HC Deb 08 August 1853 vol 129 cc1462-3

Sir, I have to put a question to the noble Lord the Member for London, upon a subject which is deeply interesting to the people of this country generally, but more especially to the mercantile classes, and which, I believe, also very nearly concerns the dignity and the responsibility of every Member of this House. The question I have to ask of the noble Lord is, whether Her Majesty's Government will, previously to the prorogation of Parliament, submit to the House of Commons a statement of the existing relations between this country, Turkey, and Russia, touching the aggressive attitude assumed by Russia towards the Sublime Porte, and whether they will appropriate a day for the expression of the opinion of this House upon this important subject?


Mr. Speaker, in answer to the hon. Gentleman, I have to state, with respect to his first question, that before the prorogation of Parliament, I will give such information on the subject of the existing relations between Russia and Turkey as I may think consistent with my sense of public duty. In answer to the second question of the hon. Member, I cannot say that I think it would be advisable for the public interest that in the present state of the negotiations between Russia and Turkey, there should be any day devoted to a general discussion of that subject.


Sir, a rumour of the most important character has been circulated in the public prints of to day. I allude to the rumour that the Emperor of Russia has agreed to certain proposals which have been submitted to him by the different Powers of Europe for the adjustment of the differences between Russia and Turkey. I wish to ask whether the noble Lord can state that there is any truth in that rumour, and that we are now nearer to a pacific solution of that question than we were a few days ago?


In answer to the question of my noble Friend, I have to state that there is a foundation for the rumour to which he has alluded, and that we have just received a despatch from Her Majesty's Minister at Vienna, which is of a satisfactory nature. The answer which has been received from the Court of St. Petersburgh is in reply to the first proposal which was agreed to at Vienna. I have further to state that the messenger who was to have gone to Constantinople, and who, as I said on a former occasion, would leave Vienna on the 31st of July, did not actually leave Vienna until the 2nd of August; so that the reply from Constantinople cannot be received as soon as it was at first expected.


Will the noble Lord communicate the promised information at such a time as will enable the House to discuss the question?


I beg to explain that what I said was, that I would give such information as it would be in my power to give consistently with my sense of public duty; and I think that it will be more satisfactory that I should give that information at the latest moment before the prorogation of Parliament.


Am I to understand that there will be a discussion of the question before the prorogation?


As far as the Government are concerned, it is not their opinion that it is desirable, under existing circumstances, there should be a discussion.