cracow. We have been asked to produce the correspondence relating to the transaction; and I do not know that there would be any particular objection to doing so. It consists of angry notes on one side and the other, and I cannot think we should be promoting a good understanding with the Three Powers by producing it; but as far as concerns its being a record of anything I have done, or have not done, I have no objection. The hon. Member asks for all the correspondence which may have passed from the year 1835 downwards on the subject of the Russian fleet in commission in the Baltic. I do not recollect that any particular communications took place on this subject between the British Government on the one hand, and those of Russia or France on the other. Of course, it is utterly impossible for a Power which, like England, depends mainly for its security on its naval defence, not to watch with attentive anxiety the armaments or the state of naval preparation which from time to time may exist in other great countries. 121 Therefore our attention may, no doubt, have been more or less directed, especially when questions of great difficulty and delicacy have been pending between Russia and England, and a state of mutual distrust to some extent existed, towards the naval footing of Russia both in the Baltic and Black Sea. Of course, also, though I do not particularly recollect the circumstance as having happened in 1835 or 1836, the immense amount of naval preparation in France must always form an element in the consideration of the Government of this country, in taking into account the means which England must possess to maintain its station amongst the empires of the world. I have now gone through all the points embraced in the speech of the hon. Member. I have gone through, as far as memory and time permitted, the principal topics on which he touched. It was only last night I was able to put together the observations I have ventured to offer to the House. I have taken them in the order he stated them in the Motion of which he gave notice. Upon the general character of my public conduct I can only repeat what I said when last I had the honour to address this House. I can only say, if any one in this House should think fit to make an inquiry into the whole of my political conduct, both as recorded in official documents, or in private letters and correspondence, there is nothing which I would not most willingly submit to the inspection of any reasonable man in this House. I will add, that I am conscious of none of those offences which have been charged against me by the hon. and learned Member. I am conscious that, during the time for which I have had the honour to direct the foreign relations of this country, I have devoted to them all the energies which I possess. Other men might have acted, no doubt, with more ability—none could have acted with a more entire devotion both of their time and faculties. The principle on which I have thought the foreign affairs of this country ought to be conducted is, the principle of maintaining peace and friendly understanding with all nations, as long as it was possible to do so consistently with a due regard to the interests, the honour, and the dignity of this country. My endeavours have been to preserve peace. All the Governments of which I have had the honour to be a Member have succeeded in accomplishing that object. The main charges brought against me are, that I did not involve this country in per- 122 petual quarrels from one end of the globe to the other. There is no country that has been named, from the United States to the empire of China, with respect to which part of the hon. Member's charge has not been, that we have refrained from taking steps that might have plunged us into conflict with one or more of these Powers. On these occasions we have been supported by the opinion and approbation of Parliament and the public. We have endeavoured to extend the commercial relations of the country, or to place them where extension was not required, on a firmer basis, and upon a footing of greater security. Surely in that respect we have not judged amiss, nor deserved the censure of the country; on the contrary, I think we have done good service. I hold with respect to alliances, that England is a Power sufficiently strong, sufficiently powerful, to steer her own course, and not to tie herself as an unnecessary appendage to the policy of any other Government. I hold that the real policy of England—apart from questions which involve her own particular interests, political or commercial—is to be the champion of justice and right; pursuing that course with moderation and prudence, not becoming the Quixote of the world, but giving the weight of her moral sanction and support wherever she thinks that justice is, and wherever she thinks that wrong has been done. Sir, in pursuing that course, and in pursuing the more limited direction of our own particular interests, my conviction is, that as long as England keeps herself in the right—as long as she wishes to permit no injustice—as long as she wishes to countenance no wrong—as long as she labours at legislative interests of her own—and as long as she sympathises with right and justice, she never will find herself altogether alone. She is sure to find some other State, of sufficient power, influence, and weight, to support and aid her in the course she may think fit to pursue. Therefore I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow. When we find other countries marching in the same course, and pursuing the same objects as ourselves, we consider them as our friends, and we think for the moment that we are on the most cordial footing; when we find other coun- 123 tries that take a different view, and thwart us in the object we pursue, it is our duty to make allowance for the different manner in which they may follow out the same objects. It is our duty not to pass too harsh a judgment upon others, because they do not exactly see things in the same light as we see; and it is our duty not lightly to engage this country in the frightful responsibilities of war, because from time to time we may find this or that Power disinclined to concur with us in matters where their opinion and ours may fairly differ. That has been, as far as my faculties have allowed me to act upon it, the guiding principle of my conduct. And if I might be allowed to express in one sentence the principle which I think ought to guide an English Minister, I would adopt the expression of Canning, and say that with every British Minister the interests of England ought to be the shibboleth of his policy.
§ LORD DUDLEY STUART
presented himself to the House, amidst loud cries of "Divide!" and said, that as he rose for the purpose of doing what was equivalent to adjourning the debate, perhaps the best course he could take was to move it. ["No, no!"]
§ LORD DUDLEY STUART
said, that he should divide the House.—But as the minute-hand of the clock now pointed exactly to Six,
§ House adjourned, it being Six o'clock.