HC Deb 13 March 1854 vol 131 cc674-88

I gave notice, Sir, a few nights since, that I would this evening put a question to the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty, whom I now see in his place. In the Times newspaper of the 8th instant appeared a report of a public dinner given to Sir Charles Napier on the previous evening at the Reform Club. At that dinner, which was attended by reporters from all the morning papers, for the purpose of making public the proceedings, the right hon. Baronet is reported to have stated that he then and there, in his official capacity, gave Sir Charles Napier liberty to declare war on entering the Baltic. ["Hear, hear."] Now, Sir, that may probably be, in the opinion of some hon. Gentlemen, a very judicious course; but what I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman is this—first, by what authority he delegated this power to declare war to Sir Charles Napier, or to any other person, that being a power which, by the constitution of this country, is vested solely and exclusively in the Sovereign? Secondly, I wish to know, did he mean that that authority thus delegated to Sir Charles Napier should be acted on in anticipation of the arrival in this country of the Czar's reply to the ultimatum recently forwarded to St. Petersburg by the Governments of England and France?


Although, Sir, I am not disposed to admit the right of the hon. Gentleman to put a question with respect to what passed after dinner [Laughter] at the Reform Club, it would, perhaps, not be respectful if I were not to give some answer to it. I have to state, then, to the hon. Gentleman—with respect to the authority alleged to have been given by me to Sir Charles Napier to declare war, in the part of my speech which has been alluded to—that what passed upon that occasion was this: My gallant friend, Sir Charles Napier, had said, in the course of his speech, that he hoped before he entered the Baltic he should have authority to declare war; and I, following Sir Charles Napier, and replying to the observations made by him, stated that when he entered the Baltic I hoped there would be no difficulty on his part in declaring war. But I have to state to the House that at present no declaration of war has taken place, that no orders have been given to Sir Charles Napier to enter the Baltic, and that when war is declared, a formal communication will be given of the fact.


Sir, I shall take the liberty, that I may avoid being out of order, to move the adjournment of the House. I gave notice to the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty, a few evenings ago, that I would put a question to him upon this subject; and I cannot say that the answer which the right hon. Gentleman has just given to the hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. French) is such a one as meets the case, or as would justify me in saying nothing more upon the subject. The right hon. Gentleman complains that he is asked about something that happened after dinner; and the House put an interpretation upon that which I am quite sure was not justified by the state of the right hon. Gentleman at the time. There are, however, matters connected with this question which affect the Government as a Government, and not the right hon. Gentleman alone. I have seen it stated in the morning papers, and it has been currently reported, that some time ago it was proposed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London to give a dinner at the Mansion House to distinguished officers of both services. Every gentleman who becomes Lord Mayor appears to become excited about something, and in the effervescence of my Lord Mayor Sidney, it was thought possible to have a dinner at which distinguished officers of both services should be present. I understand that application was made to the right hon. Gentleman as head of the Navy, and to Lord Hardinge as head of the Army, with a view to carry out this object, and that, in the one case, it was agreed that some thirty officers, and, in the other, I believe, as many as forty should be invited. Everything went on swimmingly for the ambition of my Lord Mayor, until at length, in consequence of an intimation from some higher power, either the Cabinet or the noble Earl at the head of the Government—I suspect the latter—the dinner was countermanded, and for a time, at least, postponed. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more prudent or more judicious than that second determination; for, in the circumstances in which we are now placed, and at such a critical period, I should say that it is far better that the Government should abstain from demonstrations of this nature. The dinner at the Mansion House, therefore, did not take place; but a dinner did take place at the Reform Club. Now, I do not at all expect the Government to put an end to dinners at the Reform Club. Clubs are celebrated for their cookery, and a great number of the members make preparing for their dinners and eating them the chief object of their concern during the day. ["Oh, oh!"] I am sorry if I have said anything offensive to any hon. Member. But, although it is no part of the business of the Government to put a stop to dinners at the Reform Club, yet, if they thought the dinner at the Mansion House injudicious, I do not know how they could think the attendance at the Reform Club dinner of three Cabinet Ministers and of an Admiral just appointed to a high command otherwise than an injudicious step. I suspect we shall soon have to ask who are the Ministers—who are the Cabinet?—where are we to look for the administrative power of the country? I look upon this occurrence as a proof that there is a majority and minority in the Cabinet—that there are differences of opinion in the Government upon this, and perhaps upon some other important questions. I shall say nothing as to the good taste or bad taste of Ministers of the Crown attending that dinner at the Reform Club. I can imagine, however, that after Ministers have succeeded in bringing the nation to the verge of the precipice of war, they will not be very particular as to the means they take of keeping alive and stimulating public passion in order, it may be, that some blunders which have been committed may, in the midst of this prevailing frenzy, remain undiscovered. It is said that the noble Lord the Member for the City of London was asked, if not to preside, at least to be present at that dinner. Now, I need not remind the House that that noble Lord, in the midst of many political successes and of some political reverses, has generally—in fact I think always—contrived to show that he has some respect for his own character, some regard for his own dignity and for his own position—and he was not present at this dinner. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), however, was the chairman upon that occasion. I will not go into the question as to whether he should have been or not; but I could not help contrasting the language which he used, when speaking of the single-mindedness, the good faith, and the honour of a certain ruler abroad, with the language he used some two years since, when he sought to frighten this House and the country by describing the imminent probability of a marauding army of some 60,000 Frenchmen landing on the southern shores of England in a single night. Another feature of this dinner which gave me great pain was the presence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth), the Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests. It is wonderful to think what a change a few months of official life appears to make in public men. We have heard of men who have grown old from the anxieties of a single year. We have heard even of men whose hair has been turned grey by the agony of a single night. I think it was Horace Walpole who remarked upon the frankness with which Members spoke when on that (pointing to the Opposition) side of the House, and on the diplomatic reserve which they displayed when they sat on the benches below me, and who observed that Ministerial language was the easiest of all languages, for a man could learn it in a week. It has only taken some twelve or fifteen months of official life to erase from the mind of the right hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) all traces of that great principle of non-intervention upon which, in 1850, if I recollect aright, he gave a vote emphatically condemning the foreign policy of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. But I now come to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty. He has been in this House longer than most of us can remember—in fact, I suppose, scores of Members of this House were not so high as the table, when the right hon. Gentleman was first immersed in political affairs—he has held office for a great number of years, and he is a man whose language is most precise and accurate. He is not surpassed—I doubt if he is equalled—by any Member of this House in the beautiful precision with which his words are placed and uttered. The right hon. Gentleman is so good a judge of what is discreet, that in flat contradiction to the understood opinion of the noble Lord the Member for London, he took upon himself to vouch for and guarantee the absolute discretion of Sir Charles Napier. Reverting, however, to the language actually uttered, as the published reports present it to us, let us see how the matter stands. Sir Charles Napier's was, in my opinion, the best speech at the dinner. There was nothing in it unbecoming the position in which he was placed; and I will say nothing of his appointment, more than this, that it seems now to be the opinion of the Government, and a settled theory, that a man does not arrive at maturity until he is seventy years of age. I am certainly of opinion that it is not very judicious to leave the command of the most powerful and most costly fleet—most costly, whether we regard the money value of the vessels and their stores, or the amount of human life embarked in them—that ever left this country, to a man who has passed that period of life when the mental and bodily powers are in full vigour. Now, the language which Sir Charles Napier is reported to have used at the dinner—and I believe, from what I have heard, that the report is almost literally accurate—was this:—"I cannot say we are at war, because we are still at peace." [Laughter.] One would really suppose there was nothing so funny as the whole matter about which these gentlemen were assembled to discuss. But Sir Charles went on to say:—"But I suppose we are very nearly at war, and probably, when I get into the Baltic, I'll have an opportunity of declaring war"—a statement which is said to have been received with loud cheers and laughter, and cries of "Bravo, Charley!" Now, it was in reference to this probability that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty made this observation:—"My gallant friend says, when he goes into the Baltic he will declare war; I as First Lord of the Admiralty give him my free consent to do so." I understand what the right hon. Gentleman means by saying, "When he goes into the Baltic;" but suppose the same language had been used before Admiral Dundas entered the Black Sea. It would have been just as proper and rational for a Minister of the Crown to have used such language in that case as in the present; and no idea that we might be at war when Sir Charles Napier got into the Baltic could, in my opinion, afford the slightest excuse for the indiscreet language of the First Lord of the Admiralty. What I was going to ask—if I had not been anticipated by the hon. Member for Roscommon—was, whether for the language which he had used, and the tone which he adopted, the right hon. Baronet had the sanction of the Cabinet, or the authority of his Sovereign. From the explanation he has given it appears that it was only an after-dinner speech—that, in fact, a subject the gravest of all was treated in this manner—I will not say for the purpose of eliciting cheers, although it, no doubt, did elicit cheers from an audience who were not very particular about what they cheered, nor about what the Government were going to do. I must confess that I have read the whole of these proceedings with pain and with humiliation. Whether this war may be justifiable or not is not the question, but whatever sort of war it may be, it is an awful sort of thing to any nation that engages in it. If war be not itself always a crime, it is the inevitable parent of innumerable crimes. There are thousands, perhaps ten of thousands of lives depending upon this question. The fortune and happiness, it may be, of millions are depending upon it. You are sending out 25,000 men to the other side of Europe. You are taking a man from each of 25,000 British homes; in each of those homes there is a British family filled at this moment with feelings of the deepest anxiety—fear, it may be, alternately with hope. We know that before the summer is over, perhaps even before it comes, we may have news from the swamps of the Danube—news of the indiscriminate slaughter of the battlefield—which may strike hundreds of people in this country dumb with agony and despair. I want to know, then, whether the jokes and stories of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton were becoming a time like this? The question, I conceive, Sir, is one of the gravest that can be discussed by a country or a Legislature, or undertaken by a Government; and the reckless levity that was displayed was, in my opinion, discreditable in the last degree to the great and responsible statesmen of a civilised and Christian nation.


Sir, if the hon. and reverend Gentleman—


I rise to order. The noble Lord has, I believe, made use of an epithet, in speaking of my hon. Friend, that is net justified by the rules of this House. I trust I shall not misinterpret his meaning when I say that it was not intended to be personally offensive; but I think I shall not be contradicted by a majority of this House when I say that it was flippant and undeserved.


I will not quarrel, Sir, with the hon. Member for the West Riding about words; but as the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bright) has been pleased to advert to the circumstance of my being chairman at the dinner to which allusion has been made, and as he has been kind enough to express an opinion as to my conduct on that occasion, I deem it right to inform the hon. Gentleman that any opinion he may entertain either of me personally, or of my conduct, private or political, is to me a matter of the most perfect indifference. I am further convinced that the opinion of this country with regard to me and to my conduct will in no way whatever be influenced by anything which the hon. Gentleman may say. I therefore treat the censure of the hon. Gentleman with the most perfect indifference and contempt. ["Order!"] That may be Parliamentary or not. If it is not, I do not insist upon the expression. The hon. Gentleman has stated that he felt the greatest pain on reading the proceedings which took place at that dinner. That pain arises, no doubt, from the manner in which the members of the Reform Club were pleased to testify their confidence in Sir Charles Napier, and their satisfaction at finding that a distinguished member of his profession, happening also to be a member of the club, had been selected for a most important post at a time of great public emergency. The hon. Member, I dare say, read with great pain an account of any manifestation tending in any degree towards the expression of an opinion that there should be a recourse to arms, no matter what might be the interests or the cause at stake. The hon. Member, I have no doubt, sympathises with that respectable gentleman whose pamphlet I read on a former occasion, and I dare say the hon. Member is of opinion that this country ought to submit to any degradation rather than have recourse to war. That is an opinion which the hon. Member is perfectly justified in maintaining. I do not dispute his right to maintain such an opinion, but he stands almost singly in that opinion on this occasion, with the great majority of the country against him. For my own part, I can only say that I felt very proud at being invited by the Reform Club to preside at the dinner on the occasion to which allusion has been made. I thought it an honour conferred on me when I was asked to preside at a dinner given to my gallant friend Sir Charles Napier. The hon. Member for Manchester thinks that Sir Charles Napier is too old for his duties. The result will show whether he is too old or not. The hon. Member for Manchester, moreover, thinks that these dinner arrangements must be Cabinet questions. Now, I can assure him that they are open questions. They are not discussed in the Cabinet at all; and, though I confess the speech of the hon. Member was calculated to excite any but a friendly feeling on my part, I will only say, in conclusion, that if he should get himself elected a member of the Reform Club—[An hon. Member: He is a member.]—Oh! he is a member, is he? A most unworthy member, I must say. Well, if, however, the hon. Gentleman, being a member, should fall into the humour of the Reform Club, and should attend the next dinner which is given in honour of a distinguished officer who is about proceeding upon an important public service, I can only say that we shall be happy to hear his speech, although, perhaps, it might not add to the conviviality of the evening, yet I can assure the hon. Gentleman that, whether he may be in that state in which he assumes my right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) not to have been, or whether he may be able—as I doubt not he would be—to go through the festivities of the evening with the same clearness of intellect as he manifests on all occasions in this House, I can assure him that we shall be ready to discuss with him any question, public or private, of peace or of war, which he may choose to start; and I, at all events, shall not think that he discredits himself by attending a dinner given by the club to a distinguished officer, one of its own members, before starting for foreign service.


Sir, I rise to put a question to the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty, of which I have given notice. I have seen in the papers words attributed to the right hon. Gentleman on a late festive occasion, which have been read with much surprise—indeed, I may say, pain—by officers of the service to which I have the honour to belong, and also by officers of the sister service—I need scarcely say that I should be the last man to grudge to my distinguished and gallant friend Sir Charles Napier any compliment or honour that could be paid to him; but the words to which I allude, addressed to the members of a political club, appear to me so extraordinary, as coming from one occupying the high position of the First Lord of the Admiralty, that I have deemed it my duty to take the earliest opportunity of ascertaining whether they have been correctly attributed to the right hon. Baronet or not. Without further preface, Sir, I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether certain words attributed to him in a speech delivered at a dinner given in the Reform Club to Admiral Sir Charles Napier, have been correctly reported, which appears in the Times of the 8th day of March, namely, We, as reformers, may be proud that the honour of the British flag in the Euxine and the Baltic is entrusted to two such champions as Admiral Dundas and Sir Charles Napier?


Sir, if the hon. and gallant Admiral deliberately thinks it his duty to put the question to me with which he has concluded, and if I am to collect that the House thinks it becoming to pursue this inquiry further and to entertain this subject seriously, I shall not hesitate to answer the question which has been put by the hon. and gallant Admiral. I believe that the words which he has read are correctly reported, and I have nothing to retract or to explain. I was invited as a guest to the Reform Club; and it did appear to me that it was neither improper nor inappropriate to congratulate the members of that club that two of their oldest and most distinguished members had been selected for the command of two such important fleets as the fleet in the Euxine and the fleet in the North Sea; and I did say that I, as a reformer, certainly rejoiced with them that two members of their club had been considered sufficiently trustworthy and well qualified to be the champions of the British flag at a moment such as this, and in an emergency like the present. Again I say that I have nothing to regret or to retract in respect to that expression. But the hon. and gallant Officer, since he has studied the report of what was said upon that occasion, should not, I think in justice to me, have neglected to notice the comment with which I prefaced those words; I said that in my opinion politics were rightly excluded from the naval profession. I do not believe that in the selection either of Admiral Dundas or of Sir Charles Napier political considerations entered in the slightest degree. All I can say is that, in administering the patronage of the Admiralty to the best of my judgment, I have conscientiously and invariably endeavoured to make that sentiment the rule of my conduct.


Sir, with reference to the observations which have been made by the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) upon my attending the recent dinner at the Reform Club, I may be permitted to state that I attended there as a member, and a very old member, of that club. Upon that occasion I was called upon to propose the health of the Turkish Minister. In so doing, I expressed very briefly what were my views as to what had been and what ought to be the policy of Her Majesty's Government. I said that they had endeavoured to the utmost of their power to preserve peace—that their efforts had been unsuccessful—that the time for vigorous action had come, and that I hoped success would attend our arms. In expressing those sentiments I am not aware that I said anything of which I need be ashamed. Certainly I said nothing that I should have forborne to express either in this House or anywhere else; and I may be permitted to add, that I do not think that I said anything at all opposed to any opinion that I have ever entertained. The hon. Member for Manchester has thought proper to accuse me of some change in my opinion since I have have had a seat upon these (the Treasury) benches. I beg to give to that charge a flat contradiction. I do not in any way acknowledge the right of the hon. Member to be my political guide or leader, and, while I respect his talents, he will permit me to say of him, that though I think he is an able man, I at the same time think that he is full of illiberal and narrow-minded prejudices.


Perhaps, Sir, we have been discussing this question in rather too grave a spirit; for I cannot help thinking there are some extenuating circumstances which might be al- leged at the present moment on the part of the right. hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) who has addressed us. It is perhaps possible that the right hon. Gentleman may have verbally and indiscreetly interfered for a moment with the exercise of the prerogative. It is possible the right hon. Gentleman may have told Sir Charles Napier that he was at liberty to declare war. ["No, no!"] Well, you know, it is matter of considerable notoriety that Sir Charles Napier never obeys orders; and, therefore, taking the charitable view of the question, I consider that when the right hon. Baronet told Sir Charles Napier that he might declare war, he was quite confident that Sir Charles would maintain peace. Perhaps, also, too much stress has been laid by my hon. and gallant Friend (Sir T. Herbert) on the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman's gratification that two powerful fleets should, at this moment, be commanded by Reformers. I confess I felt shocked, at first, at reading this declaration, for it seemed to me to have been dictated by a partisan spirit, which I could not at the moment suppose to have been wisely displayed by the administrator of the Admiralty of this great naval country. But, upon reflection, even that objectionable passage assumed a different character. No doubt it is a subject of congratulation that these two fleets are commanded by two sound Reformers. But then it must be recollected, on the other hand, that a sound Reformer means a gentleman who does not reform; and, therefore, taking that view of the question, we may look on these two Reformers as two Conservatives, because I believe we are pretty well agreed that the Reformer of the present day is the most harmless animal going. And, therefore, instead of this being a bitter partisan boast on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, I come to the conclusion that this also was a harmless and amicable passage. There was another point in the speech, I confess, which gave me some alarm; it was the invective which the right hon. Gentleman uttered against the Emperor of Russia—the country having just been informed by the noble Lord, the leader of this House, that we were still in negotiation with that potentate, and having only within a few days been assured by the Prime Minister that he believed that war was not inevitable. I did consider, I must say, that for an English Minister of the great talents and position of the right hon. Gentleman, going to this dinner at a political club, and delivering an invective against the Emperor of Russia, was, under the circumstances, most undignified and indiscreet. But, Sir, further reflection convinced me that there was much more discretion in the right hon. Gentleman, even in this respect, than would upon the surface appear, because I remembered that a year ago the right hon. Gentleman had delivered an invective against another Emperor, and that I—for I am never ashamed to confess when I am in error—I, who have not had the experience of the right hon. Gentleman, and have no pretension to his statesmanlike ability, committed the grievous blunder of calling the attention of this House to it. I thought that the peace of Europe was in danger. But the Emperor of France—no doubt, in consequence of this abuse—has become one of the most trustworthy and cordial of our allies. And so, no doubt, in that invective against the Emperor of Russia the right hon. Gentleman sees much further than we do, and the only consequence apparent to him is that we shall soon count the Emperor of Russia also as among the most faithful and cordial of Her Majesty's allies.


said, he was very far from thinking that the House had treated this subject too gravely; for he was not ashamed to say, although he differed essentially in most of his political views from the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright), that he completely concurred with him in the sentiments which he had expressed that evening. It was an awful thing to engage in war, and he agreed with the hon. Member that it was not at festivals like the one in question that a great nation should be called upon, headed by Her Majesty's Ministers, to express an opinion as to the policy of going to war. He contended that the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) had not met the question in the way in which it ought to have been met; and when he accused the hon. Member for Manchester of standing alone upon the present occasion, he could tell him that the country was with that hon. Member in the view which he took of the impropriety of so commencing a war, and he was quite sure that the great bulk of the thinking people of this nation lamented what had taken place at the Reform Club. He did not reproach the Government for having undertaken this war, because he believed it to be a just and necessary war. He did not blame them for not having hastened it, because he thought that they had shown a wise discretion in not doing so. Neither did he blame them for the exertions which they were now making, because he thought that in that respect the country was with them; but he believed that they would have had a greater amount of support from the thinking part of the nation if they had entered into this war with a more solemn feeling, and expressing, at least, a deeper sense of the responsibility which devolved upon them. He believed that this was the first time that war had been so near impending upon which the Government had not advised the Sovereign to proclaim a solemn fast. It was the duty of a Christian nation to acknowledge Providence in all its affairs. We boasted of our fleets, of our armies, and of the good feeling of the people; but the battle was not always to the strong, neither was the race to the swift; and he sincerely trusted that the noble Lord would yet see fit to advise Her Majesty to call upon all her subjects to join together in imploring the mercy and praying for the guidance of Providence, and in committing to his care the awful interests now about to be involved. If he had allowed the jokes of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Home Department, or even the amusing speech of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli), to have diverted attention from the important view which had been put forth by the hon. Member for Manchester, he felt that he should have been guilty of a great neglect of duty.


said, it was not his intention to have said one word upon the present occasion, had it not been for the observations which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth)—observations which he had heard with very great pain; for if there was any one hon. Member in that House in particular, whose public course throughout a long political life he had been led to respect, it was that of his right hon. Friend. But he must say, having even a longer knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman than the hon. Member for Manchester—having, if he might be allowed to say so, a very intimate knowledge of his right hon. Friend's opinions on many questions—he must say, and that, too, without claiming any sort of title to act as the guide or leader of the right hon. Gentleman's political opinions—he must declare that there had been always the best possible grounds for believing—in fact, it was a matter capable of being mathematically demonstrated (and the right hon. Gentleman would understand that phrase)—the best possible grounds for believing that the opinions which the right hon. Gentleman entertained with respect to foreign affairs were justly to be characterised as the principle of non-intervention. It appeared, however, that he had been totally mistaken, and that, after fifteen years' acquaintance with the right hon. Gentleman he had not formed a correct estimate of his opinions in our foreign policy; for, if there had been one man more than another who, according to his anticipations, would not have attended that dinner, and made the speech the right hon. Baronet did, he (Sir W. Molesworth) was the man he should have selected. The right hon. Gentleman had separated the member of the Cabinet from the member of the club; he spoke of him now in both, in all his capacities, and said that he had always believed, and he considered that he had had reason to believe, that the right hon. Gentleman's opinions were precisely those which had been attributed to him by the hon. Member for Manchester. Well, that being so, when he witnessed the acrimony, the bitterness, and the want of temper with which the right hon. Baronet had retorted upon his (Mr. Cobden's) hon. Friend (Mr. Bright)—accusing him of attempting to set himself up as his (Sir W. Molesworth's) political leader—he must say that that tone and temper brought back to his recollection a remark of a philosopher, that when a person expressed contempt for another in very strong terms, that individual did not always feel all the contempt pretended, but that another sort of feeling entered into the question—namely, a feeling of self-reproach and remorse. But his right hon. Friend had endeavoured to separate himself from his position as a Cabinet Minister on the occasion of this banquet. Now, he ventured to say that the hon. Member for Manchester had ventured to frame this charge against him solely in his capacity as a Cabinet Minister, and in none other. He had not said a word of the speeches of the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone (Lord D. Stuart), or the hon. and gallant Officer the Member for Westminster (Sir De L. Evans). They were not alluded to, because they did not hold responsible situations; but with Cabinet Ministers the case was very different. Cabinet Ministers had an awful power vested in them—one which was not to be frittered or trifled away in after-dinner speeches. He thought, however, that all these speeches would have very little effect as tending to war or peace, because war had been determined on already, before the gentlemen made their speeches. But how did their conduct look when it was remembered that while holding such language they were sending out an offer of peace to the Emperor of Russia. He freely confessed that his feeling now, as it was before when the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell), made his speech, was, how are we ever to have peace again, how, when those who administer power in this country hold such language? Because, after all, the end and object of war must be peace. It appeared to him, however, that not only had the language of these Cabinet Ministers rendered war inevitable, but it had rendered peace impossible. Perhaps Her Majesty's Government had acted in this matter upon the maxim of a celebrated writer laid down by a French historian, that no English Ministry that ever entered upon a war had ever lived to see the end of it. In all probability, therefore, the impression in the minds of these Ministers was, that they were not burdened with any feeling of responsibility for the future. He must say he made these remarks with very great pain, though at the same time he was prepared to endorse anything which had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester.

Subject dropped.