§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
said, that he rose, pursuant to notice, to ask a question with reference to the present relations between the Germanic Confederation and the Government of Denmark, and with reference to any further communications that have passed between Her Majesty's Minister at Copenhagen and the Danish Government. He had to express his regret at having brought down the noble Viscount at the morning sitting, and his personal obligations to the noble Viscount for attending in his place on the present occasion; but the Session was coming so near to a close that he was very unwilling it should terminate without obtaining from Her Majesty's Government some explanation of their policy with reference to the German Confederation and the Kingdom of Denmark. The difference between the German Confederation and Denmark had subsisted for several years—in fact, almost since the settlement of 1851 there had been these disputes going on, and from time to time they had been the subject of diplomatic interference on the part of the other Powers of Europe, but their friendly offices had seemed only to embitter the relations between Germany and Denmark. Until recently the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and of preceding Governments of this country, had been to support the rights of Denmark, and to refuse to admit any pretension on the part of the Germanic Confederation to interfere with the internal organization of the Kingdom of Denmark. No one had more emphatically adopted that policy than the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office, and the views he had expressed in his communication of the year 1861 met with the full approval of those who desired to see the independence of Denmark maintained. But, for some reason unknown to the world, the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary seemed to have adopted not only a different policy, but a policy totally contradictory to that which for so long a period had been adopted by himself and by those who preceded him in the important 1247 office he held. Towards the close of the last year, the noble Lord, in a communication addressed to the Court of Denmark, proposed in effect what was a new constitution for the Kingdom of Denmark and its dependencies. That was now a matter of history. A more extraordinary proposition was never made, for it was in reality a new constitution for an independent kingdom. The noble Lord discussed the subject of a moderate civil list, and he went into matters connected with the internal affairs of Denmark, as though he had been the prime minister of Denmark, and not the Minister of England. That was an absurd, but, at the same time, it was obviously a dangerous proceeding, on the part of the noble Lord. For, on the one hand, he told the King of Denmark that he could no longer rely on that support from his allies which he had hitherto received, and, at the same time, gave a certain sanction to the pretensions of the Germanic Confederation, which up to that time had not been supported by the Courts of England and France. That was important, because the King of Denmark, seeing that he was deserted by his allies, found it necessary for him to take a decided step, and accordingly he issued, on the 30th of March, a patent, by which he gave to the States of Holstein the entire control of all the affairs of that duchy. That patent, in fact, came to this:—That Holstein was to decide, in perfect independence of Denmark, on all questions affecting the civil list, the appanage of the Royal family, the public debt, the navy and army, the customs, and the postal arrangements with foreign Powers; in fact, the patent gave the most perfect autonomy to the States of Holstein, and separated them as far as could be done from the Kingdom of Denmark. The next step was the appointment of a Committee of the Diet sitting at Frankfort. It might have been anticipated that the Diet of Frankfort would have received with satisfaction a measure giving an independent constitution to Holstein, and that they would have considered that the King of Denmark had done more than he was required, rather than less than he was called upon to do. That, however, was not the way in which the Diet of Frankfort dealt with the matter, for by a resolution of the 9th July last the Committee of the Diet gave notice to the King of Denmark calling upon him, in six weeks from that period, to annul the patent of the 30th of March; and if that was not done, 1248 the Committee were authorized, without further reference to the Diet, to proceed at once to Federal execution—that was, authorizing the Committee to proceed to the occupation of the Danish territory by Austrian troops. Those six weeks would expire on the 13th or 20th of the next month. As soon as that time arrived, unless the King of Denmark annulled the patent, which it was obviously impossible for him to do, the Committee of the Diet were authorized to call in the Austrian troops to occupy the Duchy of Holstein. That resolution was at once resented by the Sovereign and Legislature of Denmark, and the consequence was that at that moment Denmark was strengthening all the garrisons in Holstein, calling together what were called the two years' service men, which would give the King of Denmark a vastly increased force, and the officers of the reserve and manning their forts. They had also recently entered into a contract with some eminent shipbuilders in this country for two ironclads. They were manning them with all speed, and they had issued a proclamation that any captain in the English merchant service, by taking service with them, could have the rank of lieutenant at once. All these proceedings were menacing to the peace of Europe, and no man could say what the result might be, if Denmark should resist the occupation of Holstein by a foreign force. It was important, therefore, that the House should know what course Her Majesty's Government were prepared to pursue if the Germanic Confederation should attempt to occupy Holstein, and that occupation should be resisted by a Danish force. The Danish Government had done its best to fulfil the stipulations into which it had entered with the Governments of Prussia and Austria. It was an acknowledged principle of our foreign policy, that while the Germanic Confederation had a right to interfere in the affairs of the Duchy of Holstein, it had not the slightest right to interfere with the affairs of the Duchy of Schleswig. He was prepared to contend, that while the Germans had no ground to complain in regard to Holstein, they had no right to interfere or complain in regard to Schleswig. It was perfectly clear that the obligations of the King of Denmark to the Federal Government were not obligations, in the strict sense of the word, the breach of which was to be resented by force of arms; but were only in the nature of certain declarations on the part of the Danish 1249 Crown which the Danish Government were called upon to fulfil in certain particular circumstances. Now, if that was the condition of the question, the German Confederation had certainly no right to interfere, because the Danish Government had given more than the German Confederation had a right to ask. The independence of the Danish Crown was most important to Europe. If the Government would say that under pretence of Federal rights the Germanic Confederation were not to interfere with the rights of the Danish Crown, and if France and Russia held similar language, the danger to which he had adverted might be obviated. If, on the other hand, Her Majesty's Government were prepared to let matters take their own course, the territory of Denmark might within a few weeks be occupied by Austrian troops, and blood might be shed. Russia would then be brought upon the scene, and it was impossible to say where matters would end. He trusted that the noble Lord would give the House some assurance that the subject would receive the serious attention of Her Majesty's Government, and that they would not allow the independence of Denmark to be menaced by the Germanic Confederation.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, the hon. Gentleman has made a very clear and dispassionate statement of that which is one of the most complicated subjects that almost ever engaged the attention of the statesmen of Europe. I will not enter into the long details of what is called the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It is involved in the greatest obscurity in former times. I will only say that the German advocates refer to a period as far back as 1460, quoting the transactions of that time as a reason why they should maintain a closer union between Schleswig and Holstein. All I can say is, that if the States of Germany, and more especially Prussia, choose to adopt the year 1460 as the starting point with reference to what territorial limitations are to be, they had better begin with themselves, and Prussia had better go back to what she was in 1460; and as to some of the other States of Germany, I do not think they will find that rule any more convenient to them than would be its application to Denmark. Now, I entirely concur with the hon. Gentleman, that it is an important matter of British policy to maintain the independence and integrity of the Danish monarchy. That monarchy is not a large one, but it has its rights as well 1250 as larger States, and its geographical position renders the maintenance of its independence and integrity a matter of peculiar interest to this country. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman is entirely mistaken if he supposes that my noble Friend at the head of the Foreign Office has, in any degree whatever, altered his views as to the policy that this country ought to pursue in regard to the differences between Denmark and the Germanic Confederation. In 1861 my noble Friend, after many former ineffectual efforts, suggested to the two disputants an arrangement that appeared to him calculated to meet the views of both, as far as those views could be made consistent with the objections of both. That arrangement was not adopted, or was not found suitable; the suggestion fell to the ground, and it is now a matter of history, and not of practical application. The position that we have always held is that Holstein is unquestionably a member of the Germanic Confederation; and such being the case, that the Germanic Confederation have a right to have an opinion on the affairs of Holstein in the same degree and in the same way in which they have a right to look to the affairs of the other members of the Germanic Confederation; and that any arrangement made by the King of Denmark in regard to the Duchy of Holstein, if it were at variance with the fundamental rules and privileges of the Germanic Confederation, would be one that the King of Denmark would not be entitled to make. With regard, however, to Schleswig, we contend that the Germanic Confederation has no rights. Any question as to the Duchy of Schleswig is a matter of international law and of European concern; and the Germanic Confederation are no more entitled to prescribe what should be done with regard to Schleswig than with regard to Spain, Portugal, England, Russia, or any other independent State. But there is in Schleswig a very considerable German population, and therefore it is not unnatural—indeed, it is perfectly justifiable—that the Germanic Confederation should take an interest in the condition of the German population; and it is entitled to make representations to the King of Denmark requesting that the German population should be put on a fair and equal footing with regard to the Danish population of Schleswig. That, however is a matter of explanation and discussion, and not a subject that would justify an 1251 appeal to force. The hon. Gentleman more particularly touched on the question now pending between the King of Denmark and the Confederation with regard to Holstein. The last stage of the question is the only important matter to discuss—namely, the patent which the King of Denmark issued in March last for the affairs of Holstein. No doubt he imagined that in the patent he had conceded to Holstein everything that the Germanic Confederation had a right to expect. The Members of the Diet were however, of a different opinion, and a discussion is now going on between the Danish Government and the Diet on that particular question. The Danish Government are preparing an answer to the objections made by the Diet, and that reply will have to be considered by the Diet. It is quite true that there was a resolution that a Federal "execution" should take place at the end of six weeks if the King of Denmark did not within that time cancel the patent. But I remember a story of Prince Talleyrand, who, wishing the Diet of the Germanic Confederation not to do something or other that he thought disagreeable, and an inconvenience to the French Government, instructed his Minister at Frankfort to urge the Diet not to act with too much precipitation. Now, precipitation is not the characteristic fault of the German Confederation; and I am persuaded that their good sense and the soundness of their views on the peace of Europe will lead them not rashly to have recourse to a step, the consequences of which might be far different from those which are immediately contemplated. It is impossible for any man who looks at the map of Europe, and who knows the great interest which the Powers of Europe feel in the independence of the Danish monarchy, to shut his eyes to the fact that war begun about a petty quarrel concerning the institutions of Holstein would, in all probability, not end where it began, but might draw after it consequences which all the parties who began it would be exceedingly sorry to have caused. But if any one Power more than another would, upon grounds of general policy, be disinclined to set fire to the combustible elements of Europe, that one Power is, I think, Austria. The hon. Gentleman says it is an Austrian force that would be called upon to execute the Federal decree in Holstein; and I think it reasonable to conclude that Austria would not be disposed to take that step lightly and prematurely, 1252 or until every other means of settlement had been exhausted, and unless she was convinced not only that she had right, but necessity on her side. There is no use in disguising the fact that what is at the bottom of the German design, and the desire of connecting Schleswig with Holstein, is the dream of a German fleet, and the wish to get Kiel as a German seaport. That may be a good reason why they should wish it; but it is no reason why they should violate the rights and independence of Denmark for an object which, even if accomplished, would not realize the expectation of those who aim at it. The hon. Gentleman asks what is the policy and the course of Her Majesty's Government with regard to that dispute. As I have already said, we concur entirely with him, and I am satisfied with all reasonable men in Europe, including those in France and Russia, in desiring that the independence, the integrity, and the right of Denmark may be maintained. We are convinced—I am convinced at least—that if any violent attempt were made to overthrow those rights rights and interfere with that independence, those who made the attempt would find in the result, that it would not be Denmark alone with which they would have to contend. I trust, however, that these transactions will continue to be, as they have been, matters for negotiation, and not for an appeal to arms. I have no apprehension that any appeal to arms will be made at the end of six weeks—the term mentioned to the King of Denmark. His Ministers will make a reply, and that reply will have to be considered, and a rejoinder will have to be made; and I can assure the House that every effort will be made by Her Majesty's Government to induce the disputing parties to confine the question within the limits of diplomatic intercourse; and all their influence, and, no doubt, the influence of other Governments also, will be exerted to impress on the Diet a reasonable view of the matter, and to urge a settlement which may be consistent on the one hand with the rights of the Diet with regard to the internal organization of Holstein, and consistent, on the other hand, with the rights, the independence, and the integrity of the Danish monarchy. I do not myself anticipate any immediate danger, or indeed any of that remote danger which the hon. Gentleman seems to think imperils the peace of Europe arising out of the Danish and Holstein question.
§ MR. COBDEN
If it be necessary to show that, according to the technical rule of the House, I am entitled to bring under the consideration of the Government the subject to which I am going to advert, I can do so by adducing the fact that sums of money voted for the Police and Customs departments are contained in the Appropriation Bill now before the House. Sir, as the remarks which I have to make will imply that those departments have not performed their duty efficiently under the present circumstances, this is not an unsuitable moment for calling their conduct in question. I hold ill my hand a memorial from upwards of thirty of the most respectable shipowners of Liverpool. It is a memorial to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, suggesting an alteration in the Foreign Enlistment Act. The memorialists state that they "view with dismay the probable future consequences of a state of affairs which permits a foreign belligerent to construct in and send to sea from British ports vessels of war, in contravention of the provisions of the existing law;" and they allude to "the attitude of helplessness in which Her Majesty's Government have declared their inability to detect and punish breaches of the law notoriously committed by certain of Her Majesty's subjects." Now, Sir, in reading in the blue-books the correspondence which has taken place respecting the fitting out of ships of war in England to prey upon the commerce of the United States, I have been very much struck with this feature:—The Foreign Office seem to me to assume a passive position, and treat the question as one in regard to which they are only to be called into activity when some foreign Power has shown to them that the law of nations has been violated. I find Earl Russell repeatedly telling Mr. Adams, the American Minister, that it is impossible to act until he supplies the Government with conclusive evidence as to the guilt of the suspected parties. This has led, I think, to a complete misapprehension in the public mind as to the nature of our Foreign Enlistment Act. That Act was not passed in the interest of foreigners. It was passed for our own safety and protection, and as a proof of that I will just read the preamble of the Act. Omitting some technical phrases which intervene, these are its words:—"Whereas the fitting out and equipping and arming of vessels by His Majesty's subjects may be prejudicial to and endanger the peace and welfare of this king- 1254 dom." Now, I apprehend that when a law is passed for such an object as that, it is the duty of our Executive to see that it is not violated or evaded. In fact. I do not know of any object to which the Home Office, with all its affiliation of magistrates and policemen throughout the country, could devote its attention more worthily than the enforcing of the observance of this Act of Parliament. For what is going on? At this moment there are three vessels which are specifically known to be engaged in preying upon the commerce of a friendly Power. These vessels generally have aliases—like other had characters, they have two or three names. There is the Oreto, alias the Florida; the Alabama, alias the "290;" and the Japan, alias the Virginia. Now, these three vessels, all of which were built in England, armed from England, and chiefly manned by Englishmen, are engaged at this moment in the destruction of the commerce of the United States. I believe that only one of the three has ever entered a Confederate port, and that one contrived to enter Mobile and to come out again. But two out of the three have never entered a Confederate port. They have gone from England, and commenced their depredations upon a friendly Power without ever having gone home at all. And I am told—it has been stated publicly—that one of these vessels had fifty-two out of fifty-three of its crew Englishmen, and most of them sailors from our Naval Reserve, and, of course, accustomed to the use of artillery. We know what effect these vessels produce upon the commerce of the United States. I will give it in the language of the memorialists, who are men of experience in maritime affairs. They say—That the experience of late events has proved to the conviction of your memorialists that the possession by a belligerent of swift steam cruisers, under no necessity, actual or conventional, to visit the possibly blockaded home ports of that belligerent, but able to obtain all requisite supplies from neutrals, will become a weapon of offence against which no preponderance of naval strength can effectually guard, and the severity of which will be felt in the ratio of the shipping and mercantile wealth of the nation against whose mercantile marine the efforts of those steam cruisers may be directed. That the effect of future war with any Power thus enabled to purchase, prepare, and refit vessels of war in neutral ports will inevitably be to transfer to neutral flags that portion of the sea-carrying trade of the world which is now enjoyed by your memorialists and by other British shipowners.That is the opinion of upwards of thirty of the most intelligent and influential ship- 1255 owners of Liverpool, who have affixed their signatures to the declaration. Recollect that we are under very different circumstances to what we were when privateers or ships of war were employed in former wars to capture merchant vessels. At that time the motive power of all vessels was the wind; they had no steam; but now, when still the great bulk of our commerce is carried on by sailing vessels, two or three steamers, built especially for speed, may harass, and, in fact, may render valueless the mercantile marine of a whole nation. I have heard it said, "Oh, if it were our case, we should soon catch those vessels." The self-complacency of some people is certainly unlimited. I have made some long voyages in my time. I have four times crossed the Atlantic, and sailed for 2,000 miles without seeing a strange sail. The ocean is a very wide place. You cannot follow a vessel when it has once got out to sea with any chance of catching it. You have no stations where you can hear of it, and no road by which you can follow with the chance of catching it. But recollect that those vessels have been built expressly for speed and nothing else; and if you choose to go to an American builder and say, "Build me a vessel that will be so fast as to catch anything, or to run away from everything," he will build you a vessel to go twenty knots an hour just as readily as an Englishman. No one knowing the mechanical genius of that people will doubt it. Your ships of war are not only built for speed but for armament and capacity, and merchant vessels are necessarily built to carry freight. Therefore, if you have two or three very swift vessels, they are sufficient to destroy the value of the whole mercantile marine of one of the first naval Powers of Europe, This is a question which affects our vital interests, in case we should ever be at war, and the United States at peace. But it may be said, you have not the power, by your laws, to prevent the construction in British ports of those ships. I must confess that I think, if public opinion fairly supported the Government, the law as it now stands would be sufficient. But if the law as it now stands be not sufficient, these memorialists "respectfully urge the expediency of proposing to Parliament to sanction the introduction of such amend-mends into the Foreign Enlistment Act as may have the effect of giving greater power to the Executive to prevent the construction in British ports of ships des- 1256 tined for the use of belligerents." We may be told it is too late to propose any alteration in the law this Session, but I would remind the House that the insertion of one word in our Foreign Enlistment Act would be sufficient to make it effective. The great controversy in the law courts is, as to whether the word "building" can be said to be implied by the words "fitting out, furnishing, or equipping" You have only to add the word "building" to the words "fitting out, furnishing, equipping, and arming," and every one must admit that you would cover the whole ground, and be enabled to prevent a vessel leaving any of our ports in a partially finished state. But the point to which I wish particularly to draw attention is one of a more serious nature. What has been done cannot be recalled. But there are two vessels now completing in this country, iron vessels heavily armoured for war purposes; and Mr. Adams, the American Minister, has declared to the Government his belief that those vessels are intended for the Confederate Government. They are being built in Liverpool by a house that I believe has previously been engaged in building vessels for the Confederate Government, and I presume that the remonstrance which has been sent to the Government by the American Minister contains some proof, at least sufficient to furnish a ground of suspicion, that those vessels are intended for the Confederate Government. Now, sir, I do not think it is very difficult to find out for what Government any vessel which is being built in this country is intended, if it be intended for a Government which can legitimately come to this country to buy a vessel. I know where a vessel is being built for the Danish Government; we knew where the Chinese Government were getting their vessels; and we know precisely where a vessel is being built for any other legitimate Government. But here are two vessels, which, I am told, are being built for the Confederate Government. Now, I am bound to say—for I think the public are entitled to know what is passing in the minds of public men with regard to future events—from all I see of the state of public opinion in America through the press, and from what one hears around him, that I believe if these two iron-clad vessels go out and commence a war upon the United States, it will lead to a war with this country. These vessels are calculated probably to match any vessel that 1257 we have, or any vessels the Americans have; and if they go out, I am very much afraid it will have the effect of leading to a rupture with this country; and I base my supposition upon the fact that by what we have already done we have rendered the mercantile marine of America practically valueless. What is said here in this memorial of what would happen to us if two or three steamers were let loose on our commerce has already happened to the American mercantile marine. The rate of insurance has been raised so high in America that they can no longer compete with England and other maritime States; and the effect has been to render the great property, probably 20,000,000 sterling, of the shipowners of America practically, for all present purposes, valueless. They have been selling their ships extensively in this country. Let us consider the effect which this must have upon the minds of American shipowners and merchants in New York, Boston, and other places. Let us suppose their case our own—that our shipping had been driven from the ocean by privateers built in New York—if we would understand what must be their feelings towards England, which has rendered their property valueless? The shipowners and merchants of America comprised that portion of the community which had always constituted the bond of peace between this country and America. The shipowners of Boston hung their flags half-mast high in 1812, when war was declared with this country; but you have now placed them in such a position with reference to the value of their property that actually they are enlisted on the side of war with England, because if there were a war with this country, then their cruisers would, by preying upon our commerce, raise the rate of insurance on British bottoms to a level with their own, and they would stand on the same footing as ourselves with respect to the world at large. You have removed from the scale of peace and placed in the scale of war that part of the community of America which has always been the great safeguard of peace between the two countries. The question is whether Her Majesty's Government, during the recess, cannot take those precautions which are necessary in order to prevent these vessels leaving our ports for the service of the Confederate Government. The public are not aware of the consequences that are now happening from what has already been done. It is not generally known, that in 1258 respect of every vessel captured by the three privateers I have mentioned, the American Government takes a deposition on oath as to the value of that property, and sends in a claim for indemnity to our Government. Recollect that every vessel captured by the Oreto, the Alabama, and the Virginia is debited to the account of England, and that the American Minister has made a formal claim upon this country for indemnity for these captures. Our Government has constantly refused to acknowledge the claim, but that is the serious part of the whole question. Here is a claim by a foreign Government, which must be met in Borne way or other. It is out of disputed claims such as these that frequently arise those collisions which take place between one country and another. Is this a state of things that ought to have been brought upon the whole community by the acts of individuals—by three or four firms in England doing that which is known to be an evasion of the spirit of the law? Is it, I ask, desirable that the whole interest of this great community should be put in future jeopardy in consequence of these proceedings? I say, on the contrary, it is the interest of every one in this country, of every loyal subject of the realm, to be himself a detective with a view to prevent such transactions as these, to frown them down when he sees they are going on; and if you cannot find in the public opinion of this country sufficient patriotism and loyalty to do that, the consequences that I have spoken of must fall upon the country. On a former occasion the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birkenhead, who spoke exultingly, as I thought, of the part his firm had taken in these transactions, tried to mix up two questions which are totally distinct. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the exportation of munitions of war and arms. Now there is, as I have stated before in this House, no law in this country to prevent the exportation of munitions of war, and there never has been, and the American Government has never asked us to provide a law for that purpose. It is not difficult to show the difference between munitions of war and ships of war. Munitions of war are a constant article of commerce, and the great element of all armaments, gunpowder, is used for civil as well as for military purposes. It is largely consumed for blasting, for mining, and other purposes; and therefore to attempt to put a prohibition upon the export of arms and munition—to prohibit all trade 1259 in arms and munition—would be an injustice to a very large and regular industry. But what your law does undertake to do is this—to prevent the supplying of ships of war and men to engage in a foreign war with a friendly Power, and it is done in your own interest to prevent your being involved in their disputes. The hon. Member for Birkenhead made use of another argument, he stated that the American Government had applied to him to build ships of war, and that he refused to violate the law. But it would be no excuse for violating the law in one direction to say that he had refused to violate it in another. If the Federal Government applied to the hon. Gentleman to build ships of war, he did quite right in refusing them; but if by building ships of war for the Confederates he violated the law, it was no excuse to Bay that he had refused in the other case to violate it. But I have a contradiction of his statement which I wish to read to the hon. Member—
§ MR. SPEAKER
This is not an occasion to reply to a speech made some time ago, and certainly not to read observations on anything that took place during a debate in this House.
§ MR. COBDEN
It is a copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy at Washington to my friend Mr. Charles Sumner, which, with the permission of the House, I will read.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member may make any statement he thinks proper, but to read a letter commenting on a speech made in this House is entirely out of order.
§ MR. COBDEN
Then I must confine myself to a statement of the contents of the letter. I have given the hon. Member notice that I would call attention to it. It is a letter that contradicts very emphatically the statement of the hon. Gentleman. The writer states, that under no circumstances, nor at any time, has any order been sent from the American Navy Department to any shipbuilder in this country. I do not consider that it has much bearing upon the question before us, but it is interesting as an important matter of fact. With regard to the main question at issue, I say it is wholly a matter of public opinion in this country. If it be not felt by the people at large as it is felt by those influential shipowners in Liverpool, that we have a vital stake in preventing the violation of the neutrality code, those proceedings will go on. But I appre- 1260 hend we are bound by motives of self-interest, and by the desire to exhibit a feeling of fair reciprocity towards the American people, to put down those illegal proceedings. I alluded before to the course of conduct adopted by the American people in relation to those neutrality laws. I stated in this House that I would challenge any one to show that we ever made any complaint to America with reference to those laws that was not redressed. I challenged any person to prove that there had been on this point any unsatisfactory treatment of this country by America; but why has this been so? Be cause the public opinion of America has been in favour of maintaining this neutrality code. An appeal was made to the American Government in 1855, during the Crimean war, to maintain it. There was supposed to be a vessel of war building in New York called the Maury, and our Consul at New York obtained permission from the Government of the United States to have the vessel arrested. She was found to be an innocent vessel, and was released at the instance of our own Consul. The Chamber of Commerce in New York met, and passed the following Resolution:—Resolved,—That the merchants of New York, as part of the body of merchants of the United States, will uphold the Government in the full maintenance of the neutrality laws of this country; and we acknowledge, and adopt, and always have regarded, the acts of the United States for preserving its neutrality as binding in honour and conscience as well as in law; and that we denounce those who violate them as disturbers of the peace of the world, to be held in universal abhorrence.I should like to see our chambers of commerce putting forward a similar declaration, that the Acts for preserving our neutrality "are binding in honour and conscience as well as in law, and that we denounce those who violate them as disturbers of the peace of the world, to be held in universal abhorrence." If such a sentiment be not entertained by the country, the Act of Parliament becomes a dead letter, for it will not have the support of public opinion. I said that our Foreign Enlistment Act is a municipal law passed for our own preservation, but there is another view of the question most important to statesman and diplomatists. It is this—that the municipal law is an inherent part of the international code of civilized nations. It is the way in which we fulfil by Act of Parliament the duty we owe to foreign countries who adopt the same legis- 1261 lation in regard to us. It is on this ground that the American Government have raised the question of indemnity for captures, about which I do not mean now to offer any opinion. If our Government refuse to pay, it is because they believe they have a right to refuse to pay, but there is this view of the question to be taken into consideration:—The Americans claim the indemnity on international grounds, and not merely because we have violated our own municipal law. They say, "We paid you money for captures made by cruisers that left our ports so long back as 1794, when we had no municipal law at all, on the ground of international law, and we now claim from you the observance of this code on international grounds." It is a very serious element, when diplomatically considered that we made ourselves parties to the international code by repeatedly applying to the American Government to enforce their law, and pass a new law for the protection of our interests. In 1838 we asked them to amend their law to protect us in Canada, and the Americans passed an amended law instantly. During the Crimean war we asked them to exercise a fair neutrality towards us, and they did so. Now, we are in the position of neutrals, and they are in the position of belligerents, and can we now proclaim that we are exempt from the obligations of acting towards them as they acted towards us? If we are bound by the obligations of international law, it is no answer to say we cannot compel our subjects to obey our own municipal law. Standing on the ground of international law, the American Government may say, "We hold your nation as a unit responsible to us, and it is for you to look to your own subjects and see that they obey your municipal law." With regard to the future, those gentlemen who, for their own small gains, are building those ships of war for foreign Powers are placing us in an embarrassing and very dangerous position. I think there is a fair claim upon the Government to exercise its utmost vigilance to prevent those armed vessels from leaving our shores. I perceive a fallacy which runs through Lord Russell's despatches, and the Solicitor General's speeches. They constantly confound two very different things—namely, the evidence necessary to detain a vessel, and the evidence necessary to convict a vessel. The consequence is, that we refuse to interfere until Mr. Adams has brought forward conclusive evidence on oath that is sufficient to convict. Why 1262 do we maintain the costly machinery of our superior courts, if there be no further proofs left to elucidate? We do not act so in other cases. We do not require all the evidence that is necessary to convict when we arrest a person and bring him before a magistrate. He is brought before the magistrate and committed for trial. When he is before the grand jury, it is only on ex parte evidence he is tried. I say the Government will incur an immense responsibility if they allow those iron-clad vessels to leave these shores as the Alabama left. The departure of that privateer might have been prevented. That vessel, according to Lord Russell's despatch, left the port of Liverpool without a clearance, clandestinely. She left it on pretence of taking out a pleasure party of ladies and gentlemen, and did not return. It was an unworthy action for any person to be a party to—it was an unpatriotic act; but the Government might have prevented that. They had grounds for suspicion, and might have said to the collector of the port, "Before this vessel leaves or has her clearance we must be satisfied on these points;" and to prevent her leaving without a clearance, they might have put custom-house officers on board. I maintain that you have power to do that under your Customs Consolidation Act, and I hope that those other vessels will not be allowed to escape as the Alabama did. The consequences are too serious for the Government to remain passive. The machinery of the Home Office ought to be put in operation to trace the guilty, if there be guilt in the matter. I trust the Government will not meet us next Session without finding that the law as it stands is sufficient to carry out the intentions of the Foreign Enlistment Act, or, if not, that they will come to the House to propose an alteration of the law. The addition of one clause to the Customs Consolidation Act would meet the whole case. By that clause it should be provided that before any vessel of war shall leave any port of England for any foreign country, the builder or owner of such vessel shall be required to state to the collector of customs for that port for what foreign Government she is intended. That simple clause added to the Customs Consolidation Act would meet the whole case. You would then know the foreign Government for which the vessel was intended, and could ascertain from the Minister of that Government if they had ordered such a 1263 vessel. Recollect that a ship of war differs from articles of merchandise. A ship of war can only be legitimately used by a Government. It cannot be legitimately used by an individual. In the hands of an individual it would be a pirate vessel, because an individual has no flag. As the destination of a ship of war so leaving this country must be legitimately the port of some foreign Sovereign, it is no hardship to the shipbuilder to state to the authorities the foreign Government for which she is intended. The interests at stake are too vital on a question of this kind to allow us to be deterred by petty obstacles on the part of individuals. Let them be licensed to build ships of war, and let them declare for what Government each ship is built. If the ship be built for an individual, let that individual declare for what foreign Government she is intended. Let not the dimensions of the civil war in America be extended by involving ourselves in it. By intervention you may widen the dimensions of that civil war, but all history proves that no benefit to the cause of peace can arise from an interference in the domestic quarrel of a great and spirited nation. I am surprised to hear persons taunting us in this House with being opposed to peace in America because we are against intervention. The same argument was used in 1793 with relation to France, and that argument prevailed. Foreigners interfered to put down the Reign of Terror in that country. What was the consequence? They extended the Reign of Terror over the whole Continent, and Europe was deluged with blood for twenty years. Interference could now only produce similar consequences in America. I do not pretend to say what the result of the war will be. I have travelled twice over the American continent, and have given very close attention to all that has passed there during the last thirty years. Assuming for myself no superiority, but claiming only the ordinary powers of observation, probably no Member of the House has had a better opportunity than I have of judging of the state of affairs at the present moment in America and of the power of the respective belligerents. And I say I do not expect to live to see, and I never have expected to see, two independent nations within the area of the old United States. I do not ask any one to agree in opinion with me; but I am afraid that a good deal has been said, and that even a little has been done, in this country on a contrary assumption. 1264 Whatever may be the issue of this dreadful war, let us keep clear of it. Prevent those British-built cruisers and ships of war from interfering in a way that will injure the great material interests of America, and my voice will be mute in the quarrel. I desire nothing more than that we should in this House he silent—silent and sorrowful, until this terrible struggle is brought to a close.
§ MR. LAIRD
said, he was prepared, if necessary, to prove that every word he had said in a former debate was perfectly true; and as the question was one which affected Her Majesty's Government, he was ready to put his proofs in the hands of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. The hon. Gentleman stated that the Alabama went out with a picnic party, but he had ascertained that she went out of dock at night, that she anchored in the river until eleven or twelve o'clock next day, and that she was seen from the shore by thousands of persons. [Mr. Cobden: I quoted from Earl Russell's despatches.] He was not responsible for those despatches. [Mr. Cobden: She had no clearance.] It was not necessary to take a clearance. The owner might either clear her or take a register. The course pursued was to hand the builder's certificate to the owner, and then he might do what he liked with her. A great deal of blame had been cast upon the English Government, but what had been the orders given by the American Government to the Tuscarora? She was running about the country after the Alabama, but orders were given to her not to touch the Alabama in the Channel. Mr. Adams, in a letter to Mr. Seward, dated August 7, 1862, said—On the same day I received by mail a note from Captain Craven, dated the 31st, announcing the receipt of my despatches and his decision to go to Point Lynas at noon, on the 1st instant. Captain Craven seems to have sailed up St. George's Channel. This last movement must have been made in forgetfulness of my caution about British jurisdiction, for, even had he found No. 290 in that region, I had in previous conversations with him explained the reason why I should not consider it good policy to attempt her capture near the coast. In point of fact, this proceeding put an end to every chance of his success.The hon. Member stated that the Foreign Enlistment Act was infringed because the Alabama had never been in a Confederate port, but that was not necessary so long as she carried the Confederate commission. If we were at war with America, and the Admiral on the North American station 1265 captured vessels that were likely to be useful, did the hon. Gentleman suppose that he would be obliged to send them into Portsmouth harbour and wait for their return? No, the moment a vessel received a commission from a belligerent Government she became a recognised vessel of war, and must be so regarded by every nation in the world. A proof that the American Government admitted the lawfulness of the captures made by the Alabama was, that the American Courts had recognised the bonds given by the officers of the ships seized and liberated by the Alabama. They thus recognised the whole proceeding under which she became a Confederate vessel and received a Confederate commission, and they could not back out of it. The memorial presented by the hon. Gentleman was signed by thirty of the shipowners of Liverpool. They were very respectable persons, but they were too small a number to claim to represent the shipowners of Liverpool. Many of those who had signed it had, he was told, done so with the understanding that other nations were to do the same. It had been proposed to make the law more stringent, and that any one undertaking an order for building a ship should prove for whom she was intended. But there was this difference between ships and cannon, that ships might be used for peaceful purposes, while cannon and muskets could only be turned to one use. The Northern States got all they wanted from this country. They imported largely our arms and ammunition, and at the same time they wished to stop a legitimate branch of industry. As a proof how easily vessels built for purposes of commerce might be converted into vessels of war, he might mention that in 1859 he thought it desirable to strengthen the local defences of each port by adapting the ferry-boats and tug-boats to purposes of defence. He laid a proposition before the Admiralty, and also before Lord Herbert, by whom it was warmly taken up, offering to adapt forty or fifty of these vessels at an expense of from £250 to £300 each to the purposes of defence. The Admiralty sent down a talented officer of the navy, who made a survey, and reported that for £290 or £300 each these vessels might be made to carry, some 32's and others 68-pounders, then the most efficient gun in the service. He (Mr. Laird) would, indeed, take any ship and at a small cost adapt her to carry 1266 some of the largest guns of the service. While the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cobden) was turning his attention to the breach of the Foreign Enlistment Act, he could have wished that he had made inquiries into the enlistment of men for the Federal army that was now going on in Ireland. If he would advise with the American Minister on that point, he might do a great deal of good to the people of Ireland. The hon. Gentleman, however, persisted in seeing only one side of the question. The Chief Baron had given a strong opinion that the law was on the side of those who had built the Alexandra. The hon. Member had vouched for the readiness of the Americans to abstain from infringing the law in that respect. He wished, however, to relate to the House what took place in regard to the America, a vessel which was built, manned, armed, and equipped in the United States, and which was taken out by Captain Hudson to Petropaulovski for the Russian Government. Captain Hudson—expressed his deep chagrin at the unexpected termination of the war, as the America was only one of a fleet that were preparing and equipping for the same Government and purpose, and added that in the event of another year's war they would have swept the Pacific of the English vessels.In confirmation of that statement, he would read a memorandum made by an officer on board the Savannah—The America came into Rio de Janeiro on her way round from New York to Petropaulovski. When she was in Rio, the captains of the English and French men-of war lying there wanted to overhaul her, but the Brazilian Government would not permit it. They then determined to overhaul her after she left the harbour. Commander Salter, who was commander of the United States squad, ron at Rio in the frigate Savannah, in order to protect the America, ordered her to take the Savannah in tow, which effectually prevented the English and French searching the America. One of the crew of the America gave the British Consul at Rio information of the America having her guns in her hold ready to mount. The America was commanded by Captain Hudson, an ex-lieutenant in the United States Navy.Lastly, an officer of the British navy stated in a letter—The America laid in the Pei-ho river for some weeks during the months of April and May 1858. She had the flag of Count Putiatine flying at the signing of the Treaty of Tien-tsin, May 1858, and was well known to every naval officer present as having been built in America for the Russians. She had an American eagle on her stern.So far from the American Government keeping faith with that of Great Britain 1267 during the war with Russia, they allowed the America to get away, and gave orders to the American Admiral to protect her against the search of the English and French officers.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he wished to ask a Question relative to the exclusion of Turkey from the Conferences which were to be held for the cession of the Ionian Islands. It had been stated that Turkey had no right to claim admission to these Conferences, because she was not one of the parties to the Treaty of Vienna. By a further Act, however, dated April 1819, Turkey did adhere to the provisions of that treaty, and therefore stood on the same footing as the other Powers who were signatories to the treaty. She had therefore an absolute right to be consulted on the cession. It had been said that the Act of 1819 had no reference to the arrangement for the cession of these islands; but in the French despatches it was called the accession of the Ottoman Porte to the treaty of Paris, and it was so regarded by the English Foreign Office. The effect of the Act of 1819 was, that Turkey recognised the Ionians as the protected subjects of Great Britain; and the practical result of the acknowledgment was, that the people of the Ionian Islands became possessed of the rights of British subjects in the Turkish dominions. He contended that it was indisputable that Turkey had a right to be summoned and to attend any Conference to determine the future status of the Ionian Islands. No Power in Europe was in fact so directly interested in the question of the Ionian Islands as Turkey, and that consideration was no doubt present to the minds of those who signed the Treaty of Paris. It was an obvious necessity, that if the balance of power were to be maintained, the Ionian Islands ought not to be handed over to a Power whose hostility to Turkey was well known. He therefore protested, in the name of treaties, of justice, and in the interest of the future peace of Europe, against the proposed exclusion of Turkey from these Conferences. The proposed cession of these islands to Greece was in his opinion one of the most impolitic, most uncalled for, and most prejudicial acts that could be committed by the Government of this country. He trusted that the people of the Ionian Islands, when they were called upon to vote, would not imagine that they were deserted in their hour of need; and that their vote would not be given un- 1268 der the impression that there was not a large body of public men in this country who believed that the maintenance of the connection between Great Britain and the Ionian Islands was beneficial to both countries. Perhaps the noble Lord would state to the House whether Turkey had made any demand to be admitted to the proposed Conference?
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
said, he wished to know whether the Government intended to take the opinion of the Conference before the Ionian Parliament assembled?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, it appeared to him that it was a convenient moment, when the Appropriation Bill was passing through the House, to state the corrections which had been finally made in the figures representing the Estimates for the year. He had stated that on the 15th of April last he gave the estimated revenue for the year at £68,280,000, and the estimated expenditure at £67,749,000. The surplus therefore stood at £531,000. That was according to the proposals of the Government, and assuming that every proposal was accepted. In the course of the proceedings of the year, however, an amount of revenue, estimated at £109,000, which was asked for by the Government, was not granted by the House. The principal part of that amount proceeded from the proposed extension of the income tax to charities, and the loss of revenue from the non-acceptance of that proposal was £75,000. The balance was made up by certain minor proposals which were not acceded to. That original estimate of £68,280,000 was therefore reduced to the sum of £68,171,000. On the other side, the actual votes of the House were less by £44,000 than was estimated, so that the original estimate of expenditure, instead of being £67,749,000, was reduced to £67,705,000; and comparing the two sums together, the surplus for the year stood not at £531,000, but at £466,000. Perhaps if he were, from the experience of the preceding four months, to make an estimate of the revenue of the year at that time, it would be somewhat more favourable than that which he made in April. The prospects of the revenue were at present satisfactory.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL
said, he wished to express a hope that next year a greater compensation would be awarded to the talented gentlemen who were engaged in 1269 making the geological survey than they had received hitherto.
§ Bill read 3o.
§ On Question, "That the Bill do pass."
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I have listened with great attention to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale; but it appears to me that he and Her Majesty's Government, and I think the country at large, start in the consideration of the matter to which he has directed the attention of the House from different points of departure. We look upon the two parties who are now in arms against each other in America as each of them belligerents, and therefore alike entitled, as far as our neutral position is concerned, to all the privileges and rights which appertain to belligerents. Now, it seems to me that that which is running in the head of the hon. Gentleman, and which guides and directs the whole of his reasoning, is the feeling, although perhaps disguised to himself, that the Union is still in legal existence—that there are not in America two belligerent parties, but a legitimate Government and a rebellion against that Government. Now, that places the two parties in a very different position from that in which it is our duty to consider them. Now, what is the duty of a neutral in regard to two belligerents, and what are the rights of neutrals? The American Government have laid down the position for themselves, because they have declared that a neutral is at liberty to furnish a belligerent with anything that the belligerent may choose to buy—whether it be ships, arms, ammunition, or anything else. No restriction is imposed on a neutral in furnishing a belligerent even with those things which are material ingredients in the conduct of military operations. Therefore, on no international law has the Federal Government any right whatever to complain of this or any other country that may supply a party in arms against the Federals with anything they may choose to buy. I cannot, in the abstract, concur with my hon. Friend in thinking that there is any distinction in principle between muskets, gunpowder, bullets, and cannon on the one side, and ships on the other. Those are things by which war is carried on, and you are equally assisting belligerents by supplying them with muskets, cannon, and ammunition, as you are by furnishing them with ships that are to operate in the war. What has been the 1270 practice of the United States Government themselves? The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Laird) has alluded to the case of a ship built in the United States when we were at war with Russia. We complained, and the ship was examined and declared by the local authorities to be free from any ground for molestation. Nevertheless, there was the best reason for believing that the ship was destined for the Russian Government and for naval operations in the Eastern seas, where the Russian Government most wanted such assistance. We had reason to believe that other ships were then building in America for the same purpose, and would have been used if the war had continued. Therefore I hold, that on the mere ground of international law belligerents have no right to complain, if merchants—I do not say the Government, for that would be interference—as a mercantile transaction, supply one of the belligerents, not only with arms and cannon, but also with ships destined for warlike purposes. But then in our case there comes in, no doubt, the municipal law. The American Government have a distinct right to expect that a neutral will enforce its municipal law if it be in their favour. Then comes the question whether the Government have done that which the Government is enabled to do, and ought to do; and I contend that we have. My hon. friend says that we ought to have prevented ships from being built which were evidently destined for war. But it was very well said by the hon. Member for Birkenhead that you cannot draw a distinction between ships that may evidently be built for warlike purposes, and those that may be eventually applied to warlike purposes. He has mentioned—what everybody knows—that when we had to consider our means of naval defence we found a great number of mercantile steamers in our ports, which might, in a short time and at a small expense, be converted into ships of war and made available for the defence of the country. Take what has happened. One of the ships employed in the service of the Confederates to prey on the commerce of the Federals was the Nashville. Now, what was the Nashville? Suppose she had been built in this country, what possibility had we under the Foreign Enlistment Act of preventing her from leaving this country? I went on board the Nashville in Southampton Docks. She was a steamer very much like those that go up and down the Thames, with a glass room built on deck, 1271 and furnished below with berths for passengers. But they put guns on board, and being able to steam with great rapidity, the Nashville could easily capture and destroy any merchantman. In the same way a ship might be built in this country capable of being converted into a ship of war; but with respect to which, while building, it would be perfectly impossible to prove by any legal construction that she was intended for a ship of war, and therefore liable to be interfered with. My hon. Friend complained that the Government have not exercised the vigilance incumbent on them in such a matter, and that they have relied entirely on receiving information from the Minister of the United States. But that is not the fact. The Home Office have employed all the means that could, with propriety, be used, and in some cases complaints have been made that they have employed more stringent means than they ought to do. We are not in the habit in this country of employing that system of spies which is resorted to in other countries; still, the Government have thought it their duty to employ persons openly and legitimately to obtain information. With regard to the Alabama, an explanation has been given by the hon. Member for Birkenhead. With regard to the Alexandra, the attention of the Government having been called to the construction of the vessel, steps were taken to stop and seize her. The trial came off; and the judgment of the court was against the Government, the court deciding that under the Foreign Enlistment Act the Government had no right to stop her. Exceptions have been put in to that ruling, but the question cannot be decided until next November. I really think there is no ground on which either hon. Gentlemen or the Federal Government can found any complaint that Her Majesty's Government have not done all that the municipal law entitles them to do in regard to the fitting-out of ships in this country. There is a further difficulty. I will suppose a ship built of such a character that we might safely say it was built for warlike purposes. Then you must prove whom she is intended for. The hon. Gentleman assumes that parties may be in combination to evade the law; but in that case nothing can be easier than to show that a ship is not intended for the particular State for which she is supposed to be built. The hon. Gentleman suggests that: we ought to amend the Foreign Enlistment Act, and add the word 1272 "building," as well as "armed and equip ped." But that goes beyond the question of ships of war. You put an end to a branch of trade—the building of ships of commerce for foreign States. You would thus go beyond what even the hon. Gentleman contemplates. I say nothing about the question of altering your law to suit the convenience of any foreign Government at any particular moment. We undertook a change in the law some years ago—not in deference to any demand from a foreign Government, but because we thought, as gentlemen and men of honour, the Government and Parliament of this country were bound to do what we proposed—to protect an allied Sovereign from the personal danger to which he was exposed from conspirators in this country. We did it spontaneously, but not successfully. But no such principle applies to this case, for to pursue the course the hon. Gentleman recommends would be fettering our own legitimate industry and commerce, and I do not think the House would agree to such a change. I quite agree that we ought to endeavour to enforce our law as far as we can, and that whenever we learn that there are ships being built presumably for a belligerent, between which and other belligerents we profess to be neutral, we ought to enforce our law as far as courts of justice enable us. That will be the course pursued by the Government. As regards one of the iron-clads to which my hon. Friend has referred, I am informed that the French Consul claims it. [Mr. Cobden dissented.] How that is I cannot say.
With regard to the question of the noble Lord (Lord John Manners) as to the Treaty of 1819, I cannot concur with him He considers that the treaty of accession to the treaty by which the Ionian Islands were placed under the protection of Eng-lard gives Turkey a right to be represented at the Conferences. I can assure him that it is not so. The accession of Turkey to the Treaty of 1815 was invited and refused. The Sultan had a paramount disinclination to mix himself up with any European treaty transactions. He declined to accede to the treaty when it had been signed, and this Treaty of 1819 was not an accession treaty to that of 1815. [Lord John Manners: It was called so.] I do not care for the title; but if the noble Lord looks to the stipulations, he will sea that this treaty is not a transaction by which the Ionian Islands are placed as a 1273 separate State under the protection of Great Britain. It is not an instrument in any degree on which the foundation of the Protectorate is established; it is simply an acknowledgment on the part of the Sultan of a pre-existent fact, which derived its existence from another treaty to which he was not a contracting party. The Treaty of 1819 recited, that whereas Great Britain, out of regard for Turkey, had given up Parga and other places; and whereas Great Britain asked Turkey to acknowledge the existing Protectorate of the Ionian Islands, and give the people of those islands all the privileges of British subjects in Turkey, the Sultan, in acknowledgment of the manner in which we gave up Parga, Ac, acquiesced in the demand of Great Britain, and not only acknowledged that the Ionian Islands were under the protection of Great Britain, but, as a consequence, promised to give the Ionian people all the benefits they derived as British subjects in Turkey.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
There will be a treaty signed between the Powers which signed the Treaty of Vienna, recording the consent of those Powers, before the people of the Ionian Islands will be called upon to give a vote.
§ MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
said, that the Treaty of Vienna was signed by Powers who were not parties to the original Treaty of Paris, and yet they were asked to join the Conference. Then why not Turkey?
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
had heard with great satisfaction the declaration of the noble Lord with regard to Schleswig and Holstein. There could be no doubt that the motive of the Germanic Confederation was to obtain the harbour of Kiel. They had the use of it for all commercial purposes; but they required it for other purposes. He was glad that the noble Lord had broken through the web of diplomacy. He (Mr. Darby Griffith) did not view the cession of the Ionian Islands with the same satisfaction, as the House of Commons had been excluded from all participation in the transaction. No doubt the House of Commons would have supported the noble Lord; but such an important step as the cession of these islands ought not to be taken on the mere fiat of a Minister.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
wished to 1274 know whether Turkey had made a demand to be admitted to the Conferences; and, if so, whether the noble Lord would have any objection to lay the despatch on the table.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he did not think that Turkey had made any distinct application. Her Majesty's Government knew that Turkey did not approve the cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece. There were, however, no papers ready at present on the cession of the Ionian Islands.
§ Bill passed.