HC Deb 03 February 1857 vol 144 cc86-192

Sir, the Speech which Her Majesty has graciously addressed to us to-day contrasts so favour- ably with those to which we have been accustomed during the last three years, both in what it communicates and what it recommends to Parliament—the assurance of peaceful relations with all the great Powers of Europe is so agreeable a change from a call to war—the prospect afforded by diminished armaments, of a lightening of those burdens of taxation which war had imposed, and the injunction to address ourselves once more to those measures of domestic improvement which the war had interrupted, must be so gratefully and loyally responded to by this House and by the country that I can hardly charge myself with presumption in anticipating an unanimous assent to the Motion I am about to make—that we should present a humble Address to Her Majesty, conveying to Her Majesty our Thanks for Her gracious Speech, and our assurance that we will diligently and patriotically address ourselves to the consideration of those subjects which she has recommended to our attention. Her Majesty communicates to Parliament the result of recent diplomatic transactions at Paris—the sequel of the negotiations which were about to be commenced when Parliament assembled last year. At that time it was scarcely known whether we were at war or at peace. Her Majesty then announced to us that overtures for peace had been received, but at the same time wisely counselled increased preparations for war. For whether those overtures of peace on the part of an enemy we distrusted were or were not sincere,—whether the struggle in which we were engaged was to continue, thereby largely augmenting the burdens and sacrifices of our people, or whether it was then about to terminate,—whether the most efficient army that had ever left our shores was to go on to fulfil its mission, and permanently to weaken that Power we had undertaken to restrain, or whether that Power, by a well-timed and skilful retreat from an untenable position, was to evade the impending blow—all these were matters of speculation upon which the wisest among us spoke with doubt. But those negotiations were terminated, contrary to the expectation of most—contrary, I think I may say, at that time and in the then state of the contending Powers, contrary even to the wishes of many, those negotiations were terminated by the treaty of peace which was concluded at Paris in March last year—and although the terms of that peace were deemed by the people of England—and I think justly deemed— more favourable to our weakened enemy than the relative condition of the combatants entitled him to expect, and although some disappointment was felt by England that the decisive blow for which she had gathered up her strength could not be struck, yet there was no hesitation on the part of a generous and peace-loving nation in at once adopting that treaty which the Sovereign had been advised to ratify, and the more so, because in the very moderation of the terms of peace the British nation saw, as it believed, the best guarantee for their strict and honourable fulfilment. It is not for me to say how far those just expectations—that generous confidence has been borne out by events; but I must confess that, during the recess, I did hear with surprise of those doubts and difficulties as to the construction of the treaty to which Her Majesty refers. I heard with surprise of questions raised about Bolgrad and the Isle of Serpents, and of the strengthening of the British fleet in the Black Sea; and, above all, I heard with a feeling almost of dismay that a second Conference was to be held at Paris for the resettlement of those questions for which we had rejoiced and illuminated, under the innocent misapprehension that they had been settled many months before. But whatever may have been the misgivings which, in common with many others, I may, I think, be pardoned for entertaining at that time, they serve now but to enhance our obligations to those who have prevented their realisation. It must be admitted that the position of the British Cabinet when that second Conference was forced upon them was one of grave difficulty and grave responsibility; and if, as I believe, it required great ability and firmness to secure even the terms of the treaty of last year, I think we may infer that it has required equal ability and still greater firmness to enforce their execution now. It cannot be in the power of any Minister to provide against the attempted misconstruction of the most solemn treaty, but it may be in his power, and then it is his duty, to defeat such attempt when made. Some concessions may, indeed, be necessary to preserve harmony with an Ally who asks no sacrifice of principle; but that which tests the character of a statesman is his ability to distinguish between what may be conceded with honour, and what must be retained—and so long as the points at issue were vital points, I rejoice to think that if other Powers wavered in the construction of the treaty, England did not: and I am sure that in this House, where the honour of our public men and of our country are held to be inseparable, it must be a matter of pride to all sides of the House, that in these recent negotiations we had a Minister of England with the courage to proclaim that, though we valued our alliances, we were not dependent on them; and who, appealing to his countrymen whether the execution of its terms should not be the condition of that peace which England, in the fulness of her strength, conceded to the exhaustion both of enemies and Allies, received to that appeal an answer so prompt and so intelligible to foreign Cabinets, as at once to dispel their doubts, and leave to the baffled diplomatists at Paris no more onerous task than formally to record a settlement which they had been spared the trouble of accomplishing.

Her Majesty informs us that, in conjunction with the Emperor of the French, She has tendered friendly counsels to the King of the Two Sicilies, which have not been received in a corresponding spirit, and that in consequence diplomatic intercourse between the Courts of Great Britain and of Naples has been suspended. Her Majesty has also to deplore the outbreak of hostilities between the British Government and those of Persia and China. I do not hold, Sir, because the monarchy of Naples is miserably feeble, or because any resistance that can be offered by Persia or China to British arms may most easily be overcome, that on that account the questions involved in these differences are unimportant. On the contrary, I think that important principles may be involved, and that very large results may follow. But, as the information which the House at present possesses on these subjects is very imperfect, and as Her Majesty has ordered the papers to be laid before us, I am sure I am only adopting that course which the House will desire to follow, in refraining from any opinion upon transactions on which, in our present state of ignorance concerning them, it would be imprudent, and it might be unjust, to pass any judgment, anticipating that more complete and satisfactory discussion which must ere long ensue.

Passing from foreign to domestic topics, Her Majesty's Speech suggests to us the duty of reducing, as far at least as the na- tional requirements will allow us to reduce, the public expenditure, with a view to the lessening of taxation. This is a duty at all times most grateful, but especially so now from our recent experience of the patience, the spirit, and the patriotism with which the poorest taxpayers in this country have welcomed their share of the burdens of a just war—a spirit the more commendable when we remember how sensibly they are affected, daily and hourly, in their homes and comforts, by what might appear to the majority of us an almost imperceptible increase or diminution of taxation. Now, Sir, whether the expectation be reasonable or not, it is one very generally entertained, that relief from war is to be followed by relief from taxation—and however inconvenient to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to admit it, or however difficult to act upon it, relief in some form or other is inevitable. But when it devolves upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to devise how this relief is to be apportioned among us, I fear the prospect before him is not a cheering one. It is a matter of dispute, I have been told, among those most experienced in this House, and not yet, I believe, agreed upon, whether a Chancellor of the Exchequer with a surplus or a deficiency is in the least enviable predicament. A Chancellor of the Exchequer with a deficiency has one great advantage—he is an object of envy to none, but rather of pity to all. His misfortunes beget him many friends who sympathise with his sorrows and benevolently assist his struggles through them. But a pampered Chancellor of the Exchequer, expanding and glowing with a surplus, can expect no friends, and if I might venture, without appearing to fail in that respect which I unfeignedly feel both for him and for this House, to find a similitude for a Chancellor of the Exchequer so situated among us, I should say that he reminded me of a prize ox in the presence of a council of butchers. In what particular portion of his fat each judge may stick his knife we cannot yet say, but this we do know, that as soon as he is exhibited he is sure to be cut up. I am therefore disposed rather to condole with my right hon. Friend on the perils attendant on his good condition. His will be the very difficult task of reconciling large concessions with a persistence in large demands—of making large reductions, and yet retaining the means of a large expenditure; and especially as regards our military establishments, he will have to bear in mind that while great armaments are viewed with jealousy in time of peace, small ones are inadequate to the security of extended possessions. The experience of the late war will, however, give the Chancellor of the Exchequer a great advantage in the lesson it has taught both to Parliament and the country. But if, on the one hand, there will be no renewed clamour for greatly reduced establishments, neither, on the other hand, shall we be satisfied that the Government has provided us a sufficient army, because the Estimates provide for a numerous force of men. That a Very considerable and a very expensive army Must be kept up by England no rational man can doubt. It is not that we would rival or imitate the continental systems, where great armies are maintained to impoverish the subjects, against whom they protect their Governments. But we cannot forget that Great Britain has territories to be watched and subjects to be defended in every quarter of the globe, and that from her vast wealth, and the enterprising character of her commerce, with establishments on every land and ships on every sea, she must be brought into Constant collision with other States and that vulnerability on countless points is one of the conditions of her growing greatness; and we must also remember, and we cannot remember it too often or too well, that the defenceless state of a rich nation is a perpetual incentive to aggression, and that preparation for war is the surest guarantee of peace. On these grounds, I would venture to predict that there will be no desire on the part of the House of Commons to demur to the necessary expenditure on our naval and military establishments. A large expenditure on these heads is not only a necessity but a duty; and the Minister who shrank from its performance Would be unworthy of his post. But what we do ask is, that Whatever sums are spent on our public establishments shall be well spent; that the nation shall receive a full equivalent for its outlay, that every department shall be conducted with the greatest combination of economy and efficiency, and that every improvement which modern science has made known shall come in aid to perfect our military system. Considering the materials of which a British army is composed, the heroic prowess and stout English heart of the private soldier, the spirit of chivalry which animates out officers to deeds of sublime devotion, the generous sympathy with which the nation follows and ministers to its gallant defenders, and the wealth of the country which needs leave nothing unprovided to perfect its condition, it is not too much to expect that the British army should be, as far as its numbers go, the model army of Europe—not only in its material, but in its system—a judicious system of promotions and rewards, open to all, and inspiring the emulation of all—the commander, relying on the invincibility of troops animated by the noblest spirit, and they, in their turn, following with increased enthusiasm a general who owed his elevation to the highest post of responsibility and honour to no other qualities than those which endear him to the soldier, and prove his capacity to command.

Her Majesty informs us, in Her gracious Speech, that She has ordered measures to be prepared and submitted to us on various important subjects of domestic legislation—for the consolidation and amendment of the law and other matters of domestic and financial interest. It is one of the conditions, and not the smallest of the calamities of war that it arrests those internal improvements upon which the well-being of a people so much depends; but I rejoice to find that the forthcoming budget of Ministerial measures promises an attempt to wipe off some arrears. But, Sir, there is one important, and I think pressing topic, of which we look in vain for some mention in the Ministerial programme, and the omission of which must, I think, cause some regret. I allude to the question of our convict and criminal population. It is a question upon which public feeling has been much and very justly roused. Now, making full allowance for that exaggeration to which insecurity and terror must always give rise, and attributing to the ticket-of-leave system and the early release of unreformed criminals only a fraction of the crimes which are charged against them, there is still sufficient in facts daily undisputed—in the testimony of magistrates—in the protests of out judges—and in the statistics of our gaols and prisons, to enable us to say that the experiment, under which the country is trembling and suffering, has been carried on long enough, and if, from the many difficulties by which the subject is undoubtedly surrounded, Her Majesty's Ministers do not see their way to propose any measure for our consideration, I trust that ere long some Member of this House will take the question up, and give us an opportunity of expressing our sentiments upon a state of things which I cannot but feel is as discreditable to the Legislature as it is grievous to the community. But, whatever may be the measures which Her Majesty's Government may have to submit for our consideration, it must be acknowledged that the circumstances of the country are eminently favourable to their full and impartial discussion. Not only have we peace with all the great Powers abroad, but unparalleled prosperity and tranquillity at home. If we look to agriculture, we find that those evils which were apprehended from free trade have given place to a prosperity scarcely known in the best days of protection; and, at the same time, the steady employment and good wages enjoyed by the manufacturing population has enabled them to bear the high price of food with comparative ease; while their privations are no longer embittered by the thought that they result from the arbitrary provisions of a law imposed for the benefit of a law-making class.

If we turn to the commercial classes, we see the evidence of a yet more singular prosperity—of a trade growing with a rapidity beyond all precedent; and this is the more remarkable when we consider the character of the contest from which we have just emerged, and compare our own condition with that of the other Powers engaged—their strength exhausted, their finances disorganised—while the peace came only to arrest the development of our resources, and our commerce, uninterrupted by the war, springs forth with redoubled vigour and elasticity the moment its obstructions are removed. In this House, too, we cannot be insensible to the advantages which the Ministers derive, in the present Parliament at least, from the obliteration of many of those party distinctions and asperities which long stood in the way of fair discussion. A higher spirit now animates rival parties to unite in measures of public advantage, and uphold the reputation of our public men. For the conviction is daily more forced upon us by events abroad that the personal purity and unblemished character of the Ministers of the Crown, from whichever party they may be selected, is the nation's best security as well as her proudest possession. But while we acknowledge and are grateful for the advantaged which as a nation we enjoy, we must not as legislators overlook the lessons which they teach, and the responsibilities which they cast upon us. We are a free and a prosperous, because we have been a progressive people; and in progressing, improving, and reforming, lies our only safety. I feel confident that it is on this principle that the Government of the noble Lord will base their policy, not upon the false, mistaken, and dangerous principle of postponing reforms till they become revolutions; but upon the principle of looting forward in time, ever anticipating danger by timely concession, making changes when they are needed, not waiting till they are angrily demanded. Any one looking back to the legislation of the last few years must observe how many of our reforms have been the offspring of agitation. What is that, Sir, but a rebuke to the shortsightedness of our rulers, who have not sufficiently perceived that reforms are only safe in proportion as they are well considered and temperate, and that they can only be well considered and temperate when they result from the convictions of statesmen, and are not extorted by pressure from without? Acting, then, on these principles, adhering in our foreign policy to that rule which appears to me to have been laid down by the noble Lord, joining firmness with conciliation in our dealings with foreign States—jealous of the honour—watchful of the interests of our country, but showing an example of dignity and forbearance, as was exhibited, with the full approval of Parliament and the country, in the case of America last year—showing an example of dignity and forbearance where peace may be preserved without material sacrifices; and in our domestic legislation, proceeding ever with earnestness but with caution to repair and strengthen those institutions of which we are justly proud—pursuing this course in a calm and patriotic spirit, we may indeed hope that that blessing from above which Her Majesty invokes may rest upon our labours, and that we may be enabled to hand down to another generation, uninjured and unimpaired, those institutions at home, that extended empire abroad, which is not only the glory of England, but, as the harbinger of civilisation and freedom, a blessing to the world. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving to resolve

"That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to convey to Her Majesty the thanks of this House for the Gracious Speech which Her Majesty has commanded to be made to both Houses of Parliament:

"To thank Her Majesty for assuring us that Her Majesty has great satisfaction in recurring again to the advice and assistance of Her Parliament:

"To thank Her Majesty for informing us, that difficulties which arose in regard to some of the Provisions of the Treaty of Paris delayed the complete execution of the stipulations of that Treaty, but that those difficulties have been overcome in a satisfactory manner, and the intentions of the Treaty have been fully maintained:

"Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us, that an insurrectionary movement which took place in September last in the Swiss Canton of Neufchâtel, for the purpose of re-establishing in that Canton the authority of the King of Prussia as Prince of Neufchâtel, led to serious differences between His Prussian Majesty and the Swiss Confederation, threatening at one time to disturb the general Peace of Europe:

"To thank Her Majesty for informing us, that, in concert with Her august Ally the Emperor of the French, She is endeavouring to bring about an amicable settlement of the matters in dispute, and that Her Majesty entertains a confident expectation that an honourable and satisfactory arrangement will be concluded:

"To convey to Her Majesty our humble thanks for informing us, that in consequence of certain discussions which took place during the Conferences at Paris, and which are recorded in the Protocols that were laid before us, Her Majesty and the Emperor of the French caused communications to be made to the Government of the King of the Two Sicilies, for the purpose of inducing him to adopt a course of policy calculated to avert dangers which might disturb that Peace which had been so recently restored to Europe:

"That we learn with regret that the manner in which those friendly communi- cations were received by His Sicilian Majesty were such as to lead Her Majesty and the Emperor of the French to discontinue their diplomatic relations with His Sicilian Majesty, and that they have, accordingly, withdrawn their Missions from the Court of Naples; and to thank Her Majesty for having directed that Papers relating to this subject shall be laid before us:

"To thank Her Majesty for acquainting us that She has been engaged in negotiations with the Government of the United States, and also with the Government of Honduras, which She trusts will be successful in removing all cause of misunderstanding with respect to Central America:

"To thank Her Majesty for the assurance that Her Majesty has concluded a Treaty of Friendship and Commerce with Siam, which will be laid before us:

"To assure Her Majesty that we participate in the expression of Her regret that the conduct of the Persian Government has led to hostilities between Her Majesty and the Shah of Persia, and that the Persian Government, in defiance of repeated warnings, and in violation of its engagements, has besieged and captured the important city of Herat:

"To thank Her Majesty for informing us, that a British Naval and Military Force, despatched from Bombay, has taken possession of the Island of Karrack, and of the Town of Bushire, with a view to induce the Shah to accede to the just demands of Her Majesty's Government; and that we learn with satisfaction that the Naval and Military Forces employed on this occasion have displayed their accustomed gallantry and spirit:

"Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us that acts of violence, insults to the British Fag, and infraction of Treaty rights committed by the local Chinese authorities at Canton, and a pertinacious refusal of redress, have rendered it necessary for Her Majesty's Officers in China to have recourse to measures of force to obtain satisfaction:

"To thank Her Majesty for informing us that those measures had, up to the date of the last accounts, been taken with great forbearance, but with signal success, as regards the conflicts to which they had led, and to assure Her Majesty that we concur with Her Majesty in trusting that the Government of Pekin will see the propriety of affording the satisfaction demanded, and of faithfully fulfilling its Treaty engagements:

"To thank Her Majesty for having directed that the Estimates for the ensuing year shall be laid before us, and for the assurance that they have been prepared with every attention to economy, and with a due regard to the efficient performance of the Public Service at home and abroad:

"Humbly to thank Her Majesty for acquainting us that Bills will be submitted to our consideration for the consolidation and the amendment of important portions of the Law, and to assure Her Majesty that we will give our earnest attention to matters so deeply affecting the interests of all classes of Her subjects:

"To assure Her Majesty that we will take into our careful consideration the expediency of renewing for a further period the privileges of the Bank of England, the conditions imposed on the issue of Bank Notes in the United Kingdom, and the state of the Law relating to Joint Stock Banks:

"That we participate in the gratification which it affords Her Majesty to witness the general well-being and contentment of Her People, and to find that, notwithstanding the sacrifices unavoidably attendant upon such a war as that which has lately terminated, the resources of the Country remain unimpaired, and its productive industry continues unchecked in its course of progressive development:

"Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us that Her Majesty commits with confidence the great interests of the Country to our wisdom and care, and in common with Her Majesty we fervently pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend our deliberations, and prosper our councils, for the advancement of the welfare and happiness of Her loyal and faithful People."


said, he could assure the House that it was with very great diffidence that he rose to second the Address so ably and eloquently proposed by the hon. Mover, but, even in the short Parliamentary experience which he had enjoyed, he had always observed the great indulgence which the House extended to Members who, like himself, rose, not to gratify their own loquacity, but to fulfil a necessary duty which they had undertaken. He would bespeak, therefore, a full share of that indulgence for himself on the present occasion, and though he felt how inadequate he was to the proper discharge of the duty he had to fulfil, he nevertheless trusted the House would unanimously accept the Address which had been proposed. He would at once assure hon. Members that he would not detain the House more than a few minutes, and he certainly should not exceed the limit which the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Wilkinson) had judiciously proposed should be the extent of Parliamentary speeches on ordinary occasions. He would now proceed to make some observations on the different paragraphs of the Queen's Speech, though he was aware he could not do so with the same effect and eloquence as the hon. Gentleman who preceded him. It must have been a subject of great regret to all to have seen that not only great difficulties were thrown in the way of the fulfilment of the treaties with Russia, but that even our great Ally the Emperor of the French, who stood by us in the hour of danger and trial, seemed at the last moment inclined to give way to the demands of Russia, who desired to recede from the performance of the moderate arrangements which this country, after the great amount of blood and treasure it had expended, was, he considered, fully entitled to insist on. The great point to be gained was to cut off Russia from all contact with, and all authority over, the Danube, and that point, notwithstanding some trifling concessions made to Russia in respect to territory, amounting to about 110 square miles of country, had been secured. Russia was thus separated from contact with the Danube, which had consequently been rendered a great highway open to the merchant vessels of every country, unannoyed by the gunboats of Russia and those ab- surd impediments she placed in the way of the free navigation of that river. He should next advert to the subject of Neufchâtel. It might be in the remembrance of hon. Members that in 1848 the inhabitants of Neufchâtel threw off their allegiance to the King of Prussia, and established a republican form of government. This Government had been recognised by the European States, and, notwithstanding that the King of Prussia asserted his rights, was considered almost as established; and though the Government of the day, in 1852, allowed a protocol to be signed recognising the rights of Prussia, it, however, gave him no power to act on them. The King of Prussia, indeed, never acted on them, but in last October some of his partisans rose and were put down by the force of the Government of Neufchâtel. These persons were detained in custody to be tried on a charge of treason. The King of Prussia remonstrated against the trial, and demanded that they should be set at liberty. This was refused, and the Emperor of the French seemed inclined at one period to take the part of the King of Prussia. At last the dispute was satisfactorily arranged, Neufchâtel making the concession of setting the prisoners free; they receiving, in fact, a sort of ticket of leave, being conveyed across the frontier to the French territory, while the Governments of England and France promised to use their best endeavours to induce the King of Prussia to renounce all his rights, or supposed rights, over the State of Neufchâtel. This policy was, without doubt, both necessary and wise; for it would be quite inconsistent with the peace of Europe that the King of Prussia should put in march 130,000 troops to seize the Swiss provinces north of the Rhine. If Prussia had succeeded in her design, a principle would have been established which no politician in this country could have assented to; and if her troops had been defeated by those hardy sons of freedom, the result might have been that the whole of Europe would be involved once more in the flames of war. Her Majesty's Government had thought it right to remonstrate with the Government of Naples; the state of things in that country was a scandal to the civilised world. They all recollected that the wretched assassin Milano had justly forfeited his life to the law; but it was to be regretted that any Sovereign in Europe should add the barbarity of torture to the punishment of death. He, therefore, con- sidered that in consequence of the ill-advised obstinacy of the King of Naples, Her Majesty's Government had acted quite right in withdrawing all diplomatic connection with a Monarchy which acted so unworthily. With regard to Persia, the Government was subject to several pressures. It was on the one side said that Her Majesty's Government should be urged to act with greater courage, while another party declared that the Government ought not to interfere at all. Then Her Majesty's Government had sometimes to contend with a third party, which might be termed the pressure from within, but he (Sir Andrew Agnew) certainly thought the Government should be supported in their measures for preventing the Persians holding Herat. At that moment Russia had established a great arsenal on the east side of the Caspian Sea, and a road had been made from Astrabad, which would render Persia little more than an appanage of the Russian Empire. It was no visionary idea that Russia had for a long series of years endeavoured to extend the limits of her dominion eastwards, and it was evidently the interest of England to take care that Herat should not be made the basis of operations for a Russian army, as the British Empire in the East might be thereby seriously menaced. The Speech from the Throne had very properly adverted to the importance of maintaining our public services both at home and abroad in a state of efficiency. He was sure that it was a subject of very great regret to many Members of that House that a few persons, and those on the Liberal side of the House, were continually urging upon the country the reduction of all our military establishments, and constantly engaged in advising the country to adopt a most illiberal policy, the effect of which would be the disbanding of our armies, and the surrender of that influence which we were justly entitled to hold in the affairs of the world. They would even give up the influence which we held abroad, and would rather sacrifice our power than take any measures to maintain it. Had none of those hon. Gentlemen ever reflected that a standing army mast be kept on foot by great nations; and the wider our territory extended, the larger must be our line of defence? They had also told us that we should rely upon an immense militia as a means of defending our country. Those persons must certainly not have recollected that if we should dis- pense with our standing army and have recourse to a militia as a means of defence, a vast number of those who were at present engaged in the factory and the workshop would be compelled to withdraw themselves therefrom from time to time, in order that they might be trained to a military life, which was distasteful to a great portion of the people of this country; and it was impossible to expect that those militiamen would be able to contend with the disciplined armies of the Continent. We should, therefore, be reduced to a second-rate, and, indeed, to a third or fourth rate Power. It would be presumptuous in him to make any remarks upon the legal reforms which Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to inform them would be submitted to their consideration during the present Session. There were many learned Gentlemen in the House who would doubtless beguile many a tedious hour during the ensuing Session by referring to those precedents which affected those various questions, and who would convey that information respecting them of which unlearned Members of the House stood go much in need. He had now, as it appeared to him, adverted, but he was aware in a very ineffective manner, paragraph by paragraph, to all the topics which were suggested by Her Majesty's Speech; and he would merely say in conclusion that as our great war with Russia was at an end, and the treaty had been signed, there was much cause for thankfulness. But yet the political horizon was darkened and no one could tell at what moment the thunderbolt might fall, and the advice that he would suggest was, that we should always be prepared for any emergency. When the fate of armies and (with their armies) the fate of nations trembled in the balance—when all shrank from power and responsibility—one man was found who was not afraid to put himself at the helm of affairs. We put our trust in him at a moment of danger and difficulty, and we had not been disappointed—should we not trust him still? He (Sir A. Agnew) trusted that England might continue to pursue that policy which had hitherto characterised her, and that she would not be induced by any selfish considerations to overlook the cause of oppressed nationalities, and, above all, that she would not surrender that place which she was entitled to hold among the great commonwealth of nations and the councils of the world. The gracious Speech which had just been read was not inconsistent with those views; and now all that remained for them to do was to offer their support to the policy indicated by that Speech. Let it be steadily carried out, and generously supported, and then he might confidently predict that, with the blessing of Divine Providence, the star of England would still be in the ascendant, that the flag of England would float, not only over two small islands, but over a world-wide empire; that the influence of England, respected and increasing, would be felt over the wide circle of the civilised globe; that that influence would be exerted in the cause of the oppressed, for the spread of religion, for the development of commerce and of knowledge, and that that influence would be associated with ideas of progress, of humanity, of liberty, of order, and of peace.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That," &c. [See p. 94.]


I confess, Sir, that when I listened to the speech of the hon. Mover of the Address, who has to-night spoken with an ability which, from the mode in which he addressed yon on a former occasion, did not surprise me, I was for some time inclined to believe that the hon. Gentleman bad a copy of the Queen's Speech in his possession very different from that which I had had the opportunity of perusing, and which, until that moment, I had supposed to be an authentic document. The hon. Baronet informed us that the Speech which was on this occasion delivered by the Royal Commissioners contrasted very favourably with the Addresses to which we have for the last two or three years listened on similar occasions. For example, that it conveyed to the House the gratifying information that Her Majesty had received from all the great Powers of Europe assurances of their continued friendship and good-will; but that is an expression which I have not found in the copy of the Speech which has been placed before me. The Speech described by the hon. Baronet also promised to the people of this country, as I caught from his lips, a reduction of taxation. That also is a promise which unfortunately has been omitted, I am afraid from some sinister motive, from the copy of the Speech for which until this moment I was personally grateful to the distinguished person to whom I am indebted for it. The Speech described and quoted by the hon. Member also held out, as he informed us, a series of measures of domestic amelioration, the necessary consequence of our now enjoying the blessings of peace. But that also is a promise which is not held out in the Speech which I have read to-day. Sir, it is often said that a Queen's Speech is not in the whole so instructive and so impressive a document in general as an expression of opinion and a statement of facts coming from such a quarter and delivered amidst such imposing circumstances might naturally be expected to be. But when I read the Speech which was delivered by the Royal Commissioners to-day, and which I had been led to believe was an authentic copy, I confess it seemed to me that there was enough in that Speech to set the people of this country a-thinking, and to produce a very great impression on the public opinion of these kingdoms. Sir, I think it is hardly a year ago since we indulged in the idea, little dreaming that it was a delusive one, that we had terminated a great struggle, and by the termination of that struggle had laid the foundation of a prospect of a peace more favourable probably on the whole than any that had been offered to this country since the settlement of the year 1815. Now let the House for a moment recall to its recollection the circumstances under which the Treaty of Paris was concluded. Our foe, deemed so powerful, and who had actually proved himself to have been so powerful, had been completely baffled in the project of aggression and aggrandisement which he had contemplated and attempted to accomplish. It has been said—I know not with what authenticity—that the late Emperor of Russia declared he would not accede to the terms of peace which had at one period of the war been offered to him, until he had lost his last man and his last rouble. That position of the head of the Russian Empire was in fact realised—to that state the Russians were reduced. Great as might have been the Emperor's want of the sinews of war, the exhaustion of his country with respect to men was still more decided. Our foe was, therefore, utterly discomfited and defeated, and yet he retired from that great contest with dignity and without that humiliation which might, under the circumstances in which he was placed, have naturally been expected. I know there were many people at the time who alleged that these were facts which should render us indisposed to approve of the settlement which had been come to, and which, as they thought, was but little favourable to a continuance of that tranquillity we had gained at so great a sacrifice. But, Sir, in my opinion, these were circumstances eminently favourable to the maintenance of peace. Russia had been defeated in her object. That object had been disapproved of by many of the most eminent of her statesmen; the attempt to carry it into effect had originated in the strong will of her late Emperor; and it might be said that in the tomb of the Emperor Nicholas his ambitious policy had been interred. Through a fortunate combination of circumstances, the death of the Emperor Nicholas and the heroic defence of Sebastopol terminated that policy, and at the same time permitted the people of Russia to witness its termination without any loss of their self-respect. If the Russians had been deeply humiliated, if they had felt that the progress of the contest had diminished the respect generally entertained by Europe for their national character, they would naturally have become uneasy in the new position which they occupied, and you might have found in that circumstance elements of future discord or even of wars that must soon again be prosecuted. But, Sir, the very fact that the termination of the struggle had been accomplished without humiliation to Russia was an additional proof of the sincerity of her desire for peace, and an additional guarantee that she would respect the stipulations of that treaty into which she had entered.

Well, Sir, if we look at the condition of the two great military empires that occupy the centre of Europe, we find that at no former time perhaps were the arts of peace more vigorously prosecuted in those empires than they were during the very continuance of the late war. Both in France and Austria great public works were then undertaken; great banking establishments were then founded; the application and distribution of capital occupied the attention of the most influential classes, and even the mitigation of commercial tariffs was in each of those countries eagerly discussed and considered. If such were the disposition of those empires even when the war was being waged, we had a right to expect that when the war was brought to a conclusion they would have prosecuted those tendencies with increased earnestness and energy. With respect to our relations with the United States of America, I suppose that, in spite of some squabbling and blustering which prevailed upon that subject, no sane man could have doubted that they must have continued to be of an amicable character. No one supposed that a war could break out between this country and the United States of America; or that the United States were about to declare war against any of the great nations of Europe. Now, Sir, if that were the condition of those four great Powers, what was the condition of our own country? Were we in a position which could tempt us to engage in any fresh war? We had a career open to the people of this country which had never before been opened to us. We were founding an immense colonial empire on a scale unknown in the history of man—a colonial empire of illimitable dimensions and of inexhaustible resources. We had a career open to our fellow citizens which ensured to us all the excitement and enterprise of war without any of the evils and the calamities by which war is inevitably accompanied. Well, then, under these circumstances, I should have said that any man whose opinion was worth anything, would have said that there was then a more solid and a more sound foundation as well as a surer prospect of a permanent tranquillity for this country than had been offered to us, as I have previously said, since the settlement of the year 1815.

That, Sir, is hardly a year ago; and I want to know what is the reason that we have been disappointed in our expectations. If we then entertained a reasonable view of our condition and our prospects, the country had a right to expect that we should have been favoured with the natural consequences of such a state of affairs. We had a right to suppose that Her Majesty's Ministers, after having weaned the mind of this country from the excitement which war always engenders, would no longer have permitted the attention of the people to be diverted and distracted from the consideration of our domestic affairs; that well-matured and well-considered measures of economical and administrative improvement would have been prepared during the recess and submitted to the consideration of Parliament, and that we should have been enabled to look forward to the attainment of that which is usually supposed to be a necessary consequence of peace—to a mitigation of the public burdens, so that the capital and the labour of the country might adapt themselves with increased energy to the opening which had been offered for their employment. Sir, I want to know how it is that, instead of the Speech of Her Majesty graciously painting such a state of affairs, and holding out such prospects to Her Majesty's subjects, we have a Speech which is emphatically a Speech of "wars and rumours of wars." The whole Speech, with very slight exceptions, consists of references and allusions to foreign territories, and the exceptions are transactions of peril, of calamity, or such as indicate a want of confidence and trust in foreign Governments on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers, or at least some misunderstanding and want of good intentions between them. Now, Sir, I ask, is this the state of affairs that was expected by Parliament and the country when they heard that on the 30th of March last a treaty of peace had been signed at Paris? and if that be not the state of affairs that was expected, what is the cause of this altered condition that has entailed upon us the consequences to which I have referred? It is a very curious circumstance, and one to which I must allude, not merely because it is necessary to the result which I wish to put before the House, but also because the subject is brought under our consideration in the most marked manner in Her Majesty's Speech—it is a very curious circumstance, I say, that almost on the very day that the treaty of peace was signed at Paris by Lord Clarendon, when the very ink of his signature, I may say, was not yet dry, the seeds were sown by that very negotiator of new troubles and difficulties in Europe. Almost before, or immediately after, the treaty of peace was signed, the negotiators were assembled, and we find the representative of England doing the very thing which we had censured Russia for doing three years before, to punish her for doing which we had gone to war, and to prevent the repetition of which we had just negotiated peace; we find him counselling interference, and forcible interference, in the affairs of an independent kingdom. Now, it is a very remarkable circumstance that this happened almost the very day the treaty was signed. The treaty was signed on the 27th of March, and on the 1st of April we find the seeds are sown for a renewal of those difficulties in our foreign relations, a plentiful crop of which have appeared ever since, and which have resulted in two instances in absolute warfare. All these circumstances are of such recent occurrence, and every Gentleman I have the honour of addressing is so familiar with all their details, that it is quite unnecessary for me to enter into any wearisome narrative for the purpose of bringing them at length under the consideration of the House. But I hope I may be allowed to recall your recollection, as succinctly as possible, to what happened with respect to our interference in Italy. It is unnecesfary for me to stop to inquire what were the representations made by Her Majesty's Government by which the adhesion of Sardinia was obtained to the grand alliance of the Powers at war with Russia. I do not ask to know whether Her Majesty's Government engaged morally, if not legally, to Sardinia that they would terminate that position of affairs in Central Italy which was described by Count Cavour in a paper on our table as subversive of the necessary equilibrium of power in the Peninsula, and fatal to the independence of Sardinia itself. I do not wish now to inquire—we may perhaps find it necessary to do so on some future occasion—but I do not wish now to inquire what were the engagements, moral, if not legal, which were entered into between our Government and the Government of the King of Sardinia, by which that Power was induced to accede to the great alliance. But I must beg hon. Gentlemen to remember that in February or March last, when Lord Clarendon went to Paris, Count Cavour, the distinguished Minister of Sardinia, placed himself immediately in communication with the English Minister, and required to know what steps were about to be taken in order that Sardinia should receive her fair reward for the great and heroic efforts which she had made in the recent struggle, and that the independence of Central Italy should be vindicated and the security of Sardinia preserved.

The treaty of peace was signed on the 30th of March, and on the 8th of April, in consequence of a statement delivered by the Sardinian Minister, which is lying on our table, Lord Clarendon, after having induced the French Minister, of course formally, to open the affair, made that remarkable statement which appears in the protocols, and which is, indeed, a reproduction of the State Paper of Count Cavour. There, if you recollect, Lord Clarendon pointed to the abnormal state of Central Italy, occasioned by the occupation of foreign troops, and especially by those of Austria—the very subject on which Count Cavour addressed him—and not only the abnormal, but the highly exceptional, state of the kingdom of Naples, an absolute interference in the affairs of which kingdom Lord Clarendon announced was not only a right but a duty. Now the House can vividly recollect all that has occurred since that moment with respect to the affairs of Italy; and I can assure them that it is of the utmost importance that they should bear them in mind. It was the spring. The country was expecting at that time to reap the fruits of a successful war, and of the conclusion of a treaty of peace, and yet, in consequence of the steps that were taken, and more especially by the English Government, with respect to Italy, no sooner had the Turkish difficulty or the Russian difficulty vanished, than an Italian difficulty appeared, which instantly engrossed the attention of this country, and indeed of Europe. How was it possible for men to recur to those domestic subjects which demanded consideration?—how was it possible to wean the public mind from the exciting considerations which war always suggests—when you were by every possible means impressing on the public mind of Europe, and more especially on the public mind of England, that a great struggle was about to take place in Italy—that the time had at length arrived when Italy was to be regenerated, and regenerated under the patronage of the great Powers of Europe? Why, you know that it became a question at one time whether we should not awake some morning and hear that an English fleet was in the Bay of Naples. That was an event expected by every Gentleman, whatever may be his political opinions, on either side of the House. We used daily to expect to hear that an English fleet had entered the Bay of Naples; and so serious had the aspect of public affairs and the temper of the public mind become upon that subject, that one of the most distinguished Members of this House, the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell), at the end of the Session, felt it his duty to bring the question of the condition of Central Italy under the consideration of the House, while the noble Lord in doing so had very properly made the protocols of the treaty the foundation of his Motion. Now, observe that this agitation respecting the Italian difficulty, as it was called, commenced in the spring, and the whole of the spring, and a great part of the summer, were occupied by this exciting topic. The very fact that one of the most distinguished statesmen in this House, at the very close of the Session, felt it his duty to bring the subject under the notice of the House, stamped it—if it wanted to be stamped—with additional gravity to that which the question in itself possessed. It became a matter of speculation what might be the consequence of the conduct of the Government of the noble Lord in entering into these protocols at Paris. Some found fault with the noble Lord, but they found fault with what they thought his too apparent rashness. Many gave him credit for very liberal feelings; and the Liberal party pardoned him some back-slidings in his domestic policy on account of his highly-spirited interference with regard to the affairs of Italy, and especially with regard to the occupation of Central Italy by the Austrians. It then became a question whether a European war might not again be waged, and on a great scale, on the whole battle-field of Europe. Men had accustomed themselves to suppose that the Austrian army, which had not been exhausted by a Crimean campaign, would have to engage that heroic French army which had just gained such laurels in the East; and people used to conjecture whether Austria with her unimpaired resources might not be at least a match for Prance, exhausted as she was to some extent, but at the same time inflamed with the enthusiasm of a recent and memorable military triumph. But what I want to impress upon the House is that the consequence of all this was, that for six months the public mind of England was distracted and diverted from the consideration of its domestic affairs. No step was taken to reduce the large establishments which the war had called into existence. No measures of administrative or economical improvement could be listened to at a time when we might awake any morning and find the whole of Europe in flames, and Austria and France, in particular, engaged in active hostilities, by a renewal of that fatal rivalry which had already entailed on Europe so much desperate warfare, so many treaties, and so many congresses. We know now how slow Her Majesty's Ministers were to carry into effect that promise which they made of interfering in the affairs of Italy. We expected that the King of Naples was to be coerced into great concessions. We were in daily anticipation of a notification that an English fleet had entered the Italian ports, and that a French army had taken possession of the territory of Central Italy. But will it be believed that all this time, while Lord Clarendon was listening to the passionate representations of Count Cavour, in which he impeached the very existence of Austrian rule in Italy—at the time when the noble Lord, unable to extricate himself from some fatal engagement into which he had entered with Sardinia, found it necessary to commence those protocols which have led to so much excitement, from which so much was expected, and on which were wasted, I may say, six months of the attention of the people of this country—will it be believed that at this very time a secret treaty was in existence guaranteeing to Austria the whole of her Italian dominions? ["Hear, hear!"] Sir, I do not state this by way of a cavil against Austrian skill. I admire the wonderful adroitness—I would even say the successful wisdom—with which Austria has managed throughout the whole of the late struggle to conduct her foreign relations. We have seen her reaping the fruits of victory without having entered into a campaign. But this was not sufficient, and Austria ended by gaining that which, I imagine, at no former period of her history her greatest statesmen could have ever supposed she could have accomplished. [Viscount PALMERSTON: What Power gave that guarantee?] What Power, says the noble Lord, gave that guarantee? It was given by the only Power that Austria fears in such a matter; it was given by France, and given not merely with the sanction, not merely with the approval of the noble Lord and his Government, but by their advice and at their special instance. The existence of a secret treaty cannot be denied, although it is mentioned now for the first time. England cannot cross the Alps. The Power that can cross the Alps, the Power that checks Austria in Italy, is the Power which, according to the representations of the noble Lord and of the noble Lord's Minister, was his partner in the great plan for the emancipation of Italy—the Power that was to aid him in effecting all those great objects for the accomplishment of which the noble Lord possessed the confidence of the Liberal party, who for that purpose pardoned his inattention to those internal reforms which they so sincerely and ardently desire. Now, Sir, I think this is a circumstance which throws some slight light on our relations with Italy. Read the protocol in which Lord Clarendon makes that memo- rable statement with respect to the measures which he thinks ought to be pursued in Italy; read that protocol now that I have given you this key-note to the mystery, and then you will understand the profound contempt with which Count Buol listened to Lord Clarendon; then you will understand the scoffing derision with which the other Austrian negotiator, Baron Hübner, listened to the representations of the English Government. They interfere to drive Austria from Central Italy, or to induce Austria to withdraw from the occupation of the Roman provinces! Why, Sir, the Austrian Ministers, with the guarantee of France for the security of all the Italian dominions of their Sovereign in their pockets, what did they care for these representations which were brought forward with such pomp in the House of Commons, and which were made the basis and the foundation of the confidence the noble Lord claimed from the Liberal party in this country?

When the noble Lord the Member for the City of London brought forward—with the authority which must always attend any Motion he makes, and with the consistency which became him upon such a subject—the state of Italy, and more particularly the occupation of Central Italy by the Austrians, I remember that, after he had listened to the answer of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he stated that he considered that answer quite satisfactory; but I would ask the noble Lord the Member for London whether he now feels equally satisfied with that answer? I ask whether any man was justified in holding out to Italy, in holding out to England, in holding out to Europe, that he was sincerely determined to change the aspect of social and political life in Italy, and especially in the centre and the south of Italy, when at the same time he knew that he had mainly occasioned an instrument to be executed which would render the supremacy of Austria in Italy complete and universal? Now we know it; now I have had an opportunity of telling this to the House of Commons; and the fact has not been denied, as it could not be denied, by the noble Lord, who, until now, no doubt thought the secret was locked up in his own breast. But allow me to remind the House of what has happened in consequence of this ruinous imposture on the credulity of the country. How much time have you lost? what have you done for the advantage of Italy? I remember making some humble observations on the Motion of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) last Session—observations not directed against the amelioration of the condition of Italy, an object which every man must desire—but addressed as a warning to the House not to interfere in Italian politics unless we had made up our minds to interfere with effect and activity. We did not interfere; we did not make up our minds to interfere actively. We had protocols; we had State papers; we had speeches in Parliament; we had Motions made by distinguished Liberal Lords, and sympathy expressed by numerous Liberal Members; and yet what has happened? Ruthless assassinations, unsuccessful insurrections, the death of many excellent and of some brave and distinguished men; but at the same time an aggravation of every evil of which you complain, and an exaggeration of all the misgovernment which you then denounced. You threatened the King of Naples; the King of Naples treated you with contempt, because the King of Naples, menaced by such a Power as England, with which he could not contend on equal terms, consulted the great Power near him, and which he regarded as his friend. Of course he consulted Austria. The King of Naples, I have no doubt, said something to this effect—"I count on the friendship of Austria, but I do not want to bring Austria, which has often been my friend, into dangerous collision with the great Western Powers. I see those Powers are determined now on effecting another revolution in Italy; I know they are taking every possible means to encourage the discontented and disturbing classes, but to have again a French army crossing the Alps, and English gold employed where her troops cannot appear, and her fleets in every place where they can be used, is too great a sacrifice to impose upon a generous ally, but nevertheless such is my situation—my independence as a Sovereign, although a weak one, is menaced; what am I to do?" "What are you to do?" said Austria, in reply,—"relieve your mind of all embarrassment upon the subject; no French army will cross the Alps except to maintain our authority, and to guarantee the possession of our dominions; make your mind perfectly easy; you will have no French troops and no English fleet here; the French and English are my best friends; they have given me the title-deeds to my estates; and do you vindicate your character as an independent Sovereign." The King of Naples, of course, followed that advice; and how far the policy of the noble Lord at the head of the Government has redounded to the credit of England, how far it has promoted the interests of the Liberal party in Italy, how far it has tended to the amelioration of the condition of the people of that country, I leave the House to consider on some other occasion, when these questions may be again brought before us.

My object now is to show you how much time has been wasted, and how much expense has been incurred by this Italian difficulty, which followed so immediately upon the settlement of the Turkish difficulty. Here were months during which the people of this country did not, I maintain, enjoy the advantages of peace—during which they were led to believe that the state of Italy was such that insurrections and revolutions might happen at any moment in that country, and a war might break out between France and Austria, while all the time the whole affair was a great hoax, and led to no result beyond the unfortunate consequences to the Italians and the Sicilians themselves, and the withdrawal of the consideration of the people of this country from their own affairs, thus preventing any inquiry among us into the nature of our great military establishments, allowing a war taxation to continue unchallenged in time of peace, and retarding the progress of measures of economical and administrative improvement. Now, Sir, it is a very remarkable fact that there is always a difficulty in our foreign affairs. I have shown you how the spring and the summer were wasted, England having been led to expect that she was about to embark in a great war, although the condition of Europe was such at the time that we had never a surer prospect, unless under the worst possible management, of prolonged tranquillity. I thought that when our Minister had quitted Naples, and when it was evident there was no prospect that any ulterior measures would be taken in that quarter I thought that a period of undoubted tranquillity had at length arrived. The Italian difficulty which the noble Lord had created he did not himself settle. It took the usual course; it was like the Rhine, which never met the ocean, but vanished in a mud bank. Generally speaking, the noble Lord extricates us from the embarrassments he has himself created, and that is his great claim to the public approbation. Everybody always feels that in our foreign relations there is some immense difficulty; and, therefore, it is said that the noble Lord, the present First Minister of the Crown, ought to be in the place he now fills, because he is the only man to get the country out of that difficulty. But nobody carries the investigation a little further, or else it would invariably be found that the noble Lord is always the creator of every difficulty from which he extricates us. One would have thought at the end of the summer that at last we were to enjoy the blessings of peace, that Her Majesty's Government would then have taken advantage of the recess for the purpose of preparing those measures of internal reform which the country expected, that they would have occupied themselves with plans for reducing our military establishments, which had imposed so great a burthen on the country, and that when Parliament met they would be in a condition to enable the people of England, who had conducted a great struggle with extraordinary spirit and vigour, to reap the fruits of that spirit and that vigour in the enjoyment of the blessings of a peace which had been gained at so much cost, and which had been ushered in with so much promise. To my great surprise, instead of waking one morning and being told that the Turkish difficulty had been settled, that the Italian difficulty had been settled, I suddenly heard that there had never been peace—that there had only been an armed truce—that this country was about to be involved in a war upon the largest scale under circumstances of the greatest disadvantage, and without the co-operation of that generous and disinterested Ally to whom I thought we were bound by every feeling of gratitude and friendship. When Parliament was prorogued I left the usual place of our meeting with an idea that the French alliance was the great foundation of our policy, and upon that alliance we were to rest, and I remember that in making some observations respecting external affairs, towards the end of last Session, the noble Lord opposite reproved me for not putting the alliance with France in the prominent position in which it was my duty to place it; but I find on the 1st of September that there never had been a real peace—only an armed truce, and that we were going to war with Russia again without our Ally; that we had to encounter at the same time Russian duplicity and French perfidy; that the contest was of a very alarming cha- racter, and still more striking because it had been our impression that Russia really had given up the contest, because she was exhausted both in men and in money, and that she had made up her mind not to repeat her policy because she had become convinced that it could only lead to the same ruinous results. But I found there was again another difficulty—a Russian difficulty, but with respect to which it is unnecessary for me to enter into details, because hon. Gentlemen are already perfectly familiar with it.

I wish, however, that there should be no misconception as to what I consider, and what I hope the majority of the House consider, to have been the legitimate objects of the late war with Russia. When that subject was first discussed in 1854, I stated my opinion that no peace could be satisfactory to this country in which the independence of the Black Sea and the freedom of the Danube were not secured. Those were subjects with which we were not then quite so familiar as we are at present; and about two years afterwards, when the wildest notions were prevalent upon the subject of the war, and upon the terms upon which peace should be obtained—when you were told that nothing less than dismemberment of empires, the destruction of thrones, and change of dynasties could satisfy Europe, I took the liberty, though I always supported the Government in carrying on the war in a proper manner, to express my opinion as to what were the terms upon which peace should be obtained, and upon which only it ought to be secured. Those terms involved the two great points—the independence of the Black Sea and the freedom of the Danube. I say frankly and fairly to the noble Lord, that if in the month of September he found—whatever might be the cause—the country was to be deprived of one of the prime objects for the attainment of which we had made such costly, such enormous sacrifices of life and treasure, it was the duty of the noble Lord not to have lost a moment, even at the risk of another war, to have obtained his object. I do not see how he could have faced this House—I do not see how he could have faced the country—if, after announcing that he had negotiated a peace and obtained those objects, he had to communicate to us that one of the most important of those objects was lost. I give the noble Lord the full credit of that action; but the question naturally arises, what was the reason we were placed in a position of such great jeopardy? Why were we on the point of losing the fruits which we so richly deserved? I hear a great deal about Russian maps and Russian duplicity—I hear a great deal of the French Empire and of French perfidy—but I hear nothing of the British Empire and of English statesmen's knowledge of the subject. Nobody knew, although it is now denied by none, that the town of Bolgrad, referred to by the hon. Mover of the Address, was, as far as the letter of the treaty was concerned, left in the possession of Russia. Nobody now denies that the spirit of the treaty, as far as England was concerned, was a determination to have the freedom of the Danube secured. Russia possessing Bolgrad, the freedom of the Danube was not secured. How was it, then, that Russia was allowed to possess Bolgrad? Well then, Sir, I am told that the Russian Minister behaved very ill. Oh, wicked Baron Brunnow! The Russian Minister was actually so flagitious as to look after the interests of his master. Oh, ungrateful Baron Brunnow, who, after all the civility and hospitality he received in London, did not when in Paris do for Lord Clarendon that which Lord Clarendon ought to have done for himself! Now, Sir, that really is the state of the case. I should have been perfectly ready to have supported any Government that was resolved to obtain those results for which we fought, and which we thought that we had gained. But when it is a blunder of our own chief Minister that has created the whole confusion—and nobody now denies that it is so—I do not see the advantage of turning round upon our late foe and upon our cherished Ally, and accusing the one of duplicity and the other of want of faith. Lord Clarendon was not pressed for time; he had great advantages in negotiating the treaty, because he could find time to recommend an interference in the affairs of the kingdom of Naples to which I have already alluded; he could find time to express his willingness to cripple, if not altogether to destroy, the liberty of the press throughout Europe. The noble Lord the Foreign Secretary was not in the least hurried. He, if ever any man possessed them, had ample means at his disposal for obtaining all the information which he required. Lord Clarendon's position was remarkable. He went to Paris to obtain the independence of the Black Sea and the freedom of the Danube. He omitted to obtain one of those important objects which he was especially sent to Paris to secure. Wonderful! How did that occur? Was it from want of information? That is the most charitable view. Had he not an Ambassador at Constantinople, who may have his failings, certainly, but who all acknowledge is a man of great energy, of great ability, of extensive experience—nobody denies him those qualities—an Ambassador who is supported by probably the best-disciplined diplomatic staff that ever surrounded any Minister, and one who has secured for his service the most able men. Throughout every province in Turkey, throughout the Principalities, we have also a most costly consular establishment. Surely, then, from those diplomatic and consular services information might have been furnished to Lord Clarendon, which would at least have enabled him to have secured that which was one of the principal objects of the war—one of the chief reasons of the negotiations. Lord Clarendon had, besides, all the archives of the Foreign Office in Downing Street at his disposal. In them alone he ought to have found the necessary information, already prepared for him, before he went to Paris. But if that source had failed it is a perfect libel upon the diplomatic service of the country to suppose that its officers have failed. Still even had they, had you not the railroad and the telegraph in this age to assist you? Could you not have obtained the information you sought through them? Was it not worth your while to have sent persons to the spot to ascertain what was absolutely requisite? That which was at stake was no slight point; it was not one of the multifarious details, it was the very main-spring of the whole negotiation, the cause of the quarrel, the cause of the treaty; and yet, out of this condition of affairs, out of this almost unprecedented blunder of our own Plenipotentiary, an excitement has been got up so great that the people of England, who in the spring and summer expected they were going to war about Italy, in the autumn thought that they were going to war again with Russia; and yet we are told that this was enjoying the blessings of peace. It is in this way that the spring, and summer, and autumn have been employed. Now who makes this great blunder? It is perpetrated by the chief of our diplomacy, not by any insignificant person, any "poor devil" whom you can throw over as having acted without instruction, not by anybody whom you could say was improperly placed in the office by your predecessors, and whom you had only kept there out of courtesy and good feeling. You would not even trust your Ambassador at Paris, but, most wisely, most properly, you determine that the great chief of the diplomatic service, one of the leading members of the Cabinet, one of the principal Ministers of the Queen, should himself proceed to Paris to do that which you were determined to achieve. Well, he does go, and commits this awful mistake, which not being discovered at the time, he returns to this country with great honour, crowned with laurels. The mistake, of course, is at length discovered in the most natural manner possible—namely, by your late foes, to whom rights had been given by the treaty, asserting their rights; and instead of at once turning round and saying, "Oh, there has been a mistake, the people of England can never be satisfied with this arrangement; let us understand each other, not approaching the subject in a spirit of acrimony, but in the most conciliatory manner, and carry out our real intention"—instead of that, every means are used to lash up the passions of the people of England. You were made to suppose that, instead of one of the Ministers of this country having made a blunder, our late foe, and our then and present Ally, had absolutely endeavoured to defraud us of the legitimate consequences of our hard-earned victory, and in order that there should be no want of enthusiasm, and that the people should be prepared to enter into a renewed contest with Russia—this exhausted Russia, which was quite determined not to fight upon the question—the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) goes down himself to the great capital of industry, peace, and cotton, harangues some of the most eminent members, I believe, of the Peace Society, one of the chief ornaments of whom, unfortunately, we have no longer among us, and whose loss I most sincerely deplore—and actually exciting them to that pitch of enthusiasm that even the Peace Society itself half drew its sword, and then the noble Lord says, "See how the people pay;" and, backed by such enthusiasm, he cries, "I will not be defrauded of my hard-earned rights; I am resolved that I will have this treaty exacted." Exacted! If it had been exacted we should have lost everything for which we were struggling. "I will have no compromise," said the First Minister of the Crown; "I will have no explana- tion —not a word shall pass—I will have the treaty, the whole treaty, and nothing but the treaty." Russia, indeed, was perfectly prepared to give it us. But the noble Lord excites the passions of the people. He says:—"There shall be no wavering;" and the whole of the country, although they did not know why, were perfectly prepared to go to war with Russia again, and I believe that at that moment the right hon. Gentleman opposite (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) might have had an income tax of 20 per cent. And all this arose from what? Because Lord Clarendon had made a great blunder. Now let the House see in what an absurd position a man must be placed eventually who is in the wrong. What was the end of all this blundering? Understand, that from the first Russia never was in a position to strike a blow. Russia never would have consented to peace had she not been in a state that for her to maintain the struggle was utterly impossible, and yet the noble Lord says to the people of Manchester:—"Have confidence in me; I will have nothing but the treaty; there shall be no Conferences;" and all those artificial means of exciting the mind which the noble Lord has more at his command than any Minister has had since the days of Bolingbroke, are put into requisition, and those daily monitors so instruct the country that they are prepared to go to war with a Power which was determined not to fight. At last it oozes out that there was to be a Conference after all. But it was not to be presided over by a Minister of France, because France had acted perfidiously. Well, the Conference, however, was held, and it was presided over by a Minister of France. But then it was only to be a matter of ceremony—it was a mere concession, as the hon. Mover told us, to the morbid sensibility of our Ally, and not a single thing was to be done. Its members were to meet, to tap their snuff-boxes, shake their plumed hats, to bow to each other, and to say that the treaty had been agreed to, and that in fact there was nothing to be done. Instead of that, they were obliged to meet, and to say that the treaty did not express what it was the desire of the English Minister it should express, and he throws himself upon the good feeling of our Allies, in order that a friendly understanding should be come to which should prevent any further misconception upon the subject. Now, what says Russia? Russia says, "Very well; we offered you a Conference in the month of August last, when the difficulty first occurred, and before it became known to the world. We knew that you must have a Conference, and that we ought to have compensations, because the letter of the treaty is against you; and it is only by a Conference, and a document signed by all the Powers, that the difficulty could be removed; but as you have taken the course you have done, as our right has been contested, and as we have certainly a legal right, we ought at least to have some concession." The whole affair on our part was most ridiculous. First, we were told that there should be no Conference, yet a Conference was held; secondly, it was not to be presided over by a particular individual; it was, in fact, presided over by that precise individual. Next, there was to be no concession, yet there was a concession. Finally, Bolgrad did not belong to Russia. If it did not belong to Russia, why did you give her a very large compensation? My object in making these observations is to show you the effect of this mode of managing your affairs upon the internal condition of this country. It is a period of peace, but we have never reaped the fruits of a period of peace. You have had three difficulties. In fact, during the spring, the summer, and the autumn, you have had nothing but difficulties in your foreign affairs. All those difficulties have been created by Her Majesty's Minister, the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown, who has certainly extricated us somehow or other from them; but, because he has so extricated us, is he entitled to the confidence of those who understand how foreign affairs ought to be managed?

During eight months this state of things has continued. Before Parliament was prorogued we had a chance of an American difficulty; but as the House fortunately was then sitting we got out of that. Then followed the Italian difficulty and the Russian difficulty, and thus the whole of the year has been wasted, so that one can hardly expect any considerable measure to be brought forward by Her Majesty's Ministers with regard to our domestic condition. Still, however, there was time; by dint of great exertions and the exercise of great abilities, Her Majesty's Government might have been prepared to come to the House of Commons, and to have stated what they were going to do, in order that we may reap the fruits of the late struggle and enjoy the blessings of peace. But no sooner is it settled that Bolgrad is to be in the possession of the noble Lord—no sooner was the Isle of Serpents relieved from the presence of the half-dozen indifferent Russian riflemen on it, than another difficulty—a most serious one—arises. A German prince, at the head of an immense army, is going to invade Switzerland, a neutral State. The Emperor of the French—although his motto when he came to the throne was, that "the empire is peace," and notwithstanding all that has occurred, notwithstanding everything that has been done by Her Majesty's Ministers, I think the House will be of opinion that he has sincerely and nobly fulfilled that programme—was about to move troops in that direction and march a French army to the Rhine. But the Emperor of the French had a right under such circumstances to do that which we might expect him to do, to direct a French army in that quarter. But who was it that made it a difficulty in which we had any concern? For myself, I believe a more simple subject never existed, nor would the great consequences which it threatened, or of which it was accused, necessarily follow. What is the real state of the case? What is the Swiss difficulty? A more simple one never existed. The King of Prussia believed that his honour was seriously compromised. Every man is the judge of his own honour; but above all a sovereign prince will never consent that there should be a stain upon his honour. What, then, is the conduct of the King of Prussia? He does that which every gentleman in private life is allowed to do, which society sanctions and approves of. Before taking hostile steps he puts his affairs into the hands of a friend, and the friend he selects is one whose character and position give him great influence over the conduct and sentiments of the Swiss people. I think the King of Prussia deserves the respect and esteem of every one for the course he took—a course which was highly successful. He appealed to the Emperor of the French, who responded in a spirit worthy of the occasion; and instead of persuading the King of Prussia to invade Switzerland, and instead of ordering out what might have pleased the martial spirit of the French nation—a French army on the Rhine—the Emperor of the French used his influence to terminate this difficulty, and he did terminate it in a way which vindicated the honour of the King of Prussia and relieved Europe of a difficulty, which I suspect never would have been heard of had Parliament happened to have been sitting at the time—at all events, the question of Neufchâtel never would have become a great public question had it not been for the blunders of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, for the moment the Swiss authorities consented to adopt the course recommended by the French Emperor, the English authorities counselled a course quite different. They said to the Swiss, "This is not a question upon which you ought to take a conciliatory course; the eyes of Europe are upon you; you have a great duty to perform; the King of Prussia is taking a course which all Europe condemns, and of which England ought never to approve, or see without considerable dissatisfaction and more than dissatisfaction. Reject, therefore, this proposal; raise your standard, around which all the scatterings of Europe can collect; have confidence in yourselves; think of your great ancestors; have confidence in your English friends; reject these proposals from France, and fear not the soldiery of all the crowned heads of the Continent." But fortunately for themselves, the Swiss, though distinguished for patriotism in an eminent degree, are no less remarkable for their prudence, and when it came to the last point, before a gun was fired, the prudent feeling of the Swiss prevailed, and they determined to ascertain from the Government of the noble Lord what was the nature and what the degree of assistance which England was prepared to accord them. They had, perhaps, heard of Neapolitan assassinations, of Sicilian insurrections; and, perhaps, they had heard of Paris protocols, and the speeches which have been made in the British House of Commons sympathising with free nations and with the liberal cause. They, therefore, naturally enough said, "What are you going to do for us now that the moment of trial is about to commence? We do not expect you to send Her Majesty's Guards to Basle as you did to Gallipoli; that is geographically impossible; but there are other means of assisting the country, besides sending us troops. We are not very rich. We Swiss, who are republicans, are, if you leave us alone, proverbially satisfied with very little; yon, on the contrary, are a very rich people. Eminent as you are for valour, you are still more celebrated for your wealth; you have at this moment extraordinary resources at your command; golden galleons from Australia crowd your ports, and you hare another source of supply, which only in civilised countries a liberal Government can enjoy. You have the advantage of a war taxation in a time of peace. Let a few crumbs fall from the rich man's table." But what was the reply of the noble Lord? It was in effect—I quote from an eminent Minister, a predecessor of the noble Lord— I give thee sixpence! I'll see thee—first. We live in an age of telegraphs, and the Swiss authorities telegraphed to Paris, and accepted the terms of the intervention, and there was an end of that difficulty. This was our Christmas-box. The whole year during which we were to enjoy that blessing for which we illuminated—that blessing which alone could have justified our great expenditure upon fireworks—passed away, and we heard nothing till Christmas but rumours of war, and a conviction upon the part of the people of this country that we were on the eve of a struggle in Italy—on the Rhine—on the Danube, where all the great and memorable scenes had been enacted, where the utmost efforts of human skill and valour had been displayed, and where, therefore, such efforts were to be revived.

When such public dangers menaced the country, was it within the scope of probability that any consideration could be given to such questions as education or even secondary punishments? What were such questions compared with the calamities which must infallibly follow in the train of a continental war, or even a war with a nation which had just made such efforts to conclude a peace? But is it not remarkable that during all this time, so profound are the elements of tranquillity throughout Europe, that all the populations of Europe are devoting themselves in a manner unprecedented in history to the toils of industry, the chief Governments of Europe have an anxious desire to develope those industrial instincts, and to assist their subjects in arriving at what Governments themselves affirm to be the truest sources of wealth and power. In this state of affairs—which, as any man versed in the study of these matters will tell you, has never, perhaps, been surpassed in the promise it gives of peace—this innocent, suffering, energetic, industrial, commercial, overtaxed people of England are reconciled to their position, and are even enthusiastic in favour of the noble Lord, because they think that the burdens they bear are the natural consequences of the enormous dangers surrounding them, and that the noble Lord is the only man who can extricate them from difficulties which necessarily result from the condition of Europe. So much for the rumours of war; and any one would imagine that the noble Lord must have conjured up an immense mass of them if he could hope to succeed in distracting the attention of the country from its domestic affairs, and thus arresting the progress of those natural ameliorations which are the features of this age. No doubt the noble Lord, taking cognisance of the warlike humour of which he has spoken so much, supposed, that with his experience and adroitness, he could have contrived to have brought things to a critical point, and have thus avoided explanation. The noble Lord certainly understands foreign affairs perfectly well, and he ought so to do. I am satisfied that had he occupied the office of Foreign Minister, and had gone to Paris to negotiate the treaty of peace, Bolgrad would not have been given to Russia. I am quite convinced that the noble Lord thoroughly understands the interests of Europe, because he has had more experience of the condition of Europe in its social capacity than most men. He thinks, therefore, that with the hand of a master he can always raise and foster a European difficulty, and at the right moment get rid of it and evade its consequences. But the noble Lord seems to have forgotten that aspiring votaries and enthusiastic pupils are not sufficient to ensure success; and just when the noble Lord was winding up his account of the recess for the meeting of Parliament, and when he had written his first four paragraphs, congratulating the nation upon the termination of the American, the Italian, the Bolgrad, and the Swiss difficulties, so that he might come to Parliament and receive laurel crowns from a grateful people, he may not feel quite certain that we shall not be invaded tomorrow, our commerce destroyed, and perhaps our throats cut, notwithstanding that all the great Powers of Europe are engaged in the formation of banks and the construction of railroads. The noble Lord seemed to say—"Unparalleled as has been my fortune, unrivalled as has been my adroitness, I think I really have on this occasion outdone myself, for even out of the blunders of another Minister, who would have destroyed any other Government, I have extracted the means of raising the enthusiasm and devotion of the people. I have celebrated my name as a negotiator for ever, and, notwithstanding the acts of the most incapable man who ever figured as a diplomatist, 'Out of the nettle danger I have plucked the flower safety.' I have made the very blunders of my colleagues the basis of my claim to the gratitude of my countrymen and the patriotism of Englishmen. I may meet Parliament with confidence. They may ask what I am going to do—what is my domestic programme—what I am going to do about Parliamentary reform. I will refer them to a late noble colleague of mine. They may, as I say, ask me what I am going to do about Parliamentary reform? I will answer in the words of Richard II. (I am indebted to the noble Lord for the quotation), 'What! do you want an administrative reformer? I am an administrative reformer!'" Just at that moment, when the noble Lord would have had no difficulty in evading any disagreeable inquiry, he finds that unfortunately Canton is blazing, Persia is invaded, and, under those circumstances, it seems to me that we are now arrived at a period in which you must ask yourselves whether it is not the duty of the House of Commons to inquire what is the cause of this perpetually-recurring system of difficulties.

I think it will not be difficult to show that they are occasioned by the policy of the noble Lord. We now have the Persian difficulty and the Chinese difficulty—two difficulties which, as it could be easy to show, have not been occasioned by local circumstances of such a commanding character as to justify an appeal to arms, but have rather happened in consequence of a predetermined policy at home, the consequence of which policy is, that after a year of peace we are called upon again to forget the first function of a House of Commons, again to neglect the consideration of our domestic condition, and again to forbear making any effort to diminish the burdens of the people. I confess that I was somewhat surprised when I heard of the Persian war. I thought it was our interest to maintain the existence of Persia, and even if Persia committed any act of folly to view it with forbearance. Our policy respecting Persia has hitherto been to treat her as a vast, poor, weak country that ought to be supported as a barrier between us and the other European Power which has predominance in that part of Asia. That policy has always been pursued, and little as the people of England care for external politics, I believe they have understood it, because they look jealously at anything which may bring us near to Russia. But destroy Persia from apprehension of Russia, and the consequence is that you are nose to nose with Russia, and that collision which might not have happened for years is precipitated by your policy. That is the view which any sensible man would take of a war with Persia. But there is a different view of the question. The case of the Government is, that we are not really at war with Persia, but with Russia in the disguise of Persia—Russia with a long black Persian cap upon her. It is said that we are struggling with a foe who, having been destroyed and disabled from pursuing his long-cherished policy in the Black Sea—who having been so exhausted that he did not attempt to conceal his exhaustion, but was ready to agree to any terms in order to obtain peace—had yet treasured up untold gold and raised armies from mysterious provinces in order to invade our great Indian Empire. I well remember the invasion of Afghanistan and the documents which were placed on the table respecting it. I can only now say, that, if we have papers upon the present war produced, as announced by the bon. Baronet the mover of the Address, but not promised in the Speech from the Throne, I shall examine them with great suspicion, and if I find some documents not comprised in them, which ought to be included, I shall move that all the papers be referred to a Select Committee, in order that we may have all the evidence possible on the subject. And if it turn out—as I believe it will—that Russia has been more anxious that there should be peace between Persia and England, than England has been that there should be war between herself and Persia—if it turn out, that from the first moment the peace of Paris was signed there is no effort which Russia has not made, no means of conciliation which she has not used, to obtain that result, so necessary to her existence in her present crippled state in that part of the world—so that she has even counselled the Sovereign of Persia to yield that great prize he had so long coveted—of that very city of Herat—I shall then be tempted to believe that by some unfortunate policy (which I will not characterise) it has been considered a point of high expediency that that third campaign in the Crimea, the non-occurrence of which has so often been deplored by the pupils of the noble Lord's school, should take place in this Persia, the territory of which we have now invaded. If that should be the case, then I wish the House would consider the course which the noble Lord is now pursuing, and the position in which he may place this country, and the effect which all this may have on our resources, on our commerce, and on that situation which we hold in the world. From what I read in the public prints—for on this point I have no other means of information—I think it possible that the Persian difficulty may be settled, but settled by the influence and agency of that very Power against which every means are used in this country to excite the passions of the people, and to convey to them the impression that Russia is the cause of war, instead of being from the first desirous to prevent it. Now there remains the Chinese difficulty, which is not settled, and I shall not trouble the House with more than one observation on it, for I apprehend that all these are questions which must be decided on their own merits, and I am alluding to them now to show the necessary consequences of such a policy. The question of China, however, appears to be in the same category as that of Persia; and I cannot resist the conviction, that what has taken place in China has not been in consequence of the alleged pretext, but is, in fact, in consequence of instructions received from home some considerable time ago. If that be the case, I think the time has arrived when this House would not be doing its duty unless it earnestly considered whether it has any means for checking and controlling a system which, if pursued, will be one, in my mind, fatal to the interests of this country. Are we always to have in time of peace difficulties in our foreign relations? No doubt we shall have, with the disposition of the noble Lord, a very good chance of finding ourselves in that situation, for he has at his command those resources which a generous and high-spirited people intrusted to him for objects of a very different nature.

Sir, there are great complaints at the present moment of the burden of taxation and of one peculiar tax. That peculiar tax is intimately connected with the circumstances to which I have called the attention of the House to-night after a long separation, commenting on events only which have occurred in the interval. We must all admit that nothing is more natural than that the people of this country should object to war taxation in time of peace; but then I am told that it is necessary to endure war taxation in time of peace because our foreign relations are in a state of such excitement, difficulty, and peril. My answer to that is, that these are the very circumstances which make me hesitate as to the propriety of the condition in which our finances are placed. If we were really in times of profound peace, and that certain sacrifices were necessary to be made in order to clear us from the consequences of the old struggle (though I believe that the old struggle was prosecuted with a needless expenditure and a lavish and extravagant spirit greatly to be deprecated), I could understand that the course which ought to be taken under these circumstances would be of this kind;—I could move for a Finance Committee, and the expenditure of the country could be submitted to its scrutiny; I could then have these allegations of extravagant and lavish misuse of the public funds examined into. I could also ascertain by such means what are the necessary wants of the country, and with that information we might be enabled to take the course which circumstances justified. But when a war taxation in time of peace is concurrent with a constant state of semi-war—when a time of peace consists of preparation for war, of fitting out expeditions, of sending fleets to different quarters of the globe,—then I am obliged to consider whether this war taxation is not required for circumstances and objects far different from those which a time of peace justifies and requires. I therefore think, Sir, that the expenditure of the country ought to be reduced. For example, I should like to know what the cost to the country had been of the blunder of Lord Clarendon in the Conference at Paris, necessitating the keeping of a great fleet in the Black Sea, and other measures of that kind. It could be ascertained—and the information would be very instructive—what have been the consequences of the want of a good geographical knowledge on the part of a principal negotiator who happened to be our Foreign Minister. But our position is very different from that which justifies a Finance Com- mittee in time of peace for war taxation. We have war taxation, and though it is a time of peace, we have war objects and ends aimed at, which only war can achieve. In my own opinion the time has arrived when it will be well to curb and control the power of the Minister to pursue that policy which I have touched on to-night, and which I believe to be pregnant with danger to the best interests of this country. But we have before us a question far graver than the question whether we shall entrust to the present Government a certain additional number of millions sterling arising from the income tax. The agitation of that point has led to the agitation of other points of far greater and more enduring importance. The very tax from which this extraordinary supply is drawn—the principles on which it is founded, the consequences of its provisions on our industry and property—all these are topics of controversy which we thought settled in 1853, and now, I observe, are re-opened. This is a very dangerous state of things, and ought to be gravely considered. Whether there should be a difference in the rate of assessment between permanent and precarious incomes,—whether there should be exemptions in levying the income tax, and to what degree those exemptions should extend,—these are questions we thought had been settled for ever; and no one can deny that it would be a great advantage to the country that they should be settled for ever. Let the House remember the peculiar circumstances under which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. Gladstone) introduced the Bill of 1853 to our notice. We are too apt to forget these circumstances in the hurry of public life, and more particularly when the interval has been occupied by events so exciting as those created by the late war. When the right hon. Gentleman introduced his measure in 1853—not as a transitory or insulated financial measure, standing by itself, for it was a most considerable part of the financial scheme which he brought forward,—remember in what position he was placed. There were two parties in this House who held opinions on the measure he was about to introduce, each sufficiently powerful greatly to embarrass the passage of a measure, but who, if they had united their forces, could have defeated any Ministry. The first party consisted of those who thought that there ought to be a difference in the assessment between precarious and permanent incomes, and those who thought there could not be any satisfactory solution of the question. It was then said by the Government that that was a question which had been argued and re-argued over and over again; and "whatever may be my views," the right hon. Gentleman said, "I will bring forward a measure which will terminate this method of taxation for ever, except under circumstances which will justify any anomaly in taxation—namely, when the country shall be engaged in a great struggle." The opposition which was felt in many quarters in this House to the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman was silenced by the terms which he offered; and I consider that a compact was entered into between the supporters of that opposition and the right hon. Gentleman on that occasion. So far as I was concerned, Sir, I offered as little opposition to the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman as was possible.

But, Sir, there was also another party in this House—a very powerful party, representing very different ideas, and whose interests and honour ought ever to be dear to the House of Commons. Those who are the possessors of real property were placed in a very peculiar position by the financial proposition of the Minister of that day. A part of the right hon. Gentleman's scheme was to impose a succession duty upon real property. I do not wish at this moment to enter into a discussion of the merits or demerits of that measure; but I will at once admit that he brought forward his measure fairly, and was ever ready to defend it, and I am sure that if it should be necessary he will be ready to vindicate his course to those who on this side may impugn it. But allow me to say that his proposition as to succession duty was intimately connected with the settlement of the income tax. Some of the provisions of his measure respecting the succession duty were defeated, and some were carried by a narrow majority. But they were carried by Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House deeply interested in real property, who did not approve of his measure, but who took it as part of a general scheme, accepting his declaration that the income tax was to terminate in 1860. That was the equivalent and consideration upon which the supported the succession duty. Now, if the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman had not been disturbed by the war two years ago, we should have been paying a reduced assessment upon our incomes. Those who are interested in real property have not had that reduced assessment. You may say that those who are not interested in real property have been in the same position, but remember that the possessors of real property pay a sum of £2,000,000 a year without receiving that equivalent on which they had a right to count; and if you disturb the settlement of 1853, you raise up a host of dangerous and embarrassing financial questions which I had hoped had been settled for ever. First of all, you raise the question as to the difference between permanent and precarious incomes. Secondly, you revive a system of exemption which I myself attempted entirely to extirpate, and which the right hon. Gentleman considerably diminished. I see by the newspapers that it is laid down as a principle that small incomes should not be taxed, as if any person could define what is a small income—as if small incomes did not depend on the circumstances of the family who possessed them. You will have these difficulties raised, and with them there will be a revival of the old and bitter controversy as to the peculiar burdens of taxation on the holders of real property, who upon that question have a case which has never been answered, against the holder of funded or personal property, especially with regard to local taxation, although their claim has been overruled by that interest which has so long prevailed. But if in addition to this burden, which of old was compensated by the absence of a succession duty, you have, as well as the succession duty also an income tax, you will raise a series of questions most embarrassing to any Minister, and the solution of which you will find most difficult.

Sir, my opinion is that you ought to adhere to the settlement of 1853. Do not attempt to deal with the income tax without dealing with the whole question in a frank and unequivocal manner. Any other course I cannot approve, and shall never support. I believe that the policy which Her Majesty's Government are at present pursuing is a dangerous policy, that that policy is owing in some degree to the sources which are derived from the income tax, and I therefore think that those sources ought not to be continued to them for another year. I understand, from the declarations that we had from those officially connected with Her Majesty's Government—some in very high office, and some in insufficiently high office—that it is not the intention of the Government to insist upon levying this revenue. But I think that upon that subject there ought to be no doubt, and I highly object to any settlement of it being postponed. I think it most impolitic that we should wait for a month or for two months until Her Majesty's Ministers give us their financial statement. Some may think that it is unnecessarily hostile to the Government to take an early opportunity in the Session of eliciting the opinion of the House upon questions of finance. I can assure the House that they will find ample precedents of the best and wisest of our ancestors for taking that course, which, in fact, is the proper and constitutional course. Our "Supply" precedes our "Ways and Means." We are not to suppose that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of this country fashions his demands according to what he may fancy will be received by the Exchequer. He fashions his demands upon the House of Commons by one test, and one test only—the wants and proved requirements of the country. If the Minister lays before the House a scheme of finance and Estimates which we believe are justified, who will tell me that there is ever a House of Commons that refuses such Minister the "Ways and Means" that are necessary? But I protest on our part against our being placed in the position of, as it were, stopping the supplies for expressing our opinions upon the taxation of the country before the Chancellor of the Exchequer submits to us his financial statement. In asking the House to give an opinion upon the income tax, I do not mean to imply that the Ways and Means which the Government may require shall be stinted. All that I ask is, that the sources of supply shall not be tampered with until the opinion of the House shall have been pronounced respecting the taxation of the country. I believe that it is of the utmost importance in the present state of the public mind—and I am the last who will defer to anything like illegitimate agitation—that we should upon this subject come to an early decision. It is due to the country, to ourselves, and still more to the Ministry. Let the Ministry know what the opinion of the House of Commons is upon this great subject, and they may then take that course which they in their wisdom may think proper. I understand—for I was not in the House at the time—that some notices have been given by hon. Members upon this subject. I do not wish to speak of any Gentleman in the usual exercise of his Parliamentary privilege in any other than a most unfeignedly respectful manner; but I think that it is of importance that if the opinion of the House is taken the question should be brought forward by some one who undoubtedly speaks the feelings of a large party in this House, I think the question ought to be brought forward early. I am totally opposed to tacking upon the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne any opinions of the House on this subject. I think that would be an unworthy and unsatisfactory mode of dealing with this subject. I think that it is due to the House, to the country, and to Her Majesty's Ministers that fair and sufficient, but no more than fair and sufficient, notice should be given. I should have been glad that some Gentleman who sits near me should have undertaken the task, but it has been thought by many that I ought not to shrink from it, and on this day fortnight, if it be convenient and agreeable to the House, I will ask their opinion upon this subject. I think my course will be to move for a Committee of the whole House, in order that I may introduce Resolutions. My first Resolution will be to express the opinion of this House that taxes which have been granted in time of war for the purpose of carrying on hostilities, by way of income tax, should not be levied in a period of what we are assured by the hon. Mover of the Address is one of profound peace. My second Resolution—of course I am not pretending to give the language I should lay upon the table of the House—will be that the House should express its opinion that the settlement of 1853 of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) should in spirit be adhered to. Sir, I cannot but believe that if these Resolutions are carried we shall witness some beneficial changes in the financial system of this country. I think we shall give a great impetus to salutary economy; and shall in a most significant manner express our opinion that it is not advisable that England should become what is called a "great military nation;" though we are prepared to vote all the Ways and Means necessary to establish those sources from which an effective army can at all times and in due season be raised. I am not in favour of any new and still mysterious military system—great, I am afraid, beyond proportion, and of which we have had it said that it could at any time in ten days land an army on the Continent. If that is the policy which the Secretary for War has proclaimed, and which is being pursued by Her Majesty's Ministers, we shall, I am afraid, check all that disarmament which is now taking place on the Continent, and prevent that reduction of warlike establishments which in Austria and France is now occurring, and which is necessary, I will not say to the existence, but to the best interests of those countries. Sir, I am not afraid to express the old-fashioned opinion that a standing army is dangerous to the liberties of this country. I know that we must have troops. We have had an army of which every man has reason to be proud, and I wish to see that army maintained in its spirit and its efficiency. What we want are scientific officers, and that the machinery of our militia shall be nurtured and maintained in efficiency. For the rest we may trust to the resources of the country, which will increase in proportion as we reduce its taxation. I have observed with regret that an eminent person has recently spoken of the absurdity of supposing that an army can at this moment be dangerous to the liberties of this country, saying that it is no longer under the control of the Sovereign, but that Parliament is our safeguard against all possible danger from such an institution. Sir, I may be permitted to say that if an army is to be under any authority I should prefer it to be under the authority of Her Majesty rather than under that of the Parliament of England. We have had armies under the control of the Parliament, and we have not found the consequences of that arrangement to be favourable to our liberties. An army must be either a disciplined or an undisciplined body. If undisciplined, the troops of which it is composed are bandits, like the Prætorian Guards of Rome and others, and all we can do is to guard our lives and properties from them; but if they are disciplined they must obey one man, and that one man is the master of the State. I care not what may be the form of Government—Royal, Imperial, or Republican, where there are 500,000 men in arms, highly disciplined and obeying one man, that man is dictator. I hope, therefore, that the glory of the late war, and the, if possible, greater glories of wars to come, will not induce the people of this country to sanction extravagant military establishments. I will express my opinion that, with due economy and with able adminis- tration, the more you reduce the burdens of the people the greater will be your strength when the hour of danger comes. With this conviction I shall on Tuesday, if convenient to the House, and if the day be vacant, introduce the Resolutions of which I have given notice. I shall therefore on this occasion not ask the House to express an opinion upon the important topics to which those Resolutions will refer. It is, Sir, with this explanation of my views as to our present position, and guarding myself from any unnecessary agreement with any of the sentiments expressed in it, that I shall support the humble Address in answer to the gracious Speech from the Throne.


Sir, if the advice of the right lion. Gentleman opposite had been followed in the composition of the gracious Speech which has this day been read to the House, and if that Speech had contained a paragraph recommending the House to enter upon a revision of taxation and an adjustment of the burdens of the country to the state of peace which we now, happily, enjoy, I apprehend we should have been told that such general assurances were of no value; that we might have assumed, as a matter of course, that such revision would be undertaken, and that no real information was conveyed to the House unless it was in possession of the particular changes which Her Majesty's Government had it in contemplation to propose. It has not been usual to make such announcements as the right hon. Gentleman intimates in the Speech from the Throne. It has been left to the discretion of the House, when the Estimates have been framed with a due regard to economy, to suggest the means necessary to cover the Votes in Committee of Supply. It is not my intention to follow the right hon. Gentleman opposite in the wide excursion which he has made over the subject of our foreign policy, but will confine my attention to the remarks which he has made on the subject of the income tax. I must, however, protest against the House imputing to Her Majesty's Government intentions based upon the suppositions of the right hon. Gentleman, or attributing to them any such designs as those described in his speech. They certainly have no wish to establish a standing army dangerous to the liberties of the country—an army, I think, the right hon. Gentleman said of some 500,000 men—to be maintained out of its revenues. They do not intend to make any constitutional changes in our military force. They fully recognise the fact of our transition from war to peace; but before it would be possible for me to enter into any details upon this subject we must lay upon the table the Estimates for the Army and Navy, and allow time for the House at least to examine those Estimates and become acquainted with their amounts. It will then be my duty to make the financial statement for the coming year, and to submit to the House the Ways and Means by which the Government propose to meet these and the other Estimates for the service of the country. That, Sir, is the course which is ordinarily pursued, and I know no reason why in this Session we should depart from that practice. Let me take this opportunity of reminding the House that with respect to the current financial year, the year ending the 1st of April next, the revenue has been fixed by Acts of Parliament passed in the last and previous Sessions, and the House is not called upon to make any change which would come into operation before that date. If the Government are to be accused of continuing war taxation during a time of peace it should be remembered that the House last Session, recognizing the great expenditure which would have to be incurred in the course of this year, consequent upon the recent pacification, the expense of moving troops, and various other extraordinary expenses which must inevitably be defrayed during the few months immediately following the signature of the treaty, deliberately fixed that amount of taxation for the current financial year. I am not, therefore, called on to justify the existence of the present taxation. With regard to the year, which commences in April next, I may state that I am not only prepared, but it is my anxious wish, to lay the financial statement for the ensuing year before the House at the earliest possible period which the business of the House will permit. I believe, on some rare occasions, the annual financial statement has been made on going into Committee of Supply. That is not the usual practice. The more usual practice is to allow some progress to be made with the Committee of Supply, and to make the financial statement in a Committee of Ways and Means, after the Estimates are laid before the House. My intention was to take the earliest period after the Army and Navy estimates should have been submitted to the House and should have undergone some examination to make the annual financial statement, which would have enabled the House to judge of the probable expenditure of the coming year and of the means which the Government would propose for meeting that expenditure. I trust that that course, which the Government had decided upon before the remarks made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, may seem satisfactory to the House; and at all events, whether a Motion may be submitted to their attention either by the right hon. Gentleman himself or by any other hon. Member, that this House will not come to any definitive resolution on the subject of any taxes in existence until they have heard what is the estimated expenditure for the ensuing year, and what is the plan which the Government is prepared to propose in order to meet that expenditure.


Sir, I confess it is with reluctance that I rise to address you at the present moment. When my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer left his seat to follow what I must call the comprehensive and remarkable speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli), I undoubtedly did suppose that we were about to hear from a Minister of the Crown some notice of and some reply to the very grave matters with which the earlier portion of that speech was charged. I frankly own that it appears to me to be inconsistent with the respect due to this House and to the country that when any Member of this House, and especially a Member supposed to speak the sentiments of many other of its Members, in a debate on the Address, questioned the foreign policy of the Ministers of the Crown in terms so grave as those which have been employed to-night, the Government should not vouchsafe one word of notice to the charges that have thus been made. I was not aware, when I entered the House, of the nature of the discussion into which the right hon. Gentleman opposite was about to enter. I did presume—and it was an act of presumption for which I am bound to apologise—to endeavour to catch your eye, Sir, immediately after the Seconder of the Address had sat down, and I did it on the peculiar ground that I well know important considerations of finance are at this moment agitating the minds of the people of this country, and the Members of this House; that I anticipated the words of the right hon. Gentleman in the feelings of my own breast, because I knew there was one man at least in this House who was especially bound both to be definite and to be prompt in explaining to the House his views on financial questions, and that I was that man, on account of the position I held at the end of the financial year of 1853. It was, therefore, Sir, my desire not to lose a moment in acquainting the House with the recognition which I felt bound to make of certain obligations resting on me, and resting also on the House of Commons, and for this reason alone did I presume to rise in competition with the right hon. Gentleman. At a period when the speech from the Throne is occupied almost from first to last with matters touching our foreign policy, it certainly was my intention to have adverted to several of the questions that had been raised; but the right hon. Gentleman, exercising his privilege as a Member of this House, has entered upon a very wide field, and has questioned the foreign policy of the Government in its root and in its branches, and has made charges on that subject which the honour of the Government requires them to notice and to answer. I cannot avoid expressing my regret that my right hon. Friend, a Minister and adviser of the Crown, responsible for that policy, and having listened to the allegations made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, should think himself justified in omitting to defend what had been formally assailed. Some of the right hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Disraeli) allegations were definite enough. If I understood the right hon. Gentleman correctly he said there was some instrument or compact in existence by which, unknown to the Parliament and the people of this country, we had become parties and guarantees to Austria for her Italian possessions.


That, Sir, is a point on which I think there ought to be no mistake. I thought there could be no mistake as to what I said. What I said was, that all this time, when Lord Clarendon had these conferences with Count Cavour, the Italian dominions of Austria were guaranteed by a secret treaty. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Palmerston) asked me by what power? I said that the secret treaty guaranteeing these dominions was a treaty with France; but that that treaty had the sanction and approbation, and was at the instance of England. But I did not say that England was a party to it.


I am very glad, Sir, that I have drawn that explanation from the right hon. Gentleman, because my belief is that many who heard his previous statement on that point received, with myself, an erroneous impression as to what were his precise words. But I must say, that even taking the allegation on that ground, if it be true that a guarantee has been given by France to Austria for her Italian possessions, with the approval of this country and with the active concurrence of this country, nay, as the right hon. Gentleman says at the instance of this country—I must say, in my opinion, such a proceeding on the part of this country is one that ought to have been made known to Parliament, and may have an essential bearing on the measures that may have been taken in reference to Italian affairs. The right hon. Gentleman has said—that in peace we are not reaping the fruits of peace—that the Government, by perpetual quarrels abroad, distracts the public mind, keeps up a lavish expenditure, and stops the progress of improvement at home. The right hon. Gentleman has stated, with respect to Switzerland, that at the period when Switzerland had agreed, with the aid of France, on certain terms of arrangement with Prussia, with respect to the dispute about Neufchâtel, the British Government interfered and by the application of moral force, led Switzerland to attempt alterations of her bases, and that eventually she had to return to the terms proposed to her by France when she found she was unable to obtain any definite promise of support from this country. It is perfectly plain, if that version be true, that the affair of Switzerland is a very different one from that represented in the Speech from the Throne, and the Government is bound to let the House know exactly how the matter stands. The account which the right hon. Gentleman has given, if it be correct, materially bears on the advice given to the Crown by the Government in preparing the Speech from the Throne.

These various questions, Sir, must, I fear, occupy much of the attention of the House. I know not why, but undoubtedly for the last six months we have been kept in a state of perpetual disquietude by one foreign broil after another. It is strange that, when the genius of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) is in the ascendant, we have ten quarrels for one that occurs under any other Minister's reign. It is strange that we should always have to break with all the countries of the world in succession—that in every case we should find ourselves to be unquestionably right, and should have to denounce, one after the other, the rest of mankind as either knaves or fools, and that in every case we should begin with bold and braggart language, with high-sounding pretensions, and yet, in every case, the result should be our coming down pretty nearly to the terms our adversaries had offered us at first. I want to know how it is that these things happen, for I confess I think there is some justice in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), that, although we have attained to peace, although the people of this country have accepted peace at some sacrifice of feeling, but with a desire that it should be a real and profound peace and bring forth its proper fruits, yet we have not seen those prospects realised, and our foreign relations, together with our establishments and expenditure, are not such as can be considered satisfactory. With respect to the kingdom of Naples, inasmuch as in Her Majesty's gracious Speech we are told that the papers shall be laid upon the table, I will not now enter into any detail upon that very interesting and most important and difficult subject. All I shall say is this,—I, myself, have stood in a somewhat different position from other Members with respect to transactions in the kingdom of Naples. I have perhaps a stronger impression of the intensity of the evils which have prevailed in that country and of the nature of the measures which evils so intense might justify or require; but I did not scruple last year, while avowing my concurrence in the sentiments of Her Majesty's Government with regard to what has taken place at Naples, to express my doubts and misgivings as to the policy, as to the justice indeed of that policy—for I can have no doubts as to the prudence and ultimate humanity of a practice of introducing for discussion at Conferences the affairs of powers which are not represented at those Conferences, and of recording conclusions in the face of Europe to which conclusions the Powers chiefly interested have been no parties: at the same time I am strongly of opinion that it was for the interest of Europe that the great Powers should unite to enforce and urge upon the King of Naples the adoption of those mea- sures which are required to establish legality and good government in his dominions. Every effort which Her Majesty's Government could use to bring the Powers of Europe to such a concert would have deserved the support and commendation of this House; but the question of the interference which has actually taken place is one the consideration of which we had better defer until we have the correspondence before us, and we are able to examine into the nature of that interference, the prospects of success by which it was attended, and the amount of authority by which it was sustained. Unfortunately, Sir, the Neopolitan question is the only one of all those matters of interest adverted to in the Royal Speech upon which, as far as I am aware, any information has been promised us. Were it not that the Queen's Speeches are documents framed with grave consideration and minute care, I would infer that the omission was accidental. But there was a question relating to the Treaty of Paris, which at one time appeared to menace a European convulsion, and when discussions and dissensions ran so high as to exhibit England almost engaged in military action opposed to France. Here was a question, the gravity of which could not be over estimated, but the settlement of which I believe has been altogether satisfactory, and I must say nothing can in my opinion be more becoming or more proper than the language in which that result is announced in the Royal Speech. But, at the same time, the Government will, I think, admit that, from the extreme gravity of the circumstances, the agitation which pervaded the country, and the tone which the Prime Minister felt it necessary to assume—the colour which he deemed it his duty to give to the case—were so serious and formidable that it is right the matter should be brought authentically before Parliament, and that the fullest information as to those transactions should not be withheld. The charges made were too serious—the interests at stake too grave—the controversy too menacing, to pass over lightly, and I think it right that we should know whether the Government were or were not drawn into that controversy, and that the steps they adopted were required by a great and overruling necessity, in order that we might give them that justification which, if they have acted prudently, they have a right to claim at our hands.

So much, then, for the question con- nected with the Treaty of Paris; but there are other questions not yet settled, and about which I consider that we ought to have some information. Most important matters are involved in that brief paragraph which refers to America. The Central American question was one of those difficulties which during the last summer were upon the hands of the Government which have never been wanting since the conclusion of peace, and of which I am afraid at the present time it is not possible to foretell the termination. We have seen in the newspapers an arrangement, which I think a fair arrangement, with the United States about the Central American dispute, but I must say, although it is no fault in my eyes, it does give a sanction to the opinion that the settlement was based upon concessions to America which previously we had long and unhappily refused. The capital point in this matter upon which American opinion and argument ran highest related to the island of Ruatan. That point I am given to understand has been conceded, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Colonies has allowed this gem—if it be one—to be removed from the diadem of his Sovereign. I, for one, am far from regretting that loss. In my opinion it was wise and just to give it up. It was unfortunate that it should ever have been occupied, or that such occupation should have received the sanction of the Government at home; but still I do think there is a great constitutional question involved in the surrender of the island of Ruatan, about which we ought to have had some information, and which, I consider, we are still entitled to ask for. Ruatan had become by a regular and competent Act a portion of the settled dominions of the Crown, and I apprehend that by the law Her Majesty has no right to give away her settled dominions without the assent of Parliament, although I am aware, with respect to territories acquired by war, another and a different principle prevails. If that be so, I am afraid the treaty we have made with the United States, the substance of which I approve, has not been drawn with all the care that was desirable; because, instead of making a surrender contingent upon the assent of Parliament, the island of Ruatan has been absolutely handed over to the State of Honduras. If I am wrong in these statements I shall be glad to be corrected; but the subject is undoubtedly one to which I feel it my duty to call the attention of the Government, and respecting which I submit that information ought to be given to this House.

Sir, with respect to the unhappy events which have occurred in China, I must say it would have been agreeable to me if they had been noticed in the Royal Speech in somewhat different terms to those we have heard. Whoever may be right or wrong in that complicated affair, it has cost the blood of hundreds, if not of thousands of innocent and helpless men, subjects of a Power which does not come up to our ideas of civilisation, but which, at least, has no intrigues of policy, no schemes of aggrandisement, no designs upon India, no fleets upon the Caspian, but is a Power whose subjects, after all, are our fellow-creatures, and I most say, if the stupidity or bad faith of their governors has rendered it necessary—a point on which at present I give no opinion—for us to have recourse to arms, I could nevertheless have desired to see some expression of regret upon the ground of common humanity, in that portion of the Speech which treats of this most painful subject. With regard to another question of great importance—I mean Persia—I am disposed to complain that no promise of information has been given to the House. Upon the merits of that quarrel at the present moment I do not presume to pronounce; yet at the same time I must proceed to the point of saying that no facts have appeared in the public journals, or in any sources of information open to me, which afford any adequate justification for our proceedings. I do not speak of justification merely on the bare and dry point whether, as an advocate in a court of Justice, we can show that somebody has committed an abstract wrong. Much more than that is required to justify the Government of England involving the country in hostilities. The cause must be adequate and the necessity strong, I trust, therefore, we shall hear that information with regard to Persia will speedily be laid before the House. But, Sir, there are two other questions, and questions of great importance, in connection with this question of Persia, upon which I think it my duty not to refrain from offering a remark, because those two questions do not depend on any matter of right touching the controversy, or touching the local or even the Asiatic policy of this country, but relate to matters of domestic importance, having a powerful and immediate bearing on the welfare of the people and the duties of Parliament. The first is this—By whose authority has the war against Persia been waged? I think it is not difficult to see that the war against Persia has its root elsewhere than in Calcutta. Of the sentiments of the Governor General I have no knowledge, except the knowledge derived from his own proclamation, but I must confess the terms of that proclamation conveyed very intelligibly to my mind the impression that the expedition to Persia was undertaken by commands from London, and not by order of the Supreme Council at Calcutta. The expedition from Bombay sets sail, but by whose command? By commands from London; and this, unless I am much mistaken, cuts very deep into the consideration of the question, by what system is our Government of India carried on? Who is it that has given orders for this Persian war? I speak in ignorance, but I ask for information which I think the House is assuredly entitled to receive. Have the orders been given by the Court of Directors of the East India Company? The theory of our East India Government—which, to use a homely phrase, is in a very leaky state, is, that it is a subject not fit to be handled by the rude hand of Parliament,—that there must be an intermediate body, apart from the influence of Parliament, beyond even a remote influence, in order to secure the good government of India. I can conceive the advantage, though not paramount to the objections, of governing India through the medium of a body not under the direct control of Parliament. I can conceive the advantage of placing India under direct Parliamentary government; but there is one system which has the recommendation of neither of these two, and it is this:—The setting up a body, nominally the governors of India, that shall really serve to estop Parliament considering the interests of India, but at the same time shall have no power whatever to check the discretion or caprice of Ministers, either by privileges of its own or by any effective appeal to the House of Commons. If India is to be governed by a Court of Directors, then we are entitled to expect that these measures, which never had the sanction of Parliament, must have had the sanction of the Court of Directors. Now, Sir, I beg to put the question to my noble Friend the First Minister of the Crown, whether the expedition undertaken against Persia, and the policy of that expedition, have had the sanction of the Court of Directors, or been adopted with their knowledge? I think no man can regard the Persian war without considering how it is that wars of this kind have come to be waged under the name of being merely Indian wars. Would it be right that we, holding India as we do, and having entered into this quarrel with Persia, removed by so many hundred leagues from our Indian Empire, should compel the people of India to bear the charge? If it is right that they should bear the charge, then it is right that the Court of Directors, who govern India, should have something to say; but we have no information upon the question, at whose charge this war is waged? I wish to ask my noble Friend at the head of the Government, whether any arrangement has been made by Her Majesty's Government with the Court of Directors or otherwise, for charging either the whole or a portion of the expenses of the Persian war upon the revenues of this country? I may be wrong, and it may be an old-fashioned notion, but I have less scruple in expressing it, because I cannot be deemed to say it in concert with any person or in any party, but I frankly own that if Her Majesty's Government have carried us into an English war, it was their duty to have called Parliament together at the first moment when they ventured to contemplate so serious a step. I will not now inquire whether there be any precedent which may either palliate their neglect, or, in their own estimation, justify their proceedings; but I will say, without fear of contradiction, that the practice of commencing wars without associating Parliament with the first measures is utterly at variance with the established practice of the country, dangerous to the constitution, and absolutely requiring the intervention of this House in order to render the recognition of so dangerous a proceeding utterly impossible.

I will now pass, Sir, from the consideration of our foreign policy to our policy at home. When I read the paragraph in the gracious Speech from the Throne in relation to the Bank and the currency, I was impressed with the belief that Her Majesty's Government were about to invite us to legislate on those questions. I certainly think that a proposal well matured by the Executive Government and supported by its authority would be much more likely to lead to a satisfactory consideration of the question than the mere reference of the subject to a Select Committee; but, as I find the right hon. Gentleman the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer has given notice of a Motion that a Select Committee shall be appointed for the consideration of these important matters, I will venture to express the hope that the Government will go into that Select Committee with the view of guiding its deliberations, and proposing to it a definite plan. I cannot too respectfully and, at the same time, I cannot too gravely submit to the House that unfortunate changes have for many years been taking place in the credit, dignity, and efficiency of the proceedings of its Select Committees on questions of public interest and importance. There are—and I willingly allow some happy exceptions—there are cases in which Select Committees have thoroughly investigated the matters referred to them, and presented most valuable Reports, which have become, or may become, the basis of useful legislation; but I think the public feel that too much of a slovenly character on the whole marks the investigations of our Committees. It is lamentable to find the difficulty which at the close of a Session of Parliament is experienced in collating the mass of evidence taken before Committees, and I think there are few Members who have not found that the labours of the Select Committees of the other House have been contrasted with our Select Committees to the credit of the Upper and to the disadvantage of this House. I hope that will not be the case with the right hon. Gentleman's Committee, and if he goes into that Committee ready to propose a definite course on the part of the Government, that will be the surest way of leading the Committee to a safe decision. I do not say what the nature of that course ought to be, and I think that this paragraph of the Queen's Speech was perhaps expressed with less of caution than the importance of the subject deserved. It states—"Her Majesty commands us to recommend to your consideration the expediency of renewing for a further period the privileges of the Bank of England." Now, Sir, I have a very strong opinion that the privileges of the Bank of England, properly so called require revision quite as much as renewal. The relations between the Bank of England and the State are extremely ill-defined. They date from a period when financial ideas were immature, when public faith did not exist, when no Government had credit with the monied world, and when it was important to induce a body of merchants to become security for the State. These were the circumstances that called the Bank of England into existence. I am bound to admit that the Bank of England has rendered great service to the State, but much of the relations now existing between the State and the Bank of England is based upon those antiquated, and in the present day highly inappropriate ideas. Therefore, I am prepared to contend, that whatever arrangement is made with the Bank of England should be agreed to after comprehensive and careful investigation of the whole matter, and of the character of the Bank of England as the great agent of the State for the purpose of finance. I think that this paragraph ought not to have indicated a foregone conclusion with respect to the renewal of the Act of 1844. That Act was one of a long course of progressive measures. It did not pretend, in the judgment of Sir Robert Peel, its responsible author, to a character of absolute finality. I am not prepared to unsettle any portion of that Act for the state of things that existed before that measure was agreed to. But it ought to be understood that it is open to consideration whether the Act of 1844 is capable of improvements that would not frustrate the beneficial purposes of its author, but would give increased assurance to the community that we are beginning to emerge from the series of monetary experiments, and are about to bring our monetary system to a comprehensive, and permanent, and established basis.

But, Sir, a more important subject still remains, upon which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) has announced his intention to submit a Motion to the House. I hare watched with interest the meetings and proceedings which have taken place in different parts of the country relative to the income tax. It is perhaps in vain to regret, for it is probably inherent in the nature of all popular movements, that the country shows a greater disposition to be critical and sore on the subject of taxation than to be critical and sore upon the expenditure that makes taxation necessary. If I were to attempt to paint the humour of the country at the present moment, I should say that it was jealous with respect to taxation, but perfectly reckless with regard to expenditure. It is considered well worth while to debate the question of direct and indirect taxation, as if there were not a moral certainty that for all the years during which the youngest among us draws breath both the admirers of direct taxation and the worshippers of indirect taxation will have ample opportunities of contemplating even to idolatry the working of these respective principles in the discordant financial system of the country. There is not the slightest fear of the disappearance of either the direct or indirect tax-gatherers. There has been much discussion—and I do not wonder at it—upon the question whether the income-tax should be levied in the same way upon permanent as upon varying incomes. I agree that as long as you have an income tax you will never entirely get rid of that discussion, and this conviction and the political dangers of this tax led me to the conclusion that the income tax is an admirable instrument for national purposes upon a great and adequate emergency, but that it is a dangerous instrument to retain in time of peace. There has been much discussion whether an income of £100 should pay, or an income of £150, and whether the possessor of an income of £151 should pay upon that income or upon the £1 surplus. There has been still more discussion on the cessation of war taxation, and upon these subjects I shall not evade giving an opinion. But I desire most earnestly to bring the Members of this House—and, what is more necessary, for the difficulty is out of doors, to bring the country—to consider the question "What is the just and reasonable scale of expenditure for your establishments during peace?" That is the question upon which we must bestow our care if we intend to discharge our duties to the people of this country whom we represent. Upon this subject we are not entirely without information, even on the day of the Speech from the Throne.

There is a portion of the country singularly favoured, for in the town of Arbroath and other favoured places in the north-east of Scotland the most interesting disclosures have been conveyed within the last six months from the Minister of War to his delighted neighbours and friends. I will not dwell upon the important announcement which he made relative to the Report of the Crimean Commissioners, although I do not understand why that time or that place should have been chosen for communicating the views which Lord Panmure entertains upon the labours of Sir John M' Neill and Colonel Tulloch. I will not drag that subject in now, for I apprehend it will probably not escape the attention of this House. But another announcement was made in Arbroath, upon which I de- sire to take my stand. The noble Lord the Secretary of State for War stated to his friends that there would be a reduction of £20,000,000 in the Military Estimates of the present year. I make no doubt that he did not refer to the naval departments, and that he, of course, meant the Estimates for the Army, Ordnance, Militia, and Commissariat. Now, Sir, there is no way of getting right upon this subject, except by coming to figures. It is useless to bandy generalities and to say, on the one hand, that a niggardly economy and a state of unpreparedness for war invite invasion and run the risk of great calamities. That is not only the truth, but a truism. To speak, on the other hand, of the virtue of economy and of remitting the burden of taxation, is a truism at another portion of the diameter of the circle. Figures are the only intelligible language, and these are given us through the noble Lord's gracious benevolence to the people of Arbroath. The noble Lord, as I have just stated, said that the Military Estimates would be reduced £20,000,000. Well, Sir, the Estimates were £35,000,000 last year. I speak of the unreduced Estimates of last year, because the reduced Estimates were just £20,500,000, and if they were reduced £20,000,000, a very small margin indeed would be left. The noble Lord's intention apparently is to submit to us Estimates of £14,000,000 or £15,000,000 for the military departments. Then there is the naval department; but, as my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty has not been to visit his friends at Halifax this year, our information respecting that department is meagre; but I am afraid, if I may judge from the loose rumours that reach me, that the measures of retrenchment to be applied to the Navy will not be any more stringent than those to be applied to the Army. I read the other day a declaration of my hon. Friend the Member for Bury (Mr. F. Peel), that his mind had been much relieved by the announcement made by Lord Panmure. I do not know the capacity of my hon. Friend's mind for receiving relief, but I must own that my mind was far from relieved—it was seriously disturbed by that announcement. I will not consent to look at the largeness of the figures of the reduction about to be made. In asking for supplies at the beginning of the war we told the House not to look at the largeness of the figures, but at the necessities of the case, and now that the necessities of the case have passed away I must look, not at what you take away, but at what you leave, and that I must measure by comparing it with what, according to the best evidence in our possession, are the real necessities of the country. In the absence of positive information my right hon. Friend at the head of the Admiralty will excuse me, I hope, for making a guess at the amount of the Navy Estimates. Last year, before they were reduced, they were £20,000,000; after they were reduced they were £16,500,000. That sum included no less than nearly £5,000,000 for the transport service—an item which I should hope would now be reduced to altogether insignificant proportions. No doubt, my right hon. Friend will give us some reduction from the remaining £11,500,000, but I am afraid I am forming too favourable an opinion of him if I conjecture that his estimate will amount to about £9,000,000. Adding that £9,000,000 to Lord Panmure's £14,000,000, my conjecture takes the form of an expenditure upon the peace establishment of this country of £23,000,000 or £24,000,000 a year. I wish I could believe that I had fallen into any gross error in this computation; but I do not stand upon the precise figures, for if the amount is anything near the sum I have named, the grounds of objection and the necessity for the positive interference of the House are exactly the same. In considering the necessities of the country I must look back at our experience before the war. True, we now wish to improve much that existed before the war, and many of those improvements cannot be carried out without expense. We have all seen with pleasure the improvements in the material of the greatcoats of the sentries who are exposed to this severe weather, and whatever tends to the physical comfort of the soldier, whatever tends to the recognition of the fair claims of the officer, whatever is necessary to attract into the service of Her Majesty the highest class of men both as regards mental and bodily qualities, will, I am sure, never be grudged by this House. But the charges and expenses necessary for carrying out these objects are not heavy. The charges and expenses we are called upon to defray arise from different causes, and they connect themselves in some measure with the foreign policy of this country, and with the degree to which it is to cultivate the respect and the good will of other nations. If it be true on the one hand that changes must be made in our military system, it is not the less true, on the other hand, that important and happy changes have taken place in the condition of the country and of the empire, the operation of which tends strongly to economy; I mean economy as compared with the standard of expenditure before the war.

Now, Sir, what is the condition of our Colonies? I repel the doctrine that because you are founding a vast Colonial Empire you must have a vast force to defend it. On the contrary, the only colonies which ever really required military assistance were either those in which it was made necessary by your slave system in order to keep down a black population, or else the great military garrisons which you have now ceased to acquire and multiply. As regards colonies, it is plain that the progress of free institutions must and ought to carry with it the obligation to discharge the burdens which are a part of the very title to and inheritance of freedom. Then you had before the war 20,000 and sometimes 30,000 men acting as a police force in Ireland, and the great bulk of your troops in England weve discharging duties of a similar character. But a great change has now taken place. In most of the great towns you have an efficient police force, and by the organising a like force in the rural districts you are subjecting the real property of the country as well as the taxpayers generally to a very heavy charge on that account. It requires no detailed argument to show that the establishment of this police force has enabled you to dispense with the employment of the military in services which they had to discharge twenty years ago. I cannot at this moment presume to say whether you ought to keep your Military Estimates down to the precise figure at which on an average of years they stood before the war, but there is a very large margin between that figure and the Estimates you now propose. The average amount of the Estimates during the forty years' peace was £14,000,000, and they were at their lowest point in 1835, when they amounted only to £12,000,000. Since 1835 they have risen considerably, but have rarely exceeded £16,000,000 or 17,000,000, although within the last fifteen or twenty years you have been creating a new fleet with a new system of propulsion at an enormous expenditure. This being the amount of the Estimates before the war, the Government now propose, as I understand, to raise them to a sum at least considerably exceeding £20,000,000, a sum about double the lowest Estimate of the last peace, and exceeding by £6,000,000, £7,000,000, or even £8,000,000, the Estimates of those years in which you were creating your steam fleet. I am authorised to speak the sentiments of no man; but some Gentlemen with whom I am in familiar intercourse agree with me, I believe, in the opinion that we must look at the expenditure of the country; that this House cannot efficiently discharge its duties by looking only at taxation. Let me, therefore, point out to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer the danger in which, we might find ourselves. We might, to please our constituents, vote away ninepence of the income tax. We might also, and I really believe we should please many of our constituents by so doing, vote enormous and immoderate Estimates. The consequence would be that the Government would be compelled to fill up the vacuum by proposing either new taxation, or be compelled to borrow money in the very first year of the peace. Sir, I am not willing to be responsible for any such alternative. I feel it my bounden duty, first, to lay hold of the proposed expenditure, and it is my conviction that if it be the opinion of the Government that it is necessary to maintain a military establishment upon a scale at all approaching to that which I have named we must grapple with the Estimates, not by nibbling at them here and there, but by a general Motion, taking the sense of the House upon the expediency of saddling the country with such a charge. I am fairly bound to say that if no person better entitled to the attention of the House should undertake the task, I shall take on myself the responsibility of making a Motion in the circumstances I have supposed, should they occur, in order to obtain the judgment of the House as to the duty it owes the public in reference to the Estimates to be adopted, founding my Motion on the statement of fact which fell from Lord Panmure. I think I should not have acted justly to the Government unless I had taken the earliest opportunity of giving them this intimation, registering my earnest and solemn protest against the enlargement of the whole system of peace expenditure in this country. I admit the dulness of discussing these dry financial questions before a popular assembly, though I think that the progress of education must have conveyed to them the idea, which I believe to be a sound one, that there is a connexion between the amount spent and the amount required to be raised by taxes.

I now come to the income tax. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) has made a direct challenge to me, and I shall endeavour to meet it in frank and explicit terms. I admit in the fullest sense the obligation he seeks to lay on me. I do consider that the arrangement of 1853 was in the nature of a compact. I think, if I gathered rightly the purport of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, he said there was an understanding between the Government of Lord Aberdeen and its supporters interested in real property that, if they voted for the succession duty, the Government proposed the extinction of the income tax in 1860. Of such a compact, Sir, I know absolutely nothing, and I am bound to say, as far as my knowledge is concerned—and I ought to have some knowledge on the subject—no one ever endeavoured to link together those two questions, nor, as far I am aware, was there any kind of private communication on the subject between the Government and any hon. Members. The compact I speak of was a compact made at the table of this House, in the presence of the right hon. Gentleman himself—made, too, with him and his friends as much as any others, but made above all with the people of England. The right hon. Gentleman has truly referred to the position of the Government at that time as being a peculiar position. It was not strong in Parliamentary support, and had several of those unhappy accidents which even the skill of the right hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Hayter) cannot always avert before the first two or three months of its Ministerial existence. What happened? There was abroad a very strong opinion that the income tax ought to be reconstructed; and I believe that a large majority in this House were favourable to some attempt at reconstructing the tax. In the meantime, however, the tax had ceased to exist; for upon the 5th of April, 1853, the Act imposing the income tax expired, and it was only in a later part of that year that it was in the power of Lord Aberdeen's Government to bring the financial condition of the country under the notice of Parliament. The House will recollect that the income tax, for several years, had been in a state most unsatisfactory, and little creditable to this House, which had gone on for not less than three or four years with annual renewals of the tax, like children who do not venture to deal with the future, but were content with living from hand to mouth, being unable to lay down for the guidance of their constituents any rules or principles on which the fiscal system should rest. It was impossible, while such a course was adopted, that any of the purposes of income tax could be gained, for any great revision of our commercial policy connected with reductions of duty absolutely required the assurance of a revenue from the income tax for a series of years. Under these circumstances, knowing the feeling of the country with respect to the uniform rate, we asked and obtained from Parliament at a time the income tax had actually expired the renewal of the tax with the uniform rate, and for a period more than twice as long as it had ever been given for before. Now, if ever there was an act of generous confidence extended from the Parliament to Government, it was that act, and let me do this justice to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) to remark that he and his friends having, with the distinguished Member for Hertfordshire (Sir E. B. Lytton) for their organ, tried to raise the question of the uniform rate, and having found the sense of the House against them, offered no obstruction to the renewal of the tax. With respect to the Succession Duty, however, that was stiffly and gallantly fought in this House; and, though there were two or three divisions on it rather too close to be comfortable, yet the opposition never assumed a factious character, and the tax when passed received that manly and cheerful acquiescence which the gentlemen of England always yield to the verdict of the Legislature. The most important ground on which the proposal of that tax was justified was that there existed a strong sentiment in the country that the income tax ought to be laid with a heavier rate on realized property than on precarious income; though it had been argued, and in argument never contested, that the owners of realised property throughout the country had been, without their own consciousness I believe, paying on an average at least 9d., and not 7d. in the pound. However, it was in consequence of the sentiment in the country that realized property was too little taxed, and precarious incomes derived from skill and labour too heavily, the Government, being unable to undertake the reconstruction of the income tax, yet undertook, by means of the succession duty, to lay an additional burden on permanent incomes—that is, on property. This is the settlement which it is incumbent to maintain, for, though the great struggle of commercial reform is over, there yet remained reforms in the tariff and Customs duties to be effected. I believe it will be perfectly practicable, if these reforms should be effected by mean's of the income tax, then to dismiss that tax, when it has done its work, to rest. But, Sir, the pledge of the Government was given in 1853, and we received value for it. It referred mainly to something that was to take place in 1860. Four years of the seven years have passed away. It is to my mind reasonable and just that the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire on behalf of his friends, and that every man on his own behalf and on behalf of his constituents, should acknowledge the duty of the House of Commons to say now, in 1857, whether the pledges of 1853 are or are not to be fulfilled. I deprecate all schemes—except in debating societies—of comparison between direct and indirect taxation, so far as they stand between the House of Commons and its practical duty. I deprecate those inquiries about a uniform and a varying rate. What is the use of voting a perpetual income tax because you think the rate should be varying, and then all your life long finding that you are supporting a uniform rate? Now, that has been the case practically up to the present time. The question as to a varying rate is a question between the air and the clouds; it has never become practicable. No Minister sitting on that bench has ever been able to devise such a rate. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) announced his intention, rashly I thought, of proposing such a rate; but he had not an opportunity of bringing it forward.

There are other matters before us, however, that are of a practical character. As far as my duty is concerned it will be my effort and labour to secure a fulfilment of the pledges given in 1853. I understood those pledges, as the right hon. Gentleman understands them. I have not forgotten them. I never can forget to the latest day of my life, and I must remember with gratitude, if not with satisfaction, the conduct of the House of Commons at the period when those measures were adopted, and the generosity of the sentiments which they evinced. I must endeavour to answer that conduct, at least, by what depends on me; and I shall endeavour to answer that conduct by striving to bring the expenditure of the country and its fiscal arrangements into such a shape as will allow the extinction of the income-tax in the year 1860. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said, and I think truly, that he would not view narrowly and jealously the mere circumstance of the Government possessing a large sum of money through the accidental operation of an Act of Parliament for a single twelvemonth, if he were satisfied as to the purpose to which the money was devoted. But the right hon. Gentleman stated, that he was not satisfied. Sir, I am like him in that respect, and it is my intention to bring that matter fairly to an issue on the floor of this House. Sir, there is another point not altogether unimportant, in which a portion of the public are interested, and in which I myself have a personal interest. On the 1st of April there will still be a half-year's income tax due. It is material to consider whether that half-year's income tax is to be considered as Ways and Means applicable to the service of the year or not. I hope it will not be thought a piece of impertinence if I object to consider it as simply applicable to the service of the year; I was going to say that it was my property. That would be an extravagant expression, and would lead to altogether erroneous notions. But my meaning is this:—In the year 1854 we asked the House to provide us with £12,000,000 additional taxes, which was then estimated for the first year of the war. It was necessary that we should make provision for the first six months, during which our receipts for new duties would not be forthcoming. I said, we do not propose to borrow money for the expenditure of the year while it continues on this scale; but although we do not propose to borrow money, yet as the taxes which you have granted cannot be received for six months, we ask you to enable us to raise money by means of instruments which will hold in pawn the proceeds of those taxes when they fall due. Well now, Sir, that is the purpose to which the half-year's income tax which will become due on the 1st of April is pledged; and, in my judgment, the engagements into which the Government and the House entered at that period ought to be honestly performed by devoting the proceeds of that half-year's income tax to the liquidation of the debt thus contracted. Sir, I have detained the House, I am afraid, too long, and much longer than I had intended when I rose; but my duty upon the subject was a special duty, and I feel it to be one of so much importance to the House, and of such deep interest to the country whose feelings are so much excited upon it that they are hardly to be described, that the House of Commons is bound to assume its proper functions, to guide the country towards right conclusions, to establish rational principles, to enforce them at all costs, with respect to the expenditure of the country, and to grant to the country that relief which I maintain it is entitled to anticipate. With respect to the Resolutions of which the right hon. Gentleman has given notice, I wish to say only one word. He will feel that the precise mode and time of his Motion must have reference in some degree to what has been stated by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But, at the same time, whatever the proper time or the proper form may be, when he or any other Gentleman makes a Motion, having for its purpose the giving effect to the financial arrangements of 1853, he will find me, as he is entitled to expect, among his warmest and most determined supporters, because I feel that I have no choice with regard to such a question; and that it would be my own duty to raise it if the right hon. Gentleman had not announced his intention to do so. Fidelity to this House and to the pledges which it has by implication given to the public render imperative the raising of that question. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman, when he spoke of the settlement of 1853 bore in mind that we have contracted some £35,000,000 or £40,000,000 of additional debt since that period, and that the interest of that debt must be provided for, and that certain modifications of what was determined in 1853 must be made. That additional debt grew bonâ fide out of the circumstances which have occurred since, and which it was not in our power to foresee. Other circumstances may occur before 1860 which may require other alterations to be made. The principle to which I understand him to give his adhesion, and to which I give my adhesion, is this, that nothing has occurred, either with regard to the creation of new debt, or the necessity for new expenditure, which calls upon this House to depart substantially from the pledges that it gave in 1853 with regard to the cessation of the income tax upon its present basis, with its uniform rate; and that it is the duty of the House to adhere to its pledges, and to give effect to them by the use of every constitutional power that it possesses.


Sir, I can assure my right hon. Friend who has just sat down that if I did not rise immediately after the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) it was in no degree from want of respect, either to the right hon. Gentleman or to the House—it was more, if I may say so, out of respect to my right hon. Friend himself, because, anticipating that he would give us the advantage of those reflections and observations which might occur to him upon the matters in debate, I thought it more respectful to him and also to the House to wait and hear what he might say, in order that when I rose I might be able to make any remarks which might occur to me in reply to what had fallen from him. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) appears to me to be an instance of the error into which men of eminent talents, who distinguish themselves in different lines, are sometimes tempted to fall by indulging on one occasion in a display of those talents which have obtained for them eminence in another capacity. The right hon. Gentleman stands prominent in this House for his statesmanlike qualities, his powers of debate, his eloquence, and his ability. He has also acquired a great reputation as a man of genius in another department of intellect—as a great master of the powers of imagination. I will not accuse the right hon. Gentleman of having been on this occasion indebted to his imagination for his facts and to his memory for his arguments—a reproach applied in another Parliament to another distinguished orator; but I must say that the greater part of the speech which we have heard from him with reference to our foreign policy was a pure and entire romance. The right hon. Gentleman has been spending part of the vacation in Paris. We know that in that gay capital are many men who amuse themselves by practising upon the credulity of persons whom they call gobemouches, or fly-catchers. Well, Sir, what a godsend it was to them to get into their hands, not a common traveller, not a man of ordinary capacity, but the Leader of Opposition in the English House of Commons, a man distinguished for his ability to express any opinions which might be instilled into his mind, and capable of disseminating to the greatest advantage any tales, however unfounded, which they might store up in his memory for the purpose of having them communicated to the world. To begin with the question of the Russian treaty. The right hon. Gentleman, undoubtedly, did ample justice to Her Majesty's Government with regard to the occasion, the conduct, and the success of the war, because he said that we had accomplished the great purposes for which the war was undertaken, and that we had concluded a peace which, while on the one hand it secured the objects for which we had contended, on the other, was not calculated in such a degree to humiliate the power with whom we were in conflict as to entail those sentiments of bitterness which might endanger the permanence of the peace which had been established. Sir, I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman. We did secure the independence of the Black Sea and the freedom of the Danube. I also agree with him that Russia, although she was compelled to submit to terms which she had at first rejected, had no reason to feel humiliated by the result of the conflict. She was engaged in a war with two of the greatest Powers in Europe,—with England and France. She fought a gallant and a noble battle at the extreme end of her dominions, and I think that a Russian might rather be proud of the great efforts which were made by his country than humiliated by the conditions of peace which she was at last induced by motives of prudence to accept. There was, therefore, nothing in the conduct of the war which was not honourable to the Allies, and nothing in the terms of peace which could excite in Russia any just feeling of humiliation. But then the right hon. Gentleman says that in the conduct of the negotiations which took place at Paris there was a lamentable want of geographical knowledge, and that the blunders of our Plenipotentiaries caused the difficulties which ensued. Now, Sir, I am very unwilling to go into anything like details with respect to differences which have been accommodated. I do not think it useful to do so. I think it would have been far better if, having been told that these differences had been settled, and the questions at issue arranged to the satisfaction of all parties, hon. Gentlemen would accept that solution without raking up the differences which preceded the arrangement. However, as the right hon. Gentle- man has introduced the topic, I will touch as lightly upon it as is consistent with a statement of the facts. It is well known that Austria originated the negotiations by stating to the French and English Governments that she was willing to submit to Russia certain conditions as bases of peace, provided she was assured that these conditions if accepted by Russia, would equally be accepted by the Allies. She was told that she might make the proposal. She sent these conditions to St. Petersburg as an ultimatum, to be accepted or rejected without change or modification. The answer in the first place was a modified acceptance. Austria informed the Russian Government that the one condition upon which she could be instrumental in bringing about an arrangement was that these conditions should be purely and simply accepted. They were so. One of those conditions was that there should be a new frontier in Bessarabia; that the line should begin at a place upon the Pruth and passing along the high ground north of the Lake of Yalpuk, should terminate at a point of the Black Sea north of the Danube. That was accepted, and Russia was bound by the acceptance which she had signified. When the Plenipotentiaries assembled in conference at Paris the Russian Plenipotentiaries stated that, although the Emperor undoubtedly admitted that he was bound by his acceptance, it would be very agreeable to him and remove many unpleasant feelings if the Allies would consent to a modification of the frontier, and they thought that modifications might be made which would still leave untouched the principle upon which the Allies had founded their frontier—namely, that Russia should be excluded from all contact with the Danube and with the navigable part of the Pruth, which discharges itself into the Danube. Several propositions were made which were not accepted; but, at last the Russian Plenipotentiaries proposed a line, which was accepted by the Allies. It began at the course of the river Yalpuk to the Val de Trajan and thence to the north of the Danube. After its acceptance the Russian Plenipotentiaries stated that they wished for a further modification of the line; that the line went just to the north of the town of Bolgrad, which was the head-quarters of the Bulgarian colony. The greater part of that district was occupied by a colony of Bulgarians settled in 1780, in whom the Russian Government take great in- terest. The allied Plenipotentiaries said, "Where is this town? Let us see." A map was produced. That map was in Russian, and no one could read it. They then asked for another. Another map was produced, and the Russian Plenipotentiaries were asked to point out where was this town of Bolgrad, because much depended upon its geographical position: if the town of Bolgrad were so situated that a line drawn to the south of it would still leave a sufficient interval between the frontier and Lake Yalpuck, no objection would be made. If, on the other hand, it had been found incompatible with the maintenance of the principles in accordance with which the boundary line had been framed, of course the Plenipotentiaries would not have agreed to give up that town. The town was pointed out—Bolgrad-Tabak—and it was found that there was a sufficient interval, an interval of four or five miles between that town and Lake Yalpuck. All parties were satisfied; but when the Boundary Commissioners came to the country and were occupied in tracing out the plan, the English and Turkish Commissioners said, "Here is Bolgrad—here is the place immediately south of which the boundary is to go." But the Russians said, "No; you are mistaken; the Bolgrad that we mean is a town five or six miles south of that, and therefore the boundary must go up the lake instead of going up the river, which is discharged into the lake." There was no want of geographical knowledge on the part of our Plenipotentiaries; they adopted the town pointed out by the Russian Plenipotentiary, which was the old Bolgrad, and it was no fault of theirs if he afterwards claimed a new Bolgrad. This demand led to a long series of communications, the Governments of England, Austria, and Turkey maintaining that they could not agree to accept the new Bolgrad as the Bolgrad mentioned in the treaty, because a line drawn to the south of that would be inconsistent with the principles on which the boundary was to be laid down. Well, the result at last was, that the Russian Government agreed to the boundary originally proposed by them, which went to the north of Old Bolgrad; but as Russia attached importance to Bolgrad, the head-quarters of the Bulgarian colony, and it was desirable that they should have some town, the Russian Government, with the consent of the Governments of England, Austria, and Turkey, obtained a small acquisition of terri- tory, perfectly immaterial to a country whose territories extend from the White to the Black Seas, and from the Baltic to the Pacific, but which included a town called Komrat, of sufficient capacity to become the head-quarters of this Bulgarian colony. The objects of all parties were therefore eventually attained. We obtained all the objects for which we contended, and Russia obtained a concession by which she was satisfied. By the same arrangement Serpent's Island was admitted to belong to Turkey, as going along with the delta of the Danube—a concession to which Turkey attached much importance—and corresponding changes were made in the Treaty of Paris. I have been asked whether the papers recording all these transactions are to be laid before Parliament. I answer, undoubtedly not. It is not the practice, and it is not desirable, that papers recording differences that have been arranged should be made public. But we shall lay before Parliament the final protocol recording the settlement which was come to, and the changes which were made in the territory in question, as laid down in the treaty. I think I have shown that the version which the right hon. Gentleman gave us of that transaction was entirely at variance with the course of facts as they actually took place.

Now we come to the Swiss question. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that the Swiss were anxious to yield to the demands of the King of Prussia, on the recommendation of the Government of France, but that we interposed; that we said we would be prepared to assist them in resisting those demands; but that when they asked us how we would assist them, we replied that we could not afford them any effectual aid at all, and that they had better give up the point in dispute. Now the real facts of the case were of a very different character. An insurrection had taken place in Neufchâtel, a great many persons had been arrested, the majority of whom were afterwards released, and about twenty of the principal leaders were kept in custody in order that they might be tried for treason against the State in which they were living. The demand of the King of Prussia was, that those persons should be released unconditionally, and without having been brought to trial. The Swiss Government declined to yield to that demand, and the French Government undoubtedly advised them to do so, stating that if they yielded that Govern- ment would use its efforts afterwards to induce the King of Prussia to renounce his asserted rights over Neufchâtel, and to have the canton a free and independent portion of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss Government declined to adopt that recommendation. We were asked to join with France in counselling its adoption, and in promising our efforts for the same object. We said that we could not do that, because, by holding that language to the Swiss Government without any certainty that our efforts would be successful, we should be inducing them to take a step on a false assumption, and we might afterwards have been open to the reproach of having led them into an error. The application was repeated by the French Government and was repeatedly refused. We told the Swiss Government that if the affair ended in a war they must not imagine they could rely on any assistance from us, and that we could afford them no aid which would be of any use to them in such a contest. But they still said they insisted on their rights, and were determined to abide by the consequences. The right hon. Gentleman says that the King of Prussia did not mean to drive the matter to an extremity, and that there had been no reason to suppose that the peace of Europe would be disturbed by that quarrel. But how can he reconcile that with the fact that the King of Prussia announced his intention to put his army on a war footing, and stated the 5th of January in the first instance, and afterwards the 15th of January, as the latest period to which he would delay the placing of his army on such a footing. In the meantime we were told by the Swiss Government that if we would join the Government of France in assuring them that on the condition of their releasing the prisoners we would use our efforts, conjointly with France, to persuade the King of Prussia to renounce his right of sovereignty, they would then take their chance and release the prisoners. We told them that if that was their wish we would accede to it; but we added, that we had no certainty that our efforts would be successful. We said, "We will use our efforts, and make our best endeavours; but we are bound in good faith to tell you that we have no ground for reckoning upon these efforts being successful." We never, however, gave that advice which the right hon. Gentleman has been informed that we gave—we never told them to resist the demand made on them; all that we said was, that we could not meddle with the matter, because we had no good ground for anticipating what the ultimate decision of the King of Prussia might be. I must repeat that with regard to the Swiss affair, the version of that affair which the right hon. Gentleman received during his residence in Paris was entirely untrue—was completely at variance with the facts of the case—would cast on the British Government an imputation wholly undeserved, and was in every way quite inconsistent with the course which we deemed it our duty to pursue.

We come next to Italy. Upon the affairs of Italy the right hon. Gentleman had access, I suppose, to the archives which we know nothing about. He has found out a treaty of which we never heard. He announces that there is in existence a secret treaty which was concluded between the French Government and the Austrian Government, with the sanction of the Government of England, guaranteeing to Austria the integrity of her Italian possessions. Sir, I can only say that this is the first time I ever heard of such a treaty. The right hon. Gentleman may have seen such a treaty; if he says he has, I certainly shall not contradiet him; but I must say that we are totally ignorant of its existence; and, so far are we from having advised the adoption of such a treaty, that if we had been consulted with respect to its conclusion we should certainly have given advice in a precisely opposite direction. That treaty is entirely a romance—totally without the slightest foundation; except this, that I believe in the early part of the war with Russia, when the question was raised what line Austria should take in reference to the contest, communications did pass between the French Government and the Austrian Government with respect to the course which France might take, if, after Austria should have joined the Allies, an insurrection were to break out in Italy; and the Government of France, I believe, then stated that they would in that case take no part against Austria, but would leave her in the complete possession of her Italian dominions. But there was no treaty entered into by France with respect to the Italian possessions of the Austrian Empire.

Well, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman seems to consider that while on the one hand we were stimulating insurrections in Italy, on the other we were advising and encouraging the French to put them down—an inconsistency certainly of which no Government is likely to be guilty. With respect to the affairs of Naples, the course which we took in that case is precisely that which is already known to the public, which has been published in the protocols, and the conclusion of which will be shown by papers which we shall lay before Parliament. The Governments of England and France, after having given the King of Naples advice of which the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last seems to approve, and that advice having been received in a manner certainly very unbecoming and totally unpromising, the two Governments thought it would not be consistent with their honour to continue diplomatic relations with the King of Naples, but they did not consider their conduct in that matter to be any undue interference in the affairs of another country. Every nation is at liberty to judge for itself with respect to the maintenance or the cessation of its diplomatic relations with other States; and if the two Governments thought that under the circumstances it would not be becoming in them to continue their diplomatic relations with the Court of Naples, surely they were at perfect liberty to put an end to those relations without being liable to the charge of having improperly interfered in the affairs of another country.

With regard to Persia and China, the right hon. Gentleman says that the course of events in those countries appears to have been the result of some system predetermined by the Home Government. Undoubtedly it was. I have been asked by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) whether the operations against Persia were ordered by the Governor General on his own authority, or whether they took place in consequence of orders from home, and also whether the matter had been brought before the Court of Directors. I should have thought that my right hon. Friend was sufficiently acquainted with the arrangements established by law in reference to the government of India to know that orders of that kind sent from home would be brought, not before the Court of Directors, but before the Secret Committee, which is by law the authority charged with transactions of that description. No doubt the operations were undertaken on the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government at home. We do not now shrink from that responsibility; we did consider that the circumstances of the case justified and called for such a proceeding, and it was on orders sent from this country that the operations were undertaken. But the right hon. Gentleman opposite talks of a "predetermined system." Certainly, our policy in this case was the result of a predetermined system. But were we the only parties to that system? Did the party of the right hon. Gentleman when they were in office adopt no measures in accordance with that system? Did they consider the independence of the city of Herat so unimportant a matter that it was indifferent to this country whether Persia got possession of Herat or not? Why, we know that when the right hon. Gentleman was in office, in Lord Derby's Administration, and when it had been alleged that the Persian Government entertained an intention of annexing the territory of Herat, the Persian Minister at this Court was asked whether it was so, and he assured Lord Malmesbury that it was not. But that assurance being followed by the appearance of an edict at Teheran, proclaiming the annexation to Persia of the territory and city of Herat, what was the consequence? Why, the Government of Lord Derby sent the Persian Minister to Coventry, told him that they would have nothing more to do with him until that annexation was revoked. The Persian Government yielded in that case; but the course of the transaction showed that the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member, like every other Government that knows the interests of this country, felt it was a matter of great importance, with a view to the security of our Indian possessions, that the city and territory of Herat should not be annexed to the Persian dominions. We have followed in that respect the settled and long-established policy of this country—a policy founded, as I think every one who understands the interests of our Eastern empire will admit, on a right conception of the importance of the town and territory of Herat as regards thefrontier of our Indian dominions. It was our intention to have laid before the House the papers relating to this transaction; but within the last few days we have been informed that the Persian Minister in Paris, Feruk Khan, who arrived lately in that city, solicited an interview with Lord Cowley, Her Majesty's Ambassador, and that the result of the interview which took place in consequence, and which lasted some hours, was, that Feruk Khan, after having been made acquainted with the nature of our demands, expressed himself ready to enter into negotiations with the British Government for the settlement of the dispute. That offer it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to accept; and as the matter is one which must now be considered under negotiation, it would not be fitting that we should lay before Parliament papers relating to a difference with a foreign Power which we hope to be soon enabled amicably to settle. With regard to the affair with China, the right hon. Gentleman said that what had occurred at Canton was also the result of some predetermined system. Why, no doubt it was the result of a predetermined system. But again, who were the authors of that system? The late occurrences are the result of a violation of the Treaty of Pekin; and by what Government was that treaty concluded? Why, by the Government of Sir Robert Peel. That treaty gives certain privileges to our consuls and certain immunities to our fellow-subjects. Those privileges and those immunities were violated; and the British officers on the spot—rightly, in my opinion—demanded satisfaction; and, that satisfaction having been refused in the most insolent and contemptuous manner, they had recourse step by step to measures of force for the purpose of inducing the Chinese Commissioner at Canton to grant that satisfaction which we had a right to demand. Not only have the British Government demands of this character to make, but, I believe, the Government of France have similar demands to put forward; and we have seen that the same barbarous demeanour which characterised the Commissioner in our case has shown itself in an outrage on the flag of the United States; and the naval force of the United States in the Canton river were also obliged to have recourse to measures of force for the purpose of obtaining reparation. I cannot help hoping that that difference also will speedily be settled in a manner satisfactory to the Governments of the two countries, which cannot but wish to be on friendly terms with each other. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that Parliament ought to have been called together to consider—not the outrage at Canton, for we knew nothing of what had occurred there until the public accounts lately arrived in this country—but the intended operations against Persia. Now, I am perfectly well aware that whenever we become involved in a war with one of the great Powers of Europe or with the United States of America, involving serious consequences, it is the duty of the Government to call Parliament together to state the grounds of the quarrel, and to ask for the means of carrying on the contest. But in the case of a collision with such a Power as Persia, a remote country, a conflict with which is not likely to entail upon us any considerable efforts, considering that in the natural order of things Parliament would speedily assemble, to call Parliament specially together would only be a burlesque on our constitutional forms.

So much for the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman on the foreign policy of the Government. He says that I have a peculiar talent for creating difficulties, and the getting out of them well. At least one of those qualities may be set off against the other. If I have the faculty of creating difficulties, and if I have, on the other hand, the happy knack of getting rid of them, I think that those who do me the honour of following me cannot have much reason to complain of the result. But I also believe that if I were to consult some of the hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, they would tell me of some persons who had a talent for getting their followers into difficulties, but had not the knack of getting them out of them. I believe the experience of the last few Sessions might enable even those whose memories are not exceedingly retentive to furnish me with some examples of that kind. But when the right hon. Gentleman says that we create our difficulties, I would ask him whether he believes that the Government of England has such power over the Governments of other countries that they can by their will summon up and allay national difficulties and perils? Does he think that we can perpetually go on getting them to do something outrageous, and to violate treaties, and exciting angry discussions, and then getting rid of them as if they could be matters of no possible moment? Why such a policy would be a mode of proceeding only fit for children. But such is not the way in which public and international affairs are carried on. We are not benefited by difficulties, and if things are done which it is necessary for the honour of the country we should resist, and such resistance creates difficulties, we ought not to hold back, and as the right hon. Gentleman admits we have a knack of getting through difficulties, I think the latter part of his description entitles us to the commendation of the House, especially as the former part applies to other Powers, and not to us. I think that every Government ought to maintain the interests and honour of the country; and if the Government do that successfully, and if by negotiation they continue to smooth difficulties and put an end to questions which threatened at one time to disturb the peace, instead of exposing themselves to criticism and animadversion, I think they entitle themselves to approbation and support.

But my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) says that such is the reckless character of the Government of which I have the honour to be the head, that we create ten difficulties for every one that any other Government would create. Well, I will not discuss arithmetic with my right hon. Friend, who is master of all those arts. Supposing, in point of numbers, we had more difficulties than any other Government, does not my right hon. Friend forget that the greatest difficulty of all in which the country has been engaged since 1815—the most arduous and most important war—not difficulty, but war—in which this country has been engaged, was that which was brought on by the Government of which he was a Member. That took place during the time that he was in office, and when he held the purse-strings in his hand, and had, therefore, greater power and authority than almost any other member of the Government to put his veto upon a proceeding of which he disapproved, and especially upon a war in which he was of opinion this country ought not to have embarked. But my right hon. Friend acted an honourable part; he felt as every man will do—whatever he may say when he is out of office—and as every man who has public spirit and the feeling of an Englishman will, when responsibility rests upon him—my right hon. Friend cast aside all those refinements in which he is apt to indulge; he saw broadly that the honour and interests of the country were involved—that the public danger was great, and therefore, although the efforts were of the first magnitude, and the contest in which we were about to embark was one, the duration of which no one could foretell, my right hon. Friend manfully accepted the alternative, and flung in his stake with his Colleagues in the enterprise in which we were engaged. But I say that my right hon. Friend having acted so manly a part while he was in office, is not entitled now to reproach us for having successfully resisted minor difficulties when they have fallen in our way and which have not been the result of our own conduct. My right hon. Friend doubts whether we are justified in concluding a treaty with the United States, one condition of which is the cession of Ruatan. He does not attach any particular value to the island itself; he thinks the cession a right one; but he doubts the power of the Crown, without the consent of Parliament, to make that cession. Now, as far as I am informed, I believe my right hon. Friend is mistaken in that respect. There is no distinction between territories given up by negotiation and by cession; I believe that in either case the Crown has the power to make any cession it may be advised to make. Those who give that advice are of course subject to the approbation or disapprobation of Parliament when the transaction is accomplished. But at all events we cannot yet be blamed on that account, because it so happens that those treaties are yet under the consideration of the Senate of the United States, which is the ratifying power; and until treaties are ratified they are not binding upon either party, and that is the reason why they were not mentioned in the Speech as treaties, but as negotiations. Until the decision of the Senate of the United States has been declared, it would not be consistent with the usual course either to lay the correspondence or the convention itself upon the table of the House.

Sir, I agree very much with regard to the general principles which have been laid down with regard to public income and expenditure. I quite concur with what has been said, that Parliament ought first to settle and decide upon what is the amount of the establishments which the interest and security of the country require, and what amount of army and navy are necessary for its service. Having settled that point, then is the time to find the means by which the expenses of these establishments are to be defrayed. If that is so, I think a discussion which has for its subject a particular tax premature until the House of Commons shall have decided what ought to be the necessary expenditure of the country in the year about to commence. I must say, that this is the first time in which I remember to have heard an elaborate discussion of Estimates which have not yet been laid upon the table of the House. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone), judging from newspaper reports of speeches made else-where has of his own ingenuity, in regard to matters upon which no speeches have been made, at least by my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, gone into an elaborate and somewhat minute discussion upon assumed Estimates. Now, I think that the House will do well to postpone a discussion upon Estimates until they are before them, and they can judge for themselves. My right hon. Friend says, "Figures, after all, are what you should go by." Well, then, I say, wait till you get them. It is quite clear that if people will argue upon imaginary figures, simple men will not be much surprised if, in the long run, they turn out to be wrong. We are all agreed with the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) that it is not for this country to have an army of 500,000 men. I do not think any one has dreamt of any such thing. Of course it is a mere figure of speech. He means, no doubt, a very large army, and one totally disproportioned to the wants of the country, and in imitation of continental armies. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it would be a great mistake for any Government to propose such a thing, and an equally great mistake for any House of Commons to agree to such a proposition. We have no wish to have an inordinate amount of military establishments beyond the requirements of the country. But the House will recollect that an army is not to be considered in the light in which it has been described, as a mere military police force at home. We have possessions abroad in which certain garrisons must be maintained. My right hon. Friend says very truly, that colonies to which free institutions have been given, ought to contribute largely to the expenses of the country. But it must be borne in mind that those colonies are countries in which labour is dear, and where every man is occupied fully in some industrial pursuits; and, therefore, you cannot get the same number of persons for military purposes which you can in old countries possessing large populations. You may call on colonies to contribute greatly to the establishment, and also to form militias for the purpose of defence, yet a force of that kind will not be suffi- cient for emergencies if there is not a nucleus of a regular force on which these volunteer corps may support themselves in the hour of need. Then you must remember that we have a certain number of possessions abroad which require a certain amount of military force; but that that military force cannot be kept to those colonies permanently. There must be troops at home to relieve them; and we must always have, besides, troops in the stations at home, and also a certain number always on their passage either to relieve others, or returning having been relieved. All those circumstances must be taken into consideration in fixing the amount of your military establishment. You must also bear in mind that, although peace may long continue, it is always necessary to depend upon ourselves, and not upon the conduct of other Powers. You must always look forward to the possession of a force which will at least be sufficient to protect you in the outset from insult and attack. Depend upon it, for a country that is great and rich to leave itself without the means of defence is not the way to preserve peace in the long run. I believe I have now alluded to the more important points touched upon in the debate; but one thing I must say, and that is, that of all things the experience we have gained in the last war has been such as to strongly impress upon us, as a nation, the necessity of keeping up a sufficient establishment and especially of maintaining that portion of your army which cannot be replaced at once, and which, as it is the scientific portion, cannot be so easily reproduced as the other. In the same manner with regard to the navy. I must remind my right hon. Friend that, undoubtedly, of late years, great expense has been incurred by this country; but it has also been equally incurred by other countries. Russia and France have shown themselves diligent in improving their navy. One of the greatest improvements of late years has been the introduction of steam propulsion. But a vessel propelled by steam not only cost one-third more to build, but one-third more to keep up. But if other countries—if France, Russia, and the United States—I all adopt steam propulsion and all the advancing appliances of science, it is impossible for England to remain behind in this respect. It will never do for us to have a navy not capable in efficiency to cope with any navy with which it may come in con- tact. On all these considerations I therefore ask the House to suspend its judgment until the Estimates are really before it, and until, therefore, they have the elements on which to form a sound judgment. We can have no other or greater interest than that of proposing to this House measures which we hope it to pass, and which we firmly believe to be necessary for the public service. We certainly, of all others, can have no desire whatever to create unnecessary difficulties for our own Administration. There is every temptation for Government to submit proposals to which the House will be likely to agree; but a responsible Government has a duty to perform, and from the performance of which they ought by no means to shrink. Having made up our minds as to the exact amount of the establishment which we consider it is for the interests of the country to maintain, it is our duty to propose to Parliament such measures as result from our deliberations.

I do not think I have now omitted any topic of importance; but I must say that I regret exceedingly that the right hon. Gentleman opposite should have adopted hastily those reports to which I have alluded, which he must have picked up at Paris from the gossips of the town, and which a little inquiry from those who were capable of giving him sound information would have satisfied him were totally inaccurate, and that he should have made them the medium of indulging charges against the Government which are at variance with the facts of the case, and utterly unfounded in reality.


said, that he should not have risen but for the observations of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), that it would have been a burlesque to call Parliament together to announce the expedition to the Persian Gulf. But the fact was that the order for that expedition was made while Parliament was sitting, without any communication being made to Parliament; and thus the noble Lord had involved the country in war, and had undertaken a great military expedition, without condescending to consult or to communicate with Parliament on the subject. Now, whatever the sentiments or opinions of Members might be with respect to the policy of these proceedings, operations having already commenced in the Persian Gulf, Parliament had now no resource but to vote the supplies and carry on the war. Many persons paid very little attention to Indian wars, and, believing that they were charged on the Indian estimates, they were very little concerned. But there could not be a greater mistake or a more fatal error. The revenues of India were the revenues of England, and the public debt of India was the public debt of England. If the revenue of India proved insufficient to pay the interest of the Indian debt, it must be paid by the people of this country. We are just as much interested, therefore, in the success and prosperity of Indian finance as we are in the prosperity of our own, but it is the misfortune of the double system of Indian government that there are two distinct bodies—the Ministry on the one hand, and the Directors of the East India Company on the other, who seem to have the right to disburse the Indian commerce, neither of which considered itself responsible for the dilapidated condition of Indian finance. The Affghan war was one of the results of this system, and that war was in many respects a parallel to the present, the object in both being to counteract the influence of Russia in Central Asia. The Affghan war was the most expensive and disastrous in which the Indian Government were ever engaged. It cost £16,000,000 sterling, it involved the destruction of a large army, and it failed to attain its object. Indeed, it was now admitted, he believed, that the Affghan war was a gross and wanton act of aggression. For that war the East India Directors were not responsible. They protested against the war, and the President of the Board of Control was compelled to threaten the Secret Committee with a mandamus from the Court of Queen's Bench before they would send out that order. That order was issued by Sir John Hobhouse, and it was done at the instigation of the then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Viscount Palmerston). The noble Lord was therefore mainly responsible for the Affghan war, and for the great debt that it entailed upon the resources of India. The secret history of that war had never been communicated to Parliament; but some fifteen years ago he (Mr. Baillie) moved for certain papers and correspondence relating to the Affghan war. The motion was refused, but the despatches of Sir A. Burns were subsequently published by his friends, and it then appeared that the original despatches presented to Parliament had been mutilated to serve the purposes of the Ministry that commenced the war. He wished the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told the House what arrangement or agreement had been made with the Indian Government for the payment of the expenses of the Persian expedition. The House knew that an expedition conducted at a distance of 1,500 miles from the base of operations must be very expensive, and it could not be supposed that these expenses could be thrown upon the Indian Treasury. He would not now stop to consider whether England was morally justified in making war upon Persia; but it would not be difficult to show, when the proper time came, that our policy with respect to Persia of late years had been a great blunder. He trusted that sufficient spirit remained in the House to vindicate its authority, and to question the right of any Minister to make war at his own will and pleasure, and without the interference of Parliament.


Sir, I cannot regret that I had not an opportunity of addressing the House before my noble Friend rose, because I consider that his explanation of many points with respect to which I had some doubts as to the policy of the Government, was full and satisfactory. I will, however, state to the House my impressions with regard to some of the very important topics touched upon in Her Majesty's Speech. With regard to that which I believe to be the first topic in the Speech, the discussions that have taken place since the signing of the Treaty of Paris, it does not seem to me to be an unusual thing, that after the signature of a treaty, certain articles should be found to be expressed with such vagueness or obscurity, as not to be calculated to carry out the intentions of the contracting parties, or that they would lead to such inconvenient consequences, that it should be necessary to reconsider the wording of those articles and to amend them. But the course that was adopted—for what reason I do not know, but I suppose it was thought sufficient—was not that which is usually followed at the termination of a great war. When belligerents have made up their minds to put a termination to the miseries of war they have usually agreed to preliminaries expressing generally the articles which would be accepted by the several parties, and when the definitive treaty is prepared, those matters in which the preliminaries are deficient are remedied. But that course has not been followed on the occasion of the recent treaty. It has been thought best that certain bases should be laid down which did not at all bear the character of preliminaries, but upon which as preliminaries the definitive treaty was prepared. That being the course adopted I do not think there could be any serious objection to reassembling the Plenipotentiaries and submitting to them and allowing them to amend the defective articles. The question which arose with regard to Bolgrad, upon which the Russians no doubt had the letter of the treaty on their side and we had its spirit and policy on our side, led to much discussion, and it appears to me extraordinary that there should have been so much heat and asperity displayed in the matter, when the conclusion must have appeared natural to any man of business or of common sense, that, if the approach to the Danube was intended to be forbidden to Russia by the articles of the treaty, Bolgrad should be held by Moldavia, and some compensation should be given to Russia for the loss of the place. That is the sense of the article now agreed to, which is declared in the Queen's Speech to be satisfactory, and which must be allowed by all to be satisfactory; for while it is not injurious to Turkey, as it does not depart from the spirit of the treaty, at the same time it involves no humiliation to Russia of which she would have a right to complain. The extraordinary part to me of these discussions is, that in the course of them so much asperity should have been displayed; that it should have been thought necessary to rouse this country almost to fever heat, and that there should have been so much difference and so much feeling with respect to a point in itself so simple. This question having been settled, I cannot but hope that the recommendation made at the end of the last Session in Her Majesty's Speech will now, at least, be attended to by this and other countries. This is the passage to which I allude:— Her Majesty trusts that the benefits resulting from the peace will be extensive and permanent, and that while the friendships and alliances which were cemented by common exertions during the contest will gain strength by mutual interests in peace, those asperities which inherently belong to war will give place to the confidence and goodwill with which a faithful execution of engagements will inspire those who have learnt to respect each other as antagonists. This appeared to me to be language worthy of Her Majesty, and I have much lamented that its spirit has since been departed from; but I do hope that, now all parties to the treaty are satisfied, its spirit will be maintained, and that the asperities which naturally arose during war will give place to a kindly feeling among antagonists who have so much reason to respect each other. I have thought it necessary to say these few words because some persons have assumed—and no doubt falsely assumed—that those who express the views of Her Majesty's Government still speak of Russia as if she were a Power with which we were at war. Now that the purposes of Russia have been defeated and the objects of the war fully attained, I hope that we shall not only have a termination of the war, but a prevalence of the spirit of peace. With regard to the question of Switzerland, I think that my noble Friend has completely explained away the allegations made by the right hon. Gentleman. I listened to those allegations with some surprise, as they did not at all correspond with anything I had previously heard on the subject. It appeared to me that the despatch, written, I believe, by Lord Cowley, was exceedingly cautious, as it very properly did not commit this country to advise the King of Prussia to renounce the rights he had claimed, but at the same time expressed that goodwill towards Switzerland which it was the duty of this country to express. But in agreeing to the terms offered them the Swiss seem to be left in one respect in a very unfortunate position. I do not expect that the King of Prussia, having put forward these claims, will make a full and complete surrender of them, although, no doubt, they ought to be extinguished by what has taken place. The Swiss Government are, therefore, in this position:—if the insurgents should at any time rise in Neufchâtel against the de facto, which I likewise believe to be the de jure Government, and the insurrection should prove unsuccessful, the King of Prussia may again interfere, and say that, though these persons may have been guilty of an offence against the Swiss Government, yet he is bound to protect them as persons standing up for his rights; and thus the whole question will be reopened With regard to Persia, I have heard, with great pleasure, the announcement of my noble Friend that Feruk Khan is empowered to propose certain terms for the settlement of the dispute. I cannot look upon an expedition to Bushire in the light in which my noble Friend seems to regard it—as an unimportant expedition. I was much grieved at the orders given from this country for sending troops, as the expedition, unless peace be restored, may mean much more than an expedition to Bushire. However, that expedition has been undertaken, and has been successful. Every person acquainted with the country whose opinion I have heard has said that Bushire is so unhealthy after April that it cannot be held beyond that month; but that an expedition of a more formidable nature might be undertaken; that a force of not more than 8,000 or 10,000 British troops might obtain a complete command over Persia by marching into the very heart of the country. But an expedition into the heart of the country is one of the utmost importance, because it must have one of two objects—either you must be going to fight Persia alone—and if you are, that country is so weak, so disorganised, so reduced by the vices of its Court and the character of its people, that you run the danger of altogether destroying its independence; or, you must be going to fight Persia supported by Russia; and, in that case, you have a formidable contest before you—a contest which can only result in doing what I should think most dangerous to our empire in India,—namely, in approaching closely the real frontier of our Indian Empire and the real frontier of the Russian Empire. I cannot believe that an English statesman, seeing the present security of our Indian Empire, of which I have heard Lord Hardinge talk over and over again, seeing that in 12,000 miles of frontier there are but two or three points on which we can be assailed, would wish to extend our frontier into the very heart of Persia, and thereby to expose us to new risks and dangers, and for that purpose to encounter the evils, the immense expense, the waste of men and horses, the difficult roads, the imperfect communications with which at present any enemy attacking our Indian possessions would have to contend. We should be reversing our position; instead of having a safe, good position, we should be giving an enemy the advantage by placing ourselves in an insecure position. I quite agree that it is desirable that Herat should not be annexed to Persia; but I cannot doubt that the Persian Government would assent to some arrangement with respect to that city more intelligible than the strange collection of confused phrases to which Colonel Shiel affixed his signature, to the effect that Herat was not to be attacked by Persia unless the Affghans attacked it, but omitting to provide for what appears to me to be the most probable case, of the possessor of Herat making incursions into Persia. I have no doubt that the Shah would agree to some fair arrangement with regard to Herat. As to the Court of Persia being inspired by Russia, I cannot believe that any Russian statesman would be blind enough to the interests of his country to engage in a distant support of the Shah, instead of seeing that her correct course is, for at least the next five years, to take every possible means to increase the resources of Russia at home. I believe, therefore, that unless your terms are destructive of the independence of Persia, the Russian Government will be happy to aid you in obtaining them and in terminating the war. It is not, however, enough for the noble Lord to say that as this was a mere expedition to Bushire, it was not necessary to call Parliament together. I think it was the constitutional duty of the Government—however unpleasant it might be to them and to the Members of this House, when they determined that the expedition should take place—to call Parliament together, and to lay before us the circumstances which they regarded as a justification of it. With regard to Central America, I am most happy to agree in the course which the Government have taken. The phantom King of Mosquito may, I hope, be said to have disappeared, and we shall for the future run no risk of being involved with that great Republic, the United States, in any difference on the subject of those paltry tribes occupying the States of Central America who are none of them worth the lives of 5,000 British or Americans. I come now to another subject upon which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks asked my opinion—an opinion which I will not withhold from him or from the House. He asked me whether, as I said last year that I was satisfied with the speech of my noble Friend at the head of the Government upon the subject of Italy, I am satisfied with what has since been done. I am sorry to say that I am by no means satisfied with what has since taken place. With regard to Naples it appears to me that there were two courses which might have led to success. It might have been well for the Governments of England and France to make communications to that of Austria and endeavour to persuade Austria to go with them to the Court of Naples, and to make private communications—not as a matter to be brought before the tribunal of Europe, but to give friendly advice to the King of the Two Sicilies, pointing out to him the danger of the course he was pursuing. It is possible that such a course might have been successful, because the authority of these three Powers would have been great, and the manner of treating the question would have been friendly and courteous. There was another mode, which Lord Clarendon began to pursue, and that was by saying that there were cases in which it was not only the right, but the duty of this country to interfere, and, having laid down that rule, to take care that the interference should be effectual. I have no doubt whatever that if the King of Naples had been informed that certain terms had been agreed upon by the Governments of France and of Great Britain, and that he was required to assent to these terms or otherwise he would be compelled to agree to them, he would have at once assented. In that case likewise his honour was safe, because he might fairly say that he had yielded to superior force, because he would not expose his country and his people to the calamities which might have followed his rejection of the terms proposed to him. Neither of these two courses has been pursued. A middle course has been taken, which appeared threatening, but which was not really dangerous to the King of the Two Sicilies; one which not only left him full option to refuse the terms, but which made it a matter of pride and almost of honour with him to reject advice which was tendered to him accompanied by the threat held forth at the Conference at Paris. The King of the Two Sicilies thought, and perhaps thought rightly, that between two dangers the safest course was to reject that proposal. I must say that many who never respected him before respected him for the spirit which he showed upon that occasion. That was the first evil; other evils have followed. The King of Naples was raised in the general estimation, and the Government of Great Britain was proportionately lowered. All the friends of despotism rejoiced—all the extreme friends of revolution rejoiced. Those who mourned were the friends of just and constitutional liberty. Such were the practical consequences produced by the course of interference which we have pursued. But is that all? What has been the state of Naples since? Is it better than it was before that 8th of April, on which Lord Clarendon made his speech in the Conference at Paris? It has been far worse. Every evil has been aggravated. The King himself has grown more jealous and more suspicious. The people are so watched that almost every third man in the street is a spy employed by the Government. The public places are shut up, and there is fear in all places of general resort. Persons who have been at Naples, and those who write letters from that city, inform me that they never saw such sorrow, such fear, and such dejection in any city as they have seen in that once gay and much admired city of Naples. This, I am afraid, is the consequence and the natural consequence of the kind of interference which has been adopted. If this is the way in which Her Majesty's Government think to solve the great problem of Italy, let me assure them that, although there may be politicians who will say with the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) that it must be left alone, that we must give no encouragement to revolution, we must not interfere with Austria in her management of Italian affairs, and though there may be others who would interfere in order to rearrange and re-construct the Government of Italy—that although both these courses may be defended, the course of touching it and then leaving it, of bringing the question forward with emphasis and then abandoning it with levity, is one that cannot be pursued consistently either with honour or with safety. Now, it has been said—and it is part of the defect of the mode which was pursued—it has been said that Naples was an exception to all rule, and therefore it was not only a right, but a duty, to interfere with that Government. I believe that the Government of Naples is very bad. Numbers of innocent persons are imprisoned. Some men of the most patriotic motives and the highest characters have been for years immured in dungeons, and other enormities have been committed; but still there are other States in Italy whose Governments totally fail to perform the duties which they owe to their subjects, and which have this additional defect—that their principal towns are garrisoned by foreign troops. With regard to Naples, you may say that, although the Government is bad, it is the Government to which the people submit, and the general rule is not to interfere between a Sovereign and his subjects; but with regard to another State which I can name, the territories of the Pope, there is no such excuse. Bad government is supported by foreign occupation, and every man whom I have heard speak on the subject has said, that foreign occupation is absolutely necessary to sustain bad government, and that bad government will continue so long as foreign occupation endures. I believe that to be true. It may be said that the representations as to the bad government of the territories of the Pope, and the evils under which they suffer, come from exiles and revolutionists. I must, in the first place, protest against that statement, because the persons whom I have seen, some of them residing in the country, and some who have left it, while among the most intelligent, refined, and well informed, are at the same time among the most moderate politicians I ever happened to meet. Bat, Sir, I have obtained, and may someday, if this question come more seriously before the House, have to read a document—a sentence of a tribunal sitting at Bologna—a city which for more than eight years has been in a state of siege. In that city there are military tribunals, and there is published a list of offences which they are competent to deal with; but, besides, there is a court of criminal justice, which in a sentence dated in June last relates the following particulars. It states, that for some years past there has been a continual course of assassinations, of highway robberies, of thefts, and of housebreakings prevalent in the city and country of Bologna, and that 100 gendarmes were sent out under the command of a lieutenant, who took up a great number of persons charged with various offences committed at various times from 1846 to 1855. The judgment then goes into the particulars of each of these cases. It says that there is no doubt that the offences were committed, no doubt that the country has been overrun with robbery and housebreaking during all that time, and that assassinations have been frequent; but that when the Court comes to deal with the cases of the individuals, with respect to nine out of ten of them, they state that there is no evidence against them, except their own confessions; that those confessions were extorted by torture and violence, and were retracted immediately those persons left prison. That, Sir, is the picture which a court of justice in the city of Bologna gives of the state of a country under foreign occupation, which foreign occupation is continued for the purpose of preserving order in that unhappy country Now, Sir, I ask the House whether the regular administration of government in the States of Italy is a matter which can be indifferent to this country? Is it possible that for eight, ten, or twelve years we should continue to see foreign troops occupying that country, and we yet should make no remonstrance on the subject? I cannot believe that if, in the first place, we brought the subject before the French Government, and if, acting in concert with them, we remonstrated in the next place with Austria on this occupation—I cannot believe that the same evils would continue. No doubt, as I have said, the vices of the Government of Rome, its corruption, its total abandonment of the duties of punishing crime, its entire negligence with regard to the protection of its subjects, will continue as long as this foreign occupation lasts. But I have no doubt that if a day were fixed—say, as the occupation of the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia is to cease on the 30th of March, that in six months afterwards the occupation of the Roman Legations by the Austrian troops shall cease—that measures would be taken to have a tolerable government in that country, and that there would be some chance of an independent State there. I say there would be some chance of an independent State there, because, although many of those whom I know are very confident that the Pope, whose benevolent intentions no one doubts, can adopt such precautions as will establish good government, I am myself by no means sanguine that such an attempt on his part would not fail, and that it might not be necessary for the Powers of Europe to consider the question as to the sovereignty of those parts of Italy. This is a very large and grave question, but I feel quite sure that such a country as Italy—a country so endowed by nature—a country possessing inhabitants of so much intelligence—should not be left in the state in which it at present is owing to foreign dominion. I say, "owing to foreign dominion," because, although Austria has no right to govern more than 3,000,000 out of the 25,000,000 Italians, yet, partly by treaty, partly by the march of her armies, and partly by her influence, she has since 1815 practically governed nearly the whole of Italy. It is but of late years that the Government of Piedmont has released itself from that influence. That is now in Italy a Government worthy of all admiration—a constitutional Government promoting liberty of conscience and of speech—Piedmont is now a country where men who are driven from gaol to gaol in other parts of Italy find at length a refuge. I believe, Sir, that if the Government of England will take up this question in earnest—if they will consult with the Governments of France and of Sardinia upon the subject—there need be no danger whatever of war. I believe that the general feeling of the Italian nation, coupled with the declaration of a great Power like this country, would be sufficient to make Austria confine herself to that which is her proper and just dominion, that to which she is alone entitled by the treaty of Vienna, the government of Lombardy and Venice; and no one will rejoice more than myself if, by an improved and altered system of government, by adopting clemency in the place of rigour, by adopting justice in the place of injustice, the Emperor of Austria should come at length to reign really in the hearts of his Italian subjects. But I am sure that the present state of Italy is a danger to Europe as well as a misery to the Italians, and therefore I hope that we have not come to the end of the matter, when we are told that to the King of Naples was given good advice, but he would not take it, and that therefore our Minister was withdrawn. I believe that not only Naples, but Sicily also, is in a state of great discontent. It may be possible by means of Swiss soldiers to put down any insurrection in blood; it may be possible also in the Roman Legations, by means of the foreign garrisons, there to suppress any revolt; but if we, at one time by encouraging them, and at another time by withholding support, drive the people of Italy into that state of desperation which leads them to make fruitless efforts to improve their condition, and the country thereby becomes in a worse state than before, I think a heavy responsibility will lie upon the Government of this country. I believe the time is come when Italy—not in one republic, but acting through her several independent States—is to play a great part in adjusting the balance of power in Europe; and if she, along with other nations, takes that part in moderating the ambition of great Powers, her thralled literature will revive, her thralled commerce will extend, and it will be indeed a triumph for the Government and people of this country if such a result is accomplished through British influence. The only other remarks I will make, are upon the subject touched upon at some length by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) —namely, the question of Estimates and expenditure. I will not attempt, of course, to go into any calculation, but I do hope that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will reconsider his determination, as expressed to-night, and that he will do as Sir Robert Peel and others have done in a similar case—that is, bring the state of the finances before this House at a very early period of the Session. Let us know what the estimated expenditure is, what are the ways and means to cover it, what are the intentions of the Government with respect to the taxes, and let this House judge of them. I am sure that such a course would be far more satisfactory than any Motion made by a right hon. Gentleman opposite or any person out of office on the subject of taxation, without our having fully before us the proposed expenditure and the reasons upon which it is founded. This House, I am sure, is always disposed, if it can, to agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and no one found more than my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) that the House of Commons is always inclined not to make the finances a matter of party discussion, but, if possible, to act in such a manner as to maintain the credit of the country and support those establishments which are necessary for its defence and security. With regard to what those establishments should be, I will only say that I quite agree with all that my noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) has said upon that subject; and perhaps if I might venture to recall old times and refer to what he said the first time I made a Motion in this House, which was in 1816, when I asked the Ministry to withdraw the Estimates and propose reduced ones, and my noble Friend, then Secretary for War, stated the grounds why considerable Estimates were necessary, I might observe that the reasons he then gave were not very dissimilar from those which he offered to-night, and I have no doubt were perfectly well grounded. All I should wish to prevent, as far as my vote lies, would be the adoption of any new system with regard to our naval and military Estimates. We have been accustomed (and very great Ministers—Ministers who knew what the country required—have sanctioned the practice) to keep up low establishments in time of peace; and though there has been always a complaint in the first year of war that we have been very unprepared, and have not made sufficient provision for a period of war, somehow or other, after a time, we have generally found ourselves strong enough to meet our enemy with the establishment we possessed. Moreover, though the complaint I refer to has been made very recently, arising out of the events of the late war, I do not think that our experience during the last thirty years is at all adverse to the plan pursued. We have seen in France—I believe almost ever since the accession of Charles X., and certainly since the accession of Louis Philippe—that that country has been maintaining an immense army and a considerable navy, and every year increasing its debt. We, on the other hand, have been keeping up establishments thought by some persons too great, but which were, in fact, not very considerable; we have thus been enabled to secure a surplus revenue, to reduce taxes, and abolish customs duties which pressed upon the energies and checked the industry of the people; we have enabled our population to grow rich; and we have seen in the last war what that wealth was able to effect; for when our enemy was exhausted and our Ally was so far weakened in its finances that its war spirit flagged, the Government of this country found that, owing to our wealth, we had more than sufficient to pay for the large expenditure of the war, and the spirit of our people, if terms of peace had not been accepted, was such, that for five, six, or ten years longer, if necessary, we might have made the exertions necessary for war. Now, these are the things which produce good terminations of wars, and not large and expensive establishments, with generals and admirals growing so old that they are unfit for their duties when war comes. It is by moderate establishments, by rendering such establishments good and efficient, by attending to everything which cannot be easily originated or replaced—it is by such a system, and by relying on the greatness of the country and on the spirit of our people, that you will be most formidable in war, and not by any new-fangled system of increased Estimates during a time of peace.


said, he thought that the noble Lord was a little sanguine in hoping that financial questions would be dealt with without reference to party. He should have imagined that the recollection of the noble Lord would have told him that the question of finance was one upon which Governments had frequently been shipwrecked, and it was, in point of fact, on questions of finance that the confidence of the House of Commons in the Government was more particularly tested. If he had rightly understood the observations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he thought that a question of finance was a rook ahead of the present Government. He felt quite alarmed at the predictions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. Gladstone), who had stated that from £23,000,000 to £24,000,000 would be asked for the Army, Navy, and Ordnance departments as the peace establishment for this country. The country would not support a Government which should venture to submit such an Estimate as that to Parliament. As regarded the foreign policy of the Government as enunciated in the Royal Speech, there seemed to be a great difference of opinion in the House; nevertheless all parties were going to agree to the Address. As, therefore, there was going to be no division, he must be allowed to enter his protest against such parts of it, referred to in the Address, as he could not approve. With regard to Persia, it was said that negotiations were going on, and therefore it would not be proper to lay before the House any information as to the Persian affair, and no opinion ought to be expressed upon it until we had all the information. He should like to be informed how long that would last. The negotiations might last through the whole Session. Questions will be put to Government which will be met with the usual official reply—we can tell you nothing because negotiations are pending. For himself he was sick of the very word negotiations. In the meanwhile the war would be going on, and the people, who supplied the funds, were to know nothing about it. The noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) had omitted to reply to the most important questions put to him by the right hon. Member for Oxford University. One of those questions—and it was a very material question—was, who was to pay for the Persian war. Were the English people to pay for the Persian war, either in whole or in part? That was a plain question, and the House was entitled to hear an answer to it. Then, again, the House ought to be told whether the war had been undertaken by the Government with the consent of the Secret Committee of the Court of Directors. He would not at present express any opinion on the Persian war, but he did hope that the negotiations would not be long protracted, and the public mind disturbed by all kinds of contradictory reports, which would distract attention from domestic affairs. With re- gard to Naples, he should like to know whether the demands which had been made upon the King were such as this country was entitled to make, and if the King of Naples was entitled as an independent Sovereign to refuse those demands. The noble Lord had stated that the communications were "friendly communications;" but yet there had ensued a suspension of diplomatic intercourse with that country. For his own part, he should wish to see a cessation of those "friendly communications" to foreign independent Governments. The noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had said at Paris that the object to be desired was to repress revolution and encourage a monarchical spirit in Italy. Now, the King of Naples no doubt thought that his way of supporting the monarchy was the best way, and why should we interfere with the internal government of the people of Italy? He believed that the cause of humanity and liberty would be best promoted by non-interference, and for the sake of liberty in Italy that England should cease to interfere in her internal affairs, for when she did interfere it was only to betray and to excite expectations which she took no further steps to see fulfilled. This had been the result of our interference in Italy, and he trusted that England would at once cease to interfere in the internal affairs of that country. The paragraph in the Address relating to China called upon the House to say that acts of violence, insults to the British flag, and infraction of treaty rights had been committed by the local authorities at Canton, and to express its regret that a pertinacious refusal of redress had rendered it necessary for Her Majesty's officers in China to have recourse to measures of force to obtain satisfaction. He understood the paragraph to contain the word "regret," and wished it to be read to the House, so that there might be no mistake. [Paragraph read.] Now, he had great difficulty in coming to any such conclusion; he thought that that part of the Address ought to be altered, and if it was intended to imply that in the opinion of the House the forcible measures which had been adopted in China had been rendered necessary he should feel greatly inclined to move the omission of that part of the Address. The Speech further said that these measures had been taken with great forbearance. How could it be said that these measures had been taken with great forbearance when a large and populous city had been bombarded, and the people, if the Chinese accounts were to be believed, destroyed in unknown numbers? It therefore appeared to him that the word forbearance was very much out of place. Instead of forbearance he thought there had been displayed a rashness and thoughtlessness as to the fearful consequences of bombarding a large and populous city. It was impossible to discuss the details without full information; but he thought the House should not be asked by such ingenious language to pass a direct approval upon the policy recently pursued. He had never known such a Royal Speech made to Parliament since the reign of the Four George. There was scarcely a word about domestic policy,—as if England had no domestic policy. There was nothing in the Speech but "wars and rumours of wars." Everybody was described as contented and happy, as in the good times of George III.; and "the resources of the country," it was said, "remained unimpaired, and its productive industry continued unchecked in its course of progressive development." This was an exaggerated statement of the condition of the country. He denied that it could be stated with truth that there existed general well-being and contentment. There was displayed throughout the length and breadth of the land—not merely by the poorer classes, but by the affluent—the utmost impatience at the amount of the public burdens; and were there not daily seen in the metropolis large gatherings of unemployed workmen? When they regarded the amount of pauperism and crime, how could the Ministers deliberately describe, in the Royal Speech, the whole country as one paradise? It would have been much more correct to say that, although the resources of the country had not been permanently impaired by the war, its industry had been materially checked in its development. He saw no mention in the present Speech from the Throne of the intention of the Government, announced in the Royal Speech last Session, to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners who inquired into the local dues on shipping in the different ports. The measure was abandoned last Session far want of adequate information; then a Committee sat and information wag supplied to the Government; and yet no allusion to this most important subject was made in the Speech. There was no allusion either to the important questions of public education and Parliamentary reform. He had never heard a Speech from the Throne with greater regret, and he contended that they were entitled to expect at the hands of a Government professing to be at the head of the Liberal party, after the termination of the Russian war, broader and more comprehensive views expressed on domestic policy. He trusted that, after what had been said on both sides of the House with respect to the military establishments, the Peace Society, as it was called, or Peace party, would no longer be sneered at, for it appeared that the sentiments expressed by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire and the right hon. Member for Oxford University, as well as by the noble Lord the Member for London, were pretty nearly the same as those expressed by the gentlemen supposed to form the Peace Society. He hoped that when the figures were laid before the House it would be found that they were to have a bonâ fide peace establishment, and not an establishment intended for aggressive warfare.


said, he should decline moving the Amendment, of which he had sent a copy to the Government, at that late hear; bat he regretted that no allusion should have been made in the speech to the important subject of our Colonies. Seven-ninths of the raw cotton used in English manufactures were imported from the United States. They were paying £20,000,000 for that material alone, yet the greater part of that vast quantity might be produced in English colonies. The amount of silk and cotton seat from India was very unimportant. The quantity of the latter was not one-sixth of that imported from America. India paid a revenue of £20,000,000, while they were paying very nearly that sum to America for an article which India could produce. It was not justice to 166,000,000 of their fellow-subjects that that amount of revenue should be raised, while the country was so obstructed in various ways as not to render all that it was capable of doing. A single million bales of cotton from India would be of great advantage to the manufacturing districts, and most benefical to the producing country. He would not press his Amendment, but on another occasion he or some other hon. Member would call the attention of the House to that most important subject, the supply of raw cotton—a question which lay at the very root of their commercial prosperity.


said, he did not expect that the growth of cotton in India would have formed one of the many subjects to which the attention of the House had been called that evening. All that he could tell his hon. Friend was, that the attention of the Government had been paid for some time past to the means of increasing the growth of cotton in India. Since the Committee which sat upon the subject in 1848, there had been a steady progress in the growth of cotton in that country. The best means of increasing its growth was to secure for it a ready sale in England. It was perfectly well known that the cotton of India was inferior to that grown in America, and that it was only resorted to when there was a deficiency in the supply from America. But he did not deny that the Indian cotton was capable of considerable improvement. Machinery had been already sent out to India by which the improvement of the cotton was greatly facilitated and its supply made more regular. The Committee which sat in 1848 reported that no great improvement could be effected with respect to Indian cotton until the means of transport were increased. His hon. Friend was perfectly aware that since 1848 great additional railway communication had been provided in India, and he (Mr. V. Smith) confidently hoped that it would be the means of improving the cultivation of cotton in India. The people of Manchester asked the Government to guarantee them against loss if they should undertake the growth of cotton in India, but he should like to see its growth developed, not by Government guarantees, but by private enterprise, and he had no doubt that that enterprise would be well remunerated. He would be happy to receive any communications from his hon. Friend on the subject.


asked the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) whether he had any objection to alter that portion of the paragraph in the Address relating to China which expressed an approval of the late measures which had been resorted to against that country, as he (Sir J. Pakington) felt no hesitation in saying that he had the greatest objection to being committed to an approval of them?


said, it had always been understood that the Address should be so framed as not to pledge the House to anything specific. If the word "regret" was objected to as expressing an opinion, he had no objection to change it for some other word not liable to the same objection.

Question put, and agreed to.

Committee appointed, "to draw up an Address to be presented to HER MAJESTY upon the said Resolution:"—Sir JOHN RAMSDEN, Sir ANDREW AGNEW, Viscount PALMERSTON, the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, Sir GEORGE GREY, Mr. LABOUCHERE, Sir CHAELES WOOD, Mr. VERNON SMITH, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND, Mr. BAINES, Mr. HORSMAN, Mr. LOWE, Mr. BOUVERIE, the JUDGE ADVOCATE, Sir BENJAMIN HALL, Mr. HAYTER, and Mr. FITZROY, or any Five of them:—Lords Commissioners' Speech referred.

The House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.

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