HC Deb 11 July 1853 vol 129 cc33-4

I rise, Sir, to put two questions to the noble Lord the Member for the City of London with respect to the present state of affairs in the East. The first refers to a document which has reached this metropolis to-day, and which bears the title of a "circular despatch," addressed to the diplomatic agents of the Court of St. Petersburgh, and purports to be signed by Count Nesselrode. This document states that the occupation of the Danubian principalities by the Russians has been occasioned as much by the naval occupation of the Turkish ports by the combined fleets of England and France, as by the refusal of the Sultan to give that satisfaction to the Emperor of Russia which he demands; and it further states, that the Emperor will not retire from the principalities until complete satisfaction has been accorded to him by the Sultan, and until the combined fleets of England and France have left those ports in the Sultan's dominions which they at present occupy. I wish to know whether a copy of this circular despatch has been presented to Her Majesty's Government; and if it has not been presented, I wish to know whether, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, it is an authentic document?


In the last despatch received, Sir George Hamilton Seymour stated that he had not seen the circular despatch said to be signed by Count Nesselrode. I have no doubt, however, that, substantially, the despatch to which the right hon. Gentleman has alluded, and which has been published in the public journals, is authentic. I will not enter into the particulars to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred; but I do not think, in the first place, that Her Majesty's Government can in any manner substantiate the fact that the entry of the Russian troops into the principalities was caused by the sailing of the English and French fleets into the waters of Turkey; and, in the second place, I do not know, from my reading of the document, that there was any declaration in it to the effect that matters would not be arranged between Russia and Turkey unless the English and French fleets first left the Turkish waters.


The next question I have to ask Sir, is, whether Her Majesty's Government have received any information of the occupation of the Bosnian provinces by the Austrian army?


We have not received any information of that nature. Indeed, the Austrian Minister has communicated to the Earl of Clarendon his total disbelief of any such occurrence. He says that he believes the report has been owing to the occupation of Peterwariden, a town within the Austrian territory, and he supposes that that step has given rise to the report.